HHS clubs host Green Fair to inform about sustainability

T
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.

Model UN competes in large conference at Berkeley

20  members of the HHS Model United Nations club attended a competitive conference March 2-4 at UC Berkeley. Berkeley MUN is one of the largest conferences the club attends annually.

There are over 2,500 people that attend the conference, which includes high school students, international students and middle schoolers, club officer and junior Michael Wallerius said. 

MUN club spent the weekend competing at large Berkeley conference.

“What Model UN does is it mimics the UN, so the way procedure works in the UN is the same way procedure worked [at BMUN],” officer and junior Dan Cohen said.

For BMUN, the participants had to write a 10-page research paper on their country, Wallerius said. The paper had to include background information, current policies, what the  members plan on doing, or arguing, during the conference and why they plan on doing it.

Cohen and partner Wallerius did very well at BMUN representing Iraq, club Vice President Kary Wang said. They “gaveled,” which is the MUN equivalent of getting first place.

“I think it is important to get feedback from the people running [MUN conferences],” Wallerius said. “One of the reasons we were able to win best delegate was because we took feedback from the chairs after each session.”

The main difficulty with conferences like BMUN is the size, which can lead to less participation by members of MUN, junior and club member Mira Khosla said.

“There were a little less than 200 students in the lecture hall with me. This meant that everything was a little more chaotic and that the students in charge had to put in a lot more effort to keep things running smoothly,” Khosla said.

Contrasting Khosla’s view of the conference, some members believe the size is more exciting because of all of the different opinions and the large debates, Cohen said.

Overall, Wang said, HHS MUN members performed very well.

“I am very proud of the amount of preparation, intellectual discussion, public speaking skills, and more that each of our delegates displayed,” Wang said.

Class teams assemble for anticipated annual school rivalry

Battle of the Classes is approaching quickly and the teams are in the midst of preparing for the events that this spirit week includes.  The events are powderpuff football games, cheer-offs, dance-offs, and rally events. Each event is a competition between the four classes at HHS.

As for preparations, the rally athlete teams have not begun practice. Rally athlete practice only happens at scheduled times when all teams practice together, junior rally athlete Julien Kehon said. Any outside practice for these teams can result in a disqualification.

Powderpuff football, dance and cheer have been practicing on the baseball fields during lunch and as BOTC week is coming closer, final preparations are intensifying for the highly anticipated event, senior and member of the class of 2018’s cheer team Amarali Marashifar said.

“Time is going by really fast so we are kind of starting to run out of time but we can still get everything done,” sophomore dancer Sasha Oberman said regarding the class of 2020’s dance team’s preparations.

The 2018 cheer team has learned a majority of their routine and feels prepared for the spirit week, Marashifar said. They are all energetic and excited to perform for the school.

Marashifar is a member of the Powderpuff cheer team, and described the Class of 2018’s loss last year as “a nightmare.”

“Quoting a mediocre artist, Big Sean: ‘Last night took an L, but tonight I bounce back’ is what the Class of 2018 is trying to make a reality,” Marashifar said.

On the other hand, junior rally athlete Sunny Arattukulam is looking to claim the trophy for the Class of 2019 after last year’s misread of the winner.

“Since last year we were robbed for the win, we all are trying to get revenge. So we are pretty hyped for this year,” Arattukulam said.

Speech and Debate attends Stanford Competition

Members of the HHS Speech and Debate Club attended a competition at Stanford University Feb. 9-11. 17 students participated in the competition and many of them placed extremely well, club member and junior Govind Menon said.

The Stanford Invitational is the largest and one of the most competitive tournaments that the club will attend this year, club president and junior Noah Thurm said.

Stanford is our biggest tournament of the year, with 283 schools from 28 states and 6 countries competing,” Thurm said.

Thurm and his partner, junior Eric Cheng, participated in the Parliamentary event.  They went through three elimination rounds, and made it to Octafinals, the round before quarter finals.

There were two different types of debate: Parliamentary, which is a partner event with a tight 20 minute preparation period and Lincoln-Douglas debate, which is a solo event that involves a 10-15 page case, Menon said.

“The best way to practice debate, in my opinion, is to actually debate with others and gain knowledge from opponents,” Menon said.

Menon and his partner junior Valerie Hu placed in quarterfinals for the Parliamentary event, placing in top eight out of 131 teams.

I became a better speaker that weekend, and developed stronger opinions about certain issues such as the government shutdowns and debt ceiling, standardized testing, and public versus private prisons,” Hu said.

Economics competition continues reeling in students

The Economics Club was formed on campus recently to unite students who love economics as well as to help students prepare for the Economics Challenge, senior Rithika Srinivasan, a member of the Club, said.  

In the Economics Challenge, commonly known as EconChallenge, teams from across the state and country compete to become nationally recognized.

The categories that the team must be knowledgeable in include micro-economics (business and personal decisions), macroeconomics (how countries make decisions on a nationwide level) and current international relations, Srinivasan said.  

In order to compete at a higher level, teams must first take an online qualifying exam.  The top five teams from each region then move on to state championships. From there, teams progress to competing at national level, Srinivasan said.

During these competitions, teams are tested on their knowledge in a variety of ways; this includes a quiz bowl round and multiple online tests.

In 2017, two teams from HHS (“Geekonomics” and “Spice and Rice”) attended the EconChallenge, and both ended up placing at both state and national level.

This year, two students from each previous team, Srinivasan and senior Rebecca Zhu, are joining to form one of the 2018 teams.

The team spends multiple months ensuring they will be well prepared for the various tests given to them, Srinivasan said.

“Our team uses the Barron’s book and this website called ACEC Economics … they have a lot of really good graphs and equations and just really good information,” Zhu said regarding their preparations for EconChallenge.

This year the team would like to improve their overall communication compared to last year, Srinivasan and Zhu said, good communication is vital for performance as a team.

If one is interested in economics, the EconChallenge is a great opportunity for anyone to join in and have fun while learning about the subject, Srinivasan said.

Spotlight: Speech and Debate Club

 

Public speaking is a tricky thing to master. Thankfully, there are clubs created to help students with speaking such as Speech and Debate Club. This club helps others improve their public speaking skills and gives opportunities to compete against other schools.

Speech and Debate club has been a small part of Mustang life for many years, but was brought back with more intensity in 2012.  

This club is open to all, and there are no tryouts, which is meant to encourage all kinds of students to join, Club President Noah Thurm said.  Students with no public speaking experience are welcomed as equally as students who have been avid public speakers for years.

Members of speech and debate regularly attend meetings and workshops in order to improve their public speaking and prepare for competitions, which occur throughout the year.  Competitions happen multiple times in a school year and include a variety of events, so everyone can find something they like.

“We offer six to seven speech or debate events the people can join. We have meetings here where we teach them and help them learn how to do the event,” Thurm said.

The club has different types of events that club members can participate in. Thurm takes part in more complex events where participants are not given their topic awhile beforehand and only have about 20 minutes to prepare their debate. The judges give the contestant a topic that is highly profiled in the media and the contestant must adamantly discuss his or her stance on the topic.

These events and workshops that Speech and Debate Club provide help students expand their knowledge and better prepare for the future. This club is devoted to helping young students to learn the art of public speaking.

Model UN’s biggest event of the year

The HHS Model United Nations (MUN) club attended a conference at Stanford University for the first time. This conference lasted a total of three days, from Nov. 10-12. 16 MUN members attended.

The Stanford Model UN Conference (SMUNC) is one of the largest conferences that HHS MUN has attended, MUN President Mary Wang said.

A variety of HHS MUN members received awards at SMUNC.

Some of the major differences between collegiate conferences like this one and local high school MUN conferences are the size and amount of people involved.

Since this conference was large, a variety of people were involved.  Besides the HHS MUN club, there were people who came in from both out-of-state and out-of-country.  

The importance and size of this conference led to considerable amounts of preparation for MUN. “Sign-ups for the conference closed at the end of the previous school year,” Mary Wang said and the club has been preparing ever since.

To prepare for large conferences like these, workshops are held in order to help students improve their public speaking, researching and debate skills, Director of Internal Affairs Michael Wang said.

About a month before the conference, “each [student] gets a country or person that and then they will represent that country or person in a specific committee,” Mary Wang said.

Next, students are given time to research, pick a position and write a position paper based on the research which they then brought to the conference, Mary Wang said.

It is difficult to compare Stanford to past conferences because every conference varies, Wang said. New topics are given at every conference and the size of each committee differs greatly.  

Overall, the conference was a great learning experience, Michael Wang said, but there were both pros and cons involved.  

HHS MUN had a limited amount of people that could be brought to the conference.  A maximum of 20 people were able to be brought to Stanford, which meant limited learning opportunities for students, Mary Wang said.

The experience that was gained at this conference was memorable because it was so different from past conferences, Mary Wang said.   

“About half of the people that went won awards … and I’d say that a lot of people really liked [the conference],” Vice President Kary Wang said.

The award winners are junior Nathaniel Wright, junior Aarya Gupta, junior Thomas Dudley, sophomore Noa Bronicki, senior Ryan Wu and sophomore Naomi Ho.

College information fair held for all students

Photo by Laurel Schmidt
A large variety of students came to the college fair, ranging from freshmen to seniors.

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variety of colleges came to the HHS cafeteria from out-of-state for a college informational fair on Nov. 29.  Around 20 colleges from all over the country, including both private and public schools, were represented at this event.

Booths were spread around the edge of the cafeteria, with representatives at each open to answering student questions regarding their college or university.  Questions varied from what is unique about this campus to how easy is it to change majors.  

Schools also provided flyers and pamphlets including information such as campus life, demographics and majors offered.

This college fair is significant because it exposes students to smaller, lesser-known schools that they may have not even thought to apply to originally.  “Not every student has the means to go out of state to visit colleges, so it’s very nice to have them come visit you,” representative of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Christopher Williams said.

The factor that makes this college fair unique and set it apart from past college events is the grades of the students that were invited.  Typical college events are only open to upperclassmen, but this fair welcomed students of all grades, according to past college events listed on Naviance.

It is important that students start getting information about college as early as freshmen year in order to make sure their options are open when it comes time to apply to colleges.  “By the time I get kids in my [junior year] literature class… they [say] oh… my options are really limited,” English and AVID teacher James Ratti said.

“I think that [this college fair] is exceptionally helpful,” freshman Gabrielle Milne said.  

It was mandatory for Milne, along with the rest of HHS’ AVID students, to attend this event.  Mandatory attendance was implemented to help reveal opportunities that they may have not known about before an event like this, Ratti said.

Club spotlight: Mock Trial

Motivated students take part in Mock Trial in hopes of bringing justice to all.

Mock Trial is one of the many clubs around campus that competes at conventions. The team is given a case and prepare arguments for their side with their attorneys and witnesses in time for competition season. This rigorous club helps aspiring lawyers get a little taste of what a future in law may hold. This year, the case in question is a murder trial revolving around liberals versus conservatives.   

Tryouts are held in the beginning of the year and students that seem best fit for the team are recruited. The Mock Trial team is a very committed and motivated group of students, Mock Trial Adviser Susan Wilson said.

The team works for six months on one controversial case, such as the murder trial this year. This murder occurred in an immigration rally involving the protection of hate speech, a current problem in the world today.

The team devotes over three hours a week on Fridays until February when competition season begins.

During these weekly meetings, students are trained by attorney coaches who help prepare each student for the upcoming scrimmages and competitions. The main competition the Mock Trial attends is in the San Jose Superior Court, which is held mid-January this year.

Wilson said the whole experience for the team is very similar to what happens inside a real courtroom.   

“In a real courtroom with a real judge … real lawyers score the kids on everything from public speaking, how they raise objects to how believable our witnesses are [and] if we are dressed in proper courtroom attire,” Wilson said.

Mock Trial is more than just a basic competition club, it is a group of determined students hoping to learn and help others. These students have been working very hard and will hopefully bring a win to HHS.