Seniors dance away in ‘A Night to Remember’

By Amy Ton

Senior Ball is approaching in two days, and the seniors are excited to dance the night away. This Saturday, seniors will be gathering at the SCCC (Silver Creek Country Club) at 7:30 p.m. for A Night to Remember at their last high school dance.

The officer’s Class of 2019 officers have been planning the event since junior year, and after looking at various venues, ended up choosing the SCCC.

“The SCCC had plenty of space to host all of the students. It also has a balcony that has a very nice view,” said Secretary Shayna Tran.

The venue is relatively near and is located in the hills of Silver Creek, around a 15 minute drive from Piedmont. The venue overlooks a golf course that has a vast field of greenery.

“I think that the scenery and the venue itself will make for exceptional photos to capture memories of our senior prom,” said senior Thienkim Luu.

The theme of the Senior Ball this year is A Night to Remember, and was chosen through brainstorming and eliminating within the officers. The officers eventually chose the theme feeling that it was best fit for their Senior Ball this year.

“[With the theme] we are aiming for a flashback through high school. Memories!” explained President Jane Tran.

Along with planning the venue and theme the officers, also had to decide on the activities and food at prom.

“[There will be] flipbooks, a photo booth, and a DJ,” stated Jane.

There will not be dinner at the Senior Ball, but instead hors d’oeuvres, or appetizers, will be served.

The officers were not the only people making decisions. The seniors also had to choose their outfits, ties, and corsages along with places to take pre-prom pictures.

“[To me] finding a dress and dealing with organizing photoshoots was the most stressful” said Quynh Nguyen.

In the end all of the planning will pay off on the night of prom where they will be spending time with their friends.

“I’m looking forward to hanging out with my friends and have a good night!” said Ricky Nguyen.

Class officers are excited to see the final result of all their work.

“I’m super excited for prom! Especially after all of the planning the officers had to do,” said Shayna.

Pirate of the Issue

 

By Rose Lu and Francisca Pascua

Name: Kenneth Lien

Favorite Class: Graphic Design

Hardest Class: AP Statistics

How many APs they took: 10

Advice for students: Sleep > School

Hobbies/Extracurriculars: Brawl Stars & Minesweeper

Average hours of sleep: 7-8

College: UC Berkeley

Plans to Major in: Surprise!

Fun Fact:

Favorite Part of Senior year: That one time I clogged a school toilet with a massive bowel movement.

Biggest regret: October 18th, 2001

 

Name: Anne Ouyang

Favorite Class: AP World History, without dropping thousands of years of human events

Hardest Class: AP Physics C Electricity & Magnetism

How many APs they took: 14

Advice for students: Don’t take advices too seriously

Hobbies/Extracurriculars: Minesweeper, webcomics (xkcd!), CS, puzzles, and overthinking

Average hours of sleep: 6-7

College: MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Plans to Major in: EECS (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science)

Fun Fact: If you’re given two potatoes, you can shape a closed loop of wire to fit tightly around both potatoes. (hmu for proof!)

Favorite Part of Senior year: ColLeGe aPpS & iNteRviEWs & DecISioNs

Biggest regret: que será, será

 

Name: Asher Twu

Favorite Class: AP Calculus AB

Hardest Class: AP English Literature and Composition

How many APs they took: 7

Advice for students: When in doubt, take a nap

Hobbies/Extracurriculars: Math, anime, wallowing in anxiety, finding new milk tea places

Average hours of sleep: 6

College: Cal Poly SLO

Plans to Major in: Architecture

Fun Fact: Contrary to popular belief, stairs are great for napping.

Favorite Part of Senior year: Yes

Biggest regret: Not joining theater

 

Name: Linh Le

Favorite Class: AP Chemistry

Hardest Class: AP Chemistry

How many APs they took: 4

Advice for students: Join more clubs. Don’t let senioritis hit your friends too soon.

Hobbies/Extracurriculars: Kpop, Kdramas, singing (not that good), dancing (quite bad)

Average hours of sleep: 6-7

College: UC Davis

Plans to Major in: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Fun Fact: Don’t know how I get in UC Davis with only 4 AP classes

Favorite Part of Senior year: Last year seeing people I hate

Biggest regret: Not joining more service clubs

 

Name: Aayushi Shah

Favorite Class: AP Biology

Hardest Class: AP Chemistry

How many APs they took: 7

Advice for students: Don’t procrastinate! And don’t try to take on too many things at once.

Hobbies/Extracurriculars: She’s the First, dance, reading and writing

Average hours of sleep: 5

College: UCLA
Plans to Major in: Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics
Fun Fact: My total inability to play Mario Kart has left me with an intense fear of driving
Favorite Part of Senior year: Not caring about AP exams anymore
Biggest regret: Never participating in Fantastics

 

 

Name: Malia Tieu

Favorite Class: AP Biology

Hardest Class: Calculus AB

How many APs they took: 7

Advice for students: Always fuel your brain with food and snacks!

Hobbies/Extracurriculars: Finding new restaurants, binge watching shows, dancing

Average hours of sleep: 5-6

College: UC Davis

Plans to Major in: Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior

Fun Fact: I’ve marathoned almost all seasons of Kitchen Nightmares in AP Bio (sorry Mr.Dries)

Favorite Part of Senior year:  🙂

Biggest regret: not talking to more people (i’m sorry i’m awkward…)

 

Name: Casey Duong

Favorite Class: AP Chemistry

Hardest Class: AP Calculus BC

How many APs they took: 10

Advice for students: Don’t stress yourself out by comparing your own achievements to others

Hobbies/Extracurriculars: Piano, television

Average hours of sleep: 7

College: UC Davis

Plans to Major in: Biochemistry

 

 

Name: Hedy Chang

Favorite Class: AP Biology

Hardest Class: AP Microeconomics

How many APs they took: 8

Advice for students: If you’re feeling stressed, just inhale and exhale. It’ll be okay.

Hobbies/Extracurriculars: cross country, concert-going, napping,

Average hours of sleep: 3

College: UC Berkeley

Plans to Major in: Biology

Fun Fact: I have the same exact foot size as Karla is Manzanares.

Favorite Part of Senior year: Hanging out with Vivian Pham (shout out!) every day during President’s break

Biggest regret: Not meeting Vivian sooner

 

Name: Karla Manzanares

Favorite Class: AP Biology

Hardest Class: AP Calculus AB

How many APs they took: 6

Advice for students: go outside and play

Hobbies/Extracurriculars: cross country, dance, advocacy, reading

Average hours of sleep: 8

College: Stanford University #gotrees

Plans to Major in: Bioengineering

Fun Fact: I have the same foot size as Hedy Chang.

Favorite Part of Senior year: Disneyland Trip (take me back pls)

Biggest regret: not joining more service clubs

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.” ♦

Pirate of the Issue: Janet Tran

By Emilie Chau

Since she was five years old, senior Varsity swimmer Janet Tran has been a passionate swimmer.

“I started when I was five because my mom got this flyer from her co-worker,” explains Janet.  “I didn’t really think much about it at the time—I thought it was just some extracurricular activity I could do in my free time—but I grew to really like it.”

Janet competes in the 200 free, 500 free and 100 fly.  Her fastest times so far are 1:52.70 for the 200 free, 5:03.04 for the 500 free and 56.5 for the 100 fly.  Janet is also currently ranked 82nd in California among women her age.

She continues to swim because of the people surrounding her and the joy she gets from helping others improve their strokes.

“Well, I didn’t really try any other sports,” laughs Janet on why she stuck with swimming. “I also really like being able to race other people and swimming is a kind of close community so we can all relate to each other a lot. Also, most of my friends are swimmers.”

Another aspect Janet loves about the team is the tight-knit community among the athletes at Piedmont Hills.

“I love how the (swim) team is so supportive of one another,” expresses Janet.  “We are always cheering for each other and that’s kind of rarely seen from other school so I really appreciate that.”

Her favorite event to swim is where there is no pressure to meet a certain goal or expectation.

“Actually, I like swimming in my off events because there are no expectations for me to go really fast or to get records,” confesses Janet.

For those who are considering to take up swimming as a sport, Janet encourages taking a chance with swimming.

“Just go for it,” motivates Janet. “It’s a really good experience and it looks good on college apps.”

Pirate of the Issue: Michelle Nguyen

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BEFORE AND AFTER! Everyone’s buzzing about Michelle’s new buzzcut.

By Emily Zhao

Freshman Michelle Nguyen shaved off all 25 inches of her hair on Feb. 18 when pairing up with St. Baldrick’s Foundation to become a shavee.

“I decided to shave off my hair to show my complete support for cancer patients. I was hoping it would give people an incentive to donate to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation in order to help fund research for childhood cancer,” states Michelle.

St. Baldrick’s Foundation focuses on conquering childhood cancer, using donations to research cures for dozens of child-specific cancers. While adult cancer usually targets the lungs, breast, colon, prostate or skin, child cancer often starts in the white blood cells or the nervous system, brain, bones, lymphatic system, muscles or kidneys.

Childhood cancer research is severely underfunded in comparison to adult cancer, with only 4% of US federal funding dedicated to researching childhood cancer, according to stbaldricks.org.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation website also lists a number of ways people can help with childhood cancer–from shaving your head to show support to donating money towards childhood cancer research. Michelle combined the two, shaving her head to show support, donating the hair to Locks of Love, and creating a fundraiser off the shaving experience.

“I had a very ambitious goal of $1000 and I did not expect to reach it–and I didn’t. I ended up raising a little over $200. Considering the amount of people I know, it’s a lot,” laughs Michelle.

The fundraiser is ongoing and can be found as a Facebook event titled “Michelle goes Bald.”

She livestreamed the entire process on Facebook, where her friends cut her hair down to an inch long. Her friends on Facebook followed her throughout the process, leaving over 200 comments of support and love. After the livestream, she shaved off the remaining hair, fulfilling her side of the fundraiser.

“I thought I was going to be a lot more nervous, but I think that it was (through) such a long, drawn out process of fundraising that I was ready to shave my head,” recalls Michelle. “I originally wanted my friends to shave my head just for fun and because I wanted to try something new. I did a little research and found that I could fundraise money through the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and put my shaved head to use.”

She had toyed with the idea of changing up her hair for a while before the event, and fully committed to shaving her entire head after finding out she could do so for a cause. While her parents were initially concerned about other people’s reactions, Michelle feels the change has made her more confident.

“I definitely spend a lot less time in the morning getting ready,” she chuckles.
In the future, she is considering dedicating more time to campaigning for cancer research.

Pirate of the Issue: Michael Wang

By Andrew Huynh

Well versed in French, academically talented, and a world-class fencer — junior Michael Wang is definitely a catch.

All while juggling five AP classes alongside taking French 3, he also used to tutor children of all ages at Cureton Elementary School.

Although having only fenced competitively for two years, he once managed to become one of the top 20 fencers in the nation for his age group and even placed in the top 16 for summer nationals.

“I started recreational fencing five years ago,” says Michael.

He left his original recreational fencing club to follow a friend without knowing the new club was competitive.

“I had no intent to do it competitively, but as time went on, the good fencers and my friends kept leaving the recreational club,” explains Michael.

He was originally a swimmer, but decided to pick up fencing upon realizing how much he “really hated [swimming].” He was reportedly bad at swimming and drowned a lot.

“A third of my body weight was probably water because I drank so much while swimming,” jokes Michael. “I asked my mom to switch sports, and she said I could fence.”

He has also traveled abroad to represent the United States in world class competitions.

“I went to Austria at end of October for a big competition,” states Michael. “I fenced against a very skilled Swiss kid and lost, but I did very well in pools.”

Although his mom forces him to continue the sport, he does actually enjoy it all the same.

“It’s a really satisfying sport because it’s fun to analyze and exploit my opponent’s habits,” he explains.

Top ranks and serious skills are not the only thing he’s gained from fencing. Michael has been able to meet many people from his various expeditions as a fencer.

“I made a lot of friends too,” says Michael. “I met an Austrian kid who knew about Harambe.”

He continues to fence and strives to become the best player he could possibly be each day.

Pirate of the Issue: Tyler Seawright

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ON CLOUD NINE! Tyler poses with his pilot’s license. (Picture Courtesy of Tyler Seawright)

By Arthur Hoang

On Oct. 26, senior Tyler Seawright received his pilot’s license after only one year of taking lessons.

“It’s different from driving,” explains Tyler.  “My dad flies, and it’s inspiring.”

Tyler began flying at the Reid Hill View Airport of Santa Clara County after taking lessons with the company, Nice Air: Professional Piloting Training.  Before even getting into the air, however, he was required to take three months of ground training to study piloting.

“My first pilot training was a little bit scary, and it took some practice and coordination to start the plane,” confeses Tyler.  “Landing was a skill I really had to develop over time.”

After a total of 55 flights with a teacher beside him, Tyler endeavored 11 solo flights.  Some memorable trips include flying to Sacramento, Calif. with his flight instructor, going solo around the airport for the first time, and traveling to Madeira, Calif., which proved to be his longest solo flight thus far.

Tyler flies a Cessna 152 Single Engine and Lane plane.  Over summer, he spent quite a bit of time practicing his flying; at the beginning of the semester, however, he flew two to three times per week.

“Any time I get, I try to fly,” admits Tyler.  “Usually I fly two to three times a week.”

Through piloting, Tyler has learned persistence and patience in whatever he does.  To him, flying is truly full of excitement.

Most students who get their driver’s licenses would stop right there, but senior Tyler Seawright went beyond and got his pilot’s license.

Tyler first started taking lessons last year with the company Nice Air: Professional Piloting Training and started flying at Reid Hill view Airport of Santa Clara County.  After one year of flying, Tyler finally received his pilot’s license on Oct 26.

“It’s different from driving. My dad flies, and it’s inspiring,” exclaimed Tyler.

Before Tyler could even get into the air, he was required to take three months of ground training to study piloting

During his first actual piloting training, Tyler was really nervous. It was his first time taking off for real.

“It was a little bit scary, and it takes some practice and coordination [to start the plane] and landing was a skill I really had to develop over time,” confessed Tyler.

After 55 total fights with a teacher beside him, Tyler was required to take solo flights. In total he took 11 solo flights.

Some memorable trip that Tyler had was to Sacramento, Calif. with his flight instructor, his first solo flight around the airport and his longest solo flight was to Madeira, Calif.

Tyler flies a Cessna 152 Single Engine and Land plane and has flown across California to places such as Tracy and Sacramento.

Tyler has spent all of his summer and after school time practicing his flying.

“Any time I get I try to fly… Usually I fly two to three times a week,” explained Tyler.

During the beginning of the semester Tyler still flew, usually two to three times a week.To Tyler, flying is a lot of fun and is really exciting. Through piloting, Tyler has learned persistence and patience in whatever he does.

Pirate of the Issue: Sommer Fowler

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ONCE A SOMMER! Sommer Fowler happily smiles alongside her English students in Cambodia. (Picture Courtesy of Sommer Fowler)

 

By Michelle Lin

For four weeks throughout June, senior Sommer Fowler had the unique opportunity of volunteering to teach English to underprivileged students in Cambodia.

“(The trip) was an independent thing.  I didn’t go with an organization; it was just me and my mom,” explains Sommer.  “We randomly selected a school in a smaller town of Cambodia.  I went over there to ask for an opportunity to volunteer, and they so graciously gave me three different classes of 40 students.”

Self-funding the entire trip, Sommer taught eighth graders between the ages of ten and sixteen the material from the US’s version of fourth grade level books.

“I was given a lot of free range to do whatever sort of lesson I wanted,” recounts Sommer.  “Talking to (the students) a few hours on the first day, I noticed what they needed help on and picked out something that I thought I could help them on.”

The school system in Cambodia is vastly different from that of America.  With a society that holds education at a much lower standard than America’s ideals, students in Cambodia often lack respect towards learning.

“It blew me away that they could be so careless about what we’ve got as entire institutions here,” expresses Sommer.  “I think (the experience) increased my value for education.”

Throughout the school year, Sommer also participates on the PHHS Cross Country team.  Outside of school, she trains for marathons and ultramarathons, which are 26.2 miles long races typically held on trails.

“There’s a big leap between a marathon and an ultramarathon.  The time that it takes to train for one of them is incredibly crazy,” states Sommer.  “I have to set off seven hours of running on the weekend to prepare for an ultramarathon.”

Sommer is currently scheduled to run her first twelve hour race this December and her first 50 miler in April.

Pirate of the Issue: Jeremiah Loree

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“HOW CAN SKY BE THE LIMIT?” Jeremiah Loree raps at Key Club’s LTG Banquet.

Photo courtesy of Naomi Tran

By Michelle Fong

“I can hardly recall a day where I wasn’t rehearsin’ verses, convinced that my purpose / was to inspire with lyrics, and even open the curtains for a younger kid with similar dreams as my own / reveal to him his importance through the words in the song / cuz I know how good the music sounds when you’re alone,” senior Jeremiah Loree passionately raps in his album Misfortune.

Jeremiah began to develop an interest in rapping when he was ten.  The movies Notorious and 8 Mile sparked his interest in rap culture, and he began to learn how to write his own raps.

“I was very fascinated by the technical aspect of it like how people could rhyme eight, ten syllables at a time…and still at the same time tell a story about something that I could relate to,” explains Jeremiah.

One of Jeremiah’s most well-known raps is his Work to Rule rap, performed at the school board meeting last November.

“Actually the day before the meeting, (P.E. teacher Jennifer) Harris contacted me and asked if I could do it, so I had literally that night to do it and rap it the next day,” reveals Jeremiah.

He has released three albums so far—Infinitive:The Mixtape, Misfortune and Rough Edges EP—and is working on releasing another one soon.  Despite the expensive cost of professionally producing his own CD, Jeremiah passed out his albums for free to students and teachers who wanted one.  His rap songs can also be downloaded from his Youtube channel, 59Miah.

Jeremiah has also competed in various rap contests, namely the Teambackpack Cypher in sophomore year and the Kato’s No Sucka MC’s contest in senior year.  Although he has had his music featured on the radio, Spotify and iTunes, his proudest achievement to date is a simple message to him about his positive influence on others.

“My main goal in music has always been to help people through whatever struggles they’re going through and inspire them to find their passion,” emphasizes Jeremiah.

He also has a passion for bodybuilding.  Similar to rapping, he treats bodybuilding as a way to relieve stress.

“It started off as (wanting to get big), but then the more I got into it, it became another form of expression and another passion that I had,” Jeremiah elaborates.  “Once you see results, it’s just addicting.”

He is also the treasurer for Elements and part of the wrestling team.

More information about his music can be found on his website: jloree-music.com.

Pirate of the Issue: Iris Wu

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SAY CHEESE! Iris Wu poses with her students in Taiwan.

Photo courtesy of Felicia Yeh

By Cynthia Tran

Senior Iris Wu went on a trip to Taiwan this summer as a volunteer for the AIDS (Assisting Individuals with Disadvantages Summer program) where she spent two weeks teaching English to underprivileged children in remote areas of the country.  She is also in PHHS 10k club, NHS (National Honor Society), Music Honor Society, and has a passion for running.

Out of all of Iris’s memories and achievements, her trip to Taiwan stood out the most.

Iris dedicated all her time to the kids during those two weeks, bonding with them and learning about their culture.

Iris would wake up significantly earlier than everybody else to go run a couple of miles to start her day then wake everyone up to get started.  She was constantly at the school, sleeping in the elementary’s kindergarten room overnight teaching the kids from 9am to 3pm from Monday to Friday for two weeks.

Even after school, she met with the administrators and teachers of the elementary school to plan the next day’s lesson and played with the kids after that. She devoted her time spent in Taiwan to the kids.

“It’s actually funny looking back on it because I think I learned just as much from the kids as they did from me, if not more,” reminisces Iris.  “I loved the kids.  It was a lot of fun just to hang out with them and play games and whatnot.  I think the best part was that it actually made me feel like I was helping make a difference in their lives  .”

Iris is also captain of the PHHS Cross Country team. She immersed herself in running daily since her sophomore year in high school.   “I like running because it makes me tougher. Sometimes during season we’ll be running 40-50 miles a week,” she explains..

“I never really thought I’d be running marathons or anything like that.  Two and a half years ago, I could barely run four miles without struggling to catch my breath,” she muses.   Iris participates in various races such as the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot. She also participates in 10k runs (6.2 miles) and half marathons (13.1 miles).

Iris had ran her first full marathon (26.2 miles) in May this year and placed first in her division (19 and under) with a time of four hours and eight minutes.   She is also planning to run another marathon this coming spring.

As the president of the PHHS 10k club, Iris has a passion for staying fit. She is also an active member in NHS and Music Honor Society.

Iris been playing percussion since the age of four.  She plays in the PHHS Symphony Orchestra, and is currently the principal percussionist of the California Percussion Ensemble outside of school.  Iris have been a member of the Santa Clara Country Honor Band and the California All-State Honor Band multiple times.