Art Faire exhibit talents

By Tyler Vu

The Art Department’s annual Art Faire is ending today, and has been taking place for the past two days.  The faire is an event at which art pieces from all classes and clubs are put on display.  The Artery will not have its typical booth at the faire since its advisor, Drawing and Painting teacher Van Nguyen, is on leave.  The fair is a chance for the rest of the school to admire their hard work and for the students to proudly display their projects.
The Faire is always a collaboration between all three art teachers, Photography teacher Ian Tippetts, Sculpture teacher Noreen Rubay and Ms. Nguyen. All the teachers have their own section to display their students’ work.
“Personally, I do quite like the Art Faire.  It’s a really easy and accessible way for the students in the art department to show off their work without having to awkwardly ask people if they want to see it,” says junior Jade Gallimore.
To the outsider it might seem intimidating to have a piece on display for all the world to see, but the students relish at the chance to have their works hanging proudly.
“I feel proud that my artwork and photos are good enough to be hung up to even be seen by other people.  I share my artwork with family and friends and have shared my artwork with countless others so it’s not a new feeling, but a good one,” says senior art student Rebecca Rossini.
Many of these students have been a part of the art department for their entire high school lives. Every faire is a chance for them to mark their artistic progress.
“My first faire was in my freshman year,” recalls senior Kelly Chau.  “Ms. Nguyen displayed our class’s stipple artwork.  It felt like such a long time ago—looking at my piece now, it’s cool to see how far I’ve come.”

“Personally, I do quite like the Art Faire.  It’s a really easy and accessible way for the students in the art department to show off their work without having to awkwardly ask people if they want to see it,” says junior Jade Gallimore.
To the outsider it might seem intimidating to have a piece on display for all the world to see, but the students relish at the chance to have their works hanging proudly.
“I feel proud that my artwork and photos are good enough to be hung wup to even be seen by other people.  I share my artwork with family and friends and have shared my artwork with countless others so it’s not a new feeling, but a good one,” says senior art student Rebecca Rossini.
Many of these students have been a part of the art department for their entire high school lives. Every faire is a chance for them to mark their artistic progress.
“My first faire was in my freshman year,” recalls senior Kelly Chau.  “Ms. Nguyen displayed our class’s stipple artwork.  It felt like such a long time ago—looking at my piece now, it’s cool to see how far I’ve come.” ♦

Seniors tell a “Tale as Old as Time”

By Erica Xie

Senior Ball, Tale as Old as Time, a Beauty and the Beast themed prom, is tomorrow at the Glass House in Downtown San Jose from 7pm to 11pm.
“We chose this venue because it was so close to home and it’s easier to get there without paying extra for buses,” clarifies Senior Class President Jennifer Lai. “The venue gave us two dates and one of them was during AP exams, so we chose to have a later prom.”
Although the venue is so close, it’s not a bad location.
“I love the location of senior prom—it’s conveniently next to a lot of restaurants downtown,” comments senior Angela Du.
Even though Piedmont Hill’s senior prom is so late, there is a lot to look forward to. There will be a flip book, a photobooth, a fortune teller and a chocolate fountain, providing a variety of activities to enjoy at prom.
“The fortune teller tells your fortune using mahjong,” exclaims Jennifer. “We wanted another activity that was just taking photos and we found a fortune teller.”
Alongside these amenities, there are also delicious hors d’oeuvres, better known as appetizers, which include roasted filet mignon bernaise with arugula, samosas-curry potatoes and teriyaki glazed grilled salmon skewers.
The decorations are nothing to pass over lightly either.
“The decorations for Beauty and the Beast are old fashioned, and I think it contrasts the modernness of the Glass House well,” says Jennifer.
In line for Prom King and Queen we have Krysten Salas and Destine Lamonia, Leon Hsieh and Elyse Nguyen and Ryan Nguyen and Jordan Nguyen.
Alongside preparing for prom, there has also been a prom ask contest where people post videos of their prom asks and the best one get free tickets to prom with their partner.
This years winners are seniors Darian Nguyen and Lily Do. Darian asked his girlfriend by playing a violin song for her that was a favorite of them both and a bouquet of flowers.
“(On advice for a promposal) No one’s ever done anything great by expecting it to be great,” reveals Darian. “My tip would be, just focus on making the best promposal for your partner. Make it all about them, and if they like it hopefully others will too.” ♦

PHHS Music Department celebrates arrival of spring

By Anthony Ta

Piedmont Hills Music Department ended off the school year with their Instrumental Spring Concert.  The event was held last Friday in the L-building from 7pm to 10pm.
Orchestra, Wind Ensemble and Band all prepared similarly by having more intense practices during class and stricter rules on attendance.  Mr. Ellis and Ms. Ray worked to bring the concert together to ensure that their students were ready to perform at their best.
This concert was more than simply a celebration of spring as it was the last performance with the seniors.  During the whole night, the attendees were not only able to enjoy the beautiful and well prepared pieces, but most importantly, were able to hear senior Darian Nguyen’s touching story on how he came to love violin, his solo, and the seniors’ confession of gratitude towards Mr. Ellis and Ms. Ray.  Roses were distributed out to all of the seniors during the last set, and gifts were presented to the teachers after each finished conducting their final groups.
On top of having a solo during Orchestra’s set of pieces, Darian delivered a heartwarming speech dedicating his drive to perform and do well as a violinist to his mother. He described how his mother took initiative in buying her own violin and following him through the highs and lows of learning to play. The audience was in awe once he finished the speech and the set when his mother went up to the stage and gave her son a bouquet of flowers, a kiss, and a hug.

Emotions continued to flow after his solo as seniors, Alina Doan and Jenna Mae Prado, delivered their speech of gratitude to Ms. Ray.
“I had 11 seniors in my Wind Ensemble and they were all 4 year students with me. They had a really nice year. The band played excellently well. We went on a great trip to Anaheim. I think it was a nice summing up of whole years’ experience on Friday. The seniors were a great contribution to our sound all year long and leadership too. They will definitely be missed. It was a great way to end the year,” reminisces Mr. Ellis.
Performing for the school is nothing new to the three groups. They’ve performed in the past with their winter and spring concerts as well as performing at festivals, Disneyland and competitions. “Next year I expect band to be different than this year, because there will be new classmates to play with and meet. I plan to roll along with it and see how it all goes,” says sophomore Andrew Dao.

History Team makes history in DC

By Emilie Chau

For the first time in Piedmont Hills history, PHHS History Team competed in the national history team competition in Washington DC from April 21 to 23 after making it past regionals at Saratoga High School and state at UC Berkeley.
In order to qualify for the state competition, a team has to get at least an even number of wins and losses at regionals.  At state, the history team did better than they did at regionals despite the increasing difficulty of the questions and thus qualified for nationals.
At the competitions, the teams are split into different groups consisting of one to four players.  During the different rounds, one group goes into a classroom and faces off another group from another school.  The moderator will ask questions and each group has to buzz in their answer.  Once the round is finished, each group will go to another classroom to compete against another group.
At nationals, the teams are separated into brackets based on their performance at state and PHHS History Team was able to defeat the six schools in their bracket, winning a plaque for their accomplishment
The History Team prepared for the events by doing drills and practicing recalling historical facts quickly.
“The trick to practicing is recalling the information quickly,” explains social studies teacher Amanda James.  “And that is the thing that is harder for most people to do.”
Flying out to Washington DC was no easy task.  When the team won the privilege to compete at nationals, there was no time for the team to complete the long paperwork clubs need in order to participate in off campus activities.  Furthermore, the team wasn’t able to use any school funds because the competition was not a school sanctioned trip.  The History Team then decided to raise the money themselves in order to go to Washington DC.
“President Nala Chen and Secretary Matthew Hoang were really the driving force behind doing as many last minute fundraisers as they could,” comments Ms. James.  “They did a GoFundMe, begged and borrowed from families and I think that the players that went made their families really know what a rare opportunity this was.”
Currently, the History Team is aiming to compete in the International History Olympiad next summer in Berlin, Germany.  The team qualified for this competition by finishing in the top half of the schools who competed at nationals in Washington DC.
“I’ve been a part of history team since my freshman year and meetings have always been my favorite time of the week,” smiles club President Nala Chen.  “It’s super satisfying to get recognized for our hard work!” ♦

Insane Ink fosters family fun

By Mae Castellano

With food and games, Insane Ink’s Family Fun Night, held in the Piedmont Hills’ theater on April 27, was filled with cheer from children and adults.
“(Family Fun Night) was absolutely amazing!” exclaimed Business Dept. Co-Chairman Diane Pereira. “It was a feel good event. Everyone was just happy to be there, everyone was having fun and nothing went wrong.”
The whole idea of Family Fun Night was to bring families together and to have a good time through games and snacks.
But before the fun could begin, Insane Ink prepared the theater for the upcoming fun-filled night by putting the decorations up and setting up the food and tables.
“I was in charge of putting everything together,” said Insane Ink member Matthew Hoang. “I had to make sure all the food and tables were set up in the theater and make sure everything was decorated.”
Italian was served for dinner: lasagna, garlic bread and some salads. Desserts, such as cotton candy, ice cream sundaes and popcorn, were given out as well.
Insane Ink even had a photobooth supplied for the event-goers to remember their night.
“The photobooth was amazing!” expressed sophomore Amy Ton, who attended the event. “I actually didn’t expect there to be a photobooth. I just thought there’d be someone taking pictures.”
The fun could was also found within the games: a trivia Kahoot, bingo, limbo and dancing.
“Limbo was interesting because the guys were tall but were still able to get under the bar (when it was really low),” added Amy.
“Kahoot was really, really fun. After the answers were shown, (the players) would go crazy,” mentioned Matthew.
Donating just $1 allowed students, teachers and parents to be a part of the fun. Even donating items that were no longer needed would have sufficed.
All the proceeds raised from Family Fun Night went to the organization ACT4E (Active Community Thoughtfulness for Everyone). ACT4E specifically helps homeless people in the community. The donations of clothing, small snacks and toiletries had huge impacts.
“Insane Ink was not part of the donation, (all donations were) made directly to the organization,” provided Ms. Pereira. “It was over 300 dollars that we were able to get in donations plus over 20 boxes pawcked with supplies to make hygiene kits for the homeless.”
This year’s Family Fun Night was actually the first one in four years.
“The reason we haven’t done it in four years is because Mr. Jackson was the person in charge four years ago, and he retired. Even though the students do a lot of the work, there needs to be an adult to guide them,” reveals Ms. Pereira, who guided Insane Ink with executing this event. ♦

East Side schools remodel pools

By Emily Zhao

After a year and a half of construction, the remodeling of Piedmont Hills’ pool was completed on Sat. May 13.
Across the East Side Union school district, seven schools, including Piedmont Hills, James Lick, Mt. Pleasant, Santa Teresa, Silver Creek, W. C. Overfelt and Yerba Buena high schools, are all currently remodeling their pools. All seven schools’ pool complexes originally composed of two smaller pools, but the modernization project features the fusing of both pools to create a single “super pool.”
“The new pool will provide a deep water area for competition programs separated by a peninsula walkway from the shallow area for physical education, shallow water swim practice and recreational swim programs,” according to facilities.esuhsd.org. Additionally, it will feature new “energy efficient equipment including water circulation pumps/motors, improved water filtration and disinfection systems.”
Construction first began in the winter of 2015. Since then, construction workers have demolished the outdated pool and rebuilt a new and improved version of it.
Following the completion of the pool, a school water polo team, competitive swimming team and a diving team could all potentially practice at Piedmont Hills. Since school’s pool has been out of commission for the past two swim seasons, PHHS swimmers practiced at Independence High School, sharing the pool with Independence, James Lick High and Mt. Pleasant, making a very crowded pool.
“Water polo would have to get two qualified consistent coaches to restart the program, but it is possible for (the) 2018-2019 (school year),” disclosed Physical Education Chair Peter Simos.
The district-wide budget for remodeling all seven pools was 21.6 million dollars
“I’m so excited to be able to host our own meets!” exclaimed Vatsity swimmer Chloe Nguyen. ♦

Special Ed. hosts its own prom

By Jen Luu

On Fri. May 5, the Special Education Prom was held at the Unify Event Center from 10 am to 2 pm.  The purpose of the event allowed special education students to engage in similar high school dance activities.
“It’s to give our students the experience of going to a prom,” expressed special education teacher Rowena Vocal.
Most special education students do not attend the typical Junior or Senior proms held at school namely because they’re held at night and they’re costly.  As a result, the special-ed prom was created to provide more flexible and accommodating circumstances.
Participants include the special-ed students themselves, as well as the specialized academic instruction program of the different school districts.  Meaning, the prom is not limited to only Piedmont Hills High School students.
“(There was) dancing and socializing,” stated senior Susan Sanchez.  In fact, many of the activities at the event are similar to those of the traditional prom such as dressing up formally.
There is not a theme for the prom, but the decorations will align with the school colors.
The concept of a special education prom is not new; it was actually started over a decade ago.  This year, the head coordinator of the special-ed prom is special education teacher Coy Garrett at Yerba Buena High School.
“I think it started in 2003,” recalled special education teacher Maria Casiano.  What began as a thought eventually got executed.  Indeed, it soon became established as a tradition.
“It was an idea brought about by one of the old teachers.  In terms of who started it, it was basically a brainstorm of different special ed teachers,” said Ms. Vocal.
Similar to traditional proms, the location varies each year.  In one year, it was held at the Fairmont Hotel; the location mainly depends on the decisions of the teachers. ♦

Pirate of the Issue: Daniel Phan

By Michelle Lin

Senior Daniel Phan placed first in the NAWIC (National Association of Women in Construction) Regional CAD (Computer Aided Design) Architectural Competition, winning cash prize and a place in Nationals to compete against students from all over the country.
“Even though this was the local-level competition, I really didn’t think I would win, so you can probably imagine how surprised I was,” explained Daniel.
Daniel designed a neighborhood dental office, constructing a floor plan, exterior elevation and proper placement of structure. According to the CAD competition website, entries were “evaluated for detail, accuracy and originality of work.”
“I thought about what I wanted to see in a dental office and also took some inspiration from my own dentist’s office,” described Daniel. “When I drew the plans, I tried to imagine what it would be like to walk through the office, and I made adjustments as necessary.”
All students in CADD (Computer-Aided Drafting and Design) teacher Catherine Cromer’s class were required to complete this project as one of the main assignments of the school year. Students were encouraged and given pointed by Ms. Cromer on how to improve their designs.
For weeks, Daniel worked tirelessly on his project.
“I started somewhere in September and spent most of my time in sixth period since then working on my design,” commented Daniel. “I finished near the end of March.”
While Daniel has yet to be notified of the cash prize, he will be advancing to the next level as winner of the first place design. Senior Eric Andres and junior Thomas Nguyen have also placed second and third place, respectively.
“The dental office that I submitted for the contest was my first ‘full-blown’ project,” remarked Daniel. “I’m very excited, since getting this far isn’t exactly an opportunity everyone has.” ♦

Piano students perform at recital

By Bernice Ou-yang

The piano recital was held in the L-Building on Monday, May 15. All three piano classes, with a total of approximately 80 students, participated in this recital.
“We were allowed to choose our own pieces to play,” reveals senior Khoanam Nguyen. “I chose my music from the games I played and animes I have watched. I had practiced it for like a few weeks.”
Most of the students had been practicing these pieces for (blank time). Each piece was chosen by the students themselves and were approved by piano teacher Emily Ray.
“Basically, the beginner piano students usually choose the same songs since it would be hard for them to find a good song to play on hteir own,” says Khoanam. “Because of this, Ms. Ray has to seperate the students from (the beginning classes) during the recital.”
Ms. Ray organized the order of the recital so that no same pieces were played side by side. She mixed and matched students from different class levels to keep the whole recital entertaining.
“(The piano recital) is basically our finals,” comments senior Veronica Roy. “(Ms. Ray) grades us a bit leniently since it’s pretty intimidating to play in front of a crowd. ♦

Seniors by day, honorees by night

By Melody Li

On Wed., April 26, the PHHS counseling staff held Senior Honor Night in the L-Building to celebrate the academic achievements of graduating seniors.  Before the official event started, a meet and greet was hosted in the library for teachers and students to celebrate.
As Principal Traci Williams described in her opening speech, Senior Honor Night is a more intimate version of graduation.  Each senior is called up and introduced individually with details about their major, career plans and awards, which ranged from department awards to GPA and AP awards.
Before awards were given, senior Cleo Lagunilla started the night with a solo vocal performance, accompanied by music teacher Myles Ellis on the piano.
To make the event even more personal, each student was introduced by their valedictorian classmates.
“Reading the names and achievements of my classmates was nerve wracking because I was scared to mess up and I didn’t want to ruin their special moment,” admits senior Jennifer Lai.
At the end of the night, each senior was given a white carnation to give to someone who was influential to them throughout high school.
“I gave my carnation to my mom because she’s always inspired me to do my best,” comments senior Nancy Le.
Over 120 students were qualified to attend the honor night and around 100 students showed up.  Many were unable to attend the event due to schedule conflicts, especially since Club Day occurred on the same day.
“Even though I had finals the next day, I’m glad I attended honor night because I was able to celebrate my friends and all that they’ve accomplished in their four years,” reveals senior Ronaldo Legrama.
ASB President Sydnie Tanujaya closed the night with a congratulatory speech and empowered seniors to finish their high school career strong. ♦