Homepage 9, 2023

Teacher of the Year: Mr. Buran 

“My heart only beats once a day,” casually fibs government and street law teacher Eric Buran. Though he claims to not have much emotion, the compassion and enthusiasm created in Room 26 helped Buran win the title of 2023 Teacher of the Year! Teaching at Westmont since the fall of 2009, Mr. Buran approaches education through a broad, collaborative lens. His classes are filled with classroom wide discussion, frequent debates, daily presentations, and connections to the real world. Every day, Buran’s students learn not only how to be better students, but also how to succeed after school.  We are so excited to highlight Buran and his accomplishment! 

How do you feel about winning teacher of the year?

Honored and Humbled

What is your favorite memory from teaching? 

Watching my students engage in Supreme Court Hearings or Criminal Law proceedings. Side note:  Every class student asks great questions or provides amazing insight and perspective.

Favorite Unit/Subject to teach?

Financial Literacy, Legal Understanding.  

One thing you want every student to know. 

Know your rights and make wise financial decisions.

Columns Coming to a Close

Besties Review the Best-Teas: Breaktime Tea

Each issue, we will review a different boba place. For each cafe, we will rate the tea, boba, atmosphere, and customer service. For the final issue, we rate Breaktime Tea, our #1 rated boba shop located in Downtown Campbell. 

Isabel’s Tea Ranking: 10/10

After trying nearly the entire menu at Breaktime Tea, my favorite tea is the Matcha Lemon Tea. A perfect combination of citrus lemon and green tea, the Matcha Lemon Tea has the perfect sweetness level and balance between the two flavors. Not only does the tea taste delicious, but it’s also visually appealing with the bright green tea and fresh lemon slices. I would definitely recommend this tea if you are a fellow matcha lover. Overall, I rate this tea a 10/10 because it provides an extra boost of caffeine and refreshment during any part of the day.

Amelia’s Tea Ranking: 10/10

Breaktime has been my favorite boba place for what seems like forever. And, after trying every single drink on the menu multiple times, I would rate all of them at least a 7/10. My favorites, however, are always a 10/10. These include the Jasmine Green Milk Tea, the Thai Tea, the Matcha Lemon Green Tea, the Matcha Green Milk Tea, and the Hong Kong Lemon Tea. All of these teas have the perfect sweetness and flavor. Breaktime’s milk tea base has such a unique flavor that makes all of their milk teas taste so delicious. I would highly recommend getting a milk tea from them. I also love that you can also get the majority of their drinks hot. On a chilly day, a hot milk tea is the perfect way to go. 

See All the Stars

In the first semester of my AP Literature class, my teacher, Andy Evans, posed a question to the class: “If you were given a remote control that could take you back in time to any previous moment, where would you go?” Despite all the possible answers, I thought of where I wish I could revisit, relive.

I wrote: “I would choose midnight on December 17, 2018. I would go back to my civil war reenactment overnight in 8th grade. I would relive the moment on the top of Angel Island. Staring at the luminance of San Francisco, Oakland, the Golden Gate, the Bay bridge, I would look up into the night sky and memorize the flickering of stars grazing the atmosphere. I would allow the meteor shower to console my fears and I would revel in the moment I became one of the stars. When I forgot the rest of the world.”

This was the first time I saw a shooting star; the first time I was stunned into silence; the first time I looked around me and realized how perspective had transformed the familiar places I grew up in; the first time I realized travel is not determined by distance, rather the excitement to explore and the mindset to observe your surroundings differently.

While it is sad to think that this will be my final article concluding my travel column for The Shield, I am excited to continue traveling, challenging and discovering new aspects of myself, and of course, writing. For anyone looking for more traveling trips, you can continue doing so on my website (link will be added here soon). Lastly, I implore everyone to keep traveling—whatever that looks like for you.

This Day in History 

  • 1430: Joan of Arc is captured by the Burgundians while leading an army to relieve Compiegne.
  • 1533: The marriage of King Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon is declared null and void by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
  • 1618: The Second Defenestration of Prague takes place, beginning the Thirty Years’ War.
  • 1701: Captain William Kidd is hanged in London for piracy and murder.
  • 1934: Infamous criminals Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are killed in a police ambush in Bienville Parish, Louisiana.
  • 1940: “I’ll Never Smile Again” was recorded by Frank Sinatra and Tommy Dorsey and the Pied Pipers.
  • 1945: Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS, commits suicide in British custody after being captured by Allied forces.
  • 1958: The United States launches the satellite Explorer 1, the first spacecraft to detect the Van Allen radiation belt.
  • 1998: A referendum on the Good Friday peace agreement held in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic yesterday ended with 3 to 1 support. 
  • 1995: The Java programming language is first released by Sun Microsystems.

A Sketchy Place

By Stella Walker

Calling all Westmont artist enthusiasts and casual art-enjoyers! It’s time to be made aware of the NUMU: New Museum Los Gatos that sits right in our backyard. The NUMU museum is more than a regular art museum—it offers programs for students to get involved with the Santa Clara community, express themselves, and emerge into the art world. 

NUMU museum offers a variety of activities, but the event that all students should keep their eyes peeled for is the Art Now yearly exhibit. Whether you are an artist, a viewer, or someone who wants to get more engaged with our community, the Art Now exhibit has something for everyone. Organized each year by a local teen internship council, these students curate themes, exhibitions, and tours around artists who were accepted into the exhibition. Art chosen for the exhibition stays displayed in the NUMU gallery from March to June.

The 2023 theme for Art Now: Unarmed Truth. This theme was curated based on a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. during his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech: “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant”. The prompt continued to inspire artists to create art that revealed a personal or universal truth. Eight hundred students submitted—pieces ranging from painting to mixed media, sculpture, and photography—but only eighty-three were accepted. Out of those limited numbers, an incredible list of eight Westmont artists were chosen to officially exhibit. The 2023 exhibition is open until Sunday, June 25 at 11:00 PM. Notably, before then on Sunday June 4th, admission is free and the museum is open from 10:00 AM—4:00 PM with a free guided tour from the Art Now Teen Council at 11:00 AM—but visit the website now as registration is required! What’s more, if you are interested in submitting to Art Now’s exhibition next year, submissions open every fall school semester—talk to a Westmont art teacher or email NUMU for any questions.

If I had the chance to talk to my younger self, I would simply tell her I am proud of her. She would stare at me with confusion, ignoring my statement, wondering how she had changed so much over the years. 

“Mom let you get a nose piercing?” she would ask. 

I would shake my head and laugh, telling her that Mom has started to let us spread our wings. And although she wishes she could wrap us in bubble wrap forever, she knows she has to let us go. I would tell my younger self to not be so afraid of change and what the future holds as she flinches away from the words. 

Conversations With Myself 

Page Editor: Jacqui McLean