Students celebrate diversity through Multicultural Night

Various clubs of different backgrounds came together for Multicultural Night on Jan. 9 to share their heritage. Students experienced different ethnic and religious traditions by enjoying different exotic foods and engaging in activities hosted by the clubs. There were also performances from the dance clubs such as KSA’s Krew and IndoPak’s Bhangra as well as a fashion show that showcased various cultures.

EL commissioner Chiara Tommasi said that Multicultural Night started around six or seven years ago and was originally put together by the cultural clubs.

“The EL commissioners became kind of in charge of it but it’s still the clubs’ event. We’re just helping to organize it and direct everything,” Tommasi said.

The EL commissioners begin planning for the event a few months prior to the event and start contacting clubs to make sure that they are interested in participating, EL commissioner Mita Ramesh said.

“We basically give [the clubs] like a layout of what’s going to be happening and then we also contact organizations for performances. Like this year, we had mariachi and the Filipino dance group and taiko,” Ramesh said.

During Multicultural Night, each cultural club had booths set up to sell food and do their activity.

This year, Spanish National Honor Society (SNHS) sold pan dulce and had an activity for making corn husk dolls. SNHS president Collin Cheng said that traditionally, children would make corn husk dolls as a fun way to pass time.

“We also sort of reflected in our fashion show, where we have representing a traditional Argentinian rural outfit, so this is all sort of our idea of a simple everyday lifestyle,” Cheng said.

French National Honor Society made Mardi Gras masks because the holiday falls on Feb. 13 this year, co-president Noa Khen said.

“They have like a parade in New Orleans and they wear purple, green, and gold and each color has a symbol,” Khen said.

Russian Student Union decided to play durak, which is a traditional Russian card game, for their activity, president Josh Shamelashvili said.

Jewish Student Union decided to sell a variety of foods because it is a huge part of their culture, president Yarden Zinger and treasurer Ori Brutman said.

“Almost every holiday, even the holiday where you’re supposed to fast all day, after the fast, we eat a huge meal,” Zinger said.

The Muslim Student Association (MSA) activities involved a hijab tutorial as well as Arabic calligraphy. MSA president Anam Siddiqee said that because Muslims are part of a religion, they have a variety of outfits as it represents people from different parts of the world.

“In the fashion show, we have people wearing a western outfit, some are wearing Pakistani outfit and others are wearing more religious attires,” Siddiqee said.

IndoPak decided to showcase their Bhangra group because it is the most traditional dance that IndoPak does, co-president Nikhil Kulkarni said. IndoPak dance teams Bhangra and Film had performances throughout the week.

“Film is just kind of like from Bollywood movies, it’s like the dances from there. It gets put into the dance,” Kulkarni said.

National Chinese Honor Society had activities where people did calligraphy and played shuttlecock, president Lindsey Low said.

“It’s like a feather game where you kick it on the side of your feet and you don’t want it to touch the ground,” Low said. “Little kids play them to entertain themselves, and at school, students practice calligraphy.”

Japanese National Honor Society (JNHS) sold spam musubi and had an activity for students to play yoyo tsuri, a fishing game where a piece of rice paper is attached to a small paperclip hook and players “fish” for balloons.

“Basically what you’re trying to do is scoop up the yoyo tsuri without breaking the hook,” JNHS vice president Larissa Lai said. “They usually play it in a lot of festivals and to get children involved and also if they get it up, they can keep the yoyo tsuri.”

EL commissioner Shannon Cheung and Mita Ramesh said that the main purpose of Multicultural Night was to celebrate and promote diversity.

“Our purpose is to celebrate and promote the cultural diversity at Homestead, and just celebrate that Homestead’s unique quality is our diversity,” Cheung said.

Sophomore Katherine Rizkalla said that the performances throughout the week were fun.

“I think it shows how passionate people are about their culture, and it shows how passionate Homestead is about making each culture an important part of our community,” Rizkalla said.

FUHSD aligns bell schedules district-wide

Incoming and current students will experience a revamped bell schedule beginning in the 2018-19 school year. Changes include a new start time and three instead of four tutorials per week. However, total tutorial time distributed throughout the week remains the same.

The new schedule also removes the “seventh skinny” period, where students meet daily but for a shorter amount of time. The loss will affect classes such as AVID, which operates during said period. AVID and literature teacher Shawnee Rivera, who voted for the four-block schedule, said she hopes that the AVID dynamic will remain unchanged by the loss of the “seventh skinny” period.

“I really appreciate seeing my AVID students every single day and ending my day seeing them … I’m hoping I will still get to see my [students] everyday, because they will be here either during morning tutorials [or] during lunch,” Rivera said.

The revised schedule was not created in conjunction with the failed Senate Bill 328, which would have made middle and high schools in California start at 8:30 a.m. or later, Principal Giglio said.

Students are now given the option of a “true no first period,” Giglio said, where they will be able to attend school at a later time every day of the school week. This is a change from the current “no first period option,” where a student can only attend school later for three out of the five day school week, Giglio said.

The creation of the new bell schedule was spearheaded by the FUHSD Wellness Taskforce, following a petition for school start times to be pushed back. Created in 2015, the Wellness Taskforce is open to all members of the community and serves to provide a platform to address issues such as stress and sleep deprivation in students, according to the FUHSD website.

The committee has been pushing for later school start times in particular, citing evidence from an American Academy of Pediatrics study correlating later school start times and the reduction of chronic sleep loss.

Parents and different groups of students who showed up to the meetings hosted by the Wellness Taskforce were interviewed and staff members were put on panels, Giglio said.

The two-year process of revising the bell schedule also involved various surveys regarding sleep schedules. Giglio said he estimates that 25 percent of the school population answered the surveys.

“[The schedule] has gone through so many people; I don’t think there isn’t a person who has touched it some way or the other,” Giglio said.

The new schedule change is not exclusive to HHS; all FUHSD schools will have aligned bell schedules. A stipulation in teacher’s contracts allows them to vote on the schedule, Giglio said.

Teachers were presented with two options: a two-block, where there will be block periods two days of the school week or a four-block schedule, where four days of the school week would  have block periods. HHS, FHS and CHS opted for the four-block option while MVHS and LHS opted for the two-day block.

The alignment of the schedule allow students hoping to take a class not offered at their current campus to take it at another FUHSD campus that offers their desired class. Furthermore, it makes it easier for the district to share teachers who work on more than one FUHSD campus.

English teacher Sara Moreno voted for the four-block schedule due to its similarities with the current bell schedule. Moreno said she believes that time will only tell the effectiveness of the bell schedule at improving student sleep schedules, in addition to other things such as staff development.

“I’ve heard a couple students already say that they are just gonna go to sleep later, and that it’s not really going to make too much of a difference in their sleeping pattern,” Moreno said.

Similarly, PTSA President and parent Kay Zeren said she believes that there are a lot of different components to the mental health wellbeing of high school students today, such as homework and pressures from the current college process.

Zeren said that the schedule change might be a problem for parents with more than one child, who have to drop their children off at different schools with staggered start times.

The bell schedule changes also bring up several other issues regarding traffic, after school activities and bus schedules.

“I think that cutting down on tutorials has a negative effect on the school because we do not have as much time to catch up on our missing work,” sophomore Dristi Thakur said. “The impact of late starts also causes more people to walk to school, instead of parents dropping kids off, because parents have to leave for work earlier, and it also might mess with the bus schedule.”

Regarding how the schedule affects the bus schedule, the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) and district will work together, and meetings are being made to reach a compromise, Giglio said.

After school activities, athletics in particular, pose new challenges as well.

“The problem with sixth and seventh period at the end of the day was that you could not opt out of either to get to sports on time,” Giglio said.“We are having conversations with the athletic leagues to see if we can move [practice or game] times.”

A proposed solution is putting students in classes that do not coincide with the day they have sports. However, this solution is not a cure-all due to the complexities in schedule placements, Giglio said.

“We are never going to please everybody. But we can try [our] best to get the most information we can to make the best choice,” Giglio said.

Kim’s night to remember

The girl’s varsity basketball team hosted “Kim Night” in memory of the honorable Kimberly Nuestro on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018.

A small table was set up in the student center with Kim’s basketball jersey, flowers and pictures of her. Blue and gold paper streamers decorated the entranceway of the gym.

The bleachers were full of students and staff members sporting Warriors apparel in support of Nuestro’s favorite basketball team. Her entire family also attended the event, seated in the front of the bleachers.

The event started with a brief introduction followed by a moment of silence led by an English teacher Steve Lavelle.

Nuestro’s teammates stood in a straight line, hand in hand and in silence, in honor of her time at HHS.

Nuestro’s basketball coach, Becky Chiu organized the event, alongside with several administration members and the girl’s varsity basketball team. Together they created t-shirts that followed the Warriors color scheme and said Play for Kimberly. In addition, the girl’s varsity basketball team commissioned patches on their jerseys with Nuestro’s initials monogrammed on the front.

Junior Yun Chuah, another close friend of Nuestro’s shared her feelings after the moment of silence held for Nuestro.

“The moment of silence brought back a lot of emotions that I had when she first left us.  Sometimes I find it hard to really accept that she’s gone and moments like these make it real. In that moment it made me miss her so much but in some weird way the night made me feel closer to her as well,” Chuah said.

Chiu said she was initially worried about the turnout, but she was overall happy with the event.

“That moment of silence was just so beautiful and heartwarming. I’m really glad that the staff was on board for this,” Chiu said.

Chiu said she is not certain whether this event will continue in future years.

“[Kim Night] was already a given,” Chiu said. “From the moment that she passed, we knew that we had to do something to honor her. I’m not so sure if this is something that will continue on, but it’s definitely a possibility. At the end of the day, it’s up to her family and whatever they feel comfortable with.”

One of Nuestro’s friends, junior Trinity Gao, explained the meaning behind the Warriors apparel.

“Basketball has always been such a huge part of Kim’s life and she was simply a huge fan of the Warriors team,” Gao said. “After everyone wore the Warriors gear the week that she passed and Steph Curry signed her shoes, it became symbolic.”

“SafetyChick” Kathleen Baty’s college safety guide

The PTSA welcomed personal safety and crime prevention expert Kathleen Baty to present on various aspects of college safety, with issues ranging from the danger social media poses, sexual assault prevention and date-rape drugs.

The new speaker series program was spearheaded by PTSA Executive Vice President Traci Oberman. The goal of the program is to introduce four to six speakers every other month during the academic school year according to Oberman.

“We try and bring engaging speakers that touch on topics that the community and students would be interested in or relevant to. We want to know what the students want to see us do,” Oberman said.

Student turnout at previous PTSA meetings has been low, according to Oberman.

According to Oberman, the new PTSA board is comprised of parents who all work full-time, Oberman said. The PTSA jurisdiction encompasses more than just meetings and speakers but also helps allocate funding and grants for student projects, classroom supplies for teachers and field trips.

Tiffany Lo, a parent who attended Baty’s presentation on Jan. 11, wanted her daughter to learn about making smart and safe choices in high school and college environments.

“[The speaker gave] tremendous insight about using our innate intuition to watch out for signals to react and respond through communications and remove ourselves from potentially unsafe situations,” Lo said.

Baty holds a wide range of credentials, from CEO of SafetyChick Enterprises to being a two-time published author in addition to a champion for stalking laws.

Baty’s speech garnered a full house. She was a stalking victim for 15 years, and at one point, was kidnapped and held at gunpoint by her stalker. This experience forced to learn every possible aspect of personal safety.

Baty strongly encourages the use of “intuitive body signals” stating that without them, all safety tips utilized would be rendered useless.

“The tightening of your stomach, the hair on the back of your neck, all those things mean something. Like animals in the wild, it is innate in all of us. If we tap into that and pay attention to those, nine out of 10 times we would not be in a dangerous situation in the first place,” Baty said.

Living in fear of her stalker forced Baty to leave her career in television and the city she was living in. This all changed after Baty testified to along with former California State Senator Ed Royce to implement the first anti-stalking laws nationally.

“[Testifying] gave me my power back. It was so much easier to live in power than in fear … [it is] more stressful and strenuous to live hiding than be open and positive and get the message out. So [testifying] was really what changed my life,” Baty said.

Baty said she believes schools should integrate personal safety and crime prevention as a subject taught in schools.

“[It should be] taught in an empowering and positive way as a lifestyle choice just like any other subject,” Baty said. “Personal safety and crime prevention and learning how to make those positive personal safety choices and situational awareness should be part of every high school’s curriculum.”

Baty said she hopes students will leave embracing their personal safety and the positive aspects that come from it.

“I had to learn street smarts the hard way, but in this day and age if I can give you street smarts, something before you have to learn it the hard way, the better. That is my whole goal,” Baty said.

Band marches through the Rose Parade

The marching band made their first appearance at the 129th Rose Parade in Pasadena, CA, on Jan. 1.

Along with performing at the parade, the band also took part in the parade’s theme “Making a Difference” by performing for the children at Shriners Hospital in Pasadena. Copies of senior Amanda Sun’s coloring book, titled “love,” were passed out. Donations from the book would go to kids at the hospital, according to the FUHSD homepage.

The band was one of twenty schools chosen to perform during the parade, and the 72nd act to perform. The selected bands were notified 15 months before the actual parade so they could raise funds for the trip, according to the Tournament of Roses website.

Hailey Guthery, a freshman on the color guard said: “Many of us had little to no sleep that weekend, but we woke up ready for the parade.”

Guthery said one of her highlights was when they completed one of her favorites, the ‘California Dreamin’ and ‘Shut Up and Dance’ mashup.

While the march came to an end, many people on the sides of the streets would encourage them by telling them the amount of distance they had left to march,  Guthery said.

“It was a fun experience, and although the distance seemed a lot, it wasn’t that bad. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Guthery said.

Caleb Lille, a sophomore on the drum line, said that he almost underestimated the nearly 7 million people along the side of the streets.

“By the end, it not only felt like you had walked five and a half miles, it also felt like you had also done just one mile at the same time,” Lille said. “Time passed by way too fast. Every time you’ve re-done a song, you really lose track of where you are, and you kinda just try to enjoy the ride.”

The marching band and the spectators in Pasadena weren’t the only people excited about the Rose Parade. Senior Alannah Wilson was one of many who tuned in to watch the parade from her own home.

According to Wilson, the only thing she knew about the parade, other than the fact that the band would be performing, was that it’s a big deal nationwide. The main reason behind her watching the parade this year had to do with the band taking part in it.

The Rose Parade has been going on for over 100 years, and although this is the first time HHS has performed, they leave behind a legacy that will last for many years to come.

Future Physicians of America hosts guest speaker

Future Physicians of America (FPA) hosted guest speaker Dr. Douglas Sidell on Dec. 8, in their last meeting of the first semester. Sidell gave advice to students who were interested in pursuing a medical career, and shared his personal journey from medical school student to director and assistant professor at Stanford. Sidell said he sub specializes in otolaryngology, an area of study focusing on ear and throat diseases.

“I trained in UCLA,” Sidell said. “Ultimately I did two extra years of airway reconstruction, so my sub sub specialty is tracheal and bronchial reconstruction for the lungs and trachea, only in kids.”

Sidell went through four years of medical school before choosing to practice otolaryngology, and emphasized the importance of having passion for a career in medicine, he said.

“I realized that [otolaryngologic] disease processes are what I’m passionate about treating,”Sidell said. “You have to be passionate about going [to medical school], to really want to treat people.”

Sidell further explained why passion was a necessity by giving examples of what medical students face in their path to becoming a surgeon.

“There’s times I would stay in the hospital for six days without stopping and going home, and to do that, you’ve got to love what you’re doing,”Sidell said. “And so you try and find those disease processes that you’re passionate about treating, that you really want to actually find a cure for or make a difference over a course of 20 or 30 years. And … for me, that was otolaryngology. It’s different for everyone.”

Sidell told students to value their time in high school and encouraged them to pursue careers of their own liking.

“This is a very competitive part of the world … live life, figure out what you like and don’t like,” Sidell said. “Don’t be forced into anything in your mind because maybe you’re getting told [what to do], the majority of your life, you’re not. You’re going to have to make decisions for yourself … And if [medicine] is not for you, don’t worry about that. Find what you like.”

Activities directors senior Arjun Bhaduri and junior Neya More spoke about why they decided to ask Dr. Sidell to speak to FPA.

“Well, I met him over the summer,” Bhaduri said, “and I thought that he had an interesting story of how he decided to be a doctor … which was something that would be good to share with the members.”

FPA is a club that encompasses all medicine practice, and More elaborated on the benefits of having a doctor speak to members about a specific practice.

“Having these guest speakers from a bunch of different background would give people exposure as to what they want to expect or if they even want to go into medical school at all,” More said.

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.

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.


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.

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.

HHS recognizes Transgender Day of Remembrance

Before morning announcements commenced on Monday, HHS recognized Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR).  Assistant Principal Denae Nurnberg first explained the significance of the day, then led the school in a few seconds of silence.

“We use this day to remember those we have lost and serves as a reminder to continue to work towards preventing such heinous acts from continuing,” Nurnberg said in the announcement.

TDOR is a nationally-recognized occasion that comes at the heels of Transgender Awareness Week. Both the week and the day were organized by GLAAD, a LGBT-rights organization. The day has been recurring on November 20 since 1999; it was first organized in memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998.

So far in 2017, 23 transgender people have been killed as a result of hate crimes, according to GLAAD’s website.

SJ Kincaid makes an appearance at HHS

On Oct. 30, author SJ Kincaid visited HHS. Students had the chance to meet her and get to know more about her background and her books and to get their own copies  autographed.

Kincaid started the meeting off with astory about how she became a writer. Kincaid started writing creatively when she was in elementary school as a hobby. She originally had been training to be a nurse, but when that, along with various other jobs, failed, Kincaid turned to writing for a profession.

Kincaid is the author of the “Insignia” trilogy and “The Diabolic” series. “The Empress,” sequel to “The Diabolic,” was just released Oct. 31. HHS students who attended the library event got a sneak peak at the book the day before it officially came out.

Sophomore Chris Arizmendi went to the author visit because it seemed interesting and he was eager to find new books to read.

“I found [her] story really inspiring and her books look really good. I’m probably going to read them now,” Arizmendi said.

Kincaid’s discussion was meant to inspire students with her life story, reiterating the message that a person will always fail a lot of times but in the end, success will find them.