The Devon Dialogue
volume iii, issue ii | december 2011
Devon Preparatory School
proudly publishing for five decades Pulling Through
Middle School Spirit Day proves to be a contest for the ages. page 4
Musical Mayhem Devon’s music aficionados entertain friends and family alike at Fall Concert, Grandparents’ Day. page 3
Gentlemen, Scholars New members are inducted into the Quill and Scroll International Honor Society for High School Journalists. page 2
Fighting for the Title Varsity soccer team finishes season tied for first in league, battles in epic tiebreaker at home.
Varsity Soccer’s Spectacular Season
Political Scholars Speak with Robert Gates
Matt Kramer ’12, Associate Editor for Editorials & Entertainment
Eight Devon Prep seniors recently had the Later in the session, the theme shifted toward opportunity to meet former United States the relationship among the people, the press Secretary of Defense, Dr. Robert Gates. For the and the military. Dr. Gates believed that most members of the AP United States Government embedded reporters present an inaccurate and Politics class of Mr. Michael Collins ’68, it was view of the war and the military: “The problem, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Devon was one though, with an embedded reporter is that it’s of the only high schools invited by the National like watching the war through a soda straw. They Constitution Center to attend a question-and- get a very limited perspective.” However, he later answer session with the former Secretary, only remarked, “Congress and the press are the surest hours before he was to receive the prestigious Liberty Medal. When they arrived at the Constitution Center, five Devon seniors were asked to sit onstage with Dr. Gates and Director David Eisner. These seniors were the only high The AP US Government and Politics class with school students on former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates the stage. For the next ninety minutes, audience members asked guarantees of American liberty; don’t think of Gates questions ranging from strategies in them as the enemy. To do so is self-defeating.” Dr. Iraq and Afghanistan to the trials of running Gates concluded the segment with an opinion immense bureaucracies. “This was a very candid on the upcoming United Nations vote on the atmosphere,” Conrad Damstra ’12 said. “Robert statehood of Palestine. He theorized that the Gates was a key figure in the United States vote only deters the cause of peace because the government, and his insights on various issues Palestinian National Authority cannot control were both entertaining and enlightening.” its own territory. The dialogue began with Mr. Eisner asking After Dr. Gates finished speaking, all the Dr. Gates about his experiences serving Devon students had the privilege to shake his Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. hand and pose for a picture with the former Dr. Gates remarked upon how little the military Defense Secretary. For these students who have philosophies differed between the two. This studied American history, it was exhilarating shocked many members of the audience who to meet such a significant political figure. John remembered the significant differences in Damstra ’12 remarked, “We had an incredible political rhetoric between Presidents Bush and opportunity to engage in a discussion with one Obama. The conversation then continued onto of the most influential policy makers of the past the topic of the future of the military. Dr. Gates decade. This was great experience that not many suggested that the United States military should high school students can claim to have had.” not expend all its energies on expensive, high- Hopefully, these future leaders and generals of technology projects such as the F-35 Joint Strike this great country can take the knowledge they Fighter, but instead focus on the preparation for gained from this experience and use it to follow a “range of conflicts.” in the Secretary’s footsteps.
As promised at the beginning of the season, the Varsity soccer team proved to be one of the best squads to play for Devon in recent history. The Tide were among the league’s best in the newly created conference of the Bicentennial Athletic League. By the end of October, the Tide’s transformation from last-season’s worst to first was complete. The team relied heavily on the returning seniors, who were well aware of the dedication and teamwork necessary to be successful. As freshmen, the Class of 2012 players were winless. As seniors, they improved to a 10-7-2 record, the first double-digit-wins season in nearly ten years. By the end of the season, the team found itself in a race for first place. In one of the last games of the regular season, the Tide faced Calvary Christian Academy in a crucial game for division ranking. The Tide was the only team to have defeated Calvary Christian at that time. In front of the largest Pit ever assembled for a soccer game, the Tide defeated Calvary Christian 3-2. Paul Kubat ’12 sacrificed himself in a collision to score the first equalizer. He suffered a concussion on the play, and unfortunately, the season ended abruptly for the captain and third-year varsity player. D.J. Walz ’12 and Luka Zacharczuk ’13 also scored goals in the victory. At the end of the regular season, there was a three-way tie for first place among Devon Prep, Calvary Christian Academy, and Plumstead Christian School. The decision of the Bicentennial League was to hold a tiebreaker to decide the conference league champion. After a lottery draw, it was decided that the games would be held at Devon, and Devon would play Calvary Christian first. Plumstead Christian had a bye in the first round and was automatically in the championship match. The Tide beat Calvary Christian for the third time this season and advanced into the championship game. There, the Tide fell to Plumstead Christian in overtime, after an unlucky goal. Despite the tough loss, the team prepared for its district playoff game against rival New HopeSolebury High School. continued on page 6
Matt Swatski ’12
Seniors Receive National Recognition for Academic Prowess Nate Stauffer ’12, Associate Editor for News
Six seniors were named Semifinalists for the National Merit Scholarship; four additional were Commended.
gentlemen and scholars
Fighting Sleep, Helping Others Kevin Fulmer ’13 From the night of October 14 into the morning after, students of Devon Prep valiantly staved off the urge to sleep. Why, one might ask? The 122 boys were participating in Devon’s annual Up For A Cause. Over the course of the night, they were able to raise $23,280 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This admirable event was made possible by members of the Christian Action Program and their moderator, Mrs. Elizabeth Eshleman. As the students filed into the gym, they brought with them high spirits and mounds of food, more than enough to last them the entire night. They instantly took to basketball and board games. Some of the excited participants were careful to ration their energy sparingly over the twelve hours. However, it proved to be a challenge doing so, especially with all the competitive tournaments taking place. Such tournaments included threeon-three basketball, soccer, handball, and the
much anticipated grade-versus-grade dodgeball. During the games, speakers pumped upbeat music into the gym to keep up the adrenaline levels. The night would not have been complete without special visits from various guests. Fr. James Shea ’66, Fr. Javier Renteria, Mr. Steven Lukens, Mrs. Laura Mondon and even some returning graduates stopped by, joining chaperones Mr. Larry Iezzi and Ms. Barbara Medina. To top the night—now morning—off, a variety of gift cards were raffled away to the sleepy students. With the money raised and a large number of students giving up their time and sleep, it was a good night spent for a better cause. Mrs. Eshleman stated, “It’s great that a majority of the kids participate each year and help others. I’m really proud of them for doing it every year.” Overall, Up For A Cause was, as usual, a grand success.
Devon Journalists Honored in Candlelight Ceremony Conrad Damstra ’12
Tidal Wave of Generosity Landon Farnsworth ’15 Joe Bilotti ’14 Every year, Devon Prep holds its long-standing Harvest Tide Food Drive before Thanksgiving, and this year was no exception. Devon collected food for St. Elizabeth’s Community Center in North Philadelphia. Devon’s own Christian Action Program ran the drive, collecting canned goods, other non-perishable food, and frozen turkeys. The whole school worked tirelessly to ensure that the families in North Philadelphia would be able to enjoy a wholesome Thanksgiving dinner with their families. In past years, the drive has been extremely successful. This year, the school was able to donate more than fifty-six hundred canned goods and twenty-five turkeys to St. Elizabeth’s. In these difficult economic times, it is increasingly challenging for needy families to enjoy traditional Thanksgiving dinners. It is a testament to the generosity of the entire Devon family that the school has donated so charitably for so many years.
Following in the footsteps of previous graduating classes, members of the Class of 2012 were honored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation and the College Board for their performances on the PSAT and AP exams. Six seniors—Ryan Fulmer, Ryan O’Shea, Hugh Phelan, Nate Stauffer, Adam Swift, and Alex Teplyakov—were named National Merit Semifinalists by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation and four—John Damstra, Sean Gillin, Mac Lockard, and Nick Ragsdale—were named Commended Students. Meanwhile, more than a third of the seniors were named AP Scholars by the College Board. Eleven of them— Conrad Damstra, John Damstra, Joe Geiger, Dan Lewis, Mac Lockard, Ryan O’Shea, Hugh Phelan, Matt Swatski, Adam Swift, Alex Teplyakov, and Chase Weber—were given the high honor of being named AP Scholars with Distinction. Four—Ryan Fulmer, Roshan Patel, Nick Ragsdale, and Nate Stauffer—were named AP Scholars with Honor; three others—Matt Bonner, Nick van Schaijik, and Connell White—were named AP Scholars. Congratulations to all of the honored seniors; as Headmaster Fr. James Shea ’66 would say, they are all truly gentlemen and scholars.
above: CAP Leaders deliver canned goods to St. Elizabeth’s.
Promising members of the Devon Prep newspaper staff attended the induction to the Devon Preparatory School Chapter of the Quill and Scroll International Honor Society for High School Journalists on November 17, 2011. This is the second year that the Devon Prep Chapter recognized the achievements of the exemplary journalists of The Devon Dialogue. The Quill and Scroll Society was founded in 1926 at the University of Iowa and currently has chapters in all fifty states and in forty-five countries around the globe. To qualify for the Devon Chapter of the Quill and Scroll Society, students must have at least a 3.50 grade point average for the last two semesters and must have contributed a minimum of two articles to The Devon Dialogue over the past year. The induction included a candle-lighting ceremony which illuminated the core values of The Quill and Scroll Society: truth, learning, leadership, loyalty, initiative, integrity, judgment, and friendship. Senior inductees were given honor cords that they will wear during Commencement on June 2, 2012. John Damstra ’12 said, “I am glad to be part of Quill and Scroll. It means a lot to be included in this echelon of student journalists.” The society is an important young chapter in the Devon Prep community, and the induction was a huge success. The Dialogue congratulates all of the inductees.
Adding Green to the Blue and Gold
Devon Music Society Rocks the House at ‘Doctoberfest’ and Grandparents’ Day Concerts
Alex Teplyakov ’12 Matt Swatski ’12
Nate Stauffer ’12, Associate Editor for News
Weather may have damaged Devon’s campus, but Devon is still becoming greener. This can be credited to the Devon Prep Environmental Society (DPES), which was founded last February. Despite a sluggish start, DPES, led by President Matt Swatski, began to make its mark on the community. DPES quickly gained momentum and now has ambitious goals for preserving the environment. Mr. R. Roger Mecouch, the DPES moderator, has been actively participating in the group’s development. DPES Vice President Nate Stauffer ’12 summarized his high hopes for the club by declaring, “My hope is that future Devon students can carry on with the program and continue making significant eco-friendly improvements in our school, our community, and our environment.” To improve environmental awareness at Devon, DPES also plans to celebrate Earth Day this year. For most Devon students, Saturday morning is a sacred time to catch up on lost hours of sleep. For seven of the members of the Environmental Society, the morning of Saturday, November 19 was full of dirt, water, roots, and mulch. With the help of the Marple Tree Commission, these eager volunteers planted twelve trees at New Ardmore Park in Broomall, PA. Working in small groups, the volunteers unloaded the trees, dug holes for them, and stabilized the plants with wooden stakes which they hammered into the ground. After filling in the holes, volunteers tied the trees to the stakes as others poured mulch around the base of the tree. Although the three-hour project was exhausting, the students were extremely satisfied with their accomplishments, proud to help the environment. Alex Teplyakov remarked, “It was a great experience, and it was amazing to know that our actions will have a long-lasting and positive effect on the community and its environment.” This most recent tree-planting event is the second in six months, as another group of students planted eight trees last May at the same park. The Environmental Society hopes to continue its treeplanting efforts, possibly even them bringing them to the Devon campus in the spring. Besides contacting nearby arboretums for tree donations and looking for areas to plant more trees, DPES has also taken bold steps to improve recycling at Devon. The Christian Action Program (CAP), which had managed and funded the paperrecycling program at Devon for years, transferred control of the program to DPES. Look for the blue paper-recycling bins in classrooms around the school. Even though the paper-recycling program puts a great deal on the plate of the fledgling organization, DPES still isn’t satisfied with the status quo, and is looking to expand the school’s recycling programs to include other types of materials. The main consideration is recycling Styrofoam® and plastics—two materials widely used at Devon. The club will have to overcome numerous difficulties including costs, logistics, and low membership as it pursues its ambitious agenda.
Each autumn, an elite group of Devon’s most melodically gifted and harmoniously oriented students gathers in the hallowed gymnasium for a tradition that some have described as “moving” and “inspiring.” Those compliments have never been truer than for this year’s fall concerts. Under the careful direction of Devon’s resident musical extraordinaire, Sir Dr. Maestro Valentin Radu, the annual Oktoberfest and Grandparents’ Day concerts went off without a hitch. Many praised it as the best concert the Devon Music Society has seen in years. Choral Tide enchanted the audiences with delightful performances of such staple classics as “Puttin’ on the Ritz” and “42nd Street.” Through their music, they journeyed from a lively, colorful choral reef in “Under the Sea” to the home of a western rancher in “Thank God I’m a Country Boy.” Rip Tide took their five-part harmonies to new heights by tackling a number of rock-androll hits like “A Teenager in Love” and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Gimme Three Steps.” Nate Stauffer and Matt Bonner ’12 brought the house down with their heartwarming solos in “Duke of Earl,”
while Brian Kozak ’13 and Mike Varricchio ’12 led a foot-tapping interpretation of the Swahili hymn “Bonse Aba.” The Jazz Band knocked everyone’s socks off with their renditions of “New York, New York” and “Limbo Rock.” The true standouts of the show, however, were the soloists. Several skilled piano players, including Drew Brekus ’14, Josh Lieberman ’15, and Kyle Mooney ’16, weaved magical tunes as their fingers danced across the keys. Nate Stauffer performed original songs entitled “Horizon” and “The Glass Half Full” that left several audience members in tears. Accompanied by C.J. Nave ’15 on piano, Mike Varricchio ’12 performed a headturning rendition of the KISS classic “Beth.” It was Andrew Loper ’15 whose jaw-dropping version of the Bill Withers song “Lean On Me” and Etta James’ “At Last” had the whole audience clapping and singing along. Overall, the fall concerts were unquestionably a huge success, and now the pressure is on the Choral Tide, Rip Tide, and Jazz Band to step up their game and perform similarly at the Christmas Concert on Thursday, December 15.
Nate Stauffer performs his original song “The Glass Half Full” on Grandparents and Special Others Day.
Rip Tide entertains the audience with adapted rock-n-roll hits.
Open Arms, Open House John Damstra ’12 Each year, around the first week of October, Devon has its annual Open House. During this event, many of Devon’s finest give tours to prospective students and their families. This year’s event was highly successful for many reasons. More than one hundred prospective students attended the Open House and took tours. As Devon’s Director of Admissions, Mr. Patrick Parsons, said, “One positive aspect was that many of the prospective students were either fifth or eighth graders, which is important because these students are the ones most likely to enroll.” Among the many highlights of the Open House were two spirited information sessions with speakers such as faculty members Mr. Mark Aquilante ’94, Mr. Barry Brazunas, our headmaster Fr. James Shea ’66 and assistant headmaster Mr. Larry Iezzi, Mrs. Kathryn Kampman and alumnus Mr. Michael Dokas ’08. All of the speakers passionately and succinctly summarized the reasons why a Devon Prep
education is so special, such as small class sizes, the Catholic environment, and a supportive network of peers. Another exciting aspect of the event was the activity tables in the gymnasium. Students were impressed by the scope of the extracurricular activities offered at Devon on display, from the new Solar Car Club and Environmental Society to mainstays such as the Devon Theater Society and The Devon Dialogue. Another first this year was the inclusion of an activities fair the following day, where current Devon students had the ability to explore the clubs the same way prospective students did. Ultimately, the Open House is more than just a simple sales pitch. Every year many students and graduates volunteer, not because they have to, but because they really are excited about the unique community and experience Devon has to offer. This enthusiasm, coupled with informative and lively presentations by the faculty, always leads to an impressive event, and this year’s was no exception.
Back in ACTion
Adam Swift ’12 In what has recently become business as usual, practiced in preparation for their home match, Devon Prep’s Academic Challenge Team has which would bring a Conestoga High School contenders in JV and Varsity levels. The typical fall team that was just behind both Devon teams in tryouts brought a hefty portion of the sophomore, the standings. Having the match the day after the junior, and senior classes to compete for a coveted seniors returned from Florida led to Devon teams spot on the team. that looked fatigued and a bit ill, but they had to The Varsity battled in the first match of the fight on. Chester County Academic Competition season The Varsity team began the match looking very against Great Valley High School and Collegium sloppy. The tossup round provided almost nothing, Charter School. Varsity returned key contributors but another dominant fanfare round gave Devon from the previous year’s loss in the county the lead after one round. The next two rounds semifinals. Every starter had Varsity experience, exposed the general fatigue, with top scorer Swift which certainly helped Devon keep its cool when seeming invisible during tossup rounds. No Varsity they trailed after the first round. For the second player for Devon got multiple tossups right in the round, Devon brought in Conrad Damstra ’12, same round. Mac Lockard ’12 proved to be a key who led JV to last year’s semifinals. The change contributor for Varsity, answering five questions propelled Devon into the lead. Devon’s slim lead correctly, helping the team earn 95 points in a going into the third round would be expanded by loss. The JV team provided a more thrilling game Adam Swift, who made the All-Chesco Team last that was close throughout. Matt Bonner ’12 led year. Swift correctly answered eight questions in JV with six correct answers, and Tom Seykora ’13 that final round, leading Devon to victory with contributed three more. The final score was a tie 135 points, enough to take first place after the first for the lead, with Devon and Conestoga scoring 75 month of matches. The team showed strength in points. the fanfare round, correctly answering 16 of the 18 Overall, the teams both look like contenders. questions asked of them. Varsity has the combination of Swift, Lockard, The JV team took the stage next. Relatively and the Damstra twins ready to power them to the untested compared to the very experienced Varsity, playoffs. JV’s captain combo of Bonner and O’Shea the JV relied on a plethora of newcomers. Ryan will only get better in their championship quest. O’Shea ’12 led the JV team, correctly answering The teams competed December 12 at home against nine questions over the match. O’Shea’s talent on West Chester East High School and Avon Grove the buzzers led the JV team to 95 points, enough Charter School, before heading to West Chester for third place in the standings. in January to face Bayard Rustin High School and Following the October match, the team Downingtown High School East.
Students Sit Down with Veterans, Gain New Perspectives Roshan Patel ’12 As the nation honored those who served in the U.S. military this past Veterans Day, students from Devon Prep joined in commemoration in a unique way. This year, thirteen students helped conduct interviews with World War II veterans at Devon Senior Living. They received the opportunity to meet and interview veterans of different branches of the military, from the Air Force and Marine Corps to the Army. “It was a very eye-opening experience,” said Roshan Patel. “That period of history seems so distant, but
learning about the personal accounts of the war really helped us all connect.” Afterwards, Director of Marketing Sue Seanor collected interviews from the students and published them in a booklet which was distributed during a special Veterans Day dinner at the retirement home. To watch NBC 10’s coverage of the event visit the “News and Events” page on http://newseasonsdevon.com.
Fighting for Bragging Rights Max van Schaijik ’16 Finally, after three postponements, the day that the whole Middle School had been looking forward to had come. Devon Prep’s Middle School Spirit Day was an action-packed event with some very surprising outcomes. Spirit Day has always been one of the highlights of the Devon Middle School experience, but this year’s event proved exceptional even by those lofty standards. It had it all: suspense, disappointment, jubilation, and the overcoming of class rivalries between the competing teams. Notable performances included Josh Lee ’16, who valiantly stuffed his face with doughnuts until he’d clinched the doughnut-eating victory for the second year in a row, and 6A, which achieved first place in football for the first time in Devon’s history, and another eighth grader, who courageously continued playing kickball, winning four points for his homeroom, even after
suffering a severe injury to his arm. These were the stand-outs, but they were by no means the only people who deserve praise. The most heart-warming story of the day came during the tug-of-war matches. The score was set in such a way that in the final round between 8B and 7B, 8B had no hope of winning overall, but their tug-of-war victory would actually secure the overall victory for 8A. There is a deep-rooted and long lasting rivalry between the two eighth grade homerooms, so most people assumed that 8B would lose on purpose, so that the 7B would win the Field Day trophy. Instead, they pulled through—literally—and ended up running the victory lap with 8A. All grudges were forgotten in the glow of Devon sports glory. The entire Middle School thanks Mr. Barry Brazunas and Mr. Mark Aquilante ’94 for their monumental organizational efforts.
Big Fun in the Big Apple Antonio Muscarella ’13 On Monday, December 5, 2011, students from the Devon Prep Class of 2016 took the annual eighth grade music field trip to New York City. Students left for New York via coach bus in the morning before school even started. They were accompanied by world-famous conductor and musician, Devon Prep’s own Sir Dr. Maestro Valentin Radu, who led a music-related tour of the city. Students were able to enjoy a performance of the annual Christmas Spectacular at the Radio City Music Hall. The Spectacular features performances by the Rockettes as well as other Christmasthemed skits and musical performances. A new act for this year involved a mother and daughter searching for the perfect Christmas gift. The eighth graders capped off the trip with a musicthemed dining experience. The eighth-graders cannot stop singing praises about the memories they made on the trip. “It was a fun and interesting experience.” said Shyamal Patel ’16. His classmate Bobby Pickell ’16 said, “Dr. Radu made the trip awesome. I’ll never forget it.” It sounds like the trip was a smash hit once again!
Alumnus Speaks at Communion Breakfast Matt Swatski ’12 For the more than 100 people in attendance, the annual Communion Breakfast at Devon Prep on November 20 was yet another example of the “Devon Difference.” The event commenced with a Mass celebrated by Fr. Shea, who spoke about the significance of the Feast of Christ the King in our relationship to God. Following Mass, students, parents, and siblings stormed the tables, which were laden with delicious food. After the dust had settled, the keynote speaker for the event, Mr. Christopher Nicolas ’04, was introduced. Chris spoke to the group about his experiences at Devon Prep and lessons he learned after graduating. He took nine AP classes, participated in cross-country, winter track, and tennis, cofounded the Chess Club, and engaged in a myriad of the extracurricular activities that Devon has to offer. Following his graduation from Devon, he attended Loyola University Maryland, receiving a full scholarship. He went on to receive his Master’s Degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education at Colorado State University. After graduate school, he served with AmeriCorps, the domestic equivalent of the Peace Corps, in Oregon and California. Chris eventually returned to Loyola where he is now employed as the Assistant Director of Sophomore Initiatives. Throughout his story, he repeated the amazing value of a Devon Prep education and the choices it gives a student. Having taken AP classes at Devon, he became the first student to double-major in Psychology and Physics at Loyola in its 159-year history. He is just one of thousands of examples of Devon Prep alumni who have continued on to great personal and professional success. Devon helped him achieve tremendous success, and the entire Devon Prep family is tremendously proud of his many accomplishments. Overall, the Communion Breakfast was yet again very successful—a refreshing and inspirational way for the Devon community to gather and celebrate their faith.
Environmental Scholars Tackle the Wetlands Nate Stauffer ’12, Associate Editor for News The frigid late-October air swept over the Northeast like an avalanche as ten brave seniors, three reliable chaperones, and one valiant teacher trekked into New Jersey. Armed with only a box of garbage bags, fourteen field guides, video games, and a trusty pair of suspenders, the students of Devon’s AP Environmental Science class, led by the incomparable Mr. R. Roger Mecouch, journeyed deep into the heart of the Pine Barrens to learn about the ecosystems, landscapes, and natural succession in the area. Over the course of thirty-six hours, these students visited two bogs, several swamps, a salt marsh, a pygmy forest, and a beach dune community, in the process observing hundreds of different plants and many animals. The trip began as the students toured Whitesbog, an area with five different habitats: a cranberry bog, a red maple swamp, a cedar swamp, a forest, and a pond. Using the field guides, the group identified a plethora of species of plant life in the area. They observed the water-retention capabilities of sphagnum moss, tasted teaberry leaves, and even tested the bounce capacity of fresh cranberries. They then went to Webb’s Mill Bog where they competed in a nature scavenger hunt to find as many species from a given list as possible. From there, the group went to the Pygmy Pine Plains, an area where the trees do not grow over three feet tall. In addition, they visited a salt
marsh which they were able to walk through and search for different types of wildlife. Afterwards, they went back to Mr. Mecouch’s house for a homecooked meal, a virtual FIFA soccer competition, and some shuteye. Early the next morning, they awoke and went to the beach dunes at Cape May, where Mr. Mecouch explained beach dune succession and the students were allowed to explore. From there, they went to the Wetlands Institute’s Terrapin Research Center where they were introduced to several turtles. One of the employees explained to the students the conservation efforts that are being taken each year to ensure the survival of the terrapins. He also allowed them to help install a microchip into one of the turtles. Afterwards, the students explored the aquarium at the facility before heading back to Devon. Months later, the students of the class are still discussing what they learned. “It was a tremendous success,” Nick van Schaijik ’12 said of the trip. “We experienced a lot of things that couldn’t have been learned in the classroom, and had a great time doing it.” As a result of these experiences, the members of the AP Environmental Science class have a newfound appreciation for their environment. As one student eloquently put it, “I’ll never look at a beach dune the same way again.”
The Value of a Second Language: An Interview with Dr. DeGrado
Sean Melvin ’13 In the third and final part of our series welcoming new Devon faculty members, Sean Melvin sat down with Dr. Christine DeGrado to find out more about the newest addition to the Devon family. Devon Dialogue: Where did you teach before Devon? Dr. DeGrado: I taught at Westtown School. DD: How long have you been teaching? DG: I have been teaching since 1981.
DD: How did you hear about Devon Prep? DG: Colleagues at Westtown told me about Devon, and a boy in my neighborhood was taking the entrance exam. Mr. Mecouch and his AP Environmental Science students pose in front of the New Jersey coastline during their trip to the Pine Barrens.
Once in Devon, Always in Devon: Alumni Happenings Alumnus Contributor Who are Devon Prep alumni? Some are doctors and lawyers, CEOs and accountants. Others are world travelers and missionaries. But, “deep down, fame and fortune aside, all Devon grads are regular guys who do regular things.” That famous quote by Mike Dokas ’08 has been noticed thus far in the year, as a myriad of events have brought alumni from all walks of life back home for some friends, networking, worldfamous Kalivas food, and even some delicious beverages. Recently, several alumni made the trek down to Annapolis for a reception at the home of a 1987 graduate. Only a few alumni attended, but the conversations were plentiful, the reminiscing was engaging, and the company left nothing to be desired. The never-ending successes of Devon and Devon students were shared, and more events are already being planned. As all alumni know, once a member of the Devon Prep family, always a member. True to that and thanks to the leadership of Mike Dokas seven recent alumni made the trip back to Devon for the Fall Open House. They talked to and answered questions from future parents, talked about their Devon experiences, and some even gave tours to prospective families even though
they hadn’t been on campus in a few years. The alumni agreed that it was a great event that will lead to the future success of the school and hope to be invited back by the school for future Open Houses. In what has now become an annual tradition, Devon grads again teed up to support their alma mater at the Devon Prep Alumni Golf Outing at Bellewood Golf Club. This sunny day that ended with a night of reminiscing was enjoyed by all. Golfers were even given golf balls and a hat to thank them for coming and supporting the school. A young foursome ended the Curran streak as Andrew Fox ’05, Dan Heavey ’05, Mr. Ryan Shanley ’05, and Tim Gola ’07 came away with the victory. The top sponsors of the event were Nick Meter ’88, Ed Curran ’88, Skip Genuardi ’66, Tom Toole ’00, and the entire Class of 2008. All are grateful for their generosity. The annual alumni beef and beer was the most recent event, held on Friday, November 25. This too was a great gathering of former Devonites, who exchanged tales of their lives after Devon over some hearty food. The Devon alumni network enthusiastically awaits its newest additions this June, whose arrival will continue to enrich an already vibrant community.
DD: What has your experience at Devon been like so far? DG: It was hard at first because I had to start the term late. DD: What hobbies do you have outside of school? DG: I am an avid gardener, and I sew. I like to make shirts for my husband, my son, my brothers, and my friends. DD: What type of books do you like to read? DG: It depends. I like fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. DD: What types of music do you listen to? DG: I like classical and folk, but I don’t like anything too heavy. DD: What are you teaching this year? DG: I teach Spanish I, Spanish II, Spanish III, and 6th grade health. DD: Why did you want to become a teacher? DG: I’ve always been a teacher. I was always the kid who helped other kids with their homework. DD: What are your goals for the coming year? DG: I want to convince students who think that that they can’t learn a language that they really can
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In one of the best games played in Devon history, the Tide fell short to New Hope 1-2. A goal scored by captain Rich Gallo ’12 equalized the game at 1–1. Devon put pressure on the heavily favored New Hope Lions but failed to prevent another goal in the match’s final minutes. Despite the loss, the team walked off the field with their heads held high. Many, including Head Coach Jeff Jewitt, saw this game as a stepping stone for the future of the Devon Prep soccer program. The district game between Devon Prep and New Hope was one of the closest throughout the district and state playoffs this year. Many were surprised at the resilience of the the Tide against the now state champion New Hope team. This successful season has shown the strength in the Devon Prep program for the years to come. As the leadership is passed from the seniors to the juniors, one can only hope for a season just as exciting and eventful as this year’s.
above: The Varsity soccer team huddles before a home game.
right: The Pit came out in full force
during the Senior Day showdown against Calvary Christian.
Basketball Season Awaits Steve Kohlbrenner ’12 As the 2011-12 Varsity Basketball season gets off to a running start, the team has very high expectations. It emerges from a banner year in which the Tide were the District 1 AA Champions and reached the Bicentennial League Championship. Players, coaches, and fans alike are anticipating a big year from the Tide. Three of last season’s five starters return to the court this year. Senior captains Matt Burke, Kyle Koehler, and Steve Kohlbrenner will lead a team that seeks to find yet another banner to cover the walls of the Devon gymnasium. The team will look for production from fellow seniors Nick Weiss, Sam Nardi, Andy Walsh, Tom Frawley and Paul Kubat, as well as juniors Mike Giampietro ’13 and John Kane ’13. The coaching staff remains the same from a year ago minus the loss of Mr. Al Santos, who will be replaced by Mr. Pete Hughes. The season tips off December 3 for the Tide in the Radnor tournament where the defending champs will play Avon Grove High School in the first round. They also will be participating in the West Chester East Tournament as well as the Primetime Shootout, which is an invitation-only tournament. As in recent years, the schedule will prove to be much tougher against non-league opponents. The Tide will face teams such as Church Farm School and Octorara Area High School in away games, while they will host The Episcopal Academy and Downingtown High School West. Within the league, Holy Ghost Preparatory School will prove to be the toughest obstacle in the way of the team’s quest for a league championship. The team expects success this year. In turn, they hope that fan support will be at a new high. The Pit, under the command of Rich Gallo ’12 and Dave Welsh ’12, has big plans for the student section. They too hope that many students will attend home games and cheer on the team. Devon Prep basketball is ready to rise up and make a name for itself. The team needs its fans to stand behind it in its quest for another banner.
above: Senior Varsity soccer players and parents at Senior Day soccer photos courtesy of mrs. linda kramer
Devon Ultimate Continues to Impress Adam Swift ’12 The Ultimate Frisbee® team is continuing its quest to return to the State Championship. This fall, the team taught its younger members the basics, and began to put them into matches. The team put up a winning record throughout the season. Team captain Adam Swift has been impressed with the performance of the newcomers. The team added ten freshmen, the largest amount in team history. A lack of handlers for the fall has put C.J. Nave ’15 in a starting spot, and he shows clear promise at the position. Dan Kennedy ’15 has used his lefty backhand to confuse many defenders. Overall, Swift and Roshan Patel ’12 have noticed great enthusiasm from the younger players. Devon Prep opened the season with a home game against Radnor High School. The game started with what has become the signature offense of Devon’s team. Coming off the pull, the handlers made a few short passes, and then launched a strong huck, sending a flick to the waiting arms of Dan McGarry ’12 to put Devon up 1–0. The Tide never looked back, with their quickstrike style powering their offense. Connell White ’12 showed why he is Devon’s premier deep threat, sometimes seeming to jump over the defenders that Radnor put on him. The handling line of Swift, Patel, and Nave also made many opportunities for Pat Robbins ’12 to make acrobatic catches in
the end zone. When Radnor had possession, they often tried to throw past Devon’s many freshmen. That met with failure fairly often, as Steve Lewis ’15 and Michael Knudson ’15 played excellent defense. This led to smooth sailing for Devon up to the final day of the season. Devon had scheduled their last game against Methacton High School, a team which finished fifth at last year’s State Championships and is considered a contender for this year’s title. They figured that they could shock an inexperiencedlooking Devon team by playing a zone defense, which worked at first. But Devon did not give up when facing a 4–0 deficit. White attempted to draw the deep zone away from Ben Jonik ’13, who was making runs down the sideline. Jonik scored four times in that game. On defense, Swift gave Methacton handlers trouble, entirely thwarting hucks with his strong marks. Kevin Fulmer ’13 was all over the field on defense, knocking down many passes. In the end, however, Devon had to settle for a tough loss in a close game. Overall, the team looks strong, with a veteran core of Swift, Patel, and White, who all have the potential to play in college. Fulmer, Jonik, and the freshmen provide hope for the future, after what will hopefully become a strong finish at states this year.
PKs and Rain Delays: JV Soccer Justin Barker ’13 This fall, the JV soccer team’s record was respectable, ending at five wins, five losses, and one tie. The record doesn’t give the JV Soccer team the credit they deserve, though. Many games were cancelled due to excessive amounts of rain this fall. Some games that were not played looked to be probable wins for the team but we will never know for sure. There were many ups and downs over the course of the season. The team began its season relatively strong with a couple of wins. Leading scorer Luka Zacharczuk ’13 had four goals in the first couple of games but later moved up to Varsity. The team managed without him and had an amazing comeback victory against their rival, Malvern Preparatory School. With the help of some students’ and the Varsity soccer team’s cheers, Michael McCarthy ’13 and Cole Hassett ’13 both scored in the final minutes of the game to beat Malvern 2–1. After that, the team entered
a downward spiral, losing their rhythm due to the endless rain. When asked about his thoughts on all of the rain, Connor Carson ’13 said, “It was disappointing because we played fewer games, and we had less time to learn and grow as a team.” Lightning also affected the team’s record, bringing a close match with The Shipley School to an end prematurely. The score was 0–0, but the game was cut short and marked as a tie. Thanks to the great pep talks of the Coach, Mr. Joe Neilson, the team managed to pull through at the end. They ended their losing streak and beat The Shipley School in the last game of the season. Jason Sadek ’14 had a beautiful goal through the legs of Shipley’s keeper, which served as the game-winner in a 1–0 victory. There are many ways to look at the JV soccer team’s season. Some may see it as a good effort and some as an unlucky outcome. Cole Hassett summed it up the best when he said, “We had the most heart, and we were awesome.”
John LaPrise Signs with UVA Sam Nardi ’12, Associate Editor for Sports
On November 14, 2011 senior John LaPrise ’12 officially signed his letter of intent to play baseball at The University of Virginia. With his father and mother by his side, John signed to play for one of the nation’s collegiate baseball powerhouses. As one of the premier athletes in Devon’s history, it was no surprise to his teammates and coaches that John would play at the next level. John has dedicated much of his time to the game of baseball, perfecting each part of his very versatile playing style. In addition to his intense offseason workouts in the gym, John brings the field to the basement of his Exton home, where he is constantly hitting off a tee and fielding ground balls.
John has always pushed himself harder than anyone else, but he says, “I couldn’t have done any of this without the coaching of Mr. Mark and Mr. Con Aquilante.” In addition, John extended a special thanks to Mr. Pat Nattle, Fr. Richard Wyzykiewicz, and most of all, his parents. “Without all of these people I would not be where I am now. My parents have always supported me in my decisions and have dedicated a ton of time for me and the game of baseball. Pat and Fr. Rich have always been there for me whenever I had any doubts or had a need for talking. Thank you to my friends and teammates; I could not have done this without you.” John says his decision was influenced mainly by “Virginia’s great coaching staff, the balance of top-tier baseball with great academics, and the warm and hospitable southern atmosphere.” All in all, congratulations to John LaPrise, and may your success at UVA and beyond be plentiful.
Students and Teachers Alike Accept Devon 5K Challenge Mac Lockard ’12, Photography Editor This year the annual Devon Prep 5K Challenge first out of 139 finishers. Coming third was returned for the twenty-first time, albeit with current student Tom Seykora ’13, a consistent a new twist. The 5K this year was held in a new wolf pack runner. Devon’s faculty was also location, Wilson Farm Park. The change of venue, represented among the top runners by Mr. Jeffrey however, did nothing to dampen the spirits of Jewitt with an awe-inspiring time of 23:42. Wolf the hardy runners, helped by the absence of the Six Actual, a.k.a. Mr. Paul Sanborn ’64, ran once infamous Devon hills. The race was organized again this year, but this time with his trusty Dan Mulhern ’02 and Rusty Davison ’01. Dave canine companion, Wendy. Heartfelt thanks go Evans ’08 and Dennis Young ’08, past wolf pack out to this year’s sponsors: Percheron Group, members, crossed the finish line hand in hand, Brandywine Radio, and Mini of the Mainline.
Winter Track Battles Through the Cold
Sam Nardi ’12, Associate Editor for Sports Through ice, snow, and freezing temperatures, the Devon Prep winter track team stays tough and beats the painful conditions for training. With a burn in their lungs and fire in their legs, the men ignite a fire of their own with a passion to win. The team faces the challenge of quite a small squad and is always open to new members who are willing to run hard and try their best at all times. Led by Justin McNabb ’12, Spencer Latran ’12, and Tom Seykora ’13, they will train and race hard in all of their events. For more information about joining the winter or spring track teams, see Justin McNabb or Mr. Paul Sanborn ’64. But runner, beware; do not show up unprepared, because this team runs hard.
Devon’s Two-Man Swim Team Tim Crowe ’13 The Devon Prep swim team is unusual, to say the least. Devon has a long history of a one-man swim team: Matt Claudy ’92, Gaetan Sgro ’00, Michael Hay ’04, and Pat Mannion ’09. Over the past few years, the swim team’s size has more than doubled. It has involved some work, but the Devon Prep swim program is growing quickly. It is a non-traditional team that swims representing Devon. Mrs. Katriona Knaus coaches her son Michael ’14, and Mr. Brian Crowe stepped up as the on-deck coach for Bailey Gaul ’14, Michael McCarthy ’13, and Tim Crowe. Devon Prep is not in a league, and there is no published list of meets that the team competes in—Devon swims thanks to the good will of the other local high schools. Last year Bailey Gaul, Michael McCarthy, and Tim Crowe joined four Conestoga High School and Great Valley High School dual meets. In some meets, the Tide would be given its own “Devon heat” and frequently, swimmers from other schools would fill empty lanes. Either way, all times counted towards PIAA district qualification. Crowe said, “It was a lot of fun, but my favorite part was when you would hear swimmers from the other teams cheering on Devon.” Most Devon Prep swimmers are already part of club teams and practice daily with their clubs. Tim Crowe was able to organize twice-per-week DP practices last year at the Upper Main Line YMCA. Swimming practices brought the team closer together. Unfortunately, William Culbertson ’14 broke his collarbone and missed most of the swim season, but he was able to join McCarthy and Crowe for the “Last Chance” meet at Radnor High School in February. McCarthy qualified for and swam in the fiftymeter freestyle and hundred-meter butterfly at district championships; he finished twenty-fourth and eighteenth, respectively. Knaus qualified and swam the two-hundred-meter freestyle and the hundred-meter backstroke at the district championship; he finished ninth in the freestyle and second in the backstroke. Knaus had a tremendous season, as he qualified for states and was only the second swimmer from Devon to do so. He finished eleventh in the hundred-meter backstroke at the Pennsylvania state meet. Everyone had fun at the meets, swam proudly as a team, and went for personal best times. The swim team is the perfect way to be an individual, but also part of a team. This year the team hopes to increase in size and continue the legacy that is Devon swimming.
Dialogue Editorials America’s Perestroika
Mikhail Gorbachev’s retrospective on the Cold War, the fall of the Soviet Union, and the fate of freedom in the modern world Ryan O’Shea ’12, Editor-in-Chief On October 19, Mr. Mikhail Gorbachev, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former head of the USSR, visited Lafayette College. He came to deliver a major address, entitled “Perspectives on Global Change,” to commemorate the opening of the new Oechsle Center for Global Education at Lafayette. The college invited a select number of high schools to send one student to cover the event for their schools’ newspapers. I was honored and ecstatic to be able to hear this titan of international politics and leadership speak. So, note pad and press pass in hand, I headed up to Easton.
Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev delivering his October 19 address at Lafayette College After a brief introduction by Lafayette College President Daniel H. Weiss, Mr. Gorbachev took the stage before an audience of 3,600. He began the lecture recalling the waning years of the Cold War, amidst an endless struggle for nuclear superiority. What really prompted the Soviet Union to seek peace with the United States, he explained, was the arms race. The Soviet people were forced by their government’s choice of priorities to sacrifice in order to preserve nuclear parity. As standards of living fell and the costs of armament rose, cooperating with the United States became an increasingly appealing option. When President Gorbachev met with President Reagan in 1985, the atmosphere was far from relaxed, but the Geneva Summit made great strides in bringing the Cold War rivalry to an end. Agreements were forged to prohibit nuclear war and to begin disarmament. “The summit was an amazing event that is still engraved in my memory. In less than three days at that summit, we made enormous progress and started to build initial trust,” Mr. Gorbachev reflected. “It was madness to continue the arms race. Only through terrible mistrust was it allowed to come about.” These new developments faced serious opposition from within the USSR. Nuclear weapons were at the core of Russia’s global stature, and their loss would have meant bowing to the military superiority of the United States. Nonetheless, President Gorbachev and his government pressed on. The movement toward a post-Cold War world required substantial reforms in the Soviet Union. President Gorbachev began a process called perestroika, which sought to restructure and democratize the Soviet Union and liberate its people. At a pivotal Communist Party convention in 1988, Mr. Gorbachev recounted, leaders proclaimed freedom of religion and speech and set up a constitutional framework for democracy. The final—and most vital—aspect of perestroika was glasnost, transparency within government coupled with political freedom. Later elections did not favor the reformers as they had in the past, but by that point, perestroika had taken hold in the USSR. “Russia today is a country that is in the process of transition. We are moving toward democracy. This democratic transition is only halfway down the road, perhaps a little more,” the former president remarked. “Above all, you need to understand that Russia will not go back, but Russia is facing a lot of problems.” Mr. Gorbachev expressed deep regret for the breakup of the Soviet Union, but not merely for Russia’s sake. He noted that after the USSR fell, much of the progress that had been made through American-Soviet cooperation was lost. Opportunities created by relations after the Malta Conference—opportunities
to change the world through coordinated efforts by both superpowers—were squandered as Americans reveled in their “victory” in the Cold War. A new attitude prospered in the United States, brought on by its new status as the world’s only superpower, that America should continue in the same way, toward more “triumphs” as a “special kind of empire.” Mr. Gorbachev added, “Instead, I think the kind of vision that existed at this time was pushing us back rather than forward.” Even modern-day America has been influenced greatly by the policies of the Cold War, long after they ceased to be necessary. The military-industrial complex still holds great sway in the American economy. “It looks like [the United States] need[s] the military-industrial sector, the defense sector, for [its] economy to prosper.” Mr. Gorbachev, who spent years fighting the burden of the military-industrial complex, added, “If that is so, that is a sick economy.” Mr. Gorbachev, however, recognized recent changes in these attitudes. “I think that people in America are now giving serious thought to the future of their own country, and giving this priority. I believe this is an important change.” He recollected a previous lecture, in which he was asked for any advice he had for the United States. Giving advice to America, he joked, would “not be safe and, secondly, is useless.” “America,” Mr. Gorbachev declared, “needs its own perestroika.” For this, the audience rose in ovation. “What we saw during the last [American] presidential election was, I believe, unprecedented, certainly in my lifetime. The entire nation was involved, and all the issues were discussed thoroughly. It was a fascinating experience and ended in a result that maybe surprised America itself. I believe it was the right result. I believe it was the choice of the people, who expressed in this way their expectations and their hopes.” His epic struggles, in the end, are former President Gorbachev’s greatest legacy. He led the charge to grant the people of one of the largest nations in history democratic freedom. He made monumental efforts to bring about a new world order, as Pope John Paul II said, “…one that is more stable, more humane, and more just.” Mr. Gorbachev also Mr. Gorbachev (left) with Lafayette did more, perhaps, than any College President Daniel H. Weiss other person to prevent future wars and the spread of nuclear weapons. He is the best embodiment of the message he now teaches: “A new generation is coming. I see these people sitting here.... Young people must think about their country and its future. They must prepare for life and prepare to become the generation that will transform the country and the world.” The atmosphere in the auditorium as Mr. Gorbachev’s translator uttered those words was gripping. The audience, composed mainly of Lafayette College students, was riveted—eyes fixed on the former statesman—taken, it seemed, by a sense of pride and hope rarely experienced so universally.
© 2011 Devon Prep
Editor-in-Chief: Ryan O’Shea ’12 Deputy Editor-in-Chief: Joe Geiger ’12 Photography Editor: Mac Lockard ’12 Faculty Moderators: Mr. Larry Theuer Mrs. Elizabeth Eshleman Assistant Photography Editor: Roshan Patel ’12 Associate Editor for News: Nate Stauffer ’12 Associate Editor for Editorials & Entertainment: Matt Kramer ’12 Associate Editor for Sports: Sam Nardi ’12 Associate Editor for Interviews & Polls: Nick van Schaijik ’12 All photos, unless otherwise noted, taken by newspaper staff or Mrs. Rose Lombardo, for Devon Preparatory School. Special thanks to Fr. Shea for his tireless assistance and guidance
The second issue of The Devon Dialogue, the Devon Preparatory School student newspaper, for the 2011-12 school year. Editorial Staff: Edit...