School meeting recap 12/9/21: Culture Day, Kicks Against Cancer and 1,500 donut holes


Lucy Ge

Upper School Division Head Butch Keller joins in on student council’s dance skit, performed to to Lil Nas X’s “HOLIDAY.” Last Thursday’s school meeting marked the last school meeting of 2021.

by Lucy Ge, Co-Managing Editor

Associated Student Body (ASB) President Dawson Chen (12) welcomed everyone to the last school meeting before winter break last Thursday. 

Upper school English teacher Jennifer Siraganian announced that the upper school would be hosting its first ever “Poetry Out Loud,” a poetry recitation competition. Upper school students can memorize a poem from the selected list and present at a schoolwide competition on Jan. 20. Top three finalists will recite poems at the Santa Clara County competition and possibly the state and national competitions. Interested students can email Siraganian or keep an eye out for a Schoology post.

“If you watched the presidential inauguration in January, you might remember Amanda Gorman, a young poet who wowed audiences with the recitation of ‘The Hill We Climb,’” Siraganian said. “Gorman’s poetry recitation is just one example of the power of a spoken word.”

Senior class council chair Yejin Song (12) and Student Activities Board (SAB) representative Arvin Nidadavolu (12) invited students to add their food, music genre, special effects and activities suggestions for Winter Ball at Winter Ball will be held outdoors on Jan. 22. Questions about the dance can be directed to senior representatives or senior class dean and upper school English teacher Christopher Hurshman.

The SDC’s mission is not only to recognize DEI issues and discuss them with our community, but to also appreciate the various cultures that surround us. By learning more about each other and where we come from, the Harker community can take the first step towards achieving this goal.

— Brooklyn Cicero (12), Student Diversity Coalition co-leader

Ella Lan (10), Yejin, Jacob Huang (11) and Jason Shim (9) announced that students interested in performing for Hoscars, the upper school’s annual talent show, can send in a video audition at by Jan. 9. This year’s Hoscars is themed “the Oscars,” and the performance will be held in the Patil Theater on Feb. 11.

“Unfortunately, there’s no Brad Pitt or Jennifer Lawrence, but Hoscars is actually better than the Oscars, because it showcases your talent,” Yejin said.

Student Diversity Coalition (SDC) co-leaders Brooklyn Cicero (12) and Dina Ande (10) announced a cultural dance assembly in February that will showcase cultural dance performances from upper school community members and external dance groups. Community members interested in performing can sign up by Jan. 7 through a Google form that will be posted on Schoology.

Brooklyn and Dina also announced that Harker is re-introducing Culture Day, which will take place in the last week of February. A significant part of the day will be dedicated to learning about various aspects of different cultures. They encouraged students, faculty and staff to sign up to host a booth about their cultures.

“The SDC’s mission is not only to recognize DEI issues and discuss them with our community, but to also appreciate the various cultures that surround us,” Brooklyn said. “By learning more about each other and where we come from, the Harker community can take the first step towards achieving this goal.”

Harker Aquila editors-in-chief Nicole Tian (12) and Alysa Suleiman (12) announced Harker Aquila’s up-and-coming weekly newsletter, called the Aquila Arrow. The newsletter will include five stories curated by Aquila editors each week. 

Students interested in becoming test readers for the newsletter can send an email to [email protected], send a direct message to @harkeraquila on Instagram, or ask a member of Aquila strategic staff — Nicole, Alysa, co-managing editors Irene Yuan (12), Vishnu Kannan (12), Arely Sun (12) and Lucy Ge (12). Anyone who wants to write an opinion or memoir piece for Aquila can send an email with the subject line “Letter to the Editor” to [email protected].

Irene and Vishnu announced the first installment of Aquila’s Apex video series and played the video profile of student-athlete John Zeng (12), with the video being made by Jessica Tang (11) and Alysa. Apex is Harker Aquila’s recurring feature profile on the upper school’s student-athletes, delivered either in a written or video format.

Kris Estrada (11) announced on behalf of upper school performing arts that Student Directed Showcase (SDS) performances will take place Jan. 7 and Jan. 8 at 7 p.m. 

Harker Robotics co-presidents Gloria Zhu (12), Angela Jia (12) and Ethan Cao (12) announced that the robotics program competed in their first robotics competition in almost two years over Halloween weekend, competing at Bellarmine High School and earning a semifinalist title. They played a video recap of the competition.

After playing a Table Tennis Club video made by BB Ajlouny (11), club representatives Metrica Shi (10) and Anthony Tong (11) announced that the club will be holding regular season matches starting on Jan. 4. Season matches will run until the annual March Madness tournament. Upper school students interested in competing can sign up at by Jan. 1. To join the email list and gain access to table tennis lessons, sign up at

Students and faculty watched a varsity boys basketball video made by BB, who is the Harker Spirit Leadership Team (HSLT) Co-Secretary of Athletic Affairs. HSLT Outreach Coordinator Elvis Han (12), BB and HSLT Co-Secretary of Athletic Affairs Zain Vakath (11) delivered the last Eagle Update of 2021. 

In the fall of 2020, Camp Okizu’s campus burned down in a devastating forest fire. Now more than ever, Okizu needs our help.

— Ashley Barth (12), varsity girls soccer team co-captain involved in organizing Kicks Against Cancer

Varsity girls basketball earned a 51-49 victory over Kings Academy last Wednesday to stay undefeated in their season. The team traveled to South San Francisco last Thursday and Willow Glen on Saturday, and they will play Menlo-Atherton High School this Friday.

Varsity girls soccer defeated Pacific Collegiate on Wednesday 7-0 and played Terra Nova last Thursday, and varsity boys soccer defeated Santa Clara High last Tuesday 1-0.

Varsity boys basketball faced off against American High last Thursday in the Lynbrook tournament, which continued on Saturday and Sunday. The freshman boys basketball team will play Design Tech this Friday. An interest meeting for boys volleyball was held at 1 p.m. last Thursday in the upstairs team room.

Varsity soccer team captains Sarah Leafstrand (12), Kate Leafstrand (12), Ashley Barth (12), Laszlo Bollyky (12) and Ishaan Mantripragada (12) announced the annual Kicks Against Cancer fundraiser event. Proceeds from Kicks Against Cancer will go towards Camp Okizu, a nonprofit that supports children suffering from cancer and their families. Children can attend Camp Okizu summer camps and participate in activities that most cancer patients miss out on. 

“In the fall of 2020, Camp Okizu’s campus burned down in a devastating forest fire,” Ashley said. “Now more than ever, Okizu needs our help.”

The soccer program will be selling treats, shirts and lanyards throughout the week of Jan. 4 to Jan. 7 and during the games on Jan. 7. Boys junior varsity will play at 3 p.m., girls varsity will play at 4:30 p.m. and boys varsity will play at 6:30 p.m. 

The soccer program is also hosting a Chipotle fundraiser on Jan. 4 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Chipotle location on Fifth Avenue. Students can show the cashier a copy of the flyer, tell the cashier that they’re supporting the Harker Soccer Fundraiser for Kicks Against Cancer, or use the code X86WAGP when ordering online.

Sophomores Arnav Swaroop and Arjun Gurjar from Astronomy Club announced an astrophotography workshop with upper school physics and science research teacher Chris Spenner during lunch last Thursday in upper school physics teacher Mark Brada’s room.

Dawson thanked everyone for helping raise $4,543 dollars for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in honor of upper school mathematics teacher Jane Keller, who was recently diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

ASB Treasurer Aaditya Gulati ended the school meeting by announcing that there would be 1,500 donut holes for the upper school community to enjoy. Griffin Crook (‘21) previously made a similar school meeting announcement in December 2019 and gave out 2,000 donut holes.