Page 1

Volume XVIV, No. 3

San Rafael, CA

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pages 6-7

Bagel Shop Shut Down Page 2

Photo and Design by Sarah Strand

Alumni Angle Page 9

Skiing vs. Snowboarding Page 11



November 19, 2009

Marin Bagel Co. ratted out for health code violations Sam Pritzker Staff Writer The Marin Bagel Company, a restaurant beloved by much of the Marin Academy community, was shut down on July 21, 2009 after violating several health codes. Complaints from San Rafael locals surfaced as early as May of 2005. The County of Marin’s Environmental Health Services (EHS) responded “to a complaint alleging that an employee had a sneezing fit over the food.” There was little the EHS could do in response to this allegation, and so the Marin Bagel Company remained open. The next inspection in which a major issue was noted was in Oct. of 2007, after a health inspector found a soap dispenser empty. From this, the inspector surmised that the staff members were not washing their hands thoroughly. Problems with the company remained fairly dormant until a com-

plaint was filed on July 14, 2009, which accused both the Marin Bagel Company and Confucius Restaurant of having rodents throughout their facilities. One dead vermin was spotted on the bagel shop’s floor. “I also observed many droppings throughout the facility,” the complaint stated on the EHS health inspection form. “The owner, Roger Pavlow, was very angry and aggressive with me. He had a sign that said ‘closed for remodeling,’ so I told him the need for showing permits and plans [as proof of remodeling]. He then began to slash the signs out with a pocket knife.” The EHS followed up on the complaint on July 21, 2009, when inspector Dave Smail and Officer Collins (who was suggested to accompany Smail in case of Pavlow’s aggression) dropped off a closure notice.

“A door to the food storage room was open,” Smail stated on the EHS health inspection form. “There on the floor was a large dead rat. There was an awful smell. I spoke with Roger Pavlow. He said there was no food in the facility and that he’s probably not renewing a lease.” As a result of the Marin Bagel Company’s closure, the options for a quick snack close to school have been limited. “I think the bagel shop’s popularity was derived from its good food, quick service, and cheap fees,” said sophomore Alex Cooke. “It’s a shame it shut down because there really isn’t another place close by where you

Afghan war brought to campus Neha Budhraja Staff Writer The war in Afghanistan has come to Marin Academy. The current violence and instability in the region has put the United States government in a state of confusion. Students and faculty have explored the many possible solutions and a select few senior history electives have even turned the conversation into action. The topic of Afghanistan was introduced during this year’s B Block Conference on Democracy session. Keynote speaker Normon Solomon brought a fresh perspective to the topic by sharing his experiences from his recent visit to Afghanistan and engaging students in a discussion on the current military involvement of the United States. Senior Jessica Fields, a member of the International Relations class, attended the session. “Right now everyone’s talking about counter-terrorism, counterinsurgency, all the troop levels

and such, but [Normon Solomon] has an alternate view in terms of increasing the humanitarian aid,” Fields said. The Obama administration has not taken a definite stance on its plan, but the violence of the recent presidential election in Afghanistan has influenced its decision. As of now the president has tentatively agreed to send thousands of more troops to the country. History teacher Betsy Muir’s International Relations class has decided to take the matter in their own hands and write letters to local senators and congressmen about their thoughts on the issue. The students were required to attend Solomon’s dialogue and many of their proposals for a resolution to the war were influenced by his views. “There is no perfect solution or we would have found it already, but I did try to stray away from the military strategies and focus on the humanitarian strategies,” Fields said of her letter. Senior Gaayatri Kaundinya,

also in the class, believes that the United States’ mission in Afghanistan needs to be redefined and troops re-educated. “Right now the U.S. is trying to alter the actual government of Afghanistan, but more than 80% of the population isn’t even controlled by the government,” said Kaundinya. “A training program for troops to understand more about the culture of where they’re going would be helpful.” Outside the history classroom, however, the war in Afghanistan is hardly acknowledged by the greater MA community. “The first step for people is to just pay attention to the news. And don’t just read the New York Times; go out and find other sources,” says Kaundinya. Fields could not agree more “It is so easy to overlook since it is so far away geographically, but it is really important because so much of our money and resources go to this; and the fact that we are involved in two wars right now, that’s a big deal.”

as well. “At one point, about seven years ago, we stopped buying from them because the quality of their bagels went downhill,” said long-time food service employee Lise Eisenberg. “We tried the bagel company again a few years later and their new baker made highquality bagels.” What’s more, Epicurean still supplies students with the Marin Bagel Company’s bagels, just from a different source. “They closed the shop here in San Rafael, but they are still who we get our bagels from,” said Eisenberg. Anna Kelly “Now, we get our bagels out of the San Francisco only been purchasing bagels from exporter, and I’ve heard rumors the restaurant itself, but MA food that they may be coming back to service companies have supplied open up in San Rafael.” students with bagels from the Marin Bagel Comapny for years,

can get that kind of a deal.” However, students have not

Thanksgiving gratitude Jackson Wolf Staff Writer

For many students, November means an intensifying workload as people gear up for the end of the semester. At the heart of this latefall slog through piles of work is Thanksgiving, a day that is not only a conveniently placed break on the calendar, but also a good time for community members to reflect on what they are thankful for.

I’m thankful for... “Not yet finding the end of the asymptote.” –Benji Dossetter “Sincere senior speeches.” –Tommy Barger “Poetry and NASCAR” – Caroline Kamm “Classmates who support each other in their athletic endeavors.”

–Erin Wilson “LeBron James.” –Brett Cutler “Clean, running water.” –Gabe Joseph “Good books.” –Lily Spitz “My dad who puts up with my latino machismo.” –Carlo Berg “Lemonade and music.” –Maya Hallstein “Cosmo magazine in the library.” –Dhruv Maheshawri “Monday Night Football.” –Sonya Egoian

“People like Mark Stefanski.” –Sarah Thacher



November 19, 2009

Fill your stomach without emptying your wallet Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria



Inside the restaurant, the walls are covered in paintings, and a big dominant fish tank sits in the corner of the room. This creates a mellow and relaxed atmosphere where students can relax, and enjoy their lunch period.

Although most consumers order Amici’s pizza to go, if one does decide to sit in the restaurant to enjoy his/her meal, he/she will find that Amici’s is hardly a teenager friendly atmosphere. The dining area is a dimly lit, relatively small room, with paintings hanging from the walls. The other diners are usually of older age and do not take well to teenagers’ raucous loud tendencies.

Service: On top of the delicious food, the workers at Confucius couldn’t be nicer. Every dish is served with a smile, and although their English is not yet perfect, they are very helpful and polite. Whether the consumer needs help choosing one of their many dishes, or is short a few cents, the staff is there to help. Hossain Albgal

Confucius’s sign welcomes diners

Taste: With over 25 different dishes, ranging from pork to vegetarian, multiple different appetizers, and the ability to mix and match sides and entrees, Confucius gives its consumers the opportunity to create their dream Chinese cuisine. Their most acclaimed dish, the Schezuan chicken, is a nice blend of the sweet sauce and tender white meat chicken. The food’s major fault becomes evident long after one has left the restaurant: the food has a tendency to make its consumers feel ill hours after consumption. I have not personally felt the sickening side effects of the food, but I have seen colleagues fall one by one at the hands of Confucius. Every time I eat there, however, I do later feel very lethargic, and I wouldn’t dare eat Confucius before physical activity. Price: $$$ One dish can cost up to $7.00, and although this is not a ridiculous amount, it may be a bit difficult for high school students.

Service: Marshall Levensohn

The waiters at Amici’s will greet you with a smile, and

Mario Diaz displays a pizza maintain this look for the duration of your stay. Unfortu-

nately such kindness does not alleviate the pain from the excruciatingly long wait, which can range from 40 minutes to an hour.

Taste: The crust of an Amici pizza is delicious; but one has to suffer through the rest of the pizza to get there. The New York Style, which Amici’s prides itself in, is simply an excuse to serve paper thin pizza much too small to fulfill anyone’s dietary needs. The cheese has a very tart aftertaste, and the sauce is mediocre at best. The semi-sweet sauce combined with the sour cheese makes for a confusing and scarring taste. Price: $$$$ One would imagine that such a sub-par restaurant would establish its consumer base using modest pricing: Wrong. Amici’s inadequate pizza comes with a hefty price tag. With a personal pizza costing $7.75 (equal to about two slices), an Amici’s pizza can be a damaging blow to one’s wallet as well as his pallet.

Moonlight Deli



From the small trees to the flat screen televisions, the diner provides a cozy and home-like environment for its customers.

Moonlight is a small, hidden, treasure chest in the sea of San Rafael. The store’s minimal advertisements and small building don’t catch the eye of many, so there is always a light crowd in the small restaurant.

Service: The local diner is an extremely welcoming lunch spot and students are always welcome. The waiters provide fast and easy service to enjoy your meal, and get to your last block on time.

Service: Those who enter the opened door to Moonlight, are always greeted with an ecstatic “hello,” from the staff. The sandwich assembly line is not built for speed, making the deli a place to come when you have some extra time to spare.


1 : nasty $: a steal


’s: subpar $$: cheap


Marshall Levensohn

Hassan Gali enjoys his sandwich


Moonlight is prepared everyday for all a sandwich lover could imagine. With a large variety of breads, meats, cheese, vegetables, and sauces, they can whip up whatever someone’s heart desires. The staff has mastered the art of toasting bread like no other. With a wide selection of drinks, chips, and baked goods, Moonlight always can satisfy the largest of hungers. Cost: $$$ Moonlight Deli is a popular every day choice for MA students. They always provide quality sandwiches at a low cost. Although Moonlight does not give a discount to students, there are endless amounts of choices, which you can buy for around $5.

’s: average

$$$: average


’s: fantastic

$$$$: pricey


’s: heavenly

$$$$$: expensive

Writing and reporting by Marshall Levensohn

Bobby’s Cafe

Bobby’s sells food that is extremely attractive to our age group. Although extremely greasy and salted, many love the taste and variety that the menu offers. However, lingering over the café’s Marshall Levensohn Leigh Kinney chows down at Bobby’s reputation is the question of sanitation from stories of “unpleasant surprises” in customers’ food. As the complaints have come in, the customers at Bobby’s have gone out greatly hurting the café’s business. Cost: $$$$ In previous years, Bobby’s café gave MA students gracious discounts, from $5 breakfasts to $7 burgers and famous philly-cheese steak sandwiches. However this year, probably due to the recession, the student-discount has changed substantially, and the previously cheap $7 meal has turned into an expensive $12 meal.

Writing and reporting by Hossain Albgal

Confucius Restaurant



The hidden costs of college Skyrocketing tuition is not the only thing to watch out for when calculating the price of college; the application process itself has many virtually unavoidable costs.

Typical fees for Applications to 6 colleges: $300 ($50 each) Take Advanced Placement exam twice: $172

Send ACT scores to 6 colleges: $18

Take ACT once, with writing option: $47

Take 3 Subject Tests (including one Language with Listening): $98 Take SAT Reasoning Test twice: $90

SAT prep courses: $400 $3,150

Send SAT scores to 6 colleges: $19

College visits: $10 - $1000

SAT or ACT prep books: $20

Ways to avoid some of these costs: - Apply online. Doing so will help you avoid the application fees at many institutions. - Prepare well for each SAT or ACT test. This may help you avoid taking the test many times. - Keep an eye out for free test prep sessions offered by some college counseling programs. Or do the test prep yourself with the help of an ACT or SAT prep book. - Make sure you only apply to schools you are actually interested in attending, otherwise you are just wasting application fee money. Information compiled by Features Editor Julia Herbst

November 19, 2009

Peer Resources Lauren Thomas Staff Writer

Every Wednesday during lunch, a group of eighteen students, ranging in grades from sophomore to senior, disappear from sight on the Marin Academy campus, not to be seen by their teachers or friends until 50 minutes later. Although known for their two main events, Communications Evening, which happens in the fall, and Uncensored, which takes place in the spring, this group, called Peer Resources, is surrounded by a lot of myth and mystery: where do they go? What do they do? And do they really get free pizza? “Peer Resources is basically a group of students who have meetings every week and work to bring awareness to the school about big issues that are being ignored, but that are important, and to get people to talk about them.” said junior and member of Peer Resources Maya Hallstein. The group came into existence nine years ago, when school counselor Joanie Lacey first began teaching at MA. “There was something called the ‘Trust Council’ when I got here,” Lacey said, “and what I did was work with the group and morphed it into an actual Peer Resources group… At a lot of schools, Peer Resources was more about counseling and helping students and that’s not my philosophy at all, kids shouldn’t have to be mini-counselors- that kind of responsibility is misplaced. [The group] is really about communication skills and leadership skills.” Lacey was joined in 2002 by Dean of Multicultural Life Sanjai Moses, who became co-leader of Peer Resources, and the two worked together to make the group into what it is today. Now, Peer Resources plays a large, if sometimes unnoticedrole here. Besides being in charge of their two annual and highly publicized school-wide events, members of Peer Resources assist during Welcome

Day for new students, attend the overnights during freshman orientation, sit on a test-prep panel for freshmen, design portions of the senior retreat, meet with the school deans, and assist teaching human development classes. All these activities, coupled with the mandatory weekly lunchtime meetings, make Peer Resources a big time commitment, but that hasn’t disuaded students from wanting to join the group. Lacey and Moses estimate that they receive between forty and sixty applications for a mere four to six spots available each year- and that the number of applications keeps increasing. “It’s an opportunity for kids to have a leadership role on a regular basis,” said Lacey, “and I think that really appeals to a lot of Marin Academy kids.” Communications Evening, an event designed to start conversations about tough issues between students and parents in a safe and more anonymous environment, is the big November event that Peer Resources spends the majority of its first semester lunch meetings preparing for. “Up until Communications Evening, we’re really doing a ton of skill-building around facilitation skills and also about group leadership,” said Moses. The Uncensored event, a series of lunchtime workshops led by members of Peer Resources as well as leaders of some social equity clubs that open up discussion about more controversial and taboo subjects that normally go unspoken, requires similar preparation in the second semester. As for the pizza myth? Moses dispelled any rumors about the supposed bounty of free food available to Peer Resources members during the weekly meetings. “[They get pizza] probably about once a semester,” she said. “It’s not very often; they complain about that.”



November 19, 2009

Faculty and their wild-kittens Reporting by Staff Writers Ruby James and Berk Normon.

The future students of Marin Academy? Joe Harvey:

Kevin Rees: Aedán, 6, and Abigail, 3, love books and have an enormous amount of energy. On the weekends, they enjoy riding their bikes to the library and swimming at their local pool. Aedán, whose name reflects his Celtic heritage, was born in Luxembourg and is a duel citizen. Abigail is named after the wife of David in the Old Testament, a strong female role.

Pilar Góngora: Gabriella, 2 1/2, loves baby dolls and the color pink. The hardest part about having Gabi is that Pilar does not have enough time to herself. Luckily, her husband is able to drive Gabi to preschool on the days that she has an 8 AM class, making mornings easier.

Jed, 6, loves birds, soccer, football, swimming, and playing with trucks. He starts his morning early at 6:30 AM and usually plays legos with his dad or goes to the park before school. Harvey finds that keeping both his work life and family life in balance is one of the most difficult aspects of being a parent, however, both are very rewarding.

Liz Gottleib: Sage, 3, and Eutimia (Timi), 9 1/2 months, are very close but have extremely different personalities. Sage is strong-willed while Timi is easy going and adaptable. One thing they do have in common is that “they are both very curious and have a huge capacity for fun,” says Gottleib. “They are always smiling!” As for being future students at MA? “It would be amazing, but they have to be interested and it has to be a good fit,” saud Gottleib, “Our number one priority is what will be the best thing for them. Sage thinks she has the option of attending MA now. She doesn’t understand why she can’t go to “Mama’s school” instead of her own preschool!”

Charis Dension: Day, 7, and Finn, 5, are both free spirits. Finn enjoys wearing his Spiderman mask with his fairy nightgown to bed and is very gentle with others but at the same time loves riding his bike like a maniac. Day is a strong artist, very athletic, and wants to be a surgeon when she grows up. Both kids are very curious and understanding about Denison’s work. “Whenever I leave [for work], they will ask if all the teenagers, women, and hungry people in the world will stop needing my help anytime soon,” says Denison. When Day asked Finn, “Which place is she going today?” Finn answered, “I have no idea but I’m sure it’s something about justice.”

Karen Jacobsen: Francesca, 8, Benicio (Ben), 7, are both into skateboarding. They share this hobby with their best friends, who conveniently are their next-door neighbors. They have a door connecting between the two houses so its very easy to for them to go over and play and visa versa. “As they get older it gets easier,” said Jacobsen, speaking of morning and night routines. “They are good kids.”



marin academy

Think: state of the economy. Question: current operating systems. Create: new ways to run the school more sustainably.

The recession that began in late 2007 has caused the Marin Academy community to rethink the way it functions. The goal has been to retain all programs, students, and staff and reduce how much is spent on supplies. To avoid drastic cuts to staff benefits or opportunities for students, the school is focusing on raising more money and developing a more sustainable school. The school wants to preserve its modern approach to education and continue to foster a multicultural environment. “We wanted to not cut people and not cut programs,” said Mike Joyce, Chief Financial and Information Officer. To keep all faculty members and their benefits intact, the administration chose to lower salary increases for longstanding staff members. “Sometimes just having a job is a pretty good thing, even if you get a smaller salary increase than you’re accustomed to,” said Joyce. Another cost-cutting change alters the benefit package of part-time faculty to proportionally reflect how much time they work. This applies to staff members who work less than 75 percent of the time. The modification does not change the actual benefits the faculty member receives, only what percent of the coverage is paid for. Most public schools have faced shortages in government funding, but MA has not been affected in this manner because it is an independent school. However, the school did lose money from its endowment and investments. In the face of such losses, the struggle is finding ways to provide for all the students and teachers without cutting back on integral parts of the school. “The school has been run from a fiscally conservative point of view,” said Head of School, Travis Brownley, “We are being careful about our money.” Caution around spending has enabled the school to meet all of its budgets and this year the endowment seems to be recovering. Eco-consciousness also fuels the effort to spend less. To conserve resources, many teachers are not giving any paper handouts; instead they are testing blogs. Also, many assignments are turned in via e-mail. If they must be in hard copy, they are double sided, using half the paper. “The cost of a Marin Academy education isn’t covered completely by tuition,” said

the state of marin academy • Tuition was raised from $30,900 last year to $32,100 this year. • A “Here and Now” initiative has been launced to promote financial awareness and stability. • Benefit package practices for part time faculty have shifted to proportionally reflect the time they work. • The Annual Fund has still been receiving donations from families in numerous socio-economic levels. • This year saw an approximate 11% drop in applicants. An Admissions Department survey indicates this directly relates to the economy.


Educ Joyce. The tuition was raised this year from about $30,900 to $32,100. Although the tuition makes up 85 percent of the operating budget, the school depends on fundraisers and parent donations as well as student effort. In spite of the downturn and families’ need to be frugal, the Annual Fund has continued to receive donations from families in all socio-economic statuses. “Generally, educational institutions don’t see the big hit that a lot of other non-profit organizations do,” said Joyce. He explained that when the economy is good, people give to multiple causes they care about. In a recession, they don’t stop giving altogether, but instead consolidate funds and give to just one or two organizations. “We are probably intensifying our outreach efforts,” said Dan Babior, Director of Admissions & Financial Aid, “We really want people to know how interested we are in them considering us as a high school.” The number of applicants for the current school year dropped about 11 percent. Surveys sent out by the Admissions Department last year indicate that the drop is caused largely by the economic recession. The school predicted that the financial crisis would warrant more financial aid requests from current families, as well as from new applicants. “Our biggest challenge was families not on financial aid,” said Brownley, “Families had a reversal of fortune and our trying to help families out in that way.” Both the new Strategic Plan and a fundraising campaign called the “Here and Now Initiative” focus on increased financial awareness and stability. These measures call on parents as well as alumni to contribute financially to address the shortfalls in funds. Even with the economic downturn, the school was able to offer financial aid to more of the current families and still admit more new families who needed assistance. Although the community has felt the negative impact of the recession, it has forced the community to be more conscious of excessive spending. “I certainly see a different kind of awareness,” said Brownley, “Actually, a more realistic understanding too.” While the economic recession as a whole is a national issue, the cost of education is one aspect that hits closer to home. Efforts to preserve the programs at MA —and keep its spirit intact—may instill in this generation a sense of responsibility. “I think we are going to be holding the mirror up for a long time to come to see what lessons we have learned from this,” said Joyce.

bay area

The public education system in the Bay Area has been greatly impacted by the economic crisis. Since the recession began in late 2007, students and teachers alike have noticed a real change in their everyday classroom environment. Everything from class sizes, materials available, and extracurricular programs have been changed due to the governmental cuts. “Well, we have no paper!” Terra Linda High School sophomore Anna Van Winkle said. “[The paper] has to be double-sided and there’s a lot of e-mail.” Another drastic change is the class sizes at both middle and high schools. “There [are] twice as many students in every class,” Van Winkle said. “There [are] forty kids in my chem class.” Also, honors classes are no longer guaranteed to be smaller. “The class sizes are huge,” Judy Rogers, a Miller Creek Middle School sixth grade English and History teacher said. “Twenty-nine students in both of my classes, and those classrooms were made for 20 kids to be in; they’re small classrooms.” Programs such as peer tutoring, math help at lunch, fieldtrips, and bringing in speakers to talk to the kids have all been cut from Miller Creek. The English as a Second Language program (ESL) has also been removed from the Dixie District at the middle school level.


r 19, 2009


in need of repair california

Due to California’s bankruptcy, the state government is cutting funds for education including summer school, transportation, staff and teacher’s benefits. The California Government will be cutting $4 billion from schools for this school year. California School Superintendent Jack O’Connell led the fight against the budget cuts. “Preparing students for productive futures is a critical mission of our government, and it is vital for our state’s long-term success that we have an educated, highly skilled workforce that can compete in the global economy,” said O’Connell in an interview with the California Department of Education. “But we cannot succeed in achieving this necessary and ambitious undertaking when our resources are so excessively depleted.” School transportation is in danger with gas prices on the rise. To save $496 million, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will cut school transportation funds by 20 percent. Some school districts are coping with the bus shortage by giving the bus a shorter route and stopping fewer times. This year, 3,000 students in Elk Grove, near Sacramento, had to find alternative ways to get to school. Some teachers worried that fewer buses would mean fewer children in school. “If we were to cut home-to-school transportation and we lost 0.75% of a percent of [average daily attendance], we would lose the value of cutting transportation,” said Richard Odegaard, the Elk Grove Associate School Superintendent, in an interview with The Sacramento Bee. The budget cuts have led to fewer teachers, so summer school programs are in danger and class sizes are growing. The Mount Diablo School District in the East Bay will fire 400 teachers this year. Some 4th grade classes have one teacher and have up to 36 students. Thirty thousand teachers in California alone will be fired and class sizes will increase by 35 percent, on average. With summer school programs, some districts only offer classes to kids who need them to graduate. O’Connell also spearheaded the effort to prevent summer schools from closing. “The elimination of summer school courses [makes students] miss out on the chance to catch up to their peers over the summer break,” said O’Connell. “This is proof that the cuts

“We used to have a good program for those learning English, and these kids need it. They need to learn English so that they know what’s going on in their classes,” Rogers said. The teachers are not equipped to teach ESL students, and the ESL students are not equipped to learn in a different language. Teachers and students don’t agree with where the government is making cuts. “Children always lose out first,” Rogers said about the budget cuts. “That’s the easiest cut to make.” “There [are] people who don’t have children. . . and they don’t really understand the importance of education,” Van Winkle said. Students and teachers agree that the young people need the money so they can have a future, but they are the last to receive it because people don’t understand the importance of education. The state still has a long road ahead of it to fix education in California. “I think that the state of California and the nation are going to be suffering for years from decades of over-indulgence and not being visionary,” Rogers said.


the state of national education • A record 50 million students are attending public schools this fall in the U.S.1 • In public schools, the average student to teacher ratio is just over 15.1 • “Cutting the number of [US high school] dropouts in half would generate $45 billion annually in new tax revenue.”2 • Half of high school students in the 50 largest cities of the US are graduating a 4-year high school.2 • President Barack Obama’s Stimulus Plan allotted $53.5 billion, divided between the states to support programs that work with low-income students and those with disabilities, as well as help to pay teachers.3 enacted over at the state Capitol are limiting our students’ opportunities to learn and improve their futures.” Still, there are bright spots for California’s education system. Proficiency in Language Arts has risen to 50%, an increase from 35% in 2002. It is unclear if those bright spots will remain, however. Besides O’ Connell, there are other calls for education reform. Gavin Newsom (D-California), a gubernatorial candidate, expressed support during a town hall meeting in San Rafael for education reform, criticizing the gridlock in the California state legislature. Although a budget compromise is being formed, educators remain concerned that the legislature has tax loopholes and needs revision. O’Connell still believes fervently that education is the way out of the bankruptcy. “Education is [an important] part of California’s long-term economic recovery from this recession, but if we’re not willing to invest in it then our state’s future will continue to remain shrouded in instability and uncertainty,” said O’Connell.

writing and reporting by jennifer katz, olivia lloyd, jacob salant, eric slamovich, and alec white

design and layout by nishant budhraja and sarah strand Sources:

National Cener for Education Statistics 2 Wall Street Journal 3 CBS News




November 19, 2009

Wake up activists: it’s time for school Marin Academy, as a school and as a community, encourages the development of problem solving skills and the application of those skills to real-world issues. Whether it’s a “350” event during assembly or a multicultural club meeting during lunch, MA students are passionate about telling the community their solutions to large-scale problems. For a community that supports the concept of taking initiative, we often forget to acknowledge the problems that affect us most. Whether or not we see it, California’s current education crisis affects us more than any other state, national, or

days off their calendars, cutting extracurricular programs, and firing teachers in an attempt to cut costs. California’s prestigious public universities are suffering as well; the UniAmanda Levensohn versity of California is increasinternational issue. The current economic crisis has ing tuition by 35% on average and prompted one of the worst educa- taking in more out-of-state students tion budget cuts in the history of the to raise extra funds. The statewide State of California. Public schools situation is dire to say the least. In contrast, we live on a slice of around Marin are crossing school

marin academy voice 1600 Mission Ave., San Rafael, CA 94901 The Marin Academy Voice is a student-run newspaper published free from faculty or administrative censorship or prior review. Unsigned editorials represent the views of the entire staff. Columns represent the views of the writer, not necessarily those of this paper. If you have any questions or would like to receive The Voice, please send a request to Editors-in-Chief Sarah Strand Nishant Budhraja News Editor Olivia Powers Features Editor Julia Herbst Op-Ed Editor Amanda Levensohn Sports Editor Max Weiss A&E Editor Sara Morgan Faculty Advisor Mary Collie

Staff Hossain Albgal Neha Budhraja Riley Champine Katie Eisemen Claire Fox Avery Hale Ruby James Jennifer Katz Anna Kelly Marshall Levensohn Olivia Lloyd Andrew Miller Jamie Muresanu Berk Norman Sam Pritzker Jacob Salant Isaac Scott Eric Slamovich Lauren Thomas Sarah Tillman Alec White Jackson Wolf

educational heaven here. Our art, sports, and performance departments are as strong as ever; our facilities are open, and our teachers remain employed. We have an endowment worth more than ten million dollars, private donors who give generously, and the ability to autonomously raise and manage funds. We do not see financial issues on the visceral level that public schools do, and, as a result, we do not take the avant-garde political nature that we are so well known for. Yet still, our education system is crumbling in front of our very eyes and if things continue to go as they have over the past two years, MA and other private high schools will undoubtedly feel the impact. Tuition will rise rapidly as the demand for a private education grows and the prestigious UC’s that many of our students attend will see their resources cut and their professors wooed away.

We are a part of a community of students, public and private alike, and we owe this community our most ardent support and dedication in the effort to save our education system. If we, as students, do not move to bring back educational funding, and if we do not show outrage or empathy, then neither will our legislators. They will continue to cut, and we, as a whole, will continue to suffer. So go ahead and join Crossroads, a program that strives to help struggling middle school students get the education they deserve. Donate your spare art supplies to a local public high school, giving them materials to pursue what they love. Ask your old middle school if you can volunteer, giving back to the community that provided for you. Have a bake sale or a benefit concert or a barbeque; raise some money and invest in our state’s future.

community that support the claim that MA truly is “the fancy school.” We have new facilities, manicured lawns, and big family names. Though these are things that we would not want to change, less visible aspects of our entitlement are apparent on campus, as well. Students might like to think that we do a good job cleaning up after ourselves, but this is far from the truth. The café and café courtyard after lunch are filthy, littered with plates, cutlery, and napkins blowing in the breeze. I have recently noticed that students treat the library similarly, leaving papers, books, and backpacks strewn about the tables and the floor, only to be picked up by school staff once we have returned home. Unfortunately, I find this same disrespect in realms other than the physical. When this year’s Conference on Democracy key-note speaker, Eric Schlosser, spoke, it was hard to hear over the commotion of my peers. Students had side conversations, cracked jokes, and fiddled with cell phones. I know that this is not how the entire audience conducted themselves, but

the amount of disrespect shown was far from acceptable. Unfortunately, I have come to expect this kind of behavior at regular assemblies, but when we had a world-renowned investigative journalist speaking about our role in a democracy, I had hoped students would care. Apparently I was wrong. Though we cannot change the way people perceive our school, we can eliminate negative connotations connected to the name “Marin Academy.” We can show that attending MA does not automatically make anyone entitled and ungrateful. The change starts in appreciating what we are given, whether that is our physical grounds or the figures that speak at school. It is moments like my interaction at the optometrist’s office that remind me people see what they want to see. Those that do not know the school, or cannot attend it, rationalize that we are spoiled and selfish claiming, they would never want to attend anyway. Those within the community see our school as a mecca of higher learning and social justice. In reality, our school exists in the middle.

A view from the outside Sarah Strand Editor-in-Chief

On a day to day basis, it is easy to forget that Marin Academy is a bubble. Many upperclassmen drive themselves to school, and much of the student body is aware of and owns the hottest music, movies, and designer fashions. After holiday breaks, instead of comparing books read and friends seen, we compare foreign countries visited and major cities traveled to. This, however, is not typical of all high schools. At a recent optometry appointment, I was asked all the basics: name, age, and school. All are easy to answer, but when I responded with “Marin Academy” an awkward pause ensued, then: “Oh, the fancy school.” I often forget that those outside the community often see the school with negative prestige that is not entirely warranted. We have a decent amount of diversity for a school in Marin; donations, as well as the tuition, allow for students from a wide socio-economic background to attend. However, there are more visible aspects of the



November 19, 2009

My MA: from Bay Area to Baltimore Tiras Lin ‘09 Guest Writer Double-shot mochas. Naked roommates. Crazy weird English and mathematics professors. Of all of the new things college has introduced to me, one stands out: College has changed the way that I work and interact with others. I’m an aspiring biomechanical engineer at Johns Hopkins University and most of my classes are based heavily on science, math, and engineering. This is perhaps the fundamental reason why the concept of group study has become essential for me to adapt to. At MA, success in my chamber music classes, photography classes, and English classes were based on subjectivity—my personal ability to formulate my own thoughts and my facility to present them in a rational manner. Marin Academy did not inspire me to work with others at all; I used group

study sessions at MA to socialize because I couldn’t get anywhere when I tried working with others. Not that my peers weren’t competent, but, the architecture of my assignments just never made me feel like there was a need for partners unless the teacher absolutely required it. However, as an engineer here at Johns Hopkins, it is absolutely necessary for me to work with others to succeed. The polarizing shift I have experienced over the past few months, transitioning from a humanities based curricula to a highly technical schedule, has made my assignments less straightforward. Homework is no longer a personal endeavor; it is now a group discussion, a messy chalkboard, and a jargon-filled argument. I believe that half of my tuition dollars are going towards my opportunity to learn, not from my professors, but from my peers. At times, I find myself mak-

ing friends out of necessity and the desire to find likeminded people that can help me out when I’m unable to come up with a clean solution for a homework set. I’m grateful that the picky college admissions process brought me to a school where the majority of students have similar mindsets. I expected myself to become a different Tiras Lin ‘09 person in col- Morgan Byce ‘09 and Tiras Lin ‘09, write a two story lege; I expected series on how MA prepared them for college. myself to adapt to contrasting

values and interests. While college has redesigned both my physical and psychological landscapes, my individuality still—contrary to my ambitious predictions—remains entirely unchanged. I loved playing piano in high school, and I still spend an unusual amount of time with the Yamaha baby grands here at Hopkins. My friends and teachers at MA made fun of me for being a neurotic geek; just a couple weeks ago, my expository writing professor made an effort to break down a lengthy essay of mine with a system of three linear equations. Being an over-caffeinated undergraduate has really only changed the way that I work, and it has not touched my personality and interests. Oh, and I guess I lied before about the “crazy weird English and mathematics professors”— that much really hasn’t changed in college either.

The discipline behind the interdisciplinary Amanda Levensohn Op/Ed Editor

It was a warm afternoon, junior year. I was staring at the clock in math class. 25 minutes. 10 minutes. 5 minutes. I counted down the remaining moments of class time with the hope that I could be released early. Staring out the window, watching cars zip up Cottage Avenue and neighbors mowing their lawns, I asked myself: “Why am I learning Algebra II? That guy mowing his lawn probably doesn’t know what a parabola is, so why should I? Do I need this in the real world?” Although I do not fully believe this statement and highly value my education, I am not afraid to admit that, for three years, many of my classes seemed random and out of order. I was never in Humanities or English III, thus, I walked into my senior year with zero interdisciplinary expectations. Come senior year, Marin Academy proved me wrong. My Span-

Anna Kelly

ish class linked with my science

class when studying immigration,

and my science class with my English class when studying the geology and climate of California. On top of that, I could apply my history class to just about everything I was learning. I am not going to high school just to get into college; I am in high school to connect academia to my own life, and can achieve this through having an interdisciplinary schedule. I don’t leave behind my Spanish in Spanish and my APES work in APES. What I am learning in school is not something that stays in my notebook; it is something that gives me facts that I can use everyday and tools that make me a stronger and more multifaceted student. Even math has proved me wrong, playing a huge role in applied science, which I love. If I had known that cal-

culating the composition of soil was so interesting, (no, I’m not joking) maybe I could have enjoyed math more. Astounded by the connections that interweave my classes, I could not help but recognize and appreciate the hard work that went into making courses interdisciplinary. Thinking about the process, I imagined looking backstage during a play. I could see the axles turning and began to understand what makes the school tick-- classes that complement each other and teachers working together to make connections. When school gets tough and weeks run long, we may forget the value of an education that focuses on depth and breadth. Yet, we must continue to connect to the world that lies beyond campus. I have learned that it is never too late to start appreciating your schedule, and I whole heartedly suggest that everybody start now.



November 19, 2009

Standing out: uncommon piercings favored by students Sara Morgan A&E Editor In our society it is common practice for people to poke holes through their skin in order to adorn themselves with jewelry. While this description may sound a little extreme, it shouldn’t. Because the fact is, many people, including MA students think it is worth it to go through the ordeal of getting a piercing. There are however some piercings that are less ubiquitous. For example piercings on guys are much more noticeable because not that many guys have them. At MA, male students who get their ears pierced can be roughly divided into two categories: athlete, and artsy. Yet both types of guys have similar motives when it comes to getting one or both ears pierced. “I would say that jock guys probably get their ears pierced because girls tell them they would look hot with their ears pierced,” said senior Joey Upjohn. “And

artsy guys are probably thinking the same thing.” Besides attracting the opposite sex however, guys like to get piercings because it helps them stand out from the crowd. “I wanted to look a little more edgy and not just like a Hassan Gali standard guy,” said Upjohn. Differences between the “indie piercing” and the “athlete piercing” come into play with choice in earrings. It seems that artsy guys Joey Upjohn favor small tarnished vintage studs or light hoops whereas athletic guys gravitate towards the large diamond or

gemstone stud. “It’s right in the middle of soccer season so I have to constantly

they look.” While ear piercings on a guy may give them an edge, girls have to think outside the lobe. At MA a popular piercing choice female students is the cartilage. “I decided to get my cartilage pierced because I really liked the Avery Hale Avery Hale way it looked Claire Fox kind of subtly edgey,” said Junior Olivia Howard. For the brave souls willing to commit to a facial piercing, it seems that the nose is prime terSara Morgan ritory. Reasons Avery Hale for getting this Takiaya Reynolds-Riviore piercing among take my earrings off for games,” female students range from losing said senior Marc Sake. “I wear a bet to participating in a cultural diamonds because they are easy to tradition. buy and put on and I like the way

“I lost a bet,” said senior Tory Mathieson. “But I made the terms knowing I would be fine with having my nose pierced if I lost.” Whereas senior Shivani Desai said “My mom said I could do it whenever because in India it’s usually customary for girls to get their noses pierced when they’re quite young.” Even less common but still present on campus is the belly button piercing. “I like that they’re sorta different and not a lot of people have them,” said junior Lorin Hom. Yet, this is a piercings that requires some guts to get because the piercing process seems painful. “The only thing I was concerned about was the pain but in all honestly it did not hurt at all,” said Hom. “Getting my ears pierced was probably more painful.” Piercings are definitely not for everyone and not everyone’s parents are willing to compromise. Yet for people who are looking to stand out, another piercing may be the way to go.

Vinyl makes a comeback: an old style now a new trend Riley Champine Staff Writer Marin Academy students live in an age where music is accessed instantly then skipped, shuffled rewound, fast forwarded, deleted, ripped, burned and pirated. So why are students and people around the country starting to put the needle back on the record? Tom Wilson, a sophomore has been listening records since before he can remember. As a child, his dad played vinyl records because he felt a connection to when he first bought them. Today, Wilson continues to listen to his dad’s vinyl. Though he may not have the nostalgia, Wilson found that he prefers records for their quality. He compared the difference between to listening CD or Vinyl as similar to experience a studio performance versus a live show. “[Vinyl] has a whole different depth to it,” Wilson said, “it makes [the music] so lively.” Another

listener, Barry Lazarus, the owner of Red Devil Records in San Rafael, also believes that the quality of vinyl recordings is superior to both CDs and MP3s. “Sounds better, and looks better,” he said, “they’re warmer, more live and real”. His store at 4th and Lootens is stocked with records each in their original covers. “The Artwork is way better” said Lazarus. Although there is a lengthy debate over sound quality, most music experts agree that CDs and vinyl records provide the best listening experience. Both are

far superior to MP3 quality, which

is highly compressed in order for a larger number of songs to be stored.

Along with the higher quality, the tactile experience of putting on a record is quite appealing. “ I like how you have to put it on,” said Wilson, “actually touching it. The aesthetics.” R e c e n t l y, i t seems that people simply download or burn music for one song, and are missing out the aspect of the experience. To Lazarus, it is a loss, and goes along with what he believes is a “desensitization” of society. “Artists recorded albums for the album, not just 1 song for download.” A resurgence of the vinyl record

is apparent throughout the country. For the year of 2008, The Recording Industry Association of America reported a 124.1% increase in sales of LPs and EPs, the two types of vinyl records. Additionally, many artists such as Radiohead, Elvis Costello, and The Raconteurs have helped by releasing their new music on vinyl and with a code to get the MP3s as well. Record Companies followed the trend by reissuing oldies like the Beatles’ Abbey Road and Bob Dylan’s Blond on Blond. Meanwhile, during this growth in purchase of vinyl however, CDs sales, though still millions more than records, fell 24.7%. Though it is unrealistic that vinyl records will ever surpass CDs or MP3s in popularity, there just might be value in dusting off the record player and rediscovering vinyl yourself.

November 19, 2009



To ski or to snowboard, that is the question Berk Norman Staff Writer

Isaac Scott Staff Writer

Why do two-thirds of winter athletes who head for the slopes each year choose skiing over snowboarding? Skiers exhibit grace and versatility while riding the mountain, as opposed to the snowboarders who destroy it. Skiers can elegantly maneuver through all types of snow. They ride over and around moguls, twist through the intricacies of a tree covered hill, catch air off of jumps, and race down hills. If conditions are less than ideal, skiers are still able to keep control and have fun Berk Norman shreds the grromer because they have the advantage of two free legs. Snowboarders, on the other hand, have both feet strapped onto the board. In poor conditions, boarders look like an unbalanced and clunky mass trying to navigate the mountain. Skiers also have the huge advantage of using poles. This helps gain leverage to move, twist, rotate, or tilt one ski, which is an ability snowboarders lack resulting in their failure to make sharp turns and maneuvers. Poles also permit the skier to propel themselves uphill and on flatlands, which snowboarders have a much more difficult time doing. Two of the exhilarating parts of skiing are the moguls and fresh powder. However, skiers are deprived of this privilege because Isaac Scott shows off his snowboarding snowboarders push out the moguls and use up twice the amount of prowess powder that skiers do. Finally, snowboards have an obnoxious habit of running over skier tails, causing the skier to fall.

David Norman

Cassius Scott

In the winter of 1985, only 39 ski resorts in the world allowed “ski-boarders,” on the slopes, according to snowboardhistory. com. Now, 24 years later, snowboarding has evolved into a full-fledged sport. Since its very first days, snowboarding has always been the “cool-kids’” alternative to skiing. Snowboarding has all the relaxation and fun that skiing has, without any of the uptightness and rigid rules. Skiing requires a particular form and technique that is not a prerequisite in snowboarding, like posture and keeping your skis parallel. Good snowboarders show themselves through their own personal style and ability to ride, not with the rigid style through which skiers must prove themselves. Snowboarding has its own unique style, culture, and way of life. This has led snowboarders to develop a diverse sport that can be fun for anyone who wants to do it, from the oldest, graying snowboarders, to the youngest toddlers who can’t strap into their own bindings. It is the variety and multiplicity of this sport that makes it so appealing to such a wide range of different people, and it is that wide range of people that perpetuate it and allow it to thrive.

McBeastmode: McDonald and McCullough dominate Lucy McCullough

Katie Eiseman and Ruby James Staff Writers

KE: What are your individual goals this year for cross-country? LM: I have few individual goals for this season, but my biggest goal is to win the District Five State Meet. Last year I placed 5th, and I think that I have a fairly good shot at winning this year. KE: What are the varsity girls’ team goals? LM: Our team goals basically consist of placing as high as possible in the next couple of races: BCL Challenge, NCS, and State. We won NCS last year, so a repeat of that performance would be great. We got third at State, so exceeding that mark would be incredible. KE: How would you describe the team dynamic? LM: We have a great team dynamic. Two great captains lead us: Cora Went and Bryn Bliska. Our coaches Liz Gottlieb and Ken Ellingboe are Peter Joseph McCullough sprints to the amazing. Our team is fairly laid-back, and I view finish. everyone on cross-country as part of my family. KE: What motivates you? LM: I am motivated by my teammates and my drive to improve. Before every race and every workout I have a goal or a “game plan” in my mind, and during races or tough workouts I constantly remind myself of that. KE: What do you think about when you run? LM: When I run, especially during a race, I try to focus on my breathing pattern, the rhythm that my steps make, and how my body generally feels. I have found that if I over-think the race or if I let my mind wander, I don’t perform very well.

Lawrence McDonald

RJ: What are the goals for your team? LM: Our goals are to win BCL and NCS. A four peat for NCS is a major goal because it has never been done before. An undefeated season would also be a big accomplishment for us. RJ: Do you feel the team is prepared to win championships? LM: Yes, I do. I think we can win, but we can’t be complacent. The weather is definitely going to make or break us. We are used to Mark Saake practicing on a nice, turf field in McDonald (right) jukes a defender on his way to the goal. sunny weather. The weather and condition of the field we play on will heavily affect the outcome of the game. RJ: Why do you like soccer? LM: I love the competition. It’s also fun and a good way to stay in shape. I like to keep my rockin’ body toned. RJ: How is the team different from last year “chemistry” wise? LM: This year new leaders have emerged. All of the upperclassmen need to step up and take charge because we were used to living in the shadows of last year’s graduating class. RJ: What will you remember most about the soccer team? LM: I will remember the incredible athleticism and friendship among the team. Also, I will never forget Emmett’s nickel [a team inside joke].



November 19, 2009

We have one of those? The “other” sports The water polo teams get a booster barbecue. Posters are made to recognize the stars of the volleyball teams. Soccer fans come in droves to watch the teams play. While many sports receive large amounts of recognition at Marin Academy, a few go greatly unnoticed. Students who participate in these under-appreciated sports put time and effort into their passions without expecting to be the talk of the school, while still proudly representing MA Athletics.

Climbing ascends to new heights The club will begin its fifth year at the start of the winter sports season. It meets three days a week, and each day features a different aspect of the sport. One day focuses on learning how to condition physically for rock climbing. The students then spend another day climbing at Iron Works in Berkeley. Fridays are usually spent exploring the rocks of Marin Jonah Nakagawa shows off his balance--a helpful trait or the East Bay. for a climber The group Few people probably know it, faces restrictions but in the Outings supply room due to transportation limitations. can be found shelves, bins, and “We want to get more people racks of rock climbing gear of all involved, definitely,” said Poutypes. Just as few likely know that tiatine. “We want to introduce Outings Director Peter Poutiatine climbing to everybody, but being doubles as the coach and leader the able to get a bunch of people over of Rock Climbing Club. Without to Berkeley is an issue for us. The much fanfare or notice from the transportation is definitely an issue school community, Poutiatine and that limits involvement.” the Rock Climbing Club’s intrepid The rock climbers do not commembers have spent the last few pete against other schools, but that winters conquering the Bay Area’s doesn’t stop them from making the crags, boulders, and other rock most out of their activity. formations. “The activity seems to presThe club’s theory, Poutiatine ent itself more as an outings-type said, is “learning how to climb, activity than as a competitive learning techniques and safety activity,” said Poutiatine. “The skills and having a good time competitive part of climbing is doing it.” The group is open to only a peripheral piece of what climbers of all levels, as Pou- climbing is.” tiatine focuses more on the spirit of climbing than on the competitive aspect of the sport.

Mountain biking in line for a surge in members The mountain biking team needs riders, and it needs them badly. Although the team fielded a competitive group last year, it did not have enough members for its score to count officially in the scheduled races. Junior Gray Bender, team captain and one of the key members of the squad, says awareness concerning the team seems to be picking up, especially among freshmen. “There’re three of us racing for sure next year, and then maybe four others interested,” said Bender. Part of the reason mountain biking is garnering attention may be the opportunities it offers for so-called one-sport athletes. Mountain biking is unique in that it is compatible with other sports and is also flexible enough to allow for individual schedules. This means that not only does

Biking captain Gray Bender

mountain biking not intrude on one’s primary sports, its hard workouts can actually help. “I’m cross-training with running this year,” said Bender. “It definitely keeps you in shape.” Joining the mountain biking

team does not have to be all about a rigorous workout, however. The club is open to bikers who just want to expierence nature and stay in shape at the same time. This is especially the case in the fall, when there are no races and the squad meets every Thursday and Friday for its weekly rides. The team, however, is currently practicing only under the leadership of student captains Bender and Jeff Watt. After the end of last season, the team’s coach, a professional biker, left the team to coach the Northern California Girls’ Varisty Team. Despite these challenges, Bender still only sees the good side of the mountain biking team, and he has a message for all those who are interested in joining him: “It’s all about getting out into nature, and going fast and pushing your limits.”

En garde: Fencing is both a sport and philosophy

Stuart Kaufman, coach of the Marin Academy fencing team for the past ten years, really believes the old fencing saying: “The sword is just a pretext for something that can happen just as easily without it.” Kaufman has seen fencers come and go, and he believes he teaches each one not only about one of the oldest Olympic sports and martial arts, but also about life. “All I’m really doing to them is teaching them how to identify a task, set a strategy, and then deal with it, just like living life,” said Kaufman. While the fencing club only attracts a small percentage of the student body each year—six or seven students—the group is very close knit. “We’ve really got some interesting people on the team,” said Kaufman. One of those interesting people is sophomore Oliver Chesley, who has been greatly influenced by fencing ever since taking up the sport three years ago. Chesley says one of the reasons that he came to MA was for its fencing program, which many Photos by Avery Hale. Writing by Max Weiss and Andrew Miller other schools in the area do not

offer. Chesley is helping to recruit easy work out. According to Kaufeighth graders for the school team man, it is similar to other sports in and hopes to see a more active in- that it is an excellent test of athletic terest in the club. Both Kaufman ability. “It’s the same technique, but a and Chesley say that experience does not factor into the level of different application.” Kaufman also credits the sport’s enjoyment one can derive from athletic demands with rejuvenating the sport. Kaufman’s stress on the impor- him, saying this this facet of fenctance of strategy in fencing is not ing is reason enough to start. “I’m going to be 56 years old, lost on his students. Chesley, in particular, relishes the mental as- you know, and most people say I pect of the sport, mentioning that it look like I’m thirty five. It’s been is one of the few sports where phys- keeping me alive. It’s a battery ical ability is not always the most recharger.” important attribute. “ Y o u wait to see what they do and then you respond accordingly,” said Chesl e y. “ Yo u don’t have to be super fit to do it.” H o w ever, fencing is not an Oliver Chesley practices his thrust

November 2009: Marin Academy Voice  
November 2009: Marin Academy Voice  

November 11, 2009