The race to fill in last minute volunteer hours

At the end of the school year students are left struggling to balance their priorities. Illustration by Andrea Boyn.


tudents often start off every year with expectations and refreshed goals to strive for academic success. As college is a common end goal for high school students, many seek to join clubs to gain an edge in the competitive college admission process.

Commitments are made to not only school work, but to additional, rigorous academic courses, extracurriculars, and somehow still seek to maintain a social life. With the constant struggle to keep balance, it is easy to get caught up in the chaos and push aside volunteer hour requirements until the last minute, as experienced by junior Ananya Verma.

“I do not believe that volunteer hours and expectations are realistic for people because people have sports and have to deal with school, and all of their home work,” Verma said. “It is important to volunteer and help out the community but sometimes the expectations are a little high.”

Although some fail to complete hours all together, many are left in a gray area where they have managed to attend only a good fraction of the hours but not quite enough to receive the deserved credit or recognition. Often times, this can be the result of a conflicts in scheduling and is unavoidable.

From this issue arises the question whether students should claim to be a part of the club or not. A simple lack of one or two hours can suddenly create a divide amongst student whom have managed to open up their schedules for volunteer hours. HOP commissioner Brenden Koo shared his opinion on the subject.

“The truly dedicated HOP leaders work hard and have plenty of HOP hours,” Koo said. “Some last year even had up to 15 hours, so it’s not like we don’t give out hours opportunities.”


The Class of 2018 Commencement Ceremony

“If you’re sick and tired of the world, turn around and lead it!”

After four years of hard work and determination, the class of 2018 graduated this Thursday, May 31. Over 600 students in attendance received their diplomas. Congratulations, class of 2018!

Senior Class President Jacob Jiao delivered a welcome speech, and class officers Brandon Hong and Lindsay Takahashi introduced the Honor Guard. Senior officers Venkata Muriki and George Wen announced the class gift, which included a new sound system and a decibel meter for class cheer-offs.

Graduating with the class, teacher Liz Williams was chosen as the staff commencement speaker.

Students then received their diplomas from Associate Superintendent Christine Mallery and Board of Trustees Jeff Moe. After turning their tassels and walking off the field, graduating students took pictures with friends and family and were treated to a reception with lemonade and cookies in the quad.

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Fwd:Love spreads positivity before finals

With finals week approaching, fwd:Love continued their semi-annual event, Bags of Love, in which officers pass out care packages filled with stress relief items such as candy and bubbles to students.

fwd:Love passed out goodie bags to help alleviate some of the stress of finals week. Photo by Gianella Ordonez.

Fwd:Love has noticed how stressful finals week can be and uses this event to help their peers cope with the pressures of school, sophomore and fwd:Love treasurer Joyce Jeon said.

This event enforces the club’s goal of spreading positivity around campus. Bags of Love has proven to be successful in this aspect, according Jeon.

“Whenever I give them out, they always have smiles on their faces,” Jeon said. “So I think that it gives them a temporary stress relief.”

Bags of Love is especially geared towards freshmen since they are still growing accustomed to taking finals, senior and fwd:Love president Jingwen Li said.

Sophomore Minal Singh believes the event is a nice act of kindness and a great way for students to destress.

“Besides the content in the bag, it’s nice that you know there is a club that thinks about people on campus this way and cares about them so I think it’s a really thoughtful thing,” Singh said.

Li hopes more people will recognize the unique aspects of fwd:love next year. Events such as Bags of Love encourage students to spread positivity and love together, especially during stressful periods of the school year, Li said.  

“No matter what you get on your final, you are still loved and there’s nothing wrong with it. You’ll do fine in the end,” Li said.

The Hart of the Matter: The importance of a woman’s voice

This is my very last column of the year, so please indulge me as I make it slightly more personal than my other articles. Each Hart of the Matter has I wrote about was close to my heart and important to my values. This is why my column has been so important to me throughout the year — it allowed me the means to use my voice and speak about issues that matter to me. A voice is a powerful thing.

Ever since I could speak, I used my voice. My voice would let me take control of my surroundings. I was able to speak my mind. In group activities in elementary and middle school, I would take charge, dictating and organizing  While I was called bossy, my male peers were called leaders.

Being a girl and unafraid to use my own voice allowed many such double standards to come to light. I was frustrated that girls are supposed to fit in and be submissive, not take charge of her surroundings. That was for the boys.

I would say something in class or a group, and later a male would say the same thing. He was taken seriously, while I often found myself dismissed.

This is not an experience exclusive to me. Women everywhere have been shamed for speaking up, or talked over in a conversation.

When I started working in student journalism, I found a place where my voice was celebrated. Through journalism, I was allowed the means to develop my voice and publish it. And, more importantly, my words made a difference. Sometimes, students would come up to me and tell me how my articles offered them a new perspective. I got to talk to Principal Giglio about issues that were important to me

Journalism was instrumental in my acceptance of my voice. Being told constantly that I should not be speaking up had me believing such, but once I found a community that encouraged my voice I was able to use it. If I hadn’t, none of those little differences would have been made.

Places like this, where girls can find a community that empowers their voices, are absolutely crucial and so absolutely lacking.

In high school journalism, female students are censored disproportionately to male students, a trend noticed by the Student Press Law Center and later supported by a study from the University of Kansas.

 Despite this, women make up the majority of communications majors in college, according to DataUSA. Yet this does not translate into the workforce; only about 35 percent of newsroom employees or supervisors are women, according to the American Society of News Editors and Nieman Reports. There are always attempts to silence us.

I am not the first to take note of this alarming flip. One of my colleagues on the Epitaph, fellow columnist Thomas Denome, wrote about the issue earlier this year. In better words than mine, he comes to the same conclusion I have as to why there is still a lack of women in the industry: people don’t like tough women.

People particularly do not like the tough women who utilize their voices, which is essentially in the job description of a journalist. Society’s bias against strong women comes from decades of gender roles, as a means to keep women in their supposed place. This is exactly why using one’s voice matters more than ever. A woman speaking up is how change has been made, and how change and progress will continue to be made.

In order to empower future generations of girls, places where women can find a way to build and practice using their voice are essential. I found my place working on a school newspaper. To everyone who supported this endeavor by reading a column, picking up a paper or even writing nasty comments on my web articles, I am forever thankful. I have been incredibly lucky to be able to work in this environment.

Not all are as lucky. Nationally, student journalism programs are getting defunded, along with art and creative writing. Places of expression are shrinking, and girls are still getting censored and told to be less assertive. This is stunting the growth of our society as well as quelling the voices of our future.


The Ripple Effect: Culture is not a one-way street

Cultural conflict can arise from a variety of factors, but is especially visible in immigrants and their children. Illustration by Aishwarya Jayadeep.


f you’ve ever found yourself smiling vacantly at relatives during family reunions because they’re speaking too fast for you, despite the fact that they’re also speaking in a language you’ve technically known since birth, then congratulations! Cultural assimilation, or integration into a culture you weren’t born into,  may have gotten the best of you.

The cultural conflict can arise from a variety of factors, but is especially visible in immigrants and their children. While parents may be able to hang onto their traditions with a tight hold, kids who grow up submerged in a different culture can often feel as though there’s an invisible barrier separating them from family.

And while at the start of this year, I wrote a column titled “Refugees are not the death of your culture,” the converse question remains: Is assimilation the death of a non-dominant culture?

The commonly-held hypothesis is that yes, it is — use it or lose it. After all, when overwhelmed by a nation’s dominant culture, it can be difficult to keep one’s own customs and beliefs propped up, like a twig threatening to snap free in a tornado. Factors such as language ability are among the first to wear away, as according to the BBC, how much you fumble with your first language increases “the more immersed you are in a second language.”

Moreover, the casting aside of an identity to fit in has been key to the minority survival kit for centuries, although certainly not always done willingly. Native American children were sent to boarding schools that promised to “kill the Indian, save the man,” according to, stripping away their language and cultural identity in order to make them less threateningly different to white Americans of the era.

Even today, not assimilating totally is dangerous for minority groups: just take a look at the recent news out of Montana that two American citizens were detained by Border Patrol because the fact that they spoke in Spanish seemed suspicious.

In the face of all this, how do you win your identity back?

The example of uncomfortable smiling and nodding I gave in the first paragraph was no hypothetical — it was personal experience. Every two years, I visit the country where I was born and hang out with the grandparents I spent my formative years with. Between my time frolicking on beaches and roundly enjoying all the Indian food, I realize that I don’t remotely feel like I belong.  

(For one thing, my enunciation is shot because of Bay Area pronunciation, and entirely too peppered with the word “hella.”)

Yet as much as assimilation is a defense mechanism, it’s just as much a participation mechanism. If participation can happen in two cultures, then there’s no reason they can’t coexist. Immersion in one culture does not automatically shut the door to the others — perhaps it narrows the doorway or adds an obstacle course in the path, but by no means does it set up a barricade.

And, for all its faults, there’s nowhere where this cultural interchange is more obvious than here where I live, in the Silicon Valley. I’ve seen people of all ethnicities and cultures rocking out to a playlist called “Bollywood Beatz” (yes, with a “z”) at a Holi celebration. I’ve watched my classmates in elementary school chow down on food from all over the world during the schoolwide Thanksgiving potluck. And I know a girl who went off to college, immediately joined several cultural clubs and immersed herself in her own culture after years of dipping a tentative toe in.

So yes, maybe in the process of assimilation, you lose a bit of yourself. But at some point, you’ll hunger to find it again. And you will.

HHS clubs host Green Fair to inform about sustainability

he HHS Green Ops and Key clubs hosted a Green Fair on Friday, April 17 to celebrate Green Week after Earth Day.

This is the first time that Green Fair has been an event held at HHS. In previous years, Green Ops hosted guest speakers to discuss environmental issues.

“[The purpose is] to teach students about different things that they can do to make our community a greener place and also educate them about different issues that are going on in our environment,” club president and senior Emma Chan said.

Club members and officers set up various tables and handed out fliers related to sustainability and raising awareness about environmental issues, junior Helen Wang said. They had guest speakers and worked with a variety of clubs to provide information regarding Green Week.

“We had Design It and Engineering club make posters and we had FBLA hand out reusable bags,” Chan said.

The bags were a great success overall, Chan said. This got students more excited to learn information about sustainability in our community.

The activities offered to students, thus allowing for multiple learning opportunities, is what makes Green Fair unique, Wang said.

One way that sustainability was taught to students was through a “smoothie bike.”  Green Ops officers, such as Chan, participated in pedaling a bike in order to generate enough power to blend eco-friendly smoothies to show that saving the environment can be delicious.

Class of 2018 cuts loose at Panther Beach


very year, seniors across the country participate in senior ditch day, meant to celebrate the near-completion of high school and the beginning of a new chapter in students’ lives.

This year, while some chose to spend the day in San Francisco or elsewhere, the main event took place at Panther Beach on May 11, with hordes of seniors gathering to play beach games, eat and enjoy one another’s company before graduation.

Senior Ashley Pae was among those in attendance, and said the experience was a nice way to end senior year and spend time with her classmates before parting ways in the fall.

“I thought it was a good experience overall, because it’s one of the first times our class could get together and hang out outside of school, regardless of our cliques and friend groups,” Pae said. “Everyone could have a good time and take a day off for once in our four years.”

However, she said there were also some downsides to attending the event, as most teachers advised against students participating in ditch day.

“Some teachers still assigned and planned important things, which was frustrating because ditch day is a tradition and it’s something that everyone should be able to participate in … even if the school doesn’t endorse it,” Pae said.

Though many students chose to kick back at the beach, some seniors, such as Danielle Yoshida, opted to remain at school, whether for assignments or to avoid an unexcused absence.

“I chose to come to school … to watch tapestries [the final project for contemporary literature],” Yoshida said. “Although I wish I was at the beach, it was important to me to watch my classmates’ presentations, because I know how hard I had worked on mine and I wanted to be there and support them.”

With the end of the year approaching, ditch day provided seniors with a chance to let loose and relax together before continuing on to their future endeavors.


Three rival schools battle for a spot at CCS


Photo By Andrea Boyn
HHS competed against Palo Alto and Los Altos High Schools

hile tri-meets are regular for the professional swimming world, March 23 was the first time in HHS swimming history the team participated in a tri-meet instead of a regular dual-meet.

Coach Alex Romanko was faced with a scheduling conflict between a student club team event and the LAHS dual-meet. As a solution, the team decided to merge the PAHS vs HHS meet with the LAHS vs HHS dual-meet.

While in a typical dual-meet there may be six competing lanes, during a tri-meet there can be as many as nine.

Incorporating a tri-meet into the season will affect athletes in several ways. In addition to making the overall season shorter, swimmers will also have one less opportunity to qualify for CCS.

Despite fewer opportunities to compete in CCS, Romanko said that he tries to find as many non-league opportunities that are authorized by CCS  to maintain a good balance.

Less chances to qualify also implies heightened competition. Many athletes said they agree with Romanko that the added bodies in the water contributed to a better energy.

“It was pretty fun because it was a more competitive vibe,” junior Brandon Ligeti said. “Even if you lost to one team, there was still a good chance you could have [beat] the other [team].”

Despite the added nerves, HHS dominated the pool. The Mustangs won three of the four meets in the competition and seven out of eight including both boys and girls.

Although HHS will not be participating in any more tri-meets this year, Romanko said he hopes to have the opportunity to hold one again.

Frontier announces winner of writing contest, Tyler Deuel

Students submitted their creative works for Frontier’s writing contest throughout the month of March. The winner, Tyler Deuel, was announced on May 3 with his winning work “My Youth and My Now”.

Winner of Frontier writing contest, Tyler Deuel describes his inspiration behind his winning piece. Photo by Eileen Chih.

Co-Editor-in-Chief Kelly Fesler said that the Frontier writing contest first started as a way to reach out to students interested in writing and to promote involvement in their club.

“We noticed that our member base was pretty small, but we know that there are many writers out there,” Fesler said. “We wanted to find a way to reach out to all of them so our hope by starting this event last year was that we could increase engagement in not only our club but community writing as a school, as a whole.”

Fesler and her co-Editor-in-Chief Jasmine Liu said that each piece is judged by at least two English teachers who volunteer to to judge and give out scores.

“Writing is very subjective, so there’s no real one formula that will produce a winning piece so that’s why we just encourage anyone who has any idea to just write something and submit,” Fesler said.

Winner of Frontier’s writing contest Tyler Deuel said his inspiration for “My Youth and My Now” came from his own experience.

“‘My Youth and My Now’ began with a particular memory when I met my father when I was young for the first time and basically he picked me up and as he was leaving he gave me a dollar and put me back down and then kind of left,” Deuel said.

Deuel said that he became more interested in writing during his junior year through his English class.

“I’ve written stuff before and it’s really something I’ve been into since I was like six, but junior year is really when I kind of sprung forward, when I did the poetry unit, and took it more seriously,” Deuel said.

Fesler also said they accept submissions from students of any creative medium in regular Frontier issues.

“I think a lot of it definitely comes down to taking pride in your own creative work no matter how small you think it is,” Fesler said. “So being able to break out of your shell and publish it to the school and then have other friendly student writers read it, I think can help people grow a lot.”

Football springs back into season


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Although football fans may reluctantly put away their banners and green face paint at the end of the fall season, the game is not over for many players.

This spring offseason, for instance, the team maintains a rigorous practice schedule, training Monday to Thursday for two hours each day.

Head Varsity coach Milo Lewis said that the average practice consists of stretching individuals, agilities, 7-on-7 scrimmages and team offense or team defense.

Victory is the most important motivation for many on the team, such as junior Jarrett (“J-Money”)  Conkin and freshman Guy Haiby. Other players, such as junior Hector Sotelo Quiroz, described hopes of building a strong defense.

“It shows in the season, the amount of work you put in in the off season, even if it’s hard,” Haiby said. “You just got to think about, if you put in work now, it’s going to show as result in the field during the season.”

In particular, the team teams in hopes of making playoffs at the De Anza league next year. Although, The team has made it to playoffs at El Camino multiple times in past years, making playoffs at De Anza has been a long-term goal.

“That would the first time that me as the head coach had done it in the De Anza league … and I think that’s what our program is been about,” Lewis said.

However, the team also focuses on personal growth.

“Everybody’s got stronger with what they’re doing right now, compared to when they were freshmen. They’ve never seen what they’ve done and sometime they surprised their own selves,” Lewis said.

Although spring football requires extra dedication from players, junior Ryan (“QB”) D’Amour said it also provides time to learn and grow as a team.

“It’s about winning and really being a team, a football team … like it’s fun to come and just hang out with the team, but like we keep the season in mind a lot of the time” D’Amour said. “We want to do good during the season and it takes a certain amount of hard work.”

The Garlick Press: Unemployment among conservationalists

The school year is ending quickly, and as a second semester senior, I am looking forward to my college experience. In my free time, I’ve been researching my major, environmental science. Within the schools I have applied for, the programs are wonderful, with plenty of opportunities for internships and studying abroad.

I cannot wait to get started on my future, working in labs and publishing papers about pollution levels and the health of local forests.

After getting excited about my major, I started thinking more about where my future degree would take me. I searched for job opportunities that arise from an environmental science degree.

My excitement quickly diminished when I was dismayed to find the lack of employment within these jobs. I scrolled through forums among forums of people who had graduated with similar degrees and had been job-hunting for years, without prevail.

After freaking out for a short while, I wondered why this could be. But after revisiting CNN and ABC news later that day, it was clear what the reason was: our current government. Most of this conflict comes from political figures who refuse to support or believe the proof behind global warming and environmental change.

It makes sense, but baffles me at the same time. Why is it so hard to get hired as an environmental scientist, when global warming is looming over all of us? Yet still we hear about the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) being shut down more and more due to current political standings in the White House.

Hopefully, the future will not be so difficult to compete in for environmental specialists and consultants. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, environmental scientists and specialists should expect employment in their field to grow 11 percent from 2016 to 2029, a rate faster than average occupations.

My hope is that the looming threat of irreversible changes in the weather and our environment will spring every country to action. This may seem dire, but global warming is an imminent threat to the health of everyone on earth, and this field of study and advocacy will step up to solve these issues.

For all my fellow aspiring environmentalists, our efforts will not be in vain to make a difference. Saving the planet will be our job, and protecting our future is in our hands.