Post high school decisions

Seniors will face graduation in less than two months. Here are a handful who have rough or solid ideas of what they wish to do after high school.



Slang Word of the Month: ‘Tea’

‘Tea.’ A three letter word that was once just a simple hot cup of water with herbs, is now a commonly

English teacher Steve Lavelle mistakes the word ‘tea’ as a verb. Illustration by Avalon Allen.

known slang word referring to gossip.

According to Merriam Webster, the word’s popularity and common use is owed to the drag culture. With all of the hustle and bustle in the drag world, there is loads of gossip to go around, requiring drag queens to create a slang term.

The most common usage of ‘tea’ is by saying “spill the tea,” meaning “spill the gossip.”

However teenagers’ prone laziness in this century has given the alternative spelling of ‘tea,’ simply using the letter ‘T.’

Though many teenagers are aware of ‘tea’ as a slang word, a special HHS staff member is not.

“Tea is used as a slang word when you say I ‘TEA-D’ you. It means you are pouring a hot cup of tea over someone’s head,” English teacher Steve Lavelle said.

Rated out of 10, Lavelle gives this word a very poor score with a negative three.

“My feelings toward the word are ambivalent because tea is a boring drink,” Lavelle said.

Lavelle also adds that he rarely uses the word even in a normal context because he never drinks tea.

The first usage of ‘tea’ was in the 1990s. Lavelle, however, claims he heard the word long before.

“I was in my mother’s womb and she was having a tea party with friends,” Lavelle said. “I heard the phrase, ‘pass the tea, please,’ so I was born with the word in my mind.”

For a slang word, ‘tea’ has stuck around for a long time. Many question how long it will take for the word to wear off.

“As long as it takes to dry the tea on your shirt!” Lavelle said.

SNHS club members reach out to hospitalized children


SNHS club members make cards in Spanish to connect with hospitalized children. Photo by Eileen Chih.

Spanish Club / Spanish National Honor Society members came together last Saturday to make cards in Spanish for children in children’s hospital. Spanish Club president, senior Ali Farinas said they make and send the cards in hopes of making the days better for the children on the receiving end.

“We work with an organization called Cards for Hospitalized Kids, and we send the cards there and they distribute them in hospitals,” Farinas said. “We just want to help kids and make their day a little bit better.”

Activities director Alex Pavel said club members write the cards in Spanish for different seasons and holidays, and it brightens their day, especially if they receive them around Christmas time.

“They might not know any English, so writing them in Spanish will make it feel like they belong somewhere, like people care about them,” Pavel said.

Senior club member Michelle Fung said this event is different because they get to make cards for kids in a hospital and writing it in their language not only helps members practice Spanish, but also helps the children feel better.

“I think it’s really cool because I don’t speak Spanish at home but getting to experience more of the culture through the club is really fun,” Fung said.

Senior Hannah Moslemy said she has participated in a card-making event before and thought it was a great way to show kids in hospitals that people care about them.

“I think that it’s something really special to them because it is in their native language so I think it would be a lot more meaningful to them,” Moslemy said.

Secretary, junior Sophia Palmerin said she enjoys being able to reach out and give the hospitalized children support.

“I actually really like the fact that we’re in a way communicating with people that aren’t really advantaged with support,” Palmerin said. “The fact that they get cards to give them support, just feeling better, that just satisfies me.”

Indopak club prepares for dance showcase

Sapnay gives Indopak a chance to provide money for charities and spread awareness of Indian and Pakistani culture through dance. Photo courtesy of Nikhil Kulkarni.

Indopak is an Indian-Pakistani dance club at HHS. They host many dance events throughout the year and participate in competitions and showcases in the Bay Area.

Every year,  Indopak hosts a dance showcase called Sapnay. On top of the six dance teams from Indopak, nearby schools can also participate in the annual showcase.

This year, Sapnay will be held on May 19 in the large gym, and the proceeds from the show will be donated to the charity Akshaya Patra.

“What we aim to do is raise money to provide money for charities and spread cultural awareness of Indian-Pakistani dance through the performances,” co-president Nikhil Kulkarni said.

This year is Indopak’s 18th year of Sapnay. The night starts with Indopak introducing themselves and the officers describing their club, Kulkarni said. This year, a representative from Akshaya Patra will speak about the charity itself after officer introductions. From there, MC’s will take over the show and introduce each performance from their respective schools.

The process of preparing for Sapnay starts with live auditions from local high schools that want to participate in this event. Indopak then chooses performers from other schools based on auditions. The schools for this year’s Sapnay are still to be decided, though six teams from HHS are definitely participating, Kulkarni said.

Indopak has 12 teams in the club that all dance a different type of Indian-Pakistani dance. The six that will be participating will be Windian, the senior dance group, Bhangra, a high intensity dance team, Film, whch is comprised of Bollywood dance, Raas, a dance involving dandiya sticks, classical dance and a teacher’s dance.

“We’ve also managed to plan out lights and projectors and sounds … especially with budgeting, [we’re] making sure we have enough money to provide for the next year as well as provide a sizeable donation for charity,” Kulkarni said.

Kulkarni said the show will raise money by raffling off several gift baskets worth up to $50. They also plan to sell samosas during intermission.

Ingah describes her life before teaching

Spanish teacher Lidia Ingah was born in Mallorca, an island in the Mediterranean Sea part of Spain.

“I was born and raised there, and I even went to the university there,” Ingah said.

Ingah said her childhood on Mallorca consisted of very fun and peaceful memories.

“We could just decide to jump outside and meet our friends at the beach,” Ingah said. “It was a lot of fun.”

When she was in elementary school, Ingah said there was a child with a speech impediment, and her time spent helping him be more comfortable with talking inspired her to pursue an education degree in college.

“There was this boy that always stuttered when he talked, but the teacher realized that whenever he was with me, he could talk normally,” Ingah said. “To be able to help him gain confidence really inspired me.”

Ingah was inspired to become a teacher when realizing how much she helped her classmate. Photo courtesy of Lidia Ingah.

Ingah said she met her husband when she was visiting her sister who was studying in the United States. Eventually, because her husband was an engineer, Ingah decided to move to the Silicon Valley.

Although Ingah said she had been learning English as a part of her studies while in Spain, she could not hold conversations because the language was taught so literally.

Ingah’s brother is an engineer living in Japan and her sister is an translator living in Santa Cruz. Photo courtesy of Lidia Ingah.

“It was really hard for me to talk with people and I felt like a child,” Ingah said. “I was always taught through fill-in-the-blank tests and memorizing vocabulary.”

Through this experience, Ingah said she was influenced to teach differently.

“I stress teaching with actual conversations rather than just vocabulary memorizing and translations,” Ingah said. “There should be chances for the students to actually use the phrases and things they learned.”

Prior to coming to HHS, Ingah said she also taught Spanish at other schools and organizations.

“It’s my fourth year [at HHS], and I really love the environment here,” Ingah said. “All the students are so willing to learn and understand the culture, and I really love that.”

Ingah said the advantages of being multilingual opens doors to more opportunities, both culturally and job-wise.

“If you know another language, there are much more opportunities for work, especially knowing Spanish in this area,” Ingah said. “Also, you can much better understand the people and needs of a different culture if you know the language.”

In her free time, Ingah said she likes to hang out and socialize with her friends, especially at coffee shops, and go on trips with her family.

“I really love traveling. I try to save as much money as I can and visit other countries. But the most important is visiting my family back in Mallorca,” Ingah said. “I want my boys to understand their culture and heritage.”

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.

Phone cases for self-expression

Mustangs express their unique qualities through phone cases. Click on the images to read more, and scroll down to find links to some of these cases and accessories.

Where to find:

Bob Peck: teacher, husband, father

Former FUHSD teacher Bob Peck passed away on Jan. 30 after a battle with cancer. Peck is remembered by students and staff for his humorous personality and ability to connect with students, as well as for volunteering his time to audio and visual related activities in most events on campus.

Peck was born on July 10, 1946 in Baltimore, MD. His family then settled in Saratoga, where Peck attended and graduated from Saratoga High School, according to a Facebook statement posted by his family. Peck then enlisted in the army, where he served in Korea as a first lieutenant, and later graduated from Menlo College with a Bachelor of Science.

Peck worked many hands-on jobs before teaching, such as wood carving and electrical work, according to teacher Marjie Fischer. He eventually became a teacher at HHS and other Bay Area schools, teaching career technical education electives that were designed to provide students with an opportunity to explore potential job options.

Peck taught the film, TV and video class and developed daily video announcements on campus. Aside from that, he volunteered in working on audio and visual displays for football games at Mustang Field and made sure the graduation live feed was up and streaming for the community.

Teacher Edmond Kwong knew Peck through collaboration in teaching career technical education electives and became friends through their similar interests in video and photography. Kwong recounted Peck’s ability to connect with students that had trouble relating to peers or adults.

“ … he [did] have a very very personal soft side of him,” Kwong said. “I know because I’d always admired how he reached some of the students that are hard to reach. He could reach difficult students better than anybody I know, certainly better than me.”

Kwong also described him as someone who was very straightforward and was honest with his opinions and perspective.

“He didn’t say anything he doesn’t need just to make you feel better, so I appreciate that,” Kwong said.

Former HHS student David Gelovani remembered Peck as having a contagious laugh and a sense of humor. He recalled hearing stories from his friends about Peck and the influence he made on them. Paraeducator Marjie Fischer also recognized Peck’s humor and wit.

“He was always very positive and happy, I mean he really was … he had just a really great sense of humor and [he was] a great storyteller,” Fischer said.

Fischer met Peck through special education students and other students who took Peck’s class and later got to know his wife through her job as well. She recalls the inspiration Peck gave kids to do many things instead of being so specialized in one thing.

“He [was] always filming,” Fischer said. “You see why film and TV became his love because it was his love and his passion because he was able to teach kids what you can have when you combine your passion and the things you love doing and parlay that into a career.”

Peck taught at HHS for five years and left in 2014 after a career of teaching and much more. Not long after that, Peck was diagnosed with cancer and passed away on Jan. 30 at age 71, according to his family. A memorial was held at Saratoga Federated Church on Feb. 5 for family, friends and colleagues. Peck is survived by his wife, Julia, his four children and three grandchildren.

Teacher feature: the classrooms

FNHS shows appreciation for teachers

French club members volunteer at the Teacher Appreciation Crepe Breakfast.

FNHS officers and members arrived to school early on Jan. 29 for the Teacher Appreciation Crepe Breakfast to serve crepes and show their appreciation for teachers.

Co-presidents Timothy Kim and Noa Khen said that the event was about appreciating teachers as well as promoting French culture.

“It’s like we’re introducing the French culture as well to the teachers at the school, so it’s almost like we’re raising awareness both for the club and for the teachers at the same time,” Kim said.

Khen said that the French club has many crepe socials and they decided to incorporate it into an event.

“After school, the members of the club make crepes for themselves and they really like it,” Khen said. “So if we could combine that with volunteering and appreciating our teachers, that’s what this event is.”

The Teacher Appreciation Crepe Breakfast is one of the club’s largest events where club members and club officers put together crepes for teachers to enjoy. FNHS Activities Director Divya Ramamoorthy said that her favorite event that FNHS organizes is the teacher appreciation event.

“All of the teachers really love it, and the event really captures the aspect of FNHS that helps better the Homestead community,” Ramamoorthy said.

Junior club member Thanh Luong said that she attended this event last year and decided to do it again because of the response from teachers that received crepes.

“Everyone kept on saying thank you to us and they seemed really happy that we were giving them crepes,” Luong said.

How John Burn ignited his career

As both a graduate of and teacher at HHS, John Burn has always been involved in music, Burn said.

“I graduated from Homestead and then I went to De Anza [College] for two years,” Burn said. “I just tried to play my trumpet as much as I could.”

By taking advantage of every opportunity, Burn cemented his career and college experience. He filled his free time practicing and finding new techniques to improve his skills as a musician, Burn said.

Teacher John Burn’s life circled back to music from graduation to teaching.

“When I went to college, I studied music education,” Burn said. “I wanted to teach music sometime in the future.”

Following his passion, Burn put in the work to excel at his career. Originally, he went into band because he wanted to present amazing music and bring out the best out of student musicians, he said.

“Music education is a really time-consuming major,” Burn said. “I had more classes than most of my friends who weren’t music majors.”

After graduating from UCLA, Burn said he went to work as a band director at Santa Cruz High School with relative ease.

“If you become [a teacher], you are going to have a 90 percent chance of getting a job,” Burn said. “We are in a teacher shortage and it will remain that way for a long time.”

Burn said the transition from teaching at Santa Cruz High School to HHS was not as easy as he anticipated.

“There were still a lot of teachers that were my teachers,” Burn said.

Burn said coming back to the high school he graduated from took time to adjust to, but eventually managed to calibrate into the system.

“I just felt strange being Mr. Burn instead of just John,” he said. “Of course that [has] changed over time.”

Over the years as an educator, Burn said he learned new teaching philosophies.

“I’m a teacher first and a musician second,” Burn said. “I use music to teach kids, to help kids have amazing experiences that are going to give them skills and memories that will help them succeed in life.”