Category: Opinion

Evaluate yourself

Editor’s Column for February 2014

Written by Natalie Jin, Editor-in-Chief/ Published on February 21, 2014

This might just be the musings of an observing senior in high school. Within just the few years of my high school career, as I watched each new batch of underclassmen file in for orientation, I feel as if more and more students are getting more and more involved – too involved. So involved and immersed in both academic and extra-curricular rigors that I can’t help but question the moral integrity of their interests.

They’re joining clubs, a minimum of four at a time; they’re starting charities; they’re going to Africa for a summer to gain global insight; they’re taking a minimum of five AP classes per semester. And as I sit back and watch them file in to start their new clubs that Mr. So-and-so said was a great resume booster, I can’t help but wonder – have you lost yourself? What is your passion? Harvard? That’s not a passion. That’s an institution.

Don’t get me wrong. Aiming high and striving for admissions into reputable colleges is no sin. And I am certainly not devaluing the merits of these high school students: I do believe that certain individuals do have the capacity of heart and capability of mind to manage so many different realms of responsibilities. But does everybody? Or have you lost yourself amidst the struggles of plumping your resume? Has your sheer ambition taken you too far?

Let me give you a humble word of advice: you don’t have to do this.

Find things you are truly passionate about. It doesn’t have to be more than one or two. It’s quality over quantity.

Do things you truly love.

Make a difference in a field that you’d boast not only on your resume but also to your grandchildren.

Be personable, and don’t lose yourself to your ambitions.


A hidden culture

Managing Editor’s Column for January 2014

Written by PROMISE LI, the Managing Editor/ Published on January 20, 2014

I was talking to a woman outside of the Metro station at Lake Avenue who told me a story about an old man whose throat was slashed open at a nearby station. Through encounters like these, I sometimes question the authenticity of the hyper-reality I live in: living in a quaint, safe, little town, and growing up with a hopeful generation of youth that is guilelessly directed towards security and success, who, if ever under those rare lapses of enlightenment, might realize the absurdity and bleakness of pursuing a future of conformity and comfort.

Beneath the façade of growth and peace, there is a brokenness that exists around us that we are sometimes too blinded to acknowledge, too blinded by our privileges and well-being, and too blinded by our individual pursuits.

We wait to receive and indulge in seasons of giving. Outside the consumerist commotion of holiday sales and warm family gatherings lay the true reality of our towns in which we have always neglected to notice. Yes, in the thriving communities of the San Gabriel Valley there are those who had been wandering for decades, victimized by random and repeating splurges of both physical and sexual violence, and broken for so long that one can see nothing behind their glassy eyes.

I never did truly stop to recognize this hidden culture of plight and suffering in our supposedly sheltered and privileged perimeters until now. I joined the staff of this publication to satisfy and cultivate my youthful desire to document, to explore, to discover.

In this season of truly exploring and communicating to more people in the streets, I must admit, my naiveté did take quite a blow. Understanding the desolation of life outside of the matrix we live in is only the first step; giving back to the community takes on a new meaning once one actually takes the initiative to give back to the community. Not until then would one realize that the issues of our society are even grittier, harrowing, and in need of aid than it seems.

What we should do to help our students

Opinion: The advanced placement classes force children to become more mentally mature before they are ready to be.

Written by JEFFREY LI, Director of Circulation / Published November 1, 2013 

This past year, Temple City High School administered 1,145 Advanced Placement (AP) tests to 467 students, and 84.5 percent of these students passed at least one test with a score of 3 or above (on the scale of 1-5).

These statistics are very impressive, especially when you compare them to the national average pass rate of 63.5 percent and consider how it implies that 84.5 percent of TCHS students are already prepared for college courses. However, the rigor of AP classes has caused many to criticize the system, claiming that it challenges students with too much, too quickly. I, personally, agree with this, but I think the solution to the problem is not to dissuade students from challenging themselves but to instead prepare them for the challenges before they arrive.

The trend parents and school administrators are afraid of is this: students, urged by the competition going on around them, apply for every class available, start every club imaginable, and attend as many SAT classes as possible. It is a recipe for disaster that often results in missing homework assignments, lack of sleep, and sadly, depression due to poor academic achievement. How can we prepare them for this future? We start with renovating the curriculum of the elementary and middle schools.

We can offer Honors or advanced classes in middle school. We can do more with the GATE system. We can bolster our elementary school science education so that students don’t go into sophomore chemistry not knowing what the periodic table is. We can bring back grammar, so students don’t go into high school not knowing what a gerund is, or where to place a semicolon. What we cannot do is expect students to master college level concepts in one or two years of high school if they have never been exposed to them beforehand.

Our current model for “success” expects too much out of children. It forces students to learn at an exponential rate, rather than gradually. It pushes students who are honed with docile curricula to suddenly be able to manage AP classes. This model is preposterous, and we cannot amend this model by making it easier; we have to produce better prepared students.

John F. Kennedy once said, “Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.” I’m praying to our school district to help students become stronger earlier for the future that awaits them.

Modify the school calendar for students

Opinion: Starting school earlier would benefit high school athletes and AP testing.

Written by JEFFREY LI, Director of Circulation / Published September 13, 2013 

Last June, Temple City High School students faced a great dilemma: school ended too late. By the last day of school, June 20th, we had missed experiences of summer schools and internships that had already begun. We had to watch as our neighbors from Arcadia, San Gabriel, and Pasadena enjoyed the full benefits of summer weeks before us as we finished projects and studied for finals.

Our district’s schedule caused us enough trouble in June, but now in August, we are seeing its aftershocks. Athletic programs, such as the football and tennis teams, have been forced to begin their practices early in order to meet the regional leagues’ deadlines.

Senior Sophie Ho is upset with how this affects her teammates and herself on the girls’ tennis team.

“Because of TCHS’ late start, our tennis team could merely arrange one pre-season practice prior to our first game, which falls on the day before school begins,” says Ho. “Although I believe it is not something that will greatly hinder our performance during season, unfortunately, we were unable to integrate the ideal amount of practice needed for a well-prepared team.”

Another problem with our current calendar is that it is not aligned with the Advanced Placement testing schedule. Since all tests are administered in late May, schools that begin early have more time to prepare their students while schools that begin late have to do more with less.

Currently, the decision lies in the hands of the teacher’s union, CSEA 823 and 105, among other groups in the calendar committee. Most of the opposition to an early start concerns the effects on elementary students, who would not be able to have recess because of the warm August weather, and the conflict with parent schedules.

Regardless, this issue continues to be a prominent topic for the school district.

Opinion: New Year’s Resolutions

Assistant Editor gives her opinion about New Year’s Resolutions.

Written by NATALIE JIN / Published January 11, 2013  

We are all familiar with the clichés that follow the coming of a new year, promising to break old habits and start new ones, hoping to inspire change. But are these resolutions actually effective, or are they yet another noble attempt to motive the unmotivated? I sought to debunk this mystery this winter break.

After asking the opinions of my family, friends and colleagues, I was brought to the general consensus that most people, teenagers and adults, do not believe in the effectiveness of a New Year’s Resolution.

A Junior at Temple City High School, Michael Ye, offered his two-cents when it came down to making resolutions, “ I don’t like to make a list of what I’m supposed to do at the beginning of a year. Most of the time, if not all the time, I end up following another routine and break my resolutions within the first month.”

Erica Wang, a long time resident of Temple City, concurs. She says, “ I make plans that I want to follow, but by the end of the year, I’ve done something different. The year is too fluid for me to make any long term resolutions.”

When it comes down to it, those I have asked, it seems like the general consensus is that most people dislike the stereotype that New Year’s Resolutions have become.

On that note, I’d like to agree. Resolutions and an opportunity to better or habits or lifestyle should not be limited just to New Years, as it so seems to be. Goal setting should be something that is kept up with and updated regularly. Change is inevitable in our lives, and as we accomplish old goals, new ones should be set to the ebb and flow of our lives.

However, keep in mind that goals aren’t accomplished by merely setting them. They can’t be wished into existence, and accomplishing them is an arduous journey. But take a leap and step forth into the expedition: make a resolution, New Years, or not.

Gas Prices on the Rise

A rise in gas prices creates a shift towards energy conservation, utilization of sustainable energies sources and green lifestyles.

Written by TUSTIN LEE / Published October 26, 2012

Ever since the 2008 Recession and continuing global energy crisis, American dependency on both domestic and foreign gas has driven gas prices through the roof. Today the average cost of gas is around 120 dollars per barrel.

At 42 gallons per barrel the price of one gallon of gasoline is 2.38 dollars, subtracting today’s average price of 4.59 dollars makes for a 2.24 dollar profit per gallon for gas tycoons and a number of corrupted nations.

With the State of California having the highest average gas prices in America, we suffer quite the toll, especially those that have to commute daily to work or school.

Mrs. Graunke, a teacher at Temple City High School stated that, “The government should invest more in energy and public transportation except that we are quite some debt and should focus on that first.”

Little things such as turning off the lights and biking to a destination everyday have cut Americans off from having to cater at the feet of large gas corporations and have saved them bountiful amounts of cash by helping them avoid gas and its taxes.

Albert Chen of Temple City High School’s Environmental Club said, “Although higher gas prices are bad for our wallets; less people buying gas would be better for the environment”.

At today’s current rate, gas prices don’t seem to be lowering anytime soon especially when the gas reserves are being drained by the day and discoveries of future reserves most likely yield the equivalent of today’s market demand.

This drive will force many Americans to resort to a converted life of conservationism and start the creation of a model society with little to no emissions.

Though gas prices today are abysmal, it is a step in the right direction towards this goal. This is a crucial point in History when the shift from traditional fossil fuels seems inevitable and everyone must sooner or later depend on Sustainable energy sources such as hydroelectricity, nuclear, and geothermal energy.

Opinion: Colleges Are Not Designer Hand Bags

Students should not choose colleges based solely on rankings.

Written by CELENE CHANG / Published October 5, 2012

Recently, U.S. News released a list for the top ranking colleges and universities of 2013. Although it may seem helpful for many students that are applying, these types of list hold little to no value.

I am sure that most people would love to say that they had the opportunity to attend one of the top schools in the nation. This prestige and honor does not only prove to others your capabilities and intellect, but it also gives boasting rights.

I do not agree with choosing a university based on its ranking, which is what most people have the tendency to do when they see these lists.

People say that they want to attend Harvard because it is the best school in the nation, but in actuality they don’t understand what it is that Harvard, Caltech or any other prestigious school are known for. If you choose a school based on its name, rather than your major, then it is just a waste of time.

Schools like Harvard and Yale are known for their law programs. MIT and Caltech are known for their science and engineering programs.

Not only would it be a complete waste of money if you went to Yale to major in, let’s say, foreign languages, but it also doesn’t resonate well. It would be like going to a high-class restaurant, and ordering a burger.

I blame it on these types of lists that cause students to veer toward colleges due to their name, rather than considering if the colleges suits their major.

My advice for those applying would be to first consider what you want to be, and then select the university that offers the best program for it. Here in California, there are plenty of UC’s to choose from.

College is expensive, so I would suggest going to a UC for undergrad, and then applying for a better university for grad school.

Colleges and universities are not brand names to parade on the street, it’s what they have to offer that matters.

Opinion: Start School in August, Not September

Chang’s view on when school should begin.

Written by CELENE CHANG / Published September 7, 2012  

I remember a while back there were rumors going around that the district had decided to start the school year earlier, in August rather than September.

I recall a lot of students being unhappy with the rumor and calling it “unfair”. Although it was never confirmed, I am all for starting the school year in August.

As a student myself, I understand why my classmates would be so upset by the thought of starting school sooner.

If school started in August, that means a shorter summer break right? Wrong.

Regardless of when school started, break would still be the same length. If we started school earlier, that means summer starts earlier as well, and school would end in May.

An earlier school year would definitely be more beneficial to the district because that means we have more time to learn before CST’s.

Although many people might see them as a joke, our scores on the CST’s affect the school’s reputation. Often times I find that teachers shove a months’ worth of material within a week, because there isn’t enough time due to the impending CST’s. It’s annoying and hectic since we are being forced to learn so much information in a short amount of time.

Starting the school year earlier would mean that we would have more time to cover the material, which means not needing to stress out as much the week before CST’s.

“I don’t like how every year the teachers try to cram so much material right before the CST’s,” TCHS Junior Casey Cai said. “I don’t really learn anything and have to spend sleepless nights studying on my own to understand it.”

Not only that, but August is the hottest time of the year.

I don’t know about you guys but even if it is summer break, I don’t prefer trying to have a good time in 100+ degrees. I would much rather have my summer start in May, when the weather isn’t scorching hot, and be able to go to the beach without getting a heatstroke. Being able to stay in an AC-ed room most of the day on the hottest month of the year sounds good to me!

Most of the other schools in the San Gabriel Valley also start their schools in August, so I don’t see why we shouldn’t as well. Summer break is still the same length, and you might be able to finally score that advance marking that you’ve always wanted on your CST’s.

Opinion: The Dawn of a Healthier America

Jin says to ban large sodas.

Written by NATALIE JIN / Published August 3, 2012  

New York medical professionals have introduced a ban on the selling of large-sized soda in New York City on July 24th, 2012, proposing the limit of soft-drink cups and bottle sizes at food services to be limited to 16 ounces, the equivalence of a medium-sized drink at Mc Donalds.

Needless to say, protestors have been lining up to denounce this idea. Critics ridicule the banning of portion regulations, saying that the proposal will not only fail to hamper the rapidly growing rate of obesity, but also be detrimental to the profit margin of small businesses.

However, despite my understanding of the direct relationship between small businesses and their dependency on profiting from selling drinks, I cannot help but agree with the medical researchers.

Portion sizes, especially for drinks, have risen dramatically throughout the years. A sized-small coke now, is the equivalent to a sized-large in the 1970’s. Statistics show that growing portion sizes cause people to consume more than their body requires, thus causing an unnecessary storage of trans-fat and other unhealthy fast-food ingredients. It is no coincidence that the increase in fast-food portions since the 1970’s has grown quite in accordance to the average person’s body weight through today.

It is inevitable that to minimize the increase of America’s ever inclining body weight, portions need to be reduced to more reasonable intakes. We need to wave goodbye to the “Hugo” 42-ounce, Mc Donald drink. Containing roughly 407 calories and 113 grams of sugar, bigger, in this case, is definitely not better.

“Smaller” though, might do just the trick. The proposed 16-ounce limitation on soft-drinks in New York is definitely an incentive to cut down on the unnecessary calories and sugar intake, thus helping implement the struggle to a healthier BMI (body mass index).

I sincerely hope that the New York board of health does pass this proposition limiting the sell and consumption of soft-drinks over 16 ounces in local restaurants. Perhaps it is with the start of this ban in New York that will mark the dawn of a healthier America.

Review: Café Roulé, a Great Place For Food and Relaxation

Chan reviews local café.

Written by GRACE CHAN / Published July 6, 2012 

Café Roulé is the ideal place for simple and tasty food. With an array of refreshing teas and coffees, and tasty, lightly toasted sandwiches, you can’t go wrong with your selection.

Café Roulé is a great environment to catch up with friend or with work. Bring along a laptop, smartphone, or iPad and enjoy free wifi service.

However, Café Roulé requires a minimum of 1 item per guest to have wifi access and a seat in the house. Cash only, too. But despite these minimal restrictions, the staff is always friendly and the food, exceptional.

The ambiance is relatively pleasant.

There is soft music playing in the background with a balanced murmur of chatter that keeps the atmosphere delightful and casual.

Thus, the noise level is generally low, considering that many college students as well as high school students find peace studying here at Café Roulé. The walls are painted orange, like the font lettering outside the café.

There are paintings and photographs framed on the walls to give it more of a subtle, simple, classic café look. The atmosphere is easy; nothing is distracting or protruding which can eliminate the calmness of the café. With that, it is a great place for casual gatherings or study sessions.

Many of the teas and coffees offered can go up to roughly $4 and the sandwiches up to $8. However, combo meals are offered for an extraordinary deal. In these combos, you choose a sandwich and a drink.

These combos range from $4 to roughly $8. The catch? There isn’t one. In each combo, a “full-sized” sandwich and drink is given at practically half the price.

With a simple menu, Café Roulé still seems to offer selections that can vary between mango green tea to pomegranate black tea and grilled cheese to house tuna sandwiches.

On top of that, it offers an ambiance perfect for a light lunch with friends or a study zone with food and drinks at hand. Painted in orange, Café Roulé is located near Loma Avenue and Las Tunas Drive.

The next time you’re driving or strolling down Las Tunas, stop by Café Roulé and give it a shot!