HSArts Community Newsletter – Mar 17

San Francisco High School of the Arts Community Newsletter | March 17, 2023


Important Dates
Mar 17 St. Patrick’s Day activities
Mar 17-April 1 Taiwan Trip

Mar 22-24 Parent-Teacher Conferences

Remarks from (not) our Head of School

Psst, it’s Mr. Brian, hijacking this section to wish Dr. Sherry, Mr. Ray, and our high schoolers a wonderful trip to Taiwan! They will do some arts but mostly sightsee and go to night markets and eat delicious foods and have lots of fun… I swear I’m green today for St. Patrick’s day and not from envy. I swear.

Anyways, Bon Voyage!

Dr. Sherry Zhang Mr. Brian
Head of School Operations Manager, Prolific Fluff Writer, Do-er of Stuff
San Francisco High School of the Arts

Fans, More than Cool    

Mr. Brian, Fan Connoisseur aka a big Fan of Fans

The ancients of ancient China once anciently said: “Fans are the essence of cooling, and cooling is the essence of life.” At least, that’s what they could’ve said. With fans almost as omnipresent as clothing and indispensable as food, ancient Chinese people depended on fans to survive. But how? Why? And, most importantly, really?

It is difficult to measure the fantastic and immeasurable impact of the fan through our current mindset. We must venture to the past and seek the peak of its multifaceted glory. We must journey to ancient China.

But before we hop in the DeLorean, let us first define what a “fan” is. The dictionary defines the fan as a cooling apparatus with rotating blades (not the one we’re talking about), or a device typically folding and semicircular, which creates a current of air for cooling. Sounds definitive enough. However, despite the vast majority of fans being used in said fashion today, the Chinese found many novel applications. So strap on those seat belts and fire up that flux capacitor, we’re heading back to the future! Errr I mean past! Great Scott!

Time Travel down to the Arts section for more!


Featured Academic News of the Week    

Mr. Lee Randazzo, History and Science Teacher, Licensed and Passionate Beekeeper

Dear Parents,

How are you?  I am happy to introduce the curriculum involving our honeybees this year.  You may or may not have known that the school purchased a hive and queen last April 2022.  The queen and her children have so far survived the turbulent winter rains. Their survival was helped by our students.  And our students have been learning about the honeybee life cycle in more detail this year in science class.  We cannot take everyone down to work with the honeybees because we have just the one hive and only two protective suits for students.  But I am very grateful to the students who were willing to give up a Sunday in order to travel with me to Los Gatos and help the bees.  

During the fall semester a small group of students came with me to treat the beehive against a nasty parasite called the Varroa Mite. We used formic acid strips to kill the mites and save the bees.  In my science classes students had a lab in which they made bee candy, a sugar paste flavored with spearmint and lemon grass.  This bee candy was an important food source during the wintertime, especially with all the wind & rain.  The bees form a huge “ball” with their bodies, huddling together in order to stay warm.  They need a lot of honey and sugar to feed themselves.  And just a few weeks ago another larger group of students came with me to the hive in order to feed the bees their candy.  

I am currently planning another trip on a Sunday in April or May in which students can have a longer turn with the bees.  There is a lot of work to be done.  We might treat for mites again.  We might even be able to have a honey harvest before school lets out.  We’ll have to see.  The kids love to work with the bees and love seeing them crawl around the hive and fly to & from the flowers.  It’s especially cool to see the queen going about her business laying eggs.  They learn so much biology and ecology with these trips.  I hope more students can participate.  Please let me know if your child is interested.      


Lee Randazzo

Earth Science Teacher

Editor’s note: Bee-ware, a bee picture (for those squeemish like me)


More Fans, Continued from the Front Page

Mr. Brian, with photographical help from Mr. Mike

Fans as Canvases
From water paintings of lotus blossoms to calligraphy, fans were the paper of the past. Back when the artistic fan was invented, around the 2nd century B.C., conventional painting canvases were yet to be discovered, and Chinese often used bamboo fans as objects of artistic expression. These nifty contraptions were totally trendy, portable, and doubly functional as regular fans.
Equally common was the poetic fan, which many poets, upon receiving sudden inspiration, would scribble their strokes of genius onto. These poets often carried many blank fans on their frequent imagination-probing journeys, seeking insights and revelations in foreign cities and distant mountains. When reciting a poem, a Chinese scholar could typically be seen swaying and waving his fan in admiration of lyrical pulchritude.

Fans as Weapons
Much like the ideal ancient Chinese man, both learned and proficient in martial arts (文武雙全), there existed kung fu fans (kung fans for short). At a time when swords, spears, and tigers were readily available, these kung fans were surprisingly the weapons of choice for many warriors, including the famed imperial guards of the Qing Dynasty (and dance teachers). Typically made of sturdy steel, the kung fan was firm and durable when closed and lethally sharp and deadly when open.
While kung fans were mostly used in close range hand-to-hand combat, smaller fans could also be used as projectiles, causing splash damage when opening before impact. They also provided a much-needed breeze in the heat of battle.
The kung fan was equally befitting the stealthier mercenary, its commonplace usage a convenient disguise. Already a great weapon in its own right, small knives or poison darts could also be hidden within the fan’s individual blades, supplying the aspiring assassin an array of deadly options.
This is ironically symbolic. In ancient times, fans were customarily given as parting gifts between friends or lovers and, apparently, between enemies as well.

Of course, fans had many other applications. They were used to indicate social status, swat insects, punish mischievous children, cut steak and meat, and as napping eye masks. But there’s one more significant use worth mentioning…

Fans as Props
The most glamorous of all fans are those that fulfill their function on stage: the prop fans. The fan is no stranger to show biz—many cultures have historically engaged in some form of fan-related performance. While other types of fans faded with the passage of time, prop fans have weathered super sedation to continue to enjoy their lavish thespian lives today.
In the world of theater, prop fans have maintained a steady level of usage, with our Chinese Dance programs being an avid client. Our prop fans come in many shapes, sizes, colors and designs. From the vibrant yellow pairs that unite to form flowers, to the practical fans of the dancing men to the flowing fans of the Calligraphers — our HSArts performances are the closest you’ll get to observing fans in their natural habitat. So if your DeLorean is out of gas, catch our year-end showcase at Herbst Theater on June 2 instead, and you just might find yourself a fan in no time.


Admissions News

HSArts will continue to provide private campus tours over the next several weeks giving all interested students and their families the opportunity to further explore our programs and offerings.  Please RSVP here to schedule your tour.


Young Artists News of the Week

Mr. Sky Wei, Coding Teacher and HSArts Alumni

This project, found on Code.org, is a dance programming activity that allows students to create their own dance animations using block coding. The project is designed to help students develop their coding skills and understanding of event programming, as they learn to create programs that respond to timed events and user input.

Students will be able to choose from a variety of dance moves and sequences to create their own unique dance animations, using blocks to code each step of the program. Throughout the project, students will have the opportunity to experiment with different coding techniques, such as using variables to store and modify data, creating loops and conditional statements, and debugging and testing their code.

The project is designed to be accessible to students with little or no prior coding experience, with support provided at each level to help students progress through the challenges. The project is engaging and interactive, allowing students to express their creativity and develop new skills in a fun and engaging way.

At the end of the project, students will have a completed dance animation that they can share with others, demonstrating their understanding of event programming and their ability to create programs using block coding.
Aiden Lau:  https://hsarts.info/aidencode
Charles Lord:  https://hsarts.info/charlescode
Arianna Yuen: https://hsarts.info/ariannacode
Emma Guan:  https://hsarts.info/emmacode
Maya Ahn:  https://hsarts.info/mayacode
Sophie Quock: https://hsarts.info/sophiecode


Cooking Club – Indian Curry and Naan Bread
It was delicious!
Pi Day Champion
Our 7th grader, Jacqueline McCarthy, took home the coveted Pi Recitation Championship after reciting 56 digits of the infinitely long irrational number. She faced close competition from the other students, but ultimately delivered the numbers without a mistake. Her prize? A delicious oreo smoothie from Little Sweet boba shop. Congrats!

Another picture from Cooking Club
Look so happy!

Coming soon!
Mar 17
St. Patrick’s Day activities
Mar 17-April 1
Taiwan Trip
Mar 22-24 
Parent Teacher Conferences
Mar 27-31 
Spring Break
May 19   
Headliners Dance Competition

Communication is essential and we strive to connect with our students, parents, and families throughout the school year. We will continue reaching out to you with this weekly newsletter. We also encourage you to visit our website and follow our social pages including Facebook and Instagram for announcements, information, and celebrations.