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History of Halloween Hercules Middle/ High School Friday, October 30, 2009

Rhythm n’ Motion HHS dancers to perform at Holiday Bowl Halftime

Find out how this ghoulish holiday came to be

Vol. 9 No. 2

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High school credits denied at CCC

Senior boat cruise spawns issues By Jackie Cuevas

By Chris Mendoza

Staff Writer

Donovan Bonner/Template

Senior Candie Tabar prepares to carve out a figure for the senior float based on the theme, “Thriller.”

By Carla Bernal Staff Writer

Banners, balloons and massive amounts of paint are put to use as embellishments for elaborate floats and class-themed decorations. Dances are choreographed to the beat of Michael Jackson’s timeless tunes and students busy themselves with assembling their floats, while the football team busily prepares for their upcoming game. School spirit fills the air as Homecoming events officially welcome Hercules Middle High School students to the new year. The first major event to mark the new school year this fall is the Homecoming Rally, which will occur Nov. 6. The rally will feature four Michael Jackson themed class dances, HHS Pep Squad and Cheerleading Team routines, various class games and other

performances. Rally commissioners, senior Aidan Garrahan and junior Milan Martin, are still in the process of arranging additional performances. Class floats will debut during the homecoming parade, which will take place on the track around the high school football field. This year’s float themes are ”Smooth Criminal,” ”Remember the Times,” ”Beat It” and ”Thriller,” for the freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors, respectively. According to Associate Student Body President Ramiah Davis, float-building is proceeding as planned, despite setbacks caused by the rain and the miscommunication with the janitorial staff head. Each class is doing its best to create floats within a $300 budget. In addition to the floats, a special, first-time appearance will be made by the sixth, seventh and eighth graders, who are building

a Michael Jackson mosaic for the high school parade this year. Following the rally, the JV and varsity football’s homecoming games will take place at 7:30 p.m. HHS will play against De Anza High on the high school football field. Homecoming festivities will wrap up with the annual dance hosted by the Leadership Club and ASB Nov. 7 in the high school cafeteria. Tickets are on sale for $8, but seniors can get in for free with their Senior Dues Cards. Refreshments will be provided. The event will be semi-formal. Girls are allowed to wear dress pants or appropriate-lengthed dresses, and shoulders must be covered. Boys are allowed to wear slacks and dress shirts, but jeans and sneakers are not permitted. ”I really look forward to everyone being supportive and spirited this year,” Davis said.

Contra Costa College is no longer accepting enrollment from high school students. The Hercules High School administration announced Sept. 8 changes in Contra Costa College’s policy of students taking classes for high school credits. In today’s ailing economy, CCC has lost millions of dollars in funds and can no longer allow high school students to enroll into college classes for credit. College officials are unsure if these classes will be offered to high school students for the spring semester. If they are offered, students are advised to apply in early December due to CCC’s 10 percent policy which caps the proportion of high school students in its college classes to 10 percent of the class’ size. High school students, because they are minors, can enroll up to six credits at CCC for one dollar. Unlike CCC, Diablo Valley College-in Pleasant Hill-will accept all students, however credit usage is predetermined. ”Physical education is the only class which can be taken at DVC for high school credits,” said

see CCC page 7A

Hercules continues redevelopment By Athena Bernas Advertiser

When people drive along the waterfront, they can see the small town of Hercules flourishing into an urban community. Sycamore North and the Hercules New Town Center are two projects currently under construction and due open in 2011. The goal for these complexes, which include residency and retail, is to create a ”downtown” Hercules. Sycamore North is a plaza and apartment complex that will be located at the crossroads of Sycamore Avenue and San Pablo Avenue. The building will hold 14 new businesses on one floor of 46,000 square ft., as well as a residential component available for renting. This new plaza and apartment complex will be a socializing area for everyone. Main Street Property Services and the City of Hercules are working together to build Sycamore North. They are also working to make it a ”green” building by recycling water and installing energy systems to minimize consumption. The City of Hercules began planning this building complex in 2000 as a part of the Central Hercules Plan to create a commercial Town Center. Sycamore North is designed to be the main commercial area, introducing businesses that will attract people in Hercules as well as those from cities outside of Contra Costa County. Thus, Hercules will become a more diverse and desirable place to live. ”We are trying to bring in businesses

Titans Inside Lady Golf takes a swing at this NCS issue... see page 8A

that are not competing with the ones in West Contra Costa County,” Steve Lawton, director of economic development, said. ”We want to make Sycamore North a regional destination.” The new and independent businesses will include restaurants, specialty stores, cafes and possibly retail. The plaza will create an area of entertainment, providing a comfortable atmosphere. Sycamore North is in its first phase for Hercules’ downtown. Since construction on Sycamore North has been ongoing, several residents in the area find it disruptive. It is possible the increased attraction to the area might bother residents even further by creating more traffic, producing a larger population during the day and attracting a booming night life. In addition to Sycamore North, construction for the Hercules New Town Center is underway. The old Transit Center will be replaced by a Market Town. This will include a Market House, a building with 55,000 square ft. of retail that will open to a Town Square. An office building containing 80,000 square ft., along with a parking lot that will approximately hold 800 spaces, will also be built. Cinema Town, which will be built on 17 ares of land, is the entertainment feature of the Hercules New Town Center. A 300,000 square ft. retail space and 30,000 square ft. cinema with 12 screens will serve as the anchor. In addition to mentioned retail and restaurants, the Transit Town, the last phase of the Hercules New Town Center, will contain 450 residential units, 20,000 square ft. of retail space and 10,000 sq.ft. of offices. The location of Cinema Town and Transit Town will be between Willow Avenue and State Route 4. Besides Sycamore North and the Hercules Town Center, plans of building a Sycamore South are in the works for the future.

Upcoming Events

10/13 TYC Haunted 9/6 9/7

House Homecoming Game & Rally SAT

Homecoming Dance 9/12 ‘Arabian Nights’ opening night 9/21 Senior Boat Cruise

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Courtesy of Zendarski Studios via City of Hercules

Sycamore North, represented here in an artist’s rendering, is slated for completion in 2011, and will be part of Hercules’ downtown.

Did you know? 93 percent of American children will go trick-or-treating on Halloween.

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After three years of countless papers, early mornings and tedious days, the class of 2010 is finally ready to live its last year indulging in the famed senior events. Financial difficulties, however, obstruct the way. The first of the longawaited senior luxuries is the annual Senior Boat Cruise, for which planning began in early September. Senior Class President Sky Yuen led other senior officers in this project. ”It’s the first senior event, so I hope it works,” Senior Representative Sophia Choi said. ”We hope to start the year off well.” The deposit for the event cost $6,500--half of the total $13,000. The school wrote a check for the deposit, pulling the money out of the Student Body Association account and placing the senior class into a $5,300 debt. ”We’re struggling right now,” Yuen said. ”We didn’t do as much fundraising as we should have in the past years.” The senior class entered the school year with only $1,700 in its account, so senior officers are relying heavily on Senior Dues Card sales to pay for the deposit. Dues cards, which are $65, provide $5-discounts on Senior Boat Cruise, Senior Ball and senior apparel, as well as free admission to Senior Breakfast, Sky Yuen Senior Barbecue, Homecoming Dance, Post-AP Celebration, Application Celebration and various Hercules High School dances. Without a Senior Dues Card, a senior attending all senior events would pay a total of $252 by the end of the year. With a Senior Dues Card, however, a senior attending all events would have to pay only a total of $175 by the end of the year, excluding the $65 cost of a Senior Dues Card purchase. Sales for Senior Dues Cards have not yet fulfilled the required deposit amount when miscommunication occurred between the administration and student officers. At the Oct. 12 senior class meeting, seniors gathered to discuss the financial crisis: Because the senior class paid the deposit, they are locked into having a boat cruise. If they cannot pay back the debt and raise even more money, chances for having a Senior Ball are slim. Ideas for fundraising were thrown out during the meeting, but the ques-

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opinion

2A friday, October 30, 2009 | Vol. 9, No. 2

Brittany Irving Louisa Man Editors in Chief Julia Maniquiz Copy Editor Stacy Chan Chloe Lew Associate Editors Tracy Chan Rachelle Lan Production Managers Davidson Chia Henry Hung Patrick Li Fiona Man Floraine Sioson Samson Tong Yueming Wang Joseph Widjaja Elim Yee Layout Editors Donovan Bonner Jackie Cuevas Department Editors Emily Chan Kimberly Ermitano Jordan Gabriel Charles Gomez Leigh Patrice Katigbak Eddy Lazo Teresa Marie Paz Cathie Tu Photographers Courtney Mariano Stephanie Ny Advertising Managers Natalie Wojinski Staff Adviser Staff Writers Andrew Asuelo Carla Bernal Stephanie Chan Terilyn Chen Crystal Chung Sarina Curtis Leah Defigueiredo Jennifer Doan Stephen Feurst Chris Habash Marc Anthony Isidro Haley Knoblauch Savanna Lawrence Chris Mendoza Alec Murillo Beilul Naizghi Kimberly Ny Nicholas Weller Advertisers Joyce Alcantara Colby Ao Athena Bernas Melissa Oliva

All commentaries, letters and reviews reflect the personal opinions of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the Template staff. Editorials are the majority opinion of the Editorial Board, which is comprised of student editors.

Save candy for the kids When people think of trickor-treating, they think of costumes and candy. Age is the last thought on their minds. But the question remains--at what age should people stop trick-or-treating? When will people put away the Batman and Belle costumes for good? Here at Hercules High School, there is an array of students who still go out and enjoy the night of sweets and screams, including some of the upperclassmen. Once individuals are of legal age, however, is it still proper for them to walk on the streets, stop from door-to-door and yell out "trick-or-treat"? Those who are kids-at-heart would say it is definitely acceptable. Those who view older trick-or-treaters as a threat would say otherwise. To many, individuals 18 and above are perceived as threats to children when they are out on the streets engaging in the October tradition. Many parents worry older trick-or-treaters could be dangerous when mingling around their children. With this thought in mind, it would be safer if older students celebrate Halloween in other ways. Trick-or-treating should be a past phase for legal individuals, unless they are taking their younger sibling. For an adult to walk up to the door and ask for candy is rather absurd. It is not as innocent and adorable as when a five years-old does it. Although this childhood activity is doubtlessly both enjoyable and rewarding, it should not be pursued by those deemed "too old."

Degrading costumes fill stores

Halloween is a holiday dedicated to creative costumes to be debuted during a fun-filled night of trick-or-treating. Or so it is supposed to be. Festive outfits no longer exude the sophistication of manifested imagination they once did. Nowadays, the typical female costume consists of skin-tight, super-short, barely-there mateThe Template rial. It is as though manufacturwelcomes ing companies ran out of fabric letters to the halfway through construction. editor and Walk into any store and take a news tips look at its costume collection. as well as The only options out there are guest articles the head-to-toe-covering outfits and carmeant for males or the form-fitting, bust-bearing, thigh-showtoons. Please contact Natalie ing ensembles reminiscent of Deadwood’s soiled doves. It is Wojinski in utterly and entirely demeaning, room H-105. Journalism II is as it classifies the entire female an ROP Class. gender into one skimpy category. Women should not partake in such degradation, unless they desire to attain a reputation of ill repute.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Go green or suffer the consequences Yueming Wang The lady in the large SUV steps out of her car. She walks up to the machinery with two large trash bags filled with recyclable bottles. While the worker at the recycling center removes each bottle and feeds it to the green muncher, she walks back for a few more bags. "Was it the 100th bottle or the 200th?" They have both lost count, but she eventually walks back to her SUV with a couple of dollars in hand. As her gas guzzler rumbles back to life, dark gray clouds of smoke shoot out of the exhaust pipe. Nonetheless, others applaud her for taking part in the "going green" act. What does the term "ecofriendly" truly mean? Perhaps it means recycling paper which saves trees from deforestation. Perhaps it means walking a mile rather than driving a mile which prevents 19 pounds of CO2 emission. Or, perhaps it means collecting plastic which could save over one million marine animals from death yearly. These are a few practical acts that every individual can do to contribute to a better, cleaner,

greener environment. But is this what "going green" is all about? The answer is no. There is a lot more to the "going green" movement than what its literal denotations suggest. Although it is the actual act of preserving limited resources and recycling used materials that ultimately change the environment, it is more important for the human race to understand the need for conservation. We reduce, reuse and recycle not to reap personal rewards, but because we care about the earth, Yueming W ang/Templat because we e care about each other. We need to wake up to reality, or at least accept our history. Was it morally wrong for European settlers to boot the Native Americans off the land they lived on? Should Americans whip out sticks to outline their territory in the dirt? And now, the people can finally call the land theirs and

do as they wish with it? The Indian Removal Acts from hundreds of years ago are still indisputably the ugly side of American history. Nonetheless, we did not learn our lesson; we still cannot share our lands and respect nature. We are still the same selfish creatures who are obsessed with the idea of possession. We only care about what we can own, thereby having no consideration about how our carbon footprints impact future generations. Let's face it, there is no point in saving finite resources since they will not run out during our lifetime. If we do not change our mentality, Earth will bear brutal, irreversible consequences that future generations will be forced to live through. But it is not too late to start adjusting the course of our environment; it is not too late to start caring about the world we live in.

Looking beyond the ranks Stephanie Ny When deciding on which college to attend, do not take ranks and prestige into consideration. Students should choose the right college by learning if they fit the unique qualities of an institution. I used to rank my top colleges in terms of prestige. Stanford and University of

California, Berkeley were my top choices until my junior year of high school, when I realized that I knew virtually nothing about the schools. I did not care about the environment or the student body. After attending several college presentations and actually researching and visiting schools, I eventually realized that prestige is not everything. A college's qualities should correlate with a student's personality and needs in order to be a perfect fit. Why should

I, for example, go to a prestigious, very conservative university if I am a moderate liberal? Why should I want to attend a high ranking, unsafe university if I do not want to jeopardize my life? Do not let a rank define a school. Research it--find out about campus life, about how students learn there, about unique traditions that fit, and about the types of financial aid offered by the institution. Only then will one know what is the right college.

Campus visit creates doubt Joyce Alcantara

When I started high school, I convinced myself that University of California, Santa Barbara was where I would attend college. My heart was set. It was exactly what I thought I wanted: not too far from Los Angeles yet also at the beach. In August, my parents decided to drive down to Santa Barbara for the weekend. Ecstatic, I forced them to drive us straight to UCSB. My heart fluttered as we drove through the gates saying "University of California Santa Barbara." Not before long, the excitement died down. I cannot pinpoint what I did not like but basi-

cally I was not feeling it. After touring the campus, my family and I drove around the city for the rest of the day. I felt like I was in Hawaii and that gave me a bad feeling. I love Hawaii as a vacation place, but I could not live there. I did not want to feel like I was on vacation for four years. I also was not comfortable with being at least 300 miles away from home. Some people want to be far away to assert their so-called independence, but I would rather not pretend. I cannot imagine being that far from my family and friends or from the place where I grew up. On top of that, I felt like the only thing that pushed me to aim for a UC school was pride. I wanted to be proud to say that I graduated from

a UC and have an "Alumni of UCSB" license plate frame. When I finally decided that I did not want to go to UCSB, I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. It was not about, "Oh, I do not have to aim that high anymore because I do not plan to go to a UC." I still want to do the very best I can, but rather without that heavy feeling of "UCSB is the only choice." I feel so much better now that I have realized there are other options. Like Thomas Sowell said in his article, "Choosing the Right College for Your Student," there is no "best" college, just like there is not a "best" wife or husband. I learned students must pick whatever fits them well. As for myself, I still have not found my perfect fit, but hopefully I will very soon.

Titan Talk What is the scariest place in Hercules?

“The scariest place in Hercules is Ohlone at night because there is an underground railroad where you could see ghosts.” Alfred Camacho Freshman

“The mansions at the top of the hill because they are built on an Indian graveyard.” Byran Mark Sophomore

“The abandoned houses by the Powder Keg, they are old and haunted. Walking in you can just feel a presence of something other than things with a heartbeat.” Savanna Lawrence Junior

“The waterfront is the scariest place in Hercules. Their is a story about a few Chinese workers that were killed at the old factory. They say you can still hear their screams of pain at night.”

“Refugio Valley Park at night. No matter what time of the year, the park is always foggy and pitch black. When I'm driving at night, I have to speed by it because it is so creepy.”

“The scariest place in Hercules would be the creek behind Ohlone Elementary School. At night, it's too dark to see anything in front of you and I heard the surrounding trees are haunted.”

Julian Oliva Junior

Justine Betschart Senior

Angelo Vivo Senior


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Dancers head to San Diego By Terilyn Chen Staff Writer

Talk about a big break. The Hercules Middle High School Rhythm n’ Motion Dancers have been invited to perform in the annual nationally televised Pacific Life Holiday Bowl Halftime Show. Along with thousands of experienced dance students from across the nation, they will perform a 30-minute jazz routine by ”So You Think You Can Dance” choreographer Mandy Moore at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium. From Dec. 27 to 31, 29 Rhythm n’ Motion Dancers will travel with HHS dance teacher Teresa Felix and six chaperones to San Diego. In addition to performing in the Halftime Show, students will also walk in the Big Bay Balloon Parade, the largest balloon parade in the United States. The prestigious four day program will also include a trip to Sea World and an awards ceremony for dancers. According to Felix, dancers may also be able to ”go to the beach in San Diego or to the San Diego Zoo or Old Town, which has a lot of great shops and places to eat.” ”Our days are filled with lots of things to do but mostly with practices and rehearsals for the big halftime performance,” Felix said. With the $719 transportation, hotel, and Sea World ticket fee, Felix has made this trip optional. Despite the exciting shows and fun trip to Sea World, many

Teresa Paz/Template

Rosalba Rosas, Maureen Ann Cruz and Claudine Cruz practice one of the numbers in preparation for their first appearance at San Diego's Holiday Bowl. strenuous rehearsal sessions are scheduled; one rehearsal will last for seven hours. Dancers can also fulfill high school graduation requirements by participating in this study trip. Both physical education and performing arts credits will be granted by the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools after completion of a post-Bowl Game online course. Students have yet to receive their routine video, so they

will have to learn the half-hour dance in a limited amount of time. In addition to learning the Halftime dance to perform in front of millions of live and television viewers, the diligent dancers will simultaneously be practicing for the HHS winter dance show, ”Reflection,” in December. Felix’s has been absent since Sept. 15 due to knee surgery, which has also proved to be an obstacle. A substitute teacher

currently supervises, while dancers practice daily under the lead of veteran student dancers including seniors Janelle Salvador and Amanda Gutierrez, juniors Patricia Alvarez and Shaina Jay Alcaraz and sophomore Claudine Cruz. ”Despite all the stress we go through, performing at Holiday Bowl is the chance of a lifetime. Not only do we get to be seen on television, but we’re shown doing what we love,” Salvador

said. ”Oh, and we get to work with the world-renowned choreographer Mandy Moore. What more can a dancer ask for?” The HHS Rhythm n’ Motion Dancers will be accepting donations. Any contributions can be directed to HHS cashier Janee Kakihara to support individual dancers or the entire Rhythm n’ Motion Dancers team. Donations are taxdeductible.

‘Rent’ proves to be spectacular

Emily Chan/Template

Marcus Lampley and Brett Shiraishi are rehearsing tunes for the Mexico trip.

Mexico calls music students once again Boosters, which helps fund the trip. The cost is $700 per person, which By Chris Habash will cover the roundtrip transportation, Staff Writer insurance, hospitality on the ship and Hercules Middle/High School is a festival. For many students who are known for its dedicated and prominent currently short of money, Ting and music department. The many concerts Calonico have suggested creative ways to and endless hours of rehearsals acquire the money. throughout the year account for the Failing to meet many deposit students’ success. The music department deadlines, the students have taken is thereby treated every two years to up fundraising for the trip by selling a field trip, where the musicians and cookie dough, provided by Harmoney singers are able to perform for an Resources Fundraising. They are also audience. This school year, students asking companies to advertise for future can pack their ponchos and sport their concerts. sombreros in preparation for the music Despite the frenzy of meeting department’s destination--Mexico. deadline deposits, students are still The Mexico cruise is excited about the trip. planned to take place ”I’m looking during the Memorial forward to being away "I'm looking forward Day Weekend, from from my parents and to being away from my May 27th through May just kicking back with 31st of 2010. The cruise friends,” junior band parents and just kicking was originally open to member Christine Le back with friends." all interested musicians, said. but due to an On the ship, students Christine Le insufficient number of will perform alongside Band Member sign-ups, only the HHS other high schools advanced orchestra, for the passengers on symphonic band and board. The weekend, choir will attend the cruise. Middle however, will not be restricted to school students will be excluded. nonstop performances. ”This cruise will provide an The students will be surrounded by opportunity for students to be on a ship karaoke, clubs, buffets and swimming and perform and travel,” Calonico said. pools. An entire day will be dedicated to ”It [will] be a way for them to enjoy a sightseeing in Ensenda as well. weekend together.” ”I’m really excited for this,” Calonico This will be the music department’s said. ”It is an opportunity to reward second time visiting Mexico in its the musicians and it also builds their biennial trip. In previous years, students morale.” were able to attend trips to Disneyland As an added boost to the forthcoming and San Jose’s popular music spectacular excitement, the music students have ”Music in the Park.” HHS music voted on departing from the school at directors, orchestra instructor Sharon 10 p.m. Thursday, the night of a concert. Calonico and band director Andrew Their parents will wait for them with Ting, are organizing the trip with a travel their suitcases and other belongings in company as well as the Hercules Music front of the school.

”Five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes. How do you measure, measure a year?” Or rather, how does one measure the success of ’’Rent” the musical at San Francisco’s Curran Theatre? Performed since 1994 with its first appearance in an off-Broadway theatre, the New York Theatre Workshop, the late Jonathan Larson’s ”Rent” has acquired a Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award. It continues to captivate international audiences of all ages 15 years later. Based on Giacomo Puccini’s opera ”La Boheme,” Larson created a refreshing plot about a cluster of young impoverished artists living in New York’s Lower East Side struggling to exist despite the strains of love, loss and AIDS. Unfortunately, the inconsistency in sound quality weakened the Oct. 1 3 p e r f o r m a n c e. It began with t e c h n i c a l difficulties as Mark’s (played by A n t h o ny Ra p p ) microphone blew out five minutes into the show. Moreover, although many of the performers are vocal p owe r h o u s e s, t h e singing reached a point where it was deafening and incomprehensible. This made it difficult to understand and enjoy the performance. Nevertheless, ”Rent” was the epitome of melodic euphoria. It incorporated diverse styles, including rock, tango, jazz and gospel, and its authenticity is enhanced by the fusion of a live band with the on-stage set. In the first act, the sultry ”Light My Candle” duet between Roger and Mimi, portrayed by Adam Pascal and Lexi Lawson respectively, was a perfect mixture of coquetry and passion. In this scene, Mimi claims she needs Roger to light her candle, however it develops into something more--the beginning to a relationship the duo tries to deny. At first Roger tries to avoid Mimi’s flirtatious gestures, like Mimi’s habit of blowing out the candle and insisting Roger light it again. However, Roger catches on, blows out the candle yet again, and claims it was his last match. Mark and Joanne’s, played by Rapp and Haneefah Wood, exotic song and dance number, ”The Tango Maureen”, was an unexpected surprise since the two repel one another. But, it was a delightful and ironic surprise at that. Just imagine a lesbian lawyer and an awkward aspiring film director dancing the tango while singing about Maureen-Mark’s ex-girlfriend and Joanne’s current

partner. ”Seasons of Love” opened the second act. It was hauntingly beautiful and proved that this tune can never become hackneyed. The company simply lined up and sang their hearts out to yield a stirring and powerful performance. There was no distracting choreography or illusions cast by light. It was simply an expression of pure talent and compassion. The interweaving of musical phrases and songs into different scenes was genius. Rather than getting pummeled with one musical number after the other, the audience was exposed to patterns of themes which ties the story and the music closer together. For example, the sweet melody and endearing lyrics of ”I’ll Cover You” is first heard in act one when Collins and Angel, portrayed by Michael McElroy and Justin Johnston, admit their irrevocable love for one another. A reprise of ”I’ll Cover You” by Collins is sung after Angel’s death in the second act. Although Angel did not perform in the rendition, Collins’ affection and devotion for Angel is as evident as it was in their duet. The company also joins in, with the wo m e n r e p e a t i n g Angel’s line ”With a thousand sweet kisses, I’ll cover you” and the men ”Five hundred twenty five thousand six te la /Temp n o hundred minutes.” s e Sio Florain The actors did an outstanding job embodying their characters, creating believable chemistry and bringing the story to life. Among them, Justin Johnson’s ability to play the big-hearted and affable drag queen, Angel was memorable because of his unique voice, and his ability to portray Angel’s spunky demeanor and quirky nature. Also, Adam Pascal, Anthony Rapp, and Gwen Stewart, who play Roger, Mark, and Mrs. Jefferson/bag lady respectively, deserve respect for being original cast members in ”Rent’s” 1996 Broadway premier and praise for still being able to deliver a spectacular performance over a decade later. However, the crowd was forced to sit through occasional forced emotions, such as Maureen’s, played by Nicolette Hart, constant overly dramatic, obnoxious behavior even in the most solemn scenes. Nonetheless, the crowd reciprocated with vigorous applause and their roar of commending shouts. All in all, the invigorating plot line, universal idea of hope despite adversity and catchy melodies makes ”Rent” a timeless musical. Even after ”five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes.”

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Ready, set, go! ”The Amazing Race,” a reality show on Sundays at 8 ET/ PT on Cbs display By Davidson Chia teams of two who race against other Sundays at 8 p.m. contestants from on CBS. all over the world, began its 15th season on Sept. 27. The race begins when the show’s contestants embark from American cities and are transported to another location. In the past, teams complete unique challenges ranging from eating hot Japanese wasabi, to milking cows and bungee jumping in South America. Although this show provides much entertainment with the challenges these teams face, the chance for the audience to see the change from unimaginable poverty to amazing wealth in certain areas brings an intriguing aspect to the show. The show has been going on for eight years strong along with 11 Emmy awards demonstrating the shows success.

”A m a z i n g Race”

The 19th season of ”Survivor,” located in Samoa, premiered Thursday, Sept. 17. ”Suvivor” is a game By Savanna which players are Lawrence stranded on an island Thursdays at 8 p.m and compete in on CBS. physical challenges. They have to outwit, outplay and outlast the other players as well as the environment surrounding them. This season there is one player that has never been as deceiving or ”evil” than in previous years. Contestant Russell Hantz, a tanker truck driver from Houston, Texas, thinks he has his whole team wrapped around his finger. He is also the first person in the show’s history to find the hidden immunity, a necklace protecting one from elimination at tribal council, without clues to its whereabouts. Russell has been to tribal council with his team every episode thus far, and the player he wants to eliminate is always voted off. Russell is the ”master” of the game, and through his lies and deceit, he has manipulated everyone to trust him. This year, ”Survivor” is focusing most of its air time on the thoughts and actions of the smartest player in the history of the show.

”Survivor Samoa”

What makes good television? Is it humor that makes one laugh By Stephen Feurst so hard, it’s almost embarrassing? Is Mondays at 8 p.m it a gut-wrenching on Fox. moment causing sensitive viewers to burst into tears? Or is it a scenario so real it could easily be imagined a true story? The Fox show, ”House,” masterfully combines all of these aspects, especially within the new season premiere. The show itself focuses on Dr. Gregory House’s (Hugh Laurie) medical exploits and interactions with others. He has a personality somewhere between being a lovable character and one of the greatest pricks of all time. Each story is easy to understand and interesting enough to seize one’s attention throughout the full hour. The usual complaint for the show in the past is it repeatedly follows the same pattern of: House needs to make a patient better, fails a few times, makes a joke and it all works out in the end. The season premiere, however, is a break from that usual style. In fact, in the opening episode, House himself is ironically a patient in a psych ward. With a new twist to the premiere, hopefully this season of ”House” will engage more viewers with its new level of suspense.

”House”

The once popular ’90s show, ”Melrose Place,” is making a comeback with a contemporary By Stacy Chan reboot of all the scandalous story Tuesday at 9 p.m. lines and flashbacks on CW. that unravel a knotty web full of deceit. At the onset, a cast of fresh and old faces living in the apartment complex encircle a mysterious murder. Actress and singer Ashlee Simpson, who plays the lead, joins Laura Leighton, the starlet from the original series, who plays the landlady. Entrancing subplots involve the new girl in town, Violet Foster (Simpson), whose character bears a striking resemblance to the corpse. Supporting cast members include Michael Rady and Jessica Lucas, as the shaky couple Jonah Miller and Riley Richmond, and Stephanie Jacobsen, as medical student Lauren Yung, who would do anything risqué to pay her medical school bills. This show--with its soapy charm, yet hackneyed themes--is worthy of having guilty pleasure potential. Catch a new episode every Tuesday at 9 p.m. on CW network.

”Melrose Place”

”90210” is back with a season so intense that it will have viewers’ By Jennifer Doan eyes glued to the television, wondering Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on what will come next. CWTV. After a crazy and exciting summer in Beverly Hills, the cast members enter their junior year of high school with new motives, personalities and lifestyles, along with prom night memories still lingering, relationships blossoming, rumors surfacing and even secrets of tragic events unfolding. Annie (Shenae Grimes), the girl who seems to have lost track of who she is and everyone important in her life, is now struggling to put everything back together. On the other hand, Silver (Jessica Stroup), Adrianna (Jessica Lowndes) and Naomi (AnnaLynne McCord) have each other to fall back on when facing challenges thrown at them during this school year. With a clique of fashionably popular girls, the boys aren’t too far: Navid (Michael Steger) is still the nerdy boy who charms the ladies, while Dixon (Tristan Wilds) tries too hard to measure up to everyone else’s needs, losing himself in the process. Then there is Liam (Matt Lanter), the boy who is smart, yet does not show it, and the newest addition, Teddy Montgomery (Trevor Donovan), who is quite the charmer with his wealthy status and looks. Struggling with problems from the past and the present, they will soon learn that high school is no game. With ongoing suspense, unforeseen drama and a scandal each week, ”90210” has it all. Having something viewers can relate to such as personal struggles, as well as family and friend issues, the show stays alive and grows more captivating by the week.

”90210”

”Heroes” is a science-fiction television series about certain humans By Joseph Widjaja who acquired super powers after Mondays at 8 p.m. a strange eclipse. on NBC. The show follows these characters, and viewers see how each character’s abilities corrupted their human society. The first season of the show attracted many viewers because of the twists and foreshadowing effects scripted by clever writers. At the end of season three, the death of a major character, and a change in personality of another, leaves the viewers hanging with an unfinished story. Finally, the long wait is over, and volume five, season four, ”Redemption” is currently screening. With the writers back in action, the fresh start of ”Heroes” is expected to be a renewal of the extremely popular series. The new season started by introducing a new crew of characters with interesting abilities, such as mind control over the components of earth. Twists with the new cast relate to the main plot. What keeps the audience hungry for more are the questions that pop up in their heads after an episode suddenly ends. Though ”Heroes” has multiple story lines capable of confusing new audience members, it is always packed with enough action and comedy to entertain anyone. It would be worthwhile for new viewers to watch from the beginning to understand the unique series.

MTV is back with a sixth season for its drama-filled reality series, ”The Hills.” By Fiona Man This popular reality television Tuesdays at 10 p.m. p r o g r a m f o l l ows on MTV. the personal lives of several young people living in Los Angeles. Although MTV cameras primarily follow former Laguna Beach star, Lauren Conrad, they have also included actors Heidi Montag, Audrina Patridge, Spencer Pratt, Stephanie Pratt, Lo Bosworth, Brody Jenner and Justin ”Bobby” Brescia. As the new season premiered on Sept. 29, viewers found a new twist in the story. According to MTV, main character Lauren Conrad called it quits for ”The Hills” as she ”could not take another season.” Viewers who watched the sixth season premiere noticed that former ”Laguna Beach” star Kristin Cavallari has taken her place as the main role. With ”The Hills” already consisting of conflict between Lauren and former best friend Heidi, Heidi and boyfriend-stealer Stacie Hall and Audrina and ex-boyfriend Justin Bobby, it’s no wonder Lauren decided to leave the show. The drama, however, continues as Kristin has already caused trouble with Audrina as she tries to lure Justin Bobby into her hands. Even newlywed Heidi is already thinking about kids, which Spencer strongly disapproves of. As viewers can see, season six is fierce and filled with more drama than ever before. Will Kristin’s foolishness succeed? What trouble will she cause next? Will Heidi and Spencer really have kids? These questions have yet to be answered. As rage rises, ”The Hills” is about to be the best reality show audiences have ever seen.

”The Hills”

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”Heroes”

As childhood pop star Aaron Carter, ”Dancing with ”Iron Chef America” the stars” Chairman Marc By Brittany Irving Decascos, ”Sabrina the Teenage Witch” Mondays at 8 p.m. actress Melissa Joan and Tuesdays at 9 p.m. Hart, professional on ABC. snowboarder Louie Vito, former Dallas Cowboy Michael Irvin and R&B singer Mya descend the stairs onto the dance floor, there is no doubt this new season of ”Dancing with the Stars” is aimed to attract younger viewers to appreciate the show’s entertainment, talent and humor. As in the past, the reality show airs weekly themed dance routines performed by celebrities paired with professional dancers. Viewers then call in votes for their favorite couples, and an elimination round is held the next night. Despite the competition to eventually win the mirrorball trophy, both the enthusiastic stars and the charming dancers are always smiling and having a fun time. The judges are also a hilarious bunch. While the kind Carrie Ann Inaba is the most reasonable of the three, the conservative British Len Goodman is harsh towards ”raunchy” routines, and the dramatic Bruno Tonioli provides all the flair the show needs. With more recognizable celebrities among teenagers, this season will have younger viewers joining their parents on the couch to watch this family-friendly show.

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”Glee”

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There’s something about ”Glee.” Created by Ryan Murphy and aimed toward the By Chloe Lew ”aspiring underdog in all of us,” Fox Wednesdays at 9 p.m. television’s new hit on Fox. show this fall plays on the ambitions of cliche high school students, from the victimized Rachel Berry (Lea Michelle) to the popular quarterback Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith), struggling to find their place in a cruel and merciless high school hierarchy. Their only escape is Glee Club--a lowly and heavily ridiculed show choir revived by the determined, young Spanish teacher, Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison). Despite the deterrents of taunting peers and occasional betrayals, the misfits of Glee club find an inexplicable solace in the company of one another, regardless of their polar personalities, and collaborate to create outrageously remarkable musical numbers. The vivacious musical comedy is thus not solely about high school archetypes, distinct characters or witty quips, but the undeniably stimulating vigor of passion in the voices of otherwise restrained teenagers. Simply, ”Glee” is the embodiment of heart, adrenaline, drive and, of course, pure delight.

Set in a rural town known as Tree Hill, this young ”One Tree Hill” adult drama exposes By Stephanie Chan the essence of maintaining bonds Mondays at 8 p.m. within a family on CW. and revealing the untold truth. After s e ve n s u c c e s s f u l seasons, ”One Tree Hill” is back featuring new cast members and a whole new perspective on friends, family and love. The underlying plot of ”One Tree Hill” regards two half-brothers who struggle to earn respect on the courts and on the streets. With Lucas Scott (Chad Michael Murray) gone, Nathan Scott (James Lafferty) is the last brother standing on the show. His character shows perseverance, strength and dignity, serving as a role model to his son, Jamie Scott (Jackson Brundage). Basketball appears to act as a mediator for the Tree Hill residents, with the ball representing a sense of unity. Oftentimes, Nathan encounters trouble with both his past alcohol and drug addiction and his flirtatious reputation. His wife, Haley Scott (Bethany Joy Galleoti), stresses over her family’s well-being so much that she forgets to watch out for herself. Moreover, the battle of mother-daughter and father-son relationships are shown. This series is kept alive with suspense for its viewers.

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Youth ambassadors return home By Floraine Sioson and Sarina Curtis staff writer

Say goodbye to lazy summer days filled with sleeping in and mindless channel surfing, and say hello to foreign adventures, priceless memories, and an unforgettable summer. Last summer, Hercules High School’s juniors Julian Lin, Nicole Ng, Stefan Feurst, Marciana Suela and freshman Rachael Redlo had the opportunity to become five of the six youth representatives in Japan through the Hercules Sister City Association’s Youth Ambassador program. Since 1998, this program has recruited middle and high school students to represent Hercules in Tsushima, while also visiting various areas of Japan to experience and appreciate the culture, people and food. ”I’m always asked how my stay in Japan was, and I respond ’Hot, humid, it rained, we had to walk a lot...I loved it.’ But, I really did love it,” Suela said. For the first half of the trip, the ambassadors were sent to live with different host families who took each student on various adventures for a week. Suela’s family, for example, took her to calligraphy lessons, while Lin spent time at the mall with new Japanese friends. ”Some of the most memorable experiences were staying with our host families,” said Feurst. ”I think all the ambassadors agree they were all wonderful. They treated us like family. Some of them, and even some ambassadors, were crying [when it was time to leave] because neither party wanted to be separated.” Although each ambassador had a different host family, they all went to the same group activities and attended the

Nicole Ng/Template

Julian Lin (11th), Marciana Suela (11th), Zoe Sheppard , Nicole Ng (11th), Rachael Redlo (9th), Stephan Feurst (11th) take a quick break from site seeing to snap a photograph at Otori Gate at Miyajima Island in Hiroshima. Tsushima Tenno Matsuri festival, one of the top three famous river festivals in Japan. The highlight was the evening festival called Yoi-matsuri, in which five large boats with illuminated lanterns are set afloat. Staying with a host family included eating unfamiliar Japanese dishes, adopting the Japanese reverence for manners and respect and facing the feared language barrier. Some students took Japanese language classes to prepare themselves, while others resorted to hand gestures, sounds and the occasional online translator. ”With a little English from my host family, and a little Japanese on my end, I got through a lot [of the communication problems],” Redlo said. During the latter part of the excursion,

the ambassadors toured major Japanese cities such as Tsushima, Hiroshima, Kyoto and Tokyo, and went sight-seeing and shopping. When not immersing themselves in the Japanese culture, they had free time to do as they pleased. They visited various sites, like the Nagoya Castle, the Toyota Museum, a plethora of shrines, a bamboo forest, an assortment of malls, fish markets and even a life-sized version of the Japanese anime robot, Gundam. After staying with the host families during the first half of the trip, the ambassadors stayed in different city hotels for the second half. ”In the second portion of the trip, you get to wake up in a different city almost every day,” Ng said. Every ambassador described the trip

as a memorable cultural exchange and recommends other students to apply for ambassadorship, as it is a chance to make new friendships, represent Hercules and even change one’s perspective on different cultures. The city of Hercules and the city of Tsushima have been closely affiliated with each other since 1981. The Hercules Sister City Association gives its adult members, as well as Hercules’ youth, the opportunity to have visits between the two cities, allowing the relationship between these two towns to prosper. The 2008 Japan trip was postponed to the summer of 2009 due to the lack of applicants. This move will also enable students to attend the Tenno Matsuri festival in the future. There will be a trip for 2010, unless otherwise stated by the association. To apply, interested 8th and 9th graders must fill out an application and submit a personal essay and teacher recommendations. After, students and their parents are interviewed. Pre-trip preparations include fundraising to help pay for the cost of the twoweek trip, roughly $3,000, and taking Japanese language classes to reduce the language barrier. Rather than finding an application while dusting a library counter, like Ng, or listening to Mrs. Dirk talk about her son’s experience with the program, like Redlo, students can contact Sharon Calonico, orchestra director, for applications. One can get a hold of Calonico through e-mail SCalonico@wccusd.net or simply visiting her in the orchestra room, H513. Applications are tentatively expected to be available to the middle and high school on Dec. 1. As Feurst said, ”There’s no downside to sending in an application, so why not?”

EPI introduces new summer New food items, program to save turtles to HHS choices expand cafeteria offerings galows and three nights in hotels. The price is estimated to be $2,995, but scholarships, Staff writer financial aid and fundraisers are offered. Though the trip may seem pricey, ”it For the first time at Hercules High School, includes everything: three meals a day, lodging students now have the opportunity to engage and research equipment--just about everything in the Costa Rica Sea Turtle Ecology Program. from start to finish,” Klaus said. This program allows students to embark on a ”The school has enough kids [who would journey to Costa Rica’s Pacuare Nature Reserve want to go]...if only they could get over the to help scientists study leatherback sea financial hurdle,” Philip turtles and to restore tropical habitats. Morgan, Hercules Middle This opportunity gives School counselor, said. students a chance to work Morgan was a chaperone for directly with local scienEl Cerrito High School ’s tists. Activities include Ecology Project International working on reforestatrip in the past. tion projects, collecting data This year, the HHS about nesting sea turtles group will consist of during nightly patrols, invesnine to 18 students. Two tigating rainforest ecosystems chaperons will join and helping the restoration the students, one of of turtle nesting habitats on the them including HHS beach. The 12-day program Counselor Prudence includes 20 hours of research Kent. and beach patrol at the Pacuare ”I think the Reserve, and 50 hours of course program itself is a works in sea turtle biology, once in a lifetime rainforest ecology and research adventure. I am so methodology. excited. There ”I talk a lot about the science is so much that and the work that go into the the students can program, but it is a balance gain from it. They of working hard and having should take advanfun,” Joshua Klaus, directage of this opportor of Academic Programs tunity,” Kent said. for the Ecology Project Students International, said. who attend the Aside from the educaprogram are eligible tional aspects of the trip, to receive school students will be able to credit. Those who meet and interact with are interested local Spanish-speaking should speak to students, as well as river Kent or Morgan. raft in the rapids of the Admissions will be Pacuare River. The trip will on first-come first-serve take place somebasis. time between ”If this is something March and July. you are really motivatT he program ed about and want i n c l u d e s f i ve to do, then you can nights in beach cabins, make it happen,” three nights in rainforest bun- Tracy Chan/Template Klaus said.

By Crystal Chung

By Leah Defigueiredo staff writer

When the bell rings, students eagerly exit their classrooms and hurry to the lengthy lunch lines. After hours without food, students are longing to satiate their grumbling stomachs with cafeteria cuisine. The meals served at Hercules High School evoke different opinions from everyone, and although students believe taste is important, nutrition has become an essential factor in determining HHS’s lunch options. Since 2003, the West Contra Costa Unified School District has developed strict requirements that HHS must follow. Lunches sold by the school must consist of food items containing no more than 250 calories and less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat. The lunch menu continues to evolve every year to maintain the nutrition standards. This school year, chicken chow mein, teriyaki chicken rice and beef tacos have been added to the selection to expand the variety of healthy meals offered to students. ”I really like the menu changes this year,” sophomore Charbel Rohayem said. ”I like that the students have more choices but my favorite is the spicy chicken sandwich.” The spicy chicken sandwich and pizza remain the most popular lunch choices among HHS students. Cheeseburgers and the chicken caesar salad, which proves to be the most nutritious meal on the menu, are also stu-

dents’ favorite go-to items. The turkey ham and cheese wedge, a sandwich composed of turkey, cheese and vegetables, remains the least purchased item on the lunch menu. An average of 400 students purchase lunch at school, which is one-third of HHS’s total student body. With these high numbers, the district must deliver food daily to keep up with demands. The lunches are shipped directly from WCCUSD’s downtown office in Richmond. Sarah Devi, manager of the cafeteria, plays an important role in ensuring that school lunches remain fresh. She monitors the temperature of the food and makes sure that the food is sorted properly. Therefore, when students order, they can receive exactly what they want. ”The students are most important,” Devi said. ”It’s really about feeding them.”

Breakfast menu for $1.50 The selection includes: - Cinnamon Rolls - Cereal - Breakfast sandwiches - Breakfast sausage - Bagels

Foreign exchange student replaces ‘Gutentag’ with ‘Hello’ By Kimberly Ny Staff writer

Foreign exchange students come from all across the world to seek a whole new adventure in life. Hercules High School is lucky enough to have one of many foreign exchange students. Philipp Mueller-Buttmann, a 17-year-old foreign exchange student from Germany, came to America to improve his English. ”I am happy to be here at Hercules because it is nice,” Mueller-Buttmann said. ”It is cool that [this city] is near San Francisco, and the people here are nice.” Foreign exchange students undergo many hardships when they come to a new country and have to adapt to a new language, culture and school. Mueller-Buttmann claims school in Germany is much more difficult than the academics at HHS. In Germany, teachers tend to extensively explain a subject instead of giving written work to students. In America, the teachers have a tendency to not thoroughly explain

each subject because of so little time allotted to teach because of his relatives’ close ties with the Wilkins each class. family. ”You can write bad tests and be good in oral work, ”Everyone here is just so generally nice and polite. so if you pay attention in the lesson, or say something The school offers all kinds of sports and activities. It’s good in the lesson, then you can get a good just all so nice,” Mueller-Buttmann said. oral grade,” Mueller-Buttmann said. ”Oral He has traveled to many places alone, grades are almost 50 percent of your grade, including England, and such experiences so Germany is better for people who don’t have made him immune to homesickness. write good tests.” He still, however, misses his friends, family In Germany, each student’s schedule is and soccer team back home. changed from day to day. Germany’s school So far, Mueller-Buttmann's experience operates on a block schedule system, in in Hercules has been a positive one. He which students have fewer and several is maintaining his grades, improving his different classes per day, but for a longer English speaking and writing skills and period of time. In many schools in the learning to become more independent. United States, a student’s schedule remains Mueller-Buttmann will stay for the ’09-’10 constant. school year. He can be seen playing with the Phillipp MuellerMueller-Buttmann currently lives with HHS varsity football team or hanging out Buttmann HHS junior Sean Wilkins and his family. with his friends. He believes that meeting his host family If Mueller-Buttmann is ever seen around has been his best experience thus far. campus, students should not forget to welcome him to He chose Hercules over other options offered Hercules and say: ”Gutentag!”


news

Friday, October 30, 2009

Newsline Site Council

■ The election of new officers and a State of our School presentation by Mr. Zak were the highlights of the School Site Council meeting Oct. 22. HMHS has no English Language Development money because its ELD students are nearly fluent in English. Also, the district is not giving the school any Gifted and Talented Education m o n e y t h i s y e a r. According to Mr. Zak, 21% of HHS students are enrolled in Advanced Placement courses and Academic Performance Index scores are above the district average. The first time passing rate for tenth graders on the CAHSEE is around 85-90% depending on the subgroup. Despite budget cuts, HMHS still has its arts program and AP classes, and Ivy League Connection Program is thriving.

Newsletters ■ The Hercules Community Partnership, the group that makes the school's newsletters that are sent home, will now be sending them through e-mail. Parents, teachers and students who want to receive the newsletter must to send their e-mail addresses via e-mail to hcp2009@aol.com by Nov. 5. The newsletter contains information about upcoming events, the HCP, the HMHS Music Boosters and other valuable information. It will also be posted on the school's website. Teachers are welcome to submit articles for the newsletter to Dweeks@aol.com once it is up and running.

Community clean-up day ■ Join fellow Herculeans at The Public Works Yard to help clean up the community streets, parks and landscape areas on Nov. 21. Residents are encouraged to bring canned or non-perishable foods to support the Holiday Food Drive. The event will be from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at 1000 Sycamore Avenue in Hercules. Contact Mindy Niualiku at (510) 799-8230 for volunteering opportunities.

seniors: from page 1A tion is whether the seniors will participate. ”I can’t help the senior class unless the senior class helps me,” Yuen said. After the meeting, some suggested that the smaller senior events, such as the senior BBQ and the senior breakfast, be cancelled to save money. ”Mathematically, it does not seem possible to have both boat cruise and ball, but I’m not working alone in this. The senior class as a whole [is] working together to make it happen,” Yuen said. ”Everyone understands what kind of crisis we are in.” Though Senior Ball remains a faint prospect, the class of 2010 is ready to work for that $18,000 to hold the worthy night. ”It would be a crazy miracle if this year turns out successful. This year is already drenched with horrible incidents,” Yuen said. ”I just want the class of 2010 to be a success.” While plans for Senior Ball commence, seniors can still look forward to Senior Boat Cruise. Ticket sales began at $70 on Oct. 26 and the price will increase at a weekly increment of $5. Senior Dues Card holders can purchase the tickets for a flat rate of $65. The night on the bay begins Nov. 21 from 7:30-10:30 p.m. at Pier 3 in San Francisco, courtesy of Hornblower Cruisers.

HHS gets new admin By Haley Knoblauch staff writer

Year after year, an assortment of fresh faces gather at Hercules High School. Whether visiting from cities of Germany or even Adams Middle School or Richmond High School, they share a common destination-Hercules High School. Two new administrative freshfaces, Terri Ishmael and April Scott, are on the path to fulfill their duties as assistant principals on the middle and high school campuses. They are joining HMHS Principal Guy Zakrevsky, and assistant principals LaDonna Williams and Kelly Mosley, for a total of five administrators. Ishmael and Scott were recruited to replace Graig Crossley and Cheryl Lilhanand, the school’s two chief assistant principals who retired at the end of the previous school year. Prior to her arrival, Ishmael served at Adams Middle School and other sites in the district, while Scott worked in the Oakland Unified School District as a middle school assistant principal. ”I initially thought we would have somewhat of a setback with Mrs. Lilhanand and Mr. Crossley retiring. They were such a solid part of the school,” said Principal Zakrevsky. ”I thought we would take a step backward, but we’re continuing where we left off. Mrs. Scott and Mrs. Ishmael have been positive additions to our team.” Ishmael came to the school with a positive outlook, having heard nothing but good news. She did,

however, compare her knowl- ticularly appreciates. edge of HMHS to that of the other ”He [Zakrevsky] meets with the schools she previously adminis- administration weekly, so we’re all trated. aware of what one another is doing, ”The biggest difference is that what things we need to work on there are two schools here. It’s a and how we’re going to divvy up new position, so that’s a challenge,” duties and jobs,” said Ishmael. said Ishmael. ”Always learning the With such an enormous workculture and climate of the school, load and significant position to and trying to figure out how things fill, Ishmael has been a ”behind are done and what prothe scenes” administracedures are in place. tor since the school year Otherwise kids are kids began, primarily working and schools are schools.” with counselors and teachers. On the other Under Zakrevsky’s hand, Scott has made supervision, both Ishmael herself a visible authority and Scott have been propamong the middle school erly situated at HMHS. students by monitoring Ishmael dedicates her behavior during lunch time to academic curricuand providing assistance lum, Advanced Placement throughout the day. testing and courses, the Terri Ishmael Despite overcrowding master schedule and in classrooms during the special education for the first few weeks of school, high school side, whereas Ishmael and Scott believe Scott works directly with everything is operating at the middle school stua smooth pace, therefore dents. Adjusting to the allowing them to enjoy school’s system has also their positions without been added to Ishmael’s much worries. and Scott’s list of priori”I’m very happy to be ties. here,” said Ishmael. ”Right now I’m in the Ishmael hopes to process of learning what April Scott recruit more students we have in place and into AP classes, raise test what work to resolve,” said Scott. ”And as people name scores and continue working at challenges I’m open to listening a steady pace. Additionally, Scott and pulling people together to anticipates a successful school year make those necessary changes.” as she maintains an open mind. Weekly meetings among the As the school year progresses, administrators have allowed the Zakrevsky and his fellow administwo assistant principals to properly trators continue toward a successful adapt and understand their respon- term. sibilities, something Ishmael par”I feel very confident,” he said.

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from page 1A Prudence Kent. All other classes including Algebra, Physics, Chemistry and Calculus will be accepted there as college credits. Ultimately, this new limitation on high school students could be injurious to ambitious students’ attempts to fit more credits into their academic schedules. Beginning this year, students were limited to six-class schedules unless they have Journalism, Yearbook, English 4, or AP Literature for A period. ”Since I took P.E. at CCC this past summer, I got to add physics to my schedule,” junior Simaran Bhatia said, ”This allows me take AP physics next year. My grade point average also benefits with one more point.” Students take these college classes to complete high school or to extend resume lists of educational achievements. These advantages allow students to fit in additional electives and Advanced Placement courses at the high school. At CCC, credits of those who completed classes during the summer and/ or enrolled in fall courses before the cut off date will be accepted by the HHS administration and are valid for students transcripts.

HHS receives three fresh additions By Stephanie Chan staff writer

Exemplary scholars, prepare to meet the triple threat. As warm blessings are being sent to long-standing teachers, Hercules High School waves hello to three new ones: Christienne Corodva, Alana Scott and Andrew Ting. Although most teachers have been feeling the unavoidable brunt due to budget cuts and the potential strike, Cordova still maintains a positive outset and sets her students as her number one priority. ”I care about students and I’m not here just for the pay,” said Cordova. Cordova works as a resource specialist, or RSP teacher, and instructs special education students. Leading a class titled ”Tutorial,” the agenda varies daily, but her responsibility is to catch up high-functioning students through encouragement and one-on-one attention. Besides finishing their own homework, students are also assessed regularly to measure their grade level and improvements. Alana Scott, an ’04 graduate from Pinole

relocating to the Hercules campus. Before his arrival, Ting and Sharon Calonico, HHS orchestra director, were already acquaintances, which made his transition comfortable and stress-free. This year, the band, choir and orchestra are cruising south to Ensenada, Mexico for a five day trip aboard a Carnival Fun Ship. ”Kids love to travel and the student body is really open to trying new activities,” said Ting. ”I want to bring more opportunities for students to look forward to.” With a wide-ranging music repertoire, Ting connects well both to the professional and amateur scene of music. He performs with The Prodigals, Patrice Katigbak/Template a live jazz group that perFrench teacher Alana Scott reviews an assignment with her French 1 class. forms at various venues in Scott is one of three new teachers at Hercules High School. the Walnut Creek area. wise, beyond the city of Va l l e y H i g h S c h o o l , better,” said Scott. Despite the state budget While she relays that Hercules. She plans to cuts and economic downmoves into the world languages department with teaching at HHS is ”some- travel abroad with stu- turn, Ting is ”absolutely a ”Bonjour.” Known as thing that sort of just hap- dents to France biannual- glad to be here.” He is cur”Mademoiselle Scott,” she pened,” she is very pleased ly, expanding their knowl- rently applying for music is a French instructor who by her decision and the edge on various aspects of grants through EdFund, can closely relate to stu- respect she receives from French culture. a non-profit corporation Andrew Ting is the which provides educationdents through her youth- students. Only a month ful and refreshing attitude. has passed, and she newest conductor of band al loans--an essential in ”I’m an organized and already notes the culinary, and choir students. this period of time. Ting has been teaching understanding teacher. drama and music departIn the midst of chaos, Since I’m just starting ments as having immense in the West Contra Costa the triple threat is highly out as a teacher, I am still potential. These depart- Unified School District respected for their orgaabsorbing advice from ments encourage Scott for seven years and taught nization and cooperation other teachers and learn- to teach beyond a class- at El Cerrito High School with staff and students ing to relate to students room setting, and like- as a music director before alike.

Leadership transforms into club new opportunity for leadership students to discuss staff writer and plan directly with Principal Guy Zakrevsky. W i t h b u d g e t c u t s In the past, the process s p r e a d i n g a c r o s s of getting approval was California, cutbacks have tedious, for leadership stualso found their way to dents had to go through Hercules High School, multiple school adminisresulting in the loss of the trators. leadership class. For the Though communicafirst time tion with at HHS, the adminLeadership istration "...we don't have a is an afterhas become middleman anymore more school club. conto confuse everyone. v e n i e n t , ”At first I was really commuWe now have direct nervous communication with nb iect awt ei oe nn about it. I people who can was conthe club c e r n e d approve our events." m e m b e r s about the has become amount more diffiJanelle Salvador of dedicacult. ASB Vice President tion people ” W e w o u l d have schedhave,” said Ramiah Davis, uling conflicts, less dediassociated student body cation and we’re meeting president. ”It is differ- less often,” said Janelle ent. A lot of the discus- S a l va d o r, a s s o c i a t e d sions and proposals were student body vice presiusually made in class and dent. this takes a lot of it away.” On the first Monday Though leadership is of every month, leaderno longer a class, its effi- ship meets with Zakrevsky ciency is not necessar- in his conference room. ily fated to plummet. One Leadership also plans on benefit bestowed upon having additional meetthe club this year is the ings at different locations.

By Crystal Chung

”Basically we don’t have a middleman anymore to confuse everyone. We now have direct communication with people who can approve our events,” said Salvador. A recurring problem from leadership class last year was attaining approval for events. According to Salvador, this process was very time consuming, inefficient and often the main reason why leadership committees of the past were chastised for failing to get objectives accomplished. ”I’m really excited. I cannot express how happy I am that we are working directly with Mr. Zak,” said Davis. ”Despite the disposition of things, Leadership is on its way with planning a fun and fulfilling year. We have a pretty good team and a good student government body. Things are going pretty good so far.” ”In the long run [this] is not going to stop us; we’re still putting on events and representing leadership. [But] we will definitely push for a class next year, for the future leaders of the school,” said Davis.

Kimberly Ermitano/Template

ASB President Ramiah Davis (12th) speaks to ninth graders during the Freshman Orientation in September.


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Friday, October 30, 2009

Budget cuts take its toll on Hercules High sports By Donovan Bonner Department editor

With a $25,000 dollar budget cut, judgment day may be near for the athletic programs at Hercules High School. According to HHS Principal Guy Zakrevsky, much of this money will be coming from funds which supported transportation to and from away games and allowed for the purchase of new equipment. Such losses have affected athletic students of all departments at HMHS. Two years ago the school district provided transportation for all sports, but because of the current economy, it can no

longer afford such expenses and gas prices. As a result of the recession, California has less money for all schools and is, thus, cutting expenses in all areas of education. Coaches and players are struggling to get this year’s programs running smoothly. Te a m s a r e e x p e r i e n c i n g problems they have never encountered previously. With most of the cuts affecting transportation, all sports teams are asking parents to assist with driving. Many small teams, like cross country and golf, are forced to get cars as their only source of transit. The schools are also using vans provided by Enterprise car rentals. The vans cut down the

cost of gas and the expense of bus transportation. “Last year, we had the small white buses, but this year we only have vans,” said cross country coach Chris Rodgers. The cross country team season has, additionally, been shortened to only three league meets. The cuts also affect the distance various sports teams travel. “It’s more work for the coaches because we have to find rides and transportation,” Rodgers said. The downsized budget is leaving the Titan football program with a deep wound. The freshman football team was terminated and both the varsity and junior varsity teams are

provided with only one bus for transportation. Because of the large number of football players, the bus has to make multiple trips to and from the visiting schools, first dropping off the junior varsity and then the varsity team. As a result of the budget cuts, it is also “hard to get new equipment,” varsity football coach Gerald Montgomery said. Slashes in the budget have contributed to cut backs on coaches as well. Teams will either have one overall coach for the different levels on the team or fewer coaches than they may have had in previous years. On the other hand, the remaining coaches’ salaries are not being affected.

“Overall, we haven’t cut any sports except for the freshmen teams,” Zakrevsky said. Locations not too far from HMHS are experiencing turmoil in their school’s financial system, and HMHS’s time on the hot seat may be in the near future. Recently, Mt. Diablo School district had a $30 million budget cut, cancelling all athletics and dismissing numerous teachers. Just 30 minutes away, the Vallejo City Unified School District has proposed to cut 244 school employees. There are few signs of a swift economic recovery for California, and financial problems are expected to leave next year’s sports hanging by a thread.

HHS golf has NCS goal Hickok goes for assistance By Jennifer Doan staff writer

North Coast Section finals. That is the goal that motivated the Lady Titan’s Golf Team this season. After a hard-fought season and an overall 5-5 record, the Lady Titans teed off at the NCS Qualifier on Monday, Oct. 26. The top three players for Hercules High School, Jennifer Yim, Iris San Juan, and Janelle Salvador went to Las Positas Golf Course in Livermore to play against other schools in the Alameda/Contra Costa Athletic League (ACCAL). Seniors Elim Yee, and Teresa Paz fill the remaining positions on the team. Towards the beginning of the season, the Lady Titans won two matches against Holy Names High School and Albany High School. However, they lost against two of their top rivals, Berkeley High School and Alameda High School. “We tried our best, but it seemed like when we were having an off day, everyone else was having their best day,” Yim said about the defeats against Alameda and Berkeley. The team practiced everyday after school, Monday through Thursday, at the Franklin Canyon Golf Course, off California State Route 4. With at least two hours of practice everyday, the Lady Titans practiced their strokes, along with many more exercises to help them play better at their games. “I’ve been with the same five people for two years, so we all

I may get tasks that are solely mine,” Hickok said. Layout editor Although the process would From introducting the be difficult, Hickok hopes to ancient civilizations of the develop a streamline process Mayans and Incas to discussing of checking students into the the Articles of Confederation, sports program in the near Hercules High School teacher future. He expects much time Kenneth Hickok has centered and effort will be needed to on teaching history at HHS for reach this goal. four years. Now he has taken “I find that I have hit some on the position as the new speed bums so far, but I feel I assistant sports director. am doing well,” Hickok said. Hickok wanted to learn With Hickok’s athletic tasks about the administrative side occupying a great amount of of the sports programs, so he his time, being assistant athletic proudly accepted director has its the position when pros and cons. asked to by Lawrence U n f o r t u n a t e l y, Smith, the current Hickok will have athletic director, and less time to devote HHS Vice Principal to teaching, creating LaDonna Williams. lesson plans and Smith thought it doing grading would be easier to for his advanced juggle the multiple placement world tasks of the athletic history students. department with an Kenneth Hickok On the other hand, assistant. Hickok enjoys Of course being working in the an “assistant” athletic director is office more often with the staff more than just lending a hand and counselors to the head director or helping Continuing his position as out with meager tasks. assistant athletic director for Hickok will be responsible future years is still unknown to for conducting quarterly grade the history teacher. checks for student athletes, “I’m not sure if this is ensuring that all of the students’ something I want to do again,” p a p e r wo r k a n d m e d i c a l Hickok said. “It’s still new, so I physicals are completed, and don’t know if I like it yet.” arranging sports banquets for On top of being a teacher the fall, winter, and spring and assistant sports director, seasons. Hickok is also the advisor for “Right now, I have a few the mock trial club as well as tasks that Mr. Smith has passed the coach for the varsity girls’ on to me, but for the future, softball team.

By Fiona Man

Patrice Katigbak/Template

Iris San Juan, Teresa Paz and Jennifer Yim prepare to Tee-off. know each other, get along and have fun,” junior Jennifer Yim said. “But we want to reach our highest potential, and score better than last year against different teams on different

courses.” Though they have already ended the season with a tied record, the Lady Titans expect their fair chance at NCS Qualifiers.

Dispute leads to Lady Titans Tennis teams coach dismissal slices up the courts staff writer

Hercules High School’s women’s tennis team is back and better than its preceding season. The season for Lady Titans has started off with a successful record compared to last year’s final score of 0-8. Thus far, the team has won against El Cerrito High and Pinole Valley High. “The girls have done extremely well on the court. I think the rest of our season will be a success,” Coach Michael Harris said. Losing only two senior players, the team is larger and more experienced t h a n last year, making Leigh Patrice them a Katibak/Template strong squad of roughly 18 players. They are led by Coach Harris and co-Captains junior Yueming Wang and senior Courtney Mariano. “We have all improved our fundamentals which have enabled us to work on more technical moves, such as overheads, lobs and

serves,” Wang said. “We have good chemistry as a team, so that has not been a problem for us when out on the court.” There is, however, one setback for the Lady Titans--budget cuts. This year, they have been using vans instead of buses, which will only hold the varsity team and two junior varsity players. Although the entire team cannot be there for support, it does not hinder players’ determination to win. “We used to be at the bottom, but now I am proud to see us becoming one of the best,” Wang said.

Tennis Record Vs. El Cerrito Berkeley Pinole El Cerrito Berkeley Alameda

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A recent dispute between Titans’ football defensive coordinator Marvin Jones and football players and staff of Alameda High School resulted in Jones’s official release. The argument occurred around 6:30 p.m. during the Oct. 16 home varsity football game against the Alameda Hornets. Hercules High School athletic director Lawrence Smith confirmed Jones’s firing last Tuesday. Smith then reported the matter to the West Contra Costa Unified School District, as well as Principal Guy Zakrevsky and Assistant Principal Terri Ishmael. “All I saw was Coach Marvin arguing with the Alameda team’s coaches and telling them to get off our Titan logo during stretches,” junior varsity player Austin Wiseman said. “He wanted to fix the problem, not make it worse. He said it was very disrespectful of what they did”. During the pre-game warm-ups, Jones saw the Alameda football team stretching beyond the 50 yard line and on top of the Titan logo. After Jones asked them to warm-up elsewhere, off of the logo, Alameda refused. According to Head JV Coach

By Savanna Lawrence

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Staff Writer

Bill Alcus, both team’s players and coaches verbally argued for approximately 15 minutes. The clash ended before the game started. “In the football world, when you visit another home, you usually stretch from the 40 yard line in and stay off the logo just out of respect. What they did was just total disrespect. They also did that in the JV game,” Alcus said, regarding the issue. Late into the first half, however, Jones was removed from the game due to his behavior before the match. With the absence of their defensive coordinator and a second half awaiting, both Alcus and Head Varsity Coach Gerald Montgomery took over and continued to lead the defense. The game ended with a loss for the Titans. With three games left in the season and the removal of their defensive coordinator, Alcus, alongside Assistant Coach Stacy, will take over Jones’s position. They will coach both the varsity and JV defensive teams. Montgomery has also committed to help the defense stay strong, despite Jones’s permanent absence. Jones was also the head basketball coach at HHS.

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By Alec Murillo

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Friday, October 30, 2009

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Tweet, Follow, Call Getting into instant communication

Move over, Facebook and Myspace. There are new sheriffs in town. Dominating the electronic networking scene and outdating Facebook and MySpace, Twitter and Tumblr are the reigning kings of this generation’s social notebooks. Both websites provide individuals with glimpses into the lives of best friends, acquaintances and complete strangers, supplying buddy updates to those who so desire them. Just as Facebook and Myspace enable quick communication and online interaction, Twitter and Tumblr allow the same social intercourse, but through different means. For all those out of the loop and not in the know, let us break it down. Twitter is, essentially, a website manifestation of daily, even hourly, responses to the age-old question: ”What are you doing?” Unlike the unlimited space Tumblr users are provisioned with, those who ”tweet” are limited to a mere 140 characters. With Twitter, brevity is crucial, but detail is key. ”It’s weird, because sometimes people will tweet just to say they’re going to bed,” senior Lisa Navarro said. ”It’s like, um, okay? Goodnight?” Insanely bored adolescents are not the only group of Twitter devotees. Celebrities and politicians have also embraced the art of twittering, like pop princess Miley Cyrus and President Barack Obama, who use Twitter to strengthen fan bases and keep in contact with constituents, respectively. Although initially a simple solution to boredom, Twitter has blossomed

By Julia Maniquiz to encompass various other usages of become a site of online manure much greater importance. Corporate talking. giants like Comcast and Jet Blue ”I honestly think it’s pointless,” use Twitter as a costless method of senior Candie Tabar said. ”Everything market research. Through tweets, these people write can and will be seen by business moguls survey consumers others. They’re basically putting their and use such information towards the problems and other people’s business betterment of their products. on blast. I just don’t get it.” Twitter, nonetheless, can be used for Fellow senior Michael Yee holds much more elementary reasons. Music a similar perspective. ”With Tumblr, fiend and Hercules High senior Justine I think people abuse their right of Betschart, for example, uses Twitter for freedom of speech. the sole purpose of ”receiving updates ”They use this website as a place to on my favorite bands.” diss their so-called friends and just Whether used to communicate gossip about things that aren’t their one’s adoration for a celebrity, to post business – all posted for the whole a remark on a news event, or simply to world to see,” he continued. inform others of what hour bedtime ”The sad thing is that some people is, one thing is for certain: Twitter is put all the backstabbing and hate quickly making the simple ”nothing” talking online, but they can never response extremely banal. actually confront the person,” Bernal Tumblr , Twitter’s partner in said. ”As good as Tumblr is with being electronic networking crime, is an emotional punching bag, it can mainly a location for blogging, though also bring out all the pathetic people other items – such as song clips, video who spend the little time they have footage, and photos – can be posted. talking so much dirt about so many With Tumblrs, users have the option insignificant things.” of putting their account on private, so Though Tumblr has transformed only they can view their blogs. into an outlet of negative output, its ”Like a diary, it helps me release all popularity has yet to decline. the pent-up emotions I hold during The reigns of both Twitter and my unstable moments or simply help Tumblr do not seem to be ending any me explain why I’m so enthusiastic time soon. over something,” said senior Carla Now only one question remains: to Bernal. ”It holds memories and secrets blog or not to blog? I would never repeat to anyone else.” When this option of privacy is not utilized, however, thoughts can become too public to be considered anywhere near classy. While Twitter is relatively harmless, Tumblr, on the other hand, has

Malicious mobile devices By Savanna Lawrence

Despite school rules, Hercules High School students are constantly talking on their cell phones and listening to their iPods. ”I cannot live without using my cell phone,” junior Remy Downs said. What they do not realize, however, is the risk they are exposed to when using these devices. In United States alone, about 275 million people are cell phone and iPod users. Both cell phones and iPods can cause radiation and have potential side effects to their user’s health. Radiation is the process in which energy is emitted as particles or waves. These waves can lead to the development of brain tumors, genetic damage and other exposure-related conditions. Dr. George Carlo in The Hidden Dangers of Cell Phone Radiation said, by 2010, 500,000 new cases of brain and eye cancer cases will be linked to cell phone use. Carlo is the former chief scientist for the Cell Phone Safety Research Project. Studies performed by Carlo show people who have used cell phones for 10 or more years are subjected to more risk--close to being doubled--of developing a brain tumor on whichever side of the head the cell phone is held most often. Teenagers are more susceptible to greater damage because they have softer, thinner skulls that are less able to shield the brain from radiation. Research conducted by the Environmental Working Group’s states that children’s brains absorb twice as much cell phone radiation as those of adults. ”I had no idea my phone could harm me,” said freshman Janett Lares. The weaker the reception is in the area, the

more power a cell phones uses and the more radiation it emit. Japan and France are among some of the nations that have implemented laws to decrease the amount of secondhand radiation. Japan has banned cell phone use on trains, while France has made it illegal to advertise mobile devices to children under the age of 12. Despite the efforts of countries abroad, America, however, has taken no precautions. Many U.S. cell phone companies disagree with conducted studies, saying that the cell phones do not pose a health risk to individuals. Cell phone users can take their own precautions by not storing a cell phone in pant pockets or clipping it to a belt when the device is on. The body tissue in the lower body area has good conductivity and absorbs radiation more quickly than the head. One study shows that men who wear cell phones near their groins can have their sperm count dropped by as much as 30 percent. The most simple yet effective precaution students can take is to keep calls short. Even a two-minute call can alter the natural electrical activity of the brain for up to an hour afterward. People who text absorb less radiation because the cell phone is farther away from the body. If students do not take actions to protect their health now, more than half of them could develop some type of cancer in the next 19 years. With this striking information in mind, students should think about the consequences of using these beloved electronics. Page Design By Fiona Man

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halloween feature

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By Courtney Mariano When people think of Halloween, thoughts of candy, pranks, witches and goblins follow. Few, however, actually know the holiday’s origins. The custom of Halloween began to appear in America during the late 1800s after millions of Irish immigrated to the United States after the potato famine. The Celts, who lived in what is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France 2,000 years ago, believed that the spirits of the dead returned to the earth every year on October 31. The custom of Jack-O-Lanterns came from the Irish who originally carved turnips or beets to represent the souls of the dead. When they came to America, however, the Irish immigrants began to use pumpkins because of their abundance. The tradition of trick-or-treating is thought to have come from the

ninth century European custom of souling, where Christians walk around the villages begging for ”soul cakes.” The Christian people did this because they believed the more cakes they received, the more prayers these people would make for their dead relatives. Today, most Americans celebrate the holiday by decorating the houses with JackO-Lanterns and pictures of ghosts, black cats and bats. Some host parties or go to haunted houses while the children roam around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy in their costumes. Others go to Halloween themed parks such as Six Flags Discovery Kingdom or go to actual locations deemed ”haunted.” Whether it be scary or just plain fun, Halloween is a holiday that can be celebrated by people of all ages

Six Flags Scare

By Haley Knoblauch A jubilant trick-or-treater dressed as a witch strolls the streets on Halloween night with a pillowcase stuffed to the brim with an assortment of Snickers, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Sugar Daddy’s and Tootsie Roll Pops. She reaches into her bag of candy to retrieve one of her sugary treats, but finds a tube of Crest brand toothpaste in the palm of her hand, rather than a desired chocolate bar of some sort. Now, why on earth would anyone hand out toothpaste, or any other dental product, on Halloween? The infamous saying clearly states, ”Trick or treat. Smell my feet. Give me something good to eat,” not ”give me some miniature tube of toothpaste to brush my teeth.” As October 31 approaches each year, one thought always lingers in my mind. Who in their right mind would insist on passing toothbrushes or floss to the little cowboys and princesses hoping for a handful of candy? Honestly, anyone other than a dentist distributing candy is going overboard. I understand why a dentist would find it necessary to hand out candy, but for an average person to go out of his way to purchase and hand out dental hygienic products is not justified on a night when millions of people expect bite-sized treats. American culture has made it possible for the youth of the world to do just this for one night of the year, so for people to hand out items a dentist would give after a general check-up is rather overbearing and somewhat insulting. Raisins are also disappointing. Every time I received a box of raisins on Halloween, my face instantly turned into a scowl. Imagine the horror of receiving floss. Knowledgeable parents would know to have their child brush his teeth after seeing him consume large amounts of sweets. Candy is candy. Let the children indulge themselves in something sweet once every year. This is not a matter of pleasing the dentist, but one of allowing the witches and Power Rangers of America to experience a Halloween infamous for its thrills, chills, sweets and treats.

By Floraine Sioson

As the roller coaster tips perilousl y toward the drop, darkness intensifies the speedy descent into the unknown, and the chilly air becomes an excuse for the shiver going down one’s spine. Suddenly, a blood-cu rdling scream pierces the night as the moonlight exposes the horror below one’s dangling feet--ghouls, ghosts and the undead. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo is giving its guests the Halloween experience of their lives during Fright Fest, an annual spooky event which introduces elements of costumed employees, haunted houses and chances to ride non-water attractions at night. Six Flags is advertising the theme, ”Thrills by Day and Chills by Night,” which describes the park’s usual family-friendly environment during daylight and its transformation into a zombie-infested land at night. The younger crowd is entertained by Looney Tune characters, trick or treating, costume parades and other activities during the day. After dark, the park becomes PG-13 through an intricate Halloween playground complete with haunted mazes, zombie scare zones and spooky theatrical productions. ”Trick-or-treating is like Renaissance Era,” Martin said. ”Fright Fest is a cool way to have fun with friends and meet people while being in the Halloween mood.” This year, Fright Fest will have two new haunted mazes: the Bayou Hazard, which features the theme of cannibalism, and the Holiday House of Horrors. These attractions require additional fees. General admission is $44.99, $29.99 for a child under 48” and free for infants two and under. For those who purchase their tickets online, admission is $29.99. Season pass holders for 2010 have unlimited visits for the remainder of the 2009 season, including Fright Fest. The last day of Fright Fest will be Nov. 1

Paranormal failure By Andrew Asuelo

a pace that drags on as slowly as a snail. The transitions felt sloppy, and the plot of the film followed a boring day-to-night-to-day-and back-to-night routine. The night sections were supposed to be the ”scary” parts, but the moving inanimate objects did not make me shiver. The bland day sections consisted of the characters talking about the night before. The reason is both Katie and Micah, who are supposed to be common people, are extremely dull. Micah is loud, obnoxious and his tough-guy approach is annoying. Katie whined like she was suffering from premenstrual syndrome. The choices they made throughout the course of the film seemed contrived. ”Paranormal Activity” would play as a nice YouTube experiment, but to be advertised as one of the scariest movies ever made? Give me a break. It is more than a disappointment for anybody expecting this to be the very definition of a true horror film. I tried to get into the story, but because of the lifeless characters, rough transitions and laughable jump scares, nothing really pulled me in. When the story started to get remotely interesting, it concluded with what may be the biggest, most predictable, cop-out ending I have seen all year. I fail to see how any intelligent human being would find ”Paranormal Activity” the least bit scary or disturbing. If audiences want to experience the essence of the movie without leaving the comfort of their own home, they only need to run around, shut doors loudly, turn lights on and off, drag people on the floor and make loud thumps. That is $10 saved.

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How can a film, having no script, a $11,000 budget and no big names to back it up, be the surprise breakout hit of the year? Since 2007, ”Paranormal Activity” has been roaming around film festivals. It wasn’t until studio executives, including Steven Spielberg, viewed it and thought this indie flick could stand on its own two feet. It is now 2009, when the real magic supposedly began. The theatrical trailer was released, barely showing any clips from the film and instead focusing on the reactions, which only garnered curiosity. As one could imagine, people grew more curious, and the film was released nationwide. It is labeled ”the first-ever major film release demanded by you.” I, along with all of America, fell into the hype and demanded it. While the marketing campaign was brilliantly executed, only one question remained: can ”Paranormal Activity” live up to the hype as being one of the scariest movies ever made? From what I have seen, calling it such would be a complete overstatement. Katie (Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Sloat) have decided to take the next step in their relationship and move in together into a nice suburban home. Katie finally admits to Micah that she believes a spiritual being has been following her since she was 8-years-old. To find out if this is true, Micah buys a video camera and decides to record what happens to them in order to seek some answers. Despite its short length of 86 minutes, the film has

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Titan Template 30 October 2009  

This issue of the Titan Template covers stories relevant to our school community.

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