Verde Volume 19 Issue 1

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V. A heritage of Hatred Reflecting on the present-day ripples of Palo Alto’s hidden history pg. 21


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FROM THE EDITORS

October 2017 Volume 19 Issue 1

Reflecting together

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e’re living in a time where we need to be having conversations and we need to be having reflections [about] who are we as a community, who are we as a country, what we believe in, and are we willing to live by our beliefs?” This introspection, urged by Living Skills teacher Letitia Burton in an interview with staff writers Ashley Hitchings and Angela Liu, comes in response to the violence induced by alt-right extremists in Charlottesville, Virginia, just a few weeks ago. The event made clear that our country is at a crossroads: Do we continue laying down the same bricks that we always have, or is it time to forge a new path? At Verde, we took this as an opportunity to reflect on our community’s own complicated history. Few citizens are aware of the presence of neo-Nazis in our town back in the 1960s, and perhaps even fewer are aware that a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan was based here. In this issue’s cover story, “A Heritage of Hatred,” Verde explores how these years shaped our own community and how they might shape our future. In “A City Reinvented,” staff writers Tamar Sarig and Kaitlyn Khoe tell the story of the first murder-free year in East Palo Alto — what was once deemed the per-capita murder capital of the United States. Even with dark elements to our history, our local narrative is not completely defined by turbulence. With their profile “Debonair Debs,” staff writers Kaitlyn Ho and Bridget Li introduce readers to Catherine Debs, the brains behind a treasured Palo Alto tradition. Perhaps one lesson of the past is to not let our fears get the best of us. That may be the lesson of the light-hearted mystery “Black Mamba,” where staff writers Thomas Chapman and Zakir Ahmad unearth the story of the enigmatic venomous snake that once roamed the streets of Palo Alto. From the beloved to the disgraceful, we believe that it is imperative to acknowledge every aspect of our ever-changing narrative. While it can be tempting to ignore the elements of our history that make us uncomfortable, the only way to make progress is to confront our past. —Emma, Julie & Saurin

Editors-in-Chief Emma Cockerell Julie Cornfield Saurin Holdheim Design Editor Thomas Chapman Digital Editor Asia Gardias Features Editor Frances Zhuang Profiles Editor Rebecca Yao Culture Editor Daniel Logan Perspectives Editor Tamar Sarig News Editors Ashley Hitchings Ashley Wang Launch Editors Riya Sinha Allison Cheng Photo Director James Poe

Managing Editors Stephanie Lee Michelle Li Business Managers Amira Garewal Angela Liu Staff Writers Nicole Adamson Zakir Ahmad Lucia Amieva-Wang Olivia Brown Megan Chai Margaret Cheung Sophie Dewees Kaitlyn Khoe Maia Lagna Bridget Li Estelle Martin Riya Matta Allison Mou Maraleis Sinton Mara Smith Zoe Stanton-Savitz Ella Thomsen Jenny Tseng Kamala Varadarajan Ashley Wang Cecilia Ward Gila Winefeld Calvin Yan Adviser Paul Kandell

Art Director Kaitlyn Ho

Publication Policy Verde, a feature magazine published by the students in Palo Alto High School’s Magazine Journalism class, is a designated open forum for student expression and discussion of issues of concern to its readership. Verde is distributed to its readers and the student body at no cost. Letters to the Editors The staff welcomes letters to the editors but reserves the right to edit all submissions for length, grammar, potential libel, invasion of privacy and obscenity. Send all letters to veics-1617@gmail.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 Amira Garewal and Angela Liu through our adviser at 650-329-3837 for more information. Printing & Distribution Verde is printed five times a year in October, November, February, April and May, by Folger Graphics in Hayward, California. The Paly PTSA mails Verde to every student’s home. All Verde work is available at verdemagazine.com

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In this issue Foreword 6 Editorials 9 Launch 13 News

Features

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EPA: A City Reinvented Heritage of Hated Black Mamba Womansplaining the Workplace Climate Change in Palo Alto

Profiles 32 34 36 38 40 42 44

Byun’s Bio Going Merry Guide Dogs Reza Navadeh Cat Adoption A Chat with Firefighters Chess

Culture

AN ALARMING DISCUSSION pg. 42

Verde sits down with Palo Alto firefighters to talk about Paly’s many fire alarm incidents

ON THE COVER

pg. 21

Verde artist Vivian Nguyen depicts historical figures discused in cover story “A Heritage of Hatred” — figures who have influenced local and national history. Overlaid onto this 1946 image of the Klan’s defacing of the Homer and Ramona intersection, ghostly figures of a Confederate soldier, David Starr Jordan and high school students reflect on the evolution of local discrimination.

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47 49 50 52 54 56 57 58 60 62

Branches of Bryant Connoisseur Coffee A Taste of Taiwan Vegan Restaurants Automated Food Illustrated Interview Virtual Reality Paint Handmaid’s Tale Four Photographers Kali Greek Kitchen

Perspectives 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70

Adoptive Community Playgrounds Pledge of Allegiance Student Notetaker The Wasian Dilemma Religious Services Term Limits Column


ENDGAME IN MIND

pg. 44

A look into the life of Daniel Naroditsky, a prodigy who lives and dies by the chess board.

A CITY REINVENTED pg. 18

October marks East Palo Alto’s longest homicide-free period. The milestone can be attributed to various community efforts.

A TASTE OF TAIWAN pg. 50

A review of the highly acclaimed Taiwanese restaurant, Din Tai Fung

KALI-FORNIA AVE TREASURE pg. 62

BYUN’S BIO pg. 32 VIRTUAL REALITY

pg. 57

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VERDICT

Proposed characteristics for superintendent candidates

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URING A SCHOOL BOARD meeting on Sept. 26, Max McGee announced his resignation effective Sept. 29. In response to his departure, there are a few characteristics the school board should consider when evaluating new candidates. To best serve the students of this district, our new superintendent must be more transparent, be involved with the community and prioritize student mental health. First, the new superintendent should value communication during times of adversity and times of tranquility alike. In the last few years, several Title IX investigations and alleged sexual assaults have shaken up the school district. A report released by the Cozen O’Connor law firm recently reaffirmed the failure on the part of district administrators to properly record and resolve a 2016 sexual assault allegation. When initial information about an alleged perpetrator surfaced to the public, many students felt that the school should have been more communicative about the situation, as the district was aware of the issue months prior to the news broadcast. It is understandable that the legality of the situation limited McGee’s ability to publicize certain information; however, more information could have been released without violating federal privacy laws. The lack of transparency by the superintendent regarding the district’s response to the incident only inflamed reactions and increased panic. To prevent a repeat of this mistake, the new superintendent should recognize and value the power of communication as a key to the student-administration relationship. Maintaining transparency is paramount, and the new superintendent should therefore be as open as possible during mishaps. Some of our fonder memories of McGee are his frequent attendence of school programs and community events, which made many students feel more validated and included in the district and helped us

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view McGee as less of a political figure and more of a supportive adult. “He [McGee] is everywhere. Go to a student event — he’s there,” says Student Activity Director Matt Hall. “He’s all over the place — in a good way. He’s connecting on multiple levels with students, staff and parents.” McGee showed extra initiative to familiarize himself with student culture. For the district leader to truly become familiar with their students, they must be immersed in the climate of the schools, which is why any future superintendent should value this as an integral part of their job. We would also like to see the new superintendent prioritize mental health and work with the school district to find ways to help combat stress. Considering the district's history with suicide clusters, we would like to see the new superintendent prioritize mental health in a comprehensive manner. Despite the many mental health programs within the district, including McGee’s new initiatives, many are too scattered and inaccessible to students. We believe the new superintendent must look to consolidate the mental health programs in a way that makes them more approachable. With gratitude towards McGee for his time in the district, we look forward to a new superintendent who will continue McGee’s positive initiatives and improve upon

his mistakes. Most importantly, the school board should find a candidate who is invested in the district and would like the best for its students and staff — and that’s something we can all agree on. v *Editor’s Note: Verdict, the Verde editorial, represents the opinion of the majority of the staff.


Verdoodles By STEPHANIE LEE

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LAUNCH ASB ANSWERS: What can we

expect for homecoming in the new gym?

Photo courtesy of Vivian Feng

This year ASB will be able to focus more on decor, activities, food and music, since we no longer have to worry about a venue. Homecoming will also have a more obvious theme compared to the last few years." — Vivian Feng, ASB Vice President

Reporting by MARALEIS SINTON

Free classes in Palo Alto

Text by NICOLE ADAMSON

Palo Alto has a surprising number of hidden free classes. For students on a budget, this is a great way to try something new.

PAMF Yoga Class:

Knitting Class:

Relax and destress at this free teen yoga class from 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. every Tuesday at the corner of Encina Avenue and Urban Lane. No experience is necessary, and all skill and flexibility levels are welcome.

Learn how to knit or meet others who enjoy knitting at this “Knack-4-Knitting” class that meets from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. every Wednesday at the Mitchell Park Library. It is open to teens and adults, and attendees are encouraged to bring their own materials. Art by MAURICE WANG

VERBATIM Now that the school library is closed due to construction, where are your favorite places to do homework on campus? Photos and interviews by ESTELLE MARTIN

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"At home or just outside in a quiet place like the Quad." — ANNIKA SHAH, freshman


Best Places to Shop for Spirit Week With Spirit Week right around the corner, many of you may be frantically looking for the best places to procure your much-needed items. Luckily, Verde's got you covered to win best-dressed!

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Paly Flea Market 50 Embarcadero Road

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The Paly Flea Market takes place on every 3rd Saturday, this time falling on the Saturday before Spirit Week (Oct. 21). It is the perfect place for cheap clothing for the perfect Spirit Week outfit.

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Michaels 2415 Charleston Road If you plan to DIY any of your costumes, don't forget about Michaels. It has every craft material you will ever need for DIY projects at an affordable price.

"I would say the MAC is one of them, the Student Center ... a quiet place in the gym, or outside in the Quad." — MATEO URIBE, sophomore

Alameda Flea Market Main St., Alameda The Alameda Flea Market happens on the first Sunday of every month. They are having their Halloween show on Oct. 13-14, featuring vintage fashion — the perfect spot to find themed outfits!

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Goodwill 4085 El Camino Way This is a classic spot for Spirit Week shopping. Goodwill is affordable and can always cover your basic needs for funky clothing that'll be hard to miss.

Text by ELLA THOMSEN Art by ANNIE ZHOU

"I like to study outside, at picnic benches, and also in the MAC."

"I usually go the MAC, or I go to Town & Country to Peet's or go home."

— BEN RAPPERPORT, junior

— MIA BLOOM, senior

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Coolest Classroom Decorations

Post-It Art Five students and a teacher drew what they were thinking about on Post-It notes. Here is their art! 1. "Peace" Daniel Nguyen, math teacher

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2. "Potate" Sam Pao, sophomore 3. "The Beach" Bridget Leonard, junior

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“I decorate it [the classroom] every year. I can’t conceive a white, cold, empty room.” — Matt Hall, Japanese teacher and Associated Student Body director

4. "Happy" James Roake, senior 5. "Hunger" Katie Laursen, senior

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“I was inspired by my mentor teacher. I believe I’m the early pioneer of small white lights in English.” — Lucy Filppu, Writer's Craft and Comedy Lit teacher

6. "The Wheel" Neil Kapoor, sophomore Text and photos by MAIA LAGNA

Text by KAITLYN KHOE

Throwback Halloween Costumes Marc Tolentino, English 10A and Social Justice Pathway teacher "This was in college, and I was a broke college student … I was the Fruit of the Loom grapes."

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David Baker, Geometry and IAC teacher "I probably really enjoyed going down that slide [in the background] as Superman."

Text by MEGAN CHAI


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news By the NUMBERS

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The number of murders in East Palo Alto this year page 18

STEPPING DOWN Former Supt. Max McGee responds to findings from the Cozen O'Connor report about his administration's shortcomings in complying with Title IX at the Sept. 21 board meeting prior to his resignation. "We have a staff made up of good people, I don't think there is any doubt about that," McGee said. "We have a culture built up over many years that does not allow these good people to do what they have to do." Photo by Stephanie Lee.

Superintendent out, problems linger

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OLLOWING THE RELEASE of a critical legal report on Sept. 20 and the resignation of the superintendent on Sept. 26, the Palo Alto school board faces key decisions on administration reform. During a Sept. 26 meeting, the board announced its acceptance of Supt. Max McGee's resignation. McGee, in his letter of resignation, cited “a host of personal reasons” for his departure. As of press time, the board had yet to announce the appointment of an interim superintendent. McGee's resignation follows law firm Cozen O'Connor's report on the district's actions under Title IX, federal legislation which prohibits gender discrimination in public schools. Their investigation found the district did not adequately inform complainants and their families of Title IX procedures after alledged sexual assaults on campus last year.

It was also noted that documentation on the incident was insufficient, as administrators “communicate by telephone or text message to avoid creating documentation that could potentially be publicly released.” They concluded “the District had no protocol for the tracking and monitoring of information received from external authorities, or compliance with directives from external authorities.” In response to the reported failures of the district, COC recommends the district revamp Title IX training for administrators and enforce greater administrative oversight. When asked about ideal traits he wants to see in his successor, McGee told Verde, “I think you need somebody who has a better focus on management and compliance issues and a better attention to detail. I am not the person with the best attention to detail.” by DANIEL LOGAN and ASIA GARDIAS

55 Percent of Paly students who support renaming Jordan Middle School. page 21

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Percent of Paly students who don’t know there about the virtual reality paint room on campus page 23

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The percent of women who hold executive positions in Silicon Valley page 28

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California bill to start school later defeated

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ENATE BILL 328, which would have required California middle and high schools to start no later than 8:30am, was dismissed by legislators last month. While proponents of the bill said it would reduce sleep deprivation in teens, which would in turn improves grades and decrease rates of depression, it was defeated by a 3026 vote, with opponents citing the financial burdens of changing start times and arguing school start times should be determined locally, rather than a one size fits all approach. While many students were receptive to the bill, Paly junior and bell schedule committee member David Foster believes the bill’s defeat is not a large setback for the school. “The innovative schedule committee is devoted to getting the best schedule that it can,” Foster said. “If a late start time is deemed to be the right choice for Paly, we will work to create one. If consensus is reached and a late start time is deemed negative for the school, then it would be good the bill did not pass.” by ALLISON MOU and MARA SMITH

CONTEMPLATING CUBBERLEY City council members deliberate how to best utilize the space in Cubberley Community Center to serve community needs. Photo by Kamala Varadarajan

Cubberley Community Center master plan in discussion

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UBBERLEY COMMUNITY Center is in the initial stages of redesign by the Palo Alto's city council and school district. The city and district, who respectively own eight and 27 acres of Cubberley land, are working towards an agreement on how the space will be used in coming years. If a consultant is hired, the plan is to equally split the cost between the city and district, according to former Alison Cormack, a former Palo Alto Library Foundation board member.

Ideas that have been proposed for Cubberley include opening a new high school and providing teachers with local housing. Supt. Max Mcgee said the space would be best used as a learning space, though not in the form of a traditional school. “[It’s going to be] a maker space where people can really design and build something to contribute to the community,” Mcgee said. by KAMALA VARADARAJAN and AMIRA GAREWAL

Teen Arts Council Hosts Open Mic Night

SPEAK OUT At the first TAC open mic, junior Cameron Miller and senior Ben Pederson performed Fergalicious in the form of slam poetry. Photo by Lucia Amieva-Wang.

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Following their open mic night, the Teen Art Council plans to focus on better publicizing their events to reach more students outside of the theater community. The open mic, hosted at the Mitchell Park Library, consisted of 13 acts featuring student artists. “I just love the support,” performer and Paly junior Christina Okanski said. “I think this is the best audience you are ever going to get anywhere.” The TAC is open to suggestions for activities that involve more students. “I want less people to think that it’s just

for Paly theater kids,” senior Nandini Relan said. “Theater [is] just one branch of art. Teen Arts Council is for all the arts.” This year, TAC also hopes to encourage new people to become members, go to events, and attend weekly meetings. “We have a clothing swap coming up,” Paly senior and the TAC publicity coordinator Emily Zhang says. “We also have an art and music festival every year." by CECILIA WARD, MEGAN CHAI, and LUCIA AMIEVA-WANG


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Baylands trail temporarily closes for repairs

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HE ADOBE CREEK Loop Trail in the Baylands will be closed through October while the city repairs a damaged tide gate. According to Gary Kremen, a Santa Clara Valley Water District board member, the Flood Basin tide gate plays an important role in flood prevention and wildlife protection, especially for protected species like the Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse. However, recently it exhibited signs of aging such as weakened concrete and exposed steel reinforcements. “The flood gate … protects Palo Alto from a flooding situation should a heavy rain event and a high tide occur at the same time,”

Kremen stated in an email. “The flood basin has the capacity to retain several hours of heavy storm runoff.” While the tide gate is being repaired, a detour, which runs parallel to Highway 101 and near Mayfield Island, is available for trail users and bicyclists. “We apologize for this temporary inconvenience,” states Kremen on the Santa Clara Valley Water District website. “It is critical that we complete this project before the rain season so that we may all continue to enjoy the peace and natural habitat of the basin.” by JENNY TSENG and GILA WINEFELD

School to celebrate Peery Family Center opening

P LIFETIME LEARNING Freshmen in Mr. Bolanos’ advisory take a survey on mental health. They have already had several SEL lessons, with more to come. Photo by Maia Lagna.

District pilots new Social Emotional Learning curriculum

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AUSD IS ROLLING out SchoolConnect, a new Social Emotional Learning curriculum, this school year after recommendations from the Social Emotional Learning Committee. According to former committee member and Wellness Teacher on Special Assignment Joshua Bloom, SchoolConnect teaches the skills necessary to succeed in college and beyond, including how to communicate and listen. “Social Emotional learning is really all about helping people develop the awareness, the skills, and the habits necessary to live a healthy, responsible life,” Bloom said. According to former Paly student and

committee member Anmol Nagar, the district implemented SEL in an attempt to align district-wide mental health initiatives. “Although many amazing things were going on at various school sites, there was no overarching theme to align these separate efforts,” she said. Junior Sam Hwang says the idea has merit but isn't great yet. “It's a good idea that the district is trying to prepare students for the future, but I think the execution could be improved,” Hwang said. by ZOE STANTON-SAVITZ and BRIDGET LI

ALO ALTO HIGH School will host the official grand opening of the Peery Family Center on Oct. 21. “This will be [a] ribbon-cutting ceremony,” said Paly athletic director Therren Wilburn. “The Peery’s will be in attendance and we will be thanking them for their contribution to the Palo Alto community ." According to Wilburn, the Paly staff is dedicated to making sure the interior of the gym is entirely complete before the ceremony. “There were still some finishing touches that needed to be taken care of and we wanted everything to be complete before showing it off,” said Mary Bena, event and activities specialist at Paly. The itinerary of the event includes performances by the school band and a welcome from principal Kim Diorio. Students and faculty will also give guided tours of the facility. “I hope the whole Paly community can come,” Bena said. “It is a great opportunity to recognize what an incredible facility we have, thank all those who worked for so long to making it come to life and enjoy a little Paly spirit.” by SOPHIE DEWEES

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a knight PROTECTING history AUTO TEACHER FEARS SHOP WILL BE NEXT Text by LUCIA AMIEVA-WANG and MEGAN CHAI Photos by LUCIA AMIEVA-WANG

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CROSS FROM THE GRAND arches of the new Peery Family Center stands the Palo Alto High School Auto Shop, relatively unchanged for the past 87 years. Inside, Automotive Technology teacher Doyle Knight beams with pride as he motions toward four circular markings on the oil-stained floor: the faded evidence of a wooden pillar that once towered inside the shop until the 1989 earthquake. The shop has been on the list for renovation since the Strong Schools Bond was passed in 2008, which provided funding to modernize the facilities in the district.

PRESERVING THE PAST Paly alumnus Dan Nitzan proudly shows his grandmother’s Paly 1926 yearbook from the steps of the historic Haymarket Theater, where he helped replace the lost owl statues on the pillars.

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ILLUMINATING THE FUTURE Automotive Technology teacher Doyle Knight inspects wheel breaks with junior Andrew Cote in the Auto Shop. The World War II era building, which houses the shop, is due for renovation, leaving Knight unsure about the future of the program.

Since then, the Paly campus has undergone market Theater, reflects on the architectural construction almost every year. First came magnificence the historic buildings prothe new math and history building and the vide. Media Arts Center, then the Performing “It connects us to our past, it connects Arts Center, the gym and now the library. us to our origins, our roots, who we are,” It is no surprise to many that the 900 build- Nitzan says. “As somebody who is a 6th ing, where the shop is located, may be next. generation of my family who [has] lived Knight hopes that here … I really value the school will choose to what Palo Alto used to upgrade features of the It connects us to our be like.” shop rather than tear- past, it connects Nitzan remembers ing it down. He believes the historical desecrathat the historical signif- to our origins, our tion that came with the icance of the building roots, who we are.” demolition of parts of should be preserved for the present-day Tower — DAN NITZAN, Class of ‘74 future generations, simBuilding in the 1970s. ilar to the way the historic Tower Building “When they made the decision to tear and Haymarket Theater were protected. those buildings down … they lost a huge “Personally, I like staying in touch cultural anchor for our city,” Nitzan says. with the past and what it was like,” Knight “And those buildings were just glorious.” says. “I like the idea that we are in touch The Auto Shop, a large warehouse with … the history of our school.” lacking architectural grandeur, on the other The Paly community prides itself on hand, has little to shield itself from the imthe school’s historic architecture dating minent bulldozers. back to the early 1900s: the Tower Building Jim Barbera, Class of ’79, who took with its wide hallways and arch-lined pas- Automotive Technology as a student, sageways, and the Haymarket Theater with speaks on the significance of the values pillars that spiral towards hand-sculpted taught in the class. owl statues. “That was where most of my life lesAlumnus Dan Nitzan, Class of ’74, sons came from,” Barbera says. “I’m willing who spent countless hours in high school to let go of the buildings, but I’m less willinvolved in stage technology at the Hay- ing to let go of what is taught inside.” v


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District cuts $4.4 million BUDGET CUTS WILL IMPACT PROGRAMS, DEPARTMENTS Text by ALLISON CHENG and MAGGIE CHEUNG

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HE PALO ALTO UNIFIED School District’s decision to cut $4.4 million in the 2017-2018 budget will impact every school in the district, including Palo Alto High School, according to the district’s Chief SORTING IT OUT PAUSD Chief Business Officer Cathy Mak looks through past budget and propBusiness Officer Cathy Mak. Paly’s budget secretary, Lisa Stone, erty tax records. “When we first identified the budget shortfall last year, we said we’d try to minimize the impacts to schools and students,” Mak said. Photo by Allison Cheng. said that one of the reductions decided last spring was to decrease the per-student al- growth in 2015 was over 11 percent. In ployee bonuses, this raise could cost $6 location at each school from $105 to $85 July 2016, the district found out that the million. for this year. As a result, each of the de- projected growth was only at 5.34 percent. Despite recent budget reductions, adpartments at Paly will receive less money, Therefore, the district would receive less ministrators and teachers emphasize that reducing the amount that can be spent on money than they had budgeted. supporting students and maintaining acasupplies. Additionally, the school may be “It’s very difficult to predict what prop- demic excellence remain their highest pricanceling some activities like Camp Unity, erty tax revenue will be,” Mak said. “When orities. Stone said. we put a number in the budget, that’s a very “We base our decisions on student During a meeting last week, the school rough guess-estimate for property tax reve- needs,” said Alma Ellis, the district’s Special board approved additional budget revisions nue.” Education Director. “We will move around that raised salaries for employees, added Due to the shortfall, the district cut resources based on the budget that will be multiple staff poabout $2 million allocated.” sitions and froze from the 2016-17 Last spring, the school board proposed the hiring of a budget and $4.4 consolidating two district art coordinator We base our decisions on communications million from the positions to save money. This did not end student needs.” coordinator. 2017-18 budget. up happening, much to the relief of this ­— ALMA ELLIS, Special Education Director The purpose Although this year’s new art coordinator, Li Ezzel. of these revisions, may seem signif“I have met so many people in my as well as other budget reductions, is to icant, Mak stated that most of the recent first two months here who told me that help compensate for the budget shortfall budget reductions are only reversing some they personally … fought to keep this art that occurred in 2016, according to Mak. programs that the district added between coordinator position,” Ezzel said. “It is gratMak said two-thirds of the district’s 2013 and 2016. ifying to me to know there is that kind of budget is supplied by property tax revenue. Adding to complications is a multi- support, both within the district and in the Every June, the district decides on a budget year contract in which the district agreed Palo Alto community as a whole.” v for the following school year based on pre- to give employees a three percent raise in dictions of property tax growth using data 2017-18 if negotiations were not reopened When it comes to deciding which refrom prior years. by March 2017. sources get reduced, students and families can In June 2016, the district decided on The deadline passed without any writ- give their input through community forums, the budget using a projected property tax ten communication reopening negotia- emailing budget@pausd.org, or contacting growth of 8.6 percent. This was a conser- tions, giving the district no choice but to their student board representative — at Paly, vative projection considering property tax follow through with the raise. With em- that would be senior Richard Islas.

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Text by KAITLYN KHOE and TAMAR SARIG

A City Reinvented

Art by VIVIAN NGUYEN

AS CRIME DROPS, LIFE TRANSFORMS IN EPA

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POLICE HEADQUARTERS is not the kind of place where one usually expects friendly conversation. At first glance, the East Palo Alto Police Department on quiet Demeter Street seems no different. A row of plastic chairs lines the back of the sunless lobby, its occupants looking less than elated to be here on a Wednesday afternoon. But when police Chief Albert Pardini steps into the room, clad in full uniform, one of the men slouched against the wall straightens up. “Hey, Chief,” he calls out with a smile, “I haven’t seen you since the last City Council meeting.” As the two strike up a conversation, they sound like old friends catching up. Pardini knows the man by name, and the man relates his latest problems: soaring rent and an impounded car. Pardini listens intently, then promises to talk to another officer who may be able to help. Such a conversation would have been unthinkable in East Palo Alto just a decade ago. It’s hard to believe that this is the city that used to be called the ‘Murder Capital of the United States,’ when distrust and bitter resentment between civilians and police ran so high that many crime victims avoided calling the police at all.

Since the turbulent, high-crime days of the 80s and 90s, the city has undergone a slow but steady transformation, one that culminated in an incredible milestone this year: the city has not seen a single homicide thus far in 2017. But behind the statistic lies a decades-long struggle against crime and the fear it brings with it, waged not only by public officials but by residents themselves. Distrust and division Ruben Abrica, vice mayor of East Palo Alto, has lived in the city for almost 40 years, and has been involved in community volunteering and government for almost as long. He was on the City Council in the 1992, when the city saw homicides peak at 42 killings in one year, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. “The crack cocaine epidemic had hit us pretty hard,” Abrica recalls. “There were a lot of shootings, a lot of people killed. Half of them were not even from East Palo Alto … [but the killings] happened here and we got stigmatized in a way.” Plagued by violent crime and surging gang activity, the city suffered from another, more unsettling issue: a growing divide between residents and the police. Accord-

ing to Abrica, former police chief Ron Davis (who held the position from 2005 to 2013) would often host community meetings after violent crimes were committed and implore residents to come forward with any information. “We’re a small town, and often people [would] know who did it,” Abrica says. “And at the time many people didn’t want to say anything … even though what someone had done was not right, to them the police was still worse.” First steps toward change Faced with this combination of high crime and mistrust, and fearful of the possibility that San Mateo County authorities would remove the city’s autonomy unless it managed to provide for its residents’ safety, City Council officials and police reached for a solution — and found one in community policing, a philosophy that emphasizes cooperation between police officers and the people they protect. “Little by little … the chief of police [became] more visible in the community,” Abrica says. As a first step, the police divided the city into sections and set up meetings at which residents from each area could raise their concerns with officers.


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TOP Vice Mayor Ruben Abrica explains the steps his city has taken to address crime. Photo by Maraleis Sinton. RIGHT Chief of Police Al Pardini sits at his desk. He has emphasized police-community interaction during his tenure. Photo by Tamar Sarig.

When current police chief Al Pardini took over the department, however, he implemented what was possibly the most significant change: walking around and getting to know people. “One of the first goals that I really wanted to get the community working on was knowing who their police officers were,” Pardini says. “There are only 36 of us in the city, including me, so there’s no reason you wouldn’t know us all by our first names.” In addition to attending community events and visiting schools, police officers began spending more time on the streets, talking to residents they passed and visiting them at their homes, according to Pardini. “Public safety — some percentage of it is psychological,” Abrica says. “It’s how you feel. Do you feel that people are looking after you or not? … If the officer knows your name … especially in a small town, it’s going to be a different relationship. It changes the dynamics.” Pardini has even extended this outreach to an unlikely group: Black Lives Matter. “It was 15 months ago, July of 2016, when the Black Lives Matter was running very strong,” Pardini recalls. “They had a meeting around the corner and invited

us to it, so I came and spoke and [heard] what people had to say.” At the end of the meeting, Pardini says, a group of young activists announced that they wanted to have a march. “I’m like, ‘Okay, would you like us to go with you? March with you?’ And they’re like, ‘Yes! We would.’” And so it happened that a group of police officers accompanied local Black Lives Matter activists in their protest.

Both Abrica and Pardini associate this newfound police-community cooperation with the city’s astonishing decline in crime. According to the Palo Alto Weekly, the city’s violent crime rate dropped by 64 percent between 2013 and 2014, and crime has continued to decline at a rapid pace since then, leading to a 35-percent reduction in 2016 and this year’s notable lack of homicides. But while AbriIf the officer knows Joining forces ca and Pardini both As police officers dismiss gentrification your name … it’s gobecame more accessible, and changing demoing to be a different community members graphics as significant increasingly cooperatfactors in this change, relationship.” ed with the police, and some East Palo Alto — RUBEN ABRICA, vice mayor of EPA crime began to drop. residents point to “One of the things those shifts as the reaI noticed when I first got here was the tip son behind the decline in crime. line — it didn’t get a lot of activity,” Par“I think it would just be higher indini says. “But as time went on and I was comes [driving the decline],” says Allison out meeting people and they were meeting Salinas, a resident of East Palo Alto and a the officers …[calls] went up about 70 per- junior at Paly. cent.” Witnesses who initially called anonySalinas and junior Brianna Moremously began to reveal their names. In fact, no-Alcocer agree that the demographic according to Pardini, after a serious assault makeup of their city has changed, and they case in January of this year, so many wit- share the concern that gentrification could nesses wanted to give statements that the eventually undermine progress in crime repolice department had to call in more units duction by creating a class of unemployed, to the scene. homeless, and frustrated former residents.

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WITNESSES TO CHANGE From left to right, Paly students Ely Callejas, Allison Salinas and Brianna Moreno-Alcocer discuss the decline in crime in EPA. Photo by Kaitlyn Khoe.

“The majority of people who are perpetrators are usually people who didn’t have an education and they were on the streets, and if you take these people out of their homes … It’s just kind of a vicious cycle,” Moreno-Alcocer says. “I think that would create even more [crime] because you’re kicking people out of their homes.” Looking back, thinking ahead Residents and public officials alike can agree on one thing: As crime has declined,

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daily life has undergone a transformation, becoming safer, easier and more comfortable. Salinas says her parents have grown less fearful and allowed her greater freedom. “They’re a lot less protective about … me walking by myself,” she says. “Before … they wouldn’t even let me go out at all, like not even for the ice cream man.” Abrica and Pardini have witnessed a similar transformation; Abrica has seen the city’s parks fill with people, while Pardini

regularly speaks with residents who have begun to walk their dogs in the evening — something they were once afraid to do. “It feels more like a community,” Salinas says. “You can literally strike up a conversation with anybody, like the people at the bus stops and the people at the cart for chicharrones and chorizos.” Though residents and their representatives agree that the city still faces significant problems, everyone seems willing to take a moment to celebrate the past years’ victories and look at their revitalized city with pride. Ruminating on the ways in which daily life here has changed, Abrica brings up the National Night Out, an event in which residents block off streets and spend time outside with neighbors and emergency personnel. To him, this yearly celebration encapsulates the city’s progress. “There’s something magical about closing off a street and being right in the middle of the street, a party going on, and the police come by, and the kids run off and get in the police car,” Abrica says. “[It’s] another way of feeling a little more safe — that you can just be out there.” v


A Heritage of Hatred

OUR LOCAL LEGACY OF DISCRIMINATION Text by ASHLEY HITCHINGS and ANGELA LIU

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HATTERED GLASS STOREFRONTS, A BLOWN-IN Volkswagen bus, and once, a bloody chicken on a hatchet — these were not uncommon sights in Palo Alto during the winter of 1969. Almost 50 years later, Matthew Stairs still remembers his time as a student at the Midpeninsula Free University when the neo-Nazi violence began. “It was a turbulent time,” Stairs says. “There was a feeling that people could do anything and it was a surprise to have Nazis in Palo Alto.” Stairs recalls biking over to his friend Steve Yates’ house on Cowper and seeing his father’s car in pieces, the engine compartment blown up. Harris Yates, a pacifist and a progressive, was one of the first targets of a slew of neo-Nazi hate crimes in the late ’60s. But hatred in Palo Alto neither began nor ended there.

VICIOUS VANDALISM Klansmen graffitied“KKK” onto the pavement outside the Palo Alto African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in 1946. Photo courtesy of the Palo Alto Historical Association.


A half-century later, America is once more wracked with polarization and tension. The recent clash between protestors and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, as well as an increase in alt-right rallies throughout the country — and the Bay Area — sparked a nationwide dialogue about what we stand for today. “The situation now is even graver,” Stairs says of the national climate. “There is much more polarization. It’s a lot more complicated and messy [now]. Back then, it was the Nazis and everyone else.” But all politics is local. To make progress, we must first remember the story of our town and the people who came before us. From Ku Klux Klan marches down University Avenue over 90 years ago to subtle racism in our schools today, discrimination remains a part of our lives, according to Palo Alto High School living skills teacher Letitia Burton. “Look in your own communities,” Burton says. “You start with your home; think globally, act locally.” Burton says only by looking back can we move forward. “We’re livArt by Vivian Nguyen ing in a

time where we need to be having conversations … [about] who are we as a community, who are we as a country, what do we believe in, and are we willing to live by our beliefs?” Burton says.

pleased. When the pastor came knocking on Brister’s door and invited him over for dinner, Brister declined, according to Jon Kinyon, Brister’s great-grandson and Palo Alto native. Palo Alto pioneer But the pastor kept coming back, in “Maybe the ‘KKK’ painted on the viting Brister over or stopping by with leftpavement in a Negro section of Palo Alto overs. At some point, Brister’s prejudices [the] night before last was just a mischie- gave way. Eventually, Brister would regularvous prank,” reads a newspaper clipping ly dine at the pastor’s and attend the black from June 1, 1946. church as much as he “Maybe [it] should attended the white be ignored … I don’t one. What do we believe think so.” “They [Brister and On May 31, in and are we willing his family] were com1946, Palo Alto-based pletely changed by to live by our beliefs?” being in close proxKlansmen painted — LETITIA BURTON, living skills a three-foot-high, imity and realized teacher red-lettered ‘KKK’ ‘We’re all human, outside the African we’re all the same,’” Methodist Episcopal says Kinyon. “‘We Zion Church, the first black church in Palo [all] like to have family get-togethers, we’re Alto. This incident was not the first of its [all] just people.’” kind; after two decades of dormancy, the Klan was back. Like father, unlike great grand-son Robert Burnett, a Stanford engineer- Generations later, Kinyon bridged ing student from Texas, first brought the the divide Brister had begun to question. Klan to Palo Alto in 1923, according to the Despite judgment from onlookers, KinPalo Alto Historical Association. In March yon and his next-door-neighbor, an Afof that year, the KKK set fire to a cross in rican-American boy named Keith, were a public demonstration on Pitman Avenue. childhood best friends. Race never seemed In August, they marched down Hamilton to matter. Until the day it did. and Alma. “In high school, he told me he didn’t By the end of 1924, numerous locals want to be seen with me because I was were sympathetic to their cause. Among white,” Kinyon says. Years of friendship them was Robert Brister, a long-time gave way to jeers from Keith’s friends. resident and small business owner. “At that time [the 70s], it was still very So, after the first black church in hard for black families to get housing,” KinPalo Alto popped up on 819 Ramo- yon says. “East Palo Alto was pretty much na directly across the street from his created to be a separate place for minorities auto repair garage, Brister was not to go.” Although the 1964 Rumford Act had outlawed housing discrimination, the “anti-oriental” and “anti-colored” clauses that littered home ownership deeds disguised themselves in legal loopholes and closed sales doors. Even in 2008, owners of an East Palo Alto complex were sued over allegedly d i s re g a rd i n g prospective African-American tenants in


features favor of white applicants. “It’s still happening, it’s just not as widespread in the area,” he says. “That was the rule before, now it’s an exception.”

own research. When she mentioned Jordan’s history to her then-co-workers at Jordan Middle School, many of them seemed oblivious to the issue. What’s in a name? “[They] didn’t seem to think it was that From the overt — neo-Nazi bombings big of a deal, or just ‘Oh yeah, I know, it’s and Klan marches — to the covert — hous- kind of too bad,’” Burton says. “Yeah, it is ing discrimination and everyday prejudice too bad.” — addressing our history of discrimination How much Jordan’s name directly is an issue Palo Altans still wrestle with to- impacted students is unclear, but Burton day. wonders about the implicit impact it had Drawing parallels between Charlottes- on minorities. ville and the renaming of Palo Alto schools, “Knowing some of the issues I was seeKinyon urges the community to question ing at Jordan, where there were kids who the past and question their heroes. didn’t feel like they were part of the school “Change is good,” he says. “You don’t … raised questions for me,” Burton says. want to get stuck in the past.” “How much did that name have to do with Four years ago, Paly sophomore Kobi people not feeling like they belong?” Johnsson did just that. Whether it’s the lingering namesake Circa 2014, Johnsson was a seventh of Jordan Middle School or everyday grade student with a school project and a slights, senior and PAUSD Board question: who is David Starr Jordan? Representative Richard Islas believes “We never reminority stually talked about dents still exhim [Jordan] in perience ostraThere is no more KKK school and I wantcization today. walking down University, “There is no ed to know why our school was named there’s even a Mexican on more KKK walkafter him,” Johnsing down Univerthe board, but it took so son says. “When I sity, there’s even a did the research, I much for that to happen.” Mexican on the was really shocked.” board,” Islas says, — RICHARD ISLAS, board representative Jordan was the referring to himfirst president of self. “But it took Stanford Universiso much for that ty, a well-respected expert in ichthyology to happen. They believe there is nothing — the study of fish — and a eugenicist. there anymore … because of In 1928, he helped found the Human Bet- how far we have come. But terment Foundation, whose reports Nazi it [discrimination] is eugenics programs later drew inspiration still there. It’s subtle from and used as a justification for hate, … but it’s there.” according to research by the district’s Re- Rather than naming Schools Advisory Committee. outright racism, Johnsson’s book report, “David Starr Islas and other Jordan: The ugliness behind the makeup,” minority stuwould eventually catalyze the petition for dents face a renaming Jordan Middle School. more systemic “I hope that it will teach people to disadvantage. be more aware,” Johnsson says. “Research yourself, and if you see something wrong, don’t be afraid to do something.”

Willful ignorance Upon joining Palo Alto Unified School District over a decade ago, living skills teacher Letitia Burton had already done her

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“Paly, right now, I believe is clueless about this,” Islas says. “Everybody believes ‘Oh, Palo Alto is like a utopia now. There is no discrimination.’ But there is. There are barriers that don’t let students achieve their highest potential, like the achievement gap.” As an African-American, senior Ladaishia Roberts echoes the sentiment, recalling an incident in her history class. “When we talk about slavery in class, the white people all look at you,” Roberts says. “Just, like, what the f—, I’m not a slave.” Though there is no simple solution, both Roberts and Islas believe the Paly community can do more.


“They don’t give us the help we need,” Islas says. “They don’t tell us about what we can do. They all put us in a certain group.” Camp Unity is one way to spread awareness, according to Roberts. “I think all students should go to Camp Unity so that it won’t be just up to the Camp Unity students to bring it back,” Roberts says. Islas, who also cites Camp Unity as a transformative experience in his life, believes events like these are crucial to make students more conscious of implicit biases. “I’ve heard rumors that they want to take away the camp and they want to even bring it down to one camp per year,” Islas says. “What are a hundred kids going to do to two thousand kids?” All politics is local Palo Alto’s story will continue to unfold, for better or for worse — but as local history becomes shrouded in time, Islas

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stresses the importance of recognizing both nessed on Cowper, Matthew Stairs cautions progress and past discrimination. others of passively allowing hateful acts to “I think it’s very important to remem- occur. ber … how far we have come and what we “Look at the history books," Stairs says. don’t want to do "Go to the library again and what and pull up the we don’t want to local newspapers. Your heart will tell you be again,” Islas Your heart will tell when something is wrong. you when somesays. As our nathing is wrong. Bombings scream of it. tion experiences Bombings scream Even today, with more increasing polarof it. Even today ization and turwith more subtle subtle forms of hatred, bulence, Burton forms of racism or always be vigilant.” believes the comhatred of any kind, — MATTHEW STAIRS, former Palo Alto resident always be vigilant munity must explore questions of and stop it whenremembrance and reform. ever you see it.” “The community needs to ask itself: Stairs leaves students today with a final how can we remember? How can we mark warning. history and say ‘This is where we were but “Students at Paly: Just do not tolerate this is not who we are,’” Burton says. any racism, any sexism, any religious bias. Now, 50 years after the terror the wit- Be courageous and just do not tolerate it.” v


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Journalism ethics in times of crisis Text by KAMALA VARADARAJAN and ASHLEY HITCHINGS

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hen the Neo-Nazi bombings wracked Palo Alto in the late '60s, Jay Thorwaldson was just a young journalist looking for the next big scoop. One night, Thorwaldson received an appeal from an anonymous caller with a plea to meet privately. The two convened at dusk and the man handed Thorwaldson a multi-page, single-spaced letter with the character sketches, social security numbers and gun and driver’s licenses of nine individuals who were suspected culprits of the bombings. There was just one condition. “I was sworn to secrecy about it,” says Thorwaldson. “[I was not to] leak any of this until the investigation was complete.” When Menlo Park Police Chief Victor Cizanckas found out about the letter, he was stunned. “He says ‘What letter?’” Thorwaldson says. “I said, ‘If you keep me in the loop with the letter I’ll give you a copy of it.’ 15 minutes later he says, ‘This is dynamite.’” From then on, Thorwaldson went by the chief’s office at 7 a.m. every morning for briefings. “It was all very secret, very top secret. The FBI knew, [but] the mayor had no inkling of [the investigation].” Thorwaldson knew that the culprits were nervous — scared of being busted. He also knew that the then-Mayor Kirke Comstock planned on making a statement about them at the next council meeting. “Nobody had enough proof on them [the bombers] at that time to do anything,” Thorwaldson says. “If Kirke had gone ahead and raised holy hell that night, put the pressure up, they would’ve gone underground and never been caught.” Kirke ultimately did not raise the issue, and soon afterwards, the culprits were caught. When the newspaper came out the next day, the Palo Alto Times sold 1,800 more copies than usual, Thorwaldson recalls. “People were so paranoid about this,” Thorwaldson says. “It was like there was a collective sigh of relief throughout the midpeninsula when this group was broken up.” After the nine bombers were caught,

RELIABLE REPORTING Retired journalist Jay Thorwaldson recounts his experience as a journalist during the Neo Nazi bombings in Palo Alto. “They were creating fear throughout the society and it was just my job to find out who the heck they were any way I could.” Photo by Maraleis Sinton. Thorwaldson stayed in contact with them ing,” Thorwaldson says. “If you look at and went on to share their stories. what’s happening today, it’s almost the “What makes a strong news story is same thing. People just weren’t talking to bring in the opto each other.” position [and] get a Thorwaldson feels response so you’re that a journalist’s doing as balanced job is to convey the a story as you can,” truth, and believes Thorwaldson says. that maintaining Looking back honest reporting is on the bombings vital for the safety nearly fifty years latof the nation. er, he reflects on the “The politics disunity he saw in of truth are importthe community and ant,” Thorwaldson — JAY THORWALDSON, retired the reappearance of says. “Trust is a journalist those same trends huge thing with again today. journalism; once “When you only talk to … people who we start losing that in our society and it agree with you, you ... lose your capability starts spreading into the ranks of jourof human compassion and understandnalism, God help our democracy.” v

Trust is a huge thing with journalism. Once we start losing that ... God help our democracy.”

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Text by THOMAS CHAPMAN and ZAKIR AHMAD Art by VIVIAN NGUYEN

The Cold Blooded Case 1993 MAMBA REPORTS CONSTRICTED THE CITY

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OSS ROAD IS ABOUT AS FAR AWAY the Palo Alto is often frequented by rattlesnakes, as you can get from Sub-Saharan Africa. The as well as the occasional mountain lion. On Aug. 31, a oak-covered, two mile stretch of suburban mountain lion and cub was spotted near Palo Alto, but Palo Alto is frequented by the likes of crows little talk resulted. While these animals present danger, and squirrels, while Central rattlesnakes are not unusual, Africa is home to the very legmountain lion sightings It was like the abominable and ends of the animal kingdom, are always recurring news. and diverse enough to attract snow man of Palo Alto.” “I’ve had them [mounmillions of tourists for wildlife tain lions] in my yard,” Palo — STEVE STAIGER, Palo Alto Historian viewing and safaris. Alto historian Steve Staiger But on Tuesday, Oct. 12, says. “I went out one morn1993, Palo Alto’s Animal Sering and half a deer was in my vices Department received a call reporting a missing, backyard, the front half I believe. Two days later there seven-foot black mamba on Ross Road. was a little bit of fur and one bone left.” However, the absurdity of a black mamba in Palo Black mamba on the loose Alto made the report more sensational, and the scare Despite the apparent absurdity of the situation, hit the news at the national level. the caller was credible and “We don’t usually see stayed on the line. He mainblack mambas, let alone black tained anonymity, claiming mambas in the U.S., let alone that he had a legal collector’s black mambas in the suburpermit, only valid in Arizona. ban area,” Paly math teacher “He bought one legally, Arne Lim says. and brought it into CaliforPalo Alto Police knocked nia not realizing that they are on each door in the Ross illegal in California,” Midtown Road area alerting residents resident Robin Jeffries says. of the dangerous snake. “Reporters, maybe it was the “I am not a huge snake police, researched this, and it fan, so I was not really hapturned out that it was true. You py about this whole idea at can legally buy them [black all,” says Sue Pelosi, a former mambas] in snake shops.” Menlo Park resident. However, when Police The Black Mamba is the REPORTS OF A BLACK MAMBA LED Palo Alto checked with the Arizona Game residents to assume that the outlandish claim fastest snake indigenous to and Fish Department, they re- was mistaken as a black hose. Pictured is a Africa, capable of moving at vealed that it is nearly impossi- humerous depiction of how the local residents almost 10 miles per hour, and ble to obtain a recreational ex- could have percieved the outrageous call. can climb trees. “I remember people sayotic liscence of a black mamba. “You’d have to demonstrate a hell of a need,” says Jack ing black mambas were these snakes that were known Harrington, an Arizona Game and Fish Spokesperson. for climbing up on trees, and dropping down on their


victims,” Pelosi says. “It made me pretty nervous just walking around.”

When school resumed, teachers allowed students outside, but still blocked off possible mamba threats. “They were allowed to go outdoors, but they were to stay away from anything like tall grass or trees,” Jeffries says.

Public pandemonium Upon hearing of the reports, Mayor Jean McCown interrupted a city council meeting to alert the community via a televised statement. Following McCown’s ad- Local legacy dress, the panic spread like poison. Shortly after the initial report, the Phone lines were flooded with mam- “mambaphobia” had scaled down signifiba sightings, as hoses and sprinklers were cantly. falsely reported as snakes. According to the “A week later it sort of became a joke,” Palo Alto Weekly, close to 50 people offered Staiger says. “It was their services as snake hunters, or to treat any like the abominable mamba bites. snowman of Palo In total, the police received over 1,000 Alto.” Buzz concalls, including a caller claiming to be the tinued throughout original owner. This was later found to be the year, creating an false, as there were many inconsistencies urban legend. One with the original report. youth soccer team Despite a lack of concrete leads, the po- was even named lice patrolled Ross Road with special snake “The Black Mamammunition, looking for Arizona license bas,” and the reptile plates, while antivenom was flown in. served as the inspiBay Area employees left work early to ration for a local make sure that their pets were safe at home. book. “I was so worried about our cats that I Today, decades actually drove home and locked them in the later, most memories house.” Pelosi says, “Better safe than sorry.” of the incident are Other residents heard about the report accompanied with a through schools, even though schools like smile. Ohlone Elementary were out of session im“A former stumediately after the reports. dent who was in Advanced Placement Mu“Each school called all of the par- sic Theory decided to title her final compoents” Jeffries says. sition ‘Black Mamba “We thought really?’ Scare,’” Lim says. “I I survived the quake, kept her sheet music A tropical snake in Palo Alto?’” With no I’ll survive the snake.” just for kicks.” school, parents near The mamba was Ross Road restricted also immortalized in — SUE PELOSI, Menlo Park Resident their kid’s outdoor clothing. access. Kids stayed “I saw somebody away from bushes and trees, from which the wearing a t-shirt saying, ‘I survived the mamba could strike. quake, I’ll survive the snake,’” Pelosi says. “My younger one [child] was so upset A year after the reports, most peoabout these rules,” Jeffries says. “He was 10, ple had labeled the incident as a hoax. so he didn’t understand that these things The unlikely possibility of a black mamba could put him in the hospital.” arriving in Palo Alto, then surviving outside

its natural habitat without any sightings deflated conspiracies. “It was a hoax, a great hoax, an outstandingly good hoax,” then mayor Liz Kniss said to the Santa Cruz Sentinel in 1994. The cold blooded case Despite the overall consensus of a hoax, many residents were not so sure. “I personally do not believe it was a hoax,” Animal Services Department Chief Greg Betts says to the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Both Betts and dispatcher Diane Wheeler experienced the reports firsthand, and argue that the caller was too knowledgeable to make up the story. Could the mamba actually survive in Palo Alto? Mild winters, coupled with a readily available supply of squirrels could sustain a snake for many years. The lifespan of a black mamba is undetermined, the longest living known snake reached the age of 11 years old, but experts hypothesize that mambas in the wild could live for far longer. Palo Alto police never came to a conclusion about the black mamba scare. The story was eventually written off as just another elaborate prank created by local school kids with extra free time. “This could’ve been a prank done by some high school students. It’s plausible,” Staiger says. “Would you choose a black mamba snake?” To this day, a black mamba could be slithering through the suburbs of Palo Alto. “There’s no way this could be a prank, it’s too outlandish to be a prank.” Jeffries says. v


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Text by RIYA SINHA and JENNY TSENG

WOMEN STRIKE BACK AT THE GOOGLE MEMO

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HE PUSH FOR GENDER equality in the technology industry is unfair, divisive and discriminates against men. Biologically, women are not suited for the tech workplace: low confidence levels and introversion prevent women from earning higher salaries and asserting themselves into leadership positions. Their higher anxiety levels make them poor candidates for high stress technology jobs. Or so James Damore, an ex-Google engineer, claims. In a 10-page tirade against the company’s efforts to diversify its workforce, Damore blamed the gender gap on biological differences. By dismissing the constant complaints of discrimination and bias faced by women working in technology companies, Damore infuriated thousands of women and men alike. While the opinions expressed in the Google Memo may not be shared by every man in technology, the number of men

coming together and speaking out about their gender diversity opinions now seems to be expanding, according to a recent New York Times article. The article showcases the opinions of many men in Silicon Valley who feel that the push for gender equality in technology has gone too far. But it also notes that women in the workplace, especially in technology companies, have always felt isolated from the “boys’ club” that often occurs in companies. Despite these difficulties, as more women enter the tech workforce, they are moving closer and closer to breaking the glass ceiling that separates them from the “boys’ club” of technology. Discrimination in the workplace In the wake of the Google memo, more women have begun to share stories of the discrimination they have faced to defend themselves against those who believe diversification is hurting male engineers.

Sophia Velastegui has worked at a variety of companies, including Doppler Labs, Nest and Apple, and is listed as one of Business Insider’s 43 most powerful female engineers of 2017. Sipping her tea at a local coffee shop, she reflects on her path to success within the tech industry. Velastegui recalls that when she told her grandparents her major was applied physics, they suggested she pursue ceramics instead, because they were worried about her finding a husband. Velastegui was astonished that she was given such outdated advice. While she ultimately followed her passion and majored in physics, building a career in tech hasn’t been an easy fight for Velastegui, who grew up in a one bedroom apartment occupied by seven people. “There are a lot of interruptions that happen with women … you just have to overcome it and get your voice heard,” Velastegui says. “Part of it is actually sitting at the table. In many ways, I shouldn’t be

Women receive lower salary offers than men for the same job at the same company 63% of the time. — hired.com

Art by Aishah Maas

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TIMELINE OF WOMEN IN TECH

Ada Lovelace

mid-1800s

Lovelace writes the

instructions for

the first computer program.

Grace Hopper 1950s

Known as the

“Queen of Software,” Hopper helped de-

velop the computer science field with

Meg Whitman

1990s

Whitman increases

her concept of a compiler.

sales of Ebay from $5.7 million to $8

million as CEO and later becomes CEO

of Hewlett-Packard.

Sheryl Sandberg Present

Sandberg is the Chief Operating Officer of

Facebook, wrote the best-selling book

Lean In in 2013, and is a women’s rights activist.

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where I am. I’ve overcome [challenges]. [I going to help break the glass ceiling: via have] worked really hard.” mentorship and advocacy. Shellye Archambeau, the CEO of softMentors had a profound impact on ware company MetricStream, echoes Velas- her career. “She [my mentor] made such a tegui’s sentiment of standing her ground. big difference … My mentor told me ‘what Throughout I have done for you, her time in the tech think about what workforce, Archam- I know that I am a you can do for othbeau says she endured capable engineer and ers.’”Yet, Velastegui seemingly insignificant comments like being I know lots of other says that mentorship called ‘sweetpea’ that is only the first step belittle her contribu- women who are catoward significant tions in the industry. pable engineers.” reform. She has learned several “It’s a combina— MICHELLE MCGHEE, engineer lessons about thriving tion of being a menin a male-dominated tor and an advocate workplace. … Mentoring is great, but advocating for “You have to stand up for yourself. You minorities, women, to have active roles is have to ask for what you want. You can’t as- important too,” Velastegui says. sume that just because you’re doing a good While the tech industry still has a job that you’re gonna get rewarded … You dearth of female role models, women engihave to make sure that people know.” neers are more confident and taking a larger role in the workplace. Michelle McGhee, a Changing the culture rising senior at Stanford majoring in ComIn contrast to women who entered the puter Science, was visiting her family when tech workplace when it was first emerging, the Google memo surfaced. young interns say they have not encoun“I found it disturbing that it had been tered blatant discrimination in the work- published and someone had probably applace. proved it and multiple people felt this way Ambika Acharya, a Computer Science and that it was felt strongly enough that it Masters graduate from Stanford Universi- had reached this platform,” McGhee says. ty, has experienced feelings of isolation in “[However, I] wasn’t interested in having place of discrimination. debates about whether women are capable In high school, she participated in engineers because … I know that I am a Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathe- capable engineer and I know lots of other matics and Science, an annual engineering women who are capable engineers.” competition for middle and high school Although the Google memo didn’t afstudents. fect McGhee personally or alter the way she Although Acharya enjoyed the science viewed the technology industry, for her it and engineering aspects of the program, she highlighted people’s lack of understanding felt isolated from the culture of her team of this issue. because she was the only girl. “It’s disheartening to see such few girls Strong women in the program,” Acharya says. Throughout the years, women’s rights Acharya has noticed that young boys and representation have increased in every are more likely to be introduced to STEM field, from science to engineering. More programs and activities than girls, making than ever, women in tech are supporting it hard for girls to get interested. each other through mentorship and advoThe lack of fellow women engineers cacy. and women role models can make joining The Google memo is just one example STEM programs intimidating for girls and of the lack of empathy that occurs within dissuade them from participating. male-dominated workplaces. Even under these hostile situations, strong women have A brighter future persisted in building a future in which Velastegui hasn’t let the tech industry’s women’s capabilities are not questioned, biases stop her and knows exactly how she’s but appreciated for what they are. v

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UNDER PINK SKIES Lake Boronda in Foothills Park is one of the many locations where Grass Roots works on conservation projects. Grass Roots is a organization focused on environmental conservation. Photo by Mara Smith.

Calling for Conservation C

Text by STEPHANIE LEE and MARA SMITH

LOCAL ACTIVISTS SPEAK FOR THE EARTH ATEGORY FOUR AND FIVE a doubt I think summers have gotten hothurricans destroy the American ter and I think most people who have lived South and Mexico. Wildfires here for a long time would say the same blaze through the Pacific North- thing. Wildfires have gotten worse too.” west. Heatwaves pulse through the entirety However, Stacey Dixon — the project of California. In the middle of the state, manager at Grassroots Ecology, a Palo AlPalo Alto and its surrounding area swelters to-based organization utilizing volunteerunder triple digit heat in September. ism to better the environment — doesn’t Many attribute these intense weather think that climate change has had a signifipatterns to climate change, although oth- cant impact on Palo Alto. ers disagree, explaining “Generally, the that the changes are Bay Area is on the natural or overexagger- Even in the Bay Area cutting edge of things ated. Climate change, I think we’ve experi- — we have preserves, a hot topic at both naacres and acres of open enced the effects of tional and local levels, space,” Dixon says. “I is an issue of divided climate change.” feel like we’re in a good perceptions, its soluplace. There’s also a — TILAK MISNER, Palo Alto High tions debated by many. lot of momentum beSchool senior “Even in the Bay hind solar and electric Area I think we’ve experienced the effects cars; we’re really quite the movers for those of climate change,” says Tilak Misner, a changes.” Palo Alto High School senior. Misner is a However, there have been few obvious volunteer with the Citizens Climate Lob- signs of climate change in Palo Alto. Dixon by, an organization calling for carbon taxes cites the recent lightning storm as a possible to reduce carbon consumption. “Without example, as it caused some fires in the area.

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“That [the lightning storm] could be a serious thing that we need to be concerned about in the upcoming years; more summer storms like that could create these serious fires in our neighborhoods,” Dixon says. The world now Dixon defines climate change as changing of historic weather patterns due to excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. However, the long-term impacts of these changing weather patterns are unclear, and vary from place to place. Some scientists predict it will get hotter, while others say weather patterns will just get more sporadic. Other models show that it will get wetter; some say it will get drier. “The models for predicting climate change are kind of across the board, so we’re still waiting to see what those actual numbers will be,” Dixon says. Solutions to help or initiatives to hinder legal action to be taken against climate change hinges on whether people believe in climate change — how serious are the effects of climate change? According to


features Misner, one harmful perception is failing to fighting climate change in our society,” Tigrasp the urgency of the issue. jang says. “I think climate change is too often According to Tjiang, sustainability can presented as a future event,” Misner ex- only be achieved when it is learned from plains. “We always talk about sea level in generation to generation; there will always 2050, or temperature in 2100. The reality be work to be done. is that the effects of global warming have “We are unbelievably fortunate to live already impacted human lives.” in a city and community where there is alAccording to Misready an exodus of acner, residents of an is- Sustainability is a tion towards combatland off Louisiana beting climate change, never-ending jourcame the nation’s first but there is always climate refugees when more to be done,” ney.” their homes were floodTjiang says. “Sustain— LEILA TJIANG, Palo Alto High ed because of rising ability is a never-endSchool senior sea levels. Additioning journey, and it has ally, Misner says the hurricanes ravaging to be continued with every generation.” through the end of August to mid-September were intensified by climate change. The world tomorrow He perceives federal government inaction Paly junior Evan Baldonado worked against climate change as disappointing. at Stanford through Stanford Earth Young “The sad thing is that the majority of Investigators, where he researched carbon Americans want the government to act on sinks in the Antarctic Ocean with a Stanclimate change, but nothing is happening,” ford doctorate student. Misner says. Regardless, many agree that on a local scale, Palo Alto and the Bay Area supports taking initiative to alleviate impacts of climate change. Paly senior Leila Tjiang, president of the Zero Waste Initiative Club, believes the city is progressive in implementing measures to help the environment. “I think Palo Alto and the Bay Area are extremely advanced in their efforts to combat climate change,” Tjiang says. “At least when compared against other states and cities in the United States.” Dixon echoes this sentiment, adding that Bay Area citizens are generally very well informed about the environment. According to Dixon, this can be seen in the organizations working to help preserve the environment and technological advances to reduce pollution. Even so, there is room for improvement. Tjiang notes that legislation alone will not have any effect on personal lifestyle changes. “Policy is one half of the story, but if individuals in our community don’t take action in their personal lifestyle, then there won’t really be any true change towards

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“Our main goal wasn’t to actually make a dent in climate change,” Baldonado states. “Or to address the problem. We wanted to get more of an idea of what the scope of the problem was.” Baldonado was motivated to tackle this project by the environment’s far-reaching capability to universally impact human societies. “The environment affects everyone, so we have to ensure we take care of it, because it’s not just helping yourself, it’s helping everyone around here, and helping future generations as well,” Baldonado says. Nicole Loomis, an Advanced Placement Environmental Sciences teacher at Paly, emphasizes the importance of collective action. “Everything that you do makes a difference,” Loomis says. “It can be overwhelming to think about all the problems in the environment but if everybody does one thing, then that makes a huge difference.” v

STUDENT SCIENTIST Evan Baldonado, a Paly junior, discusses the importance of being eco-friendly. Baldonado interned at Stanford to examine how global warming effects Antarctic carbon sinks. Photo by Stephanie Lee.

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Text by ANGELA LIU and ALLISON CHENG

Byun’s Bio AN ASPIRING DOCTOR’S TURN TO TEACHING

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HOPE THIS [PHOTOGRAPH] doesn’t embarrass me later.” With a hesitant smile and a tone of regret, Vivian Byun, the newest member of Palo Alto High School’s science faculty team, scrolls through her laptop, grudgingly pulling up a picture from her high school yearbook. Cheerleader Byun holds up a “WIN” poster, cheering on San Francisco’s Lowell High School. Behind her confidence in the photo, Byun struggled with opening up and satisfying her parents’ expectations as many of her students do today. Byun’s desire to make her parents proud would pave the way for the rest of her academic and professional life and resonates in her teaching today. A father-daughter relationship Born and raised in the Bay Area, Byun was a shy teen who fumbled with the leg warmers and crimped hair of the late 70s and early 80s. Like many immigrant families, Byun’s parents wished for Byun to reach heights they could not as foreigners — in their eyes, doing well in school would be the key to her success. “I had that dad that wasn’t pleased with my A-minuses,” Byun says. “Every-

thing I did … the Chinese translation [for it] is ‘not bad.’ He would never say ‘That’s great’ … I think that’s hard to hear and needing that validation from my dad, that’s something I always craved.” Sunday afternoons watching football games were one of the few things that drew Byun and her father together. It was during a San Francisco 49ers game that Byun’s father asked her, one day, “Why don’t you become a pom pom girl?” She took this offhand comment to heart as an opportunity to impress her father. Byun made the varsity cheerleading team her senior year, and while her father reacted with little interest, it proved to be an invaluable experience. Between the flips and the chants, Byun was able to come out of her shell and find her voice. “I was that kid in the back who knew all the answers but never shared,” Byun says. “It [cheerleading] really changed me.” Her father-daughter relationship would continue to be a pivotal dynamic in Byun’s life. Change in China With senior year and college application season came a new level of tension between the expectations her father set and

FIGHTING SPIRIT Vivian Byun (pictured far right) kneels as she holds up a poster supporting her high school team. Byun, a biology and chemistry teacher, recently brought her passion for teaching to the Paly campus. Photo by Lowell High School yearbook.

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the goals Byun had in mind. “There were a handful of colleges that I was allowed to go to,” Byun says. But when she was finally admitted to the University of California Los Angeles as major in psychobiology, she felt out of place. Four years passed, and before finalizing her decision to go to medical school, Byun decided to study abroad in China. “I thought I would have this cultural experience,” Byun says. Instead — thanks to the existential philosophers and English majors she met during her travels — she found herself faced with a life-changing decision. “What are my values, what are the things I’m holding onto? That even when I was in a different country, [what qualities] were still me?” Byun questioned the years she spent on the medical school track and faced her choice head on. “I realized I really didn’t enjoy the rat race that everyone was running,” Byun says. Once she came back to UCLA, she had a new perspective on what it was that she


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lessons and labs,” Byun says. Along with her fellow instructors, she pondered how to create a science program worth implementing. “How do I make an experiment not a cookie cutter; how do I get them [students] to go and do science that’s authentic to them?” This fall, Byun took this sentiment from the small Nueva lake to Paly’s ocean of a campus. As a new teacher, she experienced the inherent struggles of being the new kid at a school. “It’s hard being a new teacher, you’re kind of being tested,” Byun says. “I want them [students] to know I’m a teacher who cares for them, but how do they see that?” Fortunately, Byun has been able to make the transition smoothly thanks to the help of friendly fellow staff and administration. “My team and the science department, they’re so nice and joyful,” Byun says. “People like being here, and that’s why I like the community.” Cheering from the sidelines Byun tries to give students the support she feels she lacked at times as a student. “I think I hold my kids to high standards, for sure,” Byun says. “But I do believe in growth, I do believe that not every student might get it the first time around. But I also believe that every student can get BITTERSWEET BACKGROUND Byun recalls her high school years in her biology classroom. it eventually if they’re willing to try.” “I’m not going to teach it [biology] the way I learned it,” Byun says. She strives to emphasize the Byun’s motto for teaching is to emphareal-world connection for material learned in class. Photo by Angela Liu. size the connection of in-class material to truly wanted to do: help people. In teaching her. Her questions went largely real-world events. turn, Byun realized teaching would be the unanswered, so now, as Her efforts to draw way to accomplish her goals. a teacher, Byun’s mis- I do believe that attention to the broader Byun’s father was less than thrilled. sion is to make science implications of biology not every student have not gone unnoticed. “There was a lot of disappointment. I relevant to her students. think he felt like he spent all this money, “I’m not going to might get it the first “She has a more and that I should become a doctor to sup- teach it [biology] the scenario-based teaching time around. But port them [my parents],” Byun says. “But I way I learned it,” Byun style instead of theoretloved my job … I felt a lot of love from my says. “Now, it’s so imical-based,” Advanced I also believe that students.” portant for kids to see Placement Biology stuNow, years later, Byun and her father those types of connec- every student can dent junior David Foster are able to see eye-to-eye. “I know that he tions, like why is this says. “You can connect it get it eventually if has high expectations of me, and now that important? Why do we to the world.” they’re willing to I’m a parent myself I know why he pushed care about this?” Although Byun’s me,” Byun says. “I do appreciate that he did Before being swept try.” pompoms have long since that for me, but going through it, it was into to Paly’s structured been stored away, she still hard.” curricula, Byun helped remains a cheerleader for — VIVIAN BYUN, science teacher pilot the new science her students. Let’s talk teaching curriculum at the Nueva Upper School in “I’ll feel successful if my students feel As a student, Byun would always San Mateo. empowered that they can answer any quesquestion her father and her teachers about “I was spending so many hours just tion because they know how to,” Byun says. why they were teaching her what they were building things, generating ideas about “My job is to help you get there.” v

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Yoo Got the Power

GUNN ALUM REVISES THE SCHOLARSHIP HUNT Text by RIYA SINHA and CALVIN YAN Art by ASHLEY ZHAO

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VERY STORY HAS A CALL TO adventure, a catalyst that pushes a character out of their comfort zone and into the unknown. Twenty-one-year-old Justin Yoo may not be the hero of a fantasy novel, but ask him what his catalyst was, and he’ll speak fondly of the day when he first saw a startup work its magic. Yoo made ice cream sandwiches then. Now he works for Going Merry, the startup that aims to help high school seniors apply for scholarships more easily. “An obstacle for a lot of students anywhere is money,” Yoo says. “College isn’t cheap. Education isn’t cheap. After you finish the college application process, a lot of students are burned out.” Going Merry’s fundamental goal is to change that culture. Advertising themselves as a “common app for scholarships,” the organization helps students build their profiles, filtering outdated or irrelevant scholarships, and presenting those that remain to the user. While Yoo now attends UC San Diego, having gone to two years of community college after graduating from Gunn, he reflects on his time at Going Merry with satisfaction. “Being a part of that small team and seeing growth in the company and seeing students apply for scholarships; I thought that was a really positive experience for me.” Humble Beginnings Since the age of 15, Yoo had juggled a variety of food service jobs in Palo Alto. But when he received an offer to work for Fluc, a delivery startup pre-Doordash, he knew it would be different.

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“Working at Fluc got me really interested in the startup atmosphere and the culture.” Yoo says “The reason why I love it so much, is because ... you can really see the impact of your work. Everything you do is so important.” Two years later, Yoo found himself working in a startup incubator. “They [incubators] provide tools, learning sessions,” Yoo said. “You’re working closely with some company that has experience … helping companies expand and grow.” Yoo shared the office space with a man named Raymond Murthi, one of the co-founder. “I wasn’t working directly for Going Merry, but I was working right next to their [Murthi’s] offices,” Yoo says. “We’ve always had this line of talk on how I was interested in working with them … And I honestly just kind of sent an email ... and we agreed that I come in.” Why Going Merry? Having been through high school and the whole college application process, Yoo understands how much hard work is required. “Going through all these scholarships, there are so many that you could apply to easily and possibly

win a substantial amount of money,” Yoo said. “What I heard about this company [Going Merry] was something I knew students would use, students could really benefit from.” And Yoo was correct. The company has seen enormous growth. “A few weeks ago, ever since we broke through a thousand [users] … we actually had to cut off signups for a little bit,” Yoo says. “It just started to grow exponentially.” The company also boasts a slew of success stories under its belt. “We actually did a pilot [program] with Kipp Bay Area High School … and we saw that student applications increased fivefold,” Yoo said. Going Forward “Gunn High School’s great,” Yoo says. But while he had the privilege of attending Gunn, Yoo credits his success to something else. “I guess my experience at Gunn didn’t do as much to facilitate my interest in startups more so [than] growing up in Silicon Valley and Palo Alto,” Yoo says. As a former high school student, Yoo has a few choice words for those anticipating the chaos of the college application process. “Honestly, just don’t stress about it,” Yoo says. “I know that’s going to sound kind of useless to a lot of kids … I’m still here today, and you’ll be fine no matter where you go. Things always find a way to work out.” v


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LEFT An adorable young puppy trains outside in an official guide dog vest. Photo courtesy of Robin Levy. RIGHT David Hoffman pauses at a curb with Calvin, his loyal guide dog. If Hoffman is in danger of encountering an obstacle, Calvin halts, always looking out for Hoffman’s safety. Photo by Jenny Tseng.

LOCAL VOLUNTEERS RAISE PUPPIES TO BECOME GUIDE DOGS Text by NICOLE ADAMSON and JENNY TSENG Art by ANNA PROMOKHOVA

A Helping Paw

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OWNY PAWS SCRAMBLE against jean-clad legs in a determined attempt to reach the food pouch. Meridian, a nineweek old golden retriever, is a squirming bundle of warm kisses and a wagging tail. The process that transforms a rambunctious puppy into a calm guide requires relentless effort and coordination between puppy raisers and trainers who dedicate their time to empowering individuals who require guide dog assistance. For over 80 years, the visually impaired have relied on guide dogs to achieve greater autonomy in their life. The world’s first guide dog school opened exactly 80 years ago, according to the International Guide Dog Federation.

Many local visually impaired or blind individuals receive their guide dogs from the organization Guide Dogs for the Blind. Based in San Rafael, California and Boring, Oregon, GDB prepares highly qualified guide dogs to serve and enable those with vision loss. Puppy raisers Once the puppies are eight weeks old, GDB sends them to puppy raisers who will take care of the dogs until they are 13 to 15 months old. Puppy raisers like Erin Mittmann, a recent Paly graduate, and Robin Levy, a retired teacher at Jordan Middle School, volunteer their time welcoming puppies into their homes and teaching them the basics of being a focused dog.

The Beginning Secondary Training

Puppy Raisers


profiles For over a year, Mittmann raised Jack“Even though you know they’re going ie, a yellow labrador retriever. to do something amazing for someone else, “I tended to play with her … before even though you know that whoever has I left for school, and after [school] I’d take their food bowl is where the dog wants to her out to play and walk [her],” says Mitt- be, they’re not sitting there missing you,” mann. Levy says. “All of those things, it’s really “Raising a guide dog puppy is really a hard.” 24/7 volunteer job,” Levy says. “We train Levy has raised puppies for 14 years, them how to be good dogs. Guide Dogs and now she helps newer puppy raisers by [for the Blind], coordinating meetprofessionals, train ings for Mid PeninHe’s my best friend them actually how sula Puppy Guides, to work in a harness, an organization that and I’m his best stop at curbs, and hosts biweekly meetfriend.” do all the things that ings for local puppy — DAVID HOFFMAN, handler guide dogs do.” raisers. One of puppy raisers’ responsibilities At meetings, raisers discuss problems is to expose the puppies to different envi- they have encountered while training the ronments so they will be confident adult puppies. guides. After the discussion, carpet squares Levy has often taken her puppies to are laid out for a game of dog tic-tac-toe experience a day at Jordan Middle School, where she taught sixth grade until last year. “I always felt like if a dog could make it through a day of middle school, they’re pretty bomb-proof because it’s just, you know, it’s crazy town,” Levy says. “Really chaotic.”

Career change dogs According to Levy, only about 50 percent of puppies raised to be guide dogs successfully graduate the curriculum at GDB. Dogs who do not graduate the program are called “career change dogs.” “One dog got career-changed because he drooled too much” and another because “he liked eating socks, and it was so fast they [the owners] couldn’t stop it,” Mittmann says. Depending on their personality, career-changed-dogs can become another type of service dog or a family adopts them. Sometimes the puppy raisers can even adopt back the dogs they raised who failed to meet the guide dog requirements. Despite the chance that they will see the dog again, raisers still dread sending their puppy to GDB for more training.

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between golden retrievers and labradors. Dogs can practice the ‘stay’ command and owners can show off their hard work. Working guide David Hoffman, a social worker at the Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, started working with his guide dog, Calvin, seven years ago. “With Calvin, the biggest difference is speed,” Hoffman says. “It gives you confidence to travel to places you might not be familiar with because you know the dog is familiar with commands like ‘find the curb’ or ‘find the door.’” Guide dogs are more than just a helping paw or traffic attendant. The dogs become steady companions to their users and part of the family. As Hoffman says of Calvin: “He’s my best friend and I’m his best friend.” v

NEW PUPPY GUIDE BEGINS TRAINING Local puppy raiser, Lisa McCoy, poses with Meridian, a nine week old golden retriever guide-dog-in-training. Meridian is the newest and fluffiest addition to the Mid Peninsula Puppy Guides club. Photo courtesy of Mardie Daul.

Retirement

Working Guide


SMILING WITH PRIDE Senior Reza Navadeh holds up a $20 bill and a pair of iPhone earbuds, a product Navadeh sells frequently to students. “At a $5 price, people are always willing to buy them [headphones], even if they have a pair and just left them at home,” Navadeh says.

Text by MICHELLE LI and GILA WINEFELD Photos by JAMES POE

BUSINESS AS UNUSUAL A SURPRISING FIND FUELS A BOOMING BUSINESS

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IS WARM SMILE BROADening, Palo Alto High School senior Reza Navadeh approaches one of the many students lounging around in the Media Arts Center. In addition to seeing students, Navadeh, through his pair of shiny, black glasses, sees potential customers. Navadeh presents a freshly packaged pair of earbuds and delivers a concise sales pitch that has reeled in countless sales and satisfied numerous customers. What has grown to be a well-known business on campus started with an unusual find. “I found some computer monitors near a trash can, and I sold those to my close friends,” Navadeh says. “Once I sold the computer monitors to them, I realized how fun it was just selling anything.” The simple enjoyment Navadeh experienced from selling those computer mon-

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itors to his friends led him to expand not you’re not going to make it. It can feel like only the variety of products he sold but also gambling sometimes.” the consumers he was selling to. Navadeh Not only has Navadeh’s business been soon took to social media to market his extremely profitable, bringing in up to headphones and computer accessories, each $3,000 per school year, he says, but it has of which he sold for $5. also allowed Navadeh to build a strong soSince starting his cial network with a sophomore year, Navamultitude of students deh has gained a wealth of all grade levels who People thought it of knowledge about his normally would was weird that I was he customers’ likes and not have encountered. dislikes through trial “A lot of people selling stuff, but I and error. that I say ‘Hi’ to in the “At the begin- did it anyway behalls is because I eining … I would buy a cause I loved it and I ther tried to sell them computer part that was something and they $100 and expect some- learned a lot from it.” laughed, or I tried to — REZA NAVADEH, senior one would buy it,” Nasell them something vadeh says. “It would and they bought it,” sell, but just very slowly. … It just feels Navadeh says. “It was how I got to meet uncomfortable when you put some mon- a lot of the underclassmen, and I’ve made ey down to try and make money back and some friends that way.”


profiles Paving an unexpected path The surprising find behind the dumpster provided inspiration for Navadeh’s future goals. “I definitely didn’t see it [the business] going this far because I never knew it was a passion of mine until I found computer parts by the dumpster and sold them,” Navadeh says. Identifying his passion for business led Navadeh to express his desire to major in business and finance in college. This summer, Navadeh worked with a financial advisor to gain experience working with real people and real money. The experiences and advice Navadeh has accumulated throughout the years — especially the lessons he learned this past summer — inspired Navadeh to give back to his community through a seminar for his fellow Paly students about how to invest in stocks and save money for college. Unfortunately, no one showed up to the presentation. “A lot of people thought it was a joke,” Navadeh says. “Just my whole entire business, a lot of people think it’s really funny. I take it very seriously.” Clearing the Air Despite the positive experiences Navadeh’s business has given him in terms of entrepreneurship and people skills, he has also noticed that it projects a negative image of him to many students. “The persona it has given me is not really something I like,” Navadeh says. “There’s been a lot of rumors about me — one is that I’m a drug dealer — I’m not a drug dealer. There’s even rumors that I steal my headphones or that I steal phones. And it’s honestly been really frustrating.” Navadeh says the negative image can be attributed not only to the nature of his business, but also to his ethnicity. “It [the business] really doesn’t give you a good persona, especially being Middle Eastern and you have that whole ‘bazaar negotiating vibe’ going on,” Navadeh says. “I would say that [the negative persona] is the only drawback.” Looking forward Having a future-forward mindset, Navadeh has big plans for his booming business, including a transition from a physical market to a digital one.

“I’m working on a website where people can buy headphones, chargers and fidget spinners all for $5 that are Paly green and have the Paly logo on it,” Navadeh says. These profits will go to Paly funds, including Paly theater, sports, and Media Arts Center boosters, says Navadeh. “I’m still trying to make sure I’m getting good quality headphones and good chargers,” Navadeh says. “I’m putting my own personal money into the website and to the first batch of chargers and headphones and stuff I buy. But the way I look at it, I’m not too worried about it because the money I’m putting into this project I’ve gotten from Paly students.”

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Navadeh also hopes to use the skills he has acquired to inspire other high schoolers to develop their interests in business. “In the future I see this being a club and hopefully handed down to Paly for other people like me that really enjoy business,” Navadeh says. “Maybe next semester if I want to make it a club and just see how it goes. That’ll be fun.” Additionally, Navadeh encourages students to push past stigmas and pursue whatever passions they may have. “Don’t let social norms hold you back,” Navadeh says. “Whatever you’re interested in, definitely put your mind to it and try new things.” v

BUSINESS IN PRACTICE Navadeh points towards his newly packaged ear buds, a product that he tries to sell to Verde business manager Amira Garewal.

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The Time is

MEOW

Text by MARA SMITH and ZOE STANTON-SAVITZ

ORGANIZATION HELPS STRAY CATS FIND HOMES

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ALYPSO, A 5-MONTH OLD CALICO KITTEN, licks her nose and paces in her confinement, her glassy green eyes flitting from visitor to visitor. Her fur is speckled with brown and gray spots and one ear droops to the side. Soon she is released, and she purrs as she nuzzles her head into Antonia, one of the founders of Community Cat Rescue. Community Cat Rescue is a non-profit, volunteer-run group dedicated to helping homeless cats find homes, reducing the population of strays in the Bay Area. This organization was started in 2011 by Antonia and Rosemary, who asked that their last names not be used. “We thought this was kind of an unfulfilled need, that this was a set of cats that nobody was helping,” Rosemary says. To accomplish its ambitions, the organization relies on fosterers who take in the cats until they get adopted. “We can’t function without our foster network, since we don’t operate a shelter,” Rosemary says. However, since there are limited resources and volunteers willing to foster cats, the organization’s intake quota is limited. “The more foster homes we have, if we can support them, the more cats we can save, the more we can take off the street,” Rosemary says. “The interesting thing is, when a person or people adopt a cat …. they’re saving two lives. They’re saving that kitten, they’re giving it a permanent home, and they’re making a space for us to be able to bring another kitten off the streets.” However, because one of the organazation’s main goals is to reduce the population of stray cats, one of the ways that they handle the issue is by trapping cats, spaying or neutering them, then re-releasing them if they don’t have enough foster homes to take the cat in. “[There are] colonies of cats that are being fed by volunteers who go out everyday and feed them and provide fresh water and look after them,” Rosemary says. “If they need to go to the vet then the volunteer trappers go out and trap them and get the vet care for them, and then when they’re recovered, put them back in their colony.” When a new cat is found and rescued, the volunteers must ensure that it is healthy, because according to Antonia cats in colonies — where they are often found — fight with each other. Usually cats come to the organization sick and unhealthy, so they make

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CALICO KITTEN ON CALIFORNIA AVE Five-month-old Calypso is held by Antonia, the cofounder of Community Cat Rescue. When Calypso arrived, she was matted and unhealthy, but after being taken generously in to a foster home she is now happy and healthy. “They’re cute, they’re little, everyone wants a kitten,” Antonia says. Photo by Zoe Stanton-Savitz.

sure that each cat which comes into their care gets all required vaccinations. They have a system in place to make sure sick cats do not get others sick. “We put them through what’s called a quarantine when they first come in because we want to make sure that they’re healthy and they don’t carry any diseases,” Antonia says. “All the cats and kittens go to a vet clinic, [and] they get examined again. That’s where they get tested for some of the major cat diseases.”


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SLEEPY SYLVIE Sylvie, Paly senior Elliot Clark’s cat, stretches out on the carpet. She was adopted from Community Cat Rescue in 2015 by Clark, and he is now a volunteer for the rescue. “I was just walking down the farmer’s market and I saw the cat adoption fair. I saw one cat, ... Sylvie, and I adopted her,” Clark says. Photo courtesy of Elliot Clark.

PLAYING WITH ADOPTERS Joel enjoys being pet through the bars of his cage. He was rescued from a homeless cat colony which is located near a busy roadway in the mid-peninsula. As stated on Community Cat Rescue’s site, “Safe in foster care, Joel quickly habituated to humans. He is very friendly and sweet.” Photo by Maraleis Sinton.

To ensure the safety of the cats, a team is sent to their home of potential adopters to inspect where the cat will live. The team reviews factors such as other pets, small children, and whether or not the home is next to a busy street. “Sometimes we get people who don’t know anything at all about cats and we help them, we train them, [and] we instruct them. We’re always available by phone or text for advice, for any problems that come up,” Rosemary says. The hardest cats to adopt are black cats, presumably because of the common superstition and the scary halloween decorations. “It gives black cats a bad name when in fact, very often, we find that black cats are among the sweetest, gentlest, friendliest cats,” Rosemary says. Although Antonia and Rosemary are the leaders, there is a group of dedicated volunteers who help Community Cat Rescue run smoothly. Palo Alto High School senior Elliot Clark has been a regular volunteer with the organization since October 2015, after he adopted his own cat, Sylvie. “Sylvie brought a lot of happiness to me, so I want to bring that same happiness to other people ... through adopting cats to people,” Clark says. As a volunteer, Clark creates informational fliers and runs an Instagram account to advertise the organization. In addition, he helps set up and run a stand at the California Avenue Farmer’s Market every Sunday.

“It runs from 10am to 1pm, and people are free to come by and see [the cats],” Clark says. “We generally have between three and six kittens on display for people to adopt.” Junior Devony Hof is a frequent visitor of Community Cat Rescue’s stand. “Visiting the cats is always kind of heartwarming because they are so sweet and vulnerable,” Hof says. “I wish I could adopt them all.” Although Clark is graduating at the end of this school year and will have to leave Community Cat Rescue, he plans to create his own similar foundation when he leaves for college and continue helping the feral cat community by giving them loving homes wherever he ends up. Community Cat Rescue — ELLIOT CLARK, senior strives to make a dent in the homeless cat population by offering them temporary, and eventully permanent homes. Last year, they facilitated the adoption of about 80 cats to homes around the Peninsula, and will continue this work for as long as they can. Currently, there are eight kittens that are being fostered and up for adoption. Potential adopters can find them either at the Farmer’s Market or on their website. “Its [Running the organization] is like running a small business,” Rosemary says. “It’s very busy, there’s the same amount of work, there are finances to worry about, there are bills to pay, but the bottom line, the main thing, is the cats and kittens.” v

Sylvie brought a lot of happiness to me, so I want to bring that same happiness to other people.”

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Text by LUCIA AMIEVA-WANG and ELLA THOMSEN

AN ALARMING DISCUSSION

FIREFIGHTERS SAY FAKE ALERTS ARE ‘NOT A JOKE’

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LASS HAS BEGUN, NOTEBOOKS ARE OUT AND pens are uncapped, when without warning, the fire alarm begins to shriek. There is an audible groan as students slowly file out of classrooms knowing they are losing at least 20 minutes of precious class time. The thought of ignoring the wailing siren crosses their minds as they unwillingly pack their bags. Students roll their eyes and begin walking towards the football field as the fire trucks pull up. While many are acutely aware of

their own inconvenience, how often do they consider the consequences that these alarms have outside of the Paly campus? What happens when a false alarm rings five minutes before a real emergency, and there is only one station available? Verde sat with firefighters Jorge Salazar, Max Garcia, and Nick Panko at Station 2 of the Palo Alto Fire Department to better understand the impact of these frequent fire alarms. The following is a direct transcription of their insights. v

Verde: When a fire alarm at Palo Alto High School is pulled, how does the fire department respond?

cause it could be one of their families that live close by.

NP: We’ll show up and investigate the situation. A lot of times we’ll get an initial call prior to arriving, or just getting on scene, we will be met by your principal and they will explain to us, ‘Hey, someone pulled the fire alarm and it just needs to be reset.’ (At this point during this interview, the station receives an alarm interrupting the conversation, but after a brief pause our firefighters determine they don’t need to take the call.)

JS: But not only that, every time we respond to an emergency we put our lives in danger, we put the citizens lives in danger — because we are driving a $40,000, 4,000 pound fire engine. Hard to stop. You know you could kill somebody, you could hurt somebody, so if we are going Code 3, it’s very dangerous. So for a false alarm, you are putting a lot of lives in danger. Kids that are playing with the alarms — they don’t know the consequences. NP: Sure, and I would have done that when I was in high school. I mean you just don’t get it, you just don’t understand the major consequences.

NP: So, they will tell us, ‘You need to reset the alarm’, so we go, we put a key in, (because you have to have a certain key, the school can’t JS: And I guess we haven’t done a great job teachWe can’t just leave Paly High do it) and we set the panel. But the ing the community. I used to go to my ex girlbecause we think that it’s a big consequence of pulling the fire friends’, she was a kindergarten teacher, and I false alarm. Legally we have alarm, like you asked, is that we used to go talk to the kids about 911, and the have six engines in Palo Alto (fire- to see it through.” response, and what it entitles you to. How do fighters and paramedics on board) we respond? We need to educate them young, — NICK PANKO, firefighter and we run close to maybe 8,000 that pulling the alarm is just not fun and games. calls a year. We have two transport ambulances [and] another am- I don’t know what the liabilities are about if we go into a fire alarm bulance that takes an engine coming out of service. So it’s very and it was false, and there was an accident where someone got hurt, common that Engine 6 or Engine 1 or Engine 3, that the one that if it could be traced back to the person that did that. responds to Palo Alto High School at that time, is the only in-service fire engine at that time. So what will happen is, if somebody V: If you could tell the students at Paly one thing about the fire alarms, calls 911 because their son is choking, or their house is on fire, what would you say? or their dad is having a heart attack, we can’t just leave Paly High because we think that it’s a false alarm. Legally we have to see it NP: I guess that it just has more consequences than they underthrough. So, it could be a five, 10, 15, minute gap between that stand. That it could be their own family member that’s driving in call, who gets that service on the wrong day. So it is a big deal be- the city that gets hit by the fire engine, or that calls 911, or their

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ON THE MOVE Teachers dressed in reflective vests and bright first-aid backpacks congregate on the football field to take roll on Sept. 20. This is the 4th false alarm since the start of school. Photo by Lucia Amieva-Wang.

sibling that’s at home is choking. It’s just a bigger deal than they realize, and that maybe just to be educated about that. MG: And to pull to the right when you hear sirens. JS: Calling 911 for fun is not a joke. One of us can get hurt, and like Nick was saying, someone really needs us, and we have a delayed response to that person who only has six minutes to save their brain, it makes a big difference. Especially if you live in town, it could be your relatives, your parents, I don’t know, siblings. MG: The scariest things I’ve seen is on the ambulance, when you’re coming, people will do weird stuff to get out of your way thinking like, ‘We’ll go into the intersection and stop.’ So, just for a false alarm people can do some stuff that can cause accidents between themselves, even if they don’t hit us. V: Is the number of alarms at Paly unusual for the high schools around here? JS: Yes, yes. Yes. NP: Gunn’s hardly ever goes off. JS: So Paly has been under construction for a long time, that goes way back to since I started. So we used to get a bunch of false alarms from construction, and your typical pulls. But between Paly and Gunn? Yeah, Paly’s got it beat, by a long shot.

FIREFIGHTERS EXIT CAMPUS Local firefighters leave campus during brunch after shutting off a false alarm. The alarm was set off by students holding a flame to a heat detector. Photo by Lucia Amieva-Wang.

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Text by ZAKIR AHMAD and ASHLEY WANG Photos by JAMES POE

Endgame in Mind

DANIEL NARODITSKY’S SACRIFICES FOR CHESS

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ANIEL NARODITSKY would take an F on any kind of test, 100 times over and then some, if it meant he could undo a single blunder in a game of chess. That’s because the let-down of a bad grade, to Naroditsky, has practically negligible meaning when compared to the sting of a tide-turning mistake over the 64-squared board. He even likens it to physical pain, because having the blood, sweat, tears and hours and hours of time he has devoted to the game be wasted over some miniscule miscalculation or minute oversight is too agonizing to be described as simply a disappointment. It’s a bit hard to take him seriously when he says this. Not because he’s trying to over-dramatize his emotional process, but because it’s utterly impossible to comprehend how all his sensibility would be lost over what is, in essence, just a game. Mental exhaustion, according to Naroditsky, is the dark side of chess. And the constant psychological turmoil he’s described has certainly been dark enough to derail the aspirations of many a young chess prodigy. “But it’s what you gamble,” he says. In chess, ups and downs are inevitable and feeling like you’re on top of the world one month and then in total crisis mode the next is unavoidable. “It’s what you risk for the thrill of success.” Naroditsky is, by all standards, an extraordinarily talented chess player. He’s ranked 10 in the U.S. and has a FIDE stan-

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dard rating, the official measure of chess pride for him: being able to maintain both ability, of 2626. That puts him in the top a healthy social life outside of chess as well 0.08 percent of all professional players. He as other interests like basketball, reading also achieved the title of grandmaster, the and listening to music. highest and most coveted title in chess, at “There are two categories of chess playage 17. And, what makes everything even ers: those who have other hobbies and actumore impressive, is that he managed to ac- al lives outside of the game, and those who complish all this as a part-time chess player don’t,” Naroditsky says. Those who don’t, and full-time student. A high-level full-time he believes, aren’t equipped with the same student, too, as Naroditsky is currently at- social abilities as their more well-rounded tending the prestigious Stanford University counterparts. “You can’t talk to them. They as part of the Class of 2019. don’t have any other interests.” Attending Stanford is something Developing a tunnel-minded, BobNaroditsky is openly proud about. Not just by Fischer-esque obsession with the game because it’s a school most can only dream of seems to be a fear of Naroditsky’s. Or getting into, but because this level of educa- maybe he’s just being pragmatic, wanting tion is rather unusual to have a diverse for chess players. He’s People don’t understand field of knowledge not just talking about so he’ll have other college — many just how obsessed with alternative career competitors don’t chess I still am.” paths to fall back even make it to high on later. Either — DANIEL NARODITSKY school. Instead, they way, while he unstart being homeschooled from as young as derstands the need for a balance between 12 or 13. Too young, Naroditsky believes, chess and the rest of his life, maintaining to be burning all your bridges. a part-time chess career as a student is far “Even if they weren’t to go to a very se- from easy. rious college, then just the fact of knowing something else or having some other inter- Formidable odds est can open a door just a little bit,” he says. His academics, for one, have suffered “So if adversity strikes in the world of chess from his devotion to the game. Besides and you get burned out or you find that having to balance his chess studies with you want to explore something else, then everyday homework, Naroditsky routinely that door’s already opened slightly.” travels out of state and even country to parSocial development is something else ticipate in elite tournaments. That makes Naroditsky recognizes as vulnerable in catching up with schoolwork somewhat young chess players. That’s another point of of a perpetual occurrence. One time, after


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coming home from a tournament right enjoy books in a tech-based world that’s in the middle of junior high final exams, seemingly destroying attention spans left Naroditsky fell so behind in his studies that and right. he couldn’t make sense of any of the ma“That’s one of the things that’s magical terial. about chess,” he says. “You play it, you take “Apparently we had covered beginner it seriously and your powers of concentratrig in math,” he says. “And I had no idea tion, for a duration of time, remain.” what that even was. It was horrifying.” Winning, of course, is another reaTeachers, according to Naroditsky, son to keep playing. The only real reason have always tried to accommodate his busy to keep playing, Naroditsky jokes, because schedule. Fully understanding his love of there’s nothing like crushing an opponent chess, on the other hand, is harder. But he after a grueling, hours-long mental war says that’s true with most people — they against them. see the game as a hobby he’ll grow out of “It’s the best feeling in the world,” he instead of a full-fledged, competitive sport. says. “Winning is — it’s un“People don’t understand just how believable how intoxicating obsessed with chess I still am,” he says. that feeling is. It’s just amazing “There’s no partition between my life and because you allow your selfishchess. It’s who I am, it’s part of my identity. ness and your egoism to go out It’s the air I breathe.” in a healthy way that’s socially Clearly, chess is by no means a pop- acceptable.” ular sport to play or even watch. Even But no matter how much Naroditsky recognizes this, calling the chess the non-material rewards of community a small place (though not ex- chess are worth, finances will actly tight-knit because he says players want always be a problem. Unless to rip each other’s throats out you’re the world at the board) where only tiny champion, says You forget droplets of information make Naroditsky, relyit out into the more main- these people ing on tournament stream populace. That so winnings isn’t feaare the best many people are ignorant of sible. You need to what it means to be a grand- in the world coach. master and just how good you A living made have to be to carry that title at what they through coaching, is frustrating to him at times. do and you’re however, is a hard “Sometimes I have that living. He says it’s bridge where I want to be receiving definitely an opmodest on one hand, but on tion, but combining one-on-one the other I just want to say it the fact that there’s a instruction like it is and say I’m better at monetary ceiling and this than you’re going to be at that lessons drain so from them.” anything your entire life. Like much energy makes — DANIEL NARODITSKY don’t you dare even question,” it a less-than-attrache says. “But if I want to have any kind of tive option. Especially for high-level friends then I’m not going to say that.” grandmasters like Naroditsky, who charge in the realm of $100 to $150 an Sufficient compensation hour, it gets discouraging when people Despite its obscurity, the impacts of immediately label their price as unreachess have reached into almost every as- sonable. pect of Naroditsky’s life. His concentra“You forget these people are the tion, for example, is one ability that has best in the world at what they do and been improved by the game. According you’re receiving one-on-one instruction to Naroditsky, having nothing other to do from them,” he says, shaking his head than think about chess while you’re sitting in annoyance. “What the hell do you in the same chair for a five hour match expect?” hones the capability to focus. That’s why His next move after graduation, for he attributes chess to his ability to read and now at least, is one that is decidedly un-

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clear. In fact, Naroditsky has no idea what he’s going to do. What he wants to do, on the other hand, is more tangible. He wants to keep playing; he wants to keep coaching; he wants do something that’s related to chess but maybe involves other skills like computer science or psychology. Whatever that is, he knows he can’t abandon the game. “I think it’s a shame to drop it when it’s something that I’ve put my life’s work into,” he says. “Chess is going to be a part of me whether I like it or not.” v


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POWER POSE Catherine Debs poses under the Constitution Day decorations of the Branches of Bryant. Debs aims to get to know and educate her community. “They [The decorations] really come from an inspiration of something important,” Debs says. Photo by Bridget Li.

DEBONAIR DEBS THE BRAIN BEHIND THE BRYANT TREES

Text by BRIDGET LI and KAITLYN HO

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ECKED OUT IN A BLACK, triangular felt hat, white gloves and an outdated jacket, Catherine Debs dons a George Washington costume in honor of Constitution Day. Her impersonation of the colonial hero succeeds in catching the attention of curious passersby, and Debs hands them copies of the Constitution, which are also hanging from the branches of two surrounding trees. Students who commute to Palo Alto High School via Bryant Street may find the sight of festively decorated trees, nicknamed the Branches of Bryant, familiar. Debs, currently a fellow at Stanford University’s Distinguished Careers Institute, is the artist behind the Branches of Bryant. Previously an employee at the mayor’s office in San Francisco, part of her job description was gift-giving to visiting officials such as the president of South Korea. She credits her gift-giving stint for honing her knack for theatrics and artistry. For Debs, the tree decorations are her way of bringing the neighborhood together, and she aims to inspire others in the community to do the same.

“Lots of all kinds of different people lets ideas develop themselves. from different parts of the world are com“A rose doesn’t unfold before its time; ing to this area,” she says. “It’s not about it’s kind of like that,” Debs says. me. It’s about a secret way to get people to Debs first decorated the trees in 2011, come together.” when she decided to place green and purple “This is a positive light in somebody’s lanterns in their branches for Halloween. day,” says Bernie Wooster, a lighting expert Fittingly, Debs’ next major decoratwho assists Debs in maintaining the tradi- ing venture will be for Halloween, when tions of the Branches of she hires dancers and Bryant every year. It’s not about me. It’s historians, rents phoDebs’ project betobooths and offers an about a secret way gan around 13 years assortment of food to ago, when she planted to get people to come trick-or-treaters. maple trees on the is“Sometimes there’s together.” lands of the bike pass, just fun stuff, like on which were previously — Catherine Debs, creator of the Halloween, but someBranches of Bryant times there’s sort of an filled with weeds and rocks. As the trees grew educational idea bein size, she felt the need do something more hind the space,” says Ryan Donahue, a Paly to them. alumnus and Bryant street biking passerby. Debs thanks a woman she encoun- “I love it.” tered at Berkeley for inspiring her to start “She [Debs] embodies the spirit of decorating — a woman who left miniature the best of Palo Alto,” says Margaret Chai signs with humorous remarks next to dog Maloney, a close neighbor. “She is a local droppings that sprinkled the streets. treasure and visionary who spends her time All of the displays are products of and her money making our neighborhood Debs’ sudden sparks of inspiration. She has better. She reminds us of all the best values no set way of producing ideas; instead, she that our country stands for.” v

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Text by ASIA GARDIAS and MICHELLE LI

Roasted and Toasted A

FAMILY-OWNED CONNOISEUR COFFEE REVIEW

BATCH OF COFFEE BEANS ROTATE INSIDE a brass furnace, cafe owner Shawn McMilan checking their color every couple of seconds. Once the beans are fully cooked, McMilan pulls a lever, allowing the beans to stream out. The small room fills with a mixture of gray smoke and steam, and the scent of charred coffee permeates the room. The main entrance of Connoisseur Coffee, on Middlefield Road in Redwood City, has an overwhelming aroma of syrupy coffee. As early as 7 a.m., customers are already occupying the few parking spots in front of the shop, bustling in and out on their way to work. Originally based in downtown Palo Alto, the family-run business is operated by Shawn McMilan and has been passed down thorugh the family, from uncle to brother-in-law.

BEAN BY BEAN Shawn McMilan pours the home-roasted beans for a customer’s custom order. He has been pouring beans for so long that he is able to eyeball a pound. Photo by Asia Gardias.

“We opened before there was this huge craze around Starbucks,” McMilan says with a smile. “We’ve been roasting coffee before it became popular.” A tragic fire ravished the shop years ago and McMilan was left with nothing but his ability to roast coffee. For two years, he kept the spirit of the beans and the coffee shop alive by using other locations’ roasters to roast his special formulas. “We were closed for over two years, during the rebuilding process,” McMilan says. “Luckily we were able to come back, and we came back quite well.” Today, the shop is back and bustling. McMilan roasts coffee every day of the week except Sundays. All the fresh coffee beans come from a local Oakland supplier and each batch takes a lengthy 45 minutes to roast. v

MOCHA JAVA

LIGHT COSTA RICA ROAST

RED ROOIBOS HERBAL TEA

Perfect for strong coffee lovers, the drink is less sour than the other blends, but much richer in aroma and consistency. Although all the drinks were brewed the same way, this blend has a distinctly starchier consistency to it which made it seem thicker.

Fruity undertones and a sweetness make this coffee suitable for a casual coffee drinker. The less intense roast is the most acidic of them all and has a citrus taste to it. The fruit flavors mostly taste like a mix of forest berries and add in a delightful kick of sweetness to the drink.

While being similar to a black tea, this type of tea brought its own character to the plate — or to the cup in this instance. The initial tartness was later replaced with a sweetness, elevating the drinkThis is a tea perfect to accompany a midday snack or breakfast.

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A Taste H of Taiwan

DIN TAI FUNG IS DELICATE, COLORFUL AND INTENSE 50

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Text by OLIVIA BROWN and ASHLEY WANG

YPE THAT DOESN’T DIE down a year after a restaurant opens is some real hype, indeed. At Din Tai Fung, where there are still the same two-hour wait-times, the same excited first-timers and the same endless line that snakes from the Westfield Valley Fair storefronts of Dior to Build-aBear in Santa Clara more than a year after their May 2016 grand opening, the hype has to be pretty damn real. Originating in Taiwan, Din Tai Fung is a dumpling house that specializes in xiaolongbao, also known as soup dumplings. These small dumplings are filled with a boiling soup and are commonly prepared and served in bamboo steamers. Though soup dumplings were invented in Shanghai, the ones crafted by Din Tai Fung are said to be driving the standard with their supposedly paper-thin skins that unfath-

omably encase swollen, soup-filled bodies. Since its founding in 1958, the chain has been named one of the top 10 restaurants in the world by The New York Times and has earned one Michelin star for their first Hong Kong branch. The restaurant itself can only be described as sleek. Inside, gray tiling and polished wooden accents mesh seamlessly under dim, golden lighting to create a dominatingly contemporary feel. A few vividly purple orchids did, however, distinguish the interior as subtly East Asian. The atmosphere, however, wasn’t the defining factor: the real test was the taste and presentation of the dishes. With the cucumber salad, Din Tai Fung nailed the perfect appetizer right on the head. Every bite of the chubby slabs of chilled cucumber glossed minimally in a seasoned oil yielded a crisp crunch and a


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PINCH AND FOLD The Din Tai Fung kitchen workers masterfully wrap soup dumplings and steam delicacies with startlingly exact precision. Customers waiting to be seated watch on the other side of the glass. VEGETARIAN DUMPLINGS Vegetarian dumplings stuffed to near-bursting point with mushrooms, chives and glass noodles are steamed to chewy perfection in a bamboo basket.

Photos by JAMES POE slightly sweet, slightly garlicky bite. It was an unexpected paragon of simplicity that set a refreshing start for the meal. How good the vegetarian dumplings turned out to be was unexpected, as well. Portly stuffed with earthy mushrooms, chives and delicate glass noodles in a chewy, green skin, the dumplings epitomized harmony between textures and warm flavors. Unfortunately, while the vegetable bun had seemingly the same filling as the dumplings, there was neither the subtleness nor distinctiveness of the thin skin that could emphasize the intricate sharpness of the greens. Instead, the bun’s thick, fluffy casing dominated each mouthful and blocked any potential for the stuffing to take center stage. Bite-sized pork and shrimp wontons were the next to impress us. Dressed in a bright-red, sweet and spicy chili sauce and

sparsely sprinkled scallions, the wontons’ bright flavor was only enhanced by the snap of every bite of shrimp. The soup dumplings, however, were what we really came for. And while they were far from unpleasant, there was quite a bit of let-down in regards to their aesthetic value. Instead of the perfectly rounded spheres marked distinctively by a pleated twist at the top that was gushed about endlessly by every Din Tai Fung devotee we talked to, we were only treated with crepey, sagging skin over a rather undetectable amount of broth. It formed a less-thanpretty shape. The taste, nonetheless, was more than redeeming. Both the pork xiaolongbao and pork and crab xiaolongbao were rich and buttery in flavor as they burst into a flood of meaty essence on our tongues. Dipped into the recommended three-one ratio of

black vinegar to soy sauce and julienned ginger, the creaminess was pleasantly cut down with a tangy vibrancy. After tasting a rainbow of flavors, our only craving left was one for sugar. That was satisfied by the red bean xiaolongbao, a dessert version of the savory soup dumplings. Pinched neatly in the same skin, the dumplings were filled with a thick red bean paste whose flavor found the perfect middle-ground between sweet and earthy. Backed up by a host of recommendations and high ratings, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that Din Tai Fung did not disappoint. Though the vegetable bun and soup dumplings left some expectations unfulfilled, every dish still left a lasting impression of artfully blended textures and taste bud-rousing flavors that would refute any uncertainty of the chain’s fame. The hype, as it turns out, is damn real. v

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Text by SOPHIE DEWEES and KAMALA VARADARAJAN Photos by MAIA LAGNA and SOPHIE DEWEES

Plant-based Kitchens HUNTING FOR THE BEST VEGAN RESTAURANTS

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URGERS, CAKES AND DUMPLINGS MIGHT NOT BE WHAT ONE WOULD EXPECT TO FIND IN A VEGAN restaurant, but among the commonly known vegan chains in the Bay Area such as Veggie Grill and Loving Hut, two lesser known, family-owned restaurants in the Bay Area boast both diverse and delicious vegan food and friendly owners who are eager to improve the planet and spread their message. v

HAPPY HOOLIGANS

1711 Branham Ln # A9, San Jose, CA 95118

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ESPITE UNDERWHELMING surroundings, Happy Hooligans, nestled in a strip mall in San Jose, is surprisingly charming. Inside, an eclectic assortment of decorations line the walls, including animal paintings, fairy lights and a sign that reads: “veganism is magic.” The staff is friendly and quirky and the alternative music playing softly in the background creates a relaxing atmosphere. Happy Hooligans owners Josh and Janice Whaley strive to make vegan food that is flavorful and that contradicts vegan stereotypes. “I wanted to show people that vegan food didn’t always have to be ... healthy,” Janice Whaley says. “I wanted to show that you could do basically Carl’s Jr., but vegan, and have all of these things that you remember before you went vegan; [you are] still able to enjoy them but in a way that’s better for you, for the environment.” True to their word, the food is enticing with unusual flavor combinations. The menu consists of a wide range of appetizers and entrees including salads, sandwiches, vegan burgers and Mexican-inspired cuisine. In addition, Happy Hooligans offers breakfast options and even desserts, including a take on vegan cheesecake. To start our meal, we tried the bacon ranch cheese fries ($6.95). The vegan bacon was smoky and savory with creamy ranch, a surprisingly cheesy sauce and crispy and flavorful fries. We found the Lennon burger ($10.50) slightly too salty, but overall chewy with a satisfying flavor. The star of the show was the jackfruit enchilada ($12.50). The cooked jackfruit had a sat-

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SALTY AND SAVORY The Happy Hooligans burger is chewy and flavorful. It is accompanied by crispy fries topped with creamy ranch and vegan bacon along with enchiladas served with a slightly spicy sauce, making for a fulfilling meal.

isfying, chewy texture contrasting with the slightly spicy enchilada sauce. To finish our meal, we tried the vegan cheesecake ($4.75). The cheesecake was dense and creamy and served with a sweet strawberry sauce for a tangy twist. Overall, despite the long drive, Happy Hooligans is worth a visit. It offers tasty food for vegans and non-vegans alike. Acording to Janice Whaley, a vegan diet can have both a strong and positive effect on the world. “[Veganism] is better for your health, it’s better for the environment. It’s one of the main ways that you can help save the destruction of global warming,” Janice Whaley says. “I feel it’s the way everyone has to go in order to save ourselves.”

SWEET SURPRISE Rich, creamy and delicious, this Happy Hooligans cheesecake is topped with a sweet strawberry sauce.


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GARDEN FRESH

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460 Ramona St, Palo Alto, CA 94301

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LOSER TO PALO ALTO HIGH school is Garden Fresh in downtown Palo Alto. It’s easy to walk right past this small, charming restaurant, as the modest exterior with simple lights hanging from the roof doesn’t call out for attention. But venture inside, and you’ll find walls lined with attractive watercolor pieces and potted plants. Owners Alice and Robert Liang not only help out in the kitchens daily, but also interact with their customers on an unusual level — ­ as their servers. Welcoming and full of stories, the Liangs say they wish to make a comfortable place for their customers in addition to having a positive effect on the planet. “Of course, I’m vegetarian so the first thing I really wanted was a better world, a good environment and [to] protect all the animals,” Alice Liang says. "This is why I’m putting [the restaurant] into action.” The expansive menu includes traditional Chinese dishes, from typical appetizers with a vegan twist to soups, vegetable entrees and noodle dishes. They also offer desserts and exotic drinks such as Pineapple Lychee Ice Tea. Our appetizer, Vegetable Potstickers ($6.95), had chopped vegetables inside a crisp, pan-fried shell. The presence of so many vegetables made the dish refreshing rather than oily and heavy. The Sweet and Sour Veggie Dish ($11.95) includes pineapple along with broccoli, carrots and tofu in a pink-tinted sweet and sour sauce.

SMILING SERVER Alice Liang grins as new customers enter her restaurant, Garden Fresh, in downtown Palo Alto. Liang has been the owner of Garden Fresh since its opening in 2005 and also personally serves her customers on a daily basis.

Unlike other noodle dishes, the Veggie Chicken Chow Fun ($9.95) had a crunch from the bean sprouts, while still having a chewy texture from the wide noodles and the tofu. Its savory sauce also made it pleasantly spicy. To end our meal with a touch of sweetness, we had the Vegan Chocolate Cake ($4.95). It had an appealing, simple frosting design, and the cake was sweet and rich.

Garden Fresh is a perfect local stop not only because of the quality of its food, which is simple and delicious, but also because of its owners who care deeply about their customers and want to make sure that they have a pleasant dining experience. “I ... talk to [the] customers and make them [feel] comfortable and happy until they finish the meal,” Alice Liang says. "They like it."

HINT OF SPICE Slightly sweet with a spicy and flavorful sauce, Garden Fresh's cripsy tofu was served with fresh vegetables for a refreshing crunch.

TOUCH OF SWEETNESS Garden Fresh's chocolate cake was iced with a creamy frosting.

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Text by MAGGIE CHEUNG and CALVIN YAN Art by ASHLEY ZHAO

Culinary contraptions AUTOMATION IN THE RESTAURANT INDUSTRY

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HAT A HUMAN CAN DO, A ROBOT CAN DO BETTER. This belief seems to have gained traction in Silicon Valley. Robots can be found driving cars, cleaning floors, and even performing surgeries. But how often have you seen one bake your pizza or toss your salad? Entrepreneurs are setting their sights on food service as the next frontier for technology, ut the jury is out on whether automated food is the new standard or a lame gimmick.. We sought the most innovative combinations of food and tech so far to decide if they are worth the hype. v

SALLY AND ME Chowbotics CEO Deepak Sekar poses next to Sally, a robot that makes perfectly portioned salads. Sekar designed Sally along with Charlie Ayers, executive chef of Chowbotics and owner of Calafia Market-a-Go-Go. Photo by Maggie Cheung.

Sally the Robot at Calafia Market-a-Go-Go 855 El Camino Real, Suite 130, Palo Alto

Inside Calafia Market-a-Go-Go is Sally, a robot designed to make salads with a few taps of a touchscreen. Select the “Cardinal Crush,” the “Sally Paly,” or build your own salad from scratch. Deepak Sekar is the CEO and founder of Chowbotics, the company that created Sally. He says salad-making robots like Sally are convenient because they are available

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24/7. Chowbotics decided to start with a robot that makes salad because it’s the simplest type of food you can make, according to Sekar. “The way you handle engineering is you do simple things and you make it more and more sophisticated,” Sekar says. “So our future products will do other types of food as well.”

Regarding concerns about robots taking away jobs, Sekar says the nature of people’s work has changed throughout history. “40 years back, a lot of guys were doing semiconductors — now they’re all doing software,” Sekar says. “The nature of people’s work will change, and in restaurant business as well I believe the nature of their work is going to change.”


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Kula Revolving Sushi Bar 19600 Vallco Parkway, Suite 160, Cupertino Bzzz. You barely have time to look up before a plate of California Rolls whizzes by your face and stops at the next table, shifting precariously from the momentum. Craving a bite yourself, you tap the tablet next to your table to order a bowl of ramen. Two minutes later, it arrives on the upper level of the conveyer belt, complete with a safety-locked lid. With over 400 locations, there’s a reason why Kula Revoliving Sushi Bar in Cu-

pertino has a two-hour wait time through the weekend. On the lower level of the conveyer belt, sushi continuously rotates past tables, covered for cleanliness but inviting all the same. Diners grab plates off the belt to enjoy, and dispose of finished ones in a slot that keeps count. For every five plates, customers are entertained by a short video. If 15 plates are inserted, a prize drops from above, like an eraser or stickers.

“It’s fun, because you have to order in the order panel,” store manager Ismael Amaya Huezo says. “Usually customers enjoy coming to Kula because they have everything at the table.”

Zume Pizza

250 Polaris Avenue, Mountain View Every day, a Zume Pizza truck parks outside Palo Alto High School, surrounded by smaller Zume cars that are constantly taking off to make deliveries. Equipped with ovens and self-cleaning pizza cutters, the truck acts as Zume’s hub for the Palo Alto area — pizzas are immediately baked in the back and delivered within minutes. Before being loaded onto trucks, a combination of robots and humans prepare the pizzas in Zume’s Mountain View facility. The robots carry out repetitive tasks such as spreading sauce, dispensing ingredients, and moving pizzas in and out of ovens. Julia Collins, co-CEO and co-founder of Zume, says the company’s mission is to ensure access to healthy and affordable

ZOOM ZUME A Zume truck is stationed next to Paly on El Camino Real . As orders come in, an employee in the back of the truck puts pizzas in the oven before sending them off to their destinations. Photo by Maggie Cheung.

meals to everyone. Collins says the use of automation in the food industry is often associated with a decrease in food quality. This is not the case at Zume.

“Zume believes that they can use automation to create not just a more efficient production line ... but really to create a higher quality product,” Collins says.

Yayoi Teishoku Restaurant 403 University Avenue, Palo Alto

Step into the elegant, wooden interior of Yayoi, and you’ll find packed tables, dim lighting, happy patrons — and no one taking orders. Instead, each table is outfitted with a sleek white tablet, on which customers can place orders and track the progress of each dish. Supervisor Alan Enecial says this computer network lets staff focus on what matter most: delicious, quickly served Japanese food. We felt more like we were shopping on Amazon than dining out, scrolling through various entrees and addingthem to the cart,

but the lightning-fast service assuaged our doubts. We only needed to look up from the screen to see waiters clearing our physical menus from the table, and received our food in less than 10 minutes. Despite its quick arrival, our dishes were no less tasty than what you would expect in a more traditional setting. Tablets aside, Yayoi is cooking up new ways to use technology. “We’d probably have some of the more basic items on our menu processed through a machine instead of having it just cooked [by hand],” Enecial says.

TOUCH-SCREEN TEISHOKU Custom designed tablets let customers order dishes without the hassle of human communication. Photo by Calvin Yan.

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Illustrated Interview Text by MAIA LAGNA and CECILIA WARD

Verde approached different members of the Palo Alto High School community and asked questions that relate to various stories in this issue. Each interviewee had a different perspective which they expressed through their drawn responses. v

1

What was your dream job as a child? (See “Endgame in Mind” pg. 44 and “Business as Unusual” pg. 38)

2

Do you have any advice for women looking to be involved in a tech career? (See “Womansplaining” pg. 28)

Brian Wilson journalism teacher

Steve Ferrera art teacher

Stand on the shoulders of others to break the glass ceiling

A gas station attendant

3

How do you think budget cuts will affect the PAUSD school system? (See “Budget Cuts” pg. 17)

4

What is your favorite food? (See “Best Vegan Restaurants” pg. 52 and “Kali Greek Kitchen” pg. 62)

Louisa Keyani senior Janice Chen assistant principal

5

What is causing the recent influx of protests and counter-protests? (See “Heritage or Hate” pg. 21)

6

What effects will protests like the one in Charlottesville have on the nation? (See “Heritage or Hate” pg. 21)

Hayden Jung-Goldberg freshman

Kevin Kerr senior

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Persian stew: ghormeh sabzi

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Trump

Divided states


88%

Text by AMIRA GAREWAL and KAITLYN HO Art by KEVIN KERR

NEW TECHNOLOGY IN ART CLASSES

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HE WORLD IS YOUR at a table,” LaFetra says. “It allows them to CANVAS. express their creativity too.” Clutching one remote in Although this VR machine theoreticaleach hand and looking through ly can be used by all, only students enrolled the lenses of a black plastic mask, you are in Art Spectrum and Ceramics and Sculptransported into a different realm. Your ture can access the equipment. One student arm waves across your in particular, senior body, and a bright streak Jeremiah Cohn, has of color follows, hover- It’s all your canvas. fallen in love with this ing in the air. medium. There’s nothing for While one might “There are no think that this machine you to worry about distractions,” Cohn would only exist in a there. You don’t have says. “It’s all your futuristic society, this canvas. There’s nothexperience is available in to worry about an ing for you to worry Palo Alto High School’s audience.” about there. There very own Art Departare no shadows being — JEREMIAH COHN, senior ment, which houses a cast. You don’t have new virtual reality paint machine in the to worry about lighting. You don’t have to side room attached to Room 101. The ma- worry about an audience.” chine can be accessed by art students to not With his new passion for the virtuonly create prototypes of sculptures, but al reality paint machine, Cohn plans on also to create digital art itself. teaching the skills he has discovered to the The machine consists of Tilt Brush ceramics class through individual lessons. software, Vive goggles and a gaming comLaFetra envisions the machine being a puter. This is a step towards unifying tech- transformative tool for other departments, nology and art, and previews how new with its innovative approach being a valutechnological advances will affect the future able way to help students. of creative expression within the Palo Alto “Imagine if you’re in a biology class community. and the teacher asks you to diagram a huPaly art teacher Susan LaFetra wrote a man cell, and you could do that in three grant to Partners in Education for $3,000 dimensions,” LaFetra says. “Imagine creand received the funds this past summer. ating a solar system with this. In English, “This reaches kids who aren’t typical you could take things out of literature and art students, who have trouble sitting still illustrate them.” v

of Paly students do not know of the virtual reality machine

84% of Paly students would like to try using the virtual reality machine

Poll results were collected with a survey administered in Palo Alto High School English classes over the course of several days in September 2017. Sixteen English classes were randomly selected and 386 responses collected.


Text by ZOE STANTON-SAVITZ

Eatsa

The Handmaid’s Tale SEX HAS NEVER BEEN LESS SEXY

SERENA JOY The commander’s wife, Serena Joy, played by Yvonne Strahovski in Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale, holds her copy of the bible after women are banned from reading. Serena was a religious zealot in her past life and she encouraged the movement that resulted in the society told in the story. However, a part of her character’s struggle is her regret at her decisions and her bitterness towards the Offred. Art by Anna Promokhova.

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N A WORLD WHERE WOMEN get paid on average 80 percent of a man’s dollar, where the issue of abortion is being taken into the hands of male politicians, and where rape culture is a commonality on many college campuses, there could not be a better time for the new television adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s classic dystopian novel “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Originally published in 1985, the book was written as a commentary on politics during the Reagan Era as well as modern Puritanism in America, according to an interview with Atwood published in the New York Times in March 2017. But with the current political climate, Atwood’s story is more relevant than ever, and definitely worth the watch. The television version of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” created by Bruce Miller, kicked off its first season on Hulu in April and won eight Emmy Awards, including the coveted Outstanding Drama Series award. The adaptation, which is extraordinarily eerie and beautifully filmed, shines a light on current American politics. It tells the story of Gilead, a society set in New England in the not-so-distant future in which women have been stripped of all rights after a plague of infertility. The story focuses on the “handmaids,” whose sole purpose is to get pregnant for their “commander.” Atwood’s story focuses on a handmaid named Offred — or, “Of Fred,” a reference to her master after she loses her original name, June. Played by Elizabeth Moss, probably best known for her role as Peggy Olson in the series “Mad Men,” Offred rebels against the system in her own ways after her daughter


OFGLEN IS SPEECHLESS Alexis Bledel as Ofglen in Episode 3: Gender Treachery in Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.” The character doesn’t talk at any point in the episode after being accused for having an affair with another woman. This shows that in Atwoods’s society women are silenced. Art by Vivian Nguyen.

and husband are taken away and she becomes the property of Fred Waterson. While Offred is the narrator and lead character, other characters are the real heros. Ofglen, portrayed by Alexis Bledel, is by far the most complex character, though she is featured in a only few episodes. Ofglen is a handmaid who belongs to an underground rebel group fighting to overthrow Gilead’s government. However, in the show, Ofglen is labelled a “gender traitor,” meaning she is lesbian, and is punished for having an affair with another woman. While Ofglen barely speaks, Bledel, who won an Emmy for her role, displays passionate emotion in her facial expressions alone. Her silence depicts women’s lives as being dictated by others, left with no voice in society or politics. When she is punished, she has a surgery that suggests female genital mutilation. This is an homage to modern day female circumcision in places in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. In a later episode, Ofglen steals a government official’s car and drives off in protest of women being prohibited from driving. This is similar to Saudi women’s protests against laws prohibiting females from driving. In the series, Ofglen’s journey is the most intriguing, while in the book she just disappears leaving readers wondering about her fate. The costumes play an important role, as each color reflects a different class of women: the wives of commanders are blue, representing purity and symbolizing the Virgin Mary. The handmaid’s dress is red, the color representing menstruation and childbirth.

Music, too, is masterfully crafted to meet the shows requirements. The original score (composed by Adam Taylor) ranges from rock to slow jarring melodies, and works in hand with the cinematography (Colin Watkinson), which features repeated uncomfortable close-ups, adding an extra layer of creepiness. In the story, societal changes are gradual. In flashbacks, Offred’s husband consoles her by saying it will all blow over, which of course was not true. In Gilead, the male-dominated society starts with sexism in the workplace and results in the loss of all rights. Women are restricted from driving, reading, keeping money, or having jobs, so that men have the ability to control their bodies and minds. In both the book and the TV adaptation, the story functions as a criticism of modern American society. Both now and in “The Handmaid’s Tale” the government uses terrorist attacks as an excuse for restricting freedoms, religion is used as a weapon to attack the rights of other groups, the environment is being destroyed, and it is increasingly difficult to tell the difference between fact and fiction in the media. When leaders make sexist jokes and justify them by saying “it’s just locker room talk” and there is fear of loss of civil liberties because of a clear dehumanizing of minority groups, one might be lead to wonder, is the United States closer to becoming Gilead than people think? As stated chillingly in both the book and the TV show: “This may not seem ordinary to you now, but after a time it will. It will become ordinary.” v

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Behind the Lens FOUR PHOTOGRAPHERS SHOOT ONE MODEL Photographers: Ryan Gwyn, C Magazine VSCO: vsco.co/ryangwyn Camera: Nikon DF and 85mm f/s 1.4 Angelina Wang, The Paly Voice Instagram: @a.z.w Camera: Canon 60D and 50 mm f/s 1.4 Maraleis Sinton, Verde Magazine Instagram: @bymaraleis Camera: Nikon D5500 and 18-60 mm f/s 4.0 Jonathan Stoschek, The Campanile Camera: Nikon 3200 and 35 mm f/s 1.8 Model: Cauanny Zanco (Instagram: @illest_cau) JONATHAN STOSCHEK

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Text by STEPHANIE LEE

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NSPIRED BY JESSICA KOBEISSI’S YOUTUBE SERIES, “FOUR PHOTOGraphers Shoot the Same Model” I decided I wanted to do something similar. The series was an interesting way to show different perspectives of various photographers — both in photography and photo editing style. However, I had wanted to give it a twist — instead of gathering four photographers from AP Studio Art 2D (Photography), I messaged photographers from different Palo Alto High School publications. The four photographers — Ryan Gwyn from C Magazine, Angelina Wang from The Paly Voice, Jonathan Stoschek from The Campanile and Maraleis Sinton from Verde Magazine — headed to California Avenue on a storming Monday afternoon to shoot our model, senior Cauanny Zanco. Each photographer picked a location and had three minutes to shoot. After shooting, everyone edited their photos and picked their favorite one to showcase. Each photograph has its own unique perspective and editing style, its own mood and structure. Part of the reason is the difference in equipment; but mostly, it’s what the photographer sees behind the lens. v RYAN GWYN


culture

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ANGELINA WANG

MARALEIS SINTON

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Text by ELLA THOMSEN and AMIRA GAREWAL

Kali - fornia Ave Treasure NEW GREEK RESTAURANT DEBUTS

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ALÍ GREEK KITCHEN, a casual Greek restaurant that opened this summer on California Avenue, offers an easy escape from our busy schedules and the chance to take pleasure in a relaxing meal. In bright daylight, the street-side seating is inviting. Three striped umbrellas provide shade above the wooden tables. Inside, the large open windows let light pour in, illuminating the modern decor. Additionally, the wooden floor and chairs, with tables made out of long pieces of wood, provide for a rustic look. White walls, blue accents, hanging plants and reoccurring Greek symbols provide the perfect place to get in some high quality Instagram photography. Manager Cuglar Vular prides himself in the use of locally sourced and organic ingredients. According to Vular, the restaurant aims “to bring local fresh ingredients for people at an affordable price.” Vular, the owner of the neighboring Cafe Brioche, says he was inspired to open this restaurant upon noticing the lack of Greek restaurants on California Avenue. Each of the base choices on the menu — pita, salad, or a rice plate — are offered with either chicken, beef, lamb or a vegetarian option, and Verde ventured to try all of the meat options. v

Chicken Pita $11

The Chicken Pita dish is served on a blue and white-speckled plate. A blend of roasted beets, sliced oranges, greens and Mizithra cheese lay as a bed for the chicken slices that sit atop it. This was all then wrapped in a large piece of cold pita, and wrapped again in a patterned paper to hold everything together. The portion size is large, making it the perfect amount for a lunch. Overall the Chicken Pita has a tasty blend of ingredients; however, it is lacking the Greek element we had previously expereinced in Greek food. Lamb Rice Plate $15

with chickpeas and orzo pasta. This combination of ingredients created a tasty dish, with strong Greek flavors. Beef Salad $13

On the bottom of a large bowl lay an average-sized serving of salad with tomatoes, onion, lettuce, feta cheese and lemon-oregano vinaigrette drizzled on top, creating a strong Greek taste. Resting atop the salad were three delicately placed beef skewers. The contrasting temperatures of the salad and beef were satisfying, and the dish was the perfect size for a lunch or afternoon meal. Strawberry Basil Lemonade $3.50

The speckled plate made yet another appearance for the Lamb Rice Plate. The lamb was garnished with a dollop of tzatziki sauce, which had become warm over time. After a few bites, a layer of pita bread was revealed hidden underneath the lamb. Cut into small triangular pieces, the pita was a pleasant surprise. However, it had become damp by the time we got to it. Neighboring the lamb was a Greek salad, and a large spoonful of delicious calrose rice, sprinkled

There are two types of Kalí Lemonade: mint cucumber and strawberry basil.Both are Greek and both are made in-house. The strawberry basil lemonade is sweet with a little tang from the lemon, while the basil flavor is subtle. The drink’s pink color can be seen through the plastic ziploc bag that it is served in. Although the bag is aesthetically pleasing, it is not an enviromentally friendly way to serve these drinks.

TAKE A SIP Customers Max Weiss (left) and Chris Wellise (right) relax as they wait for their food to arrive. Photo by Ella Thomsen.


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Text by MARALEIS SINTON Art by AISHAH MAAS

Somewhere in Between HOW ADOPTION HAS SHAPED WHO I AM TODAY

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COULD SHARE A STORY ABOUT being born in China or why my parents said they adopted me and how wonderful it was for them to help a child in need. And while those experiences are crucial aspects of adoption, neither will tell you what happens after the papers are filed, when the room is painted yellow, or the sign-ups for summer camps begin. Adoption is something that has always been a part of me, at times small and insignificant, but also loud, the driving force that caused a disconnect between the rest of the world and me. I could explain the beginning stages of coming to California at 13 months old, but it doesn’t tell you about the way adoption has shaped who I am today. So I’ll begin with when I first acknowledged its presence. There was moisture that ran down my face, tears that flowed from my eyes as I pressed my face into my mother’s shoulder. I was seven that summer, and the warm sunlight cast rays onto the front porch. I could feel my mother shake as she tried to understand for me the events I couldn’t. They weren’t tears of anger or sadness, but rather a lack of understanding. I didn’t understand why I was placed at the doorstep of an orphanage all those years ago or why I felt different. In family portraits, I recognized from a young age that I looked different. I wasn’t fair-skinned like the rest of my family; rather, I was tan with jet-black hair. And those details, though seemingly minor and unimportant, affected the way I perceived myself. A part of me didn’t feel Asian enough because I lacked the cultural roots, and yet I couldn’t consider myself equal within the white community. This conflict between heritage and culture continued throughout those years and tainted my adolescence. Maybe those feelings of disconnect were caused by my peers being confused by

my inability to speak Chinese or maybe the familiar isolation grew by jeers, “You’re not truly Asian.” But I remember how it nagged at me, and I began to pull away from my Asian heritage, hoping that it might allow me to feel more accepted by the white community. At the time, I hadn’t yet reconnected with my heritage nor was I thinking much of the distance that was being formed, perhaps out of fear that since I was surrounded by white culture, learning about the place where I was born would pull me away from the society in which I strived for acceptance. But in the fifth grade I was given a book about ancient China, and the stories I read inspired me to understand my roots. During the next few years, I learned more about Chinese culture and its contemporary history which ultimately lead to the one-child policy that was enforced from 1979 to 2015. Although Mao Zedong, leader of China from 1949 to 1976, once encouraged his nation to produce large families, concerns regarding overpopulation resulted in the reversal of this policy. Families were only permitted to have one child. Consequently, many children were left on the streets with the hope that someone would bring them to a new life, perhaps a better one. From my research, I developed a sense of closure. I wasn’t alone in being adopted, but rather part of a much larger community. And as I gained a stronger sense of self, the fact that I was adopted began to recede to the background of my persona, because I realized that being adopted wasn’t the only thing that defined me. I took part in sports, arts and hobbies where I saw that my passions shaped who I was and

what I hoped to achieve. Last year, I began to reconcile with the way that my adoptive roots affected my mental health. I reflected on the role my adoption played in shaping the person I am today. Being adopted gave me a window to the culture I was born into while the household I grew up in became the light that guided me through this internal conflict. Today, I understand that being left on the doorstep of an orphanage gave me a chance to see more of the world than I otherwise would have. Though I may not have a strong connection to Chinese culture or feel like part of the white community completely, I’ve stopped forcing myself to conform to the definitions dictated by society. Today, I know that I will never be able to part with my heritage, nor can I ignore the culture I have been raised to know. Today, I am the sum of both worlds. v


Text by REBECCA YAO Art by MAURICE WANG

TO PLAY OR NOT TO PLAY

HIGH SCHOOLERS NEED PLAY STRUCTURES TOO

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LOT OF THINGS HAPPEN when you try to go down a slide at the playground. You have to avoid the children in front of you, beware of being hit by the children behind you, and also somehow get down in the coolest way possible — even if sliding head first, belly-down costs you a few drops of blood and a slide-burn. I used to climb up and slide down a slide every day. At recess, at lunch, after school — all the time. But as I grew older, there were fewer screams and more screens. Part of the reason for this decline in sliding was simply the absence of slides. In elementary school they were plentiful; double slides, single slides, windy slides, all surrounded by various climbing structures and swings. In middle school, we simply had grass, and not enough time to eat, let alone play. Merriam-Webster includes children in its definition of play, and traditionally playgrounds aim to fit this description — they’re littered around elementary schools and public parks intended for children. But in recent years, New York, Toronto, and cities in the UK have begun to construct adult playgrounds; Thailand and Germany now have playstructures for the elderly in hopes of combating dementia and other aging conditions. However, while young children and adults alike have been catered to, a large percentage of the world’s population has yet to have structures built specifically with its demographic in mind: teens. The “play” needs of teens can arguably be met by adult playgrounds. However, in a society where teens traditionally spend seven to

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eight hours a day in school, doesn’t it make of having a playground, but you would resense to provide readily accessible play- ally do the research into why that would grounds in middle and high schools? be cool, and what features could you do,” Beyond being fun, the benefits of McDaniel says. play are numerous, and while play does While we are already lucky to have not necessarily need a structure to happen, the Magical Bridge Playground, which caplaygrounds facilitate ters to children, those social interactions and with special needs, and As I grew older, there adults all at once, havencourage imaginative play. accessible, mind-exwere fewer screams ing Hilary McDaniel, ercising structures in and more screens.” the Early Child Dehigh schools will make velopment teacher at it easier for students to Paly, agrees that play has many benefits. reap the benefits of playgrounds and play. “It [play] is the most effective way for In addition, play may have connecthem [kids] to interact with their environ- tions with mental health. In the American ments and learn things like cause and ef- Journal of Play, Peter Gray notes a that the fect and develop their gross and fine motor decline in play is correlated with a rise in skills,” McDaniel says. mental health disorders among adolescents. While McDaniel could only speak to According to Gray, as children grow the benefits of play in young children, she older, their motivations become more exbelieves that if middle and high schools trinsic than intrinsic; according to a study were to adopt playgrounds, students should done by the International Journal of Acatake initiative in designing the structures. demic Research in Business and Social Sci“I mean honestly ... I think that ences in 2013, intrinsic motivation is highcould be a wonderful project for ly correlated with an increase in happiness. someone in one of the AAR In a study conducted by author and classes ... to do that type psychologist David Elkind in 2008, chilo f research so dren at the time of the study spent eight not only fewer hours playing each week than chilwould you dren two decades earlier. As children forget the get how to play, they lose opportunities to benefits practice solving conflicts. Gray says that this contributes to an increase in the chances of anxiety and depression in adolescents. While playgrounds are in no way a solution to mental health issues, the presence of these structures can do nothing but help. And if students have a say in design, I believe playgrounds could facilitate out-of-classroom learning. After all, as one Albert Einstein said, “Play is the highest form of research.” v


perspectives Text by RIYA MATTA Art by KEVIN KERR

A patriotic choice

FORCING CITIZENS TO RECITE PLEDGE IS IMMORAL

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ET’S HAVE SOMEONE START US OFF WITH THE Pledge of Allegiance. Josh, how about you start us off?” It is not a question so much as an instruction. It is Tuesday morning in the middle of Mr. Bungarden’s lecture in second period Advanced Placement US History, and we are learning about the Pledge of Allegiance. The whole class stands with our hands over our hearts, waiting expectantly to hear our classmate recite the beginnings of the pledge we all know so well. “Do I have to?” comes Josh’s reply. Mr. Bungarden stops midstep, taken aback. “Do you not want to?” he inquires. Josh tells him that he doesn’t, and Mr. Bungarden asks someone else. Like most other children in America, I recited the Pledge of Allegiance nearly every day in elementary school. Each morning, the whole class stood up at our teacher’s instruction, and chorused “I pledge allegiance to the flag…” Many of us partook in this daily ritual long before we had any idea what it was that we were pledging allegiance to. For some time now, especially with prominent figures like Colin Kaepernick protesting institutions such as the national anthem, the issue of free speech has been a point of contention for Americans. For many Americans, the national anthem and Pledge of Allegiance are sacred traditions and to do anything less than stand up and put your hand over your heart is barely short of treason. For me, the Pledge of Allegiance was little more than a part of our morning routine, just like turning in my homework or reading

the daily announcements. I was never taught the meaning or history behind what I was saying; they were just words to me. It was not until the aforementioned day in AP US History, my junior year of high school, that I was finally taught the history behind what I previously hadn’t questioned — that the Pledge of Allegiance was originally drafted as a commercial scheme, and the phrase “under God” was added later, during the 1950s in light of the communist scare. Had I been taught the historical background behind the words sooner, I likely would have had a different reaction to requests to recite them. It is my belief that one’s willingness — or lack thereof — to partake in the recitation of these institutions is not a representation of one’s love for or loyalty to this country. Refusal to recite the Pledge of Allegiance does not make one less American; rather, it is a choice that exercises the very American right of free speech. Just as people should not be forced to repeat something that they do not agree with, children should not be forced to recite something in that they do not understand. Many might argue that the Pledge of Allegiance is simply an act of respect for this country and what it stands for. I disagree. To make young, impressionable children recite a pledge without properly educating them on what they are saying is blind indoctrination, and is a form of disrespect to cherished American ideals, the values that this country was built on. I have the utmost respect for this country and all that it stands for, in theory, but I also know that the idealistic America that asks me to pledge of allegiance is fictional. It is not the America, at least right now, that really exists, and it is my right, and the right of all other Americans, to refuse to recite the Pledge of Allegiance if we so desire. v

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v


A Gathering of Minds

Text by ALLISON MOU Art by ANNA PROMOKHOVA

THE BENEFITS OF HAVING A CENTRALIZED NOTES PLATFORM

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AVE YOU EVER MISSED a day of school, only to come back to class and have no idea what planet you are on? It seems the only solution is to text all of your friends to ask what happened. If you’re lucky, you might end up with a picture of a page of notes containing semi-legible handwriting. But it’s also possible that you get a vague half-sentence reply, or simply no response at all. Enter student notetakers, a potential solution. With finals looming in the future, imagine a world where you could access an online database to compare Advanced Placement Biology notes with fellow classmates instead of furiously googling “genetic drift.” Currently, Palo Alto High School has a small student notetaker program that exists as a joint operation between the Testing Center and the Special Education Department. Federally mandated as part of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which guarantees accommodations to students with disabilities, supplemental student notes have long been a part of public education at Paly. According to program manager Jennifer Ramberg, the current program is inefficient, time-consuming, and lacks a complete coverage of classes that need notes. Notes are either dropped off in person or submitted to a Google document, but then have to be transferred individually onto a libguide, which is a web page of student class notes. “I’ve determined ... that about 95 percent of the classes at Paly need a note taker, including electives, so we don’t get full cov-

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erage because there’s just not that many kids,” Ramberg says. This current system is roundabout for both students and teachers. A logical next step would be to expand the current program. To improve, Paly should create an open forum database where everyone can post, download, suggest, and comment on notes. This would provide students with several sets of notes, which would make it a more effective resource as it would cater to more types of learners. Ideally, this would be an online academic resource where students could share and compare notes, fostering a better learning environment for everyone at Paly. Making supplemental notes more accessible could eliminate the problem of people coming to school sick. Those sick students might be contagious, resulting in a situation that could possibly resemble something like last spring’s whooping cough scare. Because students feel they cannot afford to miss another day of lectures and risk falling behind in a certain class, they come to school instead of sleeping in and recovering. “I remember this one time where I got sick but I had about 3 tests during that week. So not wanting to miss those days, I went to school,” junior Kate Lee says. Many classes have formed independent Facebook groups to share notes or to

help each other with classes, and replacing these groups with a Paly-sanctioned site would allow school administrators to monitor for any academic dishonesty. One point to consider is the small potential for students to exploit the database by not taking any notes in class. Although this is a possibility, the number of people that would benefit from this database would outweigh the relatively small number of potential negatives. In the beginning, to encourage students to post their notes to the database, teachers should consider offering students extra credit or community service hours. Currently, students who take notes for the existing program receive half an hour of community service for every set of class notes turned in. “I don’t see why that [expanding the program] would be a problem ... we already have the infrastructure for it,” Ramberg says. v


perspectives

ThE “Wasian” Dilemma

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Text by ESTELLE MARTIN Art by KAITLYN HO

SHOULD I CHECK “ASIAN” ON MY COLLEGE APP?

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WO DAYS AGO I SCHEDULED MY FIRST ACT test. The website requires you to create an account and profile for yourself, then proceeds to ask what seems like an eternity of questions. These questions range from what credits you have taken, to what religion you affiliate yourself with; they can easily be answered in half a second. But there was one question that made me hesitate: “Indicate your race. Mark all that apply.” I was stumped. As a half white, half Asian person — or a “wasian,” as we are commonly referred to — I could check two boxes. But I also could get away with only checking “white” because my last name wouldn’t betray the other half of my ethnicity. Yes, an ACT account profile is trivial in the grand scheme of college admissions, but I began to wonder what boxes I would check when I began my college applications in a year. As college application season is fast approaching, many wasian seniors will have to confront this decision. You might ask why “wasians” would possibly want to deny half of their ethnicity to a group of strangers in an admissions office. The explanation is this: Universities around the country strive to create ethnically diverse student bodies, and while the Supreme Court banned collegiate racial quotas in 1978, universities can still use race as a criterion in admissions. Asian application numbers have dramatically increased at the much-sought-after Ivy League schools, while the demographic percentage of Asians at these schools has plateaued. According to Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune, the percentage of Asian-American students at Harvard stayed at around 19 percent between 1992 and 2013 despite the number of college-age Asian Americans roughly doubling in the past twenty years. The bar for admitted Asian students is increasingly rising, and more and more qualified Asians applicants are being rejected. According to Thomas J. Espenshade, a Princeton sociologist, the average SAT scores for Asian students at Ivy Leagues are 140 points higher than the average SAT scores for white students. Still, some half-white, half-Asian students are not so quick to click solely “white” and move on. Jackie Moore, a Paly alumna and freshman in college, says she was against hiding her ethnicity and checked both white and Asian in her college application. “I personally don’t think it’s worth it to cover it up; why manipulate part of my identity just to maybe, maybe, get a better shot of getting into a school?” Moore says. “In the end I just decided that it wasn’t worth it and it wouldn’t be true to who I am.” I grew up hearing my mom tell stories about her life in Vietnam and her harrowing escape to the U.S in 1975 after the Viet Cong invasion and the fall of Saigon. I take pride in having that history in my family, and in going to the temple for Tet, the Vietnamese New Year. I love coming home to the smell of pho, a tradi-

tional Vietnamese soup, and wearing ao dais, traditional Vietnamese dresses, to relatives’ weddings. Would I really want to withhold this part of me from a school? And is that school really the right fit for me if it turns me down due to my affiliation to this beautiful, unique culture? Paly’s college counselor, Sandra Cernobori, agrees that students should not hide their ethnicity and discusses the common misconception as to why the question on the application exists in the first place. “Colleges typically ask questions about ethnicity, race, even income because they are obligated to by the federal government if they are an institution that distributes federal money,” Cernobori says. In short, ethnicity is often not taken into account during admissions; rather, the government will not give money to universities unless it receives a compilation of data about the student demographic. But as I walked away from my interview with Cernobori, I realized that all the questions I had asked her centered around Ivy League schools and their statistics. In reality, many universities have an Asian population below five percent, according to their demographic reports, and if these universities are trying to build a diverse class (most universities these days are), as a half white, half-Asian applicant interested in attending those schools, I would not hesitate to document my minority ethnicity. So to all hopeful applicants at Paly, I leave you with this: If you truly believe race will affect your admissions to your dream college, do your research. What you might think is a detrimental detail in your application for one school might actually be helpful in your admissions at another school. But I urge you to remember that your own ethnicity is a beautiful part of your identity. I hope that when a university admits you, it wants every single part of you. I sure hope they would want the whole me too. v

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Parallels in Prayer

Text by BRIDGET LI Art by MAURICE WANG

GOING TO RELIGIOUS SERVICES AS AN ATHEIST

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ROWING UP WITHOUT the presence of religion, I understood the concept of “God” about as well as I understood “affiliate marketing” or “VSEPR theory” — that is, I understood nothing. I repeated the strange “G” word only during the Pledge of Allegiance, and set foot in houses of worship only to reluctantly hammer out shabby renditions of classical flute music. I remained oblivious for as long as I could — until it became apparent as I grew older that in a country partially founded upon the pursuit of religious freedom, the ringing of church bells and melodic recitation of prayer have become sources of division. I struggled to comprehend why religion incited such fervor; why exactly was it so important to people? To better understand the experiences of the 77 percent of Americans who are religiously affiliated, per a 2014 Pew Research Center study, I decided to attend services of the three dominant faiths of America at nearby religious centers. My first stop was a Muslim pre-Eid al-Adha service at Indian Muslim Relief and Charities in Mountain View. The communal aspect was immediately apparent. During the prayer, a horizon of figures, from teens in skinny jeans to grandmothers in traditional garb, bowed together. At dinner, people — whether from Southeast Asia or the state of Georgia — engaged in meaningful conversation. “The only thing that separates us is our hearts’ attachments,” Imam Musab Abdalla

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had said in his sermon. “If what we’re doing is not rooted in love ... it’s not worth it.” From the sense of community I witnessed among the diverse group of worshippers at the service, I grew to understand that differences among people are only opportunities to create more meaningful bonds. The warmth I experienced among the congregants reminded me of my own communities of friends and family, and I left determined to be more appreciative of them. The next day, I attended a Jewish Shabbat service at Congregation Etz Chayim in Palo Alto. “What’s our question this year?” Rabbi Chaim Koritzinsky asked after the opening prayers. What was the question? Turns out, everything was subject to questioning. As he began to speak about charity in response to Hurricane Harvey, one audience member said that the scripture does not explicitly say to aid any non-Jewish people. “Maybe we have too many rules, and we have to think a bit more broadly,” responded another. Although there were many conflicting opinions, at no point did anyone attack another’s viewpoint. I appreciated the civility of the environment and how it was not

an echo chamber of accepted ideas, but a constant probe for deeper thought. It was a polite, productive, and most importantly, thought-provoking discussion. It was also a reminder to stay curious and maintain an active interest in life. I hope to replicate the congregation’s sense of open-mindedness and recognize that there cannot be progress without disagreement. My last stop was a Christian Sunday service. The front of the First Baptist Church of Palo Alto proudly sported an orange banner reading “immigrants and refugees welcome” and a gay pride flag, and Pastor Rick Mixon, in his sermon, preached about the examples of white privilege that exist in everyday life. I was shocked not only by the advocacy of the church but also by the kindness of the churchgoers, as every action seemed to purposefully benefit someone else. The rituals practiced, from the friendly handshakes to the collection of donations for the needy, made unmistakably clear a key tenet of Christianity — to instill in churchgoers a willingness to love and help others. Sometimes it is difficult to hold an unfaltering faith in the power of what a single person can contribute to society, but the worshippers’ actions dulled the lingering skepticism inside me. Though these services have made me no more inclined to ascribe myself to religion than before, it has shown me the importance of it, and instilled in me a certain kind of faith along the way — a faith not in a higher power, but in the power of humanity, community and the goodwill of the individual. Because at its best, that’s what religion does. It inspires a zeal for life and for others. Not one rooted in fear, but one rooted in empowerment and purpose. v


perspectives

Unfreeze California VOTERS MUST ENACT TERM LIMITS FOR 2018 Text by ASIA GARDIAS

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HE AMOUNT OF TIME policy issues, they should find someone that Anna Eshoo and Dianne better to represent them. Feinstein have spent in the the Barbara Boxer spent 10 years as a repCongress and Senate, com- resentative for California’s sixth district and bined, is roughly half a century. later would sit in the Senate as California’s The longevity of their careers doesn’t senator for 24 years, until 2017, when she stem from a disregard for term limits, as finally decided not to run for a fifth term. our governors max out at two terms and During the 24 years she was in office, was state legislators have a limit of 12 years. there not even one vote, piece of proposed Californians clearly recognize the impor- legislation or statement that Californians tance of term limits. However, these values disagreed with? do not extend to our Senate and House repNo matter how qualified, any politiresentatives. cian, at a certain point, will lose touch with The average length of their constitents. time that our current In addition, people representatives have are energized by new The average length spent in office is 16 ideas and faces, best and a half years — of time that our cur- evidenced by the two and that takes into recent presidenrent representatives most account that we just tial elections. Donald elected Kamala HarTrump ran a campaign have spent in office ris last year. on being a political outis 16 and a half With the upsider, someone who is coming 2018 midnot a career politician, years. term elections, Califorand clearly, his methods nians must recognize were effective. that there is always someone better to But, if ‘draining the swamp’ represent their ideas and that new politi- doesn’t float your boat, the next best examcians will engage more people. ple of the power of a fresh face is Barack Therefore, either through legislation Obama. While his political career was or their votes, they should stop voting in unrecognized at a national scale, his origthird- or fourth-term incumbents. inality helped him gain a majority of the Once voters find that they disagree youth vote, ultimately winning him the with their representatives on even a few 2008 presidential election, as reported by

v

Art by VIVIAN NGUYEN FROZEN IN TIME Dianne Feinstein has served in the Senate since 1992.

the Center for Research and Information on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University. Countering the idea of term limits, some may argue that the policies are ageist — they judge a person based on their time served and not on their qualifications. Anticipating the 2018 elections, Harold Meyerson urged Feinstein to not run in a Mercury News Op-Ed. When Feinstein was asked by the National Public Radio about the criticism, she responded by stating, “I read that piece and I was surprised. It didn’t mention any accomplishments, what I do, what I’ve achieved. It’s all sort of done on the basis of a numerical age and the fact that I’m not as liberal as some.” What Feinstein gets wrong about the criticism is that the argument against her future reelection is less about her age and more about her political reputation. There is no debate surrounding her accomplishments or abilities; she has accomplished much through the Judiciary Committee and in representing California. Gradually, however, her constituents should realize that there are discrepancies between their points of view and hers. Setting a term limit, either through law or through vote, Californians would see more of the population get involved in pressing domestic issues and relevant upto-date ideas represented in the Congress and Senate. v

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TAMAR’S TANGENT

Text by TAMAR SARIG Art by ASHLEY ZHAO

watch your words

MAKE COLLEGE SPEAKERS SANE AGAIN

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AVE YOU HEARD THE one about Milo Yiannopoulos’ “Free Speech Week” at UC Berkeley? Maybe you’ve heard the story from the liberal point of view: far-right provocateur Milo got what he deserved when his much-touted celebration of controversy fizzled out rather than causing chaos. Or maybe you’ve heard the conservative version: college students proved once again that the left is not so tolerant by pushing to cancel the speaker series. I can’t help but feel that between these two takes, our national discussion of freedom of expression has lost sight of the point that really matters: the purpose of speaking out in the first place. Over the past few years, the topic of free speech on college campuses has surged to the forefront of our public consciousness, as conservative speakers have been repeatedly prevented from speaking by student protesters — sometimes through violence. Allow me to clear something up before I go on: denying others the right to speak, especially through use of force, is morally wrong and toxic to political debate — even if the views at issue are repulsive. But all the outrage over the question of what speech we should allow has obscured the fundamental question of what speech we should be elevating in the first place. Many of the speaker clashes over the past year have centered around speakers, such as Ann Coulter and Yiannopoulos, who specialize more in conspiracy-peddling and deliberately outrageous statements than in serious political or social analysis. In the latest such incident, Columbia University College Republicans invited Mike Cernovich — noted far-right conspiracy theorist and proponent of the idea (among

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many others) that “diversity is code for white genocide” — to speak on campus this fall. Such speakers’ repugnant views should not be used to deny them the opportunity to speak once they have been invited. But the fact that ostensibly mainstream, legitimate associations like College Republicans would even consider providing these characters with a megaphone ought to raise eyebrows — and in the clamor over free speech, it seems to have been taken for granted. Why are student groups inviting these speakers, who could be categorized as ridiculous at best and downright vile at worst, to take the stage and propagate their views? Are the Cernoviches and Yiannopouloses of the world truly the best representatives of modern American conservatism? No, they should not be forcibly prevented from speaking. But why are we inviting them to speak, as if they aren’t clowns with sensationalist, bigoted views, in the first place? That’s not to say that liberals are blameless in these crises. On college campuses and in Palo Alto alike, it is all too easy for us to believe that justice comes from drowning conservatives out, rather than persuading them to see things our way. But we can’t afford to confuse mainstream conservative voices — those we ought to listen to, challenge and debate — with those who should never be debated in the first place. Some ideas deserve to be relegated to the shadows, not given a platform. To debate, for example, whether women should have the right to vote (à la Coulter) is to legitimize the idea that they

shouldn’t. To draw the vilest fringes of our political spectrum into the spotlight, even under the guise of free speech, is to position them as the new normal, to accept their views as a healthy part of our political dialogue. Perhaps equally frightening, it allows them to claim the mantle of a once-reasonable political party — to become the new, radical face of the GOP, at a moment when we desperately need cool heads and rationality on that side of the aisle. Please, conservatives, give us a rigorous debate. But let that debate come from those who are reasonable and well-meaning, not from those who thrive off of 1930s-brand hatred. And keep in mind that those to whom you provide a platform will eventually come to represent you, whether you agree with them or not. v


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