Ugly Sweater Day brings holiday spirit to campus

It’s an early Friday morning as students drowsily stumble into Room A212 in between yawns and soft sleep mutterings. Spanish teacher Molly Guadiamos, however, sports a bright pearly white smile, a color that matches perfectly with the “artfully” designed ugly sweater she’s wearing.

“The first thing I did was laugh because it was just so unique,” sophomore Derek Lee said, “Es muy bueno!”

Guadiamos proudly showcases her creative ugly sweater. The sweater is plain white with different objects stuck onto it and the words “Happy Hanukkah” are slathered across in big indigo letters.
Guadiamos proudly showcases her creative ugly sweater. The sweater is plain white with different objects stuck onto it and the words “Happy Hanukkah” are slathered across in big indigo letters.

Ugly Sweater Day is one of the four spirit days in Holiday Week organized by leadership for everyone to have fun and get into the holiday spirit in the days leading up to the dreaded finals.

Guadiamos has always been a big fan of spirit days at MVHS, and Ugly Sweater Day is no exception.

“There was an ugly sweater contest coming up, and I tried to look for a Hanukkah sweater, but I couldn’t find one, so I had to make my own,” Guadiamos said, “I tried to make it as ugly as possible. I found some finger puppets, a light up dreidel, and even some chocolate gelts, which are chocolate coins, and then glued them all on the sweater.”

Guadiamos isn’t the only one getting into the spirit of the holidays, as many other students and staff are also geared up in all different kinds of sweaters.

“Ugly Sweater Day did really well last year,” sophomore class officer and treasurer Ashley Chang said, “People seemed to enjoy it, so we wanted to do it again and help raise holiday spirit.”

Ugly Sweater Day brings holiday spirit to campus

MUN takes home multiple awards at Stanford conference

Used with permission of Nupoor Gandhi

While some students may have been sitting in their homes this past weekend, their heads buried in homework or binge watching Netflix in their beds, the members of MV Model United Nations were busy taking on the roles of different countries and solving the many crises that they were faced with. The Stanford MUN conference is one that the club goes to every year, but this year, they took the most amount of people that they’ve ever taken. They also took home a total of two verbal commendations, one honorable mention, one Outstanding Delegate Award and three Best Delegate Awards, which is the highest number of Best Delegate awards that MV MUN has ever gotten at a single conference. Many members also enjoyed themselves as they tackled all the issues presented to them. The goal wasn’t about winning, but rather about seeing how much they could actually assimilate into their countries or characters.

Explore the map to see the winning delegates’ positions on their assigned issues.

MUN Stanford conference interactive map

MUN takes home multiple awards at Stanford conference

Breaking Convention: FUHSD Instagram and Twitter accounts reach out to students

Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr. Social media has become an extremely essential part of our lives everyday. It’s unconsciously ingrained in us as we mindlessly scroll through our Instagram feeds as a hobby, or as we instinctively take our cell phones out of our pocket without a thought to respond to that Facebook message. It’s become one of the most prominent ways we communicate, and FUHSD is now catching up to that trend for the better.

FUHSD has always had a Facebook page, but recently, they’ve also established Instagram and Twitter accounts. By doing this, they hope to spread more good news throughout the community and reach out more to the younger audience that they are targeting. It’s a great way to connect with the teens they’re working with by catching them up on all the latest events and discussions.

FUHSD Communications Coordinator Sue Larson

Used with permission of Sue Larson
Used with permission of Sue Larson


“I think social media is fabulous. Before, people would learn through newspapers, which is a good way, but patterns have changed and networks have expanded, and young people these days don’t really read newspapers anymore. I’m very grateful to these social media platforms that allow us to share the good news and accomplishments of FUHSD. We have a Facebook page with 2200 followers, and so Instagram and Twitter just seemed like the next logical step for us to take, especially since they seem more popular with younger users.”




sophomore Gill WangIMG_6168

“My first thought at this was just that they’re posting events, [so] I thought it was useless because we already have class officers that tell us about all the events, so then this would just be repetitive. But then I heard that they were going to post good news which is good because we can know more about what happens in our district our community. I’m not sure how effective it will be at reaching the students, but I think that once they get the student’s attention to a certain post, students will continue following up to see what’s new.”


Biology teacher Pooya Hajjarian


“I think it’s a good way to communicate with students, and communication is a really important part of education, so the more communication that there is, the better it is for everyone involved. When our district creates, say a Facebook or Instagram page, I like that. It brings unity and it makes everything more clear to everyone. I really hope it’s effective in reaching students, and that students can also provide feedback for what can be improved.”

Breaking Convention: FUHSD Instagram and Twitter accounts reach out to students

How do you feel: The gender scale

Lengthy debates on the internet, anonymous comments on YouTube, angry discussions on social media. We hear about gender inequality all the time. There are those from all different points of the spectrum: the radical feminists, the menís rightís activists, and those who play devilís advocate. Five students and teachers describe what gender inequality means to them.

English teacher Mark Carpenter


I am in favor of gender equality. I think of feminism extremely positively. It’s still a necessity as long as there’s a wage gap in this country, as long as there’s a huge gender gap in the tech industry. It’s 100 percent necessary, important, and good.

Gender Inequality 

I’m the advisor for the Monta Vista League of Legends club. I took over the position from the teacher who previously had this room. I wasn’t unfamiliar with the game or its culture before becoming the advisor, and I see the way that male members of the club treat the club’s sole female officer, kind of dismissively, kind of patronizingly, and I know that that stuff happens in other places at this campus. And the fight’s not over until that stops.


meghanjunior Meghan Rai

Gender Inequality 

[Gender inequality] comes in small incidents and big incidents. There’s big issues of gender inequality and there are the small everyday things you hear that sound kind of unfair. I play football, so I feel like I have to work a little bit harder and be more focused and push myself a little bit more because I’m a girl, and people won’t take me seriously if I don’t. I think we always treat men with a little more respect [than women]in society, so there doesn’t need to be a special day when we do that.


senior Mihir Gokhale

Gender Inequality

I think we’ve gone a long way in terms of creating gender equality in America, but I still think that there’s a long way still to go, especially in terms of getting more women in leadership roles.

Men’s Rights

Gender equality is, of course, a two way street, and though females undergo more oppression than males, males are still slightly oppressed in America, but not to the same scale that women are.


senior Franklin Ty


I think the idea of feminism is good, but I feel like in certain movements, it’s become more of female superiority rather than female equality. I mean there’s one thing, like females in STEM and engineering fields and all that […] but I don’t think we should give them an unfair advantage over males just because they’re female.

Transgender people

I think it’s good that people are being more accepting of [transgender people], but I just don’t like it when people become very offended over the little things people say and things that are pretty trivial.


English teacher Jessica Kaufman


I think true feminism should be an issue of equality between genders or sexes, versus having to put somebody else down. Being the way you are and owning that and really trying to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and be understanding of others’ perspectives […] I think that will help change the ideas that are out there.

Gender Inequality 

Women should get to own who they are as a woman just like men get to own who they are as a man. Having to be conscious of walking around at night and knowing that I could be taken advantage of in a way that a man can’t, that’s difficult.

How do you feel: The gender scale

Taking initiative with conflict calendars

Most of us have seen the bright white poster paper taped on that cabinet, window, or whiteboard. Some are filled with the tests, events and orals of busy students, while others remain blank, untouched, almost as if they’re just any other normal calendar. Conflict calendars are in almost every classroom at school. However, just because they’re there, doesn’t mean they’re actually being used for the purpose they’re meant to serve.

The problem is, from a survey of 59 students, only 30 percent write on conflict calendars. And 74 percent feel that they often have too many tests in one single day. This is a clear contradiction — we want conflict calendars to help us, but most of us don’t take action. We should personally take initiative to fully utilize conflict calendars. They exist for our benefit, and we need to willingly write on them. We may not see the importance of writing on conflict calendars, and choose to not take action. But that only perpetuates a cycle in which we harm ourselves by not taking advantage of the opportunity.

Conflict Calendars-1

Teachers in fact do sincerely want to help us, and do take into consideration the seven classes students are taking, the numerous activities students participate in and the big events that students want to go to. By using conflict calendars, teachers more clearly see the hectic schedules of the students, and find a better time to place their test or quiz so students aren’t completely overwhelmed. It’s up to us how we as students initiate the suggestion to our teachers, and take action. We can’t simply complain about busy schedules when we have opportunities to make a difference.

Biology teacher Pamela Chow frequently tries to use conflict calendars, and encourages her students to put their conflicts on there.

“I’ve told the students before that maybe there’s not going to be the best day ever to put a test on, but the conflict calendars do make everyone’s lives less stressful,” Chow said. “If I can put the test on a day where I can see that there is not already five other things, then why not?”

With the conflict calendars, we should have integrity, and should never abuse the conflict calendar. Conflict calendars allow us to use our best judgment to write down only what we feel like needs to be written down. Seventy-one percent of students agree that with both sides actively using the conflict calendar, it’s bound to reduce the stress they feel.

English teacher Shannon Hoopes recently got her conflict calendars and wants to start using it next unit, because she also believes it reduces stress among students and teachers.

“I think teachers should either use conflict calendars, or at least some other way to get feedback from their students,” Hoopes said. “Teachers could also assign a deadline for a project, but if students say that have a math test that day, then teachers should maybe be a little flexible about that due date.”

Conflict calendars may not seem that significant, but the truth is, they can play a very important role in reducing students’ stress, an especially big problem at MVHS, and allow students a chance to balance and manage their workload more effectively.

We can’t simply expect a teacher to take action and clear up our schedules — that needs to be recognized on our part, on taking initiative. Next time we see that large white calendar in our rooms, let’s remember that the low-effort act of writing on it significantly reduces our often high stress levels.

Co-reported with Emily Zhao 

Taking initiative with conflict calendars

A joint effort

Competition. This is the one word we have all come to use to define MVHS one way or another. The competitive environment here has encouraged us to work against our own peers, because we’re all competing for that higher end of the curve, that club officer position, and that very same spot on the top. The sight of students offering each other genuine help and guidance is a sight that has become rarer than it should be. Instead of working against each other though, we should strive to work together, and help each other more, because there are many benefits to be received from working as a whole.

Biology club, peer counseling, study buddies — these are only a few of the many organizations on campus in which students themselves offer to help, tutor or counsel other students in a wide area of subjects. In a constantly changing environment like MVHS, it’s easy for students to fall a step behind others, and after getting off that path, it’s pretty hard to get right back on. Itís something weíve all encountered. We just zone out that one day in class, or have too much work and clubs and tests jammed all into one week so we can barely remember the order of our classes — much less the structure of a carbohydrate the teacher went over in third period biology on Tuesday.

This is why we are provided with the opportunity to receive guidance from other students, who we might feel more comfortable with, because they can empathize more with the five APs, the three clubs, and that one afterschool sport we all try to juggle at once. A study done by the Institute of Education from London University involving 4,000 students from the ages of five to fourteen found that the students who worked together in groups and helped each other, made rapid progress compared to those that didn’t. Student collaboration not only allows students to work more effectively, but also a chance for them to see things from a perspective like their own. When working with peers just like them, students are more open and can relate more, compared to parents or teachers.

Math and Physics teacher Sushma Bana directly experienced the difference between the interactions of students versus that of a student and a teacher. Three years ago, Bana actually took Spanish 1 along with other students. That year, Bana had a free fifth period, so every fifth period, she would go and sit in on Spanish teacher Joyce Fortuneís fifth period Spanish 1 class. She took the course for the entire year, doing everything a Spanish 1 student was supposed to do, from the nerve wrecking orals to the group projects to the dreaded finals. Through this experience, Bana realized that there was a lot more to students, their interactions, their stress, and their complaints than what she had only seen as a teacher.

“I could see, when I was part of a group [in Spanish], that the kids were more open with me and they called me by my first name. There are presentations, there are oral quizzes, and [during those quizzes]I could feel my heart beating so fast,” Bana said. “It’s just as teachers we lose perspective that these kids have seven classes, and they go through test taking in all seven of those classes, with seven different styles of teaching. So going through that experience really made me more sensitive to the needs of students and really affected my practices.”

This is essentially what biology club, peer counseling and all related clubs are for — to understand and learn from others who are very much like them. They’re here so students can share their experiences with each other and then learn from those experiences. It’s more than just a club or a 45 minute tutoring session on photosynthesis. It’s about understanding, empathizing and sharing. It’s about connecting.

A joint effort

A comparison of Mock Trial, MUN, and Debate

Clubs like Debate, Mock Trial and Model United Nations seem similar on the surface because all three focus on constructing logical arguments and current events. However, the clubs do have variations in the many aspects of their club, such as conferences, structure, as well as what people think of the clubs.

Debate-MUN-Mock Trial Comparison

Senior Eric Lee is currently MUN Co-President
“Model UN is a club which deals with the resolution of world issues which are in both first world and third world countries,” said Eric Lee, MUN President. “It is the ultimate infusion of political intrigue with international politics.”

Senior Mihir Gokhale is currently a Public Forum captain in Debate
“Debate is a forum where you can gain a better understanding of argumentation, debate, oratory [and] research,” said Mihir Gokhale, Debate captain. “It exposes you to a lot of different things and a lot of different skillsets you will need in your real life and to succeed.”

Senior Ajay Merchia is currently Mock Trial Co-President

“[Mock Trial] teaches you how to speak, it teaches you how to write, it teaches you how to think analytically and it’s gonna help you keep that 4.0, I’m sure,” said Ajay Merchia, Mock Trial Co-President. “On top of that, we’re also an incredible family. We go to Chipotle, we have all of our fun bondings, we create these grand elaborate conspiracy theories and it really is just an incredible experience.”

Co-reported with Amita Mahajan 

A comparison of Mock Trial, MUN, and Debate