In case you missed the 46th annual Tournament of the bands last weekend, here's a video recap!
The Cupertino High robotics team went to CalGames this weekend at Fremont High. They placed fifth at quarterfinals, great job guys!
SAN FRANCISCO - On July 31, senior Amal Mehta completed an ultramarathon, covering over 52 miles in a single run. While an incredible feat on its own, Amal not only ran for the physical test but also to raise money for his own non-profit, Grameen Pragati (ગ્રામીણ પ્રગતિ, literally, Rural Progress), an initiative that Mehta himself started during his sophomore year to provide hope and light for villages in India. Through participating in the run, Mehta raised $2400 fundraising through his friends and family.
Mehta has run lengthy races before; in past years, he participated with a team in The Relay, a 200-mile race. An individual ultramarathon, however, posed a new challenge for Mehta.
“This race requires a tremendous amount of stamina compared to the 200 mile relay because [it] is not broken into separate chunks of distance,” Mehta said in an interview conducted before his race. “I haven't run such a long distance continuously before, and I’m hoping that I'll be able to do it within nine to 11 hours,” said Mehta.
To prepare for the race, Mehta not only ran extensively but also trained through swimming and traveling distances approximately close to that of his ultra-marathon.
Metha ran regularly in middle school and saw his passion as a way to fundraise.
“I really like running because it’s fun pushing my limits and staying fit,” Mehta said. “I wanted to raise funds through running races since it was enjoyable way to help my cause.”
Mehta was inspired to start Grameen Pragati after visiting his village in India five years ago.
“I realized that a lot of school children didn’t have access to light during the night, which took away many hours of their day that they could spend working on their education or doing chores,” Mehta said. “Some families use kerosene lanterns, which is a detrimental risk to the family's health and the environment.”
After the race, Mehta recounted his experience.
“It isn't just twice as hard as a marathon, it’s possibly three to four times as hard because you get more sore and tired the more you run,” Mehta said. “The race was difficult because I didn’t train as much as I would have liked, and I hurt my knee two weeks before. After the race, I was very sore and hurt a part of my posterior knee.”
Mehta seeks to utilize his passion as an avid cyclist and backpacker to raise funds towards his cause as well.
Said Mehta, “I am really interested in backpacking and cycling as well, so long distance funding trips like that may happen some time in the future.”
As crowds cheer on Mehta’s endless, passion-driven run to alleviate conditions for people in India, Mehta continues to take countless steps to better himself, his community, and the world.
For more information about the ultra-marathon in which Mehta ran, go to
The Cupertino High School class of 2016 said their final goodbyes this week at the baccalaureate and graduation ceremony. Cupertino Orchestra and Cappella choir gave their very last performances, followed by student speeches from Allan Wu, Pia Mandrekar and class president, Nikita Devdhar. Congratulations to the class of 2016 pioneers, and good luck in all your future endeavors!
All photos by Jenn Zaratan
Stress. It is a common word in the vocabulary of the average student and one that is repeated almost like a mantra within the CHS school population. Whether it stems from grades, personal drama, overexertion, or a combination of all three, stress has become an inevitable part of student life. However, whether this stress is all but a normal part of the high school experience or an unhealthy side effect of living in a competitive environment is up to the interpretation of the student. A recent survey of 146 students conducted by The Prospector has revealed that a majority of students feel overly stressed by the competitive nature of their schools.
Stress Frequency Among Students Per Week
It is clear from the responses above that students are frequently stressed out. Other data from the survey also indicates that academics are not the only trigger for anxiety. Extracurricular activities, such as clubs and sports, cause students to feel even more pressure.
Responses to the survey also reveal that the issue of stress is not exclusive to any particular school. In fact, several students have brought up similar problems within the FUHSD school district.
With a majority of students dedicating their four years of high school to working towards an admission to a “good” university, it can be difficult to pursue hobbies that are not typically featured on college applications. Junior Olivia Shearin from Cupertino High School notes that the competitively academic nature of CHS makes it difficult to spend time on cosplay, a main hobby of hers. This year’s finals week coincides with Fanime, a major anime expos event in which participants cosplay as different characters.
“Fanime is my major event of the year because it’s one of the few times when I get to meet my friends from other states or parts of California, and I feel like the changed finals schedule is interfering with that, as I was really hopeful that a few of the finals would be moved ahead of the schedule,” Shearin said. “It’s stressful to have a non-academic hobby in Cupertino schools.”
Despite the pressure on students to pursue “academic” hobbies, Shearin has resolved to continue enjoying cosplay, as it has provided several opportunities to relax and meet new people. Said Shearin, “People kind of look down on me for wasting my time, but it’s one of my personal goals to continue pursuing personal interests even though it’s junior year.”
The school has certainly taken commendable efforts to reduce the issue of stress within the student body. A junior at Cupertino noted that “the school did try to reduce stress by inviting Judie-Lycott Haimes for her speech, but I didn’t think it was as effective as [the school] may have hoped.” Other attempts by CHS to reduce stress at school include the survey taken by Stanford University and the subsequent meeting with staff and parents that followed to discuss the data, as well as
Several schools within the area have also noticed the high levels of stress among students. Monta Vista High School, for example, has taken strides to reduce student stress on campus by holding Ole Day, which worked to help Monta Vista students relax in a variety of ways such as offering free ice cream to students and bringing therapy dogs on campus. Said Monta Vista senior Flora Xia, “A few years back, some students got a team of statisticians to give a survey to the entire school regarding stress. It revealed that Monta Vista kids were very stressed and felt that they couldn’t talk about it to anyone on the campus.” Ever since the faculty has discovered the issue, it has taken steps to alleviate the students of the pressure placed on students to constantly strive for perfection. At the same time, the ASB of Fremont High School organized a “stress-less” week before finals last year, where they scheduled events such as a movie night, yoga classes, and even a karaoke session the week before finals were set to begin.
Said Xia, “The purpose of Ole Day was to give students a chance to have a ‘fun’ day to relax. Teachers were encouraged to make their lesson plans as fun as possible, the school played music over the speakers instead of using bells, and they brought in therapy dogs and cats for the students to pet.”
Despite some arguments from students that one day cannot eliminate the stress placed on high school students, Xia expresses appreciation towards the Monta Vista faculty for attempting to help its students. “Of course, it didn’t magically get rid of all my stress, but it made my day a little nicer, and that’s what matters.”
The competitive academic nature of the area has proven a difficult obstacle to tackle in the effort to reduce the pressure placed on Bay Area students. However, with recent efforts to alleviate that tension, there is some hope on students realizing the importance of enjoying the high school experience.
The annual Cherry Blossom Festival, organized by the city of Cupertino, took place from April 23 to 24 at Memorial Park. During the festival, the community gathered to celebrate Japanese culture with performances, food, and arts and crafts. The event funded Cupertino Sister City Committee, a non-profit organization that facilitates the foreign exchange program between Cupertino and Toyokawa.
All images courtesy of Catherine Seok
Hidden in the nooks and crannies of the school, the skateboarding community is an often overlooked aspect of Cupertino culture. Students can sometimes be spotted around school, on the street and in open lots with their boards, spending time with others have the same interest. Some might see skateboarding as just a way of getting around, but for others, it is a sport that has no rules — a medium of expression. For skateboarders like freshmen Hector Morestin and Omar Sibih, skateboarding is a way to hang out with friends while having fun with a favorite hobby.
Q: How did you get into skateboarding?
Morestin: After I moved from France to the U.S., I met a friend who started skateboarding. I went to the skate park with him once, and he was skateboarding, and I thought that was really cool. My parents found a summer camp, which is how I started learning.
Q: What do you like about it?
Morestin: I like it because I can meet a ton of people at the skate park who share the same passion as me. So I try to practice a little bit every day, and I’m trying to get good enough to get sponsored [by skateboarding companies].
Q: What does skateboarding mean to you?
Morestin: I just see it as something I do in my free time. I make videos with my friends, which is really fun. We film vlog-type videos, where we’ll meet up in the morning and film ourselves skating and talking about stuff.
Q: What’s your favorite trick?
Sibih: The tre flip, which is when the board turns 360 degrees and flips. It can be challenging to get the full rotation though.
Morestin: I like [tre] flips because they were the hardest for me to learn. Now that I’ve learned it, I can do it almost every try, and it’s super fun.
Q: How do you learn skateboarding tricks?
Morestin: I usually just watch a bunch of YouTube tutorials. The tutorials teach you how to do the tricks and talk about [other skateboarders’] preferences. So I take all the different ideas I learn about and combine them to learn tricks.
Q: Who have you learned from the most?
Sibih: I’ve learned a lot from a YouTuber named Aaron Kyro, who’s a sponsored skater from the Bay Area. It’s motivating to see how far he’s come, since he was once young like me and really progressed a lot.
Q: How would you describe the skating community at Tino?
Sibih: Pretty much anyone who has a skateboard — they can come with us. We all just skate together. No matter how bad you are or how good you are, we’ll teach you.
Q: Are there any stereotypes associated with skateboarding?
Sibih: Yeah. People think that all skateboarders smoke, do bad things and get bad grades, which isn’t true. I usually just try to ignore the negative feedback.
Q: What are the best and worst parts about skateboarding?
Morestin: The best part is that once you land [a trick], you get this awesome feeling of accomplishment. Learning tricks is also challenging. A lot of the times, I’ll get frustrated. Doing tricks just doesn’t work out sometimes, but I’ll always keep trying until I get it.
Despite the negative stereotypes that skateboarders often face, the skateboarding culture at Tino has developed into a welcoming community where skaters of different levels can bond over their shared hobby. Skateboarding may not always be recognized as a conventional hobby, but it is definitely one that has brought all kinds of students together.
Thumbnail Image Courtesy of Ncapamaggio
On Jan. 14th, Alan Rickman passed away among friends and family after a short battle with cancer. An English actor and director, Rickman is primarily known for his roles as Hans Gruber in Die Hard and Severus Snape in the Harry Potter film series. Rickman first received praise for his role as Vicomte de Valmont in the stage production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses in 1985, for which he received a Tony Award nomination. Since then, Rickman has gone on to play a wide variety of characters in films: the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Harry in Love Actually, Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility, and Alexander Dane in Galaxy Quest. Although celebrated for his superb acting skills, Rickman has also been admired off-screen as a deeply caring and empathetic person. His distinguished film roles and his compassionate personality have inspired numerous CHS students as they grew up watching him perform.
Watch The Prospector’s video featuring CHS students’ reactions to Alan Rickman’s career and recent death.
On Jan. 10th, David Bowie died at age 69 after an 18-month battle with cancer. Due to his infinitely musical transformations, Bowie was often known as one of the most influential singer-songwriter and producer of his time, teaching generations of musicians about the power of drama, images, and persona. While Bowie’s personality and character changed dramatically from time to time, his songs were almost always about being an outsider. In 1969, Bowie published his first hit song, “Space Oddity”. In the following years, Bowie published many more singles, two of which made it to No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100, “Fame” in 1975 and “Let’s Dance” in 1983. In 1998, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On Jan. 8th, two days before he died and also his birthday, Bowie published his final album, Blackstar, which is currently No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart.
While Bowie undoubtedly influenced many musicians, he also served as an important model for his fans. In fact, several of these fans are teachers at CHS. Watch The Prospector's video highlighting various teacher's reactions to Bowie's legacy and recent death.
Numerous homeless shelters in downtown San Jose are filled with underprivileged children eager to learn. However, they often lack the resources to do so. With this reality in mind, Project RISE was created. Project RISE, organized by junior Aishwarya Laddha and junior Jehannaz Dastoor, is a Cupertino FBLA Community Service Project partnered with Family Supportive Housing Shelter that aims to provide service, awareness, and financial aid to homeless shelters.
Said Dastoor, “An important thing about this project is that it really give kids the chance in our affluent community to reach out to people in communities that are not as fortunate as ours. It’s really an eye-opening experience for both sides.”
On Thursday, Dec. 10th, Laddha, Dastoor, and three other students traveled for the third time this year to a homeless shelter in downtown San Jose. There, they exposed the children to science through several lessons and experiments, hoping to educate and inspire. Being teachers for a group of young children seemed simple at first, but the students soon realized that it was a strenuous task. Not only did they have to dedicate a significant amount of time to teaching, but also patiently deal with the energetic group of children.
”I think it’s difficult because they’re elementary school kids. They don’t have a high attention span [...] so it’s hard to create a lesson where they’re going to want to do whatever we’re trying to teach them,” said junior Ananya Venkatesh, one of the student teachers and student in charge of lesson planning.
Driven to provide these underprivileged children with an unforgettable learning opportunity, these CHS students were determined to formulate lesson plans for each visit. The entire process may have been exhausting, but the effort paid off in the end.
“It was just very rewarding because the kids got so excited whenever we started a lesson. And once we started an experiment, everyone got so into it,” sophomore Binaisha Dastoor, another one of the student teachers, said, “ At the same time, [this project] made me become more aware of what underprivileged children are going through.”
Added Jehannaz Dastoor, “One thing I definitely learned is that children are our society’s most valuable resource. They’re so incredibly enthusiastic and eager to learn. I feel like if every single child is given the opportunity and resources, every one of them would be able to succeed and pursue their goals.”
In addition to the service aspect where the students created life-skill workshops that taught the students valuable skills, Project RISE also involves awareness and fundraising. This part of the project was done through holiday caroling on December 23rd. In addition, there will be a Needs-Based drive where students can donate blankets, comforters, and pillowcases in January. Currently, Project RISE is still in its early stages. But while it may seem small and insignificant right now, its impacts will undoubtedly be remarkable in the future.
Ms. Schaetzke: “I’m thankful for all my wonderful students and beautiful California weather.”
Jeehoon Park (12): "I’m thankful for great friends, #Gordon Iwagaki, the Dynasty bros and my girlfriend."
Mansas Gogineni (11): "I’m thankful for my friends and family."
Aditya Singh (10): "I’m so thankful that my friends haven’t stepped on my brand new converse shoes."
Phillip Nguyen-Dang (9): "I'm thankful for all of my friends because without them high school wouldn’t be the same."
Thumbnail Image Courtesy of Pixabay.
Last Friday, Cupertino Actors Theater, or CAT, opened with their new production, The End of the World (with Prom to Follow). Three staff members from The Prospector attended the play on its opening night (thanks to complimentary tickets from the CAT). Here’s what we thought:
The End of the World follows a group of students who wake up one day to find that everyone they know, except for those who attend Charles M. Russell High School, have disappeared overnight. The play takes place in the town of Great Falls, Montana and focuses on the lives of typical high school students as the world comes to an end. In addition to the challenge of getting along across different social cliques, the students face apocalypse in the form of an “approaching white light,” which represents the transition into maturity experienced by all teenagers. Similar to Lord of the Flies, the characters are forced to find a way to govern themselves and prevent anarchy.
CAT’s performance last year in Cabaret was widely acclaimed for the dramatic intensity of its plot and the professionalism of its actors. While Cabaret set the bar high for drama performances at Tino, CAT actors continue to meet and even exceed the audience’s expectations with impressive musical and acting abilities in The End of the World (with Prom to Follow).
The blending of humor and serious events throughout the production shows that the actors of CAT are equally skilled in both comedic and dramatic performances. The characters, especially the main characters Julie, Terrell, and Tom, are effectively portrayed as realistically flawed teenagers with conflicting ideas on the self-governing of the student body. The play touches on complex relationships between friends, couples, enemies, and especially shows the dynamics of a high school love triangle. The show itself was further enhanced by the expertise of the crew members. Technicians did a great job of putting together sound, lighting, and other effects. The light that surrounded the town was an integral part of the show, and light technicians did a great job of visually representing the "Light", slowly encapsulating the town and the students.
Maybe it’s because we’re journalists ourselves, but we think that we’re speaking for everyone when we say that Shelly and Sheldon, the editor-in-chief siblings of the school newspaper are the best characters since Emcee from Cabaret. It was obvious from the crowd’s reactions every time they swiveled onto the stage in their chairs that they were definitely the audience’s favorites.
Over the past few months, CAT has put together a show that is funny, entertaining and meaningful. We walked away from The End of the World smiling, but also thinking about the deep questions from the play: “What does dying mean?” “What is on the other side of the light?” and “Does God exist?” are thoughts that draw audience members into the show. The End of the World is like an M&M: it’s a great play with a coating of really funny and relevant humor surrounding deeper meaning on the inside. If you love M&Ms, I’m sure you’ll love The End of the World too.
Hover over the pictures below to view direct quotes:
Each generation of students is defined by its own set of traditions and while some of these trends may remain from one generation to the next, countless are replaced.
Said Kyle Fitzpatrick, a teacher that has been working at Cupertino High School for more than a decade, “there are different pressures, different systematic things that happen, and cultural shifts of course, but the biggest one [currently] I think is the intensity of high school. It is a national thing but I think it’s more tended towards here in Cupertino.”
Susan Rocha, a current teacher that attended Cupertino High School as a student, expanded upon her experience as a student in comparison to recent years. “Things were easier then. School was a lot more enjoyable and it wasn’t all about getting A’s and doing well on the SAT, those type of things. People were a little more carefree,” Rocha said.
However, some teachers believe the current student population works well together to combat the increased intensity of high school. “I think we are more of a collaborative community, like collaborative learning is big now […] that was not so much the case when I was in high school,” said Yukari Salazar. “We were all very [independent] and if you failed, you kind of just failed on your own.”
The general atmosphere of their days at school was not the only highlight of teachers’ memories. There were also trends in clothing that are particularly interesting using today’s standards.
“I remember people would peg their pants [tightly roll the cloth at the ankle] and girls would often wear shoulder pads under their shirts.” said Rocha, “Nowadays, I think clothing is a lot tighter. But back then, it was a lot bigger.”
One trend in particular really caught Mrs. Salazar’s attention. She noted how in recent years “the smarter you are, the more accepted you are in social circles. I feel like in my high school, the smarter you are, the more taken advantaged you were and picked on. So it was really hard to be smart, like you didn’t want to look smart.“
Whether it’s pegging pants to look cool or attempting to not appear intelligent in order to be accepted into social circles, these trends have evolved over time. In fact, they are what makes one generation different from another.
Gallery Courtesy of Ethan Qi and Amy Zeng.
Ever wonder what our beloved school looked like thirty years ago? Wes Morse, a well known faculty member on campus, gave an inside scoop on the meaning behind his wall of Tino history inside the ASB room.
Note: Video of full performance is available at the bottom of the article.
On Oct. 10, Cupertino High School hosted the 45th annual Tournament of the Bands. With about 20 schools from all over Northern California, more than 2000 students came together to participate in numerous competitions. The event, which starts off with parades in the morning and ends with field shows at night, is an opportunity for school bands to showcase what they have been practicing all season.
Said drum major Vivi Kung, “I think it’s really awesome getting to see the different variety of performances, especially from different schools. Every school has a different music program, and every school likes to do something different [for] their show.”
Added Thu An Hanley, “This is an event that I have always been to, [almost] every single year since I’ve lived here, and it’s always really fun seeing the march in the morning then coming here at night to see all the different bands perform. [It’s] a really exciting experience.”
In order to put together such a large event, it’s safe to say that a lot of preparation is involved. The Cupertino band practices hours each week, regardless of the weather, and has been preparing for this particular event since the first day of band camp in August.
“We learn drills, we learn music, we put music with the drill,” explained Neeraj Dharmadhikari. “The reason we practice so much is because our motto is to practice not until we get it right, but to practice until we can’t get it wrong.”
Despite the large amount of time spent on practicing, the Cupertino band, as the hosting school, is not judged competitively. However, Tournament of the Bands is still important to the band members. Said Divya Mistry, “I think the fact that [the tournament] is at our school just means a lot to us because we want to show the other bands and the [audience] that [...] we’re just a band that puts a lot of time into what we do.”
Jennifer Shearin further noted that, “[The students] really enjoy being in the band, and [that] gives them the camaraderie and the ability to work together for a great common goal, and I think that’s really nice.”
As the opening competition of the season, Tournament of the Bands serves as a valuable experience for bands to see where they are and how they can improve for future competitions.
Last year, almost 65% of the CHS student body entered a 4-year college/university. For anyone planning on applying to a private or out-of-state institution, they will be applying through Naviance, an online portal provided for all students. Many students, especially seniors, have expressed confusion regarding how to effectively use this portal. To get more information on Naviance, we Interviewed Ms. Arranaga, the college and career counselor at Cupertino High, about more information regarding Naviance.
Can you tell me about the important features of the Naviance?
I think there are two really important ones that all students should utilize. One is the strength finder because not all of the students know what their strengths are. We paint ourselves in certain ways, but once you take this assessment, it will give you the three top themes [in which] you can see how it relates to specific careers and college majors.
For example, when I took the test [for myself], it said that I was organized, dependable, and confident. And based off these three things, it gave me a list of different careers. And based on these careers, I found the different majors. It was very accurate because from my position, I have to be confident, organized, [and] dependable because if I’m not, I’m not going to send things on time, I’m not going to [be able to] handle 257 applications, so it varies student by student. It is definitely something that they should utilize as a career resource.
The second one would probably be the college match. A lot of us believe that UC Berkeley and UCLA and Stanford, [and] all top colleges are for us, but all the college reps say that you need to find the perfect fit so there are many, many great schools out there. By doing the college match, you can narrow [the list] by the major that you are interested in, [or] you can narrow it by whether or not you want to go to east coast or west coast, or if it has specific organization[s] or test accommodations.
When should students get started on Naviance?
Freshman [year] is a good start; you don’t want to overly bother yourselves with Naviance but it’s good to become familiar with it because by the time you become a senior, you’ll know exactly where to go, what to do, and know how to use the resources on there. You can research colleges, kind of see what you are looking at, what GPA you need to have for the specific college that you’re interested in.
[During] sophomore year, you might want to look into the different volunteer opportunities and still do the in-depth research on colleges. There are test prep[s] that are individualized and are definitely something to be utilized. You can do it for SAT, ACT, [and] PSAT. I don’t think they should use it as often as the juniors and seniors, but still do a self-assessment once [per] month and do a college search and find a major and do resume building or a to-do list.
Junior year is one of the tough years in high school [so] it would be nice if they were to look at it every so often and definitely see what other colleges are out there, what interests them, what different careers there are. We have college visits from September through November. We also have different career guest speakers who come in from January through June so students can see that kind of stuff on there. They can sign up for college visits.
What would you tell the seniors about Naviance?
For the seniors, I stress that they take advantage of everything on there primarily because you can build a resume [and go to] the college visits [and] different workshops. I stress often, if not every day, that students should look at it and take advantage of it because college time is very, very stressful especially if you’re balancing school, home, sports, and college applications. So the more you know ahead of time, the better you know about the plan.
What do you think of Naviance in general?
I think it is a great resource for all kids at Cupertino. I went to a high school that performed well, but we didn’t have anything like this. This is definitely something that the district pays for each individual student, and I definitely think that it should be taken advantage of. There are some things [in Naviance] that I wish [would be improved]. Naviance is something that is underutilized here because not everyone knows what it is about. I think that’s changing now these couple of years [because] it’s becoming a little bit more popular. Use Naviance because It helps you find your passion, and it helps pave the path that you want to go wherever you want to go or be.