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The Coat of Arms News



A.P. Government teacher Dan Devitt holds a heated mock election in his classes each November, this year’s taking place on Friday, Nov. 22. This year, Devitt has required each candidate to have a running partner of the opposite gender in order to avoid gender (rather than political beliefs) impeding on the results.

Freshman Max Gray and sophomore Ben Werdegar have found a way to combine their musical talents and community service. Both raise money for organizations through playing instruments for their community; Gray plays the banjo, while Werdegar plays the guitar.

Menlo students are connected online all the time: on Facebook, on Vine, on Instagram, on Snapchat. How engrossed are Menlo students with media sources? Where do we get our news, and what do we gain from staring at the screen so often?



Thing to consider

the bookstore will have free hot chocolate for everyone to enjoy. forward to dumping four packets of hot chocolate into your cup and letting its warmth heat up your hands.


Upcoming events


29 Dec



The varsity basketball team will play Menlo alumni in the annual Alumni Basketball game

Come hear the amazing sou nds of the Menlo C hor u s du r i ng t hei r three choruses will be performing in Spieker Ballroom in formal attire.

Photos of the issue



Volume 39, Number 2 Menlo School, Atherton, California Thursday, September 27, 2012

Also AvAilAble online At


As a whole, does the Menlo community believe every rumor they hear? English teacher Vicky Greenbaum investigates the allure of gossip, and why those who hear it choose to believe without any form of evidence. SEE STORY ON P. 16

Sports Menlo and Sacred Heart day once again to square off for the Valpo Bowl Championship in the classic rivalry between the two schools. Menlo lost a close game, but gave it their all despite the absence of star quarterback Jack Heneghan. SEE STORY ON P. 15

AP English no longer mandatory 385,576 students nationwide took the AP Literature exam in 2013 3.26 was the national average score on the AP Literature exam 14% of students nationwide scored a 5 on the AP Literature exam them do that? We can serve their needs in other ways. […] [This decision] says that Menlo is a rigorous academic program that does its best to provide choices and alternatives to meet a broad range of students interests and choices." Menlo is still “[offering] a challenging and meaningful curriculum to all of our students.” While the decision to not have a grade wide requirement of A.P. English has been made, the logistics of what comes next are still uncertain. The department is still meeting to decide what the alternative to A.P. English will be for juniors, and if A.P. English can be offered to seniors. The requirement of A.P. English has caused controversy among the students. Some students agree with the decision that A.P. English should not be required. “Just as students are, for want of a better phrase, sorted into levels in math and sciences, students who excel in the humanities ought to be likewise distinguished. [...] If the course was made optional, I think that we would be able to accomplish even more,” senior Caroline Wheeler said. Others have issues with how the level of dif-

Becky Swig | Assistant Sports and Opinions Editor

The English department is amidst a curriculum review, looking to improve the quality of the department as a whole. The department hopes to take a step back and evaluate the effectiveness of the current curriculum trajectory. One of the topics of discussion is the requirement of A.P. English for junior year, which has been required for students for the past decade. Students have the option of taking A.P. American Literature, A.P. British Literature, and since the start to this year, A.P. English Language. The curriculum review is looking at how mandated A.P. English fits the needs of Menlo’s students. “We are asking ourselves [that] if our goal is to create a program that […] serves the needs of all the students, than is having a grade wide mandated AP the best way to do that,” English department chair Cara Plamondon said. In a recent meeting on Oct. 23, the department decided to not make A.P. English mandatory for juniors starting in the 2014-2015 school year. “Now, we see a number of kids struggling in A.P. [English], [...] so why not give them a chance to take a non-A.P. [course]?” English teacher Vicky Greenbaum said. Upper School Director John Schafer added, “There are enough students in there who don’t want to be in there so why make

student differently. “I am a slower learner in that class and there are many students who get things immediately, so the teacher moves on when I still do not have a full understanding,” junior Guillaume Diaz said. Students also feel that the requirement to take A.P. English is unfair if you are

not as strong in the subject as you are in others. “It was hard for people who aren't that into the humanities to deal with the demanding course,” senior Sienna Stritter said. Junior Audrey Flower agreed, saying that “No other AP classes are mandatory, so if you aren't a [student who is strong in English], you shouldn't have to take it.” Although some students believe that A.P. English should not be required, others think that it should be because of the skills learned from the class. “I do think it should be mandatory for juniors, mostly because I think A.P. English prepares you for college writing in a way that freshman and sophomore English don't as much. I write during junior year,” senior Lillian Siegel said. In addition to teaching valuable skills, A.P. English is a course that some believe is possible for everyone to complete. “It should be mandatory because it is a manageable A.P. that has no prerequisites, so anyone can take it. It is a challenging course with a good reading list, and looks good on college applications,” junior Eric Luxenburg said. While he believes it should be mandatory, he does wish that the classes were tracked so that those who want to move faster could be in a class together, while others could move at a different pace. [I] would prefer to be in a class where the class is at the same level [where] people who have Continued on page 4

Does Menlo breed a tutor dependent society? Lucy Heneghan | Staff Reporter Laura Madeira | Staff Reporter It's no secret that many Menlo students are aided by outside of school tutoring programs. But, with all the extra help and availability teachers offer to students, some wonder if relying on outside of school tutors is a fair system. Many students meet with teachers on a regular basis, and others take advantage of student-led tutoring areas such as the writing center and math-and-science help center. The ample help within Menlo raises the question of whether outside tutors are necessary. Perhaps they provide a different way of explaining the material? Or because they are being paid, are they more likely to give you the answer in the end? At a school like Menlo where many parents can afford to hire outside tutors, the answers to these questions become critical in making sure that Menlo’s learning environment supports all students equally. Students at


a tutor instead of only being able to go to their teacher. “My tutor mainly helps me keep organized, which isn’t something teachers really focus on," sophomore Ellie Schley said. Sophomore Nikky Price enjoys meeting with her tutor rather than trying to manage around teacher’s schedules. “I don't have time to meet with all teachers and teachers are in general pretty busy and rush through [material] whereas with one-on-one tutors [teaching you the material] is their main focus of that hour, " Price said. Freshman Max Gray adds that although he meets with teachers, “you get more attention from an outside of school tutor.” Junior Alexandra Walker noted that tutors also help give students extra practice in needed


Writing center instructor Maura Sincoff helps a student with an English essay.

areas. “Tutors give you a different perspective on things and give you more of tutors, as junior Olivia Ferrando explained, is having the ability to check in about what’s going on with school. "I'm able to get all my work done in an hour, and it's nice to meet with them mid-week to talk about what's going on," Ferrando said. Tutors can be especially helpful when students feel

Continued on page 4


November 21, 2013 o

5 Facts about...

News Briefs Sophomore class travels to InnVision shelters On Thursday, Nov. 14, the sophomore class went to a number of InnVision Shelter Network locations around the Bay Area for their community service day. InnVision strives to house and support homeless families and assist them in becoming self-efficient. Each advocacy went to a different location and participated in various tasks, such as gardening, organizing closets, and sorting donations. After their service, each advocacy had to post a reflection in the “Menlo School 10th Grade Community Service Day” blog. “It was rewarding helping others in need,” sophomore Keaton Shively said.

Typhoon haiyan

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The Coat of Arms | NEWS

Typhoon Haiyan was the second deadliest typhoon in Filipino history, killing over 3,600 people in the Philippines alone. Nearly two million people have been left homeless in the aftermath of the storm. The typhoon also has left almost 1,200 people missing.

Haiyan’s winds set records by hitting almost 190 miles per hour, which is similar to standing behind a jet engine. It was classified as a typhoon on November 5th and made landfall on November 7th. It set a record by being the largest tropical cyclone to hit land that has ever been recorded.

Haiyan affected Micronesia, Vietnam, Southern China, and the Philippines. 800,000 people in Vietnam were evacuated, and all of the countries were on the highest level of tropical storm warnings. After the storm hit land, it diminished fairly quickly, but its effects were felt all over.

Menlo’s new atomic force microscope On Nov. 13, Menlo accepted a gift from the Agilent Corporation (headquartered in Santa Clara): an atomic force microscope. This instrument, which won the Nobel Prize back in 1986, is now located in the Whitaker Lab. Students will be able to view images at the micrometer to nanometer scale, and also measure small forces, such as those on stationary objects. “I don’t think many folks have seen the world at this length scale,” science teacher Trevor Kendall said. The instrument will expand Menlo students’ ability to both understand curriculum and conduct independent research projects.

Early estimates have the damage at $15 billion, compared to $68 billion for Hurricane Sandy. This is because Haiyan affected very poor regions of land. There was lots of looting and crime going on in the aftermath of the storm, but a curfew has been put in place and the military has been deployed to minimize the crime. The United States has donated $20 million and has sent an aircraft carrier and a hospital ship for help. Many other countries have sent aid and money. 11 million people have been affected by the storm, so those affected need any help they can get.


History curriculum after self-review Much like the English program (see front page), the History program also underwent program review this past year. The process remains the same, scrutinizing the entire program, from freshman year to senior year, including bringing in outside consultants to evaluate the program in place. As history teacher Peter Brown said, “There have been several changes, in part, as a result of this, some changes in the ninth grade world religions course, for instance, greater coherence and a spiraling approach in RUSH”. -Compiled by Kelsey Flower, Claudia Corrigan, and Andreas Katsis

A.P. Government enforces gender balance

Denna Nazem | Staff Reporter

Although presidential elections only occur every four years on the national level, in Menlo’s A.P. Government class, November is always election season. This Friday, Nov. 22, is the tenth annual A.P. Government mock election. A.P. Government teacher Dan Devitt said, the mock election is a “five day simulation reflecting a real presidential election, with voters [from] around the school to coming and selecting a candidate.” Devitt believes that the mock election “has turned into a life study regarding how people strategize and negotiate with each other […] and a bit of a study on political ethics [about] how far people will [prioritize] winning before [they] start to cross lines.” In addition to the political debating skills attained throughout this weeklong process, the election is also “a place for the candidates to publicly speak and demonstrate their public speaking skills in a very stressful time frame,” Devitt said. Candidates for the election are chosen by Devitt “based on their ideology, political interests, and who I think is going to be the most responsible,” Devitt said. Once the candidates are chosen, they then choose a campaign manager of the opposite gender. For the first time this year, it is mandatory that a campaign team is gender balanced. “I discovered that this mock election brings out the best and worst of Menlo sometimes,”

Devitt said. The main issue brought up during previous years, especially last year, has been gender relations. “Boys and girls sit separately in class when they are not forced to” Devitt said. Last year, he noticed that this pattern “spilled over into [his] mock election where a female candidate, Samantha Hoag, won the election in one class and there was a concerted effort by the boys to change the outcome in the other class.” This was a very disturbing experience for Devitt, and some of his students noticed this issue as well. “Actually, [it was] some of the students that recommended that the campaign teams would be split by gender,” Devitt said. Ryan Karle ‘13 agrees with Devitt. “I notice a gender divide but it wasn’t due to political affiliations [...] to be honest, this was likely more due to gender association as opposed to political beliefs. But that’s the nature of these elections; generally they tend not to realistically indicate the class’ political agenda.” Karle said. On the contrary, some students this year, such as senior Melissa Cairo, do not see the need for this new rule. “I don’t really think it’s necessary [...] Riley Burgess is my campaign manager and it worked out well because he was one of the only other liberals in the class so I wouldn’t have picked anyone otherwise,” Cairo said. “It’s kind of amazing how in the 21st century at Menlo School […] I am actually having to dictate gender roles because [I see] bit of a disjunction between girls and boys at this

The Coat of Arms Staff Editor-in-Chief...................................................................................Pooja Kathail Print Editor ............................................................................................Lexi Davirro Online Editor.......................................................................Christina Wadsworth News Editor........................................................................................Kelsey Flower Arts & Lifestyle Editor......................................................................Kate Huneke Spread Editors...................................................Claire Willig & Andreas Katsis Opinions Editor.......................................................................................Wes Miller Sports Editors....................................................................................Riley Burgess Assistant Sports & Opinions Editor ............................................Becky Swig Copy Editor.............................................................................................Malia Bates Visual Content Editor..........................................................................Alice Shaw Staff Reporters..............................................................Claudia Corrigan, Polly Finch, Brooke Hammarskjold, Jack Hammond, Lucy Henghan, Laura Madeira, Denna Nazem, Rory Plewman, Davis Rich, Josie Rouser, Efe Sarinalbant, Michael Shames, Kevin Walker Faculty Advisor............................................................................................Kiki Felt


school,” Devitt said. It is yet to be seen whether gender equality on campaign teams will fix the issue. Students are encouraged to attend the mock elections this Friday, Nov. 22, to make their own opinion on whether a solution has been found.


Senior Jasmin Gutierrez makes a speech as a lobbyist to her A.P. Government class to support the Liberals for Immigration Reform Committee in the mock election.

The Coat of Arms Mission Statement or to

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The mission of The Coat of Arms is to deliver honest, comprehensive, and accurate coverage to the Menlo School community. As a student publication we strive to present the diversity of voice, interest, and activity within the school. We will remain relevant and accessible by using multiple forms of media, offering new angles on subjects significant to the community, and encouraging dialogue and feedback.

The Coat of Arms | News

November 21, 2013

An in-depth look at Menlo’s budget


For this issue of the Coat of Arms, we decided to investigate a topic that not many students are knowledgeable about: Menlo’s budget. We talked to Chief Financial Officer Bill Silver, Upper School Athletics Director Craig Schoof, Upper School Dean of Students Tony Lapolla, and Director of Operations and Construction David McAdoo to gain a sense of the general budget, sports budget, arts budget, and clubs budget at Menlo.

Denna Nazem | Staff Reporter Kelsey Flower | News Editor

Chief Financial Officer Bill Silver is the business manager for the school and is in charge of all the financial ins-and-outs. “Every program in the school, every department in the school, like football or mock trial or art, [has] an individual budget […] My job is to analyze those budgets in the context of the overall school budget to make sure that everyone has what they need but we also meet the school’s budget,” Silver said. He walked me through both the expenses and incomes of the school. Silver was able to provide a general budget overview and explain how Menlo divides up its expenses. In regard to expenses, “there are two significant chunks: it is really the people and facilities, which include all the services the school offers” Silver said. The main focus of the budget is the faculty and staff. “Sev-

enty-two percent of the money we spend is on people, and a bulk of that is for teacher salaries,” Silver elaborated. Menlo’s reasoning for this is that happy teachers lead to happy, well-taught, students. “What makes a great school is great teachers, so we spend a lot of money on salaries and benefits for our faculty so we can attract great teachers and that is the biggest focus,” Silver said. In order to do this, Menlo “[looks] at what other schools are paying their teachers, and [has a goal] to be right at the top.” The second biggest focus in Menlo’s budget is operation expenses, which take up another 26% of annual expenses. This includes facilitating programs and buying supplies, transport for clubs and athletics, and construction. According to Director of Operations and Construction David McAdoo, the construction budget is based on need and the time frame of the project in regards to the other circumstances in the Menlo com-

munity. “A project takes 2 to 3 years to plan and one more year to execute [...] we typically build in 10-12 months, so that’s how the cycle [for new construction projects] usually goes,” McAdoo said. Furthermore, because of the way projects are funded, they are naturally spread out with one big project every few years. “[Menlo] pays for our facilities through capital campaigns, and there is only a certain amount of capacity when it comes to fund raising so [we] need to spread them out,” Silver said. Since, according to Silver, the school tries to “pay as [we] go,” Menlo needs a certain amount of funding before beginning a new project. Looking to the future, the Cartan Field construction project is the most planned project, along with a new performance hall and a new cafeteria, but all these official open dates are still up in the air. In regards to income, 81% percent of Menlo’s income is from tuition. Since, according to Silver, the whole student body

does not pay the full tuition and “[Menlo charges] our families what they can afford to pay,” the school granted 4.4 million dollars to fund financial aid this year. The money for this funding comes from donations and the Benefit. A new fund raising event will replace the Benefit next year, but the purpose of raising money for financial aid will remain the same. After tuition money, the next biggest source of money is the Annual Fund, which is comprised of alumni and parent donations that add up to 2.6 million. Menlo’s endowment is the next biggest source of money, and the Benefit is the fourth. Last financial year, Menlo had a $200,000 surplus, demonstrating Menlo’s efforts to keep the school as efficient and economical as possible. “The challenge is […] to manage our spending on things that are most important and not spend on things that are not as important,” Silver said.

Arts bling

Brooke Hammarskjold | Staff Reporter Kate Huneke | Arts & Lifestyle Editor

The zero-base sports budget Jack Hammond | Staff Reporter The Menlo sports programs have had recent success, winning league championships and CCS titles. Behind these championships is the dedication of the students, aided by great coaching and proper equipment. These last two benefits are paid for by the school using the sports budget. This budget also covers uniforms and team expenses such as travel required by CCS or CIF, where road trips are sometimes needed to play teams farther away in a CCS game. “The budget comes straight from the tuition dollars,” Athletic Director Craig Schoof said. The Athletic Department also receives money from outside donors, which is used at the request of the donor. For example, football and baseball have an anonymous donor that donates $10,000 to the football and baseball program every year. This money buys the team new gear and could also take the coaches and team out to dinner. It also covers team expenses. The budget money is used in what is called a zero-based budget. “[We] estimate what are the regular things that the programs need to be run and

build it from there […] [If we need something extra,] we have been able to go to Bill Silver and request it from him, and I cannot remember him ever turning us down,” Schoof said. This process has been used to build great sports programs at Menlo that have achieved many titles, both in league and CCS. “We want to have a great program or we don’t want to have the program [at all],” Chief Financial Officer Bill Silver said. A common assumption is that football and baseball both receive more money than any other sport. Even though this is true, the athletic department has not prioritized football and baseball. In reality, it costs more money to buy all the football and baseball equipment need for both teams than to buy only uniforms for a sport like cross-country. Therefore, each sport gets the funding that they need to cover all reasonable costs such as equipment. “[All sports teams] are very, very comfortable […] if they need more [money] we can get more,” Schoof said. When teams need something new, they can ask the athletic department and often receive what they desire if it reasonable. When students were asked wheth-

er they believe the sports budget is fair, responses were mixed. “A lot of sports at Menlo get more clothing and workout clothes than we do,” sophomore cross-country runner Dennis Manduzo said. “I think that certain sports definitely get more funding than others, but you could make the argument that those sports are more important to Menlo than others,” senior softball player Eva Hitchcock said. “I think the budget distributions must be fair since I don’t ever hear people complaining about it,” junior football player Chris Crouch said. With mixed responses, the current budget doesn’t seem to be completely satisfactory. However, this could be because students are unaware of the factors that determine how money is distributed to each sports team. The zero-base budget provides plenty of advantages for all sports, as none of Menlo’s programs are short of the necessities they need to compete successfully. While not all Menlo students are satisfied with the way money is distributed, Menlo athletics have been successful in the past with they money they have, and appear to be set up to continue succeeding in the future.

Between sets for the plays, cameras, art materials, instruments and more, the Menlo arts program is lucky to own and use nice, and expensive, supplies. However, in recent years some of the budgets for arts programs have been cut. “We determine which classes and programs get more money based off of need [...] for example, the yearbook class [has] more funds available because it is very expensive to print large books in color for each and every student, while [the] newspaper prints on less expensive materials and in a lesser quantity per issue,” Creative Arts Director Alex Perez, who works with Menlo CFO Bill Silver to determine which funds go where, said. But there are also several programs whose budgets have gone up in recent years. In fact, the yearbook budget, one that requires a large amount of money to produce hundreds of yearbooks, has slightly increased. “We recently got a small inflation, it’s pretty tiny, but we haven’t had any cuts,” yearbook teacher Tripp Robbins said. Similarly, some of the budgets for clubs have been cut while others remain the same. For example, in the past year the budget for the mock trial team has been cut. “The school said that if we wanted to go to [the] Providence Cup [national tournament] we had to pay for our own tickets, since it was an out-of-state tournament,” mock trial team member and Clubs Coordinator Christina Wadsworth said. Although the cut was “surprising, after winning Providence Cup for the past two years,” Wadsworth said, the budget was only cut to follow the rule that if sports teams want to participate in out-of-season tournaments, they have to pay for them themselves. However, mock trial is one of the only clubs whose budget has been cut. In fact, many clubs do not even have budgets to begin with other than the provided Sodexo meals for meetings. If a club requests a budget, Wadsworth refers them to Dean of Students Tony Lapolla and “the school decides what’s appropriate for the school to pay for and what’s appropriate for [the club] to pay for themselves,” Wadsworth said. In the past year, the lack of budgets for clubs has not proven to be an issue. “There haven’t been any clubs that have been frustrated about not having a budget, but as a student sometimes I hear people talking about how it’s unfair that certain clubs have a higher or lower budget,” Wadsworth said. Although there have been some cuts recently, all arts and clubs budgets seem to be currently given enough money for participating students to succeed, suggesting no need for these budgets to be reevaluated.

By the numbers $4.53 - Lunch per student each day $31 million - Menlo’s endowment $4.4 million - Financial aid per year


NEWS | The Coat of Arms


October 3, 2013

Tutor culture

A.P. English program reconsidered

Continued from page 1

are so willing to meet with students and discuss how to improve, but it definitely was the most challenging English class of my Menlo experience,” Siegel said. Despite mixed student opinion, the decision to make A.P. English optional was made by Menlo’s faculty and administration because they believe it best serves the needs of Menlo’s students. It

less of a propensity for English would be in separate blocks,” Luxenberg said. Overall, there is a belief among the student body that the A.P. class teaches valuable skills such as communicating, synthesizing, and analyzing complex texts. “I think for the most part, everyone was able to keep up with the class, especially since the teachers

will allow students to have more freedom in picking the courses they want to challenge themselves with and make sure that students are placed in English classes that fit the individual level of rigor they need. While the details for how this change will be implemented have not been determined yet, Menlo students will benefit from its results for years to come.

Let the games begin: Menlo hosts Ludi

On Nov. 9, the Junior Classical League sent approximately 500 Latin students from around 30 schools in northern California to the Menlo School campus for Ludi, which includes a myriad of activities such as testing, competition and games. Ludi, whose name stems from the public games once held in ancient Rome, usually consists of academic testing, arts and crafts, sports and certamen (which essentially is an ancient version of jeopardy). “For a day, we will have speakers from places like the Stanford Classics Department and authors come to talk to students in addition to the more physical activities like sports,” senior John Wilson said. Wilson is the Northern representative on the state board and the student who spearheaded the organization of Ludi. Within the Junior Classical League, there are four main events that include the National Convention, the State Convention, and regional conventions in both the northern and southern sections of the

state. Every year, schools in northern terwards, testing occurs. This testing California rotate the responsibility of has no impact on the students’ grades hosting Ludi, and this year the honin school; however, if students take or of accommodating students from more tests, they have better chances other northern California schools inat winning awards that are given to volved in the Junior Classical League academically gifted students. Followfell upon Menlo School. Because ing testing came the less academic the Junior Claspart of the day, sical League is a where students national organizaplayed competiPeople get very tion, Ludi is a retive sports like into the singing and gional event—unvolleyball and at times we may like JCL, which ultimate Frislook like a small is a state event bee and also atcult. that Menlo hosted tended workshops in the 2011-2012 that focused on -Junior Connor Pace school year. “The the “Love in the event is like a masAncient World” sive fellowship for everyone who theme of the day. appreciates ancient culture,” Latin Overall, students’ favorite parts of student and senior Paul Wat said. the Ludi revolved around the social This event consisted of an introaspect of the day. “I love getting to ductory speech from Head of School know students from both the Menlo Than Healy, followed by the singing JCL as well as meeting kids from of songs and the chanting of a pledge some of the surrounding schools,” that all students must be involved in. Wilson said. “It was an enjoyable day. “People get very into the singing and […] Everyone worked well together at times we may look like a small and the event as a whole was very succult,” Junior Connor Pace said. Afcessful,” senior Shelby Cundiff said.

Kate Huneke | Arts & Lifestyle Editor


Students decorated Stent Hall in preparation for a Latin convention, Ludi, where 500 students came to campus to participate in academic and sporting events.

Continued from page 1 my teacher and was a little intimidated by them, and was nervous to ask for as much help as I needed,” senior Brock Cozad said. While tutors are helpful for some students, there are still those that do not have tutors or do not feel the need to get one. “I don’t feel like I have the time to meet one on one with a tutor mid-week. I only really get a tutor if I’m struggling with something instead of meeting with them regularly,” sophomore Coco Gray said. While senior Christina Wadsworth does not have a tutor, she does not have a negative perspective on those students that do. “ I support getting a tutor when it’s for the right reasons, such as if you’re struggling in a certain subject, but [I do not support getting one] when you’re doing well in school but your parents suggest one for you,” Wadsworth said. In contrast, senior math and science help center tutor Hunter Brown believes that tutors are not always the best method for getting help. “I believe that the best place to go for tutoring is that specific teacher because they know best what they’re looking for you to know, or an older person that has gone through that subject already,” Brown said. Upper School Director John Schafer acknowledges the change in the tutoring culture that has occurred over the past decades. “When I was in high school [...] the outside of school tutoring culture was nothing like it is today,” Schafer said. Schafer explained that part of Menlo’s tuition does include access to the valuable teachers we have. Instead of using class time to absorb as much information as possible, “a lot of students take the attitude that if things get confusing they have the crutch of their tutor as a fallback, which prevents them from being as engaged and trying as hard as they should,” Schafer said. At a school as rigorous as Menlo, Schafer believes that struggling through material without help is actually a key part of the learning process. “A tutor prevents you from developing skills to be responsible for yourself and your own learning. There is a benefit from your struggling, and figuring out how to respond to those problems on your own. If you’ve been overly coddled by whomever, then you won’t have the resilience to pick yourself up and brush yourself off when you face difficulties,” Schafer said. Schafer does recognize the benefits of tutors in some specific cases, including when students have learning disabilities. However, his overall stance is that tutors are more common at Menlo than they should be. “The message the school needs to send is that you don’t need a tutor to go through this school. [The faculty] put[s] in a lot of work to make sure that everyone has the help available that they need within our school,” Schafer said. Although students have mixed opinions about the need for tutors, the administration has a clear message they want to send. At a school where ample resources are provided, and most parents have the means to provide additional resources to their student outside of school, the question of whether a “tutoring culture” is acceptable has become increasingly important. Is Menlo completing its mission to “balance rigorous expectations with extensive encouragement and support” enough that tutors should not be needed? In order to make sure that every student is fulfilling the rigorous goals that Menlo’s mission and values statement has in mind, it is crucial that this question is addressed.

LEAP Club jumps to Maryland for diversity conference Alice Shaw | Visual Content Manager

Many clubs at Menlo are well known. Everyone knows about the chess club, as it takes place on the quad, or Knight Vision, which frequently runs community service events for the school. In addition to these, there is one new club that, while many students may not know about, may be the most inclusive to students on campus. Menlo’s LEAP Club, which stands for leadership education and action partnership club, meets every other Wednesday and is incredibly welcoming to all students who wish to join. The purpose of the LEAP club is to “make a place where students of all different types of backgrounds can come together and talk about different issues such as race, class, and gender. We want it to be a place where people can come no matter what background they have, and hopefully feel comfortable enough to bring their friends,” Menlo’s Diversity Director and head of LEAP Club Angela Birts said. One

of the primary goals of the club is to cultivate leadership among underclassmen. The club also strives to help students discover certain jobs they may be interested in, for example, community service. The club, while targeting the passions of the students, is also highly educational. “We spend a lot of our time comparing, contrasting, and discussing articles that touch on topics we talk about, such as racism and sexism,” Birts said. Students in the club agree with Birt’s statements about its inclusivity and educational discussion. “The LEAP club is a place where I feel completely comfortably and at ease. It’s so nice being in a place where I can fully relate to students. It’s also comforting knowing that I am not the only member of the Menlo community that feels like a minority sometimes,” club member junior Harch Plate said. “My favorite part is the discussion. The steering committee club leaders meet every Monday to discuss the problems and progress Menlo has made

towards diversifying its community. “I love listening to other people’s opinions on the same subject and I get to integrate some of their views into my own,” sophomore Angel Okoro added. Although this year is the LEAP Club’s first year on campus, there have been clubs similar to it in the past, such as the MAC club, which stands for multicultural awareness club. While both clubs are similar in their methods of discussing prevalent issues at hand, the LEAP club is different in its unique involvement with the annual Student Diversity Leadership Conference Dec. 3-7. “The Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) is a multiracial, multicultural meeting involving grades 9-12. The meeting welcomes upper school student leaders from across the country and focuses on selfreflecting, forming allies, and building community,” Birts said. Led by a diverse team of adult and peer facilitators, participants develop effective cross-cultural communi-

cation skills, better understand the nature and development of effective strategies for social justice, practice expression through the arts, and learn networking principles and strategies throughout the conference. In addition to large group sessions, SDLC further creates a safe, supportive environment by organizing participants into crosssectional teams of 60, known as “family groups,” each of which is facilitated by two adults. From there, each family group is further divided into small “home groups” where intense dialogue and sharing take place, guided by trained peer facilitators. The conference itself is an option for any student who wishes to attend. “So long as students submit an application, even if they are not a part of the LEAP club, they will be considered to attend,” Birts said. The club is very confident about its current participation, and hopes to attract even more students during the rest of the year through publicity of the conference and word of mouth.

The Coat of Arms | A&L

November 21, 2013

Menlo welcomes Tom Hitchcock Malia Bates | Copy Editor Menlo’s new Director of Security and Menlo parent, Tom Hitchcock has had quite the experience in his law enforcement career—to say the least. In 1970, Hitchcock began training as a commercial airlines pilot. “After they began laying off pilots [I decided] maybe that wasn’t a good profession,” Hitchcock said. After that career had been ruled out, Hitchcock wanted to pursue a career that had elements of both the outdoors and adventure, but still was not a monotonous and routine job and decided that law enforcement was the way to go. After taking college courses at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California, Hitchcock got a job with the city of Corte Madera in Marin county where he wore numerous hats, one being a detective and the other being a commander for a S.W.A.T (Special Weapons and Tactics) team. From that agency, he transferred to the Menlo Park Police Depart-

ment and worked as a detective and patrol officer, where he had the opportunity to ride the motorcycle, and cites this as “[his] best job.” In addition to Hitchcock’s law enforcement jobs, he has also participated in numerous trainings such as a Firearms Instructor. As expected with working in law enforcement for many years, Hitchcock has many memorable stories about cases he has worked. He recalls one case in particular. “There was a homicide […] and it came out as a suicide,” Hitchcock said. “In a homicide case you get to know the person that died [and] we found out that [the victim’s boyfriend] had a girlfriend and the day after [the victim] died he was with the girlfriend. So we started to look at testing […] the levels of carbon monoxide [and found that they] would have killed him too.” In addition to the numerous stories and adventures Hitchcock has had over his lengthy law enforcement career, he now looks forward to making new security improve-

ments to the Menlo community. “We have put some temporary surveillance cameras in areas we have had thefts [in.] We are looking at camera systems in two parts, in the entrances and exits of the campus and the second phase of that is going to be cameras on the quad, but we want to make sure that is acceptable to both parents and the students,” Hitchcock said. As there have been many school shootings this year, Hitchcock has studied many of them, and has found a common denominator between them, which is that many of the students who have brought a gun to school have played violent video games. Therefore in the future, Hitchcock hopes to have teacher training which will allow teachers and other faculty members to be aware of abnormal signs a student may display. Overall, Hitchcock would rate the safety of Menlo as an 8. “I believe many students at Menlo have a faculty member or teacher to talk to, that is what makes Menlo so unique” Hitchcock said.

Current Position: Director of Security at Menlo School Past Chief of Police in Brisbane (1988-2010) Past Chief of Police in Millbrae (2005-2009) Member of Special Committee on Gun Control Member of California’s Peace Officer’s Association Board Member of San Mateo County Narcotics Task Force


Tom Hitchcock, former Brisbane Police Chief, poses for a picture after announcing his retirement after 39 years of service.

Laura’s cooking column: mini pumpkin pies Laura Madeira | Visual Content Editor With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, pumpkin finds its way into seemingly every food and drink. While making (and eating) a whole pie is both time-consuming and extreme, these mini pumpkin pies are the perfect size for a little treat and also are very easy to make. Just a few easy steps will provide a delicious twist on a Thanksgiving classic. Hopefully these delicious pies end up on your table this Thanksgiving as your contribution to your family’s Thanksgiving feast and even create a new dessert tradition.

Ingredients: pie crust (store bought or homemade) (1) 15 oz can pumpkin (1) 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp nutmeg 1/2 tsp ginger 1 tsp cinnamon 2 eggs

Got blood?

Polly Finch | Staff Reporter

Twice a year Menlo hosts the Stanford Blood Bank in the hopes of raising awareness and supporting the ever lowering supply of blood in the Bay Area. The most recent blood drive was on Oct. 14 and was held in Menlo’s student center. According to Susan Balange, the lead nurse who manages the drive, Stanford reaches out to schools and work places all over the Bay Area. Menlo’s Director of Service Learning Jessie Thomas Brugos explained that Stanford does most of the organization for the drive; the blood drive is a “tradition,” Brugos said. With a five hour blood drive and 33 participants last year, the blood drive is one of the few times people can, “literally say ‘I saved someone’s life today,’” Brugos said. Participants are technically allowed to donate every eight weeks, but “most people are frightened of needles” Balange said, which detracts the majority of donors. Stanford’s goal for this blood drive was 40 donors, but there were only 23 participants, nine of whom were first time donors. The next blood drive will be on Friday, Jan. 17, and it will be the last blood drive of the year. Exactly one pint (16 oz) is taken from each person. This means that a total of 368 ounces of blood was donated. That 368 ounces can be

used to help an average of 69 patients. If the goal of 40 people donated around 120 people would be helped. Although the blood cannot be specifically tracked, there are certain hospitals that the blood could be donated to. Stanford contracts to several hospitals in the Bay Area The Stanford staff sets up in Menlo’s student center the morning of the drive, providing both the staff and the equipment necessary to put on such an event. All blood types are welcome, but O negative is preferred. Although all blood can be used for someone, O negative is known as the universal donor. No matter what the blood type, O negative can be administered. This makes it much more valuable in case of an emergency. Although donating blood can seem like a daunting task, most donors agree that it is nothing to be worried about. “I’ve donated blood every time we’ve had a blood drive,” senior Melissa Cairo said. “It’s a lot easier to do than people think,” Freshman Class Dean and donor Cindy Lapolla said. Lapolla has donated at every Menlo blood drive. “I wish everybody would take that simple step and save lives” Lapolla said. With the high demand of blood in the Bay Area it is more important than ever to donate.

Ken-Ken puzzles

Member of Committee of Violence Against Women Task Force

Instructions: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Whisk the pumpkin, condensed milk, and eggs in a bowl. Add salt and spices, then blend well until smooth. Cut out the pie crusts in the size/shape you need. For the miniature pies, we used the rim of a mason jar for the perfect sized circle to fill the muffin pans. Extracellular Matrix. Once you have your pans covered, pour your pumpkin mix into the crusts. Put them in the oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for another 30-35 minutes. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and enjoy!


Created by John Wilson A new brainteaser is sweeping the nation, Ken-Ken, a math puzzle that will leave you banging your head against the wall and tearing out your hair in complete and utter frustration. Even though it sounds like a medieval torture device, Ken-Ken is essentially just an infuriatingly complicated version of Sudoku where you must fill in a grid with digits so that no row or column has a repeating number. There is a catch however, in Ken-Ken you must complete all of the math operations specified in the upper left hand corner of the boxes all whilst maintaining the perfect column-row ratio. All in all KenKen is a scintillating brain exercise that I personally find supremely enjoyable.


The Coat of Arms | A&L

November 21, 2013

Top 10: things girls comment on their friends’ photos 1. 2.

“There goes my self-confidence” “OMG can I be you, please?”

3. 4.

“I literally can’t even. soo perf” “Photocreds, best friends creds, house creds, choosing creds, life creds” 5. “3 hunna likes in an hour girl, unrealllll” 6. “Stahpp too much beauty for one person. Please share” 7. “How have I not liked this” 8. “I didn’t know you modeled;)” 9. “I don’t know you very well, but you’re stunning!” 10. “Do you own a mirror<3”

Artists of the Issue Becky Swig | Assistant Sports and Opinions Editor

Two Menlo freshmen have auditioned, and been accepted into the American Choral Directors Association Regional Honor Choir. The Honor Choir is a prestigious group of singers from the Bay Area. It is split into three groups: an all women’s choir, an all men’s choir, and a mixed choir, each having 115-120 singers. Hayden Pegley and Sabrina Fleming had to complete three tasks in order to be a part of the Honor Choir: a solo in a foreign language or a classical piece, sight read a song as a solo they have never seen before, and sing a scale by ear. The Honor Choir is very competitive and many talented singers audition. There were 1,000 kids who auditioned and 600 were selected. Chorus teacher Karen Linford was very proud. “It is a great thing to have our school represented,” Linford said. Pegley and Fleming are taking off school today, and tomorrow in order to rehearse extensively for the performance. They will both be performing with the choir in Palo Alto on Saturday, Nov, 23 at the First United Methodist Church.



-Compiled by Michael Shames, Polly Finch, and Claudia Corrigan

Random Student Profile:

Parker Schultz


Freshman Hayden Pegley sings along with the Men’s Choir during the Creative Arts Night.

COA: What’s your relationship with doors like? PS: It’s complicated. When I want to pull they want me to push, but when I push I’m supposed to pull. It’s a love-hate relationship. COA: What’s the last text you sent and who was it to? PS: To Riley Zeisler...”I’m a caterpillar.” COA: Who or what is the last thing you think about before going to bed? PS: I think about how hard it will be to have to get up in the morning. COA: What is your guilty pleasure? PS: Writing things in dirt on Riley’s car. COA: Favorite video game? PS: Hello Kitty Island Adventure COA: If you were to get a tattoo what would it be and where? PS: “‘The Turn Up Is Real’ -Mitchell Tevis” on my forehead. COA: If you could change your name what would you change it to? PS: Colin Johnson blue steel COA: If you could fill a swimming pool with anything what would you fill it with? PS: Caramel syrup. -Compiled by Kevin Walker

Hayden Pegley kicked-off his singing career five years ago when he joined his church’s choir. He has stepped up his involvement with singing this year with his participation with the Men’s Choir, which has led to his role with the Honor Choir. Pegley enjoys many aspects of singing. “I like the fact that [Men’s Choir] is community based and all about different parts coming together,” Pegley said. “We do really fun songs that are nothing like what I’m used to.” Pegley is used to singing in a religious setting, but the Men’s Choir pushes him to try new styles of music. Men’s Choir challenges Pegley every day, especially since being a teenager, his biggest struggle has been adapting to his changing voice. “Though I seem to have settled in well to my bass range, I have tried to retain my higher register,” Pegley said. Although being a teenager that balances school work and extra curriculums is challenging for Pegley, he still makes time for music. “I am naturally drawn to music always [having] had an appreciation for it and have found that singing is my outlet,” Pegley said.


Freshman Sabrina Fleming sings along with the Women’s Choir during her chorus class.

Sabrina Fleming has been singing and taking voice lessons for three years, but has become more active this past summer after attending a summer camp at Stanford where she focused on singing, enabling her to grow and progress as a singer. “I used to be nervous singing in front of people but this summer changed that. I was the only person who was comfortable with singing, so I said I would sing [in the final performance,]” Fleming said. After the camp, Fleming realized that she is passionate about singing, and therefore joined the Women’s Choir at Menlo at the beginning of the year. Being a part of the Women’s Choir has pushed Fleming to try new things with her voice, and offered her a new experience. “I’d never sung in a chorus before, and this was new for me. I really like how you can make all sorts of different harmonies when singing in a choir, which you couldn’t make on your own,” Fleming said. While being a member of a chorus is new to her, singing is not. She has a unique understanding of what singing and music mean to her. “I like the fact that you can sing almost anywhere, you don’t have to take anything with you, just yourself,” Fleming said.

Can the Menlo Trivia Club be stumped? Alice Shaw | Visual Content Manager Over the years, Menlo’s trivia club has transformed into an active group who compete in many weekend tournaments around the Bay Area. The club has gained a very dedicated membership, which meets every Monday and Thursday during lunch and some Friday afternoons as well. During these meetings, club leader Richard Steinberg spends his time quizzing the members on various questions at different levels of difficulty. In doing so, Steinberg hopes to build up their stamina and mind-set when going into difficult competitions. According to Steinberg, “The club has changed dramatically since I first started running it. While it used to be an occasional afternoon meeting consisting of the rigorous training of a three kids for a T.V. show called Quiz Kids, the club now consists of a larger student portion.” The club is unique in that it is open to everyone. “You don’t have to know every fact in an encyclopedia to join., Steinberg said. One of the trivia clubs most valued members, senior Hidehiro Anto, en-

joys participating with a larger group of people. “It’s great to have as many people as possible for the competitions. While it gives us a better chance of doing well, we also get to learn from each other during club meetings and trivia sessions,” Anto said. This year the club is hoping to compete in as many tournaments as possible; however, they have experienced some roadblocks. “While there is at least one tournament every weekend in the upcoming months, many of our members participate in other sports. For example, the water polo team, who is doing so well right now, has to play games on the weekends. Any players on the water polo team are therefore unable to attend the tournaments,” Steinberg said. While this can sometimes be a setback, Steinberg strongly feels that it is better to have a large amount of students with other hobbies rather than a smaller and more limited group of students like there have been in the past. When going into tournaments, Menlo is usually in the dark in regards to the skill of their competitor. “We go in as confidently as possible, and hope

that it pays off,” Anto said. Menlo does have tough competitors, though: Bellarmine Preparatory, for example, won the national competition two years ago. Despite this, during Quiz Kids, Menlo beat Bellarmine to win the competition last year. In addition, Menlo has been invited to the national trivia competition for the past two years. This is a huge achievement, as it reflects heavily on the clubs growing skill and consistency. “Out of the 250 teams attending, Menlo ranked in the 70’s last year,” Steinberg said. In addition, the national competition also ranks individual players. Anto ranked tenth last year. While the club is at the peak of its success, it will lose its seniors, some of its strongest competitors, to college next year. Although this may serve as a small setback for the club, Steinberg and other members are confident that incoming freshman and additional high school students will do as many others have: attend a lunchtime meeting and realize that the club is a perfect fit. With its increasing competitiveness and popularity on campus, the Menlo community is sure to hear more about the trivia club in the near future.

The Coat of Arms | A&L

November 21, 2013


Wanting to SEYMOUR of Little Shop of Horrors Why are you a Josie Rouser | Staff Reporter

This year’s fall play opened on Friday, Nov. 1 at 7 pm in Florence Moore Auditorium. New drama teacher, Steven Minning, chose the musical The Little Shop of Horrors which tells the tale of a flower shop on Skid Row. The owners of the shop, Seymour and Audrey, discover a talking, human-eating plant in the shop that brings the little flower shop to rapid fame. Junior JB Horsely and senior Tara Saha played the leads Seymour and Audrey. While working to save the shop from bankruptcy, Seymour and Audrey try to resist the growing flirtation between them. Also growing in the background is a blood thirsty venus fly trap. Juniors Miles Fowler and Matthew Stern manipulated the plant that starts out as a fist sized potted carnivorous seedling that grows to the size of a small, blood thirsty greenhouse. Other significant roles were played by seniors Sean Morganthaler and Jordan Vasquez, as well as sophomore vocalist Jessie Guthrie

and freshmen singers Anika Padwekar and Maya Donato. Around 36 people auditioned for this musical and only 17 people were casted. “This was the first play in a while where a lot of people got cut, which caused a little bit of controversy. [Minning] really casts based on talent which is good,” senior Nicole Crisci said. The cast was looking forward to the opening of the show and hoped for a strong and positive outcome from the Menlo student body and community. This quirky musical was a bold choice by Minning, especially because of the short amount of time before opening night, leaving less time than usual for preparations and rehearsals. Minning chose this musical because “it’s a fun show, and it’s appropriate for the season. It was a nice way to get introduced to the Menlo theatre community,” Minning said. This year, auditions were held the last week of September, when normally they happen towards the end; the opening night was the first weekend of November, while normally it is closer to Thanksgiving. Although this time crunch left some

of the cast members feeling stressed and unprepared, Minning implemented a more organized and goal-oriented schedule in order to be ready for the opening night. “This year we are definitely a lot more organized,” Crisci said, alluding to the rehearsal schedule. This year students have a more concrete rehearsal schedule allowing for the most efficient use of time. Students only have to attend rehearsals when their roles are being rehearsed and oftentimes they only need to come to portions of each rehearsal. Minning was pleased with the reactions from the audience and believed that there was a lot of “faculty and student and parental support,” Minning said. The musical sold out for both the Friday and Saturday night productions and was close to selling out for the Sunday showing as well. Minning looks forward to the winter production, Our Town by Thornton Wilder, with auditions coming up in the first week of December. Minning, satisfied with his first ever Menlo production, is eager to continue this success throughout the year.

teacher? “High school was a very difficult time for me, so being able to teach and help students academically and socially in school is what I enjoy most.” -Todd Hardie “I love kids!” -Cara Plamondon

Senior Tara Saha and Junior JB Horsely star in the Little Shop of Horrors as Audrey and Seymour, respectivley.


Tiffany Zhong takes it “higher”

Alice Shaw | Visual Content Manager

It’s common knowledge that Menlo students have a wide range of hobbies and activities in their lives, but junior Tiffany Zhong has taken it to the next level with her online magazine, Higher Lyfe ( Higher Lyfe is a lifestyle magazine that uses a network of writers and photographers to produce original and intelligent content, mainly on music, fashion, and technology. “I decided on the name because I want the magazine to keep expanding on a comprehensive, accurate, and high quality level, hence the ‘higher,’ and I wanted the magazine to be about lifestyle aspects, hence the ‘lyfe.’” The misspelling of the word “life” was intentional. “I wanted the magazine to be different and unique, so I added a “y” to it,” Zhong said. The name also hopes to appeal to an audience that appreciates global diversity and “high culture and fashion.” The magazine, which is less than a year old, has not only high school students contributing to it, but also


teachers and professional photographers. In addition, as an international magazine, it employs people from around the globe, including America (such as California, New York, Florida, Alabama, Missouri), England, Spain, and China. According to Zhong, the magazine began with her interest in finding a place to express herself. Zhong was hoping to convey her opinions on hobbies such as photography, music, technology, and fashion. “It started off as something purely for my entertainment. However, once I started to let people know about it, it immediately took off. People then started asking to write for me.” Zhong said. According to Zhong, “[she] got in contact with a wide variety of people through social media and word of mouth. Our current photographers told other photographers and the word just kept spreading.” The magazine currently employs more than 50 young adults that actively publishes stories. Higher Lyfe currently has a few Menlo students and alumni in her staff (Nick Seidl ’15, Daniel Chan ’15, Andrew Schmitt ’13) and Zhong hopes that once


she introduces the magazine to the community, more students will express an interest in participating. “We cover concerts, review fashion clothing and technology products, write movie reviews, interview major fashion designers, musicians, and artists, and more,” Zhong said. Zhong and her staff take photographs of products and concerts (such as Krewella, Waka Flocka Flame, Steve Aoki, Mumford and Sons, The National, Logic, Cody Simpson, All Time Low, and more), write about music, fashion, technology, movie reviews, and other lifestyle aspects, and interview famous artists (such as Flux Pavilion, DJ Carnage, and Kryoman). Zhong reaches for high hopes in her future of this magazine. “Ultimately, my vision is to build a premier platform where young adults can express themselves in cultural, lifestyle and social issues through visual aspects, music and articles.” Zhong added. With contributors engaging in grassroots and social networking movement, Higher Lyfe hopes to reach millions of participants.


“I find it fascinating to see how people learn and I love helping people grow.” -Vicky Greenbaum “Teaching is the next best thing to yeoman farming for folks like me who sunburn easily.” -Charles Hanson “I’m infamous for yelling and acting like a buffoon in class, but nothing surpasses the thrill I get when I pass along my enthusiasms to eager younger thinkers.” -Michael Thibodeaux


The Coat of Arms | A&L

November 21, 2013

“Every experience I’ve been able to have in my life.” -Sophomore Ellie Schley

“I am thankful for my family, friends and all of the opportunities they have given me to excel in life.” -Junior Miles Fowler

“For families, friends, the opportunities I’ve gotten to succeed in life, like going to Menlo.” -Senior Gil Kornberg

“For my friends, for my family, for all the opportunities I’ve had and for how blessed I am.” -Sophomore Connor Ryland

“For having the best friends and family that support me in everything I do no matter what.” -Senior Yasi Agah

What are you thankful for?

“For the opportunities given to me by the family and community around me, the safe environment we live in, and good health.” -Senior Josh Lauder

The bucket list: Menlo edition

Following this idea, the anatomy students, mostly seniors with a few juniors, need to create this list, filling it with items that are realistic, sensible, and specific; able to be completed by busy Menlo school students. For example, senior Efe Sarinalbant decided to get his ears pierced, something he would Senior Efe Sarinalbant is an Anatomy student and has written a never have done without bucket list as a portion of his final project. the project. Junior Ashlyn Bachechi-Clark said, Andreas Katsis | Spread Editor talking about the project as a whole, “I think it’s a great experience that will William Ross once said, “Every push people to do stuff they wouldn’t man dies - Not every man really lives.” normally do...It also gives people a Anatomy teacher Todd Hardie introreason to do things that they wanted to duced a new and inventive project to his do but never had a reason to.” Bachechiclass with this same quote. What would Clark said. On her list, Clark looks to: you do if you knew you were going to meet up with a friend that lives in a difdie in the near future with a chronic ferent state, try a new restaurant in San illness? This date is Dec. 9, 2013. Francisco, go to a concert of an artist All your wishes, dreams, and hopes she genuinely likes, and visit a new city. would need to become reality by this Other students have cut their hair day. The challenge presented to all the and have made motions towards skystudents: create and fulfill a bucket list. diving by the Dec. 9 deadline. Many For those of you who do not know, students, both in and out of the anatomy a bucket list is a personal list of desires classes, are striving to accomplish that you want to complete before the each item on their bucket lists. There day you die. This same concept was is no doubt that this project will push made into a film in the Hollywood students to attempt dreams they would blockbuster The Bucket List, starring have never been able to accomplish Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. without this extra inspiration and drive.

“For the life I’m living, all the ups and downs included, all the people who inspire me, and all of my experiences.” -Junior Yasmine El-Hage

“I’m thankful for Menlo and all of the amazing people that I have met so far this year! -Freshman Lauren Chan

“I’m thankful for my friends who talk to me at weird hours on the phone [...], encourage me to try new exotic foods, call my bluffs, and never let me forget who I am.” - Senior Nicole Crisci

“For being able to be a part of such a supportive and fun community like Menlo.” -Senior Justin Wang

Artistic pursuits assist community Claudia Corrigan | Staff Reporter Although Menlo School promotes most instrumental talent through the Orchestra and Jazz Bands, there are lesser-known artists who deserve recognition not only for their talent but also for their application of it. Freshman Max Gray has played the banjo for about six years. “The [original] idea was my mom’s, but [...] after my first lesson I really started to enjoy it and eventually grew into it,” Gray said. He plays his banjo in the streets of his hometown, Half Moon Bay, in order to raise money for an organization he learned about back in middle school. “A lady named Mary Anne came to my old school and [...] gave a presentation [on an African school she was raising money for.] After the presentation [...] I emailed her [to ask] how I could help,” Gray said. Gray has continued contact with Mary Anne, emailing her and sending her checks for her cause. “Some day it’s my hope to go [to Africa] and meet the kids themselves,” Gray said. Some of Gray’s favorite moments have taken place on Hayes Street because of the diverse community, and, therefore, high interest in his talent and cause. Gray plans to continue his service and possibly use his banjo to complete his PACT project junior year. Similarly, sophomore Ben Werdegar has been playing the guitar since he was twoyears-old. “[After] I saw a homeless man playing outside of Starbucks, I went home and played with my little red plastic guitar and my mom signed me up for lessons,” Werdegar said. Since then, Werdegar has been working on a number of different community service projects. “When I was eight, I started raising money for this project, “Wheelchairs

for Iraqi Kids”, which distributed pediatric wheelchairs to disabled Iraqi children,” Werdegar said. After the troops left Iraq, Werdegar began working with an organization called “Wounded Warriors,” which aids veterans left both mentally and physically disabled after service. Werdegar continues to perform concerts in a number of states in order to raise money, as well as teach a guitar class for veterans in a local Menlo Park hospital. “I see music as a gift, but also as a great way to establish peace and do something for people in need,” Werdegar said. Like Gray, Werdegar is considering his community service through music for a possible PACT, but might also start a completely new project of interest. Both Gray and Werdegar agree Menlo could improve their promotion of community service. Of course there are the forty hour requirements and PACT presentations, but many students participate because they have to, not out of enjoyment. “I think people could definitely branch out more, and not have to stick to certain things that Menlo [offers, like] tutoring or cook[ing] dinners once; you want to do something sustainable and constant,” Werdegar said. Regarding his opinion on Menlo’s community service, Gray said,“The first thing that we need to do is create awareness for [...] cause[s] in general. That will give people ideas to start doing stuff on their own.” Whatever passions drive and motivate students at Menlo, should be applied towards their community service. Following the examples of Gray and Werdegar, students should be able to apply their talents in order to create service that is both enjoyable and rewarding.

The Coat of Arms | Opinions

November 21, 2013


Things that are not worth the stress: college admissions

Wes Miller | Opinions Editor

If you think about it, the college admissions process has a whole lot of parallels with trying to put up with an uppity girlfriend in high school. You’re probably focusing on it at the expense of everything more important in your life, it’ll probably result in a cranium sized dent in your wall, and at the end you’ll realize that you wasted a whole lot of focus and energy on something that really isn’t all it’s made out to be (or as hot as you remembered it). The college admissions process is by far the most overblown and over-stressed part of the student’s academic journey. The fact that people will literally go all smeagol with anxiety attacks and worse is a testament to how everyone just needs to uncork some chill pills and put things in perspective. There’s really no debate that pretty much everyone kicks up a biblical stress-storm over this and while it’s under-

standable why the pressure exists, it’s really not proportional to reality. Most of the stress is either based around personal expectations, parental pressure, or the concept that the location of your undergraduate degree somehow defines your destiny. A lot of teens, especially those at Menlo, have astronomical personal goals and ambitions and settle for nothing less than the best. However if you set your goals for the college process to be Harvard, Harvard, and Harvard Law you better be rocking some Urkel level study habits or else you’re going to be disappointed. The typical Menlo student’s idea about failing in the college process is gaining admission to a top 100 caliber college like Boulder, which is inherently ridiculous. Every time I hear someone be dismissive of a world class university- it even sounds irrational to write that out- like SMU,

Chico, or LSU, it just becomes that much more obvious that their brain is probably located somewhere beneath their waist. After all, we’re only applying for an undergraduate education that is often more about learning to grow up rather than actual academic material. If there ends up being people throwing pretentious fits about how they’re condemned to suffer a life of feudal peasantry because they were wait listed at Yale I won’t attempt to pretend that I’m not savoring every delicious tear they cry. For others, the delusionally high expectations are prescribed for them by their lovely parents. Tiger parents and helicopter parents are common species found in the Menlo academic environment and they are rather predatory in nature. They push their kids at a breakneck pace academically and the price their children must pay for their affection are Ivy League

acceptance letters. These parents see their kid’s rejection letters and, like sharks, sense blood in the water and no one needs the additional pressure of imminent disownment while going through the college process. Needless to say that smidgen of pressure and stress might just come with the side effects of severe emotional trauma and it’s just not proportional to what the location of your undergraduate degree is worth. Finally, there’s this idea that exists at a lot of high schools that your undergrad degree has some magical properties that define the course of your life. Surprise, it doesn’t. Unless you’re hitting up the school of party and revel in juvenile delinquency because you have a trust fund, your future employment opportunities will largely be unaffected by your choice of undergraduate school. The things that will matter? Your

college GPA, what you get involved in, and how dedicated you remain to your studies in college. Essentially its not where you go to college but rather what you do once you get there. A kid who builds both work ethic and an intellectual hunger and manages to figure out how to pragmatically apply it to a field they’re passionate in will have just as much success at Cañada College as they would at Princeton. If you start freaking out it’s just a sign that you haven’t quite put things in perspective or you applied to all reach schools and that’s not going to exactly evoke waves of sympathy. Parents, peers, and personal expectations might start turning up the heat on you but if a rejection letter is a door slamming in your face you should take a step back and you’ll be able to see there are plenty of doors still open that can very much take you to the same place.

Thought Bites:

The subtle things that go through our minds That moment when you switch from a game to your notes on the iPad and it freezes as your teacher peers over your shoulder.

“ “ “ ” ” ” ” I really don’t care if Moodle is down between three a.m. and six a.m. on a Saturday morning.

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo. That is technically grammatically correct.

If Jesus walked on water and human beings are 78% water, if I walked on a person does that make me 78% Jesus?

Why video games are real sports too

Rory Plewman | Staff Reporter

I was trawling the interwebernets the other day when I ran along this comment posted under a League of Legends World Championship video, StevenT - “Why do they do championships?!? [LoL] is just a computer game!,” and this prompted me to postulate why there is such a discernible lack of understanding between the gaming community and the sporting world, and why esports (online games) aren’t taken seriously, furthermore, not even considered real sports. The Superbowl and the World Series are major sporting events, attracting millions of fans around the country (and globe for that matter). A whole culture revolves around football and baseball, into which many people choose to pour their heart and soul. The people who love these games aren’t ridiculed for their burning passion for the sport; on the contrary, they

are embraced and congratulated for their devotion. So why is it that people like StevenT, and, I dare say, the community as a whole, are ignorant enough to suggest that a major passion of the nerd community, professional gaming, doesn’t deserve to be recognized as an official sport, and deserves to be lambasted mercilessly and unabashedly. I can already hear you dismissing my argument as flawed saying, “But Rory, video games simply aren’t real sports and therefore should not be considered on a par with the likes of baseball and football.” However, the Oxford English Dictionary defines a sport as, “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” E-Sports fit all of the above criteria. When playing games one physically exerts

oneself due to the sheer number of key commands and clicks per minute, some professional Starcraft players send over 600 commands per minute! To keep this level of intensity up over a 1 hour long match takes both physical strength and stamina. In addition to this, much skill is needed to master the ins-and-outs of these video games, professional players are constantly honing their, “skill shots” and re-watching tapes (similar to football) of previous matches in an order to pick apart their fundamentals in an effort to correct themselves and better their playing style. In addition to this E-sports have plenty of entertainment value and are viewed, when televised or streamed, by millions around the world. So I fail to see how games like league of legends and Dota 2 aren’t considered sports and why professional level gaming is just considered a

hobby. Alas, it is not so, E-Sports is mired in the same social morass as golf, it fits all of the criteria that defines a sport but is somehow, someway, not considered a “real sport,” and here’s my best attempt at an explanation. The nerd community, instead of lifting weights, wrestling bears, pounding protein shakes and punching whale sharks (what I assume athletes do, but I’m hazy on the specifics), choose to game. Whether it be Dota 2 or League of Legends, wherever there is a light proof basement to be found, good internet connection and free snacks you are sure to find a colony of wild nerds clacking away furiously at their ergonomic gaming keyboards. Gaming is our buzz, so to speak, we derive enjoyment from such a pastime, similar to the way athletes get a buzz from injecting steroids, kicking a ball into the hoop or running

the ball into the goal (or whatever you guys do, once again a little hazy on the finite details). In my opinion it comes down to a lack of understanding, gaming tournaments (like the LoL tournament held in LA 2 weeks ago that had a prize pot of 2.8 million dollars) are generally viewed with disdain and scorn because they are new and somewhat foreign. Sports such as baseball and football have been around for donkeys years, these sports were played before the invention of the internet, when there was literally nothing else better to do. It was either play football/baseball or pick tobacco and die of diphtheria whilst expanding westwards along the Oregon Trail; we are in the 21st century for crying out loud, every other part of life has adapted to fit the times, and it only seems fitting that the sporting world should evolve as well.


Social media a promi Cyberbullying: how much is too far? Riley Burgess | Sports Editor and Davis Rich | Staff Reporter

As the way students interact both inside and outside of Menlo changes with the ever shifting social media forums of the internet, Menlo attempts to change with it in order to preserve our core values. This has raised the question of how the school should deal with cases of cyberbullying – when is an act of malice online considered bullying? When does Menlo get involved? The Menlo School Handbook states, “Bullying, harassment, hazing, teasing and any similar behavior carried out online or in any “virtual” forum are [...] prohibited,” establishing a precedent that cyberbullying will not be allowed at Menlo. The school views cyberbullying online no differently than incidents that happen physically on campus, yet it is still treated on a case-by-case basis because the severity of the cyberbullying incidents vary case-by-case as well. “An online presence is no different than a physical presence in the way you treat other people, therefore, if you are treating people in a disrespectful or derogatory kind of manner, then you are going to get the attention of the school,” Dean of Students Tony Lapolla said. As a result, the school expects students to act online just as they would at school based upon the mission and values statement. This is the reason that whenever a case of cyberbullying is reported it is treated with same immediate attention as a physical bullying case. “Cyberbullying immediately gets to the attention of the discipline committee and people like me because it gets to the core value of the school, treating people with respect,” Upper School Director John Schafer said. Schafer continued, stating that “cyberbullying, or any kind of [bullying] making a student feel unsafe [is treated] as a very serious issue given the culture [Menlo is] trying to create.” In order to create the safe environment Menlo boasts, action must be taken to prevent bullying online or on campus. Bullying that occurs online becomes the school’s business when it returns to campus – that is where the line is drawn. Menlo, unlike other schools, does not have people searching Facebook and Twitter looking for malicious acts by students in order to punish them – the disciplinary process starts when a victim feels unsafe because of bullying and talks to the school about it. “if [a case] comes to campus as a result of something that happened off campus [...] then I think it becomes the schools business. […] It has a lot to do with the impact [to the victim],” Head of School Than Healy said. Schafer agreed, stating that it was really based on the victim. “It sort of depends on how the student takes the [bullying].” As a result, not all examples of cyberbullying result in heavy disciplining. “Not necessarily would every issue of someone having a disrespectful comment go directly to the committee. The committee is there to deal with more serious issues or an accumulation of issues,” Lapolla said. When cases are brought on campus, the disciplinary committee has a process that they go through in order to create a reasonable and useful solution. Initially, the school looks at the student’s record at the school to determine if this sort of bullying is common. “What happens generally is that the student tells us what happened, the committee asks questions, and then the committee, outside of the student being present, discusses it and makes a recommendation to Schafer,” Lapolla said. Schafer is the final decision maker in the process; he uses the recommendation of the committee to decide what course of action should be taken. The goal of the committee is to discipline the perpetrator in order to create a safer environment. “The committee is not a court, no one is on trial. It’s not an inquisition. It’s a way for us as a community to talk and deal with issues that violate the mission and values of the school,” Lapolla said. However, some believe that system needs to be redefined. Although this system might seem flawless on the outside, some think that it could be improved. The biggest thing that might need to be changed is the way students are taught. A lot of students currently don’t know the boundary between playing a joke on a friend by hacking their social media and cyberbullying. “Everyone feels like they’ve got it down until the moment when they realize they don’t,” Healy said. Schafer agrees, stating that he believes the school needs to get better at educating kids on how to behave and protect themselves online. The problem is that some students really don’t know where the boundary is drawn. An anonymous senior girl “hacked” into a Facebook of someone she considered a friend by going on her account when she left it open. “It was pretty funny honestly. We changed her status, commented on some things, poked some people, the usual stuff,” the anonymous senior said. The victim went to the school, claiming she had been cyber bullied, and the anonymous girl faced the disciplinary committee. She firmly believes that the system needs redefining. “I think its hard for adults to understand because I don’t think what I did constitutes harassment in any way. It was intended to be a joke with someone who I was on good terms with and it was taken the wrong way.” She went on to say that she feels “there are some issues with the general way Menlo handles discipline; I’ve never been less able to stand up for myself in that situation. […] I felt I mostly just had to apologize otherwise they would expel me.” The line between what constitutes cyberbullying and what is just a friendly hack is a very thin one, and one that is better decided by students than adults. As a result, there are students on the disciplinary committee to help decide how serious a cyberbullying case is. “I think students know where the standard lies,” Healy said. Though there hopefully will be no incidents in the future, the students on the disciplinary committee will ensure that any future cases are handled reasonably.

Social media use consumes student body

Brooke Hammarskjold | Staff Reporter The Coat of Arms recently sent out a survey investigating the different types of social media that students use and how often they use them. 220 students in total took and responded to the survey. Our results show that 37.6% of the students that took the survey said they spend under two hours a week on social media sites, a surprisingly low number considering the amount of social media sites that exist. However, 15.6% said they spend more than six hours on these sites weekly. The most popular social media site for the past several years is Facebook, a place for users to “friend” one another and share pictures and status updates with one another about their lives. 90.4% of the students that responded said they have a Facebook account and 57.1% of them said they regularly check it multiple times a day to see what their friends are posting. Another popular social media outlet is Instagram, an app that became popular two years ago, which allows users to share photos with added filters to their “followers.” Instagram has also recently added a feature in which users can post videos as well. 73.3% of the responders said they have an Instagram account, and 48.8% of those that do said they check it several times a day. Twitter, a site and app in which users post short status updates (each one is limited to 140 characters), is commonly used by both adults and teenagers all over the country. However, 65% of the students that took the survey responded saying they do not have a Twitter account, and 42% of those that do said they very rarely check their Twitter account. Snapchat, an app that allows users to send a photo to a friend that disappears after a certain number of seconds, is used by 78.2% of the responders. Vine, another app where users post short, six second videos, is used by only 34.1% of responders. LinkedIn, a site mainly used by adults, in which users post their resumes and can search for job opportunities, is used by a surprisingly high 16.1% of the students that took the survey. In recent years, social media sites have risen in popularity for many Americans, particularly high schoolers. Menlo is no exception to this trend, as a very high majority of the students that took our survey use some type of social media, whether it be a website or an app.

inent force at Menlo


Teachers incorporate social media into curriculum Michael Shames | Staff Reporter

There are many social media websites that students at Menlo are involved in, and are a large part of students’ lives outside of school. A few teachers at Menlo realize this and have found a way to take advantage of it, by incorporating forms of social media into their respective classes. Math teacher Lauren Lax created a Facebook group for students in her AP statistics class. “I use Facebook as more of a supplementary [technique],” Lax said. “In AP [statistics], there are a lot of articles that come out that are relevant to the class that I don’t have time to talk about during class.” She then posts these articles on the Facebook group that she set up a few years ago. Lax pointed out that one major difference between posting the link on Facebook rather than on Moodle is that students will get a notification on Facebook. This provokes them to at least glance at the article, that most students will read. However, she pointed out that on Moodle, it is very easy for teachers to see who views what and at what time it can be viewed, something that is much harder to do on Facebook. So, she can never be sure exactly how many students looked at each article. “The articles are there just to increase the students’ awareness of the statistics around them,” Lax said. AP economics teacher Michael Brody has also decided to use social media in his classes. He has invited his students to create Twitter accounts to get interesting information from him, very similar to what Lax does. “[I] tweet news stories or something that has been kind of related to what we have been studying in class,” Brody said. He also added that sometimes, things might go even further. “Conversations break out on Twitter between the students [who read and follow up on the story] and [I],” Brody said. It is clear that at least some students are interested with his new experiment. In fact, he made a poll for his students, and discovered that at least 83% of his students are checking Twitter to some extent. He is sure he would like to continue using it in the future, but he is still trying to figure out how he can make the most of it. “It’s one big experiment on how to do it, should I require it, what’s the best way,” Brody, who is a first time Twitter user himself, said. Ideology teacher Peter Brown uses a more recently founded website called Schoology. “Schoology is is a learning management platform, kind of like Moodle, and a little bit like Facebook,” Brown said, who learned about the website from other teachers at Menlo. In his Ideology class, Brown has put an emphasis on first-hand learning of different political perspectives. This is where Schoology becomes a perfect learning tool for him. Through the website, he and his class have been able to easily connect to a school in Beijing, China. “We wanted a platform that was a little bit like Facebook, where students could have interactions, but that wasn’t infinitely open like Facebook is,” Brown said. He has an access code that only his students can obtain, and the Chinese students have the same code. This eliminates any possible distraction that another social website such as Facebook might contain. But, he believes that students’ facility with Facebook helped make the process of starting Schoology easier. “I think because students are so used to Facebook, they naturally like [Schoology], and [were able to learn how to use it quickly].” Brown talked about how helpful it was for his class, and how he will look to use it even more frequently next year. “Initially, it was a one-time thing, for this lesson. But, it’s worked really well and I will look to use it again in the future.” The students have genuinely enjoyed what their teachers are doing. “It definitely makes it a lot more interesting,” senior Peter Bouret, who is in Brody’s AP economics class, said. “It’s an entirely different way of learning.” One might suspect that using websites like Twitter and Facebook would serve as a significant distraction to students’ learning. However, junior Nikhil Bhatia, a student in Lax’s AP statistics class, does not think so. “Everything in the Facebook group is academic and stats-related so it’s rarely a distraction. And even when it is, we are learning something from it.” PHOTOS COURTESY GOOGLE IMAGES


Menlo students on social media. . . 16.1% of students have a LinkedIn account 37.3% of students have a Tumblr account 73.3% of students have an Instagram 35% of students have a Snapchat account 34.1% of students have a Vine account 90.4% of students have a Facebook account 35% of students have a Twitter account

Menlo students interact with a variety of forms of social media on a daily basis.


Delving into the blogosphere Pooja Kathail | Editor in Chief

As our world becomes ever more reliant on the internet, blogs are increasingly becoming a pervasive force in popular culture. Why? Because anyone can start one to share their ideas and possibly reach some form of internet fame. With easy and free tools such as Wordpress, Tumblr, and Blogger, anyone can create a blog in a matter of minutes. This system is vastly different from older forms of communication where anything that is to be published must go through a routine series of editors and authorities at a well-known establishment such as the New York Times. With a

blog, any twelve year old One Directioner can post their every last thought on the internet for all to see. This system has both advantages and faults. As I previously alluded to, tering creates a massive amount of poorly written irrelevant junk among the annals of the internet. Unlike their journalist predecessors, bloggers are not striving for the Pulitzer Prize but rather post to serve their own interests and in some cases to amass followers and page views. However, blogs are a powerful tool that allow anyone to weigh in with an opinion on a whole host of issues or share their unique

talents and thoughts with the world. Rather than thinking of blogs as an attempt to subvert the established system, many think of them as the logical next step. People all over the world can debate freely and openly through blog posts and comments. Recently, my english class read Ernest Hemingway’s Room with a View. Instead of a traditional essay to accompany the novel, we set up a blog where everyone posted short commentaries on the novel and contextual aspects of Hemingway’s life. Since our posts were on the internet for anyone to see, we recieved comments from Hemingway

enthusiasts -- people from all over the world who we did not know at all. Unlike a traditional assessment where one only receives feedback from his or her teacher, our blog allowed us to interact with scholars outside of the Menlo community. Blogs are not the most popular form of social media among Menlo students, but they have a growing presence on the World Wide Web where high school students spend a large chunk of their time. Political activists and cat lovers alike can rally behind this instrumental honest information to the masses.

Menlo and connected in

Menlo students rely on a plethora of news sources Efe Sarinalbant | Staff Reporter Josie Rouser | Staff Reporter

Does the validity of news depend on where you acquire such information? Or is all news the same no matter where it is from? You are acquiring news from a print source as you read this paper right now. But most people don’t just read The Coat of Arms alone; you most likely get your news from other sources as well. Many Menlo students hear or read news from online sources. “When I was a kid, there would always be a newspaper in a plastic bag lying on the ground in our driveway every week,” senior John Strong said, “but nowadays, with more technology, I think people veer more towards the internet since it is readily available and more convenient.” Duncan He, an exchange student from China, brings a unique perspective to the conversation. “There are actually many newspaper stands and mini-markets wherever you go in China,” he said. “Most people just pick [newspapers up] there. A lot of people on the bus or train often have a magazine or newspaper at hand, so printed news is still a big thing there.” When asked about the U.S

come to dominate the internet and television in terms of views. Companies like BBC and CNN probably get views from all over the world […] on their websites.”

less newsworthy sources from newsworthy sources. “If I see something interesting on my news feed, I’ll either click on it or Google it for further

Contrary to most Menlo students, who use multimedia news sources, junior Connor Pace gets his current event info mainly from the radio. “Whenever I drive to school, I like to listen to news networks rather than music. It’s nice having someone tell you what’s going on rather than reading it yourself,” Pace said. Junior Will Priestley also uses the radio as a source for current events and information. “Radio stations are designed to ley listens to National Public Radio (NPR) everyday during his hour roundtrip to and from school. Priestley favors radio news over news from many websites because of the radio stations’ accuracy and the news’ importance. of interest, she looks it up herself. “[My parents] collect a lot of information on a topic from an educated opinion and present it to me in an objective way. I trust their information,” Thakur said. Sophomore Hannah Paye noted that she does the same. “If there is an important event going on, my When asked about the reputability of friends and family when it comes to news, she said, “Sometimes people’s opinions can be skewed and biased,

choose to acquire such information. Social media and networking can often be useful news sources but radio and other online sources such as CNN have proved to have higher accuracy. Menlo students recognize this and often opt to use more reputable news sources when appropriate as opposed to using social networking.


A fantasy in real life


impacts my life in many different aspects from time management game to play.

the media: multiple ways The dangerous side of video games: could it affect the Menlo community?

Within the last decade, as many new technological advances have been made, the invention of attention-consuming devices have become a central part in the lives of teenagers. Games such as Halo, Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto encompass extreme violence using virtual guns and cars. In the past few years, after several school shootings by young adults such as the one that took place last year in Newtown, CT, many believe this violence using real weapons has a connection to the use of violence in games. Particularly among teenage boys, video games often consume a substantial portion of their down time. According to US News, a survey conducted by Yale University reported that 76% of boys and 29% of girls play video games of any sort on a weekly basis. Junior Mark Laub noted that he plays almost every weekend. “Almost every guy I know plays video games,” Laub said. While many of the games played surround In recent years, the gunmen in several school shootings have been under the the age of 25, such as the ones that took place last year in Newtown, CT and in Sparks, NV. Many connect the actions of these gunmen to a possible exposure to violent video games in which guns are a main focus. “Problems exist with those that aren’t able to look at that with boundaries or with restrictions and tend to imagine how to bring that into their own reality some how,” Guidance Counselor Tracy That said, Bianchi does not believe that this is an issue in the Menlo community. “I think it’s discussed a lot in different classroom settings and movies,” Bianchi said. Through informational discussions such as these, “my hope is that students [...] are aware of their own participation in [video games] and how violence in the media can affect teenagers,” Bianchi said. Although a good portion of Menlo students do play violent video games, the effects are not as severe because of the healthy guidance that most Menlo students receive from their parents and teachers. “In a society likes ours, being highly educated and aware of video games as only games, the violence wouldn’t be as big of a deal,” Laub said. “I know a lot of people [at Menlo] play video games but I don’t know a lot of people that are violent because of them,” Crowder agreed. However, in many less fortunate communities, when the developing minds of teenagers are exposed to too much violence and are not informed of its consequences, it can have dangerous effects. “It’s very possible that these lent video games that they wanted to recreate a scene and go crazy,” Laub said. But, “I also believe though that these people must already be delusional beforehand and that the violent video games only increase their craziness and drive them mad,” Laub said. Although many have started to realize the negative effects associated with video games, teenagers continue to play them on a regular basis. While the Menlo community rarely deals with on-campus violence, this has proven to be a problem in the outside world. “Most of the time it’s easy to have the rationale, ‘that’s ridiculous, we know that’s not real,’ but what we’re looking at is those that it does affect, those [who have a gaming addiction],” Bianchi said. On the other hand, Sophomore Sam Nuttle, who plays around 6 hours of video games a week, some of which contain violence, disagrees. “I do not believe there is a correlation at all [...] people are looking for excuses for violence through video games when in fact these games were probably the least of these young adult’s worries worries. Video games are a fun [way to] pass time and [is] a form of escapism,” Nuttle said. Senior Paul Roever, a video gamer himself, agrees with Nuttle, “I believe that teenagers, just like adults, are capable of distinguishing between a fun pastime experienced through a computer or a console and the real act,” Roever said.



The Coat of Arms | Opinions

November 21, 2013

Why is it important for me to need God? Claudia Corrigan | Staff Reporter For twelve years, I was taught about miracles: the everyday magic that inhabits our world. Until the age of six, my mind was captivated by the idea of guardian angels, those who had passed, who act as protectors over those still living. To me, thunderstorms were the time I sat on my grandma’s porch, watching God water his earth and hearing the sounds of the angels bawling in heaven. There was still an uncertain magic behind the mechanics of life. When the sun shined, God was smiling; when my sisters and brother were born, God gifted us with what we prayed for. I now question my motives as a child to believe in something, or someone, whose existence held no proof. In second grade, my teacher told me, “People live in order to die.” As a young, nine year-old girl, this scared me. God scared me. How could someone with so much power, who was said to father each and every one of us, allow horrific and unexplainable things to happen? Why would death exist if God loved us? Throughout their lives, people rely on the existence of heaven as a reward for all the terrible events they have had to live through. But what if there is no heaven

or reward? I’ve noticed as people grow older, life’s flaws become more apparent; life becomes increasingly complicated and, at moments, hopeless. It is incomprehensible, to me, why God would allow flaws to exist if He loves us. Why does it seem like the people that are closest to us become fatally ill? Why do those, who are supposed to love us most, abandon our lives? Why does insanity exist? If we are all God’s children, we all deserve an equal chance at happiness. But that is NOT the case. It is thoughts like these that create the doubt I have in my mind about the existence of God. But, on the other hand, it is at these times of pain and misunderstanding that we as people need to believe in some protector. I will never fully understand any specific religion or idea of gods or God. But, I believe, it is human nature’s attempt to compensate for the unknown. In order to survive life’s fluctuating ups and downs, people need a system of support to believe in. For me, believing in something greater than this life and myself would give me more purpose, but I can’t seem to fully grasp a belief that sticks: for some people this is God. The irony of this support and motivation called “God” is the controversy that arises on the subject. Country-wide, even worldwide, wars are instigated and fueled by people’s beliefs in a

force they cannot prove. People commit religious forms of suicide in order to please their god and show true devotion. But, why would someone sacrifice his or her own happiness for the sake of someone/something that may not even exist? Whether you believe in God, gods, or no ultimate being whatsoever, I personally feel all you know as a person is what you see around you. There is already too much deceit, abandonment, and envy in the world to further separate ourselves with unproven beliefs. The parts of your imagination you accept as truth are for you alone. There are entities in the world that are unknown to us, and can never be scientifically explained or proven, and that’s alright; you shouldn’t worry about it. But don’t let what gives you purpose and motivates you through each day come between you and those who actually exist. Proof of the existence of both good and bad are given to you each and every day. Instead of preoccupying your time with trying to find a reason for what happens in the world, make the best of it; don’t prioritize things you can’t prove over those that physically exist.

Da comic of the issue


A case of the Bay Area blues

Kelsey Flower | News Editor

A few years ago, while visiting my cousins in Massachusetts, one of them asked me, “Do you wear tank tops during the winter in California?” At the time, I laughed at what I thought was a ridiculous question. “Of course not!,” I had responded. “It’s actually cold.” Now, I realize that my definition of “cold” probably isn’t same as the definitions of people living in other states. In Massachusetts, maybe people would wear tank tops in celebration if the temperature is ever in the 60s during December. The comments of east coast college admission reps visiting campus this fall have confirmed my suspicions. When they see our puffy jackets and UGG boots on a “cold” October day, they laugh and comment about how California kids always struggle with their first “real” winter freshman year. It is not only California’s seemingly perpetually warm weather that sets the Bay Area apart from other places I could have grown up. Fresh produce year round, a society that trends towards being socially liberal, a culture that values being both fit

and educated, being surrounded by innovative, entrepreneurial people and technology companies, living 15 minutes away from a world class university that is a great place to attend both lectures and sports games -the list of great things about the Bay Area is seemingly endless. As a person who doesn’t always readily accept change, I had always assumed that I would want to stay in the Bay Area for as long as I could. I wanted to attend college reasonably close to home, or at least come back for my first job. The idea of changing my environment, which I love so much, seemed unreasonable. My “plan of action” for life after high school has changed a little in the past two years. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the Bay Area. I may want to return here when I’m older. However, surprisingly for anyone who knows me, I actually want to try something different. I want a year with four defined seasons. I want the chance to live where I can appreciate the beauty of snow blanketing the ground instead of a sunny blue sky during the month of January; or, as my dad warns me, experience the drudgery of a grey and dreary February as

I yearn for spring. I want to see what it’s like living somewhere that’s not the technology capital of the world, where the most popular job isn’t entrepreneurship and the new iPhone’s release date is not always at the forefront of people’s minds. I am even looking forward to living in a place where fewer people share my social and political views. I intend to embrace the culture of whatever community in which I end up, even if it differs from that of Silicon Valley. I don’t know quite yet when I will leave the Bay Area: it might be for college, an internship or a job. Nor have I decided where I want to go. But I am certain of one thing: a change of scene, at some point, will help me grow as a person. I know that after living in the Bay Area for all eighteen years of my life, I take many of its benefits for granted. I also know that I will be more open-minded about different cultures and communities after spending time somewhere else. As excited as I am about the prospect of having new experiences in another part of the U.S., I am most excited for the biggest change of all: the transition from being a girl who shied away from change to one who not only accepts it, but embraces it, and all that it will teach me.

From the Print Editor Lexi Davirro I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life so far. I’m a teenager; I’m bound to screw up. I’ve hurt siblings, boyfriends, parents and friends. I’ve made rude comments I wish I could take back and I’ve made choices I seriously regret. But despite all these mistakes, I don’t think I’m a horrible person. However, if people didn’t forgive me for my own stupidity, I would be lost, alone, and beating myself up for making a mistake, something everyone is bound to do at some point. No one deserves this fate, which is why I believe so strongly in the importance and power of forgiveness. No matter how deeply someone may have hurt me, I almost always forgive them. In my mind, there is no point in holding a grudge against someone. What good does that do for you or for the person who hurt you? Holding a grudge makes you angry and bitter and the other person regretful and ashamed. So why, instead of trying to understand one another so we can forgive and move forward, do we stand with our heels in the dirt of nasty grudges? Maybe it’s our pride or maybe it’s our embarrassment, but whatever it is, it doesn’t help anyone. Forgiving someone does not change what they did; instead, it opens the doors to a more peaceful future. Perhaps it’s hard for people to forgive one another because many believe if you forgive someone then you’re implying that whatever they did was ok. But that isn’t the case. Forgiving someone for their mistake does not mean you can’t still be upset or hurt or disappointed. Instead, forgiving someone lets that person know that you are trying to understand. People make mistakes for many reasons. Some mistakes are simply out of immaturity, while others may stem from more serious psychological issues. Forgiving someone does not ever have to mean that you are validating whatever mistake they made. Instead, forgiving someone lets that person know that you have been hurt, while also letting them know that you will be ok. Forgiving others is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength and courage. When you forgive someone, you have accepted both their mistake, and your hurt; and with this weight lifted, people are able to move on. Although perhaps there are some people who “move on” without ever forgiving, in my mind, these people have not truly moved forward with their lives. Shutting down and refusing to forgive someone is the easy way out. Forgiving someone requires you to let your guard down, which I know for many people, myself included, is extremely difficult. Once you forgive someone though, both you and whoever hurt you can continue on in a lighter fashion. Not only is it important to forgive others, but it is just as, if not more, important to forgive yourself. Holding a grudge against a peer is one thing, but holding a grudge against yourself is quite another. Whether you like it or not, you’re stuck with yourself. If I didn’t forgive myself for the mistakes I’ve made I would truly hate myself, and that’s never a good feeling. So, instead of holding grudges towards myself I have learned to accept my mistakes, reflect, and then laugh about it once enough time has passed. In twenty years I’m sure we will all look back on our Facebook pictures from high school and die a little inside when we see the ridiculous amount of selfies taken. This includes guys. But in twenty years we’re going to have to forgive ourselves for our own vanity. In twenty years we’re going to have to learn to forgive ourselves, laugh, and move on. I’m sure you’re already feeling that way about all the extremely awkward pictures on Facebook from middle school. Now, maybe that was a minor example of something we’ll need to forgive ourselves for, but the list becomes much more than just regretting some silly Facebook pictures. I regret a lot of things I’ve done in my life and I’m only 17. And maybe my parents and loved ones have forgiven me, but it takes a lot to forgive myself for my mistakes. However, if I were to walk around my whole life with an ever-growing pile of regret for all the mistakes I have and will continue to make, that would turn into a pretty awful and heavy life. We need to forgive others, but we also need to forgive ourselves. Carrying around a bag full of regret and hatred is not the way I want to live my life. Instead, let’s accept our mistakes and our hurt, and forgive. Without forgiveness, life, which can already get pretty heavy sometimes, just gets even heavier, and who wants to be weighed down their whole life?

The Coat of Arms | Opinions

November 21, 2013

Pathways to College should be reevaluated Riley Burgess | Sports Editor Pathways to College (PTC), a mandatory course offered by the College Counseling Department is an idea with great potential to improve Menlo, but needs some improvement. This requires seniors to attend a class with fellow peers to learn and work on the college process. This seems great, right? Actually, there are some problems with the way this course is implemented and therefore should be redefined. I firmly believe that it should be up to the students to decide whether or not they need to participate in this structured system. For the most part, students need time, not instruction to finish college applications. There are an infinite number of more important things I have to do during my free period. It would be much more useful to attend the first class and self-evaluate and then either decide to do your applications on your own time, to come in during your free period to meet with your counselor when you are confused, or to go to the randomly

scheduled meetings. Additionally, for many of Menlo’s student-athletes who are ahead on the college process, this course is unnecessary. Many athletes are either already into college, or have finished all they can do and are awaiting a final decision, yet they still have to learn about how to apply to UC schools etc. I am a pretty independent student – I like to budget my time (often leaving homework and studying to be done during my free period). This mandatory course has disrupted my system, along with many other students. If I need the help that college counselors provide during the mandatory PTC course, I can go have a one on one meeting with my counselor to discuss whatever I need personally. With this type of system, it would not only allow more beneficial meetings, but it would also help me to grow as an independent student. In my last PTC class, I was prepared on how to do an interview, which would have been useful except for the fact that this was taught to me in my ju-

nior year and that it was two weeks after I had my last college interview. If this course were optional, I would have been able to miss that meeting, which was irrelevant to me, and use that time in a more productive way. Finally, many of Menlo’s students have outside of school College Counselors and are essentially doing everything in PTC before it’s taught in class. After the first mandatory meeting that I suggested in the redefined model, the students should tell their counselor that they do not need to take PTC. This would solve the issue of redundancy for a significant portion of the students sitting through PTC, having already learned what is being taught during their free period. In conclusion, PTC should be redefined, as the needs of students vary from person to person. I think that one mandatory class should happen, and then afterwards it should be based on the students’ need which would be decided by each individual.


Girls like video games? Since when? Polly Finch | Staff Reporter Although not something most people would guess, I grew up around video games. Some of my first memories of my brother are of him playing video games. Actually, most of my memories of my brother in general consist of him playing either Halo, Call of Duty, or NFL. I was just the little sister who wanted to spend time with her brother, so I ended up watching. I was content being in this role of ‘watcher’ until a few months ago. I know this sounds ridiculous, but I’ve missed him so much since he went off to college that I went looking for ways to keep us connected. With 2,840 miles between us and a rigorous college life, there are minimal visits and even more minimal communications. The obvious answer to my dilemma was video games. I chose to learn FIFA because that’s all he played this summer. When I spent

all those hours watching him play, I was always thinking, “How is just sitting in front of the” My question was resolved when I picked up the remote. I couldn’t stop playing. At times, my frustration with playing was overwhelming, and I wanted to throw the remote at the screen at least twice. I was (and still am) awful, and practicing the same move over and over and over until I got it right was infuriating, but that’s why it was so rewarding. All of the frustration I felt finally started paying off when I started scoring. I mean, I wasn’t playing with an opposing team, but it was something. It was a Tuesday night and I sat looking at the screen for three hours. Alas, I was still only slightly less bad at FIFA at the end of the three hours than I was at the beginning, but at least I decided that I would definitely pick up the remote again. After I escaped from my game room, all I could think was “Well, I’m not get-

ting any homework done tonight.” But, before that, I texted my brother telling him that I needed to practice a lot before he came back home, and when we responded with, “Can’t wait!” I was satisfied. When people started to find out that I play video games I was extremely frustrated with the responses. Between the weird looks from the girls and the surprised looks from the boys, I had a hard time trying to explain that it wasn’t a big deal. The stigma that comes with girls playing video games needs to be redefined. Just because some girls don’t want to play Project Runway: The Video Game, doesn’t mean they aren’t part of the norm. With the ridiculous notion that girls and boys can’t have the same hobbies people need to understand that the world isn’t black and white. This isn’t the 60s, so if you have doubts about girls playing video games then grow up and realize this is the 21st century.


From the Editor-in-Chief Pooja Kathail

Turning sixteen is a highlight for every high schooler; it means getting your license, it means freedom. Facebook statuses proclaiming oneself as officially licensed are commonplace and the resulting comments, “I guess I’m going to be staying off the roads from now on,” or “that’s terrifying” are just as clichéd. Yet, they bring up an important point: are sixteen year olds, people who are still legally children, who aren’t allowed to vote or drink, really old enough to be trusted on the road? The typical argument in defense of teenage drivers usually cites the many regulations put into place to ensure the safety of teenage drivers and those around them: no driving after 11 p.m. and no driving other minors for a year. But, these rules are hardly ever followed, making it even more apparent that perhaps sixteen year olds aren’t ready for a license. After all, they can’t follow two simple rules. Now, it may seem like I disapprove of teenage drivers, but it’s actually quite the contrary. I, for one, jumped at the chance to get my license, getting my permit the day after my half birthday. By some miracle, I passed my driving test on the first try. A few months after getting my license, I got a speeding ticket. Of course I knew that people get tickets all the time, but it was still completely shocking. I got a ticket; how could that be? I was going just as fast as everyone else. Although at the time I was appalled and even irritated that I received a ticket, looking back on it I was an extremely careful driver for the months after getting my license. Now, over a year after getting that speeding ticket, I can safely say that it may have been the sole most important factor in reminding me of the countless number of risks constantly present when driving. Although the process of obtaining a license is lengthy – one must go through countless iterations of Drivers Ed and behind-the-wheel lessons before finally taking the driving test that often depends more on the mood of your evaluator than your actual driving ability – nothing can adequately prepare you for a situation except going through it. This holds true for driving, and almost all other aspects of life as well. Think back to the most memorable moments of your life thus for. You are most likely currently envisioning your happiest and most disappointing moments. The happy moments make sense – they are the highlights of your life – but why the disappointing? Simple, the disappointment and shock upon receiving a ticket stuck with me, and I was a more careful, conscientious driver as a result. It’s easy to immediately feel sad when faced with disappointment, but it’s not really necessary. The next time you get a bad grade on a test, can’t understand a concept in class, or even get a speeding ticket, instead of inwardly cursing the teacher – or cop – inflicting this pain upon you, think about how useful the memory is going to be in the future. How it will motivate you to study harder and drive slower, and eventually get you to your destination in one piece.


The Coat of Arms | Opinions

November 21, 2013

Why we should get the week of Thanksgiving off Davis Rich | Staff Reporter When most people think of Thanksgiving, we think of stuffing our faces with food, relaxing, watching football, and spending time with our family. Thanksgiving is full of rich traditions for every family, and it symbolically represents the beginning of the holiday season. As the break approaches, I look forward to seeing family members I usually don’t get to see, not frantically studying for a slew of tests. Thanksgiving should be a stressfree time where we can enjoy the company of the people around us and relax. However, the days leading up to the break can be extremely stress-

ful for Menlo students, and we as students could really use the days off. The schedule this year makes the weeks before finals especially stressful. Thanksgiving happens to fall on the last week of November this year, meaning that there are only two weeks separating Thanksgiving break from finals week. Most classes will probably not be learning new material in those two weeks, so the two days before Thanksgiving break are some of the last days of assessment for most subjects. The Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving become a blitzkreig of tests and quizzes as teachers rush to finish units before the two week march towards finals. This creates a lot

of stress that students are not ‘thankful’ for. Conversely, teachers may not give any homework or have any exams, and Monday and Tuesday end up just being days where nothing is accomplished in class. Its not like we are learning anything new only two weeks before finals, so if there are no assessments, coming to school is kind of pointless. Students are either ground into turkey stuffing in the days leading up to our break or sit through hours of mind-numbingly pointless classes. The Menlo administration should consider blacking out the two days before Thanksgiving break and making teachers spread their assess-

ments over the five-day week that precedes it, or just give students the entire week off. Having the week off is a win-win for everyone. It’s not like there are less assessments given, the assessments are just spread out over a five-day period instead of two. This also gives students nine days to clear their minds and relax before cramming a semester’s worth of knowledge back into their heads. It lets every person at Menlo, students and faculty, fully experience the beauty of Thanksgiving and spend time with their families. Let’s make Thanksgiving a time to be thankful for the family and friends that surround us and a time to clear our minds before


The perils of hearsay By Vicky Greenbaum He who steals my purse steals trash… but he that filches from me my good name, robs me of that which not enriches him, and makes me poor indeed. (William Shakespeare) Do you believe everything you hear? Do you want to? How do you decide what, and whom, to believe? How do you discern the truth? Hearsay fascinates because it holds åapproaches you, offering a morsel—delectable, dangerous, daring—and you’re intrigued. Why does a rumor excite people? Is it the promise of knowing? Or the possibility of scandal, to fill people with schadenfreude? (That’s German for when you are glad because someone is hurting and because it isn’t you) Why does hearsay get accepted as truth by so many eagerly listening ears? Envision the last time a friend came up on the quad and began a sentence with “Did you hear…?” And when you heard, did you believe? If someone tells you a story, especially a bad one, about someone you know, how can you be certain it’s true?

Menlo percolates with hearsay. People talk about others and sometimes, they check it out with me. Students approach me in a quiet moment and ask whether I have heard that _________ got drunk at the dance? That ________’s parents were getting divorced? That ________ cheated on the AP with an iPhone and didn’t get caught? I ask: how do you know? Is there proof, or is this just hearsay? Sometimes the response is “well everyone is saying…” And I can ask: who is everyone? How many told you this? The answer is never: 42. It’s more often: one person told me they heard it from two friends. I can ask: why did you believe this? And the answer is rarely: I saw it, here’s the hard evidence. It’s more often: well he is the captain of the football team…or she is the leader in that group of girls…or they are my friend and my gut tells me to trust them. Hearsay can be destructive. Several teachers at other schools have told a version of this story: girl at a school accuses a guy at the same school of raping her while they were both drunk at a party. The entire campus is afire with the story. Some spread hearsay that the guy was guilty as charged. He is hounded by the girl’s

friends, ostracized by some who hear the story, put on probation, eventually leaves the school. Some spread hearsay that the girl in the situation made the story up. She is hounded by the guy’s friends, ostracized by those who believe the rumor that she is “skanky”, takes a semester off, eventually leaves the school. No one laughs at this story. Somewhere, there was truth and hard evidence in the story, but hearsay predominated and created the outcomes. Hearsay gets right to the heart of the nature of truth. If you care about truth, you need to do your research. Sometimes hearsay is based in fact: I hear the sun will rise tomorrow, because it’s risen every day for years. I hear that Mike Thibodeaux is a brilliant teacher, and right now the count of testimonials in support of this hearsay runs in the thousands of students, with numerous professional observations by teachers and administrators thrown in; this has a very strong chance of being true. Sometimes I think Menlo is a little too fond of hearsay, as a community. Recently, in the spring of 2013, a number of students spread the tale that Than Healy, our newly appointed Head

of School, was going to change the school, starting with a requirement that everyone wear uniforms. This story fountained, gushing through Menlo. Why was everyone so eager to believe a rumor about someone who wasn’t even here at Menlo yet, who nobody really knew? Adults are not immune to the lure of hearsay. One teacher was rumored to have a bottle in his desk drawer (this was eighteen years ago, and the man is now dead, so don’t go guessing). No proof surfaced. The teacher kept working at Menlo. The hearsay never died. Some adults are addicted to hearsay, rumors and gossip—after all, we teachers are human. I used to like gossip myself. But then it happened to me: I was the victim of hearsay. For me, it’s lost allure. And I feel nothing but compassion for those who are victims. Hearsay seems easy, trivial. But it hurts. Somehow, eventually, and perhaps for decades, it hurts. Think of this when you’re tempted to repeat a tale. Think of this when someone brings you some morsel and you’re tempted to swallow it, believe it, repeat it. Think of this when you hear from five people, or when two people tell you “everyone is saying….”.

The Coat of Arms | Sports

November 21, 2013

Knights look to achieve success at CCS

Cross Country

Menlo enjoyed success with both its cross country teams this year, with the girls team embarking on a historic season winning the league championship for the first time since 1984. Sophomore Zoe Enright and junior Elizabeth Lacy were the two stars of the team and both girls finished in the top four for all three of the league meets, leading the Lady Knights to wins in all three of the races and a spot in the CCS championship race. “[For the] boys, this is more of a rebuilding year,” cross country coach Donoson Fitzgerald said. Senior Matt Myers was injured and would have been the top runner, so depth was an issue for the boys team. However, the boys have fought through adversity, finishing fifth out of nine team in both league races. “I couldn’t be more proud of the dedication and determination that was displayed on and off the field,” sophomore Dennis Mandudzo said. Mandudzo is the top runner on the boys side, followed by junior Peter Rosston and sophomore Matt Wan. “The future looks really bright on the boys side,” Fitzgerald said. Both Mandudzo and Rosston qualified for CCS individually. There are no seniors except for Myers on either of the teams, so both of the teams are set up for the future. “In the future, when the rest of the team is older, I do believe we can be a force to reckon[ed] with,” Mandudzo said.


In the heat of Fantasy Football, NCAA and NFL seasons, the Knights football team is thriving. Despite having, as Coach Mark Newton put it, “one of the toughest schedules in school history”, the team has an overall record of 6-4 and made the CCS playoffs. “[Having] a winning record with [such a difficult schedule] is just phenomenal,” Newton said. Senior Will King, who substituted in at quarterback in last week’s league match against Sacred Heart, was very proud of the team. “It has been an awesome time so far, and there has been a ton of improvement with our young guys, who have really grown into solid players,” King said. Junior Gregor Yock touched on how the team has played. “The season went well and we are looking forward to doing even better going into the playoffs,” Yock said. Their first CCS game is Friday, Nov. 22 against Monterey at Sequoia High School. Newton believes that the team can win the CCS championship this year. “We just need a better defense and better special teams than the other team,” Newton said. Newton, who was happy with how the team has stepped up in every game in the season, hopes that his confidence can correlate to victories on the field.


Boys Water Polo

Boys water polo had a successful season with a 21-3 overall record, including an undefeated league record to win league. They responded to losing league last year for the first time in 17 tries with a determined off-season that translated into a success. Their dominance presented itself throughout the season, winning two crucial league games against M-A and non-league games against powerhouse programs De La Salle and Coronado. The team’s goal to be their best shined throughout the year, as they focused solely on performance. “Everyone was working as hard as they could everyday in practice to be their best,” senior co-captain John Wilson said. The players exuded work ethic against tough competition. “We are better [than other teams] because of the amount of hard work and energy we put in year round,” head coach Jack Bowen said. The talent continues to progress. “As a team we did a great job of working together and building our team chemistry,” senior co-captain Ryan Hammarskjold said. The Knights won their quarterfinal match 7-5 over Saratoga High School and are poised to make a strong CCS run, hopefully winning it for the first time in three years.






Girl’s volleyball went 27-5 overall, with a 10-0 league record to win consecutive league titles. Facing an intimidating schedule, they stepped up to competition. “We have competed with some of the top teams in the state and been successful,” senior co-captain Melissa Cairo said. The challenge strengthened the team and elevated their performance. Highlight wins included Valley Christian, Menlo Atherton and Sacred Heart Cathedral. They also won their host tournament. “We had a really outstanding non-league schedule and our players really stepped up to the challenge,” head coach Steven Cavella said. Although successful, the Knight’s path was filled with adversity. “Our younger players have done a great job of filling in for some tough injuries this year,” Cavella said. Several underclassmen contributed to the success and replaced the injuries. “It showed how mentally tough we are and it really showed me how talented we are as a group,” senior cocaptain Morgan Dressel said. The Knights season continues, having earned the number one seed in CCS. They cannot be satisfied with these accomplishments though. “Obviously it is important not to settle and to keep getting better,” senior co-captain Maddie Huber said. With that in mind, the Knights focus on CCS and will continue their dominance in the postseason.


Girls Tennis

The Varsity girl’s tennis team put together yet another impressive season. They had an overall record of 21-1, dominating all league opponents. Head Coach Bill Shine was very pleased with how the team did. “[The season] has gone really well, and we are right where we want to be,” Shine said. Even he was extremely surprised with the immense success of his team. “I always expect the team to get better, but I didn’t really expect our record to be what it is,” Shine said. Senior captain Polly Golikova was also pleased with the team’s performance. “The season has truly been awesome,” Golikova said, “We’ve grown so much as a team both on and off the court.” Golikova went on to mention how everyone on the team had matured throughout the season. Shine also talked about how he was going to approach the CCS playoffs. “[For CCS], we are all going to have to play well on the same days, and if we do that, we are just as good as anyone,” Shine said, whose palpable confidence will look to carry the team through the playoffs. On Monay, the team beat Saint Ignatius in the semi-finals of CCS.

-Compiled by Jack Hammond, Michael Shames, and Davis Rich

Teams begin preparing for approaching winter season

Boys Soccer


Girls Basketball

Last season marked a landmark in girls’ varsity basketball history; the team, coached by John Paye, went 22-55 on there way to a CCS championship title. Drew Edelmen, last season’s leading point scorer and USC commit, Lauren Lete, Jasmin Williams, who Paye said was the, “emotional leader of the team,” and Kaelen Dunn. With the graduation of all four of these players, Menlo has flipped to a new chapter in its long and illustrious history, and is about to embark on a new voyage captained chiefly by underclassmen This years team, “will be very young, exciting and athletic [and because of this lack of experience] will have a lot of ups and downs,” Paye said. With the exception of captain, senior Donya Dehnad, the team will primarily be comprised of underclassmen, such as, Hannah Paye, last seasons leading three point shooter, sophomore Olivia Pellarin, last seasons 3rd leading rebounder and sophomores McKenzie Duffner, who had the 3rd most steals on last years team. Dehnad said that, “being the only [senior] this year [she’ll] definitely have to try and earn the respect of the younger girls and try to help them stay motivated and positive with regards to this season.” Hopefully the knights can rally around Dehnad and have another successful season.


Boys Basketball

With the season fast approaching the Menlo Boys varsity basketball team, coached by Delandro Leday, hopes to replicate the virtually impeccable season that they had last year, going 21-8 on there way to another Division 4 CCS title. With the majority of their starters, returning this year achieving their goal of another CCS championship is almost expected of the Knights. In addition to this, both Bobby Roth (last seasons WBAL league MVP), and Ryan Young, who was 1st team all league, have had another year to mature and hone their skills. Junior Liam Dunn also returns for the Knights and his skills on the perimeter will be key to the success of the season. Leday also looks for senior Wes Miller, who was injured for the majority of last season, to have a break out season. Leday said that, “[Having Miller back] will be really big for us.” However, not only does Menlo want to maintain their dominance on the court they also want to, “get it done in the classroom,” Leday said, by winning a scholastic award, something that has eluded them the previous few seasons. Undoubtedly, under the tutelage and guidance of Leday, Menlo will be able to win yet another league title and make yet another playoff run.



Girls Soccer

Menlo varsity girls’ soccer takes the field in the hopes of channeling the success of last season, in which they went 10-1-1 on their way to a WBAL league championship. However, with the loss of both goalies Kelly McConnell and Julia Dressel and key players Hannah Rubin, Maya Norman and Rachel Pinsker, the team must rally around this year’s seniors to dominate the WBAL once again. Luckily, seniors Chandler Wickers, Sienna Stritter, Amanda McFarland and Emma LaPorte are decorated athletes winning awards such as top scorer in league (Wickers), and WBAL 1st team all league (Stritter and McFarland) among others. Head coach Donoson Fitzgerald particularly looks towards the defensive efforts of McFarland who, “has been one of our most consistent and strongest players throughout the [past four] seasons.” When asked about the team’s goals for this season, Fitzgerald said that, “he is very excited about this season and the girls on this [year’s] team,” and that he, “thinks the potential is there for a really top notch girl’s soccer team.” Wickers agreed. “Our team looks very strong and that we are looking to defend our league title.” With this years stellar lineup, the Lady Knights goal of yet another league title and a CCS run will hopefully come to fruition this season. -Compiled by Rory Plewman

Last years Menlo boys varsity soccer team, coached by Marc Kerrest, was one to remember, with players such as alumni Timmy Costa and Max Parker leading the Knights to be indomitable, going 15-5-4 on their way to a CCS title. This year may be a different story because the team has lost 10 seniors from their starting lineup prompting Kerrest to look for some of the younger players to assume leadership positions and contribute to the team. He will especially draw support from this year’s sophomore class who he said, “were particularly strong,” in an effort to fill those all important vacant positions. The biggest worry for the team this year is the lack of a goalie, due to the loss of allstar Costa, who provided a solid foundation that was the basis for the team’s defensive line. However, senior defender Justin Wang is optimistic that they will fill the holes in the defense before the season rolls around and that, “[the team] will try their utmost to not concede two or more goals in a single game.” Equally distressing are the noticeable gaps up front, previously filled by Parker and alumnus Ryan Karle, “who scored over half of our goals,” Kerrest said. The high octane drama imbued in the very fabric of high school boys soccer, and the up in the air future of Menlo’s varsity program, should prove to make this year’s season unforgettable.


The Coat of Arms | Sports

November 21, 2013

The biggest and smallest margins of victories in Menlo sport’s history boys football

Menlo 47 McClymonds 40 One football game in which Menlo barely won was several weeks ago against McClymonds High School, with a final score of 47-40. At half time, the game was at 40-40 until “[Menlo was] 91 yards away from scoring and there was 91 seconds on the clock. [...] Jack Heneghan led [the knights] down the field and with 13 seconds left [...] threw the ball to Peter Bouret [who] ran into the end zone,” head coach Mark Newton said.


boys waterpolo

80 Menlo


Breen Christian 0 Sacred Heart Prep 5 On the opposite end of the spectrum, Newton recalls a game in the 1980s in which Menlo won with an 80 point margin when they beat Berean Christian, a small catholic school in the East Bay. The team won 80-0 and was led by former Menlo football coach Ron Bryant. Other than that game, “the biggest margin in terms of a final score would probably be 50 points,” Newton said.

Menlo Soquel

1 0

Several years ago, the water polo team barely snagged a victory against Soquel in a game that went into six sudden death overtimes, a high pressure situation that occurs when the teams are tied and the first team to score wins the game. Menlo finally won after completing an outside shot. “The referee at the time said, ‘It was the best, most exciting well-played water polo game’ he’d seen,” Bowen said. -Compiled by Brooke Hammarskjold

One game that stands out to head coach Jack Bowen as an example of when the water polo team beat another team by a significant number of points was when the team beat Sacred Heart 11-5 at the 2010 CCS championship game. “Sacred Heart had beaten Menlo earlier that season by only 1 point, so, [...] a six goal margin [...] against a team of that caliber was crazy,” Bowen said.

Undiscovered athletes at Menlo

Brooke Hammarskjold | Staff Reporter

Through recognition in places such as the Sea of Gold Facebook group and sports announcements in assembly, Menlo students celebrate the achievements of many types of dedicated athletes. However, there are a handful of students who are rarely recognized for


Christensen practices both on his own and with an out-of-school club, working several hours on end each week.

their athletic achievements because the sports they play and excel at are not offered by Menlo. Sophomore Gabriel Morgan has played competitive squash since he was only nine years old. Squash, a racquet sport similar to tennis

in which the opponents are on the same side of an indoor court, across from a wall in which they hit and bounce the ball off, is much more popular on the east coast. As a result, Morgan is forced to travel as much as six times a year to play in tournaments all over New England. Morgan picked up the sport at a young age and currently plays for several different clubs in the Bay Area, including the Olympic Club in San Francisco. In addition to squash, Morgan was a member of Menlo’s varsity boys tennis team last spring. As a result, “during the spring, [he is] super time crunched because playing tennis at Menlo and playing squash outside of school, [he] [has] to balance the two and also make sure [he] do[esn’t] mix up [his] swings,” but, “[coach] Bill Shine is very accommodating to [his] outside time commitments,” Morgan said. Although playing a non-Menlo sport has proven to be difficult to balance with Menlo’s academic load and his tennis commitment, Morgan finds the time he spends playing it worthwhile. “I like it because it’s something of my own, that’s unique to me and no one else at Menlo really knows about,” Morgan said. Sophomore Jada Scacco has had a similar experience juggling both Menlo and out of school sports. Scacco is a dedicated ice skater and spends many hours a week at the rink. Scacco first laced her skates up in kin-

dergarten but it was not until third grade that she began practicing it as a sport. She currently skates in Redwood City and practices four mornings a week before school, but the benefit is that “[she] still [has] time to do [her] homework after school, so it’s nice to have afternoons free,” Scacco said. In addition to her busy ice skating schedule, Scacco has been taking dance classes at Menlo with dance teacher Jan Chandler. “I [dance]to stay flexible for skating because that’s a big part of it,” Scacco said. Like Morgan, she has found the benefit to participating in a non-Menlo sport to be its uniqueness to her; “It’s nice to do a sport that not that many people do,” Scacco said. Among many other unique hobbies such as unicycling, senior Niles Christensen has taken up archery in recent years. He first started participating in archery in middle school but did not begin to practice it seriously until his sophomore year after a brief period in which he rowed crew. Archery was not something he had put much thought into before beginning to practice it. “I saw that it was a thing that you could do as a sport, and I immediately decided ‘cool I want to do that’’’ Christensen said. Christensen is a member of the Stanford archery club, where he practices weekly. Archery has proved to be an easy time commitment. “It’s not too bad because I only practice once a week. [...] It kills my entire Sun-

Hall of fame reunites athletes Davis Rich | Staff Reporter Menlo’s athletic Hall of Fame held its induction ceremony and reunion on Oct. 25 in the Athletic Center. The Hall of Fame has existed since 1968 and includes current coaches John Paye and Mark Newton, who had exceptional athletic careers during their times at Menlo. Members are nominated and then selected by an alumni Hall of Fame committee, as well as Menlo faculty members including Athletic Director Craig Schoof, Assistant Athletic Director Buffie Ward Williams, and Sports Information Director Pam McKenney. The criteria for selecting Hall of Famers mandates that an athlete must be at least ten years out of Menlo unless they are a professional athlete and coaches must have coached at Menlo for at least ten years. The committee also tries to select alumni who are in town for Homecoming weekend. “We try to get the existing Hall of Famers to come reunite and all of the families and friends [to come to the event],” Director of Alumni Relations Liza Benningson said. The committee also tries to select an equal amount of men and women for each induction ceremony. This year’s class honored four alumnus, two men and two women. Alumnus Ashley

McPhaul ‘73, played football and wrestled while at Menlo, and was the captain of both teams his senior year. He also had great success in his eight-year career as Menlo’s varsity football coach starting in 1988. He installed the run and shoot offense and led the Knights to a CIF North Coast Section Championship in 1990. Alumna Jacaranda Palmateer ‘93 played varsity soccer, water polo and swam during her four years at Menlo. She was one of the top swimmers in the country as a freshman and was also co-captain of both the soccer and water polo teams as a senior. Palmateer swam and played water polo for four years at Colgate University. Alumna Courtney Rose ‘03 had an integral role in Menlo’s 2000-2002 CCS championshipwinning volleyball teams. She also started on the varsity basketball team. Rose continued on to be a four-year starter at Emory College for volleyball and set a school record for hitting percentage. She led Emory to their first-ever Final Four and also was the NCAA Division III player of the year in 2005. Alumnus Ryan Seawell ‘03 was a three year varsity athlete in baseball and basketball. As a senior, Seawell was voted team MVP for both sports and was named to the All-State small schools baseball team. Seawell continued on to play baseball at Stanford and was a two time All-Academic honoree. After college, Seawell also spent time in the Detroit Tigers organization. Each of these athletes had incredible Menlo careers and will be remembered in the Hall of Fame forever. The Hall of Fame is also introducing a new sports award for an alum who “has changed the world of sports but not on the field,” Benningson said. The award is called the Robert A. Lurie ‘45 Award because of Menlo alumnus Robert A. Lurie’s achievements as the owner of the San Francisco Giants from 1976-1993. The inaugural award will go to GoPro foundKEVIN WALKER/COA er alumnus Nick Woodman ‘93.

The Hall of Fame plaque shows all of the people induced into the Menlo Hall of Fame.


Morgan often travels to the east coast in order to participate in tournaments such as this one.

day, but that’s just Sunday,” Christensen said. These three are only a few of the athletes at Menlo that play unique sports outside of school. In the midst of big victories by more prominent sports such as football and soccer, their athletic achievements are often overshadowed. While nonMenlo sports are often a hard time commitment to manage as they are not always built around our rigorous academic schedule, Morgan, Scacco and Christensen all find their sports ultimately rewarding. By practicing more obscure sports such as squash, ice skating and archery, they have found something that is unique to them in the Menlo community and have learned to make it their own.

Powderpuff football: is it sexist?

Lucy Heneghan | Staff Reporter

Imagine all the boys who played in last week’s Valparaiso Bowl being drafted into war, and there being an insufficient number of players to play in the game. Who would step in? Powderpuff football is a tradition that dates back to Oct. 19, 1945. But how did this tradition start? The first powderpuff game was played in Madison, South Dakota at Eastern State College. The school had originally canceled many of the schools extra activities because World War II was going on, but they rescheduled these events on Sept. 2 after the treaty with Japan was signed. When the time for a homecoming football game was getting near, the school did not have enough players for a full team, due to only three men signing up for football that season. The military draft had taken most of their potential players, and a football game seemed impossible. The girls of the school stepped up, split into two teams, and played the game. The school’s physical education teacher Leota Van Ornum was coach for both teams, and a large crowd came to support the game. At halftime the girls wanted to further entertain the crowd, so they applied a fresh coat of powder makeup, coining the term “Powderpuff.” That term stuck, and is now the common name for girls football. Many look at this name and immediately see a sexist stereotype, while others see no harm. These differing views are apparent at Menlo, across many grades. “Saying Powderpuff makes [girls] sound weak, so I definitely think it’s sexist, but I’m not necessarily of-


The seniors celebrate their victory in the 2013 Girls Football Game.

fended [by it],” junior Lida Van der Meer said. Although Van der Meer is not personally offended by the term “powderpuff,” others feel differently. “If a high school knew that girls were offended by the term, it would be their responsibility to change it,” senior Sloan Cinelli said. Despite the way students feel, Athletic Director Craig Schoof has “never known anyone [that feels] offended by the term.” As a result of this controversy, Menlo has changed the title of the girls football game to “girls flag football;” the term “powderpuff” may be one of the past. “It’s not said to be offensive, it’s just like calling every tissue Kleenex. Powderpuff is the common name of girls flag football, and in reality we aren’t playing ‘girls football,’ we don’t even play two hand touch,” Cinelli said. The term powderpuff is not intended to have a demeaning tone or make women sound weak, but without knowing the history behind the term, it’s understandable to jump to that conclusion. Although not all are offended by the term, students are appreciative that Menlo has made the change to girls football.

The Coat of Arms | Sports

November 21, 2013


Valpo bowl through the ages


Malia Bates | Copy Editor


The tradition of the Valpo Bowl, a rivalry sports game between Menlo and Sacred Heart Prep, first began in 2003. The annual game between the two schools benefits the Peninsula Bridge Foundation, an organization that seeks to “promote academic and

personal success for motivated middle school students from under-resources community.” For student body leaders, this is one of the most exciting events of the year. “I am excited to have a shot at redemption this year because not only did we lose Valpo Bowl last year, we also lost to Sacred Heart in CCS finals,” senior Ben Taft said. “I am most excited to get every-


one to be louder than we have at past games (e.g. MA). Also the long sleeve shirts should be really cool this year as well,” senior Sea of Gold

his fond memories of watching the Valpo Bowl game while in middle school and then finally having the opportunity to play in the actual game in high school. “When I was in middle school I remembered going to the Valpo Bowl and admiring all of the older players. I couldn’t wait for my opportunity to come. It’s one of those games where you realize why you play the game and what high school football is all about,” Benton said. In addition to Benton’s fond recollection of memories about participating in Valpo Bowl, alumnus Phil Anderson ‘11 recalls Valpo Bowl as, “such a cool experience, especially my junior year when leader Maddy Price said. While the we played and won at Menlo.” Sea of Gold and Student Body leadFriday, Nov. 15, the heated riLUCAS KEYT /MENLO SCHOOL valry between the football teams of the Knights and the Gators came to the forefront once again as the Valpo Bowl cup was up for stake. While the Knights were prepared to face this battle, they were without one ers love this event, both past and of their key players, senior startcurrent members of Menlo’s football ing quarterback Jack Heneghan, team share the same excitement who was unable to play due to a when playing in the Valpo Bowl. shoulder injury sustained in the Alumnus Tim Benton ‘11 recalls previous game versus Menlo-

Atherton. Senior Will King stepped in as quarterback for the night. In the first quarter, senior Kevin Walker scored Menlo’s first point by converting on a field goal, making

the score 3-0 Menlo. Throughout the first and second quarters, the Knights defense held the Gators at zero points and went into half time leading by three points. In the second half, the Gators, came charging back and tied the game late in the third quarter, which was then followed a touchdown to win the game. Overall, the Knights played a well-rounded game, despite the injuries and roadblocks that they sustained.

Fall seasons come to a close with league play Girls Golf

PHOTO COURTESY GRAHAM STRATFORD Senior captain Christina Schwab hits a drive in a league match

Consisting of one senior and seven underclassmen, the young girls golf team struggled at first but showed promise. “We started off really slow and didn’t perform up to the level we expected; this was mainly because we were young,” head coach Ron Driscoll said. The Knights lost several matches, including to Castilleja and Sacred Heart Prep. “It became evident that we were a little young with a little pressure,” Driscoll said. Despite the losses, the team progressed. The Knights gained experience throughout the season, finishing strongly. “A lot of our players definitely improved a drastic amount,” senior

captain Christina Schwab said. The season ended victoriously over Harker for third place in league. Sophomore Jessie Rong qualified for CCS, making first team all league. Although she missed the NorCal cut, she shot 76 at Rancho Cuñada. Lauren Yang made second-team all league and Nicole Henderson received honorable mention. “One of the goals set for next season is to have increased practices, play more often and get closer as a team,” Schwab said when speaking of next year’s goals. The future shines for the lady Knights as the team will grow older.

Girls Water Polo

Senior captain Kate Huneke receives the ball in a league game.


The varsity girl’s water polo team had a nice season under new head coach Matt Jones. They finished 10-6 in league, but failed to make the CCS playoffs. Jones believes the team progressed during the course of the season. “The team learned a lot about water polo and started to gel towards the end of the year, and it’s always great to see improvement,” Jones said. Senior captain Kate Huneke was very pleased with how the team played as well. “Although we

didn’t make it to CCS, we had a really fun season and were able to grow both individually and as a group,” Huneke said. Jones also touched on how he thought the team can improve for next year. “During the off-season, we would like to work on some of the individual skills, such as shooting and one on one defense, and bring those together into more of the team game,” Jones said. Jones and the team will look to come back strong next season.

-Compiled by Jack Hammond and Michael Shames


The Coat of Arms | Sports

November 21, 2013

Scoreboard Boys Water Polo

Menlo Saratoga

7 5

| An update of the Knights’ recent sports scores

Girls Volleyball

@ Menlo 3 Notre Dame 0

Boys Football

@Menlo SHP

3 10

Girls Tennis

Menlo @SI

4 3

Athletes of the Issue

Zoe Enright

Sophomore Zoe Enright has been a dominant force on cross country for the past two years. Last year she ended the season undefeated and won league MVP as a freshmen, an impressive feat in the competitive Central Coast Section. She runs the mile, the 800 meter, and occasionally the two mile, and her average mile time is a 6:10. After an outstanding cross country season performance last fall and a successful track season last spring, she competed in Junior Olympics in North Carolina this summer. She ranked 11th for the 15-16 year old division 3,000 meter race. This fall, the cross country season has been even more competitive due to a freshman from Harker taking the number one spot in league. Enright responded to this competition well and has been working extra hard this season to battle for the top spot. “My goal as an athlete is to try my best no matter the circumstance and push my team whenever I’m given the opportunity,” Enright said. “[Enright] just wants to win and do her best, and for a coach, that’s the best type of athlete that you ever want,” coach Jorge Chen said. As CCS and State approach, Enright has been “leading the team to a girl’s league title for the first time in almost 30 years,” Chen said. She “sets a high standard for the team and pushes [us] when sometimes we don’t want to push ourselves,” junior Lizzie Lacy said. This season, she’s “really hoping to place better in league because there is always room for improvement,” Enright said. She consistently sets the bar high and “the team looks up to her willingness to run and not complain,” Lacy said. Along with her positive attitude towards practice, her endurance and practicing skills help her to perform well in meets, where “she just goes out there and runs hard” Chen said. Enright has already had huge success as just a sophomore, but she has even more success to come. Enright “is looking really good and she will only get better,” Chen said. “I’m really excited to see what [Enright] can do at State. I’m sure she won’t disappoint.” -Compiled by Davis Rich and Lucy Heneghan


Darren Mei

Do you think there is pressure riding on you representing Menlo in athletic competition? Try representing your country in a competition in Europe that draws from countries all over the world. Senior Darren Mei is an accomplished fencer and just last year finished fifth in a competition in Budapest, Hungary representing the United States in the 16U division. His other accomplishments include finishing eighth in the Junior Olympics in Baltimore and finishing ninth in the country for 16U. Mei has been fencing since he was eight years old, inspired because his dad was a former fencer, and got serious when he realized he was talented. In fencing there are three different weapons or kinds of fencing matches: foil, epee and sabre. Foil, the weapon Mei participates in, involves a target area from the waist to neck, but you can’t slash your weapon. Sabre has the same target area, but slashing is allowed. Epee allows competitors to score points by hitting anywhere on the body. Though fencing doesn’t require the raw athleticism of basketball or speed of track, it requires lots of training. Mei is very skilled technically and works on his footwork to prepare for competition. He also has to put in many hours of practice and working out in order to stay in top shape to compete. “Practice is year round [...] probably about ten hours a week,” Mei said. “Besides the four days of fencing, I have to spend maybe two or three days a week [at the gym.]” Between October and February, Mei participates in one or two tournaments a month and now that he is older, he goes to international competitions. Mei has also represented the US in competitions throughout Europe, like Germany, Italy and Slovakia. The international competition is stiff, as one would assume with a worldwide draw. “Overseas is more competitive but America has actually [become] much more competitive now,” Mei said. However, Mei has enjoyed great success in tournaments because of his relentless training. Mei practices at the Massalias Foundation which sent two fencers to the 2012 Olympics, so Mei is training at one of the most competitive facilities in the world. It’s the equivalent of playing at a NBA feeder school like Kentucky or Duke. Mei hopes to fence in college and has been talking to coaches in order to be recruited. Hopefully Mei’s success and impressive accomplishments throughout high school will attract the attention of coaches and lead to opportunities for Mei to succeed in the future. PHOTO COURTESY DARREN MEI

Melissa Cairo, Brown University Polly Finch | Staff Reporter Senior Melissa Cairo committed to Brown University for the upcoming fall season of volleyball. Cairo committed to Brown over the summer. As a senior starter, Cairo is an influential part of Menlo’s team. “She’s like the silent leader,” senior co-captain Morgan Dressel said. She plays libero and “she’s one of the few players that doesn’t play with fear even when she makes mistakes,” Dressel said, which landed her a spot on varsity her freshman year.

Menlo volleyball has had a very successful season thus far and they are starting the CCS qualifying games. Cairo is “looking forward to the playoffs” because of the opportunity to redeem the team’s loss in the CCS semifinals last year. Cairo has helped the team assert themselves in a top position in the state. “A lot of times girls start to fall apart, and she keeps us together,” Dressel said. “On the court she’s very calming [and] she knows what to say at the right times, and she brings us together as a team.” She started the recruiting process

her sophomore year and said that she considered around 30 schools. Cairo picked Brown because, “as much as I love the volleyball aspect [...] it was about going to a really good school,” Cairo said. “[Brown] gives you an open range to follow your interests.” Although “playing with some of [her] closest friends for four years” has been an amazing experience for Cairo, she “has already had the chance to meet the players at Brown, [and she] is looking forward to playing alongside them next year.” PHOTO COURTESY LAURA MADEIRA/COA

Cairo hits the ball in a league match for Menlo.

Kristy Jorgensen, UC Davis Polly Finch | Staff Reporter Senior Kristy Jorgensen committed in September to play Division 1 tennis at UC Davis next fall. Jorgensen started on Menlo’s varsity tennis team her sophomore and junior years. She is not playing her senior year, so she can spend more time playing both singles and doubles for the United States Tennis Association (USTA). “Playing in college was planned out by my parents, but I also really enjoy playing, too,” Jorgensen said. “Now that I think about it, it was pretty much

always part of the plan.” Before she made her final decision, Jorgensen was deciding between UC Davis, UC Irvine, and University of Mexico. She ultimately decided on UC Davis because of its acclaimed engineering program, which is what she wants to major in. Although UC Davis doesn’t have the best tennis program of the three, “there is always room for improvement,” she said. Jorgensen’s commitment to UC Davis has come after years of hard work. “I’ve been playing tennis since I was six, but I didn’t get serious until I was

ten,” Jorgensen said. Jorgenson practices for at least two hours and works out for one hour every day. Despite the hard work, Jorgensen is incredibly dedicated to both tennis and her teammates. “She’s devoted to tennis and very, very determined to win,” senior former teammate Polly Golikova said. Although she doesn’t anticipate playing tennis after college, Jorgensen is optimistic about her experience at UC Davis. “I’m really excited to play at UC Davis and see where it takes me,” Jorgensen said.


Kristy Jorgenson aces her opponent on a power-serve.


Issue 40.2  

Coat of Arms Issue 40.2 2013-2014 School Year

Issue 40.2  

Coat of Arms Issue 40.2 2013-2014 School Year