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The Merionite June 5, 2012

Volume 83, Issue 9

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

Lawsuit reaches Supreme Court Bulldog dedicated Carter Rauch

Class of 2013

Over the past few years, LM has been involved in more than its fair share of lawsuits. While the infamous webcam lawsuits garnered an international spotlight, it is Students Doe v Lower Merion School District that has the potential to make more of an impact on the school district. The case was filed in May 2009, in response to the school board’s controversial 2009 redistricting plan. That plan, according to the plaintiffs, illegally used race (in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment) as a factor in sending a large group of South Ardmore students to Harriton High School, despite their ability to walk to LM. Now, after two controversial decisions by federal district and appellate courts, the case has the potential to reach the U.S. Supreme Court. The case was first heard in the U.S. District Court in April 2010. The school district claimed that all redistricting decisions were made with respect to geography and other factors and that race was only considered to prevent isolation. This case was “novel,” because a neighborhood, rather than one or more particular individuals, was targeted, meaning that each high school student residing in South Ar-

dmore was sent to Harriton regardless of his or her race. Contradicting the precedent of Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, a Supreme Court case prohibiting the assignment of specific minority children to schools to encourage racial integration, District Court Judge Michael Baylson ruled that Lower Merion’s redistricting decision was, in fact, constitutional. Unsatisfied with the decision, the plaintiffs appealed to higher court. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals, the secondhighest level of federal court, heard the appeal. The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) filed an Amicus Curiae (“Friend of the Court”) brief in favor of the school district, supporting the goals of redistricting. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund claimed that the plaintiffs’ case would undermine the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision by opposing the goal of racial integration. Supporters of the Students Doe plaintiffs argued that the NAACP ignored the fact that the redistricting plan assigned students to schools on the basis of race. Even if the district were encouraging diversity, the plaintiff claimed, the policy was discriminatory. Like the District Court, the Third Circuit ruled in favor of the district, in December of 2011, suggesting that the District “used pristine, non-discriminatory goals as

See COURT, page 2

General Becton visits LM

in courtyard

Galen McMullen

Class of 2014 With the semester closing and finals nearing, we are yet again surrounded by endings. This year, LM is also grateful to welcome new beginnings. Thanks to artist Leo Sewell, LM was granted a handmade sculpture, the newest addition to our school. Representing our spirited mascot, a bulldog statue now stands proudly in the courtyard, surrounded by windows for all to enjoy. Familiarized with Harriton’s similar apple sculpture, both ideas, an apple and a bulldog, were suggested and approved by the Lower Merion Harriton High School (LMHHS) Alumni Association. The two designs originated after long discussions within the Association, and later were brought to action once the alumnus selected the artist Leo Sewell. Growing up near a dump, Sewell was prone to playing with junk—in fact he’s been doing so for fifty years now. Using recognizable objects of metal, wood, and plastic, Sewell has developed his own assemblage technique. He tends to choose materials based on shape, texture, durability, and patina. Like our bulldog, his outdoor sculptures are constructed of found objects that are welded together. Size

Noah Blodget

‘Jr.’ after my name even though Dad died more Class of 2014 than 40 years ago.” His biggest focus however, It is not often that a retired three-star general w a s t h e i m p o r t a n c e o f e d u c a t i o n . H e s t a t e d , walks the halls of your school, and it is even “With a good education, you are able to unlock more unusual when that general calls your school t h e d o o r s t o y o u r g o a l . E d u c a t i o n s e r v e s a s his home. On the platform to M o n d a y, M a y your desires in 21, Lieutenant life.” EducaGeneral Julius tion has played Wesley Becton a major role in Jr. walked into Lt. Gen. BecLM, 68 years t o n ’s l i f e , a s after he graduhe graduated ated. During a from Prairie day filled with View A&M numerous fesU n i v e r s i t y, tivities, the where he later stoic 86 year served as presold spoke about ident, and has the foundasince earned tions set in his h i s m a s t e r ’s youth, the racdegree and an ism he faced in honorary Ph. Photo by Doug Cotler the military, and the im- D from MuhlenGeneral Becton (to left) visits the new bulldog portance of integrity and berg University. loyalty. In an interview He stressed the in the courtyard. conducted by English teacher, Dr. Debra Hobbs importance of truly applying yourself, as LM is and junior Josh Harper, Lt. Gen. Becton began one of the strongest programs nationwide. by discussing his early youth, growing up in As the interview progressed, the focus shifted an apartment in Bryn Mawr. He highlighted his m o r e t o w a r d s t h e g e n e r a l ’s v a l i a n t m i l i t a r y experience as a football player for LM as one of career and the challenges he faced, such as segthe most influential periods in his life. He also regated ranks and Vietnamese guerrilla warfare. discussed the importance of a strong family unit He commented often on the importance of integand good education. When asked about those rity. He stated, “Integrity is non-negotiable. A who served as his mentors, he responded, “I man is judged by his integrity.” In addition, he must always include my father, Julius W. Becton noted that loyalty is just as important. “Loyalty Sr. His influence is the reason I continue to use is a two way street. It should go up as well as

See GENERAL, page 2

Photo by Efi Narliotis/Staff

Sewell’s bulldog construction incorporates recognizable junkyard finds. isn’t the issue with Leo Sewell, whose pieces range from a life size housecat to a 40-foot installation. His work can be found throughout Philadelphia, including nearby facilities like the Please Touch Museum. Many responses regarding Sewell’s bestowal support the investment. Sophomore Arman Hassan believes the sculpture “adds a bit more character to the building, and tradition with the bulldog will evolve over the years to come.” Staff and students are not only excited by the statue’s appearance, but show enthusiasm regarding its significance to the school. Principal Sean Hughes reflects on LM’s new addition through recognition, “The LM/Harriton High School Alumni Association has been instrumental in celebrating not only our storied past but also our exciting future through a bevy of celebrations such

See BULLDOG, page 2


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June 5, 2012

The Merionite

Supreme Court may hear LM case From COURT, page 1 the focal points of its redistricting plan.” While the “Opinion of the Court” did acknowledge that race was a factor in the district’s redistricting decision, the court concluded that race was not used impermissibly in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. It seemed that the redistricting conflict was finally over, but the district was not so lucky. Earlier this year, the Students Doe petitioned for a “writ of certiorari,” essentially requesting the Supreme Court to hear their case. This does not mean that the nation’s highest court will hear the case. In fact, a vast majority of cases for which Supreme Court review is sought never reach the Supreme Court docket. Only a fraction of the cases that are sufficiently controversial, often a result of conflicting decisions by lower courts, are accepted for review. The school district, opposing Students Doe’s petition for certiorari, claims that the consensus of the lower courts, as well as past court decisions, have settled the matter, and that review is neither necessary nor appropriate in this case. There may be sufficient conflict, however, to draw

the Supreme Court to this case. According to the lawyer for the plaintiffs, David Arnold, “this case presents an opportunity for the Supreme Court to straighten out what school districts are allowed to do and as a result I think it’s a very timely case.” He may be right, as it is arguable whether the decisions of both the District and Circuit Courts conflict or harmonize with the Supreme Court’s 2007 decision in Parents Involved. Given the current composition of the Supreme Court, certain justices may want to consider Students Doe to provide school districts with greater leeway to consider race as a factor in redistricting decisions, while other justices may want to use Students Doe to prohibit this practice entirely. This will hinge on each justice’s view of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The most likely outcome of this legal mess is that the Supreme Court will decline to take the case, the Third Circuit’s decision will stand, and the case will end, once and for all. For now, at least, the final outcome of the case is far from certain.

General Becton talks to LM students From GENERAL, page 1

down.” Although Lt. Gen. Becton is a very humble man, it was impossible to look past his many military awards. He has earned the Knight Commander ’s Cross of the Order of Merit of Germany, the Distinguished Service Medal, two Silver Stars, two Legion of Merit medals, and two Purple Hearts. Although he did not mention these awards during the interview, when asked, he did comment that these awards serve as a daily reminder of the rewards of perseverance, loyalty, and integrity. Moving forward, Lt. Gen. Becton continued his theme of loyalty and integrity when addressing his career in the government. After retiring from the army, Becton worked for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and in 1985, he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan as the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). He then turned to education, becoming the president of Prairie

the 100th anniversary of LM’s first graduating class, the ground breaking and corner stone ceremonies, as well as the dedication ceremony of the new building. Their tradition of service continues and we are grateful as we accept this beautiful bulldog statue, which will forever grace this courtyard where you all now sit.” Current students are thankful to have alumns who continue to show gratitude towards LMSD’s high schools. Even if spirit and tradition are overlooked through the viewer, students can still appreciate our newest addition, junior Julien Dauophars simply states, “It’s really cool!” However, with praise comes complaint. Although most critics prefer to remain anonymous, there is some criticism floating through the halls of LM. Junior Audrey Mills points out that she “likes the idea of it, but because everyone’s always locked out of the courtyard no one can ever enjoy it.” Other judgments conclude

NEWS IN BRIEF Run for our Schools

The 4th annual Run for Our Schools, hosted by the Education Foundation of LM, will be held Saturday, June 10, at 9:00 A.M. The run will start at the Harriton High School track, at 600 North Ithan Avenue in Rosemont. There will be a 5K run, a 1.5 mile fun walk, and a track trot to reach all types of active supporters of the school district. Besides overall and age group prizes for individual runners, LM can win two prizes: the Foundation Cup and the School Trophy. The Foundation Cup goes to the LMSD school with the highest percentage of overall participants and the School Trophy goes to the school with the top five runners. Interested runners (or walkers!) can register online at www.educationfoundationoflm.org with their school.

—Maddy McFarland, ‘14

Summer construction at LM View A&M University and eventually, the superintendent of public schools in the District of Columbia. In 1998, he retired from his post as superintendent. He now resides in Virginia with his lovely wife of 61 years. He has five children: four daughters and one son. Three of his children have served our country and his eldest daughter is married to a retired Lieutenant Colonel. He continues to speak to young adults about the values of education. Instead of a dry, withered, old man with a cliché attitude, Lt. Gen. Becton presented himself as a strong man and peaceful orator, with the ability to draw in the audience and evoke laughter from everyone. Dr. Debra Hobbs stated the following, “I feel [General Becton] is an American hero, and a source of inspiration, for generations of the past, present and the future. He provides a very strong foundation in the educational journey. Education was clearly the key for success in his life, both professionally and personally.”

Bulldog statue new to courtyard

From BULLDOG, page 1

NEWS

that the money should’ve been used for other necessities of greater importance. Additionally, some staff and students have disliked the idea and appearance. In fact, these same viewers believe the statue at most takes up space. Student artists argue that the composition is weak and the assemblage is lacking. Others claim to be inspired by the work and are excited that LM has introduced professional art into its boundaries. Art teacher Russell Loue shared his views regarding the matter: “I will never be opposed to the purchase of art to beautify public space. I wish there would be more of that. But I do wonder what our students could have done with that type of assignment. Frankly, I think we could have come up with something even grander, and more connected to LM. I do appreciate the districts commitment to the arts and welcome the Dog to the art collection here at LM.” Whether standpoints are found to be positive or negative, the statue is here to stay. We welcome the addition kindly as our courtyard is embellished with our school mascot. Sewell managed to both represent and incorporate LM’s tradition and spirit. Again, the bulldog sculpture can be found in the courtyard, closest to the windows lining the counseling offices. A final word from Hughes was, “Our new building is truly amazing and now, our school mascot will serve as a visual reminder to us all of the cherished legacy of the LM experience—one that started over a hundred years ago and one that will continue for years to come.”

As the school year comes to a close, summer construction at LM begins. According to the administration, all construction on campus has been finished, with the exception of Arnold Field. The renovation of the playing fields, which were previously paved over to serve as a temporary parking lot, began last month. The remaining construction for Arnold Field includes installing an irrigation system, replanting grass, and laying down topsoil. While the field is scheduled to be finished by the end of June this year, the field will be given two off-seasons to allow grass to grow. With the two off-seasons taken into account, Arnold Field will not officially open until the fall of 2013.

—Ma’ayan Doron ‘14

United Way aids LM community The United Way campaign was brought to LMSD in March by LM school and community relations director Doug Young to better the local community. All the employees of LMSD came together to raise money, finally raising $8,000, only $2,000 less than the goal. Still, this was a huge increase from the amount raised last year. Spanish teacher Dan Capkin, who helped Young spearhead the campaign, said, “It is a great way to give back to the community and I think we did a good job of spreading the word, and hopefully we can keep getting more people involved each year!”

—Julia Resnik, ‘14

Battle melanoma with basketball In memory of her husband, Andrew Fox, LM Work Experience teacher Bonnie Fox encourages all to join the 3rd Annual Fox’s Fight 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament and Family Fun Day on Sunday, June 10th. Basketball, running, walking, food, music, and other activities for the entire family will begin at 10:00 A.M. at Harriton High School. Additionally, a dermatologist will be on site to answer questions and provide information. Andrew Fox passed away at age 43 in 2007 after battling melanoma—his wish was to bring awareness to the disease, and raise funds to research and find a cure. Since the Andrew J. Fox Melanoma Research and Patient Care Fund at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania was founded, it has raised over $300,000. Help make this event a success and contact Bonnie Fox at foxb@lmsd.org for further information.

—Aviva Mann & Rebecca McCarthy, ‘14


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June 5, 2012

The Merionite

Question of the Month

OPINIONS

If you could ask a senior any question, what would it be?

Last month, the Op-Ed section asked all Lower Merion students, “if you could ask a senior any question what would it be?” We polled Seniors with the questions asked. Check out what these wise LM graduates had to say.

What was the most important event in the news during your high school years? What about it was significant to you?

Obama’s election. It was on my birthday, and it was the first time I was truly politically active and knowledgable about what was going on. It defined my involvement in democratic and liberal organizations. Eliana Yankelev

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Phillies winning the WORLD SERIES! So much Phillies love! Ashley Reusora

” Where do you see yourself in ten years?

The Arab Spring revolutions because they showed that a small group of young people can really make a difference in their lives. Adam Beardsley

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Owning a bookshop in Narberth. Avi Molder

Being an entrepeneur...having my own business and trying not to lose. Maclyn Bean With a wife and a good job planning to/starting a family. Austin Levitt

Oh boy. Well, I would get rid of the No Child Left Behind Act and state testing, raise the salaries of teachers, cut down the military funding and give the money to schools, make sure that arts are taught and never cut, and ensure that schools across the nation have an equal quality of teaching so students have an equal chance to do well. Afnan Blankinship

Either doing physics research, or teaching high school physics (preferably at LM). Andrew Fritz-Lang I see myself working either on Wall Street or in a homicide unit. Drew Horn

This is basically what I’m doing for my senior project. We can improve the technology integration at LM and Harriton significantly, especially with the one-to-one initiative. The problem is, teachers are lost because they don’t know exactly how they can leverage technology in a natural and effective way for learning. However, this isn’t the teachers’ faults, they really need a solid foundation of Professional Development that they don’t seem to be getting anymore. LM should be embracing Challenge Based Learning – it enriches the traditional curriculum by also teaching practical skills, like problem-solving, collaboration, and creativity, not to mention it makes incredible use of the technology we already have. Daniel Friedman

1. Minor, but I’d say kids playing sports don’t take gym classes. 2. I would put more of a focus on giving a class that teaches general important life skills that are important to growing teenagers. Maybe learning how to understand your taxes or deal with banks, or fix you car. 3. Any actual educational system remodeling is too complex to put here. Jack Holmes

In ten years I see myself a surgical resident. I have always been interested in medicine ever since I was little, and for my senior project I shadowed a colorectal surgeon and it completely reinforced my interest - instead of my interest just being talk (since I had no OR experience), I absolutely know that is how I want to spend the rest of my life. Elizabeth Hecht

“ ” “ “ ” “

How would you remodel education?

Art by Aviva Mann/ Staff

I would get rid of summer vaction and span out that vacation time throughout the year; maybe taking two to three week breaks multiple times throughout the year. Julia Morrison

Duranya Freeman How many times have you heard the words “you go to school to learn?” Unquestionably, academic success is something to celebrate. Yet the amount of emphasis placed on the grand title of Lower Merion Valedictorian, is incredible. It represents, in simple terms, the best of the best, top of the class, cream of the crop. According to guidance counselor Marsha Rosen, the selection process is “pretty cut and dry.” The exact process includes having a 5.0 GPA at the end of junior year and having A’s in all classes for the first

three quarters of senior year. As there are usually a few students that fulfill these requirements, there are a few “tiebreaker” guidelines, such as total credits acquired and the number of AP/Honors courses completed. Yet should the position be based more on citizenship and personality? According to Rosen, the answer is no. “This is an academic honor. We have other awards at the ceremony that have to do with citizenship and such. There is also a class graduation speech that seniors apply for and can present as well.” Still, the biggest honor is given to the one who has performed best in the classroom. There is a huge push to be well-rounded, but the demanding milestones required to achieve this trophy ask students’ primary focus to be on the books. Shouldn’t there be a similar

Art by Efi Narliotis/Staff

Class of 2014

Revamping what it means to be Valedictorian honor for athletics? Art? Music? Of course the purpose of high school is to succeed academically — or does it? And why is this the pinnacle chosen? It is an utterly exhausting

race to earn the title, and many students race through their high school years striving for perfection to achieve it. Instead of making valedictorian such a huge deal, LM, and educational institutions in general, should place greater weight on the graduating speaker. In order to avoid a popularity contest, the student should be selected by teachers, counselors, even the principal. People who can recognize academic achievements but also place value on other area Vale, in Latin, means “farewell.” Dicere means “to speak.” However, many times a graduating speaker might be the quietest one in the class. The valedictorian should not be one who has slaved for months over their grades, but a kid who has taken from LM all it has to offer in a variety of fields, and given an equal amount back. Enjoying LM in it’s entirety is the message that seniors should hear as they listen to their final farewell speech.


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June 5th, 2012

FEATURES

The Merionite

Build n: Trek

The Trekkies recently came back from their two-week trip to Haiti. Their fundraising efforts have been covered in the Merionite regularly this year. The LM community is proud of all they have done for the people of Haiti so far.

Q: What was the most memorable moment of the Haiti Trek for you? A: The most memorable moments for me were my times spent at night with my host family and friends. During these times, i would talk with the Haitians for hours on end with my limited knowledge of Creole and their limited knowledge of English. Our communication was a challenge, but through many body and hand motions, laughs, and trials and failures, ideas were passed and conversations were had. This form of communication was completely new to me and was an unbelievable challenge. -Julia Kramer-Golinkoff, ‘13 A: One night, I was playing with the Haitian kids that lived around my house, and I told one of the girls to draw a picture in my notebook. She drew a picture of a person. I then asked her to write her name, and she just scribbled on the page. This girl was 12 years old and didn’t even know how to spell her name. I spent the next 40 minutes teaching her and now she knows how to write Sandrine. -Benji Pollack, ‘14 A: The most memorable moment was probably when we were saying goodbye to the village. The whole community had come to see us off and there was so much emotion between all of us. -Nancy Wu, ‘14

by Julia Kramer-Golinkoff ’13

6:15 A.M. – Alarm clock goes off 7:00 A.M. – Pasta breakfast with the other trekkies, Mr. Reed, Dr.

7:00 P.M. – Talking, dancing, and singing with the villagers. 11:30 P.M. – Bedtime!

School and Community Relations to hear about their Trek experiences working alongside the eighteen Lower Merion BuildOn students in Haiti. “I feel really really fortunate that I was asked to be a part of the trip because without the work that those kids and Tom Reed did over the course of the year, I wouldn’t have had that opportunity. They really made it happen and I owe a debt of gratitude to BuildOn and to the students for enabling me to have this kind of an experience.” - Mr. Doug Young “[The trekkies] embraced the culture shock tremendously, I know there are great students across the world, and I know I’m being biased when I say this, but I don’t know of another group of kids that could do the same work. And I say that with a caveat that, the BuildOn directors told me that in the 20 years they have been doing this, helping build schools, this by far was the best group of students they have ever had. For a myriad of reasons. First, because of the amount of money we raised in a short amount of time. Second, the fact that students quickly assimilated to culture without the traditional “Why am I here?” “I want to go home” which happens in some of these trips. Which is to be expected considering it is such a culture shock, but it didn’t happen here. Third, no other group learned the native language as quickly as our students did. And as a fluent speaker of Creole, I was shocked

after 4 days that our students were speaking in complete sentences, not broken words. The community was extremely shocked and even more welcoming when they saw that these 18 students desperately wanted to learn their language, and that in every moment they got, they were trying to speak it.” - Dr. Wagner Marseille

BuildOn students and local villagers engage in a bonding moment.

Q: What have you learned about yourself through this experience? A: Before Trek I was a very quiet person that usually would just stand off to the side of things and watch but that all changed in Haiti. Within the first few days we all got out of our little shells and really got to see our true selves. For me I realized I was actually pretty outgoing and not as shy as I thought. I enjoyed living in the moment and being made to sing and dance for the neighborhood kids. Trek really makes you realize what kind of person you really are. -Jamie McGee, ‘15 A: This trip has put a lot in perspective for me. I have learned that I am more flexible than I realized, that when motivated by others I can shovel lots of dirt, and that language barriers aren’t so hard to break down with a little bit of effort. I’ve also learned to appreciate all that we have here in Lower Merion. The biggest take away I have from the trip is that as students we need to value our education and not take a second of it for granted. We all get caught up in the little annoyances and politics of high school but I’ve learned that a high school education isn’t guaranteed in much of the world and I believe that we should all appreciate the amazing one we are offered. -Efi Narliotis, ‘13

A Typical Work Day in Ayiti

Marseille, and Doug Young. 8:00 A.M. – On the work site for a rotation of shoveling, rock carrying, and cement making with half of the trekkies and along side some Haitian community members, both adults and children. 12:00 P.M. – Lunchtime; dire ak pwa (rice and beans), and freshly picked mangos! 1:00 P.M. – A brief chat circle, discussing our day’s experiences and how we are adjusting to the Haitian culture. 2:00 P.M. – Cultural workshop. We would visit a voodoo priest, hear stories from survivors of the earthquake, and learn how to farm, or even make bread! 4:00 P.M. – Pumping and purifying water to eliminate the possibility of becoming sick by bacteria that may exist in the water. 5:00 P.M. – Dinner time! Labouyi Bannann or, in other words, mush made by our amazing Haitian cook, Anna, who made every meal for us. 6:30 P.M. – Time to go back to our host family’s house! 6:50 P.M. – A much needed shower (using a bucket of water and dumping it on our head) in our backyard, under the stars!

Thoughts from two LMSD Administrators The Features editors recently sat down with Lower Merion Administrators Dr. Wagner Marseille, Director of Secondary Education, and Mr. Doug Young, Director of

Q: What do you feel you accomplished in Haiti? A: The process is not over yet but we are helping the village of Taverne provide a better education for the children of the village. During the two weeks we also helped break some of the stereotypes that other cultures have of Americans along with the stereotypes that we, as Americans, once had about Haiti and the culture. -Sara Kramer, ‘13 A: As a team, we funded and laid the groundwork for a primary school and, as a result, provided better access to education for the village of Taverne. On a personal level, I felt that through immersion in village culture and language I was able to experience and gain an appreciation for the hardships that my host family and others face day to day. The cultural exchange achieved by both sides promoted an understanding of the universal importance of education and helped to inspire us to get a lot of work done on the worksite. -Adam Cohen-Nowak, ‘12

in H a it i? be done o t mas d e s il y s u m il l n e t a s e t a to h y a w i. A n Q: W r e a ll y n o b e d o n e in Ha it is e r e h to s p e cA: T l needs n in p e r il t io s t t a a u h it s he r iv in g r iz e w d in g . D at puts t h il t u b le l p a la r g e a p it exam ssed the be the c a p ld e u o w w e c a p iin c t iv e r t-A u - P r e r v e d a s Ha it i’s o P h g u ts n d io s e t h ro d in g t h a once gra has il e u h b t f e o it wh id d le lf . I t w h o le m p le d in o n it s s e c e t h e t a l. T h e m u s y e a r s in was cr b u il d in g s t t w o a n d a h a lf s n ’t fi x e d t h e o ha b e e n a lm e a n d Ha it i s t il l k t h e b u il d in g k a t h in h o le earthqu cheesy I e b o u n t r y ’s w T o c . g e h in t d il e d a lo t bu o r to o m p li s h metaph c d c o a o e g w a but as is hat w e b u il t, lo n g I t h in k t l . o n o h io t c a s s it u the ver y t r ip a n d it i h a s a w it h o u r e c o u n t r y o f Ha le stab . , th fo r e it is e a w h o le b o g w a y to li o t is - E fi Na r

Photos by Skyler Badenoch

NOTE FROM MR. REED Trek was a life-changing experience for all involved. In my many years of teaching, I have never bonded so closely with or had more respect for a group of students as I have for the Trek team. Th e challenges faced and overcome were eno rmous. From working with pickaxes and shovels on the worksite in the blistering sun, to overcoming language barriers wh ile living with host families, Trek members never complained and made it look easy. There was great respect and love shared between our Trekkies and the people of Taverne. This was evident at the closing ceremonies where many a tear was shed. I can’t exp lain in words how proud I am of the 18 youn g me and women who sacrificed seven mo n nths of their lives to raise the $70,000 nee ded finance the construction of the school to , and then actually travel over 1,500 mi les to build it. Due to their efforts, over 20 0 children of Taverne, Haiti will be receiv ing the education they deserve and the ma ny future opportunities that come along wit h it.

The Merionite Editors-in-Chief

Aviva Mann,’13 Rebecca McCarthy, ’13

Managing Editor

Margaret Meehan,’13

Content Manager

Noah Levick, ’13

News Editors

Op-Ed Editors

Features Editors

Sports Editors

Ma’ayan Doron,’14 Maddy McFarland, ’14 Haorui Sun, ’14 Itai Barsade, ’13 Duranya Freeman, ’14 Andy Scolnic,’14 Ilana Nathans, ’14 Nicole Wang, ’13 Robbie Warshaw, ’14 James Johnston, ’13 Sigmund Lilian, ’13 Blayne Yudis, ’13

Arts & Kara Boutselis, ’13 Entertainment Moriah Kofsky, ’14 Editors Copy Editors Darby Marx, ’13 Jane Urheim, ’13 Photo Editor Efi Narliotis, ’13 Layout Editor Robert Zhou, ’13 Web Editor Kei Nakagawa, ’13 Business Haydn Hornstein-Platt, ’13 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 merionite@gmail.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.


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June 5, 2012

The Merionite

A&E Staff

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

A year in review: A&E style

Class of ‘13/’14 Greetings from your new A&E editors Moriah and Kara! We’re elated to have been given this position and cannot wait to manage the section ourselves. Margaret, Aviva, and Robert did a great job running A&E this past year and we hope to follow in their footsteps. As the 2011-2012 school year draws to a close, we wanted to take some time to reflect on the music, movies, fashion trends, food, and pop culture that gained popularity over the last year. We compiled a list of which fads lost momentum, and what took their place. In summation, the list both represents the past year, and the new one to come. IN: Haiti iPhones Dip Dye Toms Netflix

OUT: Kony Blackberries Hair Feathers High Tops Hulu

IN: Instagram Hunger Games Silent Films Temple Run Colored Jeans

OUT: Mupload Twilight 3D Angry Birds Flare Jeans

Passing the torch: a junior’s guide to summer reading

Haydn Hornstein-Platt

Class of 2013

It’s no secret that junior year is one of the toughest times in a student’s life. As my days of being a stressed out junior draw to a close, I would like to take a few moments to enlighten the current sophomores on their first task of junior year, summer reading. Summer reading can at times can get in the way of reading those silly non-educational books that loom over our heads for the bulk of the school year; however, I have concluded that the literature chosen by the English department is not so bad after all. In fact, some of the books have made a lasting impression on my life. I’ve compiled a small guide filled with descriptions and comments by current students of all of the required reading for rising juniors to help you get started this summer. 11th Grade Honors and CP Nickel And Dimed Barbara Ehrenrieich’s look at the unfair and unrealistic minimum wage in America takes her from Florida to Minnesota. She takes on minimum-wage jobs such as a maid, a WalMart employee, and a waitress. Many believe that the journalistic intensions are largely lost and taken over by personal complaints and that her feelings of extreme exhaustion and at times hopelessness during her exploration express the emotions felt by minimum-wage workers all over the country. Can a woman live on a minimum-wage salary and support herself? Thumbs Up: Darby Marx Mandatory for all honors and college prep students The Tortilla Curtain The Tortilla Curtain examines the collision of two cultural backgrounds in Los Angeles:

illegal Mexican immigrants and middle-class gated community types. The book was written in 1995, but is still largely relevant today due to the constant disputes about the border and immigration. After the two cultures cross paths, the lives of both are affected negatively and essentially spiral out of control. The Tortilla Curtain takes a profound look at upper and middle-class ignorance. Thumbs Up: Jared Oriel Mandatory for all honors students AP Language and Composition If enrolled in AP Language and Composition for junior year, you will have a bit more flexibility in choosing your books. Although all students are required to read Jonathon Kozol’s Savage Inequalities, there are five different options for the second book.

Savage Inequalities I personally feel that Savage Inequalities is the most important thing that I’ve read so far in my lifetime, with the exception of perhaps “Letter From Birmingham Jail.” Honestly, both Honors and College Prep English 3 students should dedicate some time to reading this book as well. At times, you might find yourself overwhelmed or bored by the repetitive style of Kozol, but upon closing the book you will retain all of the frightening details of the crumbling educational system within the United States. This book will not only add to your knowledge about education in our country, but it’ll help you out a great deal while thinking of examples when you get to argument prompts fourth quarter. Thumbs Up: Andrew Pasquier Mandatory for all AP Language students Outliers

Malcolm Gladwell books have a way of grasping your attention early on and asking intriguing questions. Outliers would be a good complement to Savage Inequalities. Kozol does a great job of asking questions, but he leaves a lot unanswered. Gladwell answers his own questions, which may counter the feeling of hopelessness that you will inevitably encounter while reading Savage Inequalities. For example, is there a formula for success? Yes. Junior Josh Handleman says: “It kept me interested the entire time.” Thumbs Up: Colby Berman, Audrey Mills The Cheating Culture The Cheating Culture examines how America’s culture is leaning towards unethical societal norms. The book discusses the economic climate as well as the unforeseen results of economic inequalities. Junior Carter Rauch explains the book: “Basically, it was talking about how cheating on things like taxes, tests, and sports have actually become expected, rather than condemned.” Thumbs Up: Nicole Wang The Overachievers: Secret Lives of Driven Kids The Overachievers, written by Alexandra Robbins, journalistically tackles the opposite end of the educational failures as Savage Inequalities. Robbins follows several high school students and exposes terrible issues with the competitive culture thriving in our high schools. Overachieving students must climb ladders, and score well on meaningless tests. Often, this does not lead to happiness or real success. The book explores the college-admission pro-

cess, and even the kindergarten-admission process as well as the lapses in logic or truth that lie within the current competitive system. The Ghost Map The Ghost Map examines the London cholera outbreak in 1854. Not only does the book trace the source of the disease back to the original point of contamination, it also takes a look at the implications on science, city planning, and health in the modern world. Junior Robin Weiner says that “The Ghost Map was a fantastic book, it was very informative and read like a murder mystery.” Stiff Stiff is the quirky, comical sister of the AP Language summer reading options. Junior Alexander Hatza loved it, claiming that “it was about the daily lives of cadavers. It was hilarious. It followed them from medical school, to crash test centers, to army test centers, to the cremation station. Then it talked about uses of the human body in past cultures.” Luckily, you don’t need to have any prior knowledge going into the book, and whether or not you’re interested in dead bodies, you’re going to learn an awful lot about them. Thumbs Up: Sara Cheloha and Hejin BurisLee

The art of planning the perfect summer barbeque

N.Agoos/A. Schuster

Class of 2013

Summer is around the corner, and for teens that means pool parties, camp outs, road trips, and soaking in the sun. But we mustn’t forget one of the most important aspects of summer; the old-fashioned barbeque. If you are thinking that hosting a barbeque sounds too ambitious, don’t fret; with our tips, it can be simple and enjoyable. Here is a five-step guide to the ultimate summer barbeque. First, make sure you have all of the following supplies: -Plenty of protein (ribs, hamburgers, bratwurst, hot dogs, etc.) -Veggie burgers, fish and tofu (It is important to take the dietary restrictions of your guests into account.) -A grill (and coals for those non-gas grills). -Buns (potato buns with sesame seeds are our favorite). -Various vegetables (we suggest corn, zucchini, onions, and plantains). -Tiki torches (to create a luminous summer). -All the necessary condiments and dressings (mayo, lettuce, tomato, relish, mustard, ketchup, and pickles). -The classic game corn hole for entertainment. -A boom box (the A&E summer playlist will add to the ex-

perience). Next, you need to spread the word about this BBQ so you’re not left alone to eat all that meat. Facebook is a good resource for this, but if you want to make it more personal, handcrafted invites or evites are also acceptable. After that, take time to prepare the food, and marinades. Marinades are essential, especially for things like ribs and fish. While the meat is marinating, start chopping the veggies and salad mix-ins to add a fresh taste to your meal. The fourth step is to start grilling. You’ll need to make sure the coals are piping hot and the meat is finished marinating. Make sure you’re wearing a cute apron; grilling can get messy. And most importantly, make sure all the meat and fish are fully cooked—you don’t want to poison your guests. The fifth and final step is to light the tiki torches, pump up the music, and set up a summery table setting (flowers and bright colors are always nice). TIPS: * Make sure to keep raw meat separate from everything else. * Make sure to keep citronella candles lit to repel those pesky mosquitos. * Barbeques aren’t all about meat; side dishes like a fresh potato

salad or coleslaw make traditional additions to the meal. * Right before the meat is done grilling, put the buns on the grill for a few seconds for a light toast. Good luck kicking off your summer with the perfect BBQ!

Art by Natalie Agoos Just your typical backyard barbeque ingredients.


7

June 5, 2012

SPORTS

The Merionite

Frisbee reaches for Ultimate goal capping a great season

Max Titlebaum

Class of 2013

The boys’ and girls’ Ultimate Frisbee season has come to an end, and both teams experienced tremendous success. The boys’ team managed to take second place in the state, an unbelievable accomplishment. The girls’ team also had a very strong year with a final ranking of fourth in the state. Both squads worked hard and in the end have the rankings to show for it. The girls’ team, also known as the “Lady Babaganouj,” performed well in the state championship playoffs. On the first day, the girls managed to sweep their opponents and go home with three solid wins. The next day the team was not as lucky, losing a devastating 8-6 game to rival Radnor. Yet their performance overall landed the girls the fourth ranking in the state. Although there is room for improvement in the upcoming season, the team managed to get invited to the Amherst and the Northeastern tournaments this past season, which are two of the most prestigious tournaments in the nation. Although they are technically a club team, every girl dedicated an immense amount of time to the sport this year, playing with

Photo courtesy of Sam Jennings

LM Boys Ultimate posing with their trophy from States.

a serious and competitive attitude. Moving forward, the girls are hoping that young, promising players such as Marissa Shander and Colette Clark will step up. Overall, it was an excellent season for the Lady Babaganouj; Captain Jenna Perna-Elias went on to say, “I feel like everyone grew so much this season. We’re just a really strong team!” The girls only plan on getting better and proving to the naysayers that Ultimate Frisbee is as serious as any other varsity sport. The boys’ team had an incredible season. Not only were they ranked second in the state; they were ranked forty-eight in the nation. Their state ranking is the highest achieved in the history of boys’ Ultimate for LM. On the first day of the state championships, the boys dominated with three commanding wins over Downingtown East, Pine Richland, and Franklin Regional. On the second day, they showed even more dominance by beating Methacton 15-7 and destroying league rival Radnor 15-1. Unfortunately the boys lost a nail-biter to Fox Chapel, a team currently ranked seventh in the nation. Although separated by forty rankings in the country, the boys team only lost 14-12, showing effort and unbelievable heart. The boys showed much improvement from last year and even managed to get a bid for the Northeastern tournament next season, which they failed to do last season. Although they will be losing senior captain Nico Lake, they will look to sophomore captain Leo Galbraith-Paul to lead the team. Galbraith-Paul explained;“The team has become much more serious over these last couple of years while still preserving our excellent chemistry and spectacular work ethic.” Although there are minor things the boys will be working on next year, such as zone defense and perfecting their strokes on offense, winning the state championship is their number one priority. The boys definitely have the skill and heart to accomplish such a task and are going to keep fighting to make it a reality. Overall both teams have something to show for their hard

Photo courtesy of Christine Minecci Sophomore Lily Eisner jumps up for a snare. work and devotion: exemplary rankings both in Pennsylvania and nation-wide. When asked about the team’s performance this season, head coach Christina Minecci responded, “I cannot imagine a better group of kids. Every one of them displayed all the heart, spirit, and character any of you could possibly have imagined.” Although the season has just ended, both teams will be practicing and focusing all offseason on ways to get better. With their supreme dedication, the Ultimate teams are rapidly paving their way to bringing home both state championships to LM. This season was hopefully just a glimpse of great things to come for LM Ultimate Frisbee.

A season of Crew in review Lake’s take on a team effort

ly the rowing equivalent of 22 football championships in Texas or 22 basketball Class of 2013 championship in Pennsylvania. In recent years, LM had achieved large-scale sucFor most rowing teams, the 2012 LM cess in the rowing world, and had shown Crew season would be considered a rethe ability to compete at a very high level. sounding success. Three LM boats qualiThe 2012 rowing season did not live up to fied for the Scholastic National Championthat standard. ships, which were held over Memorial Day That isn’t to say that the upcoming genWeekend on the Cooper River in New Jereration of rowers sey. The Varis beyond hope, sity Women’s or that the glory Four finished days of rowing at the weekend LM are a thing of as one of the the past. For one, top ten boats it’s important in the nation. to note that the The Lightrowing world has weight Men’s become much Four and the more competiJunior Varsity tive over the past Men’s Four fifteen years, and Photo courtesy Efi Narliotis/Staff also had imlocal crews, espressive showings at pecially those from The Boys Crew Team takes a the National Regatta. Catholic and private Several standout row- break from their rigorous trainschools, have began to domiing.to huddle together. ers have gained interest nate on the water. Many of from college recruiters, the most dominant teams in and there was incredible improvement the sport aren’t bound by PIAA regulaacross the board for both the men’s and tions, and thus can begin official practice women’s teams. much earlier than the Aces are able to. The The breakout stars of the 2012 season team has also frequently changed locawere undoubtedly the boys of the Novice tions and coaching staffs the past couple 4, who performed impressively not only at of years, and the transition from practicing the early Manny Flick Regatta, but also at on Boathouse Row to Conshohocken has other local regattas, including the Cooper been rocky at times. However, from the Cup and the Mid-Atlantic District Chamsuccesses of the novice boys to the camapionships, where the boys earned medals raderie among all rowers, this year actuagainst stiff competition. ally proved valuable. The tenacity shown Other bright spots this season included by many of the rowers, who worked dilithe Lightweight Boys Four, who qualigently despite injuries, illnesses, BuildOn fied for the Semifinals of the Stotesbury service projects and bad weather, can only Cup Regatta, the Second Varsity Women’s serve to make them better in the future. Four, who made finals at the Mid-Atlantic The rowers should be proud of their acChampionships, and the Novice girls, who complishments and hopeful for the future had one boat advance to the finals of the of one of LM’s most storied organizations. Philadelphia City Championships. As senior captain Morgan McMullen puts Despite its sporadic success this seait, “This season was crazy, but we all came son, LM Crew can boast 22 Stotesbury together in the end. That’s what counts.” Cup victories, too. These titles are rough-

Maddie McComb

Nico Lake

Class of 2012

There are two main reasons why I love Ultimate Frisbee. The first: Ultimate is a beautiful sport. There is a certain grace and elegance attached to its core elements of throwing and catching, and watching elite players take these skills, expand on them, and utilize them in intense game situations is breathtaking. The simple backhand motion used by college kids tossing on the beach is the same basic action used by the world’s best players to hit a sprinting receiver 50 yards away. My sophomore year, the first year I really invested myself into the sport, I was fortunate enough to play with an extremely talented group of seniors who demonstrated that grace. Their skill and passion infected me and spurred me to make Ultimate Frisbee my main sport. Since the fall of my sophomore year (Ultimate at LM is played in both the fall and spring), this beauty has led me to play six seasons of Ultimate for LM, six seasons of Ultimate league outside school, and one season of club Ultimate. The second reason I love Ultimate is because it attracts a different kind of person than most other sports. Ultimate is a self-refereed sport. There are no zebras running around blowing whistles during a frisbee game; all the calls—fouls, in/out of bounds, etc.—are made and decided by the players. This “Spirit of the Game,” as Ultimate terms it, means that while players are still intensely competitive, they also have the conscience to make the right calls, even when it hurts their team. Because of this and because Ultimate has never received the recognition of other sports (at LM and at most high schools and colleges it is not recognized as a school sport), the people who play Ultimate form a unique and tight-knit community. While it is impossible to classify those people, I have found they are generally welcoming, spirited, and somewhat offbeat. The welcoming and offbeat qualities result from Ultimate not being a mainstream sport, while the spirited aspect harkens back to the sport’s self-refereed nature. Glance at the team picture or roster for LM’s boys and girls teams and you will see an eclectic collection of individuals, from varying backgrounds and social groups. Each player however, is connected by the same passion and love for the game. I fell in love with the game’s beauty and individuality sophomore year, and since then, Ultimate Frisbee has undoubtedly been one of Photo courtesy of Nico Lake the most defining aspects of my high school career. Senior Nico Lake stretches for an impressive catch.


8

June 5, 2012

SPORTS

Sigmund Lilian

Racing into the record books Class of 2013

Both the LM girls’ and boys’ track teams had memorable seasons. The girls’ team broke several school records and worked their way deep into the league, district, and state championships. Coach Sandy Hoopes was in awe when asked about the seaPhoto courtesy of LM Enchiridion son. She stated, “It’s incredible; six school records and one Central League record. No other team in the modern era has done that. This team has broken the most records since its inception in 1975.” Although the boys’ team did not receive the same recognition as the girls’ team, they too had very notable achievements. Senior Gilad Doron qualified for districts in the 1600m and 3200m, freshman Jonathan Peralman broke the 1600m and 3200m freshman records, and fellow freshman Frankie Tran nearly broke the freshman 400m record. Junior Itai Barsade praised sophomores Noah Shandelman and Dan Thames, who, according to Barsade “had great seasons.” The girl’s track team during the 2012 season was amazing. The team was one of the top teams in the area, finishing fourth in the Central League with a record of 7-4. Coach Sandy Hoopes was in awe when asked about the girl’s season. She stated, “It’s incredible; six school records and one Central League record. No other team in the modern era has done that. This team has broken the most records since its inception in 1975.” According to senior Rebecca Winkler, the Aces’ main goal for this season was to “send as many girls to the district meet as possible as well as continue to be a strong Central League team.” With a coaching staff that star senior captain Eliana Yankelev said, “did a great job of keeping everyone in the loop by holding team meetings after every meet and encouraging all of our athletes to support each other,” combined with seniors that Hoopes described as “great, committed and dedicated to each workout,” the team was virtually unstoppable. With all the success that the Aces

Alex Hatza

Why I row

achieved in the course of the year, Hoopes found it difficult to pick the best moment of the season, but she finally settled on, “seeing Eliana win the state championship.” Distance coach Dennis Hagan, whom Hoopes called “the best distance coach in LM history,” also found it challenging to pick a single defining moment, but finally chose, “the first day of districts when the school record was broken by 11 seconds. This led to the LM 4x800 girls’ team making its first final ever.” The Aces broke an impressive number of records this year, including the 4x400m record (broken by freshman Tori Klevan, Winkler, sophomore Maya Mahmud, and junior Gabby O’Leary), the 4x800m record (including Klevan, sophomore Duranya Freeman, senior Lacey Serletti and Winkler), the 1600m record (achieved by Serletti), and the 800m record, which Winkler shattered. Not only did the girls do well in breakPhoto by Aziz Kamoun ing records, but they also generally performed exceptionally in Gilad Doron runing 1600m. competitions. Some of these top performers included O’Leary, who placed first in the Central League for hurdles and Winkler, who went on to the district finals in the 800m. Yankelev in particular had a monster season; she took first place in the Central League for the long jump, set a new Central League all-time hurdles record, and broke the LM school record in the district finals. Yankelev also completed the high hurdle indoor-outdoor double, winning back-to-back state championships in the indoor and outdoor hurdles and becoming LM’s first individual girls’ track state champion. Despite all its success, the team was more than just a record-breaking force. The squad experienced exponential growth. Over a four-year span, the transition from young, inexperienced freshman to mature senior leaders was evident. Senior captain Eliana Yankelev further explained, “I never knew what I would make of it when I joined my freshman year. The coaches were all so willing to put in the extra hours to help me reach my goals, and continued to encourage and help me until my final meet. I’ve made fantastic friends who I can always rely on for support. It’s made me into a dedicated and successful runner.” The 2012 outdoor track season will go down as one of the greatest seasons in the history of LM track. Hopefully both teams will be able to replicate such success in their 2013 seasons.

Every moment counts

the long jump, just missing medals. After completing the indoor season, I set a lot of goals for myself Class of 2012 for outdoor, and was ready to burst onto the scene Everyone runs for a different reason. Can that as “that tenth grader.” change the dynamic of a team? Yes. Can that affect I won’t go into too much detail after that, bethe season record? Yes. Did that change the way I cause at that point, things really changed for me. I felt about the sport? No way in hell. picked up a new event in the high jump and made I’ve certainly had my ups and downs as a run- huge improvements in a short amount of time: I ner. My first time ever running competitively was made states during the outdoor 2010 season in as a freshman during a very cold and very unevent- both that event and the hurdles. In a surprise turn ful indoor track season; I was out quickly with shin of events, I made the state final and took home my splints and hip tendonitis and never even touched a first PIAA medal—I was never happier in my life hurdle. Come outdoor season, I knew that I wanted to earn 7th place in anything. With each goal that to run hurdles and try the jumps, and I seized every I met, I set the bar even higher; making it to states opportunity I had to improve. It was an exciting transformed into earning All-State honors, and Allseason, in which I qualiState turned into a hunt for the state fied for the District One title. Championships in both There are so many stories to tell the 100m hurdles and about how I have come this far, long jump, breaking or about how I’ve developed my the freshman records in love and passion for the sport. I’ve each. Prior to my freshwarmed up with so many people, man outdoor season, I shaken the hands of so many ofwasn’t very sure of how ficials, smacked into so many hur“good” I actually was, dles—track is a sport about people, and I had no idea how enthusiasm, blisters, sock holes, ice seriously I would take baths, heartbreak, and joy. Track track. I also had no idea is about finishing dead last when how far the sport would you’re expected to medal, picking take me. A cliché yourself up off the floor, and jumpPhoto courtesy of Patty Morgan/ ing to a personal best and a state statement, yes, but PennTrackXC medal in another event. It’s about also a necessary and valid one. forming strong relationships with Senior Eliana Yankelev with Coach Hoopes Once I got into people because they’ve seen you at after winning the state chmapionship. the swing of things, both your lowest and highest points; amped up my trainyou respect one another even if you ing, and consistently worked on my technique, I would like nothing more than to see your competistarted to roll. Indoor track my sophomore year tor face plant into the track. I have learned so much went down to the wire in terms of qualifying for about the sport through training sessions and comthe state championships; the very last chance I had petitions, and more importantly, I have learned so to make it in the hurdles, I did—and as a result of much about myself—not just as an athlete, but as that adrenaline rush, I recorded a personal best in a person, too. the long jump by over a foot. I travelled up to Penn When I first stepped on the track, never in a trilState along with the Distance Medley Relay team lion years did I see myself one day winning backthat had also qualified, with absolutely no idea of to-back state titles. But now that I’m here, having what to expect. I barely knew anyone, I wasn’t re- run my last race in an LM uniform, heading to colally acquainted with how to warm up properly by lege in the fall to run Division One track at the Unimyself (since no coaches are allowed on the track), versity of Pennsylvania, I am so thankful for every and I was so nervous that my legs were shaking emotional breakdown, every fouled jump, every at the start of the race. I finished pretty low in the heartbreaking loss—because in a sport where rankings and didn’t make it out of the prelims. I 1/100 of a second and ¼ of an inch determine the ended up finishing tenth in a field of thirty girls in winner and the loser, every moment counts.

Eliana Yankelev

Class of 2013

It has been said that rowing is the ultimate team sport. Between the precision required to effectively balance a boat and the long season of bonding time, individuals grow into a cohesive unit. The “season unending,” as I like to call it, begins each year on December 1 and runs straight through the month of May. From the first day to the last day, it is as physically demanding as any other activity, if not more so. In December, the team begins its weekly training, erging (training on the rowing machine), or weightlifting every night from five until eight. Initially, as you might imagine, there is very little time for homework. By the end, however, when the practices get so difficult and intense that one goes straight home to eat and then pass out, there is no time for homework. One might ask: “If the schedule is that demanding, why do you row? You must win, at least, right?” One might think that success is what would keep rowers coming back to this torturous sport year after year, but that would be entirely incorrect. In fact, some of the teams down at the river on race day still refer to LM as “slower Merion.” We row six days a week, devoting roughly 26 hours from Tuesday to Sunday because we love it. We love the pain, the heartbreak, the exhaustion, the calls from the coxswain, the thunderous sound of the water rushing beneath the boat, the wind whipping our backs, and the glittering water on a sunny day, because they are all equally important parts of the sport. Despite our unfortunate moniker, we are not truly an unsuccessful team. This year LM experienced moderate success in the racing of men’s and women’s fours and eights. The success would have been greater, but we faced many challenges this year. While other schools had set their boat lineups on the first day of the season and were able to practice together all season, learning each others’ tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses, the LM Crew Team had rowers (myself included) that bounced from boat to boat each week, thus preventing the necessary cohesion. In the sport of rowing, each and every rower must know the members of his boat inside and out in order to row effectively with them. The four or eight rowers must move and pull as one unit in order to stay balanced and avoid dipping into the Schuylkill River. The rowers and coaches, however, never gave up. This persistence led to several medal-winning performances by our boats at various regattas throughout the season. The medals are not the most rewarding aspect of rowing, though. This sport is one of intrinsic motivation. To feel the boat slice swiftly through flat water as you and your teammates finally work together efficiently is beyond compare. Just like a runner’s high, the feeling of rowing cleanly and together is, simply put, euphoric. In a season where oftentimes the only reward for rowing a good race was a handshake because we had placed fourth despite our best efforts, the team always held on to hope for another week. The season may seem unimpressive in terms of the hardware added to the trophy cases, but the team is as strong as ever in spirit. Every member, though sleep-deprived and physically battered now, is already eagerly awaiting next year’s triumphs.

June 2012  

Volume 83, Issue 8