Ready, Set, Vote!

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 5.36.29 PMFeb. 3, 1870. It was on this day that the 15th Amendment was ratified, allowing every man no matter what “race, color or previous condition of servitude” to vote. Although it took much longer for women’s suffrage, eventually they too were able to vote and have a say in the government.

A variety of factors affect the voting process, and influence the voter into selecting a certain candidate, especially when it comes to younger voters. Cornell University’s ROPER Center for Public Opinion Research reported that in the 2012 presidential election between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, the 18-29 age group consisted of 19 percent of all voters, the second lowest number of voters.

Senior Nirupama Chandrasekhar, who cannot vote in this election due to the lack of an American citizenship, strongly encourages other students to do so as they have the opportunity.

“Whether they don’t have faith in the political system, whether they’re just lazy or not interested, I think that’s a real crime, honestly,” Chandrasekhar said, “We are living in this country and I don’t think you have any right to complain about what the government is doing if you haven’t gone out and voted.”

Senior Shruti Shankar, a future voter in the final presidential election, claims sometimes people just aren’t interested in reading up on the candidates’ stances. She believes that it is important for students to be aware of political stances and actions, not simply to sound intelligent but also to maintain strong background information that can be used to make an informed vote.

“People don’t really know who they’re voting for. It’s more the mob mentality thing, which is pretty scary if you think about it,” Shankar said. “Because if enough people say they’re going to vote for a certain candidate, chances are twenty other are going to follow.”

And the media is an extremely influential factor in the voting process because of its ability to affect the public’s perception of the different candidates and their stances. However, there are some discrepancies in various news organizations’ reporting of winners of debates and state polls.

Fortune magazine described how “CNN, which hosted the debate, wrote that Clinton ‘proved without a doubt’ why she’s currently the Democratic frontrunner; Forbes bestowed letter grades, placing the former Secretary of State at the top of her class with an ‘A-’; The National Journal claims that the she won simply because she is a strong debater and Bernie Sanders is not.”

Government teacher Ben Recktenwald believes students may be extremely influenced by social media, especially younger voters.

“Trump, for example, a lot of the stuff that comes out of him is just tweets. Like, really? How can you express some sophisticated idea on policy in a tweet? And that’s becoming the trend.” Recktenwald said. “A lot of people are getting their information on elections based on really tightly compartmentalized pieces of information.”

Chandrasekhar believes that another important factor in the voting process is the role teachers and parents play in influencing their students to look for certain values or advantages in candidates. Because parents may hold their own strong political viewpoints, they can instill some of those values in their children, ultimately influencing their child’s vote.

Another information source is school, where some history and government classes directly involve teaching students about the struggles for rights in the past centuries, highlighting how hundreds of historical figures have affected the voting and governmental process today.

“I think in US history, our whole job is to expose that process,” History teacher Robbie Hoffman said. “And the rights people didn’t have and their goal and triumph to obtain those rights.”

Furthermore, some teachers try to give students more insight on the presidential candidates. They will inform students about the different plans that the presidential candidates are looking to implement. In his AP Government classes, Recktenwald provides students with quizzes that determine how close their values match with those of all the candidates.

“One of the nice things about government, is that what you’re talking about in the class is what’s really happening,” Recktenwald said. “In theory, every student when they leave this classroom should be highly qualified to vote, because that’s the whole point of Government — getting you prepared for voting.”

For Leadership…

Students not only have the chance to vote on a national level, but also on a local level. Every year, students have the chance to elect class officers who will make decisions and organize events such as dances and rallies for the entire class.

In the past, complaints about class office and Leadership have arisen with students questioning the amount of effort the Leadership committees put into organizing entertaining events, raising money or motivating students during rally week. However, the final results are not the only thing students criticize.

In a survey of 274 students, 82 percent of students believe that popularity is a factor in elections. Senior class vice president Ahmad Ali-Ahmad also firmly believes that popularity is extremely vital in class elections.

“I would say popularity is 100 percent the main contributing factor to someone winning,” Ali-Ahmad said, “you vote for your friend, or you vote for the person you know the best. Maybe it’s because I’ll do a good job, but most likely it’s because of name recognition or for knowing or being friends with people.”

In the way that many potential voters do not know everything about a presidential candidate, many students are not aware of the what exactly the separate leadership classes do.

According to senior Emma Pickett, a member the Student Life committee, all the events planned are to ensure that students have something to look forward to or can pursue the actions they want, such as raising money for clubs or similar.

“All the events we plan, and all the time we spend — I’ve had to miss practices, games, and different things or family time,” Pickett said. “I’ve sacrificed a lot for leadership, and it’s not for leadership, it’s for the school.”

Ready, Set, Vote!

Sophomore creates math tournaments for low-income family students

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 2.08.05 PMThe moment sophomore Emily Su walked into the engineering summer program which her two engineer parents had signed her up for, she noticed one thing. Boys. Everyone was a boy.

“I walked in and every single student, and every single TA, and every single teacher was a boy,” Su said. “So when I went home, I asked my parents if they signed me up for an all boys summer camp.”

This memory from the summer before third grade has been ingrained in Su’s mind ever since. When brainstorming for her Girl Scout Gold Award, an award Girl Scouts receive by creating a sustainable project which can benefit the entire community, this same memory popped up in her head again. With the lingering memory of that engineering camp, Su decided that she wanted her project to be STEM related, as she wants to get more people involved in these fields.

Su’s recently created non-profit and Gold Award, Silicon Valley Math Circle, is targeted toward providing underprivileged students from low-income families with a chance to foster interest in STEM related fields in a non-classroom and applicable setting. This organization looks to host math tournaments, and Su plans for the first tournament to be for girls only, a decision spurred by that same summer memory.

“I feel like when you can just teach something straight out of a textbook, it’s not as interesting as if you can compete in it, or have fun while you’re doing it,” Su said. “And I feel like if kids have that opportunity, they might see that in a different light.”

Sophomore Emily Su
Sophomore Emily Su

Along the way, Su received quite a bit of help from others, especially her Girl Scout directors, who really challenged her and questioned the sustainability of the project. These directors helped Su to develop her idea and refine all aspects to it. One of these directors from the Girl Scout Office who helped Su was Sue Chen.

Su states that Chen is very good at planning and organizing events, so she knows what works and what doesn’t work. Chen helped review Su’s project, and also gave her advice on many things such as the best way to conduct the tournaments and what venues would be available on short notice, but for the most part, she says that Su had developed the majority of the project by herself.

The one worry Chen does have about SV Math Circle is who they’re targeting. She states that it might be hard to get the underprivileged students to participate in these tournaments.

“For the underprivileged kids, I think it will be hard to get them interested in this because the family culture may not be very familiar with what can be done with math,” Chen said. “We need to provide them better understanding as to why they should get into STEM, because it can apply to a lot of things in life, and give them more choices in the future.”

SV Math Circle has challenged Emily in many different ways, and forced her to think out of the box, and grow as both a person and a leader. In the future, she hopes to make SV Math Circle a club on campus and expand it to other schools as well, so more people can work together toward helping the underprivileged students.

“I really want to empower underprivileged students,” Su said, “And encourage them to pursue what they enjoy through a different venue.”

Sophomore creates math tournaments for low-income family students

Pouring through El Niño

Giant puddles in the middle of the Academic Quad, the sound of droplets pounding against the roof, wet and muddy socks tossed into the laundry — these are all signs of El Niño, a series of climatic changes that are hitting the Equatorial Pacific because of fluctuating ocean temperatures, a phenomenon that takes place every seven or so years. These changes can be seen on a large scale, but they are also evident on the MVHS campus.

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 4.55.39 PM


                                                                    The basics       

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 4.56.49 PMNormally, in the Pacific Ocean, the wind pushing the water brings up cold water from the depths of the ocean, and pushes warmer water toward the west. During El Niño, because the winds get weaker, the cold water is left at the bottom of the ocean, and results in an overall increase in temperature for the ocean. AP Environmental Science teacher Andrew Goldenkranz states that the increase in ocean temperature then brings about warmer and wetter weather.

Although it seems like Cupertino should welcome the extra rain, especially after the long drought, the sudden influx of rain may actually bring undesirable consequences instead. The biggest detriment would be to the dried-out soil.   

 “We want [soil]to act like a sponge: to hold water well. Just think of a sponge at home, and if you threw a whole bunch of water on a super dried-out sponge, it’s not going to soak in very well,” Goldenkranz said. “It would immediately start to run off, and the ground is going to react in exactly the same way.”




Clubbing through the rain

Rain causes disturbances to different clubs who hold activities outdoors. Some continue to do what they normally would, while others are forced to cancel activities until the rain subsides.

For example, Biken Club usually has rides every Sunday morning on either the Steven Creek trail or up to the mountains. However, when it’s raining, it’s too risky to bike in the rain.Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 5.24.53 PM

“It’s not safe for people to bike, especially if you’re going downhill, it’s easy to slip,” co-president junior Rishit Gundu said. “Visibility safety is a big issue, because there’s wind and rain in your eyes and face.”

Ultimate frisbee, on the other hand, continues practices and after school games on Friday even if itís raining. However, they need to make certain adjustments.

“Attire is important. When it rains, it’s ideal to have cleats, and if you don’t have cleats, you’re going to be slipping a lot, because it’s going to be wet,” director of public relations sophomore Ryan Loke said. “Rain also makes the disk kind of wet, which makes it harder to throw and catch because it’s slippery.”

Pouring through El Niño