Teachers’ Proms

Many first time prom-goers anticipating a night to remember can feel a little daunted. Between tracking down a date, finding the perfect dress, or learning how to dance, just the thought of prom can be a little overwhelming for some people. While prom has evolved over the years, many things have remained much the same. Los Altos High School teachers share their prom experiences and prove that no matter what worries you have or decisions you make, your prom experience will probably turn out for the best.

Jeff Buchholz, math, attended prom with his girlfriend, but it was the dinner later on that stood out the most. He states, “We drove to a fairly exclusive restaurant in Santa Monica. We sat at the top of a tall building looking at the starry sky. Then we went to the beach. We kicked off our shoes and took a moonlit walk in the sand.”

For Jennifer Isley, performing arts, prom was a fun night to spend time with her close friends. For her, the night’s highlight was, “Seeing all my friends that I didn’t get to see on a regular basis.”

If prospective prom-goers are having issues deciding on the fashion statement they want to make, they might take a leaf out of Buchholz’s book. He waltzed into his senior prom wearing “a tuxedo with tails.” He made a bold statement, standing out. “Only one other guy had tails, and that was because he was my double date partner. It was unexpectedly classy for me,” he confesses.

Of course, just as many students will opt to veer away from prom, some teachers chose not to attend their high school dances. Jeff Hess, vice-principal, admits, “My parents gave me the choice between dances and sports, and I chose sports.”

For Shalom Montgomery, English, the choice was easy. “Ultra-strict parents” aside, she claims she most likely wouldn’t have chosen to attend prom had she been given the option. “In high school I had to pay, and I would not have bought a dress,” she said,“It’s expensive.”

Worried juniors and seniors might take some comfort in seeing that ultimately prom is just one of many high school experiences that will eventually just be a memory in a fond chapter of their lives.


Free Breakfast

Starting on Monday, February 3, food services started providing all students with free breakfast on Mondays and Fridays. This program has been established to promote eating breakfast as an important part of student achievement.

According to Tina Banes, secretary, every student in the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District will benefit from this program even if they are not on a free or reduced cost plan.

Although this is a huge change, it will not affect all students. Tiari Mateo, senior, says, “I don’t come early. When I do happen to wake up early, I just eat breakfast at home.” Some students like Lailea Cruz, freshman, said, “I don’t eat breakfast.” However, Dolores Houston, cafeteria manager, elaborates on their main goal. “Our department feels that breakfast is a very important component to student success. We are all trying to do our part to insure that students’ concentration and energy levels begin the day off well.”

Teachers Nicole Meylor, English, and Laurie Fuller, English, agree that this is a wonderful opportunity for students. Meylor says, “Breakfast will definitely benefit our students. They’ll be more attentive while they are here and won’t be as tired.” “Students who don’t usually receive breakfast now can. This is necessary for top performance in the classroom,” says Fuller. Maria Lucero Garcia, lunch lady, encourages, “Everybody should come eat. Your brain will work better when you study!”


Ides of March

Before Shakespeare placed his quill on parchment, the Ides of March was just another way to denote the middle of the month. Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, based on the real Roman dictator, made the phrase synonymous with betrayal and tragedy. In the play, a soothsayer {someone who could supposedly predict the future}warned Caesar of his impending doom by declaring, “Beware the Ides of March!” Caesar waved off the warning, and in the year 44 BC, he was brutally murdered by a group of Roman senators that included his close friend Marcus Brutus. Stabbed in the back by Brutus, Caesar succumbed to his augured death on March 15, or as Shakespeare preferred to call it, the Ides of March.

Today the Ides of March is considered an inauspicious day. On March 15, 1917, the communistic Bolsheviks forced Tsar Nicholas II off his throne; on March 15, 1938, Adolf Hitler robbed Jews of the right to vote; on March 15, 1941, a blizzard killed 150 people in North Dakota and Minnesota; on March 15, 2003, the contagious severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, was given pandemic status. Were all these events fated to happen? Is March 15 really that unlucky? Tori Christ, junior, does not believe so. “There’s no good or bad luck,” remarks Christ, “there’s just life and coincidence.” Junior Elena Dypiangco acknowledges the fact that the Ides of March could be potentially catastrophic, but also disagrees upon consistent cosmic calamity. She comments, “I think there are bad days, but you wouldn’t know they were coming. There are some supernatural forces out there.”

Realist Christ declares, “The only superstition I like is ‘Superstition’ by Stevie Wonder.”

“Write” or Wrong? The Value Behind Penmanship

In high school, neat penmanship is hardly a key to success. Many students overlook it entirely, choosing to focus entirely on the quality, or lack thereof, of their work. For others, however, penmanship is something of an art. Many have a distinct style of writing, whether it be tidy and legible or a barely decipherable scrawl.
For high school students, it is imperative that their penmanship be legible. While teachers are not supposed to downgrade an assignment based on penmanship, if it’s illegible, sometimes it can’t be graded at all.
Shalom Montgomery, English, confesses that it isn’t always easy to remain unbiased, but she tries her best to remain impartial. “There are styles of penmanship I don’t like where I might inadvertently be biased. I usually just move them to the back of the pile of essays to be graded,” she admits.
Montgomery’s penmanship pet peeves involve styles that include wide letters that don’t include a size differential between capital letters and lower case letters. Another style she finds herself reading only begrudgingly is very narrow, slanted cursive, as it is very hard to read.
Students, however unnecessary it may be, will often put quite a bit of effort into making their writing as neat as possible. Juan Morales, freshman, makes a conscious effort to improve his penmanship, stating, “My penmanship is very nice. I wouldn’t consider it the best, but I try.”
Other students are very confident in their penmanship. Alexandria Barajas, junior, jokes, “I have the best penmanship. They asked me to write a typed essay.”
Either way, very neat penmanship is hardly an essential for success, since there are alternatives for even those with tragically illegible penmanship. Montgomery remarks, “I would not consider my penmanship nice, so I choose to print whatever I feel is important. I don’t know how I survived high school.”

Battle of Science: Los Altos Vs. Wilson

On Saturday, February 8, the Los Altos Science Olympiad team arrived on Wilson territory at 8:30am to face off in a friendly battle of science. The teams were to compete in a series of 14 events, with two people from each school participating per event. The entirety of the school year had been spent in preparation for the Science Olympiad competition held on February 22, but when Wilson challenged Los Altos to a duel, Los Altos just couldn’t say no.
Junior Gustavo Rodriguez reflects, “I felt like we had incentive to prepare ourselves a little earlier just because Wilson is our rival and they challenged us. It encouraged me to work harder to win.”
The rivalry between Wilson and Los Altos needs no explanation. The Conquerors were able to walk away that day with their heads held high. The final score was 9-5. Rodriguez continues, “After we won, I felt great and I felt better prepared for the actual competition. Now I feel that we just need to continue to prepare ourselves and have the same confidence.”
Kenneth Hirscht, junior, said, “Well, I felt that the Wilson team was not taking the competition as seriously as we were. Their team spirit was nonexistent. But the facilities prepared by Wilson were on par with competition standard.” He continued, “I was excited to go, but I was nervous about how I was going to perform. I was ecstatic over our victory.” Hirscht competed in one event, Elastic Launched Glider, and prevailed over Wilson.
His partner for the event, junior Kevin Wang, also had his own opinion about the competition. “We probably broke more than eight airplanes preparing for this event. But for every broken airplane, we get closer to success.”
“I felt that it was a good experience for both teams as it gave us all a chance to see how prepared or unprepared we were for our events,” states Marcos Avila, senior, after participating in three events and winning in one.
As Avila has stated, the experience allowed the Los Altos Science Olympiad team members to reaffirm their strengths and take note of their weaknesses, just in time for the actual Science Olympiad competition on February 22.


Yoga Classes in A2

For eight weeks, the Sean O’Shea Foundation is providing free yoga classes every Monday after school in A2 for anyone who is interested. This foundation was founded by the family and friends of Sean O’ Shea. After an unfortunate car accident, O’ Shea passed away in December 2006. However, his goals and dreams continue to live on through this foundation. Its mission is “to empower youth through yoga, nutrition, and optimistic teachings that help to develop life skills that can enable youth to take responsibility for their life, develop respect for themselves and others, and have confidence in their own potential.” By becoming a part of this class, students are able to carry on O’ Shea’s legacy of paving a path for yoga in schools.

Marcie Benjamins is the certified yoga teacher leading these classes. Benjamins says, “When Ms. O’ Shea called me to take on this job, I was absolutely excited to do it.” At the mere age of 21 years old, Benjamins had already felt a strong passion for yoga. After getting her certification in 2011, Benjamins was eager to start her career as a yoga instructor. “I was referred to Ms. O’Shea by a friend. However when I heard about their cause, I immediately agreed to take the job. Ever since I started yoga, I’ve felt less stressed, I’ve been more mindful of my health, and I tend to focus more on eating right,” exclaims Benjamins.

People participate in yoga programs for various reasons. Some use yoga to relieve stress while others use it to strengthen their core or become more flexible. Rosalynn Hernandez, junior, says, “I joined to have fun and meet new people. I also hope to find different ways to focus and relax since junior year is the most important year of your high school life!”

Junior Kenneth C. Hirscht says, “I heard yoga helps the mind to relax and focus better.”

Vanessa Alvarez, junior, also explains, “ I was tired of not doing anything physical at all, apart from school, and it’s a free workout!”