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.

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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.”

 

Class of 2018 cuts loose at Panther Beach

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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.

 

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.”

The incurable disease of senioritis

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here reaches a point in every teen’s life when one realizes their high school is ending. This is called senioritis, and it might as well be an actual, clinical disease.

The early symptoms seem normal. Hitting the submit button on the last college application and beginning to hear back from schools is definitely an incredible feeling.

But the moment I officially committed to the University of Montana, I began thinking less about high school and more about my future and how different my life will be in five months. That’s when senioritis hit me. And, for me, it’s terminal.

Long before my self-diagnosis, I found myself often bored after school. It was hard to get motivated, especially as second semester approached.

So, I took the matters of motivation into my own hands and found myself doing stuff that I actually enjoy. I figured if I found motivation for other things in life, such as a part-time job, school would come easier. However, the opposite occurred.

And that’s when the symptoms really flared up.

Symptom 1: prioritizing sleep over homework.

I don’t get much sleep anymore because I often work late. The loss of sleep makes me lose even more motivation for school. And as a result, I began prioritizing sleep over homework.

Years ago, I would never have even let that thought cross my mind, especially not in junior year.

Symptom 2: excessive tardiness.

As a freshman, I always made sure to show up at least 10 minutes early to school. For the rare times I was late, I would basically get a sick feeling in my gut that lasted all day long.

But now, when I wake up late, since I already know I’m late to class, rather than rushing, I take my time and have a huge breakfast or grab a cup of coffee before sauntering in under the 30 minute “truant tardy” cutoff.

Senioritis is not all bad, however. Experiencing the “disease” has been a learning opportunity for me. Through my job, I have effectively learned how to work on a team and have come to value the significance of a good work ethic. These are skills I could actually apply to my later life and that will help me in the future.

Senioritis allows students to experience what life is like outside of school, and for that reason, we should embrace it as a natural part of life.

So class of 2019, embrace your academic death.

 

JNHS volunteers at Cherry Blossom Festival

Members of JNHS promoted Japanese culture and explained how to play yoyo tsuri. Photo by Eileen Chih.

JNHS members volunteered at the Cherry Blossom Festival held on April 28 and 29 and participated in spreading Japanese culture through a game and interaction with children. JNHS event coordinator Erin Tsai and secretary Kaitlyn Lee said the club attends the event every year.

“It is a really significant holiday in Japan and this year it’s being held at Memorial Park so it’s a way for people here to celebrate Cherry Blossom Festival,” Tsai said.

Lee said this event is different from other volunteer events because they get to organize their own booth instead of volunteering through another organization.

“We do yoyo tsuri, which is like a traditional Japanese festival game where you try to fish yoyos out of a pool of water and it spreads appreciation of Japanese culture,” Lee said. “It’s really fun to play with the little kids, they’re always really excited. It’s fun to explain what it is and talk to people about Japanese culture.”

Sophomore club member Kelly Chow said she always wanted to attend the Cherry Blossom Festival and thought it would be fun to see it while running JNHS activities.

“It’s a fun way to learn about Japanese culture,” Chow said. “Seeing a bunch of different cultural things around is really cool, like seeing live taiko performances and Japanese games like yoyo tsuri.”

Tsai said she enjoys seeing how happy the kids are to be there and interacting with the community.

“Being in JNHS or J-Club isn’t just using what we learn in Japanese,” Tsai said, “but how do we apply that to the community and how do we help out more, while learning about the culture and being involved with it at the same time.”

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.

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