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.


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.

Boy’s Tennis has served well

By: Rose Lu

The Boy’s Tennis team winded up with a record of 11-1 in their league and a record of 11-3 overall. Their most recent games was a win against Independence 4-3.

“The season went amazing as we went 11-1 in season and our only loss was a close match resulting from many players being absent that day,” shared Varsity Doubles 1 player Brian Chiang.

The team also had many goals and skills that they have been trying to hone especially during practice which occurred after school up until 6:30p.m. throughout the week. Occasionally, they also practice on weekends. During practice, the team focused on improving their serves, footwork, backhands and forehands.

“The team’s performance was very well this year,” commented Varsity Captain Manav Dixit. “A few things that we’re working on are to (stay) consistent in all our strokes and improve (our) overall gameplay.

The team also had many goals that they have been trying to achieve like making it back to A-league and to win more matches.

“I think the team’s biggest challenge is keeping everyone healthy,” shared Varsity Captain Alan Nguyen, “Overall, the team is improving a lot. Skill wise and strategically everyone is learning very fast.

Another big issue is staying committed to the team.

“Many people on the boys’ team have extracurricular so it’s natural that they can’t show up to everything. I think we only ever had a full roster for one game,” commented Chiang.

Joining the tennis team was a big commitment for the boys, especially because of their other afterschool activities and school.

“The most difficult part of being in tennis for me is the time commitment, because I also have a ton of other extracurriculars and clubs to do,” stated Varsity Doubles 1 player Gavin Yu.

The boys team enjoyed the season overall because of their good performance, the connections they’ve made and the skills that they developed.

“Being on the tennis team improved my skills a lot. Not only do we practice a lot, we also play real games, which tests both mindset and skill,” continued Yu.

Both new and experienced players are all welcomed to join the team next year to learn skills, make new friends and to stay healthy and fit.



By Katie Tran


On May 7, Concert Band and Wind Ensemble attended CMEA (California Music Education Association) at Graham Middle School from 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Wind Ensemble earned a Unanimous Superior rating while Concert Band earned an overall rating of Superior.

CMEA is a festival where music groups from a variety of schools attend to perform for and receive feedback from professional adjudicators. They are graded on aspects of performing and the event is a measure to see the proficiency of a band.

Wind Ensemble played three movements, which they have been practicing very hard on since as far back as November. They also practiced for the sight reading section. Wind Ensemble had not received Unanimous Superior since 2015 so this was a great accomplishment.

“These past two years have been kinda rough on band, so I’m hopeful that we will make a comeback with that unanimous superior this year,” expressed piccolo player Maggie Nguyen.

This was Concert Band’s first time attending CMEA because they are all freshmen. As this was their first year, they put a lot of work into preparing for this performance.

Despite a few small errors throughout their performance and a big obstacle, Wind Ensemble still received the highest rating possible at CMEA.

“One glaring hardship that the group encountered was that one of our percussionists had gotten food poisoning the day of the performance, so we were missing a vital musician,” said Maggie.

There are different ratings for each tier for a score out of 100: 90-100 is superior, 80-90 is excellent and so on. Last year they got a mix of excellent and superior.

“Our goal for next year is to get unanimous superiors again,” said trumpet player Aaron Lee.

Other schools that performed include Evergreen High School and Independence High School. There were four professional adjudicators for the festival overall, three for the performance with prepared songs and one for the sight-reading portion. They usually change every year. CMEA is also for choral groups and orchestral groups but each group attends on different dates.

Band’s hard work paid off in the end as they achieved their goal and surpassed their previous scores by receiving unanimous superior for the first time in four years.


Guidance Office doors vandalized during Spring Break

By Victor Xie

Administration believes that three individuals committed serious acts of vandalism on early on April 27, which was the Saturday at the end of Spring Break.

These individuals cemented the set of doors leading into the Guidance Office shut and plastered them with offensive words. With the quick work of the custodian and district office maintenance team, the doors were cleared in several hours.

“I feel that the individuals are probably angry, and I felt that they disrespected our school. I don’t know what message they were trying to get across, but I don’t think that it’s the Pirate Way of trying to get any message across,” commented Assoc. Principal Honey Gubuan.

The administration offered a monetary reward of up to $1000 for anyone who could provide valuable information on the individuals who caused the vandalism.

“I think there’s a general culture among young people that encourages such displays of disrespect to authority, but this is vandalism without a clear message and vandalism for the sake of vandalism,” said senior Emily Liu.

According to the California Penal Code Section 594, if the damage costs are over $400, the individual could serve up to a year in a county jail or be given a fine of up to $10,000. If the damage costs are under $400, the individual could serve up to a year in a county jail or be given a fine of up to $1,000.

The fines for the repair of the door were confidential, but are estimated to be quite high.

“I hope these students realize that the money put into fixing the vandalism is taken out of money that could be used for other materials,” said English teacher Peggy Lee.

At the time of this issue’s distribution, no individual has been publicly caught or announced to be the culprit in this ongoing investigation.

Art season is back

By Janelle Perez


The annual Downtown Doors competition brought artwork from San Jose high schools to the streets of downtown and presented the students’ awards on May 9th at the San Jose Museum of Art.

The annual Piedmont Hills Art Faire was also held this week outside of the art buildings and showcased art made by students throughout the 2018-2019 school year.

Downtown Doors is way for students from San Jose high schools to publicly display their artwork. This year’s 16th annual competition included over 200 submissions from over 20 schools. Selections vary from ten to thirteen pieces, which are then transferred onto a big poster to be displayed on a door downtown.

The art faire included pieces from students in digital photography, sculpture and drawing and painting.

“I think the art show is great because it shows how hard we (students) have worked throughout the year to create these pieces,” said senior Nicole Ortiz.

This year two Piedmont Hills seniors, Diego Papa and Abigail Tecson won a spot on a door downtown. Downtown Doors winners were presented the awards to commemorate their talent.

The annual art faire included detailed sculptures and paintings as well as variety of printed photos, while Downtown Doors only showcased the works of few students.

“I really wanted to do a piece with bold colors and I took ideas from both desert martian landscapes. I’m proud that people thought it was worthy of a spot downtown,” said Diego.

Abigail submitted a double exposure piece from her digital photography class, which includes architecture from Paris.

“At first the idea of blending the architecture came from when I was going through Pinterest,” said Abigail.

The Piedmont Hills Art Faire submissions were chosen by the students themselves, which consisted of their best piece from the school year.

“I submitted my favorite photo that I took from this year and I’m really glad people are going to be able to see it and have a positive reaction to it,” said senior Kaitlyn Seawright.

Both Downtown Doors and the Piedmont Hills Art Faire will be held again next year and students will be able to admire the work of their peers and art students will be able to submit their work to be shown.


PHHS Class of 1988 returns in 30-ish year Reunion

By Sarah Shafaeen

The PHHS Class of 1988 are having their 30-ish year reunion this Saturday at the Casino M8trix at 6 pm.

The three co-organizers worked tirelessly to bring the reunion together and make sure that as many people as possible will attend and have a good time.

“There is a group of three of us who organized the reunion: myself, Dayna (Stein) Pawlowski and Diane (Bettencourt) Smith. We knew each other in H.S., but didn’t hang out. Diane was on the organizing committee for our ten-year reunion and Dayna, the 20th, so I thought they would be game for helping with another one,” says head organizer Anna Heckman.

The 30-ish year reunion is actually the 31st year reunion because the organizers were unable to properly organize the 30th year reunion in time.

“We tried (late) last year to get it off the ground, but it didn’t pan out, so this is our 30-ish year reunion. I was on the committee for the 30th year as well,” says co-organizer Dayna Stein Pawlowski.

The Class of ‘88 hoped to meet up with old classmates and reminisce about their time together at PHHS.

“I’m looking forward to looking back, seeing everyone, dancing to ‘80’s music and having fun catching up!” exclaims Anna.

When reflecting back on the environment at PHHS, Class of ‘88 recalled a very positive experience.

“PHHS was a great time for me. I loved high school! Hung out in the auto shop for a time, was tight with the drama crew. Really, I tried to get to know people in all the little groups,” mentions Dayna.

Many remember the overall inclusiveness of the student body at the time along with the general kindness everyone treated each other with.

“I loved Piedmont and had a great experience. Everyone was very friendly and respectful. I suppose there were cliques, but it didn’t really feel like it because everyone seemed to be friendly with one another, regardless of what particular group you might identify with. I thought it was just a really special place. I was pretty shy when I started there and really came to be much more social through the years. I really felt accepted there,” states Anna.

The class remembered their favorite memories from high school.

“FANTASTICS and Spirit week are really good memories. And Drama Class was pretty special to me,” concludes Anna.



Senior Honor/Avid Night

By Julian Rosete and Sophia Xiao

Senior Honor Night was held on May 1 in the L-Building to celebrate the academic accomplishments of seniors who are graduating with magna cum laude (a GPA of 3.51 or higher) or were honored with a department award. Similarly, AVID Senior Night was held on April 18 in the L-Building to celebrate the AVID seniors and their four-year journey in AVID.

Both honor nights were formatted like a more intimate version of graduation, where seniors were called up one by one. AVID seniors received a certificate and a stole, while senior honorees received black chords.

“Besides graduation, (Senior Honor Night) is one of our final celebrations for seniors before they leave, and so it’s nice for their parents to get a chance to see them being acknowledged for all their hard work,” says Head Counselor Jill Shoopman, who organized the event.

AVID Senior Night was a night to appreciate those students that have committed to AVID for all four years. Each senior received a certificate and an AVID stole upon getting their name called.

“AVID honor night was a great experience especially when we were recognized for being in (the same) class together for the whole four years. Though there were a lot of ups and downs, we finally made it to the point where we move on (from our close peers and classmates),” says senior AVID student Jameena Sampan.

As per tradition, Senior Honor Night opened with a musical solo by senior honoree Nicholas Lam, who played the fast-paced “White Knuckle Stroll” by Casey Cangelosi on the marimba.

“It was nerve-wracking; actually I checked my heart, and it was 172 beats per minute,” said Nicholas. “I was surprised at myself because I thought I would mess up more by either getting lost or lose the rhythm, but I did the best I could in front of a crowd.”

At both nights, students were given the chance to dedicate a rose to someone who always supported them or was a role model to them. At AVID Senior Night, students were also given the chance to give a small speech thanking that special someone.

“My favorite part of the event was dedicating the rose to my family. It felt nice to show appreciation to them, since they’ve always supported me throughout my high school career,” says senior AVID student Allan Vien.

New this year at Senior Honor Night was the Eunice Jackson Scholarship Award, which was given to seniors Janelle Perez and Kelly Thich.

                AVID students also received a certificate from the Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez

“(It was a) heartwarming experience that really motivated us to take what we’ve learned in AVID and use it in our next journey in life,” shares senior AVID student Angelo Payavala.

Senior Honor Night was organized by the counselors along with several junior honorees, who helped run the event. Similarly, AVID underclassmen honorees supported the seniors at AVID Senior Night, greeting parents at the entrance, helping to pass out certificates, handing out snacks and cleaning up afterwards.

“You know it’s probably been a rough four years trying to maintain their grades, so (Senior Honor Night is) kind of just to let them know that we appreciate all their hard work for their parents to be able to join in that celebration,” says Ms. Shoopman.


LTG Banquet

By Christine Do


On May 18, Key Club held their annual LTG (Lieutenant Governor) Banquet at Independence High School at 7 p.m. Every year, the LTG Banquet serves as a way to end the Key Club term on a good note.

“The purpose of LTG Banquet is to honor our previous LTG, Sabrina Huynh, and what she and the DLT (Division Leadership Team) have accomplished throughout the term, and also to welcome the new LTG, Tony Hong,” said Jerry Xu.

As an LTG, it is their duty to connect clubs with the district as well as carry out certain tasks within the clubs they are in charge of. The DLT consists of the Spirit Coordinators, MNT Coordinators and others who help the LTG in several tasks and overlooking the clubs.

“An LTG is in charge of overseeing Key Clubs in a certain area. For D12E (Division 12 East), there are ten schools and the LTG is in charge of overseeing all of them. We are also a part of district board, where we meet up and learn what the district wants to implement to members, and we’re in charge of making it happen,” said previous Lieutenant Governor Sabrina Huynh.

Every year, the LTG is chosen through a complicated process, involving multiple questionnaires and speeches. This year, delegates from each high school chosen to represent their club met up at Cupertino High School for Conclave, where candidates for the LTG position gave speeches and participated in caucuses to prove why they were fit for the position. In the end, the LTG elect was junior Tony Hong.

To welcome Tony Hong to the new term, Key Club hosted the LTG Banquet, where there were also performances and dinner served, as well as new DLT officers for the next term announced.

Despite all the responsibilities of LTG, Tony is ready for all the challenges.

“It feels great to be elected but I was really overwhelmed because after the new term started, I had a bunch of deadlines that were due. It was a little rough in the beginning but it’s going smoother now,” said newly elected LTG Tony Hong.

The LTG Banquet signified the end of a term, and the beginning of a new one for Key Club.

Lesser Known Countries

By 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!