Petey’s Pop Culture

By Emily Kim

The New Year has felt like an eternity considering all the events that happened in the span of a month.

As everyone should know by now, NBA superstar Kobe Bryant passed away on Jan. 26 from a helicopter crash along with his daughter, Gigi Bryant, and seven other passengers with them.

His death shocked everyone across the globe and tributes to honor his achievements and life were carried out. On the day of the news, players took a 24-second shot clock violation and 8-second backcourt violations as tribute to representing the two numbers Bryant wore during his career. A moment of silence was held at the SuperBowl.

Besides his remarkable career as a basketball player, many people looked up to Bryant for the way he approached life. He loved all four of his daughters and was proud of being a “girl dad”. When others asked him how he felt when he only had daughters, he always responded with delight that he loved having all his daughters. He was a mentor to many players and a role model for kids globally.

We will never be able to see Bryant at his induction into the Hall of Fame or see him at the sideline watching another game with his daughter Gianna. We will never forget Bryant’s legacy.

Moving on to a more uplifting topic, the highlight of this year’s Grammys was Billie Eilish taking home a total of five Grammys: Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Best New Artist, Song of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album. This is an incredible feat considering Billie is only 18 years old and only four years into her music career.

Of course a controversy causing people to say that Billie Eilish did not deserve to win all five awards. Many fans, mostly “Arianators” (the fandom name of famous pop singer Ariana Grande), have thrown hate towards Billie saying she did not deserve all the awards. This caused the hashtag “Scammys” to trend on social media platforms.

I understand the outrage to Billie Eilish receiving five Grammys in one night. It’s not a fun award ceremony to watch one artist winning all five of the biggest awards given in an award ceremony. Also, I believe that it is fair that Ariana Grande fans are mad. The Best Pop Vocal Album should have gone to Ariana Grande. Her “Thank U, Next” album was a huge hit and continued to be for most of 2019.

However, I believe Billie Eilish was deserving of all the awards she won that night. She is known for being a groundbreaking artist and is changing the world of pop music. It’s amazing to see young female artists like Billie Eilish completely dominating the charts, and we should be celebrating her achievements instead of bringing her down. Also, the Grammys are known to be biased and racist, so should we even be giving it this much attention and worth? Probably not.

On Sun., Feb. 9, history was made at the Academy Awards. For the first time ever in Oscar’s history, an Asian film won Best Picture. Korean film, Parasite, directed by Bong Joon-Ho took home four Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Original Screenplay. It is amazing to see Asian media break through Hollywood and completely dominate the game. It has taken a long time for this to happen, but it is always better late than never. It gives me pride as a Korean to see a Korean film create history, and I hope this is only the start.


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.

In Defense of the Arts

By Andy Doan

Last January, I sat alongside fellow students, parents and staff at a meeting with Superintendent Chris D. Funk and Senior Bond Program Manager Julio Lucas. Although cramped and irritated in G-3, we remained seated because we all held a common ideology: the Performing Arts Dept. at PHHS deserves better. In the end, we did not get approved for a new building, or any notable renovations—at least until 2021. But we will continue to fight because it is paramount that the arts receive more funding, since the arts are, indeed, valuable.

It doesn’t seem that way to many, however.

Now more than ever, students feel obligated to go into a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)-related field, such as Computer Science, Medicine or Engineering, because that is where all the safe money is nowadays, supposedly, as if upon immediately receiving your brand spankin’ new diploma, you’re also granted an immediate six-figure salary as well—I know have been told to go into STEM for those reasons.

This ideology stems from the preconceived notion that STEM is more practical, more useful, whereas the arts are a luxury, frivolous in nature and fanciful in pursuit of. I do admit STEM is great, and is a necessity in society; however, the promotion of STEM should not be at the expense of the arts. The fact of the matter is, the arts are just as necessary. Here’s why.

  1. The arts help students succeed.

According to AFTA (American For The Arts), students involved in the arts are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, three times more likely to be elected to class office and three times more likely to win an award for school attendance.

By all means, success is not simply measured by someone’s academic achievement, but the arts also provide unique opportunities and intangible lessons.

  1. The arts create a family for those studying it.

Art is inherently collaborative; artists often spend hundreds of hours grueling over the same material: the same music, the same script, the same dance moves. In that space, we cry, triumph and bond with one another; they become a surrogate family. For some, this is a calm respite from a chaotic home life; a sanctuary where they can, for once, freely express themselves—free of judgement, free of doubt, free of fear.

  1. The arts teach us how to be human.

As much as Art is a tool for human expression, it is also a vehicle for empathy that challenges our perceptions of society by exposing stories of those different from us, broadening our horizons, so we can connect with them, empathize with them, feel for them—I have connected with a young Black man grappling with his sexuality and identity in Moonlight; I have empathized with a gay man suffering AIDS in “Angels in America”; I have felt for a band of misfits trying to survive in Shoplifters. The arts taught me how to be human, and in a world that often seems deprived of its humanity, with actions fueled by hate and people divided by race, gender, sexuality and religion, it seems that we need the arts more than ever.

Letter to past/future self

By Rex Ly

Dear Past self


Years ago, my life was drastically different from what it was today. I definitely have a lot of regrets, but that’s just one of the things that made me into who I am right now.

There were many people I wanted to meet but never had the time or just never had the chance. When the time comes when you have to say goodbye to your friends or family—which will happen fairly often—know that some goodbyes are harder than others, but not all goodbyes are forever; eternal friendships are real. When you are forced to say goodbye to someone that means a lot to you, you will get these weird feelings that your mind can’t explain, and through that emotional stress you will understand how much or how little that person means to you.

You never truly appreciate people you meet until they are gone.

In the upcoming years, you’re going to meet some of the best people in your entire life to make the most memorable moments with, whether they be sad or happy. Just because you lost that one best friend doesn’t mean you won’t meet new people.

I can’t emphasize enough how many terrible people you will meet in your upcoming years that you won’t believe can live with themselves for what they do. Don’t even try to run away from it—you will end up meeting those type of people.

When it seems like the rest of the world hates you, just remember that you only need one best friend that understands you and will always give you a shoulder to cry on.

There will always be people in your life you can’t stand who try to drag you down with them. That’s when many of your regrets will come in, but that’s fine because you will make it out alive somehow one way or another. They will leave scars on you when you have to interact with them sooner or later but well, you know what they say “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.

On multiple occasions, you will feel as if your life is crashing down upon you, and you’ll want to just run away from what feels like a nightmare. Sometimes it’s about that one bully and others times it’s because of that one event you were unable to go to. It’s not the end of the world, if you’re in a state of depression right now, I know that’s the last thing you want to hear, but trust me, it’s true. Heartbreak makes you smarter with who you associate yourself with, and your fears will someday make you braver.

Just be yourself and bear with whatever pain you are given. The world is not perfect but it’s what we do that makes it beautiful. Don’t try to be perfect because if you’re perfect there’s no point in trying to become a better person.

Ask Polly


I am hesitant to ask for help in person for my anxiety that I am usually good at ignoring boiling up at random moments. I am a senior almost about to graduate from high school and AP exams are coming soon. I also can’t afford to ditch the rest of my classes. Please help! What should I do?
-An Anxious Apple



Hello, Anxious Apple!


One of the greatest lessons I have learned in life came from a professor when I was in graduate school. It was a tough time, close to graduation and I was completely overwhelmed. I needed an extension on my final project and did not want to appear weak. She told me that in order to be a great social worker one day, I HAD to learn how to ask for help. I have found my greatest successes when I utilize the resources around me. So, great job reaching out!


Take a minute to think about owning a nice car. Random, right? What goes in to maintaining this vehicle? In order to have it function at its best, you must get regular oil changes, put gas, wash it, drive it with care, pay the insurance etc. What would happen if you only took it to the shop when it broke down, or caught on fire? It would be much more expensive to fix and you’d run the risk of it being irreparable. We are much the same and if we only ask for help when we’ve hit our boiling points, it’s much more difficult to get things back on track.


Take the end of the school year one day at a time. Ask for help from teachers, friends and/or family. Just do your very best and things will work out, one way or another. If you feel like the anxiety is just too much to bear, please shoot me a School loop message and we can set up a time to chat.


Lesser known countries to travel to

Drew Olaviano

It’s almost summer, and as always, people are bustling about and searching for an exciting and fascinating country to tour. However, these countries that people tend to visit are those which are most common: Mexico, the United States, Canada, and France. These countries are beautiful to the naked eye and filled with plenty of attractive tourist spots, however, there are plenty of other, lesser known countries which are just as exciting and fascinating themselves. Let’s take a look at some of these lesser known countries.


Brunei, Asia.

According to, Brunei is among one of the least visited countries in the world. However, there are few reasons to not visit Brunei. Firstly, Brunei is considered to be one of the cleanest countries in Asia and it is considered safer than Yemen. A cause of this may be related to Brunei’s ban on alcohol, which is easily in exchange for the country’s bountiful array of Singaporean, Indonesian and Malaysian cuisine. Another reason why people should visit Brunei would be for its Ulu Temburong National Park which covers about ten percent of the country’s surface area. According to, tourists will have to tour by a water taxi which is surprisingly cheap in US dollars at $0.66.


Vanuatu, Island in South Pacific Ocean.

Vanuatu is an island which attracts tourists who desire to dive, snorkel and travel to a calmer setting. There are plenty of attractions unseen in commonly visited countries such as Champagne Beach which is known as most popular to Vanuatu tourists for its white-sand and clean surroundings. Another popular spot in Vanuatu would be the national museum Port Vila, also known as a diving base as well. Tanna is another popular spot for tourists, being a land of traditional villages and a port resolution that leads to Mount Yasur, an active volcano.


Liechtenstein, Europe.

While being a country in Europe, Liechtenstein is one of the lesser known countries in Europe, especially in contrast to their neighbor Switzerland. In fact, Switzerland and Liechtenstein borders each other and hold a close alliance. Liechtenstein is similar to Switzerland in plenty of ways, especially concerning the blend of medieval, gothic and modern architecture. According to, a well-known tourist spot would be the Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, or the Liechtenstein State Art Gallery. This museum highlights the blend of architecture and art styles throughout the country, especially because the building of the museum itself is modern in contrast to the medieval and gothic surroundings.


Of course, there are more countries out there that are lesser known and worth visiting. These are some of the few countries tourists should visit, and hopefully you will as well in the summer!





What it’s like being 4’11 at Piedmont Hills

by Drew Olaviano


Hello! My name is Drew, and I stand at 4’11. Of course, being 4’11 often garners some unwanted attention, especially from those taller people. My height becomes even more distinctive now that I’m a senior. So, being at Piedmont Hills, a campus filled to the brim with my average heighted peers and taller peers, what’s it like? Well, let’s see.

Being inside of the school building with over thousands of students and staff bustling about each passing period, it’s obvious the shorter people suffer the most. I can attest to this, being a victim of constant shoving and pushing and backpacks slamming straight into my face. People bustle about and move constantly from place to place. Some stop to gossip and chat about life and whatnot, and then some turn—and as a result, run into me, who is unnoticeable to the naked eye is caught in the crossfire. They do not see the little me, and I get nudged as a result.

That’s not the only problem though. Other than how unnoticeable I am, people tend to have this need to tease their shorter peers. Anyone who is shorter than the average person can easily relate to these few phrases: “Hello, what’s up, midget,” “You look like a middle schooler” and “Where are you? I can’t find you!” I try to ignore them, but usually they end up being elbowed straight into the hip. I do not condone this though, I assure you. I’m just too short to not hit someone while walking, I’m sure.

The worst thing about being short, in my opinion, is that they still think I am in middle school, or even elementary school for that matter. Some people excuse it by saying that it is because I have a baby face or something similar, but I always believe that isn’t true—short people are usually attributed to younger people, especially kids. I was fine with it when I was a freshman. Freshmen came out from middle school and have to get around high school life. As a senior? I’m still being labeled as a middle schooler, and I have a hundred percent confidence that people will mistake me as a middle schooler when I’m in college in a few months. Is it the baby face? Possibly. Is it the short height? Oh, most definitely!

However, I know that being short shouldn’t matter that much to me. There are plenty of advantages to being short, after all! For one, being short in PHHS, and in general, means I can easily slip through crowds in the hallway. While all those tall people suffer trying to get through people, I can easily pass by them and get to my class. I won’t be blocked by all those bodies!

I can also bother people easily with the excuse that I can’t reach for a certain book or object. Being short does give you a legitimate excuse that you cannot grab something and you need to ask for help. While every other person cannot ask people to grab objects and do chores for them, I can, and that makes me satisfied for my height by its lonesome.

Well, as mentioned before, height should not matter; not to me, and not to you either. There are obvious disadvantages to being short, and there are disadvantages to being tall as well. To me, height shouldn’t matter to people much in comparison to people’s behaviors and how they treat one another. Every person is still an individual, and that’s all that should matter—how you treat one another, and how you behave.


Alumni Advice Or Alumni Advice for you

By Mansi Patel

“Be patient with yourself! College (and beyond) will be a totally unfamiliar environment, filled with unfamiliar people. It’s okay if you don’t immediately have your life figured out or find “your people”. College classes are challenging – work hard, but also recognize that it’s (alright) to stumble! With that, it’s also important to be comfortable with being outside your comfort zone. As cheesy as it sounds, you have to challenge yourself and create the opportunity with growth. If you always stay within your bubble, you might not get the chance to meet an awesome mentor who might connect you to your future job or a friendly person who might become your best friend. Post-high school is an exciting journey and full of so much potential – enjoy it while you can! Congrats class of 2019! You did it!” -Runi Tanna, Class of 2014


“College is essentially a hub of people your age, just as confused about life and their future as you are. Use this time to explore, try new things, and figure out what you like and dislike. Scared of changing your major? Don’t worry, there are so many people who do that. Worried about living on your own or with new people? It’s (alright), roommates are just temporary. Petrified of the freshman 15? It’s ok, you’ll figure out how to fit the gym into your routine. In time you’ll be (somewhat?) of a master at juggling classes and adulting in the real world. Just make sure you’re always being your authentic self and the right people and opportunities will come your way.” – Johanna Au, Class of 2014


Be sure to celebrate your successes AND your failures. Both are part of the process of you becoming the best version of yourself. College opens up so many doors for growth- take this chance to embrace all the opportunities that speak to you. Strive to recognize your fullest potential, but also don’t forget to have fun!!! Surround yourself with supportive people, try something new, make memories, and find what fuels your fire. You have gotten this far, and are about to go so much further. Congrats, Class of 2019! -Colette Truong, Class of 2014


With so many choices to make post-high school, it is completely normal to be frustrated and lost. The good news is that these feeling won’t disappear for awhile. Even now at my second full-time job out of college, I still don’t have everything figured out! Life is about making mistakes and learning from them, however you need to first take that step out of your comfort zone to welcome these new experiences. Advice will come from all directions, but always remember that these are YOUR choices and YOUR life. Pouring thousands of dollars and countless years studying for a degree that makes you miserable won’t make you happy down the line. Don’t turn down an opportunity if you haven’t given it a chance. Don’t forget to call your parents when you’re busy making new friends. But most importantly, don’t forget to take care of yourself! -Vy Pham, Class of 2014


“College is a fresh start. Make the best of it from day 1. Engage with your professors, go to office hours, and set up a dedicated study schedule with no procrastination. Manage your time in a manner that suits you and helps you succeed in your courses. Also take time to relax and de-stress.” -Parth Upadhyay, Class of 2014


“Don’t chase success, chase excellence, success will follow.” -Yash Tanna, Class of 2018


“AP classes are a scam, take cc (community college) courses” -Trucdan Nguyen, Class of 2018


“Take online classes at Foothill for free as a high school student” -Derek Tang, Class of 2018


“Try all the extracurriculars you’re interested in during freshman year, because time will fly! Step out of your comfort zone.” -Namrata Shetty, Class of 2018

Senior Favorite Memory

Senior Favorite Memory


Fantastics/Winning Fantastics

The entire experience

Meeting new friends

Flipping a desk in class

When the clock strikes 3:04pm

The entire All Shook Up Production

Crying in Literature because of a poem

Disneyland trips with the performing arts department

Meeting my best friends in AVID


The district art show

AP Lang


Meeting new people

Male cheer

Joining filipino club

The swim team/joining swim team

Dad jokes with friends

Basketball games

International faire

Labs in AP Chem/Bio

Being part of AVID

Cheerleading at games

Mr.Romero’s notecards

Getting into college

Never having to swim in PE

Football/football games

Being low quality with the squad

When Mr.Loggins ate a koala

Playing high school soccer

Any school dance

Being in choir

Senior sunrise

Senior ditch day

Holiday showcases all 4 years

Senior honor night

Senior homecoming

Entirety of junior year

The Confidence Gap

By Principal Davis

I consider myself a person with a healthy amount of self-confidence, but I must admit that this has not always been the case. When I was in school, I never voluntarily spoke up in class. It wasn’t until I was in graduate school that I figured out that I was just as smart as everybody else and that the people speaking up (often men) weren’t saying anything all that profound or unique. So I started forcing myself to speak up. It hasn’t always been easy, and at times, I still struggle with using my voice.

This phenomenon is not unique to just my experiences. In fact, the authors of the book, The Confidence Code For Girls, conducted a large scale survey that shows that there is virtually no difference between girls and boys in terms of self-confidence until adolescence, at which point there is as much as a 30 percent drop in girls’ confidence level.

Even the most introverted men don’t seem to struggle with confidence the way that most extroverted women do. There are a lot of theories floating around about why this disparity exists. One theory proposes that when girls go through puberty, their bodies change at an earlier age and at a faster rate than boys, making them uncomfortable with drawing attention and their way.

Another theory is that as women we are taught that being “bossy” or a “know it all” is unattractive, so we keep in the urge to take the lead in academic and professional settings.

I think that the answers lies in the middle of the Venn diagram of all of these theories and may vary depending on the individual. For myself, I believe that I tend to want to have the perfect answer, but at the same time, I do not want to come across as a “know it all.”

So why is this a problem? If a girl doesn’t feel comfortable speaking up in class, shouldn’t we just let her stay in her comfort zone and say, “Girl you be you”?

The problem with that mentality is that our classrooms are microcosms of society and are the training ground for the adult world. Watch the news and pay attention to the questions female presidential candidates are asked compared to their male counterparts. Look at how the public reacts to a woman who speaks up and is not placid: Is she celebrated or is “she off-putting”? Is she rewarded for using her voice or is she condemned because “she persisted”?

The long-term effects of classroom dynamics hurt not only the girls who aren’t raising their hands, but also the rest of society that is not benefiting from the full extent of the talents of half the population. It’s not a competition. Making sure that the female voice is heard in the classroom and the workplace does not diminish the male voice. Rather, it will make the conversation richer, more authentic and as a result, more valuable.

To the girls struggling to find their voice in the classroom, look inside yourself and assess what is making you feel uncomfortable—it is different for all of us. Is it the anxiety of having all eyes on you? Is it fear of how you will be perceived? Is it wanting to be absolutely sure you have the right answer? Figuring this out will help you to combat it. Overall, celebrate yourself and your strength—you have it, I promise.

One of my heroes, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (look her up), said it best: “It took me quite a long time to develop a voice and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.”