TEDx host first official conference

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EDx Club hosted their first conference in two years, last Friday, April 6. The on-campus club shows TED talks, discusses current events and encourages many students to share their perspectives on certain events or ideas.  

Friday’s event welcomed six student and three adult speakers, all presenting on personal experiences that audience members could relate to or learn from.

“We are holding this event to echo TED’s message: ideas worth spreading,” said Junior Arleen Lui, an organizer of the event.

Organizers explained how they chose people who discussed different topics so there would be a variety throughout the presentations.

“Part of the thing with TED Talks is that they are personal, so in order to engage the audience you have to be personal,” said Junior Ashna Reddy. “We look for a message but also how the speaker got there, so it’s kind of like a personal talk but also with a message that can relate to the audience.”

There was one TEDx conference last year, however this was TEDx club’s first official conference, which they had to get licensed by the official TED talk company,  said senior Sahaj Putcha who is also a TEDx officer.

Senior Brandon Young gave a speech entitled “One Voice, One Action. It makes all the difference.” In his speech, he reflected volunteering he had done to train a little boy with autism in soccer. He also spoke openly about his own life struggles such as living with ADHD and the lessons he has learned from his experiences.

Young advocated for making a change in the community by reaching out to those in need and making a positive impact on their lives.

Junior Kathy Rodriguez who attended though that it was an eye-opening experience.

“I thought it was inspiring to hear stories of people who have experienced life changing moments. The speeches made me look at many things from a new perspective too,” said Rodriguez.

“Our school is so diverse and there are all these different thoughts and ideas that everyone has, so we just try to bring that together in this club,”said Putcha.

According to the officers, the desired  outcome for the first official TEDx conference was to inspire audience members to share their stories and advocate for diversity in thought. Rodriguez confirmed that the conference did exactly that.

“I hope the audience will kind of have a deeper understanding of the world and themselves when they leave,” said Reddy.

TEDx club held first official conference in cafeteria last Friday.

Cardi B does it for the culture

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Cardi B makes her way to top spot of the rap game with the release of her debut album “Invasion of Privacy.” Photo courtesy of iTunes.

ess than a year after her rise to rap stardom with single, “Bodak Yellow,” Cardi B, the Bronx MC, released her debut album,  “Invasion of Privacy.”

When she announced her album release date my excitement and anticipation for the album was unbearable.

I remember listening to the first two singles “Bodak Yellow” and “Bartier Cardi” featuring 21 savage. Both of these singles were filled with an unapologetic attitude, hard-hitting lyrics and simple yet catchy production.

I built up a lot of hype surrounding her debut album and let’s just say the results were not disappointing.

The first track I listened to, which she released a week before, was “Be Careful,” where she raps about being in an unfaithful relationship and warning her partner to start taking her feelings into consideration.

The storytelling and vulnerability that Cardi showcases was a pleasant surprise. I think it was a smart choice to release this song before the album because people tend to always expect the attitude-filled, intimidating raps whereas this song had a different vibe that many women could relate to if they are going through any sort if strain in a relationship with a significant other.

In this track she also shows off her vocals, which were not unique, but still something new.

Cardi showcased her capability to present raw emotions through music in multiple tracks.

“Thru Your Phone,” was another more sentimental track talking about infidelity in a relationship.

Her other solo songs were also well constructed lyrically and production wise, such as the first track off the album, “Get Up 10.”

Cardi raps about her struggle of going from rags to riches over a mellow, simple beat that matches her aggressive, emotion filled tone.

Cardi’s ability to lyrically present situations in her life with a message to relate to her listeners is what makes her music so likeable and real.

To contrast to the more emotional songs, she still stays true to her aggressive, gangster like beats and raps that she came into the industry with.

Songs like “Money Bag” and “Bickenhead” are uplifting tracks that listeners can get down to and hype each other up.

From YG to SZA the album features some of the most well known rappers and r&b artists.

My least favorite collaboration was “Drip” featuring Migos, which just sounded like another Migos song with no lyricism or underlying message. Cardi still delivered on her part however she was overshadowed by the production and other three members of Migos.

The other collabs did redeem this disappointing track however, such as “She Bad” featuring YG,  “I Do” featuring SZA, “Best Life” featuring Chance the Rapper and “Ring” featuring Kehlani. Kehlani and SZA were perfect compliments to the album with their unique vocals and delivery.

Cardi also stays true to her latin roots through “I like it” featuring Bad Bunny and J Balvin who are some of the most popular latin music artist at the moment. The afro-caribbean beat and spanish lyrics had me dancing all throughout my living room.  

Cardi’s versatility throughout this album has landed her the top spot amongst female rappers. She came into the game with a carefree vibe and it shines through her latest piece of work.

She is not worried about what everyone else is doing  nor should she be because she is setting the tone with her music.

She has a distinct sound that sets her apart from other mainstream female rappers. She does not go out of her way to try impress instead she goes into the studio, raps about what she wants to while staying true to her character and the simplicity behind it all is what makes it work so well.

 

Boys varsity recovering from a slump

The boys varsity basketball team is not going down without a fight. With a current record of 3-5 in the De Anza League and 8-12 overall, the team must get a record of 6-6 in their league to qualify for CCS.

The team has five games left in the season, including the last game they played against Mountain View this past Wednesday that resulted in a win.

With the few remaining games left in the season, the boys varsity team have a slim chance of making it to CCS. Given that they are in the De Anza League, which consists of some of the best teams in the area.

Senior captain Joshua Anderson said that initially they thought they were going to be an outstanding team and he said he thinks that they still have a chance to reach that potential.

“The season definitely hasn’t gone the way we wanted it to,” Anderson said. “[However], I definitely think we have the capability of being a great team.”

When the team loses a game and a teammate feels discouraged both Anderson and senior captain Brendan Kane agreed that they have to be the leading voice to uplift their teammates’ spirits so they can do better next game.

However, the team morale has been low, with players not putting 100 percent of their effort into the game because of the initial constant losses, which have now resulted in a narrower chance at qualifying for CCS, Anderson said.

Despite this rocky patch in their season, Kane and Anderson said they are hopeful that the team will pull through and give it their all until it is numerically impossible to continue.

“We are still going to keep fighting everyday,” Anderson said. “I think even though it’s not looking great right now we can definitely turn it around.”

Kane said that the team has been adjusting practices so that they can improve on their offensive and defensive game and do better against these challenging teams.

“If they play a zone defense or a man defense we’ll change and adapt [how we play],” Kane said.

Head coach Shawn Hook said since the team is in their second round of league games they have seen many of the teams before and are confident that they can beat some of the teams that they lost to in close games.

Hook said that with four games left, the varsity team definitely has the capacity to turn this season around. Only three out of their next four games must be won to qualify for CCS, which now seems likely.

“It’s gonna be a hard fight but it’s one that we want and it’s going to be extremely rewarding when we do make CCS,” said Hook. “So I’ll be really happy and proud of [the team].”

‘War & Leisure’ wins the battle

M iguel, R&B/soul artist, has been under the radar since he released his last album, “Wildheart.” However, his newest work might propel him into the stardom he’s always deserved.

Not only has Miguel resurrected the true meaning of R&B/soul music in “War & Leisure,” he has rejuvenated the genre as a whole.

The newer, fresher, more original sound that shines in his eclectic music, through modern production and soulful vocals fills the gap in R&B music right now. His unique melodies and  ad-libs reveal his one-of-a-kind artistry.

Miguel released his latest album, “War & Leisure” last Friday Dec. 1.

Although, he blends rock, hip-hop and electronic sounds, there is the hint of familiarity in Miguel’s music attributable to R&B.

The versatility that Miguel has shown in this album leads the listener through a range of contagious emotions. I was already snapping my fingers and dancing to the smooth beat of “Pineapple Skies” not even two tracks in.

In the ninth track, “Caramelo Duro,” Miguel showed off his spanish singing skills in a collaboration with up and coming Colombian artist Kali Uchis. The funky beat and sexy vocals had me moving my hips as well.

In addition to the groovy songs on the album, there were also more laid-back tracks such as “Come Through and Chill,” featuring J.Cole and Salaam Remi. The subtle sample vocals in the background complimented his effortless singing in the chorus in a way that cleared my mind and filled the room with a vibe that only Miguel can convey.

This album is exactly what has been missing in the R&B/soul genre. The way in which Miguel’s voice blended in with the tracks in this record was enough for me to channel the emotions he was singing with.

The endless experimentation in his music reveals the  uniqueness to his sound that is unparalleled right now. He pushes the R&B boundaries, but never loses the genre’s vibe.

Miguel is bringing a whole new energy to his music that makes it more than enjoyable. It is the simplistic lyrics, effortless vocals and intricate production that will have people playing this album on repeat.

Animal Welfare Club hosts guest speaker

Animal Welfare Club (AWC) hosted guest speaker Dr. Denise Johnsen from Adobe Animal Hospital on Dec. 1 at their last meeting of the semester.

The officers and members learned about the role of a veterinarian in an animal hospital.

AWC end the semester with an informative meeting and look forward to the future of the club. Photo Courtesy of Helen Wang.

Johnsen said, she specializes in working with small animals, and informed the club of the different pathways one can take to become a veterinarian and also shared her experience at veterinary school and finding a job.

“Once you get into vet school you’ll find that there’s a variety of jobs,” Johnsen said.

Johnson said she gained experience working with animals by volunteering in high school and joining a pre-veterinary club in college. She also emphasized the importance of finding the right people to work with.

“Connections can be really important,” Johnsen said.  “[Figuring] out who might be a good person to work with … can be a great reference for you when trying to get into whatever program you want to get into.”

Johnsen said her favorite part about working at Adobe Animal Hospital is talking to pet owners that come in and hearing their pet stories.

President and senior Natalie Tarn said she thought the guest speaker was helpful for members in the club that are looking to enter the veterinary workforce.

“[Listening to the guest speaker] gives them an opportunity to become a vet and know what to do,” Tarn said.

Vice President and sophomore Gabrielle Darisme said she agreed with Tarn on the importance of  aspiring veterinarians to receive more insight on the career. Darisme said it is important for members to know what a veterinary career entails before going to college, and seeing the daily life of working in a veterinary hospital.

This opportunity also helped the officers of AWC reflect on what they want to do in the future involving animal welfare.

Tarn and AWC Activities Director Catherine Cho said that they are both hoping to pursue a career that involves working with animals, either domestically or in the wilderness.

The officers also explained why they are passionate about the topic of animal welfare.

“I think it’s important to advocate for these issues because animal welfare isn’t something usually discussed,” Secretary Treasurer Helen Wang said.  

AWC is looking forward to hosting more events next year, including volunteer opportunities and fundraisers to raise money for animal charities affected by the recent natural disasters, Wang said.

 

AP statistics classes under investigation

Over the past two weeks, an ongoing investigation of two AP Statistics classes has been occurring, regarding an incident where students were caught cheating on an exam.

AP statistics teacher Angie Esswein declined an interview on the situation but did comment on her initial reaction.

“Cheating on a test can feel like betrayal to a teacher after one works hard to write fair and accurate assessments and teaches the material that is covered on the test,” Esswein said.

After one student took a picture of a ¨cheat sheet¨ they created with answers to the test, it was sent to a group of students on various social media platforms, who then proceeded to continue to spread the image. Some students used the cheat sheet to prepare for the exam, while others chose to ignore it.

Word eventually got out to administration, which has identified all the students who were involved and given out consequences to these students, AP statistics students Sidney Cheung and Sylvie Xu said.  

Dean Steven Puccinelli said that with cases like these, the administration usually looks at whether it is their first offense. Then it is his job to talk to the student about academic integrity and what consequences they will be facing.

For first offense students, the consequences vary from a zero on the assignment or test to a student’s semester grade being lowered a full letter grade, or even suspension from school depending on the extent of the violation, according to the FUHSD Academic Honesty Policy.

In situations like this one, all students who were involved in any way were ultimately found at fault and given certain consequences depending on the extent of their involvement, Puccinelli said.

Xu was sent the photo by a classmate in a group chat, but denies using it for the test.

¨We all try really hard for this class … and the fact remains we did not cheat and they did not believe us,¨ Xu said.

Puccinelli gave more insight on integrity and how it has to be upheld from multiple perspectives which makes it difficult to trust what the student says.

¨Even if a student denies it … the integrity of the test is compromised [we] cannot trust that this is your information,¨ Puccinelli said.

Xu will be facing consequences regardless because she came into contact with the photo and for the fact that she knew about the situation but failed to report it, Xu said. This is in line with the protocol that Puccinelli described.

Puccinelli said when a student has knowledge of a violation of academic integrity they should report it because then they will also be found at fault.

Xu’s grade will be lowered a whole letter grade. Sbe believes the consequences are unfair and alternatives should have been put in place for those who did not cheat.

“We offered alternatives…we [were] willing to take the test [again],”Xu said.  

Puccinelli said that the only person can truly know what happened is the student themselves and he described the meaning of academic integrity.

¨Integrity is about being able to look at yourself and know in your own heart if you’re doing right or wrong,¨ Puccinelli said.

STEM fair offers beneficial information to students

Photo by Gianella Ordonez
College and university representatives presented their schools to the many attending students.

The Silicon Valley STEM College and Career Fair took place this past weekend on Sunday. Many students and parents attended to learn about various colleges, programs and careers in STEM.

Colleges and universities from across America and overseas were present to give more insight on their specific STEM programs for aspiring students looking to study and build a career in a the STEM field.

“Today we are here because we have a heavy focus on STEM as a university,” Admissions Counselor of University of Texas at Arlington, Shola Ijoyah, said.

Ijoyah thought the students attending the fair were on the right path.

“STEM jobs are really the jobs of the future,” Ijoyah said.

The college representatives were open to answering many questions from students and giving information on programs that met students’ needs. The various colleges and universities present opened the door for students to learn more about schools that are not as well-known as other big-name universities.

“School is about getting the best fit for you. Not necessarily being attached to a big name … but actually seeing whether or not they have your program and making sure the university can deliver,” Ijoyah said.

Ijoyah also had advice for students attending college and career fairs. It is important for students to draw the line between what they intend to study in college and the job they’ll be doing after graduation, he said.

He also believes the most important part of college is about building relationships that would manifest themselves into different career opportunities, Ijoyah said.

Students in attendance learned about the basic requirements for the subjects they want to study and the prerequisites that are needed to get into their college or university of interest.

Junior John Jolly attended the STEM fair and said he learned about the subjects he wanted to study and career field he was hoping to pursue, and had a great experience.

“[These colleges] have been giving me very vivid information” Jolly said.

Another student, junior David Shepard, had his mind set on specific schools to get information from, but said he was introduced to schools he didn’t know much about.

“I got to see a lot of schools I didn’t actually know I wanted to see, but they turned out to be good options,” Shepard said.

Shepard felt that with the field he is interested in, attending this STEM fair and seeing the different colleges was a good opportunity, he said.

The HHS College and Career Advisor Mary Lund recommends these fairs to HHS students so they can obtain information necessary about their colleges of interest and come into contact with someone within the admissions office.

“The admissions rep is someone who would probably read your application so it’s always good to make a face to face connection with somebody like that … [and] get the updated, pertinent information from those universities,” Lund said.

The colleges and universities track the interest of students when they attend these fairs. Students fill out a card that shows they had a visit with the college, which demonstrates to them the student is interested, Lund said.

The National College fair program sets up these college and career fairs across America to help students determine the qualities they are looking for in a college or university. There are upcoming dates for fairs in the Bay Area free and open to the general public on their website, nacacfairs.org.

ASL aims to amplify awareness

The third most used language in the US is sign language, according to Senior Avani Modak, American Sign Language (ASL) Club president. It’s one of the many fun facts she has picked up from being part of the club since freshman year.

ASL Club teaches sign language to members and provides many opportunities for involvement with the deaf community.

American Sign Language Club teaches sign language to their members with the utilization of fun activities such as field trips and movie socials.

“We just want to expose people to the language and make them more interested in it,” said Modak. “We think that it’s a part of American culture that’s been ignored in the past, so bringing this really big language to the forefront is our goal.”

ASL secretary Celine Yiu agrees with this message. “It’s really important to be able to reach out to people of all sorts of backgrounds, especially people with certain disabilities, like people who are deaf,” Yiu said.

The club aims to bring more awareness, educate on ASL and the deaf community by introducing members to the language in a fun way. ASL Club is hosting movie socials where members can bond over a film in sign language while eating pizza and hanging out. Another upcoming event in April is Deaf Week where ASL Club will have booths and speakers in the quad to educate HHS about ASL and deaf issues.

The officers feel it is important to be more inclusive  to unite the deaf community with the rest of the hearing world.

“You hear these stories of people who feel like they’re by themselves and like they can’t communicate with anyone.” Yiu said. “And then one other person knows sign language and they feel like they’re listened to. We want to make more people feel heard.”

Along with teaching sign language to new members, ASL Club wants to organize a field trip to a nearby deaf school in Fremont, the California School for the Deaf. Modak, who has taken sign language classes at De Anza College, wants to show the importance of interacting with those whose native language is ASL.

“I think just being exposed to a whole new set of people [is the best part of learning sign language]. Modak said. “I’ve met so many people that I wouldn’t have been able to meet otherwise because I wouldn’t have spoken their language.”