Page 1


A dictatorship in the classroom & its implications today, pg. 21

Vizavoo Hair Salons 174 University Palo Alto, CA (650)-328-0777 Hair, Makeup and Nail Services Free Kerastase Hair Treatment on ďŹ rst visit

Thank you to our sponsors: The Chapmans The Contreras The Cuadros The DeLeeuws



The Garewals The Macuils The Jains The Joshis

The Sastrys The Yangs The Pangs from the Verde magazine staff


October 2016 Volume 18 Issue 1 Editors-in-Chief Danielle Macuil Tara Madhav Alicia Mies Managing Editor Josh Code Design & Digital Editor Laura Sieh

Features & Profiles Editor Madhumita Gupta Culture Editor Gabriel Sánchez Perspectives Editor Alia Cuadros-Contreras News & Launch Editors Emma Cockerell Frances Zhuang Stephanie Lee Michelle Li Art Director Vivian Nguyen Photo Director James Poe Business Managers Irene Choi Deepali Sastry

for more information

Staff Writers Aishah Maas Amira Garewal Julie Cornfield Noga Hurwitz Rebecca Yao Saurin Holdheim Sophie Nakai Stephanie Yu Tamar Sarig Thomas Chapman Adviser Paul Kandell

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 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 or to 50 Embarcadero Road Palo Alto, CA 94301. All Verde stories are posted online and available for commenting at 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 Irene Choi and Deepali Sastry 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, California. The Paly PTSA mails Verde to every student’s home. All Verde work is available at


In this issue INSIDE BALLET


pg. 40

6 Editorials 8 Launch 13 News

Staff writers Alia Cuadro-Contras and Sophie Nakai delve into the intense schedule of Paly ballet dancers.


18 California Propositions 21 Cover: Third Wave 27 Cover: Stanford Prison Experiment 31 Self-Driving Cars 35 Summer Melt Follow-Up



Staff writer Deepali Sastry goes to new restaurant Tender Greens for healthy pleasure food options.




50 52 53 54 56 58 60

Tender Greens Halloween Costumes Poké Places Costco Foods Midnight Snacks Ethical Clothing Off the Grid

Perspectives pg. 41

Nearing the 50th anniversary of the seminal “Third Wave” simulation of Nazi Germany at Cubberely High School, artist Vivian Nguyen depicts a man with no face to signify that anyone can become an authoritarian leader like Ron Jones had in 1967. Staff writers Emma Cockerell and Stephanie Lee delve into the implications of the experiment in today’s political sphere.


37 JNitz 40 Paly Ballet Dancers 42 Albert Zhang 44 Paly Legacies 46 Gautam Mittal 48 Julia Chang

62 64 60 68 69 70

You’ll Get the Guy Later The Plight of Pitbulls Cover: A Letter to My Grandma The Application Introspection The Palm Oil Problem Down the Middle

Facebook: /verdemagazine Instagram: @verdemag /verdemagazine


Photo by James Poe

JNITZ pg. 37


Staff writers Josh Code and Irene Choi explore the implications of self-driving cars for teenagers hitting the road.

Online this month:


A new age of power

M “BLONDE” REVIEW Editor-in-Chief Alicia Mies reviews the hotly anticipated Frank Ocean album, “Blonde.”

NEVERMIND 25 Columnist and culture editor Gabriel Sanchez explores the influence Nirvana’s album Nevermind has 25 years after its release.

ETHODS OF MANIPULATION are as old as time itself. Peel back the folds of history, and see the instances of evil and of calculated destruction that turned human nature on its head. Take a glance around our community, and there are examples manifold of the capacity humanity has to exert control over the people around them. Staff writers Emma Cockerell and Stephanie Lee explore the consequences of the Third Wave experiment nearly 50 years after it was conducted at Cubberley High School in “The genesis of a Third Wave,” and staff writers Julie Cornfield and Saurin Holdheim analyze the Stanford Prison Experiment 45 years later in “What happens when we accept torture?” And then we find ourselves in the present. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is using what many see as troublesome tactics to garner support from the American populace. In “A Letter to My Grandma,” staff writer Noga Hurwitz writes to her late grand-

mother, a Holocaust survivor, about authoritarianism and today’s politics. Beyond the negative connotations of manipulation, using power to create change can yield fantastic results. Staff writers Irene Choi and Josh Code explore the effects of the budding self-driving car in the always innovative Silicon Valley in “Self-driving cars.” Staff writers Rebecca Yao, Stephanie Yu, and Thomas Chapman and Laura Sieh delve into the lives of three teenagers who are using their skill sets to make a name for themselves in “Albert Zhang,” “Gautam Mittal” and “JNitz”, respectively. Finally, staff writer Alia Cuadros-Contreras pieces apart societal notions of gender in her perspective “You’ll get the guy later.” As our society progresses into a newer age and creates its own history, dangerous and innovative trends of the past have both the disturbing and the encouraging potential to creep back up again. The question is, will you notice? —Dani, Tara & Alicia




NSTANCES OF CAMPUS ASSAULT have cultivated anger across the nation and encouraged calls for action to address sexual assault. The most infamous case of sexual assault of the past few months has been that of Brock Turner, a former freshman at Stanford University who was convicted of sexually assaulting a 22-year-old woman behind a dumpster in January 2015. Turner was released after three months in jail because of good behavior on Sept. 2, leading to more outrage. A focal point of the public outcry surrounding the case was Turner’s insistence that alcohol consumption and Stanford’s “party culture” were to blame for his actions. On Aug. 22, Stanford authorities unveiled a new policy on alcohol consumption that bans all “high-volume distilled liquor containers” for undergraduates living in dorms and all hard liquor at on-campus undergraduate parties. Verde believes that this alcohol policy does not adequately grapple with the issue of campus sexual assault. While the university did not officially link the policy to Turner’s actions — or to the issue of sexual assault at large — many have interpreted it as a reaction to the highly publicized case. Michele Dauber, a professor at Stanford Law School, tweeted her response, saying that “‘Sadly @stanford appears to agree with #BrockTurner that 'alcohol' and 'party culture' are to blame for his conduct.’” Building on that,

While this policy has the right intentions, Verde believes that curbing the consumption of alcohol at Stanford will not stop the occurrence of sexual assault in the way needed.



Art by Vivian Nguyen

when launching a school-wide dialogue on alcohol misuse in March, former Stanford President John Hennessy and Provost John Etchemendy cited “sexual assault and relationship violence” as one of many alcohol-fueled problems. The dialogue generated around the case could no doubt have influenced the larger conversation at work. While this policy has the right intentions in attempting to lessen what can

Editorials are written by Verde’s staff, and require more than 50 percent of the whole staff’s approval.

t enough be dangerous levels of drinking in the student population, Verde believes that curbing the consumption of alcohol at Stanford will not stop the occurrence of sexual assault alone. Party culture might provide a background for many of the nation’s sexual assault incidents, but alcohol use on its own cannot be blamed for criminal actions. Sexual violence is a societal problem, and a product of countless factors, including widespread misunderstandings about consent. Placing immediate on drinking sends a convoluted yet powerful message about what fuels sexual assault. While alcohol use does provide the background for many college sexual assaults, it does not make people sexually assault others. The implementation of this policy does not mean that Stanford won’t apply more actions towards sexual assault in the future; however, beyond the inadequacy of the policy, questions can be raised as to why Stanford chose limiting alcohol as the first step to take. Limiting alcohol without adding a disclaimer on the importance of other factors in sexual assault nor adding on additional policies sends the message to students that alcohol has a direct connection to sexual assault. The alcohol policy sets an improper precedent for dealing with instances of sexual assault — it is possible to believe that more universities will take a page from Stanford’s actions and use it as a precedent for their own immediate responses to sexual assault. Verde believes there are a number of measures Stanford authorities could have taken in junction with its alcohol policy, like more education on what consent means and more resources for victims of sexual assault. Stanford is not at all done working towards stopping sexual assault incidents and we hope that this is not the ultimate step they chose to take. v

Your vote is


Art by Vivian Nguyen

not a protest

ITH TWO UNPOPUlar candidates dominating the 2016 election, the phrase of “voting for the lesser of two evils” is becoming more and more common in the electoral sphere. According to the Center for Public Affairs Research, nearly three-fourths of Americans feel frustrated about the upcoming election. But for some, “voting for the lesser of two evils” is not enough. The growing discontent with the two major party candidates has led many people to turn to a few lesser known candidates. Third party candidates Jill Stein of the Green Party and Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party are peaking the public’s interest, with polls dramatically higher than in recent years. In fact, polls show that Johnson is currently at 8.9 percent, a record high since third party candidate Ross Perot in 1992. Many are evidently asking, why don’t we abandon both leading candidates and vote for a third party, to protest against a broken political system in which the only two viable options are either from the Democratic or Republican party? There is no such thing as an effective protest vote. It’s that simple. You are not expressing, and cannot express your disap-

proval toward Clinton or Trump by voting for a third party. Your vote is only representative of an endorsement, so voting for a third party candidate expresses your support for the ideals that candidate stands for, and the opinion that that candidate should become the next president of the United States. If this is really the case, then go right ahead and vote third party. If not, then use your vote to endorse the “lesser of two evils” and, next time, get involved in the political debate earlier. True support for a party should not only occur for the few seconds it takes to check a ballot once every four years. Citizens should go beyond the ballot, and support their candidate throughout the year if they truly believe they are the most adequate presidential candidate, be it by starting a march to spread awareness or even by posting a link to their website on Facebook, especially if that candidate is obscure and not well known. Your vote represents your voice, and unless you are indifferent between the major party candidates, Trump and Clinton, and strongly support a third party candidate for their values and ideals, take a moment to consider the effects of your third party vote. Remember, whoever you are voting for may become president, so ask yourself, are you aware of the consequences of that choice? v



Verde: Are there any changes ASB is implementing in the 2016-17 school year?

ASB is going to continue implementing a lot of the same things that we received positive feedback on last year such as movie nights, the spirit week night rally and PALY and Gunn collaboration. In terms of changes we just hope to continue the progress we’ve made in making spirit week rally activities more diverse as well as improving communication between the board, admin and the student body.”

— Anmol Nagar, ASB President


Fall Supplies Text by MICHELLE LI Fall is approaching! This change in season will bring qualities specific to fall, such as the changing and falling of leaves, lattés etc. Come up with satirical supplies for fall, such as goggles for diving into leaf piles or must-have turkey sweater for thanksgiving!



Goggles and a bodysuit are extremely essential in your fall supplies. These equipments will come in handy when you need to maneuver through the massive leaf piles in the street. The bodysuit and goggles will protect you from any creatures hiding in the leaf piles waiting to attack you. Who knows what will be lurking within them?


Halloween is around the corner. This means that eating candy will become a daily routine. To avoid getting cavities, stop by your nearest CVS to buy a mouthguard. Make sure to wear the mouthguard while eating your candy since this is the #1 prevention of cavities.


Pumpkin costumes are the next big thing. Make sure to wear a pumpkin costume to school. This trendy outfit will help you attract friends as the costume will remind them of all things fall. If you want to go all out, dress up as a pumpkin spice latté and you’ll attract double the crowd.


Since Thanksgiving is approaching, it’s important to find the perfect Thanksgiving sweater to wear. The jingling of the classic bells on your sweater as you walk will replicate the mating call of a turkey and ultimately replicate a mood that embodies the Thanksgiving spirit.



SophomoresApplication Essay Prompts EofC2020:TED College JFreshmen REClass Class of 2019: The Republican Party

What’s the worst The Republican Partypart of applying to college? The essays! Maybe writing 250 words about “intellectual vitality” isn’t your thing, but just be glad your schools didn’t use any of these prompts. “Reflect on an intellectually stimulating experience, you big nerd.” “What aspect of campus life do you most want to irreversably screw up?” Illustration by Laura Sieh

“Suck up to our admissions committee in 150 words our less.”


‘‘I don’t really do that [shopping]. I guess if I really need things then I generally buy them on Amazon.’’

‘‘Target, because they have good video games.’’ — NATALIA BRACAMONTE, freshman


Where do you like to shop?” Reporting by EMMA COCKERELL

“‘Jammin’ on Haight’ It’s a hippie store on Haight [Street] in San Francisco and everything is tie-dye and they have free glitter!” — ANJALI BARDHAN, junior

I enjoy shopping at Safeway, because I live close to it, and also 7/11 because it’s a convenient place to get a snack. — MARVIN ZOU, sophomore


Art by Stephanie Lee




Art by Alica On


From the Verde Archives: Past Versus Present Text by ALIA CUADROS-CONTRERAS

Pokestops Text by FRANCES ZHUANG University Ave As you might have guessed based on the traffic, downtown Palo Alto tends to be a densely populated area— not just in terms of humans, but in terms of Pokémon and Pokéstops as well. There are a large number of Pokéstops located around just a few blocks, which makes University Avenue the perfect place for an afternoon of Pokémon hunting. In terms of Pokémon, the highly coveted Eevee tends to come up in this area, so if you’re looking to start or finish your Vaporeon/Jolteon/Flareon trifecta, downtown is the place for you. Cultural Center at Newell Although much quieter and less traffic-burdened than University Avenue, the cultural center at the Mitchell Park Library on the intersection of Newell and Embarcadero boasts nine Pokéstops located in a small area, creating another convenient walking circuit. It’s also right across the street from the fire station, so if your battles get too heated, there’s always a way to cool off. In addition, there’s a gym by a church a few blocks down on Embarcadero, which will give you the chance to test out the Pokémon you catch at the cultural center. You don’t need all ten of them, after all.


nder piles and piles of glossy magazines and New York Times newspapers, I recently found the first-ever issue of Verde Magazine! Published in 1999, the pages are a faded yellow and the pictures appear in black and white. As expected, times were very different, and many of the stories are difficult to connect to as a part of the modern generation. (Who knew that people needed a tutorial on how to use the Internet?) However, there are also various topics that still ring true to our Palo Alto high school community and have even been touched upon in Verde during the last few years. Similar to a cover story last year, the first issue of Verde features a story on Planned Parenthood. Although the story from 1999 was written in light of the growing epidemic of chlamydia, it’s interesting to note that the topic of Planned Parenthood is still a contested and sensitive topic 17 years later, now in regards to abortion. President Obama has also recently taken action to make sure funds towards Planned Parenthood stays protected. In our most recent issue of Verde (Issue 18.1), there is a profile on startup kids of past Paly alumni who are technological entrepreneurs. In the heart of Silicon Valley, it’s no surprise that the topic of technology continues to be a focus in our magazine. It’s nice to see that Paly students keep prospering in this area, even after almost two decades.



visit us at:


410 California Avenue, Palo Alto CA 94306

Serving Palo Alto for 75 years!

Sharetea Palo Alto 540 Bryant St, Palo Alto, CA.

Check us out on social media! instagram: @shareteapaloalto facebook: Sharetea Palo Alto Valid only at Palo Alto location: Present your school ID and get 10% off! Discount cannot be combined with other promotions or discounts.



A big thank you to MAC Boosters!


By the


7.8 The percent of Paly students who support third party candidates Jill Stein or Gary Johnson. page 15


PAC comedy to open Nov. 4 THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST Palo Alto High School seniors prepare for their performances of “The Importance of Being Earnest,” which will open at 7:30 p.m. in the PAC on Nov. 4. Photo by Amira Garewal.


HEATER STUDENTS will perform “The Importance of Being Earnest” as the first production in Palo Alto High School’s new Performing Art Center, opening on Nov. 4. Highlights of the show include an intricately designed set, which takes full advantage of the PAC’s innovative features. “It’s state-of-the-art, it’s beautiful, and it’s part of the reason I chose this show,” director Kathleen Woods said. “This should be a beautiful elegant show, which it takes place in the residences and gardens of upper class British people at the turn of the 20th century.” The play, written by Oscar Wilde, is one of the most famous comedies in the English language. “The intent of the play is to make fun of the upper class lifestyle of the British,” Woods said. “It really makes fun of a class of people that are pretentious and have so much money and time on their hands.”

According to Woods, the show will be performed using a British accent. Claire Geber, a former Paly parent from Britain, will come back to assist the theater students with dialect training. “Most of the students who have speaking parts in the show have studied the British dialect, some of them for two or three years,” Woods said. Junior Mia Trubelja, who plays one of the lead roles, looks forward to performing in the PAC for the first time. “It’s a huge performing space,” Trubelja said. “You could say, Broadway-level. It’s very updated. We have so much new equipment and technology. The theater is so comfortable and fun to be in.” The cast will perform at 7:30 p.m. in the PAC on Nov. 4 and 2 p.m. on Nov. 6 and 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 10, 11 and 12. Tickets can be purchased at the door students pay $5 and adults pay $10. v

The year that the Third Wave experiment occurred at Cubberley High School. page 21


Billion that would be issued in bonds to improve and construct public schools, if California Proposition 51 passes. page 29


The percent of Paly students who would use a self-driving car, not considering cost. page 31




ALO ALTANS will choose from a pool of five candidates to fill the three open seats on the school board in the Nov. 8 election. Incumbents Heidi Emberling and Melissa Baten Caswell are running against hopefuls Jay Blas Jacob Cabrera, Todd Collins and Jennifer DiBrienza. This election comes at a pivotal time for the Palo Alto Unified School District, as it’s struggling to recover from a multi-million dollar budget shortfall. Verde reached our to all of the candidates by email to learn about the campaigns; here is what we learned; Board president Emberling has a number of ideas regarding how she hopes to improve the district. “We are looking ... through a lens of equity, to improve access and opportunities for all students,” she stated. “We are always looking for ways to create a culture of continuous improvement.” Baten Caswell stated her idea of improvement is rooted in her desire to enhance the academic and socio-emotional health of students. “We must provide a healthy environment ... where kids feel connected and supported,” Baten Caswell stated. In addition, she deems it the district’s job to focus more efforts on employee development. “We must continue to train our teachers and staff to identify issues early.” An impassioned contender who defines himself as “radical,” Cabrera stated he is running again because he believes it’s time to transform the community.



“Society itself and our entire government are pushing our school systems onto a track that is unsustainable for our children and unsustainable for our society,” Cabrera stated. “We ... should have the ability and foresight to find solutions to the broader social problems that are affecting our schools ... and start implementing these solutions.” Collins, an entrepreneur and businessman, prioritizes strong fiscal management and widespread academic achievement in the district. “Students are indiviuals, not averages, and if we are not providing the right opportunities and education for significant numbers of our students, we have to focus on that and figure out why,” Collins stated. DiBrienza is an educator who says she cares about student well-ebing and preparing students to be critical thinkers. “We have a commitment and responsibility to educate all students,” DiBrienza stated. “The district has made efforts to engage and reach more students but there is still more work to be done.” With such impassioned individuals running for office, voters have a tough choice to make. To PAUSD parent Kurt Milne, the most qualified candidate is one who is prepared to make tactful decisions when it comes down to it. “I think it’s important to vote for somebody that can thoughtfully make a hard trade-off ... somebody who can weigh the pros and cons of different issues,” Milne stated. v


CANDIDATES Melissa Baten Caswell, Jennifer DiBrienza, Todd Collins, Heidi Emberling and Jay Blas Jacob Cabrera are looking to fill the three open seats on the school board. Photos courtesy of the Palo Alto Online.




SB 916: Theater and dance teachers need credentials


ON SEPT. 26, Gov. Jerry Brown signed bill SB 916 into law, improving theater and dance education throughout California by replacing the currently required teaching credentials with theater and dance-specific ones. Currently, teachers with English and physical education credentials are deemed sufficiently qualified to teach theater and dance classes, respectively, despite the fact that they are often unaware of the requisite national and state standards for theater and dance, according to Kathleen Woods, a theater teacher at Palo Alto High School.

“Theater and dance are art forms and instructional areas in their own rights, so often when you have teachers who have not been trained, they aren’t aware of the standards and they don’t have the experience necessary to teach those subjects adequately,” Woods said. “If they [a school] have an English teacher who’s never done theater before, it’s not fair to expect them to take that [a new subject] on and to offer students the education quality they deserve.” With newer teachers, a student’s drive to improve their craft can also suffer. “If you’re an arts kid, your growth depends on a mentor,” said Nadia Leinhos, a senior at

Paly and proponent of SB 916 who spoke at a nationwide convention. “Without a good one, your performance goes nowhere, and that causes nothing but frustration.” With SB 916, a variety of improvements are expected. “I think this bill will help make dance classes more entertaining rather than just a PE class students are required to take,” said Nathalia Castillo, a Paly senior and captain of the dance team. “Theatre teachers from all over California declared themselves in favor of this bill,” Leinhos said. “It was incredibly compelling for me.” v


Number of clubs see sharp decrease on Club day


HARTERED CLUBS on Palo Alto High School’s campus has dropped significantly since last year, according to Student Activities Director

Matt Hall. According to Hall, 71 clubs were chartered this semester, as opposed to 86 from fall last year and 96 in the 2014-15 academic year. “There are fewer clubs this year than in previous years,” stated Maya Lathi, Associate Student Body vice president, but overall student interest has not suffered. Club presidents saw “significantly more” sign-ups per club this Club Day. Both Nagar and Lathi agreed that the high temperatures during club day were one major problem. “I wish I had given clubs a heads up so they could have prepared,” Lathi stated. Nagar hopes to remind club leaders to bring water bottles or umbrellas in future years. Ultimately, both ASB leaders considered Club Day a major success. “It was so great seeing the quad packed with interested students, and also seeing all of the interesting and creative clubs in one place,” Nagar stated. v CLUB DAY Zoe Sid, Caity Berry and Cornelius Duffie hold posters as they promote their clubs. Photo by Emilia Diaz-Magaloni/The Paly Voice.


CONTENTIOUS ISSUES Moderator Jeffrey Herbst and panelists Geoffrey Brigham, Peter Stern, and Vivek Wadhwa (from left to right) shake hands as their discussion comes to an end at the Neuseum talk in the Media Arts center at Palo Alto High School. The event ended at 8 p.m., but many of the panelists stayed after for further discussion with audience members. “I thought it went very well, despite a few disagreements,” Stern said.



Heated Exchange Marks Newseum Talk


IGWIGS FROM TWO OF THE BAY Area’s largest tech firms played defense last month in the Media Arts Center at Palo Alto High School when a Carnegie Mellon professor attacked them for being “ignorant” before a large audience. Vivek Wadhwa, professor at Carnegie Mellon University, shared harsh words with Geoffrey Brigham and Peter Stern, senior employees at YouTube and Facebook. Brigham, YouTube’s director of trust and safety, and Stern, Facebook’s head of policy risk management, answered similarly to the question of how to make people, within the United States and outside, better consumers of the news before Wadhwa interjected. “Can I respectfully say that you are ignorant of the real world?” Wadhwa said, going on to claim that both YouTube’s and Facebook’s policies were too US-centric, and that the tech giants were trying too hard to force Western values and beliefs on users all over the world. He related this point to his recent trip to New Delhi, highlighting the difference in values and motivations of American citizens and small farmers in India. The discussion occurred during the “Free Speech in the Social Media Era” program on Sept. 14, hosted by the the Newseum, an interactive museum dedicated to journalism in Washington DC. The program was organized by Paly journalism advisor Esther Wojcicki, who is a Newseum trustee.

The panelists took a step towards reconciliation when sharing their visions for a positive future of news on social media. Stern explained the merits of counter arguments, saying, “negative, violent ideas will always be out there. A big part of the solution will be more positive speech” to combat the negativity. Wadhwa expanded on this idea, saying that as social media becomes available to the world’s masses, it would “bombard them with information that equalizes.” Brigham agreed, bringing the focus back to the importance of community to the self-regulation of negative ideas, an idea he mentioned several times throughout the night. Possibly the biggest takeaway for students that night was that many of the most pressing questions regarding free speech and journalism do not have concrete answers yet, and that future journalists would be the ones with the responsibility and potential to resolve these problems. This was highlighted when moderator Jeffrey Herbst, president and CEO of the Newseum, asked the panelists how the increasing militarization of social media could be combatted. The question, which stumped the panelists, was eventually answered by Brigham and Wadhwa. “We don’t have the answers,” Wadhwa said. “These kids are getting into the most amazing, most scary era of the world.” v by SAURIN HOLDHEIM


sew sew Alterations and Custom Sewing for Men & Women

“Sew many projects, sew little time...”

847 Emerson Street Palo Alto CA 94301 650 494 1935

Come enjoy freshlyprepared mexican food!

$5 off a $15 order or $10 off a $30 order! 3990 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94306

(650) 424-8599 **Expires 10/31/16

**Only eligible at this Baja Fresh location **Cannot be combined with any other coupons or offers



Death, Guns and Weed



NE OFTEN OVERLOOKED feature of the transition into fall is that Americans receive their annual opportunity to influence state policy by voting on propositions. This November, Californians will have to sift through an unusually long list of propositions due to a record low voter turnout in the 2012 election, which paved a much easier path to the ballot for the prospective laws. However, when faced with a potentially staggering 18 propositions, which may be overwhelming to first-time voters, people ought to resist the urge to


throw up their hands and declare the effort futile. This year’s list, which covers a broad range of issues, ranging from plastic bag usage to healthcare reform, includes a few key propositions that hold the potential to revolutionize our criminal justice system. Californians certainly ought to take advantage of their chance to weigh in on some of our nation’s most controversial issues, including the death penalty, gun control, and the legalization of recreational marijuana, which are addressed by propositions 62 and 66, 63 and 64, respectively.

Art by Vivian Nguyen


The death penalty (Prop 62 and 66): Proposition 62 would repeal the death penalty and make the most drastic punishment for convicted felons life in prison without the chance for parole. This would apply retroactively, changing the punishment for those already on death row. Another proposition, Proposition 66, directly contrasts and is mutually exclusive with Proposition 62. By putting the state Supreme Court in charge of the initial petitioning process this initiative would keep the death penalty in place while aiming to streamline the petitioning process for those appealing for lesser sentences. If both propositions are approved, whichever one receives the most affirmative votes will become law. “There are multiple reasons why it would be good to replace the death penalty [with life in prison without the chance for parole],” Nick McKeown, death penalty activist and professor of electrical engineering at Stanford University, says. “We’re obviously not putting people on death row on the streets, as they’ve all been found guilty of very severe crimes.” Whether one is driven by morals or pragmatics, McKeown argues, passing Proposition 62 is aligned with the people’s interests. “The biggest indicator of whether you’ll go to prison or not is if you’re poor, black and male,” McKeown says. “Poverty has a very high correlation with imprisonment.” The consequences of such correlations, which can be dire for minority populations, are literally life or death in this case. “It’s obvious ... that there are many many unresolved biases," McKeown says. "The criminal justice system and capital punishment is just one very stark manifestation of that. It’s where there can be an appearance of a process which emboldens people who have those intolerances to use … and almost hide behind that process.” Some argue that while a correlation may exist between socioeconomic status

features and execution rates, proponents of Proposition 62 have yet to prove a causal relationship. According to the Department of Justice, whites comprised 58.9 percent of defendants to be executed in California in 2012, with blacks comprising only 36.6 percent. “The image that activists try to create is that the district attorney sits in front of a stack of files and chooses the ... prisoners to execute,” says R a y m o n d Fang, a junior at Palo Alto High School and a police cadet in the Redwood City Police Department. His training and work as a cadet, which bear striking similarities to the responsibilities of full police officers, prepares him to enter the field of law enforcement at an earlier age. “That is not the case at all. Opponents either got their facts wrong or misinterpreted it [the data]” While passing Proposition 62 would not eliminate racism in the criminal justice system, it would certainly mitigate its consequences, according to McKeown. “If any [prisoners] are innocent and we find out later, at least we can let them go or revisit the case,” McKeown says. “Clearly if they’re executed, we can’t do that. For many of us, regardless of what we think of capital punishment, it’s shocking to kill an innocent person, whereas you won’t execute an innocent person if the death penalty was replaced with life in prison without parole.” Despite arguments that the justice system has been susceptible to flaws in the past, supporters of Proposition 66 argue that the best way to solve problems is through reforming, rather than abolishing the system. “No DA would want to put an innocent life to death," Fang says. "The solution is not abolishing the death penalty,

for a compromise can be made. With the death penalty in place, we can increase vigilance in determining innocence and prosecuting the right people. We can have moderators … and guidelines for the judges to determine an undeniable verdict.” For those concerned with practicalities, Proposition 62 could also be seen as a money guzzler. “Keeping someone in the prison system, especially for life, is extremely costly,” Fang says. “America is in trillions of dollars in debt already, and spending billions a year housing certain inmates that are a lost cause for rehabilitation purposes is pointless.” On the other hand, re-


forming the system would only take more money, exacerbating the budgetary strain. “It’s so expensive to provide … the legal resources to go through a proper sequence of appeals and review just to make sure that we don’t execute an innocent person,” McKeown says. “Review processes are there for a reason. Unfortunately, what Proposition 66 does is that it removes those safeguards—[it] is pro capital punishment and increases executions.” However, some argue that life in prison without parole fails to provide sufficient retribution and does not adequately ensure the public’s safety. “If these people are just going to get

: t o l l a B November

ollars in $9 billion d f o ce n a su the is c schools 51: Calls for nstruct publi co of d n a Proposition e v ro imp reallocation e to th d r se fo u l e a b v bonds to for Mevoter appro s designated 52: Requires d n n o fu ti g si in o h p tc ro P l ma s from federa ion hospital fee ate construct st r fo l a v ro e di-Cal. voter app rs in revenu 53: Requires billion dolla 2 $ n a th Proposition ore t call for m l until projects tha passing a bil m o fr re tu la s. is rs. bond et for 72 hou hibits the leg rn ro P te : 4 in 5 e n th o ti n Proposi rint and o x on peoal income ta ublished in p n p o n rs e e e p b s e a th h nal 12 it nd r an additio fo 5: Would exte r 5 a n e y o ti a si 0 o p Pro 250,00 on. more than $ nand educati ple earning re ca h lt a e for felons co h s d ie n it fu n u lp rt e o h years to er juvecrease opp decide wheth 7: Would in 5 s e n g o d ti ju si t o le p Pro es and nviolent crim invicted of no non-English r ied as adults. fo tr g e b in w ld o u ll o niles sh prop 227, a 58: Repeals n o ti si o p ro graphP . s in all porno blic schools m u o p d n in n co f io o ct ia. se stru d in Californ equires the u ce R u : d 0 6 ro n p o e ti rs si u at Propo xual interco hase drugs se rc u g p n ti to ic p s e e d ci ic videos state agen ns Affairs. 1: Requires 6 n o ti si o nt of Vetera p e g the m Pro rt a p e D s the 70, prohibitin a 2 l ce il ri b p te e a m n the sa phold se 67: Would u Proposition ags. use plastic b le g n si f o se u


let out every 6 months or year, and destroy more people’s lives, it would be in the greater interest to make sure that doesn’t happen again," Fang says.

marijuana for those over the age of 18. Proposition 64 would legalize the recreational use of marijuana by adults, create a 15 percent sales tax on marijuana, establish government agencies to license and regulate Gun control (Prop 63): the industry, and allow for the expungeThe recent controversy surrounding ment of criminal records pertaining to migun control has been brought up on the nor, marijuana-related offenses. California ballot through a measure that Marijuana has already aims to make communities safer, which has been legalized in Washbeen endorsed by Palo Alto's Vice Mayor, ington, Colorado, OrGreg Scharff. This proposition would re- egon, Alaska and quire individuals to pass background checks the District of Coand obtain Department of Justice approval lumbia. While our to purchase ammunition. Said ammunition national government would also be purchased through licensed still lists marijuana as vendors and be reported to the Department a Schedule 1 controlled of Justice, while any unauthorized sharing substance and punishes the of ammunition would become a crime. usage thereof accordingly, According to Safety for All, a these states have begun to pro-Proposition 63 organization, Prop 63 develop the fledgling industry. will improve public safety through closing “Last year, law enforcement status quo loopholes arrested 8,800 to prevent criminals Californians for It’s not about marijuana, and the severely marijuana usage,” mentally ill from us- and it never has been. It’s Jason Kinney, ing lethal weapons. spokesperson for always been a fear tactic Yes on 64, says. For the sake of and a tool to criminalize.” “They also created public safety, the — JASON KINNEY, spokesman for Yes on 64 prospective law procriminal misdehibits large-capacity meanors for 6,600 ammunition magazines (containers used juveniles, half of which were Latino, esfor storage and feeding of ammunition) and sentially ruining their lives over something requires those in existence to be disposed which many experts agree has possible meof properly. However, not everyone agrees dicinal benefits.” with this assessment of the proposition. Proposition 64, which would legalize “With these [restrictions], the right and regulate marijuana, also allows the state to defend yourself just becomes the right government to tax previously underground to bring your gun to the range and shoot," transactions. Fang says. "Making people pass back“There are a lot of benefits from a ground checks just to buy bullets takes the system that taxes and regulates maripower to defend one’s life and family away, juana instead of criminalas there are many people with negligible izing it and pretending prior offenses.” that it doesn’t exist,” The measure would also provide for a Kinney says. “A regulatnew system where lost and stolen firearms ed structure that involves must be reported to the police while also taxed marijuana alprohibiting those who have been convicted lows the state to fiof stealing guns from ever possessing fire- nally start offsetting arms in the future. the burdens of the billion dollar industry. It’s not a Marijuana legalization (Prop 64): choice between marijuana The movement to legalize marijuana or no marijuana, we already have marijuahas been gathering support for over a de- na everywhere and most is grown illicitly.” cade, this upcoming ballot being the secIn addition to gaining tax revenue over ond since Proposition 19 in 2010, which time, Kinney argues that cost-cutting will proposed to decriminalize possession of begin immediately.



“The passage of Proposition 64 will save state tens of millions of dollars right off the bat, because we’ll no longer have to arrest, prosecute, and incarcerate nonviolent marijuana offenders,” Kinney says. While Proposition 64 grants law enforcement officers (and budgets) a welcome respite, it also alleviates unnecessary pressures on minority communities becaue many arrested for marijuana related crimes are from communities of color. The proposition also provides historically oppressed communities with reparations, dedicating up to 50 million dollars of tax revenue per year to help job training programs, Kinney says. This November, if Proposition 64 passes, its proponents will certainly celebrate the success, but the journey is far from over. “It’s not about marijuana, and it has never been about marijuana,” Kinney says. “It’s always been a fear tactic and a tool to criminalize certain communities… The majority of funding for Proposition 64 has come from groups that have no interest in the marijuana industry, but they do care about social justice.” On the other hand, there are organizations like Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana, who believe that the effects of legalizing marijuana would be detrimental. “For every $1 collected in taxes on alcohol and tobacco, almost $14 is spent to repair the vast social damages caused by their use,” Carla Lowe, a representitive of CALM, says. “Legalization of marijuana will see a similar effect.” Lowe went on to explain many of the adverse side effects that marijuana can have on people. “A lot of people think that pot is harmless... but it can cause health problems including cancer of the head, nose and throat, and is a major cause of testicular cancer in young men,” Lowe says. With this wide range of influential propositions, this election will surely be one of the most important to date. v

The Third Wave at 50




HREE HIGH SCHOOL students stand at strict attention with their backs straight and stiff, fists pounding on their chests, hands cupped in the shape of the letter “C.” They raise their hands toward the teacher, Mr. Ross, in reverence and duty. Ross shouts at three other students to stand, and they comply in a heartbeat. The students chant, “Strength through discipline. Strength through community,” and Ross demands they shout louder. More students join, standing from their desks, chanting and beating their chests. Passion and power seep through their deep cries — they unite as their voices rise from above the sounds of the chants and beats, their hands raised in a salute, their voices blending into an Orwellian proclamation of complete deference. “STRENGTH THROUGH DISCIPLINE. STRENGTH THROUGH COMMUNITY.” This eerie, “1984”-esque scene, an excerpt from the 1981 movie “The Wave,” depicts the rise to power of teacher at a suburban high school. The premise revolves around an experiment conducted nearly 50 years ago — in April 1967 — at Palo Alto’s own Cubberley High School. Mr. Ross is based on Contemporary World teacher Ron Jones, who was teaching a unit about Nazism during World War II. Jones taught the unit as he traditionally would have — through lessons and



lectures. However, his students were mysThe implications of the experiment tified as to how Hitler was able to rise to are as potent and powerful today as they power and gain the support of so many were in 1967, and extend far beyond the Germans. classroom. Jones, a beloved figure on camTo give his students a better under- pus, crafted a persona that bears similarity standing of the to many present evolution of political leaders, Hitler’s regime, especially in toJones created a I see fear and hatred day’s election sealesson lasting being projected as anson with Donald one week that swers to social problems Trump's heated mimicked the as opposed to any sort rhetoric over imconditions of of real solution. migration, worldliving under a — RON JONES, former teacher wide terrorism totalitarian dicand race. Through tator. The result the “Third Wave” of the experiexperiment, Jones ment left an indelible mark on his class and demonstrated how easily charismatic leadin the fields of psychology and social sci- ers can create a cohesive following by inence; professors and teachers far and wide stilling sentiments of exclusion and favoritstill recount the lessons learned to their stu- ism while playing on the fear of the public. dents all over the world. Millions of copies “I think you look to the political scene of “The Wave,” a novel by Todd Strasser today — internationally, not just in the recounting the experiment, have been sold United States — and you see extremism, a internationally and are part of required simple answer offered by a religion or cancurriculum in Germany. didate to solve our problems,” Jones told “It’s actually one of the more memo- Verde in an interview in his San Francisco rable pieces of the curriculum,” says Scott home earlier this semester. “I see fear and Silton, a journalism advisor and history hatred being projected as answers to social teacher at Aragon High School who teach- problems as opposed to any sort of real es a unit on the Third Wave every year. “It’s solution.” something that ... [I can] keep making reference to. There’s a reason why that many Groupthink in Experiment and teachers keep choosing it over and over Politics again, and it’s because the students respond The trusted teacher, who was known to it, and that it’s a compelling story.” for his creative lesson plans, established strict rules that applied 24/7 — the students were required to wear arm bands, salute other students and Jones at every meeting, stand up to address

Jones and report classmates who spoke the remainder of the week, according to against the “Wave.” Pitted against each Hancock. other, Jones’ followers fell into the trap for “If you said ‘I’m not sure I like this,’ much longer than he had anticipated; he or if you said that you wanted to exercise had only meant for the experiment to be your civil rights, he would take you and one day long, but was surprised when the throw you right out of the class,” Hanstudents largely continued it themselves on cock says. “There was no free speech no Tuesday; then the small classroom experi- freedom of assembly, no freedom of exment exploded into a school-wide move- pression. You follow the party line or you ment. Students quickly assimilated into are out.” a tight-knit group and perpetuated the De Anza College professor of social authoritarian-like regime that Jones had psychology Laquisha Beckum explains thrown together. that the behavioral principle of exclusion While the Jones’ instructions to the was a reason for the quick formation of class were simple Jones’ following. and seemingly “I think it’s unthreatening, really easy for us the students’ When we rely on to form ingroups grades were authority in order to and outgroups,” dependent on give us rules to follow, Beckum says. how well they we become dependent “When we rely obeyed Jones’ on it. on authority in rules, leaving — LAQUISHA BECKUM, order to give us little space for social psychology professor rules to follow, disobedience. we come depenDissent was not dent on it, and so an option, and not only are you the threat of viacting as an indiolence — perpetuated by a group of tough vidual but you’re also acting because you gangsters who Jones instructed to follow see other people being OK with it.” him around — created a cult-like atmoAccording to Beckum, this concept sphere that peaked on the last day of the translates to the followers of contempoexperiment, when Jones held a rally and rary presidential candidates. Voters are announced that the Third Wave had been a drawn in with the irresistible pull of inmere demonstration. His ruse had succeed- clusion and the need to feel a part of the ed; in fact, it had been far easier than Jones loud majority. had predicted, demonstrating how quickly “You’ll still have people who will people can unite under a demagogic leader. work against it [authoritarian leader“This started as ‘You’re stuck in class, ship],” Beckum says. “But the number you gotta do what the teacher tells you, you of people who will back them and totally find out the rules to get the grade and off play into it become something of a crayou go,’” says Mark Hancock, one of Jones’ zy phenomenon, like the people backing student at the time. “But after a while, this Trump.” group became more and more coherent, A leader like Jones who pushes such more and more as a body of people. The divisions can employ charged rhetoric as whole group mentality of joining and be- a rallying point, says Benjamin Bolaños, longing really set in.” a world history and sociology teacher at The few skeptics of the lesson were Palo Alto High School. quick to be singled out and established “‘Immigrants are taking our jobs.’ It’s as outcasts. Jones sent a young girl who a rhetoric that becomes real,” Bolaños says. voiced her doubt to the library, and barred “We say it over and over. And it has to resoher from returning to class for nate with people, too, as well. And I think that’s another part of it, too, with Trump:

SALUTING IN HALLWAYS Jones’ students do the obligatory Third Wave “C” insignia. Art by Vivian Nguyen.

International media recognition 1981: The Wave, a young adult novel by Todd Strasser that inspired a TV special.

2008: Die Welle, a German socio-political thriller based on the experiment, garnered $26 million at the box office.

2011: Lesson Plan, a documentary featuring interviews with Jones and former students, has won extensive awards.

Photos courtesy of Wikipedia and The Alan Review


You’re saying things that may be untrue, but [it will still] resonate with people.” In addition to his rules, on Thursday, the second to last day of the experiment, Jones told his students that the Wave was really a new American political party established in high schools all across America, and that the leader of this party would be revealed at a rally. This revelation sparked enthusiasm from his students. The next day, during a noon rally, Jones revealed a picture of Hitler to demonstrate how easy it was for Hitler to come into power. In the space of five days, Jones had utilized power and the obedience of his students to create a dictatorship of sorts, one in which students lost touch of their core values. “The experiment showed this idea that you are more obedient to authority but also easily influenced by social and peer pressure,” Bolaños says. “You lose yourself in that larger collective identity.” Jones’ mass following soon became an object of admiration from students outside of his class, who yearned for involvement, according to Hancock. It got to the point where students from other grades desired PEERING INTO THE PAST The Cubberley Catamount April 21, 1967, recounts coverage of the Third Wave. Photo courtesy of

Experiment Timeline Day One

• Jones leans classroom before school. Writes slogan on board; “Strength through discipline. Strength through community, Strength through action.” • Introduces a new set of rules and drills to improve learning and motivation. • Concludes the day by having his students chant the slogan.

Day Two

• Names class “The Third Wave” after surfer folklore that the third wave is always the strongest • Introduces class salute — arms raised and bent at the elbow, hand forms a C — and mandates that all students salute one another in and outside of class. • Ties participation in the Third Wave to grades — good party members = A; participant = C; plotted revolution = F; successful revolutions = A.

HISTORIC DOCUMENTATION. The wall, decorated by Jones before class on Monday morning, displays the experiment slogan.



Day Three

• Becomes paranoid; conscripts service of members of car club, the Executors,who enforce rules and act as bodyguards. • Issues membership cards and tells class that three cards have randomly been marked with X’s ­­— indicating a secret police force to report suspicious behavior and anti-Wave sentiment. • At day’s end, students bring in about 200 participants from all over the school to be ‘sworn in’ and admitted to class.

cover to be inducted into Jones’ class. This served to perceive their leaders with admirato perpetuate the exclusion and creation of tion, but also fear. ingroups that Beckum suggests. “We would have witch hunts in the In Jones’ experiment, the distinction classroom,” Hancock says. “Everyone was between these ingroups and outgroups were tattle-telling on each other. I would bring it not drawn purely [reports of stuthrough indirect dents dissentoratory — in addiing] in front of tion to sending out the class and say You are more obedistudents who dis‘Should they ent to authority but also sented, Jones made stay or should easily influenced by soit very clear that you go?’ And certain behaviors the class would cial and peer pressure. were frowned upon chant ‘Go, go, You lose yourself in that and held grave congo.’ Pretty soon sequences if those that became a larger collective identity. rules were violated. fever to take — BENJAMIN BOLANOS, sociology “He would out people or and world history teacher make everyone sit abuse people.” at attention at these By sindesks, and if you gling out speslouched, he would cific students, call you out on it,” Hancock says. “We be- ordering students to follow a rigid set of gan to develop as this sort of militant type rules and using language that encouraged of group.” staying within the collective group, Jones essentially forced students to go along Fear-mongering with the experiment. Bolaños says the passions and prejuThe tactics that he employed indices of the public are easily swayed and stilled an atmosphere of fear and misleaders can easily take advantage of this trust in the students of one another, human characteristic to bait followers; which left them with little choice but to the power that they wield and the rhet- support the cause. oric that they employ have the ability to While the experiment was an isolated create an imbalance that causes people case of a teacher instilling fear in his stu-

Day Four

• Receives reports from half his students turning in others for improper salutes or alleged plots. • Holds hearings to try those accused of anti-Wave activities. Reads off names, explains the crime committed, and lets class decide whether to banish or keep the member. Later admitts names were randomly and spontaneously picked • Decides to end experiment and reveal party leader in rally. VINTAGE MOMENTOS. Original student-designed logos for the Third Wave echo the shape of waves. Photo:


dents, the experiment relates back to the broader idea of creating a sense of distrust and paranoia within a group of people. “I think Donald Trump’s main tactic is instilling fear — of people who are different, and who people don’t generally know too much about,” says Paly junior Ashley Zhang. “Right now in America, Islamophobia is pretty prevalent, even in liberal places like California, because people aren’t educated about Islam, so they tend to believe whatever the media or their leaders tell them to.” Assistant principal Kathleen Laurence, a former social studies teacher, says that Trump is one of the most prominent examples of leaders utilizing fear to gain followers. Laurence said that he fabricates a picture of minorities that supporters have no problem latching on to; by using hateful words and accusing minorities of causing a multitude of problems, Trump incites fright and tightens his grasp on the public. “He’s very charismatic and so he draws people in,” says Laurence, who grew up in Palo Alto around the time of the experiment. “I think he preys on fears. What is his message? Most of times it’s how bad things are, not necessarily how to go about making them better.” Beckum says that the use of fear to manipulate voters isn’t unique to Trump — the Democratic Party has also begun to employ similar tactics. They have often enticed

Day Five

• Holds noon rally in auditorium, plants fake reporters at the scene. • Students sit at attention in chairs, all facing TV screen tuned to static channel. Students soon grow restless. • Jones steps out from behind curtain, says entire week was staged. Explains how easy it is to manipulate groups of people; plays a movie showing Hitler.

A YOUNG JONES. Jones smiles into the distance in a pciture taken from Cubberley’s yearbook, the Totem. Photo: The Totem.


voters by building up trepidation around the idea of Trump gaining the presidency.

HEARTBREAK, REGRET AND MOVING ON. In his Haight-Ashbury home, former Cubberley teacher Ron Jones recounts his life after the “Third Wave” experiment. Photo by Emma Cockerell.

After the Wave: Jones’ legacy


any things have changed ball team. He now helps out in the loin the 50 years that have cal community by leading youth theelapsed since the Third ater and performing his own comedy Wave. Two years after the experi- and spoken word at San Francisco’s ment, the Cubberley High School StageWerx Theater. administration refused to tenure “I coursed my life into new things, Ron Jones as and I am blessed a teacher, supfor that … I have posedly for great children, reasons ungreat grandchilI often say work on related to the dren, and that’s something else. Work on experiment. all that matters,” democracy, decision makMore than 300 Jones says. ing. Work on helping othstudents and Jones has ers, and making society parents protestaccepted the better. ed the district’s recognition he — RON JONES, former decision, which receives as a teacher alleviated Jones’ part of life, the sorrow; howevunavoidable er, he still felt consequence heartbroken, as it had always been of the actions of his former self. But his dream to be a high school teach- if he were to go back in time, Jones er and basketball coach. says, he would never have instigated Jones went on to work at the experiment. Mount Zion Hospital and Stanford. “There is this tendency to reFinally, he says, he met a woman duce everything to entertainment named Janet Pomeroy at a party, … why do you want to again humilresulting in his next and final long- iate children and make them feel term job at the Pomeroy Recreation foolish?” Jones says. “I would never and Rehabilitation Center. do it again. No. I often say work on There, Jones spent 30 years something else. Work on democrateaching handicapped adults, in ad- cy, decision making. Work on helpdition to coaching San Francisco’s ing others, and making society betfirst adult Special Olympics basket- ter.”

“The message is that if you don’t vote for Hillary then it’s a vote for Trump,” Beckum says. “And they [the Democratic Party] are saying it over and over again. What this ends up doing is making people think that they don’t have a choice and that’s not true. … The DNC hasn’t generally been the fear-mongering party, but this presidential cycle there’s been a lot of that.” Fear-mongering, as employed by leaders, unites people under common dislike or mistrust, deepening the already chasmic division between different groups in society. Leaders designate groups to point fingers at, and their followers willingly comply; according to Bolaños, it is so easy — so effortless — to project blame and negativity without thought to the consequences. “We as a society express a lot of idealism; freedom, equality, diversity of opinion, diversity of culture and gender, but we do a terrible job of practicing it,” Bolaños says. “Individualism is embedded in our constitution… but we partake in something that destroys individualism and creates conformity.” While fear runs rampant in our population and manifests itself through acts of violence, it also plagues the very leaders who induce it, according to Jones. Leaders are in a vulnerable position: They bear the responsibility of maintaining a positive public image and preventing missteps, but they also face the scrutiny of other leaders, who they feel threatened by. “I’m shamed by this, but I liked the order, the discipline, the adulation, the power,” Jones says. “I became paranoid that others were going to take over. And that allows me to think about people like Trump or Stalin or Hitler who always try to exclude people they fear might take over that power.” Fifty years after the experiment, Jones still fears the spread of hatred that he sees in leaders of the past and present. However, he believes that Americans can work to build immunity to stirring rhetoric and manipulative regimes, especially in the context of the looming election. “Be yourself; be an artist; be a good family member; be a part of the democratic society, work to help the person up the street that needs care,” Jones says. “There are so many things we can do to make our world better, and not being a victim of making it worse.” v

STANFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT Here, in a stylized version of a real photo from the Stanford Prison Experiment, guards are seen shoving prisoners against a wall, just one form of abuse prisoners endured. The prisoners are wearing head coverings to emasculate them. Art by Annie Zhou.

What happens when we accept




HIN BEIGE WALLS STAND MERE feet from each other, forming the narrowest of corridors, and from the basement of Stanford University’s Psychology Department, no evidence exists that the warm summer sun is still shining brightly outside. A deafening silence resonates within the eerily lit passage as stale air cycles throughout the hall, and the extraordinarily low ceiling challenges visitors to overcome the claustrophobia that overwhelms them the second they step foot on the linoleum floor. This section of the department was the location of the study now known as the "Stanford Prison Experiment," just a few miles from the equally infamous “Third Wave” experiment at Cubberley High School. The study was led by psychology professor Philip Zimbardo in 1971 with the goal of gaining a better understanding of human nature. The results were astounding: both the college students who were assigned positions as guards and those who were assigned positions as prisoners completely assumed their roles after minimal prompting, prisoners adopting a sense of vulnerability and guards becoming hostile and cruel without hesitation. To many at the time, the experiment was simply a chilling story. However, now — 45 years later — the study is still relevant in relation to issues in the upcoming presidential election, especially the question of whether people can be swayed into committing acts of torture.


FORMALLY CHARGED Participants who were assigned the role of prisoner were arrested without warning early on a Sunday morning, being formally booked in the local police station before being left blindfolded in a holding cell. Art by Annie Zhou.

TOTAL CONTROL As the experiment progressed, even the most basic of needs, such as going to the bathroom, became privileges which could be revoked at any time. Art by Annie Zhou.

DEHUMANIZED Prisoners were robbed of their identities in many ways throughout the experiment, from having their faces covered with bags to having their names replaced with numbers. Art by Annie Zhou.

Both sides of the political spectrum Both candidates in the 2016 presidential election have expressed strong opinions about the implementation of torture. The Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, is a staunch advocate of this form of physical punishment. “I would bring back waterboarding [a simulated drowning process], and I’d bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding,” Trump said in New Hampshire during a debate in February. The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for further comment on this stance. Conversely, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has long opposed the use of physical abuse as punishment. “Another thing we know that does not work, based on lots of empirical evidence, is torture,” Clinton said during a speech at Stanford in March. Amy Rao, a member of Clinton’s National Finance Team and a former Palo Alto High School parent, expands on this, saying "Clinton is totally against torture. There’s no gray area. Once we torture someone, we can’t even use that information in court.” With Trump adamantly supporting the use of torture, the issues brought up by the Stanford Prison Experiment have become pertinent once again. Given that abuse in prisons is already an issue, Zimbardo’s findings suggest that should the maltreatment of perpetrators be promoted by an authority figure, the results could be drastic. Psychology of the experiment In the Stanford study, there was no clear distinction between the participants until the roles of prisoners and guards were arbitrarily assigned. Yet as the days stretched on, the students fell deep into their characters, and guards humiliated and dehumanized prisoners with every interaction. According to the facilitators of the experiment, their goal was to convey the experience of someone living in an oppressive environment rather than to precisely simulate a real prison. As stated by Melinda Mattes, one of Paly’s Advanced Placement Psychology teachers and a former student of Zimbardo’s, the reason the Stanford experiment is so demonstrative of human nature and the way it manifests itself in prisons is because of its careful construction. However, she admits that there were some flaws in the experiment.

“One of the errors he [Zimbardo] made in the study was that he was too involved in it,” Mattes says. “He was the first to admit that it probably wasn’t ethical. They had to release a guy [early] because he had a mental breakdown.” Zimbardo’s then-girlfriend — now his wife — Christina Maslach, UC Berkeley professor of psychology, was the first to question the ethics of the experiment. “I just was getting kind of sick to my stomach," Maslach says. "This is just awful the way they’re treating each other. All of the people who were around, they weren’t bothered at all. I was the only one. They were teasing me almost; it was like, ‘What’s the matter, can’t you take it?’” According to Mattes, it is probable that the others did not think to question the ethics of the simulation because they were all — Zimbardo included — too closely involved. She says that it often takes an outsider to objectively evaluate a psychological experiment. Implications in real life Stanford law professor Larry Marshall claims that the experiment was an accurate representation of the way the prison system functions in the United States. “[It] was only a few days but still it showed the perverseness of the system,” Marshall says. More than anything, it was the brutality of the guards that he found to be resemblant of the actual system. Although instructed not to harm the prisoners, the guards’ superiority consumed them. They resorted to tormenting the other participants in the experiment. Similar abuse is a reality for many real prisoners. “That is one of the horrors of the prison system; the degradation and the dehumanization in a system that isn’t too careful,” Marshall says. “There’s a real swath of guards who are absolutely just power hungry, abusive even, to the visitors and lawyers ... [These guards] know nobody’s watching, and nobody gives a damn.” Marshall does not claim that all, or even most, prison guards are like this; however, he says that if nine out of 10 guards are perfect, just one is enough to make the climate awful for inmates. According to Mattes, immoral actions such as the abuse of prisoners by guards are not necessarily caused by the innate badness of the perpetrator.


Details of the experiment Based on the official Prison Experiment website


n an August morning in 1971, experiment that the facilitators finalwails of police sirens broke ly agreed to release him. But when the quiet emanating through rumors of an escape plan involving the sleepy town of Palo Alto. By#8612 surfaced, the psychologists standers looked on as police arrestand guards moved all of the prisoned their young, harmless neighbors. ers to a different floor. Their efforts Once in the custody of the Stanford were ultimately unnecessary as the County Jail, a simulated holding faescape was never attempted, but the cility on Stanford’s campus, the colguards retaliated to the rumor by inlege students-turned-crime suspects tensifying harassment anyway. were formally booked. They were At one point, prisoners were givstripsearched, and a chain was bolten the option to speak to a priest, but ed around each prisoner’s right an#819 asked to speak to a doctor inkle to enforce their captivity. For six stead. He had reportedly spent muldays, the men existed only to follow tiple days without food or sleep. The a schedule, subject to emotional and psychologists moved #819 to another physical abuse. In contrast, room to preserve his sanity, but the guards were free to act as the guards forced the other they saw fit; 2:30 a.m. prisoners to chant roll calls were not an “#819 is a bad prisunusual occurrence, oner.” Their voices and push-ups were carried over to liberally doled out as #819’s room where — PRISONER #8612 punishment for any he was found soboffense. bing, despondent On the second about this label. day of the study, prisoners The prisoners became lost rebelled. Taken aback by the uprisin the experiment, even introducing ing, the nine guards used a fire extinthemselves with their identification guisher to spray prisoners with freeznumbers. Upon seeing the dramatic ing cold carbon dioxide, then barged effects of the experiment on the parinto their cells and stripped them to ticipants, Christina Maslach called for reassert authority. an end to the study. Maslach was the Thus far the guards had been first to declare the experiment as unemploying tactics of physical harassethical. So, after six days of observment, but when it became clear that ing the motivated college students the prisoners were noncompliant, the transform into hopeless shadows, guards shifted their strategy to that the psychologists made the choice to of psychological abuse. They moved end the study prematurely. the ringleaders of the rebellion into solitary confinement, then further split up the prisoners by transferring three of them into a designated “privilege cell.” This shifted the dynamic amongst the prisoners, replacing solidarity with competition. In the following days, the guards amplified their aggression and mistreatment of the prisoners, robbing them of their independence. Prisoner #8612 began screaming, begging to be released. Everyone assumed he was faking, leading #8612 to believe that he was forever imprisoned. “You can’t leave. You can’t quit,” HUMILIATED A prisoner clings to the cell bars after being stripped by guards. Photo he said. #8612 was so troubled by the

You can't leave. You can't quit.”

from the official Prison Experiment website.

“It’s not that we are inherently evil or inherently good; it’s that a situation can influence our behavior pretty dramatically,” Mattes says. This idea, that humans are so radically influenced by situations, has worrying implications when a topic such as torture comes up. According to Zimbardo’s research, when a situation changes, many individuals adapt to fit that situation. Should something as ethically problematic as torture become less stigmatized, many individuals, even if previously against torture, could be swayed into accepting the practice. Prior to the prison experiment, many of the participants, both guards and prisoners, described themselves as pacifists, and very few — if any — were outwardly aggressive. However, they still acted so violently that the experiment had to end prematurely. The question of whether people would follow illegal torture orders has been asked many times during the course of the election process, and unfortunately the results of the Prison Experiment point toward yes. “I was just following orders” has been a common excuse in the past, most famously used by Nazis after their defeat in World War II. Nazi Lt. Col. Adolf Eichmann wrote in 1962 that he and many others had been “forced to serve as mere instruments.” He claimed that the soldiers did not hold moral responsibility because they merely did as they were told; the fault lay, rather, with the leaders who issued the orders. In a situation where a figure of immense authority issues an order to use torture — even though it is illegal — the intensity of the situation could very well overwhelm a person’s values, swaying even the most moral of people to commit drastic acts. Both Mattes and Maslach say that everyone is heavily affected by the situation in which they live, and when society changes its standards about a contentious issue — in this case, torture — events similar to those which transpired during the prison experiment have the potential to repeat. The key difference between the situation in the study and the changing stance on torture is that one was a simulation, taking place in a controlled setting with just a few participants, whereas the other has tangible implications, and exists on a national scale. “The message is that, whoever we think we are, whatever we think we’d do … the power of the situation to affect our behavior … is something we all need to really think about,” Maslach says. v

Self-Driving Cars

an ivi

yV tb

Ar en uy




PON FIRST GLANCE, Google’s self-driving car prototype looks a bit like a friendly lunchbox on wheels. Its headlights, front camera and turn signals form the eyes, nose and mouth of what looks like a gentle smile. A closer look reveals several cameras adorning the front, rear and corners of the

WHAT DO THEY MEAN FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS OF TEENAGERS ON THE ROAD? car. Even when idling, the car seems alert — machinery emitting a quiet whir as its sensors collect data to gain awareness of the roads, cars and humans of the surrounding environment. The small tower of 360-degree sensors and cameras sprouting from the vehicle’s roof even has its own set of glass wipers. It’s clear that the car was constructed with the

utmost attention to detail. “This is a vehicle that we have designed from scratch,” says Nathaniel Fairfield, a principle software engineer at Google’s self driving car division “[It] is self-driving from the ground-up.” As of this August, ridesharing company Uber has integrated 100 new self-driving cars into its total fleet. Electric car company Tesla has also outfitted its newest vehicles



of Paly students have a driver’s license

48.4% of licensed Paly students drive to school at least once a week


of Paly students say they would use a self-driving car (not considering cost)

with an autopilot feature, enabling the cars to drive themselves on freeway roads. Today’s cars are learning to drive — but so are millions of teens every year. Self-driving cars are equipped to make America’s roads safer, but many teens are looking into an uncertain future. Some eagerly await a safer environment for transportation, but others aren’t ready to forfeit the control of driving.

AUTONOMY Google software engineer Nathaniel Fairfield explains the self-driving car’s technology. The cars are designed to learn an area’s roads in better and better detail as they drive around. Photo by Josh Code.

some, perhaps. But Nandini Relan, a junior at Palo Alto High School isn’t so sure. Relan, who received her license in September, isn’t willing to give up her control at the wheel. “I don’t want to depend on the car — what if it stops working?” Relan says. “I like the idea of being able to drive myself and knowing that I’m the one in control.” Paly junior Nicholas Zhao will be getting his learner’s perTrusting the tech mit soon and hitting While many re- We can improve the the roads this fall as he main optimistic about learns to drive. While safety of those the technology’s potenhe shares Relan’s skeptial to make teens saf- [adolescent] years.” ticism, he says fu— NATHANIEL FAIRFIELD, Google er, some teens question ture experimentation software engineer whether or not they can and tests of the cars trust this space-age romight win his trust. bot chauffeur to ensure their safety on the Self-driving cars are ultimately driving road. The juxtaposition of these two opin- computers, and Zhao says every computer ions poses many questions for teens who has its glitches. have recently received their licenses or will “I would wait and see the braver and soon be receiving them. the guinea pigs to first use them,” Zhao More than 94 percent of car accidents says. “Based on their results I’d be willing are due to lapses in human judgment, ac- to use self-driving cars.” cording to Google’s self-driving car website. Fairfield acknowledges this sentiment If human judgement can’t be depended of teen trepidation. upon, are machines our logical solution? To “It’s a dangerous period of time to be



driving,” Fairfield says. “You are learning to focus your attention on things, and a lot of collisions and traffic accidents happen.” However, Fairfield has confidence that his technology will make a positive difference in the number of adolescents who are involved in traffic collisions, which, he hopes, will assuage the fears of skeptics. “We can improve the safety of those [adolescent] years,” Fairfield says. “The important thing is to really really be sure that the cars are safe and well-behaved.” Freedom from the wheel Driving entails more than just getting behind the wheel and stepping on the gas pedal — it’s freedom to get to wherever you want, whenever you want, without having to ask your parents for a ride. Starting from a relatively young age, 16, this kind of independence liberates many Californian teens. Fairfield says self-driving cars can extend this flexibility to all age groups and demographics — including those who may not be able to drive themselves places, such as children under the legal driving age, senior citizens or the visually impaired. “This sort of tech promises to transform mobility for people,” Fairfield says.

features “People who couldn’t get around before or break the coming-of-age tradition? Some for whom transportation was cumbersome believe they will, but perhaps the tradior expensive can now do so easily.” tion is fading away. In a nationwide study, If self-driving car technology functions Brandon Schoettle and Michael Sivak at as promised, nervous parents won’t need to the University of Michigan Transportation worry about the safety of the roads, and Research Institute found that from 1983 to consequently, the safety of their teens. Even 2014, the percentage of 17-year-olds with if they’re suspicious of the cars, Fairfield their license went down from 69 to 45 notes that Google runs percent, and the perextensive safety tests on centage of 16-yearI got my license their prototypes. olds with their license “We test the liv- mostly for the went from 46 to 24 ing daylights out of independence.” percent. the cars,” Fairfield says. Fairfield feels — junior NANDINI RELAN “We’re building a body that the development of evidence to show that the cars are safe of Google’s self-driving car technology acboth to ourselves and to everybody else.” companies this trend of decreased teen interest in learning to drive. What the future holds “Studies say people aren’t as interested Will self-driving cars take away the in learning to drive,” Fairfield says. “I think thrill of first learning how to drive and this [tech] will dovetail with that trend.”


The freedom that cars grant adolescents will always exist, but self-driving cars can change and re-define the meaning of that freedom, Fairfield says. Relan fells the same way. “I got my license mostly for the independence,” Relan says. “I don’t want to depend on my parents or my brother for a ride anywhere. It’s not fun for them, and it takes time out of their day.” Ultimately, maintaining the safety of everyone on or near the road, as well as freedom of movement are the two main goals of the self-driving car project, according to Fairfield. “It [driving] is freedom. It is the ability to go where you want to go and that is a huge deal,” Fairfield says. “There still will be crazy things that happen out there on the road, but we [self-driving cars] can reduce how often they occur.” v

The student poll results collected for this issue are from a survey administered in Palo Alto High School English classes over the course of several days in September 2016. Eight English classes were evenly selected from four grades, and 305 responses were collected. The surveys were completed online, and responses were anonymous. With 95 percent confidence, the results for the questions related to this story are accurate within a margin of error of 5.17 percent.

Verbatim: What do you think about self-driving cars? “I think it’d be really cool and lower the number of car crashes ... it’d be safer to be on the road because there’d be a lot less drunk driving. —Freshman Nicholas Diaz-Magaloni

—Senior Atusa Assadi

“I don’t really like them because I think that [they] could be dangerous. Just looking at them is a little bit nerve-wracking.”


for more information





Summer Melt: Follow-Up


REGISTRATION Peter Valbuena checks in upon arrival at Whittier College in Southern California. Photo by Peter Valbuena Sr.


S GREEN CAPS FLEW through the air in June, Palo Alto High School’s class of 2016 eagerly anticipated freedom and adventure. Just a few months ago, however, this very prospect seemed hazy and confusing to several Paly students. Even when Peter Valbuena received his acceptance into Whittier College, a liberal arts school just outside of Los Angeles, college was still a long way off. First-generation students are at risk of a concept known as “summer melt,” during which financial limitations may stop them from attending college, regardless of being accepted; this poses a barrier for those ready for next steps. So, would Valbuena successfully complete the intermittent steps necessary in a college transition or would his family’s financial situation limit him from attending college?

DORM Martha Avila-Zavala sits in her newly decorated dorm room. Photo by Lourdres Zavala.

Verde Magazine first interviewed Valbuena for the cover story in our fifth issue last year. At that time, he told us that he was determined to fulfill his dream of being the first to attend college in his family. “It’s been my motivation to go [to college in the U.S.] and make them proud,” Valbuena says. “And make sure all their [his parents] hard work that they did trying to get me all these better opportunities … pays off.” RISE UP, or Realizing Individual Success in Education for Undergraduate Preparation, is a program that Palo Alto Unified School District debuted over the summer to help students with summer melt. Valbuena and other students were able to use this program as a resource for starting college. Another Paly alum and fellow classmate at Whittier College, Martha Avi-

la-Zavala, was also at risk of melting away. To deal with the apprehension of starting college, she took full advantage of RISE UP. “We, first-gen[eration] graduates from Paly and Gunn, talked about budgeting our money throughout school, how to start networking, how to get ready for first semester at college and we had time to check out our school portals … RISE UP helped me,” Avila-Zavala says. “It gave us tips on how to prepare ourselves and what to look forward to.” In spite of the help that PAUSD offers its students, Valbuena’s parents, like many others, are scared to send him off, as the first in his family to attend an American college. However, they try to look out for him as much as is possible from their home in Palo Alto. “They have been very supportive trying to help me out as much as they can,”


THE START Martha Avila-Zavala and Peter Valbuena, both first-generation college students and Palo Alto High School alumni, sit at their college introduction. Photo by Peter Valbuena Sr.

FAMILY Martha Avila-Zavala with her father, Armando Avila, in front of the Whittier College welcome sign for incoming students. Photo by Lourdes Zavala.

says Valbuena. “However, sometimes I feel “I [have] met so many new people and they’re trying to help too much to feel more made new friends,” she says. “The classes at ease knowing that they still are there as are okay, however there is a lot of reading my parents even though I’m not with them. for all the classes which creates stress … The In addition to leavtransition from suming home, starting col- It’s a great feeling mer to college was kind lege implies lots of other of hard, however now changes, including new knowing you’re the I think I got the hang opportunities and a dif- first to reach such a of it … So far I haven’t ferent course load. gotten homesick.” “There is a lot more stepping stone.” Valbuena and — PETER VALBUENA, [work] than I thought Avila-Zavala’s ease in first-generation student there would be,” says navigating college was at Whittier College Valbuena. “I’m planning due in large part to the to join a few clubs at the club fair and also efforts of RISE UP and the Paly staff. play some intramural sports. … But being “I think that the TAs were very helpful on my own hasn’t been too hard.” in me getting resources to understand the Meanwhile, Avila-Zavala has had a process,” Valbuena says. similar experience on her first week with After going through high school with a mix of emotions but has managed to get the help of Paly and its resources, Valbuena used to being away from home. and Avila-Zavala felt prepared to actually



make it through to the final stretch and escape summer melt. But starting college in a new area can be difficult, especially when you’re the first in your family to do so, as seen with Valbuena and Avila-Zavala. “It’s exciting and nerve-wracking,” Avila-Zavala says. “I’ll be setting an example for my younger siblings and I have no one to look up to and/or to follow their steps. I have to find my own path and figure everything out by myself.” Though it can be difficult to set your own path, the opportunities are endless once you make the leap and start college. “It’s a great feeling knowing you’re the first to reach such a stepping stone,” Valbuena says. “I feel excited and motivated to continue on to see how far I can push myself and achieve more goals such as graduating college in four years.” v




RESSED IN A CAP LINED IN aluminum foil and a fur-trimmed winter coat inappropriate for the California summer morning, Jackson Kienitz takes his place behind a silver microphone. He queues the background for the track he’s previewing and starts rocking his shoulders to the beat. Gazing straight at the microphone in front of him, he starts shouting in a high-pitched whiny holler. “My mama hears my song and her face turns sour, he yells. I ask her what’s wrong, she says she couldn’t be prouder.” The cringe-worthy opening line sums up the spirit of jNitz, the rap alter ego of Palo Alto High School senior Jackson Kienitz: egotistical and unaware of how bizarre he is. The song he’s performing, “Famedom,” is an ode to the rapper’s boasted fame. On one hand, jNitz, brags about how he has the power to bring fame to anyone with “a mention of your name,” but quickly undermines his main point with lyrics like “I get so many views. I’m at about seven.” For almost a year now, Kienitz has been sculpting his eccentric character by staking jNitz’s territory through parodic raps online and performing at local student events.

Photo by


James Po


and hanging out with his friends. He also spends a good portion of his time rehearsing and performing in plays. Since Kienitz has plenty of stage experience — he’s been in over 30 plays, by his recollection — it’s no wonder he’s so impressive while in character as jNitz. He’s polite when he needs to be, and he’s funny when he wants to be. When we met up with Kienitz for an interview, he was unreserved and charismatic. He talked about how he was planning to incorporate some elements of the late New York-born rapper Biggie Smalls into jNitz’s character. He’s humIt was lame enough ble and comfortable with that people thought it self-deprecating humor: was funny.” That’s likely — JACKSON KIENITZ how he’s able to perform confidently onstage to the public as the caricaturistic jNitz. jNitz, however is an awkward and arrogant musician: a “self-proclaimed rap star,” as Kienitz says. The tendency of many hiphop artists to overhype themselves, most notably Kanye West, inspired the character of jNitz. He isn’t trying into insult mainstream rappers, he clarifies — he just thinks there’s a comedic opportunity in emulating their narcissism. “He [jNitz] knows he’s got talent, he knows he’s got musical genius and is not afraid of flaunting that,” Kienitz says, smiling as he leans against the railing behind his seat.

Behind the Versace glasses Like the rest of the student population, Kienitz spends most of his time working on homework, listening to music

A 21st century artist The peculiarities of the character are fully thought out. The name, a pretentiously stylized contraction of “Jackson Kienitz” consists of a lowercase J and the second syllable of Kienitz. The jNitz wardrobe is flamboyant and ludicrous. Among the foil hat and winter jacket are a monogrammed “jNitz” camouflage coat and a Peruvian farmhat. As Kienitz dons the character of jNitz for us to see, he puts on large-framed black sunglasses. They’re vintage Versace, as indicated by the gold Medusa logo conspicuously decorating the temples. The rule of jNitz’s aesthetic is simple, he informs us: the bigger, the better. He also wraps a bike cable around his neck, fastening it with a padlock and a key hanging out. He points out the brand of the lock — Master. “I like to keep it as a reminder to myself that I, jNitz, am a master,” he says, as he adjusts his sunglasses. As jNitz, Kienitz demonstrates some of the rapper’s dance moves. Compared to Kienitz, jNitz makes large hand gestures. He trots arounds awkward-footed, facing downward as he flaps his arms. Pretentious as ever, jNitz classifies the wing-flapping as biomimicry — an imitation of nature. And of course, there’s the music itself, which Kienitz satirically characterizes as post-neo-modernist rap. It consists of unattractive built-in Garageband beats, self-produced basslines and nasal rambled lyrics. In his older material, the lyrics are a healthy mix between absolute nonsense and revealing — but likely fictional — anecdotes. As jNitz has matured, we’re starting

Photo by James Poe

Floss Angeles November 2015



“Floss Angeles,“ jNitz’s debut track, starts with jNitz setting the scene: It’s a chilly Tuesday night and he’s about to spit some bars. However, at first listen, it seems as though jNitz is but an amateur, especially after comparing it to his older songs. This track is his start — the beginning to his long and dark career as a rapper and beatmaker — and yet jNitz gives a cute giggle to kickstart the song. This laugh sets the tone for the rap. Contrastingly, the rest of the track showcases a slightly more serious version of the already bizarre persona of jNitz. His message is clear ­— floss your teeth, kids.

The song then takes a more mature and sensitive turn when jNitz repeats that “he’s speaking to you through microphone,” the second time around being more painful and almost eerie. He then adds adlibs with a sound reminiscent of R&B singers like Frank Ocean or Chris Brown. The track then transitions into a smooth funky beat, a welcome change from the droning R&B sounds throughout the rest of the rap. He finishes with a slight moan in his characteristically rasp: “It’s time for me to floss and rinse.”

profiles to see lyrics that are more structured but still walk the line between clever wordplay and absolute nonsense, keeping that original jNitz flair. SoundCloud beginnings: “Floss Angeles” Last November, Kienitz was playing around on Garageband, creating beats. That “chilly Tuesday night,” he decided to record a rap over the fun beat. He used a nasal voice that he’d tried out earlier blowing into a soda bottle while trying to annoy his sister. One take was all it took to record his vocals for his debut “Floss Angeles.” His dad, impressed by the work, pushed him to publish the track online, and soon, Kienitz’s Facebook friends had experienced jNitz for the first time via SoundCloud. “It was lame enough that people thought it was funny,” Kienitz says. Since he had, as jNitz says, poured his heart into the lyrics, he was nervous about how people would respond. “It [Floss Angeles] has a level of depth not found in a nursery rhyme,” Kienitz jokes as he leans back on the bench. The evolution of an artist After the initial release of “Floss Angeles,” Kienitz began investing more time in jNitz’s rap career, and started accepting his new identity as jNitz. Although as an experienced actor Kienitz doesn’t suffer from stage fright, he says his first live performance as jNitz was nerve-wracking last March at the Teen

Back to the Roots January 2016


Arts Council’s Open Mic. He specifically remembers looking at his flushed and sweaty reflection in the mirror while getting into costume. He worried that the attendees wouldn’t respond to his performance. As a recording of the event showed, jNitz delivered “Floss Angeles” with the expected ferocity, performing his trademark wingflap in a heavy fur-lined coat to much applause and laughter. After nearly a year, jNitz has become a niche favorite within the Paly community. He’s currently working on a mixtape for his loyal fans, which he predicts will be released next semester, and he’ll continue performing at Open Mic events. In contrast to his currently released singles, “Floss Angeles” and “Back to the Roots,” the songs will include less freestyling — what he describes as “freshman” jNitz. If jNitz’s preview of “Famedom” represents at all what will be in the complete mixtape, it should be jampacked with humor, vitality and a continuation of jNitz’s absurd personality. Kienitz brings an intensity to the music, a testament to his talent. The lyrics and music may be silly, but Kienitz’s talent as a performer translates into his delivery. He implements colorful intonation to emphasize the absurdity of the material, all the while splaying his hands and performing wing-flaps to the music. Perhaps jNitz has a reason to be so cocky. v

“Back to the Roots” is the second jNitz hit to grace the pages of Facebook, Bandcamp, and Soundcloud. This mixtape, like Floss Angeles, has the unmistakeable jNitz flow, set to a funkier beat. The mixtape begins with a token “The name’s jNitz.” In this song, jNitz shows his vulnerable side by rapping with a sore throat and that leaves not only his voice deeper but also his meaning and soul. He discusses his childhood growing up in Pasadena, including an anecdote about how his dreams of becoming a motorcyclist were shot down. Even as jNitz’s second track, “Back to the Roots” shows an evolution from “Floss Angeles” and continues to establish the absurd character that is jNitz.

Photo by James Poe


LIVING IN THE STUDIO TECHNIQUE Elizabeth Gleeson, Angela Chin and Cayla Flagg grand battemant to work on their form during an excersize. Photo by Sophie Nakai.

EXPLORING THE BUSY LIVES OF PALY DANCERS CHANGEMENT! fun after school activity. When she turned spend all of her days working and perfect“ CHAPPE! Echappe! Glissade! Repeat!” 11, however, she decided it would be her ing new pieces until she retires.


Grant Spencer, the instructor of career. For Nicholson, ballet was the epitthe Advanced Ballet IV class at ome of self-expression and would develop Dance Connection Palo Alto, calls out the into a lifelong passion. steps as six ballerinas fall in line. They jump “I’m passionate about it [ballet] because and twirl to the beat of the music, their it has a degree of beauty, a degree of masarms painting ribbons in the air. tery that I haven’t seen in any other sport,” While most stuNicholson says. “I’ve dents at Palo Alto played the piano from It has a degree of High School are at a young age and my home doing schoolfamily is a very musical beauty, a degree work or out with their family, so ballet is also friends on the week- of mastery that I a way for me to interend, those who are inact with music and, haven’t seen in any volved in ballet spend as cheesy as this may hours a day training in other sport.” sound, become a part — ISABEL NICHOLSON, senior the studio. Whether of it.” they intend to pursue Since then, Nicholdance professionally or participate just for son has trained at five different ballet stufun, most Paly dancers have come to love dios, focusing on traditional Russian ballet dance as a vehicle of expression and see technique. Currently, she trains at the City their studio community as a second family. Ballet in San Francisco with the goal of Senior Isabel Nicholson is one of the few joining a ballet company after graduating Palo Alto High School students who in- high school. tends to pursue dance professionally. When Nicholson’s weekends are full of practice she started dance at two years old, it was a and lessons. If she joins a company, she will



For many dancers, like junior Allison Wu, however, dance is simply a beloved extracurricular. Wu has been dancing at Dance Connection since she was four years old, and has continued taking classes through high school. “I like the way I can move with my body instead of expressing myself with words,” Wu says. “You can hit [movements] stronger or softly and you can express different dynamics through your movements. It’s an art form like painting or drawing where you can express your feelings.” Wu is also drawn to dance because of the cherished sense of community at her studio, especially on her dance team. After 11 years of dancing, she is finally dancing on the Senior Team — the highest level dance team at her studio. “I’m on the Senior Team and we’re really close because we’ve danced together since we were four basically, so we know each other really well,” Wu says. “We went from Mini Team, to Teen Team, to Junior Team, to Senior Team.”



SNOWFLAKES Allison Wu (left center), and fellow dancers strike a pose while performing the snow scene in the Nutcracker. Photo by The Dance Connection.

During her time at Dance Connection, Wu has grown from being one of the little girls in their pink leotards to an advanced and serious dancer performing in the highest level of dance. As part of a community of dancers, Wu has felt her place in the “studio family” shift greatly over the years. “We have to be leaders in our dance studio because we have to lead the little ones and show them how to grow as role models,” Wu says. “When I was little, I used to watch the older kids and be like ‘Wow, they’re such good role models and they’re super good leaders’ but then when I grew older I kind of wanted to be like them.” Nicholson has also been able to experience the dance community, although slightly differently from Wu. Moving between studios, she has developed friendships with all kinds of diverse people from many different places. “I’ve met people from all socioeconomic backgrounds, so you get to know a lot of people who are very different from you,” Nicholson says. “But at the same time you all have this passion and this love for dance that unites everyone.” v

IN FLIGHT Isabel Nicholson grand jetes across stage as the spanish lead in the Nutcracker. Photo provided by The CIty Ballet School.


a normal genius





E TRACES CIRCLES AND more vibrant and there were more people. figure-eights with his finger on Stanford is [more strictly] a place for top the table as if subconsciously academics.” Yet, Zhang believes Stanford doing math problems where was the best place for him to continue his no one else can see them. Albert Zhang’s studies. life so far has been anything but ordinary When asked what interesting math — at least in his education. He’s 17, has concept he has studied recently, Zhang skipped all four years of high school and sketches a handful of 3D figures and a series has attended the University of California, of numerical symbols. “I’m trying to decide Berkeley for one what to study,” year and now atZhang says. He tends Stanford is contemplatUniversity. And ing studying yet, Zhang’s hopes either Algebrafor the future are ic Geometry or similar to that of Number Theomany high-achievrems. ing teenagers, simGiven that — ALBERT ZHANG, senior at Stanford ply more accelerhe has been ated. successful in “During middle school, I took math his fast-forwarded college career, Zhang classes at Stanford,” Zhang says. In his sec- even called some of the classes “easy,” his ond year of college, he transferred there. academic achievements elicit the question He remembers the exact moment he of whether or not he considers himself a found out he was accepted to Stanford. “genius.” “I was studying for my organic chem“That’s a really hard question to anistry final in one of the classrooms no one swer,” Zhang says. “I consider myself to be was using,” Zhang says. “An email popped very smart. I think a lot of people think a up. I left it for 10 minutes and then I genius is otherworldly. I’m just sort of livopened it.” He smiles, “I saw that I was ac- ing a normal life.” cepted and was really, really happy to the Zhang has talked to friends from Jane point that I was crazy about it.” Lathrop Stanford Middle School who are “In some ways I feel more attached to now high schoolers about what he’s missCal than Stanford,” says Zhang. “Cal was ing, or not missing.

I think a lot of people think a genius is otherworldly. I’m just sort of living a normal life.”


“I don’t think I’m missing much,” he says. “I don’t know enough about high school, [but] I feel like most of the stuff I would have tried at high school I tried in college.” At Stanford he has had the opportunity to write for the Stanford Daily and is even the publication’s social media manager. “I like writing perspectives, but opinion has a schedule and I don’t really want to be on a schedule,” Zhang says with a laugh. Aside from all the academics, Zhang is very similar to other teenagers. He has braces, collects free t-shirts, is busy and tired and loves listening to music. “Before college, I mostly listened to songs on [the] Billboard [Music Chart], and classical music,” Zhang says. Now he has begun to explore other genres of music, and he especially likes the Beatles and The Strokes. Besides listening to music, he can also play the piano and sing. “I took piano lessons until I left for college,” Zhang says. “At this point I just play it for fun, [and] I was [also] in choir for a long time before I went to college.” When asked of his plans for the future, Zhang says, “I try not to think about the far future. There are a million things that could happen in the middle. but in terms of the near future, [I plan on doing] math,” he says, smiling. “More math.”


Photo by JAMES POE

He plans on going to graduate school and like many Paly seniors is about to start the application process. Only for him the process is slightly more familiar, as he has gone through it before. As for his advice for those entering college, Zhang advises to have fun. “Expose yourself to new things. People get caught up and don’t think straight. Stay healthy physically and mentally,” Zhang says.

He might be a math whiz who applied to college at the ripe old age of 13, but Zhang is, when all’s said and done, a normal college teenager. “I see him as mature and thoughtful beyond his years,” states Kyle D’Souza, who was surprised to discover Zhang’s age though D’Souza is also a young student. “I’m a normal person,” Zhang says. “I’m living day-to-day, trying not to think too far ahead. This is life. This is what it is.” v



Through the Generations



EN PEOPLE CROWD AROUND ONE LITTLE table on the back patio of Megan Swezey Fogarty’s quaint home on Bryant Street. They laugh, eat corn chips, and remember their time at Palo Alto High School, reminiscing about the “good old days.” “My favorite memory at Paly was the pranks,” Megan, Class of 1982, says, “Our class stole a fiberglass statue and put it on the quad. People would climb up on the roof of the tower building and paint their class years every year.” Paly has grown and changed throughout the generations, and so have many of the traditions and values that shape the school. Although much has remained the same, Paly legacy families notice the stark differences between the generations. As Paly grows and adjusts to the present, some of the families who have stayed in Palo Alto share the reasons why they love Paly and what has changed. The Goddard-Tayeri Family Nancy Goddard, Class of 1963, grew up just two blocks from her mother’s childhood home on Guinda Street. She raised her daughter, Lisa Tayeri, Class of 1984, a mere six blocks north in a two-story house on Hamilton Street. But a little more than a love for Palo Alto’s Crescent Park neighborhood has kept these women in their hometown. In part, a desire to send their children to Palo Alto High School drove Goddard and Lisa to settle their own families among the same tree-lined streets they grew up on. ”It’s just such a good school,” Goddard says. “I think that Paly showed me how many different opportunities there were in life.” Goddard was an avid participant in many activities involving school spirit. She says Paly spirit activities have changed a lot since she attended Paly many years back — back before the tradition of spirit week was even born. “Our big thing was the homecoming game with Sequoia,” Goddard says. “[They were] our nemesis and that was always on



Thanksgiving and we had a few things leading up to that but nothing like I’ve seen the kids [my grandkids] do.” By the time Lisa attended Paly, spirit week was a well-established tradition. Judging by the experiences her three children have had during spirit weeks of the past, Lisa believes Paly spirit week has remained largely unchanged. “Spirit week in the ‘80s was almost identical to what it is now,” Lisa says. “We didn’t have salad dressing day but all the other things we did: generations, colors…” Lisa’s second child, David is a senior at Paly. Palo Alto schools have treated him well for 12 years so far, but he has his sights set on living somewhere else in the future.

PROXIMITY Paly graduate Lisa Tayeri contemplates her family’s legacy in her home on Byron Street. She grew up in a house on Hamilton Ave., less than a mile away from her current residence. “We took AP classes in the ’80s and we were all gung-ho about going to college but we had plenty of time to sleep and relax,” Tayeri says. Photo by Sophie Nakai.

profiles “[Palo Alto is] too expensive,” David says. “I have always seen myself living in a big city after college.” The Swezey Family For the past 69 years, the Swezey family has been living in Palo Alto. When Lawrence Swezey came to Palo Alto for law school in 1947, Paly wasn’t even 50 years old. As Paly’s campus and culture grew, so did Lawrence’s family. He raised all nine of his children in Palo Alto, and three of them still live here, raising their children in many of the same ways their father did. His granddaughter, Sophie Swezey, Class of 2016, jokes about the family’s roots in Palo Alto. “We have a 33 percent retention rate,” Sophie says. Lawrence’s daughter, Megan Swezey Fogarty, says she loved growing up in Palo Alto as much as she loves raising her children here now. Megan wanted her kids to experience the high quality education she experienced at Paly years before. “High school today is completely different… and far better, but I loved my time at Paly,” Megan says. Student government was a vital part of Megan’s time at Paly. “When I was in student government we had 80 people in it,” Megan says. “There was a real sense of owning your class.” Even though Paly has changed over time, some things have remained constant. Most of the youngest Swezey generation agree that there was a part of Paly’s culture that allowed them take charge of their interests and grow in the way they wanted to. Extracurriculars have made Paly special for the Swezeys “For me, the most remarkable part about Paly was the theater program… it was definitely the place where I spent the most time,” Sophie says. “What’s special about that program to me is that students are allowed to take the lead on projects.” Megan Swezey echoes this sentiment. “It [Paly] was [about] finding that niche... finding something where you could take the lead.” v

VERBATIM: How do you feel about living in Palo Alto after you graduate?

“ “ “

I don’t know if I’ll be rich enough.”

If I moved out of Palo Alto I would probably want to stay somewhat close.”

I feel like I want to branch out a little bit and see what other parts of the world are like.”

FAMILY FIRST The Swezey family comes together for a family barbeque on labor day. Top row from left: Matthew Fogarty, Drake Swezey, Kirk Swezey. Middle row from left: Sophie Swezey, Michaela Fogarty, Megan Fogarty, Dhesya Swezey, Weinda Swezey. Bottom row from left: Kyle Swezey, Rory Swezey, Lawrence Swezey. Photo by Sophie Nakai.


freshman Kyle Swezey

junior Micheala Fogarty

Sophie Swezey, Paly `16

I have always seen myself living in a big city after college.” senior David Tayeri


PEERING INTO THE FUTURE Mittal scrawls lines of code onto the transparent glass in the Media Art Center. Photo by James Poe.






AUTAM MITTAL RECALLS opening the door, anticipation and apprehension locked in an internal grapple as he set foot inside the San Jose Paypal Headquarters, the location of the 2014 High School Hacks hackathon — his first hackathon. A crowd of students stood in the registration line, and organizers moved from student to student, distributing stickers printed with the popular hackathon catchphrase, #HELLYEAH. The room vibrated with intensity, and Mittal’s earlier unease faded into excitement. Over in the main hall, over 1,000 “hackers” prepared to endure 24 sleepless hours to build something they cared about, learn something different and meet someone new. Henry M. Gunn High School junior Mittal, 16, is the first to be covered in Verde’s new installment of “startup kids,” a series detailing the technological experi-



ences, accomplishments and contributions questing and receiving mental health help, est people on the planet can’t do right now. of a different local high-schooler or college through coding for its platform. It’d definitely be beyond Math Ninja.” v student each issue. “The idea is that, especially in PAUSD, Mittal represents a generation of indi- where mental health help is a big deal… to viduals born in the 1990s and 2000s influ- implement it here first, because we have the enced by ambitious innovators who became infrastructure and ability,” Mittal says. overnight millionaires. Mittal, who lives in His involvement is due to personal Silicon Valley, the paradise of tech oppor- connection to the topic of psychological tunities, utilizes his coding not only to fur- well-being and its relevance to the lives of ther himself, but also to contribute to his his peers, many of whom feel the pressure local community. of school and other factors impacting their Spending hours poring over his father’s daily lives. web development books from the early ’90s, “Many of my friends experience some 7-year-old Mittal began experimenting level of stress. I’ve experienced stress, and with the basics of computer coding, such as the mental health situation is absolutely softwares HTML, CSS insane,” Mittal says. and JavaScript. At age “End terorism, end pov- “When I was given 10, without any assisthe opportunity to erty, end world hunger. work on a system tance except his books, Mittal completed his that would make Find some way to get first app, Math Ninja a local impact, I technology to do all of — a game that generthought it would be ated random arithme- that.” a great way to put my — GAUTUM MITTAL, high school junior tic problems for young skills to use.” children and rewarded Although curplayers for completing a certain number rently only coding for Copilot’s platform, correctly with a higher belt — to entertain Mittal envisions a world in which, given himself. The game has about 70,000 down- unlimited capital, technology is developed loads on the App Store and around 12,000 to solve all societal welfare problems, big or to 15,000 users on the online version per small. week in the Chrome web store, according “End terrorism, end poverty, end world FOR THE CAMERA Mittal stands in to Mittal. hunger,” Mittal says. “Find some way to get POSING front of the Apple’s Worldwide Developer “It was the first app I built, and there’s technology to do all of that. Send people to Conference (WWDC) banner with his hands on a general sense of pride one feels when you Mars; fix things. Things that even the rich- his hips. Photo by Nikhil D’Souza. submit their first app to the App Store and Apple gives the stamp of approval,” Mittal says. In subsequent years, Mittal created a few more of these games for his own amusement, landed an internship at a small company, and was sponsored to participate in multiple hackathons, 24- to 36- hour team programming sprints. Of them, the most notable was the University of Pennsylvania’s health-themed hackathon, through which he built an app called Kenko — the Japanese word for health — to inform health-conscious individuals of the amount of calories consumed in any food. “You can take a picture of food, and it’ll show you the calorific content,” Mittal says. “We decided it’d be really cool if we could take a picture of something and be able to glean health information from that.” Recently, Mittal has partnered with Copilot, a nonprofit organization that PASSION FOR CODING “I just like to build things. It’s like my hobby; it’s like what relaxes me; it’s endeavors to bridge the gap between re- sort of a medium for creative expression,” Mittal says. Photo by James Poe.



Working for Wellness



S VISITORS ENTER THE Tower Building at Palo Alto High School, the unexpected soothing sound of flowing water and the warm, familiar smell of herbal tea entices them into the new Wellness Centerdirectly across from the main office. Upon a first glance to the left, students catch sight of a smile from Julia Chang, the wellness outreach coordinator. To the right, next to a small table offering up a variety of healthy snacks and colorfully packaged tea bags, sits a tranquil fountain, the source of the calming background noise. If that isn’t enough to lull any high schooler into a calm state, a small enclosure of tension-relieving kinetic sand sits right between the smooth-surfaced, squishy leather chairs that beckon invitingly.



The wellness center, which resides where the former health office was, promotes a broader conception of health. “[It] is not only a space for students when they need to decompress or to seek out services, but it’s also a place for health education,” Chang says. “By health, we don’t just mean somatic symptoms like a headache or a cold. We’re also really focused on wellness as a whole, taking into account both your mental and physical health.” Chang also encourages students to utilize the center for educational purposes. “Students can come here if they’re seeking out other information pertaining to … a wide range of concerns, including sexual health, nutrition, [and] fitness.” Even though the center has only been open for a few weeks, students have already

begun to utilize the available resources. “So far we’ve had students come in to seek out a variety of services, and I’m really glad that they know that we’re here.” The steady stream of students means that Chang has already developed a routine. “A typical day consists of students coming in during our drop-in hours,” Chang says. “For students that maybe need more support, we’re usually the first point of contact.” Across the Bay to Paly Chang, who holds a degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley, beams with enthusiasm as she describes her path to Paly. “I was passionate about student health and when I heard that Paly was looking

FLIPPING THROUGH PAPERS Julia Chang sifts through papers on her desk in the Paly Wellness Center. Photo by James Poe.

there that focused on student health.” nice about growing a plant, or taking care She also possesses ample experience of a living thing that isn’t an animal.” when it comes to working with younger Chang’s gardening passion becomes students. apparent when one considers the amount of “I also taught sexual health workshops flora scattered around the room. to high schoolers and helped with disaster “I really like greenery ... which is why response in elementary I try to incorporate schools.” it into this space In addition to en- My favorite part is too,” Chang says. “It joying the tangible im- the relationships that makes a world of a pacts stemming from difference when you her work, Chang de- you build with stuhave a plant in the scribes the interperson- dents. ... I can’t imagine room.” al interactions as highly anything that is more fulfilling. Viking pride “I think my favor- rewarding.” While Chang ite part is the relationseeks to transform— JULIA CHANG, wellness outreach worker ships that you build Paly’s culture by with students,” Chang broadening stusays. “There have already been students that dents’ conceptions of health, she praises come in and feel really comfortable in the the overall school environment for being so space.” supportive. Nowadays, even though Chang’s “We already have so much parent supschedule has changed and she has acquired port for our event … and I think that just new hobbies, she retains her love of read- speaks to how supportive the [parent and ing. staff] communities are,” Chang says. “We’re “I’ve been trying to read more because all here working towards the same goal of I have been very busy,” Chang says. “I also trying to ensure that the students here are like to garden ... There is just something healthy and feeling well.” v

for a wellness outreach worker, I thought, ‘Wow, what a perfect fit’,” Chang says. “I’ve always loved working in schools and with youth.” Throughout her childhood and college years in the East Bay, Chang says she has always been devoted to health and wellness. Chang describes herself as an avid reader and tennis player. “I read all of the time,” Chang says. “You know those Scholastic book orders? I would get so excited every time. I loved to get those books. I also liked to play sports like tennis and badminton.” While Chang served as part of the student government at her high school, she led global health and social justice initiatives like a partnership with Free the Children, an organization focused on achieving the U.N.’s millennium goals, and Halloween canned food drives. This desire to improve the world around her only grew stronger, and by the time she was in college, Chang had decided on a career path. “I knew I wanted to study public health because it impacts so many people’s lives, even the smallest thing,” Chang says. “I joined the … university health services and took a [leadership] role at the program

THE SMILE BEHIND THE DESK Julia Chang beams at the camera as she takes a break from her busy workday. “It was such a great opportunity to come to Paly and join the new initiative in wellness,” Chang says. Photo by James Poe.


ORDER UP A Tender Greens employee slices chicken for the restaurants popular Chipotle Barbeque Chicken salad. Photo by James Poe.

A Fresh W Start




HEN YOU WALK INTO Stanford Mall’s newest tenant, Tender Greens, you are greeted by friendly employees and earthy decor. The restaurant chain places an emphasis on fresh ingredients from local farms and interior design elements made from environmentally friendly products. The first Tender Greens in the Bay Area opened in 2011 in Walnut Creek and slowly but surely, more Bay Area locations started to pop up. Upon entering, one might be greeted by Sean Canavan, the Regional Chef of Tender Greens since 2012, who is in charge of the menu for the chain’s Bay Area locations and aims to ensure quality customer care. “It was at least as far back as 2013 that we had our eye on Palo Alto.,” Canavan says. “[Stanford Mall] feels so authentic and it’s a great community. We’ve received an awesome, warm welcome from the community, from the people.”

According to Canavan, the chain looks to satisfy diners of all food preferences and diet restrictions, while ensuring that each visitor gets a balanced meal of proteins and greens. Tender Greens offers “Big Plates” which are $12 and made up of proteins such as steak, chicken or falafel. The protein can be simply plated or made into a sandwich; both versions are accompanied by a “Simple Salad,” composed of any choice of greens, from kale to iceberg lettuce. If greens are mostly what you’re after, the restaurant has an alternative: “Big Salads.” Each Big Salad is $12 and comes with various vegetables and a protein, thus successfully encompassing all aspects of a hearty meal. Canavan says the restaurant’s success is due to its use of local and fresh ingredients and fine dining, made accessible to everyone. “It’s sort of democratized fine food for anyone to afford. … We don’t employ any proteins that have hormones or antibiotics. We go GMO-free whenever we can; we pay a premium for it but it’s worth it to us. ... We love our guests.” v

culture CANAVAN AND THE CUSTOMER Chef Sean Canavan rings up a customer’s pick-up order. Photo by Sophie Nakai.


Fried Chicken: (Big Plate): $12 The fried chicken isn’t anything special but still has a homemade charm to it. The meat is high-quality with subtle hints of rosemary and thyme. The outer layer of the chicken is crispy and nicely contrasts the chewy but tender meat inside. Chipotle Barbecue Chicken Salad (Big Salad): $12 The chicken salad is full of large; plain lettuce and is drizzled with a cilantro lime dressing. The chicken is marinated on the grill, leaving it with a smoky taste and chewy texture. The chipotle aspect was brought in with the tortilla strips dusted with spices.

PLATED SALAD Employees Chris Meachem and Giselle Clinton show off their completed “Harvest” Big Salad. Photo by James Poe.

Kale Simple Salad (Part of Big Plate) To make up for the fact that kale generally has a plain, bitter taste, the salad was freshly tossed with a garlic vinaigrette. The garlic enhances the greens and gives them a strong salty twist while still keeping the salad light. Mashed Potatoes (Part of Big Plate) The mashed potatoes are rich and creamy and add a hearty aspect to the plate. The texture is perfect and airy, which adds a light touch to a pretty heavy meal.

SERVICE WITH A SMILE Employees Brenda Nevarez and Chris Copley pose amid the organic ingredients. Photo by James Poe.

Chocolate Chip Cookie: $2.50 The chocolate chip cookie is the perfect way to end any traditional American meal. Instead of the classic chocolate chips, this cookie was dotted with large chunks of dark chocolate. The bitter dark chocolate balances out the extremely sweet, buttery flavor of the cookie. Peanut Butter Cookie: $2.50 The peanut butter cookie will satisfy any peanut butter lover. The cookie has a good nutty flavor and leaves a rich aftertaste of and cinnamon. Mint Lemonade: $2.75 The mint lemonade is quite sweet but still refreshing; the sour lemon taste is balanced by a tame mint flavor.


Costume Creations



ALLOWEEN IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORner, and with it comes the Halloween enthusiast’s eternal dilemma: to spend $50 on an overpriced storebought costume, or try (and probably fail) to make your own? Luckily, a third option is available for those of us who have neither money nor artistic talent. Using household materials and some affordable crafting supplies, you can easily create a costume that is functional, low-cost, and unique. To demonstrate, we searched Jo-Ann Fabrics (and our own closets) for inexpensive supplies like flannel, felt, ribbon, and a fake garland. (A word to the wise: be sure to use a coupon at a store like Jo-Ann, where products can get somewhat pricey but are significantly cheaper with the many discount options.) We left with a shopping cart full of green and white felt, blue and yellow flannel, tacky glue, polyfill fiber and elastic band, all cheap enough to keep each costume under $26. Using our craft-supplies haul and some everyday clothing articles, we put together four creative, easy-to-make, no-sew DIY costumes for you and your fashion-forward dog. v

Madeline Cost: $8.99

Cape 1. Take blue cloth and fold it in half, hamburger syle. Then fold it again, hamburger style. 2. Draw half a semicircle with a 2” radius in the folded corner, and another half semicircle with a 12” radius around it. 3. Cut out both semicircles to make a poncho with a hole for your head. Hat 1. Cover the sun hat with yellow felt, attaching it with safety pins. 2. Wrap a black ribbon around the hat, tying it in a bow at the back. 3. Pair your hat and poncho with the blue dress, white knee socks, and black flats.

Storm (for dogs)

Lilo (Lilo & Stitch) Cost: $19.47

Flowers 1. Fold white felt in half. 2. Trace and cut out six flower patterns the size of your hand onto the felt. 3. Attach flowers to the red shirt using tacky glue. Let dry. Leaf Skirt 1. Measure the length from your waist to your knee and mark the green felt. 2. Fold felt in half, and trace leaf shapes on the felt. Leaves should be at least six inches wide. 3. Cut out felt and use as a stencil to make 7 more leaves. 4. Measure and cut a length of elastic that is 1 inch shorter than your waist circumference. 5. Staple leaves to the elastic, about 1.5 inches from the top of the leaves. 6. Glue ends together. You’re done!




Cost: $25.47 1. Cut a rectangle from white felt; make it big enough to completely cover your dog. 2. Cut 1 small hole on each long side of the cloth. 3. Cut out several lightning bolts and rain drops from the yellow and blue fabrics; glue them on the felt. 4. Cover the rest of the felt with polyfill fiber. 5. Place the felt on your dog's back, thread a white ribbon through the holes and tie it under your dog’s belly.

Oiishi is Japanese for "delicious"




HOPPED FISH. GREEN ONION. RICE. SOY sauce. These are all components of poké, one of the newest food trends. A Hawaiian-Japanese dish that is traditionally served as an appetizer, poké is composed of a blend of raw fish, sauces and toppings to create a fish “salad.” Despite its popularity in other places, poké is relatively new in Palo Alto, and few know what it is and where to get the best of it. Verde tried the new poké places in search for potential new lunch spots. v

Poki Bowl (2305 El Camino Real) Poki Bowl is a one room restaurant that has recently been renovated to reflect a sharper, modern style. Similar to PokéLOVE, Poki Bowl was set up in the same assembly line ordering method. However unlike PokéLOVE, there are no pre-made poké bowls and the Buildyour-own-bowl ($13) is the only option. The first time I went I chose medium spicy, a classic bowl of tuna, salmon and edamame. On my first bite, I noticed that the rice was a little dry and hard, so it didn’t feel like traditional Japanese sushi rice it was generally unpleasant. To make sure it wasn't just an opening week slump, I went back multiple times. The next time I chose mild spice because I couldn't handle it. I concluded that the fish was fresh, but not amazingly so. One thing I really enjoyed was the seaweed salad. The ingridients used in the salad were fresh and it tasted like the traditional dish. Even with the generally unsatisfactory bowl the first time, the bowls I tried when I went again were pretty good. POKÉLOVE (TOP) Bowl with salmon, green onion, edamame, onions, spicy shoyu and masago. Photo by Sophie Nakai.

POKI BOWL (BOTTOM) Bowl with tuna, salmon, medium spice sauce, green onion, avocado, seaweed salad and mayo naise sriracha. Photo by Sophie Nakai.

Verde Poké Recipies

PokéLOVE (855 El Camino Real #9) PokéLOVE is right across from the Palo Alto High School campus and is a convenient location for students. You get plenty of rice and fish for $10 to $13 and students get a 20 percent discount for weekday lunches. Walking into the store, there is a large counter area where the staff assembles your bowl, which can either be one of the various menu options or your original creation. The build-your-bowl option is created in an assembly line where you start by ordering the size and starch and then move on to mix-ins, fish and toppings. The first time, I created a small, white rice bowl with edamame (soybeans), onion, tuna, spicy tuna and sriracha salmon, mixed in a spicy soy sauce topped with masago (fish eggs). After going back with friends and trying more combinations, I found that but I was generally pleased with the food. The fish was not the freshest and it was generally kind of bland as the sauces did not have enough time to marinate the fish properly. However, the toppings were fresh and helped pull the entire bowl together.

Authentic Japanese-Hawaiian Poké 2 pounds fish of your choice, cubed ½ cup soy sauce Chopped green onions, to taste 2 tbsp. sesame oil Sesame seeds (optional) 1 avocado, cubed Masago to taste In a bowl, mix fish, soy sauce and sesame oil. Add green onions and avocado. Mix. Add sesame seeds and masago. Mix. Serves 4. Spicy non-authentic Poké 1 pound fish of your choice, cubed 1 tbsp. soy sauce, or to taste ½ tbsp sesame oil, or to taste Chopped green onions, to taste ¼ sliced onion (optional) 2 tbsp. Mayonaise 2 tbsp. Sriracha 2 tsp. tobiko or masago (optional) Put fish in bowl. Add soy sauce and sesame oil. Add green onions and edamame. Add mayonaise and sriracha. Add masago. Serves 2-3



SERVING WITH A SMILE A Costco employee smiles as he hands a customer her receipt of her purchse. Photo by Emma Cockerell



WARMING CROWDS OF EAGER SHOPPERS FILL-ed the massive storage space and gravitated towards the Costco food court nestled in the corner of the building — this cafeteria seemed to have a life of its own. As we examined the paneled food images extending across the wall above the cashier, we found a simple yet satisfactory menu of 10 items. The menu

displayed items ranging from combo pizzas to berry smoothies, each priced under $5. After moving through the almost nonexistent line, we received our food faster than we could find seating. For its price and quantity, the Costco cafeteria is the ideal place for famished high schoolers with their parent’ membership card and small change to drop by and satisfy their empty stomachs. v

Very Berry Sundae $1.65



Characterized by an artful disarray of burgundy swirls spiraling through vanilla ice cream, the Very Berry Sundae with strawberries was visually impressive. The taste, unfortunately, was noticeably less pleasant than the aesthetics. The strawberries were accompanied by a thick, sticky jam that obscured all traces of their natural aroma and left nothing but the synthetic sweetness of artificial flavoring. The vanilla ice cream’s thick consistency and creaminess were a touch overdone.




Chicken Caesar Salad $3.99

AAAAA A comparatively nutritious alternative to the typical American classics, the Chicken Caesar salad contained romaine lettuce and tomatoes in harmony with bits lightly seasoned chicken. Although not different in taste from homemade salads, its freshness was undeniable — the leaves’ crunchy texture and tomatoes’ firmness revealed the quality of the produce. The sealed cup of ranch is flavorful and complements the salad without becoming overwhelming, while a hint of seasoning in the chicken strips enhanced the overall taste. The salad came in a pre-packaged container and created an inexpensive option for individuals on-the-go.

Combo Pizza $1.99

AAAAA Of the pizza options, we chose to go with the combo instead of the cheese and pepperoni. The pizza we received was built on a base of ordinary tomato sauce garnished with melted cheese, spicy slices of pepperoni, and bits of olives, sausage and pepper to top it off. Though the cheese lacked gooiness, the overall ratio of toppings to sauce and crust was satisfactory.

Chicken Bake $2.99

AAAAA Baked to a golden complexion, the chicken bake was composed of chicken breast, bacon, caesar dressing and melted cheese on the inside and outside. The crispy texture of the bread highlighted the creamy mixture inside. Though the the chicken bake may have appeared deflated on the outside, the inside was packed with flavor.

Churro $1.00

AAAAA One dollar at Costco will buy you a foot long of happiness in the form of a twisted churro that will appeal to the sweet tooth in everyone. The outer layer was coated in a mixture of sugar and cinnamon. One bite into the churro revealed the moist inner layer. Although the churro was overall delicious, Costco could have been more generous in the addition of sugar to the coating.


Midnight Munchies

Text and photo by NOGA HURWITZ



SPEED DOWN HIGHWAY 101 with some friends. It’s 3:30 a.m. We are blasting Kendrick Lamar’s “Untitled 02,” and assigning back stories to the people we see drive their cars past us. After all — who are the people out and about in this late at night? The Silicon Valley is a microcosm of diverse activities and social events, most of which dial down as soon as the twilight hours hit. But, with a bit of exploring, even the Bay Area provides opportunities for late night excursions that can lead to delicious adventures fitting for any Palo Alto High School food lover with a car, money and some friends.

Illustration by Annie Zhou

Taco’s Santiago

609 Saratoga Ave. San Jose 12:13 a.m. — Embedded in a large parking of a Shell gas station in San Jose lies a hidden gem of Bay Area Mexican cuisine, Taco Santiaguito. Even this late at night, there is a long line to order from the small aromatic vehicle. My friend and I stand at the end of the line, crowded between a father and his two children and a woman dressed in a colorful mumu — a tunic — patiently waiting with her husband. The man turns to me and engages in polite conversation: “You know they are [the taco truck] the best in town. They started out here just two guys four months ago. Now we come here all the time from across town for their tacos.” After ordering, we move to the side of the truck and scoop an array of vividly colored salsas into

small plastic containers and wait for our food to be prepared. After a few minutes one of the men working in the truck sticks his head out of a small square window and shouts “sesenta y uno.” From my limited knowledge of Spanish, I figure that it is probably my order, and I grab the traditional white plastic “Thank You” bag containing my food. The quesadilla ($5.50) is topped with sour cream and mouth-watering guacamole. Just the right amount of melted cheese is nestled between the crispy browned tortillas, pre-cut into quarters, making the dish easily sharable. The beef taco ($2) is traditionally small, and is loaded with perfectly seasoned beef and topped with caramelized, crunchy glazed onions. The complimentary lime brings the entire dish together and the fiery salsa options add a kick to the overall experience. I pack up my garbage and sort it between the overflowing trash and recycling bins offered, then return to the car for my next late night meal.


1155 California Drive Burlingame 1:30 a.m. — I follow a shoeless waitress dressed in black through a dark restaurant. I remove my Birkenstocks and slide into a hallway of glass cubicles. In my cubicle, a table is set on the floor, surrounded by four cherry red cushions. I expect to be sitting cross-legged on the floor behind our table setting, but as I slide into my seat I am surprised to find an empty space below the table for my legs to dangle into. A small placard off to the side of the table boasts Mokutanya’s Wednesday and Thursday exotic meat

culture specials, including peacock, iguana , silkworm and camel. The first plate to arrive is stacked with croquette tapas ($6) — circular, panko-breaded, deep fried mashed potatoes that melt in my mouth, adorned with tonkatsu, a Japanese-style BBQ sauce. Next, the fried baby “takos” (baby octopus, $9) make it to the table. Each octopus is perfectly intact, breaded and thoroughly fried to ensure a crunchy exterior while preserving the chewy insides. The traditional Izakaya skewers are last to arrive, one Momo (chicken thigh, $3) and one Gindara Kasuzuke (black cod in miso sauce, $5), each grilled to perfection and dripping with juices from their marination. As I enjoy my food, waitresses scurry down the hallway carrying dishes, taking orders and refilling water glass-

es. Cacophonic laughs echo from one of the cubicles in a different hallway of the restaurant as a party celebrates whatever there is to celebrate at 1:50 a.m.

Heidi’s Pies

1941 S El Camino Real, San Mateo 2:24 a.m. — Stepping through the doors of Heidi’s Pies transported me through a time machine straight into a diner that may as well have been from the ‘60s. The gleaming tables and vinyl booths are surprisingly fully packed with people. The hostess leads me to a circular table near a window, providing me with an antiquated menu. Pies are running on low supply tonight, so of the limited remaining options my companions and I settle on pecan pie ($5.39) a-la-carte (extra $1.20)


in addition to a fresh baked Belgian waffle ($7.99). The Beach Boys jubilant tones mix with multilingual chatter as the hostess returns shortly with two of each dish in hand — doubling the order generously, on the house. The waffle is comparable to a soggy Eggo, and the pie tastes artificial, but this is made up by the pleasant atmosphere. I pick through my final meal of the night and eventually leave the restaurant through two swinging glass doors, returning to 2016.


3:42 a.m. — After a long night out of delectable endeavors I finally return to my house and plop into my warm bed with a full stomach and a content heart. The images of adventourous night dwellers and nocturnal explorers float through my mind as sleep for the short remainder of the night. v

A TACO TRUCK TREAT A family orders tacos from Taco’s Santiago, a taco truck in San Jose. The truck was started by two men four months ago and has since become a popular spot for many locals. Photo by Noga Hurwitz. Illustration by Vivian Ngyuen.


Clothing with a




USTLING FARMER MARKETS FULL OF that highlights the devastating problems caused by today’s healthy shoppers looking for organic and locally fashion industry. The other 97 percent are outsourced to made food are a common sight in the Bay Area. countries where workers are often forced into unsafe conEco-bags, filled to the brim with groceries, and ditions, long hours and immensely low pay. The cheap sleek hybrid cars zipping across Palo prices that come out of these markets Altan streets are also increasingly popusually indicate that the workers in Dig a little deeper ular. In fact, consumers now seem infields and factories are being underterested in ecologically friendly prodpaid to benefit the consumer. and try to find out ucts more than ever. Luckily, a few shops around Palo how the clothes A survey conducted by RetailAlto have found ways to produce MeNot shows only 46 percent of conwere made. clothing that has a positive impact — MARIANA OROCIO, sumers were more likely to purchase on workers and the environment. sales associate at Amour Vert a product if it has a positive impact Each store is filled with passionate on the environment in 2012, which staff who play a small role in workhas increased to 89 percent this past year. In such an ing towards improving the impact of clothing around the eco-friendly craze, why aren’t more people seeking out world. clothing with the same high ethical and green standards? Many live with an unawareness of the negative effects Marine Layer of the clothing industry, which revolves around sending (855 El Camino Real) the manufacturing process overseas. Today, only about 3 Stepping into Marine Layer, a clothing store in Town percent of clothing sold in the United States is made here and Country, I was greeted by a hand-sized cactus plant in America, according to “The True Cost,” a documentary in a bright orange pot, with a sign that says “Touch Everything Except the Cactus.” The walls were filled with posters of road trips and beach waves, emitting a carefree California vibe. Marine Layer, a start-up based in San Francisco, stands for their commitment to selling products that are made locally and ethically. “The fabrics are cut and sewn in Los Angeles and then shipped to San Francisco where they’re made,” says sales associate Lauren Melenudo. “We are very close with our sewers and designers.” Most of the clothes are made of durable cotton and recycled material, resulting in extremely soft fabrics. Melenudo first learned about the benefits of ethical clothing once she began working at Marine Layer, and is eager to share her perspective on clothing with customers as they walked into the store. “I think it’s important to respect everyone’s life and humanity,” Melenudo says. “How would you feel if the clothing factory worker was your son or daughter? I always think about putting some empathy in there, stepCALIFORNIA VIBE The wall filled with relaxing decorations give Marine Layer a feel of the West Coast. Photo by Amira Garewal. ping in their shoes.” Text by AMIRA GAREWAL





FROM PLANTS TO CLOTHES Amour Vert sales associate Mariana Orocio shows customers the process the clothes are made. Photo by Amira Garewal.

Amour Vert

(660 Stanford Shopping Center Court)

dyes in Berkeley, and handbags whose proceeds are donated to the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Orocio wishes more people took the time to discover the impact of their clothes. “Dig in a little bit deeper and try to find out how the clothes were made,” Orocio says. “It seems small, but there’s a story behind it, and just knowing who made the clothes and where they were made does make an impact.” v

In sleek black letters on a vast white wall is a sign that reads “We pledge that with every purchase of an Amour Vert T-shirt we will plant a tree on your behalf.” Amour Vert, which translates to “Green Love” in French, is an organization whose mission is to provide clothing with an ethically friendly outlook towards its workers and the world-wide environment. With a new location in Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto shoppers are within reach of clothes are made locally in the Bay Area using non-toxic dyes and eco-friendly sustainable fabrics. “From what I’ve learned working here, the fashion industry is one of the biggest contributors to pollution,” says sales associate Mariana Orocio. “So knowing that you can go somewhere and buy a T-shirt that you know has been made responsibly in a way that helps the environment just makes it a little more special.” The organization focuses on details. For example, the textiles are shipped from Los Angeles to Oakland where they are produced in a trailer that would otherwise be traveling empty to return back to Southern California with wine. The non-brand name products they carry include shoes made with organic cotton and WHEELBARROW OF CLOTHES Attire made with organic and non-toxic dyes are vegetable dye, scarves hand dyed with organic non-toxic displayed atop a wheelbarrow display. Photo by Amira Garewal.





IVELY, UPBEAT MUSIC FLOATS THROUGH THE AIR AS children run about, their parents chatting amiably as the descending sun covers an array of food trucks in a golden glow. Off the Grid, a local organization that brings together food trucks from across the Bay Area, meets in a variety of locations, including in the parking lot of the Computer History Museum in Mountain View every Friday night from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Google executives, parents with young children and college students all flock to the trucks seeking a relaxing wind-down to the week and a variety of delectable foods. The trucks represent an often overlooked aspect of the competitive culinary industry and a fresh alternative to expensive local dining. To find out more, we visited a few out of the nine food trucks there on a sunny August dusk; the enticing atmosphere kept us there until the sun had set and the food trucks began to roll away. v



Aki-ta Sushi Aki-ta Sushi first came to Off the Grid three months ago, and since then has settled nicely into the small food truck community. This truck offers a variety of sushi dishes, with over 20 options listed on the menu. The preparation took slightly longer than the other trucks, but this was understandable as the chefs were making the sushi specific to each order inside the vehicle. Prices were reasonable, barely reaching over $10, and the food was well made with quality ingredients. $9 Red Dragon Roll This delicate, bite sized sushi contains shrimp, avocado and crab, wrapped in rice and seaweed and delicately drizzled with a sweet combination of tuna unagi (eel) sauce and spicy mayo. As you bite into it, the crispy fried outside satisfies your mouth, followed by the refreshing taste of fresh seafood. The set contains eight medium-sized pieces, thoughtfully placed to form a smiling face with sides of wasabi and ginger. $9 Akita Roll Salomon Airas, the owner of Aki-ta Sushi, is most proud of the Akita Roll, his own creation and the truck’s namesake. So, of course, Verde had to try it. A bite of shrimp, unagi, cream cheese, soft, unagi sauce, cream sauce and spicy mayo is hard to resist.


Taco Truck


“Aquí se come sabroso” are the welcoming words written on a small chalkboard hanging above the ordering window of this food truck. The Spanish phrase translates to here we eat tasty. Glass jars, filled with an array of spices and condiments, are lined up next to the window — it truly is any salsa lover’s dream. Gustavo Garcia, one of the co-owners of this Mexican food truck, is on a mission to provide customers with authentic food that holds up to this standard. $2.50 Soft Tacos This dish, which allows for self-customization with meat type and sauces, was quick to gain our approval. Hand-sized soft-shell tacos enveloped meat, onion and cilantro. Although the red-orange meat of the chicken taco would make one think that the dish would be spicy, it was the perfect balance of spice and savoriness, and the meat was tender and well-cooked. The beef taco’s meat, however, was chunky and tough to chew. Yet it was surprisingly far better tasting than the chicken; despite the my initial aversion to its texture, the beef taco was quick to become my favorite for the night.

CHICKEN AND BEEF TACOS WIth a perfect mixture of spiced meat and freshly cooked tortillas, these tacos provided a delicious meal. Photo by Emma Cockerell

$3.50 Grilled Corn It may seem silly to simply review corn, but the corn from this truck tasted straight out of Mexico. Grilled until just lightly browned, and covered with generous amounts of butter, the corn is served with white cotija cheese, tajin pepper and served with a slice of lime on top of a small wooden handle. It’s an explosion of flavor with the initial spice quickly fading into a delightful mix of sour and sweet.

Cookies and Cream The only dessert food truck we visited, Cookies and Cream was simple in concept but over the top in deliciousness. The truck offers a mix and match system — any type of ice cream with either a cup, waffle cone or cookie sandwich. While the selection of ice cream was limited compared to your grocery store alternative, each flavor was creamy and delectable, with a perfect level of sweetness. Some of the unique flavors inclued “Too Die For” which consisted of vanilla ice cream with fudge swirls and peanut butter, and “EarthQuake” which contained chocolate and blackberry swirls. The fresh cookies add a homemade hint to the truck’s offereings.“ We bake our own cookies at home, it’s all a family business,” says truck owner Peter Cao. The business, which claims that its ice cream sandwiches are “the best in the Bay,” also donates partial proceeds to schools and charities, says Cao. $5 “New World Order” Ice Cream Sandwich New World Order ice cream, Cao’s own creation, is an amazing blend of fudge, chocolate and caramel ice cream. It was an exquisite combination of sweet and salty, so expertly blended that my taste buds didn’t know what to think. I would even venture to say that it was the best ice cream I have ever tasted. The cookies are likely a heaven for hardcore chocolate lovers, consisting of a higher percentage of chocolate chunks than actual cookie.

STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM IN WAFFLE CONE This dessert is everything that you could want in a good strawberry ice cream: fruity and refreshing, but not sickly sweet. The massive single scoop balanced nicely on the crunchy waffle cone. Photo by Emma Cockerell


you will get the guy


We all know the story. The one with the nerdy girl with bulky glasses who “gets” the popular football player at the end. You know, “The Duff” type movie. The moral of the story: Girls with their own passions and personality can get the boy in the future. That’s the epitome of modern feminism, right? Wrong. Although current movies like this encourage girls to develop their own sense of self while they are young, they also encourage them to view “getting the guy” as an important goal. But TV shows and the media are not the only perpetrators. Parents, adults and friends tend to use phrases like “You’ll get the guy later” to encourage a girl to explore her own interests while she is young and is in the midst of finding her place in this world. But what happens when a girl doesn’t get the guy later? What if she never needs or wants the guy later? Evidently, pieces of advice and comfort such as “You’ll get the guy later” fail to take these questions into account. Although the phrase is intended to promote female power and individuality, “You’ll get the guy later” makes the assumption that marriage or having a boyfriend will be a girl’s definite goal in the future, when, in reality, it might not be. Even if she wants to be like all her friends and wants a boyfriend at the moment, who is to say this will be her choice in the future or that this would even be a positive choice for her later in life? Nobody. That’s the problem with the saying “You’ll get the guy later” — having a relationship with a guy may not be the best option for a girl at any given point in her life, not just when she is young. The issue is not that a girl comes to value marriage, which can often be a very beautiful thing, but that she expects to be married or have a boyfriend in the future, as if there was no other path for her. I know what you’re thinking. What about the LGBTQ community? The thing is that we live in a patriarichal society, and as sad as it may be, girls aren’t encouraged to have girlfriends; they are encouraged to have boyfriends to support them and call them beautiful. Yet, if girls were encouraged to have girlfriends and boys to have boyfriends, the same concerns would apply. And this is where the issue gets tricky. We know that in our modern society things are a whole lot better than they were for past generations of women, who were forced to rely on husbands for financial support. Yet, the results of a study on women’s self-esteem conducted in Art by Aisha Maas

2014 by Florida State University and the Southern Methodist Church showed that women’s self-perception was significantly boosted or reduced by the opinions of men. When told that men found a certain body type attractive, women’s ratings of their bodies either increased or decreased. Although women can now provide for themselves and pursue their own careers, many still evidently struggle to find self-worth in themselves, leading many women to continue needing a man to feel complete. According to bell hooks, social activist, feminist and author of the book “Communion: The Female Search for Love,” “femaleness in patriarchal culture marks us from the very beginning as unworthy or not as worthy, and it should come as no surprise that we learn to worry most as girls, as women, about whether or not we are worthy of love.” Thus, “our value, our worth … are always determined by someone else.” When we gain our value from another person, be it our lifelong partner or lab partner who complimented us in chemistry last week, we fail to be true individuals. To truly gain equality in society, we must become our own cheerleaders. We, as women, need to support each other and ourselves in pursuing our own passions and interests and allowing that to be enough. We as people, whether we’re straight, gay, bisexual or what have you, need to find a way to love ourselves because of our own achievements and successes. We need to be confident enough in ourselves and happy enough as individuals that we can thrive in life with or without the guy or girl. A girl does not have to have someone else to feel beautiful, be confident and love herself — she only needs her own power and strength to do all those things. v






HE BLINKS AT ME WITH HER hazel-brown eyes, her tail a blur, wagging in eager anticipation, the corners of her ears flopped over. She sniffs at my outstretched hand and licks my fingers with her warm, rough tongue. Wendy is always the first one I greet and the last one I say goodbye to when I volunteer at the Palo Alto Animal Services every Thursday. She is a big dog among a crowd of small dogs, and the only calm one among a clamor of excited ones. She is also a pit bull.

When most people hear “pitbull” they think: vicious, innately mean and people-hating dogs. But the reality is, pit bulls are simply misunderstood. The first time I volunteered at Palo Alto Animal Services was the first time I had ever come into contact with pit bulls. I love animals, especially dogs, and while I was eager to meet Wendy and Baloo, both American pit bull terriers, there was a little voice in my head saying, “Pit bulls? Remember what you read in the news? They’re dangerous.”

perspectives That little voice could not have been more wrong. Pit bulls are not the innately monstrous creatures the media portrays them as — in fact, Wendy and her fellow pit bulls are the exact opposite. At one point, pit bulls were considered the perfect “nanny dogs.” They were ideal family dogs and were known for being especially calm and affectionate. So what happened? The answer: people began abusing pit bulls. While some pit bulls are trained to be vicious, statistics are often skewed in favor of the stereotype that all pit bulls are born evil. These numbers are often taken from biased media sources whose goal is to create sensationalized and exaggerated headlines, as opposed to being factually correct. According to a 2008 study conducted by the National Canine Research Council, a labrador retriever attack in Arizona was reported by only one newspaper, while a pit bull attack in California received international attention from more than 285 media sources. The American pit bull terrier actually scored very well in an experiment testing friendliness, protective instinct and stability in an experiment done by the American Temperament Test Society. They had the second highest score with an 86.8 percent pass rate, only bested by Labrador Retrievers with a pass rate of 92 percent. These results indicate that pit bulls, contrary to myth, have very good temperaments and are not as innately aggressive as the media has painted them to be. Given the obvious inaccuracy of stereotypes against pit bulls, the breed should not take the bulk of the blame for such myths. Townsend Brady, a volunteer at PAAS who has trained Wendy at the shelter and is pit bull owner himself, agrees that the dogs are not at fault. “We should hold the human beings responsible,” Brady says. “Dogs want to please you. They [pit bulls] are taught to be vicious.” The ASPCA agrees, saying, “pit bulls often attract the worst kind of dog owners.” And thus a ruthless cycle is born. Evidently pit bulls are not innately the monsters the media paints them to be — Wendy is living proof that if caregivers take responsibility for training and loving pit bulls, they can be great household companions.

“She is very people-oriented, and contrary to the myth, she is very friendly and has a sweet disposition,” Brady says. Wendy’s a super sweetheart.” At the end of the day, dogs are like people. They need care and love and in return can be affectionate and loyal. Pitbulls deserve to be judged based on individual personality. Wendy has received the attention that all dogs deserve, and she is a pitbull ambassador. She has shown me and many others what pit bulls are capable of being — affectionate, loyal, playful and non-aggressive. Wendy sits on the bench next to me. She turns to lick my face, and when I turn to look again, the corners of her mouth are curled upwards: she is smiling. v


They [pit bulls] are taught to be vicious.” TOWNSEND BRADY. volunteer and pit bull owner —

MYTH VS FACT MYTHS: Pit bulls have locking jaws.

FACTS: Pit bulls are very similar to laboradors or chihuahuas meaning their jaws do not lock and have no greater biting pressure than other dogs. — PETFINDER.COM

Pit bulls can’t feel pain.

Pit bulls feel pain just as other dogs do. — TEAMPITAFUL.COM

Pit bulls can’t be trusted around children.

Pitbulls were once considered the ultimate family dog. They were even called nursemaids or nanny dogs. — PIT BULL RESCUE CENTRAL

Pit bull is one breed.

The generalization based on appearance encompasses multiple breeds. — CANINE RESEARCH COUNCIL.



Dear Grandma,



HE YEAR IS 2016. It has been about 72 years since you were were saved by a Russian soldier after collapsing during the death march from Majdanek concentration camp, and 69 years since you were finally able to aliyah — translated to “move up” in Hebrew — to Israel. It has also been nearly five years since you passed away peacefully, surrounded by your loving husband, children, grandchildren and friends. A lot has changed in five years. New words have entered the common English vocabulary such as “twerk” and “selfie,” Justin Bieber is still around and last week I nearly rear-ended a self-driving car. Yes, those exist. Innovation has skyrocketed, climate reform policy has been passed, and gay marriage is now legal in the United States But some things haven’t changed. Grandma — I wish that I could tell you that throughout these

Trump’s rhetoric is being overshadowed by his goofy, accentuated persona and ability to turn any statement into a viral meme. But Trump is not a joke. ”

BRIGHT FUTURE My grandmother as a 5-yearold stands outside of her family’s shoe store in Hrubieszow, Poland. Photo provided by Noga Hurwitz.

past five years, people have become more accepting, tolerant and empathetic towards one another, but recently, things seem to have gone somewhat in reverse. Throughout the past five years, Syria has been in the midst of a gruesome civil war that has produced over five-million refugees. And the problem isn’t just in Syria. According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the number of refugees and internally displaced people has reached its highest point since you were a refugee, after World War II, with 60 million

refugees. The attention of extremists around the world been galvanized by fascist leaders who are pushing anti-refugee and anti-Muslim platforms. In the past year, countries such as as Hungary, Romania and France have all elected politicians who encourage anti-foreigner, anti-migrant policies. These countries are not alone. In the past year, a new phenomenon has hit the United States — Donald Trump. You may remember him from his days as a big-shot New York real estate mogul, or from his reality TV show “The Apprentice.” You may remember his outspoken persona, ego-ist remarks and blowhard attitude. Most of those traits still hold true. Well I don’t know how to tell you this, but Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for the upcoming presidential election, and Grandma, the only way to describe my emotions as the country casts its ballots is that I am terrified. Trump has captured the hearts of millions of disaffected and disenfranchised voters and built a campaign focused on invoking their nationalistic, nativist attitudes. Many of these voters feel like global trade deals and the current economy, which hasn’t fully recovered since the 2008 financial collapse, let them down. Does this story sound familiar? Hitler came to power during a time of desperation in Germany. The global economic depression after WWI hit the country especially hard, and millions of people were unemployed, much like the situation today here in the U.S. Hitler provided something that

A CARING GRANDMOTHER My grandma and I sit in the living room of my grandparent’s home on Kibbutz Gal’On in Israel as she recounts stories from her childhood and flip through family photo albums. This tradition has been core to my childhood visits in Israel and continued until my grandma passed away in 2011. Photo by Shaul Hurwitz.

other politicians didn’t — a solution. His enthralling rhetoric suggested that Germany wasn’t the problem, rather the victim of Jewish and foreign malice. Hitler’s all-knowing persona was reassuring, and his promise to make Germany great again was an irresistible glimmer of hope for many Germans. We don’t really know yet whether Trump would be a fascist president. It’s hard to believe that America would become a fascist nation — democracy is too core of a value. But his campaign relies on some of the same fascist themes supported by leaders such as Hitler and Mussolini. You would be shocked with the magnitude of support his campaign is receiving. To say that Trump is Hitler under-

mines your hardships — the months you survived through the cold Polish winter without underwear, the years of eating potato peels from garbage bins and the abuse you endured. But the similarities are striking — and too few people seem to care. Trump’s rhetoric is being overshadowed by his goofy, accentuated persona and ability to turn any statement into a viral meme. But Trump is not a joke. No, America is not in the same place where Germany was in the 1930’s, and no, I don’t think that we are on the verge of a second Holocaust. But I know that you deeply valued America’s assurance to view all people as equals, and would agree that we should not allow

our fear of the future to turn us back toward the shadows of our past. After World War II, the global community promised “never again.” While in actions this mostly still proves true, I feel as though people are slowly losing the underlying message of your story. “Never again” means that no person should be the subject of discrimination because of the headdress one wears on her head, or the star one wears around his neck or the validity of one’s work visa. “Never again” is so much more than the hallmark of remembrance of the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. “Never again” must be a constant action, that Grandma, I truly believe is being forgotten. v







OME STUDENTS HAVE A BACKGROUND, identity, interest or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story,” This is the first prompt from the Common App essay questions this year. Whenever I close my eyes, all I can see is this prompt. It’s the question that hovers in my mind as I shovel cereal into my mouth, as I drive to school and as I sit listening to a lecture in the middle of class. Is my cereal choice indicative of my interests? Does the Prius I drive say something about my personality? Can calculating the derivative of an equation be a talent? All of this reflection leads to the mother-lode question: Who am I? The words seems simple, nothing that I’ll need too much time to think about. But when I start to actually think about it, I realize that I have no idea how to answer the question. To show colleges who I am, I first need to know myself. It’s not as if I tried to neglect introspection throughout high school. In a time when hormones are raging and people are going through all kinds of funky changes, finding who you are becomes increasingly important to complete the coming-of-age cycle. It helps you find your friends, your beliefs and what you are most passionate about. These discoveries are especially important past high school, as they help bring purpose, goals and relationships into one’s life. But between homework, extracurriculars, family time and trying to get sleep, introspection never seemed to be a priority for me, and, I expect, it also isn’t a priority for many other high schoolers. In the end, where did my lack of introspection leave me? With diddly squat to help me answer the Common App. Over the summer and into my final year of high school, I devoted a copious amount



of time to brainstorming; I accrued a list of words my friends used to describe me, I read pages of example college essays — all of this work, it seemed, was to no avail. One day I was staring at my list, my head aching and frustration reaching peak levels. Then I noticed a link in two of my topics — quietness and Korean culture. Latching onto these ideas, I tried to find the connection between these two seemingly unrelated topics. I thought about what I knew of Korean culture, what my personality is like and experiences I’ve had that were influenced by these aspects of my life; I was a spelunker exploring the inner-workings of my own head. At last I saw how these two ideas were linked. Korean culture highlights respect towards older people, especially adults. Even if someone is only a year older than you, you still have to refer to them in the same way you would refer to your grandparents. I never thought this part of my life clashed with my everyday routine, but self-reflection led me to see things differently. I’ve never understood banter with adults. To me, they’ve always been far away figures — untouchable and almost intimidating. I’ve thought my inability to relate to them was a fault of my character, Art by Vivian Nguyen but I learned through introspection that it’s a combination of my personality and upbringing. This realization didn’t release a huge weight off my chest, nor did it change my life. But it’s helped me understand myself a bit better, how I view the world and how I can continue with this new knowledge. As I continue writing my college essays, I’m constantly confronted with new opportunities for growth and reflection. Hopefully come January I’ll have a good idea of who I am. I won’t know everything there is to know about me — but answering the Common App will be a start. v





Palm Oil problem



OU OPEN YOUR FREEZER and stick your nose inside to rifle through half-eaten ice cream pints and packets of frozen peas. You then take out a box of toaster waffles, flip it over and get a good look at the ingredients. Under enriched flour, reduced iron and vitamin B, you see the two words you wished you wouldn’t find: palm oil. Palm oil, a vegetable oil that comes from the fruits of palm trees, is found in nearly everything we consume, according to Stanford postdoctoral research fellow Ryan Edwards. You’d think that a product with such prevalence would be more well-known, and yet, it’s hardly a household name. Most people aren’t even aware of palm oil’s existence, much less the fact that many consume it in high quantities on a daily basis. However, the controversy extends far beyond palm oil’s prevalence — even fewer people are aware of palm oil’s environmental impacts, Edwards says. Even Palo Alto, a progressively environmentally conscious city when it comes to waste control and sustainable transportation, can’t seem to apply the same conscientiousness when it comes to seeing the impact of our food on the environment. Our ignorance towards the detrimental effects of palm oil is indicative of the larger ignorance we have adopted in regards to environmental issues in general. Palm oil is cultivated all over the world, with the highest figures of production coming from Indonesia and Malaysia, two coun-

tries whose economies depend greatly upon agricultural success. For the exportation of such great quantities of palm oil, their governments have condoned mass deforestation to make room for plantations. In turn, the animal populations that once thrived in those same spaces have been decimated, and the few surviving animals in these habitats have nowhere to go. Fortunately, the international community is looking for solutions through a campaign launched by the World Wide Fund for Nature, known as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, which was created in hopes to source palm oil more effectively. Yet, once again, we must keep in mind that the palm oil controversy is representative of a bigger, more complicated world issue — the fact that we are oblivious to our large negative environmental impact on the planet. Why do we stand idly by while trees are ripped up from the ground and the environment is demolished right in front of our eyes? And how is it that we could have spent so much time unaware of the effects of an international import that piles on to the issues of climate change and global warming? Because indifference has become acceptable. Republicans have a presidential nominee who tweeted in 2012, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

Donald Trump is aggressively for fracking, an environmentally destructive way of extracting fossil fuels by drilling deep into the earth. And he even made promises to cancel the Paris Climate Agreement, an accord that the United Nations has put into place to accelerate existing anti-climate change efforts and to create positive new ones. The rallying of support behind a man who simply does not care about the state of the environment epitomizes how our society has become so utterly apathetic towards climate change. So really, it’s not that surprising that no one seems to know or care about the way palm oil is damaging our earth. However, as global citizens, we should hold ourselves up to a higher standard than “satisfaction with oblivion.” We won’t have a world in which to live and thrive unless the international community becomes cognizant of the environmental threats we are facing today. We must step out of the mindset that impassivity is okay. It’s time to learn from our disinterest toward palm oil and to begin consciously searching for methods to take real steps toward supporting a healthier and more conscious Earth, starting with opposing the ignorance that has been heightened by this upcoming election. It’s up to us to take advantage of the opportunities we still possess to better our world — before it becomes too late. v

Art by Aishah Maas

Gabe Gets Serious


Down the Middle



EOPLE NEED TO GET EXCITED ABOUT BEING This disastrous situation is only made worse by our media sysmoderate. Moderates — those who tend toward the mid- tem, which focuses on the controversial and abandons the importdle of the political spectrum — make up over a third of ant politics at the doorstep because most of America is too shallow Americans, according to a 2013 poll by Gallup, so I fail to to even care. This leads controversial, extremist ideas to be propasee why there are no inspiring spokespeople rallying to the cause of gated at the expense of the less controversial, leading Americans to the moderate agenda. Why is it that all of the great orators of our become fixated on them and, in the end, continue the polarization time are extremists? of our political system. The most evident example of extremism is this year’s current Our government is already famous for being incapable of race for the US presidency. This tumultuous election has seen two achieving goals in anything even resembling an expedient fashvery unexpected stars rising higher than anyone expected. These ion, but with the two camps holding increasingly different ideoltwo, Donald “all publicity is good publicity” Trump and, of course, ogies, our nation’s inability to come to a consensus will only beBernie Marx — I mean Sanders — both came come more exaggerated. The United States out of nowhere and created massive political of America was founded on the spirit of movements, rallying many to their causes and Moderates need to compromise and if we continue distancing expanding the power bases of the extreme ourselves from each other, the disparity will start speaking out sides of both the Republican and Democratic only leave us worse off as a nation. parties. The cult-like following of these men But what are we to do? The way things against the radicalizahas pushed more and more politicians to radare going, the situation will worsen. This tion of our parties...” icalize their policies to try and win votes. An leaves us moderates stranded. We can either example is Hillary Clinton, who has develfollow the ever-more-liberal Democrats, the oped ever-more liberal ideas to try and appeal to die-hard Bernie increasingly conservative Republicans, jump ship to a third party supporters. This has led to two main political parties that have less or even abandon political parties altogether. in common than ever. But I would like to offer a different solution — to stand Living in Palo Alto — one of the most homogeneously liberal strong. Moderates need to start speaking out against the radicaltowns in the United States — I can see the radicalization of politics ization of our political parties and start expressing more support first hand. It’s hard to find a moderate among the throngs of Bernie for those politicians who hold true to the moderate agenda and supporters and even the most innocuous slight against the liberal not just following an extreme trend to win the support of voters. If agenda can set someone off. It is this refusal to accept the ideas of we moderates make up such a large portion of the nation, why is it others that puts our nation in peril. that we let ourselves get pushed around by the extreme minorities? “We have built a country where everyone can choose the I know that the moderate agenda is not as exciting as that of the neighborhood (and church and news shows) most compatible with two increasingly polarized camps, but it is solid and frequently his or her lifestyle and beliefs,” says author and journalist Bill Bish- overlooked as a political option. As such an influential group, we op in his book “The Big Sort.” “[We] have become so ideologically hold the fate of the United States in our hands. We can either let inbred that we don’t know, can’t understand, and can barely con- ourselves be pulled apart by radicals, or be the glue that holds these ceive of ‘those people’ who live just a few miles away.” two extremes together. v




Palo Alto Unified School District Palo Alto High School 50 Embarcadero Road Palo Alto, CA 94301

Non-profit Org. U.S. Postage Paid Palo Alto, California Permit #44

Verde Volume 18 Issue 1  

In this issue, Verde looks at the presidential election through the perspective of past social experiments such as the Third Wave, performed...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you