October 19, 2011
Volume 83, Issue 2
The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929
Blocked sites at home abound Ma’ayan Doron
Class of 2013
This year, LM implemented a new laptop policy, which blocks many Internet sites open to students last year both at home and at school. This new laptop policy blocks anything that is noneducational, or that would violate the Child Internet Protection Act, which protects minors from sites that contain any obscenity, child pornography, or anything else harmful to minors. The policy also blocks any sites that contain spyware or malware to protect the computers from damaging viruses and bugs. On April 25th of last year, the school board met to discuss the district’s laptop policy. The policies were amended and passed, and letters were sent home in June informing parents and students of the finalized document. Unfortunately, the new laptop policy surprised many students when they logged on at home to find that the sites that were blocked at school were blocked
Many students have expressed their frustration with numerous error screens.
LM’s achievement gap Matthew Chan
Class of 2012 On September 12, the District gave a midpoint review of its Strategic Plan. The plan, created in 2008 and lasting from 2009 to 2014, aims to improve upon student academic achievement. Even before the plan was initiated, the District was already setting high standards for the nation, and achieving significantly higher scores on national tests; the average national SAT score was approximately 1510, while the average SAT score in LM was 1770. Despite the already excellent standards of LMSD, Director of Secondary Education Wagner Marseille and Steve Barbato, the Director of Curriculum Services, strove to further the quality of education in the district by constructing this 2009-2014 Strategic Plan. The plan is designed to fulfill three goals: to lower the percentage of students scoring below basic and basic on PSSAs, to bolster the academic achievements of the Individual Educational Program students—namely, students with learning disabilities—and to close the achievement gap between ethnicities. Based upon statistics, since the District first implemented the plan, the overall performance of students in elementary, middle, and high schools has risen. Across the board, the percentage of 11th grade students scoring below basic and basic on PSSAs plummeted, while the percentage of proficient and advanced scoring students rose. Similarly, the overall academic achievement
of minorities and IEP students escalated in terms of PSSA and SAT scores. In the two years since the plan was implemented, the average SAT score of LMSD students increased even further by approximately 20 points and the percent of students earning an advanced score on PSSAs rose by about ten percent. Previously, there had been a significant achievement gap between Caucasian students and African American students. In PSSA scores, the gap was approximately a 20% difference; for example, on reading, only 7% of Caucasian students scored below basic, while a total of 30% of African American students scored the same. Since then, the achievement gap has closed considerably, with only 12% of African Americans now scoring below basic on PSSAs. In response to the overall benefits of the strategic plan, Marseille, satisfied with the results yielded, commented at the 2011 meeting, “The reduction in number here for below basic and basic is what we’re looking for.” Likewise, math teacher Diane Sweeney comments, “I believe that the Strategic Plan helps level the playing field for students who may not have the same opportunities as others to be tutored for standardized tests like the SATs.” The 2009-2014 Strategic Plan has made an evident impact on the district’s academics in a mere two years and this trend will likely continue in the future.
Photo by Efi Narliotis
See LAPTOPS, page 2
New law gives amnesty to teen Samaritans Nathan Posener
Class of 2012 In past years, young people have often been prosecuted for underage drinking because they sought medical attention for a friend, which resulted in a citation. This discourages underage drinkers from seeking necessary medical attention, a situation that Pennsylvania State Senator John Rafferty intends to change with Senate Bill 488. The bill, called the Good Samaritan Bill, protects underage drinkers from prosecution for possession or consumption of alcoholic if they call authorities
to get medical attention for someone else. There are several stipulations. The caller must provide their real name and remain with the person needing attention until paramedics arrive. The caller must also reasonably belief that he or she is to first to call, so the law would not cover a large group. For the most part, students are supportive of the law, which has the potential to have a tangible effect on their actions. Senior Gabe Nathans agreed with the law. “It’s more important to give some-
See DRINKING LAW, page 3
Photo by Efi Narliotis
Those nervous about the repercussions of calling to help an inebriated friend should no longer worry, thanks to a new bill.
October 19, 2011
Retailers moving in Suburban Square New parking lot Brian Hirsh open to seniors Class of 2014 Over the past few months, numerous shops in Suburban Square have been closing or moving. These stores include Coach, Seidenburg Luggage, and Talbots stores, as well as Pierre Deux and Priscilla of Boston. Some shops have been taking advantage of this recent turn of events, including City Sports. After the closing of Talbots, City Sports began expanding into the area, making room for new areas such as their “iPad station.” In addition to City Sports’ expansion, a new restaurant whose name has yet to be disclosed will be added to the courtyard. Equipped with valet parking, this new restaurant will be a unique addition to the area. Finally, an Anthropologie store will take the place of Seidenburg Luggage. Many conveniences will be fixed in the coming months, including new roads and walkways replacing the cracked concrete, new lighting and drainage systems, and many more upgrades to the shopping center. Several shops are filling up the empty spaces, and the community is very supportive of the center. Sophomore Matt Mantell commented, “I think that Suburban Square has been successful for a while, and some new business will be great for it.” Anthropologie, which will be making its appearance on the corner of Coulter and St. George’s Place, will begin construction in just a few weeks. Their array of footware, jewelry, scarves, and other types of accessories will be a great addition to Suburban Square. Senior Giana Frusone said, “I think Anthropologie exhibits a lot of qualities that we need more in Suburban Square stores.” Additionally, very little is known about Suburban Square’s new courtyard restaurant, but it is understood that it will not be a chain. The restaurant may not be ready for a while, however, and the amount of construction going on at the courtyard is getting in the way of customers entering some shops. Tim Betz, an employee at City Sports, said, “Once the restaurant is
Photo by Phoebe Thai/Staff
Construction has started to accomodate new and expanding stores, such as Anthropologie and City
built it will be great, but in the meantime, construction is limiting customer access.” Management stated that more information would be released to the public soon. This new valet parking will have a small velvet canopy and an infrastructure built into the new landscaping. The new landscaping is just one of the small additions to the shopping center being added over the next few months. Stained concrete will be replacing the old and cracked sidewalk around the courtyard, and will hopefully be finished by early November. Another major improvement is the new underground drainage system that will be added, which will keep the property from flooding, as well as limit water run-off onto Montgomery Avenue. Other improvements include new flower beds, curbs and crosswalks, as well as a new outdoor fireplace and terraced seating. As a whole, these improvements to the shopping center will make a big impact on Suburban Square’s appearance. With shops closing, entering, and improving, Suburban Square is undergoing a lot of change. There is a lot of anticipation for the future of the area, and this is sure to be an exciting year.
Photo by Anthony Li/Staff
The construction in Suburban Square’s courtyard is in full swing, as a part of infrastructure improvements.
Ongoing computer and Internet woes From LAPTOPS, page 1
at home as well. “My first reaction was that the laptops will be of less use to me now,” says sophomore Haorui Sun. “Basically everything is blocked for being ‘unknown,’ and I have to restart my computer over and over again just to get it to work.” Many students around the school are very frustrated with the lack of accessible websites that are not quite educational, like Tumblr, Hulu.com, or Gmail’s chat setting. Yet school officials have made it clear that the school laptops should be used strictly for educational purposes. “If a site is not educational, then we have no regrets in blocking them,” said Principal Sean Hughes. Students have also experienced problems working with the Internet at home. The connection constantly drops in and out, mainly in the evening. The Technology Department has advised students to try rebooting their computers, but this solution is not always successful. They are still fixing this problem, and are urging that students be patient. But students are not the only ones having problems with the new laptop policy. LM faculty are also experiencing some issues, as many teachers are not able to access sites needed for class. They are however able to submit a list of sites that they wish to be unblocked if they are of educational use, or to be used for bona fide research.
“Educational’ is a grey area, and it looks that it will continue to be one for at least the near future” said Charlie Li, Technology Committee head of Student Council. After the list of websites has been thoroughly reviewed and the previously blocked educational sites are accessible, the system will be less limiting. If there are still educational websites that are blocked after this, Dr. Jason Hilt, Supervisor of Instructional Technology, and George Frazier, Director of Information Systems suggest that “students ask a classroom teacher or building administrator to submit a help desk request with the website information to initiate the review process.” Unfortunately, some students who have already sent emails to the Technology Department have been abusing this opportunity by sending inappropriate messages. “Frazier mentioned someone [sent] him an angry email, venting frustrations that the Victoria’s Secret website had been blocked,” said Li. “He really had no choice but to delete it.” Students that still have concerns about educationalrelated websites that are restricted can contact their grade’s Student Council members. The Student Council is collecting a list of sites for the Technology Department to review for unblocking. Students who still have laptop problems are advised to be patient, as the school district is intently working on solving these problems.
Class of 2012
As school begins yet again, so do the unendingly familiar sounds of construction. Despite having been already moved into the new building for an entire year, certain aspects of the school’s landscape still are yet to be completed. It seems that students will have to endure the construction for just a little while longer, as more and more changes are made to the surrounding area. Luckily, once construction on the front parking lot and the Administration Office building is done in just a few months, all lot construction will be complete. Afterwards, many more parking spots will be available for both visitors and students. “The plan will provide the most spots possible on our land locked site,” said Principal Sean Hughes. “This was an approved plan and many people were involved in drafting it so I will trust them that this is a good plan.” Many students and faculty have already noticed the changes taking place on the Arnold Field lot across the street. Although some students do not remember, Arnold Field was not always a parking lot. In fact, from 2007-2008, the lot consisted of just fields where students would gather to have a good time and play sports after school. The lot was constructed in 2008 specifically for use during the new high school construction. According to the new plans, the Arnold Field lot will now be converted back to the three playing fields that they were before. For now, though, the fields are closed as work takes place. “The situation at Lower Merion High School represents the best compromise available among competing interests buildings, parking, and playing fields,” said Pat Guinnane, the Director of Operations. One good thing, however, has come out of this construction mayhem. The school has once more begun to offer student parking, after years of struggles on the parts of student drivers to find parking in the surrounding neighborhood. “It’s be a lot more convenient,” said junior Robert Zhou, “It’ll reduce the number of students parking in people’s driveways, which is kind of annoying.” Unfortunately, as of now, only 58 spots are available for students. On Friday, September 16, a raffle after school was held to distribute these spots to seniors. “Personally, I think it’s fine that they did the lottery seeing that more parking is coming later, and people can just carpool in the meantime!” said senior Nakato Nsibirwa. While many others were also satisfied with the lottery, others were not so pleased. “I think the parking spots should have been distributed in a more need-based manner. Some people just need the spots more than others,” said senior Ali Burgos. “People with sports, for example, sometimes don’t end until 6 and can’t catch the late bus. It’s unfair that some people with student parking just drive home right after school. Those spots should have been given to the people with the highest priority.” When construction on the Administration Office building finishes, the parking spaces currently being taken up by the contractors will be allocated back to the teachers. This will free up the 45 spaces the teachers are currently parking in for the students. It is expected that a second parking spot lottery will be held around the middle of November to hand out these spots. In the future, the school hopes to have over 100 student spots available. As for whether this number will be enough to meet all those who wish to drive to school, that is yet to be seen.
Photo by Chris Conwell/Staff
Seniors that wanted a parking spot submitted their names into a raffle. Fifty-eight were chosen.
October 19, 2011
The Merionite Remembering custodian Bill Sargent Night-time beloved custodian Bill Sargent passed away suddenly on October 12 at 7:45 pm while at work in the LM hallways. With this shocking recent loss, the LM community commemorates Sargent. Bill Sargent was a graduate of LM himself and had been working for over 25 years as a custodian. “ He will be missed by all who knew him... Our thoughts and prayers are The late Bill Sargent pictured recently with fel- with his family at this difficult time.” Photo courtesy of Jon Fadely/ Staff
low LM graduate Kobe Bryant
—Principal Sean Hughes
LM’s annual activities fair a success Madelyn Schaeffer
Class of 2015
On Wednesday, September 21, clubs set up booths at the Annual LM Activities Fair outside the cafeteria, with the hope of promoting what they have to offer and gaining more members. A relatively old club, the Dolphin magazine set up at the activities fair hoping to gain more underclassmen presence. The members of this club produce a literary arts magazine every year with photos, literature and other pieces of art that are edited by other members. The Dolphin includes some of the school’s best pieces of art. “Our goal is get more of the freshman to sign up this year,” said club member sophomore Jordy Schnarr. Reach Out, a charity organization, meets once a month, and also set up at the committee fair to promote attendance. Sophomore Lilah Currie said their objective in this Activities Fair was to “get [their] name out.” Cooking club also represented themselves at the fair. “We want a fun environment in which people can bake food together, and more importantly eat it,” secretary senior Aliza Vigderman stated. “It’s very fun,” said Vigderman said in unison describing what the cooking club is all about. The Math Club, a competitive club with around twelve members, set up at the fair with the hopes of expanding beyond twelve members. In the last couple of years the Math Club decided to host LM’s own Math Club invitational. President senior Riesling Meyer said, “We really want underclassmen to keep the tradition going after the other members
graduate.” Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) tried hard at the fair to gain more members this year. Club member senior Josh Stapp strives through GSA to create a “comfortable safe place where people can just hang out.” President of the Latin Club senior Sarah Schwartz talked strategy at the Activities Fair, commenting, “We’re really trying to target the freshman this year because all our seniors graduated last year. Everyone can join, not just Latin takers.” Relatively new Israeli Club was also represented. “We explore the culture of Israel through food, music, movies, and debates,” said president and senior Yoni Hachen. According to co-president of Israel club senior Caroline Hirsh this Activities Fair was “extremely successful.” GSA club member junior Mandy McKnight agreed that the fair was “so far a success.” Principal Sean Hughes commented, “I heard it went well. Our goal every year is to increase our memberships in the various clubs LM offers. We hope our 9th and 10th grade students join the clubs and learn about them and someday take leadership roles when they are juniors and seniors.” Don Walsh, the activities and sports director at LM said, “It’s hard to determine immediately following the event its full success. It was very well attended and many students signed up for the different activities that were represented at the fair. Soon we will be able to fully see the success of the fair.” LM’s Activities Fair was full of interesting clubs and sports. With sign up sheets filling up quickly, the groups present were interested in gaining more members and getting their name out to the students of the school.
“Our goal [of the activities fair] every year is to increase our membership in the various clubs LM offers.” -Principal Sean Hughes
Drinking law gives a safe way out From DRINKING LAW, page 1
one in trouble necessary medical attention than to punish underage drinking.” Further support of the law came from senior Zander Miller, who noted, “The fear of legal consequence for drinking can be enough to prevent teenagers from getting medical assistance for a friend who may need some. This rings especially true when teenagers have already been drinking and lack the best judgement.” Another supporter of the law, a senior who requested to remain anonymous, admitted “I’ve been that guy. I could have used the law.” Physics teacher Mervyn Elder said, “The law makes sense, but they shouldn’t be drinking.” However, some students are skeptical of the efficacy of the bill, raising questions about certain nuances.
Senior Will Tobias said, “I’m concerned that the law only protects teens who use alcoholic beverages, and that teens using marijuana or other drugs at a party still wouldn’t feel comfortable calling the police.” Senior Nico Lake raised a different concern: “This is a good first step,” he said, “but I think kids will still be hesitant to call out of fear that even if the police don’t punish them, their parents will still find out.” Because of this concern, underage drinkers must be reassured that they will not be penalized for calling authorities. With the law now passed, the next vital step is to spread awareness. Without widespread knowledge of the law, its benefits will be negligible and underage drinkers will continue neglecting to call authorities. Proponents of the law now hope that awareness of the law will lead to medical attention for those who need it.
NEWS IN BRIEF
Reed receives top teacher in the Main Line accolades Main Line Today, in its education issue, named LM teacher Thomas Reed one of its twelve top educators on the Main Line. He was highlighted in the magazine for his dedication to both his students and buildOn, the student-run charity organization that he sponsors. In the short article, he discusses his view of education and how important he feels it is that students not only gain knowledge, but gain self-confidence and compassion. Harriton science teacher Lee Mescolotto was also mentioned.
—Zack Schlosberg, ‘12
LMSD named one of USA’s best communities for young people America’s Promise Alliance published a list of the 100 best communities for raising children, and the community of Lower Merion School District was included. The entry for LMSD cited the district’s high test scores, number of National Merit Semifinalists, as well as the recognition of many LMSD schools as “No Place for Hate” schools. The APA also applauds the measures many LMSD schools have taken to decrease bullying.
—Zack Schlosberg, ‘12
LM bus driver wins state safety competion Over the summer, LM bus driver John Welsh won the Pennsylvania’s statewide school bus safety competition, known as the “School Bus Rodeo”, also placing second at the national competition in Baltimore. Welsh qualified for nationals by placing first in the Montgomery County regional competition, guiding the LM transportation department team to a third place finish as well. Welsh formerly owned a driving school, before he joined the LMSD transportation department as a bus driver for 25 years. He has now been a bus-driving instructor for the past twelve years.
—Gilad Doron, ‘12
Laptop access to Internet and printing issues to be resolved Frustration has mounted from the lack of home printing and Internet access on school issued laptops. At a recent school board meeting, the deadline to correct all computer issues was set officially for October 21. Faculty is hopeful that all issues will be resolved before then. Students receiving free lunches will then be eligible to receive free wireless internet at home provided by Comcast internet services.
—Hannah Schaeffer, ‘12
LM pool open to public
The LMSD community pool at LM is now offering memberships for the 2011-12 school year. Annual pool memberships are available to members of the Lower Merion and Narberth community adults. Programs offered at the pool include open swim and swimming lessons.
—Hannah Schaeffer, ‘12
October 19, 2011
The Merionite EDITORIAL
Hats off to the Administration
Since its blueprint years ago until its opening day last year, the cafeteria has been the object of high hopes from LM students. Booths, more efficient lunch lines, and outside seating have all been stepping stones on the path towards a higher quality place for students to eat and relax during one of the most relaxing half hours of the school day. The LM administration has recently come close to forming a magnificent cafeteria for students. When members of the LM community first laid eyes on the cafeteria this year, many were surprised to find that the booths had been rearranged, the promise of outdoor seating had been fulfilled, and last but not least, there were actually enough seats to satisfy the number of students in each letter lunch. Regardless of what LM citizens were reacting to, it’s safe to say that the majority of reactions were those of excitement and glee. While the LM administration has taken major steps toward making a perfect cafeteria for their students, it may have taken a step back by getting rid of “super-lunches.” While from the outside eliminating “super-lunches” seems like a bad idea, it was a necessary change. The current reasoning behind the annihilation of super-lunch is that too many students taking too many lunches will result in not enough space for kids to eat their normal, assigned lunches in. Thus, the administration has concluded that it’s more important for everyone to have a seat at one lunch than for few people to have seats at every lunch. According to the administration, there is one letter day every cycle in which over one hundred students have a free during the lunch set. There is a point where accepting a cramped cafeteria in return for “super-lunches” becomes impossible—and on that letter day, that point is passed. The administration enacted the only real option by prohibiting “superlunches.” The cafeteria will never be perfect. No matter how much work the administration puts in, the cafeteria will never be perfect. That being said, the administration has done an admirable job on improving the cafeteria for everyone who steps into the pleasing atmosphere of the LMHS Bulldog Café. Unsigned editorial on this page reflects the general opinion of student editors, not the views of individuals.
The Merionite Editors-in-Chief
Maya Afilalo, ’12 Eric Cohn, ’12 Ian Cohn, ’12 Gilad Doron, ’12 Hannah Schaeffer,’12 Zach Schlosberg,’12 Danny Kane, ’12 Andy Scolnic, ’14 Patrick Scott, ’12 Itai Barsade, ’13 Rebecca McCarthy, ’13 Robbie Warshaw, ’14
Special Features Editors
Andrew Pasquier, ’13 Nicole Wang, ’13
Noah Levick, ’13 Josh Niemtzow, ’12
Arts & Robert Gaudio, ’12 Entertainment Aviva Mann, ’13 Editors Margaret Meehan, ’13 Copy Editors Aziz Kamoun, ’12 Darby Marx, ’13 Photo Editor Chris Conwell, ’12 Layout Editor Robert Zhou, ’13 Web Editor Charlie Li, ’12 Business Nathan Posener, ’12 Managers Daoud Schelling, ’13 Advisor Mr. Chad Henneberry Business Advisor Mr. Sean Flynn
The editors believe all facts presented in the newspaper to be accurate. The paper acknowledges that mistakes are possible and welcomes questions as to accuracy. Inquiries regarding accuracy should be directed to the editors of the paper. Editors can be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com or in Room 200A. To represent all viewpoints in the school community, The Merionite welcomes all letters to the editor. Letters can be sent via e-mail or dropped off outside the Merionite office. The Merionite reserves the right to edit letters to the editor for length or clarity.
Letter to the Editor
Dear Editor, A nine and two record. Forty wins and only eleven losses since 2008. Four consecutive years of athletes at the state championships. And twelve words in The Merionite so far this year. The Lower Merion cross-country team is consistently one of the most competitive and proven teams in the school, if not the Central League. Yet we average one Merionite article per year, where we are told that we make a “seemingly monotonous sport” seem exciting. High praise indeed. Anyone who accuses racing of being a monotonous sport has never been caught up in the excitement of close, sprint finish, which so often decides the outcome of a race. In the Aces Nation 2012 Facebook group, every single post has been about the football or the soccer team. While I support both wholeheartedly, do they really deserve that much more coverage than we do? We have one of the largest teams in the school, with over fifty kids, and we have beaten both of our main rivals this year, Harriton and Radnor. As of this writing, neither the football nor the soccer teams have accomplished this feat. That is not meant as a dig at either team; I have great respect for all of my friends and classmates involved with both sports. But do they really deserve so much more coverage than we do? On October 1, the cross country team raced at the Salesianum Invitational in Delaware. Our varsity seven took second place at the meet, beating out teams that had arguably the first, second, and third best runners in Pennsylvania. How many of you knew that? Or knew that we had a runner in the top ten, three runners in the top twenty, or five in the top twenty-five? What about the promising freshmen and other underclassmen, who have made incredible improvements and are already stepping up in the Junior Varsity squad? These guys and the entire team deserve more recognition for representing Lower Merion as well as they do. Merionite, I’m not asking you to dedicate the next issue to us, but a little recognition would be nice. Sincerely, Ben Magalaner, ‘12
October 19, 2011
Question of the Month
What do you think about Public Displays of Affection in LM hallways?
High school is really stressful for any stu dent. What s om e on e may n e e d to brighten their day could be a hug or a kiss. Who are we to decide what makes other people happy? I say go for it, because isn’t loving other people all that really matters? Eli Newschaffer ‘12
Basically minimal displays are okay, Somebody gives someone a quick kiss on the cheek or a quick hug then that doesn’t even have to be between boyfriend and girlfriend. Kathryn Reisch, Math Teacher
The PDA in this school wouldn’t be so bad if the public places where these repeat offenders display their ever so slimy affection weren’t so public. Don’t stop in the middle of the back staircase as your girlfriend or boyfriend walks down the other side to give them a kiss and a tushy squeze, forcing those behind you to stop and stare; go to the end of the hallway, or better yet the black box. PDA causes two things; congestion in the hallways and nausea in my stomach. Cut it out LM, no one thinks its cute. Sam Heyman ‘12
It’s terrible- absolutely awful. School is for learning not for tongue wrestling. Unless the two people are attractive... like me. Adam Cohen Nowak ‘12
Art by Carly Ichiniowski
I consider it inappropriate when people do things like laying on someone’s lap, sitting on someone’s lap in the hallways or cafeteria. I think PDAs are okay as long as it is brief and affectionate without being passionate. Michael McGinley, Head Campus Aide
Rethinking discipline: a pragmatic plan Class of 2012
Since the transition to the new building, the administration has enacted new statutes that further restrict the rights of the student body. Policies such as no food outside the cafeteria, designated areas for students with frees, no resting
Nathaniel Tarshish on benches, bathroom pass regulation, and now more recently the elimination of superlunches, have redefined our liberties as students. LMHS today is a far cry from the school my sister knew, a place where a student could routinely venture to Suburban Square during a free and did not need to carry a pass to simply walk the halls. A new batch of restrictive policies were passed because a select group of individuals mishandled X responsibility, causing the whole student body’s right to do X to be revoked. This philosophy of punishing the majority because of the actions of a minority is not only unfair, but also ineffective at the high school level, especially in the case of LMHS. Proponents of the practice maintain that peer disapproval will effectively deter culprits’ misbehavior and that the policy will be easily enforced. Are these claims accurate? In order to force students to dispose of their trash, campus aides, who are increasingly acting more like campus wardens, routinely barricade cafeteria exits until all waste is cleared from the tables. Prior to the administrator’s broadcast command to clear the tables, most students have wisely left their seats and migrated towards the exit. The same order of events invariably follows: an administrator proclaims that the doors will only open after the removal of some trivial remaining scraps, the herd of people shifts from foot-to-foot, a few good
samaritans dispose of the trash, and the lunch ends. By the time the unnecessary hassle has concluded, the same repeat offenders have melted anonymously into the crowd. This is not an isolated example of the fruitless “punish the majority because of the minority” procedure. Bathroom passes and the library bench-sitting restrictions would have illustrated the situation just as well: the majority of students can be trusted to go to the bathroom and to sit quietly on a bench. I firmly believe that an alternative system that does not punish the majority can ensure better outcomes for both administrators and students. Consider the following proposition: at the beginning of the academic year, each student receives a green plastic student ID, handbook, and a presentation detailing what violations give grounds for green card confiscation. The green card guarantees certain liberties such as eating food outside the cafeteria, walking the hallways pass-less, freely leaving the cafeteria, etc. If these rights are abused or the student is subject to other disciplinary action, the perpetrator’s green card is sequestered and replaced with a red card. The holder of the red card has thus forfeited the green card privileges. Upon first glance, this hypothetical practice might appear impractical, time-consuming, or even unethical. Hopefully, upon closer examination, all of these concerns will be resolved. Campus aides currently patrol the
floors, stopping and inquiring if each student has permission to be out of class or a designated free space. Under the new system, students would merely have to produce their green ID to avoid further inquiries. This feature is increasingly feasible because Lower Merion now requires all students to have ID on hand at all times. The aforementioned lunch cleanup problem would be quickly settled as well with the card sys tem in place: green cardholders would leave the cafeteria and red cardholders would have to wait until the campus aides saw fit to dismiss them. Losing green card privileges would be a far more effective deterrent than waiting several minutes to exit the cafeteria. This example raises a potential ethical question: if I receive a red card for skipping a study hall, am I now forced to throw out someone else’s cold spaghetti?
For now, the answer is yes, but after a month or two of maintaining passing grades and following LM rules, your green card will be reinstated. I do not think that withholding certain privileges from red card students is unreasonable. LMHS already engages in a similar practice in terms of revoking campus privileges on grounds of poor academic performance. Furthermore, the rights that red cardholders enjoy will be identical to the set of rights that are in all students’ hands today. Under the new system, the properly behaving majority is liberated from unwarranted burdens, while the misbehaving minority remains at the same status as present. I understand that accepting new ideas and enforcing new policies can be a thorny and complex process, but the administration’s outlook on discipline desperately calls for reform. At present, the well-behaving students who constitute the majority have no means of proving their responsibility. Regardless of their good conduct, they are subjected to undue restrictions that encroach on their experiences as LM students. On the first day of the academic year, we read the school creed and recite the words, “I will be true, for there are those who trust me.” Current policies clearly demonstrate that the administrat i o n ’s t r u s t i n LM students has eroded, but there is no mechanism in place to restore that trust. Perhaps the creed should be revised to read, “ I will be true, though there are none who trust me.” Art by Afnan Blankinship
October 19, 2011
Dual Perspectives on Laptop Filters
Class of 2012
On Tuesday, September 13, our laptops’ new restrictions came as a surprise. We didn’t notice at school because we are used to the school mindset of not going on certain websites. Some students initially
Josh Hoffman couldn’t get on at all, and some students found that normal educational or otherwise innocuous websites were blocked. Because of bugs and technical issues, we can do more with these laptops in school than out of school. I don’t doubt that these restrictions are made with the best of intentions, and I don’t deny that students and parents all agreed to the policy when we signed the Acceptable Use Policy forms. I have the utmost respect for just rules. I care about my education, and I do not want to be missing equipment for my courses, so naturally I agreed to the policy. After all, Lower Merion Township is a progressive community, and I did not expect web restrictions outside of the district network from a district that has served me so well for the past thirteen years. The new restrictions on the laptops are of a unique nature in that they are the first real intrusions on household network internet autonomy. It has traditionally been up to the parents to block websites on their own networks or opt in to a home filtering software for their students’ laptops. When the policies of the previous two school years were in place, things ran smoothly. Sure, some kids might have used their district laptops to look at pornography or goof off instead of doing their homework, but they could have done the same on their home computers. The new restrictions allow Facebook and iChat to work outside of the school network but will give a Lightspeed “access denied” message for those looking to access The Oatmeal, a website categorized as “adult,” (a category I incidentally belong to) containing webcomics that use some profane language to teach people about subjects such as the dangers of beer and coffee and ten words that people need to stop misspelling. Access is denied to Hulu, so when a student spends his or her time from 3 to 9 working on homework, a relaxing reward of catching up on The Daily Show (which is how many students enlighten themselves with current events) is out of the question on a district laptop. Students wishing to inform themselves on CIPA, this eleven-year-old federal law causing all of these problems, get yet another “accessed denied” message when they click to download a PDF of the full text of the law. More sites, usually ones with logins such as the College Board, the Common App, and Naviance, are rendered useless because of Lightspeed bugs. When you try to censor out parts of the internet for students, the censorship backfires and halts actual unmistakable education. The worst of these problems is also caused by technical issues it comes when everyone is accessing the web out of network, overwhelming the server where the Lightspeed Guide database is stored, crashing it. Nobody’s computers know what to block, and in this situation, the computers are set to block everything on the web, put-
ting students in the dark, unable to do their homework on the computers given to them for their homework. This stubborn blocking has turned this wonderful gift into a plastic brick. I’m fully aware that LMSD has the right to place whatever restrictions they want on the laptops because they’re district property. Because of the Children’s Internet Protection Act, LMSD is required to block pornography. Besides pornography, LMSD has the right to set the restrictions, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the right thing to do. Students are not upset for no good reason. Imagine you’re taking AP United States History, and you receive a copy of the textbook. You take it home, and you notice that pages are missing and that entire chapters have been ripped out by the administration. Now, Mr. Henneberry won’t assign these chapters or test you on them, but you’re not getting the full book. Lightspeed’s approach to internet access mirrors this because of seemingly indiscriminate blocking criteria. We can be trusted with access to the internet. We’ve been using the laptops at home with practically unrestricted access for years. I hope no one is fooled into thinking that people don’t use the laptops for nonschool purposes “on a more than incidental basis,” especially outside of school. They’re computers, one of the most versatile, multipurpose items you can find. There are more important things than protecting us from “inappropriate” or “obscene” content (terms that can be twisted to mean anything you don’t like) and nonacademic websites. LMSD has mostly been doing the right thing by blocking certain things on LMSDNet. The Children’s Internet Protection Act requires that they block pornography and little else. I should mention that I truly believe that pornography is immoral and degrading to women, and I do not even think to access it, but I cannot deny that if a minor is resolved to watch pornography, he or she will view it somehow. Blocking is pointless. I want to be clear that the problem is not LMSD. The problem is CIPA. As long as the District is required to block anything, we will have problems. Imagine a world in the not-too-distant future in which every secondary school in the United States has a one-to-one computer program. Are students going to grow up with their eyes censored from the world (or so attempted)? I’m not even worried about Lower Merion anymore. I’m worried instead for those not so fortunate whose only computers will be their school computers, who may grow up learning not to seek certain information because it will be blocked. So where do we go from here? Ask the District to give up federal funds so they can do what they want with the laptops? No. Doubling the district’s expenses for all of our laptops is a bad choice. Should we submit websites to Student Council, to the administration, and to IT that need to be unblocked? Yes. The problem with this, is that District IT faculty have a lot on their plates, and unless they decide to go with a program other than Lightspeed, they will have difficulty addressing the persistent bricking. Furthermore, they’re going to have to ask for justification for each website to be unblocked. It’s a hassle, to say the least. So our most effective plan of action is to wait. It’s unfortunate, but we have to accept it, just as teachers have to go back to accepting that we don’t have reliable district-issued laptops on which to do our homework.
Stop complaining, start working Once again our high school has been ravaged by an epidemic that can only be described as “spoiled brat syndrome.” This time, the main symptom is an uncontrollable spew of word vomit as students across
Class of 2014
Educated, aware, and disappointed
Lower Merion can not seem to control the amount of complaints that spill from their mouths with a frightening level of ease. The root of this influx in teenage aggression is a result of the latest curve ball LMSD threw at us this year. The surprise came in the form of new Internet filters that now affect our school-issued computers at home. When procrastinators across the Main Line returned home with their laptops only to find many of their favorite sites no longer worked, all hell broke loose. I’ll admit I was among those who couldn’t help but scowl at the messed up pile of words and computer script that used to be Facebook. Yet I found myself dreading what was sure to be a “peek and shriek” situation at the dramatic comments that students relentlessly released cursing the District and demanding that we deserve better. But do we deserve better? We are already lucky enough to live in a district capable of providing us each with our own computer! Are we really in the place to complain? It is the District’s responsibility to provide us with an education, not to foster our social life. I know it is hard to swallow, but the fact is our computers are supposed to be an educational tool. What does it say about us that within hours of getting our school issued computers somehow almost all of us find ourselves desperately trying to access our favorite social networking or game sites? I’m sorry but isn’t that embarrassing? Some may argue that we won’t learn self control if things like this are already done for us, but let’s be
honest for a second. How can any student say that with a straight face when one glance around the typical LM classroom will reveal that about half the students have found a way to shamelessly play games. What if an ounce of the creative energy you applied to beating the system and accessing that game were applied to something else? Imagine the results we could get! For those that demand that they deserve to relax and do what they want on the computer during free time-would it kill you to read a book? Have an actual conversation face to face, or even go outside? Technology is not the only thing that provides entertainment. Stop being whiny babies, LM, if these filters matter so much then get off your proxy to Bubble Shooter and do something. Earn your right to be a loudmouth and try to change the new policy. No, I don’t mean find ways around it, tackle it head on. Develop an argument, gather supporters, at the very least have your mom bombard the district with strongly
Art by Efi Narliotis worded emails! Don’t just come in the day after you find it blocked and whine. And if you don’t care enough to do something about it then do us all a favor and shut up! Haven’t you ever heard of the boy who cried wolf? If not, you can probably find it on SparkNotes—I heard you complaining about how they blocked that one too. Now you might actually have to read the whole book! So I urge my fellow students, if you have symptoms of “spoiled brat syndrome,” don’t just wallow in your own self-pity when there are more important problems affecting us. Maybe we can start to recognize the fact that we are such a technologyaddicted society. Remember the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem.
October 19, 2011
Class of 2012
America is fighting a war much closer to home than Iraq. In this war, some localities report as many as 130 violent deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, a rate 25% higher than anywhere else in the world. This war
isn’t happening in Iraq, Afghanistan, or the Middle East at all; it’s across the Rio Grande in Juarez. This is what a real war on drugs looks like. For the last 40 years, America has been locked in a futile struggle against both narcotics and reason, practicing a prohibitive policy best suited for the Dark Ages. As policymakers in Europe and Canada make progressive strides towards better drug policy, America continues to shoot itself in the foot, locked in an economically costly and woefully ineffective system. America spends 500 dollars every second fighting drugs. Collectively, that comes to 15 billion dollars every year, without factoring in state government spending (more than 15% of the total budget in many states). Our cash-strapped government continues to hurl money at a problem many see as a personal issue, as opposed to a legislative one. We aren’t simply being deprived of the money spent on this cause; drug dealers profit from it. Money being spent intercepting shipments of narcotics makes traffickers jobs more profitable. As Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman and 500 other economists in favor of drug reform argue, reducing supply without reducing demand increases profits. Interception and destruction of narcotics simply makes selling them easier and more profitable. While dealers profit, there are two groups put at a distinct economic disadvantage. The first are farmers in developing countries that produce crops like coca. Flying planes over rural areas to destroy coca plants with herbicides destroys everything. Farmers in Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia are
literally starving as a result of America’s international arrogance. The second body harmed by such reckless spending is public schools. Schools and prisons are two areas of a state’s budget that compete with one another for funding. The incarceration rate in America has quadrupled since the War on Drugs was first declared in 1971. These policies have lead to both the prison overcrowding disaster and the public school funding crisis in states like California. The War on Drugs has been one of economic attrition, and due to its inefficacy, it’s a war we won’t win. Massive costs are one thing; massive costs that achieve no results are quite another. A two-year study conducted by the RAND Corporation concluded that attacking the supply side of the drug economy had little to no effect on drugs coming into U.S borders. The same study concluded that focusing spending on treatment as opposed to aggressive prohibition was 23 times more effective in terms of stopping drug use. Some progressive countries have discovered this and have been greeted with enormous declines in addiction rates. Seven years after Portugal’s decriminalization policy was instituted, the rate of new HIV patients decreased 71%. When policy focuses on treatment as opposed to strongarm prohibition, real progress occurs. In America, however, every illegal narcotic with the exception of opium has seen an increase in use since its prohibition. The results seem to contradict that policy. America’s history fighting wars against abstract concepts has been a rocky one. We’ve declared on poverty, terror, crime, and drugs with similar results. None of these elongated conflicts have gone on to help anything but fledgling political careers. Dividing the world up into two categories, good and bad, and declaring war on one is not the type of nuanced policy that improves countries. It’s the type of policy that destroys rational debate and blinds us to a complex view of a complex world. Perhaps it’s time we see the benefit of rehabilitating users as opposed to imprisoning them. Perhaps we should acknowledge that people are better at determining what goes in their bodies than the government is. It’s certainly time for some sort of change, preferably one from the 21st century.
Wall Street protestors, occupy a job Three weeks ago, protestors descended on the financial capital of the United States. Demanding that the rich pay their fair share, they “occupied” Wall Street. This has turned into the go-to cause for supporters of such mainstream causes as the
Class of 2012
The war on reason
abolishment of capitalism, forgiveness of all debts (obviously with the condition that they get to keep whatever they acquired debt to buy), an elimination of currency, and decreasing the Jewish influence on Wall Street. Unfortunately for these protestors, to speak truth to power you need to be true, and being the loudest is not equivalent to speaking the truth. America has a very specific method by which people can change the government: they can vote, they can volunteer for political campaigns, they can even run for office. One thing they cannot do is take to the streets, in a rabble resembling some combination of a lynch mob and Woodstock, chanting, “this is what democracy looks like” and “we are the 99%.” Unfortunately for them, that is not what democracy looks like. And even so, as anyone who has taken a basic class on American history can tell you, America is not a democracy; it is a democratic republic. Our Founding Fathers specifically did not make us a democracy so that even if 99.9% of people wanted to do something, they would still need to respect the rights and liberties of that last 0.1%. Perhaps their arguments would be taken more seriously if they expressed a fundamental understanding of how American government works. About the claim that the protestors represent 99% of America, first off, the sheer arbitrariness of it demands a closer look—once someone makes it into the top 1% of income earners, are they suddenly the enemy? Furthermore, this categorization is fundamentally flawed, because it assumes that economic status is the only social divider. There are so many more factors: religion, ethnicity, geography, personal philosophy, and others. A recent Rasmussen poll found that only 36% of Americans view the Occupy Wall Street
protestors favorably, while 41% view them unfavorably. Apparently not all of those 99% know they are at war with the entire financial system. Perhaps the reason that so many Americans missed the memo that they are supposed to hate bankers is that they were too busy depending on them. Anyone who owns a house or car likely had to take out a loan at some point. Anyone who wants money fast depends on banks for ATMs—the alternative is carrying around your savings in your back pocket. Then again, that would require having a job, something that anyone who can spend three weeks protesting obviously isn’t well versed in. The problems with these protests go deeper though. The sanitary conditions are disgusting, with reports that the ground is littered with condoms, cigarettes, and trash and these freedom fighters have resorted to non-traditional means of using, or not using, the bathroom. Many protestors are downright obnoxious; residents in the area have complained that drum playing wakes them up in the middle of the night and they can’t walk outside without seeing public lewdness and open drug use and being harassed by the protestors. Admittedly, some of the protestor’s concerns are legitimate. Opposing the amount of influence corporations have on politics is perfectly reasonable. However, their modus operandi lacks common sense, it lacks respect, and frankly, it lacks cleanliness. Even if you look past what can only be described as a common sense deficit in the way these protestors are conducting themselves, their arguments still lack merit. For one thing, many of the requests lack a basic understanding of economics. To function a nation needs a financial system, much the same way it needs industry and agriculture. Strong banks are essential to allowing business growth. And they support the government too. In fact, one-third of New York’s tax revenue comes from Wall Street: tax revenue that pays for things like roads, education, sending police officers to guard three thousand people, who decided it would be fun to camp out in the middle of the city. There’s a Beatles’ song that goes “We all want to change the world, but when you talk about destruction, don’t you know that you can count me out” and until those occupying Wall Street realize that most Americans hold this viewpoint they will never receive respect, they will never receive credibility and they will never receive their demands.
Catching up with college: Story of a senior Class of 2012
For the first half of senior year, the majority of discussions amongst the senior class undoubtedly deal with college applications.
The three most frequently asked questions that I have received are “Where are you looking to apply?” “What are your SAT/ ACT scores?” and “What’s your GPA?” Colleges are becoming so standardized in applications that test scores and GPA appear to be all that matter. Sadly, there are other, more essential aspects of an application that should be focused on. Go visit a college and they will give you a presentation about the application process. Over my total of seven visits, six of the colleges asserted that the first two things that they look at in an application are GPA and standardized test scores. In fact, I personally talked to an admission representative for a university who stated that the university
would often neglect students essay, trends, skills. By the time you’re a senior, your or any other piece of their application after focus on schoolwork has probably changed witnessing their scores. immensely since freshman year. GPA fails Anyway, why is a focus on scores such to show this major variation. Since GPA a bad thing? If the SAT is only an average, it shows truly had the power to no presentation––or rather exhibit each and every misrepresentation of all of student’s full capabilities the hard work and immeain an identical method--it surable effort that you have put wouldn’t be. However, into your high school career. this is intelligibly imAll four of those painstaking possible with tutoring, years just for one, misleading strategies, sheer luck, number. and even cheating. Not There are many other, only is the SAT unmore important, characstandardized, but it teristics of an application also barely shows a stuthat, sometimes are not dents college readiness, even touched upon. The which, according to Colmost important aspect in an lege Board, is the whole application is the trend in your point of the SAT. Honestly, academics and grades on your when are you ever going to Art by Galen McMullen transcript. While it takes longer have to write an essay for a than looking at a single number– college class in 25 minutes? –your GPA––it is a way to see how a student SAT’s aren’t the only flawed evaluation progressed through his or her high school of a student; cumulative GPA is misleading career, which is far more important than as well. GPA tries to equate your entire an average. The student essay also needs a high school academic career into one higher priority in an application because it single number, and that number is usually represents you as a person. The submitted unrepresentative of your current academic essay gives the admissions experts a taste of
your character traits and personality, both of which are aspects that are important to how you function at a college and show what new ideas you will bring to that college. Finally, they should look closely at what you want to study, because the main point of a college or university is to help you succeed in your area of interest. If this was the case, imagine all of the time, effort, and money that you would save, all for a better outcome. The stress of taking standardized tests would be greatly relieved. The money necessary to pay for the test along with tutoring could be put toward your application instead of towards a number. Your application would truly represent you as a person, including your strengths, weaknesses, growths, and interests, The college or university would get a holistic view of you and an impression of how you would succeed in your area of interest at that institution, even if you’re undecided. The limitations and standardizations that colleges have set in terms of admissions have students so anxious and concentrated on getting into a college that they fail to focus on the more important detail of what they want to pursue in and after college. This could easily be alleviated if colleges made the admissions process a little more forbearing.
October 19, 2011
- Psychologists talk (pg. 8) - Hear from your teachers and parents (pg. 9) - Students give their opinions (pgs. 10-11)
The Merionite investigates the causes and effects of academic pressure
Mental health experts discuss and advise on academic stress Nicole Wang
Class of 2013 Be it from parents, peers, or oneself, academic pressure seems ever-present in the lives of many high school students. At LM, the case is no different. I was lucky enough to interview Dr. Jed Yalof, a psychologist and professor at Immuculata University. Dr. Yalof was in charge of the university’s College Counseling Center for eleven years. Dr. Yalof noted that two types of pressure might be present in a student’s life: outer pressure and inner pressures. Outer pressure comes from external forces such as parents, teachers, and peers. “Pressure from the outside is primarily not really understanding of the students. You create a lot of tension and stress because you’ve got people putting pressure on somebody who may not be able to meet [certain] standards,” Yalof explained. Furthermore, sources of external pressure may not understand what a student is going through. Dr. Yalof continued, “if a pressure is coming from the inside then it becomes sort of a cup hold from within, and the student is not able to do the things they want to do due to this internal demanding. While outer pressure often comes from parents and peers, inner pressure is created by the student setting high standards for himself or herself. An outer pressure can also become an inner pressure if the external force is strong enough. No matter the source of pressure, the question still stands: is academic pressure ultimately beneficial or detrimental to a student? The answer is both. Psychoanalyst Dr. Ann Smolen commented that, “for some students, they do very well, they like to have a lot of academic pressure and challenge, they strive in the occasion; they are very functional, they succeed, get good grades, and feel very good about themselves. However for some other students, it
can make them lose their self confidence and feel overwhelmed, like they’re never going to succeed or get into a good enough college or please their parents. They eventually burn out and this [can] lead [to] feelings of depression and disappointment.” Each individual will respond to different stresses around them differently. Individuals must know their personal limits to handle stress in order to avoid “burning out.” Dr. Yalof explained that “everybody has their own thresholds, and they have to be able to recognize when it’s getting to the point where it’s too much. They have to find a way to relieve their stress and do their best while not thinking about the stress. They have to make sure they don’t become so stressed out in the process that they begin to resent the effort they’ve put in the task.” It’s important to compare your amount of work to another student’s, because not everyone is fit to handle the same workload. So where is our threshold? How do we know if we’ve already put ourselves in deep waters? Dr. Yalof observed, “in general, if you’re doing something to the point where it isn’t making you happy anymore, I think most people would say that is the turning point. Sometimes people don’t necessarily identify themselves with being happy, they just talk about feeling stressed and overworked.” If a certain activity becomes dreary and loses its purpose, perhaps it is time to step out. On AP courses and heavy schedules, Dr. Yalof advised, “if it’s something that you really want to do and you feel good about, and you’re willing to put in the time and effort, stay with it. If you’re taking courses for what you feel like aren’t necessarily the right reasons, evaluate if it’s putting stress in your life and if it’s worth it.” Every individual is unique, but knowing your passions and limits is a sure way to minimize stress and maximize success.
Crefeld and Waldorf: a look into alternative high school education E. Narliotis/A. Pasquier
Class of 2013
College admissions are looming. More AP’s- late nights, little sleepscrambling to finish homework- SAT prep- Powerschool- Ahh! There is not enough time- what am I going to do? The weight of pressure many students feel at Lower Merion is enormous, though it does not have to be like this. In fact, several schools founded upon alternative ideas of education build their curricula to encourage students to focus solely on the learning aspect of schooling, and purposely avoid placing the type of pressure upon students they feel hinders their learning. The two most widely accepted forms of alternative schools, Montessori and Waldorf, focus on student-based learning that addresses the interests and motivations of individuals instead of teaching a set curriculum. Montessori schools call their system “cosmic education” in that it covers a wide range of topics and is meant to prepare children to become a part of the world. Waldorf schools focus on educating the whole person in its fullest extent, including skills that wouldn’t usually be taught in a public school classroom where teachers are confined to teach set curriculums. These schools’ less rigid education style in the high school level is intended to limit the unnecessary stress that causes students to
lose their love for learning. A local example is the Crefeld School in Chestnut Hill. Crefeld focuses on learning through multiple intelligences and being an active member of a community. In order to graduate, Crefeld uses a system of “exhibitions” that each student must pass before graduating. These fifteen exhibitions include tests or evaluations on the standard subjects like math, writing and science but also include numerous research projects, a technologically based project and a “personal transition project.” (While LM kids are planning their post-proms, these kids are practically planning their lives.) Even without a loaded transcript or standardized education, Crefeld still manages to send students to schools such as Vassar, Emory and Sarah Lawrence, in essence proving their point that if you let students explore what they enjoy they will still succeed: pressure not necessary. In their mission statement Crefeld identifies that their “primary strategies for student success are personal attention, flexible and creative approaches to problem-solving,” an experience that sounds very different from the one many LM students know. “Flexible” sounds so tantalizing when you are trying to finish that essay late at night with the deadline looming—the deadline anything but flexible. Many LM students may appreciate Crefeld’s commitment to an individualized, reduced-stress environment.
October 19, 2011
Is academic pressure beneficial or detrimental? “It depends on the type. What happens sometimes is the “A” becomes meaningless because the grade becomes more important than the learning. There is pressure and then motivation-- Motivation is learning for the benefit of learning. Pressure forces you to focus just on the outcome which sometimes doesn’t have anything to do with the learning.” - Mr. Hughes “The short answer is that pressure is bad. In an ideal world we would be encouraged not pressured. Being pressured is not enjoyable. Some pressure can motivate but in the long run it turns people off and how can turning students off learning be positive? How to change the educational ethos from pressure to encouragement requires a lot more room than we have here but it can be done.” - Mr. Levy
“In this School District, academic pressure is harmful to a student’s growth since the desire for an “A” trumps the learning that comes from risk-taking” – Mrs. Shusta-Brown “It is deleterious There is no value to it. Academic pressure comes from of variety of sources: from the system in which we work, from the individual choices of our course-load, from the high expectations of the college admissions process-- but in my judgment is harmful on every element of learning. I think it is incumbent on us teachers either to reduce or eliminate as much of the pressure as possible by being open to every possibility for eliminating it. And I do not think it is necessary to sacrifice great learning or teaching to address this.” - Mr. Grace
A Parent’s Take on Scholastic Stress Two LM parents discuss their ideas regarding their children’s academic lives Both of these articles were written by LM parents, who have chosen to remain anonymous to protect the privacy of their children.
Nurturing through involvment Homework. Sports practice. Musical performances. Our kids are as overcommitted and involved as their suburban peers, and have experienced the pleasures and perils of the well-documented “Race to Nowhere” existence. Our family, like most in Lower Merion, revolves around our two kids and their many, many school activities. They are accomplished students and leaders among their peers, and good human beings in their spare time (yes, this is a proud mother speaking). I can’t imagine not being involved as we are in our kids’ school lives; it’s the core of this stage of our family life. That said, I am concerned that our interest— arguably over-interest—has contributed to the stress that burdens our two high schoolers. I probably will advise my younger child to do less than his highly accomplished sister: to watch more TV and study less (yes, you read that correctly). I certainly will talk less about college with the second kid, and surely will project greater calm and confidence about the process. I will make fewer suggestions that he participate in community collegeplanning seminars in 10th grade, and will rely more on a network of friends and friends-of-friends for information from the real world. But overall, I feel our involvement has been appropriate—right for our family and beneficial to our kids. When they were very young, I was there for every single math lab, every reading circle, every dress rehearsal. I was the archetypal cookie-baking mom, walking the kids to and from school, arranging every Halloween party, and attending every Home and School meeting. All of this was immensely gratifying to me, and, I think, comforting to my kids as they transitioned from home to home-and-school. I also think it helped them internalize that school is a good place, an extension of home, and an important value in our family. As our kids have gotten older, their
Dad and I still ask a lot about school, though the answers have become sometimes terse. I still cook for the teacher luncheons, and we still contort our professional lives to attend all the games and concerts and poetry readings. Though both our kids are naturally strong advocates for themselves and quite adept at communicating with teachers and taking care of their own business, there also have been times when we have been in close contact with teachers and administrators. By including our kids in these conversations, we have modeled, I think, positive and respectful interactions. Over the years, we have attended every teacher conference—even the supersecret, barely publicized high school conferences, once we discovered them— eager for every tidbit the teachers had to share about our kind, compassionate, brilliant children. And, yes, experiencing all the positives as a sunny reflection on their genetic and environmental inheritance. I confess that by connecting with teachers, coaches, conductors and other adults who work with our kids, we indulge in more than a little self-congratulation—but we also assure those teachers that these are children with parents who care, who are grateful for their work, and who are willing and eager to reinforce what is going on in school. Are we too involved? Though I peek on rare occasions, we don’t stalk Powerschool (luckily we have kids who do their work and hand it in!). We have talked too much about college, but perhaps not enough about the books our kids have read. I regret that. My latest crime is bombarding my voting-age daughter with information about the upcoming school board elections, so she can make her own informed decisions, and believe me; I’m taking a lot of flack for it. Parenting is an inexact science; we do our best. My best seems to be working pretty well.
Developing independent children I am the parent of a high school senior. I am not always sure when he is taking a test, I am only intermittently aware of particular assignments he might be working on, and I have yet to figure out what “Power School” actually does, never mind log onto it. Does this sound to you like I’m a bad parent? Funny then, since I happen to know that I’m a pretty good parent. Because here’s a news flash: when children get to high school, they are busy most of all with the process of not being children anymore. This is a process my parenting style supports and encourages. My goal is for my children to become independent, fully-functioning adults. It’s worked well with our older two children, who are now in their 20s, and I see it working well as we speak with our current senior. Children grow up. One of the most challenging tasks a parent has is keeping parenting strategies aligned with where a child is developmentally. My current “hands off” approach to schoolwork would have been out of line in third or fourth grade. Not that I ever did homework for my children— a concept that seems truly bizarre and counterproductive—but I was engaged and available for each day’s assignment, to talk things out, to provide guidance and support. Middle school was the transition time. A certain amount of parental “cavalry” was required to help save the day now and then. But such instances prompted assessments of the overall situation. I was happy to help when necessary but always with the aim of improving self-sufficiency. I remained well informed about tests and assignments but it was in middle school when homework transformed from something with a communal sort of vibe to something my children
tended to in their own space and on their own time. High school itself has been a process. My son was not as independent and academically self-sufficient as a ninth grader as he is as twelfth grader, which is as it should be. The point, again, is that our children progress developmentally. To apply the hovering attitude of a parent with a third grader to a child who is in eleventh grade is to be not merely oblivious but detrimental. And don’t get me started on the so-called “helicopter parents” one hears about who do things like wake their children up by cell phone for their (college) classes, or call up employers to engage in salary negotiations on behalf of their grown (but apparently not grown up) children. So yes I know what my child’s grades are, but I see no good that comes from obsessing about them, or using technology to micromanage them. I am aware of how he’s feeling about his classes and what his particular challenges and/or accomplishments might be at any point. But it is not my job any longer to be lingering on the details. He knows I support him and am here to discuss anything he wants or needs to talk about. I even read the HSA newsletter every week. Hands off doesn’t mean uninterested at all. Transitioning to adulthood is a stressful time for one and all. But to the extent that parents may be overfocused on their children’s academic activity because of misplaced anxiety about college admission and future success in life, I ask this: regardless of what name-brand college a parent hovers their kids into, how successful will children be if they haven’t been allowed, over time, gradually and appropriately, to deal with the details of their own lives, on their own?
October 19, 2011
LMHS’s stress test: an analysis
America’s academic anxiety prep can only pay off to a point. According to Class of 2013 FairTest, a research group, SAT prep classes only boost scores 100-120 points on average. Academic pressure is not only felt by stu- Another study questions the purpose of stressdents at LM. Statistics from across the country ing over the SATs at all, since they usually do also point to the vast stress high school students not reflect to colleges how well a student will are under to perform for college admissions. perform in their universities. It shows that a Students spend great amounts of time and 200-point difference in SAT scores makes virmoney on SAT preparation and compromise tually no difference on the academic success of their sleep to stay up with their hectic lives. A a student; high school grades prove much more recent study from NBC found that 69 percent valuable. Economics also is a factor in the of high school students were not receiving the madness. A study from Columbus, Ohio finds 8-hours sleep they need to perform their best. that about 18 percent of polled students took a As the pressure ramps up over high school, stu- high school class on SAT prep, 11 percent took dents jeopardize their needed rest with nearly a private class, and 7 percent had a private tu20% more seniors reporting sleep-deficits than tor. These students get the advantage (maybe freshmen. Though statistics highlight this, small) of the added preparation. Trends across they also give us reason to question why teens the country highlight the great pressure high choose to put themselves through such trouble. schools students place upon themselves. Don’t As a recent study shows, investments in test worry, we’re not alone here at LM.
Our pressure as a motivator Rebecca McCarthy
Class of 2013
We are all competitive beings. It’s our human nature. So, naturally, we compete with each other to attempt to be better in school. Think about it: would you really try in school if your peers didn’t? If everyone didn’t do their homework, would you? Maybe you’re just extremely self-motivated and would – without a doubt – do every assignment that you were given without question or second thought. But maybe you don’t share the same thought process. What’s the point of exerting extra energy when you can be successful with minimum effort? Academic pressure is helpful because it pushes us to reach our full potential in school. In today’s society, we need every advantage to stand out in a sea of college applications from students all over the world. Though it’s sometimes overwhelming, pressure pushes us to match and one-up our competitors. When choosing courses, we’re deciding: college prep or honors, honors or AP? These are decisions that many students have to face. Here’s another question: do you choose the AP over the honors class because of the people you see that have already enrolled? We’re always judging ourselves against each other, trying to make ourselves feel superior, or reaffirming our suspicions that someone else is, in fact, much smarter than we are. Some argue that this is a bad thing, but really, it’s a natural thing. It’s something that we do even if we aren’t necessarily trying. This unconscious analysis is put to good use if we make the best out of it and truly look at ourselves from an outside point of view. “Doing well can be fun if you turn it into a friendly competition,” said sophomore Robbie
Art by Robin Weiner
Warshaw. And he has a point: when you step away from the seriousness of school and approach it like a game that you’re trying to win, it looks a lot different. To win a game, take the classic “Bubble Struggle” for example, you have to successfully finish many levels; some of these might lead to failure while others are completed with no problems. But ultimately, and with a little persistence, you’re going to finish. Some find “Bubble Struggle” easier than others. The same thing occurs in school. You have to push yourself to be the most successful. And, like “Bubble Struggle,” it’s easier for some than others. The thing that trips up many students is balance – creating a course level that you believe you are able to maintain. Many upperclassmen push themselves to do extra AP’s, but it comes back to bite them when they’re up at 1 A.M. studying for that AP Chemistry test while struggling to finish that AP Physics Webassign. There is an art to choosing what subjects are right for you. Taking five AP courses may not be what’s best. Academic pressure encourages ambitiousness, but, as with any good thing, it is best in moderation. When put to good use, academic pressure is beneficial. It gives us incentives and goals that we might not otherwise have. We need this extra motivation when the going gets tough and opportunities narrow to the best and brightest. Even though it seems unfair to judge someone by what courses and grades he or she receives, it’s life and it’s part of what makes you appealing to colleges and other educational programs. When the system is as such, you have to use it to use it in the most constructive and advantageous ways.
Class of 2012
Last week, The Merionite conducted a poll asking students their thoughts on and experiences with academic pressure. The poll gathered the opinions of 341 students, asking them to answer four questions about academic pressure. Overall, there was almost a 50-50 split between students who felt that academic pressure was beneficial and those who thought it was not. However, students who felt that such pressure was beneficial were more likely to feel pressure primarily from themselves. While 55 percent of those who felt academic pressure was beneficial answered that the majority of their pressure was self-motivated, that self-effected pressure totaled only 44 percent among students who felt academic pressure was not beneficial. Additionally, the compiled statistics show that students who see academic pressure as a detriment were more likely to feel pressured primarily by their parents. Thirty-one percent
Do you think "academic pressure" is beneficial?
of students who decried academic pressure felt the majority of that pressure from their parents, compared to the 20 percent that believed academic pressure to be beneficial. Thus, the trends gathered seem to support the notion that students feel burdened by external pressures. The percentage of students defining their major sources of pressure as external (parents or peers) was greater among those who felt that scholastic pressure was harmful. Conversely, students who specified their academic pressure as primarily internal were more likely to approve of such pressures. This supports what many experts are saying. Psychologists and psychoanalysts have seen a correlation between the sources of pressure and their relative positivity. LM, though just a snapshot of the nation as a whole, acts as a microcosm in its representation of academic pressure. Mirroring national trends, the source of pressure is vital in an LM student’s attitude towards it.
The limiting potential of pressure N. Levick/Z. Schlosberg
Where does the majority of your academic pressure come from?
Have you ever been pressured (parents, peers, self) into taking a class you did not want to take?
How late are you willing to stay up to complete your schoolwork?
Class of ‘13/’12
Earlier last year, I discussed possible classes with a friend. He was listing the AP courses he had been thinking about, and as he finished tallying them up on his hands, he glanced down to see six fingers extended. “Maybe that’s a bit too many,” he sighed, “but I have to take them.” Students are alarmingly motivated to load up on courses they do not want to take, to participate in extracurriculars they do not want to join, to spend hours on work they do not find valuable without an established goal. Barely anyone in high school knows exactly how he wants to spend the rest of his life, but somehow he knows that taking five APs will get him on the right track. We don’t have to be perfect. In fact, we cannot be. Yet students strive toward a notion of perfection and take overly advanced, difficult courses based on vague preconceptions of success. The secret is: not everybody can handle those courses. And that’s okay. We aren’t all smart in the same ways; there are places that I might succeed where another would fail, and vice versa. Here, academic pressure pigeonholes some to a track that may not be best for them, or at the very least, a track that causes them to doubt themselves and their intelligence. The pressure that makes students believe they have to take certain lofty courses leads those students to struggle, to believe they’re not smart enough, even to believe they’re not good enough. Somewhere on the road to perfection, something else is lost. That something is a sense of yourself, a sense of your selfesteem, a sense of how you fit in and what your value is outside of the system. This pressure to be perfect harshly exposes the fact that nobody is, and when the expectation is perfection, how could anybody feel good about himself? Since being perfect is the only possible way not to lose the perpetual competition that parents and peers create, victory is unattainable. It becomes impossible, literally and psychologically, to outperform those who you are competing against. Straining to achieve an elusive win over your academic rivals is not just a Sisyphean task; it is also a pointless pursuit that degrades everyone involved. So, you need to have impeccable grades and an impressive high school “resume” to get in to a good college. And you need to outshine your peers in college to get a good job. And you need to be outstanding at your job to get a promotion… So what? A competitor has learned nothing meaningful by the time he or she have reached this stage, despite all of the supposedly beneficial hours he or she has put in solely for the purpose of outperforming his or
her peers. They have taught themselves how to block out every possible genuine interest in order to climb a mountain that they can never summit. Failure is a real part of life that can teach us many valuable lessons. But academic competition leads to utter, unsalvageable failure. How can one possibly justify the inevitable dissatisfaction, confusion, and regret that this cycle fosters? This system forces talented kids to conform to a boring norm from a young age. Since many students feel like they have to excel in every subject, they’re dissuaded from their true passions. Anybody who has ever seriously scrutinized our education system has likely recognized its absurdity. Why must students take classes that they know will have little to no relevance to their future? And why are they frequently coerced by their teachers in to “challenging themselves” in these exasperating, blatantly not pertinent courses? The teachers are certainly not culpable. They only want the best for their students. Because they are passionate about their subject, it’s only logical that they see potential in practically all of their students, and hope the kids discover the same sort of passion that they possess. But for a majority of high school students, straining for good grades in AP classes does not correlate with happiness and “success.” They may, however, have experienced elation while confidently debating historical meaning, adroitly solving a difficult math problem, soulfully playing an instrument, or eloquently composing an essay. There are countless other niches that students around LM enjoy. The point is that they are good at their specific skill, and happy when they are able to do it. Unfortunately, teachers, classmates, and parents all prod us, directly and indirectly, bluntly and subtly, “Be great at everything!” This message, though usually well intended, makes kids ignorant of the fact that “everything” should be defined differently by each individual. Why can’t “everything” be their passion, so that their precious treasure can be kept in pristine condition? This line of reasoning is, of course, idealistic, not especially feasible, and just a wee bit corny and clichéd. Still, please try to overlook the cheesiness to see the heart of this issue: greatness should not be seen as superficial results in all fields. Even for an intelligent, well-rounded student, neither straight As nor perfect SAT scores represent his or her true brilliance. Rather, harnessing prodigious ability to create something beautiful should represent who they are, and what they are truly capable of. Even the most thoroughly indoctrinated, grade-obsessed student can appreciate this magnificence.
October 19, 2011
Africa to the Main Line Waist beads are trending
Class of 2014
You’ve seen it before: jean shorts, sugar lips, and the infamous red cup blackberry clutch, but now there is a new addition to the classic “Main Line girl” image. A ring of small beads around girls’ waists. They’re not belly beads or belly bracelets, they’re called waist beads, and they are the Main Line’s new “it” accessory. Chances are, walking through the hallways at school, you will see them hanging under crop-tops: but what are they really? Did every girl at school suddenly get into arts and crafts? Most girls who wear these waist beads don’t understand what they actually mean and are just trying to keep up with the latest trend. But this trend, unlike SoLo’s, has a long history. To understand the meaning behind waist beads one must go back to the days of Ancient Egypt. The Egyptians wore these beads as works of art. Over time waist beads have spread to many different cultures and societies and have acquired a range of symbols. In some some regions in Africa, waist beads represent femininity. They are given to girls as a right of passage from girlhood to womanhood. They are also given as marriage gifts or when a woman is pregnant. African folklore gives meaning behind these waist beads. Tales state that the beads protect their wearer and keep them away from obsessive thoughts, evil spirits, and even vampires (the Main Line might just have a few of these with all those marks on girls’ necks – maybe that’s why they wear them…). The beads can also be a sign of status; certain colors and shapes represent wealth, wisdom, age, and rank. Others can even be used to heal. Women add scents and medicines to the beads so that the body absorbs the healing powers. Nations all over the world use waist beads as cultural symbols, however, the Main Line doesn’t. Waist bead’s history and meaning, has clearly not reached the Main Line. To us they are merely a fashion statement. But how did the teenagers of the Main Line come across these beads? It all started back in 2008, when sophomore Becca Zimmerman and sister
Sarah Zimmerman (‘11) lived in Ghana for six months. When they came home, they brought waist beads back and gave them out to friends as presents. Word got around about the beads and soon people started making them on their own. They were the coolest new accessories, and clearly they have stuck. Waist beads have been popping up everywhere over the past few years. The beads are now also worth a good amount of money. As long as the waist bead trend continues, I’m sure teens will continue to spend their money on them. Clearly waist beads have come a long way from African traditions. They are now the newest fashion statement in the U.S. The history of these little beads has quite a story that will continue to grow. So the next time you see a picture of a girl in that basement with her waist beads hanging out, you’ll know: she’s just trying to keep herself safe from vampires.
Lower Merion welcomes new club: Outdoors & Outings Club Bobby Lundquist
Class of 2012
fers even more robust opportunities to students. The educational aspect of Environmental Club easily translates to experiences in the real outdoors. The current issues discussed in Environmental Club, such as “hydrofracking” (which threatens the health of Pennsylvania’s ecosystem by injecting chemicals below ground to extract natural gas) or the pro-
In the scramble of the activities fair, the Outdoors & Outings club—O&O club for short—consistently drew the attention of students, achieving over 80 signups. After such promising student interest, O&O club founder and senior Max Novick responded by saying, “It is exciting to see so many people willing to leave the comfort of technology at home for several hours a month to try something new.” O&O Club focuses on providing outlets for students to experience the outdoors in various ways. Novick Art by Jared Oriel described the situation O&O plans to take trips to Hawk Mountain and for LM students as being Linvilla Orchards. “strictly subject to a closed campus and too involved with our school tection of our state’s wildernesses can given laptops.” The types of activities be seen first-hand on an excursion with O&O Club will offer have been miss- O&O Club. ing from LM up to this point. We have A trip with the O&O Club guarantees plenty of clubs who are centralized in the you a good time. O&O Club, Novick school and the surrounding community. adds, “will bring excitement to those O&O Club, however, has the unique who are unfamiliar with the outdoors capability to not only immerse itself and reinforce the greatness of nature to within LM, but also extend farther out those who already have been exposed through frequent weekend day trips for to nature's opportunities.” You may be students. With events to Hawk Mountain, someone seeking peace in nature or Linvilla Orchards, and many more in the someone who wants to socialize with works, O&O Club will appeal to many friends in a different way, but the distinct students. experiences will leave you wanting more. The O&O Club is teaming up with “Make the decision to change your week LM Environmental club this year. Junior up a little bit by coming to one of O&O’s Efi Narliotis, one of LM Environmental many trips," says Novick. The O&O Club club’s officers, said, “We are extremely offers new perspectives and opportuniexcited to work with Outdoors and Out- ties previously absent from LM, and is ings club!” She went on to add, “The definitely worth your time. enthusiasm Max and his friends are Look for the green flyers around the bringing is amazing. I think the excite- school for O&O club announcements. If ment of the students that know about you have a twitter account, follow them O&O club reflects how much hard work at @LMOandO. Direct any questions the officers have put into it so far.” about the club or trips to their email at Art by Emmy Trueswell The pairing of these two clubs of- firstname.lastname@example.org.
BuildOn embarks on new mission: HAITI Class of 2014
Haiti– a country where 78% of the population lives on less than 2 dollars a day. Average life expectancy is just 61 years. Only half of school-aged children are enrolled in school. When a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hits, how does the poorest nation in the Northern Hemisphere cope? Since the 2010 quake, 1.5 million Haitians have been left homeless. UNICEF reported that over 3,000 schools were either destroyed or damaged. But wherever there is a need, BuildOn is there to help. This year, LMHS’s BuildOn is aiming to bring its serHaitian children ready vice to new heights. BuildOn is taking their annual trek to Haiti this year. In the past, two LM students each year have gone on “Trek”; this year, BuildOn is increasing its numbers to 18. “We want to give more students an opportunity to experience this,” said BuildOn’s sponsor and ninth grade history teacher, Tom Reed. Eighteen LM students, Reed, and Dr. Wagner
Marseille (a native of Haiti and current Director of Secondary Education) will travel to a rural village in Haiti from April 14 to April 28, 2012 to build a school. Aside from building a school, students are going to live with host families and immerse themselves in Haitian culture. These students will have the opportunity to practice the native language of Creole, eat traditional foods, and interact with people in the community. “This is an incredible cultural learning experience,” Reed notes. Students, however, should not apply expecting a Caribbean vacation; they will be “…living in a community that has no electricity, no running water…they’re going to have to rough it.” Although the trip isn’t until April, the application process has already begun. The applications, which were due on October 11, consisted of two essays and two recommendation letters. for school. “From the application process, we will then interview students and we will find out their qualifications to participate in Trek,” Reed explained. Sophomore applicant Elyssa Clauson believes an applicant should “…have a lot of compassion for helping people and isn’t just going to put it on their college application.” The interview process lasted from October 13 to the 21. “On
November 1, we will choose 18 Lower Merion students, and BuildOn members, to travel to Haiti and build the school,” Reed continued. But the work doesn’t stop there. “The 18 members that are chosen will be responsible for raising 4,000 dollars each.” BuildOn needs to raise over $70,000 dollars in order to build the school, but Reed is confident they can do it. The most BuildOn has ever raised in the past is $10,000 dollars: “This is a whole new ballgame for us. We know we’re going to reach that goal. We know we have the potential.” The next step in the process for the 18 students, or “Trekkies” as BuildOn likes to call them, is a two-week training session from late March through early April. This process entails learning important Creole phrases, understanding Haitian culture and history, and building unity within the group. Trek is not just a two-week community service trip, but rather a six-month commitment. “This is the possibility of changing lives of generations of Haitian children…providing them [with] literacy [and] providing them with an education,” Reed says. Not only is this trip going to greatly benefit a Haitian village but it will also have a significant impact on the lives of 18 LM students. As Reed noted, “this is going to be lifechanging.” Photo & Graphic Courtesy of Tom Reed
October 19, 2011
The Merionite Nicole Wang
The Death of Borders
overall feeling of a relaxing Borders was gone; pictures of teenage girls in costumes. Business Class of 2013 the store was rushed, and the people were loud. seemed standard on the Friday night that I visOn July 18, Borders Group Inc. – the second It was a shame that the aura of this lovely little ited; there were at least a dozen or so elementary largest bookstore in the United States – an- place had vanished in mere weeks. school children and quite a few middle schoolers nounced to the world its complete and official Maybe not to all, but to a great deal of people, browsing the sections. Of course, the younger closure. The Internet boomed with reaction as Borders was a lovely niche. “It was one of my kids weren’t the only ones excited about the new hundreds of thousands of statuses and tweets were favorite stores, I just felt kind of happy when I store either; “I hope the Halloween store has good updated. The closing was a shock to many, since went in there – like the possibilities were endless,” costumes because I need some ideas for this comBorders stores seemed to be everywhere and the junior Mira Nathanson reminisced. Gone are the ing year.” junior Segev Yarden exclaimed. And local Wynnewood Borders always seemed to be to many like Yarden, it seems the filled with readers. At a closer examination, howopening of a Halloween store has ever, Borders had been in deep waters for quite indeed unlocked a treasure chest a while before it finally collapsed. Struggling to of costume ideas to those already pay publishers, Borders had far more browsers in the holiday spirits. While I do than buyers near the end of its life. The closing enjoy a little costume inspiration of Borders has become symbolic, in a sense, of myself – the Borders in that corchanging times. ner of the Wynnewood Shopping Borders had already been in trouble in FebCenter will forever hold a little ruary of this year and had filed for Chapter 11 place in my hearts. bankruptcy protection with $220 million dollars It seems with the rise of new in debt. Chapter 11 is a form of bankruptcy that technology, the departure of our involves the reorganization of a debtor’s business beloved Borders may have been affairs and assets. It is generally filed when corinevitable in the end. As the Photo by Nicole Wang/Staff times were changing, Borders porations require time to restructure their debts. Under Chapter 11, Borders had anticipated an Halloween Adventure occupied the former Borders on just had too many competitors to investor could successfully rescue and propel the September 24 and is set to close in mid to late November. survive. With the rise of online company back into shape. In July, the company shopping and eBooks, the death Direct Brands offered to acquire Borders at the of Borders was nothing but a mere bid of $215 million. Unfortunately Borders days of study groups in the café on the second sign of the changing times. These days, many Group declined this offer due to a negotiation floor and of last minute book runs when summer people no longer use bookstores: “I’ve always disagreement. No further offers came before the draws to a close and you find out you haven’t read been an Amazon kinda girl, but I do have some bid deadline of July 17. And so this officially your summer reading books. And lastly, gone of nostalgia for Borders,” junior Julia Spandorfer marked the end of Borders and plans of liquida- the hours of browsing and discovery – the feelings commented. And it makes sense to be this way. tion quickly materialized. acquired while perusing and not knowing what Ordering books from Amazon is generally much The closing of the Wynnewood Borders great book you will find have vanished forever cheaper and much more convenient than it is to marked the end of an era. On my last visit to the with Borders. buy from a store like Borders; and on top of that, Wynnewood Borders, five days from its closure, I visited that cornerstone in Wynnewood the generation of Kindles and iPads has placed a the store had turned into a disordered jumble. The a couple of days ago and was somewhat un- heavy toll on the sale of physical books in general. store had already lost most of its organization as pleasently suprised to find a Halloween Adven- Back in the 1990s – similar to what happened in it was in the midst of liquidation. As I searched ture in its place. Perhaps I am a little biased and the film You’ve Got Mail – the mega bookstores what remained of the almost empty bookshelves, I nostalgic, but Halloween Adventure gave me a killed the independent bookstores. And now had trouble recognizing even a single book title. It tacky feeling. It felt awkward walking into what in the 2010s, Amazon and eBooks may be the seemed most bestsellers and popular books were used to be Borders, and finding myself looking death of those very same mega bookstores. And already picked out, with the exception of The Kite at plastic swords and goblin masks where the who knows, maybe some day, in the very distant Runner (for some reason it seems Borders had classics section once stood. Walking up the stairs, future, something will replace eBooks and online ordered way too many copies of that book). The I also found old shelves replaced by blown-up shopping as well.
When they were young: Teachers in Costume
History teacher Chad Henneberry as Spiderman, age 5.
Raggedy Stahl (Math teacher Noicole Stahl).
Trick Or Treat! Halloween Cupcake Delight Leah Marks
Class of 2013
The start of the chilly fall season turns things into golden browns, burnt oranges and crisp yellows. The smells in the air are more autumnal than ever. No, I’m not talking about the changing leaves. I’m talking about the food that also changes with the time of year. As Thanksgiving and Halloween approach, turkeys, squash, mashed potatoes, and an assortment of baked good Photo by Leah Marks/Staff come into season. By far Halloween treats just became a whole lot tastier! the most delicious treat to eat hot out of the oven are pumpkin 1 egg muffins. They are a perfect addition for 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla your upcoming Halloween party and Instructions: are delicious and easy to make: Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, Ingredients: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt in 1 cup flour a medium-mixing bowl. Once sifted, ½ cup sugar fully cut in the butter. You can do 2 teaspoons baking powder this by taking two knives and slicing 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon through them, each knife cutting in a ¼ teaspoon ground ginger different directing. In another bowl ½ teaspoon nutmeg combine the pumpkin, milk, egg and ¼ teaspoon salt vanilla. Pour the wet mixture into the 4 tablespoons butter dry one, folding the batter. Do not over mix. Pour the mix into a generously greased muffin pan, and bake at 400° 1 cup of pumpkin purée for 25 minutes. ½ cup evaporated milk
Frosting: 1 ½ cups of un-sifted powdered sugar 4 oz. cream cheese ¼ cup softened butter ½ teaspoon vanilla Combine all ingredients with an electric mixer and spread onto cooled muffins.
Nora Macey (now Christman), making the scariest halloween decorations ever seen, age 3.
Art by Emmy Trueswell
October 19, 2011
Remembering Steve Jobs, 1955-2011 Rebecca McCarthy
Class of 2013
Steve Jobs was a man who changed our lives for the better. Apple, the company he founded with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne in 1976, has revolutionized technology as we know it. Steve Jobs is known as one of the most visionary men in history. Sadly, he passed away after a seven-year battle with pancreatic cancer on October 5, 2011 at the age of 56. All of our attention shouldn’t be focused on his tragic death, but rather his life. He said, “Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” His passion was evidenced by his projects. His drive for perfection made Apple different and refreshing to customers. He defied the impossible with every undertaking, gradually making each generation of gadget slimmer, smaller, and smarter than its predecessor. His user-friendly interface was clear and straightforward, drawing customers from every age and walk of life. He was someone who created a billion dollar empire even after dropping out of college. Steve Jobs thought differently and encouraged us to “think different” too. Black mock turtlenecks and jeans were Steve Jobs’ trademark. This was more than just a fashion statement, however, it gave him a way to simplify and focus. Removing the daily decision of outfit selection gave him more time and attention to the things that held the most importance to him. This simplification within his own life had a ripple effect within Apple. He wanted everything to be sleek, simple, and organized. When Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 (he was fired in 1985 after a falling out with his co-CEO John Sulley), he condensed 300 Apple products into 10. Ever the innovator, Jobs pulled ideas from experiences. Though he dropped out of college, he attended the occasional class, one of which was calligraphy. At the time, this had no practicality. “But ten years later, when we
were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came Bar. Jobs wanted customers to have a good experience back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the when they came to Apple. He wanted them to be able to first computer with beautiful typography. buy products that would help them succeed and live more If I had never dropped in on that fun and exciting lives. single course in college, the Mac Following his return to Apple in 1997, Jobs turned would have never had multiple the company around. The list of the products that typefaces or proportionally he pioneered is impressive: the iMac, the iBook, spaced fonts. And since iPod, and iTunes Store were introduced between Windows just copied the 1998 and 2002, the Mac Pro, MacBook, and Mac, it’s likely that no MacBook Pro in 2006, and iPhone, iPod Touch, personal computer would and iPad between 2007 and 2011 (not including have them. If I had never any of the Apple operating systems, applicadropped out, I would tions, software, etc.). have never dropped in on Apple has found a huge support system in this calligraphy class, and the LM community. Our school district’s One personal computers might to One program and the abundant computer not have the wonderful usage in the elementary and middle schools, typography that they do,” along with LM’s own Apple Store in Suburban Jobs said during his Stanford Square are just a few examples of Apple’s local commencement address in popularity and success. 2005. I leave you with this: another Jobs quote from Another thing many might the same Stanford commencement address. not know: Apple Store’s lay“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it out, design, and business living someone else’s life. Don’t model were inspired be trapped by dogma — which by the Four Seais living with the results of other sons Hotel. people’s thinking. Don’t let the Instead noise of others’ opinions drown of having out your own inner voice. And cashiers, most important, have the courage there are to follow your heart and intuition. concierges They somehow already know walking what you truly want to become. around to Everything else is secondary.” Illustration by Jared Oriel, based on photo cover of give assisnew biography “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson. tance and for transactions. At the back of the store is a “bar” - the Genius
Class of 2012
Many students have been shocked and disappointed that the District started to filter Internet access off school property. Some saw this as censorship; others felt this was an infringement of student rights outside of school. But some people, such as Stephen Prifti (LM class of 2010), know “that’s inconvenient, but the school gives the computers out for educational purposes.” Now that the situation has calmed a bit, students have started demanding change. However, in order for such campaigning and advocacy to succeed, the reasoning behind the District’s decision to impose this filtering and the method by which it gets implemented must be made clear. The saga actually started last school year at the April school board meeting. With no opposition from the board members, updates to Policy 137 (DistrictIssued Laptops – Student Use, Rights and Responsibilities) and Policy 134 (LMSD-Net – Student Use, Rights and Responsibilities) were passed. Policy 134 governs acceptable use of the network (including Internet access) in schools, but it is the addition to Policy 137 that draws the ire of students: “The restrictions set forth in Policy No. 134, LMSD-Net: Student Use, Rights and Responsibilities apply in their entirety to Laptops whether or not the student is connected to LMSD-Net.” This amendment’s purpose was to bring the District in compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), a federal law that governs the issuance of technology-related discounts to public school districts and library systems. Since LMSD do receive these discounts, the law must be complied with. Moving on to implementation, the District uses web filtering sourced from Lightspeed Systems. For security reasons, the laptops access different databases of blocked websites based on whether it is connected to LMSD-Net or not, and constant access to a database is maintained only on LMSD-Net. Due to this arrangement, more websites can be accessed in school than can out of school; sometimes whole Internet access is blocked when a database cannot be reached. Any websites not categorised by Lightspeed (mostly new sites) are provisionally blocked, including new secondary servers of larger websites. Such a setting is a legal safeguard; “Whilst the United States only [constitutes] four percent of the world’s population, over seventy percent of the world’s lawyers live [in the US],” hints physics and math teacher Mervyn Elder. And in order for filtering to work outside of LMSD-Net, additional software got installed on the laptops over the summer; this partially explains why the laptops got slower from last year. For now, we will have to live with these restrictions and inconveniences for the foreseeable future, but hope exists. “Unless something drastically wrong happens to Generations Y and Z, either [CIPA] will be repealed or the government will stop enforcing it over time,” said senior Josh Hoffman.
October 19, 2011
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Aces of The Arts Hipster Runoff: a social satire of hipsters, for hipsters The Merionite
Adam Cohen Nowak
Photo courtesy of Jessica Hoffman
Jessica Hoffman - Class of 2013
What arts do you participate in regularly? At school I do Aces Angels and I just recently joined Players. Outside of school I take voice lessons once a week.
What are you most looking forward to about a capella for this upcoming year? I am looking forward to all the new people and becoming a really close family. Also, we are doing Color War (a lot like the Harry Potter house cup), and so far it’s been really fun. GO BLUE TEAM! What is the biggest challenge about being the lead in the ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying?’ Memorizing all the dance moves! I can’t dance! Who inspires you? Adele. She has the most beautiful voice and she is so graceful. If you could be on MTV’s “made,” what would you be “made” into? I would be made into a animal trainer, because I want to bend animals to my will.
Class of 2012 R u a chill dubstream bro ridin some waves? Do u want 2 see ur fave celebs with their bangin’ beach bods or ur fave alt bands get heard on pitchfork? Well meet Carles, the creator of the blog “Hipster Runoff.” Actually, you can’t meet him because…well he’s anonymous. The blog however is riddled with clues to his whereabouts (via Carmen SanDiego), though none to his real persona. Always posing questions, his mystery tugs at the soul of the reader. Who is Carles? Is he like you and me? What music does he RLY like? Does he vibe? Does he own cats? (via Snacks The Cat) You might be wondering why the answers to these questions are so important to us, as well as to a whole population of followers on the indieblogosphere, Twittersphere, and real life sphere. Carles and the Hipster Runoff phenomenon is arguably the most creative social satire of the 2k-hipster-generation to date. It captures the ironic and iconic mainstreaming of hipster culture with an array of album reviews, concert pictures, patronizing headlines and offensive illustrations. The site is split into four sections: the homepage, ‘Hipster Runoff,’ the ‘Alt Report,’ the ‘Mainstreamer,’ and his very own ‘MoMalt,’, the ‘Museum of Modern Alt’ containing satirical cartoons and drawings. The homepage, or the blog section entitled ‘Hipster Runoff’ concentrates on the fundamental beliefs of the ‘hip’ generation focusing on critical ideas such as, The Rise of Dubwavers, The Ongoing Battle Between Avey Tare and Panda Bear, and various other ‘buzz-worthy’ items. In the Alt Report, headlines about alternative and indie artists, fads, and phenomena highlight the ridiculous antics of the underground. Here you catch up on news regarding your favorite ‘buzzbands,’ like Toro y Moi and Odd Future, or laugh at the music videos by ridiculous artists, like Bjork. Carles also has an eye for news, and usually comments on headlining stories such as the recent passing of Steve Jobs saying, “RIP Steve Jobs... U were more than just another bro who walked the Earth searching 4 entry-level
happiness.” In the mainstreamer, the creator calls it “The world’s #1 source 4 slutwave, tween pop, hip hop rap, Walmart Rock & music 4 Middle Americans.” In this section Carles adopts a persona best described as a morbidly obese, mentally unstable woman in her 30-40’s. She idolizes celebrities and reports on mainstream pop culture with commonly grotesque, tangential personal anecdotes that convey a sense of hopelessness and longing. CRLS mocks mainstream Americans using the persona, along with a pink colored font and more misspelt and abbreviated words than a seventh grade girl. Here celebrities are either satirically praised or lightly mocked accompanied by embarrassing and exposing pictures. E.g. “J-Lo, bb! It looks like ur doing some XTREME canoodling…” And so on and so fourth. For those interested, the best advice I can give is to experience it for yourself. You will find yourself asking, when is Carles being sarcastic, when is he being genuine? In an interview with Rob Harvilla on Village Voice Carles responded to a question asking just that, stating, “I am not sure if I would describe HRO as ‘sarcastic’ – probably more like ‘too real’ It is pretty much impossible to gauge whether he is sarcastic.” Perhaps part of the reason for the HRO-mania is Carles’s identity…or lack thereof. It engages us, fascinates us, and, mystifies us. Throughout the site there are pictures of concertgoers with shirts boldly stating, “I Am Carles,” alluding to the fact that since no one has revealed his identity, those who meet him must value his anonymity. I for one would never think of outing Carles even if I knew his true identity. Just think of him as Spiderman, to unmask this protector of all that is Alt/Trendy would be blasphemy. Truly, what matters is his satire and his legacy, this testament to our era, engrained in Internet and 2k culture is a defining characteristic of how the youth of the millennia saw the world. When I am old and grey, sitting in a rocking chair I will Google those three little letters; H-R-O, be transported to a point when I was young and full of life, seeing the world as I once did. For that, I thank you Carles and wish you well in 2k12 (via end of the world vibes).
A closer look at LM’s own DJ Scribe
Photo courtesy of Leo Gaibraith-Paul
Leo Gaibraith-Paul - Class of 2014 How did you get involved in the jazz music scene? I’ve been playing at the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz for three years now. It’s a youth program that has brought up some of the most prominent jazz musicians today. What art/music related things are you looking forward to in the coming year? I’m always looking forward to sharing the experience of music with as many people as possible, whether that means playing with or for them, or just talking about music. Who or what inspires you? I’m inspired by the feeling involved in creating music and the emotion and conversation between the musician and their audience. For me jazz especially has been an outlet, and a means of expression. I’m inspired by all sorts of musicians, from Miles Davis to Mos Def to John Coltrane. What do you consider when getting dressed in the morning? To me, clothing is definitely something that leaves an impression on people when you meet them. If you’re better dressed, I think people are more likely to take you seriously.
Class of 2013 I have been DJing as a hobby since 7th grade. Only within the past year and a half have I taken it to the next level, and transformed my favorite hobby into a profession. I have DJ’ed house parties, birthday parties, school dances, sweet sixteens, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, club events, concerts, and even a Princeton Alumni Reunion. I’ve been in front of crowds as small as 10 people to as large as 2,000 people. Some events, like Bar/ Bat Mitzvahs are more stressful than others and actually require a great deal of work, but usually the hard work pays off and I end up having fun. There is no better feeling than seeing a huge group of people fist pumping, or a room full of couples slow-dancing to the music that your playing. Many ask me, “So what does a DJ even do?” Well I’ll tell you that I don’t just hop on iTunes and turn on shuffle. Basic DJing
is simply playing one song, and then transitioning into a second song without any breaks in the music. A more advanced DJ might use loops, cue points, effects, samples, scratches, and may even mix four songs at once. Also, there are many different methods of DJing, such as using software on a computer, using CDs, using vinyls or records, or a combination of all three. A “good DJ” has the ability to adapt to a crowd, and figure out what sort of genres and artists get the best response. Mixing music opens up a world of possibility with all the control you possess, hence the name “Disc Jockey.” A wise man once said “[Forget] genres, good music is good music.” I have always had a deep appreciation for all genres of music, although I prefer to listen to and play EDM (Electronic Dance Music which includes subgenres such as House, Electro, Dubstep, and Moombahton). EDM is on the rise in the world
and I believe it to be the next era of popular music as Rock N’ Roll once was, and as Hip-Hop is now. Many mainstream artists such as Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Rihanna, and Miley Cyrus feature House and even Dubstep characteristics. For those of you who are wondering what ‘Moombahton’ is, it is actually a genre that was created only within the past year. It is basically just the electro/house version of Latino Raggaeton. Both a DJ and Producer, Dave Nada created Moombahton by slowing down the song Moombah (Afrojack Remix) from 130 BPM (beats per minute) to 108 BPM. I also enjoy playing HipHop, Rap, R&B, Baltimore Club, and sometimes a little Soul. In the future, I aspire to improve as a DJ and a producer and pursue this profession, but I don’t intend for it to be my primary career. Right now, it is a great way to make money and have fun while doing it.
October 19, 2011
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT A new era of dramatic culinary entertainment The Merionite
Food Network show. With difficult challenges and bitter Class of 2012 rivalries, this combination of reality TV drama and culinary technique sparked a new light in food entertainment. A new age of food entertainment has arrived on televiIn 2006, following the Next Food Network Star, Top sion, luring the largest audiences ever to popular culinary Chef began airing on Bravo. Produced by Magical Elves networks. Cooking shows, originally designed for middle- Productions, the same company that created Project Runaged women, have risen to be dramatic and gripping, way, Top Chef followed a similar format to the Next Food therefore attracting huge masses. Network Star. The show also had contestants compete Back in the 20th century, when Julia Child ruled the air, against each other in a culinary competition. In fact, in culinary shows focused their attention on older housewives Top Chef’s Season five premiere, there was a whopping 2.7 who had a desire to learn about cooking, food, restaurants, million views! At the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards, Top hospitality, and kitchen culture. Contrary to this time, Chef won the award for Outstanding Reality-Competition culinary networks currently work in order to expand their Program, defeating The Amazing Race and ending its audience to younger generations and men, as well. During seven-year winning streak . the ‘90s, Alton Brown, the host of Good Eats on the Food Television has many other quality culinary shows such Network, wanted to create a show that he described as a mix as Ace of Cakes, Cake Boss, Cupcake Wars, and Iron Chef between Julia Child, Mr. Wizard, and Monty Python. He America. Ace of Cakes follows Duff Goldman’s cake shop, wanted to “spice things up” in order to avoid the traditional Charm City Cakes, located in Baltimore, Maryland. Duff cooking shows that he described as “dull.” Brown presents and his crew design cakes of epic proportions, such as mascooking as enjoyable and humorous, while providing an sive dogs or cakes with fireworks shooting out. Not only intriguing view into the science of food. Food Network de- do you marvel at the final product, but you also learn what scribed Good Eats as “Pop culture, comedy, and plain good goes on in the kitchen and the techniques that are used. eating.” With the rising popularity of the show, networks Similar to Ace of Cakes and another popular show, Cake came to a conclusion: with a twist to cooking shows, the Boss, stars Buddy Valastro and the undertakings of his joy of food could be spread to a wider range of people. famous family-run bakery, Carlo’s Bake Shop in Hoboken, Culinary networks continued to modernize their shows, New Jersey. There are always problems in Carlo’s Bake and not only improved the quality of the traditional cook- Shop, and the drama of it all is simply irresistible. Senior ing shows, but also created new concepts that had never Sophie Winston stated, “I find Cake Boss to be very similar been aired before. In 2005, the Next Food Network Star to the Real Housewives of New Jersey. Both are dramatic premiered, encompassing a battle between amateur chefs. and involve Italians in New Jersey.” The winner would receive the chance to have their own Cupcake Wars is pretty self-explanatory. Contestants
Girls rule, boys drool:
An exposé on a rock revolution Maddie Guss
Class of 2012
Almost 20 years ago the first bands of the Riot Grrrl revolution formed in Olympia, Washington. The Riot Grrrl revolution was an underground feminist punk movement that challenged the stereotypical image of a girl. It was created in response to the hardcore all-male punk movement of the early 80’s, which ignored their obsessions and didn’t leave any room on the dance floor for girls! The riot grrrl’s music was loud, angry, and conveyed a purpose. Most songs addressed important social issues including rape, racism, domestic abuse, and female empowerment. The movement had no rules, and no leader. It was musical anarchy from societal standards of what music should sound like, and who should be playing it. The movement called for ~ revolution girl style ~ which encoured girls to stop worrying about their insecurities and start playing music! Some of the most influential and memorable bands in the US were Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, and Heavens to Betsy. Bikini Kill’s front woman Kathleen Hanna is the all time iconic symbol of revolutionary girl power. After BK broke up, she formed another band called Le Tigre in 1998, an electro-feminist band. Most members of the original Riot Grrrl bands are still creating music and attempting to spread the word of female empowerment in the music industry. However, Kathleen Hanna recently spoke to CNN about her opinion on the leading female role models today like Katy Perry, and Ke$ha. She said that although she would not want to talk trash on another girl, she finds their music offensive and that it plays into male fantasies of women (mainly “I Kissed A Girl” by Katy Perry). The Riot Grrrl movement was an awesome and groundbreaking time for women in music. Prior to the movement, women really didn’t have a place within the rock & roll or punk underground scene. Now, it’s easy to find sweet riot grrrl inspired bands anywhere you look! (including Philadelphia!) Screaming Females, P.S Elliot, Bad Banana, and Slutever (two students in Philadelphia) are all totally worth checking out! UPCOMING EVENTS: Concerts Odd Future (Union Transfer) 10/22 Watch The Throne Tour; Jay-Z and Kanye West (Wells Fargo Center) 11/04 Tony Bennett (Academy of Music) 11/04 Foo Fighters (Wells Fargo Center) 11/10 Theater August: Osange County- featuring LM’s own Dylan Gelula- (Arden Theater) Now until 10/30 Billy Elliot (Academy of Music) 11/04 Aspects Of Love (Walnut Street Theater) until 10/23 Art ‘Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus’ (Philadelphia Art Museum) until 10/30
compete against other cupcake bakers in order to win the grand prize of $10,000 dollars. Each show involves four competitors who are eliminated one by one in three rounds based on the taste, originality, and presentation of their cupcakes. Usually, they are assigned to create cupcakes involving an unusual ingredient or a particular theme. Iron Chef America consists of professional chefs, such as Bobby Flay and Mario Batali. These masters of the kitchen compete in a one hour cook-off against other accomplished chefs. Each show, the competitors are given a secret ingredient, such as flounder or peanut butter, and must incorporate it into each of their dishes. Narrated by Alton Brown, Iron Chef America delivers an exciting view of a two chefs racing to create delectable and creative dishes. Noticing the change from a specified group to a broader audience, youth-oriented advertisers such as McDonald’s, Michelob, and Monster Worldwide decided to publicize their products on the Food Network in 2006. In August 2007, Food Network profits boosted Scripps’ (the company that runs the Food Network) stocks by 22%. The excitement of the cooking reality-shows make food television a thrilling experience. Don’t get me wrong, the traditional cooking shows are still terrific. They provide amazing recipes, good culinary techniques, and an interesting look into the kitchen. However, they lack flair. As more appealing shows increase, the less cooking is deemed as “stupid” and “feminine.” Men and young adults have come to view them as a form of entertainment. Thanks to new competitive cooking shows, the culinary arts have no limited audience, and can be enjoyed by anyone.
Goblin’ down the Halloween movies
Class of 2012
You see an oozing red glow of ketchup-blood and zombie grime goo. A chain saw murderer is a rippin’ and a snippin’, body parts that is. But do not fear dear readers it’s only a trip to the movies. Halloween movies: solace for those not quite cool enough to go to a party and not quite weird enough to trick-or-treat. So grab your bag of pre-Halloween candy and get ready to delve into the oh-sothrilling world of these spooky flicks. To get the real scoop on Halloween movies I spoke with local Halloween movie expert and sophomore, Galen McMullen. “Yeah, I like Halloween movies,” surmised McMullen with the air of a Nobel laureate. I pressed Dr. McMullen further about her own exploits with Halloween films. “ I don’t know if I’ve watched one on Halloween.” I next visited Physics Teachers Mervin Elder and David Vinci to ask about their H-ween favorites. Elder proclaimed, “most Halloween movies are rubbish, but Johnny Depp’s movies are always good” while Vinci simply left me with the eternal words “I don’t recommend Halloween.” But what really are Halloween movies? What is the essence of Halloween? Scholar-ween senior Daniel Blum had this to say: “Its like a rectangle and a square. Not all scary movies are Halloween. But all Halloween movies are scary. A real Halloween movie is a snap-shot of us as a people encompassing all we know and all we will know into one…” “fun-size” package. Though these insights proved fascinating I needed names of these spinecurdling flicks! I found the most boo-licious and sorted them into two pumpkin-y categories. Scary: 1. Eraser Head Mutants up the whazoo. Coming out of whatever orifice they please. 2. The Thing It’s a horror movie but it’s in the Antarctic. 3. 28 Days Later Biowarefare evacuated cities. But in England so its OK. 4. Hocus Pocus - A throwback to your childhood. Scary but Funny: 1. Thankskilling – The only Thanksgiving themed Halloween movie. 2. Troll 2 The trolls are actually gremlins and the gremlins are actually vegetarians - P.S. There is no Troll 1. 3. Death Bed: The Bed that Eats Don’t ask me why they don’t just get a new mattress. 4. Drive Thru - a scary journey at the fast food restaraunt. Movies are not just for those without plans on Halloween, watch them anytime for a good laugh or even a great scare In conclusion, if you are watching a movie and its too scary, call senior Adam Cohen-Nowak to come over…ladies.
October 19, 2011
ARTS& ENTERTAINMENT How to make a quick buck on Facebook The Merionite
This hasn’t been Carly’s only success, as like ‘Oh! This is a great idea!’ It went from Class of 2013 she has also paved the way for many other two other people selling their own stuff, young entrepreneurs. “I think it’s really to a group of 100 kids selling and buying One month into school and my Facebook weird! When I first had to idea to sell my each other’s clothes.” These 100 kids are news feed is already packed. Aside from the stuff, I had no idea that anybody would be not all friends either. What makes these usual weekend albums, complaints about the Philadelphia sports teams, and lack of internet, there’s a new fad that is trending on the LM network: clothing swaps. When so much time is focused on sports, extracurricular activities, and homework, it can be very difficult for students to make money. It can also be hard to keep up with the latest fashion trends while on a tight budget. However, instead of moping around, many LM students are being proactive in trying to shake up their style by creating online clothing-swap groups. A couple of weeks ago, senior Carly McKown started the group “I’m broke. Buy my stuff.” In the group, Carly posts pictures of her clothes, shoes, and jewelry, and all group members (who can either request to join, or be invited by current group members) have the opportunity to purchase such items. Since its start, the group has gained eighty-seven members and Carly has cleaned out her closet. “I’ve been pretty successful,” said McKown. “There are some people that have still not paid Art byAviva Mann/Staff me, but I’ve gotten rid of a lot of my stuff.”
groups so powerful is that for the first time, students from all different grades and social groups have had the opportunity to interact, when they might not have otherwise. Despite whatever differences they may have, these students all share a common bond: the love of fashion and a good bargain. Following McKown’s lead is junior, Efi Narliotis, with her group “Sweaters.” Efi, an avid thrift shopper, recently cleaned out her closet and was amazed at the number of sweaters that she found. “The whole system is pretty great since I generally shop at thrift stores and don’t buy my clothes for very much to start with. This way other people can enjoy things that I’ve only worn a few times.” This is a win-win situation for both the consumer and the vendor. Students on a budget who are looking to improve their wardrobe now have a place to pick up trendy clothes, shoes, and accessories at bargain prices. And the vendors, like Efi and Carly, can use their profits towards purchases of their own. The girls are hoping to make enough money for a new camera lens and art supplies. Want to get involved? Make your own group! Or ask Carly, Efi, or one of LM’s other new entrepreneurs to invite you to their groups!
Sitting down with creators of Bam-Bam Studios
Class of 2012
LM is a breeding ground for talent. Between the singers and instrumentalists, there are a variety of creatively inclined students. But as these students advance into the musical world, a common need for a tangible recording is thus desired. This need has been acknowledged and answered by two LM students, creators of Bam-Bam Studios, Stefan Richter and Jake Goodman. As I walked into Stefan Richter’s basement – a basement I hadn’t been in since my stint in his band as the lead singer – I immediately noticed how normal it looked. Some guitars hung on the wall; there was also a drum set, and a few microphones. This is where the magic, yes magic, takes place. With a few computers and some brand new Pre-Amps, the guys at Bam-Bam Studios take artists’ sound from Garage Band quality to CD caliber. I got a chance to sit down with Stefan and Jake in their studio. Robert: Give a run down about what you guys do here at ‘Bam Bam Studios’. Stefan: So, pretty much someone tells us know that they want to record. They send us a demo if they can; we listen to it and see what kind of ideas we have to expand the songs, because usually it’s just acoustic guitar and vocals recorded on Garage Band. We function as a studio band as well, so we can add drums, bass, guitar – and all they other instruments they need. Unless they’re a band, then we offer suggestions about arrangements. Jake: Basically we take people through the whole recording process – they bring us an idea, we start with the production, take away parts or add parts. Then we track it, mix it, and master it. Then we give it to them through CD or e-mail. R: How many artists are you recording for right now? How many have you recorded so far? How often do you guys record? S: Let’s see, we’ve got Jake Ohlbaum’s band “Writers Block,” and Jackie Milestone, a Harriton Senior. We record on and off – whenever anyone needs us. J: I always try to have something going – even if it’s just a cover of a song. R: How did this idea to record other artists start? S: My Dad got me a recording system and ‘Pro-Tools’ in 8th grade, we had our band and we decided we wanted to record – but we didn’t really have the proper equipment to do it. We didn’t really know what the hell we were doing, we were just messing around – all of those old recording sound awful. At first everyone (in the band) hated it but me – I was the only one tracking and mixing and everyone was so damn mad at me. They would all just sit there while I mixed for hours. After a while though they slowly got better and then Jake started helping out. J: Yeah, I remember we would track it all in an hour, be
done by like nine – then we would all sleep here (at Stefan’s outside of this studio? house) and Stefan wouldn’t be done mixing until like two S: I interned at two studios in LA- the big one was called in the morning. Matter Music. I got to mic the drums for the drummer of S: They would literally just lie on the ground in the base- Good Charlotte when he came in to record for a movie. I also ment and wait for me to finish. Then Jake started getting played a drum and guitar part for the kids TV show “Yo Gabba involved when I would be playing the guitar track or drums Gabba.” I played this stupid little part – it was great. and he would have to press record and start operating “ProJ: This summer we both took a summer course at New Tools” and he slowly got more and more involved. York University – we toured Jungle City, and we both got a R: Where do you guys see this going in the future? lot better at editing. S: I want to do it for a living. In a studio somewhere, S: NYU taught us to get better at writing – we had deadsomehow be involved in music or recording. It doesn’t have lines and that helped a lot. to be necessarily musicians or bands; I could record for TV R: Is there anything else you would like everyone to too. I interned at a studio in LA and they would record sound know about you guys? for film or TV, which is cool. S: Follow us on twitter – Follow us on Soundcloud. J: I guess I’m the same way. I’d rather do bands weather J: What sets us apart form other local studios, and other it’s producing, mixing, mastering – some part of the studio kids trying to record it that we are cheap. We do it all, and process. we serve as a studio band. R: If you could go back in time and record during any Afterward I got to sit in on a recording session with Harera, what would it be? riton senior, Jackie Milestone. Stefan and Jake conducted J: 1990’s! Early 90’s, ’91, or ‘92. themselves with the utmost professionalism. First they reS: Yeah, either that or the 1960’s. Jimmy Hendrix or some- corded Jackie’s voice and guitar for a song, and then the real thing, but then again the equipment was not that great. creativity kicked in. After the main recording, Stefan, Jake, J: Or the 1980’s – it would be kinda awesome to produce and Jackie brainstormed with their guitars at hand and pianos like a huge Def Leppard album by their side, banging out riff after riff until the song had a R: What instruments do you both play? full bodied feel. To a bystander, it was quite boring, however, S: Guitar, Bass, Drums, and a little piano. none of them wanted to leave. For Richter and Goodman, J: Guitar mainly – but I dabble in piano… what’s the this is just as important as their schoolwork. Follow Bam expression? Tickle Ivory? Yeah, that’s what I do. Bam Studios on Twitter: @BamBamRecording Soundcloud: S: For this last recording though; we did an organ part www.soundcloud.com/bambamstudios – so really most instruments. To hear the full interview visit www.themerionite.org. R: How do you decide what kind of equipment to buy? S: Usually by reviews- there are companies that everyone trusts. If we have the money we try to buy it from the top-notch brands. Even just going on sweetwater. com and reading up on equipment. J: We really just buy based on what we need most. R: What is the most difficult part of the process for the two of you? S: Getting bands to be quiet. J: OK – that’s definitely not going in the paper. Seriously though the hardest part is getting people to be open to new ideas. S: Also we can add a lot of stuff to make people sound great – but we can’t make people better guitar players or betPhoto by Robert Gaudio/Staff ter singers. Stefan and Jake jamming and recording Harriton senior, Jackie J: You can’t polish a turd... well you can, Milestone in their studio. but then it’s just a shiny turd. R: What other experience do you guys have
October 19, 2011
The Merionite James Burke
You Got Served! Class of 2012
Past the construction debris and high metal fences, there exists a world separate from the rest of Lower Merion. Encompassing this world are five barely accessible courts that are home to the girls’ tennis team. While many fans have packed the gym to cheer on our legendary state championship basketball teams, the girls’ tennis program has quietly dominated the Eastern Pennsylvania scene, most notably capturing the PIAA State title in 2005. Led by head coach Joe Monaco, who is entering his 21st year, the Aces have established what many have deemed a dynasty. These young women, like John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins, have dominated the Central League in tennis. Their impressive record speaks for itself. Throughout the early 2000’s they went 108-5, with their only losses occurring in state championship competition. Coming into this season the Aces were prepared to challenge some of the top teams in the Central League and continue their winning tradition. Despite the loss of senior Helen Braunstein to graduation, the team had high hopes of improving upon their 6-5 record from last year. Many key players returned, including Junior Hillary Hoffstein at the number one singles spot, followed by seniors Elizabeth Hecht and Emely Levyn. Other players making contributions on the doubles teams include Sarah Hyman, Julia Kramer-Golinkoff, Sam Wakely, Hope Brodkin, Hannah Smolar, Allison Wahrman, Haley Karp, Rachel Golland, Niki Snyder, Amelia Aubuchon, Kathy Guo, Ally Levy, Sydni Shub and Allison Partridge. The team has performed admirably this year despite some tough losses,
playing in what is widely considered one of the toughest leagues in the state. Hoffstein commented, “traditionally there are the teams that you expect to beat, and teams like Stoga, Radnor, and Harriton that you believe will really challenge you.” This year the Aces battled and defeated Penncrest, Haverford, and Strath Haven, but suffered losses to Central League rivals Conestoga and Radnor. One of the most exciting matches of the season came when the team faced district rival Harriton. The PIAA AA reigning state champion Harriton again returned a very strong team. Although the Aces suffered a 6-1 loss, the score does not indicate the true intensity of the match. Hoffstein and Hecht fought hard but came up just short against Harriton’s talented #1 and #2. But at #3 singles Levyn defeated Harriton’s Marni Blumenthal in straight sets. Despite the potentially discouraging loss, the Aces bounced back with a commanding 4-1 win at home against Garnet Valley, and ultimately finished the regular season with a record of 8-3. “The team has definitely developed a stronger bond as the season grew, despite the largely individual aspect of the game,” said Hoffstein, “and it was no doubt that team chemistry contributed to the success and resiliency of this team to come back after such tough losses.” The future looks bright for the Lower Merion girls’ tennis program. Looking ahead Hoffstein is optimistic: “Next year our doubles teams will have had a lot of experience playing together, and that will undoubtedly yield dividends despite the loss of a really talented senior class.” As this season draws to a close the focus turns to Photo courtesy of Enchiridon next year, when the resilient girls tennis team will look to LM Girls Tennis’ practice has paid off with another continue their success and earn more respect and victostrong season, as they finished with an 8-3 record. ries.
Outside the Goal: The Great Debate
Football Town Jake Ochroch
Class of 2012
While the popular trend among fans in Philadelphia since 2008 has been largely in favor of the Phillies, the City of Brotherly Love remains, as it always has been, a football town. Both the Phillies and Eagles boast impressive sellout streaks spanning over two seasons, but there are clear discrepancies between Philadelphia’s loyalties to either team. In 1997, the Eagles went 6-9-1, missing the playoffs by a long shot. But that didn’t stop Philadelphians from filling the benches of the upper deck at Veterans stadium with drunks in Eagle green. The Phillies put on an equally mediocre season in 1997, posting a 6894 record and finishing last in the NL East, yet in contrast to the Eagles, the Phillies failed to fill the entire stadium in a losing season. On top of this, preceding the bandwagon fans of 2008, the Phillies rarely sold out even in winning seasons. In 2007, the Phillies went 8973, finishing first in the NL East before eventually losing to the Rockies in the NLDS. The Phillies made the playoffs for the first time since 1993, and yet they still didn’t sell as well as the 8-8 Eagles, who came last in the NFC East. So while both teams draw a huge crowd when expecting rings, Philadelphia bleeds green and white when nobody is expecting a victory parade. The Eagles clearly command Philadelphia’s love and adoration. In October of 2008, the Eagles were just starting their season while the Phillies fought in the playoffs for a World Series berth. Yet, according to philly.com, “Thousands more Philadelphians viewed a depressing Eagles loss on Sunday than watched the most important Phillies’ victory in 15 years.” Along with television ratings, the
radio is a constant reminder of Eagle loyalty. 94 WIP consistently hosts sports talk shows in which people call in and voice their opinion: One would be hard pressed to find a day during football season where nobody calls in and shouts E-A-G-L-E-S or sings the Eagles fight song, whereas you really only get emphatic Phillies cheers around October. There is no question, based on facts and history, that Philadelphia, while very loyal and loving of the Phillies, lives and dies with the Eagles. Another telltale sign of Eagle loyalty is the social aspect surrounding each team. With the exception of the playoffs, nobody plans their day around a Phillies game unless they are going, whereas everyone in the greater Philadelphia area plans their Sundays or Monday night around the Birds’ game. In addition, tailgating is a much more a part of Eagles culture, than Phillies culture. Fans race to the stadium at 8:00 a.m. for 1:00 p.m. games. Granted, it would be difficult to schedule almost every day from April to October around Phillies games, but that still doesn’t detract from the fact that the city as a whole spends at least three hours every single Eagles game day in front of the television. Glen Macnow, co-author of The Great Philadelphia Fan Book said, “You could drop a Martian into Philly the day after a game, and within three minutes, he’d know if the Eagles had won or lost.” And he isn’t kidding. Next Monday, look around LM and you will see, if the Phillies lose, most kids moaning and groaning for a little bit and then moving on very quickly. But if the Eagles lose everyone goes into a “five-day hangover.” So while Philadelphia as a whole is loyal to all of its teams, Philadelphia fans continually pledge allegiance to the green and white.
Class of 2012 Since 1883, the Philadelphia Phillies have been a staple of life in the Philadelphia area; they are the oldest, one-name, one-city franchise not just in baseball, but in all of Professional American sports. However, there are some who believe that the hearts of Delaware Valley residents truly lies with Philadelphia’s professional football team, the Eagles. This is not true. Philadelphia is a baseball city; the Phillies, not the Eagles, receive the majority of the city’s love and devotion. There are a couple of reasons
for this widespread support of the Phillies. The first and most obvious reason is their recent success. The Phillies have made the playoffs in each of the last five seasons, including a World Series championship in 2008. As senior Zach Kleiner notes, “Ever since the Phil-
lies won the World Series, Philadelphia has been a baseball city.” There is no reasonable argument against that statement; since 2009, the Phillies have sold out over 200 consecutive games. And while it is true that the Eagles have also sold out all of their home games during this time, it is much easier to sell out 8 games in an NFL season compared to 81 games in an MLB season. But is not merely their recent success that has warranted the support of this diehard fan base. Resilience has made Philadelphia a baseball city. As mentioned earlier, the Phillies have been around since 1883. However, they have not always experienced the success that they are having now. It was not until 1915 that the Phillies managed to make it to a World Series; from 1918 -1948, they only had ONE winning season; it took 97 years for the Phillies to win their first World Series Championship. But they are still here. Despite the great collapse of 1964, Black Friday, Joe Carter, and only two Championships in their 128-year history, they still entertain the loyal fans of the Delaware Valley. This, most importantly, is what makes Philadelphia a baseball city.
Art by Aviva Mann
October 19, 2011
The Merionite Sigmund Lilian
Golf team continues run of success with mental strength
Class of 2013 As the golf team entered their 2011 campaign in search of glory, their expectations were sky high. They had finished the previous season as one of the elite teams in the Central League, and were looking to continue their winning tradition. Due to this historical success and some very talented players, the team was again taking aim at the one of the top spots in the Central League. Unfortunately, the great LM soccer and basketball teams have frequently overshadowed their successes. Their fantastic play, however, is worthy of some respect. Before a critical tri-match between Penncrest and Radnor, I caught up with junior Jon Liu, a three-year member of the varsity golf team, to ask him a couple questions regarding the Aces. Jon first talked about the team’s coaches, Scott Seibert and Brian Feeney, stating, “the coaches are extremely dedicated to the team.” He definitely recognized their role in his success. Later, when I asked Coach Feeney about the team’s good results this season, his high level of involvement was apparent. Coach Feeney was very pleased with the team’s overall play. Though the team did have a couple disappointing losses, they did well to regroup and improve their play. Since golf is such a mental game,
Feeney prepares his team extensively for each match: ”I am constantly preaching about making the most of opportunities and minimizing the damage on any one hole.” This approach has been very effective, and helped each individual to stay consistent and even-keeled. One of these players, senior Matt Kocent, says, “One of my favorite lines I heard about golf was ‘keep your highs low, and your lows high.’ Basically by keeping a steady head and attitude it’s much easier to deal with the fluctuations of Photo courtesy of LM Golf success and failure Star senior Alex Liu competes. on the golf course and move on with your mistakes.” The mistakes for Kocent, though, have not been very numerous. He shot an impressive 72 on October 3, and qualified for the
recent district tournament. Kocent, who had previously played varsity soccer, decided to play golf last season. Now that he’s better acclimated to school golf, his confidence is very high, and one cannot underestimate the importance of maintaining self-belief. As Kocent himself says, “Golf is a game where mental strength is just as important as one’s actual talent.” Jon Liu, along with Kocent and his sister, senior Alex Liu, qualified for the recent district tournament. As colorful senior Danny Kane commented, “these people all made the tournament through excellent performances in the Central League tournament.” I asked Coach Feeney about these players, and he informed me that “Alex, Jon, and Matt, have been the most consistent over the course of the season.” Though these three players have been outstanding, the team as a whole has also had a solid year. They had a 9-4 overall record (8-3 Central League), and finished 4th in the league. As another quality year comes to its conclusion, one has to wonder whether the golf team’s success will ever be properly recognized. Kocent stated: “I do not think that golf gets enough respect at LM.” However, if golf continues to excel and implement their impressive mental toughness, respect will certainly come soon enough.
Girls Volleyball’s victories encouraging signs for the present and future Max Titlebaum and Blayne Yudis
Class of 2013
The Girls Varsity Volleyball squad is back in full force this season, and their intensity and improvement is palpable. “We are definitely improving from last year,” says junior Sophie Koorhan. Senior Jess Porter has lead the way thus far with 37 aces and 107 kills while junior Gabby O’Leary had gathered 234 digs and 157 receptions at press time for the continually improving Aces. The team has taken home a few sweet victories over opponents such as Conestoga and Upper Darby, but, as is characteristic of LM Athletics, no win was more significant than the triumph over rival Harriton. O’Leary topped the team with 12 kills in 20 attempts during that satisfying win. The girls have done a good job forgetting about some tough defeats, such as a recent 3-0 loss at Ridley.
Freshman Marcelo Pernot
Sports Played: Varisty soccer. Three people I’d like to have dinner with: Kanye West, Mila Kunis, and Angel Di Maria. Post high school plans: Go to college and definitely study something that has to do with sports, like sports management, sports medicine or business. Motivational Speech: Leave it all out on the field and have no regrets.
Instead, they are being positive, and gaining a significant amount of confidence from their successes. One of the most impressive wins they earned this year was a 3-2 victory over Conestoga on September 12t, when LM, behind Koorhan’s 21 assists and O’Leary’s 30 digs, squeezed out a nerve-wracking 15-13 win in the final game. “Conestoga and Upper Darby were big wins for Varsity,” Koorhan explains, “but with only four games left in the season, our goal next year is to make playoffs.” The girls will have to focus on working out their few kinks within the remaining games of this season in order to come back ready to make the playoffs next year. Yet this does not seem like such a hard task for a squad full of plenty of talent and chemistry. With upcoming stars such as sophomore Margot Weitz and freshman Olivia King, the playoffs should be within the varsity’s reach next season.
Sophomore Jordyn Ehrich
Sports Played: Varsity soccer and JV lacrosee. Three people I’d like to have dinner with: Taylor Laughtner, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Rob Dyrdek. Post high school plans: After college I want to be either a vet or a pediatrician. Motivational Speech: Tell them that they’ve got it and are better than the other team and just get them pumped... and then break out the pompoms.
Some of this fresh new talent was on display on the exciting day of Saturday, October 15. The girl’s volleyball team hosted their first-ever tournament in team history. LM hosted this tournament, which was held in the Kobe Bryant Gymnasium, for teams all across the region. In addition to the 10 high school volleyball teams present, raffle items, t-shirt sales, and food were also featured. Liv’s Locker, an initiative for kids in need, also was at the tournament collecting used volleyball equipment and clothes. As for the Aces, the team comprised 19 girls ranging from freshmen to seniors. Some other key contributors this season have included Grace DuFresne, Bonny Beckford, Mara Swift, Kayla Gaskin, and Carolyn Normile, but every member of the team supports each other. “The team is incredibly cohesive and spirited,” said varsity coach Dan Perri. They’ll be looking to translate that energy and ability in to an even better season next year.
Junior Ernest Pendleton
Sports Played: Varsity football. Three people I’d like to have dinner with: Deion Sanders, Anton Noverhends, and Jaquil Watson. Post high school plans: Hopefully playing football in college. Motivational Speech: Tell then to keep their heads up, and that we’re still in the game; just come out fast and strong.
Senior Elizabeth Hecht
Sports Played: Varsity tennis and varsity diving. Three people I’d like to have dinner with: Taylor Swift, Rafael Nadal, and Tom Felton. Post high school plans: After college, I want to be a doctor or vet, but definitely do surgery. Motivational Speech: Just cheer my teammates on because if you are playing a stressful match, it helps to boost your confidence.
October 19, 2011
Football Article Title Josh Niemtzow
Class of 2012
The LM offense, led by senior Quarterback Desmond Ellis, will look to put plenty of points on the board against Radnor.
Photo by Chris Conwell/Staff
Football looks to conclude improved season by beating Radnor Josh Niemtzow
Class of 2012
There is no LM event more heralded than the historic LM-Radnor football game. The multi-century rivalry brings excitement to the student body, even if the teams aren’t always on top of the Central League. What makes the rivalry all the more exciting is the nearly even distribution of wins between the two teams. LM is on top 55-48-11, and hoping to increase their overall advantage this year. Radnor won the last meeting, but LM believes they have a great chance this season. Senior Desmond Ellis said, “Last year we didn’t know what winning felt like and the joy we get from it. This year we already have two wins under our belt... we’re continuing to work hard and stay focused this season so we will be ready to pounce on the Raiders come November.” Ellis’ leadership, along with that of fellow captains seniors Mike Deuber and Troy Foote, will come in handy for this game. Deuber believes, “As captains, we must keep a positive attitude, lead by example, and remain confident in our team’s ability.” Though both LM and Radnor have occasionally struggled against top competition in the rigorous Central League, LM’s non-league wins have filled them with confidence. They hope to be flying high and prepared when the LM-Radnor game comes around on November 12, They’ll have to be prepared for anything. Last year, the heavily favored Radnor team came into the game boasting as complete a team as any they had in
recent years. They had three Central League wins at that point and the Bulldogs hadn’t sniffed one. Yet LM came out strong and shocked the crowd, as the halftime whistle sounded with LM up 21-0. Though LM ended up losing the game, it showed that anything can happen come November. For LM, the key to this year’s game will be stopping star running back Tajae Bryant, a task that won’t be easy. Bryant has been one of the few bright spots on a defeated Radnor team this year. Whenever they’ve needed a score, Bryant has rushed and caught his way into the end zone. So the question begs to be asked: How will LM stop him? That burden falls on the linebacker core of Deuber, junior Eli Zimmer, Foote, and senior C.J. Johnson. If Bryant gets through the linebackers, then he could present big problems for LM. Although the Radnor team relies mostly on its ground game through Bryant, LM cannot discount the Radnor passing attack, led by Mike Koerick and Tim Wilson. LM’s cornerbacks will be tested, and will have to be clutch in passing situations, like senior Max Golden was when he had “the time-expiring interception in the St. John Neumann game.” Golden’s pick capped off a dramatic 28-24 victory, after junior Ernest Pendleton scored the winning touchdown. As for what Pendleton thinks about LM’s chances in the Radnor Game, he commented, “I do think we will win but it will be a hard and tough game.” The game will likely heavily rely on Pendleton’s play. It’s no secret that LM’s offense revolves around the rushing attack, one that requires Pendleton to receive the
bulk of the carries. Radnor is surely aware of this, so the balance of attack is more important than ever. Ellis reclaims the helm at quarterback, after the loss of junior Anton Novehrends to injury. While Ellis adds the dual threat of the QB rush, the team will sorely miss Ellis’ abilities at wide receiver. At any rate, the goal remains to win the prized trophy, and deprive the Radnor students of the half-day they expect to have. Though the team as a whole badly wants to beat Radnor, each player has his own special incentive. Golden, on a lighter note, states “the fact that this game is on my birthday really gives me some extra drive to get the win.” Deuber said, “as a Senior, beating Radnor would be a great way to end my high school football career […] it would be great for the school to get a win on their home turf, and to settle the score from last year’s loss at home.” The Bulldogs coach, John Rothberg adds, “it has been our motivation all off-season to win that trophy back.” Editor’s prediction: The game will be hard fought as usual, and it will be relatively low scoring. Every touchdown will matter. An LM win depends on how well the Bulldogs limit Koerick, and how well they perform on special teams. On offense, LM will have to move the ball well and eat up clock. They must limit the mental mistakes that cause turnovers. This wouldn’t be an LM newspaper without a homer pick. We’re taking the Bulldogs, 17-13. LM will storm the field, and the players and fans will celebrate, as the Radnor faithful miserably dread the thought of going to school for a full day.
Girls’ Field Hockey enjoying wins: A Captain’s perspective
Class of 2012
“Captains ready?” I nod my head, pressing my stick against the ground. My toes curl around the black bits of turf residing within my sneakers: remnants of past games and practices, of diligence and disappointment. In the moment of eerie silence before the whistle sounds, I feel the expectations from my coach and my team, but mostly from myself, hanging in the air. I bounce slightly on the balls of my feet, anticipating the next sixty minutes. Though my limbs fill with energy, craving movement, I stand the obligatory seven yards away from Marple Newton’s forward line of players as the referee lifts the whistle to her
lips. Breathing through my neon blue mouth guard, I exhale all the clutter out of my mind, retaining only the image of the present field. I look around at my teammates preparing themselves: some jump up and down, dispelling the nerves from their bodies, while others quietly fixate on the orange orb at the centerfield mark. A minute earlier we were huddled together, listening to our coach and screaming a cheer. As always, we felt the frustration of the difficult season, along with the inescapable dissatisfaction with ourselves. All the running during preseason, all the bruises on our legs, and all the compliments from other coaches means nothing if we fail to win today, as we have for the past nine games. Now we each privately urge ourselves to play our best, hoping to walk off the turf in an hour without
any regrets. At last, the shrill whistle sounds and the ball comes to life. The first thirty minutes are a gritty struggle, with the scoreboard proclaiming 0-0 at halftime. We excitedly regroup, feeling in control of the game. Five minutes later we pour back onto the field, hungry for a goal and ready to make our coach proud. But we are blindsided when Marple Netwon scores, and, when they quickly score again, the game begins to feel all too familiar. With eleven minutes left on the clock, something snaps inside each of us. Sick of how our desire to win never translates onto victory on the field, we collectively agree to not give up. We move one step quicker, we dig a little deeper, and we play with aggression until the buzzer signals the end of the game. The score is tied at 2-2.
Our excitement is barely containable as the referee announces the rules of overtime. As elated as I am, I implore my team not to lose concentration. With only seven players on the field for the next fifteen minutes of sudden death, we must battle single-mindedly. Cheers from the sidelines fill the air, but the seven of us have never been more focused. We trap and pass ball after ball, keeping the action in Marple Newton’s circle as our entire team confronts their defense. The precious minutes slowly pass by, our determination battling against our exhaustion. Score, we whisper to ourselves. Score, we shout to each other. Score, our coach roars from the sideline. And when the clock reads 1:11, we do. Today, for the first time, we are more than just a team – we are winners.