PHHS Advanced Drama and Insane Ink Thaws Out the Icy Season

By William Chen and Jennie Tran

The Advanced Drama class and Insane Ink collaborate together to warm up this month with the annual Holiday Showcase. This holiday-themed event was held on Dec. 6 in the L-Building, and was performed throughout the school day with an additional night show at 8 p.m., called Winterfest.

The showcase this year wasA Christmas Scarolby Don Zolidis. The play was directed by seniors Amanda Gill, Karen He and Oziris Valverde. Tickets were sold for $5 at the G-Building the week during lunch leading up to the day of this event. They were limited to selling only 200 tickets.

“A Christmas Scarol is about when a boy named Tim can’t think of a Christmas gift to give his high-maintenance girlfriend,” claims Oziris.

The show’s main protagonist, Tim, was then visited by four terrifying spirits (actually five—they’ve been hiring) who whisk him away on a harrowing and hilarious journey into the past, present, future and an alternate timeline. This wild and free-spirited adaptation of the holiday classic is a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas (which is getting awesome presents).

“The holiday showcase is one of my favorite shows to put on because it is student produced and we all worked hard to put on the show. The process was tough, but performing and spreading the Christmas spirit was the best part in the end,” says Advanced Drama student Alyssa Casimiro.

Not only did the Drama Dept. show their holiday spirit, but Winterfest overall was filled with many other fun activities.

“Expect to have nothing but fun and holiday cheer! Winterfest will feature games, face painting, a photo booth, free hot chocolate and an evening performance!” exclaims Karen.

The games, food and drinks are provided by Insane Ink, warming up the holiday season just right.

In addition, Winterfest had only started in 2017 and is now an annual tradition.

“The purpose of our annual Winterfest started for the parents. In previous years, we’ve only had the school-wide performances, which didn’t give our families a chance to see what their child was working on and the hard work they’ve dedicated in class,” adds Oziris.

During the process of the showcase, the students poured a lot of effort and work into the production to make the show a great success.

“Directing the show was a lot more stressful than I thought. I actually had a nightmare about forgetting light cues! Overall, I really enjoyed sharing my ideas with my co-directors, Karen and Amanda. We’re all super creative in different ways and it was interesting seeing all of our visions come together,” states Oziris. “We have the cast, booth team, props team, stage managers, costume crew and deck leaders. No part is a small part.”


Breaking down the deadly disease of the senior class

By Victor Xie

Forget the flu! There’s another disease that’s taking the senior class by storm: senioritis.

If you don’t know if you have senioritis or not, here’s a list of expected symptoms you may experience:

  • Doing homework the day it’s due
  • Not doing homework at all
  • Saying, “I can do it tomorrow”
  • Saying, “I got this in the bag” without studying for the test
  • Not realizing anything is due
  • Feeling like nothing in school matters anymore

When I was a freshman and seniors told me, “I have massive senioritis,” I never understood why anyone could stop caring about school. More importantly, I never understood how anyone could stop working for something they’ve been working towards for almost four years.

Well, here I am, a senior, suffering from massive and crippling senioritis.

I never thought I would catch it. Looking back, I feel like freshman-me was much more driven and ambitious. I wanted to get straight A’s, get positions in clubs and do everything possible that would look good on college applications. Now as a senior, I think I’ve kind of accepted that it’s too late to chase those ambitions, and that’s probably what causes my senioritis.

I think what really bugs me is that people don’t really understand why some of us seniors catch senioritis in the first place. I just survived probably the worst year of my life: junior year. And now I’m being told to keep working, studying, writing and calculating with no assurance whatsoever that it will ever pay off. With college applications submitted, I’m simply waiting for judgement day. Senior year just seems like an excessive waiting line that determines my future.

If I could go back in time and tell my early senior-self not to catch senioritis, I don’t think I would. I think my senioritis is pretty justified; I’ve worked hard and now I’m burnt out.

I do homework in third period. I go home and take naps. I procrastinate on five-page research papers. These are bad habits I never did until senior year (surprisingly) and never thought I’d normalize. I guess my senioritis isn’t as bad as others that I’ve witnessed, but nonetheless I never thought I’d catch such a deadly disease.

Now, getting out of this pit hole of feeling endlessly unmotivated is going to be hard; probably impossible at this point. But I guess I’ll try. In second semester.

To the underclassmen: watch out. Senioritis gets the best of everyone.

Votechella casts its presence at PHHS

By Nolan Pham

Last Wednesday, students gathered eagerly on to Sophomore Hill in front of the Big Gym during lunch to attend Votechella intent on earning their lawful privilege to vote. Organized by American Government teacher Lynne Murray and many student volunteers, this event was attended by 250 students who are interested in participating and registered to have their say in the government.

Votechella is a registration drive where students sign up to vote or pre-register to vote online or on paper. It is hosted by Ms. Murray, who for the past years has been working with the registrar of voters in Santa Clara County knowing the importance of voting.

“I’m African American and a woman and with those two life experiences, voting has always been an amazing opportunity that we didn’t always have,” remarks Ms. Murray. “I don’t want students to know that, but hold it close to their hearts because voting is how you share your voice, your opinion, your ideas about how and what the country should be doing for us as citizens.”

At Votechella, motivated student volunteers helped attendees sign up as well as facilitated the event.

“I volunteered at Votechella because I feel like as teenagers we don’t get the word around on stuff that is important. It’s important for teens to know that they need to vote in order for this country to be better,” explained volunteer Navleen Kaur.

Some volunteers also expressed their incentives to encourage others to vote.

“I wanted to take part in giving students my age the opportunity to take the first steps in voting,” explained volunteer Danny Hinh. “Voting is undeniably important because that’s how things in this country are done and I think our generation should be more invested in it.”

Students who were still confused about which party they preferred could still register as well.

“When a 16, 17, or even an 18 year old signs up, they can select what’s called NPP (No Party Preference) so they don’t need to know their political party now,” explains Ms. Murray. “Hopefully by the time of the next election, they will understand what parties they are involved in and can complete it then.”

In the future, Ms. Murray is confident that Votechella will continue to be a popular event attended by many students.

“I think this generation is much more aware of the activities of our government and what they can do as residents of the U.S,” remarks Ms. Murray.

Overall, teachers and volunteers are proud of how the event turned out and hope to have the same success next year.

“It seemed to go pretty. A lot of people came to register and I hope they end up voting,” commented volunteer Justin Wang.

Students who missed the event with ambitions to vote are still able to contact Ms. Murray to register to vote.

“I welcome anyone to come in and grab a form and often times I’m here after school to hook students up to the online application so they can vote,” added Ms. Murray.

Will China cost you this Christmas?

By Jose Flores-Jimenez

Bells will be ringing for deals on Christmas presents, but the tariffs set by President Donald Trump on Chinese imports this season could make this Christmas a little frosty for consumers. The ongoing tariffs enacted by President Trump more than 16 months ago makes this the first time that major American companies are deeply affected by our Trade War with the Chinese economy during the Christmas Season.

Since July 2018, the US has been defending its position as the largest economy in the world by discouraging American consumers from buying Chinese imports with higher tariffs. The tariffs, implemented by President Trump, function as a tax that retail companies and small businesses have to pay in order to get their usual shipments of products from China.

China responded to the tariffs by enacting tariffs of their own on US imports in China, locking the two economic powers in a competition of who can set the higher tariff on who. So far, the biggest loser has been American companies, such as Ford, Stanley Black and Decker and Tyson Foods, that pay the tariffs. Now that the holidays are among us, more tariffs mean more cuts into company profits, which results in higher prices for the consumer.

“This (season) is probably where retailers expect a big part of their yearly profits to come,” says Economics teacher Alexander Sarria.“So they’re very sensitive to what’s been going on in trade.”

Last Friday, President Trump announced that an agreement between China and the United States had been reached, settling on an end to China’s tariffs on US imports, and a decrease in tariffs on Chinese imports.

While this continues to affect some clothing products, such as shoes and coats, which continues to have a seven and a half percent tax, the overall prices of consumer goods this season will not affect toys and tech products.

“The Trade War supports (Trump’s) base. He politically gained an advantage for doing these things. His supporters will support him for it,” says Mr. Sarria.

New Courts to Swing into Season

By Christine Do and Austin Lin

Around the middle of November, the construction of the new tennis courts started. The Tennis teams look forward to the newly improved quality and additions. These new courts are scheduled to be completed around the end of this year or before the Boys’ Tennis season starts, but the recent rainy season and chilly weather will most likely postpone the completion of the courts.

The reasons for the tennis courts being rebuilt were due to the amount of injuries associated with the uneven pavement.

“Because of earthquakes, there were many cracks and because of this, players tend to get injured. The lines on the court were also barely visible, so it was very difficult to play matches and make good calls,” said Boys’ Tennis Captain Manav Dixit. “During matches, the balls wore out very quickly and this decreased the quality of play.”

New outlets are being installed to power the ball machines, which the team is excited for because they have not been able to use the machines in previous years. The lines on the courts are being reapplied and the nets will also be replaced. Unlike the original courts, the new courts will not have fence dividers.

“This construction was part of the plan for construction of the concession stands. The next planned part of the plan is the softball field,” stated School Site Council Member Maggie Nguyen.

As the district plans for these reconstructions, the team had asked for more additions, but some of these wishes were not fulfilled.

“We originally wanted an additional court to be added so that our games would end faster as well as add court lights so we could practice later in the evening but unfortunately, the courts will only be resurfaced,” said Girls’ Tennis Captain Kirsten Takeshima.

Despite this, the Boys’ and Girls’ Tennis teams are thrilled to be able to play on fresh new courts in the following season. They hope that the tennis courts are done in time for the Boys’ Tennis season.

“I’m most looking forward to the courts being blue and green, which I prefer a lot more than red and green. Our balls will not wear out as fast, and we will be able to use them for much longer and save a lot of money,” said Manav.

The tennis teams hope to reduce the amount of injuries while playing games and utilize these improved courts for the upcoming years.

GSA District Policy

By Joanne Vu

PHHS’s district, ESUHSD, recently passed official policies concerning laws on the LGBTQ+ community on Nov. 4.

As the chairperson, GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) President Sofi Jaquez sat in on the meeting and voted on the trustees’ latest issue. This month, there were two major developments regarding the entirety of the LGBTQ+ students: As an entire district, they support and acknowledge LGBTQ+ youth, prior to the absence of an official acceptance or acknowledgement in the past. The other being students of the LGBTQ+ community are protected from backlash or bullying on the basis of identity, including discrimination from faculty members (teachers and admin.).

As the student governing board is funded through the district, there is a representative for each grade at each school, and out of those four, there is one main representative for the school as a whole. At our school, Sofi takes on that role.

The following process consists of the student government board electing the chair members where they sit in as an official trustee during the monthly meetings. The passing of these policies give hope to PHHS’s GSA club in terms of the liberation and acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community.

“For me, specifically, this makes me really happy because I’ve seen countless incidents of bullying and discrimination and for there to be new regulations officially frowning on this behavior, rather than looking the other way, gives me hope and brings me a lot of joy,” stated Sofi.

It will provide official support and acknowledgement of the LGBTQ+ community, and is meant to protect students from bullying each other based on their identities and sexualities.

“As for GSA, I don’t think much will change considering we’ve always been a well-known safe place. If anything, this policy may encourage more students to feel comfortable enough to possibly join GSA,” expressed GSA Board Member Sierra O’Leary. “It’s one thing to be acknowledged, but it’s another equally important thing to be celebrated, and positively empowered by fellow peers.”

In the future, the club hopes to touch upon other issues concerning the LGBTQ+ youth.

The good, the bad and ugly of the decade.

By Harleen Kaur

This decade has been pretty eventful so, let’s recap some of the best and worst moments of the decade.



Remember when we all thought the world was going to end? Yeah… that never happened. On Dec. 21, 2012, cataclysmic events were supposed to occur that would end the world. The belief that after the Mayan Calendar finished on that date, the world would end which prompted the doomsday speculation. Today, we now know that a doomsday is not the biggest threat: climate change is. Even though the doomsday never happened, have the rest of you felt alive since? Because I haven’t.

Operation Varsity Blues

The biggest college scandal of the century. It’s funny how in AP Lang, we had to do a satire project and our project was about how people who make big donations to schools get in, even if they had terrible grades. One classmate comment how it was unrealistic that someone with poor grades could get into a college by just making a donation. A few months later, this scandal unfolded and we got to learn about how Olivia Jade, daughter of actress Lori Loughlin, attended USC even though her former classmates revealed she rarely came to school. I mean everyone knew that the college admissions process was shady, but once I read that parents photoshopped their children into photos of sports team, I had to laugh.


Kony 2012

One of the first experiences of virality was with this video. The video was a 30 minute documentary exposing Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony who human trafficked little kids. The video reached 100 million views within six days of its release. This documentary was one of the times we have seen the power of social media. People began to donate, sign petitions, and share the video,  spreading awareness about Kony’s crimes. Although, the video depicted sensitive and upsetting content, the first appearance of virality places this event into my good list.


Supreme Court legalized Gay Marriage 

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in all states. This decision was long overdue and needed. It’s a shame that it took this long for gay marriage to be legalized in all 50 states. Many members of the LGBTQ+ community were able to come out because of this decision. People need to accept each other no matter what. #LoveIsLove.

Zayn left One Direction/Revival of the Boy Bands

Boy Bands made their comeback this decade. One Direction brought back the boyband after solo artists dominated the 2000s. One Direction was the boyband that dominated the beginning of this decade. The day teenage hearts broke all over the world was when Zayn Malik left One Direction. 8th grade Harleen was devastated when Zayn left because he was her favorite member. Now, I am glad that Zayn was able to leave a band that never wanted to be together in the first place. The four remaining members announced their hiatus in 2016. Now, Zayn and the other members create their own music instead of what their old label wanted.

Boybands were kind of extinct in the 2000s, until One Direction brought back the trend. Boybands were trying to get rid of that label but for the past three years groups have been embracing that title. Now, more people are attracted to aesthetic music video concepts, phenomenal choreography and trendy styling with groups like PRETTY MUCH, CNCO and the various K-Pop groups.

Boys’ Basketball Bounces Back

By Ryan Norton & James

Boys’ JV and Varsity Basketball started a new season on Sat., Dec. 7, winning a score of 46-44, against the San Francisco Washington Eagles, hitting the courts once again with a new head coach along with new team members.

“I feel like my game has improved a lot since the summer,” said Varsity Small Forward Jordon Scott. “As a team, we have put in the hours and put in the work, day in and day out, so I think this year will be one for the books.”

In preparation for the new season, the Boys’ Basketball team have been holding practices with their head coach, Anthony Cuellar since November. Cuellar has made a strong impact on his players, providing advice both on and off the court, to improve their game.

“During the game, I want to win but also to have fun when I compete. I focus myself during our pregame by listening to music to zone out the distractions,” added Varsity Center Cisco Garcia. “When the time (comes) to play the music goes off and all I think about is the game and how I can benefit the team.”

Both Boys’ JV and Varsity teams have been playing scrimmage games against other high school teams, in order to mentally and physically prepare themselves for the new season.

“I think my biggest physical challenge was getting a concussion in my junior year and I couldn’t play in a tournament and all I wanted to do was get right back on the court.” stated Scott.

“Due to me being injured with a concussion, I haven’t bren able to work on my game as much as I wished. If I (could), I would have worked on my endurance and ability to shoot the ball,” stated Garcia

The new season started off with a few setbacks from previous injuries among various players. Physical injuries are detrimental during a season, but can still affect the player in the future. With practice and preparation, both Boys’ JV and Varsity hope that the season will be a safe one.

“My goal this season is to work hard at any practice and game. (fighting) to the end no matter the outcome,” stated JV Shooting Guard and Power Forward Kameron Golbaz.

The Varsity team is looking forward to the ongoing season with new goals set in hopes of winning the championship game this year. The next JV and Varsity games will be on Jan. 1, 2020.

CSF gives lively Christmas to San Antonio Elementary

By Victor Xie

On Dec. 4, CSF (California Scholarship Federation) organized their annual Christmas Carnival at San Antonio Elementary. Members and officers came together to bring the Christmas season to the most underprivileged elementary school in San Jose.

“We bring the holiday joy and make sure that every child there feels the Christmas spirit through a carnival. They rotate through rooms, enjoying crafts, games, snacks and Santa!” explains CSF President Jerry Xu.

This is CSF’s 22nd year hosting their Christmas Carnival at San Antonio Elementary. Annually, it is their main event that they work all year to fund, as costs are directly from CSF’s funds.

“Christmas Carnival is something CSF started from the group up! We are 100% in the process and we all get to make a difference,” says CSF Treasurer Grace Shan.

Although this year’s Christmas Carnival was no different from past years, members enjoyed the event just as much.

“Seeing all the happy kids was really cool and exciting. I was extremely touched when the little kids came to hug us and say thanks without the teachers telling them to,” says junior Jasmine Nguyen.

Before the Christmas Carnival, CSF was hard at work obtaining funds through their main fundraiser, PPP (Pirate Pancake Parade).

“All the funds we make from PPP are used to buy the supplies needed to make a successful Christmas Carnival,” states Jerry.

To many CSF members, including advisors, this event shows the importance of helping others.

“I hope everyone knows that this event is one of the best Christmas gifts that you can get yourself,” says Jerry. “It always feels better to give to those in need than get the same presents for yourself. I think that Christmas Carnival really changed my perspective on how fortunate I am and the privileges I was born with but don’t pay attention to. I strongly recommend this event to anyone who wants to attend, because it has been one of my favorites.”

CSF hopes to continue helping their community with the various service events and fundraisers they have planned for the rest of the school year.