Page 1

Volume XVIV, No. 5

Thursday, February 11, 2010

San Rafael, CA

Meet Travis’ twins Page 2

Peer Gynt in review Page 3

Why not to apply to UC’s Page 11

. \`mi-nē\`kors\ n. 1 a week when students and faculty can enrich their lives and expand their awareness of the world

Sarah Strand



February 11, 2010

Raising the bar on senior project requirements Marshall Levensohn & Andrew Miller Staff Writers

prenticeship/internship, or scientific experimentation. Within these groups, students are able to design their own curriculum to explore virtually any area of interest. “Senior project is a great way to delve into something that you

tem have spread throughout the school. The Senior Project Committee, however, insists that this is not true. The change this year comes in the requirements for projects within the artistic apprenticeship

several years is that students undertaking projects in [the artistic apprenticeship] category had much greater success when they could rely on the structure of an internship-type relationship.” Said Academic Dean Joe Harvey.

that getting a project approved is any more difficult. “Everyone who submits an acceptable project gets [approved],” As winter turns to spring, evsaid Hansen. What we’re looking eryone prepares for the changes for is quality. Quantity really isn’t to come during the last semester an area we’re addressing right of the school year. now.” For seniors, this change The changes this year signifies the arrival of senior only represent part of the projects.What are senior refinements of the Senior projects? Projects program. Chang“[They are] an opportues to the program are necnity for those students who essary each year for imwant a different end to their provement, but there is no senior year that involves speculation for what will much more independence change next. and a much more intensive, “The future of senior hands on experiential op- For senior project, Adrian St. Francis ‘09 created an outings field guide. The book now resides in the BBLC for the reference of current project? Who knows? I portunity as an alterna- MA students interested in getting outside. think much of it will detive to usual classes,” said pend on what other kinds Dean of Students Lynne of things come out of our might not necessarily have the category. As the name suggests, “[Students] couldn’t stay on Hansen. time to do otherwise,” said senior students wishing to take on a proj- track or on schedule and just felt investigation around how the Seniors may submit a proposal Yang West. ect in this category must have daily like they didn’t have a legitimate school year ends for all students. to spend the last month of the After approximately half of interactions with an adult advisor. positive educational experience,” And seniors, of course, are just school year working in one of four the Class of ’09 participated in Previously students were allowed added Hansen. one quarter of that population,” categories: a community service the program, rumors of a more more freedom in the process. However, these requirements, said Hansen. project or internship, workplace competitive project approval sys“What we found over the past according to Hansen, do not mean Photos by Andrew Miller internship, creative/artistic ap-

Brownley and Katz welcome twin boys Katie Eiseman Staff Writer

the California Pediatric Medical Clinic four days after the birth and was able to head home as a healthy unit. With two moms and two sons

like other families, but we don’t really know what impact that will have on our kids,” said Brownley. “We want them to feel comfortable

older. However, Brownley predicts that her role at MA will not change very much at all. On Tuesday Dec. 22, Head of “It’s going to change some, School Travis Brownley and in the sense that I have difher partner, Liz Katz, became ferent responsibilities. But the proud parents of twin this is all part of balancing boys. Jacob “Jack” Prieur things together and making Katz Brownley and Henry it work.” Brownley said. “If John Katz Brownley were anything, I think I have this born just before 4:40 in the new appreciation for what it afternoon. means to be a student. This is When Brownley was a new window into the work asked how it feels to be a that I do.” mother, a glowing smile illuIn 2024 Jack and Henry minated her face as she said, will be freshman in high “Fantastic!” school. While Brownley says After Katz spent a good it is too soon to know who majority of the pregnancy these boys will be and whethon bed rest it was a relief to er or not MA will be the right all when the boys were born fit for them, maybe one day completely healthy. the youngest Brownleys will “The first thing I did when be Wildcats. Photo courtesy of Brownley I saw them was to say, ‘We “That would be very cool love you so much, welcome Proud parents Travis Brownley and partner Liz Katz [if they did end up at MA]. to the world,’” Brownley I do sit around and think ‘I said, “and I just put my hands hope my kid has that chance’ the Katz Brownley clan is not the in lots of different worlds.” on their little heads and could not traditional American family. While the boys are still young it or ‘Wow, I hope my kid can stand take my hands off them.” “We have been aware that our is impossible to know exactly how up and do that,’” said Brownley. The family was released from family doesn’t necessarily look things will unfold as they grow

Parenting advice from the community “Let your kids experience what they want. Don’t hold them back.” -Nancy Degnan ‘11 “Preparation is really important. But, it will only get you so far. You will face challenges that you cannot predict. And that’s the point.” -Peter Poutiatine “Give your kids enough space.” -Meredith Parish ‘12 “Surrender to the newborn. Don’t try to get anything done – because, really, you can’t do anything but take care of the baby. And, don’t worry, someday you’ll sleep through the night – it may take a year, but you’ll get there.” -Pilar Góngora


February 11, 2010

Winter production Peer Gynt engages community Jackson Wolf Staff Writer

What we know about Peer Gynt lies somewhere along a broken, squiggly line in between certainty and uncertainty. We know Peer Gynt is the name of this year’s winter play. We know Peer, the main character, is a liar. We know Peer is a lady’s man. We know Peer is the emperor of his own world. We aren’t quite sure if Peer is “the boy,” and we are especially unsure if Peer is even really himself. This epic, two and a half hour play follows Peer, a boy from a small Norwegian town, throughout his life. Peer is played by five different students: Ross Bronfenbrenner, Tennessee Mowrey, Joey Mehling, Peter Cameron, and Tyler Sylla. The 49 actors and 15 crew members put in countless hours of their time on weekdays and

weekends to create this pièce-de-résistance. Numerous flamboyant and memorable characters contribute to Peer Gynt’s bold nature. The production featured a raised and tilted stage, complete with numerous trapdoors, and the addition of original sound effects. These aspects, along with a few scenes in which all five Peers appear on stage, add to the mystic air of the production. Yes, this play is long. But I found myself completely engrossed in the plot and Peer’s plight, which varies from relatable and human to outrageous and fantastic. In the first act, Peer

Poster provided by Bradley Rabkin-Golden

tries to explain why his clothes are ripped to his mother. He illustrates a vivid, but false encounter in which he mounted a buck and rode out of a forest where he was hunting, over hills, and eventually over a cliff, simply to explain a tear in his clothing. His mother, stuck between admonishing Peer for both his lies and wrongdoings and loving him as her son, is left to worry about her headstrong boy. Peer encounters everything from conniving wedding guests to pigsnouted-trolls and love. Although Peer lives huge chunks of his life in his own reality, blind to the consequences of his ac-

tions, he finds solace in his identity as a religious and imaginative young man. Once Peer thinks he has been tested enough, and is ready to make a life for himself living in a hut in the forest with the girl he loves, he is forced to abandon these hopes and set out alone. Peer comes to make his fortune in the slave trade and selling Chinese artifacts. He becomes a prophet, a historian, and the leader of a mental hospital. The story brims with parallels and comments about alcohol, old age, faith, and identity. The final act comes in a whirlwind: Peer is asked if he has been himself throughout his adventures. Though his convictions are strong, he is unable to find a witness to his cause, and his life ends where he left it, at the hut in the woods.

Terror in the terminal: airlines increase security Sam Pritzker & Alec White Staff Writers

As 2009 Christmas Day festivities swept through communities around the world, a flight departed from Amsterdam and headed to Detroit. On board was Umar Falouk Abdulmutalib, a devout Muslim from Nigeria who passed through security and boarded the flight without further inspection. Meanwhile, the materials necessary for making explosives were sewn to the inside of his pants. Abdulmutalib failed to detonate the bomb. However, if the bomb had been successful, it could have caused the death of nearly 300 people. Abdulmutalib’s father had reported his son under suspicions of him working with Al-Qaeda members in Yemen months before the attempted attack. Homeland Security, however, failed identify Abdulmutalib before he boarded the plane. This flaw in Homeland Security’s responsibility caused great concern about the safety of air-travel. To ease Americans’ anxiety, President Barack Obama has

implemented new security regulations in hopes of drastically reducing the margin for fatal errors. “I am relieved to have a President who accepts the blame and moves on to focus on solving the problem, rather than looking to someone else to blame,” said chemiistry teacher Celeste Zimmerman. “I also believe we can never be truly safe, meaning that I don’t think there will be any perfect form of security screening.” In the wake of the “Christmas bomber,” what different security measures can Americans expect when traveling? Namely, students may experience longer lines at security checkpoints. Those in bulky or loose clothing can expect additional screening. If they refuse to remove the clothing, TSA officials are allowed to conduct a patdown of the passenger in search of concealed weapons. The TSA will also begin to use an enhanced screening device for selected members traveling to the United States from abroad. This has caused controversy in two ways. Firstly, security has the right to see any part of a passenger’s

body and secondly, scans increase the risk of cancer. Obama blames the Christmas bombing incident on the U.S. Intelligence Agency, who failed to observe members on the Terrorist Watch List. Obama’s new reforms make it easier for the U.S Intelligence Agency to share data and put people on the Terrorist Watch List. “Taken together, these reforms will improve the intelligence community’s ability to collect, share, integrate, analyze, and act on intelligence swiftly and effectively. In short, they will help our intelligence community do its job even better and protect American lives,” Obama said in a recent speech. At the same time, he reached out to Muslims who dislike Al Qaeda and those on the fence. “We must communicate clearly to Muslims around the world, that Al-Qaeda offers nothing except a bankrupt vision of misery and death, including the murder of fellow Muslims, while the United States stands with those who seek justice and progress,”

he said. Even though security measures appear more stringent, some areas remain unchanged. Three years ago, the Bush Administration enacted restrictions on carry-on liquids and medicines but many of those rules remain unaltered. For example, those with disabilities can continue to bring on prescribed medicines. Also, many of the new restrictions are not permanent but people will have to cope with them while they are in place. “Hearing the story and the


Graphic By Johnny Winston


after-effects of this incident was frightening for me, especially since the would-be bomber was only stopped by neighboring passengers,” said sophomore Joseph Kind. “However, I think our generation might not be so traumatized by this occurrence since it doesn’t quite compare to the horror of 9/11. ” Though the future of airport security does remain hazy, Marin Academy students who travel can certainly expect delays and inconveniences.



February 11, 2010

Winter formal: how the dance went from satire to sexy Sara Morgan A&E Editor

This year Winter Formal is taking us out of the neon jungle and into the.... board game? That’s right, students planning to attend this years dance have been asked to dress in the style of characters from their favorite board games. Expect to see familiar faces such as Miss Scarlet from Clue, the King of Candyland from (you guessed it) Candyland, and maybe even one or two Hungry, Hungry Hippos. The wacky theme of this year’s Formal is taking the dance back to its satirical roots. According to Dean of Student Lynne Hansen, Winter Formal used to be more focused on making fun of traditional high school dances than providing an opportunity for a formal dance. “People came dressed in cos-

tume attire,” said Hansen. “And “When I first started workthe idea of the Formal Court was ing at MA, the activities of the really to poke fun at the traditional Formal Court didn’t have that homecoming king and queen.” overtly sexualized edge to them,” Then, about six years ago, student senate made the decision to move Winter Formal in a more serious direction in response to the general opinion of the student body. “Senate was getting a lot of questions about why we couldn’t have a nicer dance,” Students party it up at last years winter formal said Hansen. “I would say in the said Hansen. Another element of Winter last six years it’s definitely swung Formal that has changed over the that way.” However, it is possible that years is Formal Court.

students have been taking out their sexual frustrations in Formal Court because restrictions around freak dancing have become more severe in recent years. “I don’t like how if you are dancing a little bit you get separated,” said Leroux. “I wish the teachers trusted us more.” After much deliberation by senate it has been decided that Winter Formal this Jenny Rosenberg year is being held at 1 Fort Mason in the Persidio and tickets are $15. The general response of the student body to this year’s Winter

Formal is a mixture of excitement and apprehension. “People are wondering if this dance is going to be one of the good ones and if a lot of people are going to show up,” said Leroux. “Also I know that underclassmen are always excited to dress up. However no student is more pumped for Winter Formal than senior Jeff Leathers. “I’m always excited for Winter Formal because Winter Formal is the craziest party in the United States,” said Leathers. “There are always a lot of beads around and I always get really dressed up. Sometimes I put on some high heels but usually I take them off before I go out and put on some normal shoes.” Will Leathers make it to Winter Formal in heels this year? You’ll just have to go and find out. Additional Reporting by Eric Slamovich

The student body’s perspective on the festival of love

It’s that time of year again! Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and we’ve checked in with some MA students to see how they feel about this special day. After speaking with some MA students, we’ve learned that Valentine’s Day isn’t viewed only as a day filled with chocolates and flowers, but can be whatever you make it. Whether you plan to spend Valentine’s Day with that special someone, or maybe just hang out with friends, it is a time of year that everyone can enjoy and show appreciation to the people that they love. “Well when I was little it w as all about th think Valentine e candy. But no ’s Day is mor wI e about remin relationships di ng us to not ta we have for gr ke the anted.” –Win Pomerantz

“One thing I hate abou t Valentine’s Day is wh en you a give a girl som chocolates and then she e dumps you a week later. ” –Terry Castleman

g as nobody loves be very lonely seein to g in go is y Da es “Valentin me.” –Alex Cooke “I think I’ll just party it up with my girl and get her something special.” –Alex Moss Bolanos

t I get holiday, bu ly il s a is y ntine’s Da Ella Cooke think Vale I .” – y g ll in a n in o la “Pers t comp o n m I’ o s y given cand

“Last valentines day I took my girlf riend to a park, ro and then out to di se garden, nner. Personally I hate Valentines forced...special m D ay . It’s too oments come with spontaneity. Whe force it, it alway n you try to s disappoints.” –D avid Oseroff

Reporting by Jacob Salant, Jamie Mureasenu, Avery Hale

“I usually eat a lot of candy different a if you ha ve a relat nd go to a party, it’s all “c ionship w but it’s r utesy” as eally ith so ac naive fres hman. ” – ouple. I like it, bu meone because the t then ag Lucy Sog ain I’m ju n ard st a

“It doesn’t matter if you’re in a relationship or single as long as you are surrounded by the people you care about.” –Jane Cavag nero


February 11, 2009

Senioritis: not an excuse to cop out but an opportunity Hossain Albgal Staff Writer

Senioritis often refers to a dangerous infection triggered by the mailing of midyear reports and college applications. Its symptoms include drowsiness, absentmindedness, and a nagging urge to watch weekday Law and Order marathon until 4 a.m. Teachers tremble in fear of a class of

senioritis patients. However, senioritis may expose one’s true educational interests. For seven semesters students see academia as a tedious and robotic series of required achievements to gain acceptance to college. Their efforts are commemorated with badges of honor in the form of letters: “A” is the pinnacle of success at Marin Academy, “B” Brad Lakritz is the rock bottom. Students are defined by the letters they receive twice a year.

These letters often dictate one’s group of friends and control many aspects of the lives of young teenagers. Hallways echo with “Howdya do?”’s and “Whadya get” as students compete with one another for academic verification. But, what happens when one’s efforts go unnoticed by colleges? What happens when a letter on a paper becomes just that? The truth comes out. Now I don’t mean students ravage the halls wreaking havoc on the system that has caused them so many sleepless nights and early mornings, but instead students begin to truly explore what they want to gain from an education. Students are finally relieved of such tedious demands, and are left with a community of valuable resources and tools at their disposal.

The valuable part of a library is no longer the silent room where homework can be completed undisturbed, but instead the rows and rows of books consisting of topics ranging from Nazi Germany to sports medicine. Students begin to see teachers as resources of wisdom and experience rather than the people giving out grades. If students saw senioritis a an opportunity, it would embody what education ought to be – an exploration of what one finds intriguing. In reality, however, students rarely seize such an opportunity. They allow the freedom from stress over grades to cloud their judgment, and end up sleeping through classes and ignoring assignments while doing nothing worthwile. Students trick themselves into believing that they have worked


so hard the past three and a half years that a six month break is necessary in order for them to recuperate from the physical/mental/ psychological damage. So students simply watch the clock and eagerly wait for the hand to reach college, as they waste away half of their $35,000 education. Seniors and future seniors, with the weight of college off your shoulders, use your newly acquired freedom to pursue your true academic interests. This is your opportunity to finally build that catapult you have always dreamed of. Or maybe you math whizzes can finally set aside that calculator and explore your artistic sides or write your first novel. Whatever it may be, transform this last semester experience into one that fits your interests.

Assassin: madness reigns on campus, beware the sticker Marshall Levensohn Staff Writer

Lately, the sight of students sprinting to class has become common on campus. However, this is not a result of academic enthusiasm. Rather, students run because the new game, “Assassin,” has taken the school by storm. Throughout the school day, students hide behind walls and sprint through San Rafael, abandoning backpacks and binders, wielding name-tag stickers as their weapon of choice. Despite the absurdity and stress that this game inspires, winning Assassin has become the primary goal of students across campus and has led to a less-than-typical school environment. From the accidental mauling of Dean of Students Lynne Hansen, to the sweet taste of victory after “making a hit,” on a team’s captain, the school has been divided into two by their different perspectives on the game.

•“Assassin is great because it’s a good time for students to have a little fun while at school for a couple weeks and it’s a good time for everyone to interact with each other.” – Junior Eric Johanson •“I think its hilarious and a funny thing to watch” – Sophomore Leigh Kinney

10x scope

•“I wish I knew about it before but, it’s fun to see people panic” – Freshman Dan McCann •“It definitely increases stress, but it’s a good stress. I like it.” – Freshman Daisy Williamson •“I felt unlawfully sinned against by this year’s assassin competition. However, it was fun to watch others compete, I guess.” – Sophomore Terry Castleman •“Its great going up to assembly and seeing the “awkward” assassin run, or hiding behind corners, or pausing on the stairs.” – Senior Emily Pascal •“Its a great game for the school and should be played every year” – Sophomore Sam Greinetz •“I think Assassin is exhilarating and intense but the administrators need to decide the rules and not change them.” - Freshman Harry Cooke

How long did you survive?

Graphics by Lauren Thomas and Riley Champine



February 1


a his

Since its beginnings in 1971, Minicourse has been a unique aspect of Marin Academy. Minicourse was started by the school’s founders to give students an opportunity to learn different and unique skills outside the classroom setting. Though there have been many changes throughout the years, Minicourse continues to be an essential part of the MA experience. Up until 1978, Minicourse took place not once but twice a year, in October and March. “The program was a lot of work,” said English teacher Jim Baldwin, “so the faculty decided to do it only once a school year.” Minicourse’s dates have changed over the years as well. In its beginnings, spring Minicourse used to take place in late March right before spring break, whereas now it is a month earlier.

I have had great experiences the past two years with Minicourse, and I’m really excited for this year’s. -Johnny Winston ‘11

“The shift of Minicourse to earlier in the second semester allowed for more winter activities, such as skiing and snowshoeing,” said Spanish teacher Glen Stanfield, “that just would not have been possible later in the year.” Recently, service learning has been integrated into most freshman Minicourses. Aspects of community service can also be found in Minicourses for older students, such as Adventures in Restoration, Surfing the Permaculture, and Corazón. In addition, Minicourse offerings have experienced other fundamental shifts. “Originally, all the programs were outdoor-based,” said Dean of Students Lynne Hansen, “but now, outdoor Minicourses are the minority.” This shift can largely be explained by a change in criteria for teaching at MA. “In order to work at MA, faculty used to be required to be comfortable in leading an outdoor course,” said Hansen, “but this is no longer a requirement.” The most recent change in Minicourse, implemented in 2004, has been the creation of freshmen-only offerings. “It used to be that all Minicourses were open to all grades,”

said Hansen, “but Minicourses were chosen by seniority, and therefore the freshmen were stuck with the bad ones and ended up having bad experiences. We created freshman-specific Minicourses so that they would have a better experience.” Despite some changes over the years, the core of Minicourse has remained constant. Since its beginning almost 41 years ago, Minicourse has always been a weeklong program devoted to learning outside of the classroom setting, with an array of courses both away from school and on campus. The principle Minicourse was founded on still rings true today. “The original purpose of Minicourse was to focus in on something in-depth,” said teacher James Shipman. “And a great opportunity to meet people you wouldn’t necessarily meet.” Many students take Minicourses for granted, but the process of creating one takes a lot of time and energy on the part of the teachers (and is required by contract for all full-time faculty). Teacher and Head of Outings Peter Poutiatine estimates that it takes him about eighty hours to create and plan a good Minicourse. In addition to being time-consuming, some teachers find it difficult to create a Minicourse that appeals to their own interests as well as their students’. “[Minicourse’s] biggest weakness right now is that it’s an expectation for teachers to run them,” said Poutiatine, “and yet I think [MA] doesn’t do enough to help teachers put together really good Minicourses that students will enjoy and that teachers will enjoy.” Despite some shortcomings, Minicourse is an important and unique institution to the school that has value for students and teachers alike. “The best thing about Minicourse to me is what happens when you take a group of kids off campus, out of the classroom, and share a piece of your own passion and expertise outside of the traditional classroom setting,” said Poutiatine. “You really connect.”

Writing, reporting, and photo compilation: Ruby James • Lena Felton • Lauren Thomas Layout design and implementation: Nishant Budhraja • Sarah Strand



11, 2010



The Selection Process • Lynne Hansen, Dean of Students, selects students for Minicourses in a process based on chance, seniority, and gender • For the most popular Minicourses, Hansen draws names out of a hat to determine who will get his or her first choice • The process is repeated for students’ second, third, fourth, and fifth choices until everyone is assigned a Minicourse All photos courtesy of Peter Poutiatine and the MA Archives

Top Five Minicourses Fab Five • Slick Rock • Vision Quest • Zion • Corázon

Oldest Minicourses Vision Quest • Multitrack Recording • SCUBA • Back Country Skiing • Snow Camping



February 11, 2010

Global warming scandal “Climategate” causes debate Elizabeth Ezell Staff Writer

Global warming, a scientific theory that explains climate change in the past century, is seen by many people as an important issue. Many studies have come out in the past 50 years showing the link between mankind and the current warming trend. This past November, however, information leaked onto the Internet brought up a controversy concerning the validity of this theory. The server at the University of East Anglia in Great Britain was hacked, and several e-mails were stolen from the University’s Climatic Research Unit. These e-mails contain conversations between scientists, discussing if certain data should be released and speculations on how to combat skeptics, as well as drafts of scientific papers. Some global warming skeptics have pointed to these e-mails as proof that scientists are having dif-

ficulty linking human influence to global warming, or that scientists are altering data to make glob-

al warming seem more extreme. “This is not a smoking gun; this is a mushroom cloud,” said Patrick J. Michaels, a climatologist who does not believe that global warming is humandriven, in an interview with the New York Times. Many in the MA community hold a strong view in favor of the theory of human-driven global warmElizabeth Ezell ing, something that isn’t always true elsewhere.

“Most people here believe in global warming,” said senior Chelsea Parish. “Something like this won’t change people’s minds. But it might in places where people already doubt global warming.” Many skeptics are trying to use this data to prove that global warming is “just” a theory. But what does it mean for something to be “just a theory”? In general

Scientific literacy is the ability to understand how scientists communicate, and to be able to understand scientific data. terms, a theory is something that is yet unproven, and therefore liable to be doubted. In the scientific community, however, a theory “is a powerful idea that explains a broad range of facts, like the theory of evolution,” said MA biology teacher and Head of Eco-Council Mark Stefanski.

“The skeptics who are using this information to their advantage understand just how many people in our society are scientifically illiterate.” Scientific literacy is the ability to understand how scientists communicate, and to be able to understand scientific data. In these e-mails, there was controversy over the use of the word “trick”, which has negative connotations to the general public. But to scientists, a trick is a good way to solve a problem. “People are trying to use a skewed version of science to undermine science and support their own claims,” said senior Gwen Muren, “something that would not be possible if everyone was able to understand scientific data equally.” Stefanski points to the importance of a good education and teaching scientific literacy, citing it as “part of a 21st Century Education,” and one of the five lenses of sustainability for the school’s Strategic Plan.

Teachers attempt to minimize effects of extended absences Olivia Powers News Editor

Science teacher John Hicks has long been acquainted with back injuries. In the 2007-2008 Each winter, schools across school year Hicks was absent for America face an annual bout of approximately six weeks due to a absences in the student body due to herniated disc in his back. During the flu and other maladies. Marin this time, although he was out of Academy is no different. This the classroom, Hicks maintained past December, MA once again regular contact with the substitute suffered an increase in student teacher and remained involved in absences. writing lesson plans, grading asHowever, resignments, and cently it has not You can do everything answering stuonly been student emails. Dedents who have in the world as a teacher spite his efforts b e e n m i s s i n g and it’s still not going to stay connected school. In the to be the same as if you to the students’ past few years, day to day acmany MA teach- were [in the classroom] tivities, Hicks ers have taken because everyone brings realizes that this extended leaves does not replace of absence. It their own strengths into his presence in seems that many a classroom. the classroom. of these absences “When you’re have been caused by a common not there, it isn’t going to be the thread. For whatever reason, much same,” said Hicks. “You can of the Marin Academy faculty’s do everything in the world as a medical needs have pulled them teacher and it’s still not going to out of the classroom. be the same as if you were [in the

classroom] because everyone brings their own strengths into a classroom.” Despite the discomfort that teacher absences sometimes cause in the classroom, MA’s faculty does try to schedule their absences for convenient times. History teacher Tom Wo o d w a r d was out of the classroom due to back surgery this December. “I tried to schedule my surgery so that I would have to take off the least amount of time possible.” said

Oliva Powers

Woodward. Though the recovery from the surgery was time consuming, Woodward only took 8 days off from school. “I decided to be gone during review days because I thought that this would provide minimal disruption to my students,” said Woodward. “And according to their final grades, my absence did not affect them significantly.” The students on the other hand feel that the absence of their teachers profoundly affects their learning experience. “It was hard at first to have substitutes when John was gone, especially substitutes who didn’t know the material that well,” said senior Melanie De Shadarevian, a member of Hicks’ sophomore chemistry class during his absence. “But, it made me work harder because I didn’t have the kind of help that I am used to receiving from the kinds of teachers that we have at MA.”

February 11, 2010


Teenage stereotypes prevalent in popular TV shows



photo from Glee website

In TV land, there are only popular girls, jocks, and nerds. ABC’s new hit show Glee was one of the most talked about television shows of 2009. Having noticeably been one of the more stereotypical shows on television, Glee has gotten high school students thinking. “The main character [Rachel] is your typical preppy-in-your-face- kind of girl,” said senior Shivani Desai, “Her character seems generic and overused.” Accompanying the obnoxious Rachel is former cheerleader and pregnant teen Quinn Febre, who said in a past episode, “Status is like currency. When your bank account is full, you can get away with doing just about anything. But right now, we’re like toxic assets.” “The one that bothers me the most is Kurt,” said junior Sam Abernathey. “I hate that he is such a stereotypical gay guy, wearing Marc Jacobs and Prada.” Bad boy, football player Noah Puckerman follows along with the stereotypical trend. When asked “what are you doing Friday night?” Noah responded, “just the usual. Stand outside the 7-Eleven and look depressed until someone offers to buy me beer.” No matter how cliché the humor, America approves. Glee won its first Golden Globe for best Television Musical/ Comedy in early 2010.

- Amanda Levensohn, Op-Ed Editor

photo from Gossip Girl website

Gossip Girl

Graphics by Riley Champine

In the CW’s hit show “Gossip Girl,” characters are privileged beyond belief. For example, Jenny Humphrey, Constance Billiard High’s ‘Queen Bee’ treats her friends like servants. She demands, “Are there skins on these almonds? Fix it, and in a timely fashion!” Real high school students would likely not put up with such a tyrant. “I’d be like, ‘Skin your own almonds!’” said junior Talia Krahling. Similarly, when rich girl Blair Waldorf learns her boyfriend is interested in purchasing a homeless shelter and converting it into a hotel, she replies, “A: Gross. And B: Really?” Even “Gossip Girl” followers know what a caricature of life this show is. “Blair is not very morally sound, so this matches up to her annoying character,” said senior Danielle LaRoy. However, some people find “Gossip Girl” too unrealistic to watch. “I watched “Gossip Girl” for one season and then stopped. Characters like Blair and Serena, best friends on the show, are fake. They aren’t true friends. Real people don’t treat each other that way,” said freshman Gabi Adafre. With such stereotypical characters wrapped up in an absurd plot, most viewers only watch “Gossip Girl” for pure entertainment. Jordan Conway, a junior, adds, “Honestly, I mostly just watch it for Chuck Bass.”

- Charlotte Lobdell, Staff Writer

The Secret Life of the American Teenager

- Riley Champine, Staff Writer

Photo from The Secret Life of an American Teenager website

The show “Secret Life of the American Teenager” is entering its third season due to widespread popularity with teenage viewers. In the series, a number of stereotypes are exhibited, including the intelligent nerd cliche. “Secret Life” depicts nerds as students who, because of their poor social skills, must help more popular and athletic kids with their homework. For example when Ricky, the seductive playboy, asks a nerd named Joe to do his homework, Joe says he cannot help him because he is “already under contract with the football team”. To enhance his nerd like qualities, Joe also has an awkward voice and a lisp. Students also found that teenagers portrayed on TV were more promiscuous than the average teen. “[There are] slutty girls, all teens having sex and getting wild and rambunctious,” said Alberto Flores, a freshman whose favorite shows are “Gossip Girl” and “Full House”. “They all do stupid things.” These stereotypes are widely recognized and far from subtle. However, whether or not the generalizations disturbed the students varied from person to person. “I understand that the stereotypes are part of the show, and it bothers me. I just watch it for the music aspect,” said junior Jazzy Hulett. “And to a certain extent, everyone can realize the stereotypes.” But for Flores, the stereotypes do not deter him from watching. “I just think it’s a show.”



February 11, 2010

The perfect recipe Sarah Strand Staff Writer It’s undeniable: the landscape of today’s consumer market is changing, and it’s changing fast. Print media is soon to go extinct, cell phones are putting land-lines out of business, and songs, movies, and books are easily attainable over the internet. I am all for new technology, but my opinion of our world’s digitization has finally reached a tipping point. I want old-school back. M y m o t h e r ’s comments about ‘fandangled new technologies’ have been the butt of my jokes for years, but memories of a recent trip to the movie theatre will keep me holding my tongue well into the future. I had finally taken the time to buy advance tickets to “Avatar: An IMAX 3D Experience” and was eager to revel in the recent advancements of cinematographic special effects. Twenty minutes into the movie, the 3D images left me far more woozy than wowed. After another fifteen, I simply could not bear it any longer: I had the beginnings of a migraine headache and was afraid I was about to lose my dinner to the public restroom. Unfortunately, skipping out of the final 2/3 of the movie still did not save me from the latter fate. In the days following the traumatic event, I was informed that virtually all movies and TV could go 3D in as short as 10 years. I guess Hollywood is going to lose my viewership. I discovered Yahoo’s article “10 Things Not to Buy in 2010” shortly thereafter. Regular DVDs, CDs, and newspapers all made the list, and all are products that I still purchase. Though MP3s are cost effective and can be downloaded

instantly, I prefer having the actual album complete with coverart, inserts, and the authentic CD. I have the same opinion on newspapers; reading news online cannot begin to compare to flipping through the pages of the newspaper over breakfast. Books were not mentioned in Yahoo’s piece, but I have seen a growing number of Amazon’s Kindles on planes, in cafés, and at the beach. Nobody seems to think the future of books is going entirely digital, but part of me worAustin Moody ries they could be the next ‘archaic’ item to disappear. Regardless of the medium, electronic files do not have the classic allure or ability to preserve history like that of the physical form. The only upside to digitization is conservation of resources and space. While electronic files are simply code recorded in cyberspace, CDs, newspapers, and books are comprised of plastic, metal, and paper. But, I admit this is a price I am willing to pay. If the actual item truly makes me happy and is well used, it is worth the resources. Other aspects of my life are environmentally friendly, so I let my green standards slip for things I love even though this is not the ideal attitude. In my defense, the proliferation of digital technologies requires more computers, more cables, and more hard-drive space – all of which require materials and production methods that are probably equally harmful to our environment. Though it pains me to sound so much like the parents and grandparents I laugh at, I don’t care how thin, light, convenient, or trendy new digital alternatives are to the originals. I want my CDs. I want my books. I want my newspapers. And, I want my non-3D movies.

Should I stay or should I go? What am I getting myself into? How much does this cost again? When do I find out where I’m going? Wait, you’re telling me I have to spend a week with a bunch of other freshmen? These questions, and many, many more, are ones that pop up incessantly over the weeks leading up to Minicourse. At the beginning, Minicourse selection seems all fun and games: you make plans amongst friends, pick a dream list of courses, and await that glorious week in February when you set off to the Sierras to ski with your “besties.” Then, second semester hits and reality sinks its cold ice pick into your heart. You rush to the class list with courses and realize that, instead of traveling to some winter wonderland or surfing paradise, you have to do “community service,” perhaps even “Bikram yoga.” Or, in the worst possible case scenario, a “freshman Minicourse.” We’re being facetious of course, and for a reason: not everyone has the same mindset going into Minicourse. There are some people who swear by Bikram yoga for the transformative, unique experience it provides. There are those who extol the virtues of a week of community service and the soul-searching opportunity it provides. There are many people who remember their freshman Minicourse as an incredible class-bonding trip. And then there are others who would much rather drive away to a mountain and lie in the snow all day. The incredible diversity of the Marin Academy community once again presents itself here, making it nearly impossible to satisfy every student. However, we the staff of The Voice do believe that there are some improvements to be made to the tried and tested Minicourse formula (in existence since the school’s founding). As a definitive part of the MA experience, we would hate for Minicourse to lose so much of its luster that students find it necessary to call in “sick” in order to escape its purported drudgery. So, here is The Voice’s plan for a healthy Minicourse resurgence.

Step 1

Individualize the courses. This means evaluating the group of students on the course and tailoring the trip to encompass the group’s needs a little better. It may not be a perfect fit, but it will help engage students more, particularly if the course was not their number one choice.

Step 2

Implement some type of regulation. Again, the point of Minicourse is to tap into the vast, unique realm of experimental learning and provide students with a whole new experience. If a course is not doing that, or if it lacks the resources or enthusiasm to accomplish that goal, there should be a way to monitor its progress and suggest revisions. A Minicourse governing board made up of students and teachers could easily accomplish such a goal.

Step 3

Beef up the feedback process. A rushed feedback form turned in nearly a week after the end of a course will in no way provide adequate or thoughtful feedback. Feedback should be immediate, precise, open, and should coax the best suggestions from those who have experienced the course. Perhaps a discussionbased feedback forum would work best.

Step 4

Steal ideas. Though we as MAers pride ourselves on the “create” component of our mission statement, often times outside agents can provide a fresh perspective. We should look to our cohort schools for new ideas and concepts for courses.

Step 5

Keep the vibe going. Minicourse is a time of year that fosters new friendships, builds new bonds, and creates new energy. Yet, after the week itself is over and life settles back into its dreary routine, these elements can often dissipate. Finding a way to continue the Minicourse energy and provide some continuity to the program would greatly increase its effectiveness.



February 11, 2010

The price of an education Julia Herbst Features Editor According to Marin Academy’s college counseling website, seniors have been accepted 559 times to the University of California system since 2006. I, however, will not be one of those seniors. If you had asked me a year ago, I would have been positive that I would be applying to at least some of the UCs and last June, I even went so far as to visit the campuses of UCLA and UC Santa Cruz. While I was impressed with the variety of academic opportunities that both schools offered, when I finalized my college list this fall, I made the hard decision not to apply to a single public university. In November, despite massive student protests, the Board of Regents voted to increase undergraduate tuition by 32 percent over the next two years due to the state budget shortfalls. The University

of California admission website now estimates the average cost of a year of undergraduate education for a student liv i n g o n campus to be $26,985 – actually more than the average cost of a year of private college tuition ($26,273 in 2009-10, according to the College Board). The increase in tuition is not the only reason for my decision not to apply to any of the California universities. In order to compensate for the budget shortfalls, class sizes

have increased rapidly and other classes have been cut all together, making it hard for many students to take all the classes needed to graduate in four years. I have a number of friends who are seniors at UCs and many of

My MA: saying goodbye Morgan Byce ‘09 Guest Writter The best way I can think to describe the first semester of my college experience is to liken it to skydiving. I know this sounds cheesy, but please bear with me. So there I was, in a plane high in the sky, wondering how I got there. I had heard from all of my older friends that the jump into college would be the best decision of my life, but I was skeptical. My friends and family surrounded me in the plane and although I was sad to be leaving them, I knew it was time. Oh, but I was nervous. So, so, nervous. The pilot, somewhat resembling Peter Poutiatine, told me to hang on, remember to pull the release cord, and everything would be all right. And so I jumped out of that plane and let me tell you, those first few seconds sucked. Watching my parents drive

away as I walked toward my new home was one of the hardest things I have ever done. As I looked up to see if I could catch a glimpse of the plane carrying those I loved, I realized that I was freefalling and there was no end in sight. Orientation was dragging on and although I had made a few friends, I still incessantly called the ones from home because I was sure I would never find anyone who understood me like they did. Then I pulled the rope on my parachute and it billowed open behind me and suddenly the fall didn’t seem quite as scary anymore. I had made some great friends who, as it turned out, lived right across the hall from me and were just as quirky and dorky as I am. Now peacefully drifting back down to earth, I wondered how I had made such a big deal about the jump. The experience was once in a lifetime and I had almost missed it due to my fear of change and try-

ing new things. Although in a new environment, my life was running smoothly again. I had friends, my classes occasionally made sense, and the cafeteria food wasn’t nearly as bad as I had thought it would be. And the real surprise about college? It truly seems that everyone winds up where they’re supposed to. You’ll be amazed at how you are suddenly surrounded by the people you always dreamed you would and your college years will be that much more fulfilling. Finally, there’s the landing, which I suppose I would equate to winter break. You land and are back where you started and your friends and family are right where you left them, smiling, and waiting to tell you about what you’ve missing while you were falling. This article appears in its original form from the author.

them have described not only enormous first-year classes, but also a lot of frustration over not being able to get into the classes they are interested in. If students cannot fulfill the requirem e n t s Julia Herbst needed to graduate in four years, college will begin to cost even more. While some freshmen get around the predicament of not being able to get into the classes they want by declaring a major immediately, students who are unsure

of what they want to major in are left with minimal choices. However, this overcrowding is more than just a problem of class size. The California budget crisis has also affected the hours that many university libraries can afford to remain open. I do not mean to imply in any way that the state university system does not play a valuable role in the world of higher education; public universities help thousands of students in our state gain access an affordable college education each year, despite the many issues the system faces. And depending on what interests a student has, the many resources of a large university may be worth it. At this time of year, when many of us seniors are still unsure of where we will be next fall, here’s to hoping that we all find the right school – whatever type that might be.

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 Nishant Budhraja Sarah Strand 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 Henry Begler Neha Budhraja Riley Champine Katie Eisemen Elizabeth Ezell Avery Hale Lena Felton Ruby James Marshall Levensohn Charlotte Lobdell Jamie Muresanu Sam Pritzker Ilana Salant Jacob Salant Eric Slamovich Lauren Thomas Alec White Jackson Wolf



February 11, 2010

Spring sports: lacrosse, softball seek breakthrough Neha Budhraja Staff Writer

Max Weiss Sports Editor

New coaches, determined captains, and proven techniques – Josh Freschette believes that his team is on the cusp. Freschette, the coach of the Marin Academy lacrosse team and the all of these factors are in place for a softball season to remember. school’s Athletic Director, was hired in 2007 in part to attempt Last year’s team made Marin Academy history by winning the to bring lacrosse to a higher level, and he has done just that. BCL championships for the first time. They went on to upset the “When I got here, numbers were down, the experience level number three seed in the NCS playoffs before eventually losing in of the kids on the team was down,” said Freschette. the semi-finals. This year they return after losing only one senior This year, numbers are hardly a problem for the growing and are eager to dominate. team. The 2010 roster is filled with a multitude of returning playThe turnout of 23 girls last season has boosted the funding for the Alison Wilks ers along with new talent. Freschette points to the expansion of th softball program. Head Coach Carter Njus, entering his 6 year as a Captains Ari Wilks (2) amd Sophia Dauria celebrate lacrosse in Northern California as an explanation for the team’s MA coach, is excited for the benefits that this funding will provide after winning the BCL title in 2009. new wealth of talent. for the team, including the expansion of the entire program. “The growth of this sport in the area has just gone crazy,” “We now have funding for a JV coach, so if enough girls come out we can said Freschette. “Youth leagues like Southern Marin Lacrosse are a main source of talent for the team.” establish a JV team,” says Njus. “And I can now hire coaches that specialize Sophomore and former Marin County youth player Sommer Stein exin pitching, and likewise, to perfect our game.” pects a good season from the team. Captains Sophia Dauria, Ari Wilks, and Cindy Nguyen all have high hopes “I’m just hoping that we can gain the depth needed to compete against for the season, including hopefully taking home the title of NCS champions. the top level teams, and just completely make a point of who we are as Due to lack of participation, only four softball teams remain in the BCL, Marin Academy lacrosse,” said Stein, who plays both the defenseman and making it a short route to NCS with minimal league games. Instead the team long-stick midfielder positions. will be playing more non-league teams to help train for NCS. In 2009, the team’s sole losses were to Cardinal Newman and University “Team bonding and chemistry is what carried us through last season, but High School. Cardinal Newman has since moved out of the division, and we’re also [going to] step it up in practices this year and make them intense,” so University remains—as always—MA’s top rival. University, the powsaid Nguyen. erhouse of the BCL West, defeated MA in last year’s BCL Finals. Senior Captains’ practices begun in full swing in early January. The Softball team and defenseman Michael Pearlstein, however, believes his team can pull out a victory this year. is back and they mean business. Catherine Hunter “This year we’re going to be good,” added Perlstein. “We’re [going to] “Softball is known for being a slacker sport,” said Wilks, “We just [want The lacrosse team raises its be really, really good.” sticks in a pregame ritual. to] show that we actually do work hard.”

Wildcats of the issue flatten out aces, shred the defense Shayan Shooshtarian

Henry Begler and Ilana Salant Staff Writers

HB: What got you into tennis? SS: When I was little, my dad would bring me with him when he played tennis. So as I watched him I became interested and tried playing. HB: How do you think MA will do in the upcoming season? SS: I think that MA will do really well seeing that we have many talented kids psyched for the season. HB: Who or what’s had the most influence on you as an athlete? SS: Watching Roger Federer play on T.V. He just plays the game so perfectly and flawless that I just learn so much from watching him. HB: What’s the worst part of tennis? The best? SS:One of the hardest things in tennis is that if you’re not playing up to par it can be especially frustrating, as you have to overcome adversity by yourself. On the other hand, the best thing about tennis is that you get to be yourself on the court Photo contributed by S. Shooshtarian and play however you want to play. Shayan Shooshtarian prepares to hit a slice HB:What do you hope you personally will backhand. get out of this season? SS:My hope personally is that I just improve overall, but more importantly I hope that the team does well.

Alysse Godino

IS: What do you expect of the upcoming season? AG: I expect us to do well, but I also expect the level across the board for all the teams to be less than last year. However, that’s no excuse for us not to be a strong contestant for first place this year. Hopefully we will get into NCS. IS: When did you start playing soccer and why? AG: I started playing when I was 9. My mom signed me up randomly. IS: What are your priorities as an athlete? AG: I have to be good to my body in terms of what I eat and such. I also have to stay in consistently top shape. IS: What are the most anticipated games of the season? AG: The University game, as always, but also some of the MCAL teams that we don’t usually play. I’m excited to play Redwood Property of Marin Academy Athletics and Tam and hopefully they will be on our Alysse Godino brings the ball up field. schedule. IS: What motivates you? AG: Probably that I’m playing in college. I’m also super competitive and need to win in order to be happy.

February 2010: Marin Academy Voice  

February 11, 2010

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