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					          verde
          Palo Alto High School volume 8 edition 4




Fighting            F       o        r

freedom
p a l y    t e a c h e r      h e l p s    p r i s o n e r
                                                                Be true and call.
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Verde                                                       Volume #8 Issue #4 April 2007
     A few years ago, rapper Flavor Flav decided to search for his
true love on a dating show, aptly named “Flavor of Love.” One of the
frontrunners in the race for Flav’s heart was the overly-made up and                                                Staff List
seemingly insane contestant New York.
     When Flav broke her heart not once, but twice, we thought we                 Editors-in-Chief                                            Staff
had seen the end of her. Luckily, the genius producers decided to                  Hannah Purkey                                         Alex Ackroyd
bring back New York for her own show, “I Love New York,” where                     Elena Radicati                                         Shirley Ahn
she was able to search for her own true love.                                       Ruth Vinson                                           Jake Briskin
     There comes a point in every episode of “I Love New York”
                                                                                                                                       Molly Cornfield
when New York asks one of her men to leave her mansion (which is
decorated with pink leopard print, because that’s what classy people            Business Managers                                       Sonia Ferrandiz
put in their houses). When she asks some of her men like Boston                   Elena Chacko                                          Keely Flanagan
to leave, she exchanges a tearful goodbye with them. Now you can                    Paula Yoffe                                          Amanda Hall
hardly blame her for being hesitant to send him away, as she once                                                                        Jeremy Jacob
exclaimed, “I’m feeling the sh— out of that nerd; I feel like we could               Copy Editor                                            Jenny Ji
make love on textbooks.” That element of romance is hard to find,                   Zack Kousnetz                                         Alexa Jones
especially on national television.                                                                                                         Talia Kori
      However, sometimes New York kicks men out without so much                  Technical Editors                                         Hana Low
as a goodbye. In one episode, when Heat stalled for about 30 seconds               Loretta Shen                                        Kelly McPharlin
after being eliminated, New York yelled, “Get the hell out of my
                                                                                 Chelsea Williams                                        Mary Minno
mansion!”
     The latter situation is how we, the editors, sometimes envision                                                                   Aidan Sundstrom
our relationship with Verde now that our editorship is coming to an                Design Editors                                        Kristen Witte
end. While we have enjoyed elements of editorship, I certainly don’t                 Joyce Lee
want Verde hanging out in my mansion anymore.                                        Kaela Fox
     Verde has been sort of like another contestant nicknamed Pootie;
everything seems to be going well, when all of a sudden it has a                     News Editor                                             Adviser
nervous breakdown while out to dinner with our mothers. Just as                      Adam Herzog                                           Paul Kandell
New York couldn’t possibly anticipate Pootie’s psychosis, we didn’t
really expect the late nights and early mornings filled with work.
     That said, not all parts of Verde are as crazy as Pootie is. Just as New
York likes Chance and Tango despite their flaws, we appreciate the                                                      Verde
magazine even though it has greatly diminished our social lives. Verde                                         Palo Alto High School
                                                                                                               50 Embarcadero Road
has given us a forum to practice our writing and explore our tastes in                                          Palo Alto, CA 94301
design. We have been able to experiment with different writing styles                                              650-329-3837
                                                                                                         Email contact: pkandell@pausd.org
and attempt to bring news of both local and international interest
to the Paly community. (And where else could we write a 500 word                                                  Letters to the editor
letter in an extended metaphor about a terrible TV show?)                          Verde, a feature magazine published by the students in Palo Alto High School’s
                                                                                Magazine Journalism class, is an open forum for student expression and the discus-
     In all seriousness, editing Verde has been more than the typical           sion of issues of concern to its readership. Verde is distributed to its readers and the
extracurricular, partly because of the positive relationship we have            student body at no cost. The staff welcomes signed letters to the editor but reserves
                                                                                  the right to edit all submissions for length, grammar, potential libel, invasion of
had with our readers. We appreciate the administrators’ support for                                              privacy and obscenity.
our publication, and the Palo Alto community’s warm reception. We
                                                                                                                 Advertising in Verde
have tried to bring accurate, balanced and interesting information to              The staff publishes advertisements with signed contracts providing they are not
our readers, and we hope we have succeeded.                                      deemed by the staff inappropriate for the magazine’s audience. For more informa-
     Next edition, the new editors will take over the magazine. We              tion about advertising with Verde, please contact the Verde business managers Elena
                                                                                 Chacko and Paula Yoffe by e-mail at Verde_Biz@yahoo.com or call 650-329-3837
feel confident that they will be able to continue the tradition of                                              for more information.
journalistic excellence at Paly. Thank you for reading Verde and we
                                                                                                                    Printing services
hope you will continue to do so in the future.                                  Verde is printed five times a year in October, December, February, April and June by
     Now, get out of our mansion.                                                                        Fricke-Parks Press in Fremont, Calif.
                                                             — The editors


4 verde magazine
                                       Table of
News & OpiNiONs
                                       Contents
Verdicts.........................................................................5
Ten Questions..............................................................7
News Briefs..................................................................8
                                                                                                                          57
                                                                                                                          Dinnertime at
                                                                                                                          Stanford’s Co-
Features                                                                                                                  lumbae house, a
Pruzan’s project — Shirley Ahn.................................10                                                         co-op founded in
Capturing creativity — Talia Kori.............................13                                                          the 1970s
De-funding genocide — Adam Herzog.....................16
                                                                                              COver
                                                                                                           40
Homeslyce it! — Jeremy Jacob...................................20
Gone LARPing — Hana Low....................................23
Slow food — Amanda Hall........................................26                     Eddy Zheng after
Closing the case — Alexa Jones.................................28                       his release from
The club conundrum — Joanna Bell.........................32                           imprisonment in
Too cool for school — Alex Ackroyd.........................35                          March 2007. He
Finding my place — Jake Briskin...............................38                      and his support-
                                                                                     ers, including Paly
COver                                                                                     teacher Jeanne
An unlikely friendship: the Eddy Zheng story — Zack                                    Loh, are fighting
Kousnetz & Loretta Shen..........................................40                       his impending
                                                                                      deportation from
Features                                                                                        the U.S.
Paly boys kick their way to victory — Mary Minno.....46
How to save a life — Chelsea Williams......................48
Anything goes! — Keely Flanagan.............................52
                                                                                                                               52
                                                                                                                            Inside the
Persistance of a culture — Kelly McPharlin..............57                                                                musical Anything
Free to fetch — Molly Cornfield................................59                                                              Goes
The farmer — Jeremy Jacob.......................................64
Where do you draw the line? — Mary Minno..........67

shOrts
Cry me a river — Kristen Witte................................12
Top 5 — Aidan Sundstrom........................................54
Feverish for Spanish — Jenny Ji................................56
Paly speaks — Jenny Ji..............................................61
Beyond calculus — Hana Low..................................62

                                                                                     64
From the artist’s perspective — Joyce Lee.................63                                Paly junior Felipe Winsberg
Dancing to my own tune — Elena Radicati..............70                                     on his East Palo Alto farm
                                                                                                                           verde magazine 5
Staff Verdicts
                                                                                               “
                                                                                               In the News



       It has happened again — another principal is leaving Palo Alto         “We come to know them [the dogs] almost as friends
High School. Paly principal Scott Laurence will be promoted to                or our own dogs; each dog has a unique personality. We
assistant superintendent as of July 1, according to a letter sent to
families on March 14. Though Verde recognizes that this is good               keep detailed notes on each and every dog. We know
news for Laurence, it is not necessarily good news for the student            each of the dogs enrolled in the program very well.”
body. The school board must now begin searching for a new Paly                — Jennifer Lee, employee at off-leash hiking pet care com-
principal, the fourth time it has had to do so since Marilyn Cook             pany A Lucky Dog, on the personalities of dogs in the pro-
stepped down in 2000 after seven years as principal. The two prin-            gram. (p. 59)
cipals before Cook all served for six or seven years, while after her
there was Fred Dreier for 18 months, Sandra Pearson for two years
as interim principal while the board searched for Dreier’s replace-
ment, and finally Laurence for three years.                                   “What I tell people is it’s the opposite of fast food. It’s
       Change like this at the top of the Paly administrative hierarchy       about supporting local farmers and honoring local food
is not seamless. It takes time to develop relationships between staff         traditions.”
members and the principal and perhaps even more time and effort
to develop lasting relationships between the principal and the stu-           — Randy Robinson, co-leader of South Bay Slow Food,
dents. The thought of starting over again is daunting.                        on what the Slow Food movement is and what it means to
       Paly is faced with the issues related to class size, student stress,   him. (p. 26)
our physical infrastructure and the challenge of educating a diverse
student body. Resolving these issues will require the development
of long-lasting relationships between all members of the Paly com-
munity. These cannot develop if the upper administration is sig-              “My portraiture is based on psychology. I like analyzing
nificantly changed every couple of years. The school has been on a            people and seeing how they react in front of my camera.
rollercoaster for ten years — repeatedly searching, integrating and           I have discovered that with an adult, you really have to
then giving goodbye parties to principal after principal. The central         make the moment, but with children all you have to do
administration may not see this as a problem, but it certainly can’t          is capture it.”
be a positive development for the school.
       As the board ponders new candidates for the job Verde would            — Roxana Moussavian, Paly senior, on her photography.
like to make a few suggestions: first, although we don’t want an in-          Her work is currently on display at the Palo Alto Art Center.
dividual who has no aspirations for other jobs, it would be helpful           (p. 13)
if the new candidate could make a commitment to staying in the
job, perhaps for a minimum of five years. This would allow a prin-
cipal to remain for the entirety of at least one Paly class and would
give consistency to the administration, enabling students and staff           “We are hoping to get it to a point where when you want
members to form the relationships necessary to run this school. Sec-          to split a gift for your friend, you automatically think of
ond, the process of selecting a new principal must be inclusive so            Homeslyce.”
that the chosen individual is to the liking of the various constituen-        — Mickey Asavanant, one of the founders of Stanford-
cies in the school. Third, it would be helpful if the school board            based gift-giving company Homeslyce, describing his hopes
would commit to not rob us of another principal, at least for that
five-year period. While we are happy to contribute to the common              for the project. (p. 20)
good of the district, we feel that it is important for the district to
also support our school.
       Laurence writes in his resignation letter that “we live in an ex-      “It [a gap year] is also for students who don’t know for
ceptional community” and that the “students and parents I have                sure why they want to go to college. It’s a time for them
been involved with have made coming to work each day interesting
and rewarding.” Yet we still cannot hold onto a principal. No matter          to learn more about themselves.”
how exceptional and rewarding our community may be now, Verde                 — Wendy Stinton, the post-high school plans advisor at
still feels we can benefit more from a strong and constant leader.            the College and Career Center, on the potential benefits of
—Unsigned editorials represent the opinion of the entire Verde staff          taking a year off before college. (p. 28)

6 verde magazine
                                                          [ interview ]

                                                 10 questions for

                  JACk BuNgARDEN
                          A    lthough he has only been teaching at Paly for four years, Jack Bun-
                               garden has already earned an impressive reputation as an intelligent,
                          witty and lovable teacher of AP US History and Foreign Policy. Verde spent
                          a few minutes with him to discover the man behind the ties.
If you were a student at Paly,                                                                                getting seen until it comes out
what classes would you take                                                                                   on DVD. I mean I know about
and why?                                                                                                      “Dancing with the Stars,” I know
Oh, there are so many ... I’d love                                                                            about “Survivor,” I know about
to take Mr. Camner’s classes in                                                                               “Lost,” but I really just don’t
sculpting and ceramics. In Eng-                                                                               have the time to watch them.
lish, I would take Shakespeare
and Chaucer. Put that in there                                                                                Personally, my favorite part of
because I made a joke about                                                                                   coming to class is seeing what
how Shakespeare is like a foreign                                                                             tie you are wearing. How did
language to my sophomore advi-                                                                                your tie collection start? Any
sory, and Ms. Launer is never go-                                                                             favorite ties?
ing to forgive me. I’d even prob-                                                                             I’ve just always worn ties. Ties
ably take some math, because the                                                                              are intended to communicate
teachers here seem so good.                                                                                   that what we’re doing is in fact
                                                                                                              serious work. Then again, most
On test days, you play Bobby          A historical figure: Bungarden thinks that his students are             of my ties are communicating
McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry be            the most interesting and valuable part of teaching.                     that it’s not necessarily that seri-
Happy” and set out a Yoda                                                                                     ous work. I got some really good
figurine and a green crystal ball     makes. It’s a meat dish with gra-   you choose a really famous one,     ties this year from students. I got
on the overhead cart. How did         vy and mashed potatoes.             they’re famous because they had     a Lincoln tie, a Jackson tie and
these traditions come to be?                                              a really tough presidency. I’d      I got a tie that has Bugs Bunny
It’s the ball of knowledge, get it    Which class do you like to          choose a really stupid one. Well,   in the pose of the Lincoln Me-
straight ... the ball of knowledge.   teach better — AP US History        who wouldn’t want to be Bu-         morial. I also have a tie with the
The ball of knowledge began           or Foreign Policy?                  chanan or Harding? James Mad-       history of M&Ms, which I think
when I saw it on sale at Radio        I haven’t taught Foreign Policy     ison and John Adams both had        is very cool.
Shack. The Yoda I got, well, my       enough to really address that.      great wives. Maybe John Adams.
son is a Star Wars fan, and he        The advantage of US History is                                          If you could travel anywhere,
saw it at Target and he thought       that you have a relationship with   If you could pick one celeb-        where would you go?
it would be a neat thing for test     them for an entire year. Foreign    rity who is the most similar to     China. I’ve never been there, and
days for my classes. And all those    Policy is a class of seniors and    yourself, who would it be and       I think it would be a chance to
things are done because when          you only have them for a semes-     why?                                experience a little bit of a culture
AP students come in to take a         ter, so the process is different.   I’m trying to think of a middle     that is distinctly different from
test, they are as tight as a drum.    The fact that some of them are      aged, balding, white guy ... Just   our own. I served in Korea for
So it serves as a reminder to re-     alumni changes the atmosphere       ask the Verde editors, they’ll      almost two years, but I didn’t re-
lax a little bit, and some do and     of the class. But as a group, the   come up with a good answer; I’m     ally get to experience a lot of the
some don’t.                           Foreign Policy students tend to     not sure it would be very sympa-    culture in that situation.
                                      be more interested in the subject   thetic though.
If you could only eat one meal        since they had the choice to take                                       Where do you see yourself in
for the rest of your life, what       the class.                          Besides documentaries by Ken        10 years?
would it be?                                                              Burns, do you watch TV?             Still here. Working to pay off
Scallopini with mashed potatoes.      If you could be one president       Yes, but it’s hard to find time.    the mortgage [laughs]. Teaching
And I don’t know how to spell         who would you be and why?           And I don’t have cable either.      the little brothers and sisters of
it either, it’s something my wife     That’s a hard one, because if       So if it’s not on KQED, it’s not    today’s students. v
                                                                                                                           verde magazine 7
NewsBriefs                                                                                          Coalition
                                                                                                    plans anti-
                                                                                                    hate week
                                                                                                          “Not in Our School” week, organized
                                                                                                    by a coalition of student clubs to promote
                                                                                                    tolerance, will take place from April 16 to
                                                                                                    April 20 at Paly.
                                                                                                          “It [the week] is trying to do a few
                                                                                                    things – educate people about acceptance
                                                                                                    and different types of people, reduce
                                                                                                    hate among different groups and reduce
                                                                                                    discrimination,” says Alex Rose-Henig, a
                                                                                                    Gay-Straight Alliance member. The GSA,
                                                                                                    Youth Community Service and the Jewish
                                                                                                    Student Union came together to form the
                                                                                                    Student Diversity Coalition.
                                                                                                          “The ‘Not in Our School’ campaign
                                                                                                    aims to combat hate and raise awareness
Paly junior Roger Madriz (right) and two other East Palo Alto students rally                        about combating it, as well as to celebrate
in support of a petition demanding benefits for residents from developers.                          what we’ve done as a community to build a
                                                                                                    stronger community and to stop acts of hate,”


EPA students rally for
                                                                                                    GSA president Montica Emmer says.
                                                                                                          The student government and Best
                                                                                                    Buddies have also expressed interest in


community benefits
                                                                                                    helping organize the week’s activities, which
                                                                                                    include a Jewish speaker, staged readings
                                                                                                    performed by the Thespian Society and a day
                                                                                                    of silence on April 18.
     An organization made up of East Palo          Alto. Also, it allows YUCA and community               “Participants in ‘The Day of Silence’ will
Alto teens of color pressured their City           members to participate in the creation of        remain silent in order to reflect the silence
Council to require land developers to provide      the Owners Participation Agreement, the          faced by queer-identified youth, students
benefits for residents during a rally outside of   document that deals with all the details of      and people,” Emmer says.
East Palo Alto City Hall on March 20.              the supermarket developments.                          A story submission program will
     Youth United for Community Action                  “We are the ones that are directly          allow the Student Diversity Coalition to
wants City Council members to enforce              affected by the developments, so we deserve      communicate stories of combating and
an agreement between developers and East           the opportunity to participate in the            facing hate. The Coalition is still in talks with
Palo Alto residents that would provide more        discussions,” Solorzano says.                    the Christian Club over its participation in
benefits for the city.                                  According to YUCA, the group has            the “Not in Our School week,” according to
     Land developers do not consider East          contacted EPA City Council members               Emmer.
Palo Alto to be a low income community and         numerous times through letters, e-mails and            Last year, the Christian Club organized
therefore base their benefits on the average       phone calls, none of which have received any     some of the activities, but due to the club’s
income of San Mateo County, according to           kind of city council response.                   conflict with accepting homosexuality, the
YUCA leader and Woodside High School                    YUCA intended to present the petition,      club decided not to be affiliated with the
junior Rosa Solorzano.                             signed by over 1,200 East Palo Alto residents,   “Not in Our School” week, according to
     The Community Benefits Agreement              which states that community members              club members. The Christian Club declined
would call for community benefits such             support CBA, at the March 20 meeting, but        to comment on any student organization
as higher paying jobs, affordable housing,         the group was unable to present it, according    following last year’s “Not in Our School”
childcare and more alcohol and drug                to Solorzano.                                    week miscommunication. This year,
rehabilitation centers from developers like             City Council has agreed to discuss the      Christian Club members will participate in
Barry Swenson Builders, a multi-million            issue further at the April 7 meeting, where      the week’s programs, but not lead or organize
dollar corporation that is planning on building    YUCA will present the petition. v                any activites. v
a supermarket development in East Palo                                             — Talia Kori                    — Jeremy Jacob and Alexa Jones

8 verde magazine
Students fast for cash                                                                                    NUMBERS
     Two campus clubs will host a 30-hour         money for the event and camp out overnight
famine over Memorial Day weekend to pro-
mote awareness of hunger and raise money
                                                  in the gym from May 25 until May 26 to fast
                                                  together. There will be movies, games and             75
to support the fight against hunger.              community service activities to occupy the            portraits created by Roxa-
     “Participants fast for 30 hours to raise     students while they fast, according to Wu.            na Moussavian for her
awareness,” says senior Paula Wu, a member              It is the first time the event will be at       display at the Palo Alto
of the Christian Club, which is organizing        Paly and the first time in recent years that          Art Center, p. 13
the event with the Key Club. “People spon-        Christian Club and Key Club will be collab-
sor us for each hour we fast, raising money
which will all be donated to World Vision,
                                                  orating on an event, Wu says. “One of our
                                                  core leaders suggested the idea over the sum-
                                                                                                        18
an international relief organization.”            mer and Key Club had been planning to host            total students on the
     Any participating Paly student can raise     a similar event,” Wu says. “So, we decided to         prosecution and defense
                                                  combine.”                                             for Paly’s Mock Trial
                                                        Junior Gilbert Choi, president of Key           team, p. 28
                                                  Club, says the club decided to co-host the
                                                  event to highlight hunger crises around the
                                                  world. “The goal is clear and I expect to have
                                                                                                        8
                                                                                                        Paly students who gradu-
                                                  a good time planning, attending and spread-
                                                  ing the knowledge,” Choi says.
                                                                                                        ated after first semester
                                                        According to the event’s official Web           this year, p. 35
                                                  site, http://www.30hourfamine.org, 29,000
                                                  people die every day in the world from pre-
                                                  ventable diseases such as malaria, diarrhea
                                                                                                        21
                                                                                                        total years Eddy Zheng
                                                  and acute respiratory infections; malnutrition
                                                  is associated with over half of those deaths. In
                                                                                                        spent at San Quentin
                                                  the U.S., 36.3 million people – including 13          State Prison, Solano
                                                  million children – live in households that ex-        State Prison and Yuba
                                                  perience hunger or the risk of hunger.                County jail for kidnapping
                                                        Junior Jeanna Ko, another member of             and armed robbery, p. 40
                                                  the Christian Club, thinks that the 30-Hour
                                                  Famine will be a great way to raise awareness
                                                  of this hunger. “Not a lot of people know
                                                                                                        50
                                                  what it’s like to be hungry,” Ko says. “Also,
                                                                                                        percent of blood donors
Paly junior Jonathan Shan, a mem-                 by donating money to a charity organization,          who have the CMV virus,
ber of Christian Club, is planning                we will be helping those who are less fortu-          rendering their blood un-
the 30-Hour Famine along with                     nate than us.” v                                      usable for some patients,
members of the Key Club.                                                           — Shirley Ahn        p. 49


Metal ban may affect Paly sports
     If California follows New York City in       the bill could have some effect in reducing        University study concluded that metal
banning the use of metal bats in high school      the number of injuries, it wouldn’t make           bats produced faster ball speeds because
baseball games, Paly would have to replace        as big a difference as lawmakers may hope.         of faster swing speeds and greater elastic
aluminum bats with wooden ones.                   “Baseball can have freak accidents no matter       properties found in most metal bat
     According to The New York Times, the         what bats are used,” Schwartz says.                models, according to Science Daily.
New York City bill aims to reduce the risk             Katie Barich, a senior and varsity softball        Junior Chris Gonnerman, a varsity
of injury among ballplayers because balls fly     player, agrees with Schwartz. “I think most        pitcher and outfielder, says that it is easier
off the metal bat faster, giving pitchers less    injuries are avoidable and usually result from     to hit harder and farther when using an
time to react. City Council speaker Christine     mistakes in fielding the ball,” she says.          aluminum bat. Gonnerman says wooden
C. Quinn, who supported the bill, says, “We            While it is currently unclear whether         bats would create difficulties for hitters,
think this is an appropriate safety step for us   or not the bill will lessen the number of          rather than for pitchers.
to protect our high school athletes.”             injuries among high school ballplayers,                 Players agree that bans on metal bats
     According to senior Carey Schwartz,          the performance differences between the            should not take effect at Paly. v
pitcher for Paly’s varsity baseball team, while   two types of bats are clear. A 2002 Brown                                        — Paula Yoffe

                                                                                                                                   verde magazine 9
P
              [ paly]



                           ruzan’s
                           roject
           By SHIRLEY AHN • Photo by ELENA RADICATI


    How Ronald Pruzan plans to teach his life-
    long passion of molecular biology
    in Paly’s new Biotechnology class




10 verde magazine
N
           ext year during second semester, Palo Alto High                  If I had one more year at Paly, I would definitely take the class as a
           School will offer a new elective science course for juniors      science elective.”
           and seniors. Biotechnology, the new class that requires stu-          Gunn High School has had a Biotechnology class for seven years
dents to have completed or be simultaneously enrolled in Biology,           now. “A lot of teachers have been teaching biotechnology in their
Chemistry and Physics, will be taught by AP Biology teacher Ron-            biology classes for a long time,” says Geri Horsma, the Biotechnology
ald Pruzan. The class is just in its “embryonic stages,” according to       teacher at Gunn. “So, we were wondering if the students would like
Pruzan, but it will eventually develop into a yearlong course for the       to take a class that would teach the topic to students more in depth,
upcoming years.                                                             and by the word of mouth from counselors, the students heard about
      “I always wanted to have a good modern molecular biology class        the class and wanted to sign up for it.”
that is lab-based,” Pruzan says. “We don’t have that kind of course at           Horsma says she loves teaching the class to students. “They are
Paly and the science department also wanted to do something like            wonderful students who are really enthusiastic about the class,” Hors-
that for a while because Gunn has been offering a course with the           ma says. “I love seeing the students building on their strength and
same title.”                                                                confidence by improving their lab skills.”
      According to Pruzan, the course will teach classical and mod-              At Gunn, the class is a vocational education course that has the
ern molecular biology and have students perform various labs. “The          same requirements as Paly’s except it does not require the completion
students will be learning about recombinant DNA technology and              or concurrent enrollment in Physics. It also teaches similar theoretical
experimenting with genes from different organisms and recombining           aspects of biotechnology and mostly consists of laboratory activities
those genes to express foreign genes in bacteria,” Pruzan says. “There      that reinforce theoretical information like Paly’s. However, the class
will be some molecular biology overlap from AP Biology, but the             additionally teaches the ethical, legal and social implications of the
course will focus more on microbiology, bacteria genetics, protein          technology.
expression and experiments that will analyze protein on gels.”                   “The students also get to explore various career options in the
      In order to provide the students the opportunity to do these          field by going on field trips to help them learn about biotechnology
labs, Pruzan says he has had                                                                                         in practice in industry and re-
to gather various equipment                                                                                          search labs, as well learn about
and materials together as well
as raise money since the class
                                   “I believe that we can learn                                                      as some of the cutting edge de-
                                                                                                                     velopments in the field,” Hors-
is a very expensive proposition
to undertake. However, Pruzan
                                   biology most effectively                                                          ma says. “At the end of the year,
                                                                                                                     the students will make an elec-
felt it was worth the effort.
      “We are going to do many     through experimentation.”                                                         tronic portfolio of their work
                                                                                                                     that can be used as résumé.”
lab techniques that we dis-
cussed in AP Biology,” Pruzan                  — Ronald Pruzan,                                                           Tian Pei, a Gunn senior, is
                                                                                                                     one of the many students cur-
says. “I believe that we can                                                                                         rently taking the Biotechnol-
learn biology most effectively               AP Biology teacher                                                      ogy class. “I decided to take the
through experimentation.”                                                                                            class because I needed to fulfill
      Although labs will be a                                                                                        my work-experiences credit in
big part of the class, students will also learn and be tested on many       order to graduate,” Pei says. “I think the class is pretty fun and the
theories and concepts. “Students will learn about how living micro-         subject will probably be really important in the future.”
organisms and enzymes can be used to carry out chemical reactions                According to Pei, the students learn many techniques and appli-
in biological systems,” Pruzan says.                                        cations of biotechnology researching. “We have a really professional
      Paly sophomore Florence Hsiao is one of the students who              class environment and use a lot of electronic equipment for labs,” Pei
signed up for Biotechnology next year. “I heard that biotechnology          says. “Many of the labs are tough, but they are pretty interesting.”
is a hot career in today’s society and since I like science, I decided to        For the students who are planning to take the class, Pei advises
give it a try,” Hsiao says. “I would like to be able to understand the      students to only do so if they are interested in the field. “The class is a
way biotechnology is affecting our everyday lives.”                         really good course to introduce you to the basics and give you a wider
      Similarly, Lexi Gauthier, a Paly junior who also signed up for        perspective of its career field,” Pei says.
the class, thinks that biotechnology field will be an important field            Gunn junior Jonathan Lin is one of the students who signed up
in the future to make our society environmentally safe and better in        for the class. “I heard from people that it is a good class for college,
general. “I would really like to major in that field or go to a science-    especially for science majors,” Lin says. “I am interested in the fields
based school,” Gauthier says. “In the class, I would like to learn a lot    similar to biotechnology and I would like to get more experiences
of information about biotechnology and do a lot of labs.”                   with labs by enrolling in the class.”
      Lily Feng, a Paly senior who is one of the teacher assistants for          In comparing his class to the one at Gunn, Pruzan says his class
Pruzan, feels that the class will be a practical one for Paly students      will not be a vocational education class that trains students to work
who go on to become science majors. “Biotechnology is one of the            in a lab but more of an introduction to biotechnology’s theories and
rising fields of the future,” Feng says. “The class will be good for        experiments. “My personal philosophy is to do experiments and learn
teaching lab techniques, and Paly students will be able to do cool labs     the science behind them,” Pruzan says. “I would like to emphasize the
that regular high school students in other schools won’t be able to do.     scientific method and teach science to students.” v

                                                                                                                               verde magazine 11
                                                         [ viewpoint ]

                                            Cry me a river
                        When Paly students take complaining too far
                                               By KRISTEN WITTE • Art by JOYCE LEE



  L
          et’s make this clear: contrary to popular belief,                should publicize elections more and we will do so in the future,
          Student Council is not out to ruin your high school years.       but there is not a lot we can do when students do not want to be
          We are not trying to trick you into overpaying for prom,         a part of student government.
  and we are not trying to force you into an awkward situation by                Earlier in the school year, many students complained about
  having you buy tickets so far in advance. We aren’t trying to hide       a lack of publicity regarding the student government’s activities.
  things from you and we aren’t trying to shut you out of knowing          Student government responded to these comments by creating an
  what is going on. Believe it or not, our best interest really is you,    activities update group on Facebook and a Web site for viewing
  the students. We are your equals and we want you to be happy             everything related to Student Council, from meeting minutes to
  with your high school experience.                                        checklists for prom. It is evident from these actions that Student
        It seems like the new trend for Paly students is to bash           Council is working very hard to further publicize its activities in
  student government and complain about everything student                 order to fix the problem of inaccessibility.
  representatives do wrong or don’t                                                                             Student Council’s biggest
  do at all. While complaining is                                                                         problem right now is a lack of
  the easiest thing to do, it does not                                                                    support from the student body.
  contribute anything. It is frustrating                                                                  The saying goes that you shouldn’t
  as ASB Secretary, someone who sees                                                                       believe everything you hear, but
  Student Council in action, to hear                                                                       it unfortunately appears that Paly
  so many students complaining that                                                                        students do. Instead of going
  we don’t do anything. The thing is,                                                                      directly to the Student Activities
  no matter how much you complain                                                                          Office to learn about the council’s
  about student government, you                                                                            happenings, students are going
  aren’t making a difference until you                                                                     to secondary sources that do not
  give us ideas to work with.                                                                              understand the situations and
        Prom is the current topic of                                                                       in some cases have no idea what
  speculation for the student body.                                                                        is going on. This creates a wall
  Rumors have been going around                                                                            between the students and the
  about Student Council raising                                                                            student government, causing
  the prices and keeping the reasons                                                                       students to lose faith and obliterate
  secret. It’s no secret: the prom ticket prices were raised $15 from      what little support for student government remains.
  last year because of requests by numerous students to spend more               The students should have more faith in government, since this
  money on decorations after last year’s subpar experience.                year especially, it has been making tremendous improvements to
        Another aspect of prom that has created quite a stir is the limo   the system and taking student opinions to heart. The government
  situation. Many students are blaming Student Council because             has rewritten the Paly Constitution, sorted out financial problems,
  they will have to use the provided transportation service that has       created a Web site, booked prom for 2008 in San Francisco City
  been approved by the administration. Student government had              Hall and many more changes that students have requested. The
  nothing to do with this requirement. This is completely up to            student body should really take the time to learn these things as
  the administration and there is nothing that we can do to stop it.       it is now easier to do than ever. Learning the truth about what
  The provided transportation service is nothing new either. It has        Student Council does for our school could set straight a few
  been a requirement of Paly students for six years now, according to      rumors and maybe even boost the overall support for student
  Student Activities Director Allye Davies. If students feel strongly      government.
  about this requirement, the best way to change it is to organize               Don’t get me wrong; I believe that everyone is entitled to
  and give the administration realistic alternatives.                      their own opinion. I would just appreciate it if they made their
        Almost everyone on student government was elected by the           opinions constructive. I am overjoyed that students have such
  students to represent the student body as a whole. There are a few       strong thoughts regarding the matter of student government, but
  cases (myself included) where students were unopposed for their          I would like it much more if they took those complaints and tried
  position and elected by default. A few students criticized student       to make a change. More and more students are getting involved,
  council for this and thought it showed a weakness in how Student         and hopefully being involved will open their eyes to the reality of
  Council runs elections, but they must also realize there was a lack      student government instead of just going along with the flow of
  of participation among students as well. Yes, Student Council            bashing it. v

12 verde magazine
                                  [ paly ]


Capturing I
                                                t’s summertime in London, and Palo Alto High School
                                                senior Roxana Moussavian is wandering through Hyde Park,
                                                her face half hidden behind the camera she is holding. In front
                                                of her are four small girls wearing brightly colored dresses and
                                         strings of flowers around their necks, their hands linked as they run




Creativity
                                         through the grass. Moussavian pauses, her eye watching intently
                                         through the viewfinder. At just the right moment, she snaps the
                                         picture.
                                               “When it comes to photography, I am most attracted to pictures
                                         of people,” Moussavian says. “I get to capture a person and show who
                                         they are in my own way. It’s stronger than words; it’s the truth.”
                                               Nearly a year ago, Moussavian, along with former Gunn student
                                         Jordan Field and Eastside Prep seniors Shirley Garcia and Sally Perez,
                                         was awarded the Carrie Abramovitz Scholarship that pays for artist
              The Carrie                 mentoring, art classes, field trips and art supplies throughout the
                                         following year. Moussavian spent most of the money she received
                                         on photography supplies, and on Friday, March 23, her photographs
            Abramovitz                   were put on display at the Palo Alto Art Center.
                                               According to the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation Website, the
                                         scholarship opens the doors to art learning for students who have
            Scholarship                  demonstrated outstanding artistic ability. Each scholarship recipient
                                         follows an individually-designed course of study working with an
                                         advisor at the Art Center. The fund was established in the memory of
        Fund supports                    Carrie Abramovitz, an artist and long-time Palo Alto resident.
                                               “The scholarship helps get your name out there, whether you
                                         want to be an artist or you’re just doing it for fun,” Moussavian says.
             local youth                       Garcia and Perez were in the same art class when they first
                                         learned about the scholarship. “My art teacher told me about it,
                                         and I decided to apply, because I wanted to further my knowledge
 artists for one to two                  about my favorite subject,” Garcia says. “I also thought it would be
                                         interesting to work with a mentor.”
                                               Although Garcia has experience in many different kinds of art,
           years as they                 the scholarship gave her an opportunity to explore different media.
                                               “I do a little of everything,” Garcia says. “I am a curious person
                                         and I like to experiment. In the past few months I have focused on
            pursue their                 print making mixed with water color and photography.”
                                               Garcia’s display at the Palo Alto Art Center is made up of ten
                                         black and white photographs that all focus on the same subject.
        artistic talents,                “They are rather abstract and are all pictures of the roots of the trees
                                         around my house,” Garcia says.
                                               Field thought that the scholarship would provide an exciting
            culminating                  opportunity to pursue new things. “There were a lot of things that I
                                         wanted to experiment with that logistically I didn’t have the money
                                         or the resources for,” Field says.
         in an art show                        Field mostly works with pen and ink, but has also developed
                                         an interest in graffiti, Polaroids and animation. One wall of Field’s
                                         display at the Art Center is covered in illustrations that he drew
   at the Palo Alto Art                  during school. Another wall is a combination of both Polaroids and
                                         drawings which Field decided to leave untitled. “I purposely didn’t
                                         title them so people could draw their own conclusions from what
                 Center.                 they saw,” Field says.
                                               Field’s mentor, Mira Ross, was a big help in the process that led
                                         to the final exhibition.
                                               “There was this time when I had no idea what I wanted to do,
                                         and she was really helpful about finding inspiration for me,” Field
     By TALIA KORI• Photo by KAELA FOX   says. “It really made me appreciate all the time the foundation took

                                                                                          verde magazine 13
                                                              [ paly ]




                                                                             Art show: Senior Roxana Moussavian at the opening
                                                                             of her art show on March 23. Moussavian is one of
                                                                             four local students who received the Carrie Abramo-
                                                                             vitz Scholarship, each of whom have art displayed at
                                                                             the Palo Alto Art Center.


to match me with someone I could relate to            According to Moussavian, Sintamarion      is set up according to age of subjects, from
and learn so much from.”                          helped her develop a more systematic          portraits of children, to teenagers, and finally
      Even at such a young age, Field is          approach to art. “She taught me the things    adults and elderly people. “Each section
already on his way to becoming a successful       a professional artist knows how to do, like   captures something,” Moussavian says. “It’s
artist. Over the summer, he will be helping                                                     a progression through time.”
design the graphics for Gap T-shirts, and                                                             According to Moussavian, there is a
he’s currently doing freelance art for bands        “I’ve put so much of                        significant difference between the way an
such as Panic at the Disco and My Chemical                                                      adult will react when in front of the lens
Romance.                                              myself into these                         versus a child. “My portraiture is based
      For Moussavian, art is more of a                                                          on psychology,” Moussavian says. “I like
hobby rather than a future carreer option.            photos. I want to                         analyzing people and seeing how they react
She experimented with many different
kinds of media when she first received the
                                                   show people this isn’t                       in front of my camera. I have discovered that
                                                                                                with an adult, you really have to make the
scholarship, but because of pressure from
her mentor, San Jose State painting Professor
                                                     superficial; I had a                       moment, but with children all you have to
                                                                                                do is capture it.”
Emanuela Sintamarion, Moussavian decided              purpose for this.”                              For Moussavian, one of the most difficult
to concentrate on photography. “As an artist,                                                   aspects of the art process was figuring out
she told me I really needed to find a focus                                                     how to get the meaning behind her pictures
and a theme for my work,” Moussavian says.            — Roxana Moussavian,                      through to the viewer. “You have this idea,
“I always thought anyone can take a photo;                 Paly senior                          but how do you know other people are going
it just seemed so simple. There’s much                                                          to understand it?” Moussavian says. “I’ve
more to it than that. I don’t regret choosing                                                   put so much of myself into these photos. I
photography.”                                                                                   want to show people this isn’t superficial; I
      All four artists meet with their mentors    how to write artist statements, organize a    had a purpose for this.”
at least once a month to go over their work. “I   portfolio and the best way to put my work          Moussavian’s work, along with the work
try to guide her [Moussavian],” Sintamarion       together so I can really get my message       of the three other scholarship winners, will
says. “To be successful, you need to cover the    across,” Moussavian says.                     be on display at the Palo Alto Art Center
basics and have patience.”                             Moussavian’s display at the Art Center   until April 11. v
14 verde magazine
                                                                                        Guidance counseling, college counseling, copy center, teacher
Guidance counseling, college counseling, copy center, teacher grants, teacher support




                                                                                                                                                          grants, teacher support, campus security, classroom innovation, Guidance counseling
                                                                                          We Can’t Do It
                                                                                          Without You
                                                                                           Parents, Alumni, Students,
                                                                                                   Community.
                                                                                              We are all Partners
                                                                                                  in Education

                                                                                         	    Palo	Alto	Partners	in	Education	(PiE)	is	the	only	non-
                                                                                         profit	foundation	dedicated	to	supporting	ALL	schools	in	the	
                                                                                         Palo	Alto	Unified	School	District	and	the	only	non-district	
                                                                                         source	for	school	staff	funding.	Please	join	us	in	our	effort	
                                                                                         to	sustain	excellence	at	Paly	and	all	PAUSD	schools.	Visit	
                                                                                         www.papie.org	or	contact	Paly	representative	Anne	Barry	
                                                                                         anne@barrys.org




                                                                                        grants, teacher support, campus security, classroom innovation,
DE-FUNDING
GENOCIDE
A look into local
and international
divestment campaigns




16 verde magazine
 16 verde magazine
BY INVESTING
                                                [ world ]



MONEY
                          By ADAM HERZOG • Art by JOYCE LEE



                          A
                                  dam Sterling, executive director of the Sudan Di-




IN THE BANK
                                  vestment Task Force, first became involved with ending
                                  the genocide in Darfur two and a half years ago when he
                          was a member of a student group at the University of California,
                          Los Angeles.
                               “One of our faculty advisors was involved with the divest-


THAT BUYS STOCK
                          ment movement in South Africa during the apartheid,” he says.
                               Sterling is one of many alumnae and current students in-



IN COMPANIES
                          volved in the international divestment movement, which takes
                          on a distinct character in four different countries – the United
                          States, Canada, England and Ireland.
                               Divestment is when individuals remove their money from
                          certain financial institutions who indirectly fund the genocide


THAT OPERATE
                          occurring in Darfur, Sudan. Prior to divesting, their money is
                          invested in various companies, some of which operate in the




IN DARFUR
                          Darfur region. Through taxes, money is transferred from the
                          companies to the Sudanese government, which funds the armed
                          rebels, who continue killing innocent Sudanese.
                               When Sterling and the group succeeded in making the UC


AND PAY TAXES
                          system the first public schools to divest from Sudan, California
                          became a national role model in the divestment campaign. No
                          one else was making divestment from Sudan, which pressures

TO THE GOVERNMENT         the Sudanese government economically to end the genocide in
                          Darfur, a national issue, according to Sterling.
                               “So, we hooked up with a student on the East Coast and


WHICH DIRECTLY
                          together, we organized everything,” Sterling says.
                               “Everything” means creating the Sudan Divestment Task




FUNDS THE
                          Force, which helps local and international financial institutions,
                          universities and governments divest their holdings from compa-
                          nies shown to indirectly fund genocide in Darfur.




JANJAWEED
                               Sterling says that divestment is just one tool of many used
                          to pressure the Sudanese government into ending the genocide.
                          “There are United States imposed sanctions in Sudan which for-
                          bid U.S. companies from investing in Sudan,” he says. “Indi-
                          viduals invest in Sudan through other [foreign] companies.”
                               Eventually, Sudan will get to a point where the government

THE REBEL GROUP
                          will be forced to answer the question of continuing the genocide



MURDERING
                          or developing the economy. Sterling, along with other support-
                          ers of the divestment campaign, is hoping the Sudanese govern-
                          ment comes to a point where the ultimate decision is to stop
                          funding the Janjaweed and to focus on the national economy.
SUDANESE CIVILIANS IN A        According to Sterling, the most offending industry is oil,



MODERN-DAY
                          dominated by Chinese, Malaysian and Indian companies.
                               China National Petroleum Corporation, Petronas, Oil and




GENOCIDE
                          Natural Gas Company of India and various oil field companies
                          are the highest offending companies.
                               “[They are the most offending companies] because they are
                          the biggest players in the Sudanese oil industry,” Sterling says.
                          Also, because individuals are allowed to invest in those com-
                          panies, their investments dictate to the foreign companies that
                          there is more profit in Sudan and encourage more operations in
INVESTORS INDIRECTLY      the country. However, because of divestment pressure, several


FUND A GENOCIDE
                          companies have changed their ways.
                               “The most important evidence is that we have seen a change
                          in company behavior,” Sterling says. According to information
                                                                     verde magazine 17
                                     [ world ]
on the task force’s Web site, German firm         that do not indirectly fund the genocide,”
Siemens and Swiss company ABB have sus-           Magnuson says. “Seeing where your money
pended activity from Sudan and cite pressure      goes and the effects of it can be pretty pow-
to divest as their reasoning.                     erful, especially if you invest blindly. Even
      “The Sudanese purchased a six page, one     though they [the investors] are rich Califor-
million dollar ad in the New York Times try-      nians living thousand of miles away, they are
ing to discourage divestment and sent out         still affecting the genocide in Darfur.”
press releases and op-eds,” Sterling says. “We          Several local schools, companies and
consider that a success.”                         other organizations such as Stanford Univer-
      The fight is far from over, according to    sity, California Public Employees Retirement
Sterling. “We continue until the genocide is      System and the California State Teachers Re-
over,” he says. “From a global perspective, we    tirement System have transferred their invest-
have committed quite a demand for Sudan-          ments into more socially conscious accounts.
free investments. The push we are making is       “You can still go to big companies and other
for the financial community to embrace the        groups and tell them to change their ways,”
divestment. We urge everyone to communi-          Magnuson says. “There are a variety of rea-
cate with their financial institutions to adopt   sons why companies do not divest, but most-
a Sudan divestment policy.”                       ly it is because it’s easier not to. When you
      Max Magnuson, a junior at Woodside          examine the situation in a purely economic
Priory and founding member of Youth Al-           sense, some companies do not want to lose
liance for Darfur, attended a conference at       money from their profitable investments,
UC Berkeley for the national organization         and it is easier to think about the ends and
Students Taking Action Now — Darfur.              not think about your actions.”                   pension fund options, through asset manag-
During the conference, Magnuson viewed a                Those who feel that their contributions    ers and through us,” he says.
divestment presentation by Jason Miller, the      to ending the genocide are limited can flour-          According to Goldstein, the Canadian
National Policy Director for the Sudan Di-        ish through promoting the divestment pro-        government has not taken any steps like that
vestment Task Force.                              cess. “In this way, you really do not have to    of the United States. “The U.S. government
      “A lot of people feel like they cannot      be someone with a great deal of money or         declared the crisis in Darfur a genocide, so
help, but divestment provides a good oppor-       power at all,” Magnuson says. “Just by apply-    the political will for action is already there,”
                                                                                                   he says. “Essentially, we [STAND Canada]




“
tunity for those individuals, because it allows   ing pressure, you can make a difference.”
you to encourage local wealthy citizens and             Magnuson says students can make a          are working off of an educated critical mass
big companies to invest their money in funds      difference by educating individuals about        of Canadians, demanding our government
                                                  divestment. “If you know people of wealth        make Darfur a top diplomatic priority.”
                                                  or people who invest, inform them that they            Media coverage about Darfur is rising
                                                  need to take a step back and look at the ef-     steadily in Canada, but it is not to the same
 THIS IS AS SOUL-                                 fects of their investments,” he says. “You       degree as in the U.S., according to Goldstein.

  DESTROYING AS
                                                  can still make a difference when it comes to     “Among the general public, awareness is con-
                                                  divestment and a lot of people do not see        tinually growing, but the most aware Cana-
   IT SOUNDS, BUT                                 that. It’s a good feeling knowing that you       dians are the university students,” he says.

  IT’S NECESSARY                                  can change things.”                              “As an example, STAND has coordinated an

      TO RAISE THE
                                                        Divestment from Sudan is becoming an       op-ed series in one of our national newspa-
                                                  international topic as countries around the      pers, to be written by prominent Canadians
  PROFILE OF THE                                  world are incorporating practices encourag-      and international diplomats, on suggested

    CAMPAIGN AND
                                                  ing citizens to start the divestment process.    responses to Darfur.”
                                                        For example, many Canadians are aware            The Canadian government, like the U.S.
  HOPEFULLY GET                                   of the genocide in Sudan, but they are in a      and the U.N., does not deny the presence of

   THINGS MOVING
                                                  different position than Americans, accord-       genocidal acts in Sudan, but the exact word-
                                                  ing to Ira Goldstein, a student at Queen’s       ing presents an issue. “The reason the UN
 TO HELP IN SOME                                  University and member of STAND Canada.           fell short of declaring Darfur a genocide is

       SMALL WAY.                                 “We have one university that has completely
                                                  divested — Queen’s University,” he says. “No
                                                                                                   becase if they did, under the Genocide Con-
                                                                                                   vention, a multilateral force would have to
         — SEAN COLEMAN,                          government body has divested, to date.”          be deployed under the auspices of the Se-
        IRELAND CAMPAIGN                                Seven other Canadian schools are at dif-   curity Council,” Goldstein says. According
                                                  ferent stages in the divestment process, but     to Goldstein, the Canadian army is already
  MANAGER FOR THE SUDAN                           many do not possess holdings in any of the       stretched thin due to Canada’s involvement
   DIVESTMENT TASK FORCE                          “highest offenders,” according to Goldstein.     with the NATO mission in Afghanistan. “A
                                                  “That being said, many Canadians are pri-        distinct possibility is a multinational force
                                                  vately pursuing Sudan-free mutual fund and       with an African character, like black troops,
18 verde magazine
supported tactically and operationally by        protect civilians from the ongoing genocide            Ireland is attempting to follow the Prin-
NATO countries,” he says.                        in the region,” Falconer says. “Unlike the       ciples for Responsible Investment, which
     According to Goldstein, white troops        U.S., in the U.K. we have some companies         addresses various environmental, social and
one the ground in Darfur will be seen by         who have direct involvement with the gov-        corporate governance issues affect investment
many Sudanese as the West meddling in their      ernment of Sudan, most notably Rolls Royce       profits, as listed by the U.N.
internal affairs. “These are questions we deal   and Petrofac, through Weir Group’s activities          “These [the principles] are all that is
with on a day-to-day basis, and no one really    in Sudan also warrant scrutiny.”                 mandated by the U.N. Principles for Respon-
knows the ‘right’ answers to stopping geno-           Ireland’s National Pension Reserve Fund,    sible Investment: engagement with offending
cide,” he says. “The only option is a robust     a statutory body independent of the govern-      companies, not divestment,” Coleman states.
multinational force to be deployed immedi-       ment, invests a significant portion of their     “And this is the course that, for the foresee-
ately in the interest of civilian protection.”   money in the higher-offending companies          able future, they will be taking. It’s not en-
     Similar to the status of the campaign in    targeted by the Task Force. The organization     tirely correct, therefore, to say that they’re
Canada, England’s divestment from Sudan          is in the process of pressuring their pension    not doing anything about the issue. They are
campaign is not as progressive as America’s      fund’s ethical investing.                        doing what they are mandated to do – a labo-
campaign, but the movement is spreading by            “The Pension Fund is currently taking       rious process, but a process nonetheless.”
word of mouth through students, according        slow and grudging steps, as a result of pres-          While numerous students and other
to Hamish Falconer, a student at Cambridge       sure applied from many different quarters,       individuals are passionate about the Darfur
and leader of Sudan Divestment UK. “There        to align itself with the U.N. principles it so   situation in the United States, this is not the
are active campaigns in Oxford, Cambridge,       grandly signed onto a full year ago,” Sean       case in Ireland, according to Coleman.
the London School of Economics, and many         Coleman, Ireland campaign manager for                  According to Coleman, residents of Ire-
others with two Cambridge Colleges — New         Sudan Divestment Task Force, states in an        land have a limited number of opportunities
Hall and St. Catherine’s College — already       email.                                           for action. “Other than to try and raise inter-
having divested,” Falconer says. “There are           Sudan-related investments will be re-       est in the subject, there’s simply not a lot the
also active campaigns in local councils, faith   viewed in the near future, according to Cole-    campaign can do, other than write letters and
groups and at a parliamentary level.” Ac-        man. “When the review is finished, it [the       apply pressure, to try and make the [divest-
cording to Falconer, English citizens are be-    Pension Fund] will issue a set of recommen-      ment] process go faster, especially as a formal
coming aware of the ongoing genocide, but        dations about which stocks are ethically al-     review of investments must take place to de-
might not be as informed as Americans.           right to keep, and which are not,” Coleman       termine what companies are going to be the
     Sudan Divestment U.K. takes an ap-          states. “Then, another round of bureaucracy      subject of investigation,” Coleman states.
proach to the Darfur genocide that is simi-      kicks in, where the ethically-dubious stocks           Coleman says his current plan of action
lar to the Sudan Divestment Task Force.          are not divested: the offending companies        involves refuting “this stupid nonsense” and
“SDUK [Sudan Divestment U.K.] focuses            will be bombarded with a kind of tough love,     making Darfur a “fashionable” thing to be
not only on divestment campaigns, but also       with what is described as ‘engagement, share-    angry about. “This is as soul-destroying as
on campaigning for more robust measures to       holder awareness, and block voting’ so as to     it sounds, but it’s necessary to raise the pro-
put financial pressure upon the government       try and convince delinquent companies to         file of the campaign and hopefully get things
of Sudan to allow a robust force in Darfur to    mend their ways.”                                moving to help in some small way.” v
                                                                                                                            verde magazine 19
                  [ technology ]




         H om e s l y c e i t!



                  A new Bay Area company created by three Stanford
                  seniors streamlines the process of group gift giving
                                                 By JEREMY JACOB • Art by JOYCE LEE


J  unior Max Keeler was desperate. His two-year-old iPod’s
   scroll wheel was broken and its battery life was down to about 20
minutes. Fortunately, a few of his friends had a generous idea for his
                                                                           which splits the price of the gift into up to 35 small portions. The
                                                                           “host” friend also puts in the shipping address of the recipient of the
                                                                           gift as well as a deadline for when the money for the gift needs to be
birthday: they wanted to get him a brand new iPod. Yet he attends          collected. These small portions of the cost are then sent to an e-mail
Gunn, and some of his friends go to Paly, leaving them no way to or-       list with the number of people equal to the number of portions. Each
ganize gathering all the money they needed with all of Keeler’s friends    person pays his or her portion, and when all the money is collected
at Gunn. Due to this breakdown in communication, the gift could            the gift is sent directly to the recipient.
never be purchased, and Keeler was left with a broken iPod.                      Three Stanford seniors, Kenneth Shaw, Jennifer Gee and Mickey
     Situations like these can now be avoided thanks to a new com-         Asavanant, started the company after Shaw came up with the idea,
pany that streamlines the gift pool process. Homeslyce Inc. was            according to the founders. He said there was a lack of birthday spirit
launched in November of 2006 to “keep the birthday giving spirit           on the Stanford campus. “I really wanted to keep the gift giving tradi-
alive,” according to the company’s Web site, http://homeslyce.com.         tion alive,” Shaw says.
     The basic process behind Homeslyce is simple, the founders say.             At first, the company was mostly just an idea, according to Shaw,
One friend decides that he or she wants to get a gift for his or her       but once he began talking to Gee and Asavanant, the project started
friend’s birthday, but they don’t have all the money to pay for it. They   to develop. Research was their first step since none of them knew how
can then find the gift on Homeslyce and set up a “slice” of that gift,     to start a company or launch a Web site.

20 verde magazine
      “The first place I went was the small business section of the Stan-         “As of now we have successfully shipped eight transactions or
ford bookstore,” says Shaw, an economics major. “I think I read al-         ‘slices,’” Gee says. “Fashion is our most popular slice; for example,
most every book, trying to get an idea of how to start something.”          Coach handbags are popular.”
       Gee and Asavanant are computer science majors, so they were                Despite this success, the founders say there have also been many
involved with the process of creating the Web site, according to Shaw.      hardships in creating their own company, from attracting users to
Gee is in charge of the surface and appearance of the Web site while        making sure people feel secure using the Web site.
Asavanant works more with transactions and technical processes.                   “The hardest part is getting customers comfortable about the
      Shaw led the group, but progress was slow initially.                  product,” Asavanant says. “We still get e-mails from customers ask-
      “When we first started we kept on talking, and I was taking I40       ing, ‘Is this secure?’ We use Google checkout, so all of the money goes
[a difficult class], so it consumed all of my time,” Asavanant says.        through Google.”
“Kenneth [Shaw] kept pushing me saying ‘Work, work, work!’”                       Google checkout is a service that allows small companies like
      The company got off the ground after a long period of planning        Homeslyce to run their transactions and their money exchange
when it was incorporated in May 2006. The first version of the site         through Google, so customers don’t need to worry about the Homes-
was launched in November of the same year with a surprising amount          lyce or anyone else stealing their money due to unsafe transactions.
of hype, according to Shaw.                                                       Another issue that the founders had to address was what would
      “Immediately the site got talked about on blogs that showed the       happen if a “slice” failed or if not all of the money was collected in
site,” Gee says. According to Shaw, this first version was made to at-      time to send the gift. Originally, the money would be returned to the
tract attention and traffic to the Web site as well as input.               contributor, but a new feature to prevent this has been added.
      “Version one was more for feedback from blogs and business                   “Now if a slice is not successful, the money that has already been
sites on how to improve the site,” Shaw says. “We were not prepared         collected can be turned into an electronic gift card for Amazon.com,”


          “Homeslyce is slang: Homeslice, like friend or buddy,
      but then we replaced the ‘i’ with a ‘y’ to make it plural.”
                     — Jennifer Gee, a founder of Homeslyce
for the amount of traffic that came from this talk, so we had to redo       Gee says. Yet this was not their most difficult challenge.
the Web site and put it onto a bigger server.”                                    According to the founders, one of the hardest things was coming
     This second version of the Web site also included a change to the      up with the name Homeslyce. “We tried things like ‘Present Picker,’
look of the Web site.                                                       but we ultimately ended up with Homeslyce,” Gee says. “Homeslyce
     “In Version two we are starting our focus on the Stanford cam-         is slang: Homeslice, like friend or buddy, but then we replaced the I
pus,” Shaw says. “We’re starting on a low level, for example, how           with an Y to make it plural.”
Facebook started at Harvard then slowly spread.”                                  As of now, Homeslyce is more of a hobby for the founders due
     In fact, the creators of Homeslyce incorporated Facebook into          to the low number of users. However, this isn’t to say that they don’t
their Web site. Customers are able to use Facebook to look up friend’s      have big plans for their small company.
birthdays, share their ideas with other friends and to look for mu-               “We are hoping to get it to a point where when you want to split
tual friends between the “host” friend and the birthday boy or girl.        a gift for your friend, you automatically think of Homeslyce,” Asava-
Homeslyce also runs a series of banner ads on Facebook and has a            nant says. “If we could get it to 10,000 to 20,000 users then it might
Facebook group with almost 400 members.                                     be right for [the] market.”
     Homeslyce currently focuses their advertisments on the Stanford              The one thing that the founders stress the most, which seems
campus.                                                                     to be a trend in the advent of “Web 2.0” and the creation of Google
     “We are mainly targeting Stanford college students, maybe high         and YouTube, is that starting your own company is not as much of a
school students as well,” Shaw says. “We go out on [Stanford] campus        challenge as people might think.
and meet people and pass out [advertising] cards.”                                “It really isn’t that difficult,” Shaw says. “Everyone has the re-
     So far, the company is off to a good start with over 1,500 unique      sources, especially with Google at their disposal. All it is is just com-
visitors to the Web site since they launched, according to Gee.             ing up with an idea and seeing it through.” v




                                                                                                                              verde magazine 21
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34 verde magazine
                                      [ culture ]




Gone LARPing              By HANA LOW • Photos by HANA LOW


 Verde correspondent Hana Low journeys to the mystical
  land of Tyrra to get the lowdown on Live Action Role
   Play, an unusual blend of improv, fantasy and gaming.


  W
             hen most people think of gamers, they tend to think of pale, string-bean
             creatures that stay indoors, forever hunched over gaming consoles and glowing
             computer screens for hours at a time. Some Live Action Role Players, or LARP-
  ers for short, may satisfy their gaming cravings with World of Warcraft and Dungeons and
  Dragons sessions between LARP events, but as a whole, they do not necessarily fit the general
  gaming stereotype.
       Twice a month, dozens of people dress in medieval attire, grab padded swords, potions
  and spellbooks and act out the fantasy world as they wish it could have been. “What I want
  people to know is that LARP is completely different from tabletop gaming,” says Meghan
  Girouard, a NERO veteran who hails from the East Coast. “When we say that we’re going
  to climb a tree and scout out the land, we are actually climbing a tree and looking. It’s a very
  physical activity.”
       The gaming tradition that was to become The New England Roleplaying Organiza-
   tion (NERO) has its roots over 20 years ago, in two dozen Massachusetts friends who
   just wanted to go outside and play. It has since expanded into NERO International, with
    chapters in every corner of North America, including the Bay Area’s tiny Los Gatos-based
    NERO West.
         The LARPers are a diverse bunch, ranging from 9-year-olds to retirees, and they rep-
     resent every race, both in-game (Elves, Humans, Dwarves, Orcs) and out-of-game.
          Four times a year, NERO West hosts a three-day event at Camp Cutter, a boy
        scout camp near Big Basin. Here, players can occupy another personality, body
          and character for an entire weekend; from 11 p.m. Friday night to 4 p.m. Sun-
            day afternoon, they become someone else. As their self-designed alter egos,
               they dream of adventure and sleep with a one eye open and a sword
                 under their pillow, ever-ready to leap up and defend against a
                      monster’s midnight attack.
                               Friday afternoon, the PCs, or player charac-
                                ters, start to gather at the site. They unroll
                                       Persian rugs to warm up shab-
                                             by wooden floors,
                                                  unlock




                                                                                                     verde magazine 23
                                                              [ culture ]


“When I’m Alora, I can forget all                                           Latent latex: In the non-player
                                                                            character (NPC) lodge, rubber

of my real-life problems. I have to                                         masks await their chance to
                                                                            transform feeble humans into

deal with her emotions instead of                                           giant spiders, shadow creatures
                                                                            and other frightening monsters.

mine, but at the end of the week-
end, I can leave it all behind.”
              —Meghan Girouard,
           NERO player of 10 years
chests filled with stage makeup and wigs, and fill cabin closets with
lush velvet and magic staffs and the porches with sacks of backup
birdseed. An ounce or so of this birdseed fills each of the hundreds
of fabric packets that constitute the game’s representation of arrows
and magic spells.                                                           Suiting up: Raine Mauss
      As dusk falls, Plot, the six people who make up the NERO staff,       and Jason Thomas don the
(one of whom wears a T-shirt proclaiming “Rogues do it from be-             apparel their characters
hind,” referring to rogues’ tendency to sneak up on players and knock       wear. Thomas’s white head-
them unconscious) arrive with an enormous trailer truck and unpack          band signifies “out of game.”
food, drink, props, and costuming.
      Over the weekend, a stack of Celtic tapestries will adorn the Boy
Scout dining hall’s nautical knot-emblazoned walls to disguise it as
a typical Tyrrian tavern; hundreds of liters of soda will be poured
into pewter pitchers and sold for five Tyrran “coppers” a mug as fizzy
Snakebite, ale and other delicious beverages.
      Around 10 p.m., the players gather at the Plot base to register
for the weekend. Players gain XP, or experience points, for every
event they attend, and must cash them in for speed, strength, extra
hit points and skills. Later, they don the cloaks and caps and black
leather boots, rubber pointed ears (if elves), beards (if dwarves) or
ears (if wolf-people). Tyrrans of different races speak in distinctive
accents, so that around a dinner table one might hear snatches of a
Romanian/Irish/British-sounding conversation.
      At Mandrake’s Landing, this small corner of Tyrra, the action                       Battling it out: Adventurers Jason Tomas
never seems to stop. Weary adventurers regularly stay in the tavern                 (left), owner Charles Smith (center), and Brian
until 3 a.m., eating, drinking and gambling at dice games with the                          Jewkes (right) fight unseen adversaries.
loot that drops from defeated monsters (NERO has its own self-con-
tained economy, which includes copper, silver, gold and the occa-
sional platinum coin. Money can buy magic, life, armor, and other
things of use.)
      After days speaking and acting like a particular NERO personal-
ity, players start to feel like their characters. “Sometimes, after these
weekend events, I’ll go back to school and start speaking in a Gypsy
tongue,” one 16-year-old player says. “And then my friends will give
me funny looks and ask, ‘What are you talking about?’”
      By length alone, a NERO weekend is immersive in a way that
theater never could be. “It’s a play without lines,” says senior Jason
Thomas, who has played the dwarf Spade since he joined NERO.
“When I’m playing, I can forget everything that’s going on at home.
It’s the ultimate escapist activity.” v
24 verde magazine
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                      [culture ]



Slow
                                                                                                      tion. Since then, Slow Food International
                                                                                                      has grown to include over 850 local chapters,
                                                                                                      called convivia, all over the world, according
                                                                                                      to the organization’s Web site, http://slow-
                                                                                                      food.com. These convivia are charged with
                                                                                                      bringing the principles of Slow Food Inter-




                                      Food
                                                                                                      national to their local areas.
                                                                                                            The foremost of these principles is to
                                                                                                      promote the production and consumption of
                                                                                                      food that is “good, clean and fair,” according
                                                                                                      to the movement’s Web site.
                                                                                                            Good food is just what it sounds like:
                                                                                                      appealing, tasty, and sensual. Above all, Slow
                                                                                                      Foodies — as members of the movement are
                                                                                                      nicknamed — are passionate about produc-
                                                                                                      ing and enjoying food that tastes delicious,
                                                                                                      according to the Slow Food Web site.
                                                                                                            Members of the movement celebrate
                                                                                                      food by attending food festivals such as Terra
                                                                                                      Madre, a gathering of cooks, farmers and
                                                                                                      educators.
                                                                                                            Followers of the movement also cher-
                                                                                                      ish food traditions, attempting to honor
                                                                                                      and preserve them, according to Robinson.
                                                                                                      “The wonderful thing about our country is
                                                                                                      we have food traditions that are so different
                                                                                                      from each other,” Robinson says.
                                                                                                            The “clean” part of the Slow Food mis-
                                                                                                      sion refers both to the nutritional aspects of
                                                                                                      food and to the method of food production.
                                                                                                      Slow Food enthusiasts are inclined towards
                                                                                                      organic, sustainable food that uses no pesti-
                                                                                                      cides or chemicals. This food can often come
                                                                                                      from local farmers whose products may or
                                                                                                      may not be certified organic, as the price of
                                                                                                      becoming certified organic can often be too
By AMANDA HALL • Art by JOYCE LEE                                                                     high for small-scale farmers, according to
                                                                                                      Robinson.
If you are what you eat, then followers of the                                                              Fair wages for food laborers are another
                                                                                                      important aspect of Slow Food-friendly pro-
Slow Food movement are clean, fair and of the                                                         duction, according to their Web site.
                                                                                                            Although Slow Food doesn’t explicitly
highest quality.                                                                                      list combating fast food in its mission state-
                                                                                                      ment, many of its goals are in direct opposi-

F   ast. Cheap. Convenient.
    Slow. Sensual. Satisfying.
     If you were to choose one of these sets of
                                                   first mentality towards dining.
                                                         Slow Food is a multi-faceted movement
                                                   that celebrates healthy, mindful culinary
                                                                                                      tion to the fast food culture and lifestyle. In
                                                                                                      exactly the same way as the founder of Slow
                                                                                                      Food International, Carlo Petrini, Robinson
adjectives to describe your dining experience,     habits. “What I tell people is it’s the opposite   witnessed firsthand the prevalence of inter-
which would you choose?                            of fast food,” says Randy Robinson, co-leader      national fast food culture during a visit to
     Many people buy food that goes un-            of South Bay Slow Food, the local chapter of       Rome which prompted his decision to join
equivocally in the “fast” category as is evident   Slow Food USA. “It’s about supporting local        the movement.
by McDonalds’ self-reported $21.6 billion          farmers and honoring local food traditions.”             “I saw this McDonald’s by the Vati-
revenue in 2006. However, the 80,000 inter-              Founded in 1989, the Slow Food move-         can and I thought, why in the world would
national members of the Slow Food move-            ment started out in Italy, a country well          someone eat at McDonald’s in Rome?” Rob-
ment are trying to combat this convenience-        known for its rich food culture and tradi-         inson says.

26 verde magazine
      To spread the word about Slow Food, not slow-food friendly. “Everything is so ac- the Bay Area are probably working for a high
local convivium leaders organize events such cessible at Safeway and Albertson’s, and [some tech company, they’re busy, working parents,
as monthly dinners, food festivals and wine of ] it’s very processed,” Robinson says.               working people, so it’s hard to eat well,” Rob-
tastings.                                              The ease of takeout can sometimes in- inson says. “The good news is that people
      In addition to these, Slow Foodies such terfere with healthy eating as well, according that live in the Bay Area also tend to be very
as Robinson reach out to local children to Robinson.                                                conscious about what they’re eating.”
through school programs.                               “Kids who are growing up now, their                Robinson, who also owns the local wine
      Robinson teaches a monthly class at parents grew up in the fast food nation sort bar and restaurant Vino Locale, has noticed
Northwood Elementary School in Milpitas. of era,” Robinsons says. “It’s really easy [to that most of his customers appreciate the
“I teach these kids how to cook,” Robinson say], ‘Let’s order a pizza tonight.’ In Slow Slow Food style cuisine.
says. “They’ve made paninis; they’ve made Food, we want to teach kids, even college age                   “The people that like this place tend to
their own truffles. It’s so much fun.”            kids, how to eat better.”                         like the fact that we have small plates of food
      In addition to showing the kids fun reci-        Slow Food educators don’t cater only to which we give you slowly with a nice glass
pes, Robinson hopes to help educate them children.                                                  of wine,” Robinson says. “They especially
about healthier food options. “What we’re              “Taste education,” as the movement of- like the fact that they aren’t these gargantuan
trying to teach them is, look how easy it was ficially calls it, took formal shape in Italy’s plates of food. It’s well-prepared food, we
to chop this up, make some dip with this University of Gastronomic Sciences, found- made it today, it’s our own recipes and every-
organic yogurt, organic sour cream, chop ed in 2003. The university was created to thing is made here. We don’t buy anything
up some carrots and celery. Isn’t that better “bring together the innovations and research prepared at all. Everything that we do here is
than a bag of Cheetos?” Robinson says. “And of the academic and scientific world and the very fresh and very nice.”
they’re like, ‘Well, yeah!’”                                                                                           South Bay Slow Food has
      Robinson has found the                                                                                      about 300 paid members and 200
children to be very receptive to
the Slow Food ideals of fresh, de-
                                       “I saw this McDonald’s by the Vati-                                        unpaid, according to Robinson.
                                                                                                                  (A $50 yearly membership buys
licious food.                          can and I thought, why in the world                                        a subscription to the two Slow
      “What I’m finding is that                                                                                   Food publications.) According to
these kids are sponges for infor-      would someone eat at McDonald’s                                            Robinson, the number of mem-
mation,” Robinson says. “They’re                                                                                  bers is on the rise. “It’s a growing
like, ‘Sure, I’ll cook; I’ll eat this; in Rome?”                                                                  thing,” Robinson says.
I’ll eat broccoli.’ They have these                                                                                      Along with the leaders of
very open minds, so it’s a good age — Randy Robinson, South Bay Slow Food leader                                  other local convivia, Robinson
to teach kids how to eat well.”                                                                                   hopes to further increase the
      Robinson is also helping                                                                                    number of members across the
them plant their own school garden. “I’m try- traditional knowledge of farmers and food country with a massive food festival sched-
ing to do something here locally so the kids producers,” according to the Slow Food In- uled for 2008.
can grow vegetables from seed, plant them ternational Web site.                                           The festival, called Slow Food Nation,
themselves,” Robinson says. “It’s going to be          The organization also founded the Slow will start out in San Francisco and be mod-
a really great experience for these kids. Most Food Foundation for Biodiversity, which eled after Terra Madre, a large-scale food
of them have never done this before; they’ve aims to halt the homogenization of food and gathering. Robinson was inspired by his ex-
never planted anything before.”                   preserve variety in crops and livestock, ac- perience at Terra Madre, and hopes to recre-
      There’s a reason the movement includes cording to the organization’s Web site.                ate it locally.
youth education: Slow Food educators hope              Many Slow Food priciples are difficult             “It was just amazing to see people from
to foster good eating habits in young people to follow with the fast-paced modern life- all over the world meet each other and have
that can be sustained throughout their lives. style, according to Robinson.                         discussions about how to eat better, how to
      Children’s attitudes towards food are            “It can be difficult [to eat healthy], espe- really eat better food. Clean, fair, nice food,”
often shaped by television ads, according to cially for families with kids that are on a bud- Robinson says. “So we’re doing a variation of
Robinson.                                         get,” Robinson says. “Fortunately, there are that here in San Francisco next year.”
      “They [kids] are inundated with the places like farmers markets and Whole Foods                     Slow Food Nation, as the name suggests,
commercials with sugary cereals and Mc- and places like that that have really nice, nat- won’t just be confined to San Francisco. “It’s
Donald’s and Burger King,” Robinson says. ural, clean food. It’s a little more expensive going to be kind of a movable feast,” Robin-
“The kids then tell their parents, ‘I want to than Safeway, but it’s available to you.”             son says. “The goal is to take this from one
go here, I want to go there,’ and this just isn’t      Slow Food’s principles are in tune with place to another and introduce people to
good clean food; it just isn’t.”                  the philosophy of much of the Bay Area, ac- Slow Food. Our ultimate goal is to introduce
      Fast food chains aren’t the only place cording to Robinson. “It’s a bit of a dichoto- a greater part of the population to what Slow
where people can buy food that is decidedly my in the sense that people that live here in Food is all about.” v

                                                                                                                             verde magazine 27
28 verde magazine
CLOSING THE CASE               [ clubs ]

        The Paly Mock Trial team ar-
        gues their way through compe-
        titions, eventually winning the
        Santa Clara championship.
        By ALEXA JONES • Photos by KAELA FOX




        D
                     id  darian Kendall Kill Vanessa Foley in a
                      drag racing accident? Could Jes Markson have
                      murdered his spouse and the star of his television
                      show, Taylor Rodriguez? What motive could
        student Casey Campbell possibly have to place a bomb in a
        trashcan near his school’s cafeteria? The ordinary citizen would
        have no idea, but members of the Palo Alto High School Mock
        Trial team do.
             “Mock trial is basically a simulation of a trial that high
        school teams participate in,” says junior Davis Jeon, a defense
        attorney on the Paly Mock Trial team. “Mock trial is a school
        club that represents the school in competitions.”
             Senior prosecution attorney Anne Widera concurs. “Mock
        trial is a speech competition between teams that attempt to
        put on the most realistic trial possible,” Widera says. “The
        team that adheres to courtroom decorum and makes the most
        intelligent and well-presented argument wins.”
             According to the California Mock Trial Web site, the
        Mock Trial program, which is organized by the Constitutional
        Rights Foundation (CRF), “furthers an understanding of
        both the content and processes of our legal system; increases
        basic skills, analytical ability, and self-confidence; and
        promotes cooperation among students of various cultures and
        interests.”
             The Paly Mock Trial team, which is led by social studies
        teacher Grant Blackburn, is comprised of 18 Paly students
        that are divided into prosecution and defense teams of nine
        students each. Both teams have three attorneys and four
        witnesses along with a bailiff and a clerk.
             “The bailiff and clerk must be people who are sharp-
        minded and very audible,” Jeon says. The clerk is responsible
        for timing various parts of the trial, such as the direct and
        cross-examinations, while the bailiff participates on the
        defense team and is responsible for maintaining order in the
        courtroom and swearing in witnesses.
             Students hoping to become an attorney or witness,
        however, must audition in front of the coach, Suzie Stewart, a

                                                      verde magazine 29
  retired social studies teacher from Paly.    with the most cumulative points wins.           role in the actual “points” that a team
       “The trial attorneys ask witnesses      Based on the regular season, eight top          acquires per trial, according to Oza.
  questions, and object if opposing            teams are chosen to go to quarterfinals,        “[The attorneys] sit in the jury box in
  teams use improper questions or their        after which there are elimination rounds.       the court and judge each witness and
  witnesses break the rules,” Widera says.           Mock trials are divided into pre-         attorney based on performance, which
  “Witnesses answer attorneys’ questions,      trial, opening arguments, questioning           includes how real each person acted,
  but must only testify with information       of prosecution witnesses and defense            as well as the quality of the questions
  from their witness statements, which         witnesses and closing arguments. Pre-trial      asked and the quality of the answers,”
  are found in the case handbook given         is often considered the most important part     Jeon says.
  to all participants.”                        of the trial because the overall score that          This year, the Paly Mock Trial team
       The case handbooks are different        the Pre-trial attorney receives is multiplied   hopes to win states in March and then
  every year. The Constitutional Rights        by three. Pre-trials also have a significant    proceed to nationals. Paly beat more
  Foundation develops and produces             impact on the actual trial, according to        than 20 other Mock Trial teams from
  a completely new set of Mock Trial           Jeon. “A pre-trial attorney from each side      Santa Clara County to win their position
  materials based on a critical issue facing   presents a constitutional argument about        in the state competition, according to


  “Traditionally, Santa Clara has been the powerhouse, so I think
  we have a solid chance of going to finals.”
                             — Davis Jeon, junior defense attorney

  America’s youth each year, according an aspect of the case at hand, the verdict Widera. According to the California
  to the California Mock Trial Web site. of which has a bearing on the procedure Mock Trial Web site, 36 California
  These materials include a theoretical of the actual trial,” Jeon says. These mock counties participate in the Mock Trial
  criminal case, lesson plans on the central trials can usually take anywhere from two program. In May, the winner of the state
  issues in the case and competition rules to three hours depending on the amount competition represents California at the
  and guidelines. In early fall, all the of feedback the participants receive from yearly National High School Mock Trial
  Mock Trial teams in California receive the judge and the scoring attorneys after Competition, which involves teams
  the same court case, which they then the trial.                                        from 54 states and territories.
  spend time preparing until spring.              The scoring attorneys decide which         “Having seen our team develop
  The cases are always fabricated and team had the better performance and since the beginning of the year in our
  deal with relatively serious crimes. content. Thus, the verdict decided by the ability to act our individual parts and
  This year, the statewide case involves a judge at the end of the trial has no real present our case as a cohesive team, I am
  high school senior accused                                                                        confident in the ability of
  of placing a time bomb at a                                                                       Paly to continue well beyond
  school, according to Jeon.                                                                        the State Championship,”
       Once the Mock Trial                                                                          Oza says.
  clubs throughout the state                                                                             The Paly Mock Trial
  receive the case, teams within                                                                    team        participates    in
  a given county compete                                                                            the Santa Clara County
  against each other four times,                                                                    tournament and this year
  a series of competitions                                                                          beat Lynbrook high school
  known as a “regular season,”                                                                      for first place. After winning
  according to Jeon.                                                                                the Santa Clara County
       “After four preliminary                                                                      mock Trial tournament,
  trials    in    the    county                                                                     Mock Trial members are
  tournament, the top teams                                                                         confident in their chances
  compete for the crown,”                                                                           of advancing.
  says senior Siddhartha Oza,                                                                            “Traditionally,      San-
  a member of the Mock Trial                                                                        ta Clara has been the
  team at Paly. Three real                                                                          powerhouse, so I think we
  attorneys score the teams                                                                         have a solid chance of going
  based on their performances, At a Mock Trial practice: Mock trial members (from left to right)    to finals,” Jeon says. “Once
  and an actual judge delivers Sam Sheldon, Rachel Wolf and Claire Lesikar present their opening    we get past that, then it’s
  a closing verdict. The team statements for the prosecution.                                       nationals.” v
30 verde magazine
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                                         Would you like to be the next
ROBIN PRESS, PHD                               Verde Artist?


CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST

    psychotherapy and
   assessment services
 for adults, adolescents
       and children
                                                             Art by JOYCE LEE

                                                   Verde is looking for one or two Paly students
          4966 El Camino Real                           to work as staff artists next year.
                     Suite 119
         Los Altos, California                                    Interested?
                        94022                             Give a portfolio to Joyce Lee
                                                     (Joycelee423@gmail.com) by April 20.
     “I wish we had more
 involvement from other
    grades. It’s not quite
       what I had hoped.”
         — Camden Kimura, Creative
            Writing Club co-president




Dead Space: Creative Writing Club president Camden Kimura speaks to an empty room. This club is not the only one suf-
fering from a lack of members, most clubs do not survive after their first year.
32 verde magazine
32 verde magazine
                                             [ clubs ]




 The Club
 Conundrum
  Why some clubs collapse while others survive

By JOANNA BELL • Photos by KAELA FOX



I
     t’s Club Day at the beginning of the year;          will go with it, according to Kimura.
     hundreds of students are milling around look-            The Spanish Club is another club that, de-
     ing at the many clubs suiting their wide and        spite its history at Paly, may collapse. Senior Rosie
varied interests. Club leaders stand behind tables,      Ibarra has been part of the club all four years at
luring other students to join their clubs with lol-      Paly, and this is her second year as president.
lipops and the promise of a haven to bond with                “We set up the club so that people could learn
like-minded people. As the club presidents watch         about a culture besides their own,” Ibarra says.
their sign-up sheets fill with names, they think of      Although they tried to organize activities at the
all the possibilities of grandeur that await them.       beginning of the year including a trip to Mexico
      Fast forward a few months to the spring. The       to build houses, they haven’t been able to follow
same presidents sit in nearly empty classrooms,          through due to lack of interest.
trying to drum up interest for club events that will          YCS is also interested in putting on big
probably never happen.                                   events. The club is involved with many activi-
      An estimated 20 to 30 clubs don’t even last        ties on campus including the Winter Formal and
through the school year, according to ASB presi-         canned food drive. Currently, there are about 15
dent Mohammed Abid. However, there are still             members, eight of them seniors, according to club
some clubs that are able to retain interest. “Only       president senior Caterina Yuan. Yuan has been in-
a handful [of clubs] carry over to the next year,”       volved with YCS since seventh grade and the club
Abid says. The focuses of these clubs that make          has been at Paly for nearly 18 years.
up this handful are all different, but there is a com-        Even though more than half of YCS’s partici-
mon thread that makes them all survive where             pants are graduating, Yuan believes that the club
others fail.                                             can survive. “I think we will have someone to lead
       Clubs that will possibly not continue next        next year,” she says.
year include Creative Writing Club and Youth                  Kimura does not share the same optimism
Community Service, whose respective members              with respect to her own club. “In all likelihood I
are nearly all graduating, as well as the Spanish        don’t think there will be Calliope or Creative Writ-
Club, which has been losing interest all year.           ing Club next year,” she says.
      Senior Camden Kimura, co-president of the               The fact that these clubs are disappearing may
Creative Writing Club and Calliope, mourns the           be due to a general decline of interest in clubs.
lack of diversity within the club. “I wish we had        Sharp says he has noticed a decrease in the num-
more involvement from other grades,” she says.           ber of students involved with clubs from the days
“It’s not quite what I had hoped.”                       when he was a student at Paly. “There were a lot
      Teacher and club advisor Kevin Sharp was part      more people who were in clubs then,” he says.
of the Creative Writing Club when he was a Paly               Kimura attributes the lack of interest to other
student. The club later disappeared, and it was          factors. “On a whole, creative writers tend to be
largely due to his suggestion that it was restarted      more shy and private about their writing and more
this year as part of Calliope, the literary magazine.    independently minded,” she says.
Calliope dates back to early in Paly’s history, but if        Ibarra realizes that people aren’t interested in
the Creative Writing Club collapses, the magazine        Spanish Club any more, but is not sure why. “I
                                                                                                           verde magazine 33
                                                                [ clubs ]
guess people just stopped coming once they told all their colleges dedicated underclassmen,” Schroder says. This means that the club
about their activities,” she says. Abid thinks this idea applies to other will continue for a few more years.
clubs too. “Once they’ve created a club, they just put it on their col-        Although Biking Club is not connected to any class or activity
lege résumés and forget about it,” he says.                               already offered at Paly, many other clubs attribute their connection to
      Despite the number of clubs that don’t make it past infancy, a Paly class to their success.
there are many that survive for years. Math Club and the Thespian              “It [Thespian Society] is very much tied with a certain extra cur-
Society are examples of this.                                             ricular activity,” Wolf says. “It anchors it to the school.”
      Senior Math Club president Adrian Sanborn has been a part of             Strong leaders and an involved advisor also help keep clubs go-
math club for four years at Paly plus one at Jordan, and this is his ing. Wolf says that Kristen Lo, the Thespian Society advisor, is in-
third year as club president. “We do a lot of … really interesting valuable. “Kristen [Lo] is a very hands-on supervisor,” Wolf says.
math,” Sanborn says. “It’s a nice challenge for those who are bored “She’s definitely an asset.”
in their math classes.”                                                        Suzanne Antink, the Math Club advisor, has an advising tech-
      The Thespian Society is the oldest club at Paly, according to club nique that is similar to Lo’s. “She deals with a lot of the logistics,”
president senior Rachel Wolf. She has                                                                         Sanborn says. Sanborn feels this
been a member of the club for four                                                                            approach has worked well for the
years and this is her first year as presi-                                                                    club. “It’s an effective strategy,” he
dent. “Theater is obviously a cut ac-                                                                         says. “It encourages more students
tivity,” Wolf says. “Thespian Society is                                                                      to become involved.”
an all-inclusive way to be a part of the                                                                           A strong advisor can also be a
theater community.”                                                                                           deciding factor in the success of a
      Although there are many factors                                                                         club. Long-time club advisor Mar-
that play into the collapse of clubs, stu-                                                                    co Dondero’s departure from YCS
dent interest is a big one. “I can’t force                                                                    two years ago left an impact that
people to come to [math] contests,”                                                                           they have had difficulty recovering
Sanborn says. Spanish Club also has                                                                           from. “It changed the way the club
problems with uninterested members.                                                                           is run,” Yuan says. “Now it’s more
“I would like for Spanish Club to con-                                                                        the students’ responsibility.”
tinue,” Ibarra says. “But I’m not sure                                                                             However, Sharp is quick to
people would want to.”                                                                                        point out that an advisor cannot
      There are a few reasons why stu-                                                                        carry a club alone. “An advisor can’t
dents do not participate in clubs. “I                                                                         do it alone,” he says. “It takes peo-
think it’s a combination of both igno-                                                                        ple who want to run it.”
rance and apathy,” Sharp says. Com-                                                                                Biking Club is surviving even
peting activities are another reason for                                                                      though James Hanmer, the club
minimal interest.                                                                                             advisor, is not as involved as some
      Sharp thinks that dedication is                                                                         other advisors, according to Schro-
important to maintaining a club. “It                                                                          der. “He [Hanmer] just lets us do
takes effort to run a club,” Sharp says.                                                                      whatever we want,” he says. “It’s an
“You can’t be apathetic, that’s everyone                                                                      ongoing experiment, really.”
else’s job.”                                  Blowing in the Wind: The few remaining flyers flut-                  Wolf feels that planning is im-
      There are other reasons clubs can ter on one of the many pillars around campus. The portant to keep a club going.
survive, as well. Clubs that have tradi- lack of club announcments could signal students’                          “We do a lot more activities
tionally been a part of high school cul- dwindling interest in club activities.                               than other clubs,” Wolf says. The
ture or have been around a while ap-                                                                          Thespian Society sees plays, plans
pear to keep a more stable following.                                                                         barbeques and puts on Play In a
      The Thespian Society is an example of this. “We have a large Day, where students and alumni create short plays in 24 hours.
hold-over year to year,” Wolf says. Math Club also has history at              Instead of being stringent about weekly meetings or intense
Paly. “Math Club has … been around a long time, which definitely workouts, Biking Club meets whenever is best for the members.
helps [keep interest],” Sanborn says.                                     “We’ve adopted a more laid back policy,” Schroder says. This ap-
      Creating a community of students also aids a club’s survival.       proach works for the club. “It adds a small stress relief,” he says.
      “It [math club] is a pretty tight community,” Sanborn says.              Wolf also has more advice for people who want to keep their
Wolf says the same of Thespian Society. “We have a community that club successful. “Have regular meetings … an updated email list, and
you’re less likely to see at any other club.”                             get it in the announcements,” she says. “Give people a reason to go.”
      A club that deviates from the prototype of a successful club is          Although the Thespian Society and YCS like to be involved with
the Biking Club, which junior Phil Schroder started last year. Sch- big events on campus, Schroder disagrees with this more intense ap-
roder says that there are only about five to eight people who ride proach to clubs. “The point of a club is not to be super hardcore,” he
consistently, a number that does not include seniors. “We have a few says. “It’s just for fun.” v

34 verde magazine
Don’t forget to write:
Students in the AP Japanese class
look at pictures sent from their class-
mate Jay Houston Yang, who is one of
eight students to graduate early. While
Yang chose Japan, other students are
also traveling, working, starting col-
lege, or just hanging out untill college
starts in the fall.




                                           [ time off ]


                 Too cool for school
      Traditionally, high school is the four-year long stepping
    stone between childhood and college. For some students
                   however, four years is too long.

                                                          verde magazine 35
                                                             [ time off ]

T
         he AP Japanese class trickles into their darkened though I maintained a 4.0, I only got my state apps in,” Loveless
         classroom after brunch. The lights are dimmed and pictures says. “My GPA was good enough to go somewhere else, but it was
         sent from Japan are projected onto the wall. The students too much at the time. I didn’t want to write UC essays on top of
are mostly second semester seniors, including Jay Houston Yang, everything else. It’s the only thing I regret a little bit.”
the subject of the photos. Instead of being in the class himself, he           While Ramos ended her junior year taking only two classes,
graduated early and is spending the second half of his senior year she still had enough credits to graduate from her first two years of
backpacking across Japan. While he films a documentary on the school.
unique Japanese quality of serene coexistence between the old and              “My freshman year I lived in the United World College of South
the new, they keep plugging away at their courses for an additional East Asia in Singapore,” Ramos says. “I took more classes so by the
five months.                                                              time I transferred here I already had lots of credits. In the middle of
      This year, all eight students who graduated early received their my second semester Junior year I talked with Ms. Schultz about what
diplomas in January 2007. A diploma from                                                             I had to do to graduate early.”
Palo Alto high School, including the courses to                                                            Those who have graduated early are
qualify for UCs, can theoretically be obtained
after three or three and a half years. The students       “I’m so glad                               spread out now, but they plan to return to
                                                                                                     Paly for the end of the year not only to make
who want to graduate early—as eight did in
January 2007—have to declare their intention             it worked out                               college decisions and negotiate scholarships,
                                                                                                     but also for end of the year ceremonies like
in writing to the school and subsequently to
Palo Alto Unified School District.                          this way;                                prom and graduation.
                                                                                                           “In my opinion, the ceremony is really
      Almost no one has been denied, except
those who didn’t meet the graduation                       this has just                             more of a rite of passage for the families,”
                                                                                                     Lim says. “It’s not necessarily for the student.
requirements, according to Arne Lim, math
teacher and advisor for two students, Yang and           been such an                                It’s largely a proclamation saying, ‘Yeah I’ve
                                                                                                     done enough.” It’s one last time to revel
Lauren Loveless, who chose to graduate early.
He helped both Yang and Loveless organize                   amazing                                  with your classmates. In my opinion, why
                                                                                                     wouldn’t you want to?”
their courses so they would have the necessary
credits and forms in order to graduate early.            experience.”                                      Lim graduated from Paly himself in
                                                                                                     1980, and while he graduated after four
      Yang’s choice to graduate early was                                                            complete years he felt that he was unprepared
spontaneous, as he only declared his intention —Jay Houston Yang,                                    for college.
to do so during first semester of his senior year.                                                         Lim uses this personal experience when
                                                      Class of 2007 early graduate
      “I think I had to discover that I could                                                        he works with his students to make sure that
graduate early,” Yang says. “If I had been given                                                     whenever they graduate, they are ready for
the choice of whether to take the classes I did                                                      college.
and graduate early or to have a prep and graduate on time, I wouldn’t          “I graduated young, and I was not ready for college either socially
have graduated early. But I’m so glad it worked out this way; this has or academically,” Lim says. “I got through high school because of
just been such an amazing experience.”                                    my smarts; I didn’t know how to study. At Berkeley I was put on
      While Yang is eating lunch in Japan, recent Paly graduate Liana academic probation after my freshman year, and I finally did get my
Ramos wakes up for breakfast before going to work for her father’s GPA up to a three, but it took a lot of work and a lot of reflection
business, where she makes signs and does other miscellaneous graphic about how I went about things and why I did what I did. I should
design jobs. This April she will start college at Foothill, and she plans have gone to Foothill first. I really should have.”
to transfer to UCLA or a state school after two years.                         According to Lim, those students who graduate early are unique
      “I messed up my grades junior year, which killed my chances for in that they know what they want to do.
college,” Ramos says. “So I’m going to transfer. I’m glad to be done;          “If anything, people who graduate early are much more aware
I can just relax now.”                                                    of themselves,” Lim says. “They’re a bit more focused in their plans.
      Loveless is also working from home until next fall, when she Even though they don’t necessarily know a major, they know this is
plans to attend either Sonoma or Sacramento State University.             right for them. I’m talking about describing people with adjectives,
      “I baby-sit three kids on a weekly basis, hostess at Oak City Bar not with what they’ve accomplished. It’s how they go about business
and Grill and take English 100 Tuesday and Thursday at Foothill to — it’s not a list of statistics and scores; it’s mentioning why they do
get a head start on my college credits,” Loveless says. “For college I what they do.”
didn’t want to go too far away because I’m really close to my family,          But according to Lim, graduating early wouldn’t be more
and my boyfriend goes to Menlo College.”                                  common even if more people were aware of the possibility.
      Even though graduating early gives the student an entire                 “The pervading idea is that you do high school in four years,” Lim
stress-free semester, Loveless felt even more pressure on her during says. “You don’t do anything else. There’s pressure from parents and
first semester to keep the last grades colleges would see up for her whoever else to stay the course, and to not do anything outlandish.
applications.                                                             To step out of line, in the big sense, really makes people wake up. You
      “The only problem with graduating early was I was under so get a lot of people wondering why you’re doing what you’re doing. So
much pressure that semester to finish with good classes that even if you’re prepared to answer that, great.” v
36 verde magazine
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           2 sons, recent college grads

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                    [ time off ]




Finding My Place:
                                                                                   had a kind of resentful awe for those who
                                                                                   can work hard enough to get into top-notch
                                                                                   colleges. What may come across as spiteful-
                                                                                   ness is really just jealousy. For my part, I’m



Goodbye, America
                                                                                   already planning my college options for the
                                                                                   fall of ’09, but I can no longer ignore the fact
                                                                                   that I need a break.
                                                                                         This all started a few months ago after
                                                                                   some awkward scheduling issues made it
                               By JAKE BRISKIN • Art by JOYCE LEE                  apparent that I wouldn’t be able to fit in a
                                                                                   calculus class before the summer after my se-
   The popularity of
                               C
                                         órdoba, distant and lonely. Or            nior year. I knew that I could theoretically
                                                                                   cram it in if that were my top priority, but
  the “gap year” op-                     so the poem goes. But considering
                                         that I plan to spend my first semester    the logistics of that would be more than I
  tion is on the rise.         after high school studying and decompress-
                               ing there, I’m praying that Federico García
                                                                                   am willing to put up with right now. Sud-
                                                                                   denly, everything changed for me. Trying to
 Here’s why I’ve de-           Lorca was just being gloomy as usual when           power straight on to college in Fall of ’08
                                                                                   would mean doing so without any calculus
                               he wrote that. “What,” you’re probably won-
   cided to jump on            dering, “is this guy babbling about?”               credits under my belt, something almost un-
                                    While most of my friends from the              thinkable in this day and age. “My God,” I
    the bandwagon,             Class of ’08 are making plans to breeze on to       thought to myself, “I’m going to spend my
                                                                                   20s going to community college and living
   what I plan to do           prestigious four-year universities after gradu-
                               ation, I realized some time ago that if I want      in my parents’ basement!”
   and why some of             to keep my sanity and actually get around to
                               living life while I’m still young, going straight
                                                                                         Once the shock started to wear off, how-
                                                                                   ever, it occurred to me that this could actu-
   you may want to             from the grind of high school to the grind of       ally be a blessing in disguise. Since I would
                                                                                   not, under any circumstances, be trying to
                               college isn’t going to work.
          follow suit.              Don’t misunderstand me, I’ve always            cram in that calculus class my senior year, I
38 verde magazine
could let it wait for the summer of ’08 and        useful ways to spend a gap year, but there are       absence of any real living). Maybe for others,
if the colleges want me, they can just sit on      10 times as many ways to waste it complete-          that sort of path would be ideal, but for as
their hands and wait a year.                       ly. So I knew the importance of considering          long as I can remember, I’ve loathed the idea
     As exciting as this seemed to me, I had       carefully before jumping into this, or else I        of cubicle work.
never been very eager to tell this to my par-      would run the risk of a year spent playing                 Unfortunately, knowing with certainty
ents. Although they are by no means aca-           video games and gaining weight. Working at           what I wanted to avoid wasn’t bringing me
demic extremists, I felt certain that the idea     some internship didn’t appeal to me, nor did         any closer to knowing what I do want out of
of a “gap year” wouldn’t sit well at all with      working at any other job for that matt so all        life. I could imagine myself living happily in
them.                                              that seemed viable was travel. But what if it        many different settings And for me, the gap
     I was right. When my father was a cab         turned out that my dad was right? What if I          year choice came into play when one day I
driver in Chicago in ’67, he met a lot of          became a bum, taking the rest of my life off         came to the sudden realization that I would
middle-aged guys who all seemed to have                                                                 never figure out what I wanted to do in a
the same story: they had bright futures, but                                                            world in which I had had so little first-hand
decided to take time off to pursue other av-
enues in life, and through a combination of
                                                       “If you take a year                              experience.
                                                                                                              As with any other decision, it’s always
various circumstances, they never really got            to experience the                               comforting to know that I’m not the only
back on track. Understandably, my father                                                                one who pursues this particular choice. Mary
was extremely edgy about the idea of his son             ‘real world’ you                               Heydron, of the Paly Class of 2006, is work-
taking a year off — a year that, in his mind,                                                           ing at Starbucks as part of her gap year, and
could easily stretch to two, then more. But all        will be much more                                plans to transfer to NYU as a film student in
this just made me even more determined to
prove him wrong.
                                                         motivated to go                                the fall of 2008. However, unlike me, Hey-
                                                                                                        don has known since her freshman year at
     All I can say is thank goodness for Wen-
dy Sinton, who bears the unofficial title of
                                                       back to school and                               Paly that she wants to be a filmmaker. Un-
                                                                                                        fortunately (or perhaps fortunately), Paly was
“gap year lady” at the College and Career                 do your work.”                                an exhausting experience for Heydon, and by
Center. Technically speaking, Sinton takes                                                              her junior year she felt that she had lost all
care of all post-high school plans that would
                                                        — Mary Heydron, Class of                        focus in school and life.
fall under the heading of “other.” She deals                                                                  “I was barely going to class senior year,”
with everything that doesn’t involve going di-          2006, currently working                         Heydron says. “I felt like I was so ‘over’ Paly.
rectly to a two or four-year university, but the          through a gap year                            The thought of filling out college applica-
gap year is the option for which she is best                                                            tions was just horrible.”
known. Sinton feels that the gap year is ideal                                                                Heydon also believes very strongly that
for graduating students who feel burned out        instead of just one year? The prospect was far       learning how to do things like pay bills and
from high school, and who can’t see them-          from encouraging.                                    take care of everything for herself should
selves gearing up for studying again right               Still, there is no reason why anyone else      help anyone feel more prepared and focused
away.                                              should have to go through the same insane            before going on to college.
     “It’s also for students who don’t know        planning dance that I’m still going through                “If you take a year to experience the ‘real
for sure why they want to go to college.” Sin-     now. What’s really important is how to know          world,’ you will be much more motivated to
ton says. “It’s a time for them to learn more      what you want and what will work best for            go back to school and do your work,” Hey-
about themselves.”                                 you, personally.                                     dron says.
     Sinton says that students deciding to do            Besides wanting to just take a break                 I pray that she’s right; I can’t think of
a gap year most often choose travel of some        from the grind of school, I had always been          anything more depressing that winding up in
sort. And of course, they generally jump at        terrified by the fact that while all my friends      the driver’s seat of a taxi cab for all eternity.
any opportunity to earn money or college           seemed to be making and finalizing plans for               But then again, it’s not hard to imagine a
credit.                                            after graduation with ease, I had absolutely         future in which I fall head-over-heels in love
       Without a credible CCC advisor to           no idea what I wanted to do with the rest of         with Spain and decide I don’t want to come
back up the idea of a gap year, my father and      my life. With all the pressure to get into a         home. I acknowledge the possibility of course,
I might have come to blows over it. Even           good college, I don’t think that anyone had          but it doesn’t bother me in the least. After all,
after I pointed out that the gap year was          ever asked me what I wanted to do with my            I’m going to Córdoba to take college classes
mentioned as a legitimate option during the        life which made it all the more disturbing           anyway, so if I do decide to stay, it wouldn’t
mandatory CCC presentation this year, I still      when I realized that the only answer I could         be so far out of reach to continue down that
had to finagle with all my might before my         give was “I’m not really sure.” In fact, I’m still   path and then pursue whatever I might have
father would listen to me.                         almost as uncertain as I was when this start-        before in a different setting. Whatever ends
     I knew right away that I would have to        ed. The only thing I can say with certainty is       up happening, the most important thing is
find a productive way to spend the intervening     that I know what I don’t want. I know that           for me to find my place in life, and regardless
year or else all of my father’s concerns might     working nine-to-five in an office would spell        of where that happens to be, I’ll be satisfied
become reality. There are plenty of perfectly      death for me (death here meaning just the            to have done it my way. v
                                                                                                                                 verde magazine 39
40 verde magazine
40 verde magazine
                                                   One teacher’s
                                                   lasting friend-
                                                   ship with a
                                                   convicted
                                                   felon and her
                                                   involvement in
                                                   his transforma-
                                                   tion from pris-
                                                   oner to poet.
                                                   By LORETTA SHEN & ZACK KOUSNETZ •
                                                   Photos by KAELA FOX




An unlikely
                    friendship
When Palo Alto High School teacher Jeanne Loh
was a fourth grader living in Huntington Beach,
Calif., then-16-year-old Oakland resident Eddy
Zheng was committing armed robbery and kid-
napping. Thirteen years after he was sentenced
to seven-years-to-life, the two met in San Quen-
tin State Prison where Loh was volunteering as a
teacher’s assistant.

                                                                     verde magazine 41
S
            o began what would be an eight-
            year friendship that would see the
            two share hundreds of letters and
            her volunteering as the transcriber
            and caretaker of Zheng’s online
blog. During this time, Zheng would emerge
as one of the Bay Area’s most celebrated re-
formed convicts. A poet, published author
and supporter of prisoners’ rights, Zheng
converted himself — in part with Loh’s help
— from a troubled teenage immigrant into a
dedicated and selfless contributor to society.
     The more Loh got to know Zheng, the
more she believed in the strength of this trans-
formation. “If you think about your own
suffering there’s always someone else who’s
suffered more than you,” Loh says. “He’s had
his lows, and they’re lower than anything I’ve
ever experienced before. It’s been a learning
experience for me to see how he survives all
these obstacles. Eddy is admirable because
I’ve been able to learn from him by watching
him deal with and transcend suffering.”
     In 2005, Zheng was granted parole.
Despite his lengthy prison term, he had not
achieved American citizenship. The Califor-
nia Immigration and Customs Enforcement
agency intended to deport him as soon as
his appeal for citizenship was overturned.
Instead of being released, Zheng was trans-
ferred to Yuba County Jail to await the final
result of his deportation hearings. Six weeks
ago, Zheng was finally released back into so-
ciety for the first time in 21 years. As of press
time in late March, he has been awaiting a
response from the Chinese embassy that will
determine whether he is allowed to stay in
the United States.
     Loh first met Zheng in 1999 after
graduating from University of California at
Berkeley. She had volunteered to tutor U.S.
History to inmates through an inmate-edu-                                                                 Photo courtesy of Jeanne Loh
cation program established by Oakland’s Pat-
                                                    Finally outside: Eddy Zheng and Jeanne Loh during a recent outing in Oak-
ten University. “I had three other friends who
                                                    land, Calif. after his release from Yuba County Jail.
joined in the same semester I did,” Loh says.
“We went once a week on Wednesdays for
about three hours. Professors from the area         in the program. “After the first session that I   ture. “I was really happy to see some Asian-
had volunteered to teach a class, and then          had gone to, I realized that the whole prison     Americans in there [San Quentin].”
TAs were supposed to help them with essays          system was a world that few of us know any-            “She was actually in one of my classes
and lead discussions ... The first day, Eddy        thing about,” Loh says. “It was a really eye-     as my tutor, so I saw her once a week during
was not in my class. But, the first evening he      opening experience for me to know that this       the semester,” Zheng says. “That’s where we
introduced himself at the end of the session.       was an institution that is completely self-suf-   started out talking about classroom-related
He said that if I had any problems with the         ficient, cut off from the world, that has its     issues and then talking about life.”
program or if I had any problems with the           own rules. ... It was something that I wanted          Loh’s first impression of Zheng was
inmates, I should let him know because he           to learn more about.”                             a positive one. She was impressed with his
wanted to make sure that everything went                 When Loh first came to visit San Quen-       involvement in the college program and his
O.K.”                                               tin, Zheng was simply glad to be able to          interest in literature. Zheng shared his poetry
     Loh attributes this first experience with      speak his mother tongue and connect with          with Loh and gave her a copy of his self-pub-
helping to inspire her to continue working          someone of a similar background and cul-          lished literary magazine Flying in Formation,
42 verde magazine
which he had produced using Pagemaker                                                                   Over the next few years, however, Zheng
publishing software along with printer and
photocopy machines in San Quentin. “He                        i miss...                            began a transformation that would turn him
                                                                                                   into a political figure, one supported by stu-
was really friendly and he felt a lot of owner-       a poem by Eddy Zheng                         dents, teachers, politicians and community
ship over the college program,” Loh says. “I                                                       leaders. In 1987, following his transfer to
could see that he had invested a lot of energy                                                     San Quentin from the CYA, Zheng real-
into it. For him, the program really opened                        i miss                          ized the necessity of adapting to the prison
his mind to the outside world. I could feel                       the dew                          environment. He took on several low-level
that it was a refresher for them to be able to               on blades of grass                    jobs before being transferred to Solano State
talk with people from the outside. When I                  as sunrise and sunset                   Prison. There, he was able to obtain his GED
had started corresponding with him through                                                         in 1991, the same year Loh was beginning
letters, he was giving me poems and I was
                                                                    fade                           high school, enabling him to pursue superior
editing the poems.”                                         from my existence                      job opportunities.
     Zheng did not always have an apprecia-                                                             “When I was in [San Quentin State]
tion for learning. Before immigrating to the                    my desire                          prison I started to learn how to survive being
U.S., he had enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle              to watch the pearl-like                  Chinese and speaking one language,” Zheng
in China, free from economic burden. He                                                            says. “I was there for a little bit. I was do-
moved to the U.S. when he was 12 and be-
                                                                  drops                            ing OK; I worked jobs doing laundry and
gan junior high. With no knowledge of the                       still burn                         I worked in the prison industry, building
English language or American culture, he                       as bright as                        furniture and things like that. Later on they
was trapped in an unfamiliar environment.                      the sunlight                        transferred me to Solano Prison and that’s
Moreover, Zheng experienced a drastic                         that does not                        when I started going to school and got my
change in lifestyle in which both his parents                                                      GED. Once I got my GED I was able to get
had to work long hours in low-paying jobs.
                                                                  touch                            a better job as a clerk. And then later on, be-
Zheng soon became mixed up in trouble.                           my cage                           cause of my good behavior, they transferred
Faced with financial insecurity, Zheng found                                                       me [back] to San Quentin prison in 1993.”
himself getting involved with the wrong                      solitude becomes                           Yet Zheng was not satisfied. He now
crowd. What began as a desire for material                        the light                        understood the value of education and there-
wealth became a motive for crime.                                                                  fore yearned to explore as many subjects as
     “I was very materialistic because I saw
                                                                 in my eyes                        possible. Zheng got his chance back in San
other people with money and nice clothes                                                           Quentin, where he participated in a number
while I was wearing hand-me-downs,” Zheng                            hope                          self-help programs, including Alternatives to
says. “I became driven by my desire for                             ignites                        Violence, Alcoholics Anonymous, Working
money. In ninth grade, I got kicked out of                                                         with Anger Seminar and Self Esteem En-
high school because of my truancy, and then                                                        hancement Group. Though Zheng did not
I went to continuation high school. Then I        policy of total honesty backfired and Zheng      suffer from any afflictions targeted by these
got kicked out of there too. Then the next        ended up with two felony counts. “At the         groups, his interest was in learning whenever
thing you know, I had gotten involved with        time, I didn’t speak English and my family       and wherever he could, while lending sup-
a couple guys down in Chinatown and com-          did not have the financial capability to hire    port to his fellow inmates.
mitted this crime — robbery.”                     a attorney for me, so I had to be represented         Zheng’s interests extended to the outside
     Zheng committed the crime with two           by a public defender,” Zheng says. “I didn’t     world as well. Through involvement in San
friends, Dennis Chan and David Weng. Ac-          understand how much time I actually had to       Quentin Utilization of Inmates Resources
cording to a San Francisco Weekly article pub-    do. Even after I was sentenced, I didn’t un-     Experience, an organization aimed at deter-
lished on June 5, 2002, Throwing Away the         derstand the consequences of my actions and      ring at-risk youth from crime, Zheng was
Key, the three boys abducted a couple and         the seriousness of my crime. I went to prison    able to help teenagers from nearby neighbor-
their young children and forced their way         thinking that I would get out after seven or     hoods by relaying his experiences to them.
into the couple’s home. The boys then tied        eight years.”                                    “We helped youth who came in from the
up the man and stripped the woman in an ef-            Zheng spent his first six months in the     community once or twice a month,” Zheng
fort to humiliate and intimidate her. Zheng’s     California Youth Authority before being          says. “I helped kids from ages 12 to 17. I
blog states that he “held the victims captive     transferred to San Quentin. Initially, Zheng     shared my experiences with them to help
for over six hours” and “strip[ped] naked the     showed little interest in change. As stated in   them not commit the same mistakes I did.”
female victim, but not at gunpoint,” but “did     “Throwing Away the Key,” several months               Spiritually, Zheng engaged in numerous
not intend or threaten to rape her.” Zheng        into his sentence with the CYA, Zheng was        services offered by the prison — something
and Chan attempted to go to the family’s          caught planning to commit another robbery        that impressed Loh, who maintained contact
store to steal more, but were stopped on their    after his release. Furthermore, his probation    with Zheng through over 200 letters while
way back by a police officer who arrested         officer noted that Zheng had not taken moral     he was incarcerated. “He had basically been
them.                                             responsibility for his crime. Zheng saw his      involved in every single social organization
     Before his trial, in a bid for leniency,     crime as wrong only because he had broken        that the prison offered,” she says. “He went
Zheng pleaded guilty to all his charges. This     the law.                                         to mass, even though he’s not Catholic, so
                                                                                                                           verde magazine 43
he has friends in the Catholic Church. He                                                           and two other inmates, Viet Mike Ngo and
went to the Christian services, he went to                                                          Rico Remeidio, attempted to start an ethnic
the Buddhist services. He had connections in                                                        studies program to encourage interracial un-
all of these organizations.” Zheng was even                                                         derstanding and challenge racism within the
the choir director for the prison’s Catholic                                                        prison. “We were learning U.S. history and
Church.                                                                                             we wanted to learn about our own histories
     In 1999, when Loh was working at the                                                           as well as other people’s cultures,” Zheng
Eastwind Book Store in Berkeley, Zheng ac-                                                          says. “After 9/11, in a racially charged en-
complished a rare feat when he earned his                                                           vironment, we wanted everyone to have an
associate’s degree through the San Quentin                                                          understanding of each other and eliminate
College Program. Even more impressive was                                                           racism and racial profiling.”
his mastery of the English language through                                                               Viewed as subversive, the three were
years of practice. Determined to learn the                                                          put in to solitary confinement for violation
language, Zheng attended a Toast Masters,                                                           of prison policy. Even with the isolating and
a public speaking class, and a weekly class                                                         trying effects of his punishment, Zheng took
where he listened to Hooked on Phonics                                                              advantage of his time in solitary confine-
tapes.                                                                                              ment. He saw it as a time of additional learn-
     Through all these experiences, Zheng                                                           ing and personal growth.
learned to appreciate the importance of                                                                   “He felt like he had grown the most in
                                                                 Photo courtesy of Eddy Zheng
knowledge and education and was even more                                                           solitary confinement,” Loh says. “He started
motivated to help others. “I learned that the     Before it all began: A young Eddy                 practicing yoga, he started meditating, he
education I had gained was providing me           Zheng.                                            started reading, but he was hardly ever physi-
with a lot of avenues which I could express                                                         cally let out of that small room. [When he was
myself,” Zheng says. “I could also help other                                                       let out] They would take him to this open air
people. I became more critical of my envi-                                                          space where he was surrounded by four walls
ronment and of the system. My self-esteem                                                           but the ceiling was open. I think they let him
was high and I was able to take leadership                                                          walk around that space three times a week,
roles in programs.”                                                                                 and I think he was able to take a shower once
     Zheng first applied for parole in 1992,                                                        every two or three days. It seemed really, re-
when Loh was a sophomore in high school,                                                            ally inhumane.”
and although he was rejected, he made a                                                                   Following his stint in solitary confine-
claim every subsequent year. Zheng’s dedi-                                                          ment, Zheng was transferred to Solano State
cation to helping at-risk youth has garnered                                                        Prison to continue his prison term. In 2004,
him a great deal of support. Anmol Chaddha,                                                         after being transferred back to San Quentin,
who spearheaded Zheng’s cause and created                                                           Zheng received good news — he had been
his Web site, says that Zheng has amassed a                                                         granted parole. However, he faced another
substantial following. “For the last four years                  Photo courtesy of Jeanne Loh       obstacle. “On March 10, 2005, I did my
... we have galvanized support from commu-        Enjoying freedom: Zheng and Rico                  19th year in prison and then I was released,”
nity leaders and political leaders who have       Remeidio, a friend he met in prison, at           Zheng says.
supported his release,” Chaddha says.             the Chinese New Years Parade in San                     “But, because I committed a crime and
     Some of these supporters include Jerry       Francisco in February.                            I wasn’t a citizen, the department of Home-
Enomoto, former director of the California                                                          land Security of Immigrations and Customs
Department of Corrections; activist Yuri                                                            took me under their custody and wanted to
Kochiyama; California Senate President pro        ample of criminal rehabilitation that should      deport me back to China.”
Tem Don Perata; Gloria Romero, Califor-           not go unnoticed ... Mr. Zheng is the ideal             After being freed from San Quentin in
nia Senate majority leader; as well as assem-     example of a young man who has turned his         2005, California’s Immigration & Customs
blymembers Mark Leno, Wilma Chan and              life around and is worthy of parole.” Zheng’s     Enforcement brought Zheng to Yuba Coun-
Leland Yee. Zheng also has the support of         support even extends to the prosecutor who        ty Jail, where he served two more years. Due
the Asian American Bar Association and the        tried Zheng at age 16 and the presiding judge     to his noncitizen status and felony, ICE held
California Council of Churches.                   of his original case; both wrote letters to the   him while preparing to deport him back to
     In a letter to the Board of Prison Terms     prison board in support of his parole.            China. Zheng had actually married a U.S.
written on Sept. 26, 2003, Perata vouched               Despite an annual increase in support       citizen in July of 2005, but was not able to
for Zheng’s parole. “[Zheng’s] commitment         for Zheng’s parole, he was repeatedly denied.     become a citizen himself because of his status
to counseling at-risk youth by teaching them      In 1998, the year Loh graduated from U.C.         as a convict.
alternatives to violence, should not only be      Berkeley, Gov. Pete Wilson’s office granted             In addition, a law passed in 1996 makes
commended but awarded with the acknowl-           Zheng parole. In spite of this, when Gov.         obligatory the deportation of noncitizen
edgement of his ability to live a produc-         Gray Davis took office with a strict parole       parolees who have committed aggravated
tive and positive lifestyle,” Perata says. “Mr.   policy, Zheng’s parole was overturned.            felonies. While his discharge in early 2007
Zheng’s accomplishments serve as an ex-                 Zheng faced further difficulty when he      was a success for Zheng and his family, this
44 verde magazine
obstacle will be one of the most difficult to       an opportunity to see the human side of me.       I can trust her with what I’m writing; she’s
overcome.                                           That’s why I decided to write a blog: so I can    nonjudgmental. I think one of the challenges
      In 1986, at the time of his incarceration,    raise awareness among the community and           is reading my chicken scratch handwriting.
he was not officially a citizen of the U.S. In      try and educate people.”                          She’s been doing it and she’s just amazing.
addition, his attorney at the proceedings                Zheng’s modes of communication in            She’s very compassionate in helping me for
failed to ask the judge to ensure that immi-        prison were limited. The only way he could        so many years.”
gration authorities would not deport                                                                                Loh says her involvement in
Zheng if he was released from jail.                                                                            writing the blog is simple. “I just
Now that he has been released, the                                                                             transcribe and enter it [the post]; my
government wants to deport him.                                                                                job was just to keep it as current as
      “He still faces deportation to          “I was not well aware of what                                    possible,” she says.
China even though he has served his
time and has proven that he is reha-
                                               was going on out in the free                                         Loh and Zheng have developed a
                                                                                                               strong friendship. Since meeting, the
bilitated,” Chaddha says.
      “So his case is very much up in
                                                world ... I wanted to be a                                     two have bonded over their common
                                                                                                               interests in politics and literature as
the air as he continues to appeal his           part of the free world. By                                     well as their consistent letter writing.
deportation order. We are all hoping                                                                           “My relationship with him has always
things work out and that he will be            writing, I am able to express                                   been very one-on-one, very personal
able to stay in the U.S. and continue                                                                          and it’s been consistently through a
to make a positive contribution to             my thoughts and give other                                      lot of writing,” Loh says.
society.”
      This issue has recently been fea-
                                              people an opportunity to see                                          They also share a mutual admi-
                                                                                                               ration for each other. Loh admires
tured on Zheng’s blog. The idea for
the blog first came around as mode of
                                              the human side of me. That’s                                     Zheng for his determination and
                                                                                                               transformation in prison.
communication for Zheng to reach                 why I decided to write a                                           “He’s a really phenomenal per-
those who championed his cause out-                                                                            son, thinking about everything he’s
side of prison.                               blog: so I can raise awareness                                   been through and having been in-
      “He wanted to be able to inform                                                                          carcerated for so long, he has a really
his supporters what was happening in           among the community and                                         positive attitude about his own life,”
his case,” Loh says. Because of their
close relationship, Zheng asked Loh
                                                 try and educate people.”                                      she says.
                                                                                                                    Zheng equally admires Loh for
to blog for him.                                                                                               her persistence in teaching. “I just
      Loh began to transcribe and
                                                                              —
                                                                              ­ ­Eddy­Zheng                    think that she’s an amazing teacher
publish Zheng’s handwritten diary                                                                              because a lot of times it’s very chal-
entries, which he mailed to her as of-                                                                         lenging being a teacher for high
ten as two to three times a week. His                                                                          school students and sometimes teach-
only form of communication to the majority          communicate with Loh was by ground mail;          ers want to give up,” Zheng says. “Ms. Loh
of his supporters and the outside world were        Internet access is not available to the inmates   sticks with it because she really believes in
these online blog entries, which are still avail-   at San Quentin. “I would be corresponding         education. She is able to have this cultural
able at http://eddyzheng.blogspot.com.              through letters,” Zheng says. “I would save       awareness that she’s able to reach out to [kids
      They detailed aspects of his everyday life,   my blogs for two days and then I’d send her       of ] different racial backgrounds. She’s able to
thoughts on the world and autobiographical          mail two or three times a week ... When she       relate with people more. She’s very progres-
poetry and literature. Through Loh, Zheng           had time she would enter them for me, as          sive in the sense that she doesn’t just teach
was able to communicate to society that he          soon as she could get to it.”                     a banking education. She wants students to
had undergone a powerful mental and spiri-                In his Web logs, Zheng would comment        think critically about what they’re reading, to
tual transformation and was a reformed hu-          on a variety of subjects relevant to the prison   analyze.”
man being.                                          system. “What I found most interesting was              Ultimately, Loh and Zheng have gained
      Zheng also wanted the blog to give the        when he would talk about the condition of         invaluable things from each other: friendship
outside world a look at the life of a prison        the detention facilities,” Loh says. “He had      and inspiration. “He’s given me a new per-
inmate. “A friend encouraged me to write it         difficulty procuring an appointment with a        spective in how to deal with obstacles,” Loh
because she thought I had something to share        doctor when he was ill. Medical care in the       says. “I think for everyone he encounters he’s
with the community ... about my experience          prison and detention systems is lacking.”         been a hero.”
in prison and about prison life [in general],             Loh acted as an interpreter, editor and           Zheng holds similar regard for Loh. “I’m
how we go day by day,” Zheng says.                  advisor for Zheng’s blog during the time he       just grateful to have a friend like that, that I
      “At the time, I was not well aware of         spent in prison; Zheng relied on her to bring     can always count on,” he says.
what was going on out in the free world. I          news of his life to the public.                         “Sometimes people don’t have that many
wanted to bridge that gap. I wanted to be a               “Whenever she [Loh] says she’s going to     friends in their life that they can count on no
part of the free world. By writing, I am able       do something, she’s going to do it, so I trust    matter what. Ms. Loh is a person that I can
to express my thoughts and give other people        her,” Zheng says. “Also, on a friendship level,   trust with my life.” v
                                                                                                                               verde magazine 45
                    [ culture ]




    Paly boys kick their way to
By MARY MINNO • Photos by KAELA FOX
It’s 5 A.M. the sun’s stIll Asleep And pAlo Alto   mad. Between 5:45, when practice should
                                                   end and six, when practice actually ends For-
High School junior Michael Fortune should          tune realizes how much homework he has,
                                                   but he thinks he deserves a quick break. At
be too. He would be, except he’s on the            eight, after a shower, dinner and maybe a little

Paly swim team. By six, he is at Paly, run-        more than a quick break, he starts his home-
                                                   work. At 10 it’s time for lights out, because he
ning and doing cardio, which is all part of        knows he has to be prepared for more swim
                                                   practice tomorrow.
the team’s “dryland workout.” After the                 These long days seem to have payed off
                                                   for the Paly boys swim team. According to
hour of swimming that follows his dryland          Fortune, who swims freestyle on the varsity

workout, Fortune is ready to enjoy his first       team they “don’t lose.” With a 4-0 record,
                                                   defeating Gunn, Sacred Heart, Menlo and
period prep. At three, Fortune ponders             Menlo-Atherton, everyone is dedicated to
                                                   making this season a success.
whether getting food is worth being late to             Junior Geng Wang attributed this early
                                                   season success to exceptional swimmers such
practice or not; he must be in the pool by         as Fortune, and sophomores Tim Wenzlau

3:30 or he knows his swim coach will be            and Mark Higgins, Paly has yet to met a
                                                   worthy adversary.
46 verde magazine
victory
     Wang says he expects Higgins, Fortune       all the teams I have ever coached, this team      he can see a direct correlation between the
and Wenzlau to place in the top three in         this year is one of the best teams I have ever    number of morning practices he attends and
CCS. According to Fortune, Paly normally         been associated with,” Dye says. “There are       his time. “Even though I hate waking up
takes gold in the freestyle and backstroke       no cliques, everyone works very hard and          while it is still dark outside, I feel compelled
events. “Higgins and I basically take care of    they have fun. They’re one of the hardest         to attend every practice,” Fortune says.
freestyle and Tim Wenzlau’s got backstroke,”     working teams I have ever worked with.”                Wenzlau feels they will be swimming
Fortune says.                                          Swimmers agree with him. “I love our        hard throughout the whole season in
     Fortune says that team coach Danny Dye      team spirit,” Wang says. “There are sometimes     preparation for CCS. “We expect to go in
can be thanked for this incredible dedication.   I don’t want to swim, but I’m always glad I       there and challenge Bellermine College Prep
As sophmore member Tim Wenzlau says,             do it.”                                           (which has not lost in 28 years) for their title,”
“He is the backbone of our team.” A former             Wenzlau thinks that his assistant coaches   Wenzlau says, “We graduated some crucial
coach at Los Altos High School, Dye has tried    Kalani Leifer and Connor McColl are huge          swimmers last year, but many people have
to come in and improve the team without          assets to the Palo Alto swim program.             improved and stepped up to the challenge
taking away the spirit they have.                      “McColl is one of the best stroke and       such as Neal Ketchum and Scott Mielke and
     Fortune describes his coach as always       technique coaches I have had the opportunity      Bobby Abbot.”
being seen on the deck sporting his mirror       to work with,” Wenzlau says. Wenzlau is a              As for beating Bellermine, Dye feels it
Oakley’s as he monitors the swimmers efforts.    backstroke swimmer who normally swims             will be a challenge, though not impossible.
“The Oakley’s really screw me up, because I      the 100-back with a best time of 53 seconds.      Dye says, “It is a very talented boys swim
never know if he’s mad or not. You can never     He expects further time drops as the season       team. They swim fast, race hard, and are
see his emotion,” Fortune says.                  progresses thanks to McColl.                      determined. They’re going to get in there and
     Dye enjoys coaching the team. “Out of             As for morning practices, Fortune says      make a strong showing.” v
                                                                                                                            verde magazine 47
             [ health ]

     The




                                                               rs
                                                           the
                    ct                                      so
         eff




                                                        fo

                       of                               i ve
            e




                            blood                      l
                                    donations on the

48 verde magazine
                                                                                                                            Donor Gifts:
                                                                                                                            The wide variety
                                                                                                                            of stickers offered
                                                                                                                            by the Stanford
                                                                                                                            Blood Center after
                                                                                                                            donating blood.




                                           By CHELSEA WILLIAMS • Photos by KAELA FOX




S
       enior Erica Gage calmly wanders into the small gym,                  ease Control (CDC) Web site. Approximately 50 percent of the cur-
       determined to donate blood in the biannual Paly blood drive.         rent blood donors at the Stanford Blood Center are CMV positive,
       The crisp cleanliness of a hospital meets her eye as she checks in   according to Michael Sage, the center’s recruitment manager.
with the attendant. She then lays down, placid and fearless, awaiting            Unfortunately, the mild and often undetectable, flu-like symp-
the inevitable pin-prick of the needle.                                     toms of the disease severely affect people with weak immune systems
     For the past two years Gage has been donating her blood to the         including some HIV/AIDS patients, cancer patients, premature ba-
Stanford Blood Center at the Paly drives. Last fall she and approxi-        bies and transplant patients, according to Michelle Scroggins, Stan-
mately 60 other Paly students gave blood, according to senior Alex Ji,      ford Blood Center Resident Nurse.
the organizer. Unlike many of the other blood donors, however, Gage              When average people are exposed to CMV, they develop anti-
is Cytomegalovirus (CMV) negative, meaning she can donate to a              bodies to the virus. As a result, when the blood containing these
much needier group who have much more specific demands.                     antibodies is transferred to a weakened immune system patient, there
     “When I found out there was something special about my blood,          can be severe negative affects, according to Scroggins. Thus, CMV-
when I realized the value of it I did feel more obligated to give blood,”   negative donors provide CMV antibody-free blood that can be given
Gage says. “It may not seem like a big deal for me, but it is a need        to these very sick patients.
[for the blood center] and a necessity for those people with weak im-            “Generally it means that CMV-negative patients have ‘cleaner’
mune systems, and it really isn’t a problem for me.”                        blood,” Scroggins says.
     CMV infects between 50 and 80 percent of all adults in the                  Sage adds that the blood is crucial to the blood center. “CMV-
United States and “is a member of the herpesvirus family, which in-         negative blood is important because the hospitals we serve, like Stan-
cludes the herpes simplex viruses and the viruses that cause chicken        ford, use it extensively with its suppressed immune system patients,”
pox and infectious mononucleosis,” according to the Center for Dis-         Sage says.
                                                                                                                            verde magazine 49
                                                             Left:
                                                             A small portion of
                                                             the blood being
                                                             withdrawn from a
                                                             donor contained in
                                                             labeled vials.

                                                             Right:
                                                             The lounge chair
                                                             offered by the
                                                             blood center for the
                                                             blood donors.




      These distinct differences in immune system capability also call     to help premature babies, cancer patients and others.”
for special blood needs, according to Scroggins. “Chemotherapy de-              Normally blood is taken as “whole blood” which contains all
stroys platelets and premature babies are not always old enough to         the elements of the blood. This “whole blood” is pumped out with a
produce them,” Scroggins says. As a result, CMV-negative donors are        normal needle and “gravity alone” according to Scroggins. Then each
specifically recruited over normal donors for platelet dona-                    portion of the blood, that is used for a variety of needs, is sent to
tion. The process differs from the normal proce-                                          a lab that separates it into red blood cells, white blood
dure by the time and machinery.                                                                 cells and plasma, according to Scroggins.
      Initially all donors, despite disparity                                                             “Red blood cells are used for patients
in procedure, receive a detailed health                                                                 losing lots of blood, like those in car acci-




                                         “
history test to determine the risks                                                                        dents, or surgery, while plasma is most-

                                            Giving blood is the one
associated with various CDC-                                                                                  ly used for blood clotting purposes
dubbed malaria zones and to                                                                                      and oozing burns,” Scroggins says.


                                          thing that anyone can
judge the possible exposure to                                                                                    “White blood cells, leukocytes, are
Mad Cow Disease in Europe                                                                                          removed as they attack the cells of
or the United Kingdom,                                                                                              the recipient.”


                                          do ... the bottom line is,
according to Scroggins.                                                                                                   When donating platelets,
Next, the donors are tested                                                                                           a procedure 90 percent domi-
for iron deficiency with a                                                                                            nated by CMV negative do-
prick of blood, according
                                          people need blood and it                                                    nors, a process called Apheresis




                                                                      ”
to Gage. Finally, the donors                                                                                         is employed, according to Sage.


                                          saves lives.
are provided with a private                                                                                          “Apheresis means ‘to filter,’”
booth so they can confiden-                                                                                         Scoggins says.
tially confirm the safety of                                                                                            For Apheresis, the donor is
their blood according to Gage.                                                                                   connected to an Automated Blood
      The extensive health precau-                   — Michelle Scroggins,                                     Collection (ABC) machine, which
tions caused approximately one-                               Stanford Blood Center                         filters the blood on the spot.
third of the volunteers at the Paly
blood drive to be ineligible, according
                                                              Resident Nurse                                   “The machine takes in the whole
                                                                                                      blood and spins it quickly to separate the
to Ji. The standards also led 19 percent of                                                      plasma,” Scoggins says. The red blood cells are
the Stanford Blood Center’s donors to be turned                                             then returned to the donor through the same arm,
away. However Scroggins comments that the guidelines                                according to the Red Cross Web site.
are based on safety.                                                                 Every two seconds someone in America needs a blood trans-
      “Our goal is to provide maximum safety to the donor and the          fusion, according to the American Red Cross Foundation. “Giving
recipient,” Scroggins says.                                                blood is the one thing that anyone can do regardless of race, socio-
      CMV-negative donors are even more extensively screened.              economic status, religion or anything,” Scoggins says. “Until artificial
“Right now we are only recruiting platelet donors who are CMV-             blood is created there is nothing you can replace it with. Saline can
negative,” Scroggins says. “We send them a letter explaining the sig-      replace the volume but the bottom line is, people need blood and it
nificance of donating their blood, like how it will specifically be used   saves lives.” v
50 verde magazine
Suffering From:                                            • Grief
                                                          • Anger
                                                          • Stress
                                                        • Anxiety
                                                    • Depression
                                                  • PTSD Trauma
                                                  • Bereavement
                                             • Bipolar Disorders
                                        • Relationship Problems
                                     • Shyness & Social Anxiety
                        • Schizophrenia and Psychotic Disorders
                       • Parenting Problems/Teenage Problems
                • Children w/ Emotional & Behavioral Problems
The Kurt and Barbara Gronowski Psychology Clinic
is a community-based psychology training clinic and treatment center dedi-
cated to providing high quality, evidence-based, clinical services to adults,
children, and families in our community. In addition, our mental health clinic
offers a sliding scale fee and provides pro bono services for a number of cli-
ents as a part of our community mission.

                        The Kurt and Barbara Gronowski Psychology Clinic
                                   5150 El Camino Real, Suite 22, Bldg C
                                              Los Altos, California 94022
                                                       tel 650 961-9300
                                                       fax 650 961-9310
               [ entertainment ]




  Anything Goes!                               By KEELY FLANAGAN • Photos by KAELA FOX



I                                                      My experience as
     am not a dancer. Nor am I a singer.                                                               home, and found myself floundering to copy
     I am an actress. Knowing this, I was                                                              all the questions on a piece of binder paper
     probably insane to decide to tryout for a          a member of the                                right as my name was called to take my turn
musical, seeing as how singing and dancing             chorus in the Paly                              in the theatre. So rather than entering the
are the two primary components of one. In                                                              audition room confident and poised, I made
fact, Dictionary.com defines a musical as “a
                                                        musical and how                                a more disheveled and awkward appearance.
play or motion picture in which the story              my musical theatre                              Despite this interesting entrance, the rest of
line is interspersed with or developed by                 dreams were                                  the audition went without a hitch. I sang my
songs and dances.”                                                                                     16 bars decently and didn’t get nervous when
      I should have seen the signs when                     fullfilled                                 Michael Najar, the Paly choir teacher, asked
Director Kristen Lo told us at the audition          most stressful experiences of my life. First, I   me to match piano pitches vocally. Overall,
meeting that she was more forgiving to               had to pick 16 bars of a song written before      the first part of the auditions were a success,
people who could sing and dance rather than          1960. Originally, I was going to sing a song      but I still knew that I would have to dance
to those who could act. I plead insanity. Or         from “Les Miserables” but this pre-1960           in tryouts the next day, and that could only
stupidity. Or both.                                  guideline put a dent in that idea. To make        mean disaster.
      In my own defense, however, musical            up for this setback, I went to my favorite              The dance component of the tryout
theatre is a huge part of my life. At age seven, I   Web site of all time: http://musicnotes.com,      process was a completely different than the
dressed up like Eliza Doolittle from “My Fair        where you can buy and download sheet              singing. The choreographer taught everyone
Lady” for Halloween. Not to mention that I           music. I decided upon a song from “My Fair        auditioning a “simple” tap dance routine.
always do my homework with some sort of              Lady,” which I felt highlighted my soprano        Maybe it’s simple for somebody with a decade
cast recording from a musical playing in the         range.                                            of tap training, but my dance experience ends
background. Participating in the Paly show                Singing was going to be the strongest        with ballet at age four. After I succeeded in
Anything Goes became a prime opportunity             area of my audition. I started taking voice       remaining discreet in this particular dance,
for me to connect to musical theatre rather          lessons about a year ago, and although I          we were separated into two groups and each
than merely remain an avid fan. Still, in order      don’t consider myself a singer, I am not          taught different choreography. The girls
to make my dream of Broadway stardom a               incompetent. My audition slot was scheduled       were expected to do some sort of “I’m a sexy
reality, I first had to audition and actually get    for 5:30, which left me ample time to do the      vamp” dance, which I failed miserably at, as
cast in the show.                                    usual vocal warm-ups in the girls’ bathroom.      expected. What can you expect? When you’re
      The audition turned out to be one of the       To my dismay, I had left my audition form at      constantly staring at your feet, you tend to
52 verde magazine
This script is the single most pointless, racist, confusing, ridiculous
yet simply brilliant piece of musical theatre that I have ever read.
forget to look sexy.                                                                                            broad smile.
      To my surprise, when the                                                                                        Clearly, being in Anything
cast list went up, my name was on                                                                               Goes was a lot of work. What I
it. Perhaps the director ignored                                                                                eventually came to learn is that
my poor dance audition.                                                                                         with hard work comes fun as
      The first all-cast meeting was                                                                            well. The best part of being in
scheduled for the Friday before                                                                                 any show is the backstage antics
winter break. The first rehearsal                                                                               and stories that go on behind the
of any show usually involves a                                                                                  curtain.
complete read-through of the                                                                                          For example, one anecdote
script. What I found out in this                                                                                involved my good friend Andy
first encounter with the script was                                                                             and a Cosmo Girl magazine. The
that Anything Goes is the single                                                                                two weekends before opening
most pointless, racist, confusing, ridiculous,      The cast: (above) senior Max                    night we had 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.. To
yet absolutely brilliant piece of musical           Rattner and sophomore Nadav                     pass the time, I bought a Cosmo to go through
theater I have ever read.                                                                           with him, which I hoped would take hours.
                                                  Shiffman as the Chinese converts.
      My musical theater experience began                                                           We both went outside in the sweltering hot
once rehearsals started. Let me first note         (below) Me attempting to tap my                  sun on the quad and systematically analyzed
how much time this show required. Picture            way through “Anything Goes”                    every word, only to find a pull-out poster of
an anteater that instead of swallowing ants                                                         Brody Jenner. For those who don’t know, he
with its oblong nose, swallows time. I realize                                                      can be seen on the MTV series “The Hills.”
this is a poor analogy, but nothing sums up                                                         His picture can now be seen on the wall in
my complete loss of time more than a giant                                                          the green room, which is theatre lingo for the
time-swallowing anteater. My life became an                                                         dressing room.
endless routine of going to rehearsal every day                                                           Unfortunately, not all the behind-the-
after school and Mondays at lunch. Two days                                                         scenes action was this interesting. In fact,
a week in the choir room after school with                                                          most time was spent frantically finishing
Najar, two days dancing and the remainder                                                           my SAT prep homework and studying for
blocking the show with Lo. Rehearsal went                                                           the latest AP US History exam. I was more
until about five in the beginning. By the end,                                                      proactive about school while in the show
I rarely got home before nine.                                                                      due to my lack of free time. The constant
      Despite the work involved, some of my                                                         adrenaline keyed me into working harder
fondest memories occured during singing                                                             than I ever have before.
rehearsals. I remember doing warm-ups and                                                                 The trick was convincing my parents
having Najar say how much he loves theatre                                                          my priority was still school. Being in theatre
people because they have no shame and are                                                           has never been a battle with my parents until
never embarrassed. Every day Najar would                                                            this show. To be fair, it wasn’t the best idea to
tell all the girls in the show to “open the                                                         dedicate my life to a play the second semester
jaws” so as to prevent us from sounding like                                                        of my junior year. I’ve already decided that I
high school girls. I couldn’t help thinking,                                                        will not participate in the fall play next year
“Well, we are high school girls.” But he had                                                        because of college applications.
his reasons; opening your jaw while singing                                                               Now that the play is over, it is definitely
makes your voice sound rounder and richer.                                                          bitter-sweet. I will get my life back and will
When the girls finally mastered the “open-                                                          finally be able to go out with friends and
jaw” technique, the harmonies were better         since I have absolutely no tap dance, let alone   get over six hours of sleep. But a part of me
able to shine through.                            any dance, experience. Needless to say, I was     that will miss the cast bonding behind the
      Dance rehearsals, on the other hand,        put in the back of all the action. So, at least   scenes and the long hours. I learned so much
were much more of a challenge. When               I wasn’t going to be seen. Wrong again. After     by fulfilling my musical theater dreams,
learning the choreography for the title           the set was built, I realized that we would be    even just being in the chorus. I invested all
number “Anything Goes,” I discovered to           standing on steps which were elevated above       my time and energy into making Anything
my dismay I was not just going to stand           the actual stage. My plan of hiding behind        Goes as memorable as possible, and made
in the back watching the actual dancers do        more able dancers was foiled. Luckily most        many lasting friendships. My dancing has
their thing as I did in middle school. I was      rehearsals were spent on dance, so even dance     improved, and I have mastered the time step.
going to have to learn how to do a time-step,     virgins like myself were able to learn the        I can now be referred to as an actress who can
a fundamental tap step. This was a problem        choreography and perform the steps with a         also sing and dance. v
                                                                                                                              verde magazine 53
                                                                             The Coup do the best: revolu-       are original and focus more on
                                                                             tion. Even if you aren’t a big      electronic sounds and plenty of
                                                                             rap fan, you might enjoy this al-   bass as opposed to the stark min-
                                                                             bum because the beats are good      imalist old school drum beats.
                                                                             enough to listen to alone. If you   They are critical of just about
                                                                             do like rap, then this album is a   everyone in power and are es-
                                                                             must.                               pecially critical of “mainstream”
                                                                                                                 rap that’s on the radio.




5
                                                                                                                       The best song on the album
                                                                                              Revolutionairy     is called “Hip-Hop” which has
                                                                                              Vol. 1             an excellent beat and catchy lyr-
                                                                                              Immortal Technique ics. It talks about oppression and

                      Intelligent
                                                                                                                 their hate for the radio. “Propa-
                                                                                                                 ganda” is also a highlight from
                                                                                   Immortal           Technique

                      Hip-Hop
                                                                                                                 the album about exactly what
                                                                             does not exaggerate when he
                                                                                                                 the title suggests. They point
                                                                             talks about his difficult life. He
                                                                                                                 out the multiple problems in
                                                                             was born in Peru during a period

                      Albums
                                                                                                                 the media and rap about Huey
                                                                             of political unrest and violence.
                                                                                                                 P. Newton and the Black Pan-
                                                                             When He and his mother fled
                                                                                                                 thers. Dead Prez features some
                                                                             to America, he took up a life of
                                                                                                                 of the most passionate and ear-
   The best rap you won’t hear on the radio                                  crime until he went to jail, where
                                                                                                                 nest MCs I have heard, and their
                                                                             he started writing lyrics. You
                                                                                                                 lyrics will definitely get stuck in
 Text by AIDAN SUNDSTROM • Photos by AIDAN SUNDSTROM                         might not be able to listen to this
                                                                                                                 your head.
                                                                             whole album all the way through
                Mos Def & Talib                      Party Music             because it is so intense.
                Kweli Are Black-                     The Coup                                                                     Done By The
                                                                                   Almost every line has insane
                star                                                         rhymes and clever metaphors.                         Forces of Nature
                Blackstar                                                    Immortal Technique is especially                     Jungle Brothers
                                                                             talented at telling stories through
     Blackstar is made up                   In contrast to the stark         his songs. For example, the song
of rappers Mos Def and Talib          and raw beats of Blackstar, The        “Dance With The Devil” is a tale          If you like old school,
Kweli. Their name comes from          Coup’s beats are incredibly            of a young man who grows up         you are sure to like this. “Done
activist Marcus Garvey’s vision       unique and funky and often bor-        in the projects and becomes in- By the Forces of Nature” was
for shipping African-Americans        row sound clips from the famous        creasingly corrupt through drug made in 1989, just as rap was
back to Africa. Although the          70s funk band “Parliament.” The        dealing and gangs. Immortal starting to get recognition from
beats on the album are raw and        Coup are from Oakland, and             Technique also presents relative- artists and groups like Run
simple, the lyrics are incredibly     their lyrics usually are about ei-     ly complex and intelligent politi- DMC, Grandmaster Flash and
thoughtful.                           ther being forced to sell crack for    cal ideas about communism and Public Enemy. Their songs sound
     The album highlights are         a living or the communist revo-        advocates uprisings from Latino cheerful and upbeat, but a few
the songs “Definition,” which is      lution, a subject not often dis-       and African Americans in his talk about more serious issues.
a song honoring dead MCs like         cussed in mainstream rap. Their        raps. Another song, “No Me Im-            “Acknowledge Your Own
Biggy and Tupac, and “Brown           lyrics are clever, not exceptional,    porta,” rhymes Spanish and Eng-     History” is one of these songs;
Skin Lady,” a laid back ode to        but they make up for it with           lish words while talking about the Jungle Brother’s urge young
smart, independent black wom-         conviction and lyrical flow.           women who don’t respect them- African Americans to have pride,
en. This song is one of the few             Some highlights are “5 Mil-      selves. Though Immortal Tech- learn more about African his-
feminist rap songs out there and      lion Ways to Kill a CEO,” which        nique seems a little intimidating tory, and to disregard biased
encourages the opposite of what       is a catchy anti-capitalistic track,   at first, this is a great album.    teachings. Another of my favor-
sexist “radio rap” songs advocate.    and “Ghetto Manifesto,” which                                              ite songs on the album is called
Another song on the album,            is a song about poverty and des-                                           “Feelin’ Alright.” After listening
“Respiration,” is about the des-      peration. Arguably the best track                        Get Free          to it, you really do feel alright; its
perate acts impoverished people       on the album is a collaboration                          Dead Prez         fun and amusing lyrics have you
take just to survive; it also dis-    with Dead Prez called “Get Up.”                                            feeling cheerful no matter what.
cusses faith, poverty and corrup-     The beat is reminiscent of the                                             One of the more famous tracks
tion. The lyrics from every song      trunk rattling sounds of The                                               on the album is called “Doin’
on this album are intellectual, in-   Hyphy Movment (which is not                  Dead Prez is a two-man Our Own Dang;” it’s about ex-
teresting and beautifully poetic.     unexpected since they are from         group made up of members Stic- pressing yourself and being origi-
This CD clearly establishes Talib     Oakland, the birthplace of Hy-         Man and M-1. Their music can nal. With this album The Jungle
and Mos as two of the top MCs         phy.) “Get Up” is an energetic         best be described as passionate, Brothers remain extremely influ-
of all time.                          track about what Dead Prez and         angry and political; their beats ential in hip-hop today. v
54 verde magazine
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                                                          [ bay area ]




 Feverish for Spanish
     Led by a passionate Spanish teacher, the Web site Español
     Para Niños gets students excited about learning Spanish
                                                     By JENNY JI • Photo by JENNY JI


S
       tudents gather eagerly around the          the prospects of an online Spanish program.       easier games to help start communicating
       dining room table, ready for the discus-   “I thought [ESPANI] was a brilliant idea,”        ideas. “The more advanced group includes
       sion to begin. At this weekly meeting,     Caraccia says. “I talked about the idea with      kids who have a special interest in reading and
they speak in Spanish and brainstorm ideas        my students and friends. Amongst these were       writing, and enjoy writing tales, short stories
for articles for an online journalism program.    Laura and Daniel, the graphic designers who       and book reviews in a language they’ve been
For many, this is a place to openly voice ideas   made this project a reality and gave it its own   learning for a while and that they’re starting
and contribute to something they are truly        identity.” Thus, they created ESPANI.             to feel more familiar with,” Caraccia says.
passionate about. This is a weekly meeting              ESPANI has numerous student-pro-                  The program has flexible time commit-
for ESPANI (Español Para Niños), a Web            duced articles written in Spanish in five         ments, and students and faculty meet weekly
site for students to share news and articles      different categories. The categories include      to discuss the Web site and brainstorm ideas
written in Spanish.                               stories, recommendations, news, entertain-        to bring vitality to it. “ESPANI is very flex-
     ESPANI is the vision of Gabriela Car-        ment and miscellaneous articles. The mis-         ible; I get a couple of weeks to finish assign-
accia, a Spanish teacher to both adults and       cellaneous section includes travel ideas and      ments,” Whitney says. “I’ve been involved in
children for over 15 years. She envisioned a      practical advice. “Simply put, the goal of this   writing a couple stories and editing some of
Spanish program outside the classroom that        site is to be a space for kids to express their   the kids’ stories.”
would reach out to students of all ages in an     ideas through writing,” Caraccia says. “This            ESPANI is open to anyone interested
innovative manner.                                is a way to improve their vocabulary, learn       in reading and sharing articles of interest in
     “During all my years as a teacher, I have    the language’s expressions and idioms and         Spanish. A year after its creation, it is grow-
recorded all the comments and opinions of         communicate with other kids who have the          ing robustly. Though the Web site already has
the parents and the students about how to         same interests.”                                  a myriad of stories, Caraccia and team still
maintain interest in this second language out-          Paly senior Natasha Whitney, a contrib-     hope to challenge themselves by expanding
side of class time,” Caraccia says. “I wanted a   uting writer to ESPANI for over a year, en-       it. “The objective is to keep developing both
space for the kids to show their own stories,     joys the program because of the exposure to       fluency in the language and teamwork,” Car-
share their news and articles of interest, and    Spanish outside of the classroom. “ESPANI         accia says. “It is to find new goals and chal-
receive comments and opinions.”                   sounded like a good opportunity to practice       lenges in order to continue learning and add
     Caraccia spoke with her husband about        my Spanish outside of school and read Span-       new sections to this site.
the possibility of a Spanish program outside      ish literature,” Whitney says.                          “We hope that this site will have a lot of
of class and he suggested an online journal-            There are many different kids who par-      supporters, and that more and more people
ism Web site. Caraccia went to work quickly       ticipate in the program with diverse interests    get excited about being part of this long road
and spoke to her friends and students about       and ages. For beginners, activities include       called ESPANI.” v
56 verde magazine
                                                 [ bay area ]




Life in a co-op: (Above) a
bright stalk of rhubarb grows



                                   The Persistance
in Columbae’s organic gar-
                                                                                         of Columbae may no longer feel the need to
den. (Below) Columbae’s sign
                                                                                         protest the Vietnam War as they did in the
shows who has which house-
                                                                                         70s, but they still possess an unflinching ded-
hold chores for the week.
                                                                                         ication to global awareness and community.



                                   of a Culture
(Right) the front of Columbae.
                                                                                               “I love Columbae,” says Margot Wat-
“I think that people are just so
                                                                                         son, a sophomore at Stanford and a resident
much happier here,” resident
                                                                                         of Columbae. “It’s a really great communi-
Margot Watson says. “I know
                                                                                         ty, and the concept of cooperative living is
that I am.”
                                                                                         amazing.”
                                   The past and present of Columbae, a                         Watson is one of the 30-some current
                                   cooperative house at Stanford Uni-                    residents of Columbae, all of whom have
                                   versity founded in the 1970s                          dedicated themselves to living in a close-knit
                                                                                         community in which everyone actively par-
                                   By KELLY MCPHARLIN •                                  ticipates. Columbae also has a long history of
                                   Photos by KAELA FOX                                   being a political force on the Stanford cam-
                                                                                         pus, but they have recently lost some of the

                                   T    wo female college students rummage
                                        through boxes of musty clothes while the
                                   song “Light my Fire” by The Doors plays in the
                                                                                         dedication to activism they once had, a pas-
                                                                                         sion that prompted many significant protests
                                                                                         during the 1970s.
                                   background. In the kitchen behind them, nearly              Stanford University is renowned for aca-
                                   a dozen students talk and laugh as they chop up       demic and athletic excellence, as well as for
                                   organic vegetables in preparation for the night’s     being one of the most competitive colleges in
                                   meal. Brightly colored flyers on the walls grab the   the nation. However, the image of Columbae
                                   attention of a passerby: two of the most promi-       has always been one of community rather
                                   nent ones advertise a “meal to help end world         than competition, since its beginnings some
                                   hunger” and a campaign to stop the United States      30 years ago.
                                   government from funding wars.                               Columbae was founded in 1970 as the
                                        Although this scene may seem to be a dis-        first co-op on Stanford campus, during the
                                   tant memory of the 1970s it is just a typical day     height of the anti-Vietnam War demonstra-
                                   at Columbae, a cooperative house at Stanford          tions, according to the house’s Web site,
                                   University dedicated to social change through         http://stanford.edu/group/columbae/.html.
                                   non-violent action. The liberal-minded students       It also defines itself as a vegetarian and con-
                                                                                                                 verde magazine 57
                                                          [ bay area ]
sensus based co-op, which means that every
decision in the house, from room arrange-
ments to dinner menus, must be unanimous.
Charlotte Germane, who lived in Columbae
in the mid-70s, considered the consensus
government to be one of the most valuable
aspects of life at the house.
      “Everyone was very concerned with the
consensus ruling,” Germane says. “Learning
consensus decision making is important be-
cause it allows you to understand and toler-
ate people’s opinions.”
      Despite the Bay Area’s reputation for be-
ing a center of social activism and anti-war
protests during the 1960s and 70s, Stanford
became somewhat conservative and tradi-
tional in that time, according to Germane.
      “[Columbae] was a nice contrast be-
cause everyone else at Stanford was very con-      Something’s cooking: The residents of Columbae prepare the night’s meal
ventional,” Germane says. “We were the last        for the house using vegetables and herbs from their garden.
remnants of student radicalism from the 60s
on campus.”
      Larry Litvak, who lived in Columbae how the world works and exists,” Gray says. portant reminder of Stanford’s liberal roots,
during the 70s, has fond memories of many “It was a way for our species to translate into according to Watson.
aspects of life at Columbae. “Being in a co- a new generation.”                                     “Stanford puts out a mentality that
op meant that all the residents were respon-          Today, the residents of Columbae hope they’re a liberal campus that is different from
sible for all aspects of living,” he says. “[One to continue that tradition by creating an ac- the Ivy League, but some parts of the campus
of the most valuable aspects of life was] the cepting atmosphere full of diversity.            are more conservative,” Watson says. “Co-
emotional support from living with all these          Community has become one of the lumbae is definitely an important part of the




                        “
people who were in-                                                                                            campus because it reminds
terested in the same                                                                                           the community of its liberal
things you were.”           Columbae was a way of living and ac-                                               side.” In addition, the people
      Litvak         and
house-mate         Chris
                         cepting how the world works and exists. It                                            who have lived in Columbae
                                                                                                               have continued the tradition
Gray, who remained       was a way for our species to translate into                                           of progressivism. “Columbae



                                                            ”
active in the Colum-                                                                                           was made up of very idealistic
bae community for        a new generation.                                                                     people who continued those
nearly a decade, were
activists during their           — Chris Gray, a socially and politically active ideals throughout their lives,”
                                                                                                               Germane says.
time at Columbae. resident of Columbae during the 1970s                                                             Although the spirit of ac-
The protests they or-                                                                                          tivism in Columbae residents
ganized ranged from                                                                                            may have waned in recent
U.S. involvement with the Shah of Iran to most significant aspects of life in Columbae, years, they hope to change this trend.
the lack of ethnic diversty on campus. In while their political agenda has been some-               “Some people think that we aren’t as ac-
fact, Columbae was founded as a protest.         what downplayed, according to junior and tive as the house used to be, but that’s some-
      “During the 70s, there were many empty Columbae resident Rachel Hodara.                  thing we’re trying to work on,” says Watson.
houses on Stanford campus because a bunch             “[Columbae] is a really open place, and “We are trying to get involved with Darfur
of fraterneties had closed down,” Gray says. you have a sense of community here you and energy issues on campus.”
“A group of political activists decided that don’t have at most places,” she says.                  Litvak is hopeful that the current resi-
they wanted to found a cooperative house of           To add to this sense of community, there dents of Columbae are continuing the tra-
their own, and they sat in the house as a pro- is little to no staff working at the house most dition of political activism that he and the
test for their cause.”                           of the time.                                  other residents of Columbae started in the
      These activists got their wish and Co-          “Everyone rotates jobs, so at one point 1970s. “The house is the same as it was 30
lumbae was founded as the “hub of political everyone has had every job,” Columbae re- years ago,” Litvak says.
activism on campus,” according to Litvak. esident James Super says. “It builds a sense              “Even though the people change every
Although the house had several political of community when everyone has a respon- year, they have still kept the mission of Co-
goals, living in Columbae meant much more. sibility.”                                          lumbae alive. I think it’s a good example of
“Columbae was a way of living and accepting           Furthermore, the co-op serves as an im- the persistence of a culture.” v
58 verde magazine
                                                        [ bay area ]




Free to
fetch
Why some kennels and
dog walkers in the Bay
Area are taking canines
on off-leash hikes and
letting dogs roam freely.

By MOLLY CORNFIELD • Art by JOYCE LEE




K
         onrad Thaler’s van pulls into a fenced-in lot. The ve- to keep them content. To many, off-leash kennels seem to be a nearly
         hicle carries an unusual load: 15 crates with 15 dogs travel- perfect answer.
         ing in style, enjoying the comfort of duel air conditioners in      Palo Alto resident and mother of a 2005 Paly graduate, Anne
back. Thaler, who is entrusted with the safety of the 15 dogs each Taylor regularly leaves her Labrador, Nikita, with Thaler for boarding
belonging to a different owner, procedes to do the unthinkable for and dog walking.
the average dog walker — he opens the crates one by one and releases         “For Nikita to run and be off-leash is great,” Taylor says. “Kon-
the dogs.                                                               rad provides the dogs with large acreage where they get to play. There
      Thaler is the founder of Smilin’ Dogs Doggie Daycare, a local is no way I could have given her that experience of just running. We
business that takes dogs on off-leash                                                                       don’t have access to any off-leash
hikes. Every day, Thaler supervises 10
to 15 dogs as they roam a 750-acre
                                         “You will see the dogs literally                                   parks.”
                                                                                                                 The purpose of these off-
area.                                     smiling; they are very happy                                      leash dog hikes is not always ob-
      Most Bay Area kennels and dog                                                                         vious. Much of the time, dogs
care companies keep dogs firmly                 to be out there.”                                           seem to be happy in the house
leashed, but a few daring dog-walkers    —      Konrad Thaler, founder of Smi- as long as they’re well kept and
feature off-leash hikes as part of their                                                                    cared for. However, according to
programs. According to Thaler and            lin’ Dogs, a dog walking service                               Thaler, off-leash hikes make for a
several other local doggie-caretakers,                                                                      more content canine.
these unleashed walks keep dogs fit and in good spirits.                     “Dogs like to be off-leash versus being on-leash,” Thaler says.
      To any dog-loving American, keeping canine friends happy and “They get a lot of exercise; they’re actually running and stretching all
healthy is particularly appealing. So when canine pals can’t come to their muscles.”
school or join in on vacations, owners would love to find the best way       According to Taylor, this health improvement is visible in Ni-

                                                                                                                        verde magazine 59
                                                            [ bay area ]
kita, a former guide-dog and guide-puppy breeder. Running freely             “Each dog wears a ‘A Lucky Dog’ national recovery dog tag.”
has vastly improved Nikita’s fitness.                                             This dog tag is one of many precautions that A Lucky Dog takes
      “Off-leash hikes have improved Nikita’s heath,” Taylor says.           to avoid losing animals. The dog tags are A Lucky Dog’s “plan B” for
“Since she’s a breeder for guide dogs, when she’d come back from             finding lost animals.
having puppies she’d be really out of shape. But after going on off-              According to A Lucky Dog employee Lillian Ventoilla, the na-
leash hikes, we’d see her looking a lot better.”                             tional recovery tag, which goes on the dog’s collar, gives an 800 num-
      However, sometimes it’s hard enough to trust a pet when it’s off-      ber that will put the dog’s owner in touch with its finder.
leash with its owner, so the notion of a mere stranger supervising up             “If a dog is lost, we are prepared with a step-by-step plan to help
to a dozen off-leash canines can be unsettling.                              locate and return the dog home,” Wilson says.
      Paly freshman Kathleen Higgins is among the dog owners un-                  This plan, according to Ventoilla, includes the dog’s finder call-
willing to leave her dog at an off-leash kennel for fear that her darling    ing the 800 number, A Lucky Dog employee looking into the database
Simone may bolt.                                                             to match the dog with the owner, and then finally getting the owner
      “We’re not scared that she’d try to run away from us, because she      in touch with the finder.
loves our family, but we’re afraid she’ll try to come back to us if we let        Like A Lucky Dog, Smilin’ Dogs also has a backup plan for run-
her off-leash with a stranger,” Higgins says.                                away canines. Thaler has constructed several enclosed fields along
      Higgins also admits                                                                                                 the walk in case a dog tries
that while she loves her                                                                                                  to run and get away from
canine companion, there                                                                                                   him.
are some behavioral issues                                                                                                      “I built trap fields
that may not be as well                                                                                                   along the walk,” Thaler
controlled when Simone’s                                                                                                  says. “If there’s a challenge
running free.                                                                                                             with a dog, then they’re in
      “Taking Simone on                                                                                                   an area that is contained.”
an off-leash hike doesn’t                                                                                                       According to Wilson,
seem like it would be wise                                                                                                A Lucky Dog is generally
because she’s scared of                                                                                                   careful about the where-
people, especially strang-                                                                                                abouts of the dogs they
ers, and we’re scared that                                                                                                care for. For instance, they
she might run away or hurt                                                                                                watch over relatively small
someone,” Higgins says.                                                                                                   groups of dogs, it easier to
      Though Taylor doesn’t                                                                                               keep track of each dog.
worry about Nikita’s safety                                                                                                     “Our handlers never
when she’s roaming off-                                                                                                   take out more than six dogs
leash with Smilin’ Dogs.                                                                                                  in a playgroup,” Wilson
      “Konrad interviews                                                                                                  says. “We take up to the
dogs before accepting them                                                                                                limit a normal resident is
to the program, so I know she’s safe,” Taylor says.                          allowed to own. In most communities, that number is three dogs.”
      According to Thaler, the interview begins with a phone conver-              Thaler, who walks 10 to 15 off-leash dogs at a time, doesn’t worry
sation with the owners, consulting them about their dog’s behavior.          about losing dogs when he’s walking a large group.
If that goes well, as 95 percent of Thaler’s phone interviews do, Thaler          “Because dogs are pack animals they actually like to be in a
meets with the dog for a “paw-to-paw” interview.                             group,” Thaler says. “It’s innate for them to be together.”
      However, the five percent of dogs that do fail Thaler’s interview           In addition to the joy of traveling as a pack, the dogs also enjoy
do so for several different reasons, such as being particularly shy or       the exercise, fresh air, and virtually unrestricted freedom.
difficult.                                                                        “You will see the dogs literally smiling,” Thaler says. “They are
      “A couple months ago a dog attacked me,” Thaler says. “He              very happy to be out there.”
failed the interview.”                                                            According to Thaler, dogs also respond to the guidance of their
      Getting to know the dogs before walking them is one precaution         human companion. Since their instinct is to be led, they usually fol-
that careful dog-lovers like Thaler take to keep from losing dogs, but       low their human guide.
it is certainly not the only one.                                                 “When a person is walking with the dogs, the person is the lead-
      “If I know that a dog is not perfect, then I walk him one or two       er, and they [the dogs] like to have a leader,” Thaler says.
days on a leash, then he knows where the route is,” Thaler says. “If              According to Wilson, A Lucky Dog has over 2,000 enrollments.
we’ve taken a dog out a couple times he understands the system.”             Though keeping dogs straight may get confusing, A Lucky Dog train-
      Thaler’s practice of ensuring the safety of the dogs he walks is       ers say they have discovered the individual in every dog.
not unique among dog walkers. Jennifer Wilson of pet care com-                    “We come to know them [the dogs] almost as friends or our own
pany A Lucky Dog which gives dogs off-leash playtime, says that her          dogs. Each dog has a unique personality,” Wilson says. “We keep
company’s first priority is the safety of their canine clients.              detailed notes on each and every dog. We know each of the dogs
      “Safety is always first for the dogs in our care,” Wilson says.        enrolled in the program very well.” v
60 verde magazine
                         [ paly speaks ]


  Q: What is the dumbest thing
     your pet has ever done?
                       “My cat killed our
                       neighbor’s gerbil and
                       left it at our door-
                       step.”
                       — Kati Dahm, junior




“Ate two pounds of                             “My dad’s dog jumped
Halloween chocolate.                           off a fifth story build-
She’s like a tank.”                            ing following a cat.”
— Aaron Gourdin,                               — Varun Kohli,
senior                                         freshman


                         “My rabbit chased
                         a racoon.”
                         — Avi Arfin,
                         freshman




“My cat jumped in                               “We got hardwood
applesauce, so we                               floors, and my dog
named her Apple-                                skidded across the
sauce.”                                         floor and into the
— Cassie Wedemeyer,                             wall.”
sophomore                                       — Ariel Agaju, senior
                                                              verde magazine 61
                                                        [ education ]



   Beyond
                                                                       I took algebra instead,” senior Alex Ji says. Trigonometry and
                                                                       Analysis soon follow so that by sophomore year students could
                                                                       potentially be in a senior-level class.
                                                                             “After BC Calc, there’s nothing really left to take except for
                                                                       Statistics,” Ji says. So students must sacrifice two or three class
                                                                       periods to travel off campus to take college courses. Ji believes




   Calculus
                                                                       that an on-campus class would add great convenience to math-
                                                                       oriented students.
                                                                             Still, there are other ways for students to enter the high lane.
                                                                       “I went to Nueva Middle School, and the math classes aren’t
                                                                       linear, like Paly’s,” senior Aaron Jones says.
                                                                             “When I came to Paly and took Geometry/Algebra 2 as a
                                                                       freshman, I found that I had seen much of the material
    Paly’s resident geniuses may soon be                               before, so I stepped it up a notch and took Anal-
                                                                       ysis sophomore year,” he says. He completed
    able to take Calculus D on campus                                  BC Calculus junior year and enrolled in
    instead of turning to local universities                           college courses but found the coursework
                                                                       to be too rigorous for his high school
    to be instructed alongside undergrads.                             schedule and thus dropped.
                                                                             “I had other APs classes this year
            By HANA LOW • Art by JOANNA BELL                           so I just didn’t have time,” he says.
                                                                             Ji and Jones say that they would
                                                                       have taken Calculus D if it had


    O
               ne day in the not-too-distant future, the Paly Math     been offered while they were still at
               Department may add a new class to its repertoire:       Paly, though overambitious students
               Calculus D. The class, Multivariable Calculus and       might enroll solely because of the
    Linear Algebra with Differential Equations, would educate          class’ rigor.
    the school district’s most accomplished mathematicians, and              Antink says that the especially
    would cover material that most students do not see until           advanced students, those who can take
    their sophomore year in college, if ever.                          classes two years ahead of the traditional
          This is the dream put forth by Suzanne Antink, Paly’s        lane, rarely cause social tension between
    Math Department instructional supervisor for the past 17           grades.
    years. She wants to consolidate all that pent-up talent into             “More than jealous, the seniors are
    one high school classroom and says that she would teach            usually in complete admiration that
    such a class in a heartbeat.                                       kids could show such talent so early,”
          As of yet, there are not enough qualified students to fill   Antink says. “There aren’t any feelings
    a class of 25, the minimum enrollment, so Paly will not offer      of inadequacy; students know that
    it next year.                                                      they are good if they are in such a
          “We had about eight students with the appropriate pre-       high class.”
    requisites; students must have completed BC Calc before se-              Ji agrees. “Most of the students
    nior year,” Antink says. “There were about three more quali-       in class were pretty reasonable and
    fied students at Gunn; and if we started offering the class, we    accepting of younger students,” he
    would have it around lunchtime so Gunn kids could com-             says. “If anything, things improved after
    mute to Paly every day.”                                           I came to Paly full-time because I knew
          To achieve such a high level of math knowledge, training     these people, and saw them more often.”
    usually begins early, in the third or fourth grade.                      Antink modeled the class after
          “Parents start searching for opportunities for their kids:   courses at Stanford, UC Berkeley and
    enlightening experiences, math camps and contests,” Antink         Foothill College, and she plans to use
    says. “Sometimes these activities can advance kids in the cur-     either Stanford or Cal’s textbook; in do-
    riculum but they’re mostly just to get them inspired about         ing this, she hopes to keep students up to
    math. We have to keep them engaged in their learning.”             university-level coursework.
          As early as seventh grade, precocious middle-schoolers             “I think that it’s a great opportuni-
    can travel to Paly and take Geometry/Algebra 2 – tradition-        ty,” Ji says of the class, which is still in its
    ally the highest lane for Paly freshmen – while still enrolled     developmental stages. “Paly already has
    at Jordan Middle School.                                           such a strong math department, and this
          “I was pretty much bored with sixth grade math, so           would only add to it.” v

62 verde magazine
From   the artist’ s
       perspective
           Art by JOYCE LEE




                              verde magazine 63
                               [ community ]



                      Junior Felipe Winsberg talks about
                        his life down on his farm in East
                       Palo Alto, complete with a green-
                           house, peppers and chickens.
                    By JEREMY JACOB • Photos by KAELA FOX


                    FiFty years ago. East Palo Alto, the small
                    Bay Area suburb now filled with houses and
                    scattered businesses, used to be predominantly
                    Japanese flower farms. In 1995, most of the
                    farms were sold off and the area developed into
                    what is now University Circle. Currently, there
                    is one remaining farm in East Palo Alto.
                        Felipe Winsberg, a junior at Palo Alto High
                    School, lives on that last farm. Yet that fact
                    does not have much effect on his attidude.
                       “We’re not really trying to keep any tradi-
                    tion [of farming] alive,” Winsberg says. “We’re
                    just trying to make a living.”




The Farmer
Wide open space: Felipe Winsberg stands in his greenhouse on his family’s East Palo Alto
farm. “My earliest memory on the farm was eating a delicious red pepper, enjoying the sweet-
ness and the sunlight,” Winsberg says.

64 verde magazine
verde magazine 65
                                                      [ community ]
      Winsberg still remembers growing up        and horseradish. For the most part, they sell     farm, although it is not like living on a regu-
with chickens and peppers which his father,      peppers at farmers markets, according to          lar farm. “Early in the season, when the seed-
David Winsberg, started growing and raising      Winsberg.                                         lings come in, I have to help put them in the
in 1992.                                              Happy Quail Farms sells mainly to            flats,” Winsberg says. “Later in the season I
      “My earliest memory on the farm was        farmers markets, ranging from Palo Alto up        have to help out at the farmers markets.”
eating a delicious red pepper, enjoying the      to Marin, according to Winsberg.                        This is his least favorite part of living on
sweetness and the sunlight,” Felipe says.             Winsberg does’t live on a stereotypical      a farm.
      The elder Winsberg started his farm by     farm in the sense that the products that they           “When it starts to be selling season I
raising quail on his plot of land in East Palo   grow do not go straight to a supplier. “If I      have to wake up really early on Saturday and
Alto in 1980. He says he stopped raising         lived on a more ‘traditional’ farm we would       Sunday mornings to go help out at farmers
quail in 1992, because they were too much        not be able to sell a quality product at a pre-   markets,” Winsberg says. “This is the aspect
of a hassle to kill. He then began growing       mium, and we would turn into a supplier to        that probably has the most impact on my so-
peppers instead.                                 a distributor, like Safeway,” Winsberg says.      cial and academic life. It means that during
      The Winsbergs grow several types of             Winsberg also believes that if he lived on   the season both my Saturdays and Sundays
peppers: Padrones, sweet peppers, hot pep-       a more traditional farm he would not have         are spent working until about three, which
pers and Paprikas, according to their Web        many of the benefits of a town and a big city     means I have no morning.”
site, http://happyquailfarms.com. They also      close by.                                               Another hardship of living on a farm is
grow cucumber, grapes, mulberries, rhubarb            Winsberg has numerous jobs on the            the lack of income during the winter season.

                                                                                                   “At farmers markets we can trade
                                                                                                   our peppers with other vendors
                                                                                                   for almost anything we want,
                                                                                                   from steak to bread.”
                                                                                                                 — Felipe Winsberg
                                                                                                        “Because nothing grows we have no way
                                                                                                   of making money,” Winsberg says. “So we
                                                                                                   have to raise enough money in the farming
                                                                                                   season to be able to get by during the winter
                                                                                                   months, but usually it’s not a problem.”
                                                                                                        Winsberg’s friends and classmates, in-
                                                                                                   cluding junior Tim Hedge, are intrigued by
                                                                                                   his way of life.
                                                                                                        “I have been over to his farm numer-
                                                                                                   ous times and it seems like it would be an
                                                                                                   interesting life, because it is not a typical Paly
                                                                                                   student’s lifestyle,” Hedge says.
                                                                                                        According to Winsberg, there are also
                                                                                                   definite perks of living on any farm.
                                                                                                        “At farmers markets we can trade our
                                                                                                   peppers with other vendors for almost any-
                                                                                                   thing we want, from steak to bread,” Wins-
                                                                                                   berg says. He also has access to a private gar-
                                                                                                   den, where his family grows fresh fruits and
                                                                                                   vegetables.
                                                                                                        With Ikea and the buzz of a highway in
                                                                                                   the background, it’s definitely odd to live on
                                                                                                   a farm, Winsberg says. Yet even with the has-
                                                                                                   sle of waking up early to go help out his dad
                                                                                                   sell produce at farmers markets, Winsberg
                                                                                                   says that he likes his life down on the farm.
                                                                                                        “It’s a pretty multifaceted life,” Winsberg
                                                                                                   says. “There’s the Tongan church down one
Farmer Boy: Junior Felipe Winsberg holds one of the many chickens that live on                     direction of the street, while there’s the Hells
his farm. He sells the chicken’s eggs at farmers markets. “It’s [Living on a farm] a               Angel’s down the other direction. There’s
pretty multifaceted life,” Winsberg says. “There’s never really a dull moment.”                    never really a dull moment.” v
66 verde magazine
                                                      [ community ]




Where do you                                                                                         psychiatrist from the Palo Alto Medical
                                                                                                     Foundation of Psychiatry and Behavioral
                                                                                                     Health Department, teenage girls are typically
                                                                                                     attracted to older men. “Some minors are not


draw the line?
                                                                                                     fully aware of their sexual development and
                                                                                                     might not be able to grasp a relationship with
                                                                                                     an older man physically or emotionally, even
                                                                                                     though it is something they seek,” Hearey
Statutory rape through the lives of teenagers who                                                    says. According to him, somewhere in the
                                                                                                     stress of high school, some teens look away
involve themselves with older men.                                                                   from the realm of fellow high school students
By MARY MINNO • Art by JOYCE LEE                  love and comfort in older men. According to        to focus their interest on more “mature” men
                                                  the U.S. Department of Health and Human            or woman.

A    lyssa says she was a shy, straight-A
     student who “did everything she was
told.” Jason was a blond-haired, blue-eyed
                                                  Services, two-thirds of all births to unmarried
                                                  teenage girls are fathered by adult men, and
                                                  California has the highest birth rate among
                                                                                                          Statutory rape laws do not consider
                                                                                                     teens under 18 to be of the age of consent,
                                                                                                     making it illegal for them to have sexual
football player. He was the type of guy she       teenage girls.                                     relationships with adults. “It is important
dreamed about. “I wanted him to want me,                What drives adolescent girls to seek         to have statutory rape laws in place because
and if he wanted something I was willing to       satisfaction in adult men? Is their search for     teenagers and adults have different attitudes
do it,” Alyssa says. “I would do whatever he      happiness in adults frivolous? In Alyssa’s case,   about sex,” Hearey says. These differences in
wanted me to do.”                                 nothing came from her relationship with            attitude are often harmful to those involved,
     She was in eighth grade. He was a            Jason other than heartbreak and sorrow,            yet girls are still attracted to older men for a
freshman in college.                              after he denied the very existence of their        variety of reasons. Some teen girls say that
     To the rest of us, this is statutory rape.   relationship when it became public.                the security of older men is one of the reasons
For Alyssa, a current sophomore at Paly who,            Alyssa was determined to make a fresh        they find them attractive.
like all the minors in this story, asked that     start for herself in high school and promised           This was the case with Molly, a sophomore
their names be changed, it was love. “Jason       never again to fall into the trap of an older      at Paly, who had a sexual relationship with an
provided me with adventure,” Alyssa says.         man. Unprepared for the pressures that fell        18-year-old senior when she was a freshman.
“We would sneak into bathrooms and closets        onto her early on in her freshman year she         “When I talked to him, he knew what he was
to be together. I thought he loved me. I really   fell right back into “love” with an older man      talking about and he was confident, and that
thought it was perfect.”                          — a different college student.                     interested me,” Molly says.
     Alyssa is not alone in her search to find          According to Ray Hearey, an adolescent            Joyce Kart, another doctor at the Palo
                                                                                                                                verde magazine 67
                                                        [ community ]
attraction of younger girls to older men is dangerous. “Expectations are missing out on their high school experience,” Kart says. “When
of a college boy [or older student] may be much greater than the girl they’re giving up every weekend to be with their boyfriends, they are
is able to provide,” she says. She also feels that it is risky for some detaching themselves from their high school friends.”
to pursue a relationship with an older man because for the large                  However, both Kart and Hearey believe that in some cases it is
majority of high school teens, they do not know what they want from okay for high school students and college students to be together in
a relationship.                                                             a social setting. “Most teens have a healthy interest in college life,
      Stephanie, a senior at Paly, has experienced such risks first hand. and if there is some kind of chaperone or curfew in place, it can be
She spent the majority of her sophomore year partying at a college- healthy,” Hearey says.
aged boy’s house. “I partied every weekend at this kid’s house and                Kart believes that it depends on the high school student. “There
we’d drink and I’d pass out on some bed,” Stephanie says.                   is a huge different between a 14-year-old and an 18-year-old or 17-
      Stephanie had been drinking when she lost her virginity. The boy year-old,” Kart says. “There are some 18-year-olds that should never
was a 19-year-old friend of hers whom                                                                       go to college parties; they aren’t mature
she trusted greatly. She had sex with him
for the first time when she was 16. Two
                                                 “I think that the statutory enough to17-year-olds that areHowever,
                                                                                                            there are
                                                                                                                          handle themselves.
                                                                                                                                              perfectly
weeks after they had sex, she learned rape law is really good, ready to handle the college party scene.”
that he had videotaped them together because sometimes a girl                                                      Bella disagrees with this view,
without her consent.                                                                                        believing that all high school students
       “I was hurt that he used me like can’t say no but the law have good reason to be interested into
that, but I still wanted that allure he can.”                                                               college-aged boys. “High school boys are
provided,” Stephanie says.                                                                                  still really immature and all they want to
      Stephanie believes the thrill that                                                                    do is to impress their buddies. They want
comes out of doing something new with — Stephanie, a statutory                                              to tell all their friends how far they’ve
an older boy can impair one’s decision- rape victim                                                         gone and they’re just juvenile about
making process. “Even though I did not                                                                      everything,” Bella says. “With older boys
consider my situation rape I think that                                                                     there is so much less drama and when
the statutory rape law is really good, because sometimes a girl can’t we talked, the boys actually listened. They weren’t just involved in
say no but the law can,” Stephanie says.                                    themselves. They wanted to know what we liked.”
      She is aware of her legal rights, but feels that since she is the           Bella thinks that college parties are safer than high school parties
one who decided to have sex pressing statutory rape charges is because there are people over 21 there.
inappropriate.                                                                    “It’s way less sketchy,” Bella says. “I think college parties are the
      Dr. Robin Press, a clinical psychologist, thinks that this is classic way to go. If the police come it’s not really a big deal because the
example of why statutory rape laws are in place.                            alcohol was bought legally.”
      “Many teens do not consider themselves a victim of child sexual             Regardless how the alcohol was obtained, Hearey says drinking
abuse when they are being exploited by adults,” Press says. “This is or doing anything that could impair your defense is extremely
part of the reason why it’s such a serious problem, because they don’t dangerous. Rape could occur, as it did to Paly senior Sara.
understand that an adult having sex with a minor is what a predator               “I spent an entire summer drinking at my 20-year-old friend’s
does. To have sex with a minor when you are adult makes you a house when I was a sophomore,” Sara says. “One night I was trying
predator.”                                                                  to sleep on one of my friend’s beds and his older brother walked in
      According to Press, aside from the physical damage that premature and raped me because he was drunk, and thought that, because I was
sexual activity with adults can cause, there is also potentially damaging hanging out with them, I wanted it. It sucked because he was a family
emotional experiences that can occur.                                       friend and it would have killed his mom if I had reported it.”
      “Because of the age difference, the older boy (or girl) is more             After this incident, Sara was unable to see him, but instead
likely to be more experienced in more ways than one and introduce just found a new group of older boys to hang out with. She thinks
and try to persuade you to try new things, which can be extremely the mystery that comes with being around boys that aren’t her age
dangerous,” Press says. “Having sexual intercourse stirs up a lot of outweighs the problems it can cause.
feelings that can be confusing and disorienting. The young girl might             Press feels this is a common view among victims. “The fact that
feel like she’s in love with the adult man, who is using her purely for she got raped is really tragic. What makes it even more tragic is how
exploitive sexual reasons.”                                                 mixed up she is about it,” Press says. “It’s hard for a victim of a sexual
      Press also questions a teenager’s ability to make decisions. “Teens crime to speak up. There is so much shame. You can see how hard it
are notorious for feeling invincible and this factors in,” Press says. is for this girl to feel that she can take action to protect herself. She
“They always think, ‘this won’t happen to me.’”                             doesn’t have the maturity. It shows she’s got a way to go.” v
      Dating someone older than you can also cause problems with
your high school friends. Bella, a junior at Paly experienced this first         For more information, visit http://www.RAINN.
hand when she dated college boys. “A lot of my guy friends didn’t
approve of it,” Bella says. “They assumed he only wanted sex.”                   org. Or for confidential, free counseling call the
      Kart says that it is unhealthy for teens to disconnect themselves        National Sexual Abuse Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE
from classmates by dating a college student. “These girls or boys
68 verde magazine
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                                                                [ essay ]


                     Dancing to my own tune
                                   My lifelong search for good music
                                             By ELENA RADICATI • Art by JOYCE LEE
         I still remember the first CD I ever got. It was “Trag-           as the next big thing, all armed with a few good singles and
   ic Kingdom,” by No Doubt, and I loved it. This was all before           a lot of ego. The same set of pasty young British men graced
   Gwen Stefani was churning out Japanese clones and fashion               cover after cover of music magazines, even those claiming to be
   lines, and before the band took a break to pursue everything but        dedicated to unknown bands or underground styles. Some of
   music. When I first got that CD, I listened to it over and over.        their one-hit wonders were good, but many just sounded like
   I was in love with this angsty preteen music, and completely            drug addicts with incoherent accents. Apparently the ability to
   unaware of their looks or style. Later, of course, I learned to love    hold a tune wasn’t deemed as necessary for success as the ability
   them for their various unnatural hair colors and dubious fashion        to dress.
   choices, but at first, I just cared about their music.                       I even tried going to a few concerts of these artists, but found
         By the age of seven, I already had plenty of CDs and tapes        myself in a veritable sea of hipsters, all in the same uniform of
   in my music collection. Granted, they almost all were my older          skinny jeans, trendy tops and jet-black hair. I, in normal pants
   brother’s, but I still relished finding the perfect music for every     and a T-shirt, stood out as much as my grandmother would have.
   moment of my life. Unfortunately, as I got older, that perfect          I had naively assumed that, since music is something you listen
   music got harder and harder to                                                                          to, the way you dress at a concert
   find, no matter where I looked.                                                                         doesn’t matter, but the looks I got
         The radio proved to be no                                                                         from the other fans — a mix of
   help in my quest for good mu-                                                                           distaste and pity — assured me of
   sic. It seemed like all the bands I                                                                     how wrong I was.
   loved were getting replaced with                                                                              No problem, I thought. I can
   manufactured girl groups and                                                                            still buy the CDs I like, and listen
   boy bands that were praised more                                                                        to whatever music I want when I
   for being able to dance in unison                                                                       want. But it just isn’t the same as
   than singing capabilities. Fans be-                                                                     when I used to hear these songs
   gan caring more about image and                                                                         regularly, on the radio or being
   looks, and thus, record companies                                                                       hummed by someone else. Great
   and radio stations did too. Rock                                                                        new music was still out there,
   and rap stations decided to appeal                                                                      waiting to be discovered, but I just
   to more fans by playing the same                                                                        couldn’t find it. Though I was will-
   pop songs as everyone else.                                                                             ing to put in the effort, it hardly
         And so I tried to like popular                                                                    ever paid off.
   music. I listened to Britney and                                                                              The search became even hard-
   Christina (before they became                                                                           er once they closed down Tower
   Mrs. Federline and Xtina, respectively). I sang along to Back-          Records. It may not have been the greatest music store ever, but
   street Boys and debated over which member of ’N Sync had the            it was the closest thing we had in Palo Alto. As a firm believer
   best hair. But I still couldn’t help preferring the music I’d discov-   in musicians’ rights against piracy (and someone without a tape
   ered on my own as opposed to the songs I had shoved in my face          deck to plug an MP3 player into in my car), I still buy CDs.
   by every radio station.                                                 Well, I still try to. With Borders as the main option for CDs,
         Television was also a dead-end, as I realized that the music      even the most devout music fan would seriously consider just
   channels of my childhood were gone. A former haven of great             finding a new interest. I’m now forced to buy new CDs weeks
   music, MTV decided to replace the “m” part of “Music Televi-            after they come out, or risk ordering them off Amazon, despite
   sion” with a score of trashy yet addictive reality shows; you now       some bad experiences in which the album never came. I still hold
   have to wake up before the sun rises to see any full music videos.      a grudge.
   Ipod commercials and episodes of “The O.C.” became the best                  When everyone, from the media to the artists themselves,
   ways to hear new music, though I got a little frustrated when           care more about image than music, what are fans left with? In
   people referred to songs I knew by name as “that one they played        my case, a stack of old albums and a lot of sarcasm. I’m still
   when Marissa and Ryan broke up.” The newfound popularity of             searching for the perfect music. By now I’ve realized that the
   indie music seemed so much like the boy band obsessions of the          best songs are those you find without any commercials or TV
   90s that I couldn’t help trying to avoid it as well.                    shows prompting you to, on your own. Or with the help of your
         Along with this came a stream of “Britpop” bands all hailed       brother. v

70 verde magazine
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