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Friday, May 7, 2010

Volume XVIV, No. 7

San Rafael, CA

: s k a e p s y t i n u The comm ol h o c l a d n a s g oughts on dru


ss up Athletes dre Page 12

Pages 6-7

on campus m o o b y b a B Page 4 Sarah Strand



Farewell, Advanced Placements Lauren Thomas and Lena Felton Staff Writers Starting in the fall of 2011, students can expect to see a major shift in the upper level courses offered. Save for Advanced Placement (AP) environmental science, which is being preserved because University of California schools will only recognize it as a lab science if it has an AP label, Marin Academy will no longer offer AP courses. AP courses are designed to cover the same amount of material that is covered in a year of a college course and prepare students to take the AP test in their subject in May. A good score (generally a 4 or 5) on an AP test can give students credits in college or allow them to place out of introductorylevel courses as freshmen. Additionally, college admissions boards consider AP courses to be the most difficult courses a student can take, and look favorably on students who challenge themselves by taking courses such as these. Although students will still be able to take the AP tests at the end of the year, classes will not cover all the same curriculum that will be on the test, so students will need to study independently outside of school if they wish to score well. “The AP test was essentially trivia,” said history teacher Tom Woodward, explaining his department’s decision to move away from the test. “Our kinds of students like to delve into deeper topics.” This year’s AP courses will be replaced by advanced honors courses that, while still difficult, are designed to offer students more depth while covering less curriculum than an AP class. The shift from AP courses to advanced honors courses began in 2005, when biology teacher Mark

nifer Blake assures that students will not be hurt by the course shift. “The sense that we got from the colleges is that students won’t be impacted by the removal of the APs as long as [MA] offers equally rigorous honors courses,” Blake said. “We’re clear in explaining Marin Academy’s curriculum and philosophy well to college admissions officers.” Dean of Students Joe Harvey argues that MA’s removal of APs will actually make students’ transcripts more impressive. “Having only 1 AP left is simpler because we don’t have to explain to the colleges the difference between AP and honors courses,” Harvey said. Before deciding to abandon AP courses, the school spoke to UCs and other competitive colleges, and learned that other schools were questioning APs as well. As fewer and fewer competitive colleges accept AP tests as credit and no graduate schools accept AP credit in lieu of grades from college courses, AP courses have lost a lot of their appeal to students and schools alike. All in all, parent and student support of MA’s choice has been mostly Lauren Thomas positive thusfar. “By getting rid of AP math, and language departments courses, MA is making it much will all be AP-free. easier for teachers to teach what However, not everyone is in they want and have unique courses favor of removing AP courses. because they aren’t under any pres“I believe that a strong college sure to teach to the AP test,” said preparatory education should junior Vanessa Gerber. emphasize breadth and content, Above all, MA hopes that the and the Advanced Placement proremoval of AP courses will ultigram certainly encourages these mately give students the best edutwo things,” said history teacher cation possible. and librarian Derek Anderson. “I “Our emphasis [as a school] is worry that without AP courses, on depth, critical thinking, data MA students will simply learn less analysis, collaboration, and probmaterial, and I struggle to see how lem solving,” said Harvey. “These knowing less can ever be benefiare the skills that our graduates cial for tomorrow’s leaders.” need to prepare themselves for Although some may worry college and beyond, and these are about how the removal of AP the skills that we hope to better courses will affect the students’ supply them with by the removal competitiveness of when applying of APs. to college, college counselor JenStefanski proposed his AP Biology class be changed to allow his students to go into greater depth in the subjects they were learning and not worry about racing through the material to cover all the AP curriculum. Since then, many other teachers have found the same viewpoint on the subject, and, as of next year, the English, history,

May 7, 2010

Teen tragedy shocks all Ruby James Staff Writer The weekend of March 19 ended in tragedy when the body of Alicia Lee, a senior at Tamiscal High School, was found in the Pacific Ocean at Muir Beach where she and eight friends had been camping. Lee was believed to have been intoxicated. Friends and family gathered on March 22 to remember her. “She was always smiling and would laugh at the smallest of things,” said Josh Phelps, a classmate of Lee’s, to the Contra Costa Times. “She would notice things like if you mispronounced a word and just get the biggest kick out of it. She took joy in things you wouldn’t even notice.” Lee’s death has sparked discussion regarding the use and abuse of alcohol among teenagers. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, about 5,000 people under the age of 21 die as a result of drinking— either from alcohol poisoning or dangerous situations. “I guess what I feel most strongly about is that there is so much judgment around booze and drugs that little time is spent really talking about the issue and examining how we can make choices that we feel serve us well,” said Human Development teacher Charis Denison. With so many fatalities, many community members wonder if high schools need to address the use of drugs and alcohol on a

Chuck Ford

deeper level. “Her situation could have totally happened to any one of us,” said junior Olivia Howard. “It shows how quickly something fun can spin out of control.” Lee’s death has hit close to home for many students in the Bay Area. Students that did not even know her realize the extreme consequences if they choose to drink and the importance of safety. “The circumstances of her death really make me think about the risks you take when you drink and fool around, and how we need to look out for our friends,” said junior Brett Cutler. Lee’s death has made many students fully aware of the consequences that coincide with unsafe, underage drinking. “What we can do now is honor those who are still with us by expressing the love and appreciation we have for them and by looking out for their safety,” said Desiree Wattis. “This is the beautiful gift Alicia has given to us.”

SAFETY TIPS TO PREVENT A DANGEROUS SITUATION “Don’t leave your friends alone. Always have a wingman.”

- Laura Schrier ‘11 “Be aware of the possible dangers before you start drinking.”

- Nathan Yamamoto ‘10 “Don’t be afraid of the consequences of calling an adult for help.”

- Zia Grossman-Vendrillo ‘11 “If you chose to drink, be smart....know your limits with whatever you are drinking (beer, wine, hard stuff)”

- Joani Lacey, School Counselor “Their is a difference between being asleep and being unconscious. Do NOT try to deal with the situation alone if you feel like your friend is “too drunk.” Get help. Roll that person on their side [to] avoid aspirating [swallowing vomit].”

- Charis Denison, Human Development teacher



May 7, 2010

Students travel globe for spring break Unlike most Bay Area schools, which give their students merely one week of spring break, Marin Academy affords its students two weeks in April to leave school behind and enjoy some time away. This extra time also means that students have the opportunity to explore different places and cultures or to further immerse themselves in their own. This year, students traveled far and wide.


Bay Area

Jamie Muresanu

Alex and Jamie Muresanu spent their spring break vacationing on and hiking Patagonia.


Katherine Disenhof

Jono Disenhof spent his spring break configuring laptops for Daraja Academy, an all-girls school in Kenya, Africa. He succeeded in frundraising $10,000 for the use of the school.


Connor Elliot

Lizzy Elliot went to Florida this spring break to visit family and enjoy the warm sunshine. Chelsea Parish

Writing and captions by News Editor Olivia Powers. Photos compiled by Staff Writer Sam Pritzker

Chelsea and Meredith Parish vacationed to Fiji this spring break and spent their time scuba diving off the island among other activities.



May 7, 2010

pregnant teachers on campus

Compiled by Staff Writer Neha Budhraja

“Baby moves a lot, maybe he’ll be an acrobat or a dancer of some sort.” “I work with older kids, and my husband used to be a pre-school director, so hopefully we will be able to pull from our experience to raise a child.”

Sex: Boy Name: Mateo Number: First Child Strangest Food Craving: Lime Popsicles Maternity Leave: Beginning of next year, back full time in December Substitute: Vielka Hoy, Crossroads Summer Program

Lauren Toker Due: Mid July Neha Budhraja

“I’m excited for my daughter, Gabi, to have a little brother! It might ruin her life for a little in the begining because she won’t have all the attention, but hopefully that will just be a phase.” “Having a new child is the greatest gift one could receive, so I can’t wait.”

Sex: Boy Name: Being kept a secret Number: Second Child Strangest Food Craving: Pickles and Vanilla Ice Cream Maternity Leave: Fall Semester Substitute: TBD

Pilar Góngora Due: July 26th Sara Morgan

“I just hope the pregnancy goes well and I’m excited about meeting the little guy!”

Sex: Boy Name: Narrowed it down to a few options, but it’s a secret. Number: First Child Strangest Food Craving: Nachos and Chocolate Milk Maternity Leave: Fall Semester Substitute: TBD

Jenny Rosenberg Due: July 26 Neha Budhraja

“There is a concern with Cherie and I being a same-sex couple and the implications that it will cause for the child later on.We are trying to make sure Cherie has all of the legal rights towards her as well.” “Right now we’re caught up in the fun with collecting all of the baby stuff and we just moved to a bigger place.”

Sex: Girl Name: Not sure yet, looking for Japanese name Number: First Child Strangest Food Craving: Swedish Meatballs Maternity Leave: First quarter of next year (still going to be Freshmen Dean) Substitute: TBD

Hideko Akashi Due: Aug. 17 Neha Budhraja



May 7, 2010

‘Sup bro?- A look into sexism in everyday life Katie Eiseman Staff Writer

Brotherly love is thriving on campus. This spring the bro epidemic has reached a whole new level. The cafeteria is full of chestbumps and man hugs, and outside burly boys in sleeveless jerseys casually holding lacrosse sticks while surrounding the ping-pong table are fiercely rooting for each other. Are these bros, as identified by themselves and the larger community, just an example of male camaraderie? Or, in their attempt to show their masculinity, is there an underlying element of sexism? “The bros are notorious for their humor, much of which relies on subversively sexist jokes,” said junior Olivia Howard. “Ad-

ditionally, I’ve noticed slang and seem to agree with Hansen’s per- offending women. derogatory words surrounding spective. The boys defend them“We are a group of friends that girls thrown around all the time selves, claiming they are no more all happen to be guys. It is incorby the boys.” rect to assume that we don’t Many members of the like anyone else just because administration are aware BILL MEYER ON SEXISM: we hang out with each other of the issue present in the a lot,” said junior Elliot Plant. community. Additionally, the boys deny “I don’t witness [sex- Even if it is a joke, why do you that the sexism in their lanism], but I have heard conguage accurately reflects the think that it is funny? cerns expressed to me by way that they regard women. girls about what they are “Sometimes we say things experiencing,” said Dean Do you realize how much of that aren’t politically correct, of Students Lynne Hansen. but none of us actually harbor an issue sexism is? “It is an issue of intent verthe negative sentiments that sus impact. [The bros] are can be found in our language,” behaving in a way that is said Plant. consistent with who they are Whether intentional or not, and what they want without according to Senior Class Amanda Levensohn considering the impact of Dean Bill Meyer, these acthat and how that behavior tions may be a reflection of the than a tight group of friends who is perceived by others.” have no intention of excluding or greater American culture of sexism Many self-identifying bros

and misogyny. “Our community is part of a wider culture that objectifies women and portrays men as warriors and sexual conquerors,” said Meyer. “This group of boys does not hate women; they are just doing what they have seen.” And, some students have noticed that the current behavior of these upperclassmen is the model for the underclassmen. “The boys in our grade want to be like the bros,” said freshman Daisy Williamson. “They really look up to them.” Both Hansen and Meyer stress that it is the responsibility of the entire community to discuss this issue as a whole.

Additional Reporting by Staff Writer Marshall Levensohn

Financial aid promotes student socioeconomic diversity Sara Morgan A&E Editor

It is wonderful to think that the education that students receive at Marin Academy is priceless. And in some ways it is, for what students learn here will provide a foundation for their future educational and professional pursuits. However, our world-class education does come with the very hefty price tag of $32, 100 a year. And although Marin is an extremely affluent area, the reality is that not every family has that kind of money to spend on tuition. Fortunately, the school has a system of financial aid that helps to ensure that most students qualified for an education can afford an education. “MA’s system is set up to benefit kids who would not be able to attend the school if they were not awarded financial aid,” said senior Shivani Desai. The financial aid process begins when students submit their applications. Director of Admissions, Dan Babior, Assistant Director of Admissions, Connie Goldsmith; and the admissions committee review all the applications before assessing financial need. It is only once the Admissions Committee

has assembled a group of qualified candidates, that the Financial Aid Committee begins a need-based assessment of the applicants. The school is unable to accommodate the number of qualified applicants who need financial aid, which means it is harder to be accepted if you need financial aid. “Kids who are applying for financial aid have to go through two hoops,” said Babior. “One just around the admissions committee and then the second around the financial aid.” However, the admissions committee works hard to ensure that there is socioeconomic diversity in the student body. Although the school does not have limitless funds, it does have a substantial financial aid budget of around 2.3 million dollars. “We don’t find ourselves in the position of having to offer merit award and athletic awards,” said Babior. “And I’m really glad that most high schools don’t go in that direction.” The amount of aid a student’s family receives is based on how much the family can reasonably contributed to tuition with the school filling in the gap (the average award is in the low $20, 000s.) The percentage of aid that

a student receives for tuition also applies to other school related expenses such as textbooks, Minicourse, fieldtrips, and outings. “That’s made a big difference and that’s relatively recent at MA,” said Babior about this policy. Despite the aid policies, tuition is still a stretch for families, especially in light of the recession. Babior, along with other faculty recognized the potentially devastating impact that the recession could have on current families. “What we saw early on last year with the decline in the economy was the likelihood that there were going to be current families, families already enrolled at MA that weren’t on financial aid that were going to request financial aid because they lost income or a job,” said Babior. “And we also saw the likelihood that some of our families that were already on financial aid were going to need more financial aid because they too had been hit by the economic downturn.” Recognizing that an increase in financial aid demand from current students would mean a decrease in the amount of aid left for incoming students, the school organized what was called “The Here and Now Initiative” in which current

families raised around $500, 000 to help support current and future families hit by the recession. “MA has increased our financial aid package because of the recession and that has definitely taken some stress off my parents,” said Desai. With this additional money, Babior and the rest of the admissions staff was able to ensure that this year’s freshmen class maintained a healthy level of socioeconomic diversity. Although a recession related crisis was averted, the school’s financial aid budget faces many future challenges, particularly in terms of tuition increases. “I think everyone recognizes that there is an unsustainability to the path in which tuition is growing,” said Babior. “Several years from now we could be at $45, 000.” MA is addressing the issue of tuition inflation and has several long-term goals in mind. “One is sustainability and then the other is accessibility,” said Babior. “Currently we have about 23% of the school on financial aid. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could increase that sum?”

By the Numbers $2.3 million: amount of money in financial aid budget

23%: percent of student body on financial aid

$500,000: amount of money raised in the “Here and Now Initiative”

$32,100: 2009-2010 tuition (not including other expenses such as Minicourse, books, food and incidental account) Additional Reporting by Staff Writer Charlotte Lobdell.



May 7,

Community perspectives on high schoo For this edition, the staff of The Voice deferred to you, the Marin Academy community, to provide perspectives on the drug and alcohol culture in high school. While objectivity and clarity are always goals of ours as a paper, we realize that it can often be difficult to strike an equal balance of opinion on the more controversial issues we cover. By compiling student, faculty, and alumni views on the drug and alcohol culture, we have been able to gather a variety of opinions that hopefully create this equilibrium. And though anonymity with regards to our sources is something we seek to avoid, the illicit nature of drugs and alcohol makes it a difficult topic for people to openly discuss. We granted the writers anonymity upon request, in hopes to provide a more accurate and comprehensive viewpoint. We hope that you learn and benefit from the perspectives provided here. “I have been pressured, but it’s not always an obvious pressure like they portray in the movies. I think especially when you’re a freshman, you want to try things, go out of your comfort zone, and if most of the people in your friend group have been experimenting you’re going to want to. Some of my friends have gravitated from the no-drinking end of the spectrum to drinking quite fast. I think they have been indirectly pressured into drinking. If you’re a no-go on alcohol you’re probably not going to be invited to that sort of party, so they don’t want to be left out. I think it makes sense, because now they can see their friends at that party, but there is no pressure to get positively wasted like most other people. They’re in control. Essentially if a kid’s friend group isn’t into that sort of thing, said person will not be. On the other hand, when kids choose to go from not drinking to drinking, it makes the kids that had been drinking all the while feel as if they’ve corrupted the kids that hadn’t previously done drugs/alcohol. The prevalent groups, i.e. the ones who can commandeer a table in the cafeteria are into alcohol, but I think there is definitely a good majority of the school that is into both drugs and alcohol. I think the upperclassmen are more into drugs and alcohol because they’ve been exposed to more. They have been exposed to the MA drug culture, but also to life in general. I feel like as some people get older they are more susceptible to try more/harder drugs. Hard drugs are more likely to be exposed to older people than us.”

Anonymous ’13 “I can’t speak for myself because I’m not really into drugs, but I do see drugs as a big part of MA life in general. It seems like MA parties are equated with alcohol or pot, and a party isn’t fun without them. I also think that people see it as a part of MA’s image or a part of their image as a whole. People who smoke a lot of weed are ‘chillers’ or ‘hipsters.’ Kids who smoke weed are considered to be laid-back and carefree. Other drugs might not really come with such a connotation. I don’t think it’s as common for kids to openly do coke for instance, because the consequences of doing so might be more severe. Of course, some kids still do go as far as to experiment with other drugs like this, and I think the ones who do are thought of as being in the party scene and still fun to be around. If I can be really honest, I see age, gender and class play into it too. Older kids have more experience with drugs, so it seems like a mature thing to do (especially alcohol). What’s weird is that teachers do it too! And I think that some parents who may or may not have been hippies in their day regard it with complete normalcy. I think wealthy Marin parents are more likely to be okay with their kids experimenting and sometimes keep alcohol within reach at home. It’s clearly a part of Marin (Academy) lifestyle because Marin has the highest rate of teen alcoholism in the country. I think there’s this idea that boys smoke more than girls do, and it is more acceptable for boys than girls. I don’t really know if that’s the case all the time, especially at MA where all different kinds of kids smoke. But honestly I’m always more surprised to hear that a girl got high over the weekend than if I heard the same story about a boy. I think that’s an interesting thing to notice.”

Jordan Conway ’11


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“I think that people won’t be upset if you do drugs. It’s kind of something that you do as a celebratory thing, like a bonding experience. People don’t completely support it, but they do it to fit in.”

Rosario Bennett ’12 “I was hanging out with some of my friends. They were telling me how the day before they had some alcohol for the first time. They had some with them, and repeatedly asked me to try it. I had only really known them for about a year and a half or so. So I wanted to fit in. But something in my gut told me not to. So I didn’t. I have been asked by a couple people, especially around time for cast parties, if I would ever drink or do drugs. I say no and always get a weird look back. I do think drugs are a big deal. They are not just hazardous to your health but to the relationships that you have with family and friends.”

Ayanna Harrison ’13

‘ trie new s because admitted to ing for arts, a early school. Th young people at M by some measures the still the 60’s culturally reflected the era. It was p you saw a bunch of ‘hippie so on that other things were go outdistanced the reality. And t name was probably not that diff some of that negative judgment class, particularly. If the ‘riff-ra on them for that. But MA wasn’ than it was THE DRUG SCHO here from the very beginning. S that attitude really existed, and that it did.”

Jim Baldwin, English



7, 2010

ol drug and alcohol culture “I would not say that I’ve been pressured to do drugs, but I have definitely been at parties where everyone is [drinking and smoking], but no one ever says you have to drink or smoke or we won’t let you come in. I definitely don’t do that to other people either. I think that it really depends on your friend group, but I’ve seen an increase in drug usage and the pressure to use drugs since I was a freshman. I think that is also due to changing friends. Personally, I think that if you’re smart about and safe about drugs, then it is not a big deal, but when you do stupid/risky things, that is when bad stuff can happen. The general feeling around MA, I think, is that people do not feel that drinking and smoking, in moderation, is a big deal. But, past that, I do not think there are a huge amount of people doing hardcore drugs. I know that my feelings about drugs have changed since I have been at MA. Part of that is the MA culture and part of it is just getting older.”



Anonymous ’11 “One of my goals for my time at MA is to have the words ‘regret’ and ‘drugs’ co-exist as little as possible in the same sentence.”

Charis Denison, Human Development teacher “Drug culture within the Marin Academy student body is one of individual choice. Those who choose to participate in the recreational drug scene are treated with equal respect to those who choose to abstain. [In our opinion,] the MA student body generally views drugs as an enhancement of an experience, rather than a coping mechanism. Fortunately, when that line is crossed and a student’s drug use affects his or her academic/social life, the administration recognizes the need of rehabilitation instead of absolute punishment. This compassionate response is mirrored by the student body’s genuine care for one another’s welfare; this is seen inside and out of school.” “There are drugs, but I wouldn’t say it’s an issue.”

Matt Waxman ’13

“My feeling is that MA was seen as ‘alternative’--a word the school has since ed very hard to avoid--because it was the school on the block in the ‘70s first of all, and kids often came here who were either not o Branson or elsewhere, or they were lookand outings and other unusual aspects of the here always has been a broader spectrum of MA, too. We were not a very ‘preppy’ school hen (I hope that is always true!). It was really then, the hair, the dress and everything else pretty easy to assume as you drove by when es’ lounging on the circle with guitars and oing on as well. I think the legend always the reality at every other school you could ferent. I wouldn’t be surprised to know that t came from other agendas—those based on aff’ was ‘druggy’ it was easier to look down ’t a socio-economic ghetto either, any more OOL. There were many wealthy [students] So that too would have been a distortion, if I don’t have a strong first-hand experience

h Department Head

Walker Fisher ’10 and Erica Sheidt ’10 “Many MA students find themselves in situations where they are susceptible to falling into peer pressure. By the end of the week, stress from the enormous expectations and workload leads to a weekend where I just want to get away from it all. It is easy to get away by hanging out with friends during the weekend; however, many can find themselves in situations where they are faced with a decision to make. Without a firm opinion on how you feel about using drugs or drinking alcohol it is easy to ‘be cool’ and give into the peer pressure. I have noticed that those who have a firm opinion about whether they do it or not are the ones most likely not to give in. You need to know that you will be faced with a situation where you are forced to make a moral decision and you must have firm stance before letting your friends influence you. Being pressured into a decision that you are unsure about will lead to regret.”

Andrew Schleeter ’12 “Initially when I came to MA it was sort of strange how open MA was to most things. Not just drugs either. As I progressed as a student it became obvious to me that the openness was conscious. It wasn’t like it was just an accident or that was simply the way the people were. They purposefully were open and willing for new and different things. The openness helped me grow into myself as a man, and access to drugs and other aspects of social adulthood are just aspects of this progression. The older I became the more I realized that I was expected to take advantage of the accessibility of drugs. The drug culture at MA really isn’t that harmful though. MA’s discussion based culture made it easy to talk about drugs and alcohol. These discussions were really helpful in forming my perspectives as a mature member of society.”

Calvin Bryne ’09

Senior viewpoints “I haven’t seen any kids get pressured into drugs. The only drug experiences I’ve had and seen have been very voluntary and responsibly thought through.”

Anonymous ’10 “Sometimes people don’t invite straight edge people to events with drugs for whatever reason, but people are pretty accepting.”

Diane Boodrookas ’10 “Some kids at MA definitely have a problem. People are high at school, but it’s everywhere.”

Anonymous ’10 “It’s high school, drugs are just a part of it.”

Danielle LaRoy ’10 “Drugs are an open secret at MA. No matter how many rules we make about them, no matter how much we talk about them in Human Development, it’s a known fact that many students choose to use recreational drugs. Students talk about these substances without fear among themselves and only in muted tones when adults are present. The idea that using drugs could be dangerous or wrong is something that rarely crosses their minds; it is just another group activity that happens to be illegal. It’s a fundamental way in which a great number of students bond and interact with each other, and laws only serve to make it more exciting. The majority of the teachers and faculty, I think, are aware of this, but they have certain responsibilities to keep students in legal bounds insofar as they are concerned. They do their best to prevent drugs and alcohol related incidents at school, but they recognize that certain things are beyond their control. There is a definite reason why MA rules for drugs and alcohol only apply to school hours, functions and property.”

Jonah Nakagawa ’10 “Do teachers really not know who uses drugs, or do they just pretend not to? Maybe they do, but the PC nature of Marin Academy will not allow them to assume or make assumptions as to which students use drugs and which don’t. Or, maybe they really just don’t know. Regardless of what the truth might be, people at MA do drugs, because, as you know, people at MA love their tree. Some of the brightest and most involved student in this community use drugs. It doesn’t make them bad people, it just makes them as much a scientist as other teenagers because they too are experimenting. The perception of drugs among the student body itself is much like that at many high schools across the country; people do it. So, should the MA faculty intervene? Should they have a mandatory preventative rehab for all students? No. Because honestly, the people who really want to do it won’t care much for it. The situation should remain how it is. It’s not much of a solution but few things can be done about it besides talking about the effects of drugs in Human Development. I wouldn’t doubt it if a few of the faculty experimented in their younger years (not confirming they did, just a thought), so isn’t it our turn?”

Luis Sanchez ’10



May 7, 2010

The buds of drug culture in high school Any discussion regarding the drug and alcohol scene at Marin Academy must begin with a simple, three-step lesson in deductive reasoning: 1.High school culture in the United States of America tends to include some level of drug or alcohol use. 2.MA is a high school in the United States of America. 3.MA culture tends to include some level of drug or alcohol use. High school culture in America is one that thrives on rebellion and experimentation. If it is forbidden, we will explore it. If it is restricted, we will demand it. This general notion, though seemingly born out of thoughts of anti-establishment, is actually a natural part of the learning environment. We have been brought up with rules to guide us, yet high school is a time for us to challenge those ideals and discover why they were

maintained in the first place. Experimentation with drugs and alcohol, for many American high school students, feels like a natural extension of this learning process. As an American high school, our school has an environment where this experimentation, particularly with marijuana and alcohol, exists. However, in order to understand the drug and alcohol culture, you must first align yourself with the school’s location and history. The school is located in the nation’s fifth-wealthiest county, and is one of the most liberal. The county has long been regarded as a counter-culture hub, at the forefront of the hippie movement, and a place where marijuana use was once condoned. MA, as an institution, was

illegal substances. As a result, the defining characteristic of our drug and alcohol culture can be summed up in one word: openness. The social culture allows students the opportunity to experiment with substances if they choose, but also respects the decision of those students who choose to abstain. The environment that the school is situated in has long been receptive to drug and alcohol use, which creates the Amanda Levensohn impetus for experimenting with such substances inifounded in the heyday of Marin’s tially. With this openness, counter-culture movement and which can sometimes be unnervgrew up adopting many of the ing, comes also a sense of comfort county’s practices. Liberal, experi- and a well-established system of mental practices are a part of Marin safety mechanisms and support and the schools historical culture. services. Access, affluence, and low crime The administration is knowlrates create an environment that is edgeable and strict, but also conconducive to experimentation with siderate of the fact that students

must make mistakes in order to learn. The students themselves create a place where experimentation is accepted, but is never regarded as a priority or necessity. In the end, we as students are a product of the environment we come into and the culture we join. But we also shape this environment and culture individually as we pass through it. The school has come a long way from the days where students and faculty would smoke cigarettes between classes, but the feelings of openness regarding experimentation fostered by the school’s history remain to this day. Though students will never truly agree on what is right and wrong regarding experimentation with illegal substances, the openness of the community with regards to this topic will always lead to productive discussion and change.

Looking through the lens of a second semester senior Sarah Strand Editor-in-Chief High school is about discovery. It is during this time we are literally exposed to the world; we are faced with new challenges, we think about things we have never previously considered, and we voice opinions we never knew we had. Amidst this chaos, we begin to piece together our own nebulous identities. The fragments of experiences that contribute to anyone’s growing collection of personality traits can be found in the most seemingly random moments. As a junior in Jim Baldwin’s 20th Century Novel class, I was not looking for any form of realization or epiphany. But, upon finishing Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, I concluded that peoples’ lives and their actions could have both infinite meaning, and no meaning at all. (Lucky for me, Jim bought this as a thesis.) Though the statement is contradictory in and of itself, it has helped

me put my experiences, especially those in high school, in perspective. I can see what I have done as significant, and the things that I have passed up as virtually meaningless – one grain of sand in an ocean of possibilities. W h e n I am forced to impart advice as a senior, I always leave people with this same morsel of wisdom: what you do means everything and nothing at the same time. Similarly, I like to remind people that they do not have to live following any single mission or goal. In fact, life simply does

not have to be anything. And to quote Kundera, “it’s a terrific relief to realize you’re free, free of all missions.”

I would hope Marin Academy students can find wisdom in Kundera’s words. The activities our community participates in – like providing opportunities for the underprivileged, spreading environmental conservation, raising money for venerable causes, to

name a few – do indeed hold significance. At the same time, many students regard each missed opportunity as a blunder that has marred their future. Tests failed, interviews bombed, and a rg u m e n t s had can seem apocalyptic at the time, but they have no significance in the grand s c h e m e of things. Though it has taken me all four years of high Tiras Lin ‘09 school, I can finally agree with teachers that receiving a poor grade truly is insignificant. Now that I am beyond the college application process, it is also clear that a few less-thanideal data points in a file will not change a college’s perception of an infinitely faceted student. And, if

you are not accepted to your colleges of choice, you will still be the same talented person who is bound to find opportunities wherever you go. We judge the significance of events in comparison to the rest of our lives. As teenagers, we do not have much time to weigh against; thus, many things that seem like major events at the time will have less and less meaning with the passing of years. In that vein, it is all we can do to take our experiences in stride. I have come to live by the mantra “learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” Though living in the moment has its merits, some events in the past are worth remembering, and some events in the future are worth looking forward to. Quite simply, some things will matter and some things will not. It is through this lens that I have made it through high school, and I can say from experience that it makes everything that much more rose-colored.



May 7, 2010

A survival guide to graduating as a happy senior Amanda Levensohn Op/Ed Editor

Sarah Strand

I am going to graduate from Marin Academy a very happy senior. My hope in writing this article is that present and future students will be able to say the same. To make this hope a reality, I am going to discuss the things that I feel I did right and wrong in high school. This is what I wish an upperclassman had told me freshman, sophomore, and junior year. Never say never: By declaring what you will or wont do you

are trapping yourself in a closeminded box. Everyone wants to mature and grow throughout high school, but this can be difficult if you pin yourself to a certain title or idea. You can essentially corner yourself, making it even harder to become the person you want to be. When you do decide to change, you will look hypocritical to everyone around you. Keep an open mind no matter what and try not to say anything you may regret in the future. Build strong connections with teachers: There were a few times over the past four years where I felt completely and utterly alone. That was until I realized that almost everyone I talked to about this feeling felt the exact same way. I have learned that one of the best ways to alleviate any sense of aloneness or uncertainty is by talking to teachers. You can be buddies with five teachers or just one, but it is important to have someone in the MA staff that you can talk to or have some type of friendly rela-

tionship with. I am very fortunate that there are teachers who I will stay in touch with once I graduate. Having a friendship with a teacher helps reciprocate everything they have given you. Although teachers can be intimidating, if you seek them out to talk, I assure you they will respond positively. Never give up: There were a few occasions in high school where the four most evil words in the world escaped my mouth “I want to quit.” If I had actually quit, I would not be writing this newspaper article right now, Model United Nations would not be a successful club on campus, I would never have finished a single movie, and I probably would not be going to college. This is an exaggeration of course, but the thought of what could have happened if I had quit the things that I love and am passionate about sends chills down my spine. If you come across a problem or obstacle, work it out! Although it may seem intimidating, talk to a teacher or meet with

My MA: the right wing way Bennett Crowl Guest Writer On the first day of my freshman year, I entered the gym for what I believed to be a routine assembly. By the end, I discovered that I was in an alien world. I was astonished at the announcements; first was the Obama Club, then Eco Council, Granola Club, Hiking Club-and they kept coming. In that assembly, I realized I was not in New Jersey anymore; I was in “liberal land.” After assembly I went to the library trying to get away from liberal palooza. My efforts were futile. When I sat down at the computer, several students, right next to me, were discussing painting Obama on their shoes. I nearly lost it. Everywhere I turned, something liberal was there to greet me. I had a lot of new things to think about. Moving to San Francisco was the kind of move I had never ex-

perienced. I have been fortunate to have lived in London, Hong Kong, and New Jersey, but what made this move unlike any of the others was that it was the first time I had lived somewhere else in the United States. I am a Republican, a rare species in the Bay Area and at MA. Being a conservative in the midst of Obama madness made my freshman year very interesting. The previous summer I had occasionally listened to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hanity, so coming here was a completely different political world. At first, I thought everyone was insane to have conservative and right wing views. Conversely, my classmates thought I was a bit out of my mind for being a Republican. Over time, I eventually saw where the more liberal members of the community were coming from, and some of my stances on issues have been altered. Living in such a liberal place

has made me more open-minded and I have come to value the opinions of others. I used to immediately discount ideas that were different than my own, but now I take them into account. This has made me a moderate Republican. For example, I used to be a pro-drilling, but I now cherish the “greenness” of the Bay Area. While I still love the scenery of my native New Jersey, the natural beauty of California has made me realize how important green initiatives are. Upon my first thought, I marveled on how I transitioned from New Jersey to California. However, when I thought about it more deeply, I realized that people from California and New Jersey are quite similar: they are both misunderstood and they are both benevolent. When I start school next year in New Jersey it won’t be that different. But I will surely be more open minded than before.

Joe Harvey or Lynne Hansen, it really does help. No matter what, don’t give up! It’s cliché but very true, what doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger. The truth about grades: I don’t mean to confuse you, but grades do and don’t matter. To be perfectly honest, it really depends on who you are and what you eventually want. I wish I had cared more about my grades freshman and sophomore year, yet this did not keep me from getting into my first choice college. Teachers say that high school is about the learning not the grade. I agree and was thus extremely shocked when I was handed a pink sheet of paper at the beginning of junior year which told me what colleges I should apply to based on my GPA. Here is how I would break down grades and the college process. A 4.0 and 2400’s on the SAT cannot guarantee that you get into your first choice Ivy League college. If this is what you’re shooting for, you pretty much have to be

an amazing, flawless person and have a 4.0 and perfect SAT score and then maybe you’ll get in. For the rest of us, (based on my experience) being passionate about something more than school and having decent grades can get you far. If you already know what you want to do, focus on making a portfolio or getting job experience while keeping your grades as high as you can. Being passionate or really good at something beyond test taking has a lot more worth than you may think. Find a program that you want to pursue and work towards that goal. These tips are by no means right for everyone; however, I managed to follow them and I think I turned out kind of all right. I encourage all underclassman to talk to seniors before they graduate and ask them about any concerns or questions they may have. Not all of us have a sibling who has already made it out of high school alive.

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



May 7, 2010

Jazz/Rock Concert:

students’ musical prowess showcased The spring Rock/Jazz concert is not only spectacular because it highlights graduating veterans of the MA music department, but also because the performances are generally exceptionally polished and sophisticated, as the various groups have been playing together all school year. This semester’s concert did not disappoint.

The Septet

Saxophonists Jeremy Berkov, James Dalrymple and Stephen Schmetz of The Septet Jazz Ensemble started the evening off right with takes on standards such as “Three in One” and “Chameleon”.

The Jazztice League

Senior Jonah Nakagawa thinks deeply about his performance as part of The Jazztice League. Highlights from the set included a version of “My Favorite Things” which Nakagawa introduced by telling the audience to “Imagine for a minute a bunch of blue-eyed, blonde haired Austrian children on a hillside. In Austria. Then John Coltrane drops in.”


Members of Rocktopus Benji Dossetter (guitar), Darcy Gamble (vocals), Yang West (vocals), Tennessee Mowery (vocals and guitar) and Caroline Kamm (electric bass) rock out during the set.

The Electriquintet

Junior Lila Frisher (sax and vocals) and senior Matt Kerslake (guitar and electric bass) of the renowned MA group The Electriquintet performing a version of “Espera” by Esperanza Spaulding. Other highlights of the evening included an original piece called “Raw Dragons” written by the group’s player Sturdy Adams.


Tory Mathieson of the rock group The Soulution per- Gabe Beaudoin of The forms an incredible version of “Baby, Baby, Baby”, by Soulution takes a smokin’ Joss Stone. slap bass solo.

Writing and photography by Julia Herbst



May 7, 2010

The thrifting experience: unique finds at great prices Avery Hale and Neha Budhraja Staff Writers

“Thrift stores have so much more variety than the average clothing store that has overpriced clothes,” said sophomore Lizzy Elliot. “I can usually find unique items for a really good price.”

the East Bay to San Francisco and able. Buying used clothes reduces hotspots include Haight Street the demand for new, manufactured and the Mission District. Some clothing, thus reducing carbon of the most popular stores in the footprints of large factories. Most Within the Marin Academy Bay Area include Wasteland, Buf- people who shop at donationcommunity, students strive to falo Exchange, and Mars Mercan- based stores also donate their old have original style. In other words, tile. These stores feature the less main mainly used and vintage stream, the clothing, but can sell debetter. This is signers for fractions of not the case at the original price. other schools “Those concerned around the with fashion shouldn’t country, where want to turn into another it is almost American-apparel wearcertain one ing hipster,” said senior will find a sea Tennessee Mowrey. “At of Abercroma thrift store they can bie polo’s and create their own style UGG boots. based solely on what they However, like.” MA students Shopping at thrift Neha Budhraja are also lucky Avery Hale stores has become even Students peruse clothing at the Green Fest thrift store to have access more appealing in the Lizzy Elliot browses at Goodwill to the unique Goodwill and The Salvation economic crisis. T-shirts are styles and affordability that bay Army are two thrift stores that are sold for as little as five dollars, area thrift stores have to offer in popular among students right here and branded items are usually sold clothes back to the shops. “It’s a form of recycling,” said comparison to many main stream in San Rafael. at half-price. senior Emily Bell. “My mom alstores. Other thrift stores range from Thrift shopping is also sustainways jokes that one day I’m go-

ing to buy something that I just donated.” A common fear with thrift stores is the condition of the clothing. Since garments are mostly donated, clothes can range from brand new items to garments that could use a run through the washing machine. Each store has its own policy in regards to washing clothes before selling, making some clean freaks skeptical about purchasing items. “I’m the biggest germ-aphoebe that I know and I shop at thrift stores,” said Bell. Along with the cheap deals, thrift stores seem to provide an experience just as unique as their clothing. Thrift shopping can also be fun becaue the stores attract a wide variety of people. “There are some pretty weird characters,” said Mowrey. “But you don’t break the bank, get some great clothing, and have a great time for an hour.”

Rally on: ping-pong craze sweeps through student body person serving five and win by “I’d love to find a solution that minor speed bumps thus far, feedtwo. We play ‘sucker’s serve,’ allows both [class and pingpong] back from adult members at MA has been largely positive and the which basically means on game to happen.” After months of anticipation, point, whoever is down takes the Despite the fact that the ping- pingpong table looks like it’s here the ping-pong Club leaders, seserve. Lastly, after every game, the pong table is technically open to to stay. niors Conor Flemming and Teo “I think the pingpong table new challenger gets a few minutes all, upperclassmen have clearly Pier, have finally delivered on is a great opportunity for kids to warm up before ‘pingpong ral- dominated the table. their promise to go blow off ly on,’ and the made so long some steam bewinner of that ago: a pingtween classes,” point gets to pong table. said Dean of start the match The table Students Lynne serving.” is open to the Hansen. “As Inevitaentire student long as we keep bly, pingpong body, and is the play approgames get centrally lopriate and safe loud and incated in the it’s all good with tense as emocafeteria me.” tions run high. courtyard. The Pier and Often times addition of the Flemming exthese raucous pingpong table pressed their joy Sarah Strand matches take Sarah Strand has sparked a Students congregate around the table in their free time in the success place during Ping Pong Club leaders Teo and Connor show off their skills school-wide that the pingstudent’s free “Whenever I see the table ju- pong table has had. pingpong craze. Students are sport, it’s imperative to know the blocks, which can disrupt neighdrawn to the table for some mo- school’s unique rule set. “I think we’re both really happy boring classes that are in session. niors and seniors are always play“First off, it’s winner stays on, ing,” said freshman Daisy Wilmentary respite in their long, with how it has livened up student “It’s hard sometimes to have the so lookout for table monopolies windows open while people are liamson. “Sometimes I wish more activity at MA.” said Flemming. stressful days. “The pingpong table has con- by the big players, like myself,” having fun outside and cheering,” freshmen could get a game in.” “It has become a connecting point While there have been a few for the whole community.” tributed to my overall happiness said sophmore Terry Castleman. said math teacher Jamie Collie. “Games are to eleven, with each

Jamie Muresanu Staff Writer

at Marin Academy because now I have a great activity to do during my free time,” said junior Chet Kristy. For those who have not tried their hand at a game of pingpong and are looking to crack into the



MAY 7, 2010

For athletes, it’s more than a school day; it’s game day Avery Hale Staff Writer

ties. Or if there just so happened to be a girls volleyball game taking place that same day, she may witness a team of girls dressed in spandex and kneepads. At school, it is common to see many of the athletes display-

ing their team spirit on up on occasion as well. game day, whether it be by “To me dressing up on wearing red and black ribgame day shows your comIf a visitor were to take a step bons in their hair, or sportmitment to the team,” said onto campus on the day of a laing full fledged ridiculous junior Courtney Jacobson crosse game, she may encounter costumes consisting of (a two season athlete). “It’s a group of boys walking through large capes, hair dye, and kind of a unity thing, so that school sporting dress shirts and bold lettering across by the afternoon when the their foreheads. But, game starts, you’re ready one might ask, what’s to play.” the point? This tradition is enjoyed “It has always been a by all members of the comtradition for us to dress munity, and is not solely for up on game days. Usuthe pleasure of the athletes. ally the more important Even students who do not the game, the crazier participate in a sport are the outfit,” said junior able to enjoy the classy or Sophia Dauria, a memeven ridiculous outfits that ber of the MA softball the athletes often choose team. to wear. Avery Hale “ I l o v e w a l k i n g Softball players show exceptional spirit and team “I think it is a really around school looking coordination in their Game Day outfits strong part of our school a little silly but knowing spirit and gives people a do demonstrate excellent spirit, my teammates are as well,” said they’re not the only ones who en- chance to show support for their senior and softball team member joy participating in this custom. team in a creative way” said Yang West, adding that dressing Members of the lacrosse, basket- sophomore Alec White, “I think it Keegan Cohen up pumped up team spirit. ball, water polo, volleyball, and is a special part of MA and defines Sporing ties and dress shirts, the Lax team brings class in their game day attire. Although the softball girls tennis team (to name a few) dress who we are as a school.”

Wildcats of the Issue crack the bat, swim the distance Sophia Dauria

Eric Slamovich and Jacob Salant Staff Writers

ES: What is your pre-game routine? SD: I don’t have a routine that differs too much from the rest of the team. I try to make sure we are all pumped up for the game by blasting a pre-game CD mix that we made. We get focused by ‘passing the squeeze’ in a circle and we finish that with a loud team scream to center the energy. ES: What is your favorite position to play and why? SD: I love the infield; I’ve been playing there my whole career. I played second base freshman and sophomore year then got moved to shortstop this year because my throwing arm got a lot stronger. ES: What are your personal and team goals Allison Wilks Sophia Dauria scoops up a well-hit grounder. that you hope to accomplish this season? SD:We’ve decided as a team to not look too far ahead into the future and get overwhelmed with the possibilities. Right now, we’re taking it game by game, inning by inning, and pitch by pitch. Whatever happens, happens, and it’s all a learning experience. Personally, I basically just want to be a good captain and keep my team together, focused, but having fun and learning about the sport. ES: Do you have a nickname that your teammates call you out on the diamond? SD: [Laughs] The whole team doesn’t call me it, but Ari calls me PH. I got the nickname during San Anselmo Recreational League ball six years ago now. There were two Sophias’ on my team; she spelled hers with an ‘F’ so I became ‘PH’ and she was just called ‘Sofia.’

Theo St. Francis

JS: Which events do you compete in? TSF: I do the Backstroke for 200 and 100 meters as well as the 100 Freestyle and Individual Medley, which is basically a one-man relay of a lot of different strokes. JS: What are your personal bests, in terms of times? TSF: For the 200 backstroke it’s 2:02, for the 100 Judy Ferguson backstroke it is 0:57.7 and for Theo St. Francis demonstrates his impeccable butterfly the 100 freestyle it’s 0:52.2. form JS: What are your goals for swimming? TSF: My main goal is to keep improving, and now that I am headed toward Nationals, I have to keep improving there. At Nationals I want to be as fast as I possibly can. JS: Who are your role models? TSF: My old coach Asher Green. He was hugely influential for me and helped me grow mentally and physically as a swimmer. JS: What is your favorite aspect of swimming? TSF: I love the team camaraderie, and really I got into it and do it for the people. It’s great to be with awesome people and at the same time get in shape and work out. For me it’s a way to release stress and anger, and swimming clears my mind.

May 2010: Marin Academcy Voice  

May edition

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