2/8 How To: Chinese calligraphy

Bored of watercoloring? Try Chinese calligraphy, known for its vivid and fluid brushstrokes! Chinese Honor Society met on Jan. 27 to paint fishes and Chinese characters, and officers also gave out traditional Chinese New Year candy to members. Scroll through the step-by-step pictures to learn how to paint your own fish!

Budapest (17) Budapest (18)

IMG_3538 (1) IMG_3540

Budapest (19)


Budapest (20)


Budapest (21)

  To make your own Chinese character stencil: search Google Images for “chinese character stencil printout,” print, and cut out. The character used in the picture above means “respectable.”






1/18 Special Report: Seven Sins: Wrath: Breaking point

He says he’s not usually tempted to kick chairs.

But the inbounder had failed to step up her “basketball” game — and lost it for the team instead. After the other team scored, she was required to take the ball out of bounds and throw it back in for her teammates to catch.

Things went awry.

She chucked the ball and it bounced outside the sidelines, untouched and completely missing the court. Her teammates’ hands were still flailing in vain. The opposing team received the ball and scored a basket. Unhappy and disappointed, Math teacher and basketball coach Martin Jennings had a discussion with her after the game.

You never do that, Jennings told her. At least don’t let the other team score.

Two games later, she made the same mistake.

Nevertheless, the chair crashed to the ground — jarringly loud — as if responding to his inner emotions instead.

Again, the ball flew outside the sidelines; the receiving hands flew up and faltered back down, empty-handed. And again, the opposing team received the out-of-bounds ball and scored under their team’s basket.

He kicked a chair. Lightly.

Doc Jan 18, 2017, 5-25 PM

Nevertheless, the chair crashed to the ground — jarringly loud — as if responding to his inner emotions instead. A referee ventured to ask if he was okay.

Physically, he was. He hadn’t swung his leg viciously and only meant to express his frustration; the resounding crash was partially accidental. Emotionally, he wasn’t. He was both embarrassed and disappointed in the team and himself.

Jennings apologized to the girl and the rest of the team.

“She wasn’t very happy, but neither was I. It was [a]needed [conversation],” Jennings said. “Apologizing is always a form of putting aside one’s pride. So is that easy to do? No, but the need outweighs the want. If I feel like I need to do it, I just do it. Whether I want to or not.”

Jennings doesn’t believe he’s learned anything from the experience.

“Don’t kick the chair? Don’t touch the chair with your foot?” Jennings said. “It’s nothing I didn’t already know.”

Besides the basketball scenario, he can’t think of any other instances when his temper spiraled out of control.

When keeping his temper in check, Jennings tries to keep in mind the young, impressionable age of his students. Angry responses may darken the student’s perception of the school year ahead — and perhaps the rest of their lives. Besides the basketball scenario, he can’t think of any other instances when his temper spiraled out of control. Fortunately, the inbounder continued to come to practice everyday.

However, he acknowledges there have been regrettable instances — much milder than the chair-kicking — when he could have responded better to his students’ actions. In the times he apologized, he believes students were very appreciative.

“I realize I’m as much a sinner as they are,” Jennings said. “Maybe a different kind of sinner, but just as much of one.”

12/13 Beats: New book added to World Core Curriculum

Next semester, sophomores in World Core will start reading “Waiting for An Angel” by Helon Habila, a new nonfiction addition to the curriculum. Taking place in Nigeria, the novel follows the story of a young journalist and his struggles during the 1990s, a time of political unrest and restraining dictatorship.

According to World Core teacher Jackie Corso, the book was first piloted last year by former World Core Literature teacher Hannah Gould and current World Core literature teacher David Clarke to see whether or not it addressed skills the teachers wanted to work on. According to Corso, the pilot went very well, and the whole staff decided to incorporate the novel into the curriculum.

“I’m excited to teach it,” Corso said. “It’s something new.”


12/7 Special Report: Applying Yourself

Taking Risks in Life

The following story is one of three in the Special Report package, written by yours truly. Originally, this college application package was to be published in the magazine, but things went awry. 🙂 However, this package is still just as beautiful online. 

Last year during volleyball tryouts, senior Theemeshni Govender tore her ACL, a ligament in the back of the knee that helps with stabilization. She spiked a ball and her feet had landed in an awkward position.

Over the course of the next 11 months, she would undergo four surgeries for her torn ACL.

Govender recalls her landing as feeling as though two things were sliding across each other. People helped her off the court, as she moved to the sidelines in extreme pain. However, after she eventually tried walking around, she found that the pain had actually lessened. She underwent a surgery for an ACL reconstruction, and certainly expected to be back on the court her senior year — a fitting end to her high school experience.

Presently, she is no longer leaping to spike volleyballs and perhaps, similar to many injury-affected athletes, the court may simply serve as a reminder of what could have been. A week after the ACL reconstruction, she was racked with high fevers and informed of an infection in her ACL. Govender underwent two more surgeries for the infection and was absent from school for two weeks, only to return with a tube in her arm — the only way for her body to consume her antibiotics was through her veins. Her antibiotics had to be administered every six hours, so her dad would come to school every day during lunch and administer the medicine.

Presently, she is no longer leaping to spike volleyballs and perhaps, similar to many injury-affected athletes, the court may simply serve as a reminder of what could have been.

During her third surgery, the orthopedic surgeon had inserted a tube into her arm, running across her arm and rests on the center of heart, and her dad would inject her antibiotics through the tube. The orthopedist had also “washed” out her knee to clean it of any of the bacteria from the infection, and she returned home from the surgery on the weekend, ready to return to school.

Govender remembers how naive she was after the surgery. Facing a stressful junior year, Govender didn’t want to miss any classes and considered immediately returning to school. Her parents were firmly against it and in turn, Govender was absent from school for an entire week. But, looking back on it, she’s thankful for her parents’ cautiousness, seeing as merely walking was already a challenge for her body.

When Govender returned back to school, she received a warm welcome. Her friends carried her backpack for her and teachers extended deadlines for the homework she had missed or excused her from particular assignments altogether. Govender continued physical therapy, even after she was able to walk. A nurse still visited her every week to re-clean the site around her tube, and she had vials of blood drawn for four weeks to make sure her white blood cell count was returning to normal.


Senior Theemeshni Govender types on her laptop. Many of Govender’s college essays reflect on her growth as an individual after tearing her ACL during volleyball tryouts in her junior year. Photo by Om Khandekar.

Her life seemed to be looking up.

However, when Govender revisited her orthopedic surgeon again in July, before the beginning of senior year, he told her she needed yet another surgery — her fourth. The graft from her hamstring that he previously inserted had stretched.

Staying ahead of the game, Govender had planned to start her college essays over the summer and center the prompts around her injury. She eventually fell ill to procrastination, but completed several essays before the beginning of the school year. At the time, she didn’t know she would need a fourth surgery, but still felt slightly uneasy about writing of her injury.

Her mother was all for it. The injury had and has definitely changed Govender, emotionally and physically, and her injury has affected her academic performance, and that in itself, to her mother, was worthy of colleges’ attention.

“Sometimes I feel like [colleges]don’t want you to talk about certain hardships, as they might not understand or they’ll be like ‘Oh it wasn’t that big of a deal,’” Govender said, “I didn’t want to underrepresent what happened, yet at the same time I didn’t want them to say like ‘Oh she’s using this as excuse for things that happened my junior year.’”

In lieu of simply stressing her physical situation, Govender ultimately pinpointed the emotional aspects of her injury, and wrote of the process — or roads — traveled to overcome these hardships.

And the bigger picture unfurled at the edges as she did so.

“The college [application]process definitely made me look at the entire process of my surgery and recovery,” Govender said. “Look back on it in detail. Every step.”

What with the intravenous medications and the four surgeries, it seemed as if the enormity of her struggles would always be crystal clear to her. However, to Govender, it didn’t seem that way.

“It’s almost as if after I recovered and I could walk again that had like pushed them [the past struggles]aside and forgotten about it,” she said. “But when I was forced to write about it, I was like ‘Wow, I can’t believe I went through all of this.’”

Regardless of the emotion concentrated in her writing, Govender said she doesn’t want to garner any sympathy. She’d never informed peers of her injuries unless they had asked specifically, and in essence, there had never been a driving reason for her to “re-travel” these emotional roads of her injury — until college applications. After all, Govender mentions, sometimes people dislike reflecting on their “past selves,” regardless if they have changed for the better or worse.

“The college [application]process definitely made me look at the entire process of my surgery and recovery,” Govender said. “Look back on it in detail. Every step.”

At first, Govender had reflected on her injury with resentment. Yet presently, in the middle of her senior year, Govender personally believes she has become much more resilient — not just physically, but emotionally too — and she’s ready to face any problem that arises in the future. She is still attending physical therapy and is just starting to jog — she hasn’t attempted running just yet. Even then, her jogging is assisted. While others’ feet may subconsciously pound the cement sidewalks, Govender can only jog with the aid of a trampoline.

“I want to take risks in life,” she said, nevertheless.


11/26 Opinion: Has Legislative Council benefited the school?

On Monday or Thursday, during tutorial, student representatives from fifth period classrooms are called to the auditorium to attend a Legislative Council meeting. Legislative Council was originally created to help strengthen the voices of students on campus, but after three years of having the council, is it really fulfilling its goals? Listen to the podcast below to hear more about Legislative Council.

Legislative Council Podcast

*Whoops, it seems like Tech Helen needs a little help with attaching the actual podcast. Hehe. 😀

10/26 Opinion: Stanford’s alcohol policy.


This little piggy drank a bottle,
This little piggy also drank a bottle,
This little piggy drank from the bigger bottle,
This little piggy drank from a smaller one,
And the first passed out, but the second did too

The last line is all one needs to know and all that matters.

In the uneasy wake of the Brock Turner case, a former Stanford University student who raped an unconscious woman behind a dumpster on the school’s campus, Stanford updated its alcohol policy this August. Whether it was in response to sexual assault or not, the alcohol policy is undoubtedly biased and unrepresentative of the students — and most importantly, uneffective.

Stanford’s updated alcohol policy bans containers of hard alcohol, spirits (alcohol content of at least 20% ABV) and distilled liquor in containers 750 millimeters or larger from campus. The ban is a “harm reduction strategy,” limiting the consumption of alcohol, and improving Stanford’s drinking culture.

“When considering a policy, one can look at it through multiple lenses,” wrote George Boardman, Stanford’s vice provost for student affairs. “I challenge you not to focus on the policy as something to be worked around.”

There needn’t be much “focusing” or “working around” at all.
In banning 750 mL (16.93 shots) containers of alcohol, the largest available size is now a “pint,” or 375 mL (8.46 shots) of alcohol. Be it a 375-milliliter or 750-milliliter party, sober freshmen turn drunk in both scenarios.

Certainly, the majority of alcohol retailers may only sell containers 750 milliliter or larger, which will reduce the availability of alcohol. The financial “barrier,” or jump in the alcohol’s cost-per-volume, from larger containers to smaller containers, could potentially turn away students.

Nicknamed by the students as an “open-door policy,” students are requested to leave doors open if consuming any alcohol, and faculty can intervene if things get out of hand. This establishes a sense of freedom for the students, and decreases the need to chug Budweiser in the confines of the bathroom, shrouded in darkness. Simultaneously, faculty have a sense of relief, as they are quickly informed of dangerous situations.

However, in the light of the “hard-alcohol” ban, students may begin “closing the doors” to drink their hard-alcohol, not only losing the sense of trust between students and faculties, but increasing alcoholic behavior “behind closed doors.” For example, RAs may be unable to quickly intervene during a transport.

The alcohol policy, itself, isn’t exactly the tipping point. It is Stanford’s Alcohol and Drug Subcommittee of the Mental Health and Well-Being Advisory Committee’s ten participants behind the policy and their limited diversity. According to Catherine Götze, Stanford student and writer of blog “Cath in College,” the alcohol committee recommended a ban on all hard alcohol in “frosh dorms” — a strategy to decrease transports to hospitals.

However, Gotze and a fellow student were the only undergraduates in this committee of ten and the only ones to vote against the policy, while the eight other non-undergraduate committee members voted for the policy. With the policy influencing all undergraduates, it’s expected — required, really — that a greater percentage of students participate in the voting, so the student voice can be heard and acted upon.


The policy is geared towards improving the alcoholic atmosphere, and fails to meet the mark. Parallel, in the context of sexual assault, the policy won’t decrease the possibility of rape, either.

Her drunkenness, his drunkenness. Any victim’s drunkenness, any rapist’s drunkenness.
None directly correlate to sexual assault, although intoxication is a significant — but not the
perpetuating-factor. One is raped because of another human being, a predator. In soberness, he or she already perceives women or men as “objects” free to pursue and engage. Thus, when in drunkenness, the predator executes this belief. As to how, who and where a rapist became accustomed to thinking this way, it may be the result of slanderous media, Hollywood’s gender stereotypes or perhaps the beliefs of a father or friend.

Ultimately, it is up to Stanford to unearth the “backstory” of a rapist, instead of fussing over alcohol container sizes.

Ultimately, it is up to Stanford to unearth the “backstory” of a rapist

This new policy is certainly a start to reforming the alcoholic atmosphere. Yet in the grand scheme of “sexual assault,” the alcohol policy is a nuisance and distracts Stanford from the real aggressor: the assaulter’s mental mindset. Their image of “palm trees and golden sunlight” defamed, Stanford University may be feeling unsettled and “raw,” unaccustomed to being out in the open in such a negative way, ravaged by both the public and its own students.

The spotlight has always and will forever shine upon Stanford University, but for academic and athletic achievement.

Policymaking isn’t their strong suit, just yet.

10/27 Beats: The basics of DECA roleplay.

The closest competitive DECA conference may be next January, but officers are already training members in roleplay in preparation for them. “Roleplaying” consists of a ten minute job interview, in which members are randomly assigned a job in a business and must explain why they are capable for this specific position. Members incorporate common business concepts, such as finance, marketing, hospitality and management into their roleplays.

Junior Priya Kale, Director of Resources, references Apple’s marketing as a prominent roleplay example.

“[Marketing roleplays are] the first interaction the company has with customers. For example, the people who don’t have an Apple product themselves know that the Apple company is known for simplicity and elegance. If you were applying for Apple (your roleplay), I would make sure to uphold the brand image of Apple,” she said.

With 200 to 300 people in each event, a winning roleplay boils down to natural charm, first impressions and the ability to summarize what you can offer to the company in 10 minutes. In order to practice, members can review a document with “practice PI’s,” or “practice role plays.” Similar to a roleplay is a “written plan,” in which members also create a brand image for a company, but already know their topic and prepare a presentation before the conference.

“[An impromptu role play] is a high stress situation. If you screw up you’re like ‘Oh no no’, but at the same time, that’s what makes it so exciting,” sophomore Palak Jain says. “It’s like natural, free and a lot more fun than a speech or anything.”

While DECA trainees should be informative and analytical in presenting their company’s brand image to the judges, officers also encourage members to give off a “personal side.” Last year, in Kale’s own “Kay Jewelers” roleplay, her group advertised that it isn’t a ring the company is selling, but a promise between you and your partner.

“It was super sappy and general,” Kale says, “but like it was something different than what everyone else was doing.”

As for her number one tip? “Smile.”