Boys basket ball team

By .Lawrence Pei

The PHHS varsity basketball team rolled into the season with a record of 2-0 following consecutive wins against Oak Grove and Washington High School with scores of 74-54 and 73-38 apiece.

This year, the team has a new head coach pacing the sidelines as former assistant coach Anthony Cuellar took over for former coach Mr. Pete Simos who lead PHHS to win the school’s first CCS (Central Coast Section) title back in 2015.

“Thanks to coach we’ve been able to grow and develop as players and become better at what we do.” said co-captain Isaac Telfair

Prior to the Dec. 7 game against Washington, new head coach Anthony Cuellar stated, “Over the last couple of days we had a scout look at Washington and what they like to do, if we just follow the game plan, we should come out of here with a win.”

The team took control jumping to a 18-10 lead after the first quarter. They never looked back as they maintained their lead on route to a 73-38 victory at home.

Following the game, Coach Cuellar was pleased with the way the team played.

“Overall, everyone did their jobs, guys knew their roles, we went out there and we executed and I think that was reflected in the final score, however, there are still areas that we can improve upon and we will address that in practice.”

Before the season, many players expressed their desire to win it all.

“Our goal this year is to remain undefeated in league, win the BVAL (Blossom Valley Athletic League), go to CCS (, and finish what we started as we came in second last season.” explained Co-captain Brandon Lowe.

As for the season, Lowe’s dream of going undefeated is still within hope for the team as they defeated Oak Grove before their matchup with Washington by the score of 74-54

Playing at Oak Grove, players describe it as tough and well fought as they played at their home gym, yet they found a way to win hanging on to an initial 23-18 lead after the first quarter and a 45-23 lead going into halftime.

“They played tough and they hung in there” stated senior guard Mike Williams.

As for the rest of the season, the team prepares to face Eastside Prep on Dec. 12

“We believe that we can win against anybody so long as well go out there and execute our game plan” said Tran


New Buildings Completed

By Henry Zheng

The science, GE (General Ed) and Special Ed buildings are finally coming to life this month after years of anticipation and pushed back deadlines. The projected date in which the classrooms will be completed is sometime before finals week.

“We’ll be moving boxes and things in during finals week in December,” said AP Biology and Forensics teacher Jason Dries.

The rooms are projected to be fully accessible on Jan. 7, as stated by Principal Ginny Davis.

This is particularly good news for both students and staff. After the long wait, many students look forward to having class in one of the most aesthetically pleasing buildings at school.

“I’ve been waiting for it because I thought it would be built after I graduated… I can’t wait!” says senior An Truong.

These buildings are one of the first building projects happening since the pool renovation. The buildings will allow for better access to science classes as opposed to the previous D-Building classes that were always hard to get to as people jostled around to get out of the halls.

“I always had trouble pushing through (the crowd) in the hallways,” states An.

The new buildings will offer a total of nine new classrooms that students and staff will occupy. It is not said who will move into these classrooms, but it can be inferred that most of the D-Building classrooms will be moved.

“There are four new science classrooms, two special education classrooms, and three general education classrooms. Plus, new restrooms for both staff and students,” stated Ms. Davis.

Along with being spacious, the buildings also provide something that we’re not used to.

“The science building is a single level, the other building is two story,” stated Ms. Davis.

It will be the first time in our school’s history where a two-story building will be avidly used for classes.

However, as grand as they are, many are criticizing the new buildings, stating how it’s colors do not fit in with the school’s signature maroon, white, and black.

“They really need to change the colors, it just does not fit,” said senior Aaron Jiang.

Others also believe that the buildings are pretty, but clash with Piedmont Hill’s signature “old look,” which the building’ modernist architecture does not encompass.

Despite all the comments, everyone seems to appreciate the buildings and how they have added a new dynamic to our school.

Yet many students are still mad at the construction workers on how they have pushed back many deadlines.

When asked whether weather or the wildfires had affected the buildings’ progressed, Ms. Davis replied with, “Not at all.”

Now that the buildings are done, we should appreciate its completion, and be thankful for how diligently working the construction workers have been. From the terrible air quality to the tons of rain we have been receiving, they have seemed to worked through it all.


Starbucks Tips

Holiday drinks

By Megan Laser

Study, study, study is all that is on the minds of high school students this time of year. Late work is being done just before it’s too late, and the stress that comes with finals is just another reminder to seniors that we’re getting even older. Students already have a latte on their mind with finals just around the corner and you’ll begin to find them grinding through their studies in Starbucks stores providing the free wifi to do so. With the sound of the blender creating another frappuccino, the espresso machine pulling shots and baristas shaking the shakers like bartenders, it gets harder and harder to focus. The smell of the freshly brewed coffee and the familiar smells of peppermint and chocolate surround the store and compel you to get up and buy a cup of coffee. So why continue to procrastinate studying when you can procaffeinate with these holiday favorites?


PM (Peppermint Mocha)

What says Christmas than the classic combination of peppermint and chocolate together, from peppermint bark to Starbucks’ popular PM. The PM includes pumps from both Peppermint syrup and Mocha sauce, mixed with espresso shots and steamed milk and topped with whipped cream and dark chocolate curls. The drink can come as an iced drink, a hot espresso drink or a blended frappuccino. The drink is most commonly bought either iced or as a frappuccino, but nonetheless the flavors all come well together in this holiday beverage.

When making the frappuccino, baristas have to put whipped cream at the bottom of the cup, as well as on top. Calories stack up easy with this holiday drink. Still, this drink remains one of my favorite holiday drinks. In my opinion, I’d drink this coffee as an iced coffee. Although the hot drink provides the common warmth associated with winter and hot drinks, I feel like I get more flavors when I drink it iced. In my coffee, I typically order it with half the amount of syrup and an extra shot of espresso for that coffee flavor. And as always, no whipped cream in my coffees.

Rate: 7.5/10


PWM (Peppermint White Mocha)

The PWM (Peppermint White Mocha) is a sweeter twist to the PM. The PWM is made with White Mocha sauce and Peppermint syrup, mixed with espresso and steamed milk and topped with whipped cream and dark chocolate curls. The drink can come as an iced drink, a hot coffee beverage or a blended frappuccino.

The same way it does with the PM, whipped cream is put at the bottom of the PWM Frappuccino. This is my usual go to drink, and I usually order it as a small frappuccino. I get it with no whipped cream and  lightly sprinkled with dark chocolate curls. Again, it’s too sweet to drink with the regular amount of syrup, so I order it with half the amount of pumps. If not a frappuccino, I get it as an iced drink with light ice, an extra shot and no whipped cream.

Rate: 8.5/10


Even as a barista, there are drinks I am still yet to try. The following are some other popular drinks:


EL (Eggnog Latte)

Eggnog is already a popular holiday drink that people think of when it comes to a Christmas-themed drink. This Starbucks-inspired drink is the simplest to make, yet all the flavors inside of it is what keeps customers coming back for more. The EL (Eggnog Latte)  is made with espresso shots, steamed eggnog, and topped with nutmeg powder. It come as an iced drink, a hot espresso coffee, and even a frappuccino if you really wanted it. The drink is most popular as a hot espresso drink, and often times customers will ask for extra nutmeg powder or even whipped cream to make the already sweet drink even sweeter.


GL (Gingerbread Latte)

Gingerbread cookies are a classic Christmas cookie, and the GL is a classic Christmas coffee. The GL (Gingerbread Latte) is a sweet yet slightly tinted with spice Gingerbread syrup, mixed with espresso shots, steamed eggnog, and topped off with whipped cream and nutmeg powder. The drink is offered as an iced drink, a hot espresso coffee, and a blended frappuccino (both with coffee and without coffee). All the different components mix together to create what seems like you’re drinking a liquified gingerbread cookie, bringing you into the holiday spirit as winter approaches.


Just remember that after finals comes the holidays. Try not to completely dedicate your time to studying and find time to reflect on yourself. Meditate when it gets too stressful and take a second to breathe. Take a break, drink a cup of coffee and eat a snack.

Happy holidays from your local barista and good luck on your finals this year!

Disrespect of Newspapers

By: Rose Lu

It’s the period after distribution, where all the journalism staff goes out and delivers papers. Already, there are papers scattered on the floor, papers being thrown in the trash can–not even being properly recycled. “Personally I feel offended because the journalism class always works hard on the newspaper and it’s being undistributed or mishandled,” said layout team member Nghi Nguyen. It hasn’t been the first time that the newspaper or the school have been treated like this.

At the beginning of every issue, the entire staff gets together to brainstorm potential story ideas, the theme of the newspaper, and even the centerspread to make it enjoyable and relevant to current events within our school. Afterward, everyone within the staff writes a story for the paper, which is revised over and over again by the editors. Even the photographs and graphics are revised thoroughly, to make sure that the newspaper is relevant to the events happening around the school. Then after-school layout happens, where the layout team, editors and mostly everyone else works together to make sure the placement of the stories are perfect, that the stories align and match with the pictures. “I spent around 12 hours on the November Issue designing only two pages alone,” reminisces design editor Victor Xie.

“ I wish that they would just read it,” says journalist Lawrence Pei. The newspaper is for reading–not for turning into paper hats, dumping it on the ground right next to the recycling bin or throwing it away in the trash, especially at someone else’s expense. It’s pretty annoying when people don’t take responsibility for their actions, such as dumping the newspaper on the ground; if you don’t want to read the newspaper, there’s a choice to leave it in the classroom, but if you’re going to throw it away, at least recycle it and do it in a way so that other people like our janitors don’t clean up after you.

If there’s an issue with the spelling of someone’s name, the sports page or any article, there’s a reason for the retractions feature. Send a message to any of the staff and it will be clarified. This doesn’t apply to everyone, but there have been instances of angry messages directed towards some of these mistakes in the newspaper.

I didn’t have an issue with all this chaos before I joined journalism, because I never saw nor understood how much work gets put into the newspaper for every issue. After working on just two issues, and seeing my work along with all the other staffs’ work being disregarded, ignored, and being nonexistent to some people, I can finally understand why this is an issue.

This isn’t just a problem with just the newspapers. It happens with teachers and their lesson plans, the ASB officers’ hard work and planning, the principal and all the other staff. “I do undergo a lot of stress because of the workload and it does sometimes feel unacknowledged and unappreciated by the whole school in general,” shared ASB Treasurer Chloe Nguyen.

All of the faculty and students work hard to provide for Piedmont’s students in every way possible for a better education and high school experience. “When planning rallies, executive need to plan out how long each segment of the rally will last in order to fit within the 30 minute time window we are given,” explained ASB Secretary Tommie Huynh, “It takes up to two weeks prior to the occasion.” It takes a lot of time and effort to plan events and lessons, which is why we should all be appreciative for everything that the ASB and the faculty does for us.

Don’t take the newspaper and the events for granted. High school lasts for only four years.

Double dipping cheating or cheating

By Victor Xie

Double dipping, verb. “Going to one community service event for two clubs for double the community service hours.” For example, “Oh man I double dipped at Turkey Trot for Interact and Key Club, so I got ten hours instead of just five!”

At first glance, many would say this is a good idea for staying active for those two clubs they genuinely enjoy. It’s a way to amass those service hours needed for your college or NHS (National Honor Society) application. But let’s be real­; it’s not service. It’s cheating the system.

This problem traces back to what some people define community service to be. To many, it’s just something you should do to look good on your college apps. But to others, service is about helping the community, changing the world and doing what they love.

“Service to me means lending a helping hand and giving back to the community whether that be helping at a race or helping cleanup at a park or creek,” comments Key Club Lieutenant Governor Sabrina Huynh.

So why don’t clubs take action? My first guess would be that every club wants more active members and some clubs even have hour goals.

“Piedmont Hills Key Club [has]… an ambiguous goal to serve 9,500 hours by April,” says Sabrina.

With these hour goals in mind, clubs want members to go, even if they double dip. Some don’t even check for these double dipping instances.

“We look at all the [events] a student went to and tabulate all the hours for it. We do not go and double check if they got hours for multiple clubs,” says former CSF advisor Peggy Lee.

Another reason for double dipping may be because students don’t even know that it’s morally wrong.

“I don’t think double dipping has been defined by all the clubs so members [may not] know the consequences of it,” Sabrina points out.

These goals and laissez-faire attitudes may seem like a good excuse at the moment. However, this only invites members to continue double dipping and receive more hours than they deserve without any consequence.

In addition, I believe the school doesn’t take action because they have no idea how to solve this issue. Making hour verification mandatory gives all community service clubs grief and adds on to the awful mile-long list of ASB forms to fill out. It would also take an excruciatingly long time for NHS advisors to confirm that every community service event was not double dipped by a student.

Time spent doing community service should be fun and inspiring, not just another extracurricular to do for college. If students genuinely enjoy the clubs they are in, they should feel passionate enough to be active in them, without cheating. That means going to two five-hour service events instead of just one.

“If you only care about the hours, you miss out on so much more. Clubs have so much to offer on this campus than just numbers on an application,” says Red Cross President Vivian Lin.

So to all the double dippers out there, please stop. Our school is counting on our moral standards to do the right thing, and double dipping is a definite form of implicit cheating. When you double dip, you’re not doing real service. Instead, you’re completely undermining what these service organizations stand for: the importance of serving others.

At the end of the day, hours are just numbers. Passion to help the community is something much more meaningful.


Arrgh You Looking For Advise

A boy has recently broken my heart by not liking me back. How can I recover from feeling this way? 😦      


Just like physical pain, emotional pain is not something we can always talk ourselves out of! It’s easy to become self-critical after being rejected. Do your best to remember all the positive qualities you possess and write a list of all the reasons you are worthy of love and acceptance. Surround yourself with your loved ones who already know how wonderful you are. My guess is that in a few years, you might even wonder what you saw in him in the first place!


How do I deal with my anxiety about college?  


Preparing for college is a huge stressor. Picking your career path, choosing your college and then working hard to get in is exhausting. Let’s add some peer and parental pressure to the mix just to make things even more difficult. Although it is normal to feel overwhelmed, I think it’s important to divide our worries into two categories: things we have control over and things we don’t. Focus your energy on the areas where you do have some control. You don’t have to have it all figured out. Be gentle with yourself and remember that you can still get to your destination no matter which path you take.


Merry grin chmis

By Alana Valdez

It’s that time of year again. A season of joy, laughter, giving, and winter fun but it’s not all it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. People can get so wrapped up in the winter holiday season they don’t stop to consider that with this season comes, greed, holiday grievances, accidents, crime rate, finals, and to top it all off terrible weather.

The first thing people think about when it comes to winter is the holidays like Christmas and New Years. Holidays are great and all, but people are way too obsessed with them. People seem to think that the holidays are all about getting and receiving gifts, decorating, and caroling. A lot of it has to do with commercial franchises over glorifying these activities and making us think we need to spend more money to get the best gifts. They enforce the idea that if you do not get people expensive gifts they think they are not important enough to you. So people search high and low and do whatever it takes for the best and most expensive gifts, which includes fighting an old lady for a pair of diamond earrings because they are the last pair, they are on sale, and your girlfriend just has to have those specific pair of earrings but that is just an example. People are just so greedy this time of year. There are people out in the world who have no home, no food, and no warm clothes and many are worried about getting an expensive pair of earring when their money would be best spent elsewhere.

Lets not forget those annoying quirks that come with the holidays. Those Christmas songs are the same songs every year and once you are heard them in every store, on every radio station and everywhere you go, it gets pretty old really quick. Not to mention everywhere you look people are already selling Christmas stuff and even before Thanksgiving has arrived. It is like the marketing franchises are trying to shove Christmas down our throats. Then the tragedy of incoming generations is losing our older and wiser generations and the traditions and true meaning of the holidays die with them. That leaves our upcoming generations with no costumes passed down to them so the true meaning of the holidays gets lost.

The thing with this time of year too is the crime rate. “Christmas seems to bring out the worst in everybody, even criminals.  Burglary, home invasions, murders, and suicides increase around Christmas.  Drug overdoses also see an minor uptick.” says author Hadena James. “Crime rates may change in winter because it gets darker earlier and people are more likely to commit crimes at night as opposed to during daylight hours.” according to Atlantic Crime Stoppers.

Winter is of course cold, rainy, windy, and that can also bring huge storms. This weather causes accidents on the road. People don’t always drive the speed limit when it rains and since the roads are wet and slippery so if drivers are not careful they can crash into other cars. With the rain and wet roads drivers have to drive slower which means more traffic so it take longer to arrive to places.. It’s just a hassle and it can get really annoying.

There are plenty of reason not to be so jolly this time of year. The greed takes over, the holiday spirit is over promoted, widespread crime, and weather the is terrible.

“Behind the Snow”

By Vincent Hoang


Winter will officially begin on this Friday, but the science behind this chilly season is far more interesting than just snow and the cold.

Being the coldest season, winter starts when the hemisphere is oriented away from the sun. The day that winter begins is also the Winter Solstice, an astronomical phenomenon that marks the day with the shortest period of daylight and the longest night. This is also when the sun is farthest away from the North Pole and to the Northern Hemisphere.

As the season continues, the day slowly increases while the night slowly decreases. This happens when the Earth’s North Pole has its maximum tilt away from the Sun, being a full 23.5 degrees away from the Sun. This tilt relates to the formation of the weather due to the axis of the Earth being facing directly towards the sun as it orbits in the Southern Hemisphere.

Once the Earth is in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s now being positioned away from the Sun, making the Earth face away from the sun, making it colder. Vice versa, when winter starts in the Northern Hemisphere, it is also the beginning of summer for people in the Southern Hemisphere. That is called Summer Solstice.

Even though both Hemispheres experience winter, the countries in the Northern Hemisphere tend to be much colder than the countries in the Southern Hemisphere. One major factor is because water can conduct and store heat, keeping temperatures warmer and stable. Countries such as Australia, all the countries in South America, parts of Africa and Asia are covered by 81 percent of the ocean water in the Southern Hemisphere compared to 61 percent in the Northern Hemisphere.

Not only this, countries in the Southern Hemisphere are closer to the equator than the countries in the Northern Hemisphere. The Earth’s equator tends to be much hotter than because simply the sun is above the equator, making sunlight hit directly in those areas while sunlight is slanted in the Northern and Southern areas.

But how does winter affect humans? For the most part, humans are very sensitive to the cold and other factors that come along with winter. The first being the temperature. Humans need to keep a stable body temperature, being 99 Fahrenheit, anything below 95 is when hypothermia kicks in. Hypothermia causes the heart, nervous system, and many major organs have trouble functioning and begins to shut down, leaving the body to die.

Should Parents tell kids Santa is real

By Andrew Wong


Every Christmas season brings joy and laughter to millions of families. To most, Christmas is considered to be the best holiday of the year. During this season, the most iconic figure children always look up to is none other than Santa Claus himself.

Santa Claus is a mythical figure that is said to give presents to nice and behaving children every year. But as all of us modern adults and teenagers know, Santa Claus isn’t real. Of course, many children do not believe this until their parents tell them otherwise. Depending on the child, the case of learning the harsh truth may emotionally traumatize them. The real question is, would it be a good idea if kids were to learn about the truth early or have them believe on a legend for a long time?

If parents were to shift into the position of lying to their kids about Santa’s existence being real, the positive and negative effects will vary. For the positives, the children will tend to become a lot more acquisitive about the holiday and become more excited about presents. Believing in Santa Claus can also help children to enjoy the holiday better, by encouraging children to participate in activities such as sending letters to the North Pole for Santa to read and going to the mall to sit on his lap to ask for presents.
Another positive effect of lying about Santa’s existence is that it helps parents to condition the children into behaving properly and being considerate towards others. The children believe that if they misbehave, they won’t be receiving presents for the following year. Overall, lying to children about Santa helps bring the children to enjoy the Christmas spirit and increased holiday participation.

Although some families like to enjoy Christmas through the spirit and the legend of Santa Claus, there are definitely families out there who do not want to follow the myths. Because of that, they will tend to tell their children the harsh truth of Santa’s existence. At first this might seem like the worst thing a parent could ever do to their child, however positives still lie within this decision.

For starters, parents who tell the truth early won’t have to deal with their children’s big disappointment upon realizing the truth. Children learn that Santa is a myth early on will just brush it off like its nothing. In contrast, telling the truth to other children who believed in Santa for a long time may wound their spirit. Their vision of Christmas would be torn apart dramatically that their magic of Christmas would simply disappear.

Regardless of what parents decide what to do with their children, it necessarily isn’t a good or bad idea to tell kids about the truth of Santa’s existence. It is most certain that the parents should decide how they want to spend their Christmas, and Santa Claus isn’t always the way to properly celebrate Christmas.