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Prom Dresses

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Digital Cameras Hercules Middle/ High School Friday, March 12, 2010

Ideal cameras to take the perfect photographs

Dresses in the latest styles to satisfy all types of girls

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Vol. 9 No. 6

Hercules, district shaken up by mandatory earthquake drills By Haley Knoblauch Staff writer

Staff writer

As Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SAT), Standardized Te s t i n g a n d Ad va n c e d Placement exams draw near, juniors become swamped in endless loads of work that prepare them for these examinations. The few aspects of school that serve as outlets during this tough period are entertaining, stress-free activities. The ultimate social gathering most juniors anticipate throughout their third year of high school is Junior Prom. With “A Night in Paris” as its theme, this year’s prom will be held on April 23 at the Golden Gate Fields Turf Club. Junior class officers of Hercules High School’s Leadership Club, such as President Deborah Atienza and Secretary Milan Martin, have been planning this event since the beginning of

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Inside Vancouver 2010 proves successful this for U.S. issue... see page 5B

vival is to seek individual protection before securing the safety of others. “Mr. Franz basically told us what to do after the earthquake, which was to do what you need to do for safety, [and] make sure you cover first and help others if they need it,” Madison said. Having been previously notified through e-mail by Zakrevsky, teachers were expected to thoroughly review the safety precautions before the

drill proceeded. As for whether this was executed or not varied on the classroom and teacher. For German and AP Literature and Composition teacher Beverly Morsony, the earthquake drill was mostly successful. “We talked about [the drill] for a few minutes before it happened, so everybody got under their desk. The students were giggly and loud, but at least they were under their desks,” Morsony said. “I think if a real

earthquake happened, they would take it more seriously.” In the face of an actual earthquake, the main concern would be the safety of those at the middle and high school as a whole, according to Zakrevsky. “I don’t think the damage on our school would be that great, but the bigger issue is how the city of Hercules would be able to deal with the earthquake, which depends on the damage,” Zakrevsky said.

Plaza to replace transit center

One additional student selected for ILC, two await By Darlena Chiem Staff writer

Hercules High School students involved in the district wide Ivy League Connection have finished strong. Six out of seven HHS applicants have officially been accepted by three Ivy League universities. Juniors Stephanie Chan and Andrew Gabriel will be attending Brown University’s Economics program this coming summer while juniors Christopher Habash, Jacqueline Lares and sophomore Beilul Naizghi will engage in Cornell University’s Hotel Operation and Management program. Junior Yueming Wang will also participate in Columbia University’s Government program. Although junior Henry Hung for Yale University’s Global Leadership program has made it past the school and district qualification rounds, he has yet to hear from the admissions offices of his respective institution. “After I have sent my application to the actual school, all I can do is wait,” Hung said. “Their admissions office will review my application and determine whether I get in or not.” Until then, applicants must constantly correspond by e-mail with other ILC members, the West

By Terilyn Chen Staff writer

Donovan Bonner/Template

Junior Yueming Wang points at a poster of her prospective summer destination, Columbia University. Contra Costa Unified School District board, ILC Co-founders Charles Ramsey and Madeline Kronenberg, ILC Coordinator Don Gosney and HHS Assistant Principal Terri Ishmael. This frequent communication allows updates and news to be distributed efficiently, but it is said to be time-consuming. “It is demanding,” Lares said.

Upcoming Events 3/18 Musical, “Once on this Island”

3/24 Sports Banquet 3/31 Spring Concerts

4/24 Junior Prom Opening of 5/1

Market Place

5/15 Senior Ball

“Lately, I have had more than 20 unread messages in my inbox, just from the program itself. You are also expected to reply to e-mails as quickly and promptly as possible, without using slang terms or colloquial language. They have to be written formally and respectfully.”

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Did you know? As many as 20 percent of Americans believe they have a food allergy, but less than one percent really do.

The idea of spending summer nights chatting with friends over cups of Yuja tea and fresh locallygrown vegetables while enjoying live vocal and poetry performances, may not be far away. Located at the old Hercules transit station on San Pablo Avenue, the new Hercules Market Hall is set to open on May 1. Home to gourmet food vendors, artisan retail stores, bocce ball courts, playgrounds and a stage, this ideal hotspot will serve as a comfortable site for various social and recreational activities. To amp the aesthetic values of the site, a park and fire pit will be added. During winter, an ice-skating rink may be added as well. “[The Market Hall] could be similar to ’the French Market in New Orleans,’” City Council Member Ed Balico said. The Market Hall site, which is privately funded

see plaza page 7A News...................1A, News......... 1A, 6-7A, 5-7A 2-3B Opinion......................2-3A Feature.......................1-8B Feature...... ....8A, 1B, 6-8B Arts...............................4A Arts.......................... .4-5A Sports...........................8A Sports........ ...............4-5B

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By Haley Knoblauch

from surrounding trees and electrical wires. Those near tall buildings should seek protection under a building’s doorway in case of falling objects. Safety precautions are slightly different for those in an assembly, for students and staff are advised to stay seated and use their arms as protection until the shaking ends. Once safe, staff and administration are to escort all students outside. Moreover, the object of sur-

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Juniors plan for ultimate ‘Night in Paris’

Jackie Cuevas/Template

Freshmen Monique Bennett and Noah Aquino take cover under the desk as Principal Zakrevsky announces the earthquake drill on campus.

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Throughout elementary and high school, students have become familiar with the infamous phrase “stop, drop and roll.” With the recent earthquakes in Chile, Haiti and Taiwan, students are now finding refuge in the words “drop, cover and hold.” The practice earthquake drill occurred on Tuesday, March 4 at Hercules Middle/High School. Students were expected to exercise the safety precautions. The earthquake drill was administered by the West Contra Costa Unified School District partially because of the current seismic activity around the world. “I think that spurred on a higher awareness, although there is always talk in California about earthquakes,” HHS Principal Guy Zakrevsky said. Zakrevsky began the practice drill by announcing an earthquake was in full effect and that all students and faculty were to follow the necessary emergency procedures. “We [went under our desks] if we wanted to, and most of us did,” senior Jennifer Madison said. According to the WCCUSD Emergency Standard Operating Procedures pamphlet, during an earthquake, students and staff members are encouraged to not to leave the room, to hide under a desk, table or chair and to stay away from windows, bookcases, filing cabinets or any hanging object serving as a safety hazard. Evacuation should begin when it is safe. If students or faculty are outdoors when an earthquake strikes, subjects are recommended to stay in the open and away

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2A Friday, March 12, 2010 | Vol. 9, No. 6

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 Charles Gomez Teresa Paz Alexa Rios Sapinoso Cathie Tu Andrew Gabriel Photographers Christian Cruz Cartoonist Courtney Mariano Stephanie Ny Advertising Managers Staff Writers Andrew Asuelo Carla Bernal Terilyn Chen Wendy Chen Darlena Chiem Crystal Chung Leah Defigueiredo Stefan Feurst Jordan Gabriel Aundrea Giacomelli Chris Habash Haley Knoblauch Myron Lam Giselle Leighton-Armah Sheralynn Magallanes Christopher Mendoza Kimberly Ny Sabrina Sakdikul Karwin Sui Wai-Hin Tsang Nicholas Weller Advertisers Joyce Alcantara Colby Ao Athena Bernas Melissa Oliva Natalie Wojinski Staff Adviser

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. The Template welcomes letters to the editor and news tips as well as guest articles and cartoons. Please contact Natalie Wojinski in room H-105. Journalism II is an ROP Class.

Disasters abroad breed questions concerning local preparation Recently, an 8.8 magnitude earthquake struck the Maule Region in the South American country of Chile, causing panic around the world. Areas surrounding the Pacific Ocean were warned of tsunamis, including a section of the United States--Hawaii. Following the Chile earthquake, there was a tsunami alert for all the Hawaiian Islands. It was reassuring to see residents taking the alarm seriously, resulting in zero chaos and a smoothly executed evacuation. Although the expected tsunami was much smaller than feared, Hawaiians demonstrated how prepared they are for natural disasters, and California should be able to do the same. It is always best to play it safe. Even though the waves along Hawaii's coasts only reached three feet--when they were originally predicted to be 10 feet high--civilians should continue to take all drills seriously in the future. As for the disaster in Chile, donors are assisting the victims and slowly responding to the devastation. Many efforts are being concentrated on the victims of the Haiti earthquake that occurred in January too. In addition to these two m a j o r e a r t h q u a k e s, t wo smaller, but still relatively strong, earthquakes recently shook the countries of Taiwan and Turkey in Asia. Now with the concern about earthquakes on the rise, people in the Bay Area and all over California should wonder whether they are prepared for an earthquake or another natural disaster. Do Californians know the procedures to get themselves as well as others to safety? Do they know what items to gather, and how long to store supplies for emergency situations? People should have answers to each of these questions, as natural phenomenons, including earthquakes, can strike California at any time. Since there have been two major earthquakes in the Western Hemisphere, and it seems smaller ones are still occurring around the world, people in California should expect some form of a natural disaster to occur in the near future. This is a frightening thought. Here at Hercules Middle/ High School, sets of emergency standard operating procedures are posted in every classroom for teachers and students to refer to. They are yellow booklets that should be visibly posted somewhere in the classroom. Everyone on campus should be familiar with these procedures, because the lives of students and faculty depend on them.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Acceptances from colleges bring joy Julia Maniquiz Approximately four months. Just over 120 days. Around sixteen weeks. About two thousand eight hundred and eighty hours. These endless days and nights, these countless hours and incalculable minutes make up the typical waiting period any college-bound senior must undergo when awaiting collegiate response letters. There is, however, the everso-rare exception. And it is, undoubtedly, the surprise of a lifetime. On Feb. 3, I received the first of my replies from the several universities I applied to. I did not expect to hear any news of the sort for at least another two or so months, so I was utterly shocked to learn the status of my application to UC Irvine had altered. I immediately followed the provided URL and entered my login information. I was greeted with a big, bold

cursive message: “You have been admitted to UC Irvine!” UC Irvine never was and is still not my dream school, nor does it appear anywhere near the top of my choices. It merely serves as one of my back-up colleges. Learning of my acceptance, however, was, nonetheless, exhilarating. It was definitely a feeling I had yet to encounter--one of extreme disbelief, of mindblowing excitement and of intense accomplishment. It was quite a rush. That moment marks one of the few times throughout the whole of my high school career that I have felt as though my academic efforts have been both recognized and applauded. It may make no sense to outsiders, but I have spent numerous nights on the verge of nervous breakdowns because I genuinely feared I would not get into any college. My fears may be irrational, but they were prevalent and everpresent. The knowledge of my acceptance was not merely relieving; It was liberating--liberating

because my nonsensical trepidation was, after all this time, finally silenced. After receiving UC Irvine’s response, I did not expect to hear any other news until the end of March, at the absolute earliest. Approximately two weeks later, however, I was e-mailed a congratulatory letter from the Admission’s Office of St. Mary’s College of California. I was accepted with Honors, and they are, additionally, offering me a $12,000 merit scholarship. Currently, I have made no commitments to either university, and I do not plan to do so until I have received the replies in their entirety. I have yet to receive any rejection letters, but I am hopeful as I anticipate their arrival. Rejections are surely discouraging, but I believe they are a crucial constituent of the application process. At this moment, all I can do is think positively and remain patient. I am ready to tackle head-on whatever the remaining colleges have to throw at me.

Students’ safety zones threatened by fights Nicholas Weller Fighting occurs with some frequency at Hercules High School. It is a part of human nature, but that does not make it right. Fighting occurs everywhere as a result of a person’s dislike for another, ridiculous and unnecessary comments said to the wrong person, defense against bullies, attempts to set one’s reputation straight or sometimes for no reason at all. Here at HHS, the disciplinary actions taken for fights are suspension, ranging from two to five days. The less prideful fighters who reconcile with

their opponents are only punished with a two-day suspension. The three-day suspension is issued if the fight is not that serious, and if the combatants have a good discipline record at school. A five-day suspension, however, is given when those involved already have a history of disciplinary action. A serious crime like hitting or stabbing somebody with an object, or kicking him (in the upper-body) while he is down can result in pre-expulsion. Criminal charges can also be pressed against the student who threw the first punch of the fight. In most cases if the other person retaliates, it is considered self defense, but if that person aggravated the initiator, then he or she will be punished as well. Offenses like these can go on a student’s

permanent record, or it can be the start of a police record. What college wants to accept someone who has a history of assault, or worse, a convicted felon? Fighting should be dealt with seriously. People cannot go around fighting with no repercussions. If there is one place people should feel safe, it should be at school. This is a learning environment, not a boxing ring. It would be best for students to just stop the violence and increase the peace. High school fights occur about every other month due to intensifying feelings between students. If students just keep their unkind words, strong emotions and itchy hands to themselves, students will feel a lot safer here at school.

Christian Cruz/Template

Titan Talk What was your favorite TV show as a kid?

“I loved ‘Blues Clues.’ It was interesting that they had to find stuff using clues, and Blue was cute.” Melissa Colmenares Freshman

“‘Rugrats.’ It was funny, and I liked how the babies could talk and have little adventures.” Gurdip Bhambra Freshman

“I watched ‘Barney’ like crazy. I have been watching since I was a baby and I knew all the songs. I liked it because it wasn’t just Barney, there were kids too.”

“‘Out of the Box.’ It was all about creativity and expressing yourself. It made me believe that you really could make a house by stacking up boxes and crawling into them.”

Sharon Sandoval Sophomore

Jennifer Yim Junior

“‘Pokemon.’ I don’t know why I liked it. I just did. Pikachu was the charm.” Travon Bailey Senior

“‘Dragonball Z.’ They all looked like me. All strong, like myself.” Kevin Tanita Senior


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Our youth, as seen on MTV Joyce Alcantara I remember my first encounter with Music Television (MTV). I was about six years old. I woke up early one morning to watch Nickelodeon. I hopped on the couch, pressed 43 on the remote (Nickelodeon used to be on Channel 43) and sat there perplexed. These were not my friends Maggie and the Ferocious Beast, Angelica Pickle or Helga Pataki. Instead, I witnessed Mandy Moore judging shirtless young men on spring break on “The Mandy Moore Show.” That is along the lines of what MTV used to be: real celebrities, spring break in Cancun and performances by singers who actually worked to make a name for themselves. Now, MTV barely plays anything music related. Programs focused on “regular” people seem to dominate the screen, but their situations seem far from normal. Shows like “Jersey Shore,” “Teen Mom,” “16 & Pregnant” and “My Super Sweet 16” definitely raise eyebrows. The excessive swearing in one episode alone is questionable. When the subjects are not being censored, what are they, and what is MTV really trying to say? The National Italian American Foundation has expressed its disapproval of “Jersey Shore,” claiming that the show portrays a negative image of Italian-Americans. ItalianAmerican communities braced themselves as the cast of Jersey Shore freely labeled themselves as “guidos” and “guidettes"--analogous to a black individual referring to themselves

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as the n-word. According to realitytvworld.com, NIAF President Joseph V. Del Raso says the show “sends a harmful message that permeates pop culture, damaging the image and sensibilities of Italian- Americans as a group.” Of course it does, because routine bar fights and hot tub hook ups, as seen on “Jersey Shore,” are far from establishing a positive image. Other days, MTV is showing girls age 16 and pregnant, and it is not a pretty sight. “Teen Mom,” the spin-off following “16 & Pregnant,” documents the lives of the teenage girls after they gave birth. Frankly, the show disgusts me; these new mothers are either living in a motel, obsessed with looking for a new fling, sitting on kitchen countertops or still have braces. All of them

constantly throw tantrums and cry. Yes, that is exactly what America needs: big babies having babies. As she slams the front door, teen mom Farrah whines, “I wish my parents would stop telling me to be a better mom and let me be a normal teenager.” Earth to Farrah, she is not a normal teenager. Then there is the queen of all youth-directed programs MTV: “My Super Sweet 16.” Since its debut in 2005, teens regularly trading in Mercedez-Benzes for Range Rovers, despite the dwindling economy, have raised the bar for what a first car should be. “My Super Sweet 16” is probably the most influential show MTV has to offer. The grandiose parties are not the only aspects that induce the viewers, but the attitude

of celebrants are very much taken into consideration as well. I am no exception. When the kids on TV are yelling at their parents, giving them multiple ultimatums (“Give me this/ that....or else! Daddy!”), the animosity definitely allows viewers to think it is okay to imitate the teens on TV. Unfortunately, extremely high ratings keep these distasteful shows on the air. With such programs broadcasted internationally, MTV must be aware of the negative image of America’s youth that their programs portray to the world. MTV presents shows that deteriorate the American youth’s reputation. Instead, MTV should promote the rise of teen contributions to society. A change like this is crucial to our culture.

To sleep or not to sleep, that is the question Chris Habash On any given school day, the average student wakes up at around 7 a.m. and receives an inadequate seven hours of sleep the previous night. High school introduces students to the hazards and consequences of sleep deprivation, a serious issue that not only affects students’ performances in school, but also affects their health. With advanced classes, part-time jobs, volunteer work, familial responsibilities, after school clubs and sports, it is no wonder teenagers fail to receive their rec-

ommended hours of sleep. High school students simply have too much on their plates and, unfortunately, their insatiable hunger for a ravishing resume leaves them bloated from work and susceptible to sleeping disorders. Although dedicated and hard-working, these students hardly get enough sleep to maintain mental stability during the school day. Most students who strive for success, regardless of the amount of work or number of advanced classes they have, are prone to the consequences of unhealthy sleeping habits. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “sleep is food for the brain. During

sleep, important body functions and brain activity occur. Skipping sleep can be harmful--even deadly.” Lack of sleep highly affects students’ ability to maintain concentration in class. Especially during the first few classes of the day, it is difficult for students to stay awake, let alone fathom the material their teachers introduce, no matter how stimulating a teacher’s lecture may be. At that point, the student will be overworked to a dangerous level. He completely neglects everything but work. Although this is academically favorable, health is undeniably more important. Depending on age, doctors recommend that

teenagers sleep an average of nine hours per night. Many sleep much less than the required amount. While it is unlikely that students will become less ambitious, it is possible, and more favorable, that the school alters the class schedules. According to the NSF, “If teens need about 9 1/4 hours of sleep to do their best and naturally go to sleep around 11:00 p.m., one way to get more sleep is to start school later.” Rather than first period beginning at an extremely early 8:20 a.m., which forces students to wake up at around 7 a.m., all classes could be pushed back an hour, allowing students

more time to sleep. Especially irksome is A period, requiring students to wake up an hour earlier. This means students receive only six hours of sleep, as opposed to the typical seven hours. If it begins an hour later, students would enjoy more sleep and be able to perform better in school. Until an ideal solution such as that happens, students can relieve pressure from their daily amount of work by completing as much homework as possible while still in school, whether it be during free time in class or during lunch. They will find themselves looking at less work once at home, and enjoying more time to concentrate on difficult material.

Fame monster links to darker side of music industry Sabrina Sakdikul Sheralynn Magallanes Lady Gaga. The name conjures up images of showgirl birthday suits, platinum blond hair, wacky headdresses and caked-on make up. Her rhythmic chanting fills the ears of listeners as her melodies take over the music industry. However, behind her glamorous getups, there are insightful meanings behind all her outrageous costumes and videos. Even the origin of her name, Lady Gaga, seems to be a bit of an oxymoron. She is hardly a lady in the traditional meaning of the word, and “gaga” is one of the first sounds a baby coos. Initially, Lady Gaga’s self-composed lyrics seem like a series of random paraphernalia, but after deciphering her recently chart-topping hit, “Bad Romance,” it is evident her lyrics have a deeper meaning. Dubbed the new Madonna of the modern age, Lady Gaga creates music that is deeply embedded with symbolism, occult meanings and possible links to a darker side of the music industry. In Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” video, from the album “The Fame Monster,” she makes it clear that she

Courtesy of barnesandnoble.com

Lady Gaga poses in an unusual look for the cover of her album, “The Fame Monster.”

wants fame and will do whatever she can in order to achieve it. She will sacrifice herself and everything else to become famous. In the music video, Lady Gaga is seen singing to a group of people who hold the key to her much-desired fame. This group seems to be representing the Illuminati, government and music industry. “Bad Romance” begins with Lady Gaga chanting, “rah rah ah ah ah,” in a Gothic accent, probably referring to the eye of Ra, the Sun God of Ancient Egyptian times. As seen in pictures and her music videos in general, she is often making references to the all-seeing eye of Ra. This

eye turns up on the back of a dollar bill in a triangle, hence Lady Gaga’s pictures with her fingers around her eye shaped in a triangle. The triangle with an eye also signifies the Illuminati, which is a secret society that supposedly controls world affairs through the government. The president is just a puppet, while the Illuminati makes the real decisions. This is just like how Lady Gaga is a puppet to the real masterminds: the music industry. Lady Gaga sports a blue lightning bolt painted across her face to symbolize the electroshock. The Project Monarch’s MKUltra torture technique is used on prisoners to

begin their re-education, and this is illustrated in the “Bad Romance” video, as Lady Gaga crawls from beneath the lid of a coffin, wrapped in a white skin-tight vinyl suite and deprived of all senses besides her mouth. Lady Gaga also includes Christianity in her music to prove her innocence before being influenced by the music industry. Lady Gaga bathes to wash away her sins, a ritual many Christians perform to cleanse themselves. In “Bad Romance,” Lady Gaga is seen in a bathtub with huge, creepy eyes, which could be referencing druguse or sexual arousal that are supposed to look “big and innocent.” Two people then hassle her to take drugs, and she eventually complies. Lady Gaga represents a slave who is willing to lose herself and be easily manipulated by the music industry in exchange for fame. In her lyrics, “I want you ugly, I want your disease; I want your everything as long as its free; I want your love,” Lady Gaga shows that she does not care about the “ugly” that the music industry offers or how it sickens her like a “disease.” Instead, she wants the music industry’s “love.” Lady Gaga is caught in a “bad romance” with the music industry because she will do anything to become famous. Lady Gaga does not mind the consequences and will sacrifice herself to the “dark side” for fame, because she is a “fame monster.”


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Friday, March 12, 2010

What does love got to do with it? By Andrew Asuelo staff writer

What exactly constitutes a “chick flick?” Is it getting two young and attractive actors in their twenties to play the leads? Or is it having cheesy and laughable dialogue so poorly written that one would think it comes straight out of a daytime soap opera? How about a montage of the days passing by, set to some acoustic John Mayer-like song? My personal favorite is having a slow motion love scene at night between two lovers, who apparently do not have enough dignity to do it on a bed but rather in a barn. If these are all the ingredients for a “chick flick,” then I better start scraping the bottom of this cliché-ridden barrel, better known as “Dear John”. Without any time to waste, the movie begins with a United States soldier named John (Channing Tatum), enjoying a day at the beach and giving the audience exactly what they paid for: a vision of a shirtless Tatum. John decides to put his abs to use and retrieve a purse accidentally dropped by a cute girl named Savannah (Amanda Seyfried), while completely embarrassing the average guy who has a crush on her. Insert the two-week montage set to the John Mayer song, and nothing will stop the blossoming and promising relationship between John and Savannah, until John is deployed around the world to serve his country. Unfortunately, the only means of communication between them is writing letters. As the days turn into months, John and Savannah question whether or not it is worthwhile to continue their romance.

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Actor Channing Tatum and actress Amanda Seyfried star together in the anticipated romantic film, “Dear John.” The problem with “Dear John” is it wants to touch upon too many issues. Aside from being a shallow romance drama, it wants to also be about war and how it can tear people apart, about disorders such as autism, about a father and son’s lost connection and even about post 9/11 America. Without surprise, none of these elements work at all. Instead, they almost bring the already dull experience to an offensive level. Because of these poor elements, “Dear John” felt rushed. With a time length running just over 100 minutes, the movie zips through about seven years

without any time for the audience to absorb anything happening. The plot moves too quickly: two weeks for John and Savannah is more like two minutes for the audience. Two weeks and they really believe they are meant for each other? Give me a break. The whole film contains sloppy transitions to move the storyline forward. In essence, “Dear John” felt as if it was always in a hurry for no good reason. I blame this on the lazy script, poor direction and terrible editing. This is a screenplay that should have been thrown into

the trash, or at least looked over, rather than made into a movie. The dialogue is bad enough to make any decent screenwriter’s ears bleed. Everything coming out of the actors’ mouths feels cheap and sappy. It is unknown whether or not filmmaker Lasse Hallstrom lacks the skills to direct an epic love story or if he is simply looking for an effortless paycheck. A number of scenes are awkwardly staged, almost as if looking for an easy “aww…” from the teenage girls watching. An example includes how the weather of an early scene abruptly changes from bright

and sunny to damp and rainy, setting the stage for a cliché first kiss. I started to laugh uncontrollably because of its desperate and poor execution. It is truly unbelievable this trick was pulled merely because of the scene’s success in every other movie, most notably “The Notebook,” another Nicholas Sparks adaptation. This set up was in the book, but it remains a classic example of how some events seem better on paper than onscreen. Amidst all the negative aspects of “Dear John,” one performance saves this movie. No, it is not the cardboard Tatum or the passable, yet overly dramatic, Seyfried. Rather, it is from Richard Jenkins as John’s father. His character is, more or less, mysterious to the audience because it is never known if he has autism or if he acts the way he does by choice. He steals every scene he appears in and makes it heartbreaking to watch. I would have preferred the entire story centering on him instead of on John and Savannah. It is shameful to think Jenkins’s performance will not be recognized due to the surrounding atrocity. I really try to like movies, especially ones I pay for, but “Dear John” repeats scenes which have worked better in a million other movies. It offers a rushed--and even absurd--love story and has one of the worst endings ever. I really do not see why this had to be in theatres and not the Lifetime channel where it so rightfully belongs. If this movie were to become a major hit, it will prove most moviegoers will spend money for the same old movie merely because of the good-looking celebrities. MY GRADE: D-

Over-hyped romantic comedy disappoints, generating increased hate for V-Day Virtually every story felt tedious and uninspired. The tone constantly jumps By Andrew Asuelo from dramatic to upbeat. It is a very “bystaff writer the-book” romantic comedy failing to There are rare instances when I not do anything stimulating for the genre, only have seen a movie, but I have also and it comes off as generic. There are some scenes that are just “cue the corny “survived” it. I may be cynical and single, but music and spit out the sappy dialogue” “Valentine’s Day” nearly makes itself clichéd. It is almost embarrassing to one of those experiences leaving me watch. While it was painful to watch a speechless, shocked and angry. And to think, I am not even talking about the number of scenes, it was even more excruciating to watch the cast perform actual day itself. “Valentine’s Day” stars are Jessica it. If I have a word of advice for all the people in this movie, Alba, Kathy Bates, Jessica Biel, Bradley it is to either fire Cooper, Eric Dane, their agents or Patrick Dempsey, punch themselves in Hector Elizondo, the face. “Valentine’s Jamie Foxx, Day” is such a terJennifer Garner, rible movie that it To p h e r G r a c e , makes great actors Anne Hathaway, look like amateurs, Ashton Kutcher, making it a bigger Queen Latifah, disaster than it Tay l o r L a u t n e r, already is. A majorGeorge Lopez, ity of the people Shirley MacLaine, in the film are talLarry Miller, Emma ented and charRoberts, Julia ismatic, but they Roberts and Taylor are wasted in this Swift. Why should garbage excuse for I bother explaining cinema. The only the plot? This is all discovery made the movie really is: here is Taylor Swift, names. and it is obvious In fact, with the her Grammy is amount of wellnot turning into known celebrities an Oscar anytime “Valentine’s Day” m uff.co oviest yourm of esy Court soon. has got going for it, What more can be said about why should they even bother making a decent movie with interesting connect- “Valentine’s Day,” a romantic comedy that is neither romantic nor comedic? ing plotlines? In all honesty, the entire experience The different love stories are just butchwas just a random plethora of moving ered corny segments with no character images with celebrities mixed in. It is as development whatsoever. All the jokes if everybody was cast before the script fall flat on its face because of bad timing. was even written, and then the director The audience can hear the drop of a pin tried to write the script, oh so desper- because of the silence after some supately, to fit all these celebrities into one posedly “funny” bits. The performances are sub-par, at best. The lines are cheap. cohesive movie. It failed miserably. At least 30 to 45 The script is lazy. If there is one thing minutes is used to introduce characters. this movie is good for, it is perfectly repSeveral times I found myself thinking, resenting why people despise Valentine’s “Oh. I almost forgot about that person. Day. It is just one giant heaping ball of Silly me!” Silly me? How about silly commercialism. “Hate” may be a strong word, but and incomprehensible script? While it surprisingly succeeded in connecting for “Valentine’s Day,” it is not strong the multiple storylines together at the enough. end, it was unsuccessful in juggling it MY GRADE: F throughout the movie. C M Y K C M Y K

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Instrument thefts bring change By Sheralynn Magallanes staff writer

Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar? Better yet, who stole the instruments from the music room? The Hercules High School music room has been a personal storage for books, bags and instruments since 2003. However, as the 2009-2010 school year progresses, the current band, A capella and guitar teacher Andrew Ting has had to take certain precautionary measures under which many music students are unaccustomed to. The issue at hand is instrument theft. So far, one clarinet and two flutes have been stolen. Ting and orchestra conductor Sharon Calonico have taken certain precautionary measures to prevent any further theft. Ting locks and unlocks the room on a daily basis to ensure its security during “non-music hours.” The band room has been a traditional lunch spot for years, but the thieves afoot have forced the music teachers to restrict the room to its confinement. “I close the room during lunch in order to prevent any unsupervised activity,” Ting said. Although there have been no incidents of string instrument theft, Calonico still helps to secure the room. “Ting came to me about the stolen band instruments,” Calonico said. “I let my students into the room and make sure they get their own instruments.” The students’ and teachers’ confidence in the security of the band room has seriously diminished. The criminals escaped without a trace, leaving no leads for possible suspects. “There are so many possibilities,” Ting said.

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Small lockers inside the band room are now used by Ting and his band students to secure their instruments. Middle and high school band and orchestra students have access to the room. When students went into the locker room to get their instruments one morning during second quarter, they simply found them gone. “Only my case was left,” junior Melissa Simmons said. “I didn’t put a lock on the locker because I assumed it’d be cool since I’ve been doing it for

years.” She has had her flute for six years. Two years ago, during the 2007-2008 school year, the school paid Wenger, a company that provides music and theater education, performing arts and athletic equipment storage, to install lockers in the instrument locker room to secure smaller instruments such as flutes, clarinets and trumpets. Regardless of this upgrade, however, the initial

construction of the system remained inadequate. “Because of the budget mess our school does not have the appropriate storage system,” Calonico said. “There should have been separate locker rooms for both band and orchestra.” “The responsibility comes back to the students to put locks on their lockers,” Ting said.

iPad is too large for phone, too small for laptop ■ Apple’s newest gadget receives divided responses from critics and students alike Andrew Gabriel/Template

Nick Jonas and The Administration’s album, ‘Who I Am,’ features the youngest Jonas Brother singing to a familiar tune.

Jonas Brothers’ Nick misses opportunity with The Administration By Kimberly Ny staff writer

“Walk in the room. I’m a man on a mission.” Nick Jonas, the youngest member of Disney’s famous band the Jonas Brothers, is on a mission to gain a new audience, a new sound and a new beginning. Jonas, who is now known as Nick Jonas and The Administration, released his new album, “Who I Am.” Unfortunately for him, he was not very successful in trying to achieve his goals. The youngest Jonas’s solo album is definitely nothing new compared his previous music with the Jonas Brothers. While his voice and music style have developed slightly, the subject of each song has not matured. Jonas’s songs continue to revolve around the subject of girls. In his funky tune, “State of Emergency,” he passionately sings, “She’ll charge you by the hour for a straight train down to hell.” She’ll charge by the hour? A clean-cut Disney star, it

oddly seems like he’s being seductive. The lyrics of his songs continue to fail to impress. In “Olive and an Arrow” and “Conspiracy Theory,” the background music of bluesy guitar solos is the only factor that attracts listeners. A John Mayer-like track, “Rose Garden” showcases his falsetto well enough, and his strong, soulful ballad of “In the End” gives listeners a sudden chill. To his younger audience, his songs may have a new sound, but his tunes can be compared to simple versions of Stevie Wonder. His band name lacks originality and contains an odd resemblance to Elvis Costello and The Attractions. Although Elvis Costello is Jonas’s idol, this gives him no right to create an unoriginal title based on someone else’s idea. In his first single, “Who I Am,” Jonas sings, “I want someone to love me for who I am.” Who is Nick Jonas really? Is Nick Jonas a new man looking for a new plan, or is he simply a plagiarist? By the sound of his music, he is falling into the latter category.

By Myron Lam Staff writer

Apple has always been known for its innovative products in the market. Its new tablet, the iPad, is no exception. Although the advertisements and Apple’s website make the new tablet look promising, this device will ironically neither be a revolution nor a failure for high school students interested in purchasing it. At a first glance, users will recognize the design as similar to an iPod Touch. Frankly, there are not many exterior differences between an iPod Touch and an iPad, except that the latter has a larger screen. However, some models of the iPad have 3G, which is one feature nonexistent on iPods. The iPad runs the iPhone OS, so applications designed for the iPhone will work on the iPad as well, which creates more variety in software. Aside from the obvious similarities and differences between an iPad and an iPod, changes have been made in the interior of the gadget as well. Apple designed the new A4 chip for the tablet running at 1.0 GHz, compared to the 600 MHz chip in the iPhone 3GS. This A4 chip is a system-on-a-chip, or SOC, which integrates the main processor, graphics silicon and other functions into one piece of silicon. During the debut of the iPad, the advertised prices were lower than the rumors. The base 16 GB model with only Wi-Fi costs $499. From that base price, it costs an additional $100 for the 32 GB and 64 GB model with Wi-Fi and an additional $130 for models with Wi-Fi and 3G. So is the iPad really worth its price?

For students, probably not; but for those with some cash to spare, it is not a wasted purchase. Since Apple designed the A4 chip used in the iPad, not only is it fast, but it is also energy efficient. All of these benefits will be matched with a claimed battery life of 10 hours. Because of its large 9.7-inch LED-backlit display, the iPad is useful for more enhanced apps. One of the apps that Apple included in the iPad is an e-book reader, which could be used for textbooks. This feature makes the iPad comparable to an Amazon Kindle, with the addition of having applications available on the iTunes store. Web surfing, another well designed feature, seems to be as fluid as on a standard computer. Viewing pictures and movies will also be very pleasing due to its large screen. Apple recreated the e-mail and calendar apps as well. One of the iPad’s rather noticeable shortfalls is the increased weight of the device. As depicted in the advertisements, the iPad is often used on a lap, rather than being handheld. Also, it is a little difficult to control the device with thumbs, because they have to reach further to input information. Students are accustomed to typing or handwriting, and an iPad simply is not designed for either. The iPad’s pricing is not necessarily aggressive compared to other portable devices. At $499 for the base model, most students would barely be able to afford it, and they would be better off with a laptop. Users would prefer an item such as a netbook, which is relatively cheap and more powerful with a full desktop operating system. Also missing from the iPad is a camera and SD card expansion slot, which is found on many netbooks. Given these pros and cons of having an iPad, most students will find that the price outweighs the technical abilities of an iPad. Although it would be liberating to not carry textbooks, the iPad is simply not ready to replace the pen and paper. It is also 9.7 inches diagonally, which is much too large to fit in a pocket as a music player. However, for those who insist on getting the latest gadget from Apple, the potential it has in gaming and media will be well worth the price. Users of the iPad will have to decide for themselves whether the device is actually worth the money. Apple/MCT

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Allergy season resumes By Chris Habash staff writer

It is that time of year again--allergy season. Students at Hercules High School are already witnessing and experiencing the effects of pesky allergies. Wa l k i n g t h r o u g h campus, students are coughing, sneezing and even carrying around tissue boxes on top of their books. “My nose is itchy one day, and on other days I sneeze a lot,” senior Vanessa Flores, who is a long-time sufferer of allergies, said. “My eyes get itchy, and my nose becomes sensitive. I’m miserable when I start getting allergies.” The seasons of spring and autumn are marked by summer allergens which manifest themselves into nasal stuffiness. “People are prone to allergy symptoms during the transitions between seasons, winter to spring and fall to winter. This is because people, unknowingly, can be allergic to the pollen of certain blooming flowers,” Dr. Hagit Habash said. Allergens vary from season to season.

immunizations against allergies, such as nasal spray, to prevent allergic Rhinitis or runny nose,” Habash said. Over the counter allergy medications include Zyrtec, Benadryl and Afrin Generic. In addition to prescription medication that brings relief to allergy sufferers, it is beneficial to follow these self-help measures: wear a pollen mask when outdoors for a long time, turn the airconditioner to “recirculate,” change or clean airconditioner filters at least monthly and stay out of fields of corn, grain and soybeans. To determine what one is allergic to, whether it is mold, grass pollen or a type of weed, the quickest and most inexpensive way is to take an allergy skin test, which can be administered by most doctors. To properly diagnose allergies, however, a full evaluation by a primary Tracy Chan/Template care physician or an allergist specialist is generally Alavert, Claritin and Zyrtec are only a few of the many allergy medications available on the market today. needed. “People with allergies According to NetWellness, produce the symptoms pollen from grasses such If students experience a consumer health infor- which are associated with as timothy, sweet vernal, can take over-the-counter any of these allergy sympbermuda, red top and pills like loratadines and toms while in school, they mation provider, in early allergies or hay fever. antihistamines, which should follow their docAs spring approaches, bluegrasses. spring, the pollens of So what can students make you drowsy, but tor’s instructions and try budding trees, such as and the seasons change, birch, poplar, walnut, students experience dis- do to prevent exposure to help the allergies subside. to cooperate with mother Students can also get nature. sycamore, oak and ash, comfort because of the allergens?

Appeals serve as another Yearbook lacks chance to attend college sales due to low student interest By Jackie Cuevas Department Editor

Rejected. A college applicant has few other words to fear more than this. For students who confidently applied to their dream schools, receiving a rejection letter is a slap in the face. While there are those who passively and morosely accept this decision, there are others who choose to fight for their place in a university and decide to request a repeated review. Though many institutions do not grant such wishes, there are some that accept letters of appeal. Appeals are only accepted at certain schools, such as those in the University of California system. Other institutions, including Stanford, have a waiting list for applicants. While a school may accept a letter of appeal, the possibility of a university rescinding its initial decision is an entirely different story. “The trick with an appeal is to have new and compelling information,” Hercules High School Counselor Prudence Kent said. “You cannot just ask them to look at your transcript or application again.” The process of appealing to a university is fairly simple. For example, UC websites will have a link to a document detailing the steps and requirements for appealing admissions decisions. In general, the applicant must write a letter presenting his or her case. Some schools also

require a letter from a coun- had a one to two percent selor. Replies are sent within chance of getting in if I did an appeal. I was constantly a few weeks. According to Kent, the told not to appeal because effectiveness of letters of ’if you didn’t get in the first appeal vary from year to year. time, chances are you will not In 2008, no HHS student get in the second,’” she said. who wrote a letter of appeal “After hearing the previous was successful. However, in seniors not get in through 2009, all four appeals from appeals, I was hesitant to even write one.” HHS students were granted. Despite her insecurity, this “[Starting this year] my instinct is that because former student took the risk schools are cutting back due of appealing to a school and was rewarded with an to budget cuts, appeals invitation to join will not be as sucthe university's cessful,” Kent ranks. said. “It was difDespite her ficult making prediction, an appeal. Kent proYo u are claims her limited with support for the amount those who of words, will wish to and you are appeal. at a point where “If students Special to/Template you would really want to do it, then like to be in the univerthey can and I will support [their decisions],” sity but you don’t want to Kent said. “If the student does sound desperate,” the HHS not have anything new to say, alumna said. “How do you tell a perfect stranger that you it is probably futile.” The UC San Diego 2009 belong in their university after Appeals Process document they told you that you weren’t even states, “Only those cases accepted?” Though appeals may in which the student can provide new or compelling become less of a fallback in information which signifi- the future due to the recescantly impacts the compre- sion, they will remain an hensive review of his or her option for applicants. There application will merit consid- have been successful appeals in the past for HHS students, eration.” An HHS graduate, who and the letter has a simple asked that her name and formula involving student university not be revealed, allure and passion. Students shared her own thoughts on should keep this option in her experience from making the back of their minds, for a “rejected” may turn into an an appeal. “I was told that I only “accepted.”

■ Lack of yearbook sales may lead to higher prices for books in future school years

“I did not buy one [before] because it did not seem that important to me,” HHS senior Alexander Lee said. “I did buy one this year though for senior year.” “I didn’t purchase a yearbook last year because I was not part of the yearbook. To be honest, barely any of my friends were part of it,” HHS junior Ricardo Lunk said. There are two options for next By Aundrea Giacomelli year: either to increase the price of Staff Writer the book or to decrease the size of High School memories are just the actual yearbook. a book away, but what are memo“There are not enough purries without a book? This textbook chases (of yearbooks) to make up full of colored photographs con- the difference in the loss of sales. tains moments one experiences It is getting expensive to produce through a year of school. One can them,” yearbook advisor Natalie relive these past times of delight- Wojinski said. ful memories, Ye a r b o o k and a yearbook sales are down serves as a key 31 percent in "High school is where you to that portal. years. If the grow up and your yearbook two The Hercules yearbook prices is like your scrapbook. A High School are raised, it yearbook class yearbook is very important, may cause a is faced with a decrease because without this scrap- greater dilemma this in the purchase year. There are book, all your knowledge and of yearbooks. barely enough adventures will become mere Since fewer sales to cover and fewer yearthoughts with no proof or the costs of the books are sold backing to them.” book for this each year, yearyear. If HHS books will condoes not sell tinue to not be Marcus Lampley more books this cost effective. Junior year, it is posNo profit will sible the yeareventually lead book will be to no yearbook production. higher priced next school year. The last day yearbooks were “High school is where you grow sold was on Friday, Feb. 12. The up and your yearbook is like your yearbook class is not ordering extra scrapbook. A yearbook is very books this year, so students should important, because without this not plan on receiving one if it is scrapbook, all your knowledge not already paid in advance. and adventures will become mere “A yearbook is very important thoughts with no proof or backing for memories. It is something to them,” HHS junior Marcus to look back on, so in 20 years I Lampley said. can remember what we were all Why are students not purchas- doing,” sophomore Daniela Pacini ing these school scrapbooks full of said. “The fact is it is not just a the year’s memories? book it is a memory.”


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Classes determine student future Senior class debt

Newsline ■ After a $4,500 deposit for the Senior Ball, the senior class is now in a debt of $1,200. The senior class must make $13,000 by May to secure the venue for Senior Ball. To pay off the debt and the payments for Senior Ball, the class is planning a variety of fundraisers for the remainder of the year. Although the Senior Showcase has been postponed to April, the senior class has a weekly ongoing fundraiser with Kinder’s and Round Table Pizza. To commemorate St. Patrick’s Day and Easter, the class will host a photo booth session on campus and sell holiday-themed items. A fundraiser with Chuck E. Cheese, in which a percentage of the proceeds will be donated to the senior class, will be held in late March. Class hoodies and T-shirts designed for parents in support of the senior class have also been planned. Students and parents can contact senior class officers for further information regarding these items.

plaza: from page 1A and owned by the Red Barn Company, is still under construction. Currently, a large metal structure is being built, and this frame will eventually hold mobile food vendors. The Market Hall will hold the Hercules Certified Farmers Market and “vintage airstream trailer” kiosks. “[The Market Hall] is the only place in the Bay Area where food carts can gather off public streets,” Hercules Public Information Officer Michelle Harrington said. In addition to introducing Herculeans to more purchasing opportunities, the Market Hall could possibly offer more jobs to Hercules citizens. Food and retail sellers’ contracts are currently being negotiated with Red Barn. The Market Hall, however, will only be a temporary occupation for the empty lot before the New Town Center is built. Until then, residents can expect a place where “local community groups such as book clubs, Mom’s groups, and craft clubs may utilize the area as a gathering space for their impromptu meetings,” as stated on www.herculesmarkethall.com.

By Stephanie Chan Staff writer

Choice Sheets. This single sheet of paper serves as the prerequisite to one’s transcripts and is the first reminder that summer is drawing near and another school year is quickly approaching. The beginning of a brand new year comes with the opportunity to expand and to embellish on what is known to be one’s high school “blueprint.” At first glance, one’s course schedule may seem like a random compilation of classes, but college admissions officers see it as the blueprint of one’s high school education. Grades and classes are among the most important factors in determining an applicant’s eligibility at both universities and vocational colleges. In filling out choice sheets, students take into consideration the entirety of classes offered at Hercules High School and narrow down to six or seven each year. For those who are not ready to take an AP class, a Pre-AP course is a great addition, as it offers insight into regular AP courses and prepares students for a year of strenuous work without the obligation to take the AP test. Incoming freshmen and sophomores can take advantage of Pre-AP English. HHS counselor Prudence Kent recommends all scholars take one year of Journalism or Creative Writing, or Expository Writing for seniors. Writing is the most important element in college and these writing courses help students expand their creativity and while building valuable skills. “I took Pre-AP English this year because I want to learn more, and some people in

Counselor Prudence Kent reviews choice sheets for the next academic year. regular classes do not want to learn,” HHS sophomore Christian Perez said. “AP World History was challenging and harder than I thought, but I think it still a good idea to take for the extra point.” All colleges seek students who show consistency and gradual improvement in which they can carry on during their college years. This can be fulfilled by taking Band or Theatre throughout one’s high school experience. In addition to consistency, progression can be attained by taking AP Biology after Biology or AP Physics after Honors Physics. This year, however, students were disappointed to discover that AP Physics was omitted from the course sheet. Counselors reveal a high possibility of a switch-off between AP Physics and AP Chemistry, which creates conflicts for students who have trouble preparing for the remainder of their

ivy: from page 1A Looking back at HHS and ILC in previous years, the application process has clearly changed. The essay portion must now follow the exact format, meaning the given font size, line spacing and total length. Otherwise, applicants will be disqualified. Instead of including a personal resume, only the student’s personal essay and transcript are sent to the district ILC board for analysis. Despite the new system, the applicants still feel as excited as ever to attend their respective universities. “I look forward to meeting new people,” Gabriel said. “We will be going all over the place, and I just

high school careers. “It is not really [due to] budget cuts but because each class has to have at least 25 sign ups and that usually does not happen with these classes,” Kent said. “Yet, if there is a sufficient amount of students who sign up for each class, both will continue to be offered next year.” AP Biology, which is one of the most rigorous courses on campus, will continue to be offered for high-achieving students. Other AP classes, including AP Art and AP U.S. History, will still be offered. While there are relatively the same number of students enrolled in advanced and AP classes, new additions for this Fall will include Environmental Science, Physiology and AP Statistics, if there are sufficient sign-ups. “I agree with others that junior year is the hardest year because not only are the classes more difficult, but there is a

want to see what it is like [to be] across the country.” For others, this summer is seen as an advantageous future career and college experience. “It is not only about going to the school. This program also teaches us how to conduct ourselves formally, how to make connections with other people, how to live independently and other life lessons,” Wang, an ILC alumna, said. “This year, we are off to a great start, so I can only imagine that I will learn a lot more this summer.” The ILC program for this school year has now drawn to a close. Counselors highly encourage interested upcoming sophomores and juniors to consider applying next year.

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lot of pressure that comes with it. The progress made during your junior year will determine what type of college you will be attending for the next four or five years,” HHS junior Kevin Leong said. While colleges will take many other factors into account, including students’ extracurricular activities, personal statements and supplements, students should still be aware of the level and number of classes they take in high school. Nevertheless, the secret to maximizing one’s “blueprint” is choosing courses that fit. These courses should prepare students for the highest level of education that they may personally want to achieve. By gearing their schedule to ensure that they meet the requirements for their desirable level of education, students have more options later in their junior and senior years, and certainly in the future.

prom: from page 1A the school year, hoping for a thrilling experience. According to Martin, this year’s prom will be different compared to previous years due to location and theme. “I am excited for prom because it is one of the few times everyone in our grade can get together, dress up and have fun without worrying about school,” HHS junior Remy Downs said. “It is like a one-night quick getaway.” Fundraising has been an on-going process, as the junior class prepares for the upcoming event. There have been several fundraisers through food and drink chains, such as Jamba Juice and Kinders, that profit both the business and junior class. Open Mic Nite also greatly benefited the junior class. Through these successful fundraisers, the junior class account currently stands at $2000. Since prom will cost over $5,000, juniors must raise enough money to execute a successful event. “ S o f a r t h e d ow n payment has been paid

for and the rest will be paid through ticket sales and future fundraisers,” Atienza said. In order to completely pay off the remaining funds, junior officers are aiming for a prom turn out of 200 students including guest invites. Tickets went on sale March 8 at the cashier’s office for $75 and will gradually increase to $95 as the final days before prom approach. Security will be provided by the Turf Club, and teacher and parent chaperones will also be present at the venue. A disc jockey, who will provide entertainment throughout the night, has been selected. As school continues and the date for junior prom approaches, anticipation among eager juniors has increased. “I am really excited because everyone gets a chance to look nice and dance,” junior Juliana Fisher said. In order to run for Junior Prom Queen or King, juniors should contact Atienza, Martin or any other junior class officer. There is no limit for the number of sign ups.


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feature

D CAMERAS I G I T A L 8A

Friday, March 12, 2010

By Leah Defigueiredo

Since high school is an important time in every teenager’s life, it is essential to own a camera so every special moment can be captured. Size, zoom, megapixels and price all play key roles in selecting the perfect camera. With such a wide variety of cameras in the market today, it is almost impossible to know which one to choose.

Picking out the perfect camera may be difficult, but a select few cameras prove to be favored among high school students.

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Nikon Coolpix S630

The has 12.0 megapixels, 7x optical zoom and many other desirable features. Its smile mode automatically snaps pictures when the subject smiles, and the built in auto-flash ensures great pictures in any light. The fun color choices and convenient size make this camera appealing to any teenager. Priced around $250, the Nikon Coolpix may seem a bit expensive, but its great features and appealing appearance make it well worth the price.

Sony Cyber-Shot DSCT90, a sleeker, more advanced option, provides users The

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with high-quality pictures and videos. With 12.1 megapixels and 4x zoom, this camera will take a great picture every time. While many people enjoy the three inch touchscreen, others argue that is difficult to use and not very practical. This camera is compact and thin, making it easy to carry around.

Kodak Easyshare z915

The is easy to use and a sensible choice for any age. Its 10x zoom makes taking pictures from a distance easy and the smart capture technology automatically finds faces, adjusting camera settings so every portrait is superior. This wonderful camera is a steal at $200. The downside to the Kodak Easyshare is that it is bulky and aesthetically unappealing. Special to/Template

Canon Powershot SD1200 is very compact and takes high quality The

photos. It has 10 megapixels and 3x zoom, so its features are not as advanced as some other cameras. This camera is priced at $150, making it extremely affordable. Autofocus and white balance control make every picture clear and sharp. Its small size and multitude of color choices make it a very popular among high school students.

Olympus Stylus 7010

The is a favorite among students due to its intelligent features and 12.0 megapixels. With a 7x zoom and dual image stabilization, it makes every picture accurate and clear. It can capture videos with ease and its LCD screen makes viewing portraits simple. The Olympus Stylus is small and thus, very portable.

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Choosing a camera can be difficult, and it is essential to do some research before selecting one. Since every person is different, students should find cameras that fit their style.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

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Acknowledging the contributions of women in history, the West Contra Costa Unified School District Board of Education approved a resolution at its Feb. 10 meeting--to acknowledge the accomplishments of women in Women's History Month. Women have made many contributions to history, but their achievements have usually been neglected or not considered important. The Educational Task Force of Sonoma County set out to change that. The movement to recognize women gained support when President Jimmy Carter proclaimed the week of March 8, 1980 as National Women’s History Week. As it gained more momentum, this week-long recognition slowly became Women’s History Month. In 1987, Congress officially declared the month of March as “Women’s History Month.”

Helen Keller By Wai-Hin Tsang Helen Keller was a well-known author. On June 27, 1880, she was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama. Although she did not suffer from any disabilities at birth, Keller became blind and deaf at 19 months old, due to a disease. Despite being blind and deaf, she learned how to communicate with others through the help of her teacher, Anne Sullivan. After years of hard work, Keller graduated from Radcliffe College in Massachusetts. She was the first blind and deaf person to graduate from college. During her life, she did many things to help fellow blind people. She founded Helen Keller International, helping many blind people adapt to their lifestyles. She also attended many public speeches to support womens’ rights as well as world peace.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” - Helen Keller

Maya Angelou By Alexa Rios Sapinoso

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” - Maya Angelou

An author, poet, lecturer, editor, educator, civil rights a c t i v i s t a n d m o r e, M aya Angelou--born in 1928--is a woman who has most definitely influenced our generation with her mind and talent. Her book, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” published in 1970, became very popular, telling the story of abuse and racial discrimination, issues which she experienced while growing up. In addition to being a talented writer, Angelou was also in love with the performing arts, traveling to places such as Europe, Egypt and Ghana to not only teach the arts, but also learn the languages of those different cultures. Angelou is a great influence. She spoke at President Clinton’s inauguration in 1993 and worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., serving as Northern Coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Showing the world that everyone can go the distance and make their dreams come true, Angelou’s words make people believe and breathe life again.

Madam CJ Walker By Karwin Sui Sarah Breedlove, also known as Madam CJ Walker, was a businesswoman who built her empire cultivating hair products for black women. Born on Dec. 23, 1867 into a former-slave family, Walker had huge dreams. When she was in her late 30s, she dealt with hair loss caused by bottles of damaging hair products. After experimenting with several different chemicals, she finally came up with a solution. Walker stated that she prayed about hair for a long time, and the formula was finally given to her in a dream. When family members and friends noticed how fast Madam Walker’s hair grew back, they asked what her special technique was. From that moment on, she sold her hair growth products to friends, family and neighbors. Although she had a booming business, she died on May 25, 1919 at the age of 51 from complications of hypertension. Madam CJ Walker is remembered not only for her hair products, but also for her generous donations to organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.

“Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come; you have to get up and make them.” - Madam CJ Walker

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Friday, March 12, 2010

HHS clubs collaborate to aid Haiti By Chloe Lew Associate editor

Slowly but surely, the light at the end of the tunnel is brightening. For the past month since the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that hit Port-au-Prince, Haiti, countries, cities and communities across the world have been rushing to provide support for the devastated country. Hercules High School is no exception-both clubs and leadership members have been organizing fundraisers for Haiti relief for several weeks now. “We put those in need above ourselves, and at the moment, Haitians are the people who are in the most need,“ Interact Co-President senior Stephanie Ny said. Among one of the most prominent projects is “Change for Change,“ headed by freshman class president Justin Bautista-Jones, but also involving the collaborative efforts of HHS clubs, including Interact, Book-its and KIWIN’S. Additionally, French Club, run by sophomore President Alyson Lee, donated half of their earnings from selling beaded necklaces and valentines with attached candies to the Change for Change charity. Change for Change, a fundraiser in which students and teachers donate spare change into jars, began Feb. 2 and will last until March 26. Jars are set in various classrooms around campus and in the lobby of the local city hall. Businesses including Bank of America and organizations such as the Hercules Rotary Club will be making donations as well. Originally, the idea was for all the money raised from the club collaborative fundraisers to go toward Heart to Heart International, which sends health care kits and medical supplies to organizations such as the Red Cross. Now, however, the clubs involved have diverted their attention to a new goal: to raise $10,000 by March 26 to build a school in Haiti. “[Creating a school] will positively instill hope for the kids and allow them to have it easier during Haiti’s road to recovery,“ Interact Co-President Stacy Chan senior said. Although it is not certain what program the funds will go to yet, Bautista-Jones is looking into working with a non-profit organization called Architecture for Humanity, a San Francisco based company that provides construction services to disadvantaged communities. Both Chan and Bautista-Jones admit the $10,000 goal is a reach. Nevertheless, they are encouraging support from students and staff and are confident in receiving it. “It is imperative that we mobilize our resources in a swift fashion and deliver urgently needed relief to the millions that have been affected by the earthquake,“ Chan said. “They are counting on us, and it is time to do our part.“ Further fundraising plans are currently being brainstormed among the clubs

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Change for Change jars sit in several classrooms throughout campus for students and staff to drop off donations. involved. “Right now, we are directing all of our energy to [keeping] the cause alive,“ sophomore and Book-its President Terilyn Chen said. Meanwhile, students can also contrib-

ute a one-time $5 donation to the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund by text messaging “ROTARY“ to 90999. “They [Haitians] are human beings, and we are human beings. We should help each other because we do not do

Students perform for a cause

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Interact officers, seniors Brittany Irving, Rachel Torres, Stacy Chan, Kelsey Wong and Stephanie Ny, discuss the upcoming talent show at Pinole Valley High School during a Wednesday Interact meeting.

Local Interact clubs organize district talent show By Giselle Leighton-Armah staff writer

Education is a privilege students often take for granted. Some children around the world are not even able to afford to have such a life-changing gift. To help change this truth, the Hercules High School Interact Club and other Interact clubs in the Area 6 Interact regional council will be holding an Open Mic talent show on March 12. “For Area 6, this will be one of the first events [for PACE] and our first Open Mic,“ Area 6 representative Rebecca Phuong said. The Interact clubs of Pinole Valley, DeAnza, Berkeley, El Cerrito, Hercules and Salesian high schools hope their Open Mic will raise as much money as possible. All proceeds will be given to Promise of Assurance to Children Everywhere (PACE) Universal and will go toward the education and the vocational training of impoverished girls and women in India.

“PACE Universal is a non-profit California corporation that sends underprivileged Indian girls to school for $300 per year,“ HHS Interact Co-President Stephanie Ny said. “The girls will be provided with daily classes, clothing, health and dental care, school supplies and meals.“ Everyone is welcome to perform, and some Hercules artists are already planning to make their appearance. “My band will most likely be participating in this event,“ junior Krisha Militante, member of an HHS band, Black Rain, said. “We all feel very strongly about the cause and want to show our support.“ Along with the joy of making a difference, a money prize will be awarded by Interact to the show's winner. Pre-sale tickets will be sold by Interact board members for five dollars. Tickets will also be sold at the door for seven dollars. The talent show will be held at the Pinole Valley High School multipurpose room. It will commence at 7 p.m. and continue until all acts have performed.

that enough today,“ Bautista-Jones said. With the common drive of aiding Haiti, clubs at Hercules have eagerly banded together to help in all ways possible, to keep the light of hope shining on.


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Plans for Interact rally begin By Crystal Chung staff writer

It is once again almost time for Hercules High School’s annual multicultural rally. As tradition, the school’s very own Interact Club is hosting the event, which has been scheduled for April 16 as a 3B rally. The multicultural rally is one of the few rallies hosted by a group of students other than Leadership Club. “I think it’s cool to see the different cultures and the different things they offer from their heritage. It’s always fun seeing all the different performances” junior Kevin Chisaki said. Every year, Interact tries to feature groups that reflect the entire student body, while giving a strong emphasis on school diversity. The rally is expected to have a number of groups performing cultural dances, followed by a fashion show featuring attires of different ethnic groups. There

are currently only five groups planned to perform. “Right now, we only have the Latin dance, the Tahitian dance, Filipino dance, Martial Arts and Chamber Choir,” Kelsey Wong, Interact publicist and multicultural rally commissioner, said. When asked what ethnicities will be represented on the runway, Wong said, “The normals: Indians, Koreans, Filipinos, Chinese, pretty much everything we can get.” While plans for the rally have been running smoothly, there is a fear that the rally’s placement in and usage of the gym might conflict with the physical education department. “Last year they planned the multicultural rally on a free day, but once that day came around, coaches started saying that you cannot use the gym. That might be a problem this year,” Interact Co-President Stephanie Ny said. There is, however, a greater problem and that is the lack of participants in the rally. “We want to make this

Alexa Rios Sapinoso/Template

Interact officers and members gather for their weekly Wednesday meeting to discuss the details of the annual multicultural rally. multicultural rally the best yet. We are looking for diversity, so if you have a cultural

performance, come see us,” Ny said. People or groups that want

to perform at the multicultural rally can contact either Wong or Ny to sign up.

Mock Trial Club remains positive after losses By Wendy Chen staff writer

The second year of Hercules High School’s Mock Trial Club has concluded, and according to club members, they have significantly improved compared to last year’s trial. The Mock Trial Program, sponsored by the Constitutional Rights Foundation and organized by the Contra Costa County Offices of Education, allows students in HHS’s Mock Trial Club to learn about the content and processes of law. For two to three months, members have been playing the roles of trial and pretrial attorneys, witnesses, clerks and bailiffs. According to the CCCOE website, this program can increase public speaking skills, analytical ability and team cooperation. This year, Mock Trial worked on the People v. Bratton case assigned in December. People v. Bratton surrounds the case of comedian Jordan Bratton, who is charged for the murder of another

comedian, Preston Palmer. Preliminary trials were held on Feb. 9 and Feb. 11 for the defense team and Feb. 16 and Feb. 18 for the prosecution team. On Feb. 9, the HHS Mock Trial Club defense team competed against and lost to Dougherty Valley High School. Hercules received 374 points out of 475, while Dougherty Valley acquired 416. “We did good, but not great. We could have won, but we didn’t nail down perfectly. We shouldn’t use notes and should speak more clearly,” junior Andrew Gabriel, defense team pretrial attorney, said. On the day of the second trial, the defense team prepared for their second trial against Heritage High School on Feb. 11. “We really only had one day in order to fix whatever we think was wrong, which was a little hard, but we were just going to walk in a little more confident and have a better idea of what to expect,” the Mock Trial Club President, junior Jacqueline Lares, said. “This trial helped boost teammates’ confidence

and reassurance so that the team knew they could be successful and be ready for the next trial.” Hercules won, obtaining 369 points, while Heritage only received 342. On Feb. 16, the prosecution team had its first trial and competed against Campolindo High School. Unfortunately, they lost, and the overall score for the HHS prosecution team was 363, while Campolindo High School was given 444 points. “I think we performed as best as we could under the pressure. We understand some schools come with reputations and we try to ignore those and do our best anyway,” senior Giselle Guro, prosecution trial attorney, said. The HHS prosecution team faced Alhambra High School on the last day of preliminary trials. Although they faced another loss, they scored better against Alhambra than they did against Campolindo. The score of the prosecution team was 313 points while that of Alhambra was 372.

In addition to the trials, junior Gregory Herron, defense pre-trial attorney, won the pre-trial motion against Alhambra. “It was exciting, especially since out of all the trials I went to, I was the only one who won a prosecution motion,” Herron said. When asked how the team and their opponents performed this season, Herron said, “The team progressed exceptionally well, considering all the other obstacles and activities we were doing outside of Mock Trial. Our school has Mock Trial as a club that has meetings about once a week or so; however, most of the schools we were going against have it as a class or other type of program in which they practice five days a week. For us to compete against them and stand our ground is truly an achievement in my book.” Although the HHS Mock Trial Club did not make it into the quarter final, the Mock Trial team received many pointers and now know what to improve for next year.


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Titan boys fall short after strong attempt ■ Despite loss, HHS boys played their best at the playoffs

Courtesy of Mandave Sandu

Nehemiah Winston (10th), formerly of HHS, attempts a sky hook shot over Campolindo.

winning the game. “It’s exciting to make playoffs,” HHS senior Keaton Brooks said. “Every senior athlete dreams of going to the playoffs and winning a championship because it could be their last chance to play a sport in high school.” As the game began, Campolindo started their By Jordan Gabriel Staff Writer offensive attack by shooting several three-point shots, but After capping off their season were not able to convert. The with a win against the Pinole Titans attempted to rebound Valley High School Spartans the ball, but struggled due to on Feb. 19, the Hercules High Campolindo’s great height School boys basketball team advantage. The HHS boys also had to throw on their jerseys struggled offensively at the free and lace up their shoes yet again throw line and were not able to to play at the first round of set up their half-court offense. the Alameda Regardless Contra Costa of the Titans’ Athletic setbacks, they ”We did what we could League playtrailed behind throughout the game. We offs on Feb. the Cougars just couldn’t pull through to by only nine 23. The boys’ points at halfget the win.” basketball time. team finished After halfPershante Hill the season time, the Senior with a score Titans continof 4-8 and ued to strugwere still able gle with their to make the playoffs. This year offense and their rebounding. would be the first in two years Despite the Titans’ unsuccessand the second in the past five ful offense, senior guards Avory years that the HHS boys’ basket- Evans and Pershante Hill, who ball team have made the play- both led the offense, still made offs. attempts to get the Titans back The Titans made a trip to in the game. Moraga to play the Campolindo “We did what we could High School Cougars in the throughout the game,” Hill said. first round of the playoffs. With “We just couldn’t pull through the Titans excitement and the to get the win.” adrenaline pumping through The final score of the firsttheir veins, they tried to remain round of the ACCAL playoffs focused and concentrated on was 59-33, Campolindo.

Girls basketball enters into playoffs again By Davidson Chia Layout editor

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The Hercules varsity girls basketball team draws up a play to win the final game of the season, placing them in the playoffs. game commenced, the Titans came out of the locker room determined to fight back with more intensity, but unfortunately, they were unable to score enough points to earn a winning victory. “The height advantage from

the Cougars made the shot attempts much more difficult for Lady Titans to sink,” San Juan said. With the help of junior forward Desirae Miller and sophomore point guard Charmaine Moore, who assisted

in a slight comeback for HHS, the Titans were able to play strong and closed some of the point difference between the teams. The first round of the playoff games ended 69-39, Campolindo.

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around to find open shots. The Titan girls were able to take advantage of Campolindo girls, who were losing their composure. Campolindo failed to sink several shots and hit second chance points. As the third quarter of the

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From attending the championship game three years in a row to missing a year in the Alameda Contra Costa County Athletic League playoffs and finally making the playoffs once again, the Hercules High School girls basketball team seems to have been through it all. This year, they beat the odds and made it to the first round of the playoff games. The girls finished their season with a record of 6-6, barely making them eligible for the playoffs. After missing the playoffs last school year, the Titans were excited to return with the intention to win. “I thought the playoffs was nerve-racking because it puts a lot pressure on the team due to our size,” senior forward Iris San Juan said. “But overall, it was all worth the hardcore practices we did because we ended up making the playoffs.” The game began with the Campolindo Cougars running their offense effectively, but they were not able to convert with open shots. Although the Titans started off slow, they were able to keep the game close after the first quarter due to low scoring from both team’s offenses. Going into the second quarter, the Titan girls attempted to make a small comeback. The Titans began their push for victory by running a patient offensive and swinging the ball

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Steve Ringman/Seattle Times/MCT

Up: U.S.’s Bode Miller streaks down the downhill portion of the Men’s Super Combined Alpine Skiing event on Sunday, Feb. 21.

Right: Italian skaters Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte compete in the original dance during the ice dance figure skating event on Sunday, Feb. 21. Gerry Kahrmann/Canwest News Service/MCT

VANCOUVER

2010

The United States had a record-setting performance at the 2010 Winter Olympic games held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. This year, the U.S. took home 37 medals, followed by Germany with 30 and Canada with 26. Of the 37 medals received by the U.S., nine were gold, 15 were silver and the remaining 13 were bronze. The U.S. made a great improvement after taking second place to Germany in the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin, Italy.

Steve Ringman/Seattle Times/MCT

U.S. cross country skiier Kris Freeman sticks to the end of the pack in the men’s 50 km Mass Start at Whistler Olympic Park in Whistler, British Columbia, on Feb. 28.

Clem Murray/Philadelphia Inquirer/MCT

American hockey player Dustin Brown is tripped by Canada's goalie, Roberto Luong, in the men’s hockey gold medal final at the Canada Hockey Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Feb. 28. Canada defeated the U.S., 3-2.

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Disaster strikes:

Friday, March 12, 2010

Earthquake causes horrible destruction, leaves devastation Michael Robinson Chavez/Los Angeles Times/MCT

Catastrophe struck offshore of Maule, Chile, near the cities of Santiago and Concepción, on Feb. 27 due to a magnitude 8.8 earthquake. One of the strongest recorded in history, the earthquake resulted in a death toll of several hundred and toppled buildings and freeways. Despite Chile’s strict building codes that were established as a result of the country’s 9.5 magnitude earthquake in 1960, devastation is still more than evident. Organizations and communities across the globe are reaching out to help the South American country.

Above: Soldiers apprehend a man who was suspected of looting a pharmacy in the city center. Concepción, Chile's second largest city, suffered heavy earthquake damage and has been the scene of widespread looting. The police and military finally arrived in force to help quell the disturbances on Tues., March 2.

Michael Robinson Chavez/Los Angeles Times/MCT

Left: The clean-up process began slowly on Wed., March 3 in the coastal city of Constitución where entire blocks have been reduced to rubble.

Michael Hobinson Chavez/Los Angeles Times/MCT

Above: Looters in Constitución make off with merchandise from a supermarket on Mon., March 1, after an earthquake struck the area.

Michael Robinson Chavez/Los Angeles Times/MCT

Left: Residents left homeless by last weekend’s earthquake and tsunami search through donated clothes at the Chacarillas school in Constitución on Wed., March 3.


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Michael Robinson Chavez/Los Angeles Times/MCT

Above: Constituci贸n, Chile was struck by a massive 8.8 earthquake on Saturday morning, Feb. 27. Right: Residents in Constituci贸n, Chile, pass a sign pointing to an evacuation route in the event of a tsunami on Mon., March 1.

Michael Robinson Chavez/Los Angeles Times/MCT

Michael Robinson Chavez/Los Angeles Times/MCT

Buildings in the older center of town, shown on Mon., March 1, in Constituci贸n, Chile, were especially hard hit by the earthquake that struck the area.

Michael Robinson Chavez/Los Angeles Times/MCT


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Chic and unique styles for this year’s hottest dances By Carla Bernal Whether it is edgy, high fashion, sweetheart, vintage, bohemian or rockn-roll, obtaining the perfect prom dress is one of the main goals of high school girls during this spring season. Junior prom and senior ball are nearing and so is prom dress shopping, and although these events seem too distant to be concerned with, everything is about timing when finding that unique get-up. The sooner the better, and this rule is quite significant to finding the perfect dress. Finding dresses in advance is always the goal. This period will allow plenty of time for searching high and low. It would never be wise to wait until a week or two before prom to find a dress, even though many students do tend to stick with this alternative. The consequences of procrastinating are never peachy, so why risk having the same dress as the girl dancing nearby? When it comes to finding the right dress, there are various answers. Everyone has their own unique sense of fashion, and the goal when picking a dress is to combine personal style with a unique but appropriate outfit. Do not settle with buying what everyone else is wearing. This is one of high school’s main events, so it is key to stand out from the crowd. Be unique and find that statement dress. However, be sure it follows proper dress codes provided by the administration, which means no too short dresses or too revealing outfits. Be unique and chic. As mentioned, there are neverending possibilities with dresses, but here are a few to start with: Queen Bee never looked more fashionable, and this super girly style is sure to receive sweet compliments. Stand out of the

crowd by wearing chic and fashion bauble dresses with flashy shoes. It is all about bright colors, heart-shaped accessories and hair decors. Bohemian is in, so bring out the long flowing maxis with colorful prints. Surprise the crowd. The revival of the hippie has definitely influenced many designers to create fun, flirty and earthy styled dresses. Pair this with simple jewelry, neutral heels and a beach inspired hairstyle, and it is sure to be a spiced up look at prom. For the ultimate sweet and romantic look, work with flowing satin and chiffon dresses. Whether it is short or long, let the mind-set ease on the romantic colors of red, pink and neutrals, and play it up with ruffles and jeweled accessories. For a delicate look, try vintage-styled dresses. This does not necessarily mean the dress has to be vintage itself, but find neutral tiered lace or brocade dresses that embrace the classic appeal. Lastly, with the rule of heavy hardware in the fashion world, the punkedge look is a sure knock-out dress. Try finding one shouldered minis, paired with studded bracelets, bangles and even ankle boots. Style aside, location comes next. Look for good deal dresses at Macy’s, David’s Bridal, Forever 21 and H&M. Higher priced dresses can be found at stores like Nordstrom, Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus. Do not hesitate to find a dress via the Internet as well. There are affordable and chic online stores such as bluefly.com and overstock.com. Searching for that special dress is not difficult, so just remember the rules: do not procrastinate, be unique and find the right store.

All Photos Courtesy of polyvore.com

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