'Heathers'-esque teen murder flick will trump others alike

Photo courtesy of Focus Features.

Fresh into the film industry, Cory Finley has already written and directed his first cinematic work with “Thoroughbreds.” It is a brilliant work of thriller that swept the audience off its feet with meaty writing and enigmatic characters.

“Thoroughbreds” depicts sick behavior from two teenage girls, Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Amanda (Olivia Cooke), who reunite from their childhood friendship. When Lily explains her frustration toward her stepfather, Amanda brings forward a ploy —  to kill him.

Inspiration from murderous classics like “Pulp Fiction” and “Perfect Blue” are present throughout. Even the most anticipated murder scene isn’t shown, and that’s fine, because “Thoroughbreds” isn’t about a great murder plan. It’s more of an extended metaphor for satisfying greed and questioning meaning in one meek life.

Lily is a full-on bourgeois who has been granted with every object she could ever wish for, and the next bullet point on her wish list is her stepdad dead. But Lily can’t get her hands dirty …

Amanda, on one hand, finds solace in expressing zero emotions, even when killing her prized horse. Lily, however, carries all the emotions Amanda lacks, whether it’s fear, wrath or nervousness. The abrasive contrast between the two creates a drip of eeriness and an oddly favorable relationship.

Both actors ace their provided roles and accentuate the characters’ personalities. Taylor-Joy is known for her notorious role in “The Witch” and Cooke will be one of the starring actors in “Ready Player One.”

The minimalistic soundtrack fits seamlessly with every scene. Although the majority of the film is percussive and more tribally rhythmic than melodic, the last scene features an acoustic guitar that is played so lovingly and with so much care.

The screenplay, laced with dark humor and weirdly lovable characters, is worth every penny spent. Cold, gashful and sinfully fun, “Thoroughbreds” is sure to be a classic for murder and thriller fans.

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.”

The Impatient Patient: Crisis pregnancy centers have the right to their beliefs, not the right to deceive

Crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) are organizations around the country offering counsel to pregnant women, with the goal of swaying women away from having an abortion by presenting different options. As such, CPCs counsel women through their pregnancy and after, providing adoption referrals.

There are 2,500 to 4,000 CPCs across the U.S., outnumbering the 1,500 abortion centers. CPCs have been making not only headlines, but also an appearance in the Supreme Court. This is in lieu of California’s Reproductive Fact Act requiring licensed CPCs to post a sign of their services offered — one example being whether or not said clinic offers abortions.

While clinics that are unlicensed are exempt from stating whether or not they provide abortion services, these clinics do have to state that they are unlicensed. Not only that, but these clinics have to make signs of their lack of licensure obvious and in different languages.

The law has stirred much controversy, with the National Institutes of Family and Life Advocated (NIFLA), who support around 1,400 CPCs, taking the case to the Supreme Court, in NIFLA v. Becerra.

CPCs, along with justices, feel as though the California law is targeting them because of their anti-abortion beliefs, a belief 61 percent of Californians do not agree with, that the government has not place in abortion matter.

Justice Elena Kagan brings up that the Reproductive Fact Act is manipulating the law centering it only on CPCs. In addition to being singled out, CPCs also argue that their First Amendment rights are being called into question — that they should not have to advertise a message not in alignment of their beliefs.

California legislature estimated in 2015 that 200 CPCs within California employed deceptive tactics, a reason for the law. The centers are accused of intimidating women who step into the center, in addition to providing misinformation about abortions, such as the idea that having an abortion might increase the risk of breast cancer.

However, while some CPCs are prone to deceptive actions, CPCs like Informed Choices report that they did not employ intimidation tactics, and still maintain relationships with women chose a different route. Furthermore, Informed Choices, part of its counsel for pregnant women, also provides baby clothing and supplies for mothers.

CPCs claim that putting up a sign is against their beliefs and an infringement of their First Amendment rights, but the information on the sign would not be false information. Why should CPCs be afraid to publicize information that is in fact, true?

It does not go against one’s belief system to publish truthful information. The government is not asking CPCs to put up a sign stating that they are pro-life, the government is asking CPCs to put a sign stating what services they offer.

It’s as though certain CPCs have a hidden agenda, refusing to put up signs for fear of driving women who are set on having an abortion away, which goes against actually helping pregnant women in need. I understand that CPCs want to prevent abortions, but doling out misinformation and intimidation is inexcusable.

While suspicions that the law is is possibly employing CPCs specifically are not unsound, with the talk of first amendment violations and deception, what seems to be understated is the well being of pregnant women. Furthermore, the law in question does not only apply to CPCs — but businesses like nail salons are also required by the law to put up a sign.

CPCs who do not employ deceptive tactics have nothing to fear with putting signs up. Women who decide to have an abortion do so because they feel as though it is their choice, it is what is best for them. Arriving at this decision was likely not an easy one, but one weighing out all possible options.

If the main objective of a CPC is to counsel women, then they should do just that — counsel. A woman’s choice of abortion is time-sensitive one. I firmly reject the notion that a woman must give birth no matter what — there are so many extenuating circumstances.

For CPCs to continue to employ unsavory measures to get their message across is not only immoral, but comprises an individual. I cannot imagine the point of a center that give off the appearance to have services it does not provide.

For the 200 CPCs employing deceptive tactics, all I have to say is consider — is the point of your center to save lives, or to further your movement? Maybe women who do go in and decide not to get an abortion because of CPCs are glad of their decision — but to maintain a front of deception to achieve that goal is questionable.

CPCs and abortion clinics look so similar, it can be hard to tell the apart. From similarly in names to proximity to abortion clinics, even those in support of the pro-life message cannot tell apart a CPC from an abortion center, with a pro-life group accidentally vandalizing a CPC.

Elizabeth Clark, director of Planned Parenthood, advises to take precautions when differentiating between CPCs and abortion clinics, such as calling beforehand to find out exactly what services are offered, in addition to looking at language on a CPCs website that may seem more skewed to a certain ideology.

The Hart of the Matter: Homophobic comments and sexist ideals are intertwined

Emma Gonzalez, survivor of the Parkland shooting and one of the faces of the current movement for gun control, has been under attack by many who oppose her values. While this is normal for someone leading a wave of change, some politicians, such as Leslie Gibson, have crossed a line in their criticisms.

Gibson, a GOP candidate for the Maine state House, called Gonzalez a “skinhead lesbian,” according to the New York Times. He has since withdrawn from the race, but his comment is an example of the way sexuality is used to insult and invalidate powerful women.

Often, when a woman steps into a leadership position, men have trouble taking orders from her. We are socialized to see men as leaders and women as followers. When a woman exhibits the qualities of a leader, she is often labeled as bossy and overbearing, while a man would be considered ambitious and confident for the same actions.

While I speak from experience, this has also been proven by countless studies. A comprehensive report by the American Psychological Association states that men are perceived as more effective leaders than women and rate themselves higher than women tend to, while in specific examinations of leadership skills such as organization and encouragement, women scored higher.

Gonzalez, in leading a nationwide movement against gun violence, is obviously a leader. She is in a position that is perceived to be for masculine people, and has since been called genderless or gay simply for exhibiting strong qualities.

Calling her a lesbian was an obvious attempt at an insult, rooted in the way society perceives leaders. When Gibson made the statement and others echoed it, the intent was to shame Gonzalez. That being said, the comment wasn’t false. Gonzalez is openly bisexual, and often speaks about how gay activism is linked to her work against guns. It is not an insult; it is who she is.

Still, despite the fact that Gonzalez is openly part of the LGBT community, the term “lesbian” was used with the intent to discredit her. In using the word as an insult, Gibson implied that Gonzalez should be respected less because of her lack of heterosexuality.

An obvious answer as to why “lesbian” is used as an insult is homophobia, which leads people to see those of the LGBT community as lesser. But sexism and homophobia are deeply linked.

A woman’s worth is often linked to her ability to attract men, which is why women are taught to value appearance. Attractiveness goes beyond physicality; it has to do with what a woman says and does. Women are taught to be friendly and accommodating, and above all, non-threatening. This is why so many young girls have heard the phrase “you’ll never get a man talking like that” when speaking about feminism or something bold that potentially will intimidate men.

If a woman does not care for the attraction of men, men lose that power over women. The notion that has silenced women for so long is invalidated, as a woman is beyond what she is taught defines her worth. In addition, since she is not fulfilling her supposed duty of being the object of attraction, she is therefore seen as inferior.

The example of Gonzalez is one of countless others; women are devalued with attacks to their sexuality regularly. It comes from a place of systemic sexism that taught them to value gay women less. Women are powerful, no matter who they are attracted to, and society should catch up to this fact.

The Ripple Effect: You’re only elected twice (or thrice, or four times)

In the recent Russian presidential election, incumbent President Vladimir Putin secured a record 76.7 percent victory. Photo courtesy of Reuters.

“The shocking results of the Russian presidential election last week caught the world off-guard!”

Or, at least, that would be the first sentence of an article written in an alternate universe. Rather, the least surprising outcome resulted from the election: Vladimir Putin is, for a fourth term, president of Russia.  At this point, the predictability of elections is likely why, according to TIME magazine, there is little pomp surrounding them.

Putin secured a record 76.7 percent victory, though with the number of polling locations that reported suspiciously exact percent turnouts of 85, 90 and 95 percent, much of it was due to rigged votes.  Not to mention, despite the Russian Central Election Commission’s assurances that the election was “free, competitive and transparent,” voters didn’t have much of a choice when casting votes. None of the other candidates were predicted to poll above 10 percent of the vote, and Putin’s greatest obstacle, opposition leader Alexei Navalny, was ultimately prevented from running.

Navalny responded by telling his YouTube followers — all 1.8 million of them, in a country of 144.3 million — to boycott the election.

In contrast, Putin’s campaign spent a sizeable amount trying to increase voter turnout, in a bid to outdo his performance in the 2012 election. Tactics included a weirdly (though perhaps not unexpectedly) homophobic ad about the threat of gay people coming to live in people’s homes if they didn’t vote, the opportunity to win tickets to a concert for voting and “Only for Adults” Facebook stickers targeted towards the young male demographic, according to The Guardian.

While I’m certainly not opposed to increasing voter turnout, seeing as a poll’s no good without a large enough number of respondents, these tactics skew more to the side of “terrible” and “bribery” than “an exercise in promoting the use of voting rights.” Moreover, factors like state pressure on poll workers, as reported by the Washington Post, have, unsurprisingly, made some legitimate votes all but negligible.

So is Navalny right? If the polls are rigged, should people stop making the effort to vote?

Not quite.

Giving up the right to voice one’s legitimate opinion, even if that opinion is silenced before it has the chance to make its intended effect, is only a form of giving in entirely. So long as there is someone working to frantically toss out a disagreeable vote, it means that that vote has been noticed. Maybe it seems like a useless waste of energy to go to the polls when it appears no difference will be made, but even if a nation at large doesn’t see the true results, those who count will be counting them — in a panic.

That’s not to say that other methods of being politically vocal are useless. Earlier this week, in the Russian city of Kemerovo, thousands have hit the streets to protest the inaction of officials after a mall fire that claimed the lives of at least 38 people, including children who’d been brought to the movies with their teacher.

In light of the revelation that fire safety precautions were horrifically lacking, angry calls for officials — from the governor of the region to Putin himself — to resign have abounded, according to the BBC.

For these protests to be taking place in Kemerovo, a region where votes for Putin are as consistently high and unyielding as a brick wall, certainly makes a more visible point than the results of rigged polls. But by combining the two — suspicion over rigged polls and outcry in the streets — helps to paint an even starker picture of a people’s opinion.

Either way, what with the Putin campaign crediting some of its success to Britain’s accusations that the Kremlin was behind the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy and his daughter, things are about to get a lot more convoluted. Welcome to the next James Bond movie — although this time, the data behind the scenes is just as important as the whizz-bang fireworks onscreen.

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.”

Former WEA officer speaks about abusive relationships

Women’s Empowerment Ambassadors (WEA) hosted a meeting at lunch on Thursday, March 15 with a former club officer, Tingyee Chang.

Chang is a junior at the University of Southern California and is currently studying public policy. She chose to discuss this topic, she said, because of a roommate who had recently gotten out of an emotionally abusive relationship. Her shock and anger in response to what happened caused her to share her roommate’s story with everyone she knew, Chang said.

Women’s Empowerment Ambassadors members listened to a former officer explain the differences between healthy, unhealthy, and abusive behaviors in a relationship.

“When I shared this story with people, I noticed that a lot of people had expressed that they shared similar experiences. Either they had realized the relationship was abusive and left or they had realized after they left the relationship,” Chang said. “The proportion of people who shared similar experiences was overwhelming and I knew I had to do something.”

WEA´s method of bringing awareness to certain topics inspired her to share the story of her roommate there, she said.

“This was the place that I had gotten my start as a young feminist and just simply as a young person and I thought that many students could benefit from this topic,” Chang said.

Her presentation included the story of her roommate and what the differences between a healthy, unhealthy and abusive relationship are. Chang continuously stressed the importance of communication, consent and power within any relationship, be it platonic or romantic.

Her presentation also included a short activity at the end where two pairs were given a slip of paper with a certain relationship behavior and had to identify whether it was healthy, unhealthy or abusive behavior.

In terms of why this topic is so important, especially amongst young people, Chang discussed the lack of education and conversation surrounding this topic.

“One thing that I always notice is that many people are not aware of what sexual assault or rape looks like and so they come out of these sexual experiences feeling bad about themselves, only to learn later on that that was rape or that was sexual assault,” Chang said. “If we can spread awareness about what the rules and parameters are, then we can prevent this behavior early on.”

WEA has constantly strived to educate and encourage discussion with their members when choosing their topics, Elena Kamas said. Officers Dan Cohen and Elena Kamas explained how they chose their discussion topics and what the club’s goal is.

“There are things that we know that we need to talk about as a feminist organization,” Cohen said. “Things that are happening in the media, big debates right now, things happening in legislation. But we also place an emphasis on things that have a viable application right now. We try to focus on things that are happening daily, and what we can do about it.”

Cohen participated in the activity and shared his thoughts about the presentation as a whole and what he got from it.

“I don’t think that half the world’s population is a monster and yet I do think that the entire world’s population is capable of doing really bad things and we have to be aware of that,” Cohen said. “Today we like to say that there are the good guys and the bad guys. In relationships, however, there is that funky gray area. Anyone is capable of being a perpetrator and we need to bring awareness to that.”

Kamas shared her feelings about why WEA is a special platform for topics of discussion.

“One thing that I always admired about WEA even before I was an officer is that they were never afraid to talk about anything,” Kamas said. “If a topic was deemed important, that we will bring awareness to it … With WEA, people are really supporting each other, they are caring for each other, and they’re listening to each other. Education and understanding is our main priority and the fact that we made that our foundation makes us different from other clubs.”

Movie night makes debut

The class of 2021 and 2020 class officers hosted the school’s first ever Movie Night on March 9.

“We wanted to boost school spirit before Battle of the Classes (BOTC) and create a fun event that wasn’t a dance because we already have so many dances,” sophomore secretary Sophia Chen said.

The event welcomed students from all grade levels and entry was free.

“The turnout for Sadies has slowly been declining,” Chen said. “Last year, when we were freshman and tried to throw Sadies, we only profited like $100 to $150 per class. The profit was really low and we put a lot of time into planning, like booking the DJ, contacting businesses for food and fencing.” 

To host Movie Night, the freshman and sophomore class officers coordinated with Assistant Principal Brian Dong, Athletic Trainer Daniel Yusim and other administrators, freshman social manager Rohan Zamvar said.

As part of the planning process, class officers contacted local businesses such as Whole Foods, Sprouts, Starbucks, Pasta Market, The Counter and Tpumps for food donations, Chen said.

In addition to using social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, freshman and sophomore class officers wrote in chalk all over campus to advertise Movie Night, Zamvar said.

“I think it was really fun, honestly,” freshman Jaime Milne said. “It’s really great having people together watching silly movies. I really liked [movie night] because a lot more people are going to be into it other than just standing around without dancing.”

Choir performance inspired by Vivaldi

On Feb. 1, choir and band joined together to skillfully perform Antonio Vivaldi’s hymn “Gloria.”

“Every year we perform a ‘Major Work,’” choir teacher Jeff Morton said. “The ‘Gloria’ is over a half of an hour long and has 12 movements, some soft and beautiful, others loud and powerful.”

I found the performance to be wonderful. I’m not classically trained in singing and have little knowledge on the expectations required for “Gloria,” so my opinion isn’t that of an expert. But as an observer, the choir sounded lovely and the orchestra was amazing.

I did not notice any off-key singers or poorly tuned instruments throughout the entire show. The violinists showed particular skill, mastering their parts and consistently being on point.

The composer behind this famous piece is Antonio Vivaldi, an 18th century composer who is well known as one of the most renowned figures in European classical music.

Despite Vivaldi’s interest in music, he sought religious training and was ordained a priest in 1703. However, Vivaldi may have joined priesthood not out of religious devotion, but because of the free schooling and access to music it provided.

“[During the Baroque period] almost all music was somehow financially made possible because of the Catholic church,” Morton said.

According to biography.com, by the age of 25, Vivaldi became master of violin at Ospedale della Pietà (Devout Hospital of Mercy) in Venice.

According to baroquemusic.com, the Ospedale housed the love children of noblemen and their various mistresses. As a result, it received large donations from “anonymous” fathers.

I don’t recall if the Gloria was sung by the orphanage youth. The orphanage was all girls, so at least some other forces would be needed to sing the male parts,” Morton said.

Like many of Vivaldi’s other pieces, the “Gloria” is a religious text.

The first line ‘Glory to God in the Highest’ set the tone as a praise and thanks giving song,” Morton said. “Other lines include prayer for peace on earth and lifting out our sins and trials to that which is greater than us.”

Choir receives perfect score at CMEA

O

n March 10 HHS Choir performed at the California State Music Association (CMEA) festival hosted at Saratoga High School. The group achieved the highest possible scoring of unanimous superior.

The judges unanimously decided that Homestead choir is superior.

A unanimous superior is when all three of the judges give the performance a perfect score, Senior Ivy Janes said. Getting the highest scoring possible was a step up from previous performances, she said.

Last year, the chamber choir scored a superior, Janes said. For a superior, only two of the three judges grade the performance as superior.

“I wasn’t really that nervous… it was a nice space to perform and I think we did really well,” Freshman Verrue Vummidi said. However, confidence was not what led them to the perfect score.

“We practiced for weeks before the CMEA happened, it was just constant practice of the songs,” said Vummidi.  

“[Getting he unanimous superior] felt really good, it restored my faith in the choir,” said Vummidi.

Choir is going to another CMEA event in May this year, Janes said.

The Impatient Patient: The Paralympics’ dim spotlight

U.S. and South Korean ice hockey teams battle it out. Photo courtesy of The Atlantic.

The buzz from the 2018 Winter Olympics may be dying down, but the hype for the Paralympics is just igniting — but barely. Since 1976, the year of the first winter Paralympic games, winter Paralympians have won 278 medals, more than the 197 medals earned by Olympians.

Despite this, there is a longstanding disparity between Paralympians and Olympians worldwide in terms of coverage received and money earned for winning medals, among others. This is not an issue exclusive to the U.S., but one that happens worldwide.

In 2016, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) signed an agreement that will extend to 2032 with goals to not only bring about more awareness to the Paralympics, but also to ensure their longevity.

While this agreement is promising, it is hard to ignore the Olympic-sized gap between the two major sporting events. According to an article in the New York Times, the number of American reporters at the Paralympics dropped from 57 to 33 reporters. NBC alone sent 89 reporters to the 2018 Olympics, according to their website.

Of the 801 reporters worldwide covering the Paralympics, American reporters comprise of roughly four percent. Meanwhile, American athletes make up 43 percent of all Paralympic athletes competing, according to the official Team USA website. That constitutes, roughly, to seven athletes per reporter — extremely uneven coverage.

American Paralympians have been making great strides at the Olympics, currently owning the largest number of medals. It is a shame that we cannot be bothered to provide equal coverage to such athletes. We have athletes overcoming tremendous feats, yet their stories, much less their accomplishments, are given a very dim spotlight to be showcased in.

The same lack of coverage was apparent in the 2016 Paralympics as well. According to an article on The Conversation, 52 reporters (excluding NBC) were sent to the Paralympics compared to the 400 sent to the Olympics.

So what is causing the Paralympic coverage drought? According to this study published in 2003, journalists did not cover the event because they felt as though readers were simply not interested, and it was not worth the actual the cost of coverage. Another reason was the sentiment that the Paralympics did not rival the Olympics in that it was not a “real competition.”

Journalists may think that the Paralympics may not be an area of interest for the general public, and perhaps they are right. But, you cannot light a flame without a spark. How can the general public even get interested in the Paralympics when there is no coverage readily available?

While this study was published 15 years ago, the amount of coverage remains consistent — consistently low. The “para-” in “Paralympics” comes from the Greek preposition meaning “to be beside with.”

It was given to illustrate that both the Olympics and Paralympics were to exist together, with one not being placed on a higher pedestal than other. The origins of the Paralympic name has its heart in the right place, but until the same respect that is given to the Olympics is awarded to the Paralympics, the Paralympic name remains untrue.

An article on the South China Morning Post proposes an intriguing question — why are the accomplishments of an able-bodied person far more celebrated than the accomplishments of someone with a disability?

The fact of the matter is that the Paralympics were not created as a kind gesture for people with disabilities to compete in a pseudo-major sporting event, and as such, its athletes should not be seen as secondary.

New off-campus club addresses diversity in books

J unior Jane Andrews has recently started a new club off-campus called DiversiTea. The club was created to address how books today should be more diverse.

DiversiTea is a book club that meets in the Cupertino public library and is open for all to join. It is not affiliated with the school, Andrews said.

DiversiTea aims to foster discussion about diverse books.

At the first meeting, they had tea and snacks while reading and discussing what they read. So far, they have read “Boy Meets Boy” by David Levithan. They plan on reading “Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda” by Becky Albertalli and watching the corresponding “Love Simon” movie, junior Isabel Serrato, a member of the club, said.

The club mainly focuses on reading diverse books, discussing exactly what makes that book diverse and how they feel about it, Andrews said.

“[A diverse book] is a book that is written about characters that stray away from the norm in some way. The norm that we established for ourselves being a neurotypical, heterosexual, cis white male,” Andrews said.

Librarian Amity Bateman said she is excited about the creation of DiversiTea and further discussion of the topic.

“There are a lot of great young adult books coming out written by … people coming from a lot of different backgrounds,” Bateman said. “And that hasn’t been the case in the past. Even when there were diverse characters, they were often written by straight white people who were kind of imagining an experience and not pulling off of authentic experiences.”

The club sees diversity in books as significant because society is diverse and everyone should be represented, Andrews said.

“I think that if we only read books about people like us, we think that is everyone’s experience. If we never ever see people like us represented in literature, and this is important in entertainment too … then we think that our experience is obscure and that it’s so not mainstream that it’s not even worthy of being represented,” Bateman said.

However, DiversiTea also sees diverse books as a way to expand one’s perspective on things.

“If you’re in a friend group of all similar people, you only know what you know. But then you read a book that expands your worldview. It’s important to know what’s out there. Whether it’s a diverse book in a racial diversity way or LGBTQ+ stuff, it just allows you to understand more people,” Serrato said.

Additionally, Bateman said she feels that books should share how a community actually is in real life. Stories should unfold where these differences are just differences between personal backgrounds and not the problem, Bateman said

In the end, DiversiTea believes that characters should be portrayed as they are in real life. If they are based off of stereotypes, then they are not diverse, Andrews said.

“We talk about, ‘hey this book had a black character. Was the black character portrayed well, was this offensive, was this stereotypical?’ And that’s something that needs to be evaluated,” Andrews said.