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the newspaper of Palos Verdes Peninsula High School 27118 Silver Spur Road, Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274

Vol. XXXIII Issue 2

26 Oct. 2012

By USWAH SHABBIR PEN NEWS WRITER Beginning this year, Principal Mitzi Cress had to make significant budget cuts which affected several school-wide programs across a broad range, and in total, 16 “sections� of sports, academics, and clubs were removed from the Pen High curriculum. The cause of these budget cuts is the lack of public-school funding in California, and in an attempt to rectify the issue, two measures, Proposition 30 and 38, both propse to raise more money for statewide public education. Proposition 30 is represented by Governor Jerry Brown. This proposition aims to raise $9.8 billion annually for the General Fund by increasing income tax for the highest earners in California. (cont. 3)

Reselling dance tickets, faking identification, and lying on applications: Investigate further on page 7


Get your fall style on with student produced trends on page 10




James Nelson is more than just our running back. Read his story on page 5










The plaque built in honor of Naef reads, “Annamay Rebecca Celine Naef, April 4, 1995-October 5, 2011. Forever in our hearts.”

Family and friends participate in Annamay Naef’s memorial and walk the designated trail in her remembrance. Naef’s memorial was held on Oct.5, exactly a year after her death.


District anticipates results of Prop 30/38 By USWAH SHABBIR PEN NEWS WRITER

(Continued from page 1) This would also entail a sales tax increase of 0.25 cents for four years. In contrast, Molly Munger, a California attorney, in association with the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA), supports Proposition 38. Proposition 38 would raise $10 billion directly for K-12 schools by raising taxes for most California earners. Although both will provide money for the education budget, 30 provides a more general education budget, and 38 specifically creates an annual budget for K-12 schooling.

Currency change proves to be successful By VALERIA PARK PEN NEWS WRITER

Another controversial aspect of the election is the possibility of both propositions passing. If this happens, the proposition with the most votes would be implemented. Several conditions of the losing proposition, however, could be added to the winning one, therefore creating a mix of the two propositions. If either passes, Peninsula, like other California public high schools, would receive increased funding in order to reinstitute clubs, sports and classes that had been cut. “I just want funding for our school,” Cress said. “I want something to pass in order to help education.”

When sixth period ended on Oct. 12, students rushed out of their classrooms eager to participate in the Homecoming festivities. This year marked the beginning of a new currency system for the annual Homecoming Carnival.


she referred to Naef as “part of the family.” “Ultimately, we always went back to horseback riding with her,” Spydell said. “It was the most beautiful time of our lives, riding with her and being part of that world with her.” RPV Deputy Sheriff Angela Alfaro emphasized the danger of driving in violent weather, and the safety precautions that can be taken to prevent such accidents. “You have to definitely take into consideration the road factors. If the road is wet with the first rain of season, there’s a lot more oil on road,” Alfaro said.

According to Alfaro, the most dangerous intersection near Peninsula is Palos Verdes Drive North and Hawthorne Blvd. The roads are busiest during commute times, in the morning before school from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m., and in the afternoon around 3:30 p.m. Students should be wary of traffic and should never attempt to multitask while driving. Alfaro added that it is important to watch for not only the car in front of you, but the car in front of that as well. “If he slams on his brakes, you and the car in front of you won’t have enough reaction speed.” However cautious a driver may be, accidents do occur. This is how Peninsula lost Annamay Naef. Although Naef’s presence may no longer be with us, she will continue to live on in the hearts of family, friends and the panther community. SARAH ANDERSON/THE PEN

On Oct. 5, friends of Annamay Naef remembered her on the anniversary of her tragic death. Exactly one year before, the car Naef rode in spun out of control, hitting a post at the corner of Hawthorne Blvd. and PV Drive North, resulting in the head trauma that took her life. However, Annamay has remained alive in everyone’s hearts. Bouquets of flowers decorated the plaque built in honor of Naef. One by one, people quietly lit candles and set them next to the plaque. “It really doesn’t feel like it’s been a year,” senior Amanda Yost said. “I met her in sixth grade through mutual friends and we used to talk all the time.” Growing up within the same school district, numerous Panthers had come to know Naef. “During freshmen year we had a ‘love-hate’ relationship, but sophomore year we just clicked,” senior Trevor Stiker said. “We became best friends.” Naef also connected with

members of the community, and used to regularly babysit two little boys who were Boy Scouts. To honor her, their 12-scout troop constructed a sign, renaming the riding trail near the accident site “Annamay’s Trail.” Rolling Hills Estates gave permission to rename the trail in honor of Naef’s passion for riding. Family friend Cat Spydell had been one of the people who helped Naef pursue horseback riding, and


A Trail to Remember


A major concern for the opposing groups and all schools in the state is if neither proposition passes this November. If so, $4.8 billion will be cut in K-12 education, and one billion will be cut from higher education, predominantly CSUs and UCs. In addition, the length of the school year would be decreased by up to three weeks and the average funding per enrolled student would decrease. These cuts could be implemented as early as midyear 2013 and definitely by the start of the 2013-2014 school year. “If things keep going as they are going, we are in deep trouble,” Cress said.

The tickets were implemented in order to avoid the possibility of fraud that had allegedly occurred last year, in which club presidents would pocket proceeds that were supposed to go to their clubs. This policy is expected to continue next year.

Panthers roar as API score soars By USWAH SHABBIR PEN NEWS WRITER

Every year, students and faculty await the arrival of the API scores, a result of the STAR tests taken statewide every May. This year, Peninsula’s score increased from an 898 to a 907. District wide, the API score grew from 919 to 923. “Last year’s test data for all standardized tests is proof that despite the negative impact related to the state budget reductions, our teachers, school administrators and support staff have remained focused on student achievement and meeting the needs of the whole child,” Superintendent Walker Williams said via mass email. Despite the gradual increase of API scores over the years, from an 871 in 2007 to a 907 in 2012, the district must implement new government standards by the 2014-2015 school year. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are focused on testing whether districts are preparing students for college

and careers later on. California and 44 other states have collectively decided to switch to the CCSS. “The [CCSS] has been in development for several years,” Cress said. “They are national standards that will take effect in 2014.” The CCSS will provide a clear understanding of what students are supposed to be learning, verifying for teachers and parents what students should know by a certain age. Teachers and students will be better able to evaluate performances based on a newly designed, more appropriate skill set. The creators of these standards, the state government not the federal government, are hoping to better help students succeed in the future. The CCSS will be applied by 2014. Until that time, Peninsula staff is still focused on increasing the API score. “My goal is to continue this record of sustained progress,” Cress said.

“The new method is definitely better because it helped assure club members that their money is secure and incidents from the past would not occur again.”

“The new system prevented me from losing any of my money. It was also better because I could keep track of how much money I was spending.”

Jenna Lin ASB Commissioner of Clubs

Julia Chang Sophomore





HEROs save butterflies

One Step Ahead



After 20 years of teaching, Verenkoff has decided to retire, but not before being recognized for her work. She looks back on her time at Peninsula. By TUNIKA ONNEKIKAMI PEN STUDENT LIFE WRITER

Jill Verenkoff, an English 2 Honors and English 4 AP Lit. teacher, has been teaching at Peninsula for 20 years. In that time, she has accompanied two presidential scholars to Washington D.C. and has earned the Teacher Recognition Award from the Department of Education. She will be honored with the PVPUSD “Teacher of the Year” award on Nov. 7. “I think it’s surreal,” Verenkoff said. “I don’t feel it. I don’t feel like I’m different from any other teacher here, so it’s a big question mark in my head

why I was selected.” Verenkoff said she finds being the center of attention uncomfortable. According to District Human Resources Administrator, Rhonda Warman, this award is given to only four teachers each year. It is sponsored by the Palos Verdes Peninsula Rotary Club. Principal Mitzi Cress was “absolutely thrilled” with Verenkoff’s nomination, calling what she does in her classroom “magical.” Verenkoff’s students agree with Cress. “Mrs. Verenkoff has a different approach to teaching,” junior Tim Cotter said. “She’s very light-hearted and happy


when she’s teaching. It leads to a very relaxed environment.” Verenkoff has decided to retire after this school year, but calls her decision to teach the “best thing she has ever done.” One factor that nurtured her love for teaching, history and literature was her favorite book, “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy. She said she learned more from the book than any history class she took when she was a student. Verenkoff said some of her best memories at Peninsula involved the staff, whom she calls “a family.” Others memories involve her time in the classroom and the “joyous” student activities. More recently, she

recalls with pride the two trips she took to the White House with presidential scholars David Tang-Quan, class of ‘11, and David Wang, class of ‘12. Verenkoff has continued to learn from her students throughout her years of teaching, saying “coaching Academic Decathlon and keeping one step ahead of the kids in [nearly every] subject was the most mind-expanding experience.” Being assistant coach for the team turned her into a “virtual egghead.” “Even though I’m about to retire, I feel like my head is as full as a graduate student in college,” Verenkoff said.

are you

smarter than a national merit

On Oct. 13, the HERO (Habitat and Environmental Restoration Org.) Club began its new Blue Butterfly Project. The project’s goal is to provide more habitats for the endangered Palos Verdes Blue Butterfly which can survive in only a few small habitats on the Peninsula. HERO Club is the largest environmental service club on campus. In the past, the club has worked with the Palos Verdes Land Conservancy on various projects, but the Blue Butterfly Project is the first that has been entrusted solely to the responsibility of HERO Club members, from both of Peninsula and Palos Verdes High. “[We] are all doing our best to make this new project as successful as possible,” HERO Club President Lisa Choi said. To start, club members gathered at a site near Dapplegray Elementary. There, they weeded a plot of land and planted the Blue Butterfly’s two primary plants, locoweed and deerweed. These two plants have become scarce on the Peninsula in recent years due to the invasive nature of nonnative plants. “I’m really excited about this new project because it is the first time the club has received its own plot of land,” Choi said. The HERO Club, through projects such as the Blue Butterfly Project, allows students to contribute significantly to the local environment.

12 semifinalist?

Directions: For each question, select the best answer from among the choices given. All choices are real answers from National Merit Semifinalists.

apple juice or orange juice? (A) apple juice (B) orange juice (C) they have about the same

3. What unit of currency is used in many countries of the world, including Argentina, Cuba, and the Philippines? (A) dollar (B) peso (C) euro (D) salt (E) none of the above


(A) brown (B) clear (C) blue (D) orange (E) black

5. What pairs of body parts continue to grow throughout our lives? I. nails & hair II. hair & bones III. nose & ears IV. ears & brain (A) I only (B) II only (C) I &II (D) I & III (E) I, II, III & IV

2. C (h)

3. B (m)

4. A (e)

5. D (m)

Correct Answers Lower case letter in parentheses after the answer indicates difficulty level as determined by semi-finalists’ responses (e = easy, m = medium, h=hard).

(A) 6 cm/min (B) 13 m/hr (C) 5 in/min (D) 0.03 ft/sec (E) 0.028 mph

2. Which has more calories per serving:

4. What was the original color of Coca-


How fast does ketchup flow out of a glass bottle?

that has no rhyming pair.

orange , purple


1. Name one word in the English language


Twenty-two students have qualified to be a National Merit Semifinalist, meaning they have scored exceedingly well on their PSAT. These students are recognized as some of Peninsula’s brightest students. A survey was given to each National Merit Semifinalist consisting of the simple task of answering five random trivia questions. Surprisingly, not one semifinalist could correctly answer all five questions. Are you smarter than a National Merit Semifinalist?





Sam I Am:

My Obsession with Fantasy Football By SAM QUON

college applications, I find myself on the computer going through my weekly lineups for at least an hour daily. After finishing my draining physics homework, I reward myself with even more research on upcoming games, comparisons of different defenses and the difficult decision of drafting the most skilled tight end available. At school, I’ll hear talk about which athletes performed the best over the weekend. Around campus, students will still be talking about players such as Tim Tebow, Arian Foster and Philip Rivers. Sitting in class, I’m not focused on derivatives or “The Scarlet Letter”; rather I worry about running back Trent Richardson’s hip injury. The rest of the day, I’m constantly thinking about who to start: Peyton or Sanchez? Which defense will lock down this week: the Jets or Pats? Fantasy football’s popularity has still continues to rise. Fantasy football looks to be here to stay. While procrastinating on my essay, as I count down the three days, seven hours, and 45 minutes until my wide receiver Calvin Johnson takes on the weakened Bears defense, I hope it is.


Each year, athletes of the National Football League endure another grueling season. Meanwhile, a fair amount of fans, myself included, will count the yards a certain quarterback accrues, the number of catches a particular receiver makes, and how few points a defense allows. I’ll be playing fantasy football. Since this trend has captured sports fanatics all across the country. Seemingly trivial to some, fantasy football gives fans the coveted opportunity to run a team composed of players of their choice. Each week, the athletes on my team accumulate a certain number of points for performance in their respective positions. At the end of the week, the points are totaled and the winner is named. The nationwide revolution has a unique way of bringing people together through one common goal: winning. What can make a guy wake up early on a Monday morning? Checking my fantasy football scores to see how I fared against my competition. Major fantasy football networks offer live update scoring so I can see how many points I gained from Peyton Manning throwing a 28-yard scoring pass. Kudos to myself for having also drafted the receiver, Demaryius Thomas. Despite the entertainment and competition, fantasy football also provides an additional distraction to people everywhere. Even with my immense amount of homework and



Nelson penetrates the holes in the defense against Redondo Union High, Peninsula High would go on to lose 21-3.

Nelson’s Got the Magic Touch(down) By SAM QUON

returned the ball 91 yards for a touchdown. The team relies on Nelson The crowd roars as number 26 to take pressure off of junior sprints down the field, dodging quarterback Ian Escutia, and he Beverly Hills tacklers. Nearing has done exactly that, averaging the goal line, senior James 90 yards per game. Nelson Jr. sidesteps a defender “With James doing so well, and dives into the end zone. my job becomes a lot easier. We The football team leaps on the can just hand off to him and sidelines as Nelson celebrated his let him go to work,” second touchdown junior quarterback of the game. Ian Escutia said. Transferring to “James has put the team on his back. He Nelson leads the Peninsula in his junior year, Nelson carries it the most for us. We know he’s going entire Bay League in rushing yards, having had to play on the to give us good yards each carry.” run for 357 total junior varsity last yards this season. He year, following CIF Max McHugh has also scored 32 rules. This year, total points. however, Nelson Senior Football Captain “I’ve just tried to has proved to be an work hard and get better from Nelson rumbled through the integral part of the varsity squad. last season,” Nelson said. “I’m line and raced for an 88-yard “James has put the team on trying to help my team win as touchdown run. his back. He carries it the most much as we can.” “It was unbelievable. The for us,” senior Max McHugh said. The football team certainly line opened up some big holes “We know he’s going to give us looks poised to collect a few and I just took off,” Nelson good yards each carry.” more wins this season, with the said. As the team’s main back, ball in the hands of their star Against Leuzinger, he Nelson Jr. has put up impressive runningback, James Nelson Jr. received the kickoff at the nine numbers this season. In a 35-7 yard line. In a dash, Nelson victory over Beverly Hills, he raced past the defenders and rushed for 164 yards on 21 PEN SPORTS WRITER

carries. He also scored two touchdowns with runs of 13 and seven yards. Nelson followed that with a 132 yard performance and another two touchdowns against Lawndale. Perhaps the most exciting moment of his season happened versus Lawndale. On the team’s first possession,

What Pumps up our Panther athletes? By BRYAN LEE AND JONATHAN WU PEN SPORTS EDITORS

on Sachi Carls Senior Girls’ Tennis e’re Young Live While W One Direction

Still Ballin’ Tupac feat. Kurupt

Jasmine Zahedi Senior Girls’ Volleyball Turbulence Lil’ Jon, Laidback Luke,

Steve Aoki

Hayden Hin sch Senior Boys’ Cross C ountry Million Voice s Otto Knows


Andrew Martin Senior Boys’ Water polo




What songs get fellow Panthers in the zone? We’ve gone around and asked fall athletes which songs pump them up the most.








By J I N






ing Re vealed

The be the end ll sounds, sig naling o A lmos f zero per iod t instan . Many tly, a cr studen owd of their tic students dec ts wait ide to s ing to p k Homec ell ur change ets simply be oming cause o Dance chase in their snakes tickets fa Popula social c out of t re a he Stud and aro to Scho vents such as lendar. ent Sto und th re ol e H bu th With a ildin ticket la Dance result e Back in som under in of stud n increased n g. e the las en u t minu g especially a conges ts at school, c mber t t e . tion is a mpus “I cou not t problem so I de ldn’t go to the at Penin he only cided t t N o auctio dance, junior tion. nhe g y m can only sula. Because c HE PE a s s T t / u n d u Y fi a ent, wh n it of f,” a m L b e en k o se n ed tr campus. for t ber of people, tt a limited EAD ept ano z T i S r o ic h ny mou ame has e dema kets to sold his on uth YAE a d s, said. n s n e d c B h r u t ising. S o i He ticket f ack to Schoo ome st ol events is in an , is prohib e o l Dance r g u t a d $ a k e 2 s e n 0 g n t t s m n t o h e h o e r ave is oppo re t ha n iginal p ts ick themse r the r ic like t tuden lves by tunit y to ben A lthou e. efit resellin dance Two s ng items, g h t h ticket e se re of ten o g covet li sales a ve ed A lthou s. Resel re still w il r pr iced, stud g h s ents ar t ling to udents all awa e purcha are not tickets re of th se in e studen earlier stead of buy in the ts are p regulations, at rohibit g selling ed from especia the Student S them items lly w ith tore, “I didn on campus. of tran t ’t realiz saction he convenien tickets e that r s throu ce F wa s ag a c e e s b e ook. gh lling ain sophom ore Sim st the r ules,” “Stude it’s cau on Shin nts sho tickets sin said. “I w ith th uldn’t buy ex school, g such a pro f e tr b of rese th le lling th explicit motiv a empha e r ule should m at em to o e selling sized.” be mor the yo e To pre pr ice to ur ticket at a rs, but higher people school vent problem w pay for ke s, it work ho are w illin that co eps electronic the g to s out a situatio nt li sa n studen ain the name sts Huang ,” sophomore w in-w in ts who s of the bought Chr istin said. “We k tickets a It is a c . accoun eep a list for o n c er n t h tickets tabilit y a t s a u reason r flag cer s, b who sim e forced on s ch costly ta tudent ply w is it has b in tickets if w ut we s s h ee e chool e vent. S to at tend a times,” n resold num suspect ome m the sca erous Studen ay lp tS membe earn th ers are smar t say that r Mar ie tore staf f e enough C m r o s s en oney Adult but sen t s ior Pat by themselve o studen monitors who aid. t s i , ts’ IDs P c r h och dis “I adm e ck at the d entran ire the ag re e s anc ce abilit y . to mak m for their to cros of ten only ha e e a pro s check think t ve the fi t, b he time the list tickets . for flag that th y need to und ut I ere is a ged e time an rstand for tha d a pla t, and s ce ch approp r iate se ool isn’t an t ting,” P ro ch said.






fraud n o i t a c i es appl s a e r c n i crisis n of mixed o i t i t nts who are e ca li p p p m tion A o the race op often choose geous, or ents falsely College c d ce tu ra “S . id ta Baner jee sa er hours most advan

that is to have eir volunte are ause es are likely increased th e standards ec eg b ll th e is co b pus is at e ay th n th , “M S mes n their cam se ever yo PE N FOCU and, oftenti s. udents of o high becau n oolwork o st h so ti ty ss g sc ta ri le in o ec m tt o p in an F fr ge ex ce race is a m Pressure of the high ” senior Bru dents t into the ple, because the is cheating, sults in stu wants to ge e people e th n o r ” fo ry w n. For exam s. o ir ve n E fa too often re am -k t t” re o er u d n ss o ] s le t’ er ay r “I h o w . r is o from an said “easy ” college of [h tak ing the t who comes ally tr y ing. students the tu en n d o In ac u as e g. st n re ar a an family ti n o o h ea w ch ive A mer ic he comm the survey T at e to N , eg by ly ing or d se ss ll n an ce co o r ro sp an ei A si In re ly Native on th ersity lication p to mark on ive for ly ing nford Univ ant to led se g college app ta o w el o S p , ey ch m ed th co ay ct at e u m ts ar cond s is th er than r ethnicit y. application er to nds of many studen rades, rath A mer ican fo ation in ord ated that “g r the thousa e st ve rm th o e fo t se so many u m in o o e d as k is ec stan to fa equally think becau h “I on, have b te bets. Th it ti ia w .” ca eg ion ts u ts ll n ed en co ca d r tting reject any stu other appli hedge thei ic records. eople are ge of the fierce r focus of m p em o ey apply ct n aj u o ad th d s m ac es ro e cu p eg iv fo a ll impress s have issue is andards for the co ce ’t help but n s st ffi o h er ca e s tt ig e n h le o “W d m si is n an red to ak e whole College adm competitio ey’re pressu rtance of ore than th over time. o th m p r,” , se te es im to ri et e r ad b to th io e gr k n o u tions lo phasized ons, ca it ti cation,” se em li that contin u e ca p k li ed li p ap f s r o ap el t ei “A g p fe th , it amon conce els a said. nd “Every year uniqueness g said. “It fe aige Fujihar taken P ege,” e an ll r w av io co h H n are t ts to se er e en go ud A lb to at colleges about th but many st gets harder way and ma said. ersity is wh lleges care g u iv n co n d l eople d ro ga p if al w u ea e S re e k st a li th su in ts in then I’m at adv ice e scores, ac r, th t th senior Sayak r fo d es ei g n an o th in l h s k o is al er lo [unusual] numb it ted d ly expect to put some at have comm “[Colleges] we’re actual t d o ar ch u . st go ns.” l d m ly il te w w al it o of h adm be re r applicatio cing in a order to be students to tr ibutor ities on thei n ic or exper ien ssible that n g co o h p f in er t o et ’s n th it ec ls ar o p ve le so ex sing le R ace is an ever y thing, people How do they t our any With increa it’s w rong, classroom. d seen on m es in bu g au d cheating in fr e th an r y , th ei n an to even though io th ng y colleg competit an e stuff on to focus on k M s fa u s. n te o nplace amo ri ti w applica would hool?” ing commo sity to make sc m er on o to in iv s n d ec n es b io o er at ti ad d to si ca gr li inform nfess the U.S. con ortance on their college app r.” students co ents, fak ing me y d te o u et an st b ec M b k n p o io as lo im h at t s lication be of grea themselves g the inform ts to gain college app ntr y to a study exaggeratin s. In at temp unit y se m u , p m on. The cou According ts m co n m r ca y ca b ei m li th co p er b g ap re m in o er er te m rd th ep ga o h S r re in sonal tion w eth leverage ove conducted to lie about ours and per rced to ques “cheating h n , fo th u e ty u is ic si eg yo b rv er e iv se an h n av ic ic A mer if has s in wh students h Stanford U e morals of r ethnicit y ol students dents th ei n ys, two area o u o th h sa n st sc a es te as h ra l in ig il t ge h u h ow n or exag among n stand o r the past uestion is a have gone d ing into students ca atically ove hnicit y in q f . et o if ficult y gett e er er % d n th 3 risen dram ss re an “7 le o , m a m ly r ic o al ce n y em fa it io it ic ad o d n h ac e. d h w A ic eir cho of people minority et 50 years.” most schools of th “I’ve heard s agree that llege hnicit y. et co r n t. ei w in o th o n p k n all test taker o e d exaggerate cheat at som Somdeb students do dents ns,” senior u o ti st l ca o li o p h sc ap h ig h f o % 6 8 agreed.”



voters can make. “It might not seem to be a big deal, but when it comes down to it, even those few people [who are fraudulent voters] can make a difference in the outcome of the election,” senior Bo Kim said. Additionally, supporters of voter ID laws deny the existence of obstacles against legitimate voting since restrictive states have made free IDs available to those without one. Jonathan Tobin of stated that voting numbers have actually increased. He argued that if people needed to show IDs to “board an airplane, conduct a bank transaction, even buy a beer” then they should be required to present an ID to vote as well. “Obtaining some kind of proof of citizenship isn’t very difficult even if you are a minority or have low-income,” senior Alex Castrey said. “Voter ID laws would make election

results more accurate.” Those against the requirement to present valid IDs when voting question the moral justification and compare the voter ID laws to the Jim Crow Laws of the South in the early 1900s which kept African Americans from the polls. “Implementing these laws would be so discriminatory,” senior Kevin Choi said. “How are people without IDs going to vote?” Protestors of voter ID laws have also contended that voting is a constitutionally protected right and therefore, forcing people to present IDs is harassment and unconstitutional. “Overall, the idea [of voter ID laws] is good but I think implementing them would lead to [opposition] that would need to be [dealt with] as well,” senior Henry Zhang said. The fight over voter ID laws has yet to come to a conclusion and as Election


As Election Day approaches, debates over sensitive issues surrounding the election ensue. Voter fraud has become a controversy between the two major parties. The Republican Party has been pushing for a requirement to show state-issued IDs while the Democratic Party has been rallying against this idea. Student voters have shown varying reactions to the issue of voter fraud and requiring voters to present a valid ID at voting booths. Those promoting a requirement to show an ID when going to vote have argued that although the number of fraudulent voters may be small in the entire pool of American voters, that small number can make a significant difference in the outcome of the presidential election. Voter ID proponents referred to the close election in 2000 of George W. Bush over Al Gore, to emphasize the huge difference a small number of

Day approaches, voters and candidates alike have grown more aggressive in supporting or opposing issues such as this. “Although I do have the appropriate IDs, I would feel denied of my rights as a citizen if these laws passed, especially over such trivial reasons,” senior Haruka Komiyama said.



Why so serious?


Once every year, children stumble around neighborhoods, high on sugar, rushing door to door with sticky little buckets, whining the same clichéd phrase: “Trick or Treat.” What seems like an innocent choice, however, is really just a calculated demand for candy, not an oppertunity to have fun or enjoy a night of mischief. Unfortunately, this development often persists into adulthood, with humorless children maturing into boring adults, intent on reaping the sugary but unfulfilling rewards of life while bypassing some of the more risky situations that life has to offer. These are the people who sit stoically through Will Ferrell movies and who even complain to the authorities when the music is played too loud.For those of you about to disgustedly put down this newspaper, I hope

you realize that the last sentence was a little something called satire, aimed at those who can’t take a joke. These humorless individuals always confuse me; don’t they realize how pointless it is to feel affronted by harmless comedy? Life is short enough, and laughing is what helps us get through the tougher times. Last week, for example, a friend of mine pranked me by sending a link showing a screaming, flashing ghoul. After the initial shock wore off, I laughed at how high I had jumped and even sent it to a few of my friends. The response was unanimous: Nobody thought it was funny. Instead of seeing it as a lighthearted joke, they responded with words unprintable in a newspaper, taking an overserious approach to nothing more than a joke. Sadly, we’ve been raised to take offense at material that forces us outside of our comfort zones and, if anything disturbs the perfect order of our world, we immediately remove it. Pulling harmless pranks has become the epitome of sin, and a little harmless fun is rejected, seen as loathsome and repulsive.



Editorial: Nothing good comes free By EDITORIAL STAFF

The fight over education funding relentlessly continues each and every day, particularly over the passage of two propositions: Proposition 30 and Proposition 38. These controversial measures will be voted upon in California on Nov. 6. In essence, these two propositions function similarly—both provide a substantial amount of funding that will be allocated to California’s currently beleaguered public education system. More specifically, Proposition 30, pushed by Governor Jerry Brown, would give California’s public schools a gross total of $9.8 million a year, and Proposition 38, conceptualized by multibillionaire Molly Munger, would raise $10 billion for the same cause. The catch is that these funds need to be drawn from somewhere, and just like other efforts to raise money, these propositions will indeed raise tax rates on California citizens. Prop 30 would increase taxes on people whose annual income exceeds $250,000, and Prop 38 would increase taxes on anyone who earns more than $7,000 annually. As of a week ago, polling indicates that Prop 38 will most likely fail, but Prop 30

hovers in a delicate state of flux, hanging in balance right at the 50% support mark. The proclivity of the common proletariat voter would be to walk into the voting booth, see an effort to raise taxes, and automatically vote no. After all, who really wants to see their hard-earned greenbacks siphoned away by an irresponsible government to a cause that is already doomed? (Hint, sarcasm.) We could speak about the individual pros and cons of Proposition 30, but we are not here to cajole. Rather, this editorial is a poignant reminder that, as cliché or as altruistic as it may sound, our education is our future. Call us idealists, but we think this is a cause important enough to invest in. If we are inadequately educated and unprepared for the real world, how will we be able to advance as a society? And for those of you who are thinking, “Well, I’ll be done with school by the time these cuts hit,” think again. How about your own kids? What about their futures? Even if you aren’t thinking that far ahead, when you are a business owner, or a doctor, or a lawyer – when you are hiring newly graduated but ill-prepared students who compose the new generation of poorly funded school districts, what do you plan on doing then?

From a national standpoint, although exact rankings differ, the U.S. is nowhere near the top in terms of education. In fact, the U.S. currently ranks 14th internationally, and within the U.S., California ranks 43rd out of all states for education and overall student preparation. These figures indicate a clear need for intervention – yet why do we question what should be obvious? Sometimes, we need to step back and look at the world from a more holistic angle. We need to sober up and realize that in order to advance ourselves, we need to advance the common good. Admittedly, the Californian education system isn’t perfect to begin with – dissidents, with good reason, have indicated that, in the past, the California legislature has shown an unfortunate tendency of irresponsibly using funds. But, just like the propositions the state, too, can be reformed. Regardless, we still maintain that Prop 30 is the way to go. Why? Simple. To pass it would be to affirm that, no matter the current state of affairs, we can still at least attempt to make things better. To not pass it would be equivalent to leaving the status quo, in all its decay, as is. Yes, it will cost people some money. But nothing good comes without a price.

PALOS VERDES PENINSULA HIGH SCHOOL 27118 Silver Spur Road, Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274 EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Jason Choe, Edwin Chu, Kendall Van Nort COPY/DESIGN EDITOR Samantha Neal WEB CHIEF Michael Yu NEWS Editors: Sunnie Kim, Zohair Lalani Writers: Jasmine Kim, Valeria Park, Uswah Shabbir MARIE LUM/PEN

OPINION Editors: Viveka Krishnaswamy, Izma Shabbir Writers: Amanda Katz, Florencia Park, Adam Whitman FOCUS Editors: Sehar Dedmari, Stephanie Minn Writers: Julian Choi, Jina Kim STUDENT LIFE Editor: Michelle Lin Writers: Fatima Siddiqui, Rachel Tosney, Tunika Omnekikami ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Editors: Audrey Tsai, Wendy Wei Writers: Maerah Ahmed, Charles Kim, Lauren Lee SPORTS Editors: Bryan Lee, Jonathan Wu Writers: Sam Quon, Amy Valukonis WEB Web Editor: Robert Papa Social Media Manager: Caroline Park GRAPHICS Benson Leung Marie Lum BUSINESS TEAM Manager: Liliana Pond Assistant: Alisha Prasad ADVISER Katherine Crowley “The Pen” is the student newspaper produced by the advanced journalism students of Palos Verdes Peninsula High School. It is published eight times per year. Advertising inquiries may be directed to Advertising Manager Liliana Pond at (310) 377- 4888 ext. 652. The Pen editors appreciate Letters to the Editors, which may be accepted up to one week before publication. You may submit them to H52 or Katherine Crowley’s mailbox. Copyright © 2012

Recognizing recent budget cuts and slashes, Websense proves to be not so sensible after all By IZMA SHABBIR


In final efforts to finish researching for your history final, “Access to this web page is restricted at this time” appears on the screen.Websense, a security web filtering software has become the content-control web filtering software put in place by the district. Inacted to protect school computers from spyware and to prevent students from viewing inappropriate content, Websense uses a combination of filtering categories and word filters to determine which websites may or may not be viewed by students. However, in the process of trying to prevent access to detrimental websites, innocent websites are often blocked to student use.

The company specializes in content security for maximum data theft protection, but instead suppresses students’ ability to utilize websites that become necessary for educational use. “When I’m trying to research or learn more about something for a project, it’s frustrating to realize that these helpful instructive tools are blocked for my use,” senior Rachel Lipton said. “It becomes a genuine obstacle when studying or researching at school.” PVPUSD’s 2004 budget for Fire Wall and other related software peaked at $10,000; the Websense programs cost an additional $23,943 from the District budget’s general funds during the same year.

Though this kind of software can admittedly be beneficial in guarding against liability suits, not all the inaccessible websites coincide with the company’s policy to block “criminalencrypted uploads and data theft.” Considering that the school cannot afford to keep all of its classes, the Websense expense seems more than a little superfluous. The district, should weigh the pros and cons of the program and perhaps rethink its implementation. Since the software is funded through general funds and its impact is weak, the money should be spent for academic improvements instead of being squandered on Websense.





Is modern technology plateauing?: iPhone 5 disappoints By FLORENCIA PARK

phone itself, consumers have to purchase a “docking connector” in order to connect the device to computers. These inconveniences reveal Apple’s growing nonchalance concerning its services and customer satisfaction. The company took its consumer base for granted. Despite Kimmel’s negative publicity, people all over the world stood expectantly in line, eagerly awaiting the iPhone 5’s release on Sept.


statement is misleading. People wait obsessively for the next On Sept. 13, Jimmy Kimmel, update, yet Apple is still the top television show host, staged a corporation in the technology clever prank centered around industry. Apple should show the release of the iPhone 5. more professionalism with Participants in Kimmels’ “First their services. Look: iPhone 5” believed the Freshman Kaitlin Tseng device handed to them by the is currently an owner of an cameraman was actually the iPhone 5. She was among the newly released Apple product. many excited who, prior to Unwittingly, the participants the phone’s release, remained claimed that the “iPhone 5” had uninformed about the changes. faster service, a sleeker design, “Some of the negatives and better quality. were that I do have trouble After with looking abundant up YouTube praise for [videos] on the “We fell short on [our] commitment...we are extremely sorry go,” Tseng said. the phone, for the frustration this has baused our customers and we are the group The phone doing everything we can to make [it] better.” was shocked simply did to find not meet its out the expectations, -Apple Apology Letter seemingly failing to new gadget please many. was, Seemingly in fact, only the iPhone 4. 21. Once in hand, consumers overhyped, the iPhone 5 lacked Technological advances are notice that some of the the necessary improvements to revered for their novelty, not phones had scratches on the be considered an upgrade from by their merit. Currently, Apple aluminum plate backing, as older models. leads mainstream modern well as glitches within the Considering the public technology. “Apple Maps” app. The app is disappointment in the model, Its recent iPhone 5 release, so misleading that even the Apple CEO Tim Cook delivered however, was a disappointment; company acknowledges its his much-needed apology to the the additions to the device defects. It seems that Apple did general public. Cook admitted were minimal. The corporation not really consider the impact that Apple “fell short on [its] severely overextended its of their additions to the iPhone, commitment,” a refreshing products by including its own simply throwing them in for display of honesty. Many hope Apple Maps app, intended novelty’s sake. that the negative light on the to replace Google Maps, and According to Apple, the iPhone 5 will force Apple to by making buyers pay for a new iPhone 5 “gives shape and cut down on its misguided YouTube app. Furthermore, purpose to previously empty ‘innovations’ and focus on along with the initial cost of the and meaningless lives.” The actually upgrading models. PEN OPINION WRITER

The electoral high school: Polling Feedback

*based on asurvey of 156 students MARIE LUM/PEN





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4. It’s hot on cold days 7. Sunburn color 9. Not have to retake 12. Hard-to-define glow 13. “___ tu” (Verdi aria) 14. “I smell ___!” 15. Audit, with “on” 16. Anatomical duct 17. Cunning tricks 19. Star group? 20. Gridiron stat. 21. Barbecue site 22. One of ten in ancient Rome 23. End of a school’s address? 24. It has a thick skin 25. Unit of work 26. English king dubbed “Longshanks” 29. Follower follower? 30. Rose Parade group 32. Assuming all goes well 35. Peak in Thessaly 39. Take off one’s coat? 40. Mechanical disk 43. Campus building 44. Classic rock band 45. Tedious trips 49. Preschoolers? 50. Anaheim team, on scoreboards 51. Skipped syllables? 52. Collective pronoun 53. Limit, distance-wise 56. School hinted at by the three letters in the top row of this puzzle’s grid 57. “The Benny Hill Show” song

1. Unbending sort 2. Places for wicker chairs 3. Outcast, in Hinduism 4. Tar 5. Pleasant trip 6. With 9-Down, what this puzzle’s grid resembles 7. Gets ready for a test 8. Barge into a classroom in the middle of the period, say 9. See 6-Down 10. Cold War negotiation 11. Oktoberfest containers 15. Matching, with “the” 18. Grimy buildup 27. Brooklynese pronoun 28. “Clean” power source 30. Place to retire? 31. Cry from Homer 32. Sanctuaries 33. Silent “Little Orphan Annie” character 34. “Don’t get into any trouble!” 36. It’s a wrap in the South Seas 37. Boggy area 38. Old Olds 40. Sliding dance step 41. No holds barred 42. With spite 45. Narrow groove 46. Bad-tempered one 47. Guilty and others 48. “Borat” creator, ___ Baron Cohen 54. Vague amount 55. ___-en-Provence, France




Euceph prints Self-made shirts



The first thing I do every morning is check my phone. I turn off the blaring “Sleepyhead” alarm at 5:30 AM, read through new texts, refresh my email, glance at the Instagram home page and scroll through my Facebook news feed. I’m so hyper-connected to everything—whether it’s through my iPhone or my laptop, I am always available. Two weekends ago, I traveled to Austin, Texas, for its annual Austin City Limits music festival. The three-day event featured artists from around the world. I listened to South Africa sensation Die Antwoord, and then walked over and sat through the Denver based Lumineers show. It was an amazing three days. Perhaps the hardest thing for me to do, however, was unplug myself. Zilker Park hosts 75,000 people at the event every year. With so many people, there is no reception. In consequence, I was just as unplugged as the acoustic guitar of Ben Howard. Unable to reach my cousin via text at the festival, I had to plan out everything: in the event of an emergency, we would meet at this spot at this time. If we wanted to go see different acts, we would plan to meet behind a certain stage right after. Even if we wanted to walk to different food vendors, we would plan to meet at the tables next to this tent. SARAH ANDERSON/PEN

Creative and stylish students are finding new ways to express themselves through self-made T-shirt designs, an alternative to store-bought clothing. Senior Noor Euceph has taken this hobby and turned it into a tangible business. Using her love of art and fascination for the book The Great Gatsby, Euceph created a T-shirt saying, “Party at Gatsby’s.” In the book, the main character Jay Gatsby is known for hosting extravagant parties every Saturday night in his enormous mansion. Euceph admired the beautiful language that F. Scott Fitzgerald used. She adored the message of the book and the way that it was conveyed to the reader. “In a strange way, I related to the book,” Euceph said. “I would say the book resonated with me. I have always had a high regard for art that makes a profound difference in your life, and this book did that for me.” Noor’s plan originally hatched when her friend showed her a T-shirt with this simple saying. Noor loved the idea but not the design of the shirt. So, she created her own. Her black version features a man holding a glass in place of the Y in Gatsby. She, too, is now selling her T-shirt for $15. After taking a graphic design class two summers ago, Euceph used newly learned techniques to create her T-shirt. She journeyed to multiple stores, buying blank T-shirts and lots of fabric paint. “I made a shirt for myself and wore it to school, Euceph said. “A lot of people came up to me and told me they really liked my shirt and would buy one. So I decided MARIE LUM/PEN to make them for everyone.” Whether style is expressed through corporate manufactured clothing or self-made garments, everyone’s unique style brings the school together and distinguishes one student from the next.

“I was just as unplugged as the acoustic guitar of Ben Howard.”

Woo strides with her own style Woo started in middle school while doodling smiley faces and bubble letters on an old pair of Converse. Now she


Looking down at students’ feet while walking around campus, Converse, Vans and Toms come in the view. Lurking amongst these shoes is one pair with painted “Despicable Me” minions. The wearer. junior Kelly Woo, designed them herself. Woo purchases shoes from Rite Aid and uses bright colors to make eye-popping designs. She gets inspiration from pop culture such as the castle from “Tangled” as well as

them with her ideas. Woo designs pairs as gifts for her friends on their birthdays and asks them for specific designs to match their tastes. “These shoes are one of the best gifts I can give, because I make them unique,” Woo said. “All of them are far from similar.” The process of designing a pair can take several days depending on her schedule. First, Woo does a very light outline, and then she begins to make the actual sketch. “A lot of the art I planned originally get changed as I go,” Woo said.

themes like cityscapes, dinosaurs and islands. Her most recent pair is galaxy-themed. “It’s semi-trendy,” Woo said, “I sprayed on bleach to create the effects of clustered stars, then added additional details.”




designs on Toms knock-offs. “While black is always convenient, having one of-a-kind shoes are more fun and definitely get more attention,” Woo said. Internet art inspires her, and she challenges herself to apply

Woo considers taking requests to earn a small profit. “I love art in general, and I think it’s awesome to make something unique that people can wear and make a part of their outfits,” Woo said.

To be completely honest, this was a new experience for me. It was weird giving up communication I normally take for granted. But on that same note, it was so unbelievably rewarding. I loved not feeling obligated to respond to someone. I didn’t feel guilty ignoring my mom’s incessant texts because I wasn’t receiving them. And I had a different kind of revelation: I was more in tune with myself and my surroundings than ever before. It’s easy for us to get caught up in scheduling. What we’re doing this weekend, where we’re going to eat tomorrow, what time we’re going to the library. Maybe it’s time we start living in the present moment. I’m extremely guilty of this—I’m always thinking about the future. But I boarded my flight back to Los Angeles with a relief I haven’t felt in years. I didn’t have an ounce of stress. It was the first time in a long time I can say I felt truly content. I credit this feeling to my “unplugged” weekend. The digital world is overwhelming. New technology appears on a weekly basis. This technology is meant to increase fluidity; instead, it acts as a hindrance. A head bowed at the dinner table with a phone under the table, dark theaters lit up by the movie-going texter, the obnoxiously loud phone conversation next to you at the airport— these interruptions affect everyone. Maybe giving them up for a little while isn’t such a bad thing. It could end up bringing us all a little closer.

Students use nails as canvas a base coat, a clear protective layer of polish, to prevent any staining on their nails. The The tips of our fingers are longest and most difficult part so different as to allow of the process is the actual forensic analysis. creation of the design. Now students are Depending on the giving attention complexity of each to the opposite design, students side of the can devote thirty finger. From minutes to two patterns to hours on one paints, nail project. Like any art expresses artist, students an individual’s are constantly taste. coming up with Senior new ideas. Terina Tsai “Lately, I’ve makes color choices been doing tribal AUDREY TSAI/PEN based on personality, nails, and I also do while junior Stacey Dojiri newspaper or flower nails,” likes to base them on seasons. said Dojiri. “I always paint my nails dark The DIY, or do-it-yourself, colors when it’s winter and ocean trend has become increasingly colors like blue and green during popular. From blocking to the summer,” said Dojiri. crackle, water marble to Nail art is a process. A magnetic nail polish, students student must first cut and clean create new art forms to express their nails. They then must add individuality. By LAUREN LEE PEN A&E WRITER








The Pen  

The Pen published Issue #2 on Oct. 26.

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