From the Editors
THE POWER OF HISTORY
T’S NOT JUST TRUMP. PREJUDICE HAS BEEN intertwined with the fabric of American society since the dawn of our nation. Today, although we’re progressing toward social equality, the roots of prejudice remain. Whether it is used as a rhetorical tool for campaigning politicians, or as vestiges of past injustice, we’re reminded every day that the powerful prey on the powerless, breeding hatred and, at times, violence. And it’s not just the rest of the country, either. In this issue, we take a look at the effects of prejudice in our hometown of Palo Alto, from Japanese-American internment to Islamophobia, as well as how our community is working to right past wrongs and dispel the misconceptions that perpetuate hatred. In “Interned,” the cover story for this issue, staff writers Anna Nakai and Gabriela Rossner unearth the history of Palo Altans who were interned during World War II. Piecing together documents, yearbooks and newspaper clippings from the 1940s, Nakai and Rossner convey the story of Japanese-American internment and how it affected students in PAUSD. In “Faith in the Face of Prejudice,” staff writers Alicia Mies and Laura Sieh report on the Muslim community in Palo Alto, addressing the rampant Islamophobia sweeping the nation with the experiences of the Navaid family and others, who say they practice the love and empowerment preached by Islam despite facing frequent discrimination. Elana Rebitzer dives deep into the controversy over the potential renaming of David Starr Jordan Middle School in “Updating Palo Alto.” The efforts to rewrite past wrongs extend to a broader dialogue occurring across the country. In “Always Moving,” staff writers Alia Cuadros-Contreras and Amira Garewal visit a community of RV dwellers behind Fry’s Electronics and find out what has caused the residents to be perched on the brink of homelessness. In the Perspectives section, staff writer Emma Cockerell voices her opinion about the college counseling industry in “This is Me — Or is it?” In the Culture section, in “Inside the Lines, Outside the Mind,” staff writer Emilie Ma talks to Paly students about the latest trend: adult coloring. According to Punxsutawney Phil (the groundhog), it is finally spring. As you lounge on the quad and flip open the crisp pages of your brand new coloring book, don’t forget what George Santayana said: “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.”
Editors-in-Chief Esmé Ablaza Anna Lu James Wang Bethany Wong Managing Editors Elana Rebitzer Siddharth Srinivasan
Features Editor Anna Nakai Profiles Editor Rachel van Gelder Perspectives Editor Gabriela Rossner Culture Editor Emilie Ma Digital Editor Kai Gallagher Business Managers Emma Goldsmith Natalie Maemura Multimedia Editor & Statistician Roy Zawadzki Art Director Karina Chan Photo Director William Dougall Staff Writers Irene Choi Emma Cockerell Josh Code Alia Cuadros-Contreras Joelle Dong Amira Garewal Madhumita Gupta Stephanie Lee Michelle Li Danielle Macuil Tara Madhav Alicia Mies Sophie Nakai Gabriel Sanchez Deepali Sastry Laura Sieh Michelle Tang Frances Zhuang Adviser Paul Kandell
@VERDEMAGAZINE Information Publication Policy Verde, a feature magazine published by the students in Palo Alto High School’s Magazine Journalism class, is a designated open forum for student expression and the discussion of issues of concern to its readership. Verde is distributed to its readers and the student body at no cost. Letters to the Editors The staff welcomes letters to the editors but reserves the right to edit all submissions for length, grammar, potential libel, invasion of privacy and obscenity. Send all letters to veics-1516@ googlegroups.com or to 50 Embarcadero Road Palo Alto, CA 94301. All Verde stories are posted online and available for commenting at verdemagazine. com Advertising The staff publishes advertisements with signed contracts providing they are not deemed by the staff inappropriate for the magazine’s audience. For more information about advertising with Verde, please contact the Verde business managers Emma Goldsmith and Natalie Maemura through our adviser at 650-329-3837 for more information. Printing & Distribution Verde is printed five times a year in October, November, February, April and May, by Folger Graphics in Hayward, Calif. The Paly PTSA mails Verde to every student’s home. All Verde work is available at verdemagazine.com
— Esmé, James, Anna & Bethany 3
Feb 2016 Volume 17 Issue 3
Inside 8 The Launch 13 News
Culture 18 20 22 24 26
Asian Markets Thyme Restaurant IKEA Food Coloring Books Star Wars Merch
Features 28 32 34 42 47
The New Sneakerhead Gradebook Retribution Interned Islamophobia Renaming Schools
Profiles 50 52 55 58 60 62 65
Sarah Bartlett RV Residents Doreen Bloch Jennifer Kleckner Teaching Practicum Brad Booth Campus Cop
Perspectives 66 67 68 69 70
Protect the Earth Politically Informed Checking Gun Checks College Counseling The Rossner Report
On the cover
Close to the 70th anniversary of Japanese-American internment, staff writers Anna Nakai and Gabriela Rossner came to artist Karina Chan with a variety of historical documents portraying the forced relocation of 59 Palo Alto students of Japanese descent. Chan used the artifacts to illustrate Palo Alto High School graduate ’33 Kiyo Sato and her baby. The portrait is laid over newspaper clippings from Paly library archives from the 1940s. Next to the illustration of Kiyo’s face, a newspaper clipping mentions her in reference to her father’s passing in an internment camp.
SHOE SALE CULTURE
Local restaurant goes farm fresh
Students fuel the sneakerhead movement
A look into the lives of those on the brink of homelessness
Misconceptions about Islam in Palo Alto
Behind the debate to rename Jordan Middle School Inside school resource office DuJuan Green’s relationship with students
Emma Cockerell on why she thinks the industry is out of control
EDITORIALS TEACHERS, STUDENTS SHOULD ADDRESS ‘SICK CULTURE’ A fact: Empty seats are more common on test days. Another fact: Those absences are often excused and dismissed as “Health,” implying a student is sick. Because the administration at Palo Alto High School accepts “Health” as the only valid reason for an absence, parents, with the intention of helping their students, often contact the attendance offices stating that their child is sick when the student is actually at home studying for a test or finishing an essay. Parents’ willingness to lie for their children is demonstrated by attendance data published in The Paly Voice, which showed that almost half of seniors who skipped school on the annual “Senior Cut Day” last year were excused by their parents as a health-related incident. At the same time, the winter season continues in full throttle, many empty seats belong to students who are actually sick. For those students, a few pages of make-up work can become a thick stack within a few days. However, some teachers become less willing to make accommodations or grant extensions when they assume that all students are staying home to work on school assignments. Given the already strict district make-up policies, sick students are at risk of falling despairingly behind. We believe both cases are problematic. Students who stay home sick in either situation should not be festering with anxiety about make-up work and studying through illnesses in order to keep up with their classes. Given the Palo Alto community’s focus on improving mental health, we should promote policies that reshape the culture at Paly so that students no longer view claiming to be “sick” as their only option to ace a test or project. For students who have been absent due to sickness, teachers need to be more accommodating with their policies when they know that a student is responsible and dedicated to his or her studies. The current policy is one make-up day per sick day. However, one day is barely enough time to complete a normal amount of 6
Art by Karina Chan homework. When sick students are ex- at the end of the year. And students who pected to complete both the current and would normally feign sickness on test days missed assignments upon their return to are discouraged from such activity since school, catching up in one day per sick day the possibility of a decent grade is more is an impossible feat. As a general policy, appealing than an automatic zero that uses students should be allotted two days per the student’s only drop. Similar policies, sick day to complete essential assessments. such as the “do not count” policy for two Teachers quizzes per semesshould also ex- WE SHOULD ENCOURAGE POLICIES ter in AP United empt students States History, can from certain as- THAT RESHAPE THE CULTURE AT PALY also help students signments that are SO THAT STUDENTS NO LONGER VIEW reduce absences not crucial to the due to stress and class. Such policies CLAIMING TO BE “SICK” AS THEIR exhaustion. would allow stu- ONLY OPTION . Most impordents to focus on tantly, students recovering instead of feeling pressured to and teachers need to communicate more. return to school with a fever or to com- If an individual is sick, they should explete assignments during their absence. plain their situation, whether by email or To keep students from being “sick” in person, and construct a plan with their on test days, more teachers should imple- teacher to pace the completion of missed ment policies to reduce the stress related to assignments upon their arrival back to each exam. For example, some Economics school. Instead of complaining only to teachers drop their students’ lowest test peers, students feeling overwhelmed with score at the end of the semester, dimin- the work load or with multiple tests on the ishing the pressure of acing every test. If same day should let their teachers know a student is actually sick, he or she doesn’t and try to find a solution. All teachers have to make up the test; that test simply would like to see their students succeed. becomes the lowest grade and is dropped Let them know how to help.
Art by Aishah Maas
ACTIVE PARTICIPATION IN LOCAL POLITICS WILL BENEFIT STUDENTS It is uncommon to find a group of students discussing whether to attend the next board meeting or debating over which local politician to support. Teens underestimate the importance of being politically active, often to their own detriment. This apathy toward political affairs is understandable – teen life involves a taxing workload, especially in the pressurized environment of Palo Alto, and even local politics can seem far-removed, as if it has little impact on us. However, we overlook just how much local politics does control or change our lives, especially because politicians implement policies that students sometimes disagree with. The school board is made up of six adults, who are not all educators, in charge of making decisions that will impact thousands of students. Yet, students rarely, if ever, let them know their opinions. We can’t complain about school policy
if we never care enough to give input in the first place. If the school board is left guessing in the dark, grasping for a way to help students without any feedback, it is difficult for district administrators to come up with solutions that work. One student representative on the school board does not provide enough of the teen voice — as the Gunn schedule change has shown, there is strength in numbers. Students ought to take advantage of the variety of ways to get involved by attending board meetings, writing to local politicians, joining youth organizations or simply starting a conversation with those who have the authority to make the desired changes. This obligation goes both ways. While we, the students, have a duty to remain involved in politics that affect us, the adults, those on the school board or in positions of authority, also have an obligation to listen
to what we have to say, to take action and not dictate the conversation simply because they know better. Of everyone who speaks before the school board, only the school teachers, administrators and students truly know what happens at the schools. Yes, students need to speak up more. But when students speak up and their opinions are not acknowledged, as when Gunn students spoke out against the abolition of zero-period academic classes and the school board was not fully receptive, we become disillusioned. If it seems as if we are shouting into empty space, it’s only reasonable that eventually we become quiet. To encourage student input and create a better dialogue between the district and the student population that it serves, students need to be politically active and adults need to be receptive to our words and actions, so that our community acknowledges the opinions of all.
STUDENTS APPLAUD DISTRICT’S DESIGNATED NO-HOMEWORK WEEKEND The unrelenting cycle of schoolwork and extracurriculars can take a toll on student wellness, ultimately leading to stress, lack of sleep and anxiety. However, Palo Alto High School is beginning to take measures to revise its homework policy, which include a call for mandatory homeworkfree holidays. The recent homework-free Martin Luther King Jr. three-day weekend has been a tremendous help to students, allowing
them to relax, unwind and spend time with family. Verde commends principal Kim Diorio, other district administrators and the Paly administration for their forwardthinking changes to the homework policy that prioritize student wellness. So far, the guidelines have been fairly well publicized, with Diorio sending school-wide emails. While this policy has certainly improved the homework load, poor teacher compliance is compromising
its effectiveness. For example, some teachers still assigned homework over the Martin Luther King Jr. three-day weekend, which was designated as a no-homework weekend. However, lack of compliance with homework-free weekends can be ameliorated by increased communication between administration and teachers, and Verde looks forward to seeing the administration continue to take steps to improve mental health. 7
LAUNCH ASB ANSWERS
Compiled by ANNA LU
Text and photography by ROY ZAWADZKI
VERDE: What prompted the creation of the firstever Gunn and Paly dance? What ELSE CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO for joint Gunn and Paly relations?
We were just looking to have more events with both schools to promote inclusion, and what better [way to do this] than to have a Mitchell Park dance? We have a few events planned and we’re working together to [create a] film talking about the differences and similarities between Paly ASB and Gunn SEC and how we can work together.” — senior Ariya Momeny, ASB social commissioner
READ ABOUT THE DYNAMIC BETWEEN STUDENTS AND TEACHERS ON PAGE 32
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY OF a
I was at the Beam store downtown on a Friday night with a friend playing with the Beams and then [AP Psychology teacher Melinda] Mattes walked in with her kids.”
— senior Aiva Petriceks 8
My favorite memory with a teacher is [AP Chemistry teacher Ashwini] Avadhani calling me Jeremy for all of first semester sophomore year.”
— junior Jerry Hong
MEET THE CANDIDATES
Text by LAURA SIEH
Before you get too invested in your Republican or Democrat candidate, keep in mind that there are an abundance of qualified (and not-so-qualified) third-party candidates who might better represent your interests. Here are three candidates who have declared their bid for the 2016 presidency with ballot access to more than 50 electoral votes.
GREEN PARTY — “FEEL THE CHERN”
With the campaign slogan “Feel the Chern,” you know this musician and environmental activist means business. Four years ago, with fellow activist Judi Bari, Darryl Cherney sued the FBI and the Oakland Police who arrested the two for having a pipe bomb explode in their car, winning $4.4 million. The artist that he is, he then produced “Who Bombed Judi Bara,” a documentary about the incident.
GLORIA LA RIVA
PARTY FOR SOCIALISM — “PEOPLE OVER PROFITS” Gloria La Riva has been campaigning in the presidential elections since 1992, when she was nominated for the socialist Workers World Party — that’s perseverance. After continuing as a vice-presidential nominee in later elections, she is now the nominee of the Party for Socialism and Liberation with a platform of making employment a constitutional right and a minimum wage of $20. Yeah, call yourself a socialist again, Bernie.
ROD SILVA NUTRITION PARTY — “MAKE AMERICA HEALTHY AGAIN” Another knockoff slogan, “Make America Healthy Again” reflects Rod Silva’s platform on the Nutrition Party. A restaurateur, Silva is founder of the healthy fast-food chain Muscle Maker Grill. His platform is to reeducate Americans on how to eat healthier, in order to prevent obesity and diabetes. As that’s the only issue on his platform, I guess the less important presidential duties, like foreign affairs, will be on hold during his term.
Photography and reporting by EMILIE MA
I’ll always remember the day [math teacher John] Rowe brought his kids in. He loved and cared about everyone, so bringing in his kids was a treat. We loved them.”
— senior Dami Bolarinwa
My most memorable experience was my freshman English class with [Bo] Cheli because it was incredible to watch him change the lives of his students and make us see education, as well as life, in a different light.”
— sophomore Ida Sunneras Jonsson 99
HISTORY TEACHERS DRAW TEACHERS
Photography by DANI MACUIL
AS DRawn by EVANS
AS DRawn by blackburn
AS DRawn by Farina
MISSING Text by WILLIAM DOUGALL
PRE-PROM PREPARATIONS LAY OUT YOur potential prospects
You can never be too prepared for prom! Follow the lead of those who make an ordered list of potential dates. This is important because dates are in high demand and supply is limited (Who knew economics would help with prom?!).
ASK A DATE
Make sure you ask your date with some sort of funny pun, but don’t make it too funny because that might take away from the asking. Make sure the joke is borderline uncomfortable for everyone besides whomever you’re asking.
Join the respective “PROMMMM DRESS” group
If you’re a girl join the girls group, but if you’re a boy join the boys group AND the girls group. Once you’re in, make sure you don’t match with anyone. If you do, stop reading these steps because your night is going to suck. Two of the same dresses at the same dance is absolutely preposterous.
Just have fun.
Prom is not for everyone, but having fun is for everyone. Make it a good night and be safe. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do! Actually... be way safer. Photography and reporting by DEEPALI SASTRY
WOULD YOU RATHER... CHANGE THE PAST OR SEE THE FUTURE? Change the past, definitely, because the future is supposed to be unknown.
See the future so in case anything bad or spooky happens, I can find a way to avoid it.
BE 3 FEET TALLER OR 3 FEET SHORTER? I’d rather be 3 feet shorter, because being tall would be a nuisance and being shorter is just cool. — sophomore Kiran Misner
3 feet taller, because everyone has been 2-feettall once, but how many people can say they’ve been 8-feet-tall? — senior Christina Le
THE TEACHER'S PET MEET THE TORTOISE Name: Touché Owner: Ron Bowditch Favorite Food: Grass Favorite Hobby: Sunbathing Best Friend: Rat 1 and Rat 2
Photography and reporting by Text by GABRIELA ROSSNER LAURA SIEH Photo courtesy of RON BOWDITCH
hemistry teacher Ron Bowditch is no stranger to exotic pets. In his lifetime, he’s had several snakes, including boa constrictors, as well as a 3-foot iguana. Currently, Bowditch is host to two rats, creatively named Rat 1 and Rat 2, and a 35-year-old leopard tortoise. Touché, Bowditch’s 24-pound leopard tortoise who Bowditch insists doesn’t have much of a personality, is not yet fully grown — at full size, she will be 80 pounds. Hailing from the Savannah, Touché’s daily routine revolves around the fact that when the sun goes down, so does she. “When I get up in the morning before I come to work, I put her out,” Bowditch says. “I bring her back in around the time the sun goes down, because she’ll crawl under a tree or in a corner somewhere and tuck herself in.” Touché’s adoption from the humane society was motivated by Bowditch’s children’s repeated pleas after a family vacation to the Wild Animal Park in San Diego. She owes her name to an old cartoon. “There was a cartoon called “Touché Turtle” with it’s dog DumDum,” Bowditch says, “and if you saw my tortoise and dog together, you would think the tortoise was the smart one. ... She knows where food comes from — she’ll sit in front of the refrigerator and stare at it until somebody takes food out for her.” And what of Bowditch’s two rats? “The rats couldn’t care less about the tortoise,” Bowditch says. “They just like to ride around on our shoulders.”
ADULT COLORING: LAKE PALY
Art by KARINA CHAN
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Teachers mull over survey results Teachers are assessing the results of course evaluation surveys administered at the end of last semester to all students in the Palo Alto Unified School District. While some teachers have found the results helpful, others say the results are not useful to improving their classes. Mimi Park, a Palo Alto High School Humanities teacher and a teacher union representative, says that the biggest concern among teachers was how to deal with the more offensive remarks that students gave. “Speaking as a teacher and a union rep, it would be great if all the students were constructive,” Park said. “We should foster an environment where constructive feedback is appreciated.” According to Park, the next step for the district is coming soon. “A new committee will be made that will discuss how the first implementation of the survey went and how to improve for another administration of the survey at the end of the school year,” Park said. Candace Wang, a Paly junior who is the student representative for the Challenge Success Committee, which administered a separate survey in November that aimed to gather data on reducing school stress, said that the December surveys have
Humanities teacher and union representative Mimi Park says constructive feedback from students is benefical. Photo by Kai Gallagher. had a significant impact for both teachers and the administration. “They [the survey results] are mostly used for teacher feedback, but administrators use them to look for trends,” Wang said. According to Wang, if administrators encounter a consistent comment that a teacher grades unfairly or gives feedback too slowly, then they will talk to the teacher individually. Wang says even a recurring positive comment can be effective.
“Administration might use the positive feedback to collaborate with other departments,” Wang said. Intro to Analysis and Calculus teacher Sharla May found the comments especially helpful. However, she did not find the data in which students answered questions based on a scale from one to six useful. “The numerical scale data was not helpful,” May said. “All I can use are the student comments.” She plans to use the student comments to implement small changes. “I’m adding more resources for each lesson and adjusting how I go over homework problems in class,” she said. Advanced Placement Psychology teacher Melinda Mattes said she did not find the survey as helpful. She says that administering one survey does not seem as effective as soliciting student feedback continually throughout the year. “For me, making it a one-size-fits-all set of questions, given just at the end of a semester, doesn’t help me improve my course,” Mattes said. “An end-of-semester question where I ask about just general feelings is not as helpful because it’s not actionable.” BY ALICIA MIES
ASB requests donations to provide Prom financial aid The Associated Student Body is seeking $20,000 in donations to provide financial aid for this year’s Prom. According to senior class president Eli Friedlander, construction on the Palo Alto High School campus significantly reduced ASB income by limiting the number of student parking permits that could be sold. “$20,000 is just the sum of money that we’ve lost due to various things like loss of parking spots,” Friedlander said. The money from parking permits is normally allocated to subsidizing Prom for students on a free and reduced lunch plan and to supporting Paly clubs. However, due to the construction of the sports complex and performing arts center, the income received from parking permits during the
school year was cut in half. ASB reached out to all parents of juniors and seniors through an email on Jan. 26 and asked for donations so all students with financial need can have the opportunity to attend prom. According to student activities director Matt Hall, financial assistance is coordinated by him and the guidance counselors. “We always say to them [students] ‘Hey, you give us 10 bucks, [and] we’ll give you the rest,’ Hall said. “But if they say ‘I can’t pay a single dollar,’ then we are committed to subsidizing up to 100 percent of the cost,” Hall said. Donations can be contributed through the Paly webstore or checks dropped off at the Main Office. As of Feb. 3, ASB has re-
ASB is promoting Prom by hanging banners around campus. Photo by William Dougall.
ceived two checks and one digital donation, according to Hall. “We’re really just trying to raise what we can for those students [who need financial assistance],” Friedlander said. BY EMMA GOLDSMITH 13
NEWS State implements “voter motor” law Department of Motor Vehicles offices throughout California are working with the Secretary of State to implement a new law that will automatically register eligible California residents to vote when they obtain or renew a driver’s license. California Assembly Bill 1461, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Oct. 10, also ensures that newly licensed drivers under 18 will, unless they opt out, be automatically registered to vote upon turning 18. According to a press release from the California Secretary of State website, 6.6 million eligible California residents are not yet registered to vote. California DMV spokesperson Artemio Armenta says the law will be fully implemented by the 2018 midterm election, and possibly even as early as the state primary in June. For all 2016 elections, Armenta recommends that voters register online. He emphasizes the ease of the online voter registration portal on the Secetary of State website, where California residents over 18 can register to vote within minutes. Palo Alto High School senior Tillana Kundu, who hopes to obtain her license upon turning 18 in May, says AB 1461 will effectively encourage teens to execute their voting rights. “Almost everybody gets their license when they are around 16 [or]17, so when they turn 18, there [will] be a lot more people [voting],” Kundu said. BY JOSH CODE
School board looks to manage rising enrollment The Palo Alto School Board of Edu- school if needed.” According to Dauber, the money will cation will continue to discuss methods of managing school enrollment when it meets be better spent if rerouted to counseling services at current schools. on Feb. 23. “There’s a committee forming that will At the Jan. 6 meeting, the majority of have teachers and parents and the school board opposed a students and staff members proposal to manage rising enlooking to improve counseling rollment numbers across the services,” Dauber said. “There’s district by creating a PK-12 been a lot of data over the last school at Cubberley Commucouple of updates [showing nity Center. Board members that] teacher-advisor models are Ken Dauber, Melissa Baten working better for students.” Caswell and Terry Godfrey reDauber looks to improving jected Supt. Max McGee’s proand adding academic programs posal for a new school while Camille at both schools. board members Heidi EmberTownsend “A lot of interesting projectling and Camille Townsend supsupports the based learning that has come out ported the plans. creation of a of the [Enrollment Management “If we really needed a high new Cubberley Advisory Committee] process school, we would build one,” school. Photo [the] district [is] looking to invest Dauber said. “The large majorcourtesy of Camore in,” Dauber said. “What ity [of teachers just] don’t see mille Townsend I’m particularly excited about is crowding as a problem.” Campaign for introducing project based learnAccording to Dauber, the School Board. ing into regular curriculum.” district does not lack funding Despite the clear dissent, to build a school; he and fellow board members Caswell and Godfrey however, Townsend remains optimistic. “There’s room for movement on the simply believe the money would be better part of school board members as well as spent elsewhere. “I don’t see construction money as they learn new information,” Townsend an obstacle,” Dauber said. “We still have said. “I don’t think we’re done with this.” $60 million of bond money for elementary BY STEPHANIE LEE school construction and for [a] new middle
Library introduces new one-stop research database Librarians are implementing a database that students can use for research projects this semester at Palo Alto High School. The OneSearch Discovery search tool integrates print and electronic books, articles and other literary collections into one database, according to librarian Rachel Kellerman. Instead of having to visit multiple databases to gather information, students can research with ease using OneSearch. This updated system will encourage students to develop research habits that can benefit them in the future, Kellerman said.
“We want to make sure that they [students] are good researchers in high school, but we also want to look forward at what they will be expecting in college and in the workplace,” Kellerman said. The librarians are working to increase the usability of the database by refining the system to make it more seamless and marketing it to students. Currently, Kellerman is creating tutorials to help students learn to use the database. BY NATALIE MAEMURA
NEWSNEWS NEWS Student research program now official class MEETING ASB makes plans for the Paly-Gunn dance. Photo by Gabriela Rossner.
Cross-town schools to host joint dance Palo Alto and Gunn high schools are hosting the Winter Dance, which will take place from 7-10 p.m. on Feb. 26 at Mitchell Park Community Center. The event will feature a main room and a courtyard for dancing, and a teen room to play ping pong, air hockey and board games, according to Paly’s Associated Student Body president William Zhou. Paly junior class president Noa BenEfraim says students will stay entertained. “Everyone can find something to do and enjoy,” Ben-Efraim said. Paly’s ASB and Gunn’s Student Executive Council
chose the theme “Highlight the Night” and encourage attendees to wear white. “It was very important for ASB and SEC to come up with a theme that was unifying … [so two schools could come together as] a group,” Ben-Efraim said. Ticket prices for this dance have been lowered in comparison to those of previous dances. “This isn’t a way for ASB to make a profit,” Ben-Efraim said. “This is a way for two schools to connect.” BY MICHELLE TANG
Campus to welcome career speakers in March Palo Alto High School’s eighth annual Career Month will run from Feb. 29 to March 10. According to planning committee member Allison Zhang, students can look forward to speakers representing a diverse sampling of careers, from a professional a cappella singer to a vice president of marketing at Google. The planning committee sent out a
survey in the fall to find what careers students at Paly were most interested in. “This year, we should be more representative of what Paly students especially want to see,” Zhang said. A free lunch will be provided to all student attendees. Speaker sessions will take place in the LCR and SSRC. BY SOPHIE NAKAI
Palo Alto Unified School District’s Advanced Research Program is set to operate as an official class during the 2016-2017 school year. The program began in the September as a pilot program. Over 60 students have signed up for the class, with over 50 proposals in fields ranging from music to medicine, according to Palo Alto High School math teacher and AAR director Deanna Chute. According to the AAR website, the program stresses three key values: personalized learning, integration of knowledge and the process, and communication. Past projects have delved into topics such as biofilm quorum sensing, business promotion, computer-based analysis of human-speech, sleep apnea treatment, athletic training and mobile healthcare expansion. Students can expect to be matched up with mentors in the field of their choice and will formulate a research proposal with the help of their mentor. They will then work on their project for the rest of the year, eventually producing an academic paper to be published and co-written with their mentor, according to Chute. Chute said that the process to add the program to the official course catalog went smoothly. “We didn’t really hit many roadblocks getting this from a pilot program to a full fledged class,” Chute said. “We’ve been working behind the scenes for months and months to talk to groups of people in the Palo Alto community to get them to mentor.” BY MADHUMITA GUPTA
NEWS | OCTOBER 2015
Festivals to highlight student films Video production classes will host a student film festival on Feb. 19 at Palo Alto High School. This 3rd annual Paly event will showcase original student film projects, including a set of films based on poems and fairy tales. These films are generally the ones that win the awards at film competitions, according to junior Zachary Gibson, a student in Advanced Video Production. Gibson says this year’s film festival will be distinctly different from last year’s festival. “We have included the art program, such as glass blowing, [to make] the trophies we will be giving out for the first time, and we have also incorporated the band and the orchestra to open the festival,” Gibson said. The festival will be from 7-9 p.m at Paly’s Media Arts Center. Admission is free for all attendees. On March 5 and 12, some of the student film projects, including “Perpetual Woods,” “For Sale” and “Swimmy,” will be screened at Cinequest, an Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences recognized film festival, according to film teacher Brett Griffith. BY MICHELLE LI
POWER HUNGRY Seniors Ophir Sneh and Clara Baker will perform as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in the upcoming Shakespeare production. Photo by William Dougall.
Thespians to perform “Macbeth” Palo Alto High School’s theater students will perform “Macbeth” as the final production in historic Haymarket Theatre, starting on Feb. 26. Traditionally, “Macbeth” is the final performance before a theater closes, according to assistant director and sophomore Alexandra Dinu. Although the Haymarket is not permanently closing, future productions will take place in the Performing Arts Center, which is set to open its doors this October, according to Assistant Principal Jerry Berkson. According to director Kathleen Woods, in Paly’s adaptation of the play, actors will be portraying the original tragedy through a modern representation. For instance, the witches chant to a hip hop beat. “Macbeth is such a strong, dramatic piece,” Woods said. “It has famous and wonderful language ... used to tell a story
that still resonates today.” Senior Ophir Sneh, who is playing the role of Macbeth, says audience members will enjoy the play’s dynamic characters. “Everyone can look forward to some great ensemble parts as well as one-on-one [scenes] with Macbeth and Lady Macbeth,” Sneh said. Other highlights include stage combat and blood scenes. Marc LeClerc, a Paly alum and professional in stage combat, visited from LA to work with actors on fighting scenes, according to Dinu. According to Woods, actors have spent at least 11 hours choreographing the stage combat scenes to make them look realistic. The cast will perform from Feb. 26 to Feb. 27 and March 4 to March 5 at 7:30 p.m. and on March 6 at 2 p.m. BY AMIRA GAREWAL
New performing arts center to officially open in October The construction of the Palo Alto High School Performing Arts Center is nearing completion, according to Assistant Principal Jerry Berkson. The new building will house theater, choir, orchestra, and band classes and performances. Although the construction is set to 16
finish in April, the building will not officially open until October. According to Berkson, the administration wants to make sure everything functions correctly before allowing people to use the building. “We want to work out the kinks,” Berkson said.
According to Berkson, the construction has stayed on schedule. Berkson says all of the performing arts classes have special performances planned for the grand opening. BY IRENE CHOI
STRESSED Students often feel outside pressures from parents and peers to succeed. 17
Asian Adventures BAY AREA MARKETS SELL MULTICULTURAL FOODS
E TEAR OPEN THE SHINY PACKAGE, AT WHICH POINT A WAFT OF SALTY SMELL SPREADS IN the air. We’re huddling outside of Indian Cash and Carry on a Sunday afternoon, trying the snacks we just purchased. Placing peanuts in our months, we feel the burn of a sour-spicy flavor, which then melts into a buttery egg taste. These fried peanuts are produced by India’s most popular snack brand, Haldiram. The sale of non-restaurant Asian foods went up to $1.5 billion in 2012 and reflects the rising popularity of Asian foods in America. Verde visits two popular Asian stores to try the foods that more and more Americans are consuming. v
INDIAN CASH AND CARRY
trolling into Indian Cash and Carry on a Saturday afternoon, we are overwhelmed by the smell of spices and the sound of classical Bollywood music. After tearing our eyes from the golden elephant god, Ganesha, on the checkout counter, we focus on the hustle and bustle of customers: mothers chiding their children in a mix of Hindi and English, babies crying and older women in colorful embroidered clothing examining fresh pieces of fruit before placing them in plastic bags. Products are labeled in English and Hindi; bags of bargenzo beans, powders, spices and pickles line the aisles. 18 “There are so many spices in In-
1032 E El Camino Real, Sunnyvale
dia,” says customer Jawahar Goel. “Each community and even each family uses different spices, or the same spices in different amounts. Indian Cash and Carry is good because it caters to all regions of India, a diverse place.” When asked about traditional Indian foods the store offers, Dinesh Kumar, the store manager, mentions banana leaves. “Indians use leaves as plates,” Kumar says. “They make the food more hygenic.” Non-Indians make up 5 to 7 percent of its customers, and the store is most popular during holidays like Diwali, an important Hindu holiday celebrated with lights and fireworks.
The most fascinating part of the day was visiting the snack aisle. Squeezing through the aisle packed with aromatic goods, we marvel at colorful snack packages. Goel, who spots us staring cluelessly at the formidable wall of food, suggests we purchase a package of deep-fried peanuts and a bag of samosas. When we open the box of Indian cakes, we are surprised by their gritty texture, sweet, milky taste and greasy marks left on our fingers. We leave Indian Cash and Carry informed and with full stomachs. The sound of the Bollywood music lingers in our ears as we go on to Ranch 99.
Text by IRENE CHOI and MICHELLE TANG Photography by MICHELLE TANG
1350 Grant Rd, Mountain View
t’s difficult to drive by and not notice Ranch 99. A bright red banner hangs from the ceiling. It reads, “Chinese New Year 2016: year of the monkey!” Accompanying the banner are red lanterns and tables draped with red table cloths. Traditional Chinese New Year snacks in red packaging litter the tables. According to an article from NationsOnline. org, red represents liveliness and festivity, golden chocolate coins bring fortune and large packages of candy guarantee a sweet start to a new year. The store is relatively quiet on the Sunday evening. As we traipse through the aisles, we are struck by the mix of traditional and commercialized goods. Traditional China meets modern, commercialized China in a clash of various foods and packaging. One aisle is filled with peculiar dried fish and octopus snacks, while another is packed to the brim with all kinds of ramen. We pass by a wall with tubs of pork sung, a dried, shredded pork dish traditionally eaten for breakfast. Nearby, Rice Nuts Cereal has comical packaging that features figures made of nuts
in various tai-chi poses. Every now and then, we spot Korean, Japanese or Thai characters marking foods and drinks. A huge section at the back of the store is completely devoted to meat, with stacks of rib-eyes in styrofoam packages and fish tanks filled to the brim with crabs, catfish and lobsters. Walking up and down the aisles, we notice that, unlike the Indian Cash and Carry, which had many families, most of the customers at Ranch 99 are there alone or with friends. For the most part, many people appear to be on the younger side. Once again, we are drawn to the snack aisle. We pick up a package filled with paper cylinders covered in graphic Chinese characters that look like coin tubes. They’re filled with haw flakes, which are red and sweet disks made of Chinese hawthorn. Thin and crumbly, they have a slight citrus taste and a meltin-your-mouth texture. Asian grocery stores have a myriad of delicious foods and provide insight into new cultures.
TOP LEFT After carefully examining the meat selection, a shopper chooses rib eye. TOP RIGHT A shopper at Ranch 99 examines a package of mushrooms before placing them in her cart. BELOW We spy a pack of fried fish. Dried octopi, fish and squid are traditional Asian snacks.
CULTURE | FEBRUARY 2016
PALO ALTOâ€™S NEW ORGANIC RESTAURANT Text and photography by NATALIE MAEMURA and DEEPALI SASTRY Art by KARINA CHAN and DEEPALI SASTRY
N A SATURDAY AFTERNOON, THYME, A COZY ENGLISH restaurant with simple decor hidden in the outskirts of downtown Palo Alto, fills up with friends meeting each other, techies pulling out their laptops and families anticipating the new menu of the day. The chef plates a main course while the hostess welcomes the flow of customers into the small restaurant with a cordial smile and a warm English accent. A little boy peers out from behind the counter and stares at the diners as his parents, the head chef and hostess, work in their two-person team. Winston and Carol Haddaway, spouses and business partners, offer organic food and a daily-changing menu that sources fresh produce from local farms. v 20
CULTURE | FEBRUARY 2016
Chicken Soup with Basil
Looking to kick a cold on a rainy Saturday afternoon, we started the meal with a hot bowl of soup. Infused with spices and topped with basil, the soup was a new take on classic and comforting chicken soup. Inside the broth, tender chicken melted in our mouths, while chopped up carrots and celery gave the soup a stew-like texture. If you’re searching for a light yet filling dish, this soup is a great option. Note: picture is a half-serving because we split one portion into two bowls.
Mini Lamb Burgers and a Side Salad
Chef Winston Haddaway added a twist to an American favorite: the burger. While the burger was a bit dry due to lack of sauce, the mushrooms, onions and cabbage added another element to what would have been just lamb meat and bread. The soft Hawaiian bun complemented the lamb by adding a sweetness to the smoky, grilled flavor of the meat. Despite the simplicity of the side salad, the vinaigrette gave a tangy flavor to the bitter spinach.
Penne with Parsley Pesto, Asparagus and Green Beans
Thyme again takes a creative approach to a classic recipe by creating a parsley pesto, replacing the cliché basil and pine nut pesto. The parsley pesto had a more fresh, earthy flavor than regular pesto, but seemed to lack seasoning; however, the parmesan garnish gave the dish a salt factor. With a perfect sauce-to-pasta ratio, the penne pasta was not dry or overly dressed. The beans and asparagus were still slightly crunchy which, apart from being nutritious, gave the dish another dimension of texture. Overall, we applaud the chef ’s imaginative endeavor.
Warm Goat cheese with Honey, Pine nuts and Apricots
As we perused the dessert section of the menu and noticed this unique English dish, we, after some apprehension, decided to try something new. The components (cheese, honey, nuts and apricots) lacked flavor individually, but worked together to create a creamy, crunchy, sweet and bitter bite. The crackers were crispy and bland, but served as a nice base for the creamy axnd smoky goat cheese, while the apricots added sweetness. This dessert, while unconventional, was simple and elegant. 21
CULTURE FEBRUARY 2016
SOMETIMES FOOD TASTES LIKE FURNITURE
Text by SIDDHARTH SRINIVASAN and DANIELLE MACUIL Photography by DANIELLE MACUIL 22
CULTURE | FEBRUARY 2016
he colossus that is IKEA dominates the Ravenswood shopping center. With its blue and yellow lettering visible from Highway 101, it serves as a landmark for the University Avenue exit If you manage to navigate the parking fiasco and enter IKEA on a Saturday morning, you will see a swarm of affordable furniture cravers, adventurous window shoppers and toddlers scurrying around as their parents follow the arrowed path through the polished up warehouse. This Saturday is a special one, not only because it will be followed by the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, but because IKEA is essentially giving away free food, for customers who purchased furniture over $100. We were surprised there was no caveat, as we waited in a wraparound line and watched families depart with rolling trolleys of stacked platters. We set out to test the culinary sector of the IKEA conglomerate, eager to see if the appetizing platters pictured all over the winding path of the warehouse were as tasty as they looked.
$1.99 Cinnamon Roll
Real tomato pulp dominated every spoonful in the soup while an assortment of veggies ensured that it remained wholesome but not too hearty.
We were hopeful that the garlic bread would complement the vegetable soup, but after the first bite, we were left wondering which entreé had more cream. The garlic bread was liberally doused in butter, while the garlic was hard to come by. A crunchy crust promised much, but the bread as a whole was no more tasty than soggy waffles saturated with butter.
Supposedly the traditional Swedish delicacy on the menu, the Swedish Meatballs, doled out in quantities of either five, 10, or a shocking 15, were far from delicate when submerged in flavorless gravy next to a dollop of dull mashed potatoes. The lack of flavor (we would have even considered salt a spice in this case) was, ironically, overwhelming, while the gravy struggled to contribute to the platter.
Perhaps we were too eager to sample IKEA’s famed cinnamon rolls, as we opted to pull a lukewarm one off the shelf at the restaurant when freshly baked and glazed rolls awaited us downstairs at the cafe. Despite the relative lack of warmth, the roll balanced the taste of dough with cinnamon and sugar and satisfied our taste buds.
The chicken tenders, a food my picky self is very familiar with, seemed like an easy choice. The chicken was not tender, rather, it was stiff and almost hard. However, it was clear that the chicken was high quality, despite its toughness. Although, overall, the chicken tenders offered a good amount of crisp, they did not excite the tastebuds and were easily forgettable.
Definitely the pick of the lot. From bite No. 1, we were sure that these fries were the real deal, made from real potatoes. The potato skin was preserved on each fry, creating varying tasted and textures.
$0.99 The Final Verdict
This juice box was possibly the most nondescript item in our trolley. The Swedish lettering was all that caught our eye. Containing zero calories, it was unlike any other liquid that we had ever drank from a juice box: a blend of sugarcane and tangy elderberry fused together and diluted with just the right amount of water.
While IKEA’s pricing for furniture makes shopping there a nobrainer, we can assure that its food is not of the same standard. Rather than heading for the upstairs restaurant after a long afternoon of shopping, the cafe downstairs with knock-off pizza and hot dogs is a surer bet for a food junkie or a calorie craver. v
CULTURE | FEBRUARY 2016 Text by EMILIE MA Art by KARINA CHAN
Inside The Lines, Outside The Mind
COLORING BOOKS ARE NOT JUST FOR CHILDREN
AVING JUST FINISHED her Marine Biology test, Palo Alto High School senior Claire Krugler reaches into her backpack to pull out the newest addition to her book collection. Krugler, however, does not begin to read. Instead, she begins to color. As her creative instincts strike, her colored pencils follow the lines and curves of the image, slowly but surely filling in the blank jungle scene in front of her. In the past years, the popularity of adult coloring books has risen rapidly, so much so that they have even earned themselves spots on The New York Times Best Sellers List. But why have coloring books become such a sought-after pastime? One reason why the books have become so successful — at least in the eyes of some Paly students — is due to presumed mental health benefits from daily activities some say the books provide. Senior Nicole Cox says that, for her, coloring is a relaxing pastime that helps her de-stress and unwind from her hectic
schedule. Cox also appreciates that coloring allows her to bring seemingly flat and dull images to life. “They [the books] are very relaxing and fun, it’s kind of crafty … and it’s a good feeling afterwards, too,” Cox says. Sophie Swezey, another senior, agrees with Cox. “I like coloring because it’s therapeutic; it’s simple yet fun,” Swezey says. “Once you finish it, it all comes together and every mistake is unnoticeable. Everything just works and you get to appreciate it.” Swezey actively promotes coloring books by regularly hosting coloring parties for family and her friends. The get-togethers first started when Swezey, trying to find something to do over winter break, turned to coloring. “We just said, ‘Let’s color!’” Swezey says. “It’s really fun because you get to socialize, and it’s just really calming.” With all of the adult coloring book options there are, it is hard to find the best ones on the market. Both Cox and Swezey agree that Scottish artist and illustrator Jo-
hanna Basford’s books come out on top. Basford arguably makes the most popular coloring books, her collection including “Secret Garden,” “Enchanted Forest,” and “Lost Ocean.” According to a New York Times article, Basford has become extremely popular in South Korea, where her “Secret Garden” book has sold over 430,000 copies. The three books consist of hidden objects, mazes, endless numbers of intricate designs unique to each book’s theme and even blank spaces where Basford allows the colorer to add his or her own drawings and ideas. Other books offer popular images, such as mandalas, which are circles detailed with complex patterns. While some people might still view coloring books as an activity reserved specifically for kids, Swezey disagrees with this sentiment. “Don’t pay attention to the stigma that surrounds coloring because once you try it you’ll really love it,” Swezey says. “Coloring is usually thought of as a juvenile pastime, but I think that we’re transforming that one coloring book at a time.” v
Star wars: the
CULTURE | FEBRUARY 2016
Text by JOSH CODE Photography by KARINA CHAN
THE FORCE HAS AWAKENED, and so have the creative minds of corporate America. In the wake of the most recent Star Wars flim installment, consumers have seen a huge influx of movie-inspired goodies. This issue, I searched far and wide for Star Wars merchandise. This is what I found. v
darth vader plush blanket rating: 5w/5 death stars
This blanket makes coming to the Dark Side of the Force much more enticing. Displaying a retro image of Darth Vader, this item is almost as fuzzy as Wookie fur; it offers anyone, Jedi or Sith, a superb sleeping or lounging experience. Not to mention how well it can warm you up â€” this blanket would probably get you through even the coldest nights on planet Hoth. On Earth, itâ€™s best suited for reading on the couch or star-gazing on a clear night.
| FEBRUARY CULTURE 2016 2015 | DECEMBER FEATURES
Lego Star Wars “The complete Saga” video game for PS3 rating: 4/5 death stars
This video game for Playstation 3 is a great way to undergo Jedi training. In the game, one or two players can fight their way through the universe as lego avatars resembling characters from the Star Wars movies. Players can test their command of the force with various missions — from flying an X-wing spacecraft through the Death Star to fighting the infamous General Grievous. This game is entertaining, but it’s pretty difficult to get the hang of. I advise you to seek Yoda’s guidance (if available) before you play.
Star wars go-gurt rating: 4/5 death stars This product is a 2-for-1 blend of tastiness and functionality. Star Wars Go-gurt is not only a delicious portable yogurt snack, but a glow-in-the-dark lightsaber with which to fight the Empire. The snack’s two flavors, Strawberry Splash and Berry Blue Blast, are both equally delicious and probably fulfill at least one-third of a Jedi’s daily calcium intake*. My only quip about Star Wars Gogurt tubes is that they are prone to splattering onto your hand when opened manually. I’d recommend using the force to tear them open — or scissors. *Rough estimate.
THE NEW SNEAKERHEAD CASH AND COLORWAYS DRIVE A NEW INDUSTRY Text by SIDDHARTH SRINIVASAN Photo llustrations by WILLIAM DOUGALL
egene Lee doesn’t consider himself a scribes it, lacing up his first pair of Jorsneakerhead. And, after pocketing $300 on dans was special; they were the first pair of a pair of shoes he never intended to wear, shoes that he could wear on a day-to-day he still doesn’t consider himself a sneaker- basis and play basketball in; they were one head. Lee, a Palo Alto High School senior, of the first pieces of footwear to bridge spent months researching the the Nike the gap between leisure and athletic shoes. Supreme Foamposite shoes, waiting for “People saw [Michael] Jordan and them to drop as part of the release each looked up to him, and loved that they Thursday. Entering the resale market, was could wear the shoes he wore in court out always tempting, he says, for it’s virtually in public,” Manasherob says. guaranteed that a limited edition shoe from While the Air Jordan 1 took center a dominant brand such as Nike will have a stage between 1985-1986 in 17 different price tag that soars. color combinations, in 2015, the brand reThree days after Lee beat out store leased over 18 distinctly different models. lines that wrapped around the block and With each athlete looking for something computer “bots” on the Internet in get- different to add to his or her game, it may ting his hands on a pair of Foamposites, seem as though brand like Nike are simply he exchanged them for a cool profit of 400 making an effort to tailor their products to percent, through an Instagram contact. Yet more individuals. this was the last time Lee entered the resale But, as Manasherob sees it, the inmarket. flux of limited edition models isn’t helping The modern sneakerhead can be char- more shoes get on people’s feet, but rather, acterized as a full-time reseller, eagerly an- from the shelf in the store to a display case ticipating the drop of various limited edi- at home. tion shoes, stockpiling them as deadstock, “It’s really hurting the game because and selling them once more. In essence, the first of all, people who would actually want modern sneakerhead has taken sneakers to wear those shoes don’t have them, beoff feet and put them back on the shelves. cause they are sold out,” Manasherob says. Websites such “And the people who as Stock X, considered actually own the shoes the Kelly Blue Book are too scared to wear of sneakers, list shoe “It’s like getting a new them and scuff them prices and update them car. You know that as up. It’s like getting a each minute, leading new car; you know that one to possibly confuse soon as you drive it off as soon as you drive it the modern shoe with the lot, the resale value is off the lot, the resale a corporate stock on value is gonna take a gonna take a huge hit.” the Nasdaq. Forbes eshuge hit.” —SENIOR Martin timates that the sneakThe deadstock erhead presence on the piling of sneakers and Manasherob shoe market amounts the influx of more limto 5 percent of the ited edition shoes have $22 billion sports footwear industry in the driven out some of the older collectors, United States. with the new emphasis on money. Senior It wasn’t always this way. When the Bo Field held a deep interest in sneakers in Air Jordan hit the shelves in 1985 and gave middle school, yet found it hard to mainbirth to the sneakerhead movement, col- tain as he grew older. lectors collected simply because they loved “My personal style changed, so I could wearing shoes. no longer justify spending money on shoes As senior Martin Manasherob de- that were cool and iconic, that I would no
longer wear,” Field says. Like Manasherob, former Nike intern Alex Zhang’s first pair of basketball shoes were Jordans. Yet after working in the Material Science Department of Nike over the summer, his outlook changed as he began to understand the difference between the limited edition brands like Jordans and performance shoes. “Previously, basketball players would suit up in shoes like Converse, so by comparison, the Jordans were a high performance shoe,” Zhang says. “However, technologies of today, such as Flyknit and Flywire, offer enhance performance not found in the Jordans.” Zhang tested materials for the outsole, the key structural element to a shoe. He no longer wears Jordans, as the price isn’t justified by the lack of attention to the outsole and the focus on the color scheme of the upper. Manasherob is unsure why owning a collection of shoes is treated differently than expressing yourself through clothing. One possibility that Manasherob considers is that, compared to clothes, shoes are often quantified as a dollar value rather than an accessory. With more limited edition products flooding the market and trending on social media prior to their release on the shelves, public awareness is hightened. “Owning a lot of shoes immediately is associated with being privileged,” Manasherob says. As someone who pieced together his collection, saving lunch money a few times a week to finance a pair, Manasherob believes the average shoe collector isn’t someone who finds it easy to fork out the cash. “I don’t buy a pair of shoes because they are popular or highlighted in the media,” Manasherob says. “I buy them because I like the way they look.” v
ALT PHOTO OF MARTIN FOR BLACK WHITE BLACK LAYOUT
TWO OUT OF MANY Martin Manasherob holds up a pair of shoes from his collection. Mansherob has been collecting since he was 10 years old, and he now owns over 40 pairs of shoes.
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FEATURES | FEBRUARY 2016
Text by JOELLE DONG and MADHUMITA GUPTA Art by KARINA CHAN
GRADEBOOK RE T RIBU T ION
INVESTIGATING THE MYTH OF BIASED GRADING
E JUST DOESN’T LIKE ME. HE’LL “I’ve never seen it,” says English Department Instructional never give me an A in his class.” Supervisor Shirley Tokheim. “We’re all about the students. This statement is a common example of That’s an unfounded fear… Our job is to help the “gradebook retribution,” or the belief that a students and get feedback from parents. I can’t teacher’s personal opinions about students — imagine any teachers on campus that would especially negative opinions — are reflected in the gradebook. turn it into an impact on the gade. The idea that this occurs is pervasive among students, but teachers That’s a big misconception.” say it’s a myth. Even if it is a myth, it is a destructive one — leaing Craig Bark, Reading Between to a culture where students are afraid of voicing negative feedback. the Lines and ninth grade English In a Verde survey of 143 students in English classes across all teacher, believes the truth behind grades, 72.9 percent of Palo Alto High School students expressed teacher retribution is more elusive. concerns that voicing negative feedback to “I’m sure it teachers could negatively impact their grade, exists… I’ve just while 93.2 percent of students said they do not not really had I THINK IT’S A PRETTY IGNO- to deal with that express negative feedback to their teachers. For students such as junior Samarth Ven- RANT AND ARROGANT STATE- and come across katasubramaniam, the assumption of biased it much,” Bark says. teaching leads to a fear of being disliked by a MENT TO SAY THAT A TEACH- “I hear about it in surveys, I’ve teacher because of voicing negative feedback. ER IS GRADING YOUR WORK seen it in Western Accreditation of Schools and “I feel like a teacher’s dislike for students surveys from parents and students, but MORE HARSHLY JUST FROM A Colleges spreads across the department,” VenkatasubraI just haven’t seen it personally.” maniam says. “At some point, you need to start VENGEANCE. Teachers say their main concern is student worrying about teachers liking you because letwell-being. According to Bark, a teacher’s main ters of recommendation become a concern. I objective is to establish trust between teacher don’t think it really concerns grading unless it’s and student. a subjective class, like English.” “My first goal is to establish that I This fear of retribution gets in the way am here for them and that of addressing other concerns, such as classes they can trust and moving too fast, or students having difficulty understanding the feel safe in here to argue with material. me,” Bark says. “I’m here to In the main office, this fear is evident in students’ and parents’ help you learn how to take use of anonymous tips as a “safe” means of voicing concerns criticism that is meant to about teachers which often include worries of bias and unfair be for improvement, grading. They come in the form of address-free emails and un- not for punitive meaknown calls. As the coordinator of the teacher advisor program, sures. I’m not here to Ann Deggelman is on the receiving end of such anonymous tips, punish kids in any which have become her “pet peeve.” way. That’s not “Really, we can’t do anything,” Degglman says. “Especially my job.” when we don’t know where the complaints are coming from.” Bark says Teachers do not believe the notion that a teacher will retaliate that part of against negative student feedback. establish-
—Senior BRYN CARLSON
ing such trust is adjusting his teaching methods to best suit students on an individual basis because different students have different needs. This is not bias, but good teaching. “We’re just people trying to work with each other. You might not bend the rules for a particular student, but you’ll talk differently with them,” Bark says. “You’re still doing the work, you’re still doing everything, it’s just about being a people person. You still have the same rules, though. Same rules, same expectations.” Seniors Sylvia Targ and Bryn Carlson share similar beliefs with Tokheim and Bark. “I would like to buy into an academic world where teachers are professional enough that that is not an issue,” Carlson says. “The grading system is set up so that a teacher cannot do that. I think it’s a pretty ignorant and arrogant statement to say that a teacher is grading your work more harshly just from a vengeance.” Like Carlson, Sylvia Targ feels no fear of retribution and does not hesitate to approach teachers with all sorts of feedback, including corrections.
“I’m not afraid of retribution,” Targ says. “I trust my teachers, that’s a different thing than liking all of my teachers. I trust my teachers to be honest. I know that they have students’ best interests at heart and that they will do all that they can to ensure we are educated accurately and with compassion.” Teacher retribution might be a widely spread myth, but it highlights another concern: student-teacher communication. The key to solving this problem lies in fostering better student-teacher relationships through increased communication. As Bark says, “We need to respect each other and learn to work with each other. We’re people.” v The student poll results collected for this issue are from a survey administered in Palo Alto High School English classes over the course of several days in January 2016. Eight English classes were randomly selected, and 147 responses were collected. The surveys were completed online, and responses were anonymous. With 95 percent confidence, the results for the questions related to this story are accurate within a margin of error of 7.81 percent.
COVER | FEBRUARY 2016
Interned. THE LOCAL HISTORY WE CAN’T LET OURSELVES FORGET
Text by ANNA NAKAI and GABRIELA ROSSNER Photography by WILLIAM DOUGALL and LAURA SIEH Art by KARINA CHAN 34
HERRY ISHIMATSU STILL remembers her first day back at Palo Alto High School after the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese army on Dec. 7, 1941. For Ishimatsu, it was a day full of resentment and awkwardness as her white classmates avoided speaking to her or making eye contact. “I remember that day so clearly because I could just feel myself sinking slowly down into my seat and I was just in tears,” Ishimatsu says. “I knew that we would be facing a lot of discrimination.” Weeks after Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first address, he issued another statement, mandating that Japanese-Americans obey an 8 p.m. curfew and not travel further than a five-mile radius from their home. As Ishimatsu’s house was more than five miles from Paly, the decree meant the end of her time at school. “That was when I felt that my citizenship was stripped from me,” Ishimatsu says. “I have not been back at Paly High since.” Ishimatsu is one of 25 former Paly students, out of a total of 59 Palo Alto Unified School District Japanese-American students who were forcibly detained and incarcerated in high security camps inland on the West Coast during the United States’ involvement in World War II from 1942 to 1945. With xenophobic sentiments and national security concerns, Roosevelt passed Executive Order 9066 and stripped away the civil rights of thousands of JapaneseAmericans. The Supreme Court ruled this act as Constitutional in the 1944 case Fred Korematsu vs. the United States. His daughter, Karen Korematsu, who now
runs the Fred Korematsu Institute in his honor, spoke at Paly on Jan. 19. Although a Federal Court nullified the decision in 1983 due to misinformation by the Justice Department, the ruling created a legal precedent that still stands today. With the 70-year anniversary of the end of Japanese internment coming up, David Bowers, the mayor of Roanoke, Virginia’s call to intern all Muslim-Americans and Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s support for internment share a disturbing resemblance to Japanese internment. From Ramona to Racetracks The Japanese-American community in the Bay Area sprang up in the 1890s. In Palo Alto, it manifested as a bustling neighborhood downtown between Emerson and Ramona Street, complete with its own boarding houses and stores. “Within that three-block radius it was a real self-contained community,” says Pam Hashimoto, daughter of Kiyo Sato, a 1933 graduate of Paly. “It was like being plopped on another planet.” The Issei, or first generation JapaneseAmericans, worked largely menial jobs and stayed within their community, not interacting with white Palo Alto residents. However, the Nisei, or second generation, were immersed in both American and Japanese culture, according to Hashimoto. “That Nisei generation kind of bridged two worlds,” Hashimoto says. “When they went home, they were Japanese, and when they went to school, they were American. They became very adaptable and they did a lot of translation for the parents.” Kiyo Sato’s family owned a grocery store on Ramona Street while she attended
COVER | FEBRUARY 2016
THESE WERE YOUR FRIENDS, AND THEY WERE BEING UPROOTED AND SENT OFF.” - DR. ROBERT FRENCH, PALO ALTO HISTORIAN
COVER | FEBRUARY 2016 school at Paly. Kiyo kept a diary of her time forcibly relocate both citizens and nonin Palo Alto starting after her graduation, citizens. By March 24, Japanese exclusion when she began attending San Jose State. orders were issued throughout the West Her sister, Riyo, painted the image of the Coast, and by May, all Japanese-Americans tree that hangs in the Tower Building. had been detained in one of the ten relocaKiyo was a social butterfly, often stay- tion camps that dotted the interior of the ing out past midnight at local Japanese country, living in ramshackle barracks on league events after working shifts in her barren, unwanted tracts of land. parents’ grocery store. However, no matter The Palo Alto Japanese-American how social she was, Kiyo, like most Nisei, community had feared internment for alstill remained within Japanese social circles. most four months before the government “All their friendships seemed to be forced it to relocate. Soyo Okazawa, Paly in the Japanese-American community,” class of 1933 and a friend of the Sato famHashimoto says. ily, recalls living with her family Although she did not on Ramona during those live on Ramona Street, months. Ishimatsu still remem“She [Okazawa] “IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT TO bers the strong divide said they knew GO BACK IN TIME BECAUSE and lack of integrait [internment] THE HISTORY BECOMES MORE tion between Japawas imminent,” ALIVE WHEN IT HAPPENS IN nese-Americans and Hashimoto says. YOUR BACKYARD.” the white community “As soon as they of Palo Alto, even at would find out, it Paly. Despite playing would be such a - RACHEL KELLERMAN, violin in the Paly orshort time that they PALY LIBRARIAN chestra, Ishimatsu says wouldn’t have much she was not very involved time to plan, so it was in the Paly community. very stressful.” Even before the war broke out, Others, like the Ishimatshe was aware of racial tension in su family, moved inward toward Palo Alto. Sacramento before the Executive Order, “There were discriminations, but it just days after Roosevelt issued the curfew. was not open,” Ishimatsu says. “We’ve al“We were told that if we moved to ways been under some kind of discrimina- inland California, we would not be sent to tion, and as a child, I faced some of them, camp,” says Ishimatsu. “So my father debut it was not something that really affect- cided that we would move all of our beed me that much.” longings and move to the central part of Their stories are documented by Dr. California. We went there, and about two Robert French, a PAUSD substitute and months later, they said everyone has to former teacher and principal who has spent leave all of California.” the past several decades of his life collectIn Palo Alto, the Japanese community ing stories of Japanese-American intern- numbered 144 people, all of whom reportment in Palo Alto, hoping to award diplo- ed to the train station to be taken to the mas to students who were interned before Santa Anita racetrack in Arcadia, Calif. In they could graduate. According to French, a 1942 edition of The Campanile, student the Japanese-American community in Palo James Sato wrote a piece titled “Evacuee Alto was wary of the racism coming its way not bitter” in which he bid Paly farewell and emphasized their loyalty to the U.S. and spoke of his sacrifice in the name of “The Japanese community began do- the U.S. ing pro-American things before the war, Japanese-Americans were allowed to with the way they dressed and hanging bring only what they could carry in two flags,” French says. “They tried so hard to hands to the internment camps. Ishimatsu appear American.” recalls this as one of the most difficult However, their efforts were in vain. parts of being interned, as no one knew On Feb. 19, 1942, the tensions culminated what they had to bring. In Palo Alto, this in President Roosevelt’s Executive Order meant property was left behind. 9066, allowing military commanders to “There was kind of a land grab,” 36
Hashimoto says. “People had to sell their possessions for pennies on the dollar because they didn’t have much time.” She recounts the story of her father’s dog, who her family was forced to leave behind because no one wanted him. The Satos, her mother’s family, fared no better, and had to leave the store behind. Photographs show the histories of forgotten pasts in bags left abandoned on the curbs of bus stops when the evacuation buses couldn’t fit any more luggage. French remembers a conversation with a friend who witnessed the scene. “These are kids that people had known at Jordan and Paly, and they had to leave,” French says. “He said there were just tears. These were your friends, and they were being uprooted and sent off to some gosh awful place no one knows.” The kindness of the Palo Alto community is also remembered by Okazawa, who recalls that religious groups such as the Quakers helped Japanese-Americans on evacuation day by giving them rides and helping to carry belongings. However, although some in the Palo Alto community may have been kind to the Japanese when they left, there was still a strong undercurrent of racism and fear that affected other communities. “Many Chinese wore a little button that said ‘I’m Chinese,’” French says. “There were people beaten up because there was such hysteria about the war.” Although the executive order is mostly thought of as being motivated by defense concerns as well as racial tension, historians contend that there was an economic element behind the internment. Hashimoto agrees that internment was partly motivated by economics. “When you have a small group of a minority and they aren’t considered a threat, you don’t see the prejudice,” Hashimoto says. “When the community starts to get larger in number, when they get organized, they’re seen as a threat. You see that with every minority. They were getting too successful with the nurseries, with the farming and the fisheries, so there was a lot of resentment.” Paly librarian Rachel Kellerman has assisted in the archiving of Palo Alto’s history. She is working on digitizing the school’s archives and is interested in Japanese-American internment because of
COVER | FEBRUARY 2016 what it says about Palo Alto. “There’s this idea that California has always been a very open and progressive place, but from reading the newspaper archives, there was a strong streak of discrimination that ran through California and our town,” Kellerman says. “It’s really important to go back in time, because the history becomes more alive when it happens in your backyard.” The Camps Walking into Tanforan Shopping Center in San Bruno, 30 minutes from Palo Alto, one wouldn’t know that 70 years ago, it was a racetrack, home of the racehorse Seabiscuit. The Seabiscuit statue is hard to miss, as it overshadows the small plaque commemorating the Japanese-American internment which is tucked off to the side, shoved out of the collective memory of the American public. In 1942, the racetrack served as a tran-
sition center on the way east to internment camps for thousands.The Japanese-Americans from San Mateo County went to Tanforan, while those from Santa Clara County went to the Santa Anita. From those centers, Japanese-Americans were sent to residential internment camps further east. Most Palo Altans went to Heart Mountain, Wyo., while others, Okazawa among them, went to separate camps. “That’s how they broke people up,” Hashimoto says. “Soyo’s husband was a first-year Stanford medical student … so she ended up in Manzanar [Southern California]. When I asked her if she knew anyone there, she said no.” Because Ishimatsu had moved to Sacramento in an attempt to evade interment, her family was sent to a camp in Jerome, Ark. instead of Heart Mountain like the majority of Palo Alto residents. “It was a time of doing without many things,” Ishimatsu says. “Everybody had
rations to contend with at that time. It was a matter of making do with what we had.” At the time, Japanese-Americans were initially told they were being interned for their own protection, Ishimatsu recalls that illusion being broken. “We go to camp and the guns are all turned in towards us,” Ishimatsu says. “If they were protecting us, the guns should have been pointing outside of camp, but they were all pointed inward.” Even while interned, however, Ishimatsu still recalls how patriotic the Japanese-Americans were. “There were two kinds of people, but the majority were very patriotic,” Ishimatsu says. “We were all raised in America, we studied American history and we knew more about American history and life than we did of Japan, which was a strange country to us.” The injustice of the situation was clear to Ishimatsu. One of her most vivid mem-
CAMP BARRACKS The Sato and Yamamoto families in front of their barracks in Heart Mountain, Wyo. Photo by P. Hashimoto.
PARADE The Palo Alto Japanese-American community marches in a citywide parade in 1928.
ories is of watching a parade of young Boy and Girl Scouts in the camp. “I think it was very ironic,” Ishimatsu says. “Here we are, all prisoners behind barbed wire fences and a military guard surrounding us, and here we have young people doing a parade with their American flags flying.” The Modern Fight for Freedom With two origami cranes pinned to her shirt and a picture of a bomb exploding stretched across the screen in the Media Arts Center, Karen Korematsu discusses her father’s legacy to a crowd of students and staff at Paly during Tutorial. Fred Korematsu, an Oakland-born Japanese-American young man, refused to acquiesce to the Japanese internment policy. When he was discovered, arrested and convicted of a federal felony, he opened a case that eventually reached the Supreme Court and that still stands today as one of the many reminders of racial prejudice during times of war. “Fred Korematsu … really stood up against the government against all odds and really made a difference in the face of challenges from his own community who 38
didn’t want anything to do with him and even his own government,” Karen Korematsu says. Her father, who was eventually arrested and sent to an internment camp in Topaz, Utah, faced discrimination from both the American public and the Japanese-American community. Other Japanese -American families feared that by associating with him they would be deemed unpatriotic and a threat to security. He was shunned. “They [the Japanese-American community] decided that my father shouldn’t carry on with his court case,” Karen says. “Well, my father did what my father wanted to do. He just really believed that if he could get all the way to the Supreme Court that they would see that this was wrong.” Ostracized by his community, Korematsu ate and worked in solitude. Nevertheless, he persevered, bringing his case to the Supreme Court, only to be rebuffed by a vote of six to three. For the next 30 years of his life, he carried the burden of being a federallyconvicted felon, even after the war was distant and his probation was long completed. “He tried several years later to get his
real estate license,” Karen Korematsu says. “Because he wanted to help people who had faced racial discrimination like he did. Because he had [a federal conviction] he was denied his real estate license, and he was really, really hurt.” In the 1970s and 1980s, the government came under increased scrutiny for its racially charged actions, culminating in the overturning of his conviction in 1983. Lawyers found that the Department of Justice had knowingly misled the Supreme Court to believe that the Japanese-American community posed a much larger threat. “As the Justice Department and the FBI illustrated, the threat from the Japanese citizenry simply did not exist,” says David Rapaport, Paly U.S. History teacher and a Korematsu Institute partner in education. “The threat was from Japan’s military, based in Japan. There was not a single case of espionage prosecuted on American soil during WWII of a Japanese person.” Rapaport, who first met Korematsu over 20 years ago, started working with the activist to promote education about the Japanese-American internment in 2013. “You have to take a stand,” Rapaport says. “You have to be able to speak up
when there’s injustice. Karen’s father did that, and he paid the price. Now Karen is building on his legacy to keep the awareness that other groups may experience the same kind of discrimination that her dad did some 70 years ago.” Coming Home For the Japanese-American community, coming home was a bittersweet affair. Given only a matter of days to pack up, they had often resorted to leaving their personal property in the hands of their white neighbors. “They didn’t know what was going to happen,” French says. At the time Ishimatsu was released, Japanese-Americans weren’t allowed to return to California, so she settled in Chicago as did many other Palo Altans, including the Satos. Once California was re-opened to Japanese-Americans, Ishimatsu still did not return home to Palo Alto. “We had nothing to come back to,” Ishimatsu says. “So there was no reason for us to come back.” The end of the war did not signify the end of anti-Japanese sentiment, however,. The archives are littered with accounts of Japanese-Americans being denied the ability to buy property, as well as being treated poorly by fellow Palo Altans. For Fred Korematsu, his return also came with a stigma within the JapaneseAmerican community. Today hailed as a civil rights hero, he never once spoke with his daughter during her childhood about what had happened to him and the Japanese-American community during the war. “I found out when I was 16 in history class,” Karen Korematsu says. “I didn’t believe it. My father never talked about it. That was the culture.” Lessons From History The reluctance to discuss Japanese internment was not limited to the Japanese-American community and Fred Korematsu. Rapaport recalls a fellow student in his high school English class asking why it wasn’t being taught. His teacher replied that it would make the U.S. look bad. “When this gal talked about her father’s story not being represented in the high school history book, that created an awareness for me that has never left,” Rapaport says. Rapaport resolved to spread awareness
Go For Broke The Story of Fred Yamamoto
red Yamamoto, an alumnus of Paly’s class of 1936, was interned in Santa Anita and then Heart Mountain. Right after Pearl Harbor he wrote in his diary, “Japan has declared WAR! She has bombed Pearl Harbor, Philippines, Guam, etc. What a mess — !” Yamamoto’s words foreshadowed the troubles of the Japanese-American community, troubles which never embittered him. While at Heart Mountain, the government decreed that all Japanese men were eligible for the army, making them potential draftees. Yamamoto signed up at the camp along with his close friend Frank Shimata from Santa Clara County. In his diary, Yamamoto wrote, “Because faith to me is a positive thing, I’m putting all my blue chips on the U.S.A. … In short, I’ve volunteered.” Yamamoto’s decision was not a popular one in the camp and his mother was initially against his enlisting, afraid that her son would die — which he did. “He was among the first to enlist at Heart Mountain,” Hashimoto says. “It was not a popular decision as you can imagine. I think he mulled over the idea but he didn’t think long he decided, ‘You know this is what I have to do.’” After a year long wait, Yamamoto was placed in the 442nd Regiment, an almost entirely Japanese-American regiment that became the war’s most decorated unit, according to Hashimoto. Their unofficial motto was ‘Go for Broke.’ They landed
SENIOR YEAR Fred Yamamoto’s Palo Alto High School senior portrait from 1936. Photo by Paly Madrono. in Rome in 1944 and later moved to Northern France. On Saturday Oct. 28, a German force attacked the town his battalion was resting in and Yamamoto volunteered to get more supplies for the troops. Only 4 of the 12 volunteers survived an attack by 100 Germans. With shrapnel piercing his neck, Yamamoto was not one of them. He was just 26 at the time. Yamamoto’s loyalty never wavered and he never expressed any regrets about his choice to enlist. He was awarded a Silver Star posthumously for his bravery. “He had such a strong sense of duty to whatever he believed in, and together with his strong moral and spiritual compass, there was no question what he would end up doing,” Hashimoto says. “I think it’s this sense of duty, to self, to others and to your beliefs, that set this generation apart. This applies to those who fought as well as to those who resisted. They not only talked the talk, they walked the walk.”
DIARY (Top) An excerpt of Yamamoto’s diary from Dec. 7, 1941, the day that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Photo Courtesy of P. Hashimoto Collection. 39
COVER | FEBRUARY 2016
KOREMATSU Karen Korethrough his teaching, recording interviews matsu speaks at Paly about her with prominent civil rights activists and father’s life and court case. partnering with the Korematsu Institute. “I see my role as an ambassador to spread the philosophy of social justice that the foundation represents,” Rapaport says. “I try to have as much direct contact with students and important and influential people who have worked for social justice. I take a lot of pride in being able to continue their [activists’] stories.” Kellerman also hopes to keep the stories of Japanese-Americans alive. The digitization of the archives, which includes everything from editions of the Campaniles from the 1930s to the latest Verde, is key. “What I think is really important about reading archives and listening to people from the time period is to be able to draw your own conclusions about it, and then to be able to place that behavior in the context of the larger world,” Kellerman says. “That tion,” Korematsu says. “He crisscrossed builds a lot of insight and empathy.” the United States and spoke to young While Japanese-American incarcera- people like you and organizations because tion may seem largely irrelevant, many he didn’t want something like the Japanesebelieve that history has a way of repeating American incarceration to happen again. itself. Korematsu informed the Paly crowd He felt like education was one of the key that she was dismayed to hear the ways to prevent that, hopefully. rhetoric surrounding refuWe come very close to making gees and the Muslimthe same mistakes because American community. it seems like people are “When I heard “WE DON’T REALLY very short-minded.” the Mayor of RoaBOTHER TO LEARN ABOUT One of the ways noke, Va. make the by which KorematTHINGS THAT MAKE US UN” statement about su hopes to spread COMFORTABLE.” rounding up Syrian awareness and educarefugees and refertion is with Fred Ko- JUNIOR SEAN ROMEO ring to President Roorematsu Day, a day she sevelt’s Executive Order hopes becomes nationally 9066, which totally has recognized. Fred Korematsu been discredited, then you Day, which falls on Jan. 30, her think, ‘Well, here you have a perfather’s birthday, is currently recognized son who is an elected official who in six states. On Saturday Jan. 30 in San obviously didn’t learn lessons of history Francisco, community members and esand we’ve got a long ways to go in educa- teemed guests gathered to commemorate tion,’” Korematsu says. “Clearly when you Korematsu. As part of the event, a panel of see and hear adults make these outrageous high school students from Oakland Tech mistakes and really points of total racial High School, Castlemont High School and discrimination then it’s like, ‘Well okay I’ve Paly spoke with California Supreme Court got a reason to keep on going.’” Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar about Education, Korematsu believes, is racism. Paly junior Sean Romeo was espekey to ensuring that history doesn’t repeat cially touched by the opportunity. itself. Her father’s later years and her life “There were a lot of amazing, imporhave been spent trying to teach Americans tant people discussing this issue [internabout the lessons of Japanese-American ment] and how it ties to bigotry and racism internment, with varying success. and all sorts of issues today, so I was really “My father always believed in educa- glad to be offered this opportunity,” Ro40
FREEDOM Paly students speak about racism and prejudice in a panel on Jan 30., now named Fred Korematsu Day.
meo says. “There were so many different kinds of perspectives on all sorts of issues that matter to us today that relate to what Mr. Korematsu stood for.” Born in Japan to a Japanese mother and American father, the story of internment is something that Romeo has strived to learn more about. As a student in Rapaport’s U.S. History class, he has taken advantage of any opportunity to educate himself about Japanese-American internment, including attending the presentation by Korematsu at Paly. “We don’t really bother to learn about things that make us uncomfortable and that we’re not really familiar with,” Romeo says. “If we can make a discussion out of what’s happening, I think that would be really great for the future.” Although it has been 70 years since her internment, the events that Ishimatsu witnessed and lived still continue to shape her life. Even though her memories remain with her, she has lived her life trying to let go of the past while simultaneously trying to make the best out of what she is given “If I do that [resent America], I’ll always be angry, and there’s no advantage to being angry over something that happened,” Ishimatsu says. “I’ve made the most of my life after that. I always made sure that they [my children] didn’t face what I had faced, because I didn’t want any discrimination of any kind rearing its head at my children. I felt I had already paid for that.” v
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FEATURES | FEBRUARY 2016
FAITH in the Face of Prejudice PALO ALTO MUSLIMS SEEK TO DISPEL BIASES ABOUT ISLAM Text by ALICIA MIES and LAURA SIEH Photography by WILLIAM DOUGALL
ARHA ANDRABI PRESSES HER HIJAB-COVERED FOREhead against a colorfully embroidered prayer rug on her living room floor and mutters in Arabic. Her voice is a quiet but purposeful melody that fills the room. On her right is her 11-year-old son, Abdullah Navaid, who follows her lead as he fidgets with his hands. “Allahu Akbar,” Andrabi repeats with Abdullah — God is the greatest. Although in America, this phrase often brings to mind a picture of foreign jihadists, to Andrabi, it means that she is only obligated to follow God, a merciless and all-good being. There’s an intimate atmosphere as Andrabi and Abdullah complete three prayer units, which each consist of standing up, bowing and prostrating, or laying oneself flat on the ground face downward. The only reminder that Andrabi and Abdullah are praying in their living room and not a mosque is the smell of baked chicken fingers wafting through the room and the sound of Huda Navaid, a 2015 graduate of Palo Alto High School and current Santa Clara University freshman, typing on her computer. Noor Navaid, Huda’s sister and a Paly freshman, watches her mother and brother attentively. After five minutes, Abdullah stands up and sheepishly declares, “I’m done,” and retreats to his room while beatboxing. Andrabi lingers, her head still pressed to the ground, and finally says, “Assalamu’alaikum warahmatulahi wabarakatuh” — may the peace, mercy and blessings of God be with you. The Navaids feel a deep connection with their religion, which, according to them, serves to spread love and understanding.
MODERN FAITH Zoaib Rangwala, the community secretary and head priest of the Hatemi Masjid in Palo Alto emphasizes that Muslims are like typical Bay Area residents. “We [Muslims from the Dawoodi Bohra community] are your FAMILY DYNAMIC. Huda and Noor engineers and your doctors,” Rangwala says. “We’re your typical geeks.” Navaid converse, gazing at a selfie stick tripod that Noor has just assembled. 43
FEATURES | FEBRUARY 2016 Muslim families like the Navaids have recently had to navigate through newfound but deep-rooted Anti-Muslim sentiments that have permeated the American media and political landscape, creating challenges within their day-to-day lives.
anything blatantly Islamophobic or received many stares because of her hijab. Instead, she says she has received support from her peers and teachers, especially following terrorist attacks. “After the Paris attacks, my English teacher came up to me the week after and The Rise of Hate Crimes said, ‘If anybody says anything to you then The expansion of radical Islam by ter- just tell me or tell an adult and just know rorist organizations like the Islamic State that we’re all there for you,’” Noor says. of Iran and Syria and Al-Qaida and recent Andrabi, on the other hand, did not terrorist attacks on European and Ameri- receive support after a terrorist attack comcan soil have severely exacerbated tensions mitted by Muslims. On the morning of the between the Western world and Middle San Bernardino shootings, she walked into East. the gym and people stared at her, turning One consequence of these attacks is to their friends to express discomfort or that fear drives some concern. At that to make sweeping point, the police judgements about the had not pinpointWHENEVER SOMETHING CRAZY Islamic community, laed the perpetrators beling Muslims as hate- LIKE THAT HAPPENS, YOU’RE JUST or the fact that ful and violent. As a re- PRAYING THAT IT’s NOT MUSthey were Muslim. sult, hate crimes against After leaving the Muslims have spiked, LIMS.” gym and head— FRESHMAN NOOR NAVAID ing to pick up her tripling since the Paris and San Bernardino atson at his elementacks, according to the tary school, a man New York Times. started to follow her car. When she stepped These hate crimes have reached the out of her car, he shouted vulgar remarks Bay Area and Santa Clara County. On at her for making a legal right turn at a red Dec. 18, 2015, for instance, a state correc- light. tional officer went on an anti-Muslim rant “I was just thinking it was a bad day.” towards a group of Muslims praying at a Andrabi says. park in Castro Valley and threw her coffee It was only after she saw the news in in one Muslim’s face, according to the San her son’s dentist’s office that it started to Jose Mercury News. make sense. To her, the San Bernardino shooting seemed to create an instant fear The Navaid Family and hate toward those who look like her. Anti-Muslim acts are nothing new to Later that night, the Navaid family the Navaids who have experienced anti- awaited more details from the news. Muslim prejudice in Santa Clara, Iowa and “Whenever something crazy like that Nashville before moving to Palo Alto. happens, you’re just praying that it’s not When they first moved to Palo Alto Muslims,” Noor says. one and a half years ago, both Asad’s and One of Abdullah’s classmate’s mother Andrabi’s car tires were punctured at un- was very supportive when Andrabi told her usual spots on the tires within the span about the incident in which the man yelled of a week. When Andrabi took her car to at her. Abdullah’s classmate’s mother even the shop, the mechanics found pieces of wrote to the district’s superintendent to metal in her tires and a piece of plastic tied ensure that Muslim students do not face a around the exhaust pipe. backlash from the political rhetoric against “Those things had never happened to Muslims and the tragedy of San Bernardime before,” Andrabi says. “So we did end no. up calling the police just to show that if As Noor reflects on the recent terrorsomeone was trying to be funny with us, we ist attacks, her father, Navaid Asad, and would resort to getting aid from the law.” mother, listen attentatively. Abdullah then At Paly, Noor has not experienced describes an instance in which a classmate
called him “ISIS.” “He didn’t even know what it meant,” Abdullah says. “So, first I sent a letter to Obama because I was like ‘I’m done with this.’ And then I talked to my principal and everyone in fifth grade eventually knew about it.” The principal took care of the incident and called the Navaids to show her support. Abdullah eventually was given an apology, in which the boy admitted that he did not know what he was saying. “Why was he saying it?” Andrabi says. “Because that’s what he gets from the media.” Casual Prejudice An undercurrent of racism against Muslims also exists in Palo Alto’s relatively
FAMILY TIME Sisters Huda Navaid (left) and Noor Navaid (center) chat on a Sunday evening after returning from a Muslim community potluck while their mother, Fahra Andrabi, prepares frozen chicken fingers.
progressive community, according to other Muslims in the city, who say they see subtler racism that often goes under the radar. Paly junior Aisha Chabane has faced such casual prejudice. Often times when she tells her peers that she is Muslim, she is sometimes met with extreme surprise, as if there was no chance that Chabane, a light-skinned and non-hijab-wearing girl, could be Muslim. She specifically remembers the astounded reactions of her two friends when she told them, as they responded, “That can’t be true,” and “you’re lying.” “I guess you have a perception of what a Muslim looks like and what a Muslim is so then it comes as a shock,” Chabane says. Much of so-called “Islamophobia”
has more to do with racism targeted toward Arabs than religious-based discrimination, according to Chabane. “I don’t really experience what women who actually wear [head]scarves experience,” Chabane says. “I don’t receive as much of the same criticism as I know many other Muslims do because of the color of their skin or the way that they dress.” Nevertheless, not being easily identifiable as a Muslim has allowed her to hear the casually unkind comments made about her religion. When she was a counselor at a summer camp, a junior counselor proclaimed that all Muslims were terrorists, unaware that Chabane herself was Muslim. She also says that she often witnesses people at Paly shouting “Allahu Akbar” in
an aggressive manner, implying that it is a violent or extremist phrase. “I sit there and think, ‘Is that what you guys think?’” Chabane says, “Is that what you think Muslims are like?” Yusuf Rizk, a Paly junior and Muslim, faces the same sort of inconspicuous prejudice that Chabane does. “There’s always the occasional 9/11 joke or the friend yelling ‘Allahu Akbar’ or something,” Rizk says. He has gradually become numb and accustomed to the remarks, proclaiming that it’s more of an annoyance than anything to him. “Eventually it [anti-Muslim comments] had no impact,” he says. “If someone yelled at me today, I would probably 45
LACROSSE PRACTICE Muslim Paly junior Yusuf Rizk sits on the grass as he prepares for a lacrosse game.
have a talk with them about cultural respect.”
a modern twist to a traditional custom of offering sweets to guests, and uses a Powerpoint presentation to explain the values of Misconceptions About the Hijab Dawoodi Bohra. According to Huda, a prevalent source “We are your engineers and your docof this same casual prejudice is the per- Redefining Islam tors,” Rangwala says. “We’re your typical ceived oppression of Muslim women Beside the crowded highway entrance geeks.” through modest clothing. at San Antonio Road is the Hatemi Masjid, Rangwala stresses the strong values of In the seventh or eighth grade, a fellow one of California’s four mosques made for Dawoodi Bohra, which include no interest student at Huda’s all-girls school posted a the Dawoodi Bohra community, a primarily in financial transactions, education for all, picture on Facebook of her wearing a long Indian and Pakistani group that follows Shia caring for the environment and pride in skirt. She was judged in the comments for Islam. The masjid is imposing — a huge one’s country. being oppressed for having to cover up. structure lined with gold and embellished “The barbarity of ISIS is not what we Muslim women experience similar with intricate details and designs, each with are,” Rangwala says. “It is not what the Dajudgment about wearing the hijab, which meaning. Inside, the mosque’s aesthetic is a woodi Bohra is, it is not what Islam is.” supposedly oppresses their sexuality. unique juxtaposition of modern and tradiHe goes on to talk about who he is “Muslim women are told that they tional, with abstract-looking chrome chan- — a normal Bay Area resident. He loves are less beautiful than women who don’t deliers and LCD screens clashing with the Stephen Curry. He went to University of wear a hijab,” Huda says. “‘We’re culturally takhat, a chair for the imam, Muslim priest, California, Berkeley. shamed, religiously shamed and made to to sit on during prayers, and mihrab, a niche “Your aspirations are what our aspirafeel like we’re less beautiful.” in the wall of a mosque pointing towards tions are,” Rangwala says. “You want to be BOW suitors of Penelope, played by senior Molly something Kraus, YetDOWN Islam andThe the rowdy hijab are the oppoMecca, aa character religious center in Saudi Arabia. great, you want to be a physiset up camp around Odysseus’s house as they force Penelope’s maids to bow to them. site of oppression, she says. Zoaib Rangwala, the community sec- cian, you want to be a psychologist, you “Islam is empowering for women,” retary and head priest, emphasizes the want to be a Ph.D. Those are the same aspishe says. “Its [a woman’s] value is based on progressiveness of the Dawoodi Bohra. rations that we have, that our children have her personality and relationship with God He immediately offers M&Ms to visitors, and that’s how we go about our lives.” v 46
and other people, not on men. It’s one of the most empowering movements of feminism, because it allows men and women to be equal.”
FEATURES | FEBRUARY 2016 Text by ELANA REBITZER Art by KARINA CHAN
updating palo alto
BOARD MAY RENAME JORDAN MIDDLE SCHOOL
ITHIN HOURS OF Gunn graduate Nilmini Rubin’s birth in 1972, her mother’s life was irreparably changed. That night, the doctor declared that the world ‘didn’t need more colored babies,’ and forcefully sterilized her mother, an immigrant from Sri Lanka, according to Rubin. Since Rubin’s father was not allowed to stay overnight in the ward, her mother, who had just given birth to her first child, was unable to resist this procedure. When Rubin was in the first grade, her family moved to Palo Alto and she attended Hoover Elementary School, part of the Palo Alto Unified School District. In the same district are David Starr Jordan Middle School, Terman Middle School and Cubberley Community Center, all named after prominent figures in the eugenics movement who laid the groundwork for sterilizations of thousands of people with disabilities and people of color during the 20th century. According to Rubin, who has become an advocate for reparations, over 63,000 people in 32 states were sterilized, one third of whom were in California. During her time in Palo Alto, Rubin’s mother found out that students in PAUSD went to schools that were named after men who would have supported her sterilization. “[She felt] disappointment that no one cared enough to change it.,” Rubin says. “And then it became denial, like, ‘Oh maybe they don’t know.”’ While many people
may remain unaware of this history, that is all beginning to change. Last year, Kobi Johnsson, then a seventh grader at Jordan, did a school project on David Starr Jordan. He was shocked to find that Jordan, the first president of Stanford University, was also one of the most prominent eugenicists of the early 20th century. Upon learning this from his son, his father, Lars Johnsson, began doing his own research. “I got motivated to do my own research into ... David Starr Jordan, just to make sure that there weren’t any other accomplishments that outweigh the downsides,” Johnsson says. “The more I looked, the worse it got.” To Johnsson and many like-minded Palo Altans, that eugenicist ideology is in conflict with the diverse population of the Palo Alto community. “We are sending a school population into that school every day that is 50 percent non-white,” Johnsson says. “He would say that ‘Because they’re non-white, they’re not smart. Education and opportunity does nothing to change intellectual capability.’”
FEATURES | FEBRUARY 2016 After learning of Jordan’s eugenicist views, Johnsson created a petition on Change.org that garnered over 300 signatures. In January 2016, he presented the petition to the Palo Alto school board. At the meeting, Johnsson explained his case, which included a letter from Rubin advocating for changing the name. The board unanimously decided to create a committee to look into his proposal. Changing school names due to problematic namesakes is not something unique to Palo Alto. Princeton University is considering renaming its Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs due to Wilson’s segregationist views, and Amherst College has stated that it is no longer named after of Lord Jeffrey Amherst, who is well known for advocating the genocide of Native Americans, and is instead named after the town Amherst where the school is located. If the Jordan campaign is successful, Palo Alto will become one of the many places that has decided that the negative actions of its founding figures loom so large that they do not want to be associated with them anymore. The Campaign to Rename Letitia Burton, a Palo Alto High School Living Skills teacher, did her own research on Jordan when she first began working at PAUSD. “He believed in keeping white people white, and keeping wealthy people wealthy, and structuring society in such a way that the gene pool wasn’t tainted,” Burton says. Accusations against Jordan even go so far as to assert that he covered up the murder of Jane Lathrop Stanford. Despite the controversy, Jordan’s connections to Palo Alto and Stanford University were strong enough that, in 1937, a middle school was named after him. Although the school renaming cam-
paign is focused on Jordan, board members Antink says today. “I reread my letter and I are also concerned about the namesakes of think that my views are the same.” Terman and Cubberley. Lewis Terman is well known as one of the first proponents Debate Over the Name of IQ tests, which categorized individuFor Paly senior Zach Segal, the camals as inferior on the basis of intelligence. paign to change the school’s name is needWhile his most famous studies relate to lessly digging up relics of the past. “genius” children, he also did many stud“I think that it’s already got a name,” ies on those who he deemed “stupid,” or Segal says. “We really can’t judge people below average. back then by today’s standard.” “He [Terman] applied IQ tests with Burton, however, disagrees with argugreat rigor to provide the scientific under- ments like Segal’s. pinnings for classifying people as smart or “Do we hold onto something because stupid,” Johnsson says. it is the tradition?” Burton asks. “Or do we While Johnsson is behind the newest say that maybe it’s time to put this tradition campaign, his movement to change the to rest and start something new?” name is by no means the first attempt. In Burton says that the name should be 2008, Suz Antink, then a math teacher at changed, both for Palo Alto’s reputation as Paly, wrote a letter to the board propos- well as for the sake of the students attending that it look into changing the names of ing the schools. Terman, Cubberley and Jordan, claiming “When you think about it, there are that naming schools after these men actsed students that are going to Jordan that, against the educationaccording to Daal goals of the school vid Starr Jordan, district. shouldn’t have been “I believe that in the school,” Burour current struggle There are students that ton says. to encourage and However, Johnare going to Jordan that support students sson does acknowlsuccessfully reach- according to David Starr edge that there may ing their ambitions is Jordan shouldn’t have been be some financial somewhat hampered drawbacks that come by the legacy left by in the school.” with changing the their national design another aspect — letitia burton, name, and its implementathat the commitee tion,” Antink stated living skills teacher will examine. in her letter to the “We need to look board in 2008. at if this is a spending However, acpriority,” Johnsson cording to Antink, former Supt. Kevin says. “Which other things will we not be Skelly urged her to retract her letter be- able to do in the school district if this is a cause he felt that the Board of Education costly affair?” members should focus on the financial isBeyond those financial concerns, neisues the district was facing at the time. ther Burton nor Johnsson claim to see any “I didn’t take it back, but I did agree reason to leave the name as it is. In contrast to let the idea move to the background,” to the vocal few who hold strong beliefs,
Jordan Middle School, named after David Starr Jordan, is founded in Palo Alto.
Nilmini Rubin is born in Pullman, Wash. Her mother is forcefully sterilized after her birth.
Paly math teacher Suz Antink writes to the board suggesting that it change three school names.
FEATURES | FEBRUARY 2016 many students are ambivalent, probably Johnsson, on the other hand, has due to a lack of awareness of the issue, ac- avoided advocating for specific names. cording to Johnsson. Multiple Paly students “I am staying away from this because I who have gone to Jordo not have an agenda,” dan admit that, beyond Johnsson says. “I can having heard about Joronly imagine that whatdan’s racism from this ever name the comcampaign, they know If we don’t act, we enmittee comes up with very little about him. dorse the name, and with that the board ends up Over the course of approving will be betthe campaign, Johnson the name we endorse the ter than what we have has noticed patterns legacy.” today.” in the feedback he reWhen Rubin at— lars johnsson, cieves. tended Wilbur Middle campaign founder School, she was a stu“I get a lot of pushback that softens dent representative on up considerably after the board committee I sit down with people that chose the name and play ping pong on the facts,” Johnsson of Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School. says. “They don’t feel so good about Jordan Looking back at her experience choosing once they know [what he believed].” a name, Rubin suggests that the current To Johnsson, now that this issue has board uses a similar process to choose the been brought to light, it must be dealt with new name. immediately. “We had a really robust discussion “Now that we know, we cannot not about what our town wanted to honor,” act,” Johnsson says. “If we don’t act, we Rubin says. “I imagine that they could just endorse the name, and with the name we do the same process that we did back then, endorse the legacy.” and then figure out who really changed our town for the better.” Looking to the Future As deliberations about the name conBurton says that changing the name is tinue, and tensions may rise, Rubin cautions an important step for the Palo Alto com- that this debate is not simply one between munity to take. an “old” and a “new” Palo Alto. “We keep talking about changing the “I really feel that this is something that narrative of our schools and our commu- has been a lingering problem,” Rubin says. nity,” Burton says. “In terms of the narra- “It is kind of taking people with different tive of Palo Alto, wouldn’t it be wonderful ideas to realize this can’t stand . . . This is to have this social justice narrative?” not introducing something new, and it has In her letter to the board, Antink been wrong for a long time.” brought up several potential candidates For everyone invested in changing the who she says would make strong replace- name, the biggest priority is simply that the ments for the current school names. name is changed. Among those names are Henry Page, for“If you choose not to make a choice, mer PAUSD principal of Adult Education, then that’s a statement,” Burton says. and Dr. Sally Herriott, a former Paly math “You’re in complicit agreement with what teacher. was there before.” v
North Carolina becomes the only state to provide reparations to victims of forced sterilization.
Lars Johnsson begins campaign to rename Jordan after reading his son’s book report.
who killed jane lathrop stanford?
n February 1905, Jane Lathrop Stanford, then the controller of the Stanford Board of Trustees, went on vacation to Hawaii. According to Lars Johnsson, the leader of the campaign to rename Jordan, she was in an argument with Jordan about the expansion of Stanford campus, which he did not think was necessary. On Feb. 28, Stanford asked her secretary for a soda, according to an 2003 article published in Stanford Alumni Magazine. Late that night, she awoke in pain and, according to reports by her secretary and doctor, as she died, she called out that she thought she had been poisoned. Immediately upon hearing the news of Stanford’s death, David Starr Jordan sailed with a physician he hired to Hawaii, where he pronounced Stanford to have died of heart trouble. Because of Jordan’s reputation, this claim was accepted, despite the fact that an earlier doctor’s report had claimed evidence of poisoning as well. “He could have had the best interest of the school in mind, wanting to avoid controversy,” Johnsson says. “He may also have had more sinister motivation.” Since everyone involved is dead, it is impossible to know what truly happened, so for Johnsson, it is irrelevant to his campaign. “I believe it’s a rumor and will forever stay a rumor,” Johnsson says. “I am staying away from my official reasoning in saying that the school should be renamed.” 49
Text by NATALIE MAEMURA Art by KARINA CHAN
SARAH BARTLET T: ANALYZED
EXPLORING THE MIND BEHIND AP LITERATURE
DDING JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF lemon juice to accompany her green tea in her distinctive glass mug, Sarah Bartlett is finally ready to begin teaching her Advanced Placement Literature class. For her last 14 years of teaching English, Bartlett always brings her zany, candid and wise personality to her students and classes at Palo Alto High School. v VERDE: WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH TEA? Sarah Bartlett: I drink tea pretty much all period long. I won’t drink tea out of plastic mugs. I threw out most of my plastic food containers years ago because I suspect it’s not good for you. There’s a lot of cancer in my family, so I try not to drink out of plastic and try not to drink Coke all day. I read somewhere that it’s [green tea] supposed to be good for you, and I don’t get all hopped up on caffeine. V: WHO IS YOUR MENTOR IN LIFE AND WHY? SB: My high school English teacher, Patricia Weaver. When I was 16, I decided I wanted grow up to be her. The best part is that now I get to go to her house for tea and we talk about teaching, and we remind each other of all sorts of things we don’t remember about ourselves in 1989. V: HOW DO YOU CHOOSE YOUR BOOKS FOR AP LITERATURE? SB: I pick books that are on the master AP list, but that list is very long. I try to pick books I really like and can get excited about or that I think kids can get excited about. I think that teachers are able to make things interesting for students if they’re interesting to us. I wouldn’t do as good a job teaching a book that I hate as I would teaching a book that I really enjoy or I think students would enjoy. I just pick books that I like.
V: WHAT IS THE BEST THING THAT HAS HAPPENED IN YOUR CAREER? SB: One of the best things is when former students come back to visit after a semester or a year in college and tell me that my class really helped them in college, not just in English classes but across the disciplines. V: IF YOU HAD THE POWER TO CHANGE THE ENGLISH CURRICULUM OR SYSTEM, WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE? SB: I would make 11th grade English a year-long course. V: WHAT ARE SOME CHANGES YOU’VE SEEN IN YOUR 14 YEARS AT PALY? SB: There’s definitely been a shift in trying to be more understanding and flexible with regards to students and how much work we give. I feel like 14 years ago, people felt differently about a student flunking their class, getting a C or a D, than they do now. Philosophically, I feel that we have gotten more invested in trying to keep that from happening, whereas before I said, ‘Everyone has the right to fail’ and now, we’ll ask ourselves ‘What can we do from keep this kid from failing? What outside support do they need or how can we structure our class differently or how can our grading policies be more flexible so more kids can succeed?’
V: WHO IS YOUR SQUAD AT PALY? SB: I hang out with and know best mostly English and social studies teachers. I am good friends with Ms. Tokheim and Mr. Blackburn. Mr. Blackburn, his wife and my husband and I go MURPHY Bartlett brings her giant on double dates sometimes. “designer” bernedoodle, Murphy, to school.
V: WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST PET PEEVE? SB: I’m afraid to tell you because then students will know how to get to me! V: HOW DO YOU BALANCE YOUR WORK LIFE AND PERSONAL LIFE? SB: Sometimes I don’t think students have any idea how hard teachers work. The job will take over your life if you let it. I could easily spend two hours on every lesson plan and 20 minutes on every student essay ... but I have to balance the demands of my job with my husband and my daughter, and not be a total stress case or always distracted when I’m with them. My mom and I both survived breast cancer eight years ago, and that experience is a constant reminder that it’s OK to set limits because time with those we love is just the most important thing we have.
PROFILES | FEBRUARY 2016
BOVE THE LONG, untamed grass sits a lonely picnic table covered with three orange pumpkins and a few chipping pots. Next to the table, John Waters rests in his dark green camping chair as he describes the little niche he has created for himself. He motions towards a few sprouting ferns that surround him and, with a smile, adds that he planted the small trees himself. One step above homelessness, Wa52
ters has found both peace and hope in this space — a space, which to him is “therapeutic.” Just a block away from the fastpaced El Camino Real, Waters says he and those like him feel alienated in the affluent town of Palo Alto, a city that does not accept them, despite the fact that they are only trying to survive. Waters, a Palo Alto High School Class of 1964 graduate, is happy to tell his story. Just a few feet away from the picnic table, his home is parked parallel to the
sidewalk — a rusty green van overflowing with cans, paper scraps and dingy clothing. Due to the high cost of housing in the Bay Area, Waters has been forced to live in a van. While he is indisputably in Palo Alto, he feels a barrier between vehicle dwellers and other residents. In Palo Alto, vehicle dwelling was long one of the few forms of affordable housing. However, three years ago, pressure from local residents as well as neighboring community’s restrictions caused the City
PROFILES | FEBRUARY 2016 to make sense to explore it here.” Vankuran recently joined the RV commuAlthough the City Council repealed nity, an escape from sleeping on the streets. the law in 2014 before it went into effect, “About a month ago, I bought that Waters, as well as the other vehicle dwellers van,” Vankuran says, with a hint of pride in behind Fry’s Electronics, still face resident his voice. “It took a little adjustment to get complaints, specifically one woman who back to living like this.” has notified the police to investigate their Despite the presumed low standard of presence multiple times. living, Vankuran says he has found a com“The issue legally is whether the owner munity of his own — a pleasant contrast to of the property cares,” Waters says. “This his previous years of hardship. woman is taking exception and calling the “We help each other out, we’re all police when it’s none of her business.” friends around here,” Vankuran says. With the constant threat of angered While some have a long history with residents and tow warnings from parking this RV community, others, such as Claudio law enforcers, Waters has had to recreate Garcia, are relatively new to Palo Alto. Garhis life. After decades of living in a van, cia came to Silicon Valley with the construche has acclimated to the tion company McCarlifestyle shift and the difthy, leaving his home ference in priorities. and family in Phoenix, “I’ve had to learn to To survive is what i’m Ariz. Although his live here, to stay warm RV has been an ideal and dry in the winter trying to do at the means of transportatime,” Waters says. “To moment” tion, Garcia misses his survive is what I’m trying — rv resident john waters family back home. to do at this moment.” “My hope for the paly class of 1964 future is that there However, Waters says that living in an RV would be more jobs may not be as hard as opening up in Phoesome people may imagine, as he points to nix,” Garcia says. “That way, I don’t have his solar panels and television set attached to come over here to work. Then I could to the top of his van. just work in my hometown, and I could Yet, the way Waters and other vehicle stay at my own house.” dwellers live puts them at risk of breaking Garcia has lived in locations such community laws, according to Stump. Since as Utah, Colorado and New Mexico bevehicle dwellers may not have access to a fore coming to Palo Alto, following the bathroom or garbage, they may violate laws company in his RV. Throughout the counsuch as the prohibition of littering in the try he has noticed a common misconcepstreet. In response to resident complaints, tion in the public’s view of RV residents. vehicle dwellers are often investigated by “They think I live for free, but this the police and forced to move their homes, according to Stump. Like Waters, Pete Vankuran has also LOOKING BACK (Left) Palo been affected by resident complaints durAlto resident and Paly graduate ing his short time in the RV community. John Waters reminisces on years However, compared to his long and tasking of being hidden from most of the journey back to Palo Alto Vankuran says affluent city. As a vehicle dweller, that his life as an RV dweller is a vast imWaters has an untraditional lifeprovement. style based in an empty lot. After graduating from Paly, Vankuran HOME (second page) Fred Smith worked as a truck driver, transporting a vastands beside his RV, which proriety of goods and merchandise from one vides him with affordable housing location to the next until five years ago, in Palo Alto. After losing his job as when he lost his job. Although he lived an engineer, Smith joined the RV with his parents for a few months, he evencommunity behind Fry’s Electrontually had to leave their house, resulting in ics, where he currently lives. a period of homelessness. After finding his way back to his hometown of Palo Alto,
Text by ALIA CUADROS-CONTRERAS and AMIRA GAREWAL Photography by WILLIAM DOUGALL Council to pass a law prohibiting living in a vehicle. “There had been a number of complaints from community members that live in traditional houses that there was conduct that was unsafe from their perspective coming from some people living in vehicles,” says Palo Alto City Attorney Molly Stump. “Almost all the surrounding communities throughout the Bay Area have some kind of a law against living in your vehicle. Since this type of law is very common, it seemed
PROFILES | FEBRUARY 2016
$70,000 RV is not for free,” Garcia says. Fred Smith, another current vehicle dweller, also acknowledges this lack of understanding from the broader community. A former Silicon Valley techie, Smith has a loving marriage and raised a son in the Palo Alto community. In 2007, however, he lost his job as a software engineer and his rent began to eat away at his savings. “It was expensive, eventually, that took all my money,” Smith says. “And then I thought, ‘Wow this is bad.’ Then I bought this old thing [the RV] off Craigslist.” Smith has stitched together a new life 54
for himself and his wife. Although Smith is content with his life, he feels that community members tend to judge vehicle dwellers because of their lack of a “real” home. He says people associate the lack of a home with being a criminal. These stereotypes are prominent among concerned parents, especially since there is a community playground in the close vicinity. “There’s this one woman that writes to the paper every once in awhile,” Smith says. “She says, ‘You know those people, you know how they are. Sooner or later they are going to molest all of our children.’ It’s
pretty absurd. We are those ‘bad people,’ according to some.” A couple of Smith’s friends have encouraged him to find an affordable apartment elsewhere to escape the struggles of the RV life. Smith has considered relocating to Illinois, New Mexico or Las Vegas; however, he feels a strong connection to Palo Alto — the place he calls home. “I’ve lived here with my wife all my marriage,” Smith says. “This place has all the memories. This was the best time in my life. Now I’m supposed to just get up and leave?” v
Reaching for Success
PROFILES | FEBRUARY 2016
ALUMNA’S JOURNEY FROM TECH TO BEAUTY Text by EMMA GOLDSMITH and DANIELLE MACUIL Photography by EMMA GOLDSMITH
HE OFFICE SPACE IS a hipster’s dream. As a low hum of activity permeates throughout the space, industrial metal beams frame a stunning city view of the San Francisco Bay and Mission Street. Inside the building, people gather around a tea and coffee bar, to stave off caffeine withdrawal. The office is divided by glass walls, and each area is designed with geometric wallpaper sporting funky colors like lime-yellow and mauve. This office represents a new idea, a comunal office space — one shared with many companies. So, the studious twentysomethings, faces illuminated by wafer-thin computers, are from a completely different company than the entrepenuers dressed to the nines playing ping pong. The space, owned by We Work is rented to companies, like Poshly, founded by Palo Alto High School alumna Doreen Bloch. Recently featured in Forbes’ annual feature “30 under 30,” and winner of L’Oreal’s NEXT Generation Women in Digital Award, Bloch is making a name for herself in the tech world. Poshly is an online company that has users answer personal beauty quizzes to help brands develop new products. In exchange, participants are entered in raffles for beauty and lifestyle products. After graduating from Paly in 2006, Bloch attended the University of California, at Berkeley to study business. Due to her stint as Editor-in-Chief at Paly’s on-
line news publication, The Paly Voice, she looked into joining a publication staff at Berkeley, but decided not to when she realized she would need to start at the bottom regardless of her previous experience. Instead, Bloch founded Bare Magazine, an online and print fashion and lifestyle magazine, in 2007. “She [Bloch] is the kind of person that if she has an idea, she’ll go for it and there’s nothing really stopping her from going for it,” says senior Adele Bloch, Doreen’s sister. Though she is a serious worker, Bloch can always have a laugh with her coworkers and almost always wears an enthusiastic smile. “At the office, she has the nickname ‘Dbot’ because of her automatic attention to detail, vigilance and laser constant focus,” says founding data engineer at Poshly, Matt Drescher. The idea for Poshly came from Bloch’s love for both beauty and digital elements. She also believed that the idea of a beauty company based solely online had potential. After working in the finance world as a strategy analyst at SecondMarket, Bloch realized she wanted to do something more innovative and creative. “What initially attracted me to Poshly was that its mission is very transparent and really all about helping people have a fun time finding products they will love,” Drescher says. “I found Poshly to be a pretty refreshing angle.” Using her knoweldge of the tech
TOP EXECUITIVE Doreen Bloch, CEO of Poshly, checks her phone at her We Work Offices in San Francisco. 55
PROFILES | FEBRUARY 2016 world to create her company seemed a great grace-under-pressure moment.” obvious to Bloch because of the lack of Bloch is regarded as an inspiring leader digital presence of the immense beauty in- of the Poshly team by her employees and dustry. coworkers. Regardless of the situation, she “It [the beauty industry] is a four-plus always keeps it together. billion-dollar industry,” Bloch says. “Each “She really believes in what she is doand every person buys these products, ing and she stops at nothing in going after whether they think they are an avid per- what she wants to accomplish,” Dreschesonal care consumer or not.” says. “She really doesn’t compromise very While the process of establishing a much at all when it comes to making things business seems intimidating, using advice that are awesome.” from friends and famNow, Bloch is “biily, Bloch was able coastal,” spending time to use resources and in both New York and contact companies to While sheIf she has an idea, she’ll California. found Poshly. sometimes lives in New Bloch describes go for it and there’s York, she was born and Poshly as a place where in the Silicon nothing really stopping raised people can discover Valley. great new products, re- her from going for it.” “Almost every gardless of their price. Sunday, she makes sure “On the brand to come home and side, we want them spend time with fam[the clients] to think of ily,” Adele Bloch says. us as the go-to place to “The other day we had look at consumers needs and preferences a four-hour karaoke night, and it was just and hopefully make better product devel- her and me singing for literally four hours. opment decisions based off of that,” Bloch She’s very family orientated.” says. Bloch credits much of her business’s Although problems arise in times of success to her experiences in the Paly crises, Bloch attempts to deal with her Voice. Along with her internship at Yahoo doubts in a positive way. over the summers of 2006, 2007 and 2008, “Doubt and anxiety I find to be very Bloch had help being launched into the the interesting human emotions in that they tech world. can be very destructive but they can also be “Having those classes at the highextremely productive.” Bloch says. school level really is one of the only handsDespite facing naysayers who didn’t on experience kind of classes you can get in believe in the viability of her company, her high school at Paly and otherwise,” Bloch determination to see her company succeed says. “We’re very, very, very privileged to outweighed any doubts. have that kind of program and the kind of “At Poshly, we are very big on encour- teachers that we do.” aging, supporting and celebrating personal Bloch’s time in the Silicon Valley has growth, and that whole focus, as far as I given her new insight on what the tech am concerned, comes from Doreen,” Dre- world is and what it is becoming. scher says. “Yet, when a problem arises in Although Bloch didn’t pursue a major the server, Bloch is able to take a step back relating to the tech industry, she found it a and try to look at the problem from an- necessity to have Poshly as a digital busiother angle.” ness due to the quickly-growing online “As the claws of panic started to be world. She is constantly reading books felt, ... I will never forget Doreen, who was about coding to become more knowledgealso quite flummoxed but just collected able on the inventive new world of tech. herself, furrowed her brow and said ‘Okay. “I very much encourage people who I think we should eat some pie,’” Drescher are intimidated of anything technical to just says. “As we were on our second slice, the take the time to read about how it has come pieces of the puzzle started to fall into to the point of where it is today,” Bloch place. Sure enough everything was back up says. “I think we are … in our infancy of and running and everyone was happy. It was this tech boom revolution.” v
— ADELE BLoch
PROFILES | FEBRUARY 2016
FOCUSED Doreen Bloch sends out an email in her We Work office space in San Francisco. 57
| MICHELLE2015 CULTURE Text byDECEMBER LI and RACHEL VAN GELDER Photography by WILLIAM DOUGALL
NURSE’S JOURNEY STARTED ACROSS THE GLOBE
ACH WEEKDAY MORNEver since Kleckner graduated with ing at Palo Alto High a bachelor’s degree in American history School’s health office has a and Economics from UC Berkeley, she has similar rhythm. The first pa- devoted her life to helping people in her tients own community and to come in each around the globe. morning tend to be She has been students involved in a Palo Alto Unibike accidents. As It’s not just the big names fied School District the day progresses, that are my heroes. It’s a nurse for a decade; students who are however, she didn’t rethinking their de- lot of the kids i see here [at discover her passion cision to go to class paly].” for health until she despite mild colds — Jennifer Kleckner, Paly nurse pursued her dream and fevers drop by. of joining the Peace Sitting behind the Corp. After college, desk of the health she set out for the office to give each student a friendly greet- Democratic Republic of the Congo at age ing and attend to their needs is nurse Jen- 22. nifer Kleckner. She spent her first two years in the 58
Congo teaching local children how to read, write and speak English. While serving there, she also had the opportunity to help locals and fellow volunteers set up a maternity clinic in a small village. The maternity clinic was set up to provide expecting mothers with prenatal care and trained midwives to assist women in childbirth. “That [a maternity clinic] is what this village particularly wanted because they’d had some tragic losses,” Kleckner says. “I helped raise the money for the clinic and get it started.” Kleckner then volunteered for a local hospital and mobile clinic, providing vaccinations and monthly check-ups for people in the area. These experiences inspired Kleckner to pursue a career in public health at university after the end of her three years
PROFILES | FEBRUARY 2016 of volunteering in the Congo. It was also during her time in the Congo that Kleckner met people who had a lasting impact on her. Kleckner recalls one woman in her group whose family helped a fellow volunteer pay his tuition for graduate school at Stanford. “She came from a wealthy family, but in the program, she seemed like any other person who was there,” Kleckner says. “Her family supported him [the volunteer] going to Stanford and he got his degree. I thought that was really inspiring.” Many of Kleckner’s fellow volunteers continued on to do work in public health, working for causes such as AIDS prevention. When Kleckner completed her time volunteering overseas, she continued to work toward her newfound career interest in public health by earning her nursing credentials and finding work in maternity, internal medicine, and orthopedics. Since earning her credentials, Kleckner has married and had three children of her own. According to Kleckner, her passion has always been working with children and helping others. Because of her love for working with students and caring for others, Kleckner decided to become a school nurse. “Watching ... students grow up is so exciting,” Kleckner says. “Getting to see the paths that they take and the passions that they develop is great.” Though she changed her career path, Kleckner is still involved in teaching English through her volunteer work with Reading Partners, a program that provides tutoring for elementary school students reading below their grade level. Kleckner hopes she will be able to make a difference in students’ lives while volunteering with the program. “Reading is such an essential tool and it builds,” Kleckner says. “Some kids can feel left behind if math or reading is not for them and I don’t want to see some kids check out.” After working with students at Jordan Middle School, Kleckner was asked to be Paly’s nurse because there was no nurse and a large student body in need. Kleckner appreciates that she is able to assist students who are struggling physically or mentally.
“I can start asking questions and help the student figure out what the problem they’re having is related to,” Kleckner says. “I like solving the mystery of why someone isn’t feeling well and if it’s something I can help them with then it’s very gratifying.” Kleckner says that the students she has met as a nurse have taught her a lot. “I’ve learned from the kids in my life that when I have to do something that I’m not exactly looking forward to, I usually find out afterwards that it was great,” Kleckner says. “They have taught me not to make snap judgements.” Whether working as a nurse in Palo Alto or as an English teacher in the Congo, the people Kleckner has helped have had a
profound impact on her life. “It’s not just the big names that are my heroes. It’s a lot of the kids I see here [at Paly],” Kleckner says. v LEFT Paly nurse Jennifer Kleckner enjoys chatting with students in the health office. BELOW A student comes to the health office in need of medical attention for a wrist injury. After asking questions about the injury, Kleckner prepares an ice pack for the student.
PROFILES | FEBRUARY 2016 Text by SOPHIE NAKAI and ELANA REBITZER Photography by WILLIAM DOUGALL and EMILIE MA
STUDENT OR TEACHER?
EXPLORING THE TEACHING PRACTICUM COURSE
WANT YOU AND THE people around you to come up with a list of at least 10 things you know about Echinoderms,” Palo Alto High School Senior Sylvia Targ calls to her fifth period Marine Biology class as she looks through slides for her presentation later that class. As the students begin to form their lists, Targ prompts them with questions: “What do they look like? Have you ever seen one of them? What might they taste like?” Then, she writes down each group’s answers on the board. To an outsider, Targ would appear to be a regular teacher, with one exception: she is the same age as most of her students. Targ is enrolled in Teaching Practicum, a class that provides students with an opportunity to assist teachers and practice teaching a few lessons themselves. For one quarter, the students shadow a selected teacher. Then, they are required to teach at least one lesson per quarter, as well as attend bi-monthly seminars during Tutorial, where they learn about teaching. This class of around 20 students differs from the Teaching Assistant course because the 60
students interact with classes personally, as opposed to acting as administrative aides. The Teaching Practicum course is especially necessary now, as the U. S. Department of Education has projected a shortage of teachers in the future and Teaching Practicum teacher Elizabeth Brimhall believes that it is important to nurture students interests in teaching. “The idea of being able to work with students who might be interested in teaching and prepare them for that I think is a great thing,” Brimhall says. “I also think for a lot of students it’s a really wonderful experience to be in a classroom and be able to be mentors for younger students.” The students enrolled in the course, mostly seniors, earn a year of Career Technical Education credits for taking the elective. “It’s definitely more attractive to do it with the Teaching Practicum program,” says senior Russell Star-Lack, a Teaching Practicum for Jack Bungarden, who teaches A.P. U.S. History. According to Brimhall, the seminars address different topics each quarter in order to address different aspects of teaching.
The first quarter’s topic is different types of teaching styles and the second quarter is dedicated to examining different types of students. The third quarter is devoted to policy issues facing the entire school, and the year ends with looking at the future of education. In addition, the course has guest speakers come in around once a quarter. However, the majority of the learning is devoted to being in the classroom. Bailey Cassidy, Class of 2012, took the Teaching Practicum and Teacher Assistant courses. She now goes to DePaul University in Chicago and is studying to be an Egnlish teacher once she graduates. Cassidy was a TA and a Teaching Practicum student for English teacher Julia Taylor while she was at Paly. “I chose Ms. Taylor because I was in her class sophomore year for English and I had a really good relationship with her,” Cassidy says. For Cassidy, the Teaching Practicum program was not only a fun way to spend a prep period, but also helped her decide what she wanted to be. “Before I started out in her class, I didn’t really have a favorite school subject
PROFILES | FEBRUARY 2016 or any particular subject that I was interested in,” Cassidy says. “I didn’t realize until I was ... teaching her students and having fun with that it [teaching] would be something I’d be good at and enjoy.” The opportunity to teach a lesson each quarter helped her decide how she wants to structure her future classes. “I will try to do like one history day at the beginning of a unit or a book, and try really hard to make all the other days discussion based,” Cassidy says. TA vs. Teaching Practicum According to Brimhall, the most common question about the Teaching Practicum course is how it differs from being a teacher assistant, or TA. Students doing each role agree that their jobs are very different. For example, in the History Department, Lydia Miller is a teacher assistant for AP Psychology and world history, taught by Christopher Farina. “I grade a lot of quizzes, I run a lot of scantrons,” Miller says. “AP Psychology does this thing where students answer questions and they write their student ID
at the top, so I search the IDs, write the name.” Star-Lack also grades many papers, but feels that the lesson each quarter is what really sets the two positions apart. “There’s kind of two main parts, mostly I do what a T.A. would do which is grading ... an unfathomable amount of APUSH quizzes,” Star-Lack says. “The other part is you’re required every quarter to teach a lesson.” In the English Department, the role of a teaching assistant is much smaller than that of a teacher practicum, and is more directly involved in helping the teachers. “The T.A. isn’t participating in lessons or helping run a game or a lesson,” Paly English teacher Erin Angell says. “They’re more sort of like an admin assistant. So they do things like alphabetize, they go get stuff from the front office for me, they deliver notes for me ... it’s incredibly helpful.” In contrast from the TA program, Angell views the Teaching Practicum program not so much as a program for students to be assistants, but rather as a way for teachers to mentor future teachers. Angell thinks the course is a great way to nuture student’s
love for teaching. “It wasn’t a hindrance or extra work, but it wasn’t about it being helpful to me as a teacher,” Angell says. “It was like I’m helping somebody who wants to be a teacher later.” Junior Jerry Hong, a math Teaching Practicum student agrees there is a very distinct difference between being a Teaching Practicum student and a TA. Hong says the classes have some similarities. “TAing is mostly grading homework and assisting your teacher in terms of inputting grades,” Hong says. “Teacher Practicum, you don’t really get access to the grades, but you do get to personally help the kids. They’re two pretty distinct things, [but] you’re helping the teacher in both cases.” In both classes, the students agree that helping a teacher is worthwhile. They are not sure if they want to be teachers, but the class has opened up the possibility. “When you hand your teacher a stack of alphabetized scantrons and they tell you that you’re awesome, it means the world to you,” Miller says. “You feel needed and not worthless.” v
FAR LEFT Teaching Practicum senior Mariah Potier leads the dance class in chaine turns. ABOVE Senior Lizzie Schoenholtz strikes a pose at the end of a dance. RIGHT Senior Sylvia Targ teaches a Marine Biology class and answers student questions. ABOVE RIGHT Junior Jerry Hong helps sophomore Matthew Nemeth with his math worksheet. 61
PROFILES | FEBRUARY 2016
INSTRUCTIONS Shop teacher Booth gives his ceremonial pre-class lecture.
Text and Photography by KAI GALLAGHER
SHOP CLASS IN THE AGE OF STUDENT SAFETY
CIRCULAR SAW’S HIgh-pitched whine echoes off of the walls. Hammers thud up and down in time to an invisible rhythm. The smell of freshly applied varnish, still drying, slowly fills the room. These are sounds and sensations familiar to any respectable industrial workshop. And once, in a time now long gone, this same atmosphere could be found in middle and high schools across the nation. What was once a trade perhaps more applicable to entering the workforce than any other class has taken a backseat to standardized tests and the wave of STEM interest all too familiar to anyone who’s been in the Silicon Valley for long. But despite these changing interests, there exists a pocket of fabrication holding out. Nestled in the corner of Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School, behind an unas62
suming, unmarked door, is Brad Booth’s domain: part classroom and part workshop. Here the spark of student creation persists. Even now, some 30 years after their creation, Booth’s industrial technology classes (both levels, 1A and 1B) still operate at full capacity. Every seat in the room has an owner in every period Booth teaches, and it’s not uncommon for some students to be denied entrance to the class entirely. But despite the crowds of students to manage, Booth maintains a jovial authority that is as much passive oversight as active management. Yet as casually as he sums up his teaching abilities, Booth’s skills have been years in the making. When he was a kid, he would take apart anything and everything he could get his hands on. What began with the remote control moved, first to musical instruments, then to the family car and
eventually, motorcycles. To this day Booth maintains his passions outside of his class, fixing up old violins and repairing World War II-era motorcycles, sidecars and all. “Now, my mother would have told you that I tore them apart and they never worked again,” Booth says. “I would argue that I took them apart and put them back together and they worked again. So it just depends on who you want to believe.” So from the very beginning, Booth knew his calling in life was to design and to build. But the art of industrial tech is a two-part mix: a love for fabrication, and a passion for teaching. Booth found the second piece while still attending Cubberly High School. As part of a the school’s Idea Forum program, Booth was allowed to explore an interest separate from the school curriculum a few days a week. On a whim, he chose to pursue teaching, and found
PROFILES | FEBRUARY 2016 MOOSE The familiar silhouette can be found all throughout Booth’s room.
that his passion for bestowing the knowledge of his craft was a solid match with his thirst for learning more of it himself. But the world outside the Silicon Valley’s bubble was calling, so Booth, inspired by the engineering pursuits the parents of the children he worked with were undertaking, left to be trained as a welder. What started as a straightforward career path as a worker on the Alaskan pipeline took a few sharp turns, first to Sweden to work on boats, then to a subsidiary of Volvo. But nothing stuck, mostly due to a conflict of interest Booth had with his work. So, he returned to the Bay Area to seek out the satisfaction of teaching he had found so long before. “When I worked in industry I missed working with students, and when I worked with students I missed building and inventing in industry,” Booth says. “So this gave me both.” However, on returning, Booth found that life in his old home was more roughand-tumble than traveling the world had been. After working as a shop class teacher for just a few months in South San Francisco, he was riffed on payment and laid off.
“So I wasn’t fired for being a bad guy, although I might’ve been a bad guy,” Booth says. “And so they told me not to worry, that they were sure I’d get hired back, and I said, ‘Screw that, I’m not gonna sit around and find that out come September.’ So I threw out my resume and got called up [for the job at JLS.]” Booth’s arrival to JLS in 1990 was a textbook case of a move out of the frying pan and into the fire. Called in to modernize the school’s shop classes to be on par with those of Jordan and Terman, Booth instead found that the project would be more than just a simple repair job. “What they had done is they had totally trashed the wood shop, the drafting program, and the metalworking program. And the wood shop was becoming an art facility, and they had sold off all of the traditional equipment. So I was hired to come in and create something out of the ashes.” What little equipment the shop class had seemed to be there on accident, the current teacher vehemently resisted any and all change, and to top it off, there
CLOCKWORK A student precisely measures the frame of a clock in order to create a model on the computer.
weren’t enough tables to accomodate the students. So Booth did what he had spent all those years training for and got to work building something he could be proud of. It began with the tables — 14 of them, built by hand. Next came the computers. With sustainable funding an uncertainty, Booth built workstations for computeraided design simultaneously as the money for them came in until he had a sizable fleet for prototyping. Finally (and most crucially) were the tools. The largest expense of the room, Booth’s power tools are also some of the oldest. Again limited by the dubiousness of his classes’ grant money, his only options were to maintain the tools he had inherited from the old class as best he could. “The machines that are over there that are from the 50’s — the only reason they’re still here is because no one would buy them in the auction,” Booth says. “So we inherited that.”
PROFILES | FEBRUARY 2016 Change came to the classroom slowly but surely. Over the course of a few years, Booth built woodworking, metalworking and even 3D printing facilities where once there had been nothing. Not to mention the illustrious Electric Moose car program. Produced in 1994 on a recommendation from fellow Palo Alto builder Bob Schneeveis, the Electric Moose program has quickly become one of not only Booth’s, but JLS’s crowning achievements. Students in the program, tasked with building a solar-powered car, work outside of class hours in a close-knit team. Eventually, they demonstrate the product of their efforts to the grades beneath them, starting the cycle anew. An entire section of the valuable real estate in Booth’s room is dedicated to the awards, accolades and attention from the press that the program garners — not to mention the various moose imagery strewn about the space. But for all the sucess Booth has enjoyed in building up his own personal shrine to the art of craftsmanship, his story is tragically scarce. Rather than the upswing on engineering and technical skills expect-
ed in the wake of the wave of STEM interest, industrial tech has been typecast as a class built for students not intending to go down the college track. Part of it has been because of the homogenization of the engineering population in the Silicon Valley, a trend Booth witnessed himself. “There was a time in this town when the town was full of mechanical engineers,” Booth says. “And then it was full of aerospace engineers, Lockheed, space and missiles stuff like that, and electrical engineers. And then on came software, and on came hardware. So there was a time when you had it all, so the place was unbelievably versatile. And now, more and more so, many of the tool processes, for the most part, have disappeared. So people are theoretical, but they don’t actually know how to execute.” Though that only speaks for the Silicon Valley, the numbers don’t lie — students everywhere are making less. A startling 72 percent of students have never taken a shop class, while 83 percent say they work with their hands less than one or two hours per week, according to a study published by the Nuts and Bolts Foundation in 2009. Pinpointing exactly why is a hazy guess at best. There’s an entire line-up of suspects. For one, shop classes require more space. Booth’s room is about four times the size of a standard classroom. In
WELL-OILED An assortment of the power tools available to students in Mr. Booth’s room.
SAFETY FIRST Goggles are a required fashion accessory for work in the shop. addition, the cost for a drill press, lathe and belt sander can quickly add up to more than that of other electives, such as home economics. And finally, the accidents. Booth has kept his class running by staying careful and sticking by his own personal cardinal rules, the most important of which: no accidents. “One thing is you can’t have accidents,” Booth says. “Accidents are the kiss of death . . . Good news spreads at one speed and bad news spreads a lot quicker”. His words ring true — it’s much easier to point to a grisly accident than to the myriad of student successes that shop classes can generate. Booth, for his part, has kept mishaps to a minimum by assigning his students projects that build on each other iteratively, so the engineers-to-be are never faced with a tool they haven’t already practiced with. But for all of his teaching, Booth really has just one goal in mind. “I was trying to figure out how to teach kids to see the sum of the whole,” Booth says. That is, realizing that the world around them is not one vast, unapproachable machine but instead an assembly of bits and pieces. And through developing an understanding that they, too, can have a hand in its construction, Booth hopes to impart that building something of their own is as easy as stepping back and seeing the bigger picture, as he did all those years ago. v
CULTURE ||DECEMBER PROFILES FEBRUARY 2015 2016
AN OFFICER, A FRIEND
OFFICER DUJUAN GREEN’S POSITIVE IMPACT ON THE PALY COMMUNITY Text by ROY ZAWADZKI Photography by WILLIAM DOUGALL
T WAS NOT LONG INTO MY “When they asked him why he gave interview with DuJuan Green, Palo back the bike he said, ‘The officer treated Alto High School’s School Re- me like a human being,’” Green says. “I resource Officer since July 2013, that spected him, and therefore he told us what I knew he was not a typical police we wanted to know, brought the bike back officer. Seconds after meeting me, he ap- and he and I, even to this day, are close.” proached a troubled student, whom he had In most of his talks with students spoken with previously, and warmly greet- involved in an incident, Green can simed him with, “What’s up, man!” followed by ply arrest them. Instead, he tries to avoid a big hug. punishing students and As we were walkattempts to stop the ing away, the student at the source. DO GoOD, be good and good problem turned back and said, Green calls this process “I’ll never do it again,” will come to you. “creating a teachable to which Green re— Dujuan Green moment.” When Green sponded, “I trust you, found a stolen phone man!” in a student’s locker, he Although Green is a police officer, asked why the teen had stolen the phone. he treated the student like an equal, like a The answer was simple: the student needfriend. Green did not act like he was simply ed money. So Green bought him what he enforcing the law, but rather like an indi- needed and taught him that stealing leads vidual trying to better his community. to a life of crime. He told me a story about how a stu“If I can make an incident ‘a teachable dent stole a bike. After speaking with the moment,’ it’s a win-win for all,” Green says. student who took the bike, Green got the “We keep that line of communication open bike back and the student was not pros- where the kid says, ‘Wow, I can trust him ecuted or even detained. and he can trust me.’”
The majority of the students with whom Green speaks with do not repeat the same crime after what he calls the mediation process. More often than not, after their talk, he maintains a cordial relationship with these students. His healthy rapport with many students could be related to the lifetime of experiences and lessons he has gained in his 45 years. From growing up poor in Detroit to serving in the U.S. Air Force, Green uses his past to better relate to who he works with. “It seems to help make me seem more ‘real’ to people,” Green, says. “In fact, I think a lot of people say that about me: I’m cool, because I’m ‘real.’” Just a few minutes into the interview, I began to see this exact trait in him. He is a down-to-earth, sincere person who wants to share his wisdom with the community around him. As we wrapped up the interview, shook hands and said our goodbyes, he left me with a piece of advice: “Do good, be good, and good will come to you.” v 65 55
PERSPECTIVES | FEBRUARY 2016
Text by FRANCES ZHUANG Art by KARINA CHAN
2 DEGREES too MANY WHY ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION IS CRITICAL
EARLY 200 COUNTRIES MADE WORLD history in December when diplomats at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21 in Paris created the first globally unified effort to fight climate change. 196 countries made an accord to keep global temperature rise under 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. The talks prodded each nation to reduce emissions by increasing their usage of clean energy and to take leadership roles and contribute funds to less prosperous countries. However, it did not create any policies or force countries to commit to immediate action. The accord will be implemented in 2020, and will require countries to submit plans detailing how they will cut emissions starting in 2023, with international progress checks every five years, according to the New York Times. It’s time to give the Paris talks and their potential implications of environmental change a second, third and even fourth look as the presidential elections loom in the near future and our global thermometer creeps toward the point of no return. We as citizens, starting here in Palo Alto, need to do our parts to fulfill the global accord by speaking up to our peers and legislators to change public policy and disprove claims made by climate change skeptics. “The Paris talks are just an aspirational agreement, something that’s done at the global level,” says Anukriti Hittle, an instructor at Washington University who observed the talks. “It’s a good start, [they tell us] where we hope to go … but don’t say how we should do that. It’s up to the rest of us to figure that out.” Of course, this is not to say that the Paris talks were a flop. The rest of the task now lies in our hands to complete this global cooperative effort. To the people who just can’t summon the effort to care and those in denial of the existence of climate change, the scientific evidence is clear (unlike the smog-filled skies we’ll be seeing unless we clean up our act). The evidence on multiple fronts points to the existence of climate change, including a rising global sea level, global temperature rise and warming oceans, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. With that macabre description, let me take a step back and explain. Once global temperatures rise 2 degrees Celsius above pre66
industrial levels, we will have crossed a final threshold where catastrophic impacts due to climate change become inevitable, according to the scientific consensus (which the skeptics should stop ignoring) and the European Union. To put this into perspective, according to my calculations, it would take over 19.95 billion nuclear weapons the size of the Little Boy atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in order to raise ocean temperatures by 2 degrees Celsius. A temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius, which is something that could very well happen if we continue our emitting habits, is the energy equivalent of destroying 20 billion cities. If that isn’t scary, I don’t know what is. Breaching 2 degrees Celsius is the point of no return where positive feedback mechanisms will lock us into a vicious cycle of warming, desertification, flooding and natural disasters, according to Climate Change Connection. Ice caps would melt faster, creating darker-colored water which absorbs much more heat energy and expedites future melting. Additionally, the perpetually frozen Arctic permafrost would soften, releasing colossal amounts of carbon and methane that will cause more warming. In a nutshell, unless the skeptics recognize that we have a very serious problem on our hands, we’re all screwed. On the Palo Alto level, the situation is a little different from the rest of the country. “People are much more eco-conscious [here],” says Phil Bobel, assistant director of Environmental Services for Palo Alto’s Public Works. In addition, Palo Alto’s electricity is entirely carbonneutral, meaning that it produces zero net carbon dioxide emissions, which is a huge step forward that many communities have yet to take. Palo Alto is one of few communities nationwide in such a position; we stand among the nation’s eco-friendly role models. This should motivate us to work even harder to further reduce our carbon footprints through both personal means and through influencing policy by voting and writing to our local representative, instead of sitting back and thinking our work is done. The impacts of climate change are drastic and irreversible. We all have the potential to redirect the fate of our planet, for better or for worse. Pressure policy makers, utilize your voice in the political sphere and keep pushing to reduce your environmental impact even more, lest we nuke the oceans 20 billion times over and eradicate the human race. v
PERSPECTIVES |OCTOBER 2015
TEENS MUST DEVELOP THEIR OWN POLITICAL OPINIONS Text by ALIA CUADROS-CONTRERAS and LAURA SIEH
REMEMBER WHERE I WAS when 9/11 happened” is one of the most common phrases our generation hears from adults regarding the turmoil growing out of the Middle East. Adults have repeated this phrase again and again, from the war in Iraq to Osama bin Laden’s assassination, to last November’s Beirut and Paris attacks, claiming they witnessed the beginning of a new age of terrorism in the modern world. However, those in our generation don’t remember where they were when the 9/11 tragedy struck. Most of us weren’t even potty-trained (or alive) when every news channel in the world displayed shaky footage of the toppling twin towers. Now closer to voting age than ever, many young adults are grappling with the question of how they are supposed to vote when they didn’t experience events like 9/11 that have shaped the American political landscape. The answer may seem obvious: it is essential for young voters to understand the history and platforms behind current political issues to form their political perspectives. Yet, many teens still fail to do just that. Especially given Palo Alto’s overwhelmingly liberal environment, students need to find the courage to forge and express their individual perspectives. Developing your own opinion is not only essential to choose the candidate that suits your needs, but to develop political efficacy. When people are informed about political issues, they begin to understand
Art by KARINA CHAN
how politics can affect their daily lives and how they can affect politics. While informing oneself on present political issues, one must also investigate political history. When examining the past, we have to understand our mistakes so we can avoid them in the future. We also must understand the complexity of the world we have experienced and how we can improve such a world through our political action. Given our position as the post-9/11 generation, we need to spread our perspective as American citizens who have only lived in a United States under the threat of terrorism. Teens of today only know a world where airplane passengers are checked for explosives and Western society links a whole religion to terrorism. We are the generation with the most experience with the modern reality and can potentially hold the most solutions to the problems of the post-9/11 world. Although many teens may not be able to vote, they still have a political voice. In this generation of social media and technology, we have a duty to both inform others and spread nuanced ideas, diversifying the pool of ideas in a political campaign and encouraging others to think in new ways. In place of a ballot, our generation’s tools of change are screens and keyboards. Yet in this area, expressing one’s own opinion can be especially difficult. Palo Alto holds a liberal bias, as 55.6 percent of Paly students identify as liberal against the 7.0 and 25.4 percent that identify as con-
servative and moderate, respectively, according to a Verde survey. When we were younger and our parents discussed political issues, many of us would agree with their opinions because we trusted them as our parents. It’s important to understand that the ideas we may have taken as our own are actually influenced by our parents, our friends and our teachers. Although it may be easier to assume that the adults around us have the correct view on current political issues, we have to come to our own conclusions about the past to find our own political voice in the present. To accomplish this goal, we must read as much history as available, watch as many political debates as possible, and have as many discussions as we can. To avoid ignorance, we must be open to all political ideas, rather than dismissing different views. If students simply take on the majority opinions of those around them, the homogenous political atmosphere of our generation — once it comes to be a significant force — will prevent political innovation and discussion. We as voters will come into the ballot, thinking, “I am voting for this candidate because everyone else is.” We are a democracy, so let’s act like one. v The student poll results collected for this issue are from a survey administered in Palo Alto High School English classes over the course of several days in January 2016. Eight English classes were randomly selected, and 147 responses were collected. The surveys were completed online, and responses were anonymous. With 95 percent confidence, the results for the questions related to this story are accurate within a margin of error of 7.93 percent.
PERSPECTIVES | FEBRUARY 2016 Text by STEPHANIE LEE Art by KARINA CHAN
checking gun checks FIRM GUN LAWS TRIGGER MORE GUN VIOLENCE
Y FATHER TELLS me stories about growing up as a landlord’s son in Manhattan. One night, two armed men beat a woman outside her apartment door. My father, a skinny 12-year-old back then, hid nearby behind a closed door, armed with a wooden baseball bat. All the building tenants were too terrified to intervene. Had my grandfather owned a gun, perhaps the story might have ended differently. Upon hearing this story, I was appalled and shaken. The tranquility of Palo Alto seemed a world away. Violent beatings, attacks and break-ins like the
ones my father grew up with happen rarely. Gun violence is undoubtedly one of the worst domestic problems America is facing today. Although there is bipartisan support from Congress to address gun violence, the government is in a gridlock and ultimately, has solved nothing. While Democrats press for more gun laws, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) recently proposed a bill backed by the NRA rewarding states that send more records about residents with serious mental health problems to the national database to curb gun violence. I believe the most effective solution would be to loosen up on restrictive gun control. This does not mean letting people run wild with AK-47s in both hands and Glocks stocked under their flannels. It means conducting some background checks to ensure mentally unstable people are not purchasing guns and rifles. The focus of gun control should be on education, more enforcement of current gun laws and stricter punishment for violent gun acts. Loss of life through gun violence is obviously terrible, but contrary to many political and social opinions, creating more laws to curb gun ownership will not result in reduced gun violence and gun homicides. Since 1993, violent firearm crimes decreased from 725 incidents per 100,000 people to 175 incidents per 100,000 in 2013. Homicides caused by guns reduced from 7.0 per 100,000 in 1993 to 3.4 per 100,000 in 2014, according to an October 2015 PEW Research Center study. During this time, the number of handguns in the United States increased from 71,100 per 100,000 guns to 112,000 per 100,000 according to an American Enterprise Institute article published December 2015. This shows that an increase in legal gun ownership decreases gun violence by making weapons for self defense more readily available. The most effective way
for someone to defend themselves from an armed criminal is being armed. Many times having a gun present as a visual deterrent can prevent violence without using the gun. By contrast, banning guns has not had the expected effect lawmakers intended. For example, Australia enacted the 1996 National Firearms Agreement, which banned and confiscated 650,000 guns from law-abiding citizens to reduce gun violence. After to passing the law, the number of assaults rose by 40 percent, according to a 2012 Wall Street Journal article. Melbourne Institution concluded in a 2008 study “There is little evidence to suggest [that] it [Australian NFA] had any significant effects on firearm homicides and suicides.” Last October, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors passed a measure declaring all gun sales must be videotaped, and all ammunition sales data provided to the city’s police department. As a result, the last gun shop in San Francisco closed its doors. “Buying a gun is a constitutionally protected right,” Steven Alcairo, manager of High Bridge Arms, told the Associated Press. “Our customers shouldn’t be treated like they’re doing something wrong.” Alcairo is right. The right to bear arms is protected by the Second Amendment. Law-abiding citizens who exercise their rights should not feel as if they are being punished. Enacting restrictive laws suppresses law-abiding citizens from being able to defend themselves by making it hard to purchase and own firearms. Both Democrats and Republicans have very different solutions and approaches to gun violence, and unfortunately the solutions each side proposes is what further divides America. Though restrictive gun laws are written out of good intention, they do not have the intended effects. To bring an end to gun violence, we must work together as one nation to reduce gun violence. v
PERSPECTIVES | FEBRUARY 2016 Text by EMMA COCKERELL Art by AISHAH MAAS
THIS IS ME - OR IS IT? THE DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD OF COLLEGE COUNSELING
WALK INTO THE NOISY ROOM, NOTEBOOK and pen in hand. Most of the seats are already taken, and my friend and I hastily grab seats near the front, knowing that desperate, information-craving parents will quickly fill the room. As a middle schooler, this is the last place that I want to be; however, I don’t feel at all out of place among the throngs of other daunted students. When the presentation begins, heads swivel forward and necks crane to catch a glimpse of the man with all the answers. Dr. William Jiang is the owner of one of the many companies that promises its clients admittance to the nation’s top colleges for the “low-low price” of thousands of dollars. Jiang’s company, The Ivy Advisor, is just the tip of an iceberg. Nationwide, parents flock to agencies like this one that seem to hold all the answers. However useful these services may seem, beware. The private college counseling industry presents many socio-economic and ethical conflicts, and stifles the freedom of self-exploration for students. Parents should leave getting a college counselor to their child’s junior year at the earliest, when students really need it, rather than during middle school and the first few years of high school. As anyone in school today can see, the problem is only getting worse. The situation is a classic positive feedback loop; as students turn to counselors, their peers feel the need to do the same. With high schoolers applying to many more colleges than in past years, and the number of student spots in colleges remaining unchanged, admittance rates have become deceptively low, scaring parents and students alike. In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of applications a student submits. A survey conducted by the National Association for College Admission Counseling revealed that in 1990, only 9 percent of students applied to seven or more colleges. By 2011, however, this number had risen to 29 percent. This misconception surrounding college admissions has allowed the counseling industry to prey on fear, and has driven parents toward the private counseling industry for the sense of security that it provides. Private counseling also calls into question many socio-economic dilemnas. Only an elite few can afford such services, putting others at an undeniable disadvantage. These services also create unreasonably high standards for those who don’t have the privilege of a counselor. Springlight Education, a Bay Area consulting group, charges $3,000 a year for college planning. Several
years’ worth of services can culminate in tens of thousands of dollars, an amount that many families could not even dream of spending. This only widens the ever-increasing opportunity gap between the affluent and the underprivileged. Already, the lucrative industry has grown from 1,500 professionals in 2008 to more than 8,000, according to the Independent Educational Consultants Association. This figure doesn’t even factor into the 10,000 to 15,000 people who consult as a side job for the fat paycheck, as the IECA also reports. Proof of the counseling industry’s booming success is nowhere more apparent than in Silicon Valley, where the concentration per capita of independent consultants is higher than “most cities,” according to a study conducted by the IECA. Although the college counseling industry may have started as an innocuous community of curious parents and hopeful students, it has slowly morphed into an unregulated system that makes unguaranteed promises and milks families of a great deal of money. The purpose of these companies should be to guide high schoolers through an undoubtedly tough and confusing time, and to provide insight as to which colleges might best meet their personal needs. However, many agencies nationwide provide package deals that aim to dictate a student’s every actions starting from as early as elementary school, prescribing extracurriculars and difficult classes. This restricts student growth and exploration, and exacerbates the anxiety surrounding admissions. High schoolers are in the process of discovering themselves, taking risks and becoming increasingly self-reliant as they venture into the “real world.” In the end, the only person who knows what’s best for you is yourself. Pave your own path; mistakes will be inevitable, but that’s part of life. Instead of turning to counselors, have a little more faith in your or your own child’s abilities. After all, there won’t be counselors by our side forever. v
PERSPECTIVES | OCTOBER 2015
individualism is not going to fi FIx this
EOPLE, LET ME BE REAL for a second. How have we forgotten about the greatest social cause of all time? What happened to stopping Kony (#2012)? What are we doing with our lives? Hopefully, we all remember the fanaticism that spread through the interwebs in late 2011 over stopping the Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony. As pertinent and important of an issue this was, the #StopKony2012 movement revolved around sharing a 3-minute video overlayed with sentimental music, rather than enacting actual change. Social change isn’t brought about by singular individual actions, like sharing a Facebook post, but rather by the public actions of large groups of individuals. For example, the heroes of the marriage equality movement were not the people who just put stickers on their laptops or just wore those “Gay? Fine by me” shirts. The heroes of the movement were the ones who worked as a group and actively fought the politics of the issue. In this country, we often take an in-
Text by GABRIELA ROSSNER Photoillustration by WILLIAM DOUGALL and KARINA CHAN dividualistic stance on social change. It’s driven by the fact that American society, especially American consumerism, is focused on the individual. To incite change on matters they believe in however, people need to reach outside their sphere. Although the little actions that people do are great, the sense of accomplishment that comes from simply recycling a bottle or wearing a rainbow shirt creates a false sense of security. People think that they have done their part by putting in their small individual effort, so they don’t put the effort into big things that could lead to real change. This isn’t to say that the individual actions aren’t intrinsically good; they are small essential steps toward creating an aggregate good out of individual actions. However, when we only do little things, we forget the big things. Let’s take the Porter Ranch gas leak as an example. In early January, several media outlets revealed that a natural gas storage facility in Southern California was leaking 110,00 pounds of methane gas every hour. The Environmental Defense Fund estimates that the leak is responsible for one-fourth of all methane emissions in California in the past year.
When a gas storage facility has emitted the equivalent of the yearly greenhouse gas emissions of 1,597,600 cars, according to the California Reformulated Gasoline Program, there’s not much that one car can do to counter that, even a Tesla. In fact, there are not many actions we can take that will “fix” this, except to use our voices as a group and pressure government officials to force the company to fix the leak and pay reparations to those impacted. This can only happen if individuals work in groups. I’m not saying that carpools are useless, or Priuses are a waste of time. These individual actions are a crucial and beneficial step in the right direction, but they’re a miniscule step. People need to realize the impact of their actions, and, if it is small, work for a bigger one. Because here’s the thing: driving a Prius or sorting your trash into color-coded bins isn’t going to end global warming; policy change will. Shopping at American Apparel isn’t going to stop sweatshop labor; policy change will. Buying a pair of Toms isn’t actually going to end poverty in Africa; policy change will. If you want to drive a Prius or shop at Toms, that’s great! All the power to you. I encourage everyone to do as many little actions as they can, as long as they don’t forget about the politics. So, as cliche as it may seem, write your local representatives. Start Change.org petitions, write articles and blog posts informing others, get out on to the street and protest. If you want to see real change, you can’t just change your life; you have to work to change everyone else’s. v
PERSPECTIVES | FEBRUARY 2016
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In this issue, Verde takes a look at the effects of prejudice in our hometown of Palo Alto, from Japanese-American internment to Islamophobi...
Published on Feb 19, 2016
In this issue, Verde takes a look at the effects of prejudice in our hometown of Palo Alto, from Japanese-American internment to Islamophobi...