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.”


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.

District Red Cross clubs create common goals

Each school in the Fremont Union High School District has a Red Cross Club unique to its campus. Illustration by Andrea Boyn.

There are over 100 Red Cross centers stationed all over California, not to mention the Red Cross clubs run by high school students spread out over California’s 330 districts. With so many locations and vast availability of volunteers, the importance of a common goal increases.

According to the official Red Cross website, their network of generous donors, volunteers and employees share a mission of preventing and relieving suffering, here at home and around the world, through five key service areas: disaster relief, supporting America’s military families, lifesaving blood, health and safety services and international services.

This network of like-minded individuals provides a strong outreach to the citizens of California, especially students. Within FUHSD, Red Cross club is one of the most well-known clubs on the LHS, FHS and HHS campuses. With the increasing commonality of Red Cross clubs in Bay Area schools, groups from different campuses have created a system of resources that can be used to their advantage.

One event that joins local club presidents together is the monthly Silicon Valley Chapter Liaison meetings. These meetings not only bring together Red Cross clubs from the FUHSD, but from outside the district as well.

“We often are able to bring up and discuss ideas for new events, which we can implement into our clubs,” LHS Red Cross President Aarushi Agrawal said. “We also are able to host join blood drives and other meetings, which also allows for greater attendance and correspondence between clubs.”

Frequently-held events include disaster and refugee simulations and radio training. Other events include the “Pillowcase” project, where students teach kindergarteners about disaster preparedness, and the “Sound the Alarm” project, where students help fix and install fire alarms around the neighborhood.  

HHS Red Cross President Reet Mishra and FHS Red Cross advisor Mary Crawford provided updates on what each respective school was currently working on, as well as their plans for the rest of the school year.

“Currently, we are in our Health & Safety Unit, so we are offering [free] CPR/First-Aid classes for members that volunteered over 10 hours this year, and a fee for those who haven’t,” Mishra said. “This is in accordance with our chapter, so students from all over the district will be there.”

Meanwhile students at FHS are taking action to help those in need across the nation by working towards providing relief for the hurricane that occured in St. Thomas, a city in the U.S. Virgin Islands. In the future, Crawford reports that FHS Red Cross plans to continue the progress made this year by contributing to the community through certifying more members.

As for upcoming HHS events, Mishra informs that students can expect to see a 5k Charity Fun Run in the near future, that will raise money for the wildfires that ravaged California last fall.

“We are still in the logistics stage, but hope to do it around late April, early May,” Mishra said.

The communication between factions has made for cohesive programs that act in accordance to neighboring schools. Despite coming from different schools, areas and social backgrounds, through Red Cross club, FUHSD students join together to provide compassionate care to those in need.

The call for justice of youngest siblings everywhere

The youngest sibling has it the hardest. The truth of birth-order stereotypes can only be confirmed when the story is heard from all perspectives.

Growing up as the youngest most definitely has its perks, yet, there are some major struggles the elder siblings will never understand.

The oldest sibling is often allowed more leniency in curfews and academic expectations. Illustration by Andrea Boyn.

As the youngest, this is the last chance parents have to raise a child right. This is the root cause of many complications from the primary years, to all the way past high school graduation. The youngest always has to battle for independence.

From miniscule mistakes to dramatic ones, any blunders older siblings have previously made will predispose an extensive list of unnecessary rules.

The varying age gaps between siblings seem to be the way of determining the amount of imaginable equality assigned. This works as a disadvantage for the youngest, as the gap grows bigger.

Then there is the emphasis on the innocence of the youngest sibling. With innocence comes assumptions of immaturity, leading to being treated as a kid even though you have proven yourself to be responsible.  

Other scenarios that cause further complications for the youngest sibling is the glorification of the eldest. Often found, the oldest sibling has already set the bar high, and as a result the youngest are expected to meet or surpass said standards. These expectations heavily influence a child’s development, according to Dr. Sylvia Rimm. They encourage feelings of inadequacy and encourages unhealthy competition.

These scenarios are most often disregarded as a nuisance one has to deal with however, there are situations where these disadvantages can be manipulated to mislead parents and serve to one’s own benefit.

There will come a time when the youngest siblings will no longer have to accept getting left out, not being taken seriously nor being tormented by their older siblings. But until then, we’ll have to live with it.

Messiness is the new objective

If scrambling to find last night’s homework assignment in a sea of old crumpled paper seems familiar, or it has become normal to have a room that looks like a tornado has just passed through it, then one might consider themselves a student hoarder.

Since the beginning of a student’s school career, they are told by teachers that good organization is the key to success.

While some teachers may recommend more traditional organization methods, such as binders or the school planners, many students find this approach to not be a sustainable system in the long term.

Hoarding past assignments can increase the overall clutter in a teenager’s room. Students might excuse their stockpiling with a range of explanations or rather excuses, from lack of organizational skills to high stress levels.

Sharing rooms with siblings can often be a cause of a cluttered room.

When five students on campus of varying grade levels were asked what caused their room’s current condition, the consensus amounted to lack of time while managing school and extracurriculars.

In some cases, messy work spaces are interpreted as a more methodical form of organization for an individual. While some people’s work spaces can seem chaotic from the outside perspective, these students are personally aware of the location of all of their items.

Psychological scientist Kathleen Vohs, from the University of Minnesota, found scientific evidence that proved messy rooms can provoke more creative thinking, according to Elite Daily.

[Vohs’] study conducted a series of trials while incorporating a paradigm consisting of one messy room and one tidy room, according to Elite Daily.

Creative or unconventional reasoning can be seen in many forms. For example, one’s wardrobe may not always remain in its designated place within a closet.

“When I get home from school, I undress and put on my comfortable clothes,”  sophomore Devin Fan said. “All my other clothes I throw on the floor,”

By Vohs’ logic, throwing clothes on the floor as oppose to the hamper a few feet away can be an indicator for creative reasoning, even if it may be considered unconventional to others.

Some of history’s greatest minds like Mark Twain and Albert Einstein were notorious for having cluttered work spaces. The earliest documentation of Einstein’s opinions on the topic can be found in the Quotations of our Time by Lauren J. Peter.

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?” Einstein said.

Clutter may serve as a great tool to inspire unconventional ideas for some, but for others, the boundaries of organization keep them focused. In the end, one can use whichever method works best for him or herself.

Best friends to Co-Presidents

The story of how Sarah Kim and Kayleah Son became Co-Presidents of the American Cancer Society club (ACS) started before they ever knew about the club. Having first met in the seventh grade, the girls have since then been through it all together, Kim said.

From helping each other with school work to their social lives, they have helped each other grow through the toughest of moments.

In sophomore year, current seniors Sarah Kim and Kayleah Son participated in many events, such as the Light the Night Cancer Walk.

When looking to join a club on campus freshman year, they both found interest in ACS. In joining, they hoped to honor their family members who had been affected by cancer. Four years later, their tight-knit relationship has encouraged a cohesive dynamic when it comes to running the club.

“It’s definitely really nice having a Co-President. It’s a different dynamic because you have someone to support you and to do all the big decisions with you. Especially since we’re so close and literally live a minute away, any time we need each other, she’s always there,” Kim said.

Son also had nothing but nice things to say about their partnership.

“Because we are very similar in a lot of things, we are able to bounce ideas off each other without ever really fighting; we always agree,” Son said.

Without a doubt, this pair has proved their teamwork to be more than effective, since they have already raised over $1000 for their local partner organization.

In March, the girls will be in charge of organizing the annual 5k run. Through their demonstrated capability so far, surely their passion will be seen in making ACS events better than they have ever been before.

Seniors say goodbye

Girls’ and boys’ water polo team shared their senior night victories on Oct. 17.


To celebrate the seniors, each team added special touches to make the celebration memorable. From giant cut-out heads and customized posters to balloon arches and Snapchat filters, the entire pool deck was full of Mustang spirit.

Four of the graduating seniors were asked for their favorite memory from the past couple years.

“We were gonna lose anyways, and our team doesn’t really care about that kinda stuff so, we played christmas music in the speakers of the locker room and just danced around,” senior Ashley Pae said.

After quite some time deliberating on which moment of many was her absolute favorite, senior Rosalina Fry chose one of the teams “weirdest” moments.

“A really good memory was sophomore year, our last game, we were playing Wilcox, their coach was screaming stuff, and we were winning by a significant amount, and the Ref red carded him.” While they were waiting, Fry said “We swam over to the Wilcox team and we got in a giant circle on the side and started doing a tribal chant.”

While the girl’s favorite memories were focused around their teams comradery, the boys valued their big wins.

“Sophomore year, we won the first CCS game in like 20 years. That was pretty lit,” senior Alexander Zeren said.

Senior Zachary Birrer shared about another game that went down in the books as an upset.

“My favorite moment of water polo was sophomore year when we beat our rival Saratoga in triple overtime.” Birrer said.

Following up to Birrer’s comment, Zeren said “Yeah that was pretty gangster.”

All in all, the memories these senior athletes made together in tournaments and practice will be carried with them forever.

Red Cross Club works with recent fire victims

Bay Area fires affected HHS students.

A little over two hours away, the wine country fires destroyed thousands of acres of land between Oct. 8 and Oct. 29. The largest fire in Napa County affected 110,720 acres.

Overnight, HHS already began to feel the impact of the fires. Ash-filled air and gloomy skies loomed over the campus. As air quality continued to worsen, sports practices and games had to be canceled.

Students were also affected personally by the fires. Many family members and friends of students who lived in the affected areas had to be evacuated from their homes. HHS Red Cross took the initiative to help families of nearly 8,500 individuals whose homes were destroyed.

Red Cross Club President Reet Mishra reported that the fundraiser held in October had been a huge success.

“As of right now, along with our school events, we are extremely delighted and thankful for the people that have stepped in our community as in total, we have raised $2,236.37,” Reet said.

$186.37 of that total came from the school coin drive for communities impacted by hurricanes, $1050 through the general community for hurricanes and $1000 through the community for fires.

To educate students about disaster prevention, HHS Red Cross has organized a guest speaker from the Red Cross Silicon Valley Chapter to give a Community Disaster Education training in November. In this training, anyone interested may learn about disaster prevention and preparedness so they will be able to individually respond to disasters.

To spread further awareness on fire prevention and safety, HHS Red Cross has created a committee that will distribute flyers about fire safety measures to doorsteps.

Additionally, if students on campus wish to become involved and learn more about safety and fire prevention, students may attend the Red Cross Club’s bi-monthly meetings every other Tuesday in C210, where they discuss current events and safety information not only for fires but for other disasters as well. The next meeting will take place on Nov. 21.

“We never know what can happen, but the best way to be safe is to always be prepared. We advise that families keep an emergency kit at home and the supplies can be found on our website:,” Reet said.