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V. A NEW DAWN foR WOMEN IN POLITICS Page 37足


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From the Editors

USHERING IN THE NEXT GENERATION

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n a world where half the people are girls, it doesn’t make sense to me that we haven’t had one leading the country.” These are the words of Arjun Parikh, a Palo Alto High School alumnus who recently participated in a local phone bank event to campaign for Hillary Clinton. Parikh brings up a key issue — without any role models to look up to in a long lineage of 44 male presidents, it’s hard for females to picture themselves as the next president of the United States. In this issue’s cover story, “A New Dawn for Women in Politics,” staff writers Anna Nakai and Elana Rebitzer highlight many organizations rooted in Palo Alto working to give women and girls the support they need to join the ranks of the next generation of American leaders. Thanks to the formation of political action committees that financially equip female candidates, a more diverse up-and-coming group of political leaders is emerging. Staff writers Natalie Maemura and Anna Nakai emphasize the value of recognizing past injustices caused by restrictive housing covenants in “Not for Sale.” Within the Palo Alto area, a call for progress in the present aims to create a more inclusive community for the future. In “Treasure Island,” staff writers Kai Gallagher and Siddharth Srinivasan chronicle their visit to a dilapidated storefront on El Camino Real. They illuminate a dying generation of coin collectors and the need to pass on a legacy of duty and service to people in today’s technology age. But as important as it is to look towards the future, let’s remember not to get too far ahead of ourselves. Sometimes it’s appropriate to accept the ups and downs of where many of us are right now — that awkward stage called adolescence. In “Comingof-Age Movies,” staff writers Alicia Mies and Tara Madhav review some films that capture the roller coaster ride of growing up. And, sometimes it’s more constructive to express emotion than to bottle it up, as staff writer Josh Code shares in “Understanding Anger.” Here at Verde, we too are looking to usher in the next generation that will lead the magazine as it marches into new territory. As Verde’s outgoing editors, we want to express our appreciation to our readers — when you start discussions, cultivate a spirit of open-mindedness, and work towards change after reading our stories, it makes all those late nights worthwhile. As we hand over the reigns to the next Verde leadership team, we wish you endurance as the few short weeks between now and summer break whiz by.

Editors-in-Chief Esmé Ablaza Anna Lu James Wang Bethany Wong Managing Editors Elana Rebitzer Siddharth Srinivasan Features Editor Anna Nakai Profiles Editor Rachel van Gelder Perspectives Editor Gabriela Rossner Culture Editor Emilie Ma Digital Editor Kai Gallagher Business Managers Emma Goldsmith Natalie Maemura Multimedia Editor & Statistician Roy Zawadzki Art Director Karina Chan Photo Director William Dougall Staff Writers Irene Choi Emma Cockerell Josh Code Alia Cuadros-Contreras Joelle Dong Amira Garewal Madhumita Gupta Stephanie Lee Michelle Li Danielle Macuil Tara Madhav Alicia Mies Sophie Nakai Gabriel Sanchez Deepali Sastry Laura Sieh Michelle Tang Frances Zhuang Adviser Paul Kandell

Contact Us

VERDE MAGAZINE

@VERDEMAGAZINE Information Publication Policy Verde, a feature magazine published by the students in Palo Alto High School’s Magazine Journalism class, is a designated open forum for student expression and the discussion of issues of concern to its readership. Verde is distributed to its readers and the student body at no cost. Letters to the Editors The staff welcomes letters to the editors but reserves the right to edit all submissions for length, grammar, potential libel, invasion of privacy and obscenity. Send all letters to veics-1516@ googlegroups.com or to 50 Embarcadero Road Palo Alto, CA 94301. All Verde stories are posted online and available for commenting at verdemagazine. com Advertising The staff publishes advertisements with signed contracts providing they are not deemed by the staff inappropriate for the magazine’s audience. For more information about advertising with Verde, please contact the Verde business managers Emma Goldsmith and Natalie Maemura through our adviser at 650-329-3837 for more information. Printing & Distribution Verde is printed five times a year in October, November, February, April and May, by Folger Graphics in Hayward, Calif. The Paly PTSA mails Verde to every student’s home. All Verde work is available at verdemagazine.com

— Anna, Bethany, Esmé & James 3


Verde

April 2016 Volume 17 Issue 4

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Culture 17 18 22 24 25 26 27 29 30

Pulgas Water Temple Bistro Maxine Kanye West Fact-Checking Trump The Best Local Nail Salons Picknicking in Palo Alto Drive-In Movie Theaters Eating at Facebook Graffiti

Features 32 34 37 41 45

Statistical Fallacies in the News Evolution of California Avenue Women in Politics Housing Covenants Human Trafficking

Profiles 48 51 54 55 58 60

Perspectives 63 64 65 66 68 69 70

Sterotype Threat Second Semester Slump Sarcasm Model Minority Anger is Useful Award Shows The Rossner Report

Michael Najar Terrible Adult Chamber Orchestra Ron Bowditch Coin Collectors Advanced Authentic Research Park Rangers

On the cover Carved into a monolith in South Dakota, Mount Rushmore features the chiseled faces of four iconic American presidents. However, the tides are turning, and after 44 male presidents, the possibility of a female president is closer than ever. The cover displays the faces of Hillary Clinton, Kamala Harris, Zoe Lofgren and Mimi Walters, individual successes of the ongoing initiative to elect more women to political office. In the cover story, “A New Dawn for Women in Politics,� staff writers Anna Nakai and Elana Rebitzer delve into the network of organizations that are fundraising to support female candidates. Art by Karina Chan. 4


Editor’s Picks

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COMING OF AGE MOVIES

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HUMAN TRAFFICKING

They can be cheesy, but they can also be good

Sexual slavery in the Bay Area

TERRIBLE ADULT ORCHESTRA These lifelong musicians aren’t terrible like the title suggests

DRIVE IN MOVIE THEATRES

A Friday night pastime straight out of Grease

MICHAEL NAJAR

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COIN COLLECTORS

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MODEL MINORITY

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Diving into a choir teacher’s life story

Behind the coins and stamps of Treasure Island

How American society labels Asians based on convenience

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EDITORIALS AP CLASSES NEED TO FOCUS LESS ON TEST PREPARATION Year after year, education reform continues to grow and spur conversation in the Palo Alto community. From the advent of Common Core education standards to the implementation of blended and flipped classrooms, Palo Alto High School has been at the forefront of change. Yet, while our district continues to innovate and revitalize education through project-based learning and mixed courses, the nature of some Advanced Placement courses at Paly and other high schools is a semi-ancient practice that needs a reexamination. Paly offers an array of advanced academic opportunities, one of the most ubiquitous offerings being the 19 AP courses. AP courses offer “college level curricula and examinations to high school students” throughout the United States, enabling students to receive college credit for a passing score on the subject exam distributed in May. Unfortunately, AP courses often overemphasize the exam. While we value the accelerated level provided by AP courses, we believe that teachers should place less of an emphasis on scoring well on the AP test itself, and rather emphasize learning the content for comprehension, long-term retention, and development of critical thinking skills. Extensively learning how to take the test isn’t teaching students how to solve problems and think on our feet, but rather has the opposite effect. Additionally, the importance placed on the test gives the teaching calendar a rigid structure that dictates class time, culminating in the AP Exam. Classes that repeatedly practice specifically for the test place the focus on performance rather than learning. The principle goal of a class should not be to pack material in for a test that will be over by mid-May, but rather to teach material for long term retention and the skills to continue learning. Our education should not stop after the AP exam. Furthermore, AP classes should avoid angling class curriculum toward the test because the test itself bears little ef6

Art by Karina Chan fect on students’ futures. Some colleges tial to help students pursuing a subject of have also decided to no longer offer col- interest by teaching both advanced matelege credit for AP courses, citing a desire rial and critical thinking skills. An emphafor students to take sis away from conmore classes with fac- focusing on learning tent is a step in the ulty. Two years ago, wrong direction. Dartmouth College material primarily for Having coursannounced it would the sake of taking the es that build up to no longer award and culminate in credit for AP stating AP test is detrimental to one final exam is a it “wanted students comprehension and re- backward concept to take courses with in this age of eduits faculty on campus tention of content as a cation reform. The to the greatest extent whole. original intention possible.” Brown of an AP class, to University only offers offer advanced inAP credit for six out of the 37 AP exams. struction for students motivated in a parWhile a “3” is deemed a passing mark ticular subject area, is lost. Yes, the College by the College Board, schools, such as the Board has strict requirements for how an University of Colorado in Boulder, only AP course should be taught, but we beoffer credit for scores of “4” or above in lieve those requirements need modificaonly eight out of 24 subjects. tion. Our educationshould be more than However, AP classes have the poten- a number between one and five.


CALIFORNIA PRIMARY VOTE SHOULD BE IMPACTFUL Every four years, California residents hear that they essentially have no political say in the presidential election. Although California is the most heavily populated state and has the most electoral college delegates, because of the timing of its primary, California residents have 83 percent less influence than the average American, according to Learn NC, a program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education. Even though this year’s late start may prove influential in the Republican race, California should have a greater say in future primaries through an earlier primary date. Although Democratic votes may not change the election much, California’s tech industries campaign contributions have an influence in politics. Despite the fact that that may seem like a positive thing that our state’s money has sway, it’s actualy a sign of a flawed system that fails to represent Californians accurately. The party has pushed back the primary date two days to June 7 this election year. Verde echoes the Presidential Elections Reform Program’s goal to make the selection of primary dates be a random rotation for each state. It proposes the division of the country into four regions. Each region would rotate when each state’s primary would be. This allows for primaries to be randomly distributed to different states, ultimately making the primary process fairer. For the Republican party, the first candidate to 50 percent of the total 2,472 delegates receives the party nomination. Usually, the candidate is decided before the California primary, but because this year’s Republican race is closer and split among three candidates, California Republicans may end up playing a key role in determining if the GOP has a contested convention. It is vital for California Republicans to realize that their votes may be some of the most important votes in the Republican primary, and go to the ballot boxes. California Democrats will not have the same influence, as the race is split between Senator Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, meaning that one candidate will

have at least 50 percent of 4,763 delegates. Because the primary is so late, it is possible that a candidate will have reached the threshold of 2,383 before California votes, resulting in our state’s Democrats potentially not having a say in the election. Regardless of the value of a Californian’s vote in a given election year, living in the tech capital of the United States means that California residents do have a unique role in politics, namely through donations. The tech industry’s total contributions have more than tripled to a total of $60 million in the past two decades of presidential elections. This number crushes every major industry other than oil and gas, according to nonpartisan research group Center for Responsive Politics. Additionally, the top 20 tech companies, including both the corporations themselves and their employees, gave $8,140,277 to Republican

politicians and $7,952,915 to Democratic ones, according to the Daily Dot. A system in which citizens’ say revolves around how much money they have is not a democratic system. This system essentially equates the amount of money one has to their political say. Because much of the election process is influenced by the amount of money a candidate has to campaign, this system disadvantages those who cannot afford to donate. America should reform the way campaigns are financed to make the country more democratic. Individual citizens’ voices need to be allowed to contribute to our political system. Although California Republicans may have a large say in the election this year, the US needs to take action so that primary dates give everyone an equal say and so that citizens are not overshadowed by corporations’ political views.

Art by Karina Chan 7


LAUNCH ASB ANSWERS

Compiled by ESME ABLAZA

Photography and reporting by AMIRA GAREWAL

VERDE: what will field day look like this year? Will there be anything different about it that paly students should know about?

It [field day] is going to be different than it has been in past years due to a new city ordinance, we’re not allowed to rent any bouncy houses or any inflatable object, which is kind of a bummer. That being said, ASB has come up with a lot of creative solutions to still make field day the best day ever. We are going to have bungee-jumping and ring toss. We are investing a lot of money in it to ensure that it is as successful as it has been in the past. Make sure to be there, on the quad after AP testing.”

— Noga Hurwitz, sophomore Vice President

VERBATIM: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE HIDDDEN-GEM

Maru Ichi. It’s a pretty good ramen place on Castro Street.”

— freshman Juliette Rault

Tacolicious in downtown Palo Alto. It’s not on the main street, it’s off to the side. It’s not super crowded so the food comes fast and the food comes hot.”

— sophomore Kasra Orumchian


POTENTIAL PROMBLEMS

Text by FRANCES ZHUANG

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or many, prom is the social event of the year, or of high school overall. While many have suggestions, tips, or advice for prom, I am here to offer up a list of some potential prom catastrophes. Start planning early to make sure these don’t happen to you, or procrastinate and suffer your chosen fate. Let the possible horror stories begin.

1. You get turned down during a fancy public 3. Your phone runs out of battery.

asking. The common perception is that the more intricate the asking, the more public and heartfelt, the more likely that your prospective date will say yes. However, there is always the possibility of rejection, which is made especially devastating by the fact that everyone will know.

Cue the gasps and the faints - without a smartphone, how will you tweet, snap, ‘gram, and prove to your entire social circle that you’re enjoying yourself? After all, everyone knows that your life is only as vibrant as that C1 filter on your VSCO.

4. You get hit by a bus. I’m seri-

2. You get separated from your squad on the bus.

ous — if it can happen to Regina George, it can happen to anyone. Sure, she ended up going to prom (excuse me, “Spring Fling”) but that clunky black neck brace on top of her dress detracted from her aesthetic. Besides, after shelling out so much for a fancy outfit, who even has money to spend on medical bills? Long story short, it would be so much easier to avoid buses (and all vehicles). When crossing roads, look both ways. In case the unthinkable does happen, wear your helmet everywhere to make sure your hair doesn’t get messed up. Knee and elbow pads probably wouldn’t hurt, either.

While we’re on the subject of the bus to prom, be sure to predetermine seating arrangements! Nobody wants to be stuck all the way in the back while all their friends are up in the front having a grand old time, making memories and inside jokes that will last forever.

Art by KARINA CHAN

RESTAURANT?

Photography and reporting by EMMA COCKERELL

I like Oren’s Hummus Shop because their chicken skewer is good and they have amazing hummus.”

Bistro Maxine. It has very nice crêpes and the servers are really nice.”

— senior Ellinor Saltin

— junior Jennifer Zhuge

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TEACHER VS. TEACHER BATTLES

Text by LAURA SIEH

verde asked paly teachers: who would win in a fight, and why? julia Taylor vs. erin Angell Taylor: Ms. Angell. Because she’s scrappy and she’s younger than I am. Angell: Ms. Taylor, absolutely. Hands down. Because she’s crafty, and she’s salty, and she has the hairiest eyeball. But she’s an old lady and I don’t think I could bring myself to beat down an old lady.

deanna Chute vs. misha Stempel

Stempel: Well first of all, she and I would never ever ever fight. However if by some weird twisty thing we did I’m sure she would win. She’s a little firecracker. Chute: Ms. Stempel. She just would. I would take her over me in a fight any day. I don’t know why.

Photography by WILLIAM DOUGALL

WATER BLIND TASTE TEST With the rise of luxury waters in the market, one question comes to mind: Is there really difference in tastes of water? We had six Verde staffers, one Verde adviser, and George Pascual, a Paly custodian, do a blind taste test to find out. Our subjects were presented with five cups with identical-looking H2O and asked to identify their favorites, as well as least favorites. 10


Photography and reporting Textby by LAURA SIEH JOSH CODE

HOW CAN CANDIDATES BE MORE HIP? HILLARY CLINTON CHOKER AND DARK MAKEUP Nothing says, “Whatever, mom” louder than this chic bad-girl look. Winning over angsty girls in their late teens will be Clinton’s ticket to political success.

BERNIE SANDERS LEATHER JACKET Stay gold, Bernie-boy! Bernie’s best bet in terms of election-winning fashion is a throwback to his childhood in the 50s. Everyone knows American voters love a man who can really rock the John Travolta look.

DONALD TRUMP BIRKENSTOCKS These stylish leather sandals are Trump’s only chance to win over the granola-eating, Subaru-driving, outdoorsy types that would otherwise be averse to him. Patterned socks would be an added bonus, but a risk nonetheless.

Art by AISHAH MAAS and VIVIAN NYUGEN

Text by GABI ROSSNER

Hawaii ($2.75) Tj ($2.75)

/5

Fiji ($2.75)

Crystal Geyser ($2.75) Bathroom water ($2.75)


LAUNCH | DECEMBER 2015

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NEWS NEWS

| NEWS DECEMBER 2015

FINISHING TOUCHES Palo Alto High School’s Performing Arts Center approaches completion. Photo by Dani Macuil.

PAC to reach completion this month Palo Alto High School’s $29 million Performing Arts Center is expected to reach completion mid-April, but will not officially open until Gall 2016 because of the technical training needed for staff to operate new stage technician equipment. Assistant Vice Principal Jerry Berkson, responsible for overseeing construction projects, said that the construction team has been on track since the start of the construction process. Although it is not yet fully planned,

there will be an opening ceremony for the PAC next school year, according to Paly’s Visual and Performing Arts teacher Kathleen Woods. Once opened, the PAC will be home a multitude of classes including the new Comedy Literature and Performance class, which will be taught by Woods and Lucy Filppu. Woods said she hopes that the course will allow more students to use the PAC’s resources, such as the new lighting and sound system.

“It’s just going to be such a beautiful environment to present shows in,” Woods said. “The students, the technical theater students, and the acting students are going to have an opportunity to work with contemporary equipment, technology, and learn to be creative with all of those things. It just gives a very different platform for performing and for creating in a way that’s just incredibly exciting.” BY DANIELLE MACUIL 13


NEWS School board aims to align counseling systems at both district high schools The Palo Alto Unified School District school board is looking to align the counseling systems at its two high schools. The board gathered a team to look at existing counseling models for ideas to improve the counseling system at Gunn and Paly. According to Supt. Max McGee, the board’s goal is to identify a curriculum before Nov. 1 and implement the system for the 2017-2018 school year. “Gunn and Paly have [had] different models for years now,” Godfrey said. “Paly has the TA [Teacher Advisor] model, and Gunn has a more traditional model where ... one counselor sees a bunch of different students at a time.” According to Godfrey, aligning the counseling models at Gunn and Paly has also given the school board the opportunity to improve the counseling system as a whole. “The idea going forward is that principals of both Gunn and Paly are on board with reviewing both models to see if there can be improvements and ultimately the models can be closer together, and be more alike,” Godfrey said. According to Godfrey, Gunn and Paly will most likely converge to a teacher-

advisor counseling system that emphasizes and that’s difficult to institute. The reason why we were about to institute it back in conection between students and teachers. “[It] will likely mean that the Gunn 1990 ... is because we had many fewer model would be more of an advisory students back then.” As a result, the new type model,” Godfrey counseling model may take said. “They may not be several years to implement, implemented exactly the according to Lim. same way, and Paly might “To institute this make some changes to [teacher-advisor system] theirs, but the ultimate at a school instantly is goal is that we have more really difficult to get going connections between really well,” Lim said. “The students and adults and transition period from that [the] models become traditional counseling system more similar.” School Board Vice to a teacher advisor system Paly math teacher President Terry Godfrey would take three years.” Arne Lim was one of supports alligning However, the school the first teachers who Gunn’s and Paly’s board looks forward to tried out the teachercounseling systems. taking steps to improve both advisor program when Photo: PAUSD Gunn’s and Paly’s counseling it first started in the systems, regardless of logistic 1990s. He said that the biggest obstacle to expanding the system difficulties. “Ultimately, both will change in some is attracting teachers to the program who are willing to take on a large number of way,” Godfrey said. “I imagine this will be a very good opportunity to make tweaks. students. “Our system is set up to get to know our students,” Lim said. “So it does require teachers to buy into it. That’s the hard part BY STEPHANIE LEE

Palo Alto Forward aims to tackle city housing and transportation issues Palo Alto Forward, a non-profit organization, is working to address Palo Alto’s housing and transportation crisis through petitions and through attending weekly City Council meetings. “There are a lot of people who are struggling to find places to live,” Elaine Uang, co-founder of Palo Alto Forward, said. “Teachers who work for the City can’t live in Palo Alto because they can’t afford it.” Palo Alto Forward has created a petition outlining steps for improving Palo Alto housing and transportation with the goal of making the city welcoming to people of all ages, incomes and professions. The petition calls for City Council. to plan for constructing more studio 14

apartments and other affordable smaller units, build apartments and condos over ground-floor retail stores, and make it easier for homeowners to build second units on their property to accommodate multiplegeneration households and caretakers. This petition also advocates for allowing car-light and car-free housing in walkable, transit-accessible areas for residents without cars and to facilitate the development of new senior housing. “Over 1,100 people in this area have signed it [the petition], which is a really big number for a city of our size,” Eric Rosenblum, co-founder of Palo Alto Forward, said. Rosenblum aims for the petition to reach 1500 supporters. These signatures

include eight former mayors, planning commissioners and school board members. In addition to the petition, Palo Alto Forward engages with City Council during weekly Council meetings. Palo Alto Forward Steering members Steve Levy and Elaine Uang believe that the organization has created major change to the city. “When the discussion about housing and transportation started, it was all centered on tech workers,” Levy said. “It turns out that... the people who have trouble parking are shift workers... I think we brought out this issue that everyone now recognizes.” BY MICHELLE LI


NEWS NEWS NEWS Teen Arts Council to host annual film festival The Palo Alto Teen Arts Council will host its second Luminescence International Student Film Festival on April 23 at the Palo Alto Children’s Theatre. The festival will showcase selected films from 7:30 p.m. to approximately 9:30 p.m. Winning films selected from the showcase will be announced at the end of the event. The Luminescence Festival’s objective is to showcase student cinema from local communities and from across the globe. “We’ve received almost 900 submissions this year and we are very excited about the turnout,” Teen Arts Council board member and Paly junior Andrea O’Riordan said. BY TARA MADHAV LAB WORK Senior Itai Palmon purifies RNA samples at Stanford’s thoracic aortic research lab for his Science Research Project. Photo by James Wang.

SRP students to present findings Science Research Project students will present their research at 2:30 p.m. on April 28 in rooms 1709 and 1710 in the science building. SRP teacher Keith Geller is aiming for consistency with the presentations. “I’m not changing anything [about the presentations],” Geller said. Depending on the event’s attendance, Geller may move some presentations to rooms 1708 and 1701. Geller also plans on clustering related presentations in the same rooms so students can choose which presentations to watch based on what interests them. As of now, Geller is unsure of which teachers are offering extra credit for students who attend the presentations. SRP students are excited to present their findings. SRP gave senior Nikhil Rajaram the

opportunity to research at NASA’s Ames research center in Mountain View. As part of his project, Rajaram developed smoothing and cutting procedures for 3-D printed objects, which typically have rough or imperfect surfaces. “I think it’s cool to synthesize all the things I’ve worked on in the past year and present them to my peers,” Rajaram said. Junior Daniella Maydan researched the usefulness of gene editing to combat Hemophilia A at the Stanford Medical School. While Maydan feels a little nervous about presenting, she recognizes its value. “I’m looking forward to presenting because learning how to interpret your research data as well as create a presentation on it is an incredibly useful tool to have,” Maydan said. BY JOSH CODE

ASB and clubs prepare for Change in our Schools Week Palo Alto High School students, teachers and administration are preparing for Change in Our Schools Week, formerly known as Not in Our Schools Week, which will take place the week of April 18. According to Associate Student Body Vice President Anmol Nagar, the name changed to emphasize the effort to improve Paly instead of drawing attention to faults within the student body. Activities during Change in Our Schools Week will also be collaberative efforts between ASB and Paly clubs. BY IRENE CHOI 15


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NEWS | OCTOBER 2015

NEWS

BROWN Henry M. Gunn students are eagerly anticipating the repainting of their brown-colored campus. Photo by Irene Choi.

Gunn to recieve new wildflower-themed paint job By the beginning of the 20162017 school year, Henry M. Gunn High School will be repainted with the colors of wildflowers, a project that will cost an estimated $1 million. On March 22, the Palo Alto Unified School District board approved the plan to repaint Gunn to create a more energetic environment in a unanimous vote. According to school board member Melissa Caswell, disctrict funds regularly allocated to revitalizing school campuses will fund the painting project. After input from over 500 student,

parent, and staff members, as well as community engagement sessions, Architarian Design, which is in charge of the repainting design, proposed a plan that prioritized student designed murals, social space, and color coordinated buildings to make the campus easier to navigate. “A ton of the students are super excited and curious about what the school will look like after it’s painted,” said Gunn Associate Student Body President Isabelle Blanchard. “It’ll help to brighten up the campus and make everything look fresh and new.”

According to Gunn Principal Denise Herrmann, students will work together with professional painters to design and paint murals on campus. According to Caswell, the students’ role in this project will contribute to improving mental health. “Feeling like you are part of the process and your voice is heard will make a difference,” Caswell said. “Once the students are a part of these decisions they feel more empowered.”

Following the Palo Alto school board’s approval of a donation of $17 million to Addison Elementary School, school officials are moving forward with drafting construction plans for a new two-story library and administrative building, new classrooms and a new multi-purpose room. The donation, made by an anonymous donor, will aid the renovation of Palo Alto’s oldest and most densely populated school. Collaborative efforts between various advisory committees, parents and students led to plans to replace the portables. “We prioritize removing the portables, because we have a very small footprint of a campus,” said Addison Principal Amanda Boyce. “Our admin building and our library are grossly undersized, as is our MP room, so we wanted to look at communal spaces that everybody benefits from.”

The library’s new position above the main office would create more playspace for children, who currently lack outdoor learning environments, according to Boyce. The intention is to create more outdoor space while also constructing better quality classrooms with innovative furniture. While school board member Ken Dauber shares Boyce’s sentiment, he voiced concern over inequity created with the donation among Addison and the other 11 Palo Alto elementary schools. “We have a district policy that was adopted over 15 years ago that we want to maintain equity between the schools both in terms of education, like teacher to student ratios and resources, but also facilities, so that no matter where you go in the district we are providing an equally excellent education,” Dauber said. “We

had not improved MP rooms in any of the other elementary schools, which raises this question of progressive parody that’s district policy. “ With plans to construct these new spaces, administration has moved forward with the creation of focus groups and weekly advisory board meetings. Boyce and fellow staff members are also visiting elementary schools around the area that have engaged in similar renovations. According to Boyce, these efforts to create a schematic design will culminate around June. Architects will then use the schematic design to create blueprints, which are in turn submitted to the state for approval. Construction will likely start around fall of 2017.

BY AMIRA GAREWAL

Addison Elementary to replace portables with new buildings

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BY EMMA COCKERELL


PROFILES | OCTOBER 2015

A Monument to Water

Text by Emma Cockerell and Joshua Code Photography by Emma Cockerell

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF A LOCAL SHRINE

Text by EMMA COCKERELL and JOSH CODE Photography by EMMA COCKERELL

T

HE FLUTED COLUMNS in the desert, to give drink to my people,” of the Pulgas Water Temple reads the quote from the book of Isaiah. stand over a pool of blue water. Local resident Neil Leeman, 67, claims Neatly trimmed pine trees sway this infrastructural triumph has since been gently in the California breeze. At first forgotten by those who visit the temple. glance, the Pulgas Water Temple in the “I think that they [temple visitors] take hills of Redwood City is mysterious and it [the aqueduct] for granted,” says Leeman, intriguing — meadows and forest compose who says he has been a monthly visitor at the land surrounding its remote location. the temple for 25 years. Despite its isolated location, this peculiar The Pulgas Water Temple not only monument bears a unique historical represents a proud testament to the comsignificance — and presents an excellent pletion of a great feat of engineering, but background for prom photos as well. also serves as a place for the surrounding Designed by architect William Mer- community to come together. chant and constructed by stone carver AlThe temple’s serene beauty and idyllic bert Bernasconi the Pulgas Water Temple forest surroundings make it a fitting place commemorates the completion of the for weddings. Lush green grass and beauHetch Hetchy aqueduct in 1934. It is lo- tiful Roman stonework provide an ideal cated at the aqueduct’s former terminus. ambiance for all kinds of commemorative The Hetch Hetchy aqueduct is a series events. However, for informal events and of tunnels and trenches that provides the gatherings, the temple is also a wonderful Bay Area with water from the mountains place to wind down and relax. A grassy of Yosemite. At the time of the aqueduct’s sloped hillside faces the temple, making completion, though, the Hetch Hetchy was for the perfect picnic spot on a sunny afthe first reliable source of fresh water for ternoon. Bay Area citizens. The next time you feel stressed or want A Bible verse engraved on the stone to escape from the bustle of Palo Alto, STRESSED oftenand feela friend and head ring above the columns highlights the sig- bring aStudents picnic basket outside pressures from parents and nificance of this communal water system. to the Pulgas Water Temple — relaxation succeed. “I give waters in the wilderness and rivers doesn’t peers get anytobetter than that. v

ORNATE (above) Greco-Roman columns etched with intricate designs shade the temple pavilion. REGAL (below) The temple and surrounding foliage tower over a large pool.

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CULTURE | OCTOBER APRIL 20162015 PROFILES

CHEF Salvador Baltazar beams as he prepares soup in the Bistro Maxine kitchen.

Bistro Maxine |

BRINGING AUTHENTIC CREPES TO PALO ALTO Text by ALIA CUADROS-CONTRERAS and JOELLE DONG Photography by JOELLE DONG

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ALVADOR BALTAZAR BEAMS AND SLIPS A spatula beneath a crisping crepe. In one fluid motion, he flips it onto a blue plate and the scent of sauteed tomatoes wafts through the snug kitchen of Bistro Maxine at 548 Ramona St. in downtown Palo Alto. French music plays in the background. Rain patters outside as car tires splash through puddles. Inside the small storefront, Baltazar lights up the restaurant with his effervescent smile. Growing up in Mexico, Baltazar cooked for his younger brothers, but never thought he would become a chef. When he came to the U.S., he planned to work in construction but a series of fortunate events landed him behind the stove. He worked his way up to becoming a chef at Armadillo Willy’s and then landed a job as a chef at Bistro Maxine. Here, he has mastered the art of the crepe. To keep the food authentic, the restaurant’s owners send Baltazar to specialized cooking workshops where he improves his skills. Bistro Maxine was conceived 15 years ago by college friends Judy Chapman, Stephanie Wansek and George Wansek, the latter two a divorced couple. The Wanseks met at a crepe-making party in France. Their unforgettable experiences in France, and George’s childhood memories gave the bistro its focus on traditional crepes. 18

Chapman’s daughter, Maxine, was the inspiration for the restaurant’s name. Together, they successfully created Bistro Maxine with the mission to bring authentic homestyle French cuisine to Palo Alto. Today, Bistro Maxine carries the same menu as when it first opened its doors. However, change is in the air. In September, the bistro expanded into the adjacent storefront and gained a spacious dining room. Despite the expansion, Bistro Maxine maintains its homey feel with dark wooden furniture, brick walls, mosaiced flooring and photos of Paris hanging on the walls. The additional space has allowed the restaurant to expand its wine menu and venture into the world of children’s birthday parties. The bistro now offers crepe-making parties at which children can make crepes, while parents sip wine or coffee. Wansek notes how much the customers love specials, hinting that the trio may add a rotating “crepe of the day” or “crepe of the month” in the near future. For now, Bistro Maxine’s simple but delicious menu paired with the cozy ambiance leaves customers feeling more than satisfied. With outdoor seating options, one small room and the recently added extension, the restaurant is well-suited for anything from a quick meal to a large party– and especially for rainy day brunches. v


FEATURES | DECEMBER 2015

Tomate Crepe $10

Savory yet light, the crepe came paired with a salad dressed in mustard vinaigrette. The thin, fluffy crepe delicately tied together the tomato, spinach and mushroom flavors. Although occasionally over-crisped, the fresh, quality ingredients more than made up for the crepe’s lack of consistency. The balsamic reduction drew out the flavor of the tomato and tied together the spinach and mushroom, providing a tangy contrast to the earthy and salty interior. The salad balanced out the plate with a simple, and light springy taste, making the Tomate Crepe an ideal main course.

CULTURE | APRIL 2016

Butternut Squash Soup $7

With a dollop of fresh cream adorning its sunset orange surface, the butternut squash soup was creamy, delicate, fluffy and fulfilling. The soup left us content but eager for more. A perfect balance between salty and sweet, the simplicity highlighted the nutty, hearty taste of the butternut squash. This soup warmed our mouths and our hearts. It was the perfect comfort for a wet and chilly afternoon.

Pomme Canelle $8

Sprinkled with powdered sugar, the Pomme Canelle crepe bursted with cinnamon and apple flavor. The apples were sliced right in front of us and, like all the other ingredients, was incredibly fresh. The crepe was thin and chewy, contrasting perfectly with the crisp apples. The delicate hand whipped cream countered the elasticity. The whipped cream was airy with hints of Madagascar vanilla. All together, the Pomme Canelle was a light, satisfying finish to a Sunday brunch.

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CULTURE | APRIL 2016 Text by TARA MADHAV and ALICIA MIES Art by KARINA CHAN

COMING OF AGE MOVIES HEARTFELT FILMS ABOUT TEENAGE EXPERIENCES

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HE BRIEF PERIOD BETWEEN CHILDHOOD AND ADULTHOOD IS A WEIRD ONE — WE START to get pimples, are forced to think about our futures, and for some, delve into the world of dating. Great coming-of-age movies reflect this time of awkwardness and confusion with engaging relationships and characters that are worthy of rooting for. Of course, there are the iconic John Hughes movies, but what about other movies that tug at our heartstrings and force us to relate and sympathize with their confused young adults? v

Dope

“Dope,” directed by Rick Famuyiwa and released in 2015, is obnoxiously loud in color, enthralling and, dare I say it, funky fresh. ‘90s hip hop geek and straight-A student Malcolm (Shameik Moore), navigates through his senior year of high school in South Central Los Angeles, an area teeming with drug dealers and gang members, with the ultimate dream of being admitted into Harvard University. Malcolm and his two best friends, the brash Diggy (Kiersey Clemons) and the cautious Jib (Tony Revolori), soon find themselves in a complex drug scheme involving $100,000 of MDMA, or “molly,” after Malcolm does an innocent favor for drug dealer Dom (A$AP Rocky). In typical millennial fashion, they sell the drugs by using bitcoin and hacking computer systems. The R-rated plot is unrealistic, which is what makes the movie so great. Malcolm, who wears printed short-sleeve shirts, mom jeans and vintage Air Force Ones, and his two equally cool friends label themselves “nerds” and “geeks,” a term unfitting for

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three attractive and intelligent teenagers. Even more idealistic is that Malcolm wins the attention of the stylish cornrowed beauty Nakia (Zoe Kravitz) and seduces Victoria’s Secret model Chanel Iman, who plays a drugged-up rich girl named Lily. But Dope’s unrealistic nature makes it interesting. Yes, most teenagers do not sport high-top fades and get near-perfect SAT scores while dealing molly, but for two hours we sympathize with Malcolm. We want him to win. We want him to get the girl and go to his dream school. We want him to succeed because despite his seemingly cool nature, he doesn’t know what he is doing and yet he still tries hard. The message in “Dope” is unclear: Is it encouraging audiences to be individualistic and different like Malcolm? Or is its message that young adults should strive for their dreams, much like Malcolm did through drug dealing? Nonetheless, Malcolm is a character worth rooting for because of his tenacity, sensitivity and determination.


The way way back

Life is about growing up and facing the tough realities of the world, as Duncan (Liam James), an awkward 14 year old, discovers. PG-13 rated “The Way Way Back,” released in 2013, takes place in a beach town, where Duncan spends the summer enjoying the sun with his mom Pam (Toni Collette) and her boyfriend Trent (Steve Carell). Reserved and uncomfortable, Duncan suffers from Trent’s terrible treatment — at the beginning of the movie, Trent asks Duncan to rate himself out of 10 and promptly calls Duncan a three. It is a poignant coming-of-age film that expertly navigates growing up, escaping a toxic home environment and

CULTURE | APRIL 2016

finding people who really love you. As Duncan finds a place to escape Trent and his well-meaning yet indifferent mom by stumbling upon a job at the local water park, he grows as a person in unexpected ways. Through his experience working with a ragtag group of employees, Duncan becomes more confident and finds true happiness. The only downside to this film is some of the tropes it falls into — for example, Duncan predictably ventures into a relationship with the next door neighbor’s daughter. Nonetheless, the stellar acting and emotional appeal easily mask those aforementioned faults. “The Way Way Back” is a warm and endearing charmer.

Bend it like Beckham “Bend It Like Beckham,” released in 2002, has a simple premise: Jess Bhamra, a Sikh-British girl living in a London suburbs with her traditional Indian family, just wants to play European football with a local team. The downside? Jess’s parents are strictly against her playing football because she’s a girl. She, therefore, has to follow her dream secretly, all while navigating her sister’s wedding; her relationships with teammate Jules and coach Joe; her identity as both Indian and British; and her elusive future. The PG-13 rated movie escapes the tropes expected of a coming-of-age movie by infusing smart dialogue, quality acting and a dose of humor into the plotline. These components come together to create a movie that addresses issues such as love,

SAY Anything Lloyd Dobler’s (John Cusack) confident stance whilst holding a boombox playing Peter Gabriel’s song “In Your Eyes” high above his head isn’t the only heartwrenching moment that Cameron Crowe’s 1989 “Say Anything” offers. In this classic PG-13 rated 80s movie, Lloyd, an aspiring kickboxer and recently graduated high school student, falls for sheltered valedictorian Diane Court (Ione Skye). Despite warnings from his friends and her father’s

disapproval of Lloyd’s underachieving nature, Lloyd and Diane predictably have a romantic summer together. Throughout the movie, Skye unconvincingly plays the archetype of smart girl corrupted by sweet bad boy, but Cusack really steals the show. Lloyd Dobler is a sensitive and determined weirdo — in other words, he is real. The plot is foreseeable, but Lloyd and Diane’s old-school romance reminds us of the awkwardness of first loves and young passion.

sports and family in a way that is refreshingly earnest and enjoyable. The movie avoids being a typical “rebellious-teen-escaping-strict-parents” story by the way producer Gurinder Chadha portrays Jess’s family. The narrative is one of parents who are genuinely afraid for their daughter in a world that mistreats people of color. In one scene, Jess’s father describes how he was blocked from joining a cricket team in his youth because he was Indian and how he does not want Jess to feel the same pain. “Bend It Like Beckham” is a quality coming-of-age movie — as Jess plays football, she finds her own place in the world and learns the always-applicable lesson that life is hard, but ripe with wonderful opportunities. “Bend It Like Beckham” isn’t super original, but it is very authentic.


THE LIFE OF KANYE THE LIFE OF KANYE THE LIFE OF KANYE RAPPER’S ALBUM MASTERFULLY REFLECTS CHAOS

Text by ALICIA MIES Art by KARINA CHAN

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T’S QUIET AND THEN A LITTLE BOY STARTS to preach: “We don’t want no devils in the house, God/ We want the lord/ And that’s it.” His passionate sermon becomes a backdrop when another youthful voice hums and sings a riff. It’s pure gospel, fragile and almost sacred, until Kanye West’s deep voice interrupts this peace with a sing-rap combination. He raps about his love and faith to God, establishing parallels between “The Life of Pablo,” the name of his newly released album, and the life of Saint Paul the Apostle, a man blinded by a light from heaven as he was journeying to Damascus to persecute Christians. West’s vulnerability and seemingly sensitive attitude in his first track, “Ultralight Beam,” contrasts the arrogancy that West is known to symbolize. In this track, he begs us to “Pray for

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Paris/pray for the parents,” a sentiment that certainly clashes with his countless inflammatory remarks. Despite having received raving reviews characterizing his music as “ground-breaking” and a Grammy for his debut album “The College Dropout,” West has dominated the public spotlight because of more than just his rap: he’s not afraid to speak his mind and he’s not afraid to make headlines while doing so. In 2005, alongside a petrified Mike Myers, West proclaimed that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people,” during NBC’s concert for hurricane relief in honor of the victims of Hurricane Katrina. In 2006, he posed on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine as a bloody Jesus Christ. Last year, he announced his run for the 2020 presidential elections. His most infamous moment was during the 2009 MTV


CULTURE | APRIL 2016

Video Music Awards when he called out Taylor Swift for her “Oh, Lord.” Its blatant religious undertones, matched with a Best Music Video win. As an avid Swiftie, I was appalled. How booming organ, suggest that it is a prayer for peace, both in dare he mess with America’s country sweetheart? But I soon West’s mind and the world. The best parts of this track doesn’t discovered his first few albums, “808s & Heartbreak and Gradu- include West. In terms of rap, he is overshadowed by new ation,” and I was transformed into a rap-loving 10-year-old. I comer Chance the Rapper, The-Dream, Kelly Price and gospel didn’t understand his lyrics, but his voice was melodic, yet tart musician Kirk Franklin. Nevertheless, it is clear that “Ultralight and strident. Beam” is a West creation. Similarly, “Low Lights” is gospelI became accustomed to his frequent tirades and almost inspired and euphoric. These two tracks are among the best in found them endearing. Where else in the world could a black West’s new album simply because they transport the listener to man rave about his accomplishments and proclaim himself a sweltering hot afternoon in the heart of Georgia in a black “the best?” West represented a sort of self-love that no one other church. than an egotistical maniac like himself could profess. West’s big “hit” of the album seems to come in the form Fast forward six years and West is generally regarded as of “Famous.” It matches the chaos of the album, but doesn’t arrogant, insane and dismissive. Public opinion about him is deliver. Matched with Rihanna’s voice singing Nina Simone’s mostly negative, which has generally reached Palo Alto as well. “Do What You Gotta Do” and inflammatory lyrics about his Louie Marzano, a Palo Alto High School junior is espe- role in making Taylor Swift famous, the track will give you cially upset about West’s new album. whiplash. One second you are immersed He is a former Kanye West fan who in West’s provocative lyrics and the next stopped liking West after what Mar- He [kanye west] is the tortured you are taken into a soft, broken voice zano described as West’s decline in admitting his problems with fame. artist that this generation artistry. Lyrics like “Name me one genius “I used to be a huge fan, but I just likes to criticize. who ain’t crazy” on “Feedback” and “I’m felt this new album was not what I rea deadbeat cousin, I hate family reunions” member Kanye West to be,” Marzano on “Real Friends” show his discomfort says. “I’ve tried to listen to the whole thing, but with some of with himself. To him, he is brilliant — a modern virtuoso — but the songs, I just cannot make it all the way through.” he’s isolated from reality and his family. Although criticized by many, West’s new album, “The Life His him-against-world attitude appears everywhere in his of Pablo,” suggests more than his usual self-aggrandizing na- album. In “FML”, West professes his love for his wife Kim Karture. He also shows vulnerability and care about his family, his dashian rapping, “They don’t want to see me love you.” work and his image. A whole lot of care. One of the most memorable tracks is “I Love Kanye,” in Kanye West is arrogant, insecure and dismissive, but also which he admits that “I miss the old Kanye, straight from the caring and so much more — he is a walking contradiction and ‘Go Kanye. I hate the new Kanye, the bad mood Kanye/The frankly an emotional mess. But “The Life of Pablo” reflects that always rude Kanye, spaz in the news Kanye.” On the surface, mess artfully. Like all great rappers, West reflects his feelings these lyrics reflect an insecurity and self-doubt not synonymous into his work. West is strange, which is exactly why “The Life with the “Kanye” brand. But instead, the track is essentially a of Pablo” is strange. middle finger to his old fans. The track is an arrogant claim: I The album lacks any semblance of order or central theme. am better than I was before. It’s a stylistic disarray of gospel, trap music and autotuned oldIn “The Life of Pablo,” West is an egotistical maniac who school West rap — essentially a condensed version of West’s is still grappling with fame after 12 years in the spotlight. But discography. in that sense, he is refreshing. He is the tortured artist that this “Ultralight Beam” makes you clutch your chest and shout generation likes to criticize. v

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CULTURE | APRIL 2016

Fact-Checking Trump EVALUATING DONALD TRUMP’S TRUTHFULNESS Text by IRENE CHOI Art by KARINA CHAN

Planned Parenthood In an interview with Fox News, Trump said he didn’t support the organization because of a documentary Web series released by the Center for Medical Progress, which showed Planned Parenthood employees discussing the sale of fetal body parts.

Immigration

Soon after announcing he was running for president on June 16, 2015, Trump remarked, “Public reports routinely state great amounts of crime are being committed by illegal immigrants. This must be stopped, and it must be stopped now.” As a result, NBC revoked any affiliations with Trump.

Climate Change

In an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Trump said he believes Obama wasted his time and “[made] a fool of himself ” for putting so much effort on climate change because the global temperature increases and decreases “in waves.”

Waterboarding

During the New Hampshire primary debate in February, Trump declared that the U.S. should reinstate waterboarding in interrogation to fight terrorists more effectively. 24

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CROLLING DOWN MY INSTAGRAM AND Facebook feed, I am bombarded by photos, memes and video clips of him. Every Time Magazine issue delivered to my house has a full-page photo of his disgruntled face plastered on a glossy page. As I sit in class, I hear people mutter his name as they gab about politics. Who is this striking man, you ask? Donald Trump. For months, Trump has been hot on the political and social monitor — from his outrageous quotes to his highly circulated memes — Trump’s persona has only grown since he first announced he was running for president. As the leading Republican presidential primary candidate, it becomes more important to know his stance on political issues and whether or not he’s being truthful. Shockingly, Politifact found that of 107 checked facts, Trump lied about 40 percent of the time. It’s time to decide: Is Donald Trump a truth teller or a liar, liar, pants on fire? v

Verdict: A pivate research firm called Fusion GPS investigated the videos and found no evidence proving the the photos and video clips used in some of the videos were actually taken at Planned Parenthood clinics. Trump didn’t lie, but he referred to unreliable evidence.

Verdict: The 2010 American Community Survey, which is overseen by the U.S. Census Bureau, revealed that the incarceration rates among young, uneducated and unauthorized Salvadoran, Mexican, and Guatemalan men had an average of 2.07 percent, while young, uneducated, American men had an incarceration rate of 10.7 percent.

Verdict: NASA reviewed multiple peer-reviewed scientific journals written by climate scientists and found that 97 percent of them agreed that the current warming trend has been abnormally high and likely human-induced.

Verdict: In 2006, the Intelligence Science Board, which advises the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, announced that there’s no evidence proving that torture gives dependable results.


Nailed It

CULTURE | APRIL 2016 Text and Photography by EMILIE MA

LOCAL SALONS PROVIDE QUALITY MANICURES

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EOPLE START PREPARING FOR PROM AS EARLY AS JANUARY. PROM-GOERS NEED TO FIND OUT what they’re going to wear, who they’re going to go with, whose house they are going to take photos at — the list is never ending. One commonly overlooked task, however, is where people will be getting their nails done. With so many nail salon options, I helped tackle the challenge of finding the best one by visiting three salons in and around Palo Alto. Here’s what I found. v

ClassySalon

2685 Middlefield Rd, Palo Alto, CA 94306

OPEN This midtown salon is easily recognized.

The most popular nail salon among Palo Alto High School students, Classy Salon offers a Manicure Express Plus option consisting of a cuticle trimming, a paraffin mask and polish for $18. While the experience was pleasant and my manicurist was very friendly, the manicure soon went downhill when I noticed that my nails had little pieces of fuzz sticking out of the polish, as well as little air bubbles from the topcoat.

Avalon Nails 458 Cambridge Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306

Avalon Nails does a decent job for a low price. Located in the middle of Cambridge Avenue, the small salon is easy to miss. The employees are welcoming, and the basic manicure option offers a hand and arm massage in addition to the nail polish for $15. While the polish was applied evenly, there was some nail polish left over on the skin around my nails. Overall, the experience was relaxing and enjoyable.

PAMPER Paly senior Noémie Von Kaenel gets a pedicure.

New Generation Nails 724 Willow Rd, Menlo Park, CA 94025

BUSY New Generation Nails is packed with customers.

A little farther than Classy or Avalon, New Generation Nails is one of many shops in a small strip mall in Menlo Park. It’s run down, and small, but the end product I received was by far the best one yet for a reasonable price. The mani and pedi combo, which cost only $30 for both, includes a mint scrub, leg and foot massage and nail polish application. The only downside was that I had to wait around 30 minutes for a manicurist to finally begin doing my nails, but it was understandable because there was a long line. 25


CULTURE | APRIL 2016 Text by STEPHANIE LEE Photography by WILLIAM DOUGALL

PICNICKING IN PALO ALTO

THE TOP THREE PICNIC SPOTS IN OUR TOWN

BORONDA LAKE is a scenic resting stop for hikers nestled in Foothills Park.

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ONGER DAYS, WARMER NIGHTS AND A tinge of fresh leaves and roses in the breeze are signs of spring approaching. The change in the air says that perhaps it’s time to put away your homework and break out a blanket and some food for a picnic. So lace up your sneakers for an adventure! Foothills, Stanford and our neighborhood parks offer the best spots in Palo Alto to have a picnic to celebrate the welcome shift in weather. v

Boronda Lake Nestled in the middle of Foothills Park, this gem, exclusive to Palo Alto residents, can be the host of outings for fishing, boating and hiking. Ducks, geese and other animals populate the area. Three docks — one for fishing, the other two for docking canoes — and a series of wooden platforms are prime locations to spread a picnic blanket and eat after a long hike. Behind the lake is a small, secluded picnic area­— perfect for taking in the surroundings. Some trails, like Woodrat and Chamise, pass the lake, so if a scenic rest is needed, the lake is the place to stop off.

Peers Park Most of us are still little kids at heart, and there is no better place to channel that youthful spirit than a park. Peers Park is located in the quiet Southgate neighborhood half a mile away from Palto Alto High School, and despite the occasional blare of a passing Caltrain, it has a quaint environment perfect for winding down and relaxing. The park has large, spacious fields, big enough for a game of frisbee or soccer with friends. If there is no soccer game happening, the grassy expanse serves as an ideal spot for a picnic. There are two playgrounds in the park, and as long as you are respectful towards small children and their parents, you can have fun jumping around the structures.

Lake Lagunita “Lagunita” means “small lake” in Spanish, but ironically, the lake is nothing but a big hole on top of a hill, nestled on top of a dirt hill in Stanford University. The perimeter acts as a wide running trail. Opposite to the parking lot is a serene field ideal for spreading a picnic blanket and taking Instagram-worthy pictures. There are picnic tables, so there’s no need to stress if you forget a blanket. Usually, when it hasn’t rained for a while, the middle of the lake becomes a dry pit, where you can bring your dog and fly kites. (Drones are prohibited). There are multiple places to park (next to the lake, at the parking lot at the bottom of the hill or in the street), and it is a pleasant 1.5 mile run there from Paly.

PEERS PARK is a cozy neighborhood park located half a mile away from Paly. 26


| DECEMBER | APRIL2015 FEATURES CULTURE 2016

Drive-In

Movie Theaters A VINTAGE AND DISTINCTLY AMERICAN FORM OF ENTERTAINMENT MEETS THE MODERN ERA Text by NATALIE MAEMURA and LAURA SIEH Photography by LAURA SIEH

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HE DRIVE-IN MOVIE THEATER MADE ITS debut in the early 20th century, at the time when cars were becoming ubiquitous in the nation. Theaters like the San Jose drive-in theater of the West Wind Drive-In chain are now viewed as relics of the past. A vintage American tradition, drive-in theaters allow patrons to view movies from the comfort of their own cars, with individual speakers that hung outside of their cars. The drive-in peaked in popularity during the 1950s. Because of the privacy provided by staying in one’s own car, drive-ins became known as “passion pits,” ideal for teens going on intimate dates. Yet, with the introduction of color TVs and VCRs, the Carof(duh!) popularity drive-in theaters has declined.

What to Bring:

Tune-in radio (if you want to avoid running the car battery) Money for tickets and food Blanket for snuggling up

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CULTURE | APRIL 2016 Over the past two decades, drive-in aficionados in the United States revived the drive-in, implementing modern technology to maximize the experience for the casual hipster. The West Wind Capitol Drive-In theater in San Jose features modern digital projection of video onto a massive screen and provides audio through an FM radio signal. Each row of parking spots is raked to tilt cars toward the projection. Although the theater takes a lot of time to get to, the experience is worthwhile, and ideal for a casual hangout with friends. v

DRIVE-IN AND CHILL We sit relaxed in our seats as the movie plays on the screen.

Pros

Cons

CHEAP TICKETS Tickets are $7.95, and the movies are new releases. Double features are available for the price of one.

FOG The car quickly became stuffy and the windshield fogged up, resembling the window of the car sex scene in “The Titanic.”

COMMENTARY You can yell in the car and shout any snarky commentary you’d like, because other people can’t hear you.You’ll only piss off your companions.

CALTRAIN Opening the windows in an attempt to alleviate the fog problem exposed us to the sound of the blaring horns of passing trains from the adjacent Caltrain tracks, so there was no perfect solution to our woes.

PHONES Feel free to use your phone, because you’re too far from other people to bother them. However, keep your headlights off to avoid shining at someone else’s car. GOOD SEATS Parking spaces are available even if you’re late to the movie, whereas at Century Cinema 16, you have to order tickets ahead for good seats.

QUALITY We weren’t able to fully experience the audio/video quality of a regular theater because the size of the screen and the fact that the sound was broadcast over the radio. TWO IS COMPANY It’s hard to see the screen from the backseat of the car, so only bring one guest.

What to Bring □□ Car (duh!) □□ Portable radio (if you want to avoid running the car battery and losing gas) □□ Money for tickets and snacks □□ Blanket for snuggling up

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Corporate Cafeteria Text by MICHELLE LI and DEEPALI SASTRY Photography by WILLIAM DOUGALL

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OW A HOUSEHOLD NAME and known its iconic thumbs up, Facebook has become a colossal success with people all over the world for its ability to maintain digital connections. To take a closer look at its food, an aspect that transforms the company from a workspace to a second home, we visited the 57-acre Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park. With over 200 people on the culinary team, Facebook offers diversified food options to cater to its 13,000 employees. Free food is just one of the perks that Facebook employees enjoy throughout the day. Amidst the computer screens lined with code is the hip and modern Café Full Circle where we were immediately surrounded by a decorative wall studded with colored bowls, plates and utensils along with a wide variety of buffet stations. Every day, the chefs of Full Circle create a new menu that reflects a different theme. On Justin Bieber’s 22nd birthday, the dishes were creatively named after the pop singer’s biggest hits. After grabbing our food in a buffet line that buzzed with chattering employees, we walked into the cafeteria’s large dining area that was filled with open seating in simple chairs and large, rectangular tables. Outside, employees have access to a rooftop garden with various plants scattered near skylights and benches. There, they munched on their meals in peace and basked in the sun with a view of the green and blue of the baylands. Just as we expected, Facebook’s overall eating experience was intriguing and entertaining. v

LUNCH Facebook chef George Powell stirs the macaroni and cheese entree to food the hungry employees.

BIEBER FARE Facebook served a Justin Bieber themed lunch complete with steak sliders, pasta, quinoa and a soft taco.

Never Say Never Steak Sliders With Gouda As the Facebook chefs pointed out, you can’t go wrong with a side of burgers in any meal. Soft Hawaiian buns encompassed the thin medium rare slices of steak, marked with flecks of pink meat while melted gouda smeared on the bread added a creamy, sharp flavor to the sliders.

Kiss ‘n Tell Tacos These tacos were a twist on the classic Mexican dish of soft tacos. A thin tortilla with faint smears of flour cradled a bed of lettuce, pico de gallo salsa and a fried mozzarella stick. However, once the mozzarella stick was consumed, we were left with a dry tortilla and a messy mix of tomatoes and greens.

Love Me Vegan Macaroni and Cheese This familiar dish was completely homemade with soft macaroni pasta coated with a creamy sauce, which sadly had no semblance of flavor.

Quinoa Beauty and the Barley Beat The quinoa was infused with spices. Its grainy mix complemented the macaroni. However, it added no taste to the meal. 29


CULTURE | APRIL 2016 Text by GABRIEL SANCHEZ and LAURA SIEH Photography by LAURA SIEH

SPRAYPAiNT STORIES

STUDENTS COMBINE ARTISTRY WITH REBELLION

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S THE LATE AFTERnoon sun shines down on the skate bowl at Greer Park, the smell of grass lingers in the air and the sound of children playing sports fills the background. At first glance, it’s just a skate park splattered with graffiti, but the bowl tells a much deeper story. It has become a canvas for local graffiti artists: a venue for self-expression featuring a plethora of individual styles. One such artist is Palo Alto High School senior Jason, whose name, like all others in this story, has been changed to protect his identity. Although Jason doesn’t do graffiti very often, he is part of the small subculture at Paly that is involved in graffiti. According to Gregory, a Paly junior, the subculture of graffiti at Palo Alto is relatively small. He figures there is maybe one other person at Paly who is serious about graffiti, and 10 others, like Jason, who do graffiti once in a while. Gregory’s passion for graffiti is indicative of a larger culture within the Bay Area, 30

which holds events for artists to come together and legally paint walls designated for graffiti. At these events, artists are able to meet new people and sign one another’s black books, which are sketch books used to plan preliminary designs for their works. “The thing I like about graffiti is it doesn’t really matter who you are or where you come from, just what you do,” he says. However, the graffiti scene in Palo Alto is restricted by the city’s quick response to cover up the defacement. “Graffiti is a pretty random thing in Palo Alto,” says Detective Ben Lee of the Palo Alto Police Department in an email. Most graffiti in Palo Alto is hidden from sight of the ever watchful eyes of city employees. “There are a lot of secret places that you can find, like tunnels and creeks and abandoned stuff,” Gregory says. “You’ll see the same people throughout the whole thing [area]. There are some people that are not graffiti artists but like to seek out those places and find those specific artist’s [works].” Lee also believes in the benefits that graffiti art can provide.

“Graffiti can absolutely have a positive value,” Lee says. “But having said that, it must be done at the right places with the right message being sent.” Despite graffiti’s positive attributes, cleaning it up has a financial impact on the city. “It takes many man-hours to clean up the graffiti around our city,” Lee says. Gregory is aware of this aspect of graffiti and tries to be mindful when choosing his location. “I don’t like it when people pay money to cover it up,” he says. “I wouldn’t do it on something that would obviously be painted over.” If graffiti artists like Gregory or Jason are caught, they face punishment depending on the amount of damage, according to Lee. Legal consequences range from probation and mandatory community service in graffiti cleanup to fines up to $50,000, according to California Penal Code 594. “It makes it more fun and kind of mysterious,” Gregory says of the legal risks. The danger is part of the appeal for many and is part of what contributes to the unique graffiti culture. v


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FEATURES | APRIL 2016

partial impartiality HOW MISLEADING DATA GROWS AND SPREADS

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T WAS NOT SO LONG AGO Text by KAI GALLAGHER and ROY ZAWADZKI that a publication’s reputation was Art by VIVIAN NGUYEN its livelihood. Bastions of journalism like the BBC, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times thrived on hard-earned trust thanks to their constant dedication to the facts. But as journalism has grown faster, so too has the readers’ penchant for a sense of impulsiveness in their news. The instantaneous connection between writer and reader has led to the rise of the viral headline — bitesized caricatures of actual events, meant to be read and shared as quickly as possible. Even for the dedicated newsreader, impartiality is quickly becoming a commodity of the past. And the vast increase of information in the last five years has given rise to more and more statistics that may be true on paper but only tenuously hold up in practice. A large proportion of these readers are teens who, through social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, are exposed to hundreds of statistics a day from sources like Buzzfeed and The Wall Street Journal. And with this mass consumption of media lies the high risk of reading false statistics without even knowing it. “If you’ve never had any sort of background on what data analysis looks like, it’s “I tell my students: the computer can with 16 volunteers to test the effects of a hard to expect to be able to interpret things compute statistics for you, but it doesn’t diet with and without chocolate, and found meaningfully and see the flaws that are make the decisions about how to interpret a statistically significant weight loss in the present,” says Scott Friedland, a Palo Alto the results,” Lapidus says. “But synthesiz- chocolate group. But the experiment was High School AP Statistics teacher. ing information you purposely flawed to create results. Due to This statistical ilhear in the media and the small sample size, Bohannon could rest literacy poses many applying it to your own assured before the experiment started that problems to teens and life — that is your job.” he would find some sort of trend, and the the computer can comadults alike. According A 2008 study by rest was as easy as sending it to the presses. to Oregon Health and pute statistics for you, John Bohannon, a sci“We needed to get our study published Science University Bio- but it doesn’t make decience writer based out pronto, but since it was such bad science, statistics Professor Jodi of Harvard University, we needed to skip peer review altogether,” Lapidus, it is important sions” revealed the pitfalls of Bohannon says. “Conveniently, there are to be able to interpret —­Jodi Lapidus the media misquoting lists of fake journal publishers. Since time statistics before making statistics and found that was tight, I simultaneously submitted our decisions based off of many academic journal paper ‘Chocolate with high cocoa content them, especially major ones like voting and publishers were not even trying to be truth- as a weight-loss accelerator’ to 20 journals. lifestyle changes. ful. Bohannon conducted an experiment Then we crossed our fingers and waited.”

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FEATURES | APRIL 2016

COMMON STATISTICAL FALLACIES Correlation does not Imply Causation “Ice Cream Consumption Causes Drownings” Drownings

Fortunately, there are a few steps one And sure enough, getting the results published was as easy as paying a fee. can take to avoid being misled by statistics. Through a simple exchange of money, fake The first, according to Du Mond, is to iniscience became real — and the media ate it tially doubt every statistic one comes across and let the research prove itself to be true up, presenting to the public as fact. But the most shocking part here is not beyond reasonable doubt. “I think it is important to be skeptiso much the ease at which Bohannon was able to publish his results; paying for pub- cal and engage in a discussion with your licity is not exactly a new concept. More friends or the person who is quoting it surprising is the complete lack of respon- whether it [the statistic] is meaningful or sibility demonstrated by these publications not,” Du Mond says. By taking a moment to ponder what after they reported the faulty information, despite the exposé published by Bohannon the statistic is really saying, even when a few weeks following the initial wave of emotion-invoking statistics are introduced into the picture, a reader can overcome the publications. “Try to find a single retraction or apol- surprising nature of the number by seizing ogy from any of the magazines or newspa- control of rational thought. “A lot of people will try to quote a pers that covered my chocolate study credulously — I only know of one!” Bohannon statistic and to try to engage you emotionsays. “If bad journalism were named and ally, and there are plenty of things to be shamed more routinely, maybe that would outraged about,” Du Mond says. “But you have resources like Google to check them. help.” This problem is only compounded by So not checking before you retweet or repost is just irresponthe innumerable pathsible.” ways that the Internet Tracing the origin has opened up for false of a statistic is impornews to spread. The IF BAD JOURNALISM WERE tant because it can help ever-present “share” a reader detect sources button can make any NAMED AND SHAMED MORE of possible bias. When reader a vector for the ROUTINELY, MAYBE THAT doing research, a reader transmission of misinWOULD HELP” should look for who formation. —JOHN BOHANNON the data is coming from Statistical illiteracy is present on both sides and how they collected of the media: reporters the data. have realized that a fake story pulls in just “Advocacy organizations, such as as many views as a real one, and readers PETA or NARAL or the NRA, have an are not equipped with the tools to tell the interest in presenting information that supdifference. ports their viewpoints,” says Jocelyn Dong, Because of how easy it is to share Editor-in-Chief of the Palo Alto Weekly. media on the Internet, a piece of false “Statistics promoted by those organizainformation can be spread through social tions might not have been derived from an media exponentially, misleading thousands unbiased methodology.” around the world before anyone can rebut In many ways, this inability or laziness it with evidence proving otherwise. This to fact check exhibited both by the public can lead to a situation where people will and journalists has continued to perpetuate believe a statistic because it has been so statistical fallacies in the media. In an age widely shared and, therefore, continue to where technology has allowed us to access share it. This case is known as argumentum large amounts of accurate information and ad populum or “appeal to the people.” data at our fingertips, we have no excuse “The problem today is how quickly for this ignorance. things can get distributed,” says Charles “Take an extra 10 minutes and plug it Du Mond, Vice President of Biometrics into your search engine and look and see if at Relypsa Inc., a Redwood City based there is really truth,” Du Mond says. “Evbiopharmaceutical company. “If you post erything that has ever been done is in your something that is wrong, it gets immedi- reach in 10 minutes or less. You can use ately spread to people on your friends list.” data to your advantage.” v

Ice Cream Consumption

Both activities increase during the summer so they are correlated, but they do not cause each other.

Truncating Axes “Phone Company to Raise Prices” $105

$100 Before

After

The scaling of the graph is designed to look like the phone company is rasing prices to be significantly more expensive.

Loaded Questions “Should Americans buy imported Automobiles that take away American jobs?” This survey question uses manipulative language to illicit a certain response. In this case, the writer inserts his or her opinion into the question.

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1986

FEATURES | APRIL 2016

IS THE

CALIFORNIA (AVE.) DREAM DYING?

HOW RECENT CONSTRUCTION HAS AFFECTED BUSINESSES Text by DEEPALI SASTRY and FRANCES ZHUANG Photography by WILLIAM DOUGALL

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N THE CENTER OF PALO ford graduate student. “I like that they Alto lies California Avenue, a street have a lot more bike racks now. I like the that has become home to many new sidewalks ... and I also like that the small businesses striving to make walkway[s] ... are much more obvious now.” a name for themselves despite the As a result of the project, several busicity’s competitive economy. In past years, nesses on California Avenue note that their California Avenue has seen multiple phases businesses seem to attract a broad customof renovations to keep the street modern er demographic, but a lack of parking has to match the advancements of the rest of turned out to be a major drawback. Silicon Valley. While business seems to be Some businesses, like upscale fashion booming for the newer, larger stores, some boutique Leaf and Petal, have experienced of the older, smaller ones are being uproot- growth as a result of the upgrades. ed as a result of the in“The feeling is a cessant changes. little more upscale,” Until recently, says sales manager California Avenue was Catherine Costa. “We a four-lane street with I want to support accent feel like it draws people relatively narrow side- arts because it’s impor- in. The only issue ... is walks, in desperate of course ... tant to me. it’s important parking, need of an upgrade. In the evenings, people In May 2015, the City to the community.” are hanging out, going of Palo Alto’s Califorto dinner ... I think it’s nia Avenue Streetscape — marcia koford, [the renovated street] Project reached compulling more people Accent arts Patron in.” pletion, giving the area wider sidewalks, a twoCosta says she belane street, new landlieves that businesses scaping and furniture and safety measures thrive in an environment like California for pedestrians and bicyclists, according Avenue thanks to economic factors. to City Council project manager Shahla “If you have a great place and people Yazdy. According to Yazdy, the primary like it … and your competition is low, which objective was to update and refurbish the ours is on this strip, I think your chances of general area. survival are a lot better,” she says. Frequent patrons of the street find While the upgrades brought posithese changes appealing and convenient. tive changes to newer businesses, it has “It was really annoying when it [con- had a different impact on Accent Arts, an struction] was happening, but I think now older, small business stocked with drawing it’s really great,” says Jennifer Wang, a Stan- and painting supplies. The store came to

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Photo courtesy of the Palo Alto Historical Association Photograph Collection. Middlefield Road in Palo Alto in 1970, but moved to California Avenue and has been operating there since 2002. It has felt some pressure to vacate after the renovations and struggles to keep up with the demands of Palo Alto’s economy.After its building was sold, the store has no choice but to move out of California Avenue when instructed, according to owner Gil McMillon. Patrons mourn the impending loss of the local store, professing their loyalty to Accent Arts and disappointment with other art stores they say are unable to meet their needs. “Accent Arts is … a great store to have on California Avenue,” says Marcia Koford, a former Palo Alto resident who now lives in San Jose. “It’s been here for years and seri-


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EVOLUTION Located on California Avenue, the logo of Country Sun Natural Foods has remained vibrant for decades, an island in a sea of change. ous artists do rely on it … I want to support Accent Arts because it’s important to me; it’s important to the community.” McMillon pinpoints the limited parking as the main factor in driving away customers. “It [California Avenue] is becoming more and more like University Avenue, which is getting so busy that nobody goes there anymore,” says McMillon. “They [the city] have spent two years remodeling, to no benefit.” Meanwhile, relatively new business, La Jolie Nail Salon has not been significantly affected. While the rent has increased, the salon’s prices have not changed since their

opening in December 2007, according to manager Shawna Tran. “Over the years, business has gotten better … I don’t know if it’s because of the changes to California Avenue per se … I can’t say I know how the two variables [renovations and business] correlate,” Tran says. “From what I’ve noticed … I think it’s gotten quieter, because this street is narrower. I think parking should have been more of a priority, but it [the new California Ave] is nice, it’s calm.” While other businesses have languished and even left the area, Tran attributes La Jolie’s success to their business philosophy.

“We run a really honest business,” Tran says. “We grow relationships with our clients; we meet their friends, we meet their families, we ask about their kids, we know where they’re working, we know what school they go to, and that’s good business, sure, but it really comes down to being a good person.” Despite the hardship some shops have faced after the renovations, Tran believes that California Avenue holds a viable business opportunity for many. “We’ve been a successful business ... and luckily our clients are very passionate and understanding and flexible,” Tran says. “It’s a cool place to do business.” v 35


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FEATURES | APRIL 2016

a new dawn for women in politics SILICON VALLEY’S ROLE IN ELECTING WOMEN TO POLITICAL OFFICE Text by ANNA NAKAI and ELANA REBITZER Art by KARINA CHAN Photography by ANNA NAKAI

2016 FUNDING FROM POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEES

EMILY’S List $44.9 M Maggie’S List $100.4K Womencount $47.8K Spending totals taken from opensecrets.org

FEM4PREZ

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HE DRUMMING OF THE heavy rain outside is drowned out by the chorus of voices that rises every few minutes as another person begins a phone call with the signature question: “Have you decided who you’ll be supporting in the primary?” It’s March 13, a week after Super Tuesday, and around 15 people are sitting inside the home of Amy Rao, a former Palo Alto High School parent, making phone calls to campaign for Hillary Clinton.

As we walk in, Rao opens the door to greet us and then scurries off to help a woman set up her devices. Another woman, wearing a glittery Hillary Clinton shirt and a “California for Hillary” pin, walks around the house trying to find service on her cell phone. Out of luck, she leaves, promising to “call for Hillary all day” from her home. Rao has supported Clinton since her run for Senate in 2000 and has hosted many events for Clinton’s presidential campaigns. One of the most prominent fundraisers in Silicon Valley, Rao is impor-

tant enough to warrant calls from Hillary Clinton herself. According to the Washington Post, when Hillary Clinton announced her first candidacy for president in 2008, she called Rao on the morning before she made her announcement, and Rao’s efforts to raise small individual donations were key to Clinton’s win in the California primary. Rao is part of an increasingly powerful locus of political activity and fundraising for women in politics in Palo Alto. A political action committee supporting female candidates is housed across the street from 37


FEATURES | APRIL 2016

REPRESENTATIVE Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, a graduate of Gunn High School, has represented the 19th district in California since 1994. Paly and several prominent female fundraisers live within blocks of the school. Candidates hold dozens of events in this area, all striving to get affluent members of the Silicon Valley tech industry to fund their campaigns and bring about a new era of women who have powerful political positions. In Silicon Valley, where the majority of federal representatives are women, this hub of influential fundraisers seeks to elect more women to political office and collaborates with organizations on both sides of the political aisle to accomplish that mission. It is not just female organizers who are powering this political machine. All over the country, especially in California, female candidates are also making their mark. The California Senate race this fall will mark one of the few times that female Senate candidates run against each other, as Democrats Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez face off over the seat recently vacated by another female Democratic senator, Barbara Boxer. Now, with Hillary Clinton running to become the first female president, the or38

ganizations and fundraisers supporting female candidates are more active than ever. Why Does it Matter? Especially on the national level, the gender gap in politics is enormous. In the United States, there is yet to be a female president, and in almost every sphere of politics, women hold less than a 20 percent margin. “In a world where half the people are girls, it doesn’t make sense to me that we haven’t had one leading the country,” says Arjun Parikh, a New York University sophomore who graduated from Paly in 2014 and attended Rao’s event. “It would be hard for her [Clinton] to be in office and not make positive change for women.” Although the infrastructure for women’s organizing online has substantially improved since 2008, the imperative for women to fundraise early is still present. “You can be the best candidate and you can have the best stances on issues, but if you don’t have money that you can use to buy airtime or build up a staff, you are not going to be a successful candidate,” says Lande Watson, a former Verde writer

and Paly graduate from 2014 who worked at the political action committee EMILY’s List last summer. An additional impediment to female candidates is that women are far less likely to run for office than men are. According to Watson, despite women and men having roughly equal win rates, male candidates far outnumber their female counterparts. “That’s something that they talk about a lot at EMILY’s List,” Watson says. “Women when they’re asked [whether they’d run in the future] often say no because they think they have to have all of these qualifications whereas men are very quick to say, ‘Yeah, I’d run for office. I went to a PTA meeting once, I could be a leader.’” Part of this problem also arises from the challenges that women face fundraising. In California, such difficulties are compounded by term limits on local seats, according to Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, who graduated from Gunn High School in 1966 and represents the 19th Congressional District located in San Jose and Morgan Hill. “Your first race is always the toughest,” Lofgren says. “You have to raise the money [and] you’re not an incumbent. With term limits, that happens over and over again, and so if women have the hardest time being the first-time candidate, making first-time candidates more frequent has an adverse impact on women in office.” Once women do enter the race, they face a level of scrutiny that their male competitors do not. “Not only are female candidates judged on the content of their ideas but also on superficial features,” says Anmol Nagar, a Paly junior and current vice president of Paly’s Associated Student Body. “Headlines are made when a female candidate’s makeup was too much or pantsuit was a new color, which I think takes away from the main focus of their campaign. I think that once elected to office, they are also held to a higher standard in terms of their public persona, or how friendly and ‘likeable’ they are.” A book by Anne-Marie Slaughter titled “Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family” also highlights studies and personal experiences that show that when a group of men discusses politics, they are unlikely to discuss typically “female” topics like childhood education and women’s


FEATURES | APRIL 2016 healthcare. I don’t think it changes how I view poli“You find that when you add a wom- tics.” an to the mix the conversation becomes broader,” Rao says. “In fact, the more EMILY’s List women you add to the mix, the more enWomen helping women get elected is gaged men will become on the topic ... a trend that originated long before ClinI can’t think of a single issue that isn’t a ton’s candidacy. Though many organizawoman’s issue.” tions supporting women exist today, their Even if every issue is a woman’s issue, forerunner is EMILY’s List. Founded in issues such as education, women’s health, 1985 in Washington, D.C., EMILY’s List and for Democratic women, reproductive arose before a Democratic woman had rights do tend to receive more attention been elected to the Senate. EMILY stands when women become for “Early Money is Like involved in the political Yeast,” because it makes process. the dough rise –– an allu“I think that the There’s a saying, ‘you sion to the idea that early attack on women’s redonations have potential productive rights would can’t be what you can’t to build infrastructure in just completely stop if see’” a campaign’s early stages. we had more women — STACY MASON, Executive Since its founding, EMin politics at senior levILY’s List has supported director of womencount hundreds of diverse canels,” says Paly parent Lauren Segal, who atdidates for local, state tended Rao’s event. and federal offices. Sophomore Noga Hurwitz, who is “Almost one-third of the candidates involved with Paly ASB and serves on the EMILY’s List has helped elect to Congress regional board of a local youth group facili- have been women of color, including every tating programming, agrees with Segal that single Latina, African-American and Asianbeing a woman makes her more passionate American Democratic congresswoman about being pro-choice. currently serving,” says Jess McIntosh, the “I’m very actively pro-choice, and I communications director at EMILY’s List. think part of that is it’s my right that’s po- “We work with women from the beginning tentially being taken away,” Hurwitz says. of their careers, building from the ground “It’s something that I feel really passionate up through recruitment and training to creabout. I think that being a woman increases ate a pipeline of future women leaders.” my investment in some of these causes, but As one of the oldest organizations in

this field, EMILY’s List has a profound effect in terms of respect and financial support. Lofgren used that support when she first ran for Congress. “I got lists of primarily women who supported women candidates for Congress,” Lofgren says. “They didn’t know me, and I didn’t know them, but the fact that EMILY’s List had endorsed me sort of gave them the message that I was a viable candidate and many of them did contribute.” Maggie’s List In 2010, in part inspired by the success of EMILY’s List, conservative women in Florida founded Maggie’s List, a federal organization dedicated to electing fiscally conservative women to the House and Senate. Their name, Maggie, comes from Margaret Chase Smith, the first female senator, a Republican from Maine. “EMILY’s List has done a fabulous job with their mission,” says Melissa Shorey, national executive director of Maggie’s List. “I just don’t happen to agree with it, and neither do millions of other women. We are giving voice to those women.” According to Shorey, Maggie’s List faces some challenges as an organization dedicated to supporting fiscally conservative women that more progressive organizations do not, because women are stereotypically thought of as being Democrats. However, the stereotype is not always accu

FAR LEFT State Assembly Member FIona Ma speaks at the California Democratic Convention in San Jose in favor of candidate Bill Dodd for state senate. LEFT Former State Assembly Member Mariko Yamada, now running for state senate, speaks at the California Democratic Convention to request that they withdraw their prior endorsement of her opponent, Bill Dodd. 39


FEATURES | APRIL 2016

THE ONLY ONE A singular woman passes a toll booth, representing the threshold needed for women to get into Congress, but is surrounded only by men. One woman’s achievement, while important, is just the beginning. rate, as shown by Republican Elise Stefanik of New York. Stefanik, elected at 29, is both the youngest person in Congress and a fiscal conservative. “This [younger demographic] is something where people often don’t think of conservatives on this issues, yet we’re leading on them,” Shorey says. “We’re electing people on them.” WomenCount WomenCount, a national Political Action Committee located in Town and Country Village, was created after the 2008 Democratic presidential primary out of the realization that there was no internet base of women for female candidates to draw from. The PAC hosts a website for Democratic women candidates reminiscent of crowdfunding campaigns. “Billions and billions of dollars are 40

moving in crowdfunding every year, and none of it is going to candidates,” says Stacy Mason, a Paly parent and the executive director of WomenCount. “What we’re trying to do is engage millennial women, but to do it in a way which feels familiar and comfortable to them.” Although WomenCount and EMILY’s list do share a similar goal of electing progressive women, the organizations work with different bases of donors. “We love EMILY’s List,” Mason says. “They have a slightly different focus because they look at everything from a prochoice lens ... and they are directing high dollar donations to women candidates. We are focused on the low dollar donations and multiplying them and building networks.” The Future of Women in Politics This election cycle has the potential to

be historic for women. With Hillary Clinton as the current Democratic frontrunner, according to RealClearPolitics, it is possible that the next president of the United States will be a woman. Right now, EMILY’s List, WomenCount and other progressive organizations are focusing on Clinton’s election. For these organizations, the potential of a women president means the possibility of a large-scale shift in the status of women in politics. “The fact that we’ve never had a woman president is pretty shocking, and it’s really important to show all Americans that a woman can be in this role,” Mason says. “There’s a saying, ‘You can’t be what you can’t see’ ... If they [young women] see that this can happen, ... we believe it will encourage more women to run for office, which will give us more women to support.” While a Clinton supporter, Lofgren does caution that having a woman president will not immediately end the gender disparity in politics. “Some people just don’t think women ought to be in a position of authority,” Lofgren says. “[They think] that women should obey their husbands ... and having a woman president is not going to change their view.” Conservative women have a more complex view on Clinton. While she personally disagrees with Clinton’s stances, Shorey acknowledges that women in leadership positions inspire other women and girls to follow in their footsteps. “I think whenever you have women running who represent positive leadership, it inspires other women,” Shorey says. “That’s why heroes are so important; that’s why role models are so important. But this is not Hillary’s game — this is for every woman who stands up and leads.” Regardless of who wins this election, the future of women in politics continues to expand. “I do think it [the status of women in politics] has made significant progress and it’s just going to keep growing,” Rao says. “When women realize that they can play a part ... it really shows women that their voice and their efforts and their checkbook can make a difference. And when you’re part of a movement that’s winning it’s easy to attract more people to your movement. So I expect it to continue to increase.” v


FEATURES | APRIL 2016

NOT FOR SALE A HISTORY OF SEGREGATON IN PALO ALTO

Text and photography by NATALIE MAEMURA and ANNA NAKAI Art by PORTIA BARRIENTOS, NATALIE MAEMURA and ANNA NAKAI

A

LTHOUGH THE “FOR Sale” signs were clearly posted outside the Palo Alto houses, Glenn Kameda and his family were told that the houses were not on the market. It was 1959, and the houses in question were located near San Antonio Road. Kameda had been living in East Palo Alto following World War II, but his family wanted to move across town. “My father and I went to a new track home that was being built in Palo Alto, and there was an open house so we went to see the homes,” Kameda says. “He [the realtor] said, ‘Well, they [the houses] were all taken,’ and obviously they were not. I think just the fact that we were Asian is why he didn’t want to sell it to us.” Kameda and his family were disappointed but resigned. They bought a house in Midtown instead, where they experienced fewer problems. “Having an experience of being evacuated from California during World War II, it wasn’t the first time we felt discrimination,” says Kameda, whose family was re-

located as a part of the internment. “We thought that it was a matter of time that they would get over it and treat us equally so we didn’t pursue it beyond that.” Legally sanctioned until the 1960s, housing discrimination manifested in forms of realtor discrimination and restrictive housing covenants barring people of color, such as Kameda, from buying property in certain areas. Until 1968, property owners restricted the sale of their homes, discriminating against “Orientals” and minorities in Palo Alto. California updated its Fair Employment and Housing Act in March, reflecting concerns over continued discrimination. Rooted in the Railroad The powerful Leland Stanford, Collis Huntington, Charles Crocker and Mark Hopkins financed the transcontinental Central Pacific Railroad in the 1860s, but they needed people to perform manual labor for low wages. The answer was Chi-

nese immigrants. Young males emigrated from China to provide labor for railroad construction, causing American workers to fear that the influx of cheap Chinese labor would threaten their job opportunities. “Young men who were unemployed in China were willing to come here [California] to do hard work for [less] money,” Palo Alto Historian Steve Staiger says. “The expectation was that they [the Chinese] would go back to China, but many of them couldn’t afford to do that. When the railroad was finished building, they got other jobs [in construction].” Following the wave of male Chinese immigrants, a wave of Japanese came with their families to work in California agriculture. The Japanese wished to purchase property; however, when Japanese families wanted to settle in “white” neighborhoods, Caucasians feared that living among Asians would devalue their property. “Palo Alto was started with the idea, ‘We don’t want to have a Chinatown,’ and then it became codified into

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FEATURES | APRIL 2016 covenants that were unfortunately quite common,” says Rachel Kellerman, a Palo Alto High School librarian who has archived decades of Palo Alto history. As people of many different backgrounds flooded into California during World War II from 1939 to 1945, racial prejudice persuaded developers and realtors to build separate enclaves for each race. An advertisement for a Crescent Park property development read “Palo Alto’s LAST High-Class Restricted Residential Section.” This advertisement used coded language to broadcast racial segregation as desirable and used it to sell more property. “It really came down to simple profits,” Kellerman says. “So instead of having these enlightened laws where everyone could live where they want and go to

school where they want, we ended up with an extremely restrictive city.” A Tale of Two Cities This discrimination continued past World War II. At its peak, neighborhoods all over Palo Alto were segregated, including large swaths of Midtown, Old Palo Alto, Southgate, Professorville and Crescent Park. It took a young state assemblyman from Oakland, one of the first black politicians in California, William Byron Rumford, to eventually revise the housing laws and begin outlawing housing discrimination. In 1963, the Rumford Act outlawed the enforcement of housing covenants in certain California developments. In 1968, the National Housing Act did the same,

but it still took decades for these laws to overcome the discrimination entrenched in Palo Alto’s housing industry. “Only the laws that are enforced are going to get followed,” says Eric Bloom, a Paly social studies teacher. “If an AfricanAmerican family came to look for a house, realtors would only take them to East Palo Alto.” Laws that outlawed housing covenants could not outlaw discrimination. As a result, tacit rules in the real estate community continued segregating minorities, escalating racial separation in Palo Alto to the point that it split into two cities: Palo Alto and East Palo Alto. Diversity worsened as more minorities settled into East Palo Alto. This phenomenon was part of the reason that Kameda and his family had originally settled into East Palo Alto. There were very few Japanese in Palo Alto already, while there was at least a community in East Palo Alto. “No one was mixing with one another,” Kellerman says. “What [happens] is that people who don’t live together don’t go to school together, and don’t get to know one another.” Covenants Take a Turn Even in a time that was racially segregated, there were stories of acceptance that revealed that Palo Alto, whatever its faults, was also home to progressive residents. When Japanese Buddhist Temple member Toshiko Kato bought a house in 1945 shortly after returning from an internment camp in Arizona, she was easily able to buy a house despite rampant anti-Japanese sentiment on the West Coast. “We later learned that the young lady who was selling the house to us had lost her husband in the war at Guadalcanal,” Kato says. “She had no hard feelings selling it to us. … We came and she offered it and we said alright we’ll take it and it was settled right then.” But this scenario was only one facet of the Palo Alto real estate market. Racial prejudice tainted the lives of many before the 1960s. In the 1990s there were still certain aspects of racial prejudice left in Palo Alto, according to Bloom. HIGH CLASS HOUSING A 1923 advertisement of new restricted housing discretely implies it is only for Whites.


FEATURES | APRIL 2016 Bloom remembers going to buy a house in Palo Alto in the 1990s with his wife, who is half Japanese-American. According to Bloom, he was surprised by prejudiced remarks made by a realtor that they met. “She took us to a neighborhood and talked about the neighborhood being a little dark and that maybe I wouldn’t be interested in being here,” Bloom says. “We [Bloom and his wife] kind of looked at each other and then we were like, ‘OK, we need a new realtor.’ So that’s housing discrimination — it’s totally against the law.” In 1992, Bloom and his wife settled into a 1947 house on Ross Road and discovered a startling clause to their property deed. “Builders after World War II decided that they wanted to restrict the housing, so it [my house] had a covenant in the deed in the title of the house that said that the property cannot be leased, sold, or rented to anybody of Oriental descent,” Bloom says. While the restrictions of the covenant were void, stamped out by a seal declaring it unenforceable due to the Civil Rights Act of 1968, the Blooms have been unable to change the original deed to rid it of the restrictive covenant language. If the deed were still valid, Bloom’s wife would not have been able to co-own the property or even live there. The Second Wave Even now, although Palo Alto’s diversity has been increasing and the minority community expanding, there has been a resurgence of housing discrimination against the Chinese. As China’s economy continues to grow, many Chinese families are able to relocate to the United States and settle in towns, such as Palo Alto, that would allow their children to prosper educationally. Though under a Communist rule, some Chinese may be encouraged to invest their money out of the country and in American real estate. “I’ve heard of stories where they [property owners] turned down a better offer from a Chinese family because they want to not sell to a Chinese family, which is illegal,” Bloom says. “This new wave of racial discrimination in Palo Alto is coming on the heels of this sort of fears of the Chinese taking over again.” v

HISTORY OF PALO ALTO 1863-1869 Leland Stanford, Sr. builds the Central Pacific Railroad, bringing thousands of Chinese laborers to the U.S.

1894

Leland Stanford, Sr. founds Palo Alto as a safe temperance town for his new university, Stanford.

1910

The first racially restrictive housing covenants appear in Palo Alto, targeted at Orientals.

1963

The Rumsford Act outlaws housing discrimination in multiunit housing complexes in California.

1968

The Fair Housing Act outlawed housing discrimination nationwide and applied to all properties.

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FEATURES | APRIL 2016

Text by STEPHANIE LEE and DANIELLE MACUIL Art by KARINA CHAN

Sold.

LABOR AND SEX TRAFFICKING IN THE BAY AREA

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E KNEW HOW OLD she was –– 12 –– but because he had already paid the pimp, he forced her to have sex anyway. The fact that Carissa Phelps wasn’t yet a teen didn’t stop the man who felt entitled to her for a few hours that night in Fresno. As shown in her documentary, “Carissa,” Phelps dropped out of school on her 12th birthday and left home to escape her abusive step-father. She wandered in the streets, homeless. After leaving home, Phelps encountered a man named Icey who promised to take care of her. He used her vulnerability to his advantage, turning her into a victim of human trafficking. Prostitution, drugs and abuse immediately became Phelps’ new reality — a reality where she once faked a seizure to escape snorting cocaine. When her trafficker let her call her home, her mother didn’t offer to pick her up. “I was on the streets alone,” Phelps says. “And I was with one person who was going to hold me captive basically as their sex slave.” Phelps’ story is only one of many stories of modern-day slavery. According to The Polaris Project, an anti-human trafficking organization, human trafficking is widespread both worldwide and in the Bay Area. Phelps has shared her experiences in both the documentary and an autobiography “Runaway Girl” to spread awareness. Slavery Today Though slavery is now seen as one of America’s greatest blunders, outlawed in 1865, it still persists as forced prostitution and labor. Although human trafficking is

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FEATURES | APRIL 2016

an underground industry and is difficult to “Here in the Bay Area, more so than order to lure victims into the trade. track, an estimated 17,000 people are traf- in most places of the United States, we are “There have been traffickers known to ficked in the U.S. per year, according to the the great American melting pot,” Blanchard offer modeling jobs and to recruit online U.S. State Department. says. “Many people come from places for victims,” Phelps says. “And this is for The issue is ongoing but received where it’s common practice for people to boys or girls. Anyone who says that they’ll more attention in the Silicon Valley when have sex with children.” take care of you or offer you gifts in exSuper Bowl 50 increased travel in the area. According to Brian Wo, co-founder change for sex, or sex with someone else, According to The Polaris Project, Silicon of the Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition, needs to be reported, and needs to stay Valley, alongside Las Vegas and Chicago, BAATC, the Bay Area’s large population, away. Because there is basically nothing is one of the biggest hubs for human the abundance of wealth and the frequency free, and a lot of the traffickers will offer trafficking in the U.S.. of movement in and out of the region also the world to take care of you.” To prepare for the Super Bowl, contribute to both commercial sex traffickorganizations trained hospitals and airports ing and labor trafLegality to spot victims of human trafficking. ficking. Despite its “It’s about somebody with a Although While such organizations primarily prevalence, people many victims of trained hospitals, law enforcement and often remain un- stronger, twisted, distorted human trafficking airports, local initiatives continue to spread aware about this personality thinking that they are forced into awareness among the general public. issue. can make money by exerting the industry, they The prevalence of human trafficking are still frequently came to the attention of Palo Alto resident Trafficking in the power over others.” persecuted. This Niki Liming in 2013 through a friend. Digital Age ­— lisa blanchard, founder of is largely because Liming, appalled, recruited the help of With the abilit is hard to tell Grateful Garments the difference beothers at the Palo Alto Vineyard Church to ity for people to host Use Your Feet for Freedom, an annual remain anonymous online, many websites tween a trafficking victim and someone 5K walk-or-run event at Mitchell Park. have become markets for traffickers to sell who chooses to be a prostitute. “The only way that human trafficking women and children for their services. AcIn California, those convicted of will ever end is if we all continue towards cording to Blanchard, traffickers focus on prostitution not only face up to one year the end of it,” Liming says. “A lot of luring the weak, making children easy tar- in jail and a $1,000 fine, but also have great people just don’t know where they can gets. difficulty integrating back into everyday make a difference. That’s a key thing that “It’s about somebody with a stronger, life. They are often rejected from safety we try to do. Even coming to the 5K and twisted, distorted personality thinking that homes, have difficulty finding jobs and paying those $35, is a huge thing because they can make money by exerting power are prevented from receiving government the money adds up.” over others,” Blanchard says. “That’s support. Without the adequate resources, BOW DOWN suitors of Penelope, character played by senior According toThe Lisa rowdy Blanchard, founder existed asince the dawn of man, where Molly the itKraus, is extremely hard for survivors to escape set up camp around Odysseus’s house as they force Penelope’s maids to bow to them. of the anti-trafficking organization Grateful strong has victimized the weak.” and start a new, healthy life. Garments, high level of immigrants furnish Teens are targeted on the Internet, The San Francisco Collaborative the Bay Area’s human trafficking trade. where traffickers lie about their identities in Against Human Trafficking is working to


FEATURES | APRIL 2016

According to the us state department, An estimated 17,500 children are trafficked in the United States every year.

change such policies that hinder or further like a task force, and so we’re part of the punish trafficking survivors. different county task force, helping every“We have survivors of human body talk to each other around the region.” trafficking working with us on the policy level,” says Antonia Lavine, director of Recovery SFCAHT. “Every time we discuss policy Blanchard was shocked when she problems, we have the survivors of human learned that all a human trafficking trafficking.” survivor was given in the hospital after Currently, organizations have begun to receiving treatment for rape was a thin collaborate to assist with different aspects hospital gown. She then created Grateful of a survivor’s recovery process. Garments, which is dedicated to giving Wo was attending a freedom summit, comfort to sex trafficking victims through a community-based anti-human trafficking clothes and flashlights. event, when the idea to create an organiAccording to Blanchard, traffickers zation to connect other agencies around use intimidation tactics to control victims, the Bay Area occurred to him. As a result, such as keeping them in the dark and withWo created BAATC, which helps organi- holding food and water from them. Many zations in the Bay Area to collaborate to victims escape only when their brothel is assist victims. raided, through a While BAATC trip to the emeritself does not “Survivors definitely have a gency room to work directly with physical tremendous amount of strength treat victims, it trains abuse or by runorganizations to and human spirit, and it’s hard to ning away. address individual beat down.” The influence aspects of the of pimps reach­— Carissa Phelps, Survivor, es beyond their larger problem in the Bay Area. Orauthor and advocate brothels. Traffickganizations will ers often search each fulfill things such as providing legal for escaped victims, and survivors are ataid or shelter. risk for being trafficked again. “We kind of see ourselves as a conThrough Freedom House, an organecting organization around the Bay Area,” nization which established the first safe Wo says. “We have the idea of people do- house for human trafficking survivors in ing different things, so we identify where North California, survivors are able to fight there’s gaps or where there’s needs. Each for the arrest of their pimps, hide from county kind of has its own collaboration, their traffickers, continue their education

and gain access to mental health services and other resources. “A lot of people don’t understand the trauma that trafficking survivors have gone through and the importance of their safety,” says Jaida Im, the founder of the Freedom House. “Many of these places [aftercare homes] are not confidential and we are. We really take this seriously, because many of the perpetrators are still actively seeking out many women and children.” Survivors often face post traumatic stress disorder and must deal with sexually transmitted diseases. They may also need therapy and mental health services as they enter the recovery process. After Phelps escaped, she was sent to a juvenile detention hall, where she met mentors who encouraged her to pursue education. Today, she is a lawyer, author and advocate for runaway children. “It’s a lifetime healing process; that’s what I can say for sure,” Phelps says. “Just like any other traumatic event, you’re going to have a lifetime of taking care of yourself, and making sure that you’re doing the right thing for yourself and for the people you love and the work that you do.” Phelps emphasizes the importance of aiding survivors in the recovery process within the larger goal of ending trafficking. “Survivors definitely have a tremendous amount of strength and human spirit, and it’s hard to beat down,” Phelps says. “This [human trafficking] is a very horrible crime that leaves marks, sometimes for the rest of their lives, and that’s why ... we need to fight it.” Solutions for a Brighter Future Education on this topic, including how to spot and help victims, is the biggest way to fight the problem. Apart from furthering human trafficking awareness by integrating it into school curriculum, there are smaller organizations hosting events for people to get involved in the anti-human trafficking campaign. While human trafficking may seem like an overwhelmingly large issue, people can individually make a difference by volunteering, spreading awareness or fundraising. “There is so much more out there that we are not aware of,” Im says. “The public and the community has to be more educated ... that this crime is ... in our own community.” v

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PROFILES | APRIL 2016

a dynamic melody MICHAEL NAJAR’S QUEST FOR CREATIVITY IN CHOIR

Text by ALIA CUADROS-CONTRERAS and FRANCES ZHUANG Photography by WILLIAM DOUGALL

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ICHAEL NAJAR’S his teaching philosophy. For 13 years and forehead crinkles in con- counting, he has created opportunities for centration as he plays his students, hoping they too will experia melody on the grand ence the beauty and fulfillment of music. piano. Najar, a choir teacher and instructional supervisor of the From Magic Johnson to musician Visual and Performing Arts Department About 20 years ago, when Najar was at Palo Alto High School, then clears his still a student at Loyola High School in Los throat and demonstrates a vocal warm-up Angeles, music was not even on his radar. for his Concert Choir students, filling the “For the first part of high school, I room with his booming voice. Swaying in wanted to be Magic Johnson from the Los time with the music, his Angeles Lakers,” Najar students start the vosays. “Of course, that cal excersice and their was ridiculous.” voices cascade through After two years of the open door into the It has to be fresh so you basketball, Najar was warm spring air. can make music. If it’s cut from his school’s Before the choir giving him a stale, you can’t beat it team, feels complacent with chance to explore his the basic warm-up, Na- alive.” budding interests in jar challenges his stu— Michael Najar, Paly choir musical theater and dents to sing two notes and AP MUSIC THEORY TEACHER choir. per chord. The choir “I had friends who responds in whirling, were great singers, great intertwining harmopianists, great bassists nies, and Najar encourages them with his ... and I wanted to be cool like them, so I own accompanying string of whimsical just tried,” Najar says. “I couldn’t do it, but notes. I tried. And then eventually I got closer” With his vibrant personality and eagerAt the University of California, Irness to demonstrate tunes for his students, vine, Najar became a music major, a deciNajar, who also teaches AP Music Theory, sion motivated by his college choir’s tour is at home in the choir room. in Hungary, where the breathtaking concert As a high school student, Najar would halls and the extravagant performance led never have envisioned himself at the helm to his realization that he wanted to devote of a choir classroom. Yet the perseverance his life to music. that kept him striving, despite failures, to “There’s something special about the pursue and refine his craft is the same drive arts — where ... if you practice, and you’re he exhibits in his teaching. In many ways, with the right people, and you’re with a Najar’s musical background has influenced conductor, and all the things happen, it’s

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absolutely stunning, it’s magical,” Najar says. “And I had one of those magical moments.” Creating music that’s fresh, not stale In his Paly choir classes, Najar tries to spread his love for music to his own students, aiming to help them experience special moments like the one that inspired him as a college student. In addition to coaching choirs, he also teaches AP Music Theory, where he continues to experiment with an untraditional, blended learning environment. He especially loves working with students who resemble his high school self, who are insecure about their singing ability but still excited to be in the choir classroom. “We can take people who’ve never had any experience … and give them the tools to be proficient,” he says. “I love seeing young people going from zero to hero … seeing their eyes open at a certain artistic experience.” Najar admits to having a special connection with his beginning choir. Since many of the advanced students have been


PROFILES | APRIL 2016

CLASS TIME Najar demonstrates a melody for his 5th period Concert Choir class. Gesturing passionately, he conveys the importance of diction.

in Paly choir classes since freshmen year, it. ... We rehearse it for weeks and weeks, they have developed a close bond with him. but I don’t want it to be stale. ... It has to be “He [Najar] is one of those teachers fresh so you can make music. If it’s stale, who you can really connect to as a person,” you can’t beat it alive.” All the effort pays off when Najar and says Choir Concert member and junior his choirs create riveting productions, year Emily Read. “He has a good sense of humor. He after year. This spring, the Pops Concert does have his ups and downs, so he will get followed a Bay Area Music theme, while mad at us, but then all of a sudden he’ll last year the concert centered on soul music. crack a joke. … You “I try to make every really are always on different,” your feet, and you EVERYTHING SHOULD AND experience Najar says. “I don’t want have to be ready for to look back in 10 years anything because with CAN CHANGE.” Mr. Najar that’s the — Michael Najar and say, ‘Well, 10 years ago it was exactly the way it is.” same.’ ... I don’t want to Najar guides adcount off my years like vanced choir students like Read through rehearsing for intricate that — that’s boring. Everything should performances and competing at festivals. and can change.” The choir’s transition into the new The rehearsal process for any show starts Performing Arts Center, which is expected almost a year in advance. “We are lucky to have incredibly smart, to open in the fall, promises room for even gifted students, so I like to challenge them,” more creativity in future performances. he says. “Sometimes I overreach, but that’s “This new performing arts building … OK … because I want them to learn from is going to change everything,” Najar says.

“One of the things that we’re going to have to just do is sit in that building for a little bit. ... We’re going to look at it and say ... ‘I can use the stage in this way.’... There are so many possibilities.” Beyond the classroom Najar’s love for music extends into his spare time, when he sings recreationally in a band, Polaris Drive, composed friends from college. “I played in bands all through high school and college, some of them incredibly bad, some of them pretty good,” Najar says. “I love to play ... It’s mostly when we can; you get married and have two kids, and it becomes harder.” So far, Najar has also written one musical called “Love Songs in Traffic,” based on his experience growing up in vehicleladen Los Angeles, and is in the process of writing another. “I’m working on a musical about Silicon Valley, and that’s all I can say right now,” Najar says, grinning. “I’m very excited about it.” V 49


PROFILES | APRIL 2016

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| APRIL2015 | DECEMBER CULTURE PROFILES 2016

Terrible Adult Chamber Orchestra A PRESSURE-FREE SPACE FOR BAY AREA MUSICIANS

VIVA LA VIDA “Foboist” (fake oboist) Hillel Hachlili plays the oboe part of the “Viva la Vida” on his clarinet.

Text by EMMA COCKERELL and RACHEL VAN GELDER Photography and Photo Illustration by EMMA COCKERELL

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AUGHTER ERUPTS IN THE WARM, DIMLY- to stay engaged with music. Unlike most adult orchestras, TACO lit room, and Cathy Humphers Smith quickly taps has no regular rehearsals and instead relies on the sight-reading on her stand with her baton, calling for silence. “I abilities of its members. This unusual aspect removes much of the thought something was a little bit off,” she says with a stress associated with performing in an orchestra and provides a laugh. “Let’s try this at a faster tempo.” more laid-back environment for musicians with less time to dediOrchestra members agree, and raise cate to practice. The musicians are encourtheir instruments to give Stravinsky’s “Beraged to support and help each other. ceuse and Finale” another attempt with the When the piece is finished, musicians conductor’s words in mind. A myriad of difpack up their instruments and retreat to a I’m tuned into self-esteem ferent sounds once again fills the room, and side room, where a table of food has been the sounds of many instruments interweave and people doing things that laid out. Orchestra members snack on Girl into a beautiful melody. Scout cookies, cheese and wine as they conmake them feel good.” The Terrible Adult Chamber Orchesverse with friends old and new. Laughter tra, known in the community as TACO, rises and falls, and a friendly chatter fills the performs at the Los Altos Youth Center on — director CATHY HUMPHERS SMITH room. Such is the family-like ambiance of the last Sunday of each month. The group is this community-based ensemble. composed of musicians with a wide range of ages and musical abilities, unifying people from the far reaches of How to Make a TACO the Bay Area, recent college graduates and senior citizens hoping Cathy Humphers Smith, TACO’s founder and conductor, first

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conceived the idea of a non-rehearsing orchestra in 2011. Previ- tance of music grow more pronounced. Her desire to help others ous musical experiences had disappointed her in that they didn’t ultimately led her to found TACO. “I ended up doing a bunch of other things in music like chilprovide positive environments for musicians who were less expedren’s choruses, but I always had this desire to have an orchestra,” rienced. “My husband and I play music and enjoy playing music but Humphers Smith says. “The idea of having an orchestra where you didn’t have to audition and anybody could also have had experiences ourselves of not be in it was really appealing. I wanted an orbeing good enough to play at the level we chestra where you didn’t have to practice or wanted to,” Humphers Smith says. “You auperform and get all anxious about that, but dition for orchestras and you don’t always place where you could just enjoy classical get in. I had a piano teacher who was hyperI DIDn’t know what to expect, amusic for the fun of it.” critical and after years of playing through Humphers Smith based TACO on an college, she told me I lacked the basic fun- but it sounds much prettier orchestra in Edinburgh called the Really Terdamentals. It was crushing, and I didn’t play than i expected.” rible Orchestra, which embodied all of the for four years.” —violinist Peter vancleef qualities that she had envisioned. With those negative and discouraging Excited, she selected a few pieces of experiences circling in the back of her mind, music, called together some friends on a Humphers Smith tried to think of new ways Sunday afternoon and modeled the meeting after RTO’s rehearsto engage like-minded people in music. Several years working as a clinical social worker for families als. The meetings continued for several months; friends invited and couples made Humphers Smith’s perspective on the impor- friends, and what had started out as a few musicians in Humphers

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PROFILES | APRIL 2016 Smith’s living room grew into a large group of 50-60 musicians. What was once wishful thinking had finally become a reality. With the group’s increasing membership came a need for a larger performance space, so with the city’s approval, TACO upgraded to the spacious Los Altos Youth Center. According to Humphers Smith, the group has expanded since then, and currently fosters about 80-100 musicians from locations all around the Bay Area. The Ingredients of the TACO The group’s relaxed policy regarding attendance and musical ability has brought together a diverse group of people. Each week sees a new set of musicians; veteran members play alongside firsttimers, making TACO a melting pot. The ensemble’s February performance was violinist Peter Vancleef ’s first time attending. Vancleef, who started learning the violin 10 years ago with his daughter (who was in kindergarten at the time), had come at a friend’s recommendation, and felt thoroughly impressed. “I didn’t know what to expect, but it sounds much prettier than I expected,” Vancleef says. “It’s been a pleasant surprise that it sounds nice, at least from where I am — I don’t know how it is if you are outside.” Violinist Karl Schwartz, who introduced Vancleef to TACO, is a veteran member; he joined three years ago when his daughter started learning the cello. Schwartz, who played for nine years as an adolescent, returned to the instrument four years ago after a long break. He joined TACO because he enjoys the relaxed atmosphere, which accommodates his limited ability. “It’s fun if you can survive it,” Schwartz says. “There were a few [pieces] that are quite a challenge, but I like the fact that there’s not a lot of pressure to get everything perfect … something that is common to a lot of community orchestras.” TACO’s self-proclaimed “foboist” Hillel Hachlili is also a long-time member of the group. “I played the clarinet, and we didn’t have any oboe,” Hachlili says. “So I brought the clarinet and I said I would play the oboe part. It worked out really nice because finally we could hear the oboe part because I was playing it. After that, I thought to myself, I am the fake oboe. So since then, I have been the foboe.” Other long-time members of TACO, like flutist Ola Cook, have taken an interest in learning more about other similar organizations. Since joining, Cook decided to join an additional band and has played with the Really Terrible Orchestra in Scotland. “I actually went to play in Scotland two years ago at Fringe Festival with the Really Terrible Orchestra, which is kind of the thing that TACO developed because of,” Cook says. In the future, Humphers Smith hopes to host other TACOlike groups from the United States, including Berkeley’s Really Terrible String Orchestra and New York’s Really Terrible Orchestra of the Triangle. She looks forward to many more years of spreading TACO’s message and making people feel good about their abilities. “I’m tuned into self-esteem and people doing things that make them feel good and people finding richness in their life and their soul,” Humphers Smith says. “That’s the piece of it [the idea of TACO] that I’ve always had.” v

SIGHT READING (left) The wind section concentrates on their music while playing an instrumental version of “Viva la Vida” by Coldplay. UNISON (top) Director Cathy Humphers Smith conducts Stravinsky’s “Bereceuse and Finale”. COLLABORATION (bottom) Director Cathy Humphers Smith goes over the sheet music for the next song with a member of the orchestra called Dave. 53


Text|by MICHELLE CULTURE DECEMBER 2015LI

Additional Reporting by MICHELLE TANG Photography by WILLIAM DOUGALL

bowditch and beyond LIFE STORIES OF A BELOVED SCIENCE TEACHER

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HE ROOM IS SILENT, filled with suspense. All eyes are fixed on the tiny piece of magnesium held by Ron Bowditch. His thumb pushes down on the lighter touching the strip. A blinding light shoots out from the magnesium and dissipates, leaving behind traces of smoke and a room full of “oohs” and “ahhs.” With seven years of engagement in the Palo Alto High School community under his belt, Bowditch continues to ignite the same passion in students in their science endeavors that he once discovered in himself in college. Bowditch first discovered his passion for the sciences when working with animals as an undergraduate student at the University of California, Davis where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and master’s degree in microchemistry. However, he soon moved over to the college’s biology and chemistry labs once he saw how compelling the subject matter was. “I loved it [working in labs],” Bowditch says. “I’ve never left since. Every day was something new.” Throughout his 20 years of teaching college graduate students at the University of Oklahoma, Bowditch had his fair share of experiences. “Grad students can be very interesting,” he says. “They would work all night through the middle of the night in the lab 54

that I ran. If you go in any time there’s LEARNING Teacher Ron Bowditch inprobably someone working in the lab. I structs seniors Alisha Kumar and Danielle would find them lying asleep on the couch Bisbee in his Biotechnology elective. and sometimes we would do crazy things.” Once, Bowditch even walked into According to his students, Bowditch what he thought was an empty classroom to find his students draining blood from has made a lasting impact on them through his quirky stories and life philosophies. each other for an experiment. One such story involves his idea to “I had to stop them because they were essentially going to bleed each other to ship helium across the world. Because the death at the rate that they were going,” he post office charges based on weight and helium is lighter than oxygen – “negative says. After he moved back to California and weight,’’ as he puts it – the post office began teaching at the University of Cali- would then have to pay him instead. “His enthusiasm and extensive knowlfornia, San Francisco, Bowditch decided to quit his job as a professor because it in- edge about chemistry, his humor, his dedication to Scioly [Scivolved tedious work. ence Olympiad] and his “I just wanted genuine care towards a change of career, his students make him something that was a Not everyone is a sciena great teacher,” senior little more motivating,” tist, but everyone seems Kelsey Wang says. Bowditch says. Along with his Bowditch has es- proactive in their own memorable stories, tablished himself as a education here – for the Bowditch’s perspective beloved figure in the most part.” on life relays valuable Paly Science Depart—teacher RON BOWDITCH life lessons to students. ment. For him, in“In class, just do structing high school the best you can and students in his Chemistry and Biotechnology classes is more stop worrying about grades,” Bowditch enjoyable than instructing college students says. “The stress isn’t worth it and if you’re not doing something you enjoy then really because their enthusiam shines through. “Not everyone [all of his students] is it’s just going to be work. It’s not about a scientist,” Bowditch says. “But everyone the money; it’s not about doing what your seems proactive in their own education parents want ... it’s about doing what you enjoy.” v here – for the most part.”


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APRIL 2016 the last coins, stampsPROFILES and man of

Treasure Island

A GENERATION WONDERING WHO WILL TAKE ITS PLACE

Text by SIDDHARTH SRINIVASAN and KAI GALLAGHER Photography by WILLIAM DOUGALL

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O THE MUFFLED TUNE of a banjo on the radio, Paul “Rudy” Schroeter quietly and methodically sorts through a stack of letters. He’s not concerned who they are addressed to or who sent them. Instead, his spectacled eyes hone in on the upper right corner of each envelope in search of the postal stamp. Schroeter works with all but one of the blinds closed. Often, a customer won’t stop by for hours on end. The neighboring clothing gallery is dilapidated and the tar of the adjacent parking lot is cracking, with no sign of repairs coming any time soon. Yet Schroeter’s business, Treasure Island Stamps and Coins, is very much alive on the El Camino. If you venture past

the blinds, rustling the door chimes as you enter, you’ll encounter row upon row of coins and countless piles of stamps. These are the vestiges of a once-commonplace American pastime now struggling to establish its roots in the generations to come. Schroeter is part of the old guard. As the first and last owner and sole employee of Treasure Island, he has built up a collection over the past 48 years that, according to him, is unrivaled in possibly the whole of Northern California. He has transformed a childhood hobby, coin by coin and stamp by stamp, into a collection that serves as both an atypical museum and a job that gives him a sense of purpose each and each time he steps inside his shop. Yet for all the time Schroeter devotes

to the business, he worries that there is no younger generation of collectors to replace people like him. “The demographics have changed,” Schroeter says. As he reflects on the changing times, a twinge of sadness flickers in his eyes. “There’s very few people starting off collecting anything. There’s not many people building models anymore. A grandparent will give one [model to build], but it’s mostly the electronics now.” From Hobby to Lifestyle Schroeter still remembers the first time he laid eyes on a coin collection — his grandfather’s, a keepsake from World War I — encased in a polished metal box. He was only 8 years old at the time, but he was 55


PROFILES | APRIL 2016

APPRAISAL Paul Schroeter attempts to determine the value a customer’s set of coins.

engrossed in finding just where each of the small metal disks originated. Schroeter’s first foray into stamp collecting likewise came from an unexpected source. Nestled in between the pages of an old radio schedule book was the incomplete collection of an unknown owner, which Schroter decided to make it his own. But collecting, especially with the goal of growing a store’s inventory, is a game of patience. One must resist the urge to spend on luxuries that take away from fueling the business. Since he was a child, Schroeter has been honing this sense of vigilance. Growing up in Los Angeles, every passing streetcar represented an opportunity to visit the local coin shops and slowly learn what value looked like, coin by coin. “You can’t be greedy,” Schroeter says. 56

“You have to build up an inventory over the years, not take much money out of the business and keep putting money into the business. You can pull a little out to live on, but not much more than that.” For those who do not share an interest in the trade, this careful balance of business and life would be laborious. But for Schroeter, running Treasure Island is a way to channel his devotion to his hobby into his work. It’s a privilege he’s able to enjoy, in part, because of the unique niche he has carved out with patience, experience and, most crucially, being in the right place at the right time. For Schroeter, this luckybreak arrived at Town and Country Village, over 48 years ago. “The rent was $175 a month at that time,” Schroter says. “I don’t think you

could rent a parking space up there for that anymore.” While the price of coins steadily rose, business rental costs in Palo Alto skyrocketed. Schroeter relocated his store to a more affordable location, purchasing an old Eichler in the Ventura neighborhood, two miles south on El Camino Real. A Duty to the Community On this particular day in the shop, a woman has stopped by, carrying the remains of her father’s stamp collection ripped apart by robbers in her apartment last week. She is trying to piece it together once more, in the hopes that the robbers had also come to Treasure Island looking to sell off parts of her collection. The scene plays out like it’s script-


PROFILES | APRIL 2016 when he started his business so long ago. “This gal has been coming in for about two years,” Schroeter says. “This was her father’s stamp collection, and she’s bringing them [the stamps] in as she clears out the house. She’s not a collector herself, but she’s using the money for a little bed and breakfast place. I knew her dad real well, and this is what her dad would have liked to see. The stamp collection that he left [for] her is going towards something that’s not just cash in the pocket, but it’s going to something that’s going to make her sort of independent and her own boss.”

ed — the two exchange pleasantries and Schroeter determines, by cross-referencing the woman’s account of the collection’s contents with his extensive records, that the burglars have not yet visited his store. The woman is disappointed, but Schroeter assures her the collection will be found in time. She thanks him, and as the bells on the door chime her departure, Schroeter reflects on the role of his store in the community at large. As a former Boy Scout and an Army veteran, Schroeter values duty and service deeply. He sees his shop as an abstract history museum, one where he can continue to play a role in carrying on his neighborhood’s sense of community. More importantly, it provides him with a means for passing on the spirit of initiative he took

Something Old, Something New While Schroeter and others like him have played a huge role in keeping collecting alive, the American government has also had a sizable hand in maintaining the hobby. During the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt saw stamp collecting as yet another way to connect with the people, replacing traditional figures on the face of postage stamps with powerful images of hope and optimism. Starting a collection was simple — a dime could get you a starters pack at a local gas station, while supermarkets and dry cleaners all stocked a supply of stamps, providing for the kindling of what is now considered the Golden Age of stamps that lasted till the 1970s. When the boom of the 70s began to die out, the U.S. Postal Service and U.S. Mint combined in an effort to resupply kindling to a dying fire. “There just wasn’t enough new collectors coming in,” Schroeter says. “And then the post offices just started cranking them [stamps] out. Instead of making stamps for just basic use, they started trying to print lots and lots of stamps.” The U.S. Mint played a vital role in the resurgence of coin collecting by unveiling limited edition sets like the 50 State Quarters in 1997, arguably the most successful numismatic program in history, as $3 billion worth of quarters filled the displays of both casual and serious collectors. Despite these actions, the number of collectors has declined over the years. Still, Schroeter feels as though people will return to collecting. “I think [by not collecting,] you’re losing your chance for getting within yourself and just concentrating on something,” he

says. “It’s kind of when you get into a really good book. Suddenly you look up and you realize it’s 2:30 in the morning... And it’s the same thing with these hobbies. You kind of lose yourself in it.” Schroeter is not really dreaming of a return of the collecting boom of the 70s, but the possibility of a revival is growing. He’s already seen 40-year-olds rattle the bells on the door of his shop, and come in looking to grow their own collections. “The way I look at it … later on in life when, either they [people] retire, or they get their family settled, or their kids finish college… they realize that there is only so much golf, fishing and much yard work they can do, and they don’t want to sit there and watch television and become a couch potato,” Schroeter says. “So they’ll say, ‘Oh, I remember stamps and coins, that was kind of cool.’ And hopefully that will lead to more collecting in the future.” The Bottomless Treasure Chest Behind the casing and collecting guidebooks lies an old chest, filled to the brim with pieces of stamped envelopes. Schroeter doesn’t always have the time to inspect every stamp in a stack of letters, so he tosses what he can’t get through into this old-time war chest. And for as long as Schroeter lives, the treasures of Treasure Island will remain buried and undiscovered inside this very box. While the rents continue to rise and the Ventura neighborhood undergoes a house by house makeover, Schroeter, like the banjo on the radio will continue to sort through the appraisals at a steady rhythm. He will continue to refill the treasure box as collectors young and old rummage through, some discovering a rare stamp, others discovering a hobby that lasts a lifetime at the meager price of two stamps for a penny. And he will continue to do so until the day when Treasure Island’s race to outlive the last-standing buildings of Ventura comes to a halt, for when Schroeter passes, so will the shop. As much as the collection is a business, it has evolved to become a part of him. “I’m taking it with me,” he says. “I won’t let go of it. I’ll be kicking and biting and scratching to hold onto it. I’ll say ‘You will not! You will not take this, I’m taking this to my grave.’” v 57


PROFILES | APRIL 2016 Text by SOPHIE NAKAI and MICHELLE TANG Photography by SOPHIE NAKAI

exploring passions

A GLIMPSE INTO STUDENT RESEARCH PROJECTS

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VOICE ANNOUNCES THE BEGINNING and end of each race over a loud speaker. People run around, drinking water, yelling and stretching — getting ready for their next competition. It’s a hot afternoon at the Stanford Invitational Track meet, and everyone is slowly baking in the sun. Amid all the chaos are Palo Alto High School sophomores Elliot Clark, Niklas Risano and Noah Yuen. Besides volunteering in the meet, the three are also using a smart bracelet to measure the water content left in their bodies after a run. After jotting down the numbers on a clipboard, they take turns lining up at the start to run again and collect more data. Risano, Yuen and Clark are only three of the 40 students at Palo Alto High School participating in the district-wide Advanced Authentic Research Program, an eighth period class that provides students with an opportunity to expand their knowledge in an area of their choosing. They are researching how sports technology advancements impact runners with help from their mentor, Adam Jung, an engineer for General Electric in Michigan. The class meets during Tutorial with Paly math teacher Deanna Chute. Unlike the Science Research Project class, AAR is open to all research areas, not just those relating to science, technology, engineering or math. “This is a platform for anyone to explore anything,” Chute says. “This is not for certain kids [or] certain fields.” 58

This school year was AAR’s pilot year. According to Chute, the district felt unsure about how many students were going to sign up, so an application process was put in place to narrow the numbers down to a manageable size. Chute is working with Dr. Jeong Choe, the district’s AAR coordinator, to make the course more structured and offer more support for the students next year. Prospective students must submit a letter of intent to show the teachers what they plan to do with their project. According to Choe, because of the increase of applicants from both Gunn High School and Paly, the class will expand from about 75 students this year to approximately 200 students next year. This program provides students with mentors at the beginning of the year to support students when needed. After students connect with their mentors, they work on a proposal, execute their project and then prepare for an exhibit and celebration at the end of the year. “It’s more independent than most school programs, so you learn things that are going to help you in the real world such as being able to do research on your own,” Risano says. “Even though we do have mentors it’s been [a lot of] self-guided learning.” Read on for three examples of student research projects. v RUNNING FOR RESEARCH Sophomore Elliot Clark sprints toward the finish line where his Advanced Authentic Research partners are waiting to collect data.


PROFILES | APRIL 2016

Osteoporosis: of mice and men

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eniors Eric Chiang and Kevin Li are testing specific genes that are linked to Osteoporosis, a bone disease that causes frail bones and increases risk of fractures, to see if they are expressed in mice. The two spend much of their time in a lab with their mentor, Joy Wu, a PhD and medical doctor in the Grant Building at Stanford. When they started their project, they viewed it as an opportunity to gain research experience. Li already had an interest in medicine, and he thought participating in AAR would help narrow his focus. Chiang and Li’s inexperience in the field caused some problems in the beginning. However, they got the hang of it and after some stumbles along the way balanced by periods of hard work, they find the experience has been rewarding. “I feel like AAR gave me lots of research experience early whereas most people have their first research experience in college,” Li says. “I have a better idea of what it is going to be like and what I’m going to do in the future.”

PIPETTING Seniors Eric Chiang and Kevin Li collect data from mice genes at a Stanford lab.

“RS802”: The next Bestseller

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enior Caroline Bailey is writing a novel titled “RS802”. “It’s a science fiction young adult novel,” Bailey says. “The characters sort of squat on [a piece of] land that’s been designated [as] a planet wide trash dump, and they live off scavenging this planet and reselling goods there.” Bailey grew up loving creative writing and always found herself imagining new stories. She came to love the art and began to write more and more frequently. “I love creating and developing characters and ... world-building,” Bailey says. “I love writing science fiction because it’s a very free genre — it doesn’t restrict you in time and place, it allows you to make up your own rules. Science fiction gives one person the power to define a future.” Bailey submitted an AAR proposal because the program allowed her to channel her passions of creavite writing and science fiction into a final product. “My experience with AAR has probably been very different from a lot of people since the majority of projects are math and science focused,” Bailey says. “It’s been a really great experience to work on something that like I’m really passionate about.” BRAINSTORM Senior Caroline Bailey jots down ideas for her science-fiction novel.

Narcissism: Man in the Mirror

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ophomores Leila Tjiang and Maya Homan’s psychology project focuses on narcissistic personality disorders and how antisocial and borderline disorders relate to it. “[We] chose Narcissistic Personality Disorder because some members of my family suffer from it, and studying it would give me a chance to understand better,” Homan says. Though they have found themselves pressed for time, Homan and Tjiang are motivated to complete their project and devote energy to it. “It’s ... really rewarding, because we get a chance to potentially make a difference in the world with the work we do,” Homan says. Throughout the process of their project, Homan and Tjiang have learned to be independent researchers. “You have to have motivation to do a lot of work on your own. You conduct real research [and] use databases rather than getting data from your teacher,” Tjiang says. SYNTHESIS Sophomores Maya Homan and Leila Tjiang spend time working on their AAR Project. 59


PROFILES | APRIL 2016

DEFENDERS of Nature RANGERS PROTECTING NATURE IN PALO ALTO Text by IRENE CHOI and GABRIEL SANCHEZ Photography by GABRIEL SANCHEZ and WILLIAM DOUGALL

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HE MINI GARDEN adjacent to the Foothills Park Interpretive Center is almost untouched by the outside world — the chirp of birds and the occasional passing airplane disrupt the still atmosphere. The air is fresh and sharp, harbingering an oncoming rain. It’s a different world from the cubicle that Kathleen Jones, a park ranger at Foothills, worked in 10 years ago. Palo Alto park rangers like Jones are given the opportunity to go about a noble occupation: to foster public love for nature and maintain the parks, keeping them as stress-free sanctuaries for weekend getaways. With nearly one third of Palo Alto’s land designated for open space, their job is crucial in protecting Mother Nature. “Techie” Turned Ranger Jones looks like your typical park rang60

er in her olive jacket and structured tan button-up shirt. She stands tall with her feet apart, her eyes giving off a friendly sparkle as she speaks. She looks so at home in the outdoors, surrounded by tall trees and grass that it is hard to believe that she hasn’t always relished being in the outdoors. Jones was born and raised in the Bay Area. As a youth, she never harbored a liking for being outside. It wasn’t until college that she really began to appreciate nature. “When I was in high school and even in college, it [nature] was not always a priority for me,” Jones says. “But I still would somehow find myself outdoors, and it wasn’t until I was a young adult, in my 20s that I just found myself doing more and more outdoorsy things.” After receiving her bachelor’s degree in philosophy, she pursued a tech job that confined her to a small cubicle. Eight years

THE “TECHIE” Kathleen Jones stands in front of Foothill Park’s interpretive center. into it, she found herself frequently volunteering to do trail work and habitat removal at local parks — nature was becoming an escape from her work environment. Eventually, Jones went back to study park management and graduated in 2006. She has worked as a ranger ever since. “I had to get outside,” Jones says. “I couldn’t be indoors any more.” Today, Jones admits that she still spends a fair amount of time indoors, attending meetings and acting as the social media manager for the city’s open space perserves. After all, she has the most experience with technology of all the rangers at Foothills Park. Still, she’s found a great deal of freedom compared to her previous stuffy desk job.


PROFILES | APRIL 2016 “There is a lot of autonomy, which really appeals to me as a person,” Jones says. The job of a park ranger is liberating, and it provides a great amount of freedom for her to decide how to spend the day. Jones’ position involves a great variety of duties, ranging from the less-than-glamorous task of keeping the restrooms in ship shape to guiding park goers on nature walks. On the flip side, being a ranger requires a great amount of motivation, as with a rotating staff of around seven people the job often demands that a ranger takes the initiative. With the unofficial position as social media manager, Jones also has the task of increasing the parks’ digital presence. “I think it [social media] is hugely important because it extends how we can bring the Foothills to people,” Jones says. A Born Outdoorsman The unseasonally warm sunshine of an early March afternoon shines down on the Baylands Open Space Preserves ranger station. The first spring birds chirp outside while Richard Bicknell, a park ranger of 15 years, leans back in his office chair. From a young age, Bicknell had a passion for the environment and nature. Twenty-five years ago, he worked as a landscaper, installing and mowing lawns, and planting flowers. “I really liked it because it was outdoors in nature, but I didn’t feel like I was going to have a huge positive impact on the world,” Bicknell says. But after graduating from Unity College with a degree in environmental science and a concentration in conservation law enforcement, Bicknell knew he wanted to become a park ranger. As generalist park manager, Bicknell covers all of the necessary responsibilities concerning open space, which include law enforcement, firefighting, medical management and weeding. “We [generalist park rangers] are generally interested in everything,” Bicknell says. Of all his daily duties, large parts of his days are devoted to communicating with visitors, especially when he catches them breaking municipal laws. He always tries to spin his scoldings into more educational experiences. “We approach people in a polite,

friendly, and calm manner.” Bicknell says. compliance that way than by handcuffing “That way they know why they shouldn’t them.” do that [illegal activity], as opposed to Bicknell’s jovial chuckle echoes around kicking them out of the park with a $500 the room. It’s clear that he loves his job, ticket.” which offers a perBicknell says fect combination of he enjoys workpublic education, ing as a ranger beinteraction For 99 percent of the time, it’s human cause the preserve and environmental will forever remain pleasant, it’s different every preservation. untouched, and be- day and it’s fun. I meet people “I think it’s cause he’s able to the best job in the do his job without all over the country and all world,” Bicknell a gun. He believes over the world” says. “For 99 perthat a ranger should of the time, ­— Richard Bicknell cent form connections it’s pleasant, it’s with others rather different every day than panic visitors. and it’s fun. I meet “If you’re carrying a gun, every con- people all over the country and all over tact you have is an armed contact,” Bicknell the world who come specifically to see the says. “Guns make people nervous. I would Baylands — I get to work at a place where much rather educate somebody and gain people want to come and play.” v

THE LANDSCAPER Baylands park ranger Richard Bicknell sits at his desk in the Baylands Ranger Station discussing his duties. 61


2016 PERSPECTIVES | APRIL DEC 2015

Azimuth Industrial Company, Inc. 30593 Union City Blvd., Ste. 110 Union City, CA 94587 (510) 441-6000 Fax (510) 441-6008 azimuthsemi.com

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Text by ALIA CUADROS-CONTRERAS PERSPECTIVES | APRIL 2016 Art by KARINA CHAN Text by MADHUMITA GUPTA

Stereotype Threat. The hidden biases in our standardized tests

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N THE SAT, THE FIRST COUPLE OF questions are always the easiest. No, not the the first test questions — I’m talking about the ones that ask you to bubble in your name, gender and race. These questions should be asked after the exam, because they have an unintended effect — they “prime” test takers to have a certain mindset congruent with their ethnic or gender stereotypes. This effect targets minorities, widens the racial test score gap and creates a racially biased playing field for college. Data gathering questions have been found to encourage test takers to think about themselves in accordance with their racial or gender stereotype according to studies by Stanford University. This phenomenon, known as “stereotype threat,” can impact test scores, widening an already severe racial gap by inducing feelings of self-doubt in minority students. Testing companies have an obligation to reduce stereotype

These statistics were taken from the NCES. Statistics were provided for the Critical Reading, Writing and Math sections, and the average scores were taken by adding those numbers up. The Latino/Hispanic section was taken by adding up the scores for ‘Mexican-American” and “Other Hispanic”

threat, because it is one of the causes of the racial test score gap. A student’s test score should be reflective of their intellect, not their gender or skin color. Stereotypes for Asian-Americans say that they excel at math, while stereotypes for women say that they do poorly in math. A study conducted by the Harvard Psychology Department tested Asian females by either asking them about race or gender before a test. Unsurprisingly, results showed that performance of Asian women increased on a math test when Asian identity was brought up, and decreased when their gender was brought up. The impact of stereotype threat on our standardized tests is becoming increasingly prominent. On the 2013 SAT, average scores on Critical Reading, Math and Writing sections all displayed significant racial gaps. Male students averaged scores 14 points higher on the math section than female students. It is unfair of companies like the College Board to see the creation of these gaps and not take basic steps to correct them, simply because they want to gather data. Simple solutions for stereotype threat have also been shown to work in real classrooms. When students aren’t asked priming questions, the disparity unsurprisingly decreases. We have a clear solution to a devastating problem, it is immoral of us not to implement the change right away, especially when the impacts of the problem can be so damaging for students. Asking questions about race or gender might be important for data gathering, but that is not nearly as important as ensuring an equal playing field. The racial gap created by this threat can be devastating; test scores are a big part of the college application. As a result, stereotype threat is one of the reasons minorities have a significantly more difficult time getting into college than non-minority students. Asking data questions at the end of a test would actually ensure better, unbiased data. By not changing the format of the test, testing companies are contributing to the racial gap. They The student poll results collected forbelieve this issue arethey from a survey administered in Palo Alto High are letting students are nothing more than School English classes over the course of several days in November 2015. Eleven English classes what society thinks of them. DoingThe nothing isn’t an option; were randomly selected, and 268 responses were collected. surveys were completed online, and responses anonymous. With 95 percent confidence, the results the questions testingwere companies can’t afford to stand toforthe side. related v to this story are accurate within a margin of error of 3.05 percent. 63


SECOND SEMESTER SLUMP

YOU’RE ALLOWED TO START HAVING FUN BEFORE SECOND SEMESTER OF SENIOR YEAR Text by ESME ABLAZA Art by AISHAH MAAS

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BLEW IT. I failed to have a semester that rivals Ferris Bueller’s. There are some parts of second semester that no one tells you about. For some reason, it’s acceptable, encouraged, even, to broadcast your stress and lack of sleep as loud as you can during junior year and first semester of senior year. This expectation that you’re not supposed to have fun during junior year, but that you should be completely happy and relaxed during second semester of senior year, is unrealistic and unhealthy. On a Google doc titled “SSS GOALSSS <3,” aspirations thought of late one miserable night during first semester of senior year stare back at me. “Write short stories, submit to literary mags.” “Have picnics regularly.” “Go to the gym once a week.” These are all “GOALSSS” that, unfortunately, got abandoned in the craze of senior year. I was foolish to think that my rigorous course load would just evaporate with the end of the college process; however, we should stop perpetuating the myth that people are not allowed to have fun during the other three and a half years of high school. We build second semester up so

much that we end up sad that it doesn’t resemble “High School Musical.” Putting second semester on a pedestal is the result of working hard for three and a half years and believing that we will and can have fun later. We need to stop telling ourselves that second semester is the only semester in which we’re allowed to have fun. Even though I initially felt guilty for failing to embody the stereotypical second semester senior, I have to remind myself that it’s not like I haven’t had any fun at all. I drink less coffee. I joined Paly Wilderness Club. I spend more time with my friends (and I even witnessed Ben Higgins fall in love with not one, but two women with them by my side). It’s unfair to sustain the myth that to be successful one must be perpetually sleep-deprived and stressed. To remedy the stress associated with not living up to the second semester standard, we need to start living in the present instead of the future. It’s always a good time to start doing mentally healthy things for yourself and prioritizing the activities you love. I’m going to college next year — the first of four. This time, it’ll be different. Don’t believe me? Call me up and maybe we can meet to talk about it — over a picnic. v


t o n s i s i th m s a c r a aboutANs ITY GUAGE OF CREATIV

PERSPECTIVES | APRIL 2016

Text by RACHEL VAN GELDER Art by VIVIAN NGYUEN

OUR SECOND L

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EOPLE WHO DON’T LIKE SARCASM HAVE such funny, creative and confident personalities and always spice up conversations by injecting a little humor! Obviously, their opinions on sarcasm are based on scientific observations that couldn’t possibly be

misguided. Don’t get the wrong idea — I was just being sarcastic. Sarcasm has become such a big part of my vernacular that I can hardly remember the multitude of times I use it in a day. That’s not necessarily because I have a bad memory — sarcasm has just become like a second language to me. Sarcasm is a form of often misunderstood humor, as people have a tendency to take it too literally or dismiss it as being too harsh without considering the creativity that it sparks. I believe that sarcasm has the ability to enhance our creativity and can make ridiculous situations more humorous. Yet many people have stopped noticing sarcasm altogether. I realized that it had happened to me when I was stuck in a line and had a sarcastic conversation that made my experience more interesting. I was at the DMV and had spent a few hours surrounded by noisy, impatient people and was getting very annoyed about having to spend my entire Saturday waiting in line. I felt completely ridiculous standing in a slow-moving line for hours just to take a test. Without even thinking about it, I made a sarcastic comment about the “fantastic” management of the DMV to the person next to me in line. They jokingly agreed with me, and we shared a laugh. Instead of having an uninteresting exchange about the slow-moving lines, the injection of sarcasm made a boring situation just a bit more interesting. Coming to the realization that I had unconsciously become fluent in the language of sarcasm prompted me to find out what sarcasm really is and from where it originated. The very word “sarcasm” comes from the Greek word for “the tearing of flesh.” I thought to myself, “Do people really speak in such a

way?” I didn’t think of myself as having the right mindset to speak a language so gruesome. Its etymology makes it sound like something that can only be administered by someone with thick skin, and that certainly is not how I see myself. Many others echo the belief that sarcasm is a dark language of hostility disguised as humor. It was classified as a form of bullying in a 2012 article from Psychology Today. Although sarcasm can be used to express hostility and can be used to bully, it is not always used with the intention of putting someone down and can be advantageous. Sarcastic exchanges can be beneficial when they are between two people who know and trust each other. A 2015 Harvard study found that participants who engaged in sarcastic conversations, as opposed to serious ones, performed much better on tests of creativity. Although we may not realize it, the process of interpreting or thinking of a sarcastic comment puts us in a more creative mindset. There is still a fine line between using sarcasm to hurt someone and using it to insert humor in a ridiculous situation. But it is easy for sarcasm to be misunderstood, especially when used in a conversation between two people who have not established a sense of trust in their relationship, according to a 2015 Harvard study. Having a sense of trust in a relationship is important because making a sarcastic comment directed to someone you hardly know could very easily be interpreted literally. If used in the right way, sarcasm can help us deal with the problems we run into in our everyday lives in a creative way. And, let’s be honest — some of the problems we come across are ridiculous. What kind of a life would we be living if we never stopped to see the humor in the ridiculous situations we find ourselves in? A riveting one, that’s for sure. v EYE ROLL The eye roll is one of many signs that someone is being sarcastic. 65


PERSPECTIVES | APRIL 2016 Text by TARA MADHAV Photoillustration by KARINA CHAN, WILLIAM DOUGALL and TARA MADHAV

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HEN I WAS SMALL and more naive, I considered myself a fullblooded American. I was an American citizen in Palo Alto, I spoke like an American (I couldn’t speak Hindi to save my life) and I had only been back to India about three times before. That made me an American, right? The answer was hard to find. In kindergarten, I was placed in an English as a Second Language class because my mother put down Hindi as the language that I spoke at home (even though I only spoke a few words, not fluent sentences), and nobody bothered to ask if I needed the ESL class or not. A couple of times when I was young, my next door neighbor yelled racial epithets at my family, telling us we needed to go back “home.” I was teased by children in India for my accent but I was not accepted in America either. First slowly and then all at once, I realized that I was an Asian-American — emphasis on the Asian — and not only an Asian-American, but a member of a “model minority.” The term model minority describes an ethnic minority that, in the context of the nation they live in, has

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achieved a higher degree of socioeconomic success compared to that of the average population. This idealistic name masked all of the experiences that had peppered my childhood. It seemed to make the perception of my heritage simpler and less heady, when in fact that was quite the opposite. The phrase “model minority” is a poisonious one, stereotyping a successful group of people to the point where they are expected, above all else, to succeed. As a member of the model minority, I was expected not just to “do well” in school and life, but to be absolutely outstanding. I not only had to live up to the expectations around academic and social lives that every person faces in a community like Palo Alto, but also to the more subtle expectation from my society, the society that requested I succeed because I am an Asian-American. The concept of a model minority is a widespread one — it can be used to describe minority groups in many Western countries where there are large immigrant populations. In its original definition, the phrase

“model minority” seems to be a flattering one. Who wouldn’t want to be an affluent person in a country that’s not your own, to destroy the stereotypes that surround people of color and beat the natives at their own game? The answer is, everybody and nobody. The median income for Asian-Americans is $66,000 versus a median income of $49,800 for the general American public according to the Pew Research Center. Asian-Americans also hold the most undergraduate or graduate degrees. The real cherry on top is that Asian-Americans are, by percentage, more happy than the general public, according to Pew. When the statistics speak, it appears that Asian-Americans are flourishing. But while Asian-Americans are off being ‘outstanding citizens,’ they are also at the mercy of a system that boils them down to their achievements and their successes, that gives them a pat on the back yet lambasts them for anything too ethnically objectionable, that is too out of line


model minority

PERSPECTIVES | APRIL 2016

MORE THAN IT HELPS

with the American emphasis on achieve- rent successes of Asian-Americans paint a ment and nothing else. It’s American to be stark contrast to the historical racism that successful, but not American to be foreign. plagued them before the advent of the The most prevalent stereotype is that model minority stereotype. Many Chinese Asian-Americans are more competitive laborers came stateside from mainland Chieducation-wise due to a culture that em- na to work on the transcontinental railroads phasises virtuosity and success. This classic in the 19th century, and while on U.S. soil, stance has come to hurt Asians in contem- they faced an appalling amount of racial viporary times — top-tier olence. Japanese-American universities are now placinternment still casts a dark ing quotas on the number shadow over American hisof Asian students they can tory. Islamaphobia is alive It’s American to be and well after 9/11. admit to avoid a population that is majority Asian. ReWe were first one of successful, but search from Princeton Unithe “worst” minorities not american to be and now we’re the model versity shows that Asians foreign. have a 67 percent lower minority. American sociodds of admission at top ety has changed the pubtier universities than white lic perception of Asianstudents do. These tactics Americans depending on led to more than 60 organizations suing what is best for America. Harvard University in 2015, citing their There is an array of other problems higher expectiations for Asian students. that arise with the model minority label. For Asian-Americans, the yellow brick road While the stereotype of Asian-Americans to paradise is not so smooth. boasts an educated and affluent populaHistory offers another example of tion, not all Asians are super smart or ecowhy being a model minomically well off — to assume this is true nority is not so is to ignore real problems in the Asianhar mless. American community and hold The curpeople to unrealistic standards.

Nine out of 14 Asian groups have a poverty level of 14 percent or higher, according to statistics from the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The Initiative also stated that Asian-Americans are less likely to graduate with a high school degree than non-Hispanic whites are. The truth is, Asian-Americans are successful in college, but only if they make it to college. Those are facts that fly right in the face of the model minority myth. Regardless, it will never be OK to assume that a group of people represents a single trait. Asian-Americans can’t be categorized as just smart or successful or advanced — we are so many other things, like vulnerable and imperfect. As an Asian-American, I am proud of the progress made in a short time. We managed to do well in a country that is not historically known for helping its immigrants achieve. But there is still work to be done. America needs to treat Asian-Americans as people, and stop treating us as an example to others and ourselves for our potential for success. There are still problems in the Asian-American community, and a blanket label doesn’t help repair wounds. It only causes and opens new wounds. v

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O ONE HAS DONE ANYTHING ON THE anger can be really valuable too in motivating belab so far,” I type in an irritated Facebook message havior.” Mattes’ anger compelled her to redesign her to my physics lab group at 11:30 p.m. the night before our report is due. “I will literally complain to class’s exams to discourage cheating. Anger is a visceral response, and, while it may not [the teacher].” I’ve already written the lab’s purpose, hypothesis and data analysis, but revision history tells me the Google docu- seem like it to all, it is an authentic one. Listening to a ment has remained otherwise untouched since the lab was assigned person who is angry is one of the most important steps you can take to understand that person’s point of view, a two days ago. “Woah dude, calm down,” one of my lab partners responds. key in maintaining strong relationships. In fact, couples who express their anger with each other are likely to stay “We’ll do our parts; you don’t need to get so angry.” The issue was eventually resolved; the rest of the group did together longer than couples who bottle it up, accordtheir share of the work and we received a good grade, but my ing to a study done from 1971-1988 by Ernest Harburg, partner’s response highlights a greater issue — anger carries an a senior research scientist at the University of Michigan. In essence, expressing anger to one’s spouse — apunwarranted stigma. While many are quick to pass anger off as toxic and destruc- propriately, of course — is a sign of a healthy relationship. Despite its benefits, it’s no secret tive, it deserves more credit as a useful emotion that many people associate anger with vibecause it has the potential to incite change olence and wrongdoing. Anger is so stigand allow self-expression. matized, in fact, that it’s not uncommon Aristotle once said: “The man who is an- The man who is angry for media outlets to choose to focus on a gry at the right things and with the right people at the right things and social movement’s angry side to undermine … is praised.” More than 2000 years later, this its effectiveness. quote still rings true — though its original sig- with the right people ... is Most recently, media organizations like nificance may have been eventually forgotten. praised.” Fox News opposed to the “Black Lives MatThe fact is that anger serves the human — Aristotle ter” movement construed the movement’s body as a vehicle of self-expression. In my life, constituents as irrational by choosing to narI’ve noticed that I better understand the feelings of my friends and family once they express their anger to me. row in only on their angry riots, neglecting the peaceful protests Sometimes anger is the only thing that will make people listen — they have successfully orchestrated as well. The stigma against anger is unjustified because history has notice how a teacher’s angry yell can silence an entire classroom. Palo Alto High School AP Psychology teacher Melinda shown in multiple instances that anger can be instrumental to augmenting political causes and catalyzing social change. Mattes echoes this sentiment. Take the women’s suffrage movement as an example. Imagine A few years ago, Mattes managed to channel her anger at a if the general tone of the campaign had been, “Hey guys, would group of cheating students into positive change. “When I’ve gotten maddest is when I’ve made significant you please listen to us? Seeing as we’re human beings in this counchanges in my life,” Mattes says. “It [anger] motivated me to try, we’d really appreciate if you would be so kind as to give us the really look at the practice of how we tested [in AP Psychol- right to vote.” Without the anger of American women that spurred social ogy].” According to Mattes, anger’s animalistic nature comes change in our country, the women’s rights movement would likely with some downsides, but its positives can sometimes out- have been set back by decades. Similarly, my group’s lab report would also have been set back weigh them. “Anger helps focus us,” Mattes says. “We also know by days or hours if not decades if I didn’t get angry. So next time that anger can shut down parts of your rational brain and you want to change the world — or turn in a lab rethere are problems with getting that focused, but I think port on time — get angry. v

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PERSPECTIVES | APRIL 2016 Text by ELANA REBITZER Art by PORTIA BARRIENTOS

more than a trophy

AWARD SHOWS CAN CREATE CHANGE

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AST JUNE, AS I WATCHED the Tony Awards, I eagerly awaited the announcement of the Best Score and Best Book of a Musical awards, rooting for Fun Home to win. Not only was it my favorite musical of the season, but it had the chance to become the first musical with an allwoman team to win Best Book and Score. But, as the award show drew to a close, I realized that the Tony Awards didn’t televise their category. Instead, these women received their groundbreaking award during a commercial break. The three-hour-long award ceremony dedicated most of its time to live performances from other musicals, many of which weren’t even nominated for awards. Don’t get me wrong, as an avid music and theater fan, I love these performances. But I don’t watch award shows just to see concerts — I watch them to see the people who produce those concerts finally getting the credit they deserve. This problem is not unique to the Tonys, either. This year’s Grammys televised only eight of their nearly 80 awards, dedicating the rest of the night to performances. By not televising their creative awards, the Tonys, the Grammys, and all of the other award shows are not serving their purpose. These shows were created so that viewers could see all parts of the entertainment industry celebrated. In recent years, however, they have become a celebration of glitzy and glamorous performances from the already-famous. The award show industry has also come under fire recently for lacking diversity (read: #OscarsSoWhite). Though some on the Oscars committee have acknowledged that this lack of diversity is a problem, there has not been a concerted effort to fix it, instead having hosts like Chris Rock and Neil Patrick Harris make jokes to try and break the obvious tension in the room. When only white people are being nominated for major acting awards, the stereotype of entertainment as a mostly white industry is easily perpetuated.

While it’s easy to think that only the most lauded awards like Best Picture or Album of the Year matter, the people winning the other categories are just as talented and work just as hard to create the music, television or movie that makes up the media you consume. Especially in the theater and arts business, one that is constantly worried about losing funding in schools, these awards shows are sometimes the only way for children across the country to see what goes into being part of the entertainment industry. For every album produced and every show made, there are far more people behind the scenes. If young kids don’t get to see the multitude of possible careers in the entertainment realm, there is no way for the performing arts industry to continue. Yes, award shows may televise performances by big name stars to bring in viewers. But if these stars present awards or host the shows instead, they can still bring in the names and make room for the overlooked awards. Viewers can still fangirl over red carpet appearances by their longtime favorites, and may develop new favorites after seeing more unknown stars accept their awards. These award shows have a strong opportunity to influence change in people’s lives. With millions of viewers per show, impressionable children and older fans alike have the chance to see history made time after time. Instead, awards shows continue to perpetuate the status quo. As the saying goes, “You have to see it to be it.” When young girls don’t see that women can also receive recognition for creating, when children of color don’t see people who look like them winning awards on screen, and when tech geeks don’t get to see creative or other “minor” awards, nothing can change. But if these shows used their platform to make a difference in the world, by increasing their diversity and televising more of the awards, those hoping for a spot in the next generation of the entertainment industry can finally get together and share the spotlight. v 69 69


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i hate your hate speech

E ALL KNOW THAT one jerk on Facebook — the one who says a mildly-to-very offensive thing, and then when people complain, claims they have the constitutional right to be a jerk and state their opinion. Yes, said jerk is technically correct — they have the ‘freedom of speech’ to say whatever they want. But other citizens have every right to express their displeasure with their speech. After all, they’re also just exercising their freedom of speech. But freedom of speech, meaning the right to express opinions without censorship or restraint from the government, isn’t 100 percent guaranteed. Several Supreme Court cases have upheld that hate speech inciting immediate violence, libel, slander and obscene content are not protected under the First Amendment. To send a message about the limitations of hate speech and free speech and to clear up misunderstandings about the First Amendment, the government needs to establish a harder line against speech that causes harm.

Text by GABRIELA ROSSNER Photoillustration by KARINA CHAN and WILLIAM DOUGALL

Currently, the Supreme Court protects hate speech as long as it doesn’t promote imminent violence, as declared in Brandenburg v. Ohio. The 1969 Supreme Court Case revolving around the KKK’s right to rally stated that the government cannot punish an abstract advocacy of force. Recently, hate speech has become more commonplace. Not to sound like a parrot, but a lot of it has to do with the rise of Donald Trump. Many right-leaning Americans have decided that ‘political correctness has gone too far.’ Apparently, respecting human rights is too much for some people once it inconveniences them slightly. Those who don’t want to change with social tides lash out with what is essentially hate speech. Because even though hate speech is intrinsically linked to hate crimes, according to The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, ‘they’re just words’ to the anti-SJW’s. The thing is, it’s not just words. At recent Trump rallies, where violence has broken out to a point that his March 11 Chicago rally had to be canceled, it’s quite clear that Trump has gone beyond what should be his First Amendment rights. When Trump says, “I’d like to

punch him in the face, I’ll tell you that,” or “If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of ‘em, would you? Seriously. OK? Just knock the hell — I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees. I promise. I promise,” that crosses the line between an abstract advocacy of force and right into a concrete advocacy of force that can and will cause immediate danger. As the use of hate speech has risen, I find myself questioning my position on the Supreme Court’s decision to define unacceptable speech as only speech that causes immediate harm. On one hand, I recognize the utmost importance of checking government power. To allow the government to censor speech would present many dilemmas. However, I also recognize the severity of the situation in America regarding hate. I shudder to think that it’s OK for the KKK to say whatever they want, because I know that the speech that the KKK uses turns into physical actions that hurt. What I can advocate for is that individual citizens work to put a stop to hate speech that is governmentprotected, through standing up to perpetrators of intolerance. The fact that one can say ‘I want to kill all [blanks]’ and have the full protection of the law shouldn’t be something that people celebrate or take advantage of. Just because the government shouldn’t excessively censor speech doesn’t mean that we the people should condone it. Hate speech might technically be your right, but it isn’t right. v


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Verde Volume 17 Issue 4  

In this issue of Verde, we explore organizations that are ushering in a new generation of social equality as well as people and communities...

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