Tatler https://tatler.lakesideschool.org The Student News Site of Lakeside School Mon, 16 Mar 2020 04:40:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 Estrella: The Importance of the Arts in Telling Stories https://tatler.lakesideschool.org/1163/arts/estrella-the-importance-of-the-arts-in-telling-stories/ https://tatler.lakesideschool.org/1163/arts/estrella-the-importance-of-the-arts-in-telling-stories/#respond Mon, 16 Mar 2020 04:36:41 +0000 https://tatler.lakesideschool.org/?p=1163 Sofia D. ’20 rightfully deserves Stud of the Week. For ten weeks, Sofia D. ’20 worked on her play, titled Estrella, in her Drama IV class; her work was part of the Young Playwrights Program, which allowed professionals to come into Lakeside to help the students write plays to enter into the competition. She ended up placing in the Youngwrights Playwrights competition. This honor comes not in the form of a medal or a certificate but in the opportunity to have a professional direct her work and working actors portray her characters. The whole play will be open to the public to watch at the beginning of April. This competition also featured honorable mentions from her fellow Drama IV students: John A. ’20, David C. ’20, Molly C. ’20, and Rose P. ’20. 

Sofia’s play follows the life of Citlali, meaning “Star” in Nahuatl (na-wat), a native Aztec language. Citlati is a seventeen-year-old Mexican girl living with her immigrant single mother and younger brother, Javier. During the play, their mother is deported to Mexico after a raid at a store. Sofia’s play continues to follow the two siblings as they attempt to navigate life without their mom and deal with their community’s view of their mother’s deportation. For Sofia, this play is about “hearing the voice of immigrants and the children of immigrants.” For Sofia herself, the inspiration comes from recent events in her own life. 

The immigration process has personally affected Sofia, as her mom had to stay in Mexico for over a year while waiting for immigration papers. Drawing from this experience, Sofia says “my favorite part was writing [the play] because it felt awesome being able to write about something similar to my experience and get that out there. ” The play shines a light on the reality and the human emotion that is encapsulating immigration in the United States. For many of us, it is easy to see this topic on the news, but deportation is an issue that can affect many of those around us. Sofia’s play is a reminder that these scenarios are continually occurring, even if we may be blind or oblivious to them. 

While immigration can be a heavy topic, Sofia also strived to incorporate the more positive and disregarded aspects of her culture in Estrella. She believes that stories of people of color are never seen in contemporary pieces in theatres, and she wanted to show her side of the story. Some parts of her play are even in Spanglish. “I was taking a risk because I wasn’t sure–since people were reading this play–that they were going to read this and not understand the references or even the words that were on the page because they’re in a completely different language,” she said. However, she eventually decided that the audience’s reaction to her piece wasn’t important. While the play touches on important issues and draws on the more difficult experiences in her life, in the end, Sofia  just wanted to write a play “that was for me.”

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A Beautiful Animated Spectacle and a Lesson in Climate Change: Weathering With You https://tatler.lakesideschool.org/1160/arts/a-beautiful-animated-spectacle-and-a-lesson-in-climate-change-weathering-with-you/ https://tatler.lakesideschool.org/1160/arts/a-beautiful-animated-spectacle-and-a-lesson-in-climate-change-weathering-with-you/#respond Mon, 16 Mar 2020 04:35:40 +0000 https://tatler.lakesideschool.org/?p=1160  

Notes: I can’t review Knives Out or Cats, as they are leaving theaters. For a more humorous review of the latter, check out Anjali’s Trash Talk article from last month. I can also review both once they hit streaming services, if interest is still there. I can’t review Parasite either because of the age restriction and my parents’ advice. I may write something about the Oscars for a later month, but I could only see a fraction of the films. Time will tell.

Also, I got some in-person requests for movies. I appreciate it, but from now on please leave them in the Tatler poll. Thanks!

 

On the Saturday of MLK Day weekend, I went to see Weathering With You. I heard that it was made by the creator of Your Name, a phenomenal movie, but I otherwise went in with low expectations. I… wasn’t exactly blown away, but I came away thinking the movie was pretty good. The movie isn’t a masterpiece like Your Name, but it does touch on something relevant to our time: the relationship between youth and climate change.

Weathering With You is directed by director Makoto Shinkai, director of the legendary Your Name. Weathering With You is the story of two teenagers, Hodaka and Hina. Hodaka is a runaway trying to find a job and place to stay in Tokyo amidst a record-breaking rainstorm. His quickly overwhelmed wonder is displayed just as his character is introduced: he nearly drowns from falling off a boat. He eventually finds a job as the assistant to a tabloid writer, Keisuke Suga, and Suga’s niece Natsumi. By fate, he meets Hina, a girl who secretly lives and provides for her and her younger brother, Nagi. He discovers that she is a Weather Maiden (or “Sunshine Girl” as a common term), able to, with a prayer, clear the ever-present rain to reveal the sun, if only temporarily. They decide to start up a business of clearing up skies on events like weddings, festivals, and baseball games. As we learn later, though, there is a sacrifice that comes with being a Weather Maiden.

I saw the English dub of Weathering With You.  I generally avoid English dubbed versions of Japanese media, with a few notable exceptions (such as Mark Hamill as Muska in Castle in the Sky). This is mostly because the children’s voice actors tend to not match up with the quirks of Japanese language. Despite this, Weathering With You’s voice acting was surprisingly solid. The characters gave good, natural impressions of their characters that accurately portrayed what was happening to and around them (Hodaka’s voice admittedly got a bit annoying after some time, but he is a high school freshman, so really, what can I say?). Their voices all had fervor yet also subtlety–something lacking even in some Ghibli films. The blending of the dubbed-over English voices and original sound effects were also incredibly smooth, which is difficult for even Japanese-dubbed anime.

Aside from acting, the technical achievements in this movie are just astounding. I really got the sense of gloom around Tokyo as the rain stretches from hours to days to months (*insert Seattle joke here*). Every scene has tiny, meticulous details (light refracting on windows, water beads, translucent plastic coating, “Since 1987” on a beer can) that provide an ambiance and texture that exceeds even that of some Ghibli films. The more you examine even a single frame, the more impressive it gets: the water fish, the clouds, panning shots of Hodaka and Hina on a rooftop, individual raindrops falling through the air. The whole movie is a masterwork in animation. You could watch the movie on mute and know exactly what was happening.

The main problem I have with this movie is the ending. 

*Spoilers ahead. Read with discretion*

Hina learns that although she can return the weather back to normal, she will have to sacrifice herself as the weather maiden to do so. Eventually Hodaka finds a way to bring her back. Hina warns that doing this will bring back the incessant rain, but he claims to not care and that they should just be together.

The choice they make impacts the entirety of Tokyo, perhaps the whole world, condemning thousands to the sea. People lose their homes, livelihoods, perhaps themselves. Hodaka and Hina are happy, but at what cost? This ending bugged me for a long time after the credits rolled, especially since the implications of this bold new world are never really explained.

Perhaps backed by Greta Thunberg’s speech to the UN, an idea touched upon in this movie is that the next generation, ours, will have to figure out how to save ourselves. In the movie, only Hodaka and Hina know the truth. Everyone in power refuses to believe the scope of the problem. In addition, Hina must sacrifice herself to save this crisis. This implies something that Thunberg and many others are saying: we, the next generation, as the inheritors of the earth, must figure out a way to save it. This may cause us to lose ourselves, but compared to the loss everybody else sharing the Earth would face, the sacrifice seems tiny. Like the life of one high school girl in a hotel in Tokyo.

In that context, we must think about Hodaka’s decision. Would we really want to sacrifice our only treasure in the world to clean up a debacle our elders left for us? Given the same situation, what would we do? Our elders do not seem to know, nor do they very much care.

We’ll have to figure that out.

 

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1917: A Lesson in the One-Take https://tatler.lakesideschool.org/1157/showcase/1917-a-lesson-in-the-one-take/ https://tatler.lakesideschool.org/1157/showcase/1917-a-lesson-in-the-one-take/#respond Mon, 16 Mar 2020 04:33:39 +0000 https://tatler.lakesideschool.org/?p=1157 I will preface this by saying that I am an ardent fan of Dunkirk. I think it’s a great movie. Every award it got it deserved. If you disagree, please email me directly and I will quickly forward a five-page essay-rant I wrote in the 8th grade. I say this because I will defend Dunkirk to the same grave I will with 1917.

1917, by Sam Mendes of Skyfall fame, is an impossible movie. We follow two young soldiers, Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) and Schofield (George MacKay) as they weave through trenches, fields, and rotting bodies. Their mission is to deliver a message that calls off a doomed attack, saving 1600 men from certain, painful death. Blake’s brother is one of these men. The result: two hours of unending, constant, heart-attack-inducing anxiety, packed into a choreographic masterpiece beyond the longest of long-takes’ dreams. Alfred Hitchcock can rest in peace, knowing someone has found a successor to Rope

The movie is formatted around the mythical one-take, meaning that (by appearance), from when the camera starts rolling at the beginning of the movie, it never stops until the very end. It is an impressive and daunting cinematic technique, especially considering Hollywood’s fondness for the one-to-two second takes in most modern films. The one take is a tall order, perhaps, but one that immediately takes us away into the world Mendes creates.

From the opening shot, we are enclosed in the world of these two characters: the peaceful hope of being home by Christmas; the bantering over the lack of good food; the hectic, messy traffic of the settled trenches. The camera weaves through people and trenches,  The closer Blake and Schofield get to the front lines, the muddier and messier it gets. We see collapsed walls and injured people, and a hungover higher-up who half-heartedly gives them orders and “blesses” them with alcohol.

An interesting cinematic trick about the one-take is the way it trails a character. Ironically enough, you can turn to John Wick 2 for an example. In the now-iconic catacomb shoot-out, we follow Wick through the weaving tunnels, just over his shoulder. This is resemblant of how we follow Blake and Schofield as they weave through landscapes and escape enemy soldiers. They feel like video game characters. 

I could go on and on about every scene in this movie. Even the tiny shots, like trucks being stuck in the mud or Schofield attempting to cross a demolished bridge, are filled with desperation and anxiety. We never know what to expect. Around every corner there could be the barrel of a rifle pointed in their faces, or a corpse, or a dead end. The entire film is nervousness on a trip-wire. (Ironic considering there are literal tripwires in some of the bunkers.) The horrors of No Man’s Land are so well displayed that it legitimately feels like we are in the war with the two main characters. Blood-slicked mud along craters. Bodies strewn around, half-buried or tangled in barbed wire. A single, rusted Mark 2 tank with a massive hole in its side. Even later, as Blake and Schofield reach the relative cleanliness of the abandoned German trench, we are at unease. Every corner could be hiding a German soldier, a booby trap, even massive trench rats.  

We trust that the characters know where they are going because we don’t, and when they stray from their path, we are worried they will never find their way back. This constant fear makes the few moments of true peace even more rewarding, like when we get to see the two walking upright after what feels like hours of crawling and stumbling. 

There isn’t much more to say about the climax, other than this: chaos. Unfiltered chaos, as explosions go off, people scream and yell and die, debris flies everywhere. Schofield, MacKay literally running to catch up with the camera, runs a quarter-mile under direct artillery fire, bumping into other soldiers running in an entirely different direction.

I love this movie because it lets you sympathize with the characters and doesn’t spoon-feed you drama or exposition. Through Blake and Schofield’s actions, we see their heroics; through their appearance, we see their youth; their conversations, their personalities. There are people that criticize this movie for not providing enough context and character development, and perhaps that is warranted, but the point of the movie isn’t to know about the characters; it’s to be the characters. And through the one-take method, the film does that perfectly.

1917 is not even close to a perfect movie, but it is easily one of the greatest movies of the year. Perhaps one of the greatest war movies of all time as well. I look forward to the next time someone comes up with something as revolutionary to the one-take medium as 1917 was.

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Why the Long Block? Dialectics on the New Schedule https://tatler.lakesideschool.org/1153/life-culture/why-the-long-block-dialectics-on-the-new-schedule/ https://tatler.lakesideschool.org/1153/life-culture/why-the-long-block-dialectics-on-the-new-schedule/#respond Mon, 16 Mar 2020 04:31:57 +0000 https://tatler.lakesideschool.org/?p=1153 Shortly after the news of the new Upper School schedule broke, I wrote the following document, in part, to provide people with information to cut back on the “blood politics” around the new schedule. Recently, the administration looked over my document and urged me to publish. Surprisingly, there has already been a lot of wonderful work on this topic. Dash B.’s Tatler article from last month is a highly recommended read, which I see now as a precursor to this document. He broaches some of my points, especially around class number and free time. Anyways, with the trial of the new schedule coming up late this month, below are five arguments in favor of the new schedule, five against, and three points of contention.

 

Pros:

Come on and Slam: Under the current schedule, Friday, which is composed of all of a student’s classes, is a “slam day”: the work you have to do before Friday is greater than before any other day. Under the new schedule, this problem would be alleviated; all days would require roughly the same preparatory time (not factoring in relative class difficulty, workload, etc.).

Don’t Forget Transitions: Although the holistic effect of schedules for high school is uncertain (see “Quid Pro No?” below), there is definite research showing that fewer transitions between mental pursuits (like classes) improves performance. The fact is well known, and might be attributable to the fact that humans naturally struggle to shift their focus without time to work at it; this is a large part of why “multitasking” doesn’t exist in reality. Humans can only take on one thing at a time, and boy do we get invested in that thing.

Stabled Horsepower: Similar to the above, under the current schedule, teachers have no standard incentive to work between themselves in stabilizing class workloads. In a rollover schedule, and especially one structured like the new schedule, teachers would find it simply more efficient (and kinder to the students) to greater regulate workloads between class periods. That way, the balance of work can be applied algorithmically regardless of the way the rollover schedule is that week. (For example, the English department might decide on a 45 min/day work pattern.)

Long Time no Free: Under the new schedule, all free periods would be long, purely by their nature — as would EVERY period. It must be admitted that the administration’s polling was not wrong: students seem to prefer long block free periods to segmented free periods, even if they were to potentially lose a small amount of free time as a result of that decision. Students can greater focus on doing what they’d like to during their free periods if they are longer, and the amount of complicated, thoughtful work that can be completed in free periods shoots up also.

The Dual Meanings of Biweekly: Under the new schedule, there is at least twice the time for activities than under the current schedule. This allows clubs to meet more often, which allows more intensive clubs, like Debate Club (RIP), to maintain greater continuity and cover more topics. Students would also be able to devote their time between more than one club. Rather than being forced to pick one a week, they could negotiate timings from the two (or more) activity periods a week to attend up to three clubs where they, under the current schedule, could only attend one.

 

Cons:

Punishing Ambition: Though complex mathematically due to its relative conditionality (another possible con?), the new schedule discriminates in the amount of free time it gives students. As compared to the current schedule, a student who takes seven classes would lose 15 minutes of free time, while one who takes six would GAIN 15 minutes of free time. This punishes students who choose to take on more courses, forcing them to spend more personal time completing classwork.

Long Block Blues: Long blocks offer more time than short blocks, and the new schedule would all but eliminate the latter. An issue that arises is simple: this longer period doesn’t suit every individual class or even classes of a certain department; some are better suited for smaller chunks of time, while others become hard to handle (read: not fun) with increased time. What’s more, students may fare better with different arrangements of class length — some people may get gradually better in English as the period goes on, and gradually worse in the same manner in Science. The uniformity of long blocking crushes individual needs.

Teacher, Teacher!: Because of the relative spacing of free time in the new schedule, nearly half of students could be said to be “free” during lunch, while all students would be “free” during the designated free time before the final period of each day. This means teachers will be swamped with student meetings, and those students needing to discuss classwork, take a test, etc. have fewer chances to catch their teacher’s ear. Much difficulty abounds.

No Such Thing as a Free Lunch: Among the needless administrative reaches of the new schedule is the designation of certain periods as those for eating lunch. This trammels the freedom of students to choose when to eat, if at all. There has been no word on if the lunchroom is to remain open outside of the “lunch” section of the new schedule, but regardless, students are mature enough to determine their eating habits.

Manic Mondays: Disregarding the laughable “right handed people work best in the morning, left handed people the opposite” piece of the new schedule’s presentation, the subject of “Monday being Monday” was broached. Under the current schedule, Monday does indeed have a designated class composition. Under the new rolling four-day schedule, an “L” day might serve as a Monday stand-in, but the relative infrequency of “Monday being Monday” is betraying. The current schedule may alter Monday’s schedule 40% of the time; the new schedule does this 75% of the time (almost twice as often!).

 

Points for Debate:

Quid Pro No?: Despite the insistence of its advocates, the new schedule’s effect would not appear to be held up by research. In-depth studies, such as those by the Hanover Institute and the National Education Association, have found little to no correlation between scheduling in secondary (high) school and later success. More research could introduce different findings, but, as yet, there is no consensus that scheduling, new or old, makes any impact on students beyond their years literally in school.

Metagogy: The same research affirms that teachers, going from our current schedule to the new one, would require new pedagogical strategies to best engage students and make use of the lengthened class periods. Since all classes currently meet one long block a week, the necessary instructional changes would be minimal, but still existent.

Hell is an Office: In full honesty, though Lakeside students are known for their love of rigor, there is something to be said for the small pleasures found at the edges of one activity as it bleeds into the next (think of passing periods). Were everything in life set to maximize efficacy, living would be pointless. The new schedule may be more efficient than its counterpart, but is that a better thing?

 

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Stress Article https://tatler.lakesideschool.org/1149/life-culture/stress-article/ https://tatler.lakesideschool.org/1149/life-culture/stress-article/#respond Mon, 16 Mar 2020 04:29:43 +0000 https://tatler.lakesideschool.org/?p=1149  If there’s one word to describe the experience of being a Lakeside student, it’s stress, the ever-present force that motivates and frustrates freshmen and seniors alike. Stress is staying up late to finish a history paper or realizing you have a test tomorrow. Sometimes stress is just getting up in the morning and realizing you have a Friday ahead of you. Luckily, the administrators at Lakeside school are aware of this problem and work to combat it through methods like no homework days and a proposed, new, slam day-less schedule. As I enter junior spring, commonly described as the upper point of Lakeside’s difficulty, I thought it would be useful to compile a list of solutions and ideas to combat stress, things that will apply to students from freshman to senior year as we all fight through these last couple months.

“We are concerned that students in these selective, high-pressure schools can get burned out even before they reach college,” wrote Noelle Leonard in a 2015 NYU study that examined stress in challenging private schools like Lakeside. Coping mechanisms for the lab rats of this study included rampant substance abuse and something researchers described as “emotional exhaustion,” but there are healthier ways out of stress. This study also noted the best methods of countering stress on the administrative side of things, citing methods like changing schedules (point to Lakeside), staggering stressful projects and tests (not so much), and opportunities for students like yoga and meditation. While I would recommend yoga for any freshman looking to grind out their P.E. requirement, meditation is probably the most relevant and useful solution.

         While some counters to stress may be difficult to fit into an already busy schedule, meditation is a quick and somewhat easy method of relaxing. It’s even possible to incorporate it into a school setting, as anyone from a Mr. Engelhardt or Ms. Knudsen middle school class can tell you. A mindful minute to start off class is a great way to relax and focus, a method that led to reduced suspensions and increased GPAs for one San Francisco school district. Outside of school, meditation offers great benefits at a minuscule time commitment. Apps like Headspace, which I use regularly, offer free and short guided meditations. You may think meditation is not your thing, but it’s essentially just closing your eyes and trying not to think about stuff, which is what I do in long block STEM classes anyway. Two minutes in your morning routine or at the end of the day will lead to proven scientific benefits like reduced stress and anxiety.

Besides meditating, there are a myriad of small ways to deal with stress, from exercising to spending time with pets. It’s also important to note that you don’t have to take on stress on your own. If you’re overwhelmed at any point, meeting with counselors or taking a mental health day can help you reset. There are many positive coping mechanisms to help deal with this problem, but negative ones like procrastination and substance abuse will only create problems of their own.

Months of school lie between us and the summer sun, but hopefully this article will inspire some of you to get a better hold on academic stress. At the very least, you’ll be able to meditate some of your deadlines away.

 

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Math Puzzles https://tatler.lakesideschool.org/1145/life-culture/math-puzzles/ https://tatler.lakesideschool.org/1145/life-culture/math-puzzles/#respond Mon, 16 Mar 2020 04:27:33 +0000 https://tatler.lakesideschool.org/?p=1145 A Game of Pinching Pennies

Life is like a puzzle. The more you try to resolve it, the more you will get trapped in the mystery.

That is exactly how I felt after seeing the “weekend puzzle” sent to the Lakeside Math Team one Friday afternoon in January.

Mr. Ballard, the longtime coach of the Lakeside Math Team, introduced the puzzle a few weeks ago to the Lakeside Math Team, and also on FiveThirtyEight’s puzzles section. First published in the ancient times back in 1907, it is a game that anyone can play, with rules anyone can understand:

 

Isabelle has some number of pennies, which Kanishka divides into two piles. They take turns, with Isabelle going first. Each turn, a player may take any number of pennies he or she likes from either pile, or instead take the same number of pennies from both piles.

Taking nothing is not allowed.

The winner will be the one who takes the last penny. As we all know, since Kanishka and Isabelle are both geniuses, they both play perfectly. What numbers of pennies can Isabelle choose at the beginning so that she can guarantee a win?

 

In fact, this game was once a bonus problem from Mr. Ballard’s sixth-grade math class. We, high-IQ Lakesiders, will certainly have no problem solving this… right?

As it turns out, the majority of Lakesiders would be challenged to solve the puzzle. One student who struggled with the game described: “There must be a pattern – I know it. I just can’t see it.” This sums up the agony of working on such a seemingly easy problem.

Mr. Ballard is definitely not trying to train the Math Team to become future gamblers, neither is he trying to make con artists out of us. Instead, as a passionate puzzle-lover, he is bringing us to see the connections between an obscure game and a well-known pattern.

As for the real answer to the puzzle, it is surprisingly related to the famous Fibonacci numbers: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13…, where each number is the sum of the previous two.

Mr. Ballard himself also had some comments on the puzzle. He finds it interesting “because there are surprises in it; you start with the simple rules of a game, and you realize that you’ve discovered another way of generating the Fibonacci numbers.” In addition, Mr. Ballard notes that, “just from looking at the puzzle, you would never see the Fibonacci numbers or the golden ratio.” However, in the end, you can find “the connections between things…these connections are the delightful discoveries in math.”

Many math puzzles are like this – countless trials of seemingly random games, endless rows of numbers marching down the page. From the fractal symmetry of snowflakes to the golden-ratio spirals of mollusks to the geometric structure of the soccer-ball-shaped buckminsterfullerene molecule, nature hints us with simple yet intricate patterns, guiding us towards elegant perfection.

Of course, only if you can see the patterns. After a long period of head-scratching, wall-punching, or muttered obscenities, you might at last find the answer.

So, go play the game with friends or family. You might get to solve one of the mysteries in your life, and who knows – you might even pass sixth-grade math again.

 

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Miss Know It All’s Advice Column https://tatler.lakesideschool.org/1142/life-culture/miss-know-it-alls-advice-column-2/ https://tatler.lakesideschool.org/1142/life-culture/miss-know-it-alls-advice-column-2/#respond Mon, 16 Mar 2020 04:24:51 +0000 https://tatler.lakesideschool.org/?p=1142 The guy I like is sending terribly mixed messages. Help!

If you are more direct, he will also have to be more direct. You could always make a bold move and ask him out, and then you’ll know for sure how he feels about you. Of course, it makes a lot of sense if you are unwilling to do this, but you should still try to give him more opportunities to express how he feels about you. Try to spark conversation with him when you can and see how he behaves during it. Does he seem to enjoy talking to you? Does he seem eager to keep the conversation going, or does he seem perfectly comfortable ending it and doing something else that doesn’t involve you? 

 

I don’t think the guy that my friend likes is right for her. Should I say something about it, or just watch it play out?

Your course of action should depend on why you don’t think the guy your friend likes is right for her. Do you think that he is a danger to her in some way? For example, do you think something about his tendencies, beliefs, or behavior will injure her feelings? If so, it is important for you to express your concerns to your friend, so she is warned. It would most likely be best to do this in a casual manner, saying something such as, “I don’t know, he seems like he may be more inclined to do x, y and z, so he may not be your best option…”

On the other hand, if you simply think the guy isn’t right for her for a less serious reason, such as because they are in different friend groups, or because they enjoy different pursuits, you don’t have any clear evidence that a potential relationship between them would end poorly, and therefore it would be best to not say anything, but make sure you are there for your friend as she navigates this new relationship.

 

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Leo Tanaka ’96 https://tatler.lakesideschool.org/1140/life-culture/leo-tanaka-96/ https://tatler.lakesideschool.org/1140/life-culture/leo-tanaka-96/#respond Mon, 16 Mar 2020 04:22:50 +0000 https://tatler.lakesideschool.org/?p=1140 In high school, Leo Tanaka ’96 didn’t see himself as a team leader. “I don’t think I was ever Mr. Popular,” he said. “I swam a lot, so school was studying and swimming.” Although he later served as swim captain in 12th grade, as a new sophomore at Lakeside, Tanaka recalls eating in the locker room during lunch periods. This image stands in contrast to the fact that, for almost twenty years, Tanaka served as an Air Force pararescue surgeon. 

Surprisingly, Tanaka didn’t major in a STEM subject in college, but in Asian Studies with a minor in Asian American Studies. His life goal has always been to impact the world, and his interest in Asian American activism allowed him to do so. But he also discovered another way to positively affect others: medicine. 

Inspired by a Seattle swim team member who joined the Marines, Tanaka decided to apply to the nation’s only federal medical school after college. His non-STEM major actually assisted his application: “Medical schools appreciate an individual who’s well-rounded as opposed to just ‘science, science, science,’” he noted. During medical school, he remained connected to his heritage and interests, serving as the co-chair for the Asian Pacific American Medical Students Association’s national conference.  And his humanities background allows him to relate to patients today. 

As part of the Air Force, Tanaka first served as an F-16 doctor. Because doctors in the Air Force must understand the pressures pilots undergo during flight, both literal — 9Gs of force — and figurative — extreme stress — Tanaka flew in an F-16 airplane and even dropped bombs on range targets in Korea. He then served as a pararescue surgeon (the doctor in a helicopter during emergency retrieval) during his follow-on tours.

The allure of military medical service, for Tanaka, came from the profession’s opportunity to give back to those in harm’s way. The job is more similar to that of an emergency room doctor than a plastic surgeon, meaning that Tanaka can immediately assist his patients; oftentimes, his team directly performed procedures on troops in the air. 

However, those serving must continually relocate to assignments all over the country, which can be hard on kids and spouses. But the constant travel exposed Tanaka to a diverse range of opinions and beliefs as well: “Moving around broadens your understanding of the world. You can understand the other side if you live in various areas with various outlooks. But it requires the right mindset and the right kind of individual.” 

Eventually, though, the military lifestyle became too hard for his family; Tanaka decided to leave the Air Force behind. He is currently completing a fellowship at the University of California San Diego in Undersea and Hyperbaric medicine, a niche specialty that uses pressure and oxygen to alleviate the after-effects of multiple diseases, including diving injuries, carbon monoxide poisoning, and “eye strokes.” 

Lakeside, Tanaka believes, asked him to explore his interests: “As a Lakesider, you have hundreds of opportunities: take advantage of them,” he said. “Regardless of whether you go to a top-tier college or not, or decide to work for a Fortune 500 company or not, these are opportunities that I don’t think you would be able to take advantage of elsewhere.” 

However, Tanaka found the strict military environment to be different from Lakeside’s atmosphere of independent thinking and creative problem-solving. “You get a little bit of indoctrination in the military: you like orders; you follow orders,” he said. Commands in the Air Force, which can often be life or death, must be followed to a T. “But that doesn’t mean you can’t be a free thinker,” he added.

Military medicine is not about money and success, but about making profound personal connections: “You realize very quickly as you go on in your life that it’s not about the material things that you accumulate, but the relationships that you have,” Tanaka said. The military is a place for teamwork; members of a unit must work together to succeed. In contrast to his first year at Lakeside, Tanaka pushed himself to become a leader during his military service, but his triumphs were never his alone: “Success, whether it be small or big, if anyone says they did it by themselves, it isn’t true,” Tanaka said. Success is always “based upon the help and understanding of others.”

 

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A Study in Maroon and Gold https://tatler.lakesideschool.org/1134/life-culture/a-study-in-maroon-and-gold/ https://tatler.lakesideschool.org/1134/life-culture/a-study-in-maroon-and-gold/#respond Mon, 16 Mar 2020 04:21:07 +0000 https://tatler.lakesideschool.org/?p=1134 DANI: As you make your way across campus from class to class, it’s easy to overlook many of the buildings you pass and enter every day. However, it turns out that the very building you’re in while reading this article may not be as mundane as you think it is. Over the past few months, Henry and I have spent our frees on a thrilling wild goose chase around campus, making regular visits to the archives to learn more about our campus’s rich and fascinating history. If you’ve ever been curious about what secrets lie behind the brick walls of Lakeside School, read ahead! We’ve already done all the research for you.

Before we began our “Holmes and Watson”-style operation, I previously heard rumors of a bomb shelter being located somewhere on campus. The prospect was enticing, and Henry and I were up to the challenge. Lucky for us, Henry already had a hunch as to the location of the fallout shelter: the basement of Bliss. After some quick deductive work, it became evident that there weren’t any clear signs of the shelter’s existence, other than a mysterious locked door next to one of the language offices. Thus, we took a hike up to the attic of Bliss where we spoke with the archivist, Ms. Schuyler, who gave us some vital clues as to where the shelter is located and its history. In addition, we learned about some other interesting pieces of Bliss’s history.

The Emergency Defense Council built the shelter during WWII, as reported in an article published in the 5th issue of Volume IX of the Lakeside Tatler on February 10th, 1942: “Lakeside, ever ready to do its part, has now assumed a tangible role in our national defense. Headquarters of Local Defense Area No. 2 of the State of Washington Emergency Defense Commission is now in the room formerly occupied by the Bauer store in the basement.” The Emergency Defense Council’s work focused on the construction of sites such as fallout shelters and emergency hospitals to protect civilians from possible air raids. Since then, the shelter has been converted into what is now a boiler room, which can be found directly across from one of the language offices. If you’re still curious about the locked door adjacent to the office, that remains a mystery for some other time.

In addition to housing the fallout shelter, the basement of Bliss Hall has played many roles, notably housing Lakeside’s science department. One of my favorite stories that Ms. Schuyler shared with us is from the Fall of 1984, which describes a mishap that resulted in all of Bliss being filled with nauseous Bromine gas. In short, the moral of the story is that if you want to show the reactionary properties of Potassium in a classroom with no fume hood, water will work just fine.

If you venture to the attic of Bliss, you’ll find that its eerily quiet offices are quite unassuming at first glance. In fact, as you walk down the sunlit hallway, you might not expect that the walls were once filled with bullet holes. Yes, dear reader: Bullet holes. Around the same time that the basement was serving as the headquarters for some serious war-time shenanigans, the Lakeside Rifle Society was using the attic of Bliss as a shooting range. During the club’s heyday, Lakeside’s sharp-shooter Lions made quite a name for themselves, achieving national rankings and defeating college teams. They even had an annual Thanksgiving Turkey Shoot, where the shooter with the best card would earn their very own twenty-pound turkey! The cause for the club’s ultimate demise in the late 1940s and ’50s is unclear, but nonetheless its legacy lives on in Lakeside’s history and in the property damage of Bliss Hall.

 

HENRY: Now, onto the next and most achievable building to study on the Lakeside campus: Piggot Library. Any Lakeside student who has successfully looked around the library should be able to understand its appeal and mysterious vibe. For example, the building is explorable from the bottom up. Venturing down towards the ropes course, there is a small path leading to the left that shows the overhang of the Library, supported by concrete pillars. The hole in the ground created by it has a small red door in its side — seemingly too small to be a valid means of egress from the building and possibly even too small to meet current fire safety codes. Our first thoughts were that this is the source of a rumored “second bunker” on the Lakeside School campus, which, after more research with Leslie Schuyler, was unconfirmed. The question remains: “What is this red door for?”

We consulted with Lakeside’s own Dan Dawkins. Mr. Dawkins was kind enough to produce and photo-copy the blueprints to the building, and within a few days, we were allowed to explore the information that they held. Though we managed to locate the red door on the blueprints and ascertain that it was connected to some sort of small basement on the same level, we couldn’t find any interior door that led to it. We could find the proper key to fit into the locked door. We are also too irrationally worried to consult with any teacher about the door. Thus ends our exploration of the confusing web of mysteries that is the library building.

Ms. Schuyler also informed us that when students come asking about a bunker, they could be referring to the old, cement-filled bunker out by the soccer field. Why put a bunker under a field you ask? 

One word: rockets. The Lakeside Rocket Society (LRS) was founded in 1957, the same year that Sputnik was launched. That’s right. Lakeside kids did aerospace before it was cool. The area that is now the soccer field was then used for testing and launching small rockets for fuel analysis. Things, however, didn’t always go as planned.

According to “The History of the Lakeside Rocket Society” by Nym Park (’64), “In May 1964, four years after ammonium perchlorate testing was announced, a motor using the perchlorate propellant (XLR-201) was finally constructed and taken to the LRS’s test site… Peter Isaacson counting down 3-2-1. At first nothing happened. I recall somebody… stepping out of the bunkers to see what if anything was going on, people… screaming at him to get back in, then a god-awful noise and huge amounts of grey-white smoke pouring out of the cement block firing cabin.’” The police department, fire department, and Seattle Times were all on the scene during the fiasco. The Lakeside Rocket Society was later disbanded.

 

DANI: By the time this article is published, it will have been several months since Henry and I have gone and done any proper sleuthing. But, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything in store for us in the future. In fact, we’ve barely scratched the surface of Lakeside’s history and secrets. 

 

HENRY: We still have some unanswered questions: What is there to explore in the newer buildings? What are the stories behind Moore, the Refectory, and St. Nicks? What other cool clubs and organizations did Lakeside have in its past? How does the St. Nicholas school play a role in Lakeside’s history? So many questions, and yet so little time! But, it goes to show how far curiosity can take you. 

 

DANI: All of our investigations and research wouldn’t have been possible without the help of some of the wonderful faculty and staff on campus. Hence, we would like to give our great thanks to Al Snapp, Alban Dennis, Leslie Schuyler, and Dan Dawkins. Thank you!

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Coronavirus: A Pandemic of Racism https://tatler.lakesideschool.org/1131/life-culture/coronavirus-a-pandemic-of-racism/ https://tatler.lakesideschool.org/1131/life-culture/coronavirus-a-pandemic-of-racism/#respond Mon, 16 Mar 2020 04:16:47 +0000 https://tatler.lakesideschool.org/?p=1131 You’re out in public: let’s say a Starbucks. You go up to the barista and you order your morning usual: a grande matcha green tea latte with extra foam. You pay, wait, and get your drink. At last you find a place to sit down. You choose the table next to the window in the corner. While scrolling through the New York Times daily briefing on your phone, you hear someone a table over cough. The flu’s going around. I wish that people would cover up, you brood, your eyes still peeled to your phone. Your thoughts soon return to your personalized electronic news. You browse the headlines: “Wuhan Virus Death Toll has surpassed 2,000 in China,” “Your Typical Drugstore Mask Can’t Filter Out the Coronavirus. Thank goodness, I’m not there right now. That sounds horrible. You sip your latte and a small, insidious thought creeps up in the back of your head: It must be so dirty there. If those people had the same health standards as the Western world, it couldn’t possibly have gotten this bad. You guiltily try to push back the thought, but you still let a grain of that belief simmer in the backburner of your mind. 

Suddenly, something stops your index finger, half-scroll: “The Fifth Confirmed Case of Coronavirus in the U.S.” It’s here? You feel a surge of adrenaline. But it’s probably in New York or LA. No way it’s here. You quickly type into your phone: Coronavirus Seattle, Washington. Oh no. An article from a few weeks ago mentions a case of the Coronavirus in a man who lives in Snohomish. That’s too close for comfort. Suddenly, the pandemic is not just an “Asian disease.” You can catch it, too. Now, you have to pay attention. Now, it’s important to care. It’s easy to preach that those people need to wash their hands more often when they’re in China. But it’s different now. If the virus is here, it must be serious and no amount of handwashing is going to easily erase it.

Once again, you hear the man at the table to your left cough. This time, you jerk your head up to look at him. Darn it. He’s one of them. The man is of Asian-descent. Nothing about him gives away that he is Chinese, from Wuhan, been to China recently, or has ever been to the continent of Asia in his lifetime. Still, you just know that he must be from there. You just know that he has the Coronavirus. You just know that you need to get out of there. You quickly shove your iPhone in your back pocket and you decide to dispose of your still half-full latte. You wonder if you should hold your breath. As you pass the man, you send him a dirty look: How selfish can he be for being out in public when he could be spreading the disease. A thought drifts by: Maybe he doesn’t know. No, he has to know. It’s not like he just heard about the Coronavirus today. 

Back in your car, you begin to make your way to work at Nordstrom. It isn’t until you are pulling into a parking spot that you entertain the thought that you might have made some big assumptions. It doesn’t matter, though. You decide. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

 

During your workday, as a sales clerk, you remain vigilant for any possible Coronavirus spreaders: namely Asians and Asian Americans. You are ignorant of the fact that thousands of white businesspeople frequent China and that many of them and their families shop at Nordstrom. 

During your break, you look on Amazon for the specific masks that can block out the virus. You discover that you are not alone, almost all of them are sold out, and the ones that remain are very, very expensive. They are far too much. Not worth it. You abandon your search. However, you secretly, and sometimes not so secretly, shake your head at the audacity of these high-risk Coronavirus units who do not wear the said masks. 

When you return to work, you are called to attention. “Excuse me,” calls out a female voice from behind you. You set down a hanger before turning to her. “Do you still have those tan cardigans that go down to about here?” A strand of the woman’s jet black hair falls in front of her face as she taps her mid-thigh. You immediately hold your breath, like a pedestrian avoiding second-hand smoke from a chain smoker. Her brown, almond eyes, her straight dark hair flash like red warning signs to you. You are not willing to take any chances, you make a sad attempt at a “so sorry” face before briskly escaping your break room. With your back turned, you can’t see the woman open her mouth in disbelief, reach into her purse for her iPhone (the same one as yours, manufactured in the same Chinese factory as yours), and log in to her Kakao Talk app (a Korean messaging app) to text her friends about what you just did. 

Back at home, you watch reporters on television cover more news on Wuhan. You enjoy a bran muffin, courtesy of your neighbor Mrs. Melville who just yesterday celebrated the return of her twenty-year-old son who has just finished his study abroad semester in China in a town hundreds of miles closer to Wuhan than the homes of all of the Asian Americans that you have interacted with today.

Before going to sleep, you check Instagram one last time. You see Simu Liu’s post on the Coronavirus becoming an issue of anti-Asian racism in the U.S. and other Western nations. How unbelievable. How uneducated. And people wonder how our President got elected. I’m so lucky to live in as progressive a place as Seattle. Racism like that doesn’t happen here. You turn off your iPhone and go to sleep.

 

Moments in this article are based on real events from Asian American students at Lakeside.

 

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