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This Month

Holiday Wrap-Up - Page 4 New Year’s Resolutions for 2012 Features - Page 6 Gabi Mayers Working at the Smithsonian


Vol. 51, No. 4

The Student Newspaper of the Holton-Arms School

Friday, January 6, 2012

This Month

News - Page 3 Holiday Ball The Bomb or Bust?

A&E - Page 7 Winter Fashion

Boots, Lace, and Paillettes

Student Diversity Leadership Conference Incites Discussion on Social Issues By Cheyenne Coote

Yasmeen Haider ’15 recalled learning about “acceptance, tolerance, love, justice, friendships, and lastly, silence” during the Student Diversity Leadership Conference. Haider added, “Being in a room full of more than 1,500 people sitting in complete silence is more powerful than words can explain. The power of words could never match the intensity brought by silence.” From December 1 to 3, eight Holton representatives traveled to the conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with over 1,500 other high school students from across the country. During the conference, Holton girls served as peer facilitators who led small group discussions. Haider, the youngest peer facilitator, said initially, she “was

afraid [the juniors and seniors] may feel the situation is weird: having a younger person lead.” This fear proved unfounded as Haider believed “everyone from Holton… felt a connection.” In its 18th year, the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) had the theme of “Updating our Status: A Declaration of Interdependence.” The Holton students participated in a series of activities in order to explore the issues of sexuality, gender, age, socioeconomic status and religion both within their schools and larger society. The conference began with the Silence Movement Activity with all of the participants. SDLC’s faculty called out phrases that represented various identifiers of race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.

Breedlove Explores Dickinson’s Poetry By Susannah Bane

“It is a pleasure to write; to write about poems is an honor; and to write about poems you like is exhilarating,” began Professor Helen Vendler’s Breedlove Lecture on December 1. A group of faculty members established the Dorothy Patton Breedlove Lecture in 1981 to honor the recently retired director of students and assistant head. English teacher Marsha Scherbel recalled, “Dot was a remarkable person, truly a ‘woman of influence’…and she inspired everyone who knew her, students and teachers alike.” The lecture features speakers who possess the same intelligence and love of learning Breedlove exemplified. Vendler fits the criteria perfectly. She was born to a teacher who fostered her love of reading, and she was surrounded from a young age by poetry. She even had several pages of Emily Dickinson’s poetry memorized. A professor at Harvard, Vendler has also served as a professor at Boston University, Cor-

Photo Courtesy Neha Prasad

Holton girls and other SDLC participants discussed issues of sexuality, gender, race, age, socioeconomic status, and religion within their schools and society.

Students (if comfortable) then stood up or raised their hands if they felt they identified with a certain phrase. Junior Kelsey Spencer led a group called Spacefish and said, “All 1,500 of us, regardless of where we had come from, became one big family and formed relationships that will definitely last a lifetime.”

In addition, the four chaperones, Samantha Davis, Chris Lynch, Lee Newman, and Shay Squeglia, simultaneously attended the People of Color Conference, which focused on similar issues. Art teacher Newman stated that the most valuable lesson he learned is that “[he] can have effective and meaningful discussions/lessons about diversity

For the 2011 Breedlove Lecture, Helen Vendler, an Arthur Kingsley Porter University Professor, spoke on Emily Dickinson and the poet’s portrayal of the sublime, even in the every day.

nell University, Swarthmore College, and Smith College. Though her lecture on December 1 focused on Dickinson, Vendler has also extensively studied W.B Yeats, Wallace Stevens, John Keats, and Seamus Heaney. In a previous interview, Vendler stated she hopes her students “think of the arts as a resource that can keep them company through life, something they would be sorry to have missed.” Despite Vendler’s apparContinued Poetry page 3

Continued Diversity page 3

Juniors Jumpstart College Process with College Night and Counselor Sessions

By Zahra Husain

Photo Courtesy Lee Zampella

beyond the confines of the classroom.” He also noted that the conference “affirmed many core beliefs … about the role of being a responsible citizen in this society and a teacher at Holton-Arms.” On the last day of the conference, students who attended schools in the same area met to debrief. Antoinette Nwabunnia ’13 deemed the most important lesson she learned at SDLC to “‘lean into discomfort’….When you allow yourself to be in an uncomfortable position, then you are able to find out more about yourself and others around you,” she explained. Spencer has already noticed a difference in her personality. “In three short days I was able to reflect and learn so much about myself and others around

Every year, College Counselors Tish Peterson and Liz Poppi help the junior and senior classes through the college process. On October 12, the juniors attended a college fair at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, VA. Students were asked to fill out a packet with questions about various aspects of colleges. Some of the questions asked about statistics, such as class size, while others targeted student and campus life in order to encourage students to explore new schools and become comfortable with asking questions of school representatives. On November 16, the juniors went to the annual College Night in order to get a sense of what to expect over the next year and a half. Christopher Gruber, vice president and dean of Admission and Financial Aid at Davidson College, kicked off the night with an engaging speech that loosened up a somewhat nervous crowd. Afterward, the juniors and their parents attended smaller

Photo Courtesy Davidson College

The keynote speaker at Junior College Night, Christopher J. Gruber, has been the vice president and dean of admission and financial aid at Davidson College since 2005.

sessions highlighting specific parts of the college process. Art Department Chair Nandini Giridharadas, senior Ellen Carey, and Director

of Fine and Performing Arts Mary Jane Pagenstecher explained how art helps colleges see a more personal, creative side of an applicant that a transcript may not necessarily show. Representatives from University of Maryland at College Park, Bryn Mawr College, and Franklin and Marshall College (a state school, an all-girls school, and a small, liberal arts college, respectively) also hosted a question and answer session. Lexi Butler ’13 said, “I really enjoyed College Night! The speaker from Davidson [College] was really informative and entertaining.” “He shared quite a bit of information on the admission process that I think will prove to be extremely helpful as time goes on,” she said. “College Night was definitely a good way to start off the college process!” Because this year College Night took place earlier than usual, the juniors were provided an additional opportunity to get to know their college counselors before jumpContinued College page 6


OPINIONS The Three Words I Never Want To Hear You Say I believe the English language is beautiful. But we get lazy, and we revert to the same words because they’re easy and recognizable. But there are three words that make me cringe every time I hear them, no matter who says them. I understand that in some cases, you need a word off the top of your head That’s no excuse. There are at least 250,000 distinctive English words, not to mention the world languages from which we borrow phrases and words when we can’t think of an accurate description. I’m begging you: do not use these words. Not using them will make you sound more intelligent, and people will think you actually know what you’re talking about. I

promise. Here they are: Experience: The real problem with “experience” is that it’s so vague that it can be applied to everything and therefore carries no meaning. The college process has exponentially made me hate this word. Every single college brochure and pamphlet has “experience” in there somewhere, usually accompanied by a smiling stock photo of a naïve freshman or a picture that includes a group of people from every race and background to promote the diverse experience you’ll have at that college. Avoid “experience” at all costs. Opportunity: “Opportunity” suffers from the same problem as “experience” in that its vague nature doesn’t convey any emotion.

It’s supposed to be positive, but every time I hear it, I feel there no genuine happiness or excitement involved. I only hear a mix of desperation and relief. Is there a more inauthentic statement than “I’m very excited for this opportunity to work with you/study here/talk to you/etc?” I only hear, “I’ve wanted to work/study/talk with you very, very much, but I don’t want to look like I’m pathetic and desperate, so I’ll try to put on a façade of happiness to show you how grateful I am.” Awkward: The worst moment in a conversation? When you say something that’s a little off-the-cuff or not really that funny, and everyone stares at you like you’re a loon. What’s worse than that moment? Someone stating “Well,

that’s awkward.” Really, Sherlock? No one else felt the tension to which I’m responsible, so you had to clarify for everyone? Do you feel better now that everyone is nervously laughing to relieve said tension? Oh, look at that, you just created a new awkward moment. Now everyone is waiting for you to fill the void. Nothing? Now you don’t speak up? Maybe you shouldn’t have used awkward, the go-to word for every teenager when she can’t describe a moment of social anxiety. Why not say something actually funny next time? It might just work. Please, be more original and come up with more intriguing and descriptive words than “experience,” “opportunity,” and “awkward.”

Wintry Mix By Delancey Wu

January 6, 2012

Scribbler 2011 Gold Medalist, Columbia Scholastic Press Association (C.S.P.A.) The Holton-Arms School 7303 River Road Bethesda, MD 20817 301.365.5300 Letters to the Editor and opinion columns are the expressed opinion of the author and not of The Scribbler and its editorial board or advisor. The Scribbler welcomes letters, which should be e-mailed to the Editor-inChief at Nicole.Bohannon.2012@holton-arms. edu The Scribbler cannot publish anonymous letters, or anything deemed libelous, obscene, or in poor taste. Rights are reserved to postpone, edit, or withhold from publication anything that does not meet specifications. The opinions conveyed in The Scribbler are not those of the Holton-Arms faculty or administration.

Editor-in-Chief - Nicole Bohannon Managing Editors - Karen Buitano Sandy Fox Layout Editors - Angelina DiPaolo Zahra Husain News Editor - Saachi Nangia Assistant News - Susannah Bane Spread Editor - Hailey Cayne Assistant Spread - Jennifer Guo Features Editor - Lindsay Cayne Assistant Features - Tiffany Onyejiaka Sports Editor - Catilin Montgomery A&E Editor - Cheyenne Coote Assistant A&E - Noori Srivastava

Please Repect the Publications At least once, each member of the Scribbler staff has seen a student take the newspaper from her mailbox and immediately throw it in the trash. We know we have a healthy readership, but spotting layers of Scribblers in the trashcan makes us wonder how many people value our efforts. The same goes for Scribe, the yearbook, and Scroll, the literary magazine. Not everybody appreciates the sheer amount of time and energy committed to Holton’s publications. Scribbler alone has a staff of 15, with the help of Mrs. Spak and at least 20 writers an issue, to produce eight issues of Scribbler,

one per month, every year. Ms. van Bever and her team of at least fifty students publish a 300 plus-page volume of Scribe in May. The six editors of Scroll, along with Ms. Salata, craft a dazzling magazine that comes out in May and features dozens of contributors from across mediums. The staff members of the publications plan and work countless hours so that the products aren’t boring. We gather information and opinions from students, teachers, staff, and the internet. We find photographs that illustrate a news piece or enliven a poem. We ask for volunteers to send

their artwork and articles. We stuff words and images onto pages and straighten them all out to perfection. We edit endlessly and exchange multiple drafts with our colleagues. We send pages to the printers. Dedicated students scrupulously compose each page distributed to the Holton community. People don’t always remember, or even know, this intense behind-the-scenes work. More often students notice the deadlines, the many announcements, and the clamoring for input. Writers or any other contributors may become reluctant to contribute or not adhere to the

deadlines. We can’t write about Holton or compile what you have to say without much persistence and many emails. And while the editors are flexible and often accept pieces after their due dates, the printers aren’t so kind. They have hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of clients who are in the exact same place: desperate to get the next issue or book out on time. Sometimes we have to draw the line in order to work with them. Please respect the publications. Recognize that your peers have slaved over every page. Consider contributing to

Copy Editor - Caitlin Montgomery Photography Editor - Neha Prasad Assist. Photo. Editor - Saachi Nangia Cartoonist - Delancy Wu Advisor - Maggie Spak

or even joining Scribbler, Scribe, or Scroll. At least for Scribbler, you don’t have to be an editor to write for the paper. A one-time contribution of an article, poem, or photograph helps to create the finished product. If you’re looking for a commitment, the publications always need permanent staff members and writers. And, please, read what we write. It’s for you.

Holiday Ball 2011 Brings Mix of Apathy and Excitement By Lindsay Cayne

With winter comes delights such as snowflakes, ice skating, hot chocolate, and presents. Holton is sure to make the season as festive as possible for its students, including holding its annual winter formal, Holiday Ball. The Student Activities Committee works hard to create a dance that fits a cute theme. Last year the theme was “Under the Stars” while the theme this year was “The Wizard of Oz.” A yellow brick road guided students to the dance, where flashing green lights lit the floor. In order for students themselves to prepare for the dance, they often excitedly discuss date options, organize pre-party and after-party plans, and search for the perfect dresses and shoes. Holiday Ball is an exciting opportunity to meet new people and share a fun night with close friends, although an apathetic feeling towards Holiday Ball permeated the air more than in the past, especially in the junior grade, where even many class officers chose not to attend. Junior Jenni Jung expressed, “My friends and I decided to go skating at the sculpture garden in D.C. because skating would be a holiday activity that we could do together without having to stress over dates, dinner, and dresses.” Other reasons students From Poetry page 1

ent literary talent and passion, she majored in Chemistry as an undergraduate and later received a Fulbright Fellowship to study math. Vendler, however, switched shortly after to English. She has described her interest in the sciences, saying “It was just like seeing the structures of poetry. A molecular branch could go this way, or that way; there could be all sorts of wonderful, complex arrangements. I loved those geometric arrangements as I love them in poetry.” Vendler’s enthusiasm for poetry translated in her Breedlove lecture as she led the audience through a night of in-depth explanations of Dickinson’s elusive work. Her talk centered on Dickinson’s interpretation of the “Sublime.” Scherbel opened the night and observed that she has often “turned to [Vendler] for explication and enlightenment when [she] sometimes puzzled over



January 6, 2012

Photo Courtesy Neha Prasad

Holton seniors were among the most enthusiastic attendants to Holiday Ball 2011.

bowed out this year related to concerns about going stag (although a date is not a requirement), having to focus on schoolwork, having teachers watch them dance, and taking the S.A.T. earlier that day.

vu. However, the dance proved a great outlet to release the stress from the S.A.T.” There were quite a few students who chose to attend, with an especially strong turnout

“I went to Holiday Ball this year because it’s senior year, so you gotta go! No regrets!” - Jane Alexander ’12

"I was disappointed with the turnout of the dance, and the music selection kept the number in the room low.” - Jeanette Litschewski ’13 Nevertheless, junior Alison Cohen, who took the S.A.T. earlier that day, attended anyway, describing her return to Holton that night as a “really bad case of déjà

from the class of 2012. Senior Jane Alexander said she “went to Holiday Ball this year because it’s senior year, so you gotta go! No regrets!”

Photos Courtesy David Sherbel and Harvard

English teacher Marsha Scherbel (left) introduces Vendler on December 1. Vendler often drew from the analysis in her book (center) to dive into Dickinson’s poems.

poets like Shakespeare, Keats, or Wallace Stevens.” Christopher Wilson, Dean of Faculty, then introduced the speaker. Wilson began by presenting Vendler as the “greatest poetry critic of our time.” He went on to praise Vendler as a “woman of positive influence” for both the students who are part of her classes and for the many people who read and study her books. Vendler’s speech focused on her study of Dickinson’s poetry and descriptions of the Sublime, which means a supreme example of something. Vendler led the au-

dience through a dozen Dickinson poems, each representing a different type of Sublime. For example, Vendler broached the topics of “Gothic Sublime” and the “Sublime of Love.” She exposed both the hidden meanings and the true values of the poems. Vendler also discussed Dickinson’s inner battle with “Christian Sublime.” Though Dickinson emphasizes the power of the brain in her interpretation of the “Natural Sublime,” she frequently uses religious examples and meta-

“I decided to go,” exclaimed junior Jeanette Litschewski, “because it’s always a fun excuse to dress up!” Some students who did come to the dance, however, did not enjoy it as much as they hoped. Litschewski added, “Personally though, I was disappointed with the turnout of the dance, and the music selection kept the number in the room low.” Freshman Hunter Midgett remarked, “I liked the dance, but the DJ only knew how to remix songs and make them as bad as they could be. He didn’t even know what catdaddy was.” Landon Sophomore Matt Johnson said, “Hello, panthers. Thank you all for a fun night! I had a blast. However, I had two cons. The DJ could have been better, and the brick road to get in was difficult to navigate. Overall it was good.” While some were not as excited about it, many students enjoyed Holiday Ball. Junior Yassaman Erfani said that she “liked the originality of The Wizard of Oz theme. It is one of my favorite books/ movies, and I enjoyed the decorations.” Alexander exclaimed, “The dance was so much fun especially because the senior class got there right at 8:30, so we were alone on the dance floor for a while.” phors. Though Dickinson often counters Christianity in her poetry, Vendler placed religion in the Sublime because Sublime represents the highest of something. Vendler explained that Dickinson was “mocking Christianity because she refuted it but had no other words available to describe Sublimity.” Both students and teachers alike appreciated Vendler’s talk. Caroline McTaggert ’15 enjoyed the lecture because “Ms. Vendler explained the concept of relative Sublime very well.” Wilson liked how Vendler “selected poems that showed how, for Dickinson, the Sublime also exists in unexpected places both inside and outside the individual.” He also welcomed Vendler’s stress on the importance of poems to “help us to find words for whatever we are experiencing.” As Wilson put it, Vendler is the “reader Dickinson knew would come along one day.”

From Diversity page 1

me. I have become a more open person, feel a ‘wholeness’ and confidence in myself.” The conference attendees discussed how to apply the lessons they learned at their respective schools. Although one of the conference’s goals was to mobilize students to bring about positive change to their educational environments, Haider observed “how [the conference] affected the school depends on how it affected the attendees.” Holton students plan to work with the administration and other students to initiate the plans discussed at the conference and bring the topics to school. Nwabunnia remarked, “We are planning on Holton girls taking part in some of the exercises we did at SDLC.” Haider agreed with the charge, saying, “Many of us do not understand the difference [between] acceptance and tolerance. Holton is a safe community, but I would like to bring it to the point of the bonds I shared with my group.” Similarly, Newman said that “the conference proved to be a good springboard for discussions among the participants and the Holton group in particular, which we trust will lead to continued discussion and action.”

Mid-Term Exam Schedule Saturday, January 14

Math Tuesday, January 17

English Wednesday, January 18

Science Thursday, January 19

World Language Friday, January 20


How Do You Celeb Look to the Zodiac for the New Year By Marina DiMarzo

December Traditions Lead to Holton Girls’ Favorite Memories By Angelina DiPaolo

During the winter holidays, everyone appreciates new clothes, bags, gift cards and shoes. But to many in the Holton community, lasting memories and annual traditions are what make the holidays special. To some, simply spending time with family members provides laughter, joy, and holiday cheer. “Every year,” Elisabeth Bragale ’15 stated, “when my cousins come up from PhilaElizabeth Bragale delphia for Christmas, we all ’15 (far right) celebrates go out to Wow Cow for some the holidays with friends ice-cream.” and family. “My favorite holiday Photo Courtesy memory is when I was 10 Elizabeth Bragale years old,” Adriana Sensenbrenner ’13 said. “We all started decorating the Christmas trees while eating sugar cookies that my mom just of my face on it. She then made. I sat at the piano to put one of my old dresses on play Christmas carols, and we it and sat it in a chair by the all started to sing.” Christmas tree. I definitely “When I played ‘Santa appreciate her trying, but Claus is Coming to Town,’ my even she admits now that the parents even started to dance, doll was pretty scary.” and then my two younger When Peiperl’s brother brothers joined them. That came downstairs on Christwas the most memorable mas morning, “he screamed Christmas.” bloody murder and came Alison Cohen ’13 said, running back upstairs. Suffice “Every year on New Year’s, to say that that was one of my family writes predictions the funniest Christmases I’ve for each member of the famever had.” ily for the upcoming year, and “When my brother and I we then read the predictions were little,” Morgan McNair from the previous year. It’s so ’13 recalled, “my parents used fun to see how different we to always tell us on Christmas were and what each year has Eve, ‘Now, you cannot be the brought!” first downstairs on Christmas For others, distinct memmorning. We have to make ories stand out. sure the magic Santa left is Julia Peiperl ’13 remistill there. If you go downnisced about her childhood stairs before we do, all of the longing for a My Size Barbie magic will disappear!’” doll. McNair’s childhood tra“My mom decided to dition translated to her curmake me one,” she said. “She rent holiday spirit. used my measurements… “At first we worried and put an iron-on transfer about our presents from

“This is a photo of my family and I on Christmas in 1997,” Morgan McNair ’13 said. “The whole family always comes over on Christmas day.” Photo Courtesy Morgan McNair

A new year has started! But how are you going to change? Here are Scribbler’s recommendations for making a fresh start, along with actors, artists, writers and more who share your sign and whom you can draw inspiration from. Aries (3/21-4/20)

Appeal to your daring and adventurous side by trying something new. Who shares your sign? Elton John, Vincent van Gogh, William Wadsworth, Marlon Brando Taurus (4/21-5/21)

Taureans are avid collectors and pack rats, but take the time to clean out the junk in your life. Who shares your sign? Al Pacino, Fred Astaire, Salvador Dali, Maximillian Robespierre Gemini (5/22-6/20)

Santa disappearing, but the idea changed over time to mean Christmas spirit. We love the Christmas spirit: the music, the family, the food, the togetherness. To this day, our parents are always the first to walk down the stairs and check to make sure our Christmas magic will not disappear.” In short, it is the lasting memories and traditions that strengthen family bonds and create holiday spirit that endure for a lifetime.

Find a passion that sparks your imagination and provides variety. Who shares your sign? Anne Frank, Donald Trump, Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, Vincent Price Cancer (6/21-7/20)

Even though the holidays are over, keep your family close for the rest of the year. Who shares your sign? Julius Caesar, Meryl Streep, Nelson Mandela, Robin Williams, Tom Hanks Leo (7/21-8/22)

Leos love being treated like royalty, but find a special someone in your life to treat even better. Who shares your sign? Amelia Earhart, Fidel Castro, Natalie Wood, Robert Redford Virgo (8/23-9/22)

Virgos are usually disciplined about their health, to get back into, or stay in, tip-top shape. Who shares your sign? Leo Tolstoy, Ray Charles, Sophia Loren

Libra (9/23-10/22)

Look for great new music to reenergize you for the new year, and don’t hesitate to go to that fantastic concert. Who shares your sign? John Lennon, Oscar Wilde, Truman Capote Scorpio (10/23-11/21)

Scorpios like to keep secrets, but this year, learn to become more open to trust others. Who shares your sign? Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Pablo Picasso Sagittarius (11/22-12/20)

Make plans for as soon as spring arrives to head back outside. Who shares your sign? Andrew Carnegie, Frank Sinatra, Mark Twain, Walt Disney Capricorn (12/21-1/20)

Since you often neglect your creative side, find time to indulge in it. You may be surprised at the results. Who shares your sign? Edgar Allen Poe, Elvis Presley, Humphrey Bogart, Muhammad Ali, Richard Nixon Aquarius (1/21-2/18)

Aquarians love travel, so find a way to plan an exciting trip that’s near or far for each season. Who shares your sign? Abraham Lincoln, Charles Darwin, James Dean, Lewis Carroll, Oprah Winfrey Pisces (2/19-3/20)

Go for a total escape with a day at the spa or the latest novel. After exams, of course. Who shares your sign? Albert Einstein, John Steinbeck, Liza Minnelli

Icons Courtesy of

brate the Holidays?

Various Celebrations Bring Family and Friends Together By Tiffany Onyejiaka

December and January could be renamed Non-Stop Holiday Months, with Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa and New Years Eve all occuring within this month. These diverse holidays are the hallmarks of the season and hold significance for many reasons. Each year, billions of people worldwide celebrate Christmas on December 25. According to USA Today, about ninety-five percent of Americans observe this holiday. Although Christmas originated as a day commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, Christmas also serves as a civil holiday, enjoyed by non-Christians as well. Traditions include: decorations such as a Christmas tree and wreath, gift giving and Santa Clause and usually a holiday meal celebrated with family and friends. Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday

Photo Courtesy Sally Huizinga

While many girls at Holton spend the holidays exchanging gifts with family and spending time with friends, Sally Huizinga ’15 spent time with her sister, Milly Huizinga ’11, at a swim meet on Christmas Day. that commemorates the Jewish victory over the Syrians and the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem in 165 BC. Hanukkah is an eight-daylong-celebration that begins on the twenty-fifth day of the Kislev month in the Jewish calendar. This year Hanukkah began at sunset on December 20 and

ended on December 28. Each day is marked by a lighting of one of the eight candles on the menorah. Another popular tradition of Hanukkah is spinning the dreidel, a foursided spinning top with Hebrew letters that stand for the phrase “Nes Gadol Haya Po” meaning “A Great Miracle Happened Here”).

Although gift-giving is not an original Hanukkah tradition, since the holiday falls near Christmas, many families exchange gifts during the eight-day celebration. Kwanzaa, a unique African American holiday that celebrates life, and originated in the US. It occured between December 25 and January 1. Introduced by Dr. Maualan Karenga in 1966 as a ritual welcoming the harvests to the home, Kwanzaa responded to the commercialization of Christmas. The five common values of gathering, reverence, commemoration, recommitment, and celebration form the foundation to the celebration week. December 31 usually feautures a feast of African cuisine. Everyone gives each other gifts and greets each other by saying “Habari gani,” Swahilli for “How are you?” All holidays emphasize the

importance of celebrating traditions with loved ones. Sally Huizinga ’14 said, “Since my siblings have gone to school, the holidays are about being with family. I take every minute I can get with them now.” Lindsay Katz ’12 said, “Hanukkah is important to me because I get to see all of my family!” She also enjoys the gift of giving back to the community. She added, “We do the same thing every year on Christmas.... Since [I’m] Jewish, [my] whole family goes to the Salvation Army and serves food to homeless people. It’s one of my favorite days of the year, and our whole family does it together!” Giving and receiving are also important in the holidays. “I love getting free presents,” joked Fiona Moran ’13. “Holiday season is a great time to recharge and relax.”

“Holton and the Candy Factory” and More Add to Festive Season By Saachi Nangia

Over the 110 years since Holton’s founding, several winter traditions have developed. In the Lower School, parents and students look forward to the Gingerbread House Workshop. This year, the workshop occured on December 5. Mary Warth, manager of special programs, explained that the program “has been a holiday tradition at Holton for many years…[and] is intended to build a sense of community.” On the night of the event, families garnished their own gingerbread houses with “a choice of more than 80 different kinds of candy and decorations, four colors of royal icing, and an endless array of sprinkles,” according to Warth. Each family received a photo and a box filled with candy (of the student’s choice) at the end of the night. Susan Spingler, director of Special Programs, praised the event saying, “It was magical... everybody was having fun and expressing themselves, especially the dads!” Warth echoed these sentiments: “It’s like Holton-Arms and the Candy Factory [based on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory]!” Another important lower school tradition is collecting and giving to charities.

For example, the fourth graders wrap presents for Head Start programs. This tradition started when Carly Rushford ’10 was in fourth grade and the Rushford family donated gifts to Myers’ class to wrap as part of their non-profit organization Dreams Come True. Courtney Rushford ’12, Carly’s cousin, remarked, “This [event] is one of my favorite aspects of the Christmas season. It’s really fun delivering the gifts to the children.” Myers shared this response, saying, “We are proud to be a part of this meaningful tradition.” Another staple of the lower school season the Holiday Program on December 20. The program features the diverse variety of holidays around the world. Ann Vaughn, lower school music teacher, explained, “Though the songs and themes vary from year to year, with each program we celebrate a community that is richly diverse in religious and cultural traditions and heritage…[and] the values and ideas that unite us.” This year the fourth grade is singing a Swedish New Year song, complete with an authentic, traditional dance. Devon Lucas ’19 said, “It’s really special to be up there sing-

Photo Courtesy Mary Warth

Lower Schoolers and their parents and families decorate gingerbread houses in the annual holiday event. As one person described it, “It’s like Holton-Arms and the Candy Factory!” ing diverse holiday songs.” These festivities continue in Middle School. On December 9, the middle school students went on the first community service day of the year. The trip allowed students to volunteer at their chosen organization. The options varied from packaging food to interacting with the elderly. Tony Shawe, director of Middle School, said that the first Community Service Day has always been in December, appropriate timing because, as he said, “it is the season of giving.” In addition, the entire Middle School is participating in an

Adopt-A-Family program. The middle school students compile baskets, similar to the Thanksgiving baskets the school made last month, for the organization The Dwelling Place. As Shawe explained, the Dwelling Place works to “provide apartments for families; not only do they house families, but they also supply them with job training and jobs.” Sam Danshes ’16 said, “Adopt-A-Family is a great way for girls to do what they do best: shopping and at the same time helping a family have a holiday that is both happy and stress free. That is very satisfying and heart-warming to me.”

In the Middle School, the holiday events spread the good cheer and spirit of sharing to the entire community. Another tradition is the Middle School Winter Dance, a semiformal event held on January 6. Allison Richards ’16 enjoys the winter dance especially because “everyone else dresses up and looks all fancy for the dance!” Lastly, the Upper School also has rituals that keep the holiday spirit alive. One of these events was a senior gingerbread house-making workshop on December 13. Yolanda Keener, senior class dean, explained that this event is a relatively new tradition in its second year. First suggested by Stephanie Rales ’11, it garnered an “overwhelmingly positive” reaction, said Keener. Keener recalled, “We discovered that it was not only fun, but it takes skill and a bit of engineering to erect a gingerbread house successfully.” Each senior advisory constructed a house based on a rubric developed by Keener and Nina Gilman, the bookstore manager. Dean of Faculty Christopher Wilson’s and Yolanda Keener won the competition, and each group recieved a Starbucks giftcard.



Tackle Exams with Advice from Teachers and Students

Photo Courtesy Neha Prasad

By Jennifer Guo

School may have just started, mid-terms start a little over a week after students return from winter break. While the fall semester may have presented the challenges of difficult math formulas and obscure themes in English novels, you have to catch up on the readings and other uncompleted work before starting to study. Lisa Pence, upper school director, advised that students should try to teach difficult materials to other people because “a sure way to really know a subject is to teach it.” As you pay special attention to your trouble spots, you will quickly figure out which areas stump you, and you can create a list of questions to ask your teachers. This method helps give you a clear idea of what you need to work on and also provides a valuable list for what you could ask on Reading Day. Pulling out old papers and assignments from the beginning of the year can help remind you of things you may have forgotten early on. “[In order to prepare,] I go over older formulas and vocab so that I can refresh my memory,” said Madeleine Hyde ’14. Sometimes, the hardest part of an exam can be the section on

Gabi Mayers Facilitates Conversation for the RACE Project at the Smithsonian By Hailey Cayne

Kelsey Sloter ’12 (left) and Elizabeth Rosenbaum ’12 (right) prepare for midterms in the Slounge. Take the time to organize all of your notes so that you don’t have to interupt studying to do so.

information taught at the start of the semester because some students fail to remember or study these topics. You should also organize all your tests, quizzes, and notes from the semester. Since school itself can become pretty hectic, our binders gradually grow more and more cluttered, a real problem come exam time. Take the time to clean out your folders and go through your papers. Make note of any homework assignments you did not complete or quizzes that you have lost, and mark the pages in the textbook that you read for class. Kayla Moffet ’14 said, “The

important thing is to always be organized so you do not have to work to sort out your papers when you could be studying.” Making sure all of your subject’s materials are in order saves you time and makes it easier to study, especially for subjects like history and math with many notes. The night before, don’t bother cramming. Your brain gradually stores up information, so taking an hour or so each night to look over some notes will definitely pay off more than forcing material into your head. Your best hope is to sleep and eat a deliciously nutritious breakfast the morning before. When you sit down, all that’s left to do is to breathe and focus.

From College page 1

ing into the process in January. Starting on Tuesday, December 6, juniors met in groups of six with either Peterson or Poppi for about forty minutes. The students then became more comfortable with their counselor, who could get to know the students better. Arabella Watt ’13 is glad that juniors now have an additional meeting because she “thinks it’s a good idea getting to know our college counselors before we spend every minute with them senior year when the college process is in full force.” Isabel Cabezas ’13 remarked, “I think the meetings are a good way for the counselors to get to know us in addition to the surveys we are filling out on Naviance.” Earlier in the school year, the college counselors introduced the juniors to Naviance, an online college database that helps them track their progress, compare universities, and fill out information about themselves. Simultaneously, the seniors are edging towards the end of the college application process.

January 6, 2012

Photo Courtesy Neha Prasad

The College Resource Room, adjacent to the Senior Lounge on the second floor, has shelves full of information on colleges around the world and US, as well as books on test preparation and college selection.

Many students applied early action or early decision to schools while others applied to schools with rolling admission. By applying early action, students can be accepted into a college earlier without having to commit to going there. In the early decision process, a student must attend a university if she gets in to it. In both processes, students can be accepted, rejected, or deferred for admissions decisions at the regular time. Schools with rolling admission allow students to apply at

any time and gain admission. Senior Katherine Connolly applied restrictive early action to a school, meaning she could only apply to that one school on an early timeline. “I thought about applying ED because it gives you one option, you have a higher chance of getting in, and you’re done early. But because I couldn’t settle on one school and because I wanted to keep my options open, applying to both domestic and international schools, I decided to apply early action to a school I really cared about.”

Photo Courtesy Gabi Mayers

Amanda Lee ’12 (left) visits Gabi Mayers ’13 (right) at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Mayers is among the 30 volunteers selected to facilitate conversations with visitors.

Historian Robin Kelley captured the definition of racism through her statement that “[racism] is not about how you look, it is about how people assign meaning to how you look.” RACE: Are We So Different?, an exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., examines the differences among people and addresses the realities and illusions of race. The exhibit focuses on the concept of American racism, its biological roots, the historical development of the idea of race, and the effects on America. The exhibit debuted June 18, 2011 and runs through January 8, 2012. Gabi Mayers ’13 is among the 30 volunteers selected to facilitate conversations with visitors and help promote RACE’s message. Mayers began her training with the museum in April after she was chosen to become an exhibition facilitator. “I facilitate conversations and get people talking about race and their feeling about it,” Mayers explained about her job. She said that she initially chose to participate in this project because it would let her “learn a lot about things that I never knew.” She said that working at the exhibit “really allowed me to re-evaluate my misconceptions about people based on their appearances.” “I was able to meet many great people and make great connections. The exhibit really touches people and allows people to understand more about their racial backgrounds.”

With this exciting experience also comes responsibility. Mayers works four-hour shifts every Saturday at the museum on the National Mall. In addition to interactive features, historical artifacts, captivating photographs, varying forms of media, and striking displays, the exhibit allows visitors to engage in a dialogue about race through the creation of several learning centers in which people can gather and discuss their views . The exhibit even works in conjunction with the Historic Theater in Washington, D.C. to reenact the Greensboro Lunch Counter Sit-in in 1960, inviting visitors to particpate in plays. Patricia J. Williams, a legal scholar, said, “How can it be that so many well-meaning white people have never thought about race when so few blacks pass a single day without being reminded of it?” The RACE: Are We So Different? exhibit will help people answer this question through challenging people to analyze modern-day notions of race. Mayers encouraged Holton girls to attend. She said, “The exhibit is a really great place to meet people from all over world, and the people are so open about sharing their experiences.” She enjoys working alongside graduate school students and is “the youngest person there by far,” she remarked. “Everyone else has already majored in Anthropology and Biology!” she said. Be sure to stop by before the exhibit closes, and you just may have Mayers as your very own exhibition facilitator.

January 6, 2012

Middle Schoolers Light Up the Stage

By Allie Greenberg

“Lights! Camera! Action!” are the famous words that resonate with stage actors. The end of fall culminates in play performances by both Middle School and Upper School. This year the Middle School put on the Shakespeare comedy Love’s Labor’s Lost in conjunction with the Landon School from November 11 to 12. The play follows three lords, Berowne, Longaville, and Dumaine, who make a commitment to their education and a pact to stay away from women, leading to hilarious results. Love’s Labor’s Lost garnered a positive reaction from many of the middle school actresses. Shea Sion ’17 “loved acting in the play and getting to know the other actors.” “I met so many people,” Hallie Malina ’16 said, though she had trouble memorizing her lines because of the Shakespearian language. Though Taylor Butler ’16 found learning the disco scene the most challenging part, the “stage directions allowed [her] to see the play come together.” All girls agreed that they enjoyed working with Landon. While Love’s Labor’s Lost was a success, there exists a noticeable difference in the middle school plays compared to the upper school productions. Elizabeth Andrews, director of Drama, explained that middle school plays are on a smaller scale and “are designed to give Middle Schoolers a taste of the acting world.” As Andrews said, the middle school plays tend to be comedies

7 Winter Instrumental Concert Showcases Talent

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT By Noori Srivastava

Photo Courtesy Wendy Stock Merrimann Middle school plays often prepare both Holton and Landon students for upper school ones.

with broader characters. In addition, the type of production differs within the divisions. For example, the upper school fall play is typically a musical with a large cast. In the winter, the Upper School produces a more serious play with a small cast, whereas in the middle school the winter play is a compilation of one-acts. The upper school winter play this year, Sunday Night, will appear March 2 to 4. Freshman Sophia Gharai noted that “the scenery and all the tech work are a bit more complex than they were in the middle school plays.” Middle school rehearsals are held during the school day while the upper school play is a larger commitment. Gharai ’15 stated, “The [upper school plays] go later into the evening than the middle school plays did.” Julia Peiperl ’13 said, “Upper school plays are more professional. In general, Middle School plays are still fun but really emphasize the process over the product.”

To get into the spirit of the holidays, friends and family of the instrumental players attended Holton’s annual Winter Instrumental Concert on December 8th. They enjoyed inspirational music performed by the String Orchestra, conducted by Jon Hansen, and the Wind Ensemble, conducted by Sarah Winston. To start off the concert, the Middle School String Orchestra played Journey’s all-time classic “Don’t Stop Believing.” The Middle School Band appeared next, dipping into opera with music from the famous work by Georges Bizet’s masterpiece Carmen. The full orchestra, with both ensembles playing, indulged the audience in a nostalgic piece, “The Fading Light of Autumn” by Ralph Ford. The Jazz Band followed with just as much energy, playing Howard Rowe’s “Hot Sauce,” a piece that really spiced up the evening. They also performed two other toe-tapping tunes: the George Gershwin favorite “Oh, Lady Be Good and “Southern Exposure.” The performance moved on to what Dr. Winston called the “intellectual potion of the night” with the Upper School Wind Ensemble playing “Benjamin Franklin and the Art of Music.” The piece manifests Franklin’s inventions and compositions. Taking a sudden melancholy

Sudoku Puzzle

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Photo Courtesy Caitlin Montgomery Surrounding Jon Hansen, (from left) Caitlin Montgomery ’12, Nathalie Weiss ’12, Samantha Coronel ’13, Sara Hou ’12, and Rhea Chung ’12 played in the orchestra for the Winter Concert.

turn, they played the ”somber yet regal” funeral music of “Trauersinfonie” by Richard Wagner, according to Winston. Finally, the group performed selections from Wicked, the Tony Award winning Broadway musical. Winston stated, “I enjoy the fact that we can show everyone in the Holton community what the different groups have been working so hard on in the last few months.” Next, the Upper School Strings played “October” by Eric Whitacre, noted for its musical complexity. They then delighted the crowd with the “Aria Ombra Mai Fu” from George Fredrik Handel’s Opera Xerxes. The latter presentation featured a twist as Melissa Novak accompanied, singing the solo soprano part. “Performing with a singer is a great treat for us,” said Hansen. “It also presents special challenges relating to balance, style, and dynamics of the ensemble.”

To conclude the evening, Chamber Orchestra played “Les Patineurs” by Emil Waldteufel. “I like the ability music has to evoke emotions,” Hansen said. Commenting on why he enjoys the Winter Concert, he said “Music can have a special impact at the Holidays.” The Handbells and Chamber Music Recital was performed in the Reception Room on December 15th. They played holiday classics such as “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Fum Fum Fum,” “Sleigh Ride,” “Hava Naglia,” and “Caroler's Ho-down.” The Middle and Upper School Choruses also sang December 18th in the Lewis Theater. They sang “Yo Le Canto Todo El Dia” by David L. Brunner, “Ain’t No Grave Can Hold My Body Down” arranged by Paul Caldwell and Sean Ivory, “Peace, Peace” by Rick and Sylvia Powell, and “Shalom Chaverim,” among other renditions.

Winter Fashion After the Holidays By Nicole Bohannon

Leather riding boots While Uggs are great to wear with pajamas, there’s not much else you can, or should, do with them. If you want the warmth of boots but the look of something classier, a great pair of leather riding boots is perfect. Get boots with a bit of a heel to give you a real strut as you walk down the hallways and streets. Get: dark brown or copper

Lace dress Check the Scribbler online Bring the lace trend into the paper (on your Student Porwinter with a beautiful, dainty, tal under the News bulletin) for and soft lace dress. Even after all each month’s answer! of the holiday parties, you want a versatile dress that you can wear casually or formally. One with long sleeves will keep you warm for the whole season. Get: cream or light pink

Patterned leggings and tights We all know why we wear tights at an all-girls school. To keep warm, right? Mix it up and get yourself a few pairs of patterned tights. They add subtle but very delicate accents to an outfit. Start out with simple polka dots, but be sure to check out ones with roses and swirls, for example. Be careful not to veer into crude territory, such as fishnets. Get: Holton colors or black Paillette dress Paillettes are essentially enlarged sequins and give you a shimmery fish scales look. This style is strictly for parties. There is no way to dress down sequins. Get: cool colors such as green, blue, or purple. Stay away from classically sparkly colors such as silver and gold.

8Hours Devoted to Skating Pay Off for RebeccaSPORTS Chan ’17 By Helen Edwards Many people enjoy ice skating as a casual outing with friends, some hold on to the walls of the rink for dear life, and others glide gracefully on the ice. Either way, ice skating can be a fun activity to blow off some steam and spend time having fun. For seventh grader Rebecca Chan, however, figure skating is not just a pastime, it is her sport. Chan has been skating since she was five years old, and she began competing at age seven. “It was one of the sports I tried when I was very young,” she said. “I started group lessons and I enjoyed it. It made me feel good when my sharp blades cut in to the ice and made a ripping sound. From a young age I fell, and I learned to get up. I applied it to life.” Chan loves learning new skills and lessons from the sport, “whether it has to do with a thinking process, emotional piece, ideas, or a physical aspect. Skating taught her to make goals and stick to them and “try again if something isn’t working.” “I also learned not to despair when I didn’t do well in competition. I don’t give up hope, and I cling to my dreams, resulting in a good outcome.” Out of all of the tricks she’s learned, jumping is her favorite. “The best part of the jump is spinning in the air and defying gravity. Falling may not be that fun, but it is all part of the process and getting up becomes easier with time. In order to build up all of these talents, she has to practice a minimum of an hour and half

Work Out with Videos this Winter By Karen Buitano

Photo Courtesy Rebecca Chan

Rebecca Chan ’17 practices her ice skating. She started the sport at five years old and devotes more than fourteen and half hours a week to it.

a day. Chan said, “On the weekends, I skate three hours and thirty minutes on Saturday and three hours and fifteen minutes on Sunday.” “I compete in about five competitions in the year. I don’t usually do the small, local ones. The biggest competition is the South Atlantic Regional Competition.” Chan explained, “If you skip practice one day, the next day you lose a lot. It could be that your jumps don’t work or your edges are wrong or your spins are too slow. Every day of practice counts toward something.” In addition to the time commitment, accommodating practices within the frame of her busy Holton life is the most difficult part. “It isn’t something you can just practice at home like an instrument,” she said. “You actually have to go to the rink to skate.” It was not always so intense

for Chan. When she started out, “figure skating was mainly for fun and to keep me healthy when I was younger. Currently, it still keeps me healthy, but its not just for fun. I compete, and it has become my life.” Still, she had committed and still plans to stick to the difficult sport. “Most of my goals are set towards figure skating. I learned lots of lessons from it.” “It is the one sport I love and will always do. If I live to be a 100, I will still come back to the ice rink and skate around. Even if I can’t spin or jump, I would still visit the ice rink to feel my feet safe inside my leather boots and my blade making clear edges across the clean ice.” Chan skates at Cabin John Ice Rink and choreographed a winter show for two Lower Schoolers, Colleen Curto ’20 and Alyssa Wang ’21, who also skate at the local Rink.

Selina Dudley ’12 Encourages Girls to Love Golf By Katherine Connolly

Golfing is fairly simple to pick up, and is based on precision, timing, patience, and strength. Unfortunately, few girls develop an interest in the sport. “I think girls often just don’t know anything abut golf because there’s that misconception that it’s a man’s sport,” said Selina Dudley ’12. Dudley played golf casually all her life thanks to her grandfather, who got her hooked. When she was nine, she started having proper lessons. “I felt like it was something special that set me apart from everybody else. I have many golf ‘idols’ if you will, and I guess what really motivated me to play was the fact that I saw myself as the next Natalie Gulbis [or] Michelle Wei,” she said. Since then, she has gone on to compete in golf tournaments,

January 6, 2012

Photo Courtesy Neha Prasad

Selina Dudley’12 believes that golf “is something special that set me apart from everybody else.”

and even play with famous people such as John Boehner, Maury Povich, and Joe Baca. Since golf requires a lot of time and a relatively leisurely pace, it is a great way to meet new people and make friends. Great courses exist nearby. For example, 45,000 people a day attended the US Open at the Congressional in Potomac, MD last June.

Plus, you are never too old or too young for golf. “My great - grandmother won her last tournament when she was 90,” said Aine Connolly ’13. Just like Dudley and her grandfather, you can use golf as a great way to bond with older relatives. Dudley is the only girl on her 13-person golf team but said that fact only makes her more competitive. It is often intimidating, but playing golf is good start. “I see it as an opportunity to prove girl power holds true to all aspects and try to put the boys to shame,” she said. She contuinued, “The most important thing is that being a girl doesn’t characterize who I am as a golfer or how I play the game. I let skill and personality speak for itself.”

While the DC-Metro area has many fun activities to do during the winter, the weather isn’t always ideal. No matter what, it seems like it is too cold to exercise outside and too warm to make a habit out of winter activities such as skiing and snowing. There are plenty of ways, however, to stay in shape inside. Even when the weather outside is frightful, a workout video in the gym, at home, or with a friend is always delightful! Hundreds of workout videos from which to choose from exist, but some stand out. A favorite among Holton students is the P90X, a DVD series with videos that focus on cardio, strength training, stretching and yoga, though the most popular videos among Holton girls are Plyometrics and Ab Ripper X. Most of the videos are around 45 minutes to an hour long, but the humorously intense attitude of the videos’ host Tony Horton lightens the mood of the difficult series. The whole video set sells on Amazon for about $140, but there is a copy in Holton’s Athletics office that you can borrow to work out with at the Holton gym. If you’re looking for a less intense aerobic workout, try one of the Zumba videos. Zumba is an aerobic dance-fitness program inspired by Latin dance. Holton has beginner, intermediate, and advanced videos in the workout room. Zumba’s toning and challenging steps are a fun alternative to a standard aerobic workout with lunges and repetitive steps. The beginner DVD requires little to no coordination, but the advanced DVD requires some basic dance skills. Definitely try out Zumba with a friend; it’s a blast and a great workout, but pretty much everyone looks ridiculous doing it. Plus, you can laugh together at the dancers’ brightly colored outfits. Another insanely intense workout similar to P90X is called, appropriately, Insanity, a DVD series that also focuses on plyometrics and core strength training. The Insanity workout program is centered on the “60 Day Challenge,” which is a total- body weight loss and conditioning program. The whole set sells for about $170, but you can buy DVDs in-

Photo Courtesy

Photo Courtesy

dividually. The “Plyometric Cardio Circuit” is the most popular DVD, and it sells for $22. “The workouts are actually insane!” Amanda Lee ’12 said. “They’re really hard but so much fun if you do them with a friend. Plus, I love all of the people who lead the workouts! Except, Tanya, [who’s] so annoying.” For a stress-relieving aerobic workout, check out the Tae-Bo series. Led by the enthusiastic Billy Blanks, this series focuses on cardio kickboxing moves to improve cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, and strength. You’ll be doing many karateinspired punches and kicks that will tone muscles and provide an aerobic workout. The Holton workout room has a variety of Tae-Bo video cassettes ranging from a beginner level to advanced. For a workout more focused on muscle tone than aerobics, try a low-impact Pilate’s video. Pilates helps to build long, lean muscles and improve flexibility. The most popular Pilates videos are from Gaiam. Their bestselling video, “Pilates for Beginners with Jillian Hessel,” sells for about $15. Pilates and yoga also require a mat, but the Holton workout room has plenty and you can use a towel or rug if you do the workout at home. If you want to invest in a mat, one’s sell for $20 and up. In addition to these recommendations, resources like Shape Magazine highlight new videos online each month. No matter what video you choose, keep in mind that results come from repetition, practice, and a healthy lifestyle. No “miracle” video will give you results overnight. This winter, turn on your TV to get a workout!


The Student Newspaper of the Holton-Arms School