Student Voices: Recalling a once-in-a-lifetime performance at Carnegie Hall


Courtesy of Carnegie Hall
Homestead High School student Melody Chen performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City with her school’s symphony orchestra.

When I pass by the school office, it’s hard to miss the huge photo of the Homestead High School Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall four years ago. Despite it being proof of what high school music ensembles could do, the concert hall seemed out of reach to me.

Yet there I was last month in New York City performing in one of the most prestigious concert halls in the world. I joined other members of the Homestead High School Symphony Orchestra, which teamed with the Cupertino High School String Orchestra to participate in the World Projects’ New York “Sounds of Summer” festival at Carnegie Hall.

Student Voices: What I'm looking for in a candidate

As someone who has worked with campaigns since 2017 and followed presidential races since I started reading in 2007, the upcoming election season is set to be one of the most confusing ones yet. Why? Because in a field of more than 20 opposition candidates who generally have similar policy positions, the case for which particular candidate will have the best chance at beating Donald Trump is truly unknown.

Student Voices: Single-use plastics harm Los Altos community, environment


Town Crier File Photo
Although single-use grocery bags are not as common as they used to be – they were banned locally a few years ago – many other single-use plastics are still prominent and can pose environmental hazards.

California emitted approximately 340 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2016. This is essentially our carbon footprint. Our carbon footprint reflects both the strengths and weaknesses of our country and local community. One of the weaknesses contributing to climate change in Los Altos is plastic usage.

Plastic in our community is significantly affecting our environment. Single-use plastics can take up to 1,000 years (depending on the type of plastic) to decompose in a typical landfill. However, plastic is produced faster than it can decompose naturally, with 300 million tons of plastic produced each year. Approximately 8 million metric tons of plastic ends up in our oceans annually.

Student Voices: LAHS students refurbish laptops to help students in need access tech


Courtesy of Lucy Lee
EqOpTech held a laptop refurbishing workshop at the Bay Club. Pictured, from left, are Eric Che, Kevin Gao, Daniel Lim, Nate Latif, Trevor Smith and Cedric Chan.

I’ve always wondered how people live without technology. How could I do my homework or study or organize events with my friends? In my life, technology is a necessity.

In fifth grade, I met a classmate who did not have access to a computer. He was assigned to our group to work on a Prezi presentation. My group would have daily Skype meetings at 7 p.m. to discuss the project and fine-tune the details, but he never joined us. He missed a big part of the discussion and couldn’t complete the project because he didn’t have a computer.

Student Voices: MVHacks 2.0 works to increase diversity in coding


Marc Bacvanski/Special to the Town Crier
A mentor works with students at MVHacks 2.0, a high-school hackathon organized by students. This year’s event, which aimed to increase gender diversity, recruited 30 nonmale participants.

Ten months of planning, organizing and soliciting sponsors culminated March 30 at MVHacks 2.0, a high-school hackathon I helped put together. The event took place at the Cisco Systems campus in Milpitas, where 102 hackers created 35 projects.

A hackathon is a daylong computer science competition that, despite the name, focuses on creating software rather than hacking computers.

Student Voices: The power of reflecting on the reasons why we volunteer

There’s one question I ask myself every single time I think about assisting a nonprofit group: Why do we volunteer?

For some students my age, it may be because their parents demand that they do something more productive with their time than playing the latest version of Apex Legends or DM-ing friends all Saturday morning on Snapchat. Most parents know that volunteering not only looks good on college applications, but also demonstrates a commitment to helping others. That way of thinking also rubs off on students, who oftentimes think their humanitarian side will appeal to colleges, so they join a service club at school or volunteer at a homeless shelter.


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