Secret life of staff: Shaohua She

By: David Shih


“I really love all of my students, and I really cannot remember how long that I’ve (been a) teacher to be honest with you,” comments Chinese teacher Shaohua She.

Ms. She has been teaching at Piedmont Hills for number of years and is the sole Foreign Language teacher for Chinese at the school.

“I just like to plant anything that is pretty for me such as water lilies and stuff,” states Ms. She.

Her hobby is gardening, and she focuses on traditional Chinese plants and flowers. Planting and gardening not only helps her relax, and also makes her backyard look beautiful.

“My favorite holiday is obviously Chinese New Year, as it is the time of the year where everyone in the family can gather and enjoy time together,” states Ms. She.

During Chinese New Year, Ms. She enjoys keeping busy with all the preparations, since it makes her feel alive.

Ms. She also teaches three classes at Independence High School.

“This is why you cannot find me during lunch at Piedmont, because I am at Independence (High School) already,” says Ms. She.

Ms. She also loves to travel when she has money saved up. There are still a lot of countries that she wants to visit, including Japan and Korea.

“I’ve traveled to a lot of countries, obviously China, and I’ve been to Malaysia and Singapore which was very fun for me personally there to see their cultures,” states Ms. She.

Ms. She doesn’t really see retirement in the near future.

“I really do enjoy teaching at this school and especially Chinese, I’m just really glad that I can open the students up to rediscover their own cultures and introduce other people to this culture that has lasted 5000 years. I guess I’ll retire when I feel like it,” states Ms. She.

An advice that Ms. She wants to tell her students is that they should not be lazy and try their best in school.

“Honestly, there aren’t any dumb students in my opinion. You guys are all smart and can go to those prestigious colleges if you guys try hard enough,” states Ms. She.



Mr. Aberle doesn’t OMmit details

By Rose Lu

At school, physics teacher Lance Aberle may seem ordinary. However, to earn his teaching credentials, he has come a long way.

“As a physics major in college I was offered the opportunity to be a TA, and with it came the responsibility of teaching two lab sections,” shared Mr. Aberle. “I enjoyed it so much that I realized it was what I wanted to do.”

Before officially becoming a teacher, Mr. Aberle worked several odd jobs.

“The first job I ever had was during my first year in college–I worked at Toys R Us. In fact, I just drove by the old store I worked at, and it was very sad to see it all boarded up, now that they have gone out of business,” commented Mr. Aberle, “It was mostly manual labor as I worked in the back warehouse and helped to unload trucks, but it was a great experience and there was a lot of fun camaraderie with the other people who worked there. “

He also worked for a small assay which is a metal or ore testing site, office work, the campus bookstore at SJSU as well as several internships prior to starting his master’s degree.

“I was able to get hired on at Intel, [and] while it was yet another great learning experience in a technical setting, it was not for me,” stated Mr. Aberle,  “It was about this time I was doing my teaching work as a TA, and I switched from my master’s program to the teaching credential program for physics!”

Now, he has taught for many years and has adopted many hobbies during his free time, which includes indulging in outdoor activities, playing video games and spending time with family and friends.

I used to go camping every summer, but have done so less in recent years–somehow sleeping on an air mattress on the ground is not as comfortable as it used to be,” shared Mr. Aberle, “But I still enjoy the outdoors with walks and bicycle rides.”

Mr. Aberle also enjoys trips and traveling.

“I also have fun exploring places on road trips–last summer I went to Crater Lake National Park for the first time,” comments Mr. Aberle.“The drive around the lake was relaxing and the views were breathtaking.”

Mr. Aberle also enjoys playing Fallout 4 with Biology teacher Jason Dries and Physiology teacher David Vasques.



The biography of a biology teacher

By Katie Tran

“I am exceptionally boring,” remarks biology teacher Jason Dries when asked about his hobbies besides photography.

Aside from teaching here at Piedmont Hills, Mr. Dries spends much of his time taking photos, whether it be of his friends and family or of his clients. His interest in photography began about ten years ago, when his son was born. Back then, the phones weren’t great and he wanted better than his hand-held cell phone.

“I bought a kit off Amazon, or eBay and kinda started liking photography and then that camera became a better one and then a better one and then a better one,” explains Mr. Dries.

Mr. Dries owns a small business called Legacy Photographs, which was originally a website where he would blog and post photos, until April 2011. He read an article in the Mercury News one morning about a mother of three who was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and decided that he would offer to take photos of her and her family so her kids would have a memory of their mother forever.

“I contacted her the morning I read about it in the newspaper and said ‘can I take thousands of pictures of you with your kids before you die?’ so we met up a bunch of times and actually took a vacation with them early on,” reminisces Mr. Dries. He then expanded his plan to make Legacy Photographs a small business by doing pay jobs to cover the costs of photos for them.

“To establish a legacy is to preserve things and I have taken tens of thousands of pictures of my son so his legacy will be very visible in the years to come,” responds Mr. Dries, explaining why he named his business ‘Legacy Photographs.’

Before deciding on becoming a teacher, Mr. Dries thought about pharmacy school and was accepted to the University of Pacific but turned it down because his parents couldn’t afford it.

“Not an option. I’m color blind and I can’t see rashes, jaundice, hives. I can’t see those things. It would be bad,” revealed Mr. Dries on why he didn’t reapply when offered admission again.

Mr. Dries has been teaching AP Biology for 15 years and the year after decided that Piedmont needed Forensic Science so he began teaching that as well.

“Our principal at the time, we were in one of our meetings, asked ‘who wants to teach AP?’ and I was the only one who raised my hand,” revealed Mr. Dries.

When asked who his inspirations were, he replied that every photo he sees that are better than his serves as inspiration to him but he doesn’t have any specific inspirations. ◆

Science teacher by day, extreme athlete by night

By Emily Zhao

Science teacher Meredith DeRoos transferred to Piedmont Hills this year and teaches biology and forensics.

Originally from Pennsylvania, Ms. DeRoos moved to California in her senior year of high school to Santa Barbara, where her mother got a job. Like her mother, she decided to pursue the line of teaching after her friend introduced her to a credentials program.

“I had a friend in the credential program that told me what it was like teaching, and it sounded like something I would really enjoy. So I decided to go to the credential program and found out that I really love teaching,” explains Ms. DeRoos.

While teaching is Ms. DeRoos’s day job, she enjoys runing, biking and dancing in her free time.

“I’ve (run) three marathons before, and I’m training for one right now. It’s going to be my worst time ever, because it’s been like four to five years since I’ve ran one. I have a lot of schoolwork, so I don’t have as much time to train as I would like,” says Ms. DeRoos.

To train for her upcoming marathon, she runs five times a week, cumulating anywhere from four to twenty miles a day. In the past, Ms. DeRoos ran the San Diego Marathon, Avenue of the Giants and the Humboldt Redwoods Marathon. Her favorite race by far is the Humboldt Redwoods Marathon, the same race she is currently training for.

“You run through the redwoods so there’s a lot less people. The San Diego (Marathon) had too many people, and this one is just you and trees, so it’s pretty nice,” elaborates Ms. DeRoos.

She began running marathons on a whim.

“I used to be a waitress, and my coworker came in one day into our restaurant and asked me if I wanted to run a marathon with her. I said okay. She taught me how to run—I wore (a combination of) big hiking boots and sneakers the first time we went running. That wasn’t a good idea,” laughs Ms. DeRoos.

Aside from running, she is also an avid dancer. Ms. DeRoos takes dance classes in her free time, learning Hawaiian dancing, ballet, and more. Additionally, she also loves traveling.

“I traveled around the country in a motorhome for two months with my mom when I was a teenager. We started in Pennsylvania, then drove down to Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, California, Oregon, Washington and then back across. That was by far the best vacation I’ve ever had—everything was so new,” she recalled.

Next year, Ms. DeRoos plans on teaching Biotechnology. In the future, she plans on learning Spanish fluently and running at more races.

Empowering today’s women

LEE-VE IT TO LEE! Ms. Lee gives a strong voice to feminism

By Michelle Lin

Women’s History Month is a time when the power of women and gender equality is widely celebrated. English teacher Peggy Lee is a strong representation of women today, not only having welcomed her newborn baby boy into her life this past year and experiencing the hardships of motherhood, but also having realized the misconceptions of both feminism and gender roles in society.

“I went on maternity leave for a semester,” explains Ms. Lee. “The experience is tough. There’s moments of the responsibilities that I don’t love. This doesn’t mean I don’t love my child, but I don’t love everything that goes with motherhood.”

After raising her now one-year-old son, Ms. Lee has reflected upon her own experiences and the idea of feminism with careful consideration.

“I really think feminism is about ‘togetherness,’” says Ms. Lee. “It’s about equality, equity, embracing who we are. It’s about being free.”

Her husband shares the burden of raising their child, a key piece of what feminists today should be working towards, according to Ms. Lee.

“(My husband) never defines that these are the things a mom does, or these are the things a dad does,” elaborates Ms. Lee. “He just defines it as ‘we are the parents, and these are the things that parents do to bring up a child.’ It really bothers me when some people define feminism as separation of genders.”

With a perspective on feminism different from what is generally portrayed by the conservative media, Ms. Lee hopes to find the more human side of feminism by educating people on a more inclusive way to view it.

“The feminists before me that have mentored me have all been about kindness and showing me how to speak up and not be afraid. They never tore other women and men down, and I just really respect that,” remarks Ms. Lee.

Women’s History Month has been all about promoting gender equality and kindness within society.

“We don’t celebrate great contributions to society as much as we want,” admits Ms. Lee. “So if it takes a month to celebrate women, that’s pretty fabulous, I think.”

Ring around De La Rosa

delarosas - jen luu
AWWW!! Mr. and Mrs. Delarosa are as sweet as roses!

By Jen Luu

As Valentine’s Day approaches, it’s no surprise that the emphasis on romance has taken stage around campus.  Whether it be in the form of student or teacher couples, the love between them is the same.

Similar to many teenagers’ experience with love, teachers can also discover a tender spark with someone on campus.   In this case, social science teacher Maria De La Rosa and math teacher Richard De La Rosa found each other at Piedmont. She has taught here for nine years while her husband has taught for ten.  By June, the couple will be married for four years.

“We were friends for the first two years when I was student teaching, and before that I would see him on my way out.  I knew who he was, but it wasn’t until (I started) hanging out with new teachers that we became friends,” recalls Mrs. De La Rosa.   Because their personalities are very similar, the two smoothly developed their friendship.  Both are laidback and easygoing. They also have a lot of the same interests such as the types of outdoor activities and T.V genres.

As they became more familiar with each other, Mr. De La Rosa was the one to initiate the start of their relationship.

“She said no at first,” expresses Mr. De La Rosa.  After the first attempt, he accepted her decision and remained friends until he tried again later on.  Initially, she was hesitant due to the concept of dating a co-worker.

“I didn’t want to get involved; it seemed complicated at work, but eventually he was very persistent, and I gave him a chance,” claims Mrs. De La Rosa.  That became the catalyst for the rest of their relationship.

Ever since then, they have grown to truly admire each other.

“She’s funny and she challenges me to be a better person,” says Mr. De La Rosa.  He appreciates the subtle, little moments when she makes him laugh or surprises him with a quote from a movie.  Likewise, she enjoys his sense of humor and other qualities as well.

“There’s a lot (to what I appreciate about him). He’s a really genuine person.  He’s funny, giving, and overall a good guy,” says Mrs. De La Rosa.  In addition to the admiration they have developed for each other, both have gained wisdom on how to maintain a successful relationship.

“Remember that it’s not all about you.  Try to put yourself in their shoes.  Try to see their perspective instead of jumping to conclusions,” advises Mrs. De La Rosa.  Compromise and mutual understanding are especially vital components.  At the same time, Mr. De La Rosa also sheds some light on what to do even before engaging in a relationship.

“Focus on yourself first, especially at this young age.  They say that before to have a fully healthy relationship, you need to be a fully healthy person yourself,” conveys Mr. De La Rosa.

The progression of their relationship is a warm reminder of the potential success and love anyone can find in their lives.

A bio teacher’s bio


By Sagar Tomar

“I was pretty nerdy in high school,” says science teacher Jason Dries when talking about his teenage years.  Now, Mr. Dries teaches biology and Forensics Science here at Piedmont Hills.  Before going into teaching, Mr. Dries went to Saint Joseph’s High School and then to South Dakota State University.

“I want to make people smarter,” responds Mr. Dries when asked why he chose teaching as a profession.  Besides learning new things and annoying others, Mr. Dries enjoys playing video games– such as Fallout 4 and Borderlands—and photography.

Photography is something very important in his life.

”Capturing a moment in time and preserving it forever.  As someone with a terrible memory, it’s heartwarming to review pictures and stroll down memory lane of the events of our lives, big and small.  As a parent, you think you’ll remember every little detail, but you don’t.  Pictures really help relive these moments,” wistfully expresses Mr. Dries.

As for video games, Mr. Dries says, “Oh, I’ve been gaming since the first Magnavox Odyssey 2, since the first Atari 2600, since the first ColecoVision.  It’s a part of my history and I can’t stop now.”

As a child, Mr. Dries had a normal childhood although he played no sports.

“I suppose chess counts, I was in the high school chess club,” laughs Mr. Dries.

His favorite moment as a “child” is getting his driver’s license.  Now, Mr. Dries spends time with his 8 year old son doing activities such as riding his bike, playing Fallout 4 and playing Star Wars Battle Front on the old Xbox 1.  While doing all these activities, Mr. Dries enjoys slurping up raw oysters.


A Teacher Aspiring to Inspire

PURSUIT OF KNOWLEDGE Mr. Shahrivar shows his love for learning. 

By Phuong Nguyen

“(Outside of school) I travel, I do stand-up comedy, I play sports (and) visit family,” English teacher Babak Shahrivar enumerates.

Five years into his teaching career at PHHS, Mr. Shahrivar teaches English 3 and AP Language and Composition in room F-13.

His childhood consisted of visiting his family in Germany and Iran and hanging out with his two close friends and his brother.

Mr. Shahrivar attended Homestead High School and De Anza Community College.  He then transferred to UCLA.

“When I was in high school, I was not involved in anything (and) was not motivated.  I was pretty lazy.  I never took an AP class or honors or anything.  I felt like I had a rebirth in community college…  I worked really hard and I got straight A’s in community college,” recalls Mr. Shahrivar.

Not wanting to be a broadcaster for television anymore, he decided to try teaching after he graduated from De Anza.

“I always liked talking with people and being with people (and trying) to inspire people.  I remember having those moments in school where you figured out how to use a formula correctly in math or you understand why a certain event happened in U.S. history.  I want to be a part of those moments for younger kids,” Mr. Shahrivar says with aspiring eyes.

A memorable moment in his life is going to Germany to visit family with his mom and brother.

“My brother passed away shortly after that trip so it was like a last trip that we had together as a family,” reminisces Mr. Shahrivar.

Another memorable event is when he went to her house in Colorado during the holiday break last year and proposed to his girlfriend.

“Right after she said yes, (I was so tired that) I went to bed,” Mr. Shahrivar laughs.

His outdoor wedding will be at Saratoga Springs on July 14, 2017.

Mr. Shahrivar plans to pursue a graduate degree and even a Ph. D in five years, have a child or two in ten years and think about retirement in 15 years.