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V. DIVIDED OVER UNITY Shattering misconceptions or fracturing solidarity? pg. 20


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VERDE MAGAZINE October 2018 Volume 20 Issue 1

Editors-in-Chief Ashley Hitchings Bridget Li Angela Liu Asia Gardias (Digital)

ON THE COVER pg. 20 On Oct. 21, 35 Paly students will attend Camp Everytown, a three-day leadership-development retreat in the Santa Cruz Mountains. In June, Camp Unity, an Everytown-style camp, came under fire after a SF Chronicle detailed the impacts of activities such as “Gender Night.” This issue, Photo Director Lucia Amieva-Wang captures the metaphoric disjont between the camp’s intended and actual effects.

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 veics-1718@gmail.com or 50 Embarcadero Road Palo Alto, CA 9430. All Verde stories are online and available for commenting at verdemagazine.com Advertising The staff publishes advertisements with signed contracts providing they are not deemed by the staff inappropriate for the magazine’s audience. For more information about advertising with Verde, please contact business manager Olivia Brown through our adviser at 650-329-3837.

Managing Editors Allison Cheng Kaitlyn Ho Design Editor Ella Thomsen Features Editors Riya Matta Riya Sinha Profiles Editors Zoe Stanton-Savitz Jenny Tseng Culture Editor Warren Wagner Perspectives Editor Gila Winefeld Editorials Editor Maraleis Sinton News Editors Emma Donelly-Higgins Alex Feng Launch Editors Abby Cummings Zoe Wong-VanHaren Adviser Paul Kandell

Art Director Yue Shi Lead Illustrator Hannah Li Photo Director Lucia Amieva-Wang Multimedia Editor Zakir Ahmad Social Media Editor Jasmine Venet Copy Editor Sasha Poor Business Managers Olivia Brown Courtney Kernick Staff Writers Kayla Brand Ben Cohen Devony Hof Kobi Johnsson Courtney Kernick Rachel Lit Kate Milne Prahalad Mitra Mara Smith Abe Tow

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 verdemagazine.com

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In this issue Foreword

6 Editorials 8 Launch 13 News

Features

16 18 20 24 27 30 33

City Council Lucille Packard Camp Unity Student Voice EPA Tasers Voter Guide Verde’s 20th Year

Profiles

TICKET TO CRICKET

pg. 42 Rising cricket player pushes for recognition of the sport

SCHOOL BOARD DEBATE HIGHLIGHTS Online at verdemagazine.com

4 OCTOBER 2018

38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52

Lytton Plaza Busker Spencer Family Pratham Kataria Stanford Theatre Coach Wendy Katherine Krier Stargazing Aye Lét Babka

Culture 54 55 56 58 62

Spikeball Embroidery BlacKkKlansman Crazy Rich Asians Sun of Wolf

Perspectives

65 66 67 68 69 70

Affirmative Action Tattoo Taboo Paly Sports Straw Ban Benefits of Hiking The Gila Games


SUN OF WOLF

pg. 62

THE FACES OF YOUR VOICE

pg. 24

LCPH SCHOOL pg. 18

AYE LÉT BABKA

VERDE TURNS 20

pg. 52

pg. 33

FROM THE EDITORS

Ruminations and reflections

“Your methods have to match the goals.” SF Chronicle investigative reporter Karen de Sá uttered this warning in “Divided on Unity,” which explores the recent controversy surrounding Camp Unity, a leadership sleepaway meant to foster empathy among adolescents. In this cover story, staff writers Riya Sinha, Allison Cheng and Alex Feng illustrate the contentious — and often hazy — boundary between good intentions and misguided executions. But balancing motives and effects transcends the seclusion of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Whether it be writing college applications or preparing for the Nov. 6 midterm elections, we routinely contemplate our beliefs. For the civically-engaged and politically-minded, staff writers Devony Hof and Warren Wagner detail the various planks of candidates in our voter guide. But reflection is more than mere contemplation — we must ensure our values are mirrored in our actions. As Verde embarks on our 20th volume, we look back on how we’ve adhered to our founding mission: to capture the untold stories of our community. In “Verde Hits 20,” staff writers Riya Matta, Gila Winefeld and Prahalad Mitra recall some of our most hard-hitting stories, from “You Can’t Tell Me I Wasn’t Raped” to “Interned” to the most recent, “Up in Arms.” More abstractly, columnist Gila Winefeld and staff writer Devony Hof explore the balance Silicon Valley innovators must strike between

progress and amusement in “The Gila Games.” What if, instead of producing more Flappy Bird and Temple Run, entertainment titans instead worked towards societal betterment, and studied cancer or optimized renewable energy? Ideological revolution occurs on a personal level, too. In “Tattoo Taboo,” staff writer Zoe Stanton Savitz rejects the stigmatization of tattoos often present in Jewish culture. And as a wave of politically-charged movies hit theaters, staff writers Kobi Johnsson and Zoe Wong-VanHaren, in their aptly-named “Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman,” examine the famed director’s latest artistic racial commentary. Online, news editor Emma Donelly-Higgins covers the Palo Alto Weekly’s school board candidate forum and its highlights. As a digital extension to our “Crazy Rich Asians” review, social media manager Jasmine Venet livestreamed a Sept. 28 panel with the book’s author, Kevin Kwan, where he weighs in on the story’s newfound success and its advocacy for Asian-American representation. Ultimately, whatever the medium or facet of life, whether it be hitting the polls, indulging in a Spike Lee film, or evaluating the bustle of Silicon Valley, pause for a moment of introspection. Challenge, reshape and reaffirm your values — and then go forth with gusto. —ashley, bridget, angela & asia

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VERDICT: STAFF EDITORIALS

OUR PREDICTIONS FOR PALY IN 100 YEARS

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N 100 YEARS PALO ALTO HIGH School could be underwater, but at least the debate over weighted GPAs will finally be settled. No one knows any of this for sure, but at the start of Paly campus’s centennial year, we took a look at how four its aspects have changed in the past century and what we think, or hope, will change in the next century. Buildings and Construction In just the past five years, Paly built upon the foundation of a long history of architecture by adding a new media arts center, gym and theater, soon to be joined by a new library. Paly began rebuilding campus facilities in 1968, when the school replaced most of the original buildings to meet safety standards. The only exceptions were the Tower Building and the Haymarket Theater, which were merely renovated. But in 100 years, will any of these buildings be left? Paly may need to significantly adapt its campus facilities due to the effects of climate change, including rising ocean levels and extreme heat, that could consume the Bay Area. For now, though, we can look forward a new library next spring. Gender and Racial Inequality Paly is no stranger to gender and racial inequality. In the aftermath of the 2017 Title IX misconduct case, district officials promised to continue work on problems

like sexual assault and the achievement gap. Large scale movements, like Black Lives Matter and #Metoo, have also brought attention to these issues. While the current White House has not supported immigration rights and women’s health, there have been improvements locally and nationally since 1918, with significant steps towards equal rights for women, African Americans and immigrants. These problems will likely still exist in 100 years, but we hope that there will continue to be local progress. For example, creating immediate consequences for any sexual assault at Paly and instituting specific policies that work towards eliminating the achievement gap. Mental Health Since the tech revolution in the ’90s, Palo Alto’s high schools have not only developed a STEM focus and academic strength but also garnered criticism for their highly stressful environments. In recent years, the Paly administration responded to students’ mental health concerns with the Wellness Center and multiple mandatory assemblies on student safety and well-being throughout the school year. But will these measures help long-term to address problems like project and test stacking, the excessive time required for homework, or the pressures to take on a more difficult course load? While we applaud the community’s focus on the mental well-being of students to maintain

a safe school environment, we hope that in the next century it tackles these problems with a more in-depth look at Paly’s education system. Technology Last spring, many Palo Alto citizens backed the idea of a computer science requirement at Paly. While this would continue Paly’s emphasis on STEM subjects, will the skills we learn from this elective even be useful for students in the 20 years, never mind the next 100 years? Cursive, once considered a required skill, is becoming obsolete with the development of computers. In the coming years, new technology such as voice command and augmented reality will continue to gain popularity, and a century from now, we could even be using a brain interface — technology that seems wildly unrealistic to us now but may just become a reality. While we might not be right about exactly what type of future advancements will arise, we will likely see further transformations in how we learn. Questions remain: will the Paly meme Facebook group exist in 100 years? What will Verde’s 120th volume be about? Will we ever learn how to use tutorial? As we reflect on the past 100 years, it is important to form goals for the future so that Paly’s system can continue to set the high-water mark in education for the next century. v Art by YUE SHI

6 OCTOBER 2018


VERDOODLES Art by KAITLYN HO

COLLEGE BOARD MUST BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR REUSING A LEAKED OCTOBER 2017 SAT

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N AUGUST OF THIS YEAR, many Paly students took the SAT. For seniors, this would be their last opportunity to improve their scores before early round of college applications are due. However, while majority spent weeks studying what they thought was on an even playing feld, some had already seen and used the actual test to prep. According to the Los Angeles Times, an SAT test the College Board administered in Asia last October was leaked in China and South Korea before it was reused for the August administration of the SAT in the United States. In order to prevent another event like this from happening again, the College Board must make changes. Currently, the College Board has a tendency of reusing test questions, but this was the first incident to receive opposition, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“While it is frustrating that some students had a bit of an advantage during the exam, I don’t think they are at fault since they did not know the test would be reused,” junior Pooja Akella says. Despite the College Board claiming to have standards in place for cheating on tests, many are still worried that previously used questions will be used in the future tests because of the how accesible they are on the Internet. Therefore, the College Board cannot assume that administering the same tests in different countries eliminates the possibility of cheating. “I think it [reusing the test] is very unprofessional of the organization to do,” Akella said. As a solution for the testing mishap, the College Board should still keep scores from the test administered in August. While we understand that it isn’t fea-

** The Verdict section is the collective opinion of the Verde staff

sible to remake entire tests for every future SAT, it is the responisbility of the College Board to not reuse full tests. According to the College Board website, the Test Development Committee, a group of educational professionals who design tests, reviews all questions for fariness and content before pretesting questions on students. Beyond these measures, the College Board should also implement a process that checks what percent of questions are pulled from recent SATs. This will act as a safeguard against reusing entire tests or too many questions. Ultimately, the SAT, like many standarized tests, create high levels of stress for students. Therefore, it is in the interest of the College Board’s repuatation to prevent any additional pressures on test-takers that may stem from potential canceled or unfairly skewed scores due to errors that could have been easily corrected. v

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LAUNCH

launch ASB ANSWERS

L VE IT!

A list of some student favorites, ranging from food to technology and everything in between.

Photo by LUCIA AMIEVA-WANG

Compiled by EMMA DONELLY-HIGGINS Art by MEGAN ANDREWS “My computer because I’m gonna do my work with it. … I’m gonna be doing my Hip Hop Planet response. Yeah, it’s awful.” — KIRAN MAJETI, senior

WITH ASB PRESIDENT VIVIAN FENG

“I love the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, because it’s been helping ... my acne dry out.” ­— TAMAR PONTE, junior

What’s new with ASB? “Something new this year is that we’re really focusing on class fundraisers — putting the treasurer and fundraiser together to work on our finances because we’re setting a precedent for class and school-wide fundraisers.”

“Snapchat, because it’s fun. You get to talk to your friends.” ­— RONALD OR, senior

What’s different about Spirit Week 2018? “Instead of having the traditional basketball rally for advisory we’re having a new game. It’s going to be hungry hippos and the goal of this is to include more people, not make everything based off of athleticism, and then also not put pressure on two individuals per grade.” Compiled by RIYA MATTA

8 OCTOBER 2018

“I really like food. I like Hot Cheetos because they’re really good, and they’re spicy. … I’m very spicy.” — BO

FANG, senior


VERDE’S DIGITS It’s not a secret that Paly has had too many fire alarms over the past couple years. Parents, students and teachers alike are upset over the incessible noise and class disruptions, but here’s some even more outrageous information: the number of fire alarms at Paly as compared to that at Gunn High School.

HAIKU REVIEW DISENCHANTMENT Written by DEVONY HOF

Compiled by YUE SHI According to the Palo Alto Fire Department

A princess, an elf And a demon walk into A bar for some laughs.

= =

Art by ZOE WONG-VANHAREN

SOCIAL MEDIA

2015

2016

GOOD TIMES

2017

Add Verde Magazine on our new snapchat account for Paly updates!

2018

The Associated Student Body-hosted volleyball tournament was a success! Twelve teams were able to compete for the top spot. In the end, team “Yingers” took the win.

BAD TIMES

According to Mr. Paulson, new consequences for setting off the fire alarm include a potential $1000 fine, possible suspension, and limited access to bathrooms throughout the day.

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DEPARTMENT FLAIR

VERDE’S FIRST EDITORS IN CHIEF

Founded in 1999, Verde Magazine has been running for 20 years. For Paly’s centennial, the the editors-in-chief from the very first issue came back for a visit to the magazine’s birthplace. See our article about Verde’s 20th year on page 33. Photo by Lucia Amieva-Wang.

CAMPUS CONVERSATIONS STEVE FERERRA Whimsical artist, social media influencer, lover of locally sourced tees and good jeans. His art-making and street clothes have blended together over time, giving him paint-splattered boots and a one-ofa-kind graphic tee collection.

His style in three words: “Casual, affordable, functional.” Compiled by KATE MILNE

10 OCTOBER 2018

What’s your opinion on some of the bathrooms being closed? Art by ELLA THOMSEN

PRO “It’s great that they’re being preventative to stop the fire alarms even if it means fewer bathrooms.” ­— Dean Casey, junior

CON “I think it’s annoying that we can’t go to the closest bathroom to their class and they miss more class time.” ­— Sanaz Ebrahimi, junior


CHECK OUT VIA VERDE

&

VERITAS MAGAZINE

VERDEMAGAZINE.COM 11


Serving Palo Alto for 78 years!

410 California Avenue, Palo Alto thecobblery.com

Paly Centennial March October 7th 1-3pm

12 OCTOBER 2018


news

news

Centennial march Sunday

COMMUNITY TO CELEBRATE CAMPUS FOUNDING

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Community attends candlelight vigil for Kavanaugh accuser

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WALKING IN THEIR SHOES Above is the route Palo Alto community members and Paly students will take on Oct. 7 to celebrate the centennial annIversary of the march marking the opening of the new Paly campus. "In terms of the March, I’m excited about seeing multiple generations of alumni and the community taking part in a fun celebratory event together," librarian and event organizer Rachel Kellerman said. "Schools in Palo Alto couldn’t be built without community support and that hasn’t changed in 125 years." Art by Yue Shi

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N SUNDAY PALO ALTO High School will recreate the opening day march that marked the establishment of the school's present day campus 100 years ago with performances from choir, band and theater students. Students, teachers, alumni and community members will begin marching at 1 p.m. in front of Channing House, finishing with student performances at Paly’s Centennial Plaza. “Choir will be performing several songs, including a song commissioned for us by Christopher Tin, a grammy winning composer and Paly alum,” Paly Choir President Jessica Weiss said. “It will be the first time it has ever been performed, and it’s a really amazing piece.” In addition to choir, Thespian club, the oldest club on campus, will perform a sketch

written by Tony Kienitz, a parent of Paly alumni. “What we did was got research and information about the 100 years of Paly theatre,” theater teacher and director Kathleen Woods said. “We took one play from each decade and each play that we chose is highlighted in the performance.” The Palo Alto Historical Association, key organizers of the event, decided to model the march after the original December 1918 walk when the entire school, board, city council, mayor and David Starr Jordan marched to the then-new campus. Librarian and event organizer Kellerman said she hopes that this march will bring the entire Paly community together to honor one century of the school. by KAITLYN HO and ZOE STANTON-SAVITZ

FTER SUPREME COURT nominee Brett Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault by Palo Altan Christine Blasey Ford, community members held a candlight vigil Sept. 23 in support of the victim. “I hope Kavanaugh and [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch Mcconnell see this and [Speaker of the House] Paul Ryan see this and [Senator] Dean Heller see this and all the other senators see this and realize that they can’t continue to support him just because he’s a Republican,” Palo Alto High School student Isabel Armstrong said. Linda Henigin, who co-organized another demonstration later that week, said the vigil was to show the Senate that Americans believe and support Ford. “[She] has come forward at great personal risk and personal cost to speak her truth which I believe,” Henigin said. “The price that she’s paying just shows you that what she’s saying has got to be truthful.” Community member Claudia Folzman attended the vigil waving a large American flag. “Everybody acts like progressives are anti-American and we couldn’t be more American,” Folzman said. “Our First Amendment rights are what we’re expressing here right now and the flag means that to us so “When we dig into the past we build we’re reclaiming the flag.” community byoffinding common A group Paly band studentsground atwithtended those playing who came beforeinstruments. us," Kellerman various said. “Its a really important issue... but we also thought that we could... get people hyped up... with music," tambourinist Luc Pardehpoosh said. by EMMA DONELLY-HIGGINS

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Bond measure to appear on November ballot

Fletcher student places in top 30 in national engineering competition

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EASURE Z, a ballot initiative proposing funding for school updates and repairs, is the first bond measure to be proposed in the past 10 years and will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot. If Measure Z is passed, Palo Alto Unified School District will receive $460 million, giving Paly funding to renovate the Tower Building and Haymarket Theatre, along with a new student center, foods and wellness center and STEM labs. “The 2008 bond measure is finally coming to an end and so the work from that bond measure is also coming to an end,” councilwoman Susan Usman said. “Now it's the time to tee up the next bond measure.” The last bond measure covered the costs of Palo Alto High School’s renovated library, Performing Arts Center and Media Arts Center among other projects in the district. “It's an investment in our community and our community's kids,” Usman said.

by JENNY TSENG and KOBI JOHNSSON

Photo by Alex Feng

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FLETCHER MIDDLE SCHOOL 8th grader has placed in the top 30 in the country in the Broadcom MASTERS middle school STEM competition for his science project and will compete in the national competition in Washington DC mid-October. Roy Gross invented a durable emergency communication device to be used in situations such as natural disasters. Gross said he wanted to create these devices after hearing about communication dilemmas in emergencies. “I was at home and I was looking at what was happening on the news and how Hurricane Maria was really affecting Puerto Rico and what was happening to all the people there,” he said. The user must simply download an app on their smartphone and pair the device to it via bluetooth. He made sure the device doesn’t rely on cell or radio towers, which can fail during natural disasters. “You don’t have to connect to anything else,” he said. “You could just take 100 of these and give them to other people.” Gross will fly to Washington in October and have the opportunity to participate in STEM-related group challenges and to win various awards. by ALEX FENG and EMMA DONELLY-HIGGINS

Student board representative preparing new initiatives

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NITIATIVES SURROUNDING UNDERAGE vaping, equity and Title IX are at the forefront of Palo Alto High School’s new school board student representative’s vision. “My goal is essentially to bring forward issues that adults haven’t really responded to in the past,” senior Caroline Furrier said. Furrier has worked with Donald Austin, the new district superintendent, and the Associaated Student Body to put together a series of speakers on the health effects of vaping as well as a campaign of anti-vaping posters in the bathrooms. She also intends to address equity through initiatives promoting better student support. “We’re focusing on getting kids more resources, which in turn is encouraging funding for those resources like reading specialists or

14 OCTOBER 2018

translators,” Furrier said. "It's not an easy solution, but we're working on it step by step." At the district level, Furrier has supported a proposition pushing for the hiring of a district lawyer to advise on Title IX-related issues. “I think it’s good to have people keep the district in check with what they’re doing,” Furrier said, “especially when it comes to issues of Title IX because the district has had some issues with that in the past.” Furrier urges students to reach out to her to provide input on board decisions and express their opinions on campus issues. by SASHA POOR


Board given more time to address claims of racial polarization

Paly to offer new clubs in the fall

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FTER RECIEVING A letter and community members on this issue before from a law firm threatening to making any decisions. In Tuesday's meeting, take the district to court to recti- the board held a presentation on the issue and fy "racially poallowed time for community larizing" election systems, input. the Palo Alto school board According to former board has been granted an extra president Dana Tom, who period of 45 days to take is skepical of the law firm’s action. claims, dividing PAUSD up The letter claimed thewould not help racial minoridistrict's Board of Educaties win board elections. tion election system is in “That works if your popviolation of the Califorulation is self-segregated into nia Voting Rights Act of pockets,” he said. “That's 2001. not the case here because "Palo Alto Unified the Asians are the largest School District's at-large non-Caucasian population system dilutes the ability and they're not — they are of Latinos (a "protectfairly evenly distributed.” ed" class) and Asians – to He also said if board memelect candidates of their Former school board president bers were elected by district, Dana Tom. Photo by Jasmine Venet choice," the letter read. they would be incentivized to According to board only represent their own area Vice President Jennifer when voting. DiBrienza, the board members consulted "You want every board member to feel a legal services in a closed meeting after re- responsibility to the entire district," Tom said. cieving the letter. They decided the best acby EMMA DONELLY-HIGGINS tion to take was to educate themselves

Opposition grows to proposed MOU with PAUSD school resource officers

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NEW PROPOSED Memorandum of Understanding between PAUSD and school resource officers has faced pushback after inadequately addressing community concerns with sufficient clarity. In her letter to the Board of Education, Parent Advocates for Student Success coChair Sara Woodham-Johnsson expressed concerns with the new MOU, including whether SROs should be permitted to interact with students without a parent or administrative notification. “We’ve seen several responses to middle school situations that were unnecessarily escalated and harsh relative to the age of the students,” Woodham-Johnsson said. “Accountability measures are vague and minimal.”

Woodham-Johnsson refered to a list of MOU improvement recommendations created by the American Civil Liberties Union on how to improve transparency. This includes requiring potential school resource officers to engage in at least 40 hours of training as well as collecting and making public all data on SROs and their interactions with students. “I trust that the district will be attentive to the MOU details and in so doing, potentially avoid some of the ugly interactions we [students and SROs] had in the past,” Woodham-Johnsson said.

by JASMINE VENET and KAYLA BRAND

Cosmetology Club Palo Alto High School’s new Cosmetology Club aims to bring together boys and girls and boost self-esteem. “We decided to start the club for people to realize that makeup is an art, and also for girls and guys to be able to get experience in the makeup world together,” co-president junior Giselle Navarro said. Impartial Politics Club The Impartial Politics Club is perfect for people who enjoy discussing current events and politics without having to revert back to the division between political parties. “I think that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to have a civil discussion about politics that does not revolve around being a Democrat or a Republican,” president and junior Georgia Cowie said. Lemon Club Lemon Club is a new digital offshoot of Proof Magazine focused on all aspects of fashion. “We want it to be just a bunch of friends together, talking about fashion and writing articles whenever,” said club president Ally Kim, a junior. Moxi club Moxi Club is an art, culture, photography and fashion magazine for students in photography, design or journalistic writing. “My friend Noah and I have a certain style and aesthetic and we really wanted to create a publication that readers can scroll through with less writing and more photos,” president and junior Ena Zou said. by ABBY CUMMINGS

VERDEMAGAZINE.COM 15


race to the council CITY CANDIDATE PLATFORMS

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Text by ASIA GARDIAS, KAITLYN HO and BEN COHEN Photos by ASIA GARDIAS

VERY TWO YEARS, Palo Alto High School’s Tower Building becomes home to more than just the school’s main office — it doubles as a polling booth for voters. Although most high school students are not eligible to vote, the outcome of the Nov. 6 city council race will directly affect the lives of all Palo Alto citizens. In preparation for the election, Verde detailed the position of each candidate — Pat Boone, Alison Cormack, Cory Wolbach, Eric Filseth and Tom DuBois, sitting down with the former three — and explored how their stances on issues like housing, transportation, the climate and more — topics that impact the way students and teachers commute and live. v

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lthough Pat Boone’s “pro-city” and “pro-residents” sentiments echo that of incumbents, Boone intends to be an unorthodox alternative to the status quo. “There should be a fresh perspective, a different look, a different sound, a different ear to listen to the people,” Boone says. “A city council member is supposed to be there for the people, not for personal gratification or for their special interests.” One of Boone’s main points is improving traffic — he touts a range of proposals including creating more contraflow — changing traffic lighting systems — making more bussing available from outside the city and reducing Palo Alto’s reliance on cars. “We should step back, look at the plans we have and start from scratch,” Boone says. He also calls for greater support for those he calls “our heroes” — teachers, firefighters, policemen and other service people — who often struggle to find affordable housing in one of the nation’s most expensive neighborhoods.

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GET OUT TO VOTE Alison Cormack encourages all Palo Altans, students in particular, to vote. “You make sure you’re registered to vote,” she says, “And then be sure you actually participate in democracy.”

16 OCTOBER 2018

CROSS COMMUNICATION Pat Boone suggests the council should work more close with other councils. “ I think that we need to talk, to keep that open line of communications between different cities” he says.

ewcomer Alison Cormack is a pragmatist. Rather than focusing solely on contested issues such as traffic, she says city resources can be better used on important but overlooked projects such as police station development, the Cubberley community center and rising sea levels. “There are a lot of big projects that are either behind or aren’t getting enough attention,” Cormack says. Cormack says her previous work sponsoring the succesful 2008 Measure N, which funded the reconstruction of multiple libraries, gives her the experience to tackle these under-addressed issues. But regardless of the size of city initiatives, Cormack says she would like to see more public communication, an initiative she says she is prepared for after five years working on similar projects at Google. “Postcards and formal meetings are really not enough to communicate the magnitude of some of these changes, whether it’s the train crossing or bike boulevards,” Cormack says. In terms of the future of Palo Alto’s growth, Cormack plans to stick to the 2016 Comprehensive Plan for city development, and would like the council to focus on the permitted amount of square footage per office. “I’m hopeful that now we can shift the discussion [about city growth] to how many square feet of office space we should allow in which places over the next 12 years,” Cormack says.


CORY WOLBACH

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Gunn High School alumnus, incumbent Cory Wolbach points out the changing attitudes towards biking since his teenage days and his city council run. In recent years, he says he has been a firsthand witness to the surge of businesses and commuters to Palo Alto, and the transportation issues that result. “It [the solution] is not one size fits all,” Wolbach says. “Different streets in different neighborhoods require different solutions. We have a big tool kit and in each situation we should pick the right tool for the job.” Another pressing issue that Wolbach would further address is advancing affordable housing in Palo Alto. During his previous term, he supported short-term remedies as a stepping stone imperative to solving the larger housing crisis. “It’s about what’s best for the long-term and just adding more office space is not a sustainable vision for the city unless we have a little bit more balance,” Wolbach says. But with all of the rapid changes — both in the tech industry and real estate market — Wolbach emphasizes the importance of diversity, bridging generational gaps and hearing input from the younger generations. “I want to hear from you,” Wolbach says.“I really do. My phone number is on the city website. My email is on my personal website.”

CLIMATE CORRECTION Cory Wolbach says he leads environmental reform. “We are beginning our process of divesting our own funds from the fossil fuel industry,” he says.

Eric filseth ric Filseth says on his website that he finds Palo Alto to be a great place to live.

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AVID ENVIRONMENTALIST Alongside Filseth ‘s Palo Alto-centric platforms, he also emphasizes environmental issues. “Our [his and his wife’s] current favorite environmental advocacy is the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity,” Filseth writes on his website.

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The incumbent’s campaign for re-elections focuses on solving the issues of “housing, traffic, parking and preserving our services and retail.” Filseth further states that he supports the 6 million dollar Santa Clara County Supervisor teaching housing proposal which aims to construct housing across from the Palo Alto courthouse. “[To] support the county teacher housing proposal, so more PAUSD employees can actually live here in Palo Alto,” Filseth states. In terms of supporting future development in Palo Alto, Filseth states that he would adhere to the 2017 Comprehensive Plan, a detailed outline of the city’s development until 2030 that accounts for demographic, environmental and economic factors. Filseth also states on his website that the city ought to “slow down new development that adds commuter vehicles.” Filseth did not respond to an interview request.

TOM DUBOIS

om DuBois says on his website that he got involved in local politics out of concern for the “large projects which didn’t fit the surrounding neighborhoods.” In his personal description, the incumbent says that he likes Palo Alto for “the diversity, the small town feel, Stanford and the great schools.” According to DuBois, his love for this town motivated his decision to run for his second term on the city council. His first goal, if he is re-elected, is one that impacts many local teachers: the rising housing prices. One way he proposes to resolve this issue is to reserve 10 percent of the housing inventory for lower income residents. Another large issue that he hopes to tackle is one frequently discussed by the city council council — the paralyzing traffic. His website states that he would strive to minimize the condensation of traffic present by having businesses fund programs discouraging single passenger driving. He also plans to improve transportation options for all Palo Alto residents — including pushing for a better shuttle service and vehicular flow. Dubois did not respond to an interview request.

CITIZEN FEEDBACK TomDuBois emphasizes the importance of listening to public opinion. “I want this beautiful city to continue to be a place that people love to call home,” he states.

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Text by LUCIA AMIEVA-WANG and KATE MILNE Photos by LUCIA AMIEVA-WANG

A one-room hospital classroom changing what it means to learn

CLASS PLANNING Teachers Robert Siu (left) and Dave Berry (right) converse about the upcoming school day. According to Siu, although they work at the LPCH school, they are affiliated with PAUSD. “We are Palo Alto Unified teachers and we’re contracted to work at the hospital” Siu says.

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HE TEACHER’S ARM RESTS naturally upon the back of her student’s bright green wheelchair as she looks over his geography homework. Across the table, a young girl with a pink medical mask works through an algebra problem aloud as her teacher nods encouragingly. While students at Palo High School take their seats, hand in their homework and raise their hands for participation credit, just across the street at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital School, a father embraces his daughter’s teacher in tears. “The school was the best thing that ever happened to her,” says Bob Atherton, father to LPCH alum Becca Atherton. For 25-year-old Becca, life in a hospital is far too familiar. Born with several cardiac anomalies, she has endured countless surgeries and procedures that oftentimes required her to spend weeks at a time confined to a hospital room. “I remember driving up here,” Bob says, recounting their first visit to LPCH. “We drove by the hospital, but we kind of drove around the block because she [Becca] didn’t want to go in. She didn’t want anything thing to do with it.” Becca was 13 when she first came to LPCH for treatment. During her two-week stay, when everything was strange and frightening, one of the only things that provided her with some sense of normalcy was the one-room classroom on the third floor. The classroom bears no resemblance to a hospital; shelves overflow with books, and the walls are hidden by artwork, photographs, maps and practically anything that can be fastened with

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Scotch tape. The room is divided into two sections, one for the elementary and middle school students and the other for high schoolers, by a partition that remains open most of the time. Established in 1924 by Lucile Packard herself, the hospital’s school has been running in collaboration with the Palo Alto Unified School District for 94 years with the ongoing mission of providing quality education to critically and chronically ill children. “I’d say, of all the children’s hospitals, there may be four or five others in the nation that have a school as structured as the program here,”says Thayer Gherson, a high school teacher who has taught at LPCH for 24 years. The LPCH school has the unique ability to support students coming from other school districts in addition to those who live in Palo Alto. Though the hospital tries to keep the students enrolled in their local schools, districts are often not equipped with the resources to support them while they are away. These kids are often enrolled in PAUSD during their stay at the hospital and then transferred back to their home school district to ensure that they are able to receive school credit despite the unpredictability of their medical situation. “There is no usual,” says Robert Siu, a middle school teacher at LPCH. The school runs hour-to-hour; class sizes vary from three to 25 students depending on how the kids are feeling or where they are in their treatment plan; some kids require bedside lessons, as


(TOP) BEHIND THE MASK Siu sees the programs that come to the school as a way for patients to “let loose and just relax and be a kid. Art therapy is always a good way for kids to just kind of get through their issues.” (BOTTOM) DRAMA STUDENTS A patient steadies himself on one of the drama teachers. “These are Theater Works teachers, they [...] engage them [students] in an hour of improvisation, and even the shy kids drop everything” Siu says.

their bodies are too vulnerable to infection to be physically in class; some come in with work from their home schools, while in other cases the teachers must create a tailored curriculum from scratch. “Yes, we have to meet the standards, but it’s in an environment where it’s kind of a gift if they can come to school,” Gherson says. “To see kids learning that way is so much better than ‘Oh, I’m writing out my homework and copying someone else’s just so I can get it turned in so I can get my A’.” Everyone within the one-room school is on a first name basis. During a Tuesday morning session, Gherson sits right next to her student, pausing the lesson once in a while to crack a joke and make him smile. “Part of what we try to do is make this a very safe environment,” Gherson says. “Nobody judges; you have a bad day? You have a bad day.” To Gherson, the ability to tailor learning to what a child really needs, whether it is related to school or not, has in many ways allowed her to grow as a teacher. “I have children who are dying,” Gherson says. “One of the boys came to me and said, ‘The one thing I want to do is get my driver license.’ And so we did Driver’s Ed, and his [home] school rebuilt a car and brought this incredible Mustang down and we drove it in the parking lot.” Although students come and go, the connections built within the classroom do not disappear when they leave the hospital. In fact, many of the teachers stay in touch with their students who often return to visit. Becca is a particularly special example. Every year, she and her family make a special trip from Arizona to attend the LPCH school prom. Even as a young adult, she is still involved within the classroom. “Anytime she comes into the classroom everybody knows her,” Gherson says. “She’ll ask ‘Who needs help?’ and I let her be a tutor, and she just goes.” Becca has been in and out of LPCH for the last 12 years, and decided this year to stop treatment and spend time with her family at home. “It [the school] was the thing that really turned her around,” Bob says, pausing to steady his voice. “She [Becca] had never been to a place where they had a school where you could be with kids that have the same issues; where you have unbelievable teachers that take an interest in everything that that kid had going on.” Both Gherson and Siu agree that there is no job that compares to the work they do at the LPCH School. To Siu, his students are inspiring. To Gherson, the teaching is beyond rewarding. For Becca, it’s just a chance to go to school, sit beside students like herself, open her notebook and raise her hand for the sake of learning. v

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Divided on

Unity

Students embarked on what was marketed as a life-changing leadership experience. But they may not have gotten what they signed up for.

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T’S DINNERTIME. Palo Alto High School senior Nura Mostaghimi knows not because she sees the food on the table or her friends bent over their plates — she can’t, her eyes are covered — but because she recognizes the sound of hungry mouths being fed beyond her blindfold. Not her own mouth, of course — she’s still waiting for a pair of benevolent hands to fill her growling stomach. “They” didn’t force this handicap on her — quite the opposite, actually. Instead, Mostaghimi is simply participating in a simulation designed to emulate what it’s like to live with a disability in the hopes it will to broaden her own perspective. “There were different challenges they made you go through to see the experiences of people with different backgrounds and lifestyles,” says Mostaghimi, who attended Camp Unity two years ago. “[Also], how they acclimate within their day-to-day lives and how that affects who they are.” Over the course of the next three days in the Santa Cruz mountains, she and nearly 80 other high school students will participate in activities akin to this as they listen, laugh and cry together. At camp, tears are shed for a variety of reasons: anger and acceptance, grief and reconciliation. But by the end, it’s almost as if neighboring faces are illuminated in a different light. Run nationwide, Camp Unity, Everytown and Anytown are among the many leadership-development retreats that have

20 OCTOBER 2018

been around for decades. Hundreds of Paly students have attended various iterations of such camps since the early 2000s, but Paly hasn’t participated in the camp since March 2017 due to budget cuts says Principal Adam Paulson. Despite lacking an umbrella organization, all Everytown-style camps operate with the same goal: to teach youth effective leadership by cultivating greater empathy. Each program seeks to build community by identifying and appreciating differences between individuals. How each program does this, however, differs by director. Recently, the lack of standardized curriculum has generated controversy over what some see as psychologically injurious methods. On June 14, San Francisco Chronicle investigative reporter and former Paly parent Karen de Sá published “A Retreat’s Risky Lessons.” An exposé on several Bay Area camps, it detailed shocking incidents of emotional breakdown and self-harm as a result of camp activities through interviewing several camp participants and dozens of experts. “It was the accumulation of these trau ma inducing experiences day after day, hour upon hour,” de Sá says. “Just real manipulation and taking advantage of students while they were vulnerable.” According to de Sá, it was not uncommon for students to collapse on the ground in tears, or even run out of the room, often taking refuge in the woods or their cabins. While counselors led small group discussions


features

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Text by ALLISON CHENG, ALEX FENG and RIYA SINHA Additional reporting by ZAKIR AHMAD Art by HANNAH LI Photos by NURA MOSTAGHIMI

VERDEMAGAZINE.COM 21


after each simulation to explain their “It’s a lot of confrontational-type significance, de Sá says it wasn’t enough. stuff,” Bungarden says. “Some of that was Emotions often peak at the infamous pretty startling.” “Gender Night,” where students are sepTo Bungarden the most shocking part arated into male and female gender affinity was that none of the practices were psychogroups and instructed to brainstorm slurs logically backed with research. While sevfor each gender. They’re then read aloud, eral camps cite survey results to prove their uncensored — “slut” and “whore” are prac- effectiveness, these surveys were internally tically cliches. Occasionally, counselors conducted by camp faculty, not trained reeven pitch in. searchers. According to the San Francisco “Gender Night always goes off the Chronicle article, none of the psychologists rails,” de Sá says. “I’ve interviewed kids interviewed saw merit in the camps tactics. who couldn’t stop crying all night long … For Bungarden, the motives were clearly It bordered on uncontrolled emotional cha- positive, but the experience didn’t live up. os.” “Was it transformative? That clearly is According to de Sá, students stood in a the intention … we used to send reasonably rigid line facing each other as they read out large cohorts twice a year to this thing,” demeaning insults, the atmosphere almost Bungarden says. “You’d expect some of the comparable to that of a war zone. During attitudes that were supposed to be sanded one Gender Night she attended, counsel- down would be back here … and I’m not ors decided to tell horror stories after the sure that I saw that over the years.” emotional turbulence Staff bias also of the evening, even presented itself as adding chainsaw I’ve interviewed kids an issue among noise effects from who couldn’t stop crystudents at Paly. In their phone. emotionally evocaAnother activity ing … It bordered on tive activities, facilinstructs Latinx stu- uncontrolled emotional itator bias affected dents to clean up afstudent takeaways, ter others, Jewish stu- chaos.” according to Mo— KAREN DE SÁ, journalist staghimi. dents to wear a Star of David in imitation “At times it of the Holocaust got a little bit too and Black students to use a colored-only much,” Mostaghimi says. “It felt more perbathroom. These activities are intended to suasive rather than informative. They [the demonstrate privilege, but largely miss the counselors] definitely had to keep thempoint, according to de Sá. selves more in check.” Especially on more “Your methods have to match the delicate simulations, it was important for goals,” de Sá says. “That’s [the activities are] counselors to include everyone in group subjecting kids who already experience dis- discussions in order to ensure maximum crimination to the same thing to teach the wellness, according to Mostaghimi. lesson. But for what?” Senior Zoe Sid, who attended the Schools like Paly have the resources to camp in spring 2017, also felt affected by send trained psychologists from the school facilitator bias. on trips like these. However, according to “He [the facilitator] was biased toDe Sá, many schools in less affluent dis- wards a certain group … He would only tricts don’t have the funding for to bring the call on people from a singular group,” Zoe mental health professionals, which poses a Sid says. “There are so many flaws that I large problem when students need imme- could pick out in the simulations, and I felt diate help. like I might’ve lost the point of the camp.” Even teachers with counseling degrees struggled to handle the sheer amount of The power of unity emotional tension. AP U.S. History and A Camp Unity veteran of more than Social Justice Pathway teacher John Bun- 10 years, Living Skills teacher Letitia Burgarden, who volunteered at Camp Unity in ton has seen the power of Camp Unity firstMarch 2017, was shocked at how jarring hand. She’s seen Paly students acknowledge the camp program was for students. their educational privilege, she’s seen advo-

22 OCTOBER 2018


features cacy on campus and she’s even seen it at the five years ago due to distance between CalSan Diego International Airport, where she ifornia and Valenzuela’s home in Arizona. and another airport-goer bonded over her Both have been running individual leaderorange Camp Unity t-shirt and the posi- ship-style camps since. “We don’t antagonize students,” Fiack tive experiences they had at their respective says. “Our staff shares their own personal camps. As one of the main coordinators of stories, so that students feel comfortable. Paly’s Camp Unity, Burton is responsible We don’t throw out negative words.” While both Camp Everytown and Unifor publicizing the camp and reading applications to ensure a diverse range of per- ty share a similar curriculum, Everytown has modified many of their activities to enspectives. “It’s like an emotional ride,” Burton sure the camp stays relevant and inclusive. says. “It’s an intellectual ride. It’s kind of a For example, Gender Night is now based on a spectrum. instead of just the “male” personal ride.” Although Burton acknowledges that or “female” binary, and the segregation accamp participants do experience pain and tivity has been completely eliminated. This emotional anguish, she believes the inten- year, the organization consulted a mental tions and takeaways of the activities are ulti- health professional to look through the mately positive. More evocative lessons like camp itinerary to ensure best practices, the segregation activity are not meant to be which contrasts the self- survey policies simple, surface-level discussions. Rather, of Camp Unity. Aside from a few minor they guide students to consider present-day tweaks, the itinerary has been approved by issues through the lens of “a more historical psychologists. In spite of these changes, the mission perspective,” Burton says. “Nothing was designed to hurt peo- of the camp remains the same: empathy ple, but it does hurt, you know, because through experience. In response to the controversy sursh-t sucks,” Burton says. “Racism in this country sucks. Sex discrimination sucks … rounding the activities, Camp Unity organizes small group People in the madiscussions afjority might have terwards, where an intellectual un- Nothing was designed to students are given derstanding of that, hurt people, but it does the opportunity to but they don’t have process their emoa visceral under- hurt, you know, because tions, which led to standing.” sh-t sucks.” deeper bonding, With viscer— LETITIA BURTON, teacher according to Moal understanding staghimi. comes vulnerabil“One of the ity — in order to support students throughout this process, things I was really happy about were the Paly provided wellness professionals which relationships I was able to build in the Burton says were not well-represented in discussion circles and I’m really close with all those people still,” Mostaghimi says. “I the Chronicle article. “I hope that that article does not stop think it’s a really powerful experience that people from wanting to come to camp,” she allowed us to be more emotionally and mentally sensitive of people’s feelings.” says. For Fiack, Camp Everytown’s goal of understanding is more important now than Coming together for the future Tuyen Fiack, the executive director ever. And for the 35 Paly students attending for Silicon Valley FACES, the non-prof- Everytown this year from October 31st to it that develops the curriculum for Camp November 3rd, she hopes they see it as well. “It’s important for students to underEverytown, states that the basis for the camp lies on contact theory, a hypothesis stand the perspectives that are different that claims that one of the best ways to from them, and that’s what camp does,” improve relations is through experiencing Fiack says. “They might not agree, but they conflict. FACES broke relations with Rich- can respect you as a person, as a human beard Valenzuela, the leader for Camp Unity, ing.” v

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“A Small Candle” A LENS INTO CAMP EVERYTOWN Text by SASHA POOR

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lmost every student who attends a Camp Everytown-esque experience leaves changed in some way after going, for better or worse. One especially affected teacher, Kathleen Ann González, wrote “A Small Candle: The Impact of Camp Everytown on our Lives.” Published in 2009, González recounts the stories of 14 students and staff from Santa Teresa High School in San Jose who attended Camp Everytown. While most attendees report a positive experience, the book seemingly contradicts Camp Everytown’s teachings. González argues that attending the camp allowed students to reject the stereotypes they believe as well as those thrust upon them. Despite this empowering message, the text itself categorizes students based only on appearance. For example, the narrator describes a Middle Eastern student as dressing like “Mexican gangster kids,” directly type-casting these students based on physical characteristics. There are also many statements that, though meant to convey an increased understanding, seem contrary to the teachings of Camp Everytown. González writes about a teacher who said he had abused a woman “to keep her in her place.” “Helen realized how brave people are. ‘He was willing to stand up and say, ‘This has happened to me.’ The guys really got it then,’” the book reads. González also uses incorrect terminology, referencing “gender identification” when discussing a bisexual student. Though trying to convey the many benefits provided by a Camp Everytown experience, the inconsistent themes portray the camps as teaching misguided ideals through activities with unconfirmed effects.

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Text by WARREN WAGNER

Additional reporting by EMMA DONELLY-HIGGINS

THE FACES OF YOUR VOICE THE STATE OF STUDENT POWER AT PALY

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TUDENT CHANTS AND YELLS pierce the air at a nation-wide walkout. Investigative reports spread quickly in school publications. Students exchange terse words over policy on the Innovative Schedule Committee. Palo Alto High School students are not afraid to use their voice, but is anybody listening? After the youth activism of the ‘60s, students’ rights have been on the rise as youth advocate for greater decision-making power in schools. In a district immersed in controversy, students have spoken up. With all the different institutions created to invite student participation, it is important to evaluate what role stu-

dents play, and how much they can really do at Paly. Associated Student Body While ASB no longer has the power to issue student punishments, as it once did, members say they still have a say at Paly. “I feel like my voice is represented for many different areas,” junior class president Zoe Silver says. “I think the main area is in student life and stuff like that.” Keeping in mind the platform she has as president, Silver says she always tries to represent the entire junior student body.

“I try to also have our class’s — grade’s — thoughts in mind when I’m talking,” she said. “What do I think … will satisfy the most amount of people?” Furthermore, Silver says she appreciates the consistent communication between ASB and the administration. Administrators often visit ASB to have conversations about students’ concerns, she said. For example, ASB recently discussed the problem of students vaping in school bathrooms with Supt. Don Austin and Principal Adam Paulson. “We made plans to reconnect in the future, and they’re going to take our ideas up ... implementing education [on the consequences of e-cigarettes] into

VOICES IN A VACUUM? (Left to Right) Sophomore Site Council Rep. Medha Atla, Senior Site Council Rep. Ashutosh Bhown, School Board Rep. Caroline Furrier, Innovative Schedule Committee Members David Foster and Maurice Wang. Photo by Lucia Amieva-Wang

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Living Skills … maybe in biology class … and having posters in the bathrooms,” Silver says. She says she is grateful for the opportunities our school district and administration have given students to not only voice their opinions, but also to meaningfully impact decisions. Council in command The Site Council is a committee of staff, parents and students who oversee the budget and form the School Plan, a document that details Paly’s priorities and goals. The body also commands a budget of around $20,000 to $25,000, according to Medha Atla, the sophomore Site Council Representative. “[Site Council] is more feedback to different departments, because they’re all collected at one time, so we usually talk to each other about what we can do better to improve generally,” Ashutosh Bhown, the Senior Site Council Rep., says. “Things that would have to be carried out are usually done by ASB or the administration, but we still have our own capability to do that if need be.” Atla approves of how the committee functions, but has a goal to encourage students to get more involved with the operations of the Council. “When I was getting interviewed [for the position], I said I wanted more people to know about what goes on at Site Council, being more transparent about what goes on and I want us to get more suggestions in [from students],” Atla says. Student on board Caroline Furrier, a senior and student representative on the Board of Education, has been exploring the ways she can influence the district. While her position has a vote that only expresses her opinion, she has found other methods of getting her message across. Furrier says that since her position is not elected, she has the freedom to express things that board members cannot due to political risk. “There is a political sense behind the school board, because they can’t just say immediately what they feel,” Furrier says. “A student position has less pressure to be political, and because I’m not cam-

paigning the next year, I don’t have to be wary about who I’m trying to please.” Some advocate for the position to have a functional vote, but Furrier thinks they have adequate power already. “I think that a student preferential vote already puts pressure on board members to vote in the reason of student opinions,” Furrier says. “[That] gives students a lot of voice and power on the board.” Schedule snafu When it was announced in 2017 that Paly’s bell schedule was in violation of state requirements, the administration formed the Innovative Schedule Committee. The group, comprised of students, staff and parents, was tasked with creating a new, compliant schedule. “I thought [former Principal Kim] Diorio’s administration did an excellent job in terms of the schedule committee and hearing student voice,” says David Foster, former member of the committee. However, Foster says this changed over the summer. When an auditor found the schedule violated state standards, decisions had to be made very quickly. While he recognizes that it would have been difficult to assemble the body right before school began, Foster says the committee should still have been consulted. “The entire committee was not told, it was just the principal, administration and a few select teachers. That is where I think student voice could have been useful,” Foster says. “Although they say it was due to the lack of time, which I understand, but I still think things could have been done.” Senior Maurice Wang, another former member of the committee, was similarly alarmed by the change. According to Wang, the committee process is decent, but they should be more institutionalized with ASB. “ASB is a thing. Have them do more important stuff,” Wang says. “We have this pool of people who are capable, have a third period dedicated to this. Have them serve on committees, have committees meet.” Despite its end, Foster says the amount of student input and the way students had equal power is “unprecedented [compared to] most schools.” v

Governing Experience

AS YOU MAY RECALL ASB officers discuss a circling petition to recall the ASB Vice President. Photo from Paly Journalism Archives, March 1968

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ow much power students currently wield is up for debate, but it is certain that ASB looked very different in the late 1960s. A look into the Paly Journalism Archives reveals a nearly self sufficient political system within the Paly student body, ranging from a Student Court to a Legislative Council with dozens of members. The Student Court had the power to dictate punishments for student offenses such as smoking on campus. The Legislative Council could pass bills, which then went to the administration, and if approved would be binding for the school. Their government was more democratic as well, giving the general population the power to petition to recall ASB officers. Students even formed highly organized political parties like the Radical Student Union and the United Student Movement. Despite this seemingly high level of autonomy, an April 1970 article from the Campanile chronicles the decline of student government. After repeated attempts at reform to combat ‘student apathy,’ student government officers resigned en masse in late 1969. The last remaining officer drew up a new constitution which was put into effect, but the damage had been done. In a referendum to determine whether to retain the student government or abolish it, 486 students voted for abolition, 399 against and 573 didn’t vote at all.

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mediterraneanwraps.com 433 California Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306 Phone: (650) 321-8189

26 OCTOBER 2018


NON-LETHAL OPTIONS

EAST PALO ALTO COUNCIL DROPS PROPOSAL TO EQUIP OFFICERS WITH TASERS Text and design by JENNY TSENG Additional reporting by ZAKIR AHMAD Photos by LUCIA AMIEVA-WANG

BEAN BAG GUN Cmdr. Jerry Alcaraz holds a bean bag gun, one of the non-lethal alternatives to firearms the East Palo Alto police department uses.

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C

MDR. JERRY ALCARAZ STEPS into the parking lot, grasping a bright orange, shotgun-like object in his hands. Standing before a row of gleaming police cars emblazoned with a heptagram labeled “East Palo Alto Police,” Alcaraz angles the object so that the row of cylinders on its side shines in the sunlight. Each cylinder houses a bean bag capable of delivering an impact akin to that of a softball. It was this bean bag gun that recently defused a potentially violent situation involving a man with an eight-inch butcher knife in East Palo Alto, police chief Albert Pardini says. Because police could not safely arrest the armed man, they shot a small bean bag at him to knock him to the ground. If the bean bag gun had missed, police would have had to resort to lethal force, a measure that is always a last resort for officers. Conductive energy devices, also known as “tasers,” would have provided officers with an accurate and non-lethal alternative to firearms. The bean bag gun isn’t as precise as tasers, especially at large distances, and inflicts a welt on the individual. In contrast, tasers have a more accurate range, and while ini-

tially painful, do not cause long-term damage. According to Pardini, the EPA police department is the last force in the San Mateo County without tasers. The council’s proposal was first discussed at the August city council meeting, but the final decision was postponed to Sept. 18 due to low community attendance. “One of the concerns was [that] there wasn’t much community input,” Pardini says. “They didn’t feel comfortable making the decision that night.” After careful consideration of community residents’ input and the research completed by the EPA police department, the council at the September meeting ultimately decided not to lease the recommended 33 tasers. Many community residents who spoke at the meeting referenced events of police brutality in other communities when expressing their concern over equipping tasers. Some of the attendees said the implementation of tasers would jeopardize the peace and community relations built in the community. The other half of the proposal, to lease 33 body-worn cameras, was approved by the council in August, Pardini says. A non-lethal option Pardini says equipping officers with tasers would have been the right decision for both the police and the community. Unlike a bean bag gun or firearm, a taser does not rely on pain compliance. While a firearm or police baton only works if an individual registers the pain, a taser causes muscles to go rigid for the precious seconds officers need to handcuff a subject. This feature is especially important when the police are working with individuals who have a psychiatric or substance abuse issue who may not register pain normally. Additionally, those who are tased start recovering in a matter of seconds or minutes. “There’s no lasting damage to the human body,” Pardini says. “All the studies we’ve looked at, the recovery starts shortly thereafter.” Students speak out Palo Alto High School senior and EPA resident Giselle Navarro, who attended the August community meeting, noticed that many community members voiced concern about equipping officers with tasers. While she says she sees reason in both arguments, she personally opposed the proposal. “We want people to be able to live there, live with their families, walk around the streets and not be able to fear walking somewhere without something happening to them,” Navarro says. “[But] that [the proposal] is a lot of money for East Palo Alto, knowing that it’s a small community and it’s also very underprivileged.” According to Navarro, many residents live in garagGENTRIFICATION Senior Eric Aboytes says the money that would have gone to leasing tasers could go toward efforts to build affordable housing. “In East Palo Alto, there is a lot of gentrification,” Aboytes says.

28 OCTOBER 2018


es or trailer homes, and live paycheck-to-paycheck to afford their rent. It costs $42,000 annually to fund both parts of the proposal, and in her opinion, the substantial cost of leasing the tasers would not only have been a tax burden, but would also be better utilized elsewhere. “A lot of that money could be used to better schools in East Palo Alto to have more afterschool programs,” Navarro says. More affordable housing to decrease homelessness would also benefit the community, according to Navarro. Paly senior and fellow EPA resident Eric Aboytes does not see an urgent need to equip police officers with tasers. Although EPA has a reputation for being dangerous, Aboytes says he believes the city has become safer over the years. “East Palo Alto is already safe as is, I don’t know if having tasers is going to make it safer,” Aboytes says. The cost to lease the tasers was also a concern for Aboytes. Like Navarro, he’s uncertain if it is worth it, and points to other projects in need of funding. “In East Palo Alto, there is a lot of gentrification going on, and a lot of people are being displaced from their homes,” Aboytes says. Though the annual cost of tasers may not be enough to reverse gentrification, he believes the money could aid efforts to build affordable housing for those displaced.

EDUCATION There are many other concerns, such as education, in East Palo Alto that would benefit from extra money, says senior Giselle Navarro. “They can spend it on ... bettering the education at Ravenswood schools or getting laptops for the kids there,” Navarro says.

Looking toward the future Both Navarro and Aboytes are pleased that the council decided not to lease tasers. There are other important concerns such as housing and education that could use the money, according to Navarro. “They can spend it on … people that need housing, bettering the education at Ravenswood schools … or getting laptops for the kids there,” Navarro says. According to Aboytes, the Los Robles Academy in EPA doesn’t even have a sign to label the school. Instead, a piece of paper with the school’s name handwritten on it is taped to a blank billboard. As for the EPA police department, they have an approximately 99 percent success rate in arresting individuals without force, even without tasers. “We will continue to function in the same manner as before,” Pardini stated in an email. v

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Art by HANNAH LI

Text by WARREN WAGNER, DEVONY HOF and MARA SMITH

Midterm Voter Guide

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OR FIRST TIME VOTERS, the ballot can feel like just another stressful scantron test, but it doesn’t have to be. In this voting guide, we cover major elections like the U.S. House of Representatives race, where Democrats are fighting to take back the U.S. House of Representatives, possibly making the 2018 midterm election a turning point in national politics. Californians will elect a governor to succeed Jerry Brown, possibly choose a new senator, as well as vote on several major ballot measures. Closer to home, Palo Altans are filling two vacant Board of Education seats and voting on members of the city council. In our coverage of statewide races, we break down the candidates issue by issue. When writing about the school board race, we focused on the candidates’ experience and the planks of their campaigns. Unlike larger scale politics — where the same debates appear again and again — it’s not always clear what problems will arise over the course of a school board term. v

BOARD OF EDUCATION Stacey Ashlund is a parent and for-

Christopher Boyd runs what he

mer software engineer who has served on several local governing bodies, including two site councils, Partners in Education Advisory Council and Project SafetyNet, and was the Parks and Recreation Commissioner for Palo Alto. When interviewed, Ashlund emphasized the importance of expanding wellness centers and other mental health resources to middle and elementary schools to start well-rounded teaching as early as possible.

claims is a STEM-based after-school program, although the Palo Alto Weekly asked him to withdraw from a school board candidate forum over “concerns about how he was representing his after -school program.” He says parents need to be more involved in the district’s decisions, and called out the school board at one of the meetings for having a “lack of heart.” Boyd also criticized the district’s expensive legal battles, discouraging “throwing legal fees at hurt children.”

Ken Dauber is the current presi-

Shounak Dharap is a lawyer and

dent of the PAUSD school board and is running for re-election this fall. He stated that he is focused on improving student wellness, ensuring fiscal responsibility, narrowing the achievement gap, supporting special needs students, and advocating for the implementation of a homework policy that prevents test and project-stacking. He also stated that he has always “been a strong voice in particular for fiscal prudence,” referencing an “unaffordable” three-year compensation agreement which only he voted against. Dauber called closing the achievement gap his “top priority.”

former Gunn High School student. Dharap stated that his experience as a PAUSD student and attorney will bring a new perspective to the school board. Most notably, he calls for increased professional oversight and an “inclusive and supportive environment through a renewed focus on innovation, equity and community.” Dharap also affirmed support for programs like Connections, AAR and Paly’s Social Justice Pathway, the formation of wellness centers at both Gunn and Paly and the implementation of an improved social-emotional learning curriculum.

Kathy Jordan is a parent, active com-

Alex Scharf, at 21 years old, is the

munity member and former professional tennis player. Jordan emphasizes how change is needed on the board, sharply criticizing the handling of Title IX complaints and how the budget is managed. Palo Alto Weekly described her as a “watchdog,” and she supports hiring a general counsel to handle the district’s legal problems. When Jordan was asked about her at times adversarial relationship with student publications, she responded that The Campanile didn’t meet the “professional standards” of journalism outlined by California Education Code 48907, which details student press rights.

30 OCTOBER 2018

youngest candidate and a recent Paly graduate. He is a student at Foothill College, and organized an event advocating for mental health in PAUSD in 2015. “We should be spending money on the students, not on legal fees,” he stated. Scharf emphasized how teachers should be accommodating of mental health issues and stated that students leaving PAUSD should be prepared “mentally as well as academically.” He stated his support for the removal of zero periods to reduce student stress, and suggested including life skill lessons in PE class. He also praised the addition of wellness centers to high schools.


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SENATE Dianne Feinstein, first elected to

the Senate in 1992, has served as chair of the Senate Committee on Intelligence and Senate Rules Committee. She is currently the leading Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Kevin de León, another Democrat,

has been in the state legislature since 2006. He served as President pro Tempore of the State Senate for four years, and was narrowly endorsed by the California Democratic party this year.

HEALTHCARE — Feinstein’s website shows her support for adding a “public option,” where people could choose to buy government-provided health insurance in competition with private insurance. She also wants to lower the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 55 years of age, but doesn’t support single-payer healthcare.

HEALTHCARE — De León is a strong supporter of Medicare for all, which is a single-payer healthcare system. He says the Affordable Care Act was a “step forward,” but says that it does not go far enough. De León advocates that Medicare for all is the way to cover the Americans who still lack health insurance.

GUN CONTROL­­­­ — Feinstein led the fight to ban assault weapons in 1993. She has stated that gun lobbies have too much power in Congress, and consistently voted for stricter gun regulations throughout the years.

GUN CONTROL — In the California Senate, de León supported multiple gun control bills and legislation. Like Feinstein, he wants to ban assault weapons, as well as expand background checks. He also wants to increase funding for gun violence research.

MARIJUANA — Though notable for having opposed marijuana legalization in the past, Feinstein’s stance has recently shifted. She has now signed onto a bill that would give states the choice of setting their own marijuana policies.

MARIJUANA — De León supports the federal legalization of marijuana. He sees it as an important revenue opportunity, as California generated an estimated $643 million from marijuana taxes in 2017, its first year of legalization.

GOVERNOR Gavin Newsom, the former mayor

of San Francisco and current lieutenant governor, is the Democratic candidate. Newsom generally says that the state should expand spending to solve its affordability problems.

John Cox, a Republican business-

man in the race for governor, says that many of California’s problems — homelessness, healthcare and general affordability — can be solved by lowering taxes.

HOUSING — Newsom supports spending large sums of government money to create low-cost housing zones and, if elected, plans to develop 3.5 million new housing units by 2025. He also advocates for stronger rent control to protect tenants from paying too much or being forced out.

HOUSING — Cox says that the biggest obstacle to affordable housing is “red tape, taxes, sweetheart contract deals, fees and outdated environmental rules.” He wants to reduce the cost and hassle of building in the state so that developers can produce more homes, raising supply and lowering prices.

ENVIRONMENT — Newsom set a goal for California to not only hit 100 percent renewable energy by 2045 — a goal recently set by Gov. Jerry Brown — but also to become a net exporter of clean energy. In addition, the Democratic candidate supports replacing diesel trucks with hydrogen fuel cell or electric vehicles.

ENVIRONMENT — The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Cox only recently said that humans contribute to climate change, and that he’s skeptical that the state is “making a real impact” on carbon emissions. Cox emphasizes that environmental policies aren’t worth what he sees as the associated economic drawbacks.

IMMIGRATION — Newsom defends California’s “Sanctuary State” policies, and wants to fund legal defense for undocumented immigrants. He says the state should implement workplace protections for undocumented workers to make sure they receive the correct wage and are guarded from harassment.

IMMIGRATION — Cox rejects California’s “Sanctuary State” policy, which limits how local law enforcement cooperates with federal immigration authorities. He takes a hard line on immigration, saying that policies like those proposed by Newsom have “allowed violent criminal aliens to escape prosecution.”

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION — Gavin Newsom says he would break with the federal government on immigration policy and also called for the President to resign over explicit comments.

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION — Cox has been endorsed by President Donald Trump, and says he would participate in federal programs like sending the National Guard to the border.

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CITY COUNCIL Eric Filseth, Tom Dubois and Cory Wolbach, the current incumbents on the Palo Alto City Council, are running for re-election. Alison Cormack, a former employee of Google and the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, is running on a campaign focused on library renovation, finances and communication. Pat Boone, a political outsider and former media consultant, is campaigning on traffic and transportation. See our feature about the City Council elections on page 16 for more details.

BALLOT MEASURES PROPOSITION 6 — REPEAL OF THE GAS TAX As the California Secretary of State reports, a 12-cent-per-gallon increase to the tax on gasoline was passed to help pay for improvements to highways, roads and public transit. Proposition 6 would repeal that increase. A Los Angeles Times poll shows that this tax is unpopular, but the left-leaning “Fix Our Roads” political group is attempting to fight the measure. Advocates for the proposition argue that it would be cheaper for families, and would drive economic growth in the oil industry. Critics say that the bonus money to spend on infrastructure is worth the cost. PROPOSITION 10 — ALLOW LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO ENACT RENT CONTROL CNBC reported that California is the second most expensive state to live in, and this is particularly relevant in Palo Alto. If passed, this proposition would repeal a housing law passed in the ‘90s, giving local authorities more power in enforcing rent control to force down prices and ensure as much affordability as possible. Proponents say the measure would protect housing access, ensure affordability, maintain diversity and allow better budget planning. Opponents say that low revenue for landlords would mean the living spaces deteriorate and property tax revenue would falter. PROPOSITION 12 — TREATMENT OF FARM ANIMALS This proposition aims to combat factory farming practices, and would set square footage requirements for farm animals. If they aren’t met, the meat and animal product in question would be banned from sale. This proposition would also ban the sale of eggs from chickens raised in cages by 2021. Those against the measure say that it would just increase the cost of consumer goods, while those in favor say that the improved treatment of animals is more important.

How to register to vote If you are a citizen of the United States and 18 years of age, you can register to vote. If you are 16 or 17 years old, you can pre-register so that you will be able to vote as soon as you are 18, and you won’t have to register later. Scan the QR code on the right to be taken to the California Secretary of State’s website to register or pre-register to vote online. All you need is your address and either your driver’s license number or Social Security Number. The latest day to register if you want to vote in the Nov. 6 election is 15 calendar days before the election, or Oct. 22.

32 OCTOBER 2018


Verde Hits 20 REFLECTING ON OUR BIGGEST HITS Text by GILA WINEELD, RIYA MATTA and PRAHALAD MITRA Additional reporting by ALEX FENG Photos by LUCIA AMIEVA-WANG Art by MAYA ANDERSON

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HEN PALY JOURNALISM ADVISER Esther Kandell is entering his 19th year as Verde’s adviser, seeing it Wojcicki first pitched the idea of Verde Magazine through nine Pacemaker awards from the National Scholastic Press in 1999, the administration told her it was a good Association. idea but that it would never happen. Now, to celebrate Verde’s 20th volume, we look back at our “I remember when Woj came to the three of us with the past 96 issues and reflect on some of our most impactful stories. idea,” says Eva Steele-Saccio, one of Verde’s first editors-in-chief. “I thought she was both completely insane and a total genius.” Sexual assault Nevertheless, Wojcicki and 20 students from the overflow“Names like ‘attention whore,’ ‘liar,’ ‘drunk’ and ‘slut’ were ing Campanile newspaper staff decided to give it a try, diligently thrown around in the gossip that surrounded her as she walked brainstorming and writing stories at the back of the Campanile across the quad at school,” Lisie Sabbag (Class of 2013) writes in classroom while trying to scrape up enough money to publish on her feature, titled “You Can’t Tell Me I Wasn’t Raped.” their own. When they finally did, Verde’s first ever issue was born. Sabbag’s article was part of “Rape Culture,” a six-story cover “The hardest part — beyond naming, figuring out printing package in Verde’s April 2013 issue which drew national attention and advertising — was creating an environment and culture that for its thoughtful and revealing account of the experiences of two rivaled the Campanile’s,” says Chris rape survivors at Paly. The story published in the McFall, another pioneer Verde EIC. wake of the Steubenville and New Delhi rape “Safe to say we were on the right cases that garnered national and internationIt was for us, by us.” track if it’s still around.” al attention, and just days before the sexual — SARAH MAGNUSKI, former Verde EIC According to Wojcicki, her assault at Saratoga High School surfaced. main goal with Verde was to create a According to Sharon Tseng, who was an publication that specialized in inveseditor-in-chief at the time, the writing protigative journalism — taking a more in-depth look into the local cess for such a sensitive topic in a school magazine was initially issues. Despite a strong personal vision, however, Wojcicki ensured rocky. that the magazine would be entirely student-run and represent stu“The story actually almost got cut because they were having dent ideas for what Verde should be. trouble finding people who were willing to be interviewed,” Tseng “In retrospect, it’s hard to believe that a bunch of high school says. “It [rape] is just a really hard topic, and we were high schoolkids who had limited journalistic and editorial experience created a ers … It wasn’t really coming together, but I was super invested in professional-looking magazine from scratch,” says Sarah Magnus- the story. I really thought it was important.” ki, another EIC. “It was for us, by us.” Nearly four years after “You Can’t Tell Me I Wasn’t Raped,” Though Wojcicki founded the magazine and advised its first Verde published an exposé in V18.5. Titled “CASE-09-13-5901,” year, she turned the reins over to Verde’s current adviser Paul Kan- the feature detailed the PAUSD administration’s dell for its second volume and beyond. response to the Office of Civil Rights’ reA year or so after Wojcicki met Kandell on a Campanile field port and reviewed eight cases of sexual trip to Lowell High School, he arrived at Paly as Verde’s new advis- assault within the district. er. “I thought he was amazing,” Wojcicki says. The story published amid the

Verde: Which was your most memorable story? Alicia Mies (Class of 2017): My favorite story was James Hogue [from May 2017] … who basically scammed Paly into thinking he was a sophomore when he was really 20-something years old. Initially we went into the story thinking “Oh this is going to fail. No one’s going to want to talk with us and it’s just going to be us talking about a myth.” It turned out that we got to talk to his childhood best friend, and his track coach from years ago. The New Yorker and the New York Times wrote about the story, but I feel like we got the most real perception of who James Hogue was just because we were from the school, from a part of his life. Talk radio journalists and big public publications don’t have [that] perspective.

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district’s sexual assault scandal and months before a KTVU report revealed how a now convicted assailant was allowed to remain on campus, once again raising conversations about the administration’s role in preserving campus safety. Race “A lot of people … didn’t really want to talk about their experiences named,” Alexei Koseff (Class of 2008) says as he describes what it was like writing “Embracing Race.” The May 2008 cover story shares the experiences of interracial couples at Paly, examining Palo Alto’s evolving attitudes towards mixed-race relationships. “[I was] really just trying to make it relevant for people,” says Koseff, now a political reporter for the Sacramento Bee. “Why are we talking about this now? Why does it matter? And give people a real picture of what things were like for the Paly community.” Many Verde stories have since followed in the footsteps of “Embracing Race,” covering issues concerning race both on a national and local level and pushing the boundaries of what may be deemed uncomfortable to discuss. In the February 2016 cover story, “Interned,” Anna Nakai and Gabriela Rossner (Class of 2016) trace the experiences of former Japanese-American Paly students and their families who were uprooted and sent to relocation camps during World War II. Published near the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, Nakai and Rossner draw parallels between the xenophobia and discrimination behind Japanese-American internment and Trump’s rhetoric surrounding Muslim-Americans and refugees. “Although she did not live on Ramona Street, Ishimatsu still remembers the strong divide and lack of integration between Japanese-Americans and the white community of Palo Alto, even at Paly,” Nakai and Rossner write. “Even before the war broke out, she was aware of racial tension in Palo Alto.” According to Nakai, the story was especially im-

AVERDE KADAVRA Verde’s 2012-2013 Editors-in-Chief photoshopped on a Harry Potter background. Placing photos of the editors was a Verde tradition for each issue. Photo courtesy of Jack Brook

pactful because it vocalized perspectives forgotten over time. The article received attention from both the Paly community, especially from social science teachers, and from academia when it was cited by an anthropology research book. “Stories of survivors of Japanese internment are getting harder and harder to tell because there are fewer and fewer people who are still alive to tell them,” Nakai says. “And so it was a story that, if we weren’t going to tell it now, nobody was going to tell it.” Socioeconomics Verde’s emphasis on hard-hitting reporting is demonstrated in its stories about socioeconomic issues. In “Letter From Buena Vista,” Jack Brook and Ana-Sofia Amieva-Wang (Class of 2015) explore the lives of Buena Vista Mobile Home Park inhabitants

Verde: What was it like writing the story “Cannabis Controversy”? Jack Brook (Class of 2013): [It was a] fun story to write ... It was before I had my lisence so it was my mom driving me around to medical marijuana stores and it was probably illegal but they let me in. I had all these interviews where people were just smoking in my face. I got to talk with all these people who I would not have talked with otherwise and I just spent a lot of time hanging out with my sources. ... To report you really just have to immerse yourself and look at all angles to get what you need to convey the complexities of the topic.

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and discuss the 2015 controversy around the possible sale of this land. Fortunately, in 2017, the Jisser family bought the land and allowed families to remain in the mobile home park. “Buena Vista Mobile Home Park … is Palo Alto’s dandelion in the sidewalk,” Brook and Amieva-Wang (Class of 2015) write. On a more student-centric front, “The Summer Melt,” written by Esmé Ablaza and Bethany Wong (Class of 2016), explores the circumstances of students who have been accepted into college, yet do not attend. The reasons for “summer melt,” as the phenomenon is called, vary from a lack of resources and guidance to a lack of encouragement. “We were getting the kids into college and then we weren’t getting them all the way there,” says Judy Argumedo, the director of academic support in PAUSD. The story then describes resources that help students successively transition from highschool to college. The Educational Opportunity Program, for example, provides priority to students for things like course registration and housing. One Paly student, Theresa Delgadillo, signed up for EOP, and through it she met another student who

helped her by bing a friend. “It helps me to talk to other people about what I’m going through,” Delgadillo says while describing how it is beneficial meeting other kids, “Having someone there to listen to things that were going on in my classes or how I was doing emotionally was great.” Looking forward Perhaps the most significant change in Verde since its inception 20 years ago is an increasing digital presence. “Since I was at Verde … everything has gone digital and then mobile,” Koseff says. “When I was at Verde, things obviously were changing, but it was still very driven by print, so I didn’t really have that kind of experience.” However, Verde’s mission — to tell unheard stories through unbiased reporting and paint unflinching portrayals of community issues — remains the same. Most recently, the April 2018 issue, with a cover package on gun violence, received national attention from news outlets including CNN and KTVU for featuring a physical “bullet” hole which pierced every page of the magazine. The issue also went viral online, garnering over 40,000 upvotes

on Reddit. “All the stories and most of the ads in the issue are somehow impacted by the bullet,” Andrea Diaz writes on CNN. “Every time they flip a page, readers are reminded to reflect on what’s missing.” The issue published in the wake of the February shooting in Parkland, Florida, and aimed to represent both perspectives of the gun reform debate through its inclusion of both a future story on the Paly student walkout in support of gun control as well as a profile on Paly gun owners. The cover package became even more timely when, in the final days before printing, Paly went on lockdown. The words “this is not a drill” crackled over the loudspeakers as more than 2,000 students scrambled to build barricades out of chairs and hide under desks. Verde hopes to continue along the same vein by telling impactful local stories that inform and entertain our readers for years to come. “We [Verde] got to write longer impactful stories,” Nakai says. “There’s nothing really like that in college. After writing long stories on a range of topics from police brutality to Japanese internment, writing about who won the hockey game is just not as interesting. I definitely miss that.” v

Verde: How did Verde help to prepare you for professional journalism? Alexei Koseff (Class of 2008): Fundamental journalism concepts — I developed that [sic] there at Verde. Finding relevant stories and telling them in a way that matters to your audience, editing, working with an editor to develop your ideas and your writing and your stories — all those things I learned at Verde.

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THE PIONEERS The first editors-in-chief of Verde: Eva Steele-Saccio, Chris McFall and Sarah Magnuski. “We were creating something from scratch, so there was no precedent about how to do things,” Magnuski says. “We were all teenagers and learning how to lead and how to be a team, so we had arguments sometimes. But we always worked things out.”

THE LEADERSHIP (left) Esther Wojcicki is the creator of Paly’s journalism program and served as Verde’s adviser the first year. Paul Kandell (right) has been the adviser for Verde ever since. “I took the Campanile [staff] on a field trip to Lowell High School in San Francisco and while I was there I met Mr. Kandell,” Wojcicki says. “I was like, ‘you’re doing great work, could I interest you to come to Paly and work on this new publication.”

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Photo by LUCIA AMIEVA-WANG Art by ELLA THOMSEN

The Busker of Lytton

KEEPING THE BLUES ALIVE IN PALO ALTO Text by ELLA THOMSEN and ABE TOW

38 OCTOBER 2018


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ODDLERS DANCE IN A FOUNTAIN, teenagers enjoy their pizza and old friends gather by the performer at Lytton Plaza. Music fills the air, and for a moment, everyone is brought together by the strum of the guitar, the hum of the harmonica and the voice of the busker. His name is Dave Hydie, but almost none of his spectators know this. He is a musician who plays nearly every day at Lytton Plaza, bookended by beginnings and ends in Palo Alto. Hydie has always performed for people, traveling the country and playing guitar and harmonica for anyone who would listen. He does not play in the hopes of fame or riches, but rather because of his love for music and performing. To put your passion on display to the judgement of the world takes guts, and the busking scene can get competitive. But Hydie enjoys every second without getting caught up in nerves and stage fright. Ever since his first performance, he’s been a natural in the spotlight. He remembers it vividly: the sixth grade talent show at Ross Elementary School, where he played “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” a show tune from the musical “Gypsy.” Hydie has since parted from the show tunes genre, instead favoring the blues, a music genre originating from African American culture in the Deep South around the turn of the 19th century. Hydie says he still recalls one of his first encounters with the blues. He was eight years old, watching Sesame Street. The guest host of that episode, T-Bone Walker, would later become one of his favorite blues players. “He’s [Walker] the first guy to get down on electric guitar, he’s the first guy to take a long chord, first guy to play behind his neck,” Hydie says. “He just swings.” Hydie was born in 1952, about a mile away from Lytton Plaza on Oregon Expressway, then known as Oregon Street, however, the house has long since been torn down. At 12, Hydie began playing harmonica, but says his high school years were when he became serious about music. After high school, Hydie traveled to Alaska in a flatbed truck with a brigade of Berkeley students and his future wife. There, he worked in Anchorage cleaning salmon. Alaska had a very limited blues scene, but Hydie still continued to play harmonica and guitar. At 22, a now married Hydie moved to Iowa and began playing with The Son Seals, a blues band in Ames, Iowa. However, after a year, Hydie separated from his wife and moved to Chicago with the bass player from The Son Seals. “I went to these clubs in Chicago and pretty much was on the street for … three months,” Hydie says. Hydie traveled all over America, and had an assortMUSIC FILLS LYTTON PLAZA (LEFT) As blues musician Dave Hydie strums the guitar while playing the harmonica. “I love to boogie, and I like to do back alley blues,” Hydie says.

profiles

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ment of jobs including cab driving, truck driving and cowboying for a cattle company. However, he never stopped playing music and writing original songs such as “Racist Blues,” which recounts the discrimination he witnessed across the U.S. In 1976, Hydie decided to move back to the Bay Area, where he says he found a dynamic blues scene. Although there continue to be blues festivals today, the genre saw its peak in the ’70s, according to Hydie. He was even able to play alongside blues legends like Sonny Rhodes and Luther Tucker for several years in Palo Alto. “I hung around him [Tucker] for about a year or two and learned a lot,” Hydie says. The Palo Alto blues scene is history that has seemingly been forgotten by all except those who were there to witness it. Before Palo Alto became the tech town it is today, Hydie says music was a defining part of local culture. Hydie also remembers seeing Muddy Waters, the father of modern Chicago blues, twice on California Avenue in the ’60s and ’70s. For Hydie, Palo Alto will always be home. Despite its dwindling blues scene, he says he chooses to stay because of his family. Now, when Hydie is not playing music, he takes care of his mother or goes fishing. Music is a family affair. He inherited his passion for music from his mom, “Just be out a pianist, who always played show tunes there and inspire around the house younger musiwhile he sang along. Hydie has since cians and just passed his love for keep it going.” music on to his son, a Paly alumnus, who — DAVE HYDIE, MUSICIAN is now part of a band called The Hallway Ballers, and to his daughter, who tags along to his gigs or events. For Hydie, music has been “a great way of communicating and expression, anything from anger to love.” It's been his passion and dream ever since he first heard T-Bone Walker grooving out on Sesame Street, and he has no intentions of stopping. Now, Hydie says he hopes to “just be out there and inspire younger musicians and just keep it going.” To a certain degree, music is a part of everybody’s lives, whether it be to dance to or study with. However, to pursue music as a career is a dream often given up on because of how competitive it can be. But as someone who has never stopped dreaming, Hydie encourages those passionate about music to surround themselves with the music that speaks to them. “Listen, listen, listen. You’ll know where your groove is,” Hydie says. “If you’re moved by it, then you don’t have a choice.” v

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Saturday at the Spencers’

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HE SOUND OF LAUGHTER and the scratching of pens fill the large space, and the smell of freshly baked goods gently drifts through the house. Guests sitting in her spacious living room cheer enthusiastically as Christina Spencer announces that the group has handwritten and mailed upwards of 500 political postcards to voters across the country. After an encouraging start to their Saturday meeting, parents, children and guests huddle elbow-to-elbow around tables in the two main rooms of the Spencers’ modern Atherton house. As kids take a break from decorating postcards to play in the pool and indulge in homemade snacks and celebratory donuts, several guests enthusiastically greet newcomers, and those already seated around the long wooden table shuffle to make room for them. Christina, along with her husband Graham, began hosting civic engagement events at the end of this summer in order to be more involved in politics. “After a bit of experience working on the 2016 campaign, I think we felt like we could have done a little bit more,” Graham says. “For this [midterm] election, it just feels more engaged and grounded to

be writing postcards and to actually be in“Sometimes I feel like, ‘How can I really volved in the workings and functionings of make a difference?’” Park says. “With one democracy,” Graham says. person, it feels a little lonely, but in a group But there’s more than one driving force of friends and family it feels more impactfueling him to be more involved in politics. ful.” “Part of it is that we want certain candiThe Spencers’ eldest, Gwendolyn Spendates to win, but even more broadly it’s that cer, a freshman at Woodside Priory, is just democracy doesn’t work unless everybody as passionate as her parents about political does a little bit,” Graham engagement and the civsays. ic process. She’s active in Many of the guests school clubs and regularly attracted to the Spencers’ With one person, it attends marches with her Saturday events share this feels a little lonely, grandma, keeping the feelsense of civic responsibiling of civic engagement but in a group of ity. alive in the family. The friends and famSpencer family’s political spirit clearly transcends Group engagement ily, it feels more generations. In a short time, the “[The meetings] are an Spencers have established impactful.” —GINA PARKS, interesting way to implea safe space where anyone Spencer family friend ment [civic engagement] and everyone interested into daily life,” Gwendoin becoming more involved in the civic process is encouraged to lyn says. At the weekly meetings, the children do so. By using the power of community to typically draw on the front of blank white impact elections, the meetings have attract- postcards, some adorning their cards with ed like-minded folk such as family friend slogans supporting a specific political canGina Parks. Keeping with this spirit, Parks didate, and others simply writing the word says she not only wants to make a notice- “Vote!” in big, bold letters. The postcards are sent to the locations able difference in the election results, but also pass the civic spirit to her children, that the candidates request, such as regions known for being swing areas, where either who visit the Spencers’ house with her. political party could win the majority. “[The postcards] have a significant impact because [although] there are a lot of voters who are already commited to one side or another, the ones that don’t know which side to choose just need one little push to be persuaded,” says freshman Sophia Baginskis, who began attending recently.

DECORATE Paly Freshman Sophia Baginskis adorns a postcard with bold letters to catch the eye of its recipient. “It’s empowering to feel like I have a role in the political process and feel like I’m making a difference” says fellow event guest and Verde parent Nerissa Wong-VanHaren.

40 OCTOBER 2018

Events and milestones At the Sept. 15 meeting, large metallic balloons adorned the entryway and a sense of accomplishment hung in the air: the Spencers and their guests had written and sent over 500 postcards. In addition to the 500 already written, that same day they managed to write and send 180 more.


Text by KATE MILNE and JASMINE VENET At the start of every meeting, sheets of addresses and candidates are passed around, and over the course of the several meetings, Democratic candidates are supported and advocated for by the group. The Spencers’ work focuses on supporting Democratic candidates across the country, and they hope to flip the House of Representatives through the midterms. Part of the reason they were extra motivated to support Democrats was due to the surprising loss in the 2016 presidential election. Some of the candidates’ most popular stances are along the lines of solving local and widespread environmental issues, supporting immigrant and minority groups’ rights and advocating for middle and lower class citizens. As most of these values are shared by the guests of the meetings, it is evident that the guests writing the cards want the candidates to win, too. Each weekend, the Spencers invite “everybody we [they] know, neighbors, friends, relatives, sometimes friends bring friends,” Christina says. According to her, some attendees continue to return each weekend because they enjoy the civic events so much.

Photos by KATE MILNE Art by HANNAH LI

Getting involved in the civic process one postcard at a time

Vote! Although by participating in postcard production, guests are promoting Democratic candidates, the primary takeaway each session is that no matter who you vote for, you should vote. Without civilian involvement, democracy is virtually pointless, Graham says. “Not every postcard is going to flip someone’s vote, but [...] that [postcard writing] may have contributed to a few people changing their votes,” Graham says. “If not changing their votes, at least getting [them] out and voting when they would have otherwise not voted.” The Spencers say they are hopeful that as the word spreads about their weekly efforts, other politically-inclined community members interested in making a national change will show up and get to writing, one postcard at a time. v

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A TICKET TO CRICKET SUCCESS

Text by ALLISON CHENG and PRAHALAD MITRA Photo by ABBY CUMMINGS Art by HANNAH LI

A STUDENT’S JOURNEY TO PROFESSIONAL CRICKET

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ERVES FILLED Palo Alto ular in the United States, cricket is considHigh School junior Pratham ered the second most popular sport in the Kataria as he slowly walked world, according to WorldAtlas. The goal up to the pitch. The opposing of the game is to score as many points, or team was winning, and all the pressure rest- runs, as possible, and teams are composed ed upon Kataria’s shoulders. of batters and bowlers. The batter’s goal is He only needed to hit one of three to protect three poles, or wickets, from the sticks, or wickets, lined up behind the bat- bowler, whose aim is to hit the wickets. ter, but no one expected what would hapFor the past few years, Kataria has pen next. Taking a deep breath, Kataria played cricket competitively, first as a bowlstarted running toward the pitch, winding er. He often plays in an adult league and at up with the ball as he picked up his pace. one point was ranked third in the U.S. for The ball whistled as it hurtled towards his age group. the swinging batter before releasing a crack“Playing with adults is a completely ing sound. However, the sound wasn’t the different experience compared to playing crack of the bat hitting the ball — it was with players my age,” Kataria says. “Adults that of the ball toppling the wooden wick- on my team have been playing for numerets. This process ous years and they would repeat are ... willing to eight more times “Every moment I get share their knowluntil Kataria edge with me so I free time, I play cricket — bowled out nine can improve my people, essential- whether it be nine at night game.” ly striking them To play at or six in the morning.” out and winning such a competi— PRATHAM KATARIA, junior the game for his tive level, Kataria team. trains upwards of He recoumts 18 hours a week it as the highlight of his cricket career — it’s in his backyard. “Every moment I get free extremely uncommon to take nine outs. time, I play cricket — whether it be nine at “Generally, people consider taking five night or six in the morning,” he says. outs to be very special,” Kataria says. “I took Beyond time-consuming practices, nine and the max you can take is 10.” cricket has taken Kataria to national tournaments around the globe, from Sri Lanka Call to the ball to England to Canada. Kataria is a bowler, the equivalent of a Although he has been successful in pitcher in baseball. He has played cricket for recent years, Kataria, like all athletes, facthe last eight years, ever since he was intro- es challenges or “rough patches,” as he calls duced to it by his grandfather. them. He mainly struggles with form, “like “My passion and desire for the sport not getting wickets [or] getting hit for came from him,” he says. “To this day, he many runs.” still wakes up early just to watch India play Despite these struggles, or perhaps bea game.” cause of them, Kataria says he has learned Despite the fact that it is not very pop- to remain positive in the face of adversity.

42 OCTOBER 2018

“You have to go through a tough patch and then get out from it,” Kataria says. “You have to break your old bad habits, which takes a lot of time.” As for his current level, he describes it as “satisfactory.” Like with any other sport, there is always room for growth — for Kataria, it means improving on spinning, a technique where the bowler applies spin. Action Beyond the Field Kataria not only enjoys playing cricket, but also hopes it becomes more popular in the Palo Alto community. Last year, for example, cricket was introduced in seven Palo Alto Unified School District elementary schools, in part due to the efforts of Kataria and Suraj Viswanathan, an individual director of the Board of the International Cricket Council. “We tried to push cricket into the physical education curriculum in [PAUSD] elementary schools,” Kataria says. “Hopefully we can build it into more elementary schools and eventually into middle and high schools.” Working with Elizabeth Pounders, a physical education specialist and the leader of the teachers’ development program, Viswanathan trained elementary school physical education teachers in playing and coaching the basics of cricket, while Kataria created practice drills for the physical education teachers to use in class. “The sport [cricket] can involve everyone,” Viswanathan says. “Nobody is left behind and … everybody in a physical education program involving cricket was participating. That’s what we’re driving.” In keeping with his wish to increase the popularity of cricket, Kataria shares his best piece of advice for aspiring cricket players: “Enjoy the game. It’s basic ... but that’s what it is.” v


IN THE BIG LEAGUES Palo Alto High School junior Pratham Kataria tips his hat in his team uniform. Kataria started playing cricket eight years ago after watching a game with his grandfather. “This process, like all sports, happens slowly,” he says. “I started off as really bad ... and eventually I started playing adult league, so that’s the level I’m at now.”

VERDEMAGAZINE.COM 43


In the Vein o INNER WORKINGS OF STANFORD THEATRE

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HE THEATER DARKENS, AND AN AIR OF anticipation fills the room. All that can be heard are the clicks of the projector as the screen is illuminated. With an ornate border around the stage, jaw-dropping chandeliers in the lobby and a gleaming organ, the atmosphere transports patrons back in time to the golden age of film: the 1920s. Although the landscape of Palo Alto has changed tremendously in the last century, for the Stanford Theatre ­— which still uses the British spelling of the word — time has stood still thanks to the tireless effort of manager Cyndi Mortensen. Mortensen has worked at the theater for almost three decades and knows every detail about its intriguing history. Mortensen explains that the theater was built in 1925, at the height of the glitz and glamour of the roaring 1920s, and stood proudly as one of the largest and most popular theaters in the area at the time. It was dubbed the “Pride of the Peninsula” by the Palo Alto Weekly when it first opened, attracting movie lovers from around the Bay Area. According to Mortensen, one of the biggest attractions is the theater’s beautiful Wurlitzer organ, which has been restored and is still in use today. Back when all films were silent, organists would play during the films to enthrall audiences with musical ambiance or dramatic emphasis. “Most movie theaters in the silent era had either a Wurlitzer organ and some of them actually had

44 OCTOBER 2018

an orchestra,” Mortensen says. “There was always somebody playing live music to go with the silent film.” In the 1930s, once “talkies,” or films with dialogue, gained momentum, the organ was used in between films or during intermission as a kind of secondary show. It is now a regular part of the movie-going experience at the Stanford Theatre, Mortensen says. Besides playing films, the Stanford Theatre used to host “vaudeville” shows: a popular form of entertainment from the turn of the century through the ’30s consisting of singing, dancing and comedic acts. Many famous actors started in vaudeville, including Ginger Rogers, who actually performed at the Stanford Theatre soon after its opening. The theater operated as a movie house through the 1970s after which it was sold and turned into a live music and performance venue. This new venture was unpopular, so it was sold again and converted back to a movie theater.


Text by COURTNEY KERNICK Design by ZOE STANTON-SAVITZ

of Vaudeville According to Mortensen, at this point the theater was rundown and musty, with rusty sagging seats and peeling paint. Luckily, David Woodley Packard, son of David and Lucile Packard, came to the rescue. After the death of movie star Fred Astaire in 1987, Packard rented out the theater for the weekend to host a marathon of Astaire’s films. Enamored with old films and the theater’s history, Packard convinced his father to buy it through the Packard Foundation. “They decided that they would completely restore the theater to the way it was in the ’20s,” Mortensen says. “Completely dedicated to classic film.” Packard located the artist who first painted the ceiling murals in the auditorium, found the original architect’s plans and matched the paint colors to create the most accurate restoration possible. Even the films themselves are all shown

through a reel-to-reel projector on 35-millimeter prints. “What David has done is replicate the movie-going experience of the 20s and 30s,” Mortensen says. “So when you come in here, you’ve virtually done a little time travel.” Mortensen works closely with Packard, procuring the necessary prints of movie posters and creating the calendar after Packard decides on the program. “That’s David Packard’s passion. He is the programmer here and he hasn’t steered us wrong,” Mortensen says. “He’s got very good instincts about what works and what people love, and generally they are things that he himself loves.” The Stanford Theatre Foundation’s film archive contains hundreds of films, and the Stanford Theatre always strives to broaden its repertoire. Mortensen says she is constantly bringing in new films to their collection from resources like the UCLA film archive, the Packard Humanities Institute and the Library of Congress. “I work very closely with film archives throughout the country and in the world to really make sure that we can bring the best prints available,” Mortensen says. Unfortunately, as technology continues to improve and film prints become more obsolete, it becomes more difficult to find classic film prints. “[35 millimeter prints] are becoming more and more rare and harder to come by.” Mortensen says. Even so, for Mortensen, the past two decades have flown by, and she has hope for the future of the longstanding Stanford Theatre. “I’ve always loved old movies and classic film,” Mortensen says, while admiring the gold decor of the historic Stanford Theatre. “This is the perfect thing for me to be doing.” v FILM FANATICS At the Stanford Theatre, a collection of classic film posters line the walls. They are based on the movies shown, which change each weekend. “All of the posters are original,” Mortensen says. Art by Jessica Lee

VERDEMAGAZINE.COM 45


COACH WENDY “ F GIRLS ARE

THE WOMAN WHO LEADS GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY

23% OF THE TEAM BOYS ARE

77% OF THE TEAM

ALL SMILES Coach Wendy Smith is the only female coach for Paly’s cross country team. Girls make up less than a quarter of the runners on the team in the 2018 season. “I hope to promote more equality in terms of things ... where the girls don’t tend to be upfront,” Smith says.

IGHT, VIKES, FIGHT!” As equality of cross country functions, but the Palo Alto High School cross also for the emotional wellbeing of female country team gathers in prepa- athletes. It is people like Smith who try to ration for its meet against Gunn combat that. High School, two senior boys lead cheers, A female athlete herself, Smith was a standing proud in the center of the team. volleyball player and cheerleader during Chanting with spirit, the athletes partic- her high school years living in upstate New ipate enthusiastically. But off to the right York, and now actively pushes herself athstands a small group of girls enjoying the letically by snowboarding and participating cheers but discussing one in triathlons. Of course, howthey came up with themever, her favorite sport above selves. The only person Despite the all is running. who seems to take notice small number, “It’s weird … I didn’t is Paly cross country coach think I was a good runner Wendy Smith, more com- the girls have back then,” Smith says. “I monly known as Coach tremendous didn’t think I was a good athWendy. lete, but then I started run“Get in there!” Smith potential to go ning in my mid-30s, and I says. “Say you want to lead to states just loved it.” it.” Her invitation from — WENDY SMITHI, cross country coach former cross country coach Realizing the girls are hesitant to speak up for Kelsey Feeley is what brought themselves, she calls out to the team: “Hey! her to Paly. The girls over here want to lead one too!” “My time freed up, as it turned out, When the girls take the floor sheepish- right as [Feeley] stopped coaching,” Smith ly, they proceed to chant their lyrics more says. “[current head coach] Coach Davidquietly, without as much en- son and [former assistant coach] Coach gagement. Smith is the Granville started here and I asked them if I most spirited of them could still take them up on the offer.” all. Smith has coached volleyball, soccer In a team of and cross country before, but no matter the 116 boys and team, she has always noticed something was only 35 girls, off. instances like “It feels like statistically girls just do these are a less sports in general,” Smith says. “I’ve common con- always thought that, starting back when I cern, not only was at Jordan. The girls were less likely to for the gender continue, whereas the boys were already

The graph to the right represents the number of boys and girls competing in cross country over the years. Girls have historically been a minority on the team. Source: Wendy Smith

46 OCTOBER 2018


profiles

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Text by RACHEL LIT and ZOE WONG-VANHAREN Photos by ZOE WONG-VANHAREN thinking about high school. There seemed to be a constant trend of 25 percent girls [on the team].” This year, that number has sunk to 23 percent. This may be attributed to girls’ lack of access to sports in high school — according to the Women’s Sports Foundation, schools provide boys with 1.3 million more opportunities, meaning girls have a lesser chance of being on a team. Perhaps this statistic is part of why, CNN reports, girls drop out of sports at twice the rate boys do. The data above does not just describe inequality on a societal level — it is also relevant to Paly athletics. Title IX requires schools to provide equal opportunities for both genders, but Paly offers 4 percent fewer opportunities to girls than boys in terms of team availability, according to a student project survey conducted through Paly’s Social Justice Pathway. Often, girls are less inclined to sign up for sports in the first place due to other committments and priorities that emerge in their high school careers. Smith points out that there are fewer opportunities even for the female athletes who do decide to join the team. “I notice that the boys can be louder and pretty boisterous, and the girls are

more of a minority,” Smith says. “I want girls have it in them.” the girls to be equally as involved, but I Regardless of grade or level of compejust think the numbers make that kind of tition, the girls on the team agree that they hard.” would not be where they are today without Girls on the team notice these imbal- Smith. ances as well. “You can just tell that she cares about “I don’t think it’s extremely limiting, the team so much,” senior Caroline Elarde but we are split, always, from the boys,” says. “In every aspect of running, if you ask sophomore Anna Roth says. “We’ll be do- her a question, she’ll definitely get you an ing similar workouts, answer.” but we are never to- Statistically, girls just In fact, Smith gether.” encourages the girls do less sports.” Junior Kai Dougin every single as— WENDY SMITH, cross country coach las agrees that the girls pect of cross counare isolated in some ways from the boys. try. “Despite there being this whole one “I hope to promote more equality team motto, I definitely feel way more con- in terms of things like leading cheers or nected to the girls team ... they [the boys] stretches where the girls don’t tend to be have definitely found more groups to run upfront,” Smith says with and it’s hard for us to have running As for her wishes for the future of groups outside of organized practices be- girls cross country, Smith believes better cause there are so few girls.” advertising would do the team some good. With these challenges in mind, Smith But with her open arms and smiling spirit, has high hopes for this season, both in no one is likely to turn their backs on the terms of team bonding as well as actual sport. competition. Although it has not happened “I wish more girls would come out in years, she believes the girls are capable of and run cross country,” Smith says. “I don’t making it to high level meets this season. know what’s holding them back. We’re fun, “Despite the small number, I think don’t you think?” v the girls have tremendous potential to go to states … based on what I’ve seen, the

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BOYS TEAM HEAD COACHES

2009 - 2011 Joe Ginanni

GIRLS TEAM HEAD COACHES

2009 - 2014 Paul Jones

2012 Marcus Stone

YS BO

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GIR

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2013 - 2015 Kelsey Feeley (Co-ed)

2016 - Current Michael Davidson (Co-ed)

2015 Kelsey Feeley (Co-ed)

2016 - Current Michael Davidson (Co-ed)

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VERDEMAGAZINE.COM 47


Krier in Tech

COMPUTER SCIENCE TEACHER BRINGS TECH BACKGROUND

K

Text by ZAKIR AHMAD and KAYLA BRAND

ATHLEEN KRIER STILL Krier has been involved with technolremembers learning the pro- ogy and computer science for many years gram BASIC in high school and recalls the increasing popularity of the and working on bulky eight- Internet catalyzing the growth of digital and-a-half-inch floppy disks. When it technology. comes to the technology industry, Krier “We had a brand-new building built has been there from the start. Her latest [in graduate school] that had T-1 [internet] role is as Palo Alto High School’s com- access at thousands of places in the in the puter science teacher and robotics adviser. building, so everybody got high speed InterBefore Paly, Krier held the same po- net anywhere on the site,” Krier says. “[The sitions at Monta Vista High School. As a Internet] is like the development of a super result of robotics compehighway as opposed titions, Paly was always on to having a road.” I’m convinced that Krier’s radar. Since then, her “I’ve been watching it [robotics] is going position as a comthe [Paly] robotics team puter science teacher compete at different com- to be the career of has opened up varipetitions where my former the future for many, ous new avenues for school competed,” Krier Krier. She gained exsays. “When I saw that many people.” posure to the field of — KATHLEEN KRIER, teacher there was an opening at robotics as a result of Paly in robotics, it seemed like a perfect fit.” teaching. Krier says she hopes to expand the Paly “As a computer science teacher, you are computer program in the coming years aware of all the applications of computer alongside fellow new hire Chris Bell. science,” Krier says. “Since 2003, I’ve had “There’s new blood, and we feel like my eyes on robotics and manufacturing.” there’s an opportunity for us to grow our This interest is what led to Krier avising program,” Krier says. “Next year, we’re high school robotics teams. At Paly, Krier going to have an expansion of maybe one says she hopes to use her unique position as whole teacher at Paly and maybe beyond a woman in a male-dominated STEM field that, a teacher a year to fill the demand.” to spread the joys of robotics to people of all Krier says her primary role as Paly’s walks of life. computer science teacher is to get students “I’ve been the one gal in Little League. interested in the computer science program. I’ve been the one gal on the drum line. I’ve “If I can get students interested in tak- been the one gal in the Econ department,” ing maybe another class in computer sci- Krier says. “I have been working with the ence or if they have a really good time with leadership to see if there’s ways that we can what they experience, I think I’ve done my advertise our team and bring in more hisjob,” Krier says. torically disadvantaged students and more In advising robotics, however, Krier’s diversity.” first priority is safety. Fittingly, Krier has witnessed the field “We make sure that we have a safe envi- of robotics grow tremendously, and expects ronment for everybody to use tools, and for this trend to continue. students to interact in a fair and respectful “I’m thoroughly convinced that it [roway,” Krier says. botics] is going to be the career of the future for many, many people,” Krier says. v

48 OCTOBER 2018


WOMAN IN BLUE AND PURPLE: Reflective of her hair, Paly’s new CS teacher and robotics adviser hopes to bring color to her classes. Krier has been involved in the tech industry since taking a class on computer science in high school. “What my philosophy has been, over my whole career, is making computing accessible to all people,” Krier says. Photo by Zoe Wong-VanHaren

VERDEMAGAZINE.COM 49


Art by HANNAH LI Art by HANNAH LI

Text by COURTNEY KERNICK and JENNY TSENG

AWAY FROM CITY LIGHTS

STUDENTS FIND PERSPECTIVE IN NIGHT SKY

big

H

IGH ABOVE THE LUMINOUS SKYLINE of Portola Valley lies a silent row of teenagers on a dusty turnout in Windy Hill Open Space Preserve. The night sky is speckled with bright stars and the only sound to be heard is the murmur of wind through the trees. Suddenly, a collective intake of breath punctures the silence as a brilliant line of light shoots across the sky, followed by another a few minutes later. Known as the Perseids meteor shower, this annual summer event draws people into the mountains and hills to view streaking meteoroids. Senior Nisha McNealis was one of the students at the Preserve and attended Paly physics teacher Keith Geller’s annual Perseids meteor shower viewing party. “There’s something really special seeing something that you know is so unique and is completely a natural phenomenon,” McNealis says. “I would definitely recommend going and bringing warm clothes because it was very cold.” Bundled in blankets and armed with snacks, McNealis stayed on the turnout past midnight to witness the spectacular show.

50 OCTOBER 2018

di

pp

er

Escaping light pollution Even in the absence of celestial sightings, many students flock to local parks and nature reserves to stargaze away from the city lights. Astrophysics teacher Josh Bloom recommends Kite Hill in Stanford as an easy-to-access, local spot with a great view of the sky. However, he notes that it still has some light pollution. For those willing to make the drive, a better view can be found on Skyline Boulevard or in Los Altos Hills. For more avid astronomers, Foothill College has an observatory open for public viewings every clear Friday night from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Foothill College also holds a series called Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures in their Smithwick Theatre on six Wednesday evenings throughout the school year. The talks are geared toward the general public and are very engaging, Bloom says. Planets in the sky Because of the relative positions of Jupiter, Saturn and Mars in their respective orbits, these three planets can be seen with the naked eye.


Celestial Calendar l

ed

l it t

Sept 25 - Full Moon e ipp r

Oct 8 - Draconids Meteor shower

Oct 9 - New moon

Oct 21, 22 Orionids meteor shower

“Every once in a while, certain planets end up being on the same side of earth,” Bloom says. According to Bloom, the planets are all in line with each other, with Jupiter emanating a bright white color and Mars a bright reddish color that borders on gold. “That line is the plane of our solar system and all the planets [are] orbiting on that plane,” Bloom says. Finding your place in the universe Though stars, planets and meteors are millions of miles away from us, an understanding of space and astronomy can lead to more self awareness and understanding of one’s place in the universe, Bloom says. “When you learn about your connection to the universe to a larger whole, that provides a perspective that helps you see yourself and your life as more right sized,” Bloom says. “I have found that there are a lot of kids who come away from having taken this course with a much healthier perspective on themselves in their lives as a result.” v

Oct 24 - New moon

Nov 5, 6 - Taurids meteor shower

Nov 17,18 - Leonids meteor shower VERDEMAGAZINE.COM 51


AYE LÉT BABKA

Text by RACHEL LIT Art by SUYE SHEN

A TWIST ON THE TRADITIONAL JEWISH PASTRY

CHOCOHOLIC Israeli baker and Palo Alto resident Ayelet Nuchi offers her chocolate ganache babka for the Verde staff to sample. “Chocolate is my favorite flavor. I’m a chocoholic,” Nuchi says. Chocolate ganache was the fan favorite of Nuchi’s old catering business, which she has been in charge of since 2005. Photo by Kate Milne

T

AYELET NUCHI STORE OPENS MID OCTOBER

855 El Camino #15, Palo Alto, CA 94301 52 OCTOBER 2018

OWN & COUNTRY WAS opened her oven back in Israel. Nuchi first became infatuated with the once home to Halo’s Blowdry culinary arts during the early days of her Bar, but now a new angelic life in the U.S. With the long periods of business is settling in. Aye Lét, time her then-boyfriend would spend away a family-owned bakery run by namesake at his tech startup, she had an abundance Ayelet Nuchi, will specialize in one treat of free time. As a pastime, Nuchi picked up and one treat only: babka. baking, a casual hobby that quickly evolved Quintessential to the Jewish pastry into a serious passion. scene, babka is a mix Two years later, between bread and I decided that if I’m she enrolled at the cake, often comgoing to do it it’ll be just San Francisco-based bined with chococulinary school, Callate. Although cocoa the babka ifornia College of the is the most popular — AYELET NUCHI, owner of Aye Lét Arts, where she speingredient, there cialized in baking and are both sweet and pastries. Then, in 2005, Nuchi started her savory flavors. Babka may not be a houseown catering business where she focused hold name in the U.S., but Nuchi is here to on “French-Israeli” cuisine, which was the change that. But it has not always been this way — ultimate inspiration for Aye Lét. Although she catered all types of delwhen Nuchi packed her bags in 2000 and icacies, her customers always seemed most left her Tel Aviv home for San Francisco, impressed by her babka, just one of the she was not planning on staying for more many treats presented on the dessert table than two years. She was not planning on and inconspicuously placed in the corner putting down any roots, and she certainly by the tea. After getting many compliwas not planning on opening a business. mentary emails and outstanding in-person And yet, come mid October, Nuchi’s bakreviews from friends and family, Nuchi ery will open in Palo Alto’s Town & Counrealized she had to place her babka in the try Village, even though she had never even


2000

Moved to SF

2002

2005

2017

- Culinary School at CAA - Catering Business - Aye Lét Bakery born

spotlight. sizes include a personal size, a double loaf “There’s a trend to take one item, you and a large, perfect for celebrations. know like the macarons and the ice cream The store was slated to open the sumsandwiches, where you’re taking basically mer of 2018. However, it is still being renoone thing and that’s the only thing you do,” vated, and is now on track to be finished by Nuchi explains. “I decided that if I’m going mid-Oct. Currently, it may just be planks to do it, it’ll be just the babka.” of wood strewn across a debris-scattered Nuchi’s menu will consist of seven floor, but Nuchi envisions a homey enviunique flavors of babka, five sweet and two ronment that will encapsulate the ethos of savory, all of which are her original reci- her business. pes. Classics, including chocolate ganache “I’m not going to have small tables and cinnamon sugar, reflect the traditional where people can sit by themselves — evpastry found in Israel, whereas more exper- erybody is going to sit together,” Nuchi imental flavors such as Nutella and rasp- says. “I want to have a feeling that everyberry cream cheese are body’s coming to my tailored to the Amerapartment.” ican palette. There I’m not going to have On a tour of the will also be a chalva, small tables where unfinished inside of or sesame-paste-filled the store, Nuchi says babka, which Nuchi people can sit by themAye Lét will mirror a claims “people go cra- selves — everybody is living room complete zy for.” As for savory with an open kitchen, delights, Aye Lét will going to sit together including home decor — AYELET NUCHI, owner of Aye Lét such as bookcases, offer a pizza-style babka consisting of mozcouches and even a zarella, tomato and TV. basil, as well as one with a butternut squash Aye Lét also plans on offering a Paly base, topped with pine nuts and parmesan. special, much like many other businesses In an exclusive insider taste test, Nu- at Town & Country. The special would enchi brought some of these soon-to-be-leg- tail a small lunch box, complete with one endary treats for the Verde staff to sample round, savory babka and a side of either a for the first time. A whole loaf of chocolate salad or a sweet babka. Additionally, lemganache babka was presented to us, and onade or custom iced tea drinks may be the marbled cake, heavy and dense by the added to the mix. The special’s price is yet weight of the box, was still warm and sprin- to be determined. kled with powdered sugar. Nuchi’s unique The dessert’s taste was just as beautiful experiment comas its appearance: sweet, but not overpow- bines four recipes ering, with just the right amount of smooth into one, bringing chocolate. The babka’s crunchy edges were together tradition balanced by its moist yet crumbly inside, and innovation in which had a consistency somewhere between a brownie and a cake. Some Verde staff members claimed it had a tangy aftertaste, similar to that of beer bread. A serving size large enough to feed several people, titled the “classic loaf,” was surprisingly one of the smaller options Nuchi is going to offer. Other

her baking. Whether you are looking for a place to sit back and relax with a friend or just a quick bite for the road, Aye Lét is sure to bring a wholesome, and surely tasty, new experience to Palo Alto. “To see people happy, it’s sweet,” Nuchi says. “To see people happy and fast ... with one bite, everyone smiles.” v

THE HEAVENLY

SEVEN

AYE LÉT WILL OFFER SEVEN UNIQUE FLAVORS OF BABKA CHOCOLATE GANACHE CINNAMON SUGAR NUTELLA RASPBERRY CREAM CHEESE CHALVA MARGHERITA BUTTERNUT SQUASH

VERDEMAGAZINE.COM 53


Art by LUCIA AMIEVA-WANG

CLUB UNIFIES STUDENTS Text by ABBY CUMMINGS and ABE TOW

S

ENIOR KEVIN COX advances towards the net and gracefully sets the ball to ready his partner, senior Clark Mellen, for the next move. Mellen sprints to the ball and contorts his body so his back faces the net. He then whips around to smash the ball, which lands in the very center of the net. Mellen says that Spikeball has shaped his experience at Paly through allowing him to interact with his peers and release energy that builds up throughout the day. “By the end of [last] year, everybody was playing on the Quad, so it’s been definitely [sic] a changing experience for Paly,” Mellen says. “It’s been a good way to interact with friends, meet new people and take a nice break during class or a prep.” As students flood the quad for lunch, so do fluorescent yellow balls and Spikeball

54 OCTOBER 2018

nets. Since the creation of Spikeball Club, the sport has evolved into a Paly campus fad, with new students playing every day. The club was started by Nicholas Blonstein, Class of 2018, when he was a senior. Through playing a knock-off version of the game with his cousins, Blonstein says he fell in love with the sport and brought his passion to Paly. “I started the Spikeball Club because I wanted many people to know about this sport,” Blonstein says. “I wanted to spread the word and get as many people involved as possible.” The torch is now in the hands of senior Miles Schulman, who began playing the sport before the Paly Spikeball Club was founded. “I like Spikeball ‘cause it’s a team activity, so it’s like a collaboration,” Schulman says. “It’s also just active and fun.” With the Spikeball Club ever-increasing in popularity, Blonstein and Schulman seem to have fostered a community of students and left a legacy to the Paly student body. Since Club Day is now behind us, Spikeball sets will become more prominent on campus, as club officers bring out the nets every Wednesday at lunch and during most seventh period blocks. Among the 80 students to sign up for the club is junior Lucas Finot, who attributes his passion for Spikeball to a desire to stay active during the lengthy school day. “I play Spikeball because it’s something fun to do at lunch instead of just sitting around eating food,” Finot says. Participating in Spikeball Club provides a well-deserved break from academics, allowing players to de-stress from schoolwork for a brief period of time. Outside of school, there will be weekend tournaments hosted by the club officers which will provide food and feature prizes for the winning teams. “I hope that the Spikeball Club can serve as a really fun activity that will brighten students’ days,” Blonstein says. “I also hope that it will continue to unify Paly’s student body and bring all different types of people together.” v

HOW TO PLAY 1

Two teams of two surround the net, each player facing an opponent. The game begins when one player serves the ball six feet from the net.

2

Each team has three alternating hits to return the ball by bouncing it back onto the net.

3

Team one scores a point when: 1. Team two fails to return the ball to the net 2. Team two hits a ball that bounces on the rim of the net 3. Team two hits a ball that bounces more than once on the net Art by SUYE SHEN


culture

v Text by MARALEIS SINTON

Needle and Thread

Art by SUYE SHEN

How embroidery inspires a young artist

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APTIVATED BY THE INTRICATE designs on the women’s coat sleeves and the fascinating parallels to the role of women at the time, senior Maya Star-Lack developed a passion for needle and thread at a young age from the movie ‘Pride and Prejudice, which is based on Jane Austen’s novel. To her, the art form is more than tedious stitches — it serves as a creative outlet that brings her into a meditative state. While most high school students pass time by reading or binge-watching the latest television series, Star-Lack embroiders. “I’m aware of my surroundings and what I’m doing, but whenever I look back to the process, I can never remember what I was thinking or feeling,” Star-Lack says. “It’s very soothing and calming.” Expressed in the Inexpressed Ever since her first introduction to embroidery during elementary school, when she attended Ohlone Art Camp, Star-Lack has been enamored by the tactile craft. But it isn’t just a camp for kids; even seven years later, Star-Lack returns to camp, continuously refining her skills. “I teach the younger kids simple things like tying the threads, but I’m not a full-on counselor,” Star-lack says. “If I was a counselor, I probably wouldn’t just be focusing on embroidery, which is what I like to do.” Ohlone Art Camp nurtured Star-Lack’s budding passion for embroidery. Now, she gives some of her pieces away as gifts or showcases her hard work around the house. “Mostly what I do is frame the pieces … and then hang them on my wall,” Star-Lack says. Hand embroidery isn’t for the impatient — it can take someone months to finish a single piece. In fact, Star-Lack’s continues to work on a piece for the last three summers. “Embroidery is not hard, it’s time consuming,” Star-Lack says.

machine [embroidery] … I’ll bring my embroidery with [me when I travel],” Star-Lack says. “It’s nice to occupy myself with something that isn’t a screen.” And when she is not on the road, embroidery helps Star-Lack stay centered amidst the bustle of daily life. “You need to have those things in life that brings you back to a core part of you,” Star-Lack says. “I love to create things that are beautiful, so the meditative state joined with the satisfaction of creating something pretty really acts as a stress reliever.” A Thimble for Change Today, through the feminist movement, women and artists alike are turning to art as a means of expression, empowering society through textiles. But while Star-Lack describes herself as a feminist, her motives behind embroidery do not only center around the women’s movement. “I do it because I love it as an art form and a means of expression,” Star-Lack says. “Of course, I’m a feminist, and I would love to see embroidery as paying homage to the women of the 18th century and before, but also for it to be presented as just another art form.” v

Back to Her Roots Although school keeps Star-Lack busy, she still finds the time to embroider wherever she goes. For example, when she travels, she brings her portable hand embroidery along for the ride. “Hand embroidery is more portable [than A THIMBLE FOR CHANGE For Star-lack, hand embroidery is both an art form and a medium to understand how art has evolved.“You can see how art has progressed since the middle ages … [and how embroidery] has progressed as well,” Star-Lack says. Photo by Maraleis Sinton

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Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman

NEW CRIME DRAMA ADDRESSES A DIVIDED AMERICA Text by ZOE WONG-VANHAREN and KOBI JOHNSSON Art by HANNAH LI

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HE SCREEN IS DARK. Slowly and deliberately, frames worth convinces his Jewish officemate Flip Zimmerman, played by of foggy mountains and eerie forests drift into view. Drone Adam Driver, to impersonate him. Together, the two infiltrate the footage sweeps over beautiful landscapes, creating a tran- Klan as undercover agents, watching their every move and underquil setting. A slow guitar riff plays, full of reverb. mining their plans. By utilizing a true story that is so bizarre it’s Suddenly, the mood shifts as words materialize on the screen. near impossible to believe, Lee mocks the fallacies of racism. For those who are familiar with the director, this language This commentary takes a main stage in “BlacKkKlansman,” shouldn’t be a surprise. “DIS JOINT IS BASED with Lee throwing subtle and overt barbs UPON SOME FO’ REAL, FO’ REAL SH*T.” against racists whenever he can. This Growing up as an African-American in the thick Commentary takes occurs especially often when Stallworth of the Civil Rights Movement, director Shelton Jack- a main stage with is on the phone with Duke. In one inson “Spike” Lee experienced racism and oppression stance, Duke details to Stallworth how he early in his life. Keen on tackling the issues that have Lee hrowing subtle would know if a black man was speaking followed him through childhood, Lee illustrates these on the phone with him, and Stallworth and overt barbs racially charged experiences through his filmmaking, and the rest of officers can barely contain against racists. with “BlacKkKlansman” being his latest project. their laughter while Duke makes a fool Set in 1970s Colorado Springs, the movie is based out of himself without even knowing it. on the real-life story of Ron Stallworth, an African-American po- It is in scenes like these that Lee points out the inconsistencies in lice officer navigating a post-Civil Rights Movement era of politics, racist ideology. academia and business. As the first black officer of his department, “BlacKkKlansman” also uses hard-hitting scenes to advance Stallworth, played by John David Washington, is an eager new- this message. For example, exactly a year before the movie was rebie who, despite the discriminatory and racist comments from his leased, protests wracked the streets of Charlottesville. In rewhite co-workers, contacts his local Ku Klux Klan den in search of sponse to a white supremacist march organized his own assignments. by the Ku Klux Klan, Black Lives Matter proTo everyone’s surprise, Stallworth establishes a close relationtesters staged a peaceful counterprotest. As ship with David Duke, the Klan’s Grand Wizard over the phone. the streets filled with people, a car drove The local Klavern leaders invite Stallworth to join them, but as an straight into a crowd, injuring 19 and African-American, Stallworth is not able to. In his place, Stallkilling one. Lee ends the film with

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real footage from the white supremacist attack and footage of a ing mystique to a movie where audiece members might othercross-burning, a universal sign of the KKK, to demonstrate that wise assume that Stallworth will expose the Ku Klux Klan and that these things really were not just happening in the past, but are still everyone will live happily ever after. happening in the present. This is done especially well by Driver, who uses a dry delivery Each new scene in “BlacKkKlansman” brings something new style and wit to not only make fun of the absurdity of the Klan, but and engaging, whether it be character development, plot advance- also seem serious and dedicated to its members. His inclusion in ment, or both. As such, the movie captivates, all while building scenes usually means a sequence with slight jabs at the Klan which up suspense and disbelief. To balance this make for an entertaining part of the movie. fast-paced style, Lee integrates more thorough Despite its stellar acting and scene directing, moments of character development all while The Ku Klux Klan the most important part of the movie is the mescontinuing to enthrall the audience. sage — even though the events of “BlacKkKlanscan be beaten ... For example, to counter an intense Klan man” happened in the past, the ideas of the Ku but their ideas meeting where the Klan members discuss Klux Klan still persist to this day, which isan idea plans for when Duke will visit their Klavern, won’t stop until we expecially exemplified by the scene of the CharLee incorporates a dating scene to purposefully lottesville rally. make them. slow the movie down and humanize characters “BlacKkKlansman” is more than just an at the same time. With this technique, Lee is incredible movie about an incredible story. It ofable to mantain the audience’s attention without turning the movie fers a warning that is both worrying yet uplifting, both blunt and into pure action. forceful: The Ku Klux Klan can be beaten. The Ku Klux Klan Coupled with well-balanced scenes, the acting elevates can be duped. But the ideas behind the Ku Klux “BlacKkKlansman” to the next level. Each actor personalizes their Klan will not stop until we make character, making them stand out in their own way while evenly them. v sharing the spotlight. Thus, the audience knows that the inclusion of a character will result in something new, sparking intrigue and enhancing the plot, added ou Go fore Y ment reunit e B w o in n a K t P r o te aw ro What T rt 2: QC En nkeyp ,” the o M d a ns an ed “Get Out e. am P ductio am Te c n rac 1) Dre mhouse Pro also produ avily o lacKe h s lu d io B e d s u acts with that “B o focu The st Film F Lee ich als Lee tradition tes scenes ions. worth, t h e ll c a w ik t u p r d S S on or: Spike it thrille ure orpora Direct shigton as R a Harrier as 2017 h Sampling: A , the film inc if you can fig r a u W a L l es s. See n David immerman, David Duke 2) Coo an” continu movie me from. g: Joh Z s r n a i acp m e r li s h r e t F n a c o t a S kKla er and re ca r Gr and er as g n e d e e iv in r h f r c s a li p D s l h o e a g h na e ain Adam e Dumas, T ance Blanc from r e the openin Belafonte, t movie and Entert A C r r Q ic r , e r t y s T ing e e n rr : d Pa out wh ameos: Ha ctivist in th eal-life lynch is Music e Productio 0 Acres An a 4 s C r r a s, ou er ubo 3) Sta uction Blumh an old e based on hat W.E.B D 16 d : o s s r y o P i la d p Stu orks ypaw g scen , and t s, in 19 tivist, Monke Mule Filmw 15m lynchin Waco, Texas al, The Crisi a s ment, e h t ra me: 2 8M red in s journ Run Ti ening: $10. t occu the NAACP a h t p n ed o ffice O report Box O udget: $15M B

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Art by HANNAH LI

Text by RIYA SINHA and JASMINE VENET

CRAZY RICH ASIANS

ASIAN ROM-COM TAKING OVER HOLLYWOOD

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EAVING THROUGH THE throng of guests dressed head-to-toe in vibrant and lavish evening wear, a cherry red Porsche pulls up to the brightly colored white and gold mansion of Tyersall Park, the most dazzling neighborhood in all of Singapore. As the main character, Rachel Chu, played by Constance Wu, steps out of the car, her stunning multi-colored dress sparkles in the moonlight as she is greeted by her boyfriend Nick Young, played by Henry Golding, whose cream-colored suit perfectly complements the grandeur of the mansion behind them. Red lights illuminate the inside of the emerald green mansion as viewers get the first look into the extravagant life of the Young family. With breathtaking shots of vibrant Singaporean streets, food, fashion and culture, each scene of the movie transports viewers into the world of the crazy rich. From its diverse group of talented actors to its incredible cinematography, everything about this movie screams crazy, rich and most of all, Asian. Directed by Palo Alto native Jon M. Chu, “Crazy Rich Asians” is a film about relationships, family and most importantly, tradition versus modernity. Released on Aug. 15 by the Warner Brothers studio, this film is the most successful romantic comedy, in terms of box office earnings, in nine years. It is also one of the few major American movies in history to feature an all-Asian cast, the last being “The Joy Luck Club” in 1993. The success of “Crazy Rich Asians” has not only earned a spot in history, but also paved the road for more Asian representation in a rapidly changing movie industry. “Crazy Rich Asians” revolves around the lives of Rachel, an economics professor at New York University, and her boyfriend Nick, a fellow professor. It kicks into action when Nick invites Rachel to Singapore for

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a friend’s wedding. There, Rachel slowly Despite all these highlights, the best forms of representation, and certainly did discovers that Nick is not the person she part is the climax — Nick’s best friend’s not represent every demographic of Sinthought he was: he’s not just rich — he’s a wedding. While this trope of going to wed- gapore correctly. It mostly focused on East member of the richest family in Singapore. dings is greatly overused in romantic come- Asians, and even in scenes demeaning othRachel spends much of the movie butting dies such as “Bridesmaids” er people of color, such heads with Singapore’s top one percent, or “The Wedding Singer,” as South and Southeast in Ra- Asians, by placing them most notably Eleanor, Nick’s disapproving “Crazy Rich Asians” finds Reflected mother, played by Michelle Yeoh. Rachel a way to give it new life. chel’s struggle are in inferior roles for cohas her fair share of encounters with the As the bridal chorus sermedic relief, “Crazy unexpected, from a dead fish to Nick’s pet- enades the crowd with the issues many Rich Asians” isn’t perty ex. However, she also finds strong female “Can’t Help Falling in Asian-Americans fect. solidarity in Nick’s cousin, Astrid, and her Love,” butterflies swoop At its core, with a best friend from college, Peik Lin, played through the church and face when grow- plot revolving around by Nora Lum, who nails the comedic tim- lotus flowers bloom on ing up as they try East Asian characters, ing. the ground as the bedaz“Crazy Rich Asians” Despite Rachel’s rollercoaster of emo- zled bride walks down the to be both “Amer- certainly cannot please tions, the first half of the film is filled with aisle. ican enough” and everybody. However, good laughs and brilliantly sets the scene But it is the emotion the success of this movfor a showdown between Rachel and Elea- shown by both Rachel and “Asian enough”. ie opens doors for more nor. Both Wu and Yeoh play their respec- Nick that truly makes the diverse casts to take tive characters with nuance and passion as scene stand out. As they look at each other their deserved spot in the hearts of audithey face insurmountable barriers in their with a mixture of pain and love, the audi- ences across the world. The movie offers a relationship, every scene between the two ence realizes their conviction to fight the refreshing peek into the lives and culture radiating tense enerstruggles they face in their of Chinese Singaporeans, and is a welcome gy. This battle between While “Crazy Rich relationship and the extent break from the typical eurocentric love stoEleanor’s obsession of the uphill battle they ry so often seen in theaters today. An imwith tradition and Ra- Asians” is certain- will need to endure for the portant narrative to tell in the 21st century, chel’s modern mindset ly a lighthearted rest of the movie. “Crazy Rich Asians” is sure to become an is an ongoing theme As the movie winds instant romantic comedy classic. v throughout the film, watch, it imparts down, the themes of embut can most clearly be an important mes- powerment and the power seen in the many conof diversity become apfrontations between the sage on viewers parent. Rachel realizes that two characters, which about the value of her integrity is not worth leave both Rachel and sacrificing for a guy, and the audience in tears. love in all forms. rediscovers her roots. ReWu and Yeoh simply flected in Rachel’s struggle transform into their respective characters, are the issues many Asian-Americans face bringing the audience with them on their when growing up as they try to be both journey and making us sympathize with “American enough” and “Asian enough” Rachel’s frustration. to find acceptance in both societies. While The amazing group of actors pairs per- “Crazy Rich Asians” is certainly a lightfectly with the production of the movie, hearted watch, it imparts an important which is full of stunning costumes and mu- message on viewers about the value of sic that incorporate both Asian and West- love in all forms. ern influences. This combination further But while the film chamemphasizes the idea of cultures clashing pioned minority empowerand coming together in the end with one ment, “Crazy Rich Asians” last powerful song, Coldplay’s “Yellow,” a lacked many other bold act by Chu. “Yellow,” associated with a racist Asian slur, was chosen specifically for its name, Chu wanting to reappropriate it. Additionally, in every scene, from the casual coffee shop in New York City to the regal Youngs’ home, the costume design is impeccable, the attention to detail making it a truly immersive experience.

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SUN OF WOLF CALIFORNIA AVENUE’S NEWEST FUSION RESTAURANT Text by LUCIA AMIEVA-WANG and ELLA THOMSEN

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T IS 30 MINUTES BEFORE opening at Palo Alto’s newest fusion restaurant, Sun of Wolf. The three cousins sit in the far corner at a table that has yet to be set, their conversation muffled by the clatter of kitchen pans. They lean toward each other, gesturing excitedly as if exchanging secrets, recipes, plans for the night and everything in between. As the owners of Sun of Wolf converse, the candles on each table around them are lit and their restaurant comes to life. Two waiters, speaking in Spanish like brothers, laugh as they fold napkins, and a single bartender prepares his assortment of liquors on a polished silver tray. The restaurant’s building, situated at 408 N California Avenue, was originally meant to be an expansion of the Mexican restaurant next door, Palo Alto Sol. But when the city did not approve his request to expand his own restaurant the owner, Hector Sol, turned to his two daughters, Alexa and Paulina Sol, and nephew, Viari Lopez, and told them to create something of their own. “It sounded exciting,” Alexa, the eldest, says. “It sounded really challenging. I guess you have to be a little bit crazy to be in the restaurant industry, and I was like, ‘Let’s do it.’” From the beginning, the three cousins envisioned opening a bar. “In the midst of this tech, there are a lot of restaurants, but there is not a place that does super dope cocktails,” Viari says. But when the city pushed back again, allowing only a certain sized bar and kitchen, the three shifted gears and created Sun of Wolf. It took them one and a half years to plan and get permits, but in June of 2018 all of the planning paid off and the restaurant opened. As second generation Mexican Americans, Alexa, Paulina and Viari created a menu that

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combines their Mexican roots with their Bay Area upbringing. “When I would come back from [visiting] Mexico, the first thing I wanted to do was go to In-N-Out,” Alexa says. Inspired by their childhood, travels, family and heritage, it was difficult to fit their menu to just one “ category of food. So they chose not to. “I realized that the menu started taking its own life and own form,” Alexa says. “The more I started looking at it, I was like, this menu kind of doesn’t make sense.” All of the recipes and cocktails were invented inside their mother’s (and Viari’s aunt’s) kitchen, where they would gather once a week to experiment with flavors and taste their creations. Dishes range from their grandmother’s lasagna to tacos crafted with handmade tortillas and infused with huitlacoche, a corn truffle considered a delicacy in Mexico. Paulina, the executive chef, studied at Le Cordon Bleu, and despite being vegetarian, has found unique ways to incorporate meat into the dishes and give traditional recipes a vegetarian twist. Though technically cousins, it is second nature for Alexa and Paulina to call Viari their brother. “Viari is a really good balance,” Alexa says. “My sister and I are super opinionated, so it’s nice to have that third person.” Viari can always be found behind the bar, mixing and serving cocktails to customers at the counter, Paulina spends hours before the restaurant opens prepping in the kitchen.

"When I would come back from visiting Mexico, the frst thing I wanted to do was go to In-N-Out." ALEXA SOL, co-owner

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“Alexa is the visionary,” Viari says. “She’s the one that kind of puts us together. Alexa is our glue.” The interior design of the restaurant, much like their menu, is not defined by any one style. The space soaks up light, its white walls brightened by a myriad of hanging lights. Inspired by the lively altars created on the Day of the Dead — a Mexican celebration meant to honor and remember family members who have died — small niches indent the walls of the restaurant, each holding eclectic objects from the cousins’ travels around the world. “I wanted to create little mini altars inside of the restaurant and have that culture be part of it,” Alexa says. The large window in the back of the restaurant frames the action happening within the kitchen, and at a closer look, is adorned by a curious assortment of statues. The Buddha and the Virgin Mary sit next to each other, each making the same gestures. “I wanted everybody to be able to find themselves in the restaurant,” Alexa says. The essence of the restaurant is to create a space where people can convivir, which literally translates to “live together.” But to the three cousins, it also represents the strength of community and the importance of family. “I’m really happy that the core of the team is family,” Alexa says. “In the kitchen, my sister hired [Chef ] Coco, who then hired his cousin, and his cousin then hired different parts of his family. So then we have more family people.” The restaurant’s name, Sun of Wolf, encapsulates this idea. The roots of each of their last names, Sol and Lopez, directly translate to “sun” and “wolf.” However, the meaning goes beyond that. The wolf represents the family pack; for the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack. “It [the sun] is symbolic of new beginnings, new horizons and a new generation,” Alexa says. “And that’s what I wanted when people talked about this place ... to feel something young.” v

BEHIND THE DISH

GOLDEN DRAGON COCKTAIL “I saw it on a Netflix show, a South African bartender was working with gin … We mimicked it but tried to make it different,” Viari says.

DATE UNDER THE STARS The three set out to create a gin and tonic than would rival those in San Francisco. “Everyone is trying to race to see how they could make their gin and tonic stand out,” Viari says.

HUITLACOCHE TORTILLAS Sun of Wolf hand makes their tortillas everyday. The recipe includes huitlacoche, a corn truffle considered a Mexican delicacy, mixed into the masa.


perspective Art by YUE SHI

Text by MARALEIS SINTON

Rethinking Affirmative Action COLLEGES SHOULD WEIGHT SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS MORE

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DMITTEDLY, I LACKED A SOCIAL LIFE junior The ongoing Harvard University lawsuit is one example of year. My life revolved around academics; I woke up, how affirmative action may be adversely affecting applicants in colwent to school, came home and spent the next seven lege admissions. hours doing homework, and I’m not exaggerating. SorIt’s a sad reality that institutionalized racism persists in our edry, no high school parties or near-death experiences. Maybe this re- ucation system. However, while we are all shaped by our race, we flects how I lack a personality. Well, at least to Harvard University. are even more so products of our environments. A June 2018 New York Times article cited court documents If the purpose of affirmative action is to support historicalfiled in a Boston court that reveal an ly disadvantaged groups, then schools internal investigations agreement con- My academic achievements should encourage an admissions process ducted by Harvard University during that considers socioeconomic class more its admission process, leading to biases should not be valued any less strongly than race. In doing so, it guaragainst Asian Americans. For exam- because of my race. antee that there are equal opportunities ple, the university consistently rates granted to all students. Asian-Americans lower on personality traits such as likability, courLower-income students lack the same educational resources — age and relative respectability. So what does this mean for me in the SAT and ACT prep classes, extracurricular programs and tutoring college admissions process? Will I be penalized for my ethnicity? — that their more affluent peers have access to. By emphasizing Does my race make me boring compared to my peers? race over socioeconomic status, my less affluent Asian American Affirmative Action, signed into law by John F. Kennedy to peers may be penalized for their race rather than being granted the ensure equal opportunity for minority groups, is a principle now boost they need in the admissions process. used by colleges to curate a diverse student body and to offset inLike all students, my socioeconomic status and extracurriculars stitutional racism by taking into account an applicants race in the shape my personality. Nevertheless, by checking “Asian,” I know admissions process. that colleges will take my race into consideration, but I hope they In theory, this method seems ideal, but in practice, I fear that focus on more than just that, after all, my socioeconomic backthis may disadvantage low-income Asian American students by ground and the other aspects of my profile have more of an impact preventing them from receiving a truly holistic admissions review. on my ability to succeed. v

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Text by ZOE STANTON-SAVITZ Art by HANNAH LI

Tattoo Taboo ‫טאבו של קעקועים‬ AN OUTDATED VIEW OF BODY ART IN JUDAISM

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WOULD NEVER BUY A image. Therefore, our bodies are borrowed German car.” items that we shouldn’t permanently scar. This was my father’s re“I don’t want anything that I can’t sponse when I asked him if I change,” Cartun says. “And I think they could get a tattoo. He then proceeded to [tattoos] are butt-ugly.” tell me how my grandfather avoided GerEven among secular Jews, there is man car dealerships because, during World a long-standing distaste for body art, as War II, some of their manufacturers helped during the Holocaust, Jews were forcibly make weapons for the Nazis. tattooed in concentration camps. Many “It’s symbolic of my respect for my Jews feel it is disrespectful to the six milfather,” he said. “Just as getting a tattoo lion who died, known only by the numbers would be disrespecting Jewish tradition.” tattooed on their arms, to voluntarily scar I have always wanted a tattoo: a unique their bodies in the same way. form of self-expression to While I undershow off the fundamental stand the validity in the Young Jews should Orthodox perspective parts of my identity. But while tattoos are becom- be allowed to evolve because the text clearly ing more popular with states the forbiddance, into a new Jewish younger generations, in I disagree with the rethe Jewish tradition, they generation. striction on tattoos. are still heavily frowned The verses that upon. In fact, ktovet kaka is the Hebrew condemn tattoos seem outdated and were term for tattoo, and the literal translation, likely written for health reasons, but as so“inscription of crap,” epitomizes this sen- ciety and cleanliness progress, so should the timent. rules of Judaism. My father, the most religious in my I also believe, contrary to the rabbinfamily, describes tattoos as “aggressively ical explanation, that our bodies belong to non-Jewish.” us. They are not reused after we die, and Many young Jews are deterred from therefore, I should be allowed to use my permanently marking their skin with the body as a canvas for self-expression. warning that if they do so, their bodies And while I acknowledge the arguwill not be allowed in a Jewish graveyard. ments for shying away from tattoos due to Although this misconception is not in the the atrocities of the Holocaust, Jews should Torah, Leviticus 19:28 in the Old Testa- take back the seminal part of their histoment indeed states “do not cut your bodies ry with pride, similar to how the LGBTQ for the dead or put tattoo marks on your- community reclaimed the term “queer” — selves,” rooting the fear of tattoos in biblical originally an insult, now a commonly used text. all-encompassing term. In addition, Genesis 1:26 states “Then Young Jews should continue the traGod said, ‘Let us make mankind in our ditions that make our culture unique, but image, in our likeness.’” According to re- we should also be allowed to evolve into a tired Rabbi Ari Cartun, formerly of the new Jewish generation: one that embraces Congregation Etz Chayim in Palo Alto, self-expression rather than stigmatizing it. this means God created humans in God’s In fact, by getting a tattoo of a star of David

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or Hebrew letters, I’d personally feel more connected to the Jewish tradition, rather than distanced from it. I would have a reminder of my ancestry and history marked permanently on my skin. Judaism is more than a religious doctrine. Judaism is cultural, biological and to some extent, racial — all Jews are descended from the initial twelve tribes of Israel. This means that being Jewish is a core part of my identity, and just as I will never escape criticism from the more religious of my family, neither will I escape my family’s history. But my understanding of Judaism and my family’s past has only compelled me to want a tattoo, rather than driving me away from getting one. After all, as my father said, “you can’t decide you aren’t Jewish. It’s too integral to who you are.” v


perspective Art by HANNAH LI

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Text by BEN COHEN

Putting Sports on a Pedestal WHY SCHOOL SPORTS ARE NOT FLEXIBLE ENOUGH

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T FIRST HIT ME IN FRESHMAN year. Nothing could top my sheer excitement to try out for a high school basketball team and nothing could quell my pure determination. As a result, that first meeting came as that much more of a surprise. As I trudged through classroom doors and into my first freshmen basketball meeting, I was greeted with kind faces, seemingly as excited as I was. For most of the meeting, everything, including 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. practices every school day, seemed normal. It didn’t cross my mind for even a second that the fact that I would have to miss Wednesday practices for Hebrew class, which I get school credit for, would prevent me from trying out for the team. I explained to the coach that I would have to miss practice just once a week. Yet in a joking yet inadvertently offensive manner, he told me to switch to Spanish or understand my chances of making the team wouldn’t be very high. As the students of the class of 2022 begin their labor-intensive and self-growth

oriented high school careers and the older classes settle into heavier workloads, an issue resurfaces once again — the moment when students ask themselves, “Is it worth it to play my sport this year?” For many, the answer is no. This problem is not rooted in the laziness of students, but rather in a lack of consideration for their well-being and capacities to juggle multiple activities. Even with proficient time management, many students simply do not have enough hours in the day to accomplish everything they should be able to. Time and time again, students like myself are forced to give up on the sport they have played and thrived off of due to the irrational level of standards that coaches have for students. Because of the one practice a week I would have had to miss, I was discouraged from even trying out. Situations like these, coupled with players losing game-playing privileges for missing winter break practices and other unreasonable expectations, prevent invested high school students from pursuing the sports they love. In a district continuously striving to reduce academic stress, is it fair that students aren’t able to pursue sports that help them decompress because of academic workload and extracurriculars? Is it fair that families are told to stay

home for vacations because if they don’t, their children will be sent to the sideline? Is it fair that for the more competitive sports at Paly, this trend is not only prominent, but in my experience, seemingly unavoidable? Senior Eyal Cohen had to quit wrestling because otherwise, he wouldn’t be able to participate in his youth group and excel in academics. Sophomore Lana Purdy was forced to quit playing the flute because of the time commitment required to play Paly volleyball. Senior Julie Meng chose to quit track and field because otherwise she wouldn’t have time to invest in Paly’s science Olympiad team. Just as I don’t have a schedule that permits practice five times a week, neither do these students or for that matter, many students who enjoy sports at Paly. The notion that a prep period alone can compensate for the loss of time consumed by playing a school sport is simply unrealistic. The simple fact is that four hours a week of unstructured time during which students barely have the ability to outsource help doesn’t even come close to solving the problem that 10 or more hours of practice a week create. Ultimately, we must get our priorities straight. The ability to balance an academic workload with off-campus opportunities such as community service, youth groups and family trips is just as valuable to a student’s well-being if not more so than intense commitment to just one sport. I refuse to accept that the culture that forced me out of my sport persists, and administration must not accept it either. v

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Text by EMMA DONELLY-HIGGINS

Art by MEGAN ANDREWS

STRAW BAN POSES ACCESSIBILITY PROBLEMS

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HERE ARE EVEN INDICATIONS THAT the planet daily. However, plastic straws make up only 4 percent of there is plastic in our blood streams.” This could plastic trash by piece, reports US News. be the opening to an episode of Black Mirror. InThere are many other ways both the government and Paly stustead, it is what Palo Alto High School environ- dents themselves can work towards reducing waste and preserving mental science teacher Alicia Szebert tells me about the ongoing habitats threatened by pollution and climate change. plastic waste crisis our planet is facing. To truly protect the environment, co-president of Paly’s CliHowever bleak the future of life on Earth may seem, many mate Vision Club Allison Brand says she would like to see our have chosen not to remain complicit in this cycle of self-destruc- country putting more resources toward managing, and not just retion. After a heart-breaking video depicting a plastic straw being ducing, waste and taxing plastic. painfully removed from the nostril of a sea turtle went viral, the “40 percent of plastic produced globally is packaging, which is West Coast has become obsessed with the often used only once,” Brand says. banning of plastic straws in restaurants and As a community, Paly should be mindful places of business, with viral hashtags reading The West Coast has of our impact on the environment and educat#strawssuck and #banthestraw. While many ed about easy ways to reduce that impact. become obsessed environmental activists thoroughly support Students should be wary of sorting trash this proposition, it has brought up concerns with the banning correctly, as treatment centers may send conregarding accessibility. taminated loads to landfills. When plastic, a of plastic straws Plastic straws may be an able-bodied perfairly lightweight material, is left out in the sons luxury, but they are a basic necessity to in restaurants and open, it can often be blown away into the many within the disabled community. ocean, resulting in the depletion of sea life. places of business. Switching to biodegradable and reusable “Before throwing out a plastic bag, always straws, as some have suggested, may not be a remember to tie it in a knot first," Brand adds. viable — or even safe — option for people with symptoms such "Doing this could literally save a turtle’s life." as limited jaw movement and involuntary muscle spasms. Straws Furthermore, consumers have the ability to influence what made from biodegradable materials like paper can fall apart too packaging companies use by purchasing products with less or quickly and are easy to bite through. Reusable silicone and metal eco-friendly packaging. straws not only require being washed, which may pose a challenge As a community, we have a responsibility to analyze the interto some, but also cause major flexibility issues and conduct both sectionalities of every proposal put forth. A straw ban would have heat and cold, according to NPR senior editor Tove Danovich. a marginal impact on the environment while posing accessibility Furthermore, the straw ban may not be as effective as some problems to people who already face discrimination and isolation think. Yes, more than half a million plastic straws are used across from everyday activities. v

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A

R

Leaf upon a

perspective

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Text by KAYLA BRAND

Pile of Homework

THE BENEFITS OF A HIKE IN THE FOREST

UNNING DOWN a steep path, every leap requiring my unwavering concentration, I dance over rocky steps and protruding tree roots. My heart pounds as tired legs thrum up the incline. I skip through a cool green forest, rays of golden light highlighting the disturbed dust. As whim takes me, I stop, close my eyes and listen to the forest’s orchestra of the birds and insects. Although I hated it as a child, I now love hiking and try to go every weekend. When I don’t exercise, I feel pent up and can’t sit still. While it may be hard to give up even an hour of homework time with the mountain of due dates looming, the concentration and revitalization a hike rewards is worth it. When it comes down to it, spending hours confined to a desk, distracted by thoughts of fun things you could be doing

instead, is not much more productive than going on a joyous stroll under our great blue sky. Returning to my desk with my legs slightly tired from the joy of hiking, I find myself more able to get some real work done. In my experience, hiking not only lets me return happier and better prepared to concentrate on the endless work of a Paly student, but also gives me a moment to think. The many benefits of a hike can be found in any of our local nature preserves, such as Foothill Park or the Baylands. A forest hike is a gift, both for homework efficiency and enjoyment. Whenever I hurry by the green ferns on the forest floor, I am grateful to have spent a part of my day in the grace of the natural world. v

Distance from Paly 2 mi

Baylands

6 mi

Foothills

26 mi

Big Basin

• 1,940 acres of pickleweed, snowy egrets, and mudflats • Maze-like island of criss-crossing paths surrounded by a lush lake, picnicking and camping • 300-foot redwoods that were

born in the height of Rome, kept growing during the middle ages, and survived the world wars • Incredible crowd-free waterfalls and endless carpets of giant clover-like plants

Art by REBECCA CHENG

VERDEMAGAZINE.COM 69


THE GILA GAMES

The Rules: A staff writer chooses their stance on an issue, Gila takes the opposite stance and the t wo battle it out on this page!

WHAT SHOULD ENTREPRENEURS FOCUS ON?

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Guest perspective by DEVONY HOF

E HAVE ALL SIGHED with relief as we finished our homework or took a break from reading about political news and turned instead to watch the latest episode of our favorite show or chat with our friends on social media. We need a balance in our daily lives, and as technology is now an integral part of them, Silicon Valley should provide both life-saving, newsworthy technology that focuses on the “real issues” and so-called “trivial” technology for entertainment and social media. Focusing on “real issues” like disease, poverty and climate change is absolutely important and, in fact, Silicon Valley is already tackling a lot of them. The biotechnology boom is just beginning, and many biotech companies have received money and attention from investors. According to CB Insights, $5.3 billion were invested in 216 healthcare startups in the latest three month period, and more than 100 companies are trying to cure rare disorders. The biotech industry has also aided efforts to combat cli-

S

ILICON VALLEY IS HOME to some of the world’s greatest science and tech nerds — Apple, Facebook and Instagram all have roots in our backyard. Yet our startup culture doesn’t seem very effective in tackling the biggest issues facing our world today. Rather than collaborating between different fields and innovating technologies to eradicate world poverty, cure our most fatal diseases or potentially slow climate change, we develop selfie sticks and endless revisions of the iPhone, invent new mouse Snapchat filters and write “What smoothie are you?” BuzzFeed quizzes. These companies seem to attract some of Silicon Valley’s brightest STEM luminaries; yet, they are often caught up in a game of promoting mass culture and digital exposure simply for money and views, thus slowing meaningful change in our society. Don’t get me wrong: We need art and culture in our lives. It’s what makes us humans and not ro-

70 OCTOBER 2018

mate change and an increasing population by helping farms reap greater yields with less energy. But sometimes, we would rather play Candy Crush or watch a video of a baby elephant than watch a 3D-animated model of how cancer spreads throughout the body. Occasionally, we want a break from focusing on serious issues and a chance to enjoy and express ourselves. Entertainment and social media, often considered the more frivolous aspects of Silicon Valley, give us valuable opportunities to do just that. Social media provides platforms for new voices and entertainment media provides us with the art and culture so essential to human societies. The way we spend our free time is an integral part of our evolution as a society, and now we can spend that time with greater connection to others, gaining knowledge of their cultural and creative perspectives. We cannot ignore how large an effect social and entertainment media has on us. Requesting that we only focus on “real change” ignores the reality of how Silicon Valley functions as part of our world. v

bots. But there is a line to be drawn between this and the mindless entertainment technology which drains billions of dollars every year from Silicon Valley, an area that has undoubtedly become one of the media capitals of the world, according to Recode. We should instead be using this money and influence to pioneer progress in medicine and welfare — things that are truly crucial for the advancement of our society. Intuitive, a Sunnyvale-based company which manufactures robots for use in surgery, is already on this path; other startups should follow their example. Sure, companies like Facebook and Apple have revolutionized the way we view entertainment by placing the world at our fingertips. But as technology progresses, we must keep our priorities in sight. Instead of dumping even more money and harnessing Silicon Valley’s greatest minds into excessive advancements of entertainment technology, we must first focus on real change and on improving the world. v

Column by GILA WINEFELD


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