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University Preparatory Academy’s

Volume VI, Issue II

Feb. 15, 2017

Photo by Paj Thao French horn players Tracy Nguyen (11) and Kathy Ngo (9) perform a classic Vietnamese piece, arranged by band teacher Jemal Ramirez, at the Jan. 28 Tet Festival.

In Tune With Tet

Photo by Paj Thao Before their own performance, advanced band students watch the lion dance, a traditional dance that was displayed at the San Jose Tet Festival.

By Paj Thao Brightly colored balloons and paper lanterns floated in the sky as performers dressed in sparkling costumes danced to the crashing rhythm of drums. The loud and vibrant Tet Festival opened at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds on Jan. 28 and continued through the next day. UPA Advanced Band students helped kick off the Vietnamese Lunar New Year celebration by playing concert band style arrangements with a parade of flag bearers, sponsors and performers. Band teacher Jemal Ramirez had the opportunity to arrange two pieces for the students to play: “Vietnam” and “Ngay Tet Que Em,” which translates to “Tet of My Village.” “I wanted to set the music in a context that my students are used to that brought melodies of a different culture to our attention,” Ramirez said. For several students, including tuba player and junior Sven Kuhne, it was the first time they had been exposed to a non-Western celebration. “I thought it was fascinating because this was the first time that I saw how a different culture celebrates the New Year,” he said. Kuhne noticed that the diversity of age groups present reflected the continuity of Vietnamese American heritage. “A lot of generations were there at the festival – it wasn’t just the parents, it was also the youth and the children continuing the tradition.” Junior Tracy Nguyen, who plays French horn, thought the trip was a unique opportu-

nity to share her culture with her peers. “In band, we don’t have a lot of [Vietnamese] people, so I think it’s a good experience for the others to get exposed to the culture and maybe try the food we have,” she said. It was also Nguyen’s first time at the festival because she usually spends New Year’s with her relatives, exchanging greetings and blessings. The students were able to walk around the fairgrounds and see assorted booths where they could get free items from sponsors and buy trinkets or food. They also watched various performances, ranging from fan dances to a magic show. “What really stood out to me in the opening ceremony were the lion dancers,” said sophomore D’Angelo Castillo, who plays clarinet. “I was also impressed by the swords and spears some of the paraders were carrying. [The music] was really loud and festive.” Ramirez wants all of his students to be able to recognize music as a universal medium of cultural expression through experiences like this. “I hope my students get an appreciation for what they and others do in performing arts as it pertains to culture and the exchange of culture,” he said. He expects to take the class on similar trips in the future. “I believe cultures coming together to share their practices is only successfully achieved after a meaningful meeting or engagement has taken place,” Ramirez said. “I hope we are invited back for the Tet Festival next year so we can continue what we started.”


Feb. 15, 2017


Access Granted: Databases Available

By Diana Rendler

UPA obtained access to two databases—”Student Resources in Context” and “Opposing Viewpoints in Context”—from the GALE Program through the Cengage company for use in student and administrator research. After being in progress during first semester, the database is available to students in 2017. The database provides hundreds of cataloged articles, videos, essays and audio files in a straightforward manner for simplified student research and allows students to explore a vast variety of topics without the search results being influenced by a their previous internet searches or buried under 10 other pages of results. “[The database] is nice; it doesn’t self-correct like Google,” Media Center Tech Ed Voss said. The database’s features include print, share, highlight,

translate and notes, allowing students easy interaction with the high volume of information. “Let’s say you found an article that’s in Spanish,” Voss said. “The database is powerful enough to translate it and it can also read the translation once it’s generated so you can download the audio translation.” These interactions are saved, similar to Google Docs, as the database is attached to every student’s and administrator’s account under the “upatoday” domain; students just have to access the database while logged into their upatoday accounts. This means every highlight and note will be saved upon exiting, and when a student returns to the database —whether at home or at school—the interactions from the previous sessions will be retained. Voss and Sandra Trotch, English teacher and school counselor, hope to expand this resource to all students, but

In Brief: Club Updates

By Maria Hernandez


What was supposed to be a another movie night turned into a cancelation. Three UPA clubs, Girl Up, Interact, and Key club, have decided to combine for a joint event that would benefit both clubs. Junior Lisa Bizuneh, president of Girl Up, thought a joint-movie night would be a excellent idea to earn publicity for their clubs and demonstrate how the clubs are run. “We figured that a movie, along with a meal themed around the movie, would be an overall fun and effective way to raise funds for Girl Up

and Interact, and advocate a message relating to both of our service-oriented clubs,” Bizuneh said. However, the chosen movie, “Princess and the Frog,” had to be cancelled due to the date being too close an ASB movie night. Bizuneh hopes that, in time, there will be an opportunity for another collaboration between the clubs. “In the future we will be especially more motivated [to collaborate] if there is a great turnout,” Bizuneh said.

he and Trotch mention it might be more useful to uppermen. “I just don’t know how limiting it is,” Trotch said. “When we have seventh through twelfth graders, seventh graders may need different sources than high schoolers just because of comprehension.” As of January of 2017, only Trotch’s AP Language classes have had a formal introduction to the database, simply because it is so new. While the awareness and access to the database continue to expand, Voss hopes the online resources will ease the burden of research on students. “I think it’s a really useful resource, and I hope that students will come to be familiar with it and enjoy working with it,” Voss said. “I know that students are visual learners a lot of the time and this is a bit more visual than just flat text.”

Ladies Lacking RepreSTEMtation

Tuesdays/Wednesdays once a month in William Jessup. “The club officers fulfill their agenda and work together to get projects, fundraising, and publications done,” Nguyen said. Nguyen wanted to display her passion for helping endangered animals by illustrating her belief that people can make a difference. “I find that most people are ignorant to their impact on the environment,” Nguyen said. “They believe that one person’s trash wouldn’t leave a mark in the environment or harm anyone or anything.”


Hawak-Kamay, its namesake being the Tagalog translation for “hand-in-hand,” is a new club that aims to educate students and staff about Filipino culture. Founded by junior Angelo Bautista, the club currently has approximately 10-12 members and meets every Thursday at lunch in the Cal Poly classroom. Senior Nicole Darvin, a member who regularly attends the Filipino club, expressed her desire to change the way people think about others’

Illustration by Angelo Bautista The official logo of the Filipino culture club Hawak-Kamay (Hand-in-Hand).

cultures. “We wanted to end the stigma that people should only learn about cultures that they are a part of,” Darvin said. The club not only focuses on educating others, but has team building activities to entertain its members. “We have presentations to teach more about Filipino culture, but we also show Filipino movies, have cultural food tastings, and simply be there to talk and listen,” Darvin said.

Photo courtesy of Shirley Nguyen The love for animals shines in the Creature Conservation Club.

Correction: In the Dec. 2016 edition, sophomore Josh Lawson was misidentified in a cross-country photo on page 7. The Aquila regrets the error.

2315 Canoas Garden Ave. San Jose, CA 95125 (408) 723-1839 @upa_aquila Editor-In-Chief Juli Rendler Managing Editor Tyler Jacobsen Production Manager Diana Rendler News Editor Anton Loeb Editorial Editor Zoe Sprintz A&E Editor Emily Hung In-Depth Editor Amrita Sivia

By Angelo Bautista UPA administration’s potential addition of two more block days into the next school year’s master schedule offers underappreciated benefits, and it marks progress toward those such great heights. In spite of some disagreement, a schedule with the proposed four block days would allow students to complete homework at a more reasonable pace and offer teachers more time to plan and collaborate. Math teacher Jas Dhillon, a member of the committee responsible for reviewing bell schedule options, noted that block days would aid in learning mathematics. “Instead of going 50 minutes and then, ‘stop, we’ll pick up again tomorrow,’ now it’s like ‘OK, we can spend an hour and a half doing a lot more [thought-provoking] projects,’” Dhillon said. Another member of the committee, English teacher Kristin Tillim, expressed her own support for longer classes.

“I always enjoy block periods because I do feel like you’re able to get deeper into the lesson with students during a block period than with the regular 50-minute period,” Tillim said. Major flaws from the current schedule still remain, however. They stem from the schedule’s historical background in the Enlightenment, when one of the several prominent cultural assumptions was that true intelligence existed only in “academic-type” people. It served as a justification for imposing subject segregation and standardized testing upon nonconforming students, who may have performed better under different conditions. This Enlightenment view of education still spells doom the same way for students today. Its insistance upon the dichotomy between smart and non-smart people also makes it demanding to meet the demands of the rapidly changing economy of the world today, which are much more than simply being on the far end of an extreme.

By Juli Rendler

Trending Editor Sitara Marathay Copy Editors Angelo Bautista, Paj Thao Broadcast Editor Joshua Cheah

By Bhargav Venkatraghavan According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, women make up 48 percent of the workforce, but less than 25 percent of women’s occupations are related to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, commonly abbreviated to the acronym “STEM.” This pattern is also found in the STEM courses at UPA. Digital engineering teacher Stuart Hamilton noticed the same trend in his own course, as his class has no female students at all. “I think it’s sad that girls are not open to wanting to take digital engineering,” Hamilton said. Former Gateway to Technology teacher and current math teacher Nada Bennett is also disappointed with the pattern, but she is optimistic about the future of STEM. “I think [STEM representation] is getting better than it was,” Bennett said. “I think more and more [STEM courses] are being more receptive to [girls] now.” Junior Sean Pham and digital engineering student shares the same observations as Hamilton on gender underrepresentation. Pham said that the cause of this societal problem at UPA lies in the lack of encouragement for girls to pursue their dreams. “The more role models there are, the more encouragement

[girls] have to pursue STEM,” Pham said. Bennett, however, believes that the primary cause of this problem is found in society. “There is a stigma that [girls] are not supposed to be good at math, or good at science,” Bennett said. Senior Komal Mittal researched possible improvements to STEM education for her senior project. Mittal’s inspiration for this senior project originated from her experiences in elementary school. “I’ve been interested in science since elementary school, so when I told people I wanted to be a scientist, they were confused [because I’m a girl],” Mittal said. Mittal and Pham shared the same opinion on the cause of gender underrepresentation in STEM: the lack of role models. “A lot of the times, the famous scientists that people look up to are Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein,” Mittal said, “You don’t see a lot of females.” Mittal also believes the solution to this problem lies deeply inside the teachers and the way that students absorb the material. “The best way to promote interest in STEM is changing the way science is taught and the way students learn it,” Mittal said.

Social Media Editor Jacob Cayabyab Photo Editor Jarnail Sanghera Staff Writers Abel Allen Bunyi, Emily Calderon, Isabella Cayabyab, Adanna Abraham- Igwe, Amy Chattaway, Amaya Clement, Katherine Foreman, Caleb Frahm, Maria Hernandez, Bianca Lang, Bailey Lewis, Farrah Moreno, Cheyenne Mungaray, Henry Nguyen, Jessica Ponce, Taelynn Roberson, Jacalyn Trujillo, Bhargav Venkatraghavan, Megan Wescoat Page Designers Amy Chattaway Emily Hung Tyler Jacobsen Sitara Marathay Jessica Ponce Amrita Sivia Graphic Artist Amy Chattaway Adviser Laura Gordon Reska The Aquila is a studentproduced, student-edited high school newspaper. It serves as a designated public forum for student expression.

In his TED Talk “Changing Education Paradigms,” author, speaker and international education advisor Sir Kenneth Robinson attributed culture as a motive for worldwide public education reformation. “Every country on earth is trying to figure out, ‘How do we educate our children so they have a sense of cultural identity, so that we can pass on the cultural genes of our communities?’” Robinson said. This enigma parallels ones the UPA bell schedule committee encounters today, including attempting to construct the modern academic idyll. “At the end of the day we’re trying to figure out under what schedule circumstances would students learn best,” Tillim said. Considering the sheer complexity of developing a schedule, adding two additional block days remains an accomplishment—but more can be done. We and our “small school that works” can work better.

Marching Together to Move Forward

Sports Editor Nicole Rendler

Photo by Juli Rendler Senior Komal Mittal studies bacteria growth for a laboratory assignment on homeopathic remedies in AP biology on Feb. 10.


Rain Drop, Drop Top, New Schedule with Four Blocks

Features Editor Carlo Barrera


Every year, new animals are placed on the endangered species list as their numbers drop drastically, possibly to the point of extinction. One UPA club aims to help those animals in need. President of the Creature Conservation Club junior Shirley Nguyen focuses on the benefits of helping endangered animals and educating people on what they can do to help. “I dedicate this club to showing people the way through small actions and thought, you can help a struggling animal in need,” Nguyen said. The club currently has 35 members and meets

The Aquila

Feb. 15, 2017

Photo by Juli Rendler A man protests at the Women’s March on Jan. 21 along with thousands of others gathered at San Jose City Hall.

I never thought I would ever experience the 1950s, yet I am. With the new president and his proposed policies, the world will be able to watch American society fall back in time. With panic in my heart, I can’t escape the need to continuously defend my rights and the rights of all women and minority groups around me. On January 21, more than 5 million people around the world and on every continent gathered in one of the largest political protests in history, the Women’s March. In 600 different locations across the United States, people gathered in sister marches to protest the current political climate. I was lucky enough to be able to take part in San Jose’s own Women’s March and I am still unable to fully comprehend how powerful the experience was. No other atmosphere compares to the feeling of unity of thousands of people all walking toward a common goal: protecting human rights. During the march, I became separated from my friends and family, but I never felt alone. The sense of community and the energy participants brought to the march were astounding, and I realized that I was certainly not alone in feeling anxious about the future, but I was also empowered to make a change for my future and the future of others. When I first heard about the Women’s March, I thought, “It probably won’t even make a difference if I marched.” I could not have been more wrong. People might not believe an individual can make a difference, but without every single one of those individuals, we could have never made such an impact. More than 5 million people around the world made a conscious choice to protest and join the march. And that choice for unity is what made a difference. I chose to march because I believe in our society and in humanity’s ability to protect our own. I chose to march because I cannot give up on America yet. My fellow Americans are some of the strongest people I have ever met, and using that strength, we will continue to fight for fundamental human rights.

Hope for Our Home Valley’s Heritage By Henry Nguyen Years ago, the silicon chip was developed in the Santa Clara Valley, earning us the title of “Silicon Valley”, and almost single-handedly defining our region. However, the valley also has a culturally rich history that extends more than a century into the past — one that consists of agriculture, ethnic diversity and innovation. Not surprisingly, most of those living in the valley share the belief that while some aspects of the region may fade physically, each piece of our history ought to be honored.

Started in 1984 by the National Park Service (NPS), National Heritage Areas (NHAs) are tributes to the many cultural sites in America. For the past year, the NPS has been presented with the proposal of officially making the Santa Clara Valley a NHA, an act that the majority of conscious citizens support. Specifically, NHA provide the opportunity to have federal funding for community events and more importantly, a record of our valley’s history. With the NHA designation, a team of professionals will work with the community to host

events that would allow people to experience fragments of the valley’s history that they do not have the fortune to see for themselves. Beginning last December, Santa Clara’s task force has been holding meetings to gain public input over why the region ought to become a NHA. At the Campbell City hall, one of the meeting sites, a crowd of outspoken individuals all had an opportunity to reveal their heritage and connection to the land. From seniors whose ancestors pioneered a path to the valley across treacherous mountains to a young group of passionate high school students, the task force

received an incredible response from the general public. It is truly refreshing to know that there are individuals who wish to preserve whatever remains of their heritage and that is what makes having a NHA so valuable. Even though just hearing about an NHA may be interesting, it is even better to get involved. Those interested should check out the Santa Clara County NHA website for progress updates and inquiries. As of now, not a single NHA exists in California, so let’s join together to make this valley the first.


Feb. 15, 2017


Sheeran Fans United for ‘Divide’ By Adanna Abraham-Igwe

Ed Sheeran is known for moving people with meaningful lyrics and guitar skills used to create his pop, folk, and contemporary R&B songs. Sheeran’s fans jumped with excitement after he announced on social media that his new album “Divide” will be released on March 3. Anticipation for the “Divide” album is increasing, as his previous album “Multiply” had massive sales and debuted at No.1 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart in 2014. The new album continues Sheeran’s use of math symbols for album titles as he did with “Multiply” and “Plus.” In 2014, Ed Sheeran talked with RTÉ Ten about what would happen if he ran out of symbols. “There’s enough math symbols I think. I’m not planning on doing like 50 albums. Well maybe, you never know,” Sheeran said. For sophomore Linda Do, Sheeran’s unique use of math symbols is one attribute that separates him from other artists. “I think it’s a great component,” Do said. “It makes the album more unique and mysterious instead of the regular

face for an album cover.” It is also his use of guitar rather than heavy beats that makes him special to senior and fan Komal Mittal. “I like his use of guitar and acoustics,” Mittal said. “It’s not something that you see a lot of with pop music.” Sheeran has revealed the 12-song tracklist on his social media, but only released “Castle on the Hill” and “Shape of You” on Jan. 5, which have had great success immediately stealing the No.1 and 2 spots on the iTunes Store top charts list. In both songs a story unfolds, and fans like Mittal appreciate that characteristic of his music. “All of his songs have some sort of meaning to it,” said Mittal, “There’s a story in every song.” Sheeran mentioned in an Apple radio interview to Beats 1 anchor Zane Lowe that he believes the new “Divide” album is his best work. He expressed on social media his gratitude toward fans for listening to his music and supporting his albums. More can be expected to come from Sheeran as fans await the “Divide” world tour, beginning in March. “Divide” can be pre-ordered now on the iTunes store and Play store.

Photo courtesy of Ed Sheeran After a year-long hiatus, Ed Sheeran’s newest album will be relessed in March and is available for pre-order now.

Living in the Ocean, Wild and Free

Photo courtesy of Seaworld

By Isabella Cayabyab Families sitting in the stands at SeaWorld’s stadium laugh and cheer for more as an orca slams its tail against the water, soaking the audience from head to toe. Its most famous male orca, Tilikum, died of an ongoing lung infection on January 6. His death surrounded the controversy brought up by

the 2013 documentary “Blackfish,” which he was featured in. Tilikum is known for his involvement in multiple human accidents, sometimes ending with the death of his trainers. Throughout “Blackfish,” director Gabriela Cowperthwaite follows the life of Tilikum and exposes shocking footage of the cruel treatment animals receive at SeaWorld. The controversy brought up by the documentary led to the California Orca Protection Act being signed into law on September 13, stating that it is unlawful to breed orcas, hold new orcas in captivity, or use them for theatrical performances. Orcas in captivity may continue to be held, but only to be used for educational presentations. According to the SeaWorld website, they have ended the Shamu “Believe” show and will “[introduce] new, inspiring, natural orca encounters” starting in June. This law and new show was brought up by the controversy that “Blackfish” brought up. “Blackfish” revealed that the tanks used to hold orcas

are too small and not in the best condition, giving them dental problems and infections, like the lung infection that Tilikum died of. The orcas are held in these small tanks with other orcas, and this close captivity causes their aggressive behavior to come out. Most of the orcas aggressive behavior is taken out on each other; however, there are occasions in which their trainers are caught in the crossfire. The animal rights organization PETA has boycotted SeaWorld because of these bad conditions, which led others to do so as well. Junior Kimmy Tran, an active member of the Creature Conservation Club, believes that holding killer whales captive solely for profit and performance is wrong. “When animals are held in captivity merely for profit, it’s unacceptable and cruel,” Tran said. Like Tran, many people support this law and are happy about the step being taken towards making a difference in animal cruelty. “I think that these conditions are unacceptable,” Tran said, “and I fully support the new law that bans theatrical killer whale performances.”

Foreign Lesbian with Fiery Temper: The Novel By Bianca Lang When Princess Dennaleia of Havemont is sent to live with her betrothed, Prince Thandilimon of Mynaria, life starts to go wrong almost immediately. A murder of one of the royal family sets the place reeling, and nobody is willing to properly investigate. Princess Dennaleia’s fire magic, highly illegal in Mynaria, starts flaring out of control and she must learn to control it before someone gets hurt. She must take horseback riding lessons from her future sisterin-law, Princess Amaranthine—a

woman who does not disguise her contempt for the soft Havemont royal. “Of Fire and Stars” is Audrey Coulthrust’s debut novel, and it shows. She packs too many storylines into too little space. The character’s emotions and the pacing often seem forced and the ending is very abrupt. Despite that, it is highly enjoyable. The strength in “Of Fire and Stars” lies in the characters and their various relationships. You will not find a dazzling fantasy world, or a compelling murder mystery, or political intrigue. “Of Fire and Stars” knows it is a cheesy romantic comedy and it

relishes in it. This almost makes up for the lack of other storylines. Coulthurst has many interesting subplots and a compelling secondary cast she never expands on. It is a standalone, so this is a shame. The abrupt finale doesn’t give a proper ending for many secondary characters, and an extra hundred pages could have answered some ignored questions. It should also be mentioned that this is the first Young Adult High Fantasy novel I have read where the forbidden lovers are a same-sex couple. Kudos to Coulthurst for not making a big deal of that. None of

the drama surrounding the couple comes from the fact that they are both women. In fact, same sex couples are treated as relatively common and there are several mentions to other same sex couples. “Of Fire and Stars” is not the greatest book you will ever read. It’s not life changing and it won’t change your view on anything. But not every book can be Shakespeare, and sometimes a quick, entertaining read will suffice.

Photo courtesy of Audrey Coulthurst

Feb. 15, 2017

Staying Aware of the Invisible

By Amy Chattaway and Amrita Sivia Depression and anxiety are not figments of the imagination, but serious health disorders that affect millions of people. In fact, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), “2 out of 100 young children and 8 out of 100 teens may have serious depression.” According to the ADAA, there are multiple causes of depression and anxiety disorders, some common causes being losing a loved one or being bullied. It is important to note that depression and anxiety are not only mental disorders but also physical disorders. People with depression and anxiety have a chemical imbalance in their brain, in which the amygdala—the emotion center of the brain—is affected the most. According to Harvard Health Publications, “activity in the amygdala is higher when a person is sad or clinically depressed.” The Harvard Health Publications states that depression not only results from a chemical imbalance, but many biological causes, including “faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, medications, and medical problems.” In junior Isabella Wilkinson’s case, her anxiety and depression disorder arose after she was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsion Disorder (OCD) and Emetophobia, the fear of vomiting. “I’ve been struggling with depression for about 10 years now,” Wilkinson said. “I’ve had anxiety basically since I was in second grade.” After Wilkinson was diagnosed, she began Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with her doctor. In CBT, Wilkinson worked to change negative thoughts into more positive ones to combat certain behaviors or anxieties, like wanting to physically leave or run away from difficult situations. Although people who have each disorder share similar symptoms— such as irritability, sleeping problems, and nervousness—anxiety disorders and depression disorders are not the same. According to the ADAA, “there is no evidence one disorder causes the other, but there is clear evidence that many people suffer from both disorders.” Wilkinson’s anxiety, depression, and OCD have changed many aspects of her life. After her diagnosis, Wilkinson said it has been hard to keep her chin up and it was easy to beat herself up over little mistakes. “I’ve always been hard on myself,” she said. “I recognize that I have self-esteem issues and issues with confidence; I have some victories and then setbacks. I do get upset with myself over those type of things.” Nonetheless, Wilkinson has learned to celebrate the little victories and not let the small setbacks bring her down. “Sometimes you’ve got to accept that no one’s perfect and that you’re going to make mistakes,” Wilkinson said. “Everyone has those days.” Wilkinson has prioritized her health, yet continues to keep up with her classes and school work. She said UPA has been supportive and accommodating. Wilkinson said that a flexible school schedule and understanding teachers are important, for participating in the classroom setting with other students can trigger her anxiety.

UPA Resources Therapists Emily Boudreau and Ray Menchaca Mental Health Counseling Office Hours: Tuesdays (Emily) Noon to 4 p.m. Thursdays (Emily) 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Fridays (Ray) 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The mental health counseling office is located on the second floor of the Family Life Center.


“The reason I have [emetophobia] is that I was sick at school and that triggered a chain reaction,” Wilkinson said. “So I’m scared to be in close spaces, to be around people, around germs, and my OCD manifested trying to keep myself clean.” Wilkinson often comes to school for shorter periods of time to talk to teachers, collect classwork, and catch up with daily lessons. Despite these changes, several constants in Wilkinson’s life have helped her cope. Wilkinson’s family, especially her mother, has helped and supported her in managing her anxiety and depression. “I would always go to her when I felt something gross, like anxiety and panic attacks—which I took then as I was gonna be sick,” Wilkinson said. “I found someone who I could talk to. My mom has helped me a lot.” Mental disorders can also have an impact on one’s friends. One of Wilkinson’s close friends, junior Kameron Walker, explained how this experience has affected her. “Essentially, my outlook and perspective changed,” Walker said. “Before, I was quite narrow minded on how others felt and had set standards on what I believed was and was not normal. But now, I am more understanding towards others, and I have [listened] more and tried to connect with those with problems.” Wilkinson also relied on the help and support she received from medical professionals. “I would call [my doctor] whenever I was having a really bad panic attack and I couldn’t reach my mom; I could confide in [my doctor],” Wilkinson said. Wilkinson’s advice to people who think they may have anxiety or depression is “don’t self-diagnose. It’s never good to do that because then you think you know the answer and you don’t. So if you have suspicions, email a doctor [and] tell them.” According the ADAA, “untreated OCD can be detrimental to all aspects of life, so getting proper treatment is essential to taking control over the illness and gaining relief.” In fact, “children and teens with OCD might not realize that their obsessions and compulsions are excessive or even view their symptoms as a disorder that can be treated,” according to the ADAA. Illustration by Amy Chattaway It is also important to know that if you are suffering from a mental illness, you are not alone. It is vital to get help and, above all, make sure to stay safe. “I don’t know anyone who hasn’t had a depressive time or a stage where they were really sad and they [thought] ‘I don’t want this anymore,’” Wilkinson said. Although Wilkinson has never called the hotline herself, she advises “teens or anyone who is having a hard time to the point where they are contemplating suicide, or contemplating hurting themselves or others… [to call the] the suicide or crisis text-line...because you’re not talking to someone you don’t know but at the same time they understand what you are going through.” “I would always suggest that if you’re in a crisis mode, go to a doctor or find out what the textline/crisis line is so you can get help and you can feel better about yourself,” Wilkinson said. “You have to remember you’re only 16, 17, 14. You’re only a teen. You still have college. You still have life. You still have time. You don’t know what the future holds,” she said. “If you end it now, then you’ll never know.”

National Suicide Hotline (Open 24/7 for call or text) 1-800-273-8255 National Suicide Hotline Website


Feb. 15, 2017

School Experiences Go International By Farrah Moreno Japan. Italy. Panama. Students all over the world get to experience the thrill of a new country, culture, and community when traveling to study abroad. German student Liv Myr, close friend of UPA students Emily and Olivia Butler, explores the city of Santiago de Veraguas in Panama while completing her “decimo grado” (sophomore year) at, Colegio San Vicente de Paul. In contrast to the United States, Panama has a tradition that encourages national pride called the “consejeria.” “Every Monday, the whole school is together and we sing the national hymn,” Myr said, “and raise the flag of Panama...” Another unifying factor in Panama, since the majority of families that follow Catholicism, is children in school take time on Tuesdays to go to churches nearby to pray. Nicole Solomon, friend of UPA student Juliana Rendler from San Jose, California chose to experience an island on the Mediterranean Sea, and attends Convitto Nazionale Canopoleno in Sardinia, Italy. Solomon, a junior, said in Italy two differences of the education system is the way each class is structured and how classes are assigned. “When you’re 14, you choose the type of school you want to go to (Clas-

sic, Artistic, Languages, etc.),” Solomon said, “and you take the classes that are provided in your selected school.” In Italy, students choose a specific school based on what they desire for their future, and are placed in one classroom with one group of peers for the next four years of high school. According to Solomon, the workload placed on students in Italian schools is much more intense than here in the United States. “Coming into the Italian school system I’ve realized American students don’t even know what studying is,” Solomon said. Zachary Wright, also a friend of Rendler, from San Jose now attends Mitsuta High School in Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan. Like Italy, Japan also has high expectations for their high school students. “Japan focuses on school very strictly and my school bans bringing your phone to school along with any other electronics,” Wright said, “You must study at all times and that is basically all you are allowed to do.” Numerous clubs and extracurricular activities are found important in

each culture around the world; however, these activities differ greatly in each country. “I am taking calligraphy and will be joining the Kyudo (Japanese archery) club very soon.” said Wright. “They also have a tea ceremony club and kendo (stick fighting).” Foreign exchange students receive the opportunity to learn about other cultures and school systems; they experience a new way of life as well as gain many new friends. “You get new experiences in this year and it’s amazing to meet so many beautiful people,” Myr said. “We all feel like a family; we all go through the same things.”

Photo courtesy of Liv Myr Students in Panama school, Colegio San Vincente de Paul, line up for the consejeria on Monday Morning.


Photo by Jarnail Sanghera Colin Updyke-Welch (9), Rohan Manian (8), and Luke Wagner (10) rehearse the tap dance for “Moses Suposses,” a number in “Singin’ in the Rain.”

Crew Behind Lights, Camera, Action By Amaya Clement

In musicals, actors make the production come alive through song and dance; but the people who work backstage make the actors come alive through lighting, music and unique costumes. Often times crew members goes unnoticed, but they are just as important to the success of the show as the actors who star in the performance. Sophomore Alina Torres is on the makeup team for UPA’s spring production of “Singin’ in the Rain” and her job includes helping cast members apply the stage makeup properly. She has learned various skills while working backstage, but the most valuable to her is working well with her peers. “I learned how to work with people more because sometimes it’s difficult to communicate with people on your team,” Torres said. “But you learn to do it even if you have a different opinion about something.” Not only will being part of a production teach students new skills on how to use technology for the future, but it can give them the opportunity to meet new people and create friendships with them. Theatre teacher Catherine Dietrich, director of “Singin’ in the Rain”, has seen friendships develop during school productions.

“Friendship and building community are some of the most amazing and powerful experiences of a show because the show kids basically become your family,” Dietrich said. Freshman Greg Haessner has been working backstage for theater performances since seventh grade and has been a part of several different crews. This year he is on the stage crew, which is responsible for moving set pieces on stage during the performance. Haessner enjoys working backstage because he is able to spend time with the people on his team and learn different skill sets from them. “We get to learn from each other,” Haessner said. We have to rely on each other sometimes and when we rely on each other it creates a trust and a bond that we all like having.” For those hesitant to work on a theatre production, the crew will help them go through the process and never leave a production member alone. Even if someone is afraid to apply for a backstage position, they should pursue it, so they can try something new. “Go for it,” Dietrich said. “The people who are a part of the show will have your back.” The curtains open for “Singin’ in the Rain” on March 24 with additional performances on March 30 and 31 and April 1 at University Preparatory Academy.

By Bhargav Venkatraghavan

Photo by Bhargav Venkatraghavan Almogela continues studying after his accident

performing arts. He participated in UPA’s production Footloose last April and found an affinity for the ukulele. Catherine Dietrich, the head of the Drama Department, worked with Almogela in the Footloose production. “Jared brings inspiration, energy, spirit and positivity,” Dietrich said. Outside of the performing arts, history teacher Ariana Rodriguez has also witnessed Almogela overcome this struggle. Rodriguez had Almogela in her Advisory class as a freshman and had him as a student in AP Government this year. “Jared forgot a lot of things as he continued his rehabilitation,” Rodriguez said, “but he has stayed true to himself and I strongly believe that this has helped him cope with this.” The teachers are not the only ones who recognized a new Almogela, as close friend Gareth Usac has drawn immense inspiration from Almogela’s struggle. “Jared’s journey has impacted my career interest,” Usac said. “I want to be a nurse partly because I want be able to help those who have experienced the same things as Jared.” From this experience, Almogela has exemplified how to rebound from a terrible tragedy. Usac, Rodriguez, and Dietrich all agree on the same idea: that Almogela has been an inspiration that we can all learn from his life story. “Life can break your bones, brain, or heart,” Almogela said, “but never let it break your spirit.”

Feb. 15, 2017

Cheerleaders Bring It On By Bailey Lewis

Spirit Lives On Despite Traumatic Experience Senior Jared Almogela was performing squat jumps during basketball conditioning in 2013. Towards the end of conditioning, he experienced a feeling he had never felt before. “While I was doing the squat jump, I felt a pop in my head. I felt something flowing in my head, like a liquid,” Almogela said. Almogela was diagnosed with an Arteriovenous Malformation stroke. An Arteriovenous Malformation, also known as AVM, is a tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins in the brain. The danger of this is that an AVM interferes with the normal circulation of oxygen in the brain, which poses an immediate risk of death to the individual. Any experience such as this would involve a lengthy rehabilitation process. This was the case for Almogela, as it took him two and a half years to complete his rehabilitation process. During this process, Almogela paid a cost: he experienced spurts of memory loss throughout his rehabilitation. “Before the incident, I don’t remember myself as a person,” Almogela said. Almogela has been able to cope with his rehabilitation by discovering new interests. Among these include his profound interest for the

SPORTS The UPA cheer team had been purely competitive since the team was started in the 2014-2015 school year. This year, however, everything changed. With a new team this year, many of the girls are at different levels of experience. One of the few returning members of the team, junior Angelique Garcia hopes that this will be a year for the team to grow. “Besides me, the captain Brie, and one other girl, Taelynn, everyone else doesn’t really have that much experience with cheer,” Garcia said. “[We are] just catching them up and making sure they have the skills necessary [to be a cheerleader].” Organization proved difficult for the cheer team this year.

freshman Monica Rodriguez felt that the team could be more organized, and the disorganization contributed to the season starting late. “I believe tryouts were around December,” Rodriguez said. “It started late, so we didn’t really have time to prepare, so we had to rush practices and make them longer.” In addition to constructing a team from scratch this year, the new cheerleading coach Jenita Nakamura was not aware of University Preparatory Academy’s third party payment system when it came time to order the uniforms for the cheerleaders. “Because this is our first year getting organized, I wasn’t aware of how the process went to do the payment,” Nakamura said. “Even though we collected all of our

money and turned it in, it took longer for the third party to send the check.” Because the uniforms were ordered late, the girls had to make do with what they had. Despite their lack of official uniforms and pom-poms, the team collectively decided that they wanted to support the UPA sports teams anyways. “We got some t-shirts and some shorts that matched, and decided to support the team even though we didn’t have our uniforms,” Nakamura said. Cheerleaders finally received their uniforms and pom-poms in time for the home basketball game on January 17. Despite a late start and some issues with organization, cheerleaders are enjoying the experience, and are continuing to develop as a team.


Photo by Bailey Lewis

The UPA cheerleaders cheer on the boys varsity basketball team in the UPA vs. St. Thomas Moore game. From left to right: Monica Rodriguez (9), Ashley Richard (10), Amaya Clement (10), Katherine Foreman (9), Jasmine Lee (9), Brieanne Scott (12), Natalia Alberez (9), Adanna Abraham- Igwe (9). “I’ve learned how to bond with other people, and kind of meet everyone’s needs,” Rodriguez said. “Not everyone is at the same level of experience, so it’s

interesting to see how everyone is working up to be at the same level.”

Athletes Rebound From Injuries

By Caleb Frahm Broken noses, twisted ankles, fractured wrists, and knee strains. Athletes around the world suffer all kinds of injuries, and it is no different for student athletes at University Preparatory Academy. Student athletes value their ability to play sports, and injuries can hinder their participation in the sports they enjoy. Junior Sai Sanchula is in his third year on UPA’s boys varsity basketball team, and he broke his nose during the 2015-2016 season. “Somewhere deep down right after I broke my nose, I thought that I needed to protect my nose whenever I played sports,” Sanchula said. “At first, I was really scared of doing anything physical or being strong.” Injuries can be blow to confidence, affecting how an athlete plays their sport and how they view themselves off the court. “When I broke my nose, I felt like I looked really ugly because my nose was crooked, even after they supposedly fixed it,” Sanchula said. “Whenever I take a selfie, I think ‘wow, that’s not the same nose I had.’” Athletes must work to regain that confidence while they recover from the effects of their injury.

Sophomore Jacqueline White suffered an ankle sprain while playing on the UPA’s girls varsity basketball team. The injury benched her for three weeks in December 2015, and White found the recovery process trying. “It was hard walking to class, especially walking up the stairs,” White said. “Luckily, with my injuries, I hurt them the first game. I had winter break to recover, so it didn’t really hurt [my academic life].” Recovering quickly is vital to athletes, who are all eager to play, and White stressed the necessity of making a full recovery. “Wait for [the injury] to fully recover,” White said. “I know when I have injuries, I want to go play on a basketball court as soon as possible, so then I’ll play while [I’m] injured and I’m making it worse.” While the recovery process is tough, it will not hold UPA’s athletes back from playing the sports they love. “Get on your feet, man,” Sanchula said. “You are going to bounce right back from that one, and there’s really no stopping you once you’re recovered. Just keep fighting, keep pushing, be strong. Injuries can’t hold you down.”

Illustration by guest artist Marina Mulligan

From Dancing to Spartan Races, Students Showcase Physical Abilities By Katherine Foreman

University Preparatory Academy has seen a decade of basketball players, volleyball players, cross-country runners, and track and field teammates, but some students stray from the narrow path of UPA sports and participate in more unique physical activities. Junior Adrienne Lee started learning an intricate form of Chinese dance when she was a little girl. “When I was around 5, my mom took me to a dance recital that the dance studio I go to held,” Lee said. “I thought it was so amazing and I asked my mom if I could enroll and I’ve been dancing there ever since!” Lee’s mom expresses much pride and enthusiasm about her daughter’s achievements in dance. Through dance, she can embrace Chinese culture and gain physical strength, which appeals to Lee more than UPA sports. Even today, she still learns

more at every practice. “All kinds of dance has its own origins, and if you keep training in it, you can get a taste of its culture,” Lee said. “I dance

Photo courtesy of Chris Jacobsen Juniors Samuel Indurkar (center) and Tyler Jacobsen (right) race to the top of the rope in a Spartan Race held in Sacramento on Nov. 14. It was Indukar’s third Spartan Race. Photo courtesy of Adrienne Lee rather than play popular sports because I like to have a routine I can follow.”

Junior Samuel Indurkar fell in love with Spartan Races after running his first one last May. Spartan Races are runs with intense obstacle courses, such as rope climbing, rockwall climbing, and monkey bars. In addition, Indurkar is a track and field member, cross country runner, longboarder, and basketball player. Through it all, Spartan Races stand out to him.

“Spartan racing is not different than all the other sports,” Indurkar said. “It’s just a combination of those skills. You also get that feeling of achievement [where] you feel like you can do anything, and my ego, which is already as big as the sun, gets even bigger.” With three races already under his belt in less than a year, he plans to keep pursuing Spartans for the sense of achievement and the time with friends.


Feb. 15, 2017


Old is What Kind of Couple Are You? Goofy Foodies New By Emily Calderon

By Taelynn Roberson

Fashion has always been a cycle of constant fads coming in and out. The constant styles, latest crazes and best brands have always changed. However, more often now than ever the fashion community has been repeating itself. The most popularized styles that are prominent now have been pulled from the 90s. Even our generation finds inspiration from the 90s; senior Stephen Tu glances over stylish pictures from the 90s to incorporate into his outfits. “Sometimes I look on Reddit and check on male fashion, other times I look at pictures from the 90s,” said Tu. Even the ‘creative’ trends that emerge now are not as creative as we think they are. Brands and styles such as the grunge 90s look resurface from time to time and are especially prominent right now with chokers and gothic black looks. On the other hand, many people go back another generation to find inspiration, such as sophomore Luke Wagner. “I really like how The Beatles dressed and the style of the 70s and 60s,” said Wagner. Stars such as The Beatles are a huge part of the reason why trends or brands come back. Figures such as Kanye West, Rihanna and Kylie Jenner could be held accountable for the occurrence of older brands. Kanye West, for example, put Adidas back on the map with his shoe line of Yeezys. Similarly, Rihanna’s line of clothing and shoes named Fenty gave Puma a surge of popularity. Kylie Jenner inspires her huge following by wearing vintage sporty clothing. The arise of the ‘vintage’ look can be held responsible by thrift shops. “Most of my clothes come from thrifting or my mom’s old clothes,” said freshman Natalia Albarez. Not only clothing comes back into trend, but shoes are extremely popular as well. The Adidas shoes are on top of the fashion game with Superstars and Stan Smiths. “I own 28 shoes and most of them are Jordans for sports but Adidas are the best in terms of style,” said senior Carlos Rodriguez. Regardless, fashion is about expressing yourself in the best and most creative way on your own terms--whether it fits a trend or not. “With fashion statements, everyone’s gonna hate on you but who cares?” said Tu.

Photo Courtesy by Shirley Nguyen Best friends? Boyfriend and girlfriend? It’s all the same to you. You’ve even gotten used to each other’s bad jokes, like junior couple Shirley Nguyen and Sidharth Naik.

They’ve dated for two and a half years and find themselves giggling at midnight either because of late-night hysteria or their new celebrity crushes. “We like to have pajama sleepovers,” Nguyen said. “It’s just us playing board games and doing random stuff.” But staying home isn’t the only date you can have. Window shopping at local stores can also be a form of entertainment. “We like to walk around Target and pretend we’re buying stuff, but we actually aren’t,” Naik said. Finding an activity that you can laugh or joke about makes you the kind of light-hearted couple everyone wants to be around.

Photo Courtesy of Joy Montes de Oca You’re daring enough to try new foods and constantly thinking about your next meal no matter the time of the day. Senior couple Joy Montes de

Oca and Uriah Aldaco, who’ve been dating for approximately a year, can relate. They eat a variety of places together like Five Guys, Chipotle, Bill’s Cafe and Olive Garden. Still, they always keep a budget in mind. “I always tell her, ‘You can get whatever you want, babe. The sky’s the limit. But up to $5.99,’” Aldaco said jokingly. Committed foodies also are willing to retry foods. “I despised eggs because of the texture,” Montes de Oca said, “but he got me to try them at Denny’s and they weren’t that bad.”

Laid Back


every single day,” Ruiz said. “[It’s] mostly stuff like RPG, role-playing games, or FPS, firstperson shooter.” Flores recommends finding video games that are related to your interests because you’ll become more engaged. “One of my favorites is the ‘Uncharted’ series,” Flores said. Photo Courtesy of “It’s mostly history and Playing video games for 4 I’m a big fan of learning hours sound better than going about the past.” out? You’re probably a gamer. Getting the same consoles Senior couple Carley Flores also means that game night can and Ian Ruiz have been dating for be from the comfort of your own 9 months and are avid gamers. home while still hanging out to“We both play pretty much gether.

Photo Courtesy of Great America Parks Extravagant and over-the-top movies,” Ruiz said. “It isn’t a are two traits you’re precisely great place for talking.” That’s why they recommend not. You don’t care what you do going somewhere you can have a as long as you’re together, like worthwhile conversation. “We like going to Great Amerfreshmen couple Roy Orozco and Valerie Ruiz, who’ve been dating ica or Oakridge mall because we can walk around and bond,” Orofor five months. “We definitely don’t like the zco said.

17 Tips From the Class of ‘17 By Jessica Ponce From being a new student to taking the SATs/ACTs and completing college applications, high school seniors have been there and done that. But how did they do it without pulling out all of their hair? Here are 17 tips and tricks from the class of ‘17 on surviving school. 1. “Don’t fall off the bus.” — Diana Shetterly 2. “Form good habits early.” —Cori Wong 3. “Become friends with everyone regardless of how popular or uncool they seem.” —Jordan Alhassan 4. “It’s ok not to fit in; that’s how you will find your true friends.” —Vanessa Sanchez 5. “Be very well rounded, whether it’s sports, extracurriculars, community service, etc.” — Diana Freslassie 6. “Make friends with teachers and document your accomplishments.” —Dillon Buczek

7. “Don’t just study to pass. Study to Learn.” — Tamera Panjalingam 8 . “Don’t walk out

that classroom until you understand the lesson.”

the simplest way to improve your score.” —Samuel Yang 10. “Join an extracurricular a c t i v i t y. Senior year

will stress you out and you will need something Illustration by Amy Chattaway

—Chisondi Warioba 9. “For SATs and ACTs, doing numerous practice tests is

to de-stress.” —Alan MartinoMurillo 11. “Time management is cru-

cial. Avoid procrastinating.” — Andrew Lin 12. “Try your best in all your classes because your GPA really matters.” —Bonny Huynh 13. “Everything will be okay in the end.” —Natalie Pandher 14. “Try new things! What’s the worst that could happen?” — Rachel Zody 15. “Take what you want; don’t wait for it to be given to you.” —Alex Ruiz 16. “Stay self motivated.” — Jessica Caton 17. “Befriend Schwinge.” — Kyle Jones School is tough and can throw curveballs at any given moment. Take it from the seniors who have encountered the challenges of each grade and have lived and experienced it first hand. The wisdom and insightfulness of these tips and tricks hopefully will give you encouragement and guidance as you travel through the remainder of your UPA school days.

The Aquila Feb. 2017 (Vol. 6, Issue 2)  

Student newspaper of University Preparatory Academy Charter School (San Jose, Calif.)

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