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ENTERTAINMENT

Three easy-prep breakfast ideas Always running late to school? Check out these quick and easy breakfast options that you can eat on the go! PAGE 17

THE NUEVA

CURRENT

THE NUEVA SCHOOL SAN MATEO, CA 94403 THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2019 VOLUME 3, ISSUE 2

CITIZENS OF THE WORLD

PHOTO BY WILLOW C. Y.

Community members share their stories and experiences of immigrating to the United States BY VALERIE B.

W

ith the 2020 elections approaching, immigration remains one of the most thoroughly debated topics as President Trump’s controversial policies and detention centers dominate the news cycle. Photographs in the media show immigrants crammed together, huddling under foil-like, crinkly Mylar blankets on concrete floors. Chain-link fences enclose migrant holding areas in the U.S Customs and Border Protection facility in McAllen, Texas. Migrants detained in these severely overcrowded detention centers experience rough conditions: in the border town of El Paso, Texas, 900 migrants were held at a facility designed for 125. Children and infants have been separated from their families. Migrants often lack access to basic sanitary needs such as showers, clean clothing, and toothpaste. Since Trump took office, he has implemented many anti-immigration measures, including the travel ban, Migrant Protection Protocols that have the power to send asylum seekers from Mexico back across the border while awaiting their immigration hearings, and a “zero tolerance policy”—all of which seek to restrict

immigrants from entering the country and persecute undocumented ones. In the Upper School, students study immigration in classes, from language to history. In Min Larson’s Chinese 5: Advanced Topics class last year, one unit was dedicated to learning about Chinese American immigrants. Additionally, the theme of immigration is interwoven throughout the 11th-grade U.S. History course. Students have also been exposed to immigration through campus exhibits such as the Immigration Map created by Class of 2018 students Hillary Nelson and Julia Robbin, which has resided on the second floor near the stairs ever since its installation in 2017. Nelson and Robbin created the map as a project in their Spanish 4 class while learning about immigration. For the past three years, upper school Spanish teacher Jo Newman has led one of the 11th-grade trips to San Diego and Tijuana in order for students to learn about immigration and understand the complexity of the border issue. The group has met with Border Patrol agents, visited migrant shelters in Tijuana, and traveled with the organization Border Angels—which focuses on serving San Diego’s immigrant population—to drop off water near the wall for

POSTER BY MICHELLE W.

immigrants. Last year, students observed an immigration master court case; afterwards, Maya M. ’20 and Cevi B. ’20 spent an hour speaking to the lawyer. “It was really cool because he provided a perspective that we didn’t see: why he chose to be an immigrant lawyer, and what he thought should happen in the country,” Maya said. Learning about the legal procedures in court and observing cases “added a human element to the trip,” personalizing the events often spoken about on the news. In 2015, students conducted over 70 interviews with migrants, Border Patrol agents, an immigration professor, DACA students, and others as urged by Newman, who placed emphasis on the narratives of these communities. “Our goal is to hear the individual stories of those whose lives have been impacted in some way by immigration,” Newman said. “That might be large farm owners who need migrants for labor [or] migrants themselves, and those who are calling for immigration reform to curb the number of people entering the United States.” Justin Z. ’20, an immigrant himself, was one of 12 students on the trip, and was able to understand the perspective of the “other

PHOTO BY WILLOW C. Y.

side” through interviewing people with pro-immigration and anti-immigration perspectives. “While it is important to uphold what you believe, it’s also really important to try to understand others and center the conversation around the issue as opposed to just centering it around hate for and negative prejudices about immigrants,” Justin said. Newman was also able to further her understanding of the complexity of the issue through the trip. “I feel that people migrate because something is not going well in their country, so you need to address the issues [there],” Newman said. “The United States could support in that area, rather than shutting people off and disconnecting.” In many instances, the concept of immigration merges into one stereotypical story due to preconceived notions, silencing the unique experiences of every immigrant. Nueva comprises students, faculty, and staff—many of whom are immigrants or descendants of immigrants—from diverse backgrounds and cultures with stories mostly unheard by the community.

PHOTO BY MITZI MOCK

OPINION

CONTINUED ON PAGE 10

PHOTO BY JORDAN M.

CULTURE

FEATURE

SPORTS

Fall production of Harvey to Alum takes gap year to learn be performed Nov. 7–9 culinary arts in France

We need more school spirit

Volleyball team advances to CCS Division V semifinals

The upper school play is not meant to just humor the audience, but to celebrate and welcome differences and teach empathy and reflection. PAGE 4

Alum Santana Solorzano shares her insights and experiences from spending a year in France learning how to make pastries—and how to be independent. PAGE 12

Studies show that more school spirit can positively affect student life and positivity. PAGE 13

After defeating league rival Summit Shasta at the quarterfinal game on Tuesday, Nov. 5, the varsity squad moves to the semifinals against Crystal Springs Uplands. PAGE 18


page 2 NOV. 7, 2019 VOLUME 3, ISSUE 2

NEWS

BRIEFING BY JORDAN M. & GRACE H.

144

sessions were hosted over the three-day Innovative Learning Conference across three locations, featuring over 150 speakers from within and beyond the Nueva community.

PHOTO BY JORDAN M.

OVER 45 hours of rehearsals have been scheduled for Tech Week in preparation for the fall production, Harvey, which will be performed Nov. 7-9. PHOTO BY UNSPLASH

55 CLASSES

are being held in the classrooms of the new Diane Rosenberg Wing.

THE NUEVA CURRENT

17 DIAPERS used each day by baby Sonia Selby. computer science teacher Jen Selby gave birth on Oct. 18 at 10:24 p.m. to baby Sonia, who weighed 6 pounds and 5 ounces and was 19.7 inches long. "She was very quick, especially for the firstborn; she was born 5.5 hours after we arrived at the hospital, and our entire hospital stay was only 42 hours," Selby said. PHOTO BY JEN SELBY

OVERHEARD

“A GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH IS AN EMERGENT PROPERTY OF BREAD, CHEESE, HEAT, AND HUMAN LABOR." Interdisciplinary Studies of Science (ISOS) teacher Lee Holtzman, in her Philosophy of Consciousness class.

HALLOWEEN COSTUMES 2019

The halls of the Upper School were bottlenecked with cyborgs, Pacman ghosts, and witches from the fifth through twelfth grades as the crowds filtered into the gym for the annual Halloween parade. Costumed students and teachers were met with applause and laughter as they crossed the stage, some in groups— several eleventh graders dressed as a parent tour, and three upper school biology teachers used silly string to create slime mold costumes—and others on their own.   After the parade, students participated in Halloween festivites complete with carnival games, pizza, and a Science Thursday talk on “how to be an evil genius” as described by John Feland, who gave the presentation.

PHOTO BY JORDAN M.

24 POINTS have been earned by Francine Farouz's advisory in the 11th-grade trivia tournament, and they will face off in the championship against Mark Hurwitz, Ayla Peters Paz, and Elizabeth Rossini's advisory.

2-1

was the final score of the spirit volleyball game between students and faculty on Friday, Oct. 25. (The teachers won!)

SLIME MOLD | Michaela Danek, Jehnna Ronan, Sam Huff

PHOTO BY MOLTEN USA

29.6 YEARS OLD

The average age of the grade deans at the Upper School: Lee Holtzman (32), Davion Fleming (28), Michaela Danek (30), Jamie Biondi (30), and Brian Cropper (28).

BY WILLOW C. Y.

Caltrain has pushed back the closure of the Hillsdale station from December 2019 to the spring of 2020. The closure is part of the 25th Avenue Grade Separation Project, which will bring the station to East 28th Avenue, across the street from the San Mateo campus. Announced in late October, the delay will not change the timeline of the project, Caltrain said, and the new station is still slated to open in the fall of 2020.

PG&E TURNS OFF POWER IN BAY AREA TO OFFSET WILDFIRE RISKS BY TINA Z.

Started on Oct. 23 in Sonoma County, the Kincade Fire has already forced over 180,000 people to relocate and has burned 141 homes down, with 90,000 more structures in danger. As of Oct. 31, the fire has burned over 76,000 acres and is 60% contained. Three days after the fire began, PG&E shut off power for 1.1 million people in Northern and Central California to reduce the risk of more wildfires that could potentially be ignited by the combination of live wires, strong winds, and dry conditions. The Hillsborough campus was without power from Saturday, Oct. 26, to Tuesday, but classes ran normally during the outage. On Monday night, power was restored to many areas, though PG&E warned of potential shutoffs in the near future. Stephanie S. ’20 and her family, who live in Hillsborough, were without power for two days. “So much of Nueva schoolwork is online, whether that be on Canvas, Google Docs, or a separate website, which made it really difficult to complete my homework,” Stephanie said. Areas of Woodside were affected as well. Sian B. ’21 and her family lost power and Wi-Fi around the same time. While Sian says her family “adapted quite quickly” to the outage, she had to change her schedule to stay late at school or go over to friends’ houses in order to get internet access and do her homework after dark. Another student who lives in Hillsborough, Bayan S. ’21, also lost power late that Saturday, causing all the lights in his house to suddenly shut off and his dog to subsequently panic and begin barking. “I was lucky enough to already have an electric lantern nearby, along with enough cellular service in my neighborhood to still be able to do my homework. However, having to finish up an SAT prep problem set under the light of a lamp that could’ve gone out at any moment was not an experience that I’d want to repeat,” Bayan recalled. “Power or no power, standardized testing waits for no man.”

ATTA KID PLAYS LUNCH CONCERT ON CAMPUS BY WILLOW C. Y.

CHRISTMAS CREW | BACK ROW: Lael S. '23, Lauren B. '23, Tina Z. '23, Coco L. '23, Megan B. '23, Lucie L. '23 FRONT ROW: Rosie D. '23, Serena S. '23, Emma Z. '23, Isabelle S. '23, Juliet S. '23

2,864 NARRATIVES were written for students in 191 sections over eight blocks by roughly 60 teachers for fall midterm evaluations. (That's an average of 48 narratives written by each teacher!)

CALTRAIN DELAYS CLOSURE OF HILLSDALE STATION

STANDARDIZED TESTS | Gaelen C. '21, Claire G. '21 PHOTOS BY JORDAN M. & JOY FENG

The first-floor hallway swelled with music and people during lunch on Wednesday, Oct. 30, as students and faculty alike piled onto couches, chairs, and the floor to hear a performance by the Oakland band Atta Kid, featuring music electives teacher Jason Muscat on the bass. The six-person band played for almost an hour, showcasing the mix of “the precise chaos of East Bay Funk and the contagious lilt of the sounds of New Orleans” that the group prides itself on, according to their website. Muscat and Jason H. ’20, the Student Council arts representative, organized the performance, the latest in a series of monthly lunchtime concerts that Jason has been organizing as part of an effort to share music with the Nueva community. “I think it’s just a generally cool opportunity for people to see some seriously good musicians up close,” Jason said. This month, Jason has planned a Groove Workshop concert on Wednesday, Nov. 13, and another lunchtime concert featuring a visiting band on Nov. 20. The Winter Culmination on Dec. 18 and the Coffeehouse on Nov. 15 will also feature musical acts.


NEWS

thenuevacurrent.com

page 3 NOV. 7, 2019 VOLUME 3, ISSUE 2

SEARCHING FOR A NEW UPPER SCHOOL HEAD

Stephen Dunn announced he will depart at end of 2019–2020 school year BY ANOUSCHKA B.

On Sept. 25, Stephen Dunn announced that he will be departing Nueva after four years as the Upper School Division head at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. The search for the Upper School’s third division head is now underway. The Advisory Search Committee and Resource Group 175—the consulting group also tasked with finding Nueva’s next head of school—are leading the search. Two consultants visited both campuses at the end of October for listening sessions with students, faculty, parents, and the school board. Community members were invited to share the characteristics they hope to

see in the new head. Terry Lee, Associate Head of School, stressed the importance of the new division head’s understanding of Nueva’s mission, culture, and evolution. “We as a school value someone who is willing to come here, listen, observe, and learn, not just come here and tell us who they are and what plans they have for us,” Lee said. “It goes both ways: what we hope to give to a new leader is our willingness to listen and learn from them as well.” The consultants will translate the community’s perspectives into a job description and a position paper. By midNovember, the position paper will be sent to 3,000 potential candidates, starting the three-month period of narrowing the candidate field. In January, the finalists

will visit the campus and be interviewed. The new upper school division head is expected to be announced sometime in February 2020. The school will not appoint an interim unless necessary. As long as everything goes according to plan, Lee does not expect the need to arise, although the timing of the Head of School search may impact that decision. “Our school is so fast-paced, we deserve someone who can hit the ground running,” said Claire Yeo, the Upper School Assistant Division Head. “Just tear the band-aid off!” Dunn, meanwhile, will be moving to Waimea, Hawaii, where he will assume the Head of School position at Parker School.

PHOTO BY JOHN MEYER

WHAT WE LEARNED AT THE ILC BY GRACE H.

Upper School teachers reflect on their experiences at the Innovative Learning Conference The Innovative Learning Conference, or ILC, is a festival of collaboration, ideas, and creativity hosted biennially at the Nueva campus. Over the course of two days, educators, parents, administrators, and students from around the world came together to learn about, present on, and wrestle with both novel research and time-tested pedagogical techniques through a variety of lenses and methodologies.

ALLEN FROST

DIRECTOR OF THE INNOVATIVE TEACHER PROGRAM

“One of the things that I really enjoyed was getting a lot of really concrete suggestions— things I can do like tomorrow to help make Nueva a better place. So in addition to the inspiring stuff that’s more general, I really appreciate ‘here's this thing you can do,’ like you can say this, you can set up this kind of spreadsheet. It's just a great experience where no one really feels like they're like the person with all the answers.”

UPPER SCHOOL ENGLISH TEACHER

“I really liked the graphic notes because it meant that if I wasn’t in a session, I could still have a sense of what was being said and have an atmospheric representation of it. I felt like there was a lot of life on campus that I was able to soak in, even when I wasn't in all the sessions. Also, there were people from all over the country and I was learning from other people in conversations in the hallways; I felt the in-between moments were places where I was able to soak a lot in.”

JEHNNA RONAN

“I saw a session given by Kevin Seale on critical thinking and his experience being a trained lawyer and taking some of the tenets of legal thought and the logic of legal thinking and applying it to every subject. I was there as a science teacher, obviously, and I felt like I was still able to apply the critical thinking lens from law into science, so it was really cool to make connections.”

JEN NEUBAUER

UPPER SCHOOL SCIENCE AND ISOS TEACHER

“Math competitions are a great way for applying a variety of unique concepts in elegant ways that reveal simple solutions to seemingly complex problems.”

SAMPLE TEST QUESTION FROM CML

—Brandon C. ’22

STUDENTS COMPETE IN THE CALIFORNIA MATH LEAGUE

Twenty-five upper school math enthusiasts participate in series of contests BY MIRA D.

O

n Oct. 15, high school students across California took the first 30-minute test of the California Math League (CML), the first time CML has been offered at the Upper School. The CML is a math contest composed of six tests, each taken once a month from October to March. Thirteen freshmen, eight sophomores, three juniors, and one senior signed up to take the test. The 25 students took the same first test containing six nontraditional math problems of various difficulty levels. The tests cover a variety of mathematical concepts, ranging from problems about geometry to imaginary numbers and sequences, and most include at least two word problems and three questions with a visual. The contest was brought to Nueva by all-school math coordinator and upper school math teacher Danielle McReynolds-Dell. McReynolds-Dell organized the event as a way to provide more math contests for students, many of whom expressed their interest in engaging in competitions. She believes the CML is a great opportunity for Nueva students, as the problems’ uniqueness forces students to delve deep and find hidden strategies in order to improve efficiency, while still allowing them to practice test-taking. “One of Nueva’s primary goals is to instill a love of learning by providing educationally enriching opportunities to our students,” McReynolds-Dell said. Other math contests offered at the Upper School include the Bay Area Mathematical Olympiad (BAMO), American Mathematics Contest 10 and 12 (AMC 10 and AMC 12) as well their continuations, and the Math Olympiad. McReynolds-Dell is hoping to bring even more contests in the spring. One of the students who participated in the CML was Charlotte P. ’23, who took the test for the first time this year. In the past, she has participated in other math contests, including the Mathematical Olympiads for Elementary and Middle Schoolers (MOEMS), BAMO, AMC8, and AMC10 in middle school.

“I enjoy taking math contests because many times the problems are about finding secret strategies and little tricks rather than going through a long, expansive problem,” Charlotte said. She finds competitive math particularly fun because competition problem content is fascinating for her and it is a good way to practice and learn. Brandon C. ’22 also wanted to practice taking structured math tests and see what contests were like. This was Brandon’s first high school math competition and he was excited to try the problems that combined multiple skills. Brandon hadn’t taken any math competitions prior to the CML since eighth grade, so he was slightly nervous going into the test. “As I started thinking about ways to approach the questions, a lot of the math knowledge I had forgotten started to come back to me, and I gradually became more confident,” Brandon said. “Math competitions are a great way for applying a variety of unique concepts in elegant ways that reveal simple solutions to seemingly complex problems.” Brandon enjoyed the problems on the first CML test and is curious to see what the next problems will be like, so he plans to complete the remaining tests and participate in more competitions in the future, hopefully alongside several of his classmates. Most of the students plan to complete the full series of tests, but some will just take a few to gain practice exposure. For a student to gain national recognition, they must place in the top 50. While there is no other formal prize for winning the contest, McReynolds-Dell notes that that the CML is a great stepping-stone for future opportunities and allows one to earn confidence through the prestige. Students who want to be recognized by the CML will continue to take the following tests on Nov. 12, Dec. 10, Jan. 7, Feb. 11, and March 17 (the second Tuesday of each month).


page 4 NOV. 7, 2019 VOLUME 3, ISSUE 2

CULTURE

THE NUEVA CURRENT

GRAPHIC BY FREEPIK

STAGING | The cast of Harvey rehearses the Saturday before opening night, beginning with a voiceprojection exercise that involves throwing a medicine ball to the director, Jamie Biondi.

FLOODING YOUR INBOX (AND NOT REGRETTING IT)

PHOT0S BY WILLOW C. Y.

Email lists to outweigh the spam BY GRACE H.

LESSONS ON COMPASSION IN HARVEY A six-foot rabbit and his companion tackle themes of mental health and acceptance in this year's fall production BY ABI W.

T

he premise sounds like something out of a demented Mary Poppins movie—a large, six-foot, invisible rabbit, a whirlwind comedy of errors involving a misdiagnosis of insanity, and a monologuing cab driver all figure into the story, but don’t let its quirky tone trick you into thinking that Harvey is just a light comedy. Written in 1944 by Mary Chase, Harvey is a Pulitzer-winning play that follows the story of Elwood P. Dowd, who believes he sees an invisible companion, much to the chagrin of his family. They decide to commit him to a sanitarium, a type of hospital for patients with chronic illnesses classified as insanity. Jamie Biondi, English teacher and director of the fall production, selected Harvey from a list of over 100 plays. “I think a lot of the themes are really pertinent to our community—specifically, this play is about celebrating people who are different, and it's about being open and kind and welcoming,” Biondi said. He believes that theater is a great teacher of empathy. Biondi hopes that people who go see Harvey will “come in with an open mind, to laugh quickly, fall in love easily, and give themselves over to the passions presented on stage,” and “leave

thinking about the judgments they make about people in their life.” “The people who are perceived as crazy in the beginning of Harvey are in fact kind, open-hearted, welcoming, and accepting,” Biondi says. “These characteristics are in this world and in the 1940’s world and emphasize the importance of being slow to judge others.” True to this theme of misjudgment, the “crazy” Elwood, played by Alex N. ’20, tells Dr. Chumley, the head psychiatrist, “My mother used to say to me ‘In this world, Elwood, you must be oh, so smart or oh, so pleasant.’ For years I was smart. I recommend pleasant.” While the execution of this play is constrained by a contract that prohibits changing of the script, Emma S., ’22 who plays Miss Kelly, the head nurse at the sanitarium admits that the relationship between her character and Dr Sandersons is problematic. Emma says, “Their relationship highlights the sexism of the period, and changing the tones of her scenes with him, not just perpetuating the sexism, has been something that I’ve been trying to wrestle with as we get closer to the show.” The class also provides both new and veteran actors a chance to explore and

FAIRLY BOOKISH

During the fair, WRC Director Jen Paull “love[s] hearing people swap recommendations, that special swoop in their voices when they describe something dazzling, provoking, or hilarious.” “I’m all for anything we can do to strengthen our reading culture,” Paull said. “In addition to all the ways that reading inspires us, challenges us, lets us escape, and helps us find ourselves, reading also makes us better writers. Absorbing different voices, unexpected ideas, and various styles gives us a deeper background for our own writing.” This year, the book fair will also feature visiting thriller author Ellison Cooper, whose background in archaeology, cultural neuroscience, ancient religion, colonialism, and human rights informs her work, as well as her background working in the Washington D.C. Public Defenders Service as a murder investigator. Her novels include Caged and Buried, which will be available at the book fair, and she will be available for questions from interested readers and writers who want to

The Nueva Book Fair returns for another year, this time featuring thriller novelist BY ELIZABETH B. P.

T

he annual Nueva Book Fair is coming up and the urge to curl up with a good book will be stronger than ever for those who visit. Held in the middle of November—from Tuesday, Nov. 12 to Friday, Nov. 15—this year’s book fair will be on the first floor near the fireplace and will feature a large selection of books across genres. The book fair is always a welcome respite from school-exclusive reading, the increasing intensity of classwork, and, in the case of the seniors, college applications. But more than anything, it provides a special sense of literary wonder.

develop their skills on the stage. Alexa W. ’23, who has attended Nueva since seventh grade, enjoyed playing Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and wanted to repeat the positive experience, while Claire G. ’21, who also attended the Middle School and participated in improv in seventh grade, wanted to try acting for the first time. “It’s not an experience I think I would get elsewhere,” Claire said, “so I thought I should try it while I can.” Biondi’s own interest in theater began in high school as well, when he attended an all-boys school. Now, theater is a place for him to “worship, to be challenged and have fun, grow, and understand others,” and he hopes that he can transmute his passion for theater to his cast and his audience. “[I want to] pay tribute to the original script, and respect Mary Chase’s intentions for this show and make our own impact on it, leveraging its beautiful moments towards a message that can positively change our own lives, the lives of our audience members, and our community both as a school and beyond,” Biondi said. Harvey will be performed at 7 p.m. on Nov. 7, 8, and 9 at the Hillsborough GCC.

A few weeks after the PSAT, my email is a mess of recruitment emails from colleges I’ve never heard of wishing me a happy fall, asking me to consider using their clickbaity quiz to determine my major, requesting that I sign up for physical mail communications and, in one memorable case, asking me to consider a rather befuddling question: “What would you do as a Spider?” As you wait for scores to come out and the tide of messages to flood in, consider subscribing to a few of these email lists; they’ll ensure that your inbox isn’t entirely overrun with college mail (or the emails from teachers you’ve left to the last minute, the Canvas notifications you’ve neglected to turn off, and the marketing mail from that citation generator that, though you’d only used it once, seemed determined to regain your attention).

A.WORD.A.DAY — WORDSMITH Wordsmith’s A.Word.A.Day sends an email giving the meaning, etymology, pronunciation, and usage of an interesting or uncommon word. They also include a “thought for today”: a quote that is sometimes pointed political or social commentary, sometimes more benign inspirational phrases. The emails are sent every day, and the words for each week follow a theme, ranging from “Shakespearean Insults,” the best one of which was knotty-pated, a word for someone particularly stubborn, to the strangely specific “words originating in horses,” which taught me that hippodrome could be a verb used to describe the act of manipulating or prearranging the outcome of a contest.

POEM OF THE DAY — POETRY FOUNDATION This email list is run by the Poetry Foundation. It features a different poem each day. Recently, many of them have been themed around fall—at other points, the featured poems have related to holidays or events (the poet’s birthday, domestic violence awareness month, and national dog day have all been cited as the reasons for recent selections). While the topics and styles of the poems differ, the quality remains high, and I have more than once found myself smiling or tearing up in response to my morning mail.

JSTOR EDITOR'S BRIEFING — JSTOR

PHOTO COURTESY OF ELLISON COOPER

learn more about her novels and craft. The book fair will also be a chance for students to snatch up copies of the most anticipated novels of this fall, like Maggie Stiefvater’s Call Down the Hawk, Zadie Smith’s Grand Union, Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House, and Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments. While the full book list has not been made available, the fair promises a great selection across genres.

JSTOR is well-known as a brilliant place to find sources for essays, but a less-well-known service it provides are the weekly briefings, which feature a curated set of synthesized news briefs (think Nature’s News and Views section, but for humanities), each linked to a more in-depth piece of research. The topics are wide-ranging, the angles often completely surprising—some recent emails have featured papers on occult medicine in Puritan society, the impact of Jane Fonda on modern-day fitness culture, and the connections between language and climate—and the articles never fail to make unexpected connections and beckon readers down spectacular, if obscure, rabbit holes.


CULTURE

www.thenuevacurrent.com

page 5 NOV. 7, 2019 VOLUME 3, ISSUE 2

REVIEW

TV'S SWEETEST SHOW IS BACK: REJOICE!

Community, competition, and cakes: the particular importance of “The Great British Bake Off”

MEDI(JOKER) New supervillain movie adds superb acting to a horrible message BY ELIZABETH B. P.

A

fter watching “Joker,” my feelings about it are just as mixed as they were when I entered the theatre. On one hand, the acting is skilled and the movie comes across as having a far higher production value than its <$70 million budget would imply. On the other, I can’t forgive the distressing lack of ethics in the film. “Joker” follows failed comedian Arthur Fleck’s progression into the eponymous Joker, but it’s set in the wrong franchise and released at the wrong time. The movie was intended as an examination of mental illness, an intriguing expansion on a relatively basic villain’s backstory, and a commentary on an increasingly bleak society—and it was successful in some ways, particularly Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of the supervillain’s descent into madness. As an origin story film, it’s successful. However, the movie feels as if Fleck loses his sanity not because of the environment, but because of some internal switch that flips. I know he’s taken off his medication partway through the film, but that’s after he has killed three people. I think it’s unwise to create a protagonist like him—not because he’s mentally ill, but because his being the only mentally ill character in the movie portrays mental illness as dangerous. He’s delusional, but we only realize that at the end of the movie—for the majority of it, viewers think he’s merely depressed and disillusioned with his environment. He kills a total of (I counted) nine people during the movie, rendering “Joker” an unproductive attempt at social commentary. I understand what “Joker” was trying to accomplish: adding to the DC Universe (DCU) and examining the effects of mental illness when it’s ignored. The movie adds to the DCU, but with a film that won't be watched by children, the DCU's primary audience. As for the movie’s point about mental illness, this film reads as an angry man taking revenge on people who have not directly wronged him. I completely understand why there are concerns about the film encouraging incels and other at-risk populations to pick up firearms and carry out violence. This has been a huge point of contention for critics and moviegoers; there are arguments that “Joker” should be taken as a film out of our present context and arguments that it may incite lonely, mentally ill men to violent actions. I’m not saying all films about mental illness need to be lighthearted and end happily, but Fleck gains power and fame from his killings, faces few to no long-term legal consequences, and is in some ways portrayed as a character who comes to embrace his inner self. This acceptance isn’t his coming to terms with having a mental illness and deciding to work on getting better, but rather his acceptance of the fact that he is a killer and decision to take no responsibility. It explains why he ends up the way he does, but in doing so, seems far from encouraging for mentally ill people contemplating seeking treatment. I don’t have a problem with a film about the “Joker”—it’s comic-book-based and it’s well-acted—but I’d prefer one about Jared Leto’s “Joker,” who is evil and unsympathetic; I don’t think it would have the potential negative impact this movie does. As it is, “Joker” is attempted social commentary that reads less like a cautionary tale and more like a terrifying call to arms.

BY GRACE H.

J

ust minutes before the end of dairy week’s signature challenge, catastrophe nearly takes the cake. As Michelle Evans-Fecci, a Welsh print-shop administrator, attempts to unmold her “Homely Rhubarb Cake” from its tin, the flowery baking stand she’s placing it on cracks—and, as she steps back in shock, her cake nearly topples. Its savior is Michael Chakraverty, a theatre manager and fitness instructor, who runs in at the last moment to grab the cake and transfer it to another plate at the expense of desperately needed time to fix his own bake. The incident reveals something strikingly unique about the nature of the show: in the tent, community and collaboration always seem to take precedence over the competition itself. “The Great British Bake Off” has reached its tenth season, and in every challenge, the bakers have seemed connected and kind, no matter the circumstance. Rather than

encouraging the shouting matches and passive-aggressive cut-away interviews so common in other cooking competitions, the Bake Off showcases a better way of being—a form of competition meant to equalize and uplift, rather than one that pits competitors against one another, leading to sabotage and resentment. Even as the bakers compete—and they do, each striving to earn the coveted Paul Hollywood handshake, star baker title, and, eventually, the glass cake stand prize for winning the season—the atmosphere remains jovial. Companionship is easy and everywhere, even across cultural and class lines. Each batch of bakers is a showcase of diversity, both socioeconomically and culturally. This year, Evans-Fecci and Chakraverty baked alongside a veterinarian, a literature student, a lorry driver, and a young woman working three jobs. The past seasons, too, have included competitors from all walks of life: last season’s winner, Rahul Mandal, is a

nuclear physicist; the series seven winner was PE teacher Candice Brown; and the series five winner was already retired upon entering the tent. The diversity itself isn’t the miraculous part—the fact that it is neither ignored nor particularly applauded is. It is acknowledged through biographical segments and post-challenge interviews; the show does not shy away from showing the differences between bakers’ lives, but nonetheless manages to make the celebrations of identity feel natural. It is an exercise in the slow, subtle creation of acceptance and empathy. The showcase of a group of people as diverse as their bakes and equal in compassion, kindness, and brilliance cultivates an atmosphere of understanding and openness of the precise sort our world needs right now. The show creates community and allows competition without back-stabbing or ill-will—a microcosm of healthy self-interest and a tribute to the importance of nonpartisanship, in baking and beyond. PANIC OVER PASTRIES Baker Michelle Evans-Fecci shares a panicked glance with presenter Sandi Toksvig when her signature cake begins to fall from the shattered stand. PHOTO COURTESY OF "THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF"

SPOOKTOBER:

PASSIONATE COSPLAYERS GET OPPORTUNITIES TO PERFORM

What is cosplay, and how do cosplayers utilize Halloween to show off their costumes? PHOTO PROVIDED BY FINLEY F.

BY LAURA C.

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ith the sun long set, thread littered the ground, fabric was draped across chairs, and the sewing machine whirred. Despite it being the early hours of the morning, Finley F. ’20 was working on their cosplay. Sewing needles, makeup palettes, colorful wigs, and bandsaws are just a few of the things that cosplayers utilize when making their costumes. Cosplay (a portmanteau of the words “costume” and “play”) has been around since the 1990s, stemming from fans’ love of Japanese anime and mangas. It has grown into an even bigger movement today and a popular way for self-expression. Finley has always loved dressing up, and says that Halloween was their main inspiration for finding and pursuing cosplay, with their first time dressing up being on the holiday, when they went as a plankton in third grade. They’ve only expanded on their interest since. Their costumes have always matched their interests, and they enjoy going to conventions and cosplay photoshoots. “One thing is I really like using cosplay for is connecting with people who really know the series or work that my cosplay is from. It’s a thing where people will look at you and think you have a cool costume,

but they won’t get it unless they know the source material,” they said. Finley also expressed appreciation for anyone who shared their common interests, whether it was in the fandom their cosplay was from, or act of cosplaying itself. “It’s really fun to have someone go, ‘Oh man, I know you’re this character from this thing, and I understand you,’” they said. Casey G. ’21 has cosplayed since her eighth-grade Recital project, when she portrayed Ryhs from “Tales from the Borderlands.” She said that Rhys was the most polished cosplay she has done, and the only one she has worn to a convention. “I definitely enjoy the maker aspect of it; making things, doing art,” she said. “For me, it’s also about if I find a character interesting or can connect with them somehow.” Casey has also cosplayed Ciri from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Zer0 from Borderlands 2, Bucky Barnes/Whitewolf from the Marvel franchise, and Aziraphale from “Good Omens” alongside Crowley, cosplayed by her friend, this Halloween. Casey said that in addition to her love for creating cosplays, she also enjoys performing and sharing her passion with other people. “Especially at cons, people are excited

to see me, think the cosplay’s cool, and want to talk about it, so it’s fun,” she said. Conventions have always been a haven of sorts for many cosplayers, a safe space with fellow-minded fans to talk with. Casey and Finley agreed that because of social stigmas surrounding people who walk around in costumes during a normal day, people won’t often go out in public wearing their cosplays. However, at conventions, the norms are different, and it isn’t unusual to see people sporting cat ears or giant tails. Because of the stressors and work that comes with high school, Casey says that Halloween is the only real time she can set aside to cosplay. She also believes that as people get older, they tend to put less time into Halloween costumes because of the workload of school and college. Finley adds that the appeals of cosplaying on Halloween in particular have also changed over time. “Different things appeal to different people, and some people who liked trickor-treating when they were younger now want to hand out candy and attend more parties. There are different ways to celebrate it,” Finley said. “Trick-or-treating just feels like a tradition. I could go to a party, but I’d rather stick in the neighborhood and do what I’ve always done.”


page 6 NOV. 7, 2019 VOLUME 3, ISSUE 2

FEATURES

THE NUEVA CURRENT

THE FLORIST | Nicknamed “the florist” by her fellow chefs-intraining, Solorzano was known for her complex and elaborate sugar sculpture designs, well-executed with a wide array of colors and flavors. PHOT0S PROVIDED BY SANTANA SOLORZANO

LIFE IS WHAT YOU BAKE IT

Alum Santana Solorzano gains more than a degree in pastry while studying at culinary school in Paris BY AMANDA W.

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antana Solorzano ’18 buttons her pristine chef’s white. She drops black headphones over her ears. She carefully unrolls a canvas pouch of at least a dozen knives, combing through the options. Once she selects the one right for the job, she starts the evening of prep work for a weekend of feasts and decadent desserts. Her hands dance over the cutting board, mincing meat, dicing vegetables, and chopping herbs, the blade of the knife flashing with each precise movement. This dexterity was honed over her year studying at Le Cordon Bleu, one of the most recognized names among culinary schools. Solorzano’s training, however, was originally “not well thought out”—her decision to move to Paris for her gap year to study at Le Cordon Bleu was born out of a passion for cooking and rooted in her love of languages. “To be honest, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my gap year, but it definitely started as wanting to learn another language and that probably meant living in another country,” Solorzano said. Having spent seven years learning Chinese, her first instinct was to choose Le Cordon Bleu in Shanghai. But she was ready to take on a new challenge: what better way to learn about pastries and French than Paris itself? After a grueling process of obtaining her visas, she packed her bags and moved to France. In Paris, Solorzano worked busier days than many adults. At Le Cordon Bleu—a reputable and well-respected international chain of culinary schools focused on French cuisine that trained many prominent professionals, like Julia Child and Giada De Laurentiis—her days

were long and stressful, cooking from 8:00 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Before leaving for class, she would have to ensure her chef’s whites were in perfect condition—stains and wrinkles were not allowed. Once in class, it didn’t get any easier: while classes were translated into English, Solorzano needed to decipher recipes from French. “It was really quite crazy,” Solorzano said. “When it came time to actually make everything, there was no translator on hand.” In the year-long program, she worked toward her Superior Degree in pastry, the highest certificate achievable for pâtisserie, starting with basic pastries, such as cakes, cookies, and mousses, then proceeding to specialize in sugar and chocolate sculptures and viennoiserie (breakfast pastries), among other treats of varying textures, flavors, and aesthetics. She was particularly skilled in sugar sculpting; peers nicknamed her “the florist” for her intricate work molding sugar roses. Solorzano was able to demonstrate her new knowledge and skills in a series of assessments straight out of “MasterChef.” In one exam, Solorzano was tasked to construct a pâtisserie window display of 13 to 14 pastries and desserts in six hours, working with three other pastry chefs-intraining from all over the world. “It’s not a slow-paced thing. The second you finish making one cookie, or that one mousse, you’ve got to start something else immediately. You’re always working,” Solorzano said. “During the whole thing, I just remember worrying, ‘Did we have this element?’ You’re making certain elements and then putting them together 30 to 40

LUCA L. WINS ELECTION FOR NINTH-GRADE REP

L

uca L. ’23 scoured the campus in late September for every other freshman and dutifully wrote down the suggestions for what to accomplish in the year ahead. Unsurprisingly, he had decided to run for grade representative to continue his student council streak as seventh-grade rep and then co-president at the Middle School. After reading statements and hearing speeches, the five candidates waited as votes were counted. The next week, as the grade had anticipated, Dean of Student Life Hillary Freeman announced in an email that the grade rep would be Luca. Luca has previously contributed to a number of initiatives at the Middle School, including Gem Group Cup (a competition between classes), an eighth-grade sleepover, and an escape room. He is excited and optimistic to plan similar events for the ninth grade. “All of the other candidates were great choices for grade rep, and I’m

minutes later.” Like many chefs, Solorzano started in the family kitchen, pulling from old boxes of Lebanese family recipes and cooking with her parents. She started to make sweets for her family and friends on holidays and birthdays. Baking became one of her escapes—a “source of calm.” Prior to Le Cordon Bleu, Solorzano developed her recipes primarily by googling all the ways a recipe could go wrong and looking for tips from experts. Now she knows the exact temperatures, ratios, and techniques. “I can see how far I came, and I take real pride in that, because I can now sit down and create a recipe,” Solorzano said. Her adventure in France outside of culinary school also afforded her with a series of unique life experiences. Renting an apartment in Paris gave her a taste of “adult life,” like managing her visa, paying electricity bills, meal prepping, and “juggling all [the] different pieces.” “I wasn’t prepared for that,” Solorzano admitted. “I’m not sure you ever really can be. I feel like it put things into perspective and I became ten times more mature. When you live by yourself, you have to figure it out. There’s not really space to be anxious and let things pass by.” After her gap year, Solorzano started as a freshman at Bryn Mawr, feeling better equipped to handle the transition. (One of the most difficult aspects has been readjusting to the food. After spending a year in Paris and as a culinary student, the dorm food can be “occasionally traumatizing.”) Since moving away to college, she misses cooking on a regular basis. She still

seeks out opportunities to create meals or treats for her new classmates, occasionally reserving the campus kitchen to stir together a batch of brown-butter cookies or macarons, as having cookies “always makes you friends.” “It’s something I always do for family and friends. If someone has a birthday, or someone really likes lemon, then I’ll focus on making a really great lemon tart, because I know they’ll love it. Or someone has some sort of allergy, I’ll spend time to figure out a way to create a cake that they can eat,” Solorzano said. “It is something that hasn’t lost its initial value of being a friends-and-family thing; hav[ing] a pastry degree doesn’t change that for me. As much as I can make pretty sugar sculptures, that’s not what I do.” Solorzano would love to continue to share her love of baking, and dreams of working in a café or starting a small pátisserie in the south of France. But for now, she is focused on college, with plans of studying diplomacy and possibly majoring in international studies, while minoring in Chinese and French. Her gap year, she believes, played a huge role in helping her figure out what she wants to do in life, through gaining valuable life experience. “Even if you take a gap year and work at the Safeway around the corner from your house, that space and that time to figure yourself out a little bit before you get to college prepares you in a way I can’t explain,” Solorzano said. “Just being able to figure out who you are before other people prod at it and test it is nice.”

The freshman has three major goals and many hopes for this year BY TINA Z.

still shocked and grateful that I was voted into this position,” Luca said. “I have the experience to lead and create change. I hope to do so in the upcoming year.” Luca already planned a movie night on Oct. 11, where they played the summer blockbuster “Spiderman: Far From Home.” In addition to planning these spirit events, Luca—along with his older brother and 12th grade representative Nico L. ’20—wants to continue their tradition of organizing the Second Harvest Food Drive, a fundraiser for nonperishable foods that will be donated to families in the Bay Area. “Ever since elementary school, my brother was always in a different school or on a different campus. I’m excited to finally be able to work with him on StuCo. I look to him for experience and his knowledge of how the Upper School works,” Luca said. “As an added bonus, he is also very easy to reach.” Luca also wants to turn ideas from the ninth grade into reality, such as adding

bagels to the Café, acquiring open-campus privileges, and more, following through on the promises he made during his speech. Another goal he has is to unite the ninth grade through social events. “With so many new and returning students, our grade feels divided. Social events [will] help us ninth-graders bond, like the recent movie night,” Luca said. He has many other ideas as to how this might be accomplished, such as making waffles as a grade or watching “The Office” together during stressful times. He hopes that, as grade rep, he will be able to help unify the grade and cause positive change. Many of his peers are optimistic and excited to see what Luca can do, largely due to his history of being a hardworking rep. Huxley M. ’23 is confident Luca will be able to get things done, though he believes the involvement and voice of the students will play a part in how much Luca can accomplish. Juliet S. ’23 is new to Nueva and has not interacted much with Luca, but she

looks forward to seeing what he can do. “I hope Luca will take a lot of initiative, complete all the tasks he starts, and listen to his classmates,” she said. Throughout his years as a student council member, Luca has gained experience and the trust of many in his grade who believe Luca has the drive to effectively lead the ninth grade. Per Luca’s catchphrase, the ninth grade has “let Lit light the way.”


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page 7 NOV. 7, 2019 VOLUME 3, ISSUE 2

TEAM 4904 DELIVERS IN CALGAMES COMPETITION With CalGames over, Team 4904 prepares for an exciting season ahead of them BY SERENA S.

T

he robotics team, Team 4904: Bot Provoking, started their seventh season strong with 43 new members. The team now has 113 members from ninth through twelfth grade, more than a fourth of the student body. The team is led by coach Michelle Grau and co-captains Billy P. ’20 and Tara S. ’21. Grau has been involved with the organization For Inspiration & Recognition of Science & Technology (FIRST), a STEM education–focused nonprofit, for more than half her life and has been coaching the team since its first year. Team 4904 demoed their robot at the Clubs Fair, where over 40 students indicated an interest in joining. “We had an amazing time recruiting [and] bringing our team up to its biggest size yet,” Grau said. On Oct. 5 and 6, the robotics team participated in PHOTO BY KATE E. CalGames, an annual off-season competition that was hosted this year by Woodside High School. “[CalGames] is the best way for new members to see what competition is like, for people to try new roles, and to have fun,” Grau said. The team drove the same robot, Penelope, as last season. Penelope consists of a manipulator connected to a four-bar that is attached to an elevator, enabling the robot to score by placing pieces on the highest levels of the rocket-shaped game pieces. The manipulator is designed to interact with both cargo and hatches—the FIRST Robotics Competition game pieces—in order to score multiple ways. During the 2019 regionals, the robot’s performance was subpar, ranking 19 out of 34 teams and not making it to alliance selections. “[In] the past season, our robot did not do so well, so we all had low expectations going into the competition,” said Justin Z. ’20, co-lead of the fabrication subteam. However, the team did surprisingly well, placing tenth out of 36 teams and named the seventh seed alliance captain. They also became an octafinalist in the competition. PHOTO BY KATE E. Team 4904 also received the entrepreneurship award. Business leads Jojo W. ’21 and Etaash P. ’21 presented the team’s plans and models. “Winning the award showed us how to run the business subteam...and that the changes we should make are going to be more centered around long-term goals,” Etaash said. One of the main goals of Team 4904 is to make sure everyone on the team feels included and welcomed. Inclusivity leads Cevi B. ’20, Isabelle A. ’21, and Kevin W. ’21 are working to implement programs like technical workshops and buddy systems that span across all grades and groups. “I would not have been able to grow as academically as I have without the type of community that 4904 fosters,” said Connie H. ’21, co-lead of the electronics subteam. Although they are only seven weeks into the season, the team has already bonded. “The team’s dynamic is super supportive,” said Thomas R.’23, a first-time team member. “Every returning member is more than excited to help with any sort of question I have.” “I developed great friendships with members on the team and robotics essentially became my social circle,” Justin added. “I’m glad that I get to pursue my interest alongside some of my best friends.” The theme for the upcoming season is called Infinite Recharge, sponsored by Lucasfilm. The specifics on the game and scoring will be released on Jan. 4, 2020.

UNTANGLING THE MATH CURRICULUM As the curriculum is revised, the focus is on maintaining continuity and attaining validation STORY BY GRACE H. | ILLUSTRATION BY THALIA R.

A

set of slides about linear functions were what made the scope and sequence of the math curriculum fall into place. The presentation was constructed on the fly as a way to explain the math system to a group of parents; the slides traced the development of the concepts of functions, one of the four main strands of the math curriculum, from its introduction in the sixth-grade Cafe Patternea project to explorations of limits and derivatives in calculus. Looking further back, the skills needed to understand functions were found in the first-grade explorations of “friendly numbers”: students broke numbers apart and put them back together, making “14 + 16” into the far more manageable “10 + 10 + 4 + 6.” While they may seem mundane, the skills learned there matter for years to come, though the friendly numbers students find come to look less like 10 m(1+ –n1 )n. By the end and more like e—or rather, li n– >∞ of the night the teachers had begun to understand how the work of their colleagues was visible in their own classrooms, and the parents were realizing why the curriculum focuses on revisiting the same core ideas—statistics, functions, geometry, and number theory—each year from fifth grade to advanced math, rather than a more traditional approach. “We explained the system using [linear functions] as a sort of catalyst,” said Danielle McReynolds-Dell, PreK-12 Math Coordinator. “It was one of those beautiful moments of realizing that these skills that we teach are not just for now—we use them and pull from them constantly.” As she revamps the PreK-12 math curriculum, McReynolds-Dell hopes to pull these common threads through classes at every level. “When we teach kids in preschool and kindergarten pattern-finding, the payoff for us comes in high school with juniors and seniors,” McReynoldsDell said. “I can see that pattern, but not everyone can see it. I think that one of the things we hope is that if we can put [the curriculum] out and get it in a format that people can understand, they can trust the program.” These threads pull through as far as advanced math electives, though the ways they appear are often less obvious. “Whereas in the integrated math curriculum we deliberately sort of focus on one area at a time, in electives I deliberately try to merge [the strands] in systematic ways,” said Ted Theodosopolus, who is teaching multivariable calculus and differential equations at the Upper School this year. “I have found on more than one occasion opportunities to refer back to things that I know they saw before.” The idea of looping back through the same basic concepts while adding complexity in each course has been part of the foundation of upper school math since the very beginning. “We wanted to create a math experience that spiraled through different topics to facilitate connections,” said Aron Walker, who taught math at the Upper School during its first two years. “We thought it was particularly important to encourage students to tackle problems from multiple approaches—algebraic, geometric, computational, etc. We also wanted to expose students early in their math progression to many different ways of doing math.” Though it has helped to facilitate connections, the spiraling format of the curriculum has also led to redundancies across classes; the math team hopes that the process of reviewing the content taught at

each level will help to prevent this from being an issue in the future. “[One of our main priorities is] making sure that we spend enough time emphasizing what's important, but also develop our skills and the skills of our students so that they are more comfortable with math,” said upper school math teacher Veena Krishnan. “We want to cultivate the right mindset about how they should go about solving problems, so the key area has been to make sure we don't have redundancies.” The importance of avoiding redundancy is in large part due to students’ reactions to it. In McReynoldsDell’s past classes, she has found lessons completely halted when students begin to feel as though they have already encountered the content. “One of the things that I find with Nueva kids is if you've seen something once you think you know everything,” McReynolds-Dell said. “Really, our challenge is to figure out how we can show you something that you've seen and then help you really take it to the next level and open your minds to thinking about it at the next level.” She hopes that the new curriculum will help students to trust in the program and the seemingly circular way that concepts are often taught. “Every time we introduce [a topic], there's a reason for that. It's not just because we like torturing our students,” McReynolds-Dell said. McReynolds-Dell also hopes to have the new curriculum incorporate more practice applying abstract concepts to practical problems. “We want to help students realize that the ability to talk about each topic is really amazing, but you actually have to have the ability to do the task with great precision and have some understanding of why it works,” McReynolds-Dell said. Another priority of the curriculum review is finding a balance between too little freedom and too much. “It is wonderful and fabulous that we can change our curriculum on a dime, that we can go off on tangents and talk about something that's mathematically interesting to students, and that we don't have standardized tests,” McReynolds-Dell said. “The downside of that is that we have no way to internally validate our program.” The main purpose of internal validation is to ensure that students are sufficiently prepared for next steps within the curricular system; it must be paired with external validation to ensure that students are able to move on to math outside of Nueva. “Maybe our students need to learn a new concept by themselves [if it wasn’t taught here], but we want to make sure we’ve built up enough of the practices and skills to enable them to do so,” Krishnan said. “We want to make sure we are not forcing our students to figure everything out from scratch—we need to create enough structure inside our curriculum to be sure the basic concepts are strong, and then at that point, we can allow them to go out into the world and learn with that foundation.” In the end, it is building those that the curriculum prioritizes—and, even as it is changed to accommodate the demands of a PreK-12 school, it will remain focused on developing them. “The curriculum is a set of expectations for how to engage with math,” Theodosopoulos said. “We are building students’ comfort with how to learn math so that it becomes natural for them to engage as makers of the math knowledge rather than just consumers of that knowledge.”


page 8 NOV. 7, 2019 VOLUME 3, ISSUE 2

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VAPING BLANKETS NATION IN CLOUD OF CONCERN

Community questions efficacy of efforts to curb vaping, and students open up about teen use BY WILLOW C. Y.

T

he printer in Dean of Student Life Hillary Freeman’s office works overtime as Freeman stands by, hand outstretched to catch article after article, headline after headline. Each blares the same topic in bold font: the adolescent vaping crisis. “This is the last one,” she says, setting down the thick stack of papers with a thud. “As you can see, I keep up with [vaping], try to read about it and find out what's going on—and of course, the news media is talking about it all the time now.” Freeman is referring to vaping’s domination of the news cycle since September, when six vaping-related deaths were reported by mainstream news. To date, the CDC has confirmed 35 vaping-related fatalities. These reports have directed national attention to the previously unresearched field of vaping as well as recent, disturbing revelations—unvetted products, rampant black market activity, and, perhaps most worryingly, accelerated adolescent use. When The Nueva Current first published its 2018 article on vaping, the percentage of American high school students who vaped was a little more than 11%, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse—a number already jarringly high—and was noted to be rising. Eighteen months later, the percentage is now over 20%, according to a national study by the University of Michigan. The industry has grown from $11.5 billion in 2018 to $19.3 billion today, compared to $4.6 billion between 2014 and 2018. This data has prompted U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams to proclaim vaping an “epidemic” among youth populations. But while the FDA and a number of NGOs have launched highly funded, expansive campaigns to combat adolescent use, vaping has continued to rise and shows no signs of slowing. One of the epicenters is the Bay Area, which is home to pockets of vast wealth, technology, and Juul—an e-cigarette company founded by Stanford grads whose retail revenue currently accounts for 40% of the entire vaping market. Juuling’s popularity has led it to become synonymous with vaping. Around the Bay, school districts have reported rampant e-cig use. In attempts to curb use, San Francisco recently enacted a city-wide ban of e-cigarette sales, the country's first, which will go into effect in early 2020, and some schools have installed vapor-detecting devices in bathrooms. The reality of the situation, however, remains that while the potency of these advertising and legal efforts are unknown, the youth of the Bay Area are continuing to use. At Nueva, the presence of vaping is not as apparent. “I’m concerned about teenagers and vaping, but I actually have zero evidence of vaping at [our] school. I have not smelled it; I’ve not seen any smoke. None of that,” Freeman said. But while the administration hasn’t seen reports

of students vaping, she believes “statistics would confirm” that some have tried it or even are using. “I’m not saying I don't think that there could be, but it has not gotten to me,” Freeman said. Several students agreed that vaping at Nueva is not nearly as common as in other high schools in the area, and seemed to be “an exception,” as one junior put it. “We’re still definitely better than the other schools—than all the schools,” a senior said, “but I think it’s still a problem.” The students all separately self-reported that a portion of all grades engage in vaping use. “I don’t have in-depth conversations with any of these people about juuling, but if I had to go for an estimate,” said one student, “I’d say at least 10 to 20 people in our grade vape. ” Another student also said they “knew more than a handful” of users in their grade, mostly from Snapchat and other social media platforms, on which students post videos of parties with vape use. Ananya I. ’21 says she doesn’t vape; however, she says she knows a “significant amount” of people who do, some at Nueva and some outside. “I have friends who don’t [regularly] vape because they don’t consider themselves users or don’t want to become addicted, but they don’t mind doing it,” she said. “They’re not necessarily married to their Juul… but there are a lot of people who will vape when their friends are.” Currently, Nueva takes precautions to prevent and mitigate the harm of vaping primarily through drug education, which is taught to both middle and upper school students. This year, the school is partnering with Rhana Hashemi and Frances Fu, co-founders of the Center for a Political Drug Education, which educates communities on the effects of the war on drugs through political and storytelling lenses. Along with that, Hashemi says, the program focuses on understanding the situations of those who do use and providing information rather than scare tactics. “Our program is very progressive in that it’s not trying to influence your behavior. We’re here to empower you to make the best choice for yourself,” Hashemi explained. “In order to make an informed decision [and] be safe with using, you have to be compassionate about the benefits and cautious with harm.” One reason why this approach is so important, she says, is its rarity among high-profile, national antivaping campaigns. While they have generally gotten more “tasteful,” as she put it, some have stayed in more old-school routes like The Real Cost, which she says can be “really stigmatizing” towards youth who do use, pushing them further from help. “Students who use should not see their identity portrayed by the government as this morphed mutant, almost a deformed creature,” Hashemi said, referring

to a few particularly graphic ads. “That creates this polarization that only marginalizes them more.” According to the students, these campaigns factor very little into the decision to vape or quit. “I think vaping is such a peer influence thing,” Ananya said. “The campaigns are doing a good job with trying to target us on Instagram and Snapchat, [but] these things are sometimes perceived as a little bit cringey.” For the people Ananya knows who are trying to quit, other factors—like general health risks and availability given the ban—are more influential. However, she says that many aren’t trying to quit, mainly because they view themselves as “immune.” “People often have justifications for why it’s okay for them personally to keep vaping,” Ananya said. Matthew R. ’22 doesn’t vape either, but he’s seen similar sentiments among those he knows who do. “There’s definitely this denial thing; [people think] that this isn't going to happen to them,” he said. “I think it’s easy for people to rationalize serious things like death, coma, and all the chemical stuff. People think it’s reasonable that it won’t happen to them.” Hashemi says that this kind of thinking isn’t supported by evidence, and could be damaging. “You never know that you have a problem. We are constantly being influenced, no matter whether we're eating sugar, or drinking coffee, or smoking weed every single day. Just because we’re not aware that changes are happening does not mean that they aren’t, and it’s better to approach this with a sense of caution,” she explained. “You have to respect the power of substances. They have the ability to regulate and shift our entire neurochemistry. We’re giving up control when we use—and it’s okay to give up a little bit of control. But it’s also important to stay safe, which means recognizing there are also harms involved.” For those concerned about themselves or a friend being addicted, Hashemi says that there are a couple different ways they can get help, like tolerance breaks or substituting another object to trick your brain. But one of the biggest aids for creating safer vape engagement, Hashemi stressed, is having a supportive community. She offers herself as one of these people to talk to, should anyone be concerned about their own or others’ vape use. “I have an open door policy. I’m just here to provide honest information, not judge you, and connect you to the support you need. If you are using, I’m in a position to provide you with information and strategies for reducing harm, as someone who has had experiences with most drugs out there with personal use,” she said. “I’m not coming out and presenting those tools for the general public, because then it’s misinterpreted as promoting drug use, but if you are already using drugs, I just want you to be safe and supported.”

VAPING BY THE NUMBERS nearly

1900

JUUL constitutes

40%

of the entire e-cig market

cases of lung illnesses associated with vaping (CDC) the vaping population has grown from

7 million in 2018 to

41

million

today (BBC)


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www.thenuevacurrent.com

page 9 NOV. 7, 2019 VOLUME 3, ISSUE 2

BIG BROTHER IS (NOT) WATCHING YOU

Contrary to student speculation, the Tech Office's active surveillance of students is nearly nonexistent BY GRACE H.

K

ILLUSTRATION BY ALICE G.

eystroke trackers providing unlimited access to student passwords and searches. The ability to take control of any student computers at any time, hijacking the device. A way to review web traffic from any device that has ever connected to Nueva Wi-Fi, regardless of whether it is a personal machine. Throughout the years, the Tech Office has been accused of having all manner of tracking systems—and using them for all sorts of covert surveillance. The students’ paranoia, however, is unfounded: the Tech Office never looks at students’ machines without first being asked to do so by the school administration and ensuring that the reason for the request is valid. This is primarily due to privacy concerns—in the words of Technology Director Ed Chen, they have no desire to “stick [their] noses where it’s none of [their] business.” “Common sense has a lot to do with it, and we do value individual privacy,” Chen said. “We also value our own time.” Collecting the data necessary to read a student’s search history from a minute-long stretch can take as many as four hours. For this reason, as well as the importance of maintaining student privacy, the predicted utility of the requested information is carefully reviewed before requests are filled. “You can collect all the data in the world,” Chen said. “That’s fantastic, but the key question in terms of data is, what are you going to do with it? Are you, the teacher or administrator, prepared for it? Are you prepared to figure out what the next step will be?” The goal of any inquiry is to enact change to solve the situation that led the administration to ask for the data in the first place. “If [the information] will change anyone's actions, whether the student's, the teacher's, or the school's, then I think that it would be significant,” Chen said. “If it won’t, then I'm thinking ‘Yeah, don't waste my time or theirs.’” This mindset means that the amount of monitoring that actually occurs is incredibly limited, to the point of being nonexistent; in the Upper School’s six years of operation, there has only been one instance where the Tech Office has

gathered data from the laptop of a student. In light of this, the concerns about data collection seem out of place, though Chen has an idea of where they may be coming from. “I think [the paranoia] comes from the fact that many of the students come up from the Middle School. There's a little bit more monitoring of students in the Middle School, and that carries over from students who have been here since then.” Another possible source of the widespread concerns about tech office surveillance is the Tech interns that the school hires each summer. “They’ve seen the capabilities that we do have if we choose to wield [them]; I think they're probably sharing a little bit about what they're seeing,” Chen said. “They're telling people, 'Oh, yeah, we could actively monitor this and that,' and yes, we could, but in practical reality we don't.” In actuality, the Tech Office is more focused on collecting data to improve its systems than monitoring individual students. This data can then be used to prioritize internet access for certain programs, as in a case last year where the yearbook class was found to be using gigabytes of data every meeting to download photos and spreads. In order to make the process easier, the Tech Office installed a better wireless access point to accommodate the amount of data being transferred. Similar adjustments can be made to prioritize certain types of web traffic over others. These filter systems, called bandwidth controls, are used to “throttle down” how much bandwidth a given website is allowed to use, according to Chen. The Tech Office also has other methods of moderating how students interact with online spaces. They use a web filter, which allows them to block certain categories of websites, such as those flagged as violent or noted to contain adult content. This filtration system is mainly used at the Middle School, where it blocks out many types of content; at the Upper School, it only prevents community members from accessing gambling or pornography sites. “Upper School students are free to do pretty much whatever they need to do,” Chen said. “Yes, we can get information [about what they’re interacting with on the internet], but what do we do with that information without cause? Absolutely nothing.”

SOM TEACHERS USE PAST EXPERIENCES TO INFORM TEACHING Life events inspire creation of curriculum for students BY ANISHA K.

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cience of Mind (SOM)—a class that includes elements of health, home economics, and counseling—is structured around student conversations about the right steps to take in difficult situations. And for each of the three SOM teachers, Stephanie Snyder, Olivia Barber, and Sean Schochet, SOM holds different significance. Each have their own reasons and methods for teaching. Snyder began her career at Nueva as an English teacher, switching to SOM after two years due to a shortage of teachers. “Teaching SOM is harder than teaching English ever was,” Snyder said. “There is no academic discipline that it maps onto one-on-one.” Snyder believes SOM should prepare students to navigate a variety of themes, including intra- and interpersonal relationships, values, and mental health. “For me, SOM is about how to take care of yourself, how to be mindful, how to show empathy and be a meaningful part of the community,” Snyder said. “If you talk to the majority of adults, they would say, ‘Oh my goodness, I need to know—how do you establish boundaries?’” She reminisced about how her

experiences as a youth might have differed if she had had SOM classes to prepare her for such conflicts. She believes she would have understood her relationships better and been more assertive. Barber, who began teaching SOM last year, said that she, too, would have benefited from having SOM classes. “I had to cultivate this entire skill set in my late teens or early 20s, and by then I’d made a lot of mistakes,” Barber said of her time in high school and college. She recalled conflicts with her parents over “seeing the world in a different way” from them, noting that learning about identity and individuality would have helped her realize that she wasn’t doing anything wrong. “Everything I teach comes from my own personal experience,” Barber said. “Both my education and training come from a deep fascination with healing and understanding myself.” Barber trained to be a yoga teacher while studying peace and conflict studies, going on to study yoga therapy and offer yoga and meditation sessions in schools. “We’re human 100% of the time, and I see SOM as the class that helps give you the skills to be a better, deeper, more reflective, resilient human,” Barber said. “Being able to communicate effectively and understand

our emotions…allows for thriving and flourishing as a full-spectrum human being.” Barber believes that SOM provides students with the tools to express their “humanness,” thereby enriching all other areas of their lives. Schochet spent 12 years traveling the world as a teacher and counselor before coming to Nueva last year. Like Barber, he grounds his teaching philosophies in his own experience. “I aim to teach students everything I wish I knew when I was a teenager,” Schochet said. “I didn’t understand how to properly wind down, take healthy breaks, and practice mindfulness. I believe SOM would have given me the skills to take care of myself to reach optimal mental wellness.” Schochet hopes that students will absorb and benefit from the knowledge of how to cope with stress and take care of themselves. He also keeps students’ challenges in mind while teaching. “I’m reminded in class that teenagers have more challenges than I personally have. I’m reminded to be humble,” he said. All three teachers said that they learn from their students and teaching experiences.

To Barber, teenage brains’ plasticity make students more able to accept and implement SOM lessons. As adults, it’s harder to change habitual responses. “There’s so many different flavors of the human mind,” Barber said. Through SOM, Synder has learned how to not push herself too far or too fast. Teaching the subject has allowed her to “take the plunge” and pursue a degree in counseling psychology, which she uses to inform her classes. “Teaching SOM has been a constant reminder of ways I can practice wellness. I’m forced to reflect on my own life,” she said. Schochet reflected on what he learned from past students he’s taught who may no longer be taking SOM-like classes. “When you learn your most important lesson, you actually don’t realize that was the most important lesson until years later,” he said. “Sometimes, in the moment, these lessons are not what we want to hear… but they’re going to be compartmentalized somewhere in the back of your brain, and then at some point when it becomes important, hopefully, that lesson will come back to you and make your life better.”


page 10 NOV. 7, 2019 VOLUME 3, ISSUE 2

SEARCHING FOR A BETTER EDUCATION

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t the Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in 2015, friends and family surrounded Justin Z. ’20 to say goodbye to him and his parents, Ping Liu and Zhenjian Zhang, as they prepared to board a one-way flight to America. “Seeing all of my friends and people I care about, and having this last conversation with them was a pretty emotional moment,” Justin said. Four years later, Justin expressed deep appreciation for his parents, who were motivated by the American education system to immigrate from Guangzhou. “In my opinion, the Chinese education system restrained students from taking full advantage of their talents,” Justin’s mother said. “I think my son deserves more opportunities and a better environment to realize his full potential.” Justin described his experience attending Tianhe Foreign Language School in Guangzhou through seventh grade (right before moving), as rigid, as they emphasized test-based evaluations. He took a weekly quiz for each subject and completed larger unit tests each month. At the end of the year, there were several tests that determined a student’s acceptance to middle and high schools. In California, Justin missed his friends and called them twice a week. (He still keeps in touch, and reconnected with them when he visited China for an internship as a video game designer at the company Tencent.) Bay Area’s significant Asian population reminded him of home, but there was still a lot of adjustments. In China, students stay in the same classroom throughout the day, while the teachers move. Students’ test scores were often publicized, shared, and compared—very different from the culture Justin found in the U.S. “I immediately got into this mode of exploration and observation of differences between China and America,” Justin said. “I was pretty sad in the beginning, but after I got here, my curiosity overwhelmed my sadness.” Using English for daily interactions was initially challenging for Justin and his parents. He took English as one of his subjects in China, but his performance was solely based on test scores and “how well you filled [in] the bubbles.” Although he excelled, he didn’t know how to hold informal conversations and “had to learn a lot to catch up.” Growing up, Justin had always been viewed as having Western connections by his classmates because his family would travel to the U.S. and bring back various American goods, like food, medicine, and clothing. In fifth grade, after one such visit, Justin returned with a Stanford t-shirt. When he wore it to school, his classmates shared an “implicit understanding” that he had a connection to America and was more Western, which they thought was cool. “After I came here, everything got flipped around and I became the Chinese person,” Justin recalled. “Being Western and Chinese had both been a part of my identity, and it is just interesting to observe that the thing that is different stands out in certain environments.” But, he doesn’t feel “othered” by these differences. “It doesn’t matter if you’re an immigrant or native-born,” Justin said. “Regardless of your background, ethnicity, or immigration status…at the end of the day you’re a person with [your own story].”

"Regardless of your background, ethnicity, or immigration status… at the end of the day you’re a person with [your own story]." —Justin Z. '20

CITIZENS OF THE WORLD Community members share their stories and experiences of immigrating to the United States BY VALERIE B.

44.4 MILLION people living in the United States are foreign-born (2017)

23%

of immigrants in the U.S. are unauthorized to live in the country

25%

of U.S. immigrants are from Mexico, while 6% are from China

24%

of immigrants coming to the United States live in California PEW RESEARCH CENTER

PUSHING PAST FE FOR OPPORTUNIT

G

loria Zamora immigrated to San Mateo fr dalajara, Mexico 23 years ago. There was city of job opportunities, and she was two pregnant when she traveled to be with her hus already lived in the States. “In Guadalajara, when a person was 28 yea could not have a job, but we needed money an to live,” Zamora said. For Zamora, journeying to the United State most difficult part of immigration. She flew fir juana from Guadalajara, then crossed the bord Ysidro, in San Diego. Zamora’s husband knew who helped her cross. They gave her the ID of an from San Ysidro who was visiting Tijuana, resembled. She was accompanied by a young A man for the border crossing, and they pretend were a couple. “I knew that there were [no real familial tie him and me, and I was worried that I might m take,” said Zamora, who recalled feeling nervo the entire journey. Whenever an immigration official drew clos American would signal Zamora to turn on the sing along, with a sign of affection. Her first year after arriving in the United St lived under the shadow of anxiety. Although it to locate immigration services like the Samari Zamora feared even the idea of leaving her hom “It was an experience that scared me,” Zam ted. “I didn’t want to turn around and look at p She was told that immigration officials wer where. Worried about attracting attention and deported, she decided to delay learning Englis Eventually, Zamora acquired a green card. residency, to her, offers a more stable life beca greater number of economic opportunities in t States. In Mexico, she was told to marry someone support her financially, but now she feels inde She described the Bay Area as more costly tha but it is easier to buy what she wants, not just ties. Still, she misses feeling as carefree as she d ico, where no one could stop and ask for her p the frequent and festive celebrations, and how they were, especially Christmas and Day of the “You laugh even about death,” Zamora said Day of the Dead, we celebrated what the dead most.” Zamora noticed that in the United States m exists, compared to the classism in Mexico. “I would like for everyone to be seen as equ ra said.


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page 11 NOV. 7, 2019 VOLUME 3, ISSUE 2

PRESERVING CULTURAL TIES

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pper school math teacher Ted Theodosopoulos immigrated from Thessaloniki, Greece in 1987 to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on a student visa. “Despite the fact that I wasn’t rich, I had a very generous [academic] scholarship,” Theodosopoulos said. “So I was very appreciative. It was a privilege. That’s what drove my immigrant experience to be a more empowering one. I felt like there were just a whole lot of opportunities and I could do whatever I wanted, which is not very common.” At MIT, Theodosopoulos triple majored in math, aeronautics and astronautics, and political science. He was fulfilled by the intellectual environment and found Boston to be welcoming to students. He met other international students, some of whom were Greek, and formed deep connections. He missed the support of family and friends back home and visited during school holidays. He ended up staying in Boston for his graduate studies, where he met Patty, whose parents were also from Greece. After completing a master’s and Ph.D. in operations research, Theodosopoulos and Patty got married. He started the application process for a green card, which was “long and tedious,” and had to repeatedly take time off from work. He was advised not to leave the country for his honeymoon until he received his passport, and meetings were often postponed. Five years after their marriage, Theodosopoulos and Patty returned to Greece in 2001 for a yearlong position at Theodosopoulos’s old American high school. Theodosopoulos and Patty enjoyed life in Greece, but “it was very difficult to have young kids” as there was less developed infrastructure, which was one of the reasons they returned to America. Health insurance was also unfamiliar, so Patty and Theodosopoulos relied on relatives and friends to guide them. “We liked life there, but making money there is hard,” Theodosopoulos said. “We just decided in the end that the compromise was too much.” His youngest of three daughters, Eugenia T. ’20, was born in Philadelphia, but lived in England for two and a half years and France for one year before moving to New York. She would interact with kids who spoke different languages, not caring about the differences in accents. “She was very social and uninhibited…It doesn’t bother you when you’re a little kid and you have friends from all over the world…you don’t think twice about it,” Theodosopoulos said. But maintaining ties to their cultural roots was a priority. They exposed their daughters—Alex (now 23 years old), Effie ’18, and Eugenia ’20—to their heritage by frequently traveling to Greece, sending them to Greek school, and speaking Greek with them. Patty devoted her time to teaching them to speak Greek fluently, stemming from her passion for languages. Eugenia embraces her Greek culture and enjoys having connections overseas. She appreciates her dad’s home-cooked Greek food and being able to return often to a country of varied, pervasive beauty. “When I go back to Greece, if I’m walking down the street and I hear people speaking Greek or I see a Greek person, it’s very comforting to me,” she said. Theodosopoulos and his family try to visit Greece once every few years. On past trips, they stayed with Theodosopoulos’s mother in Thessaloniki; on their most recent trip, they traveled to Athens— rich with family history—and visited Patty’s old apartment. “It was really nice to be walking around and having my parents point things out. It felt like I was so connected to this place, even though I don’t spend a lot of time there,” Eugenia said. Like Eugenia, Theodosopoulos has many places in the world to call home, feel comfortable in, and miss. “My soul is split, like in a Harry Potter kind of way, in different parts,” he said. “I’m almost a different person when I’m in different places and I could certainly imagine living in those places again, or retiring there.”

FINDING HOME IN FRIENDS AND FAMILY

U

pper school Spanish teacher Jo Newman has lived all over the world: Spain, Great Britain, the Bay Area, Southern California, Mexico, and France. Born in Mallorca, Spain, Newman was the daughter of immigrants: her father immigrated from Britain and her mother from Trinidad and Tobago. In Spain, there was minimal diversity, and Newman felt like a foreigner. “I remember walking down the street and people just making the assumption that I was a tourist,” Newman recalled. “They would call me ‘guiri,’ which means ‘foreigner.’” At age 12, she left Spain for boarding school in the U.K., where she stayed for university, and worked in Britain for four years as an assistant librarian in the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and later as a manager at an Argentinian restaurant. When Newman was 26, she moved to Mexico City. “When I moved to England, I was the Spaniard. Then I moved to Mexico, and they really didn’t know quite where to place me because I wasn’t American, but I wasn’t Mexican,” she said. Newman moved to Mexico without a concrete plan and fell in love with the city, her community of friends, and her job of managing a telecommunications company’s internet department. She lived in an apartment with two friends, above a café, while three other friends lived in another apartment nearby. Newman likened it to living in a house on “Friends.” After two years in Mexico, she immigrated to Irvine, California, but moved to be closer to her partner (now husband) at the time. “If I hadn’t met my husband, I would probably have stayed in Mexico,” Newman said. “I just loved the people.” Not thinking it would be long-term, she described her journey as adventurous. One year after her arrival, Newman traveled in and out with her British passport, returning to the U.K. and Mexico until 1999. Initially apprehensive about immigrating, she held negative attitudes towards the United States: it was more of an individualistic society in contrast to the collectivist environment she was raised in. “I couldn’t understand why my husband would go to the fridge and get himself a drink without asking me whether I would like one, or I would be in the kitchen cooking a meal and he would come and start eating,” Newman recalled. Newman’s interest in cultural intelligence and the roots of cultures comes from finding a stronger sense of home through the people in her life, rather than physical place. “I don’t care where I live. I have a very strong connection with my family and so that has been my central safe place,” she said. “It’s my family.” She moved to the Bay Area from Irvine partly because of the community she formed here. At Nueva, she also discovered a close community, and got a sense that people “truly cared for each other.” “I don’t know that I would’ve gone back to teaching if I hadn’t found Nueva,” Newman said.


page 12 NOV. 7, 2019 VOLUME 3, ISSUE 2

FEATURES

TAKING ACTION

AFTER THE WALKOUT

THE NUEVA CURRENT

"If we don't do anything about it—I almost think of it as a failure to our own species." —Miki Y. ’22

Members of the community are changing their lifestyles to combat global warming BY ANOUSCHKA B.

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s the consequences of climate change cease to be a distant worry and instead become a recurring reality for many, the global movement has become louder in clamoring for change. Initiatives have likewise risen at Nueva, where students and faculty alike are taking action to reshape their lifestyles. “If we don’t do anything about it, I almost think of it as a failure to our own species,” Miki Y. ’22 said. “We banned beef from our family’s house, because that’s one of the biggest methane and greenhouse gas producers.” She has also stopped using single-use plastics, especially in culinary and hygiene products (for her, beeswax saran wrap works well as a reusable replacement to one-use plastic wrap). Other students and teachers have taken similar steps to modify their lifestyles. Spanish teacher Jo Newman recommends a diet excluding meat and using local produce. Students, including Stephanie S. ’20 and Maya A. ’22, encourage using reusable products such as metal straws, tote bags, and water bottles. “I bike home from school some days,” Molly C.’22 said. Starting this year, she decided to replace her train ride home with a carbon-efficient seven-mile bike route.

Beyond personal lifestyle changes, school-wide initiatives have emerged, including one aiming to transform Nueva into a carbon-neutral school. Chloe K. ‘20, co-leader of the Environmental Society Club, and other members of the community are analyzing the emissions produced by the school in order to find ways to mitigate their impact. While the Nueva high school building was specifically designed to be environmentally friendly, there is still more that can be done. Tanja Srebotnjak, the Director of Environmental Citizenship, highlights the importance of creating an environmentally friendly school. “Nueva has been intentional in reducing impact on all fronts for a long time,” Srebotnjak said. Even small things, which students may have come to think of as normal, are useful. “One thing that we’ve learned [from] visiting other schools is that just separating waste streams is a huge deal in other places,” Aron Walker, assistant Director of Environmental Citizenship, said. Though individual and school-wide changes are important, most carbon dioxide is created by industrial facilities and transportation, for which nationwide

ILLUSTRATION BY ALYSSA L.

initiatives are needed. “I’m trying to get involved in pushing back against corporations and forcing them to adopt more sustainable policies because there's only so much we can do individually,” Chloe said. One of her goals is to encourage Nueva to divest from fossil fuels. Similarly, Patrick Berger, environmental economics teacher, believes that advocacy for national and international change is necessary. “We should keep our focus and attention on the enormous corporate exploitation of the environment that continues to ransack global ecosystems,” Berger advised. Talking to representatives and supporting people who will implement

green policies is crucial. Stephanie suggests students call, text, or ask questions to representatives, and recommends 5calls.org, Resistbot, and town halls as accessible starting points. Students should also share their knowledge and spread awareness to other members of the community. “It’s very much about sharing the best practices to have an impact on the national, maybe even global level,” Srebotnjak said. She also stresses the importance of speaking to people who think differently. “We still have a lot of work to do on that front,” she said, “and to find a common ground to talk about environmental risks without attacking each other.”

ALUM RETURNS AS GRAPHIC RECORDER FOR ILC

For Ananya Ram ’17, Nueva continues to influence and inspire BY WILLOW C. Y.

GRAPHIC RECORDING | Ananya Ram ’17 (left) and Anisha K. ’22 stand in front of the completed visual recording of the "Thinking Like a Lawyer: Practical Strategies to Close the Critical Thinking Gap" session by Colin Seale, which they worked together to map. PHOTO BY WILLOW C. Y.

I

t’s been two years since Ananya Ram ’17 graduated with the founding class of the Upper School; but at 9 a.m. on the morning of the Innovative Learning Conference’s (ILC) second day, she looks at home as she waits on the first floor of the new West Wing, wearing “Nueva blue” eyeliner and a pair of wire earrings she said was made by one of her best friends during an I-Lab intersession, back when she roamed the halls of the Upper School. Ram was one of the graphic recorders at the ILC that Friday, Oct. 18, the biennial event organized and hosted by Nueva to spread and promote progressive education practices. The event attracted around 900 educators and guests from around the world with well over 100 different talks. Ram’s job was to translate these various talks into art and “essentially doodle,” as she put it, each one’s key concepts and impactful quotes on a huge, white poster board. Faced with the gaping expanses, Ram meticulously drew until the boards were filled with bold, black Sharpie strokes and yellow road lines mapping the thought progression of the talks. It’s a job Ram takes joy in, as she’s found art to be an important creative outlet for her as a biomedical major at Tufts University. “It’s very useful in bio class when we’re drawing all the pathways,” Ram said, laughing, “but this is a skill I’ve developed separately. It brings that creativity into the lectures or introlevel classes I’ve been in the last couple years.” She’s done this visual representation work for the Design Thinking Institute, an annual

conference hosted by Nueva to promote the ideas of Design Thinking among educators, for the past couple years as well, ever since she was inspired by a talk there on visual thinking. While she hasn’t been visually recording with them for as long, she’s been affiliated with the event for eight years now, and says that this continued relationship has made her feel connected to Nueva and its pedagogy, which strongly influenced her post—high school career. “I think engineering can get very separated from the end users or from user-centered learning, so having done [Nueva’s] Design Thinking and feeling so strongly about having a user there all the time has really influenced a lot of my projects,” she explained. “And I think that was something that set the Nueva mindset apart.” Nueva also had a hand in influencing her decision to take her current gap year, affording her “confidence in [her] own agency and ability.” “It’s still fun to be in college; there’s a bigger depth to the things you can explore,” she said, “but I did want to take a break from that and go forth and do my own learning in my own way.” Currently, she is working at a biomedical firm in San Francisco—doing what she described as “knee surgery stuff”—and later will begin a woodworking apprenticeship. All the while, she’ll be continuing to pursue visual thinking and other related endeavors. “I enjoy it more,” she said. “It’s more fun to choose my own path.”


OPINION

www.thenuevacurrent.com

page 13 NOV. 7, 2019 VOLUME 3, ISSUE 2

ADDING HOME ECONOMICS INTO THE CURRICULUM WILL PROVIDE STUDENTS WITH PRACTICAL LIFE SKILLS

Incorporation of the traditional high school class will create more well-rounded students prepared for college and beyond BY ISABEL C.

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hen I got my first debit card last year at 16, I recognized it as a new stage of responsibility. I had ownership over the money I earned from my part-time job, and a little more autonomy from my parents. Yet while I understood the basic workings of the card, such as how to use it and how to access my money, there was still so much I was confused about. Monthly banking statements were something I didn’t understand the purpose of, and I still can’t fully comprehend what all the different options on the banking app do. It’s for this reason that Nueva needs a home economics class. Home ec classes are necessary to help students become self-sufficient. As reported in Mary Kate McCoy’s Wisconsin Public Radio article from January of this year, students need home ec courses “so that after graduation, students know how

to cook good meals on a budget, understand property taxes and loans, and even mend a pair of pants.” Similarly, the Journal of the American Medical Association claimed in 2010 that home economics classes could prevent obesity through basic cooking classes. While these skills may seem obvious, many Nueva students don’t know the topics taught in these courses. I surveyed 27 upper school students and found that 43% of them said they knew how to create a personal budget, and after surveying 37 students, I found that 29% of them knew how to change a car tire. These are knowledge and skills that are important to have going into the world after high school. What I propose is this: home ec courses should be integrated into the current SOM curriculum for junior and senior years. This will allow new students to have the foundational support SOM provides before moving onto more interdisciplinary topics of home ec and not take on another

class. Trust within the Nueva community is beneficial for bringing grades together and the first two years of SOM supports that. But as someone who has had SOM or Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) for the past 12 years, I think it also provides a way to bring the SOM curriculum to fruition, as there comes a time when students are old enough to understand the content taught and navigate through life without the guidance of a once-a-week class. The current SOM curriculum, which covers themes such as compassion building, new perspectives, and emotion theory, also builds on the same set of topics—sleep, mental health, nutrition, and stress. The heavy coverage of these learning objectives thoughtfully prepares students throughout their Nueva career and provides an adequate backbone to a transition into a home ec curriculum for the final two years of high school instead of spending them reiterating the same topics.

NUEVA SPIRIT NEEDS TO HYPE UP The lack of school spirit negatively affects student life

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BY ELIZA S.

pirit is showing pride in your school by doing things like showing up to cheer at sports and educational games and, more importantly, being proud and just wanting to represent your school in every way possible. I went to the Middle School, but I remember shadowing other high schools and considering applying out mainly for the fun pep rallies and sports games with tons of cheering. I ended up choosing unbeatable education over long-established athletic programs, but my hope is that Nueva will become a school where there doesn’t need to be a choice. Currently, the Mavericks have numerous sports teams—including basketball, cross-country, soccer, swimming, tennis, golf, diving, and track and field— that 50% of upper school students participate in. The problem isn’t a lack of teams, but rather that students are rarely found supporting each other from the stands. Students often joke about the new athletics program and say dreadful things about it, as well as how Nueva is “bad at sports”; those types of comments are not only false (our teams are competitive) but also detrimental to our school spirit as a whole. That criticism means those students don’t take pride in our athletic teams. School spirit is contagious. Students and faculty who show enthusiasm for our school are likely to encourage their peers to do the same, which creates greater participation in school activities and boosts both morale and performance. But school spirit impacts more than just sports games—spirit can also affect academic performance, happiness, and confidence. When people take pride in something, they tend to work harder and feel more invested than they would without that sense of pride.

According to a survey of 1,016 students conducted by Varsity Brands, students with more school spirit tended to perform better academically, were more engaged, and were happier in general than their less-spirited peers. The survey measured school spirit based on four attributes: students’ self-assessment of their spirit, students’ self-reported pride in their school, students’ propensity to get other students to be active in school events, and students’ plans to return to their school for special events after graduation. According to the survey, 91% of students who participate in spirit-related activities at school were more confident, 88% of students were happier, 87% of students were more active in their communities, and 73% of students felt more fulfilled. But Varsity Brands isn’t the only company studying the effect of school spirit. The book How to Create a Culture of Achievement in Your School and Classroom, by Douglas B. Fisher, Ian Pumpian, and Nancy Frey, explains how positive school spirit inspires greater effort and productivity, builds commitment within schools, and amplifies the energy and motivation of students and staff. This is reflected at Nueva; in an informal online survey I conducted, 85% of the 79 respondents said they want more school spirit. It’s clear that more spirit is necessary. The critical question is: how do we increase it? The easiest way to promote school spirit is by making an effort to go to sports events and educational competitions with friends and cheer for Nueva. But more can be done—some ideas are making uplifting posters for the gym, dressing up by wearing school colors, or showing off pride by putting on face paint or crazy clothes. And that’s just to start.

ILLUSTRATION BY ABBY P.

Nueva prides itself on its social-emotional learning (SEL) classes, with the SOM and SEL curriculum, helpful resources, and tools available to students starting in first grade. The addition of home ec classes would help the program become more well-rounded to prepare

students for the world after high school. By replacing the final two years of SOM with home economics, students will both be able to gain knowledge on basic adult tasks and go off to college and our adult lives a little less confused.

FRESHMEN YEAR IS TOO SOON TO WORRY ABOUT COLLEGE Focusing on a hypothetical future this early is unnecessary and irrelevant BY GRACE F.

A

s application due dates approach, the buzz about writing essays and taking tests is spreading. It will soon reach juniors as well, then sophomores. The freshman class will eventually have their own share of the buzz. As a freshman, it’s weird to think about the whole process. Although I don’t start applications for three more years, my peers have been talking about college in a hypothetical sense since fifth grade. Even though it seems important and impending, I still think freshman year is too early to stress about college. So many things change during the four years of high school; freshman year is only the beginning. Having a busy schedule and increased workload made the transition to high school unexpectedly stressful. Adding the extra layer of thinking about college is too much to handle; in my mind, it’s better to focus on settling in. I still have no clue what I’d want to do in the next year, let alone in college. I don’t think that we should base everything we do in freshman year on a future that we don’t know anything about. Trying new things is important to broaden your abilities and find your passion, but applications shouldn’t be the main reason you start doing them. I know that having a polished resume for applications is a good idea, and of course it’s a good

thing to appeal to schools and be a standout applicant, but freshman year should be for new activities, not new applications. Many of the freshmen, including myself, finished applying for high school less than a year ago. Although I only applied to four schools, the process of studying for the ISEE and writing essays was exhausting. Going through a similar process would be an extremely stressful thing to do only a year later. At a high-achieving school like Nueva, it’s easy to think I'd have no chance of being accepted anywhere, and that everyone will look better than me. However, unlike many other schools, Nueva doesn’t rank their students. They don’t even give grades to ninth graders, which encourages us to learn more just for the fun of it and not for the marks. We should just enjoy learning and not set our sights on one point in our future. Freshman year isn’t the time to worry about college; it’s the time to explore what we can do and find who we are.

GRAPHIC BY SLIDESGO / FREEPIK


page 14 NOV. 7, 2019 VOLUME 3, ISSUE 2

OPINION

THE NUEVA CURRENT

TULSI GABBARD IS DANGEROUS MASTHEAD THE NUEVA CURRENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER OF THE NUEVA SCHOOL 131 E 28TH AVENUE, SAN MATEO, CA 94403

Editor-in-Chief Willow C. Y. Design Editor Jordan M. Managing Editor Isabel C. News & Web Editor Elizabeth B. P. Features Editor Amanda W. Opinion Editor Grace H. Staff Anouschka B. Valerie B. Laura C. Mira D. Grace F. Campbell H. Anisha K. Luke M. Serena S. Eliza S. Abi W. Tina Z. Faculty Advisor LiAnn Yim

Questions, comments, or submissions? We welcome your voices. We accept photographs, illustrations, articles, and other pieces of work. Please email us at thenuevacurrent@ nuevaschool.org.

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The controversy-plagued Hawaiian Congresswoman should drop out of the race for more than just the normal reasons BY WILLOW C. Y.

I

’ve been a long-time proponent of shrinking the current Democratic field. In facing such a unified, unrelenting political opponent as President Donald Trump and the current Republican Party, the last thing Democrats need is fracturing—especially not the kind happening right now that splits the party by alienating both leftists and centrists. And while I recognize that some candidates are running to promote a particular policy or position, the moral or ideological gains are overwhelmed by the risks—including the worst-case splintering of the Democratic voter base, and the alienation of fringe Democrats (namely socialists and independents) as too-radical or not-radical-enough. Unity needs to be the priority, and more candidates neither achieves nor makes a move towards that. In a perfect world, the 12 candidates left after the recent debates would be halved, bringing the race to a more definite head and slowly structuring what could potentially resemble a unified front. But Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard—my logic for wanting her out is far less generalized, and far more urgent. My many reasons for wanting Gabbard out extend beyond my disagreements over her health care policy (she’s Medicare-for-All, while I think public option is the more feasible plan for one or even two terms), or that she actively opposed same-sex marriage until 2011, or that she met with and defended Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. It doesn’t inherently have to do with the fact that David Duke (former Grand Wizard of the KKK) endorsed her 2020 campaign, or that she was praised by a number of known white supremacists and Trump supporters like Steve Bannon and Richard Spencer. The tipping point for me is that she’s fracturing the party—not through polarization, but through the frantic misinformation and inflammatory actions that foreshadowed the rise of Trump Republicanism in 2016 and today indicate the same unfalsifiable fervor. She spreads conspiracy theories like Trump tweets in all caps—plentifully and largely with impunity—and although she takes up an insignificant slice of the vote, she has a definite, influential voice on the national stage. Take her antics before the Oct. 15 debates. Although undoubtedly just a publicity stunt, given that she hadn’t qualified for the one before and thus needed the boost a debate appearance would give her, Gabbard announced

She spreads conspiracy theories like Trump tweets in all caps—plentifully and largely with impunity.

she was thinking about “boycotting”; additionally, she claimed in a tweet and accompanying video that she believed the “DNC and corporate media” had “rigged the [2016] election” against Senator Bernie Sanders, and that this election cycle, they were rigging it “against the American people” in early voting states. I do, however, agree with one of her other points—that the debates are insubstantial and exist primarily for entertainment purposes—but her end argument is what could only be called a conspiracy theory. What’s more, on Oct. 18, when former Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton insinuated that Gabbard’s campaign was being aided by Russia in an attempt to influence the 2020 election in Trump’s favor, Gabbard retorted with an accusation even more baseless than Clinton’s admittedly was. “You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long,” Gabbard tweeted at Clinton, “have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know—it was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose. “It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don’t cowardly hide behind your

ART ILLUSTRATION BY THE NUEVA CURRENT STAFF / OFFICIAL 114TH CONGRESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPH OF TULSI GABBARD

proxies. Join the race directly.” Besides the public’s initial confusion at her outright accusation that Clinton herself is orchestrating a years-long, cohesive conspiracy against Gabbard in particular with several puppets—a delusion in and of itself, and a laughable one at that—the tweet was, terrifyingly, launched into the media cycle, effectively giving voice to conspiracies that could resonate with voters already suspicious of the “establishment.” It didn’t help that conservative pundits and media jumped to praise the accusation and Gabbard. Fortunately, Gabbard is still polling low and her performance at the most recent debate was far from noteworthy. However, given the fact that she qualified at all, and the wide dissemination and surprising resonance of her collusion- and suspicion-ridden theories among a subset of the public, the ways the election could go horribly wrong for the Democratic party come July 2020 are many. She galvanizes those still feeling injustice from the 2016 primary; she could draw votes from other, more viable candidates; she could bring radicalization and disaffection into the Democratic Party; and she could, come November, pull some of those fragments into the arms of the Republican party.

SATIRE

I CAN’T SUPPORT THE SONS OF LIBERTY A satirical response to “I can't support the Hong Kong Protests" BY BILLY P., GUEST WRITER | ART BY BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

“P

ro-rights” is the most common word I've seen describing the protests, but I think it should be “anti-Britain.” I believe in peaceful protests and natural rights, but the colonies have taken the movement too far. No longer is this a fight for freedom; instead, this move­ment has become focused solely on erasing Britain’s influence from the American Colonies. Many protesters have said that the only way to make the monarchy listen is to threaten their wallet. To do this, they have destroyed hundreds of chests of tea and stolen imports from the government—causing the British government to lose profits not because of strikes but because they were stolen from. Furthermore, there remains al­most no just aspect to this movement. In the beginning, peaceful protests and demonstrations were employed to fight the controversial Tea Act, which was seen as an in­fringement by the British government on the rights of American citizens. Within three months, the protests

have devolved into violent and chaotic riots. The demonstrators are now stealing property from the British government—an ironic strategy considering that they are fighting, in part, for their right to property. One of the core demands made by the colonists is for equal importing rights between both American colonists and the British East India Company. If this happened, it would show that America’s Britain-passed laws no longer have any power. Some of the protestors have been involved in attacks on trading ships, dumping tea, and burning cargo vessels—all of which are real crimes that should have consequences. Protestors don’t want the British government changing the law to give preference to any company, yet seemingly want free rein to choose which companies can survive in America. If these activists—representing the American colonists at the front lines—truly believe that destruction, crime, and stealing can be justified because of a “natural rights” cause, this movement has lost its meaning and

its way in finding a truly just society. To many colonists, you are either prodemocracy or pro-Britain; there is no inbetween. But what they don’t realize is that many people support beliefs on both sides. Like me, many support the cause and purpose of the movements but not the destruction that is being used. There may not be a perfect answer to every problem we face as individuals, as citizens, and as nations, but if we are able to see past labels like “pro-monarchy” and “pro-protestor” or “British” and “American,” there is at least a chance we can work in a nonpartisan fashion to resolve conflict and reach understandings of each others’ goals, intentions, motivations, and experiences. And, along with that, it could help the colonists figure out whether they’re calling for natural rights or just wanting to start a fight.


OPINION

www.thenuevacurrent.com

page 15 NOV. 7, 2019 VOLUME 3, ISSUE 2

WHY WE SHOULD STOP CALLING IT FRIENDSGIVING The term is reductive and diminishes the true spirit of Thanksgiving BY ALLEN FROST, GUEST WRITER

I

n early December 2016, I asked a Parisian friend how he’d spent Thanksgiving. “Oh, I just had a small Friendsgiving,” he replied. I had seen the word “Friendsgiving” on my Facebook feed regularly enough, but there was something about his French accent tossing off the neologism that nauseated me. That moment threw into relief how ubiquitous the term had become, and three years later I can’t stop seeing and hearing it everywhere. Nor have I grown any less irritated by it. I shouldn’t hold anything against the practice described by the term: throughout college in Pennsylvania, my parents and I agreed that a $700 flight to Arkansas for four days was an exorbitant and unnecessary expense. Instead, I traveled to friends’ homes in Maryland and Connecticut. More recently, I’ve spent Turkey Day almost exclusively in the company of non-relatives. Most memorable was an unusually frigid Thanksgiving in 2011, when my English roommate Kate and I enjoyed fried chicken, lemon meringue pie, and champagne at the ruins of the Sutro Baths before a sunset drive to the Marin Headlands. I’ve prepared the turkey for the past four Thanksgivings at friends’ apartments—occasionally phoning my mother for advice on cooking temperature and how properly to weight pie crusts before baking them—and enthusiastically issued invitations to newly arrived coworkers without plans for the holiday. When I first started to examine my irritation with Friendsgiving, I thought that my beef wasn’t really so much with the signified, as with the signifier: I hated “Friendsgiving,” but loved eating with friends on the fourth Thursday in November. I suspected that the

hatred sprang, at least in part, from my professional position as a prematurely curmudgeonly English teacher. I’ve always been wary of trendy portmanteaus, and of the smug knowingness with which they are uttered. But most portmanteaus are recognizably blends of two existing words, halfway points between concepts that evoke some new synthesis—brunch, motel, even Snowmageddon. “Friendsgiving,” by contrast, doesn’t hold up under the lightest critical pressure and starts to sound ridiculous pretty quick: Does one give friends on Friendsgiving, instead of thanks? Can we merrily substitute “Friends” for the first syllable of any family-oriented holiday, yielding Friendsmas and Friendsukkah? (Imagine inviting friends over for Friendsover.) A less trivial critique is that “Friendsgiving” implies that spending the holiday with friends is not the same as a family Thanksgiving. The titular sextet on the television show Friends spent many Thanksgivings together

with no parents in sight, but they never called it Friendsgiving. They were just choosing to celebrate with each other. Watching these episodes in syndication in my college dorm room gave me a liberating sense of possibility: this could be my life, an alternative to what I’d grown up with that was no less special. But “Friendsgiving,” suggests something less than ideal, an ersatz gathering because you can’t have the real thing. That’s an especially tough proposition to reckon with for queer people, who often don’t enjoy the option of returning home, either because they’ve been kicked out or because they don’t feel comfortable around their relatives. Having carefully formed “chosen families” that provide love and support, LGBTQ people can’t help but be rankled, or even harmed, by a term that may remind them annually of the pain of coming out while simultaneously devaluing the new communities they’ve created. And why does Thanksgiving default to family gatherings in the first place? The

CELEBRATING WITH FRIENDS | "This picture was taken in 2012—I celebrated Thanksgiving with one of my grad school friends' family near Palm Springs." PHOTO PROVIDED BY ALLEN FROST

OPPOSING VIEWPOINTS

OPPOSING VIEWPOINTS

THE BEAUTY OF MATH WITH A DASH OF CHAOS

BY TINA Z.

BY GRACE H.

T

he first topic I ever covered in Nueva math was truth tables, a form of approaching logic problems where a chart of the different combinations of T (true) and F (false) show the possible and impossible solutions for the problem. We covered truth tables for about a month—however, we didn’t formally build on them for the rest of that year and haven't returned to them since. I joined Nueva in eighth grade from a school where math was taught the traditional way: Algebra I, Geometry, and onwards. When I came to Nueva, I was stunned by the directions math class often took. I’ve never been skilled at math, but I’ve also never been so lost—while I’d already learned some topics covered later, I’d never encountered others I was expected to know. Nueva’s curriculum draws from multiple organizations, including Common Core and the National Mathematics Association. The curriculum is “integrated”; every year, students learn a little more about every “content strand,” focusing on breadth over depth and discouraging information compartmentalization. While I see value in such a program, Nueva’s system is pieced together confusingly, leaving students with knowledge gaps—imagine reading ten books at the same time, rotating through by chapter. While it’s important not to compartmentalize, I believe traditional math is more effective at helping students firmly learn subject matter. Many new high school students tested into Math 2 or higher; nonetheless, many do not know all the Math 1 material, and will never get the chance in the course to learn those foundations as they advance. The breadth over depth approach makes it difficult to fully dive into any one subject. Imagine that we cover the beginning of geometry in eighth grade, then jump around

for the rest of the year. By the time we loop back to geometry in ninth grade, we’ll likely have forgotten much of what we already covered. It can be difficult to recall particular details, intricacies, and rules a year later. If the subject demands the student be able to remember and account for those intricacies in order to effectively build on the concepts, teachers will have to reteach everything. The Nueva curriculum does not progress in a straight line, instead weaving between strands of information. As a result, sometimes topics marked as necessary can be forgotten or skipped. While I see the value of a curriculum that “spirals” and links back to the real world while traditional math does not, Nueva math is not as effective in building knowledge. Math should enable students to connect concepts to real life or each other; however, having those concepts solidly learned is more important. At the end of the day, how am I supposed to link concepts to the real world if I still struggle to understand them? While I do not like the Nueva math curriculum, this curriculum has a wellthought-out and well-researched foundation, and it’s only in the execution that these issues have surfaced. This program can become much more effective—as long as it continues to remain responsive to soliciting and iterating upon student experience and feedback.

ILLUSTRATION BY ABBY P.

THE CONFUSING SPIRAL OF NUEVA MATH

T

hroughout elementary school, math was far from my favorite subject. Its only use, in my mind, was as a packaged, acceptable answer to the overused icebreaker question, “What’s your least favorite class?” Of course, there was a thrill when things fell into place—numbers made the world seem tidy and understandable—but the benefits by no means made up for the tedious units that stretched on infinitely, offering no recourse. Our job was to get procedural knowledge, finish problem sheets, and avoid falling asleep in class. Upon arriving at Nueva, I found myself pitched into a far more chaotic system. The compartmentalized units were gone, replaced by applications of math, interest-based tangents, and the occasional philosophical debate. Topics I had never been exposed to were tied fluidly into those I had already learned; I was able to dabble in a range of mathematical concepts in the context of humanities and science projects. Then, in ninth grade, I left. By then, I had forgotten how miraculous Nueva’s system was—it seemed obvious that interdisciplinary connections should be prioritized and that each year should teach the same things in more depth, allowing each area of math to build off the others. I was shocked to discover that, outside our microcosm of Nuevan pedagogy, math was taught in a way that encouraged compartmentalization, with each year corresponding to a specific unit. The math class during my semester away was remarkably dull. It was a relief to return to the slight chaos of the

vaunted First Thanksgiving in 1621 was, in essence, a harvest festival celebrating the deliverance of a community, not the sacred centrality of family. Lincoln’s 1863 proclamation, which fixed the day of Thanksgiving as the fourth Thursday in November, likewise orients to the public sphere—in this case, to the Union, which was then persevering through the bloodiest year of the Civil War— rather than to private households. It has always been emphatically a civic holiday. I don’t think that it’s only a zeal for preserving the historically public valence of Thanksgiving that fuels my animus towards Friendsgiving. These are conservative instincts in the face of the new, but there’s also something suspiciously Marxist lurking in my hatred. You see, “Friendsgiving” strikes me as tailor-made by corporations to target urban millennials who are eager to spend their salaries on turkey basters and roasting pans bought online, and have stuffing ingredients and cranberry sauce delivered to them. Regardless of the source of the trend and its widespread adoption, I think my own distaste lies ultimately in unthinkingly yoking together a communal meal among friends with a zippy, social media-ready portmanteau. Spending this day with friends instead of family might have once carried a whiff of counterculture, but calling it “Friendsgiving” can only represent a full-on capitulation to late capitalism. Let’s stop using the term and take the holiday back to its communitarian, civic roots. Instead of going over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house, we’re likely Uber-ing to our friend’s apartment across town (though I’d encourage you to carpool or take public transit), but it’s Thanksgiving nonetheless. This November 28, try this: “I’m spending Thanksgiving with friends.”

Nuevan curriculum I have come to love. Despite its disorganized appearance, the spiraling, flexible structure allows people who are more interested in one piece of the curriculum to spend more time on it rather than following a rigid structure. This helps to keep students engaged, allows them to explore their interests in more depth, and provides incentives for students to excel in math by ensuring that the reward for grasping content isn’t more of the same problems but rather opportunities to learn about other units that the student finds more interesting. The spiralling nature of the curriculum also means that the units can be flexible, making it easier for math to tie into other subjects. Interdisciplinary learning is one of Nueva’s greatest strengths—this structure helps it to remain that way. In the Middle School, this takes the form of projects like the World’s Fair posters—a crossover between statistics and history— and the sun-angle calculations in the Solar House project. In the Upper School, it’s a bit less obvious—mixed-grade math classes make it harder to accomodate large-scale crossovers—but interdisciplinary projects still exist, often in the form of end-of-semester math explorations. Because the core curriculum covers so many topics each semester, students have many options for their long-term projects and their interdisciplinary connections. After returning to Nueva, I found myself once again fascinated by math and all of its intricacies (well, not all, but that’s the point; the curriculum has allowed me to find what I am intrigued by and trace it through other systems, making everything interesting along the way). I’ve used math to explore von Economo neurons, X-ray crystallography, and ways to model the association between contraceptives and maternal mortality. I’ve been able to find my way out of the rigid boxes of the traditional system and, with the help of Nueva math's flexible brilliance, made connections that give math its utility—and its beauty.


ENTERTAINMENT

page 16 NOV. 7, 2019 VOLUME 3, ISSUE 2

THE NUEVA CURRENT

THREE HALLOWEEN CLASSICS TO WATCH THIS FALL BY GRACE F.

Halloween is over, and many enjoyed trick-or-treating and going to parties with spooky decorations and lots of sweets. If you're like me, however, you spent October 31 cozied up on the couch with a blanket and a cup of hot cider. Here are three classic Halloween films that you can still watch with your friends or family, even after the holiday.

RECENT SCARY RELEASES NETFLIX

HULU

THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS

IT’S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN

HOCUS POCUS

Tim Burton’s stop-motion musical is both terrifying and heartwarming, as are most Disney films. The Nightmare Before Christmas follows Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon) as he leaves Halloween Town and explores the world of Christmas. Prior to the movie’s beginning, Jack Skellington loved being the ruler of Halloween Town, but, tired of his old routine, he ventures into an unfamiliar new holiday and decides to bring a new twist to Christmas. This film is the perfect mix of spooky and hilarious, complete with unique graphics and the hauntingly beautiful soundtrack similar to those of many other Disney films.

Watching this Peanuts special always gives me memories of decorating my house for Halloween and trick-or-treating with my friends. In case you don’t remember, this film tells the story of how Linus and Sally search for the Great Pumpkin while Charlie Brown and the rest of his friends prepare for Halloween. Based on Charles M. Schulz’s famous comic strip, this classic uses the traditional hand-drawn animation and classical music score that we all know and love.

Yet another Disney film, Kenny Ortega’s comedy Hocus Pocus is a true Halloween classic. By accident, a trio of witches (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy) are awakened 300 years after their executions and decide to cause chaos in the town of Salem, Massechussetts. This film follows a band of teenagers as they try to stop the three witches from harming more innocent children. Hocus Pocus wholeheartedly embodies the Halloween spirit in a unique way, and the combination of its hilarious soundtrack and loveable cast makes this film a must-watch.

17 QUESTIONS

HALLOWEEN CANDY TREATS In the weeks after Halloween, fun-size candy bars are in abundance. Whether still in pillowcases and plastic pumpkins, overflowing from what used to be fruit bowls, or spilled on the floor again, there is no shortage of overpoweringly sweet fillings enrobed in untempered milk chocolate and chemical-flavored sugar cast in fluorescent colors. Of course, the sweets will have no trouble disappearing into stomachs and staining teeth—there is a reason trick-ortreating is so popular, and it seems unlikely that it’s the walking-in-the-cold bit—but this year, why not try something a bit more creative than gorging on handfuls of neatlywrapped sugar? Here are a couple of easy recipes to vary how you get your sugary fix.

STAINED GLASS COOKIES (20-30) Ingredients + Materials:

- Shortbread dough, about 4-5 cups total - 20 Jolly Ranchers or other hard candy, separated by color and crushed into small chunks (not powdered) - Cookie cutters, one larger than the other such that the smaller can fit inside with at least a half-inch border - Baking sheets - Rolling pin

Instructions:

1. Roll out the shortbread dough to about ¼ inch thick 2. Cut out shapes with the larger cookie cutter, then transfer to baking sheets lined with parchment paper. If the dough gets too soft to work with, put it in the fridge to cool. 3. Cut the smaller shape out of the larger, returning the small cutouts to the main lump of dough or setting aside to bake separately 4. Fill the smaller cutouts about ¾ of the way with the crushed hard candy, being careful to avoid letting it overflow onto the cookie 5. Bake as you typically would for the dough you’re using (for shortbread, it’s usually 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees)

WITH A JUNIOR ANNA C.

CHOCOLATE-Y HAND PIES (4-5) Ingredients + Materials:

- Pie crust, enough for one 9-inch pie - Chocolate candy bars, blitzed in food processor until large chunks are broken up - 3-inch round cookie cutter or drinking glass - 1 egg, scrambled - Silicone brush - Fork - Baking sheets - Rolling pin

JOINED NUEVA IN 6th Grade

MOST VALUABLE NUEVA EXPERIENCE The teachers FAVORITE TV SHOW “Parks and Recreation”

Instructions:

1. Roll out the pie crust to about ¼ inch thick 2. Cut out circles, re-rolling scraps and cutting again 3. Pair the circles up and place a small ball of the chocolate bar mixture in the center of one of them, leaving about ¾ of an inch around the edge 4. Place the other circle on top of the filling and press down on the edges, forming the dough into a pocket around the chocolate 5. Use a fork to seal the edges of the pie; brush the top of the hand pie with a thin layer of egg 6. Repeat until all dough circles are used 7. Place the finished pies on a lined baking sheet 8. Bake as you typically would the pie crust you’re using, subtracting about half of the typical time—check the pies earlier than you expect, as they can bake quite quickly depending on oven temperature and size

FAVORITE SOUND The ocean/beach BIRTHDAY October 3, 2003 ZODIAC Libra FAVORITE COLOR Blue THEME SONG “Memories” – Maroon 5 BEST MEMORY AT NUEVA Costa Rica trip FAVORITE NUEVA LUNCH Pasta FAVORITE SPOT ON CAMPUS West Courtyard FAVORITE CLASS English and Math

FAVORITE CANDY Twix FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR Chocolate FAVORITE SHOE BRAND Adidas or Nike FAVORITE CHILDHOOD TOY My stuffed bear

ADVENTUROUS NEIGHBORLY NOSTALGIC AFFABLE

CHESS PUZZLE PHOTO BY JORDAN M.

BY GRACE H.

Want to be featured in our next issue? Send us an email at thenuevacurrent@ nuevaschool.org.

White to play and win.

This puzzle is sourced from a game between Jake V. '20 and Sebastian D. '21 and provided by Jake and Daniel H. ’21


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ENTERTAINMENT

CROSSWORD PUZZLE

page 17 NOV. 7, 2019 VOLUME 3, ISSUE 2

Think you got the right answers? Send a photo to us! You are allowed one submission per issue, and will earn an entry into our raffle at the end of the year.

BY WILLOW C. Y.

ACROSS 1. With 4-Down, Foundational's rubric superiors 9. Uncommon items 11. Sadness 13. Slang for aged or long-time 14. Tech featured in Apple's newest headset, abbr. 15. Home to both tech and sports Giants, abbr. 16. Game that might play itself in your absence 17. Exclamation after receiving midterms, maybe 18. "Gloria ________ excelsis ________" 20. A type of language, abbr. 21. Priv. Jesuit college near San Jose, CA 22. What a teacher may comment on an essay, for short 23. Home to the "Big Three" of cars, abbr. 24. Bio. and chem. classes 27. "You ruin all ________!" 30. Life-saving pen, maybe 32. Slang for one who is too mainstream 34. Key pressed after a typo, maybe 35. Standardized test for independent schools

DOWN 1. Of which there are typically five paragraphs, plural 2. To make a mistake 3. Fictional teenage detective Veronica 4. See 1-Across 5. U.S. Army's single data and logistics repository location 6. @ 7. Before "Janeiro," maybe 8. What paper does as it ages 10. What some need glasses to do 12. Spoken defenses or exams 16. Gov.-issued document affirming one's existence 19. 13th letter in Greek alphabet, and worth 50 in numerals 21. Expression of distaste or disappointment, in slang 24. Type of expensive coat, maybe 25. (That's) my fault 26. What you don't want to leave in the morning 27. To, as in time, for short 28. Enemy 29. Made of lies or silk, maybe 31. Athletic requirement outside of sports 33. Popular politics elective, abbr.

THREE BREAKFASTS YOU CAN TAKE WITH YOU TO SCHOOL BY AMANDA W.

Schedules have only gotten busier with the increase in schoolwork, but it is important to squeeze in a healthy breakfast to kick off these jam-packed days. A good breakfast can fuel all your activities and keep you energized. Here are three fast and easy recipes you can make the night before for an on-the-go breakfast in a mason jar on your busy mornings to start your day off on the right foot. APPLE CINNAMON OVERNIGHT OATS

CHOCOLATE CHIA PUDDING

VERY BERRY YOGURT PARFAIT

Ingredients:

Ingredients:

Ingredients:

- ½ cup rolled oats - ½ cup nut milk of choice - Diced apple - Handful of granola - 1 tsp. of cinnamon - Sprinkling of coconut flakes

Instructions:

1. Combine all ingredients in a mason jar 2. Seal mason jar and leave in fridge overnight 3. Top with extra granola, a sprinkle of coconut flakes, and a dash of cinnamon

- 4 tbsp. chia seeds - 1 cup nut milk of choice - 3 tbsp. cocoa powder - 1 tsp. cinnamon - 1 spoon coconut yogurt - Handful of granola - 1 tsp. maple syrup (optional)

Instructions:

1. Combine chia seeds, nut milk, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and maple syrup in a mason jar 2. Seal jar and leave in fridge overnight 3. Top with granola and coconut yogurt

- ⅔ cup yogurt of choice - Handful of berries - Handful of granola

Instructions:

1. Layer ⅓ cup of yogurt at the bottom of your mason jar 2. Place half of the berries on top of yogurt 3. Layer the other ⅓ cup of yogurt over the berries 4. Top with more berries, granola, and toppings of choice

PHOTOS BY AMANDA W.


page 18 NOV. 7, 2019 VOLUME 3, ISSUE 2

SPORTS

GIRLS VARSITY

VOLLEYBALL OVERALL: 21-7, LEAGUE: 9-1

THE NUEVA CURRENT

SETTING IT UP FOR SUCCESS Volleyball team wins their second league title STORY BY AMANDA W. | PHOTOS BY JOY FENG

I

Eastside College Prep: (W) 3-0

n their most recent win against Summit Shasta in the CCS Division V quarterfinals on Tuesday, Nov. 5, the varsity volleyball team has once again asserted their dominance. Led by coach Janelle Burnett, who has been coaching the team for three years, the girls won the quarterfinal game in a 3-1 set match. At the PSAL Tournament on Oct. 29, they beat Shasta in two out of three sets. The team, tied with Summit Shasta in the regular season, captured the league title and is sharing it with them for the second year, largely in part due to their impeccable home record. Their standing in the league

Spike of Thrones Tournament Drew School: (W) 2-0 Westmoor High School: (L) 2-1 Eastside College Prep: (W) 2-0 Westmoor High School: (W) 2-1 Summit Shasta: (L) 2-1 Pacific Bay Christian: (W) 3-0 Design Tech: (W) 3-0 James Lick: (W) 3-0 Summit Shasta: (L) 3-2 University Prep: (W) 3-0 Castilleja: (W) 3-1 Mercy Burlingame: (L) 3-2 Thomas More: (W) 3-0 Pinewood: (W) 3-0 Pacific Bay Christian: (W) 3-0 Design Tech: (W) 3-0

allowed them to move forward into the CCS Division V playoffs for the third year. While the team and Shasta have long battled for first place in the PSAL, Nueva climbed back to the top of the standings with their 3-0 victory—25-13, 25-14, 2516—over Shasta in their second conference game against each other on Oct. 17. The win came after a 3-2 defeat in the first game between the two teams. “That was a huge upset and [it’s] insane that we did that,” said Paige M. ’21, one of the team’s captains. “I think going into the game we were expecting more from them, so we were ready this time around.”

Stockton Classic St. Francis: (L) 2-0 Nevada Union: (L) 2-0 Monte Vista: (L) 2-0 St. Ignatius: (W) 2-0 Mountain View: (W) 3-0 Summit Shasta: (W) 3-0 University Prep: (W) 3-1 Thomas More: (W) 3-0 PSAL Tournament University Prep: (W) 2-0 Summit Shasta: (W) 2-0 CCS Divison V Playoffs

HIGH KILL RATE | Paige M. '21 and Willow C. Y. '21 account for almost 70% of the entire varsity team's kills; the team's number of kills and their hitting percentage is higher than the national average.

Summit Shasta: (W) 3-1

SETTING UP A PLAY | Cate L. '22 sets the ball to Isabella Y. '23 for a play over the net to their opponents from Pacific Bay Christian.

The team also got a huge confidence boost about one week prior at the Stockton Classic. Though they lost the first three games, they ended with an “unexpected” win over St. Ignatius, which really reflected their teamwork and development. “During our tournament we saw a lot of high-level volleyball, which we hadn’t experienced as a team before, so it forced us to communicate and hustle more, which we kept up in preparation for Shasta,” Paige said. Not only is the team succeeding in game play, but there are many players who are leading the league in statistics. As of Nov. 5, Paige and Willow C. Y. ’21 top the PSAL charts with

the highest hitting percentages. Willow also leads the league in the most kills, and Paige comes in fifth, with 285 and 206 kills, respectively. Cate L. ’22 dominates two categories, with 678 assists and 82 serving aces; Willow is close behind with 74 serving aces, the third most in the league. Laura S. ’20 and Isabella Y. ’23 both excel in blocking, with 38 and 30 blocks, respectively, placing them third and fifth. The team hopes to continue building on their success and will play Crystal Springs Uplands School on Thursday, Nov. 7, for the CCS Division V semifinal game.

CROSS-COUNTRY TEAM STAYS ON PACE TO STATES With an impressive record throughout the season, the team proves ready for championships STORY BY SERENA S. | PHOTOS BY JOY FENG

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he cross-country team continues to dominate as the league season comes to an end. After three PSAL meets, and five invitationals, the team feels ready to face qualifiers. Their third invitational, the 40th annual Nike Portland, continues to be a season highlight for many runners as they get to compete at a new level. The 16 students who competed boarded a flight to Oregon on Sept. 27 and joined over 200 runners from grades six through 12 at the race. The varsity boys placed second, producing a 24-second spread between their top five runners to score 79 points. All three JV boys placed in the top 42, and the four varsity girls placed in the top 20. Almost every attendee earned a medal from placing in the top 50. “I was really nervous and was like, ‘Why did I come here before the race?’ But then I realized that it was going to be a lot of fun and it doesn’t really matter how I do,” Ryan D. ’23 said. “It ended up being great!” After a successful meet in Oregon, the team was excited to attend the Artichoke Invitational on Oct. 1o, hosted by Half Moon Bay High School. The varsity boys scored 198 points, placing seventh. The varsity girls competed well but didn't score, due to their incomplete team. It has been tough for the girls to score at the travel meets as the size has been restricting. There are only 10 girls on the entire team, seven of whom run varsity.

AN EXPLOSIVE START Varsity runners Dylan T. '20, Emerson L. '22, Chris M. '20, Davis T. '22, Joshua B. '23, Sebastian S. '21, and Luciano M. '20 push off the dusty trail and blast forward as soon as they hear the pistol fire during a PSAL meet at the Crystal Springs Cross Country Course.

A team needs five people to score in a race, so the team’s ranking has been impacted. On the bright side, the smaller team has allowed more bonding opportunities. “Everyone knows everyone and we get along really well together,” varsity runner Callisto L. ’22 said. Julia W.’23 agrees, describing the team dynamic as one of a family. “The upperclassmen have helped me a lot throughout the season and have become like older brothers to me,” Ryan said. “It’s not drop back to the slowest person, it is making sure the slowest person can get to the front,” said co-captain of the boys team Christopher M. ’20 . Coached by Robert Lopez with assistance from Samantha Huff, each runner has excelled and many personal records have been achieved. “Coach is super great. He’s really improved all of us throughout the season and made us better runners,” Ryan said. The team competed at the Crystal Springs Invitational on Oct. 12 and more recently attended their third PSAL league meet where they came in first. “Both the girls and boys teams are primed to be

the fastest teams in school history,” Lopez said. However, the team, as in most other sports, has also faced setbacks due to injuries. “Running is super intense and it's important for all of us to remember to take rest days. It's something I'm still learning, even as a senior,” said Madeline P. ’2o, co-captain of the varsity girls team. Regardless, this team continues to grow stronger together and has developed numerous traditions and rituals that strengthen their bonds. These include an annual scavenger hunt, running in costumes on Halloween, and generally running in groups to support one another. “The team is close and supportive, and though we're all very different, our love of the sport unites us all and makes us a fantastic team,” Callisto said. “This is the best I’ve seen a team be in my four years,” said Billy P. ’20. The cross-country team is eager to face their PSAL league championships on Nov. 7 and reach CCS championships on Nov. 16. CIF championships take place on Nov. 30.


SPORTS

www.thenuevacurrent.com

page 19 NOV. 7, 2019 VOLUME 3, ISSUE 2

KICKING IT UP A NOTCH

Students utilize martial arts for fitness and life lessons BY JORDAN M.

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any students play on Nueva’s interscholastic sports teams, but beyond typical high school sports, some students also train in various styles of martial arts—a less popular sport in America that has been equally useful for providing space for physical activity as well as learning discipline and building confidence. Whereas sports like basketball, soccer, and volleyball provide high-paced and active exercise that requires constant movement, martial arts can be both extremely dynamic and unusually peaceful—a combination that allows martial artists to not only break a sweat but also learn about balanced lifestyles and training.

PHOTO PROVIDED BY AUDREY A.

PHOTO PROVIDED BY STEVEN K.

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udrey A. ’22 holds a black belt in taekwondo and has recently earned her brown belt in wushu—a martial art similar to a more performance-oriented kung fu—after two years of training. Audrey started taekwondo training at Hiruko Wellness in Los Gatos at 7 years old after her parents signed her up. “In the beginning, I didn’t really like it because I’m a quiet person and I didn’t like yelling,” Audrey recalled. “However, I gradually started to enjoy it more.” Audrey’s training in taekwondo culminated with a three-day black belt test with her friends in the summer of 2017, which happened to coincide with her birthday on June 18, making it an extra special time for her. “Throughout the years I got really close to some of my classmates,” Audrey said. “Our black belt test was hard, but the process was fun and there was a feeling of community. Everything I learned led up to it.” From breaking boards with kicks and sparring with classmates to performing forms and completing exercises, the three-day event was a showcase of the skills Audrey and her classmates had built. “After I got my black belt in taekwondo, I stopped martial arts for a year,” Audrey said. “Then, my mom heard about this new studio that sounded cool, so I started wushu with my sister.” The new studio was Shaolin Warrior Martial Arts in San Jose, where she has been training since. Audrey thinks that while the styles are different, because taekwondo is more defense-oriented while wushu is more performance-based and acrobatic, they share the same pedagogy of discipline, improvement, and goal-setting. “I think a big part of martial arts is the focus and self-awareness,” Audrey said. “When I was doing taekwondo, our teacher would tell us about breaking down challenges into smaller steps, which he symbolized with the colors of different belts. I’ve definitely learned to take smaller steps to overcome bigger challenges.”

“It's shown me that you can be good at things that are unconventional, and that I can do things my way even if it’s not the same way other people do it." —Steven K. ’20

PHOTO PROVIDED BY TREVOR G.

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ollowing in his brother’s footsteps, Trevor G. ’21 has been practicing karate since he was 12 years old. Invigorated by the thought of improvement and ready to relieve his stress from school, Trevor drops off his bag and shoes on the hardwood floor before joining his peers on to the green tatami mats that line the floor. Trevor, typically training six days a week in classes with students of different ages, has earned his three-stripe brown belt after five years of improving technique and building character. After missing almost a year of karate from a basketball-related knee injury at the end of sixth grade, Trevor returned to the studio and has been consistently attending classes since then, even with

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teven K. ’21 was recently cast in kung fu movie Kid Fury after being recruited for his prowess in Choy Lay Fut, a style of kung fu that originates from southern China. Growing up with martial arts at Tat Wong Kung Fu Academy in San Mateo, Steven earned his second-degree black belt last summer after 10 years of training. Kid Fury, which will be released at various film festivals next year, is one of Steven’s favorite memories of his kung fu career. Cast as a thug extra, Steven worked alongside actor and martial artist Jino Kang over two weeks of training and filming. Whereas the action movie—which centers around a master being hunted down by an old rival—has a “simple” storyline, the focus is on the fight scenes. Although Steven didn’t have a big role in the film, he realized that the extras also had to have skills to film the fight scenes. “Even the people who were just getting beat up were really skilled,” Steven said. Kang, who holds a black belt in multiple styles of martial arts, played the master in the film. During the filming, Steven remembers Kang walking up to him and saying, “Anything can be a weapon.” “He was wearing a scarf; the next thing I knew, I was being choked,” Steven recalled. “And then he took the scarf off my neck and laughed. It was scary, but he’s a funny guy who’s very passionate about [martial arts].” After watching so many martial arts movies as a kid, Steven was finally able to help produce a film that he could be proud of. Over the training and filming for Kid Fury, Steven was able to learn and participate in the behind-the-scenes work of action movies. “It was really interesting to [combine] refined technique and execution … with acting and performance,” Steven said. “It’s not the same [because] some of the things are faked or staged.” Besides his role in Kid Fury, Steven has also competed in multiple martial arts tournaments. At the Chinese Martial Arts Tournament hosted by UC Berkeley, Steven earned a gold medal for hand

forms in 2017 and a silver medal in weapon forms this year. Steven has spent a lot of time building up his skill so that he would be able to win tournaments. Originally, his parents sent him to Tat Wong because they thought it would be something fun for Steven to do after school. Although reluctant at first, Steven eventually learned to enjoy his kung fu training. “I became known as the kid who did kung fu, and it’s become a big part of my personality,” he said. “Now, I see it as a good outlet for stress relief and creativity.” In freshman year, Steven took kung fu classes every day after school; however, as school got harder and took up more time, it slowed to two or three times a week. Now, Steven likes to alternate between classes with a “very intense workout” and a day off. At one point in high school, Steven was on the verge of giving up on his training; he was repeatedly getting injured, including breaking an arm from blocking a kick while sparring. “Getting injured would set me back and I would have to learn stuff again,” Steven said. “[It was] very disheartening because every time I thought I was getting better, I’d get hurt again.” Although Steven utilizes weapons— including various knives, swords, fans, and staffs—during training, he also enjoys kicking and uses it in various situations. The roundhouse or side kicks are “fast and easy for defense,” while he enjoys the butterfly kick—involving kicking both legs out and twirling in the air—for its more stylistic aspect. “Time flies really fast and I start feeling lighter, and it’s easier to move,” Steven said. “When I get into the flow state, I can close my eyes and my body will just do the [technique] and I think about the expression and style [more than] the actual movement.” Steven remembers not being very good at traditional sports, but feeling really excited by martial arts. “Kung fu has given me a new perspective on fitness and physical activity,” Steven said. “It’s shown me that you can be good at things that are unconventional, and that I can do things my way even if it’s not the same way other people do it.”

the workload at school. “If I have to skip a day, my instructor knows that I’m a student first,” Trevor said. “He’s pretty accepting if I’m a few minutes late or [have to] skip a class.” Trevor has learned various types of martial arts—including karate, kickboxing, and jiu jitsu—throughout his training at the United Studios of Self Defense (USSD) in Menlo Park. Each style of martial arts consists of different techniques in addition to different types of clothing; for Trevor, a bedsheet-thin gi is worn for karate while a thicker blue gi adorned with a Pokémon patch and imprinted red-and black octopi is donned for jiu jitsu. Trevor has trained with three different instructors during his time at USSD. “One of my instructors is an old-timey badass and he tells crazy stories [about his past],” Trevor said. “Another started karate when he began walking, and the third is a professional MMA fighter.” Training at first without any goals because he was “just filling in for [his] brother” after a foot injury, Trevor ended up enjoying karate training and setting different goals for himself. One of Trevor’s favorite kicks is one that he spent a lot of time trying to improve: the “question mark kick,” which

is a combination of a front kick fake and a roundhouse kick. “I couldn’t get it at first, and it required a lot of knee flexibility,” Trevor said. However, over the course of his martial arts career, Trevor learned that there are goals to set beyond improving in technique. He specifically recalled how he used to struggle with accepting feedback from his instructors. “You work hard on something and pour your time and soul into it, and someone says it’s not good enough,” Trevor said. After realizing that working to improve techniques using different methods is more important than merely practicing the technique until it’s perfect, Trevor set a more personal goal: “You have to be able to [accept that feedback] and not get mad.” For Trevor, martial arts is a good way to build character and relieve stress. Whereas some people just like to punch things, Trevor feels very relaxed in the moment and thinks of his training as a type of “fast-paced problem-solving.” “Karate made me more balanced in life and helped me realize you have to spend time [improving] different techniques,” Trevor said. “To be a good martial artist, you have to be good at all of those things.”


page 20 NOV. 7, 2019 VOLUME 3, ISSUE 2

SPORTS

THE NUEVA CURRENT

SPORTS COMMENTARY

THE NBA SHOULDN’T LET CHINA BULLY THEM The NBA—an American organization—should not be expected to follow the orders of the Chinese government BY CAMPBELL H.

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even words. One tweet. Over a billion pissed off people. As the general manager for the Houston Rockets, a team always close but missing out on the NBA finals, Daryl Morey is accustomed to public criticism. But surely he wasn’t prepared for the firestorm his tweet would ignite in the world’s most populous country. After tweeting “FIGHT FOR FREEDOM STAND WITH HONG KONG,” Morey thrust both himself and the NBA into a firestorm of political controversy and has received much backlash from fans in China who view the Hong Kong protests as violent riots. In addition to angering over a billion potential Chinese viewers, the tweet was poorly received by the Chinese government, who canceled the broadcasting of the NBA preseason in China and removed Lakers and Nets banners. The NBA responded by issuing a public apology for Morey’s tweet, igniting even more outrage from Americans, myself included, who viewed the apology as caving to the demands of an international power and abandoning the values of a league that has often been at the forefront of political issues. Apologizing to China for an employee tweeting “fight for freedom” doesn’t make sense. After the initial outrage, NBA commissioner David Stern announced to the world that China had asked him to fire Morey for the image he posted, an allegation that China denied vehemently. Luckily, Silver did not fire Morey at China’s request; however, I find it deeply troubling that China felt it had the authority to demand that a high-ranking employee at a U.S. company be fired. James Harden, the 2018 league MVP and franchise player of the Rockets—who

also happens to be one of the most popular NBA players in China—issued an apology to China, saying, “We apologize. You know, we love China. We love playing there.” LeBron James, global basketball superstar and the previous president of the National Basketball Players Association, called Morey’s tweet “misinformed,” which swiftly led to more criticism, some

believing he is siding with the Chinese government to protect his sponsor, Nike, a company that makes $1.6 billion annually in China. Both James and Harden’s statements feel like cop-outs to mitigate the damage to their wallets caused by the NBA-China rift, overlooking the fact that China attempted to bully their league and commissioner to

fire a man for exercising his right of free speech. This isn’t the first time a major US corporation has gotten into hot water with the global superpower, with recent controversies surrounding Tiffany posting an image with a model covering one eye (a reference to the Hong Kong protests), Nike for selling shoes designed by protest-supporter Jun Takahashi, and South Park for criticizing Hollywood’s willingness to please the Chinese government. The gaming company Activision was attacked for employing a gamer who expressed support for the Hong Kong protests, Marriot was ordered by China to shut down its website for a week after listing Hong Kong and Macau as separate countries, and Apple was publicly criticized by China for including the Taiwan emoji on its keyboard. Nike pulled the sneaker from the market, Apple removed the Taiwan emoji from its keyboard, Activision fired the professional gamer in question, and both Marriot and Mercedes-Benz publicly apologized to the Chinese government. None of these companies needed to bow down to an authoritarian foreign government—they all did so because no major corporation wants to lose access to a market with a billion people. China has been leveraging its power and influence against US companies to control them for years, and the NBA is just the most recent infringement. Hopefully, the NBA will not adhere to China’s demands, as a foreign government attempting to leverage its influence to control the internal affairs of a U.S. business and monitor speech is the exact kind of misuse of government power that many in Hong Kong, for instance, are trying to protest against—the entire point Daryl Morey was trying to make.

THE PRESSBOX

It’s if the NCAA does not win the appeal that the effects of the law get interesting. As California law and the rules of the NCAA would be fundamentally at odds, California universities would no longer be part of the NCAA.

CALIFORNIA’S FAIR PAY TO PLAY ACT SIGNED INTO LAW A survey of the law’s potential long-term ramifications for collegiate sports BY MIRIELLE W., GUEST COLUMNIST

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he news spread across the nation like wildfire: California’s Fair Pay to Play Act was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on Sept. 30, 2019. The law prohibits California universities from punishing players who have been reimbursed for the use of their name, image, or likeness, and will take effect Jan. 1, 2023. The Fair Pay to Play act is the first law that allows players to make money as a result of their athletic abilities while still in college. However, nobody knows the ultimate ramifications of this law. Will it be repealed and consigned to a footnote of collegiate sports history? Or does it represent the first step towards a fundamental change in college athletics? Currently, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is appealing to federal court to force a repeal of the law. If the court finds that the Jerry Tarkanian

case, which ruled that the NCAA was a private institution and as such could not be restricted from enforcing its own rules, sets a sufficient precedent, California could be forced to repeal the act. It’s if the NCAA does not win the appeal that the effects of the law get interesting. As California law and the rules of the NCAA would be fundamentally at odds, California universities would no longer be part of the NCAA. Previously, the NCAA’s monopoly on collegiate athletics has made the institution nearly untouchable, even as groups of universities questioned its ability to police its member institutions and the fairness of its rules and scheduling—however, if California schools leave the NCAA, it could allow other secession movements to gain momentum. If the Fair Pay to Play Act still exists by 2023, the NCAA won’t be the only orga-

nization affected. The Pac-12 conference, already falling far behind rival conferences in TV ratings, revenue, and major sport success, would lose a third of its members, along with its two most populous regions: LA and the Bay Area. Of course, the biggest question from a political perspective—will this law lead to universities directly paying college athletes?—is also the hardest to answer. This is an undeniable, concrete step in that direction. If it isn’t repealed, the Fair Pay to Play Act will undoubtedly serve as a blueprint for similar bills in other states and on Capitol Hill. However, many more thorny issues must be hashed out before a true “pay to play” scheme can be put into place. Ultimately, only time will tell if the Fair Pay to Play Act will cause a nationwide shift in college athletics.

Profile for The Nueva Current

The Nueva Current | November 2019  

Volume 3, Issue 2. Inside this issue: stories of immigrants, a profile of an alum who studied at Le Cordon Bleu during her gap year, updates...

The Nueva Current | November 2019  

Volume 3, Issue 2. Inside this issue: stories of immigrants, a profile of an alum who studied at Le Cordon Bleu during her gap year, updates...

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