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The Merionite

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929 Volume 88, Issue 6

Ardmore, PA, 19003

May 24, 2017

Students gather for girls’ empowerment Nikki Simonson ’18 Students who attended the Girls’ Empowerment Conference had the opportunity to choose from numerous workshops led by experts in their field, including yoga and self defense instruction.

Photos courtesy of Kerry McIntyre Hundreds of students gathered in the courtyard of LM to kick off a day filled with opportunities to meet new people, and learn self-advocacy skills and strategies to address gender bias, sexism and harassment. The Girls’ Empowerment Conference was organized by Students Advocating for Gender Equality (SAGE) and was held on April 22. Notably, this was the first year that the conference was open to people of all genders. To begin the conference, students got comfortable with their peers through team building activities hosted by Outward Bound. After these ice breakers, they attended a lecture by Stephanie Humphrey, a tech-life expert, media personality, and public speaker, who presented her

inspiring career story. Humphrey explained how she was Ellen Balchunis led her own workshop later in the day eventually able to combine her two passions, technology entitled, “Get Elected! Inspiring the Next Generation of and acting, to become a tech-life expert. Conference at- Young Women Political Leaders.” Balchunis proposed tendee, Margarita Vinogradov ’18 exclaimed, “Stephanie steps to prepare students to become political leaders in Humphrey’s presentation was very inspiring and she their community. For example, she encouraged them to was an amazing speaker! I learned a lot about women volunteer to work on a political campaign, assist with in STEM and the challenges they face.” voter registration, help at the polls, and even more. Participants then had the opportunity to attend Another workshop available to students was “Making three workshops of their choice. Eighth and ninth grade Bank: Negotiate Your Way to Self- Confidence”: a workstudents watched the film Miss Representation and shop teaching negotiation skills to women. Assisted by participated in discussion facilitated by Mary Ellen Wharton MBA students, the audience practiced real-life Balchunis, a 2016 congressional candidate and political situations, including requesting a pay raise and asking science professor. In addition to this discussion, Mary for a promotion. The participants were taught life skills Please see GIRLS’ EMPOWERMENT CONFERENCE on page 2

Best Buddies fundraises at the zoo Ziwen Zhou ’19 Best Buddies has ties are full participants long been one of LM’s and contribute equally to most popular and acthe relationship. The LM tive clubs, and to close chapter hosts numerous out a fruitful and excitevents during the year ing year, over seventy such as a Halloween party, members participated a trip to Linvilla Orchards, in a walk at the Philaand this past month, a delphia Zoo on Saturwalk to raise money. day, April 29, in order The walk itself is an anto raise money for Best nual event, with last year’s Buddies Philadelphia. held at LM. The walk pits Best Buddies InBest Buddies programs ternational, of which against each other in a LM and Philadelphia friendly competition to are affiliates, is an orfundraise for Best Budganization that prodies Philadelphia. This motes leadership and year, LM Best Buddies work opportunities was able to collect over for people with devel$3,500 that went toward opmental and intellecthe $55,000 overall raised tual disabilities. LM’s toward the Best Buddies Photo courtesy of Heather Van Horn program, started Philadelphia annual budabout nine years ago Helena Koerner had the exciting get. Usually, the walk is by Special-Ed teacher opportunity to sing the national held at a school track, with Heather Van Horn, is anthem for the audience at the various accompanying primarily geared to- walk. festivities including expert ward forming mutually beneficial friend- face painting and raffles. However, most ships between students where both par- participants this year didn’t seem to mind

LM alumnus runs for School Board Julia Rudy ’19 Come June of senior year, students are going to many different places after graduation. We picture a new daily schedule, new environment, new friends. But one thing that very few of us picture is running for a position on the LMSD School Board. Harrison Meyer, LM class of 2016 and former school president, did just that. The board makes a lot of important decisions and is held partly accountable for the success of schools, a task Meyer believed he was qualified for. Issues prioritized in Meyer’s campaign included giving the student body a larger voice in the community, pushing back school start times, and fixing the “achievement gap.” Unfortunately for Meyers’s supporters, he did not receive a nomination in the primary. The primary election for school board took place May 16, with numerous candidates vying for a total of eight spots. Community voters demonstrated satisfaction with the status quo, supporting the incumbents, both Democratic and Republican. Meyer ran as an independent alongside David Yavil and Tannia Schreiber. Issues that the majority of these candidates spoke

Please see BEST BUDDIES on page 4

NEWS An outstanding department Read about the K-12 music curriculum that was just recognized for extraordinary education. page 2

OPINIONS AP exam score = final grade Shuli Weinstein’18 argues that getting a 5 should result in an A. page 6

about were the use of taxpayer money, addressing litigation, and budget issues, to name a few. Meyer stated that his experience as president of student government and passion for politics prompted him to run. He had always been interested in politics, participating in student government throughout his entire high school career. When asked if he believed people would root for him despite his age and lack of experience in the adult field of politics, Meyer expressed hope that people would appreciate that he is “in touch with the student body.” He went on to say, “I understand students and the struggles they go through because I was an LMSD student until very recently.” This concept—that Meyer has a unique perspective on the students—was a big aspect of his campaign. LM sophomores, juniors, and seniors may remember a petition circulating LM’s hallways last year asking for a later start time at school. As a candidate, Meyer prioritized a later start to the school day as one of the biggest issues of current district policy. Another issue Meyer was particularly passionate about

Please see HARRISON MEYER on page 3

FEATURES The Divide: Arts and STEM at LM

SPORTS Senior wins Statsketball competition

Student perspectives on the damaging Kelsey Stanton ’18 details how Naveen Gooneratne ’17 won a March Madness inequality between arts and STEM. competition using statistics. pages 14-15 page 19

SPECIAL FEATURE Marijuana usage at LM

A&E Senior Aces of the Arts

An in-depth look into LM’s opinions on weed usage. pages 11-13

Learn about members of the Class of 2017 who excel in the arts. page 16


May 24, 2017

News The Merionite

LMSD music department honored Molly Cutler ’19 Arts and Entertainment Editor For the seventh year in a row, LMSD was deemed one of the Best man Chorus, Concert Choir, and Chamber Choir. Several music groups Communities for Music Education (BCME) by the National Associa- at LM do not meet as classes, including the specialized instrumental tion of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation. This nonprofit applies ensembles of Jazz Band, Sax Quartet, and Wind Quintet, and the two the distinguished designation to school districts that have demon- a cappella groups Ace’s Angels and Flying Aces. As Lewis Kothmann strated strong support for music programs and have provided oppor- ’20 shares, “I enjoyed so much the opportunity I had in joining Flying tunities for students to become more engaged in music. Receiving this Aces. We meet every week and I’ve made great new friends and gotten honor and the amenities that come along with it often helps “music closer with old ones…. It’s a wonderfully unique group that I’ve loved, educators, administrators, board members and advocates [gain] visi- and without the Music Program, it wouldn’t be possible.” bility and support” from their communities, according to the NAMM A particular claim to fame of the LMSD music department is that Foundation’s website. This year, LMSD was among only 527 districts several of these groups at the middle and high school levels consistentnationwide that were recognized. ly win awards of their own for outstanding performances. LM’s Jazz Being named as one of these districts is incredibly beneficial for Band, for example, received seventh place in the state championship LMSD. The BCME distinction recognizes the effort LMSD teachers the past April and throughout the competition season was given six and administrators put into our music rankings of “superior” (the highest programs, furthers the support these ranking) and two of “outstanding.” programs receive, and illustrates the The group was awarded Best Saxdistrict as an example of success that ophone Section, Best Trombone other areas can emulate. It can also Section, Best Trumpet Section, and be pointed to as a justification to conBest Rhythm Section, each more tinue to include music education in than once. Mia Hodges ’18, who LMSD’s budget and underscores the plays baritone saxophone, praises overall importance of this art form for Jazz Band, saying, “I’m so glad to our students. be a part of an ensemble like this. Districts aiming to qualify for the We’re challenged musically and inBCME award must complete a detellectually and get opportunities to tailed survey that is then confirmed perform at levels most schools do by school officials and sent to The not. Our director, Mr. Neu, is inMusic Research Institute at the Unicredible and an expert in his field— versity of Kansas, an advisory orgahe’s a wonderful mentor.” Many nization that analyzes the data. The instrumentalists and singers from survey addresses the categories of Harriton and LM also participate Participation in Music, Scheduling, in District, Regional, and All-State Qualified Faculty, Opportunity, Supensembles if they qualify through port from Administrators, Standards an intense audition process. Based Learning and Curriculum, Students report finding a moCommunity Partnerships, TechnoloGraphic by Josie Blumencwejg ’18 mentous amount of encouragegy, and Funding. ment from the network of people LMSD has been recognized for its exceptional programs that, be- involved with music at their schools. Nehama Dormont ’19, a flautist, ginning in elementary school and continuing through middle school, explains, “The music teachers at LM always find tons of free concerts, encourage students to participate in various different forms of music. and [promote] opportunities to learn more about music. They are All students take general music classes early on in elementary school, supportive of students who are passionate about music outside of the and in middle school, students are still required to take a music class, music rooms.” but are able to choose between concert band, orchestra, chorus, and At LM, many students cite music classes and events as very bengeneral music. Aviva Schuh ’19, a member of LM’s Ace’s Angels, an a eficial, positive learning environments that have led them to achieve capella group, reflects that she credits LMSD’s mandatory music edu- their goals. “Each of my ten years of music classes in LMSD schools has cation curriculum for helping her “develop passions for art as well as brought fun and engaging experiences,” says Hannah Heller ’19, who academics,” and that the program “overall is quite valuable in helping is a member of Concert Choir. Dormont adds, “My schedule wouldn’t [students] grow and branch out as they mature.” be complete without [one], and even on skip days, my friends and I Once students arrive at high school, there are a plethora of music will often find some excuse to go and pay a visit to the band room.” classes including AP Music Theory, Music Major, Music and Modern The BCME award appears to be well-deserved by the LMSD music Culture, Music Technology and Production, Electronic Piano Lab, and programs. But as music teacher Aaron Datsko shares, “At the end of IB Music. Students who wish to perform can participate in Concert the day, this is a nice recognition. What’s more important is that we Band, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Strings, Chamber Strings, Fresh- have a school district and community that supports the fine arts.”

Girls’ Empowerment Conference Cont. from STUDENTS GATHER FOR GIRLS EMPOWERMENT, page 1 to help them in the present and prepare them for the future. Addi- selves and “Yoga 101.” Julia Rosen ’18 stated, “This was my first tionally, MBA students from the “Common Cents” club at Wharton time learning self-defense and it was a great experience! It makes led the information session. me feel safer knowing I can defend myself.” Students also learned to Also, Techgirlz, a non-profit organization that teaches girls about be conscious of their surroundings and to identify signs of potential different types of technologies and career options, held a workshop danger. Additionally, the students attending the conference learned on creating your own website. Tech field professionals instructed how to use mindfulness to be fully present in the moment and not the eighth and ninth grade participants on how to create their own be distracted by their thoughts and environment. Lily Kemler ’19 website using WordPress. The workshop “Good Girls and Bad Girls: noted that, “We did activities I would not associate with mindfulPushing Back Against Stereotypes,” discussed how society labels ness, like telling facts.” Mindfulness techniques were practiced by girls and creates unrealistic expectations. Activities were led by col- the student participants as a wonderful way to de-stress and imlege students from the Girls Justice League, a rights organization prove the quality of daily life. devoted to taking action for social, political, and economic justice for girls and young women. The workshop revealed how racism, sexism, classism, and heterosexism are reinforced by our government and educational and legal systems. It encouraged students not to allow stereotypes to define them, but instead to implement change in society through youth-led activism. Another workshop held by PAVE, Penn Anti-Violence Educators, informed the audience about the importance of consent and preventing harmful situations as well as providing strategies on how to be active bystanders and informing how inaction normalizes violence. “The Penn students provided great resources to contact if I or someone else is in trouble and how to safely intervene in detrimental situations,” Margarita Vinogradov ’18 recalled. Offered also was “Filters are the New Photoshop: How #BodyGoals Hurt our Self Esteem” which demonstrated how social media like Instagram and Snapchat manipulate our self-image. The presentation helped students boost their self-esteem by teaching them not to compare Photo courtesy of Kerry McIntyre themselves to the edited models they see on social media, but inA TechGirlz instructor teaches eighth and ninth grade stead embracing their own bodies. The final workshops offered that day were active ones such as students how to make their own websites for their “Basic Self-Defense and Assertive Body Language” to protect them- events, clubs, and businesses using WordPress.

TSA States Minori Cohan ’18 For four days every April, a select group of LM students travel to Seven Springs Mountain Resort (approximately four hours west of Philadelphia) to compete in the Pennsylvania Technology Student Association State Conference. There, along with 91 other high schools from all over the state, they competed in various events in order to qualify to compete at the national conference, held later in June. The events themselves relate to the application of technology, ranging anywhere from fashion design all the way to software development. The LM TSA chapter excelled at the conference, placing in the top ten for seventeen different events. One event that LM TSA members did particularly well in was Children’s Stories in which they had to create a children’s book of a certain topic from start to finish. One of the groups developed a story relating to neuroscience, while still making it appeal to a younger audience. Group member Katherine Wang ’19 explains what set her group’s book apart from those of other schools: “We made it so that our protagonist was an African-American girl who travelled inside the brain to explain its basic functions.” The book’s interactive nature and its advocacy for women and people of all races in STEM stood out among the other entries. That, along with senior Vanessa Roser’s artwork, granted them the first place finish.

Please see TSA STATES, page 4

School board primary election results On Tuesday, May 16, four Democrats and four Republicans secured a spot in the LMSD school board election in November. For the Democrats, incumbents Melissa Gilbert, Laurie Actman and Ben Driscoll along with newcomer Debra Finger, will run. On the Republican side, Milissa Tadeo, Terry Spahr, A.J. Kait, and Mary Brown will vie for the four open spots.


May 24, 2017


The Merionite

Soy Artista: Ace the Ram music Emma Riverso ’18

On May 5, or Cinco de Mayo, LM’s very own record label, Ace the Ram (ATR), hosted a music event with an important message: I Am An Artist / Soy Artista, a concert by students and for students. The event was hosted on a Friday evening, in the Blackbox Theater, and many students were in attendance. Recruiting various artists from all corners of LM and Harriton, the label succeeded in their aim to show solidarity for immigrants in America and to show appreciation for art itself. This dual-themed event featured an abundance of original music, poetry, rap, and artwork, all contrived from students in the district. Preceding the concert was an art show displaying various work from talented student artists in LMSD. Members of the community—kids and adults alike—were able to peruse the upper atrium and appreciate the art. Brien Coghlan ’17, who spearheaded the event, added, “ATR aims to curate the Photo by Jacob Bucko artistic community at LM and Harriton.” He also described Knight-Surie and Dulitzki passionately the event as an effort to “combat all of the race-related is- performed a cover of the song “All Time Low” sues our world has faced in recent months and years.” by Jon Bellion at the music event. First up on the set list was the talented Davis Quintet consisting of Lonnie Davis ’19, Olivia Hughart ’19, Danny and having an audience that was really into the music.” Farah ’20, Fiona Pollock ’21, and Aiden Gooneratne ’19. As The original music of Davis and his four groupmates has Davis explains, “The environment of the event was really been featured for “New Music Mondays” on the morning great. I loved being on stage with the professional lighting announcements for the past few months; thus, it was ex-

citing for them to finally take the stage for a live performance. Louis Knight-Surie ’18 continued the theme of the night with his original music accompanied by the piano. Ori Dulitzki ’18 rapped, Sylvia Coopersmith ’17 sang, and the list of other talented musicians goes on and on. A band of Harriton students named Red Bliss stood out among the LM-laden set list and brought some diversity to the performances. Lizzy McAlpine ’18, who has also been featured on “New Music Mondays,” serenaded the audience. There was a definite peak in energy during the eventful night when rappers Dion Lewis ’17, “Isaac on Dubs” Isaac Czarkowski ’17, and Kendaya Blackwell ’17 performed. Many of these artists have been participating in ATR’s record label for a while, both making and producing music. In years past, the label has thrown events at local spots such as Melodies Café and The Ardmore Music Hall, but this time, the event was hosted right on campus to make a point of trying to bring members of the LM community together. These artists put on quite the show, but beyond that, they showed support for the arts and performed in solidarity with the immigrant population in our country. The ATR members and mentors worked tirelessly to bring light to these causes and also to express their creativity and talent. I Am An Artist / Soy Artista was surely a success!

News in Brief Chemistry olympiad Kathy Yao ’18 The chemistry branch of the science department has experienced drastic changes during the past year, especially regarding their big location shift to the administration building. In most recent news, juniors Michael Cheng and Robbie Zorc qualified to participate in the American Chemical Society’s National Chemistry Olympiad. This competition was held on April 21 at LaSalle University. In March, AP Chemistry teacher Lawrence McAfoos had all of his students take the national qualifying test. This test consisted of rigorous college level multiple choice questions. Both Cheng and Zorc did exceptionally well on the exam and were able to advance to the national round where they competed against around one thousand other qualifiers. Zorc mentions, “I was certainly interested in trying to qualify since chemistry is one of my favorite subjects. I am definitely interested in studying chemistry in college, as well as other sciences, and I am considering pursuing pre-med.” The results of this round were announced the following week. The top 20 finishes within the United States will be invited to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where they will receive intensive training. Four students will then be selected from the twenty to travel to Nakhom Pathon, Thailand and attend the 49th annual International Chemistry Olympiad. Although McAfoos told his students to take the test, Cheng and Zorc saw it in the contest in a different light. For Cheng, chemistry has become a vital subject to understand, stating, “I now realize

BCMS adds portables Caroline Spencer ’18 Copy Editor

The district has experienced extreme growth in student enrollment over the past few years. According to a recently published district newsletter, “Tomorrow’s Students, Today’s Challenges: Planning for Growth and Achievement in LMSD,” enrollment has increased by more than 1,000 students over the past five years and is expected to increase by approximately 1,000 more students in the next six years. Enrollment growth in LMSD is caused by many factors which include decreased enrollment in private schools and the development of new housing. Many schools have already expanded to accommodate the increasing class size. This year, LM moved the chemistry classrooms into the largely unused District Administration building and Penn Wynne Elementary School installed temporary classrooms to hold their kindergarten classes. The district will see this pattern continue for the upcoming school year, as Bala Cynwyd Middle School is preparing to undergo a large expansion into the secondary athletic fields. The expansion will hopefully relieve the pressure of an increasing student body

and large class sizes. During the long process of construction, an immediate solution will be the introduction of trailers as temporary classrooms for students. Starting in the 2017-2018 school year, the BCMS math department will move into the trailers. The temporary addition will consist of six classrooms together under one roof including both student and staff bathrooms. Speaking to the mixed feelings among the math department, BCMS math teacher Georgine Heibeck explained, “The nice thing about the move is that the six math teachers will be in closer proximity to one another. This will make it easier to collaborate and plan lessons together. The difficult part of the move is being away from the other teachers on the team.” Heibeck believes that “the math teachers here are pretty resilient and they will adjust to the change with grace.” While the change will require some adjustment from both students and faculty, overall it will be beneficial for the middle school and district as it seeks to solve the problem of enrollment growth.

Harrison Meyer Cont. from LM ALMUNNUS RUNS FOR SCHOOL BOARD, page 1 is what he referred to as the “achievement gap.” Meyer explained on his website that “LMSD has a history of segregation and we cannot take for granted an open and accepting learning environment. We need to stop segregating minority students from their peers and make sure all students have a track towards success open to them.” He promised to work with the board to create more paths out of remedial courses and ensure a fair and transparent adjudication of student performance before and during placement in remedial classes. One worry that some local voters may have had is that Meyer would have been splitting his time between serving on the School Board and attending the University of Pennsylvania, where he is finishing his freshman year. Meyer responded to this worry by stating, “If given the choice between attending a class at Penn or going to a school board meeting at the same time, I would drop the class or skip it for the meeting. I value overseeing the education of hundreds of students in this district over simply my own.” Additionally, Meyer pointed out that since many members work full-time jobs as well as serve on the board, his situation wouldn’t have been much different. A large part of the motivation behind Meyer’s campaign is his frustration with the current board. He claimed that his opponents—especially the incumbent members—have experienced several controversial events which he believes “reduce the capacity to effectively oversee the administration,” referring to lawsuits on racial bias in LM, the laptop scandal at Harriton in 2010, and a

more recent lawsuit over high taxes in the district. Meyer strongly believes that the current members of the School Board have made mistakes that he hoped to turn around. Actman, an aforementioned board member, thinks Meyer’s criticism is unfounded. “I think running a school district is complex and sometimes big issues end up in litigation[…] but a board with strong leadership will be able to respond to these issues quickly, using their best judgment and valuing community.” Actman did compliment Meyer’s desire to run, “especially at such a young age.” Some people saw Meyer’s youth as positive. For example, Davis Burton, a Harriton student who was, until recently, running for Mayor of Narberth, actively supported Meyer. He explained, “In an era of extreme polarization and general unpleasantry within our political discourse, nothing is more important than young individuals with a commitment to their community trying to improve the world around them.” Evidently, though, many didn’t see him as qualified for the position. Zack Slogoff ’18 voiced his opposition, saying “[Meyer] says he wants students’ voices to be heard, but I don’t think you can have a serious, time-consuming job like a School Board representative and be a college student at the same time. I just think realistically he’s underqualified.” Although Meyer was unable to secure a nomination, it’s certainly noteworthy that a nineteen year old orchestrated a serious campaign for School Board. In many ways, Meyer’s campaign is indicative of the larger trend in the current political climate that anyone, regardless

of previous experience or age, can run for office. While, Meyer did not win the primary elections for School Board, he says, “I couldn’t have lost a better way. Having expended every effort and spent all of my energy, having worked with hundreds of supporters and volunteers, having spoken to families all over Lower Merion and Narberth about important issues in our school district, I am undeterred. This loss is no reason to give up—it is a reason to keep going. Together, we can still change education for the better and deal with the ongoing crises facing our schools. I look forward to addressing these issues with all of you in the near future.”

Photo courtesy of The Daily Pennsylvanian Photo by Angel Fan


May 24, 2017


The Merionite

Best Buddies

Science Olympiad makes program history

Cont. from BEST BUDDIES FUNDRAISES AT THE ZOO, page 1 the activities being supplanted by the course walk at the Philadelphia Zoo, since the Best Buddies and their friends and family who participated in the walk, with members from all the congregated chapters totalling over 10,000 in number, had the whole zoo and all of the special exhibitions to themselves for an entire morning. Many of the LM Best Buddies who attended the walk found it to be an amazing culmination of the friendships that they’d forged over the year and had nothing but praise for the zoo experience and all the unique animals. Amanda Steinberg ’17 noted that, “Julia Brown and I had a really fun time, and we were lucky because it was a super nice day. We started playing games where we would try to come up with our own names for the animals.” According to Julia Brown, “all the animals were amazing... I don’t have a favorite.” Peer buddy Nolan Shapiro ’17, one of the presidents of LM Best Buddies Club, also participated in the walk alongside his buddy Cameron Chesen ’18 and their parents. He found himself drawn toward “the monkeys swinging by freely above [his] head, and the lions and giraffes making their way out of their slumber,” a sentiment shared by Georgia Callahan ’18, who added that she and her buddy, Lexi Ginzburg ’17, also enjoyed observing “the two big jungle cats and the majestic tiger.” Shapiro added that LM

Best Buddies is about much more than just participating in fundraising events. Paired groups usually make each other’s acquaintance at the beginning of the year through a couple of lunch dates and phone calls, but from that point on, the established friendship can go anywhere. Steinberg and her buddy Brown nowadays often go out to get their nails done or will just hang out and talk about how things are going. Kyle Glover, on the other hand, enjoys relaxing with his peer buddies Tyler Mooney ’20 and Jack Raymond ’20 by playing hours of video games, in addition to spending time with them at the monthly events that LM Best Buddies holds. Some of these events are held in conjunction with Best Buddies Philadelphia (i.e. the recent Zoo walk and March megaprom) while others are independent events like the Halloween Party and the Talent Show, where buddies were able to demonstrate the talents that they’ve been practicing for each other. All these events serve as great ways for buddies to spend time with each other and expand their budding friendships. As Steinberg explains, “Even though Julia and I are leaving high school and will be pretty far from each other next year, I know we will keep in touch. The connection I have made with Julia has been unmatched by any other club I have participated in throughout high school.”

Eugenia Feng ’20 & Amy Xi ’19 On the rise in the world of Science Olympiad, mance of the entire team of fifteen from a school. LM is well set on the path to becoming one of the This year, LM rivaled the best teams in the powerhouses of the nation. On Saturday, April 29, state and came in third behind Harriton and Banineteen LM students attended the Pennsylvania yard Rustin by a mere sixteeen points. UnfortuState Science Olympiad Tournament at Juniata nately, only the top two teams advance to nationCollege. Their efforts were rewarded when LM Sci- als, so LMSO is prepared to work even harder next ence Olympiad took home the third place trophy, year and make it to nationals for the first time in just short of qualifying for the National competi- fifteen years. However, LMSO has already posted tion. In the short span of three years, Lower Mer- its second best season in the program history, out ion Science Olympiad (LMSO) went from placing of over thirty years of competition. At states, they seventeenth at States to placing third. Michael placed in fourteen events, bringing home three Stettner, head coach of LMSO, explained that this gold medals. Over the course of the school year, year has been “unprecedented in the amount of LMSO has earned a total of 55 medals at six comtime the team has petitions. Mazo spent preparing remarked about for competitions these victories, and actually comsaying, “There peting.” are a couple difStudents in ferent kinds of Science Olympisuccess. There’s ad build devices individual sucand study for 23 cess when you events in hopes get a shiny medof advancing to al; there’s team states, and if possuccess when sible, nationals. you win a troCompetitions phy, but most consist of extenimportantly, sive testing of there’s the suceither topics or cess that comes of previously crewhen you make Photo courtesy of Michael Stettner LM proud.” ated devices. As Lucas Barton ’17 After achieving the second best status in the club’s Due to the notes, “Compe- history, the LM Science Olympiad poses with their team aspect of tition is intense trophy and metals. the competition, but immensely many members rewarding.” Individuals earn medals for excellent of LMSO feel that Science Olympiad is more than performances in events, which is not an easy feat. just a competition—it is a great bonding experiAdvancing to the next competition is not an indi- ence for peers to become family. Kathy Wei ’19 vidual achievement, but that of a team. Only the describes the team as “one big family, and we all top teams are able to advance to the next round. love and support each other no matter what. I like Max Mazo ’17 comments that “the main aspect that to always say that you come for the science but sets Science Olympiad apart from other STEM stay for the people.” LM Science Olympiad is on clubs is that you’re part of a team. It really cre- the road to success. Daniel Tsai ’17 recognizes this ates a sense of community and importance while and is “expecting to see this team make a lot of building an involvement with science.” Teamwork noise in the Science Olympiad community in the is crucial in Science Olympiad. In each of the 23 next few years.” Wei also invites anyone “to come events, two or more people compete together, try it out and get this team to where we [will be] and advancement is determined by the perfor- next year, at the national competition!”

TSA States

Update: LMSD denied an appeal

Cont. from TSA STATES, page 2 Another group, consisting of various members including TSA officers Freddy Farah ’18 and Evan Hassman ’17, placed second in Engineering Design. For this event, participants were required to develop a solution to an assigned challenge. The solution offered must have been informed and designed through the completion of research, experimentation, and models. The LM TSA chapter members designed and constructed a functioning water filter to complete the challenge. Robbie Zorc ’18 and Andri Hail ’18 commented on the success of their project, saying, “We interviewed well in front of the panel of evalua-

tors after qualifying for semi-finals, and we actually had a real, 3-D, working design, when some chapters didn’t even have that.” The LM chapter did exceptionally well in a slew of other events, also receiving first place in Music Production and Promotional Design and fourth place in Chapter Team. “We have the most people moving on to Nationals than we have seen in a very long time,” remarks LM TSA officer Kelsey Stanton ’18 on LM’s success. “We had twelve groups that placed within the top five in their respective events.” Stanton hopes to continue the level of success in the coming years. (From left to right) Sophomores Ben Alonzo, Charlie Herrmann, and Russell Dougherty prepare for the R/C Dragster Event.

Photo courtesy of Ryan McCloskey

Bradley Kaplan ’17 Business Manager As many readers may know, last August, Judge Joseph A. Smyth of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas ordered the District to rescind any tax increase for 2017 in excess of 2.4 percent. The district appealed this decision, but, on April 20, the appeal was denied. The nature of the original case was that a citizen of the area, Arthur Wolk Esq., argued that the district has circumvented tax laws by consistently forecasting a deficit for each upcoming year, raising taxes to account for the prediction, but then never actually experiencing a deficit. Therefore, last August, Montgomery County Judge Smyth ruled that LMSD should not raise its taxes on the index previously decided upon. In response, LMSD filed for an appeal. Specifically, the district requested from the Pennsylvania Department of Education that it be allowed to raise taxes more than the limit of a 2.4 percent increase each year. The district did this for several years, including this school year, on the grounds that they forecasted a deficit. A 2.4 percent increase is the limit for Pennsylvania school districts unless the Pennsylvania Department of Education approves a higher limit. The department would grant these additional increases, such as a 4.44 percent increase for the current school year (the increase the lawsuit is based around), but the district had a surplus each year. Because Wolk maintains that the Department of Education should not have approved these increases, Wolk has demanded that the entire tax increase be voided, according to

District Solicitor Kenneth Roos. However, the district has argued that it has abided by all laws, so there should be no legitimate arguments to bring against it in court. In the original decision, Smyth had ruled partially in favor of Wolk in saying that LMSD should only increase taxes by the maximum they would without approval of the Department of Education. However, it failed to issue any punishment for the district’s action and this case only concerns this school year, so any consequences would only apply to this year’s taxes. If the district cannot successfully overturn the decision, then the district might need to retroactively return money to taxpayers that was over the 2.4 percent increase. Even though the district has lost in hearings so far, the decision can still be heard in the Commonwealth Court since the district is applying for the denied appeal to be reconsidered (the application was filed May 4). In applying for the reconsideration of the denial, the district is asking for a “seven-judge panel to rehear this case,” reports District Solicitor Ken Roos, instead of the three judge panel that initially heard the case because, according to Roos, “it’s that important as a procedural issue so it’s that important as a school issue.” Afterwards, no matter the final decision in the Commonwealth Court, either Wolk or the district could appeal so that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court hears the case. Even as this case ends, Wolk has said publicly that he will challenge all future tax increases made by the district.


May 24, 2017


The Merionite

The Merionite Official newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929 Columbia Scholastic Press Assocation Silver Crown 2013 Editors in Chief Simone Burde ’17 Deepika Jonnalagadda ’17 Managing Editor Isabella Dumitrescu ’17 News Editors Nisha Arya ’18 Catherine McFarland ’18 Dora Nathans ’18 Op-Ed Editors Michael Cheng ’18 Nina McKay ’17 Sophie Roling ’18 Features Editors Bethany Eldridge ’18 Alexandra Hummel ’17 Julia Rosen ’18

Editorial: new middle schools to accommodate student growth In order to address the rapid increase in student population, LMSD is considering potential plans for expanding existing schools and creating new schools. One proposed solution that could effectively address overcrowding is the option to build a third middle school and reconfigure the current allocation of students, meaning children in grades kindergarten through four would attend elementary schools and children in grades five through eight would attend middle schools. If the district decided to implement this plan, it could lead to a less isolating experience for sixth graders, but it would be essential to maintain a separation between students in grades five to six and students in grades seven to eight. There is a subtantial developmental difference between the oldest and youngest middle school students. Eighth graders are teenagers ready to attend high school, while sixth graders are eleven -year-olds still adjusting to the transition away from elementary school. If fifth graders attended middle school and socialized regularly with eighth graders, they could experience a more

Copy Editors Julian Ginzburg ’19 Caroline Spencer ’18 Kelsey Stanton ’18 Graphics Editors Sam Gamberg ’17 Vanessa Roser ’17 Web Editor Noah Rubin ’17 Business Manager Bradley Kaplan ’17 Advisor Charles Henneberry Assistant Advisor Laura Stiebitz Business Advisor Sean P. Flynn, Esq. 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 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’s office. The Merionite reserves the right to edit letters to the editor for length or clarity. All unattributed images are courtesy of WikiCommons.

robust pre-interscholastic athletic program. Fifth and sixth graders could also participate in other activities together, such as musical ensembles. If there were activities specifically catered to fifth and sixth graders, the beginning of middle school would feel more stable and less like a period of waiting to be able to participate in “real” activities. While changing the districting of students in grades five through eight would certainly be a major undertaking, this plan could reduce overcrowding in our schools. Without fifth graders, elementary schools would have more available classrooms as well as more flexibility in common spaces such as gyms and cafeterias. Putting fifth graders in middle schools would require careful planning and redistricting, but it could enrich the experience of both fifth and sixth graders, and help to accommodate the district’s enrollment growth. Unsigned editorials reflect the general opinion of the staff and not the opinion of any single editor.

Why LM’s health classes should watch 13 Reasons Why

A&E Editors Molly Cutler ’19 Molly Gonzales ’17 Claire Ochroch ’18 Sports Editors Matt D’Aquila ’17 Kelly Harrigan ’17 Zack Slogoff ’18

rapid social maturation than is developmentally appropriate. While the age difference between eighth and fifth graders is the same as that between twelfth and ninth graders, twelfth graders are more prepared to take on mentoring roles in relation to younger students than eighth graders are, and ninth graders are more prepared to attend school with older students than fifth graders are. In a middle school serving grades five to eight, in order to create an age-appropriate environment for the younger students, the fifth and sixth grade students should occupy a separate physical space in their school buildings from seventh and eighth grade students, and the younger and older students should, in many cases, participate in different extracurricular activities. Currently, sixth graders are somewhat isolated in middle school. For example, due to state laws, they are unable to participate in interscholastic athletics and can only play school sports through intramural programs. If fifth graders were also in middle school, however, they could participate in intramurals as well, potentially leading to a more

Julia Rappaport ’18 Recently, the Netflix original show 13 Reasons Why has gained popularity, capturing the attention of many young people. However, it is controversial amongst viewers who are concerned that the show glorifies suicide. The show follows the main character, Clay, as he tries to understand why his friend, Hannah Baker, killed herself and whether there was anything he could have done to prevent it from happening. Hannah left an audio tape for each of the thirteen people she felt had played a part in her suicide, the last of whom was her school counselor. Each of the characters hurt Hannah in some fashion, physically and/or emotionally. In each episode, there is a flashback to the scene Hannah is recalling on the tape, showing an interaction between her and one of her classmates. In the final episode/tape, Hannah explains to her school counselor the pain that she was enduring as a victim of cyberbullying, in-person bullying, and rape. While Hannah clearly had difficulty expressing herself, the counselor was unwilling to help her if she could not help herself. Having described what was undoubtedly a rape, the counselor advised her that she was just going to have to get past the pain if

Congratulations to our new staff for the 2017– 2018 school year! The Merionite The official newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929 Columbia Scholastic Press Assocation Silver Crown 2013 Editors-in-Chief Dora Nathans ’18 Sophie Roling ’18 Managing Editor Nisha Arya ’18 Senior Innovation Editor Michael Cheng ’18

she was not going to call it what it was—“rape.” Without the counselor’s help, Hannah decided to take her own life that day. The way in which the producers and director chose to portray Hannah’s sorrow is very real and raw. This is especially visible in one of the last scenes in the series, the scene where Hannah ultimately kills herself—a scene that is, by some accounts, overly graphic. All over social media, parents, viewers, and school administrators have said that they fear for the emotional safety of those who watch the show because of the dark stories being told and the potential glorification of suicide. While these are valid concerns, it is not effective to ignore these topics that are being brought to our attention. Anyone around you could be a victim of suicide, rape, or bullying. By ignoring these topics or not bringing them to the public’s attention, it is ultimately hurting the people suffering through these horrible events. This show not only touches on these raw issues, but also shows the real pain and suffering that come along with them. The producers do not sugarcoat any of the major issues. This is why the show is shocking to most viewers, leading to their disapproval. However, it also opens the lines of communication between parents and children, teachers and students, and counselors and patients, allowing there to be more of a conversation that people would not otherwise feel comfortable having. These types of conversations save lives and allow those suffering to understand that they are not alone. In addition, the graphic nature of Hannah’s suicide is not glorified but rather frightens teens from harming themselves. She was greatly dis-

tressed, not only from the physical pain, but also from all from the emotional pain she has endured. By seeing the agony that Hannah’s friend and mother feel after her death, knowing that they could have helped her if she had only reached out to them, viewers can see how talking to someone can relieve their pain. By doing so, they can reach out to an adult who can help seek treatment for them. For these reasons, it is important that not only teenagers and young adults see this show, but also that health care workers, teachers, principals, counselors, and anyone who deals with children sees it as well, so that they can recognize the signs of someone who is in distress. Being an adolescent is often a scary and rough time for many young adults as they try to find their identity and how they fit into a larger community. All emotions are heightened during this time as well because of the hormonal changes in the body. This can lead people to feeling self-conscious, helpless, unwanted, and afraid of what is to come. No one should ever feel this way, let alone feel as though they have no place in their community, or in a larger sense, this world. Showing 13 Reasons Why in LM’s health classes will start healthy conversations about bullying, rape, and suicide. Young adults will also grow a deep connection to these characters, leading them to want to talk about the show and why each event led to Hannah killing herself. Overall, if schools show 13 Reasons Why in health class, it will foster healthy conversations about what teenagers suffer through each day.

News Editors Molly Cutler ’19 Julia Rappaport ’18 Kathy Yao ’18

Copy Editors Benjamin Schmid ’19 Caroline Spencer ’18 Ziwen Zhou ’19

Opinions Editors Andres Bermudez ’19 Caleb Shack ’19 Kelsey Stanton ’18

Graphics Editors Christopher De Santis ’20 Sihan Wu ’19

Features Editors Molly Kaiser ’18 Catherine McFarland ’18 Julia Rosen ’18 Arts and Entertainment Editors Minori Cohan ’18 Claire Ochroch ’18 Grace Wei ’19 Sports Editors Julian Ginzburg ’19 Zachary Simons ’18 Zach Slogoff ’18

Web Editor Jake Gurevitch ’18 Business Manager Eric Bell ’18 Advisor Charles Henneberry Business Advisor Sean P. Flynn, Esq.

CORRECTIONS for the April 19, 2017 issue: Arts and Entertainment: The article “Springtime arts in the area,” on page 16, misspelled the title of one of Kurt Vile’s albums as Walkin’ on a Pretty Daze. The album’s actual title is spelled Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze. Sports: On page 20, the article “Ultimate transportation” misrepresented how the ultimate frisbee team requests school busing. The team requests busing for some games, but not all of them, and voluntarily chooses to carpool to games instead of using busing. The article created the impression that the team has been unfairly denied busing, but the team actually chooses to carpool. The author apologizes for any misunderstanding that this article caused.


May 24, 2017

Opinions The Merionite

AP exam score=final grade

Shuli Weinstein ’18 When the AP test season was upon us, a question surfaced in multiple AP classes: could a teacher realign a student’s final grade based on their AP test score? By having the final grade realign with a certain score from the AP test, grading for advanced placement courses could become more standardized. Instead of students’ grades reflecting their teacher’s grading styles, all students would be on an equalized playing field by having their abilities measured by the same AP test. Applying to college gets more competitive each year, and transcripts are especially important to LM students. It is nearly impossible for college admissions officers to determine which teachers may have graded more harshly than others for courses in the same subject, or which teachers were more lenient. However, if the teacher has prepared the students and the students have showcased their acquired knowledge on the AP exam, there should be no reason that the student’s grade should not align with their AP score. If students have the option for teachers to match their final year grades with their AP test scores, the grading system would not only be fairer toward everyone, but it would also benefit many students. In cases where students may have performed weaker on the AP test, the teacher will leave the final grade untouched. This system would not harm the students no matter how they score on the AP exam, but instead would reward those who truly mastered the material for the AP test. Furthermore, AP exams test knowledge gained throughout the entire school year. Many students’ grades are weaker during the first few weeks of school. This is often because it takes a short period of time for students to adjust to certain aspects of their respective class-

es. However, if students have mastered the content by the time the AP test rolls around, it only seems fair that their grade should reflect their knowledge. Additionally, the possibility of increasing a student’s grade would add a great incentive for students not only to sign up for the AP exams, but also to do well on them. Many students do not want to sit through long AP exams for each class and feel that it is enough to have the class on their transcript without attempting to prepare for and take the corresponding AP exam. If students were given the chance to boost their grade, they may approach the AP exam quite differently. The proposed alignment would be as follows: a five on the AP would correspond with an A in the respective class, a four on the AP would align with a B, a three on the AP exam would align with a C, and so on. For courses such as AP Physics 1 and AP Chemistry, where attaining a 5 on the AP exam is rare, the grade alignment could shift slightly. In the courses mentioned above, as well as any other course where the national average for AP tests are slightly lower, an A could correspond with a 4 or 5 in order to stay more consistent with the practical scores of LM students. One concern by certain LM students has been that this alignment would cause grade inflation. While this new system could create a slight grade inflation, skeptical students should keep this in mind: this system would not simply be free points. Students still have to earn their grade through a difficult AP exam. This grade alignment would not be an attainable goal for all students who slide by in the class hoping for a last minute grade booster. Scoring a four or a five on any AP exam is no easy feat, and it deserves a significant reward. All in all, the alignment of final year grades based on AP test scores would allow each student to showcase their skills and consequently have fairer opportunities to attain grades. This system would reward motivated, intelligent students and would further drive them to work hard for their AP exams.

Tabloid culture ciety care more about what Jennifer Lawrence wore yesterday than about Syrian-American relations? In a survey done by BBC, it was shown that the three most read papers in the UK are all tabloids. The Sun, The Daily Mail, and The Daily Mirror all had readerships into the millions. The readerships of the more substantial newspapers, however, were thousands Julia Rosen ’18 below the others. More often than not, this phenomenon is cited as a negative Features Editor The term “news” has a certain con- characteristic of our generation. Milnotation. Immediately, what comes lennials are seen as vapid; they want to my mind are matters of politics the fluffy news and do not care about and world affairs. Ideally, these news what is actually going on in the world pieces should be mainly objective, around them. This is simply not true. with the intention of simply offering Our interests are products of what is the facts and nothing more. However, offered to us. Take Snapchat, for exit’s blatantly obvious that, more often ample: they know their audience. than not, this is not the case. News has Supposed “news stories” are offered, always upheld a certain level of bias, yet headline stories featured on the yet society still manages to function. last Thursday of April included “Kim News sites almost always lean to the slams her butt haters,” a hard-hitting left or right on political issues, as writ- piece of journalism sandwiched beers with the same tween “how makeviews gravitate toup affected my tinward each other. der matches” and This is an inevitable “here’s how the phenomenon and it Dutch get down.” is bound to cause an The Daily Mail, one output of material of the aforementhat’s been spun tioned top selling at least a little bit. outlets in the UK More concerning (and U.S.), seemGraphic by Christopher De Santis ’20 than implicit bias, ingly exists solely however, is how the news has become for the purpose of chronicling the usetailored to the readership itself. News- less stories of the Kardashian family. papers are a commercial venture, yet It is time for a major cultural shift. are not regarded as such; rather, we as As leaders of the next generation, it readers look to news sources to inform is important that we pay attention to us objectively so that we can have an what’s really going on around us, not informed opinion. These news sources the meaningless plastic universe of are trying to give us what they think celebrities. This will cause a domino that we want. They think we want ar- effect of positive change throughout ticles of nothingness; the who, what, all aspects of life. Change is made by and where of celebrity life. being more aware and by reading facWhat I’m speaking of specifically is tual information to know what is trutabloid journalism, something more ly going on around us; with that, our pressing than possible bias in writing. awareness is elevated. Paying less atTabloid journalism occurs when the tention to things like the models of the news has no real substance. Tabloids glossy tabloid pages for example, will are full of details about the daily lives lessen the pressure and trauma they of celebrities, reporting their trips cause for adolescent girls. This type to the supermarket and evening out- of change is made by taking control ings. Additionally, this form of news and having a command of politics and in practice is majorly sensationalized, world affairs, while choosing to ignore meaning it has little basis of fact. Yet the swirling abyss of nothingness that the problem isn’t the reliability of is the tabloid business. This is done the news, it’s the subject matter it- through taking an interest and pickself. Even if it was completely factu- ing up a newspaper. Pointless tabloids ally accurate, it still would be utterly have peaked in popularity. Their time pointless. Why do we as a global so- is up.

More visibility for art clubs

Edward Wilson ’18 On April 18, LM filmed a lip dub with Webster Elementary to raise money for school supplies. The emails about the event, sent to all LM students, seemed to suggest that absolutely every student in the building had to be present. However, the email detailing which clubs were assigned to which zones left out quite a few. Which

ones? I believe the answer may reveal a pattern in LM’s attitude towards the arts. The various music-related activities—band, jazz band, orchestra, and choir—are so vast and time-consuming that they probably should count as clubs. In the visual arts, there are two more activities—Art Forum and the newest addition to LM’s extracurriculars, LM InsideOut. The literary magazine The Dolphin meets weekly after school. Yet only jazz band was granted a zone—outside the building. At first, one would think this is just because the school simply ran out of students and locations. But Benjamin Walsh, the main sponsor for InsideOut, reports that he was not even asked if he wanted to participate in the lip dub.

For these and other reasons, many students feel that the school is biased against the arts. According to the emails Beth Hampton sent us, the lip dub represented a total of 21 of LM’s many athletic-related activities. But only four of LM’s ten arts activities were present at the lip dub. The school celebrates individual sports games to the point of devoting an overwhelming, chaotic week to a single football competition, yet gives little to no publicity to the spring art gallery or the winter and spring music concerts. While Players does have some advertising, they don’t get nearly as much coverage as sports. LM’s student culture seems to have a bias against the arts, and this is hurting the school. A culture may contain

competitions or rallies, but ultimately the arts are what define it. Literature documents how people speak. Visual arts reveal how people see their world. Music shows how people feel about certain issues. And theatre, the combination of all of these, records history. Without the arts, people lose touch with the world and with the meaning of life, and I fear this is already beginning to happen at LM. The arts are vital because they hold the essence of life together. If LM does not believe that the arts are just as important as athletics or any other activities, it does itself a disservice. Now I ask you, my schoolmates: help generate awareness for artists, before they are forgetten altogether.


May 24, 2017


The Merionite

En Marche!

Caleb Shack ’19 “La France doit être une chance pour tous.” The slogan for French President-elect Emmanuel Macron, which translates to “France must be a chance for all,” provides an empowering statement in a time of global crisis. Populism has become an epidemic in powerful countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. This past election has prompted a sigh of relief for those in support of sustaining the European Union (EU), whose last chance for success lies in France. However, this would not have been possible if the circumstances for Macron did not line up perfectly. After the disappointing 2007-2012 term of President Nicolas Sarkozy, the French cried out to the socialists to fix all the problems Sarkozy was reluctant to fix, such as a lack of jobs and spending ability. However, President François Hollande has done little to nothing to improve France during his five-year term. His worst mistake–debatably–was his extreme tax plan for France: a 75 percent tax on people with high tier incomes. Ironically, this pledge, meant to cut taxes for the working class, was deemed unconstitutional and never put into effect. He also failed to create jobs and caused the unemployment rate to rise to 10.6 percent in 2016—an eighteen-year high. In spite of that, currently, the unemployment rate has dropped to slightly below 10 percent due to a last minute economic plan developed by Hollande. This drop was not nearly low enough for the people of France to be satisfied. With a 4% percent nationwide approval rate, Hollande did not run for re-election and was replaced by Benoît Hamon as the next socialist candidate. After a huge failure from the socialist party, the French were not expected to vote for them. Former Prime Minister of France François Fillon, initially appeared to be the candidate most likely to win the election. However, after he was investigated for embezzlement of public funds when he paid his wife and children for work they did not do, his popularity strongly decreased, causing him to be defeated in the Premiere Tour (the first out of two rounds of voting during the presidential election). This had a favorable effect for Macron, who has never held an elected office and consequently could not have a corrupt political background. France’s system of democracy allows representation from any party that can receive 500 signatures from elected officials. Therefore, there were many “third party” candidates that ran in the Premiere Tour who were not close to obtaining the votes they needed to advance. Going into the Deuxieme Tour (the second and last round of voting during the presidential election), far-right conservative Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron faced off in a battle of unification vs isolation. Terrorist attacks in France have become a serious issue during the past few years, a phenomenon linked to a burgeon of support for the National Front led by Le Pen. Le Pen holds strong nationalistic views and

The WHCA and Trump

planned to break away from the European Union so that France would not be forced to accept refugees. After she received the second-highest vote in the Premiere Tour, allowing her to move to the Deuxieme Tour, Republican and Socialist party leaders—amongst others— urged their supporters to vote in favor of Macron to prevent right wing extremism from corrupting France. This somewhat perfect scenario was not the only reason for Macron’s success. He campaigned using US-style mobilization techniques that somewhat mirrored President Obama’s method. Macron was able to obtain local volunteer committees that went door-to-door asking people to describe the changes they would like to see in French public policy. His political party, En Marche (currently rebranded as

Being an influential 39 -year-old who was able to hit the ground running and ended up winning, Emmanuel Macron promises an auspicious future for France.

“La République En Marche”), also set up hundreds of small events each day across the country, attracting publicity and support for a movement that has, in a way, sprung out of nowhere. Although largely unfamiliar to the French prior to the election, Macron was originally embedded in the socialist party and served in Hollande’s cabinet as his economic minister. He is still evidently lacking in political experience, but the French saw hope in him. Ultimately receiving 66.1 percent of the French vote, Macron won the election due to his approach to campaigning, the Socialist Party’s lack of progress, Fillon’s corruption, and Le Pen’s unsupported nationalism. Being an influential 39-year-old who was able to hit the ground running and ended up winning, Emmanuel Macron promises an auspicious future for France. They are currently undergoing an economic crisis due to high unemployment, bloated public spending, and a low overall growth in the economy. For the past ten years, France has been searching for ways to fix these ongoing problems, so Macron was the perfect candidate to win because of his proficiency in economic policy. He also holds strong views pertaining to the crisis that will affect the whole world: global warming. Macron believes it is one of the biggest issues that the world must face right now and even urged Americans working on climate change research to come to France, saying they are “welcome” there. During this message, he made comments on Donald Trump, saying, “your new president has decided to jeopardize your budget, your initiatives, as he is extremely skeptical about climate change.” He follows this by saying, “I have no doubt about climate change and how committed we have to be regarding this issue.” A part of Macron’s economic policy is to increase spending for ecological reform in order to create new jobs in clean energy as well as save the world from undergoing the harsh effects of global warming. In reference to his foreign policy, he believes in keeping the EU intact and has already reached out to current and former global leaders in an attempt to work together on certain issues. Macron, without a doubt, demonstrates many good characteristics and provides a new hope for France.

Andres Bermudez ’19 In the May 2016 edition of The Merionite, I wrote an article about one of the biggest events of the political spring season: the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. The article outlined how the White House and the White House Correspondents’ Association had become too closely affiliated, counteracting the original purpose of the WHCA, which was to create a channel of information from the White House that was as unbiased as possible. At the time, the worst foreseeable outcome was a secretive increase in state manipulation of the media, leading to reduced transparency in the government. It was impossible for anyone to know what the next year had in store. It is undeniable that the last twelve months have been full of unimaginable changes. Week after week, impossible events followed each other like dominoes until the worst nightmares of some were eventually realized. In the aftermath, it is easy to become disinterested in a political landscape that seems bizarre and out of touch, but it is vital to maintain a keen eye in order to keep the current administration in check. While some may feel that many of the current administration’s policies benefit them, the Trump administration’s interaction with the established media is indefensible. At the very least it is unsustainable, as it causes extreme confusion daily without fail. More likely, though, it is directly guiding us to the end of our democracy as we know it. Donald Trump is currently fighting a two-front war with the media. The primary and more publicized front is against the truth itself. With weapons like ‘alternative facts’ and a failure to take responsibility for the accuracy of his own statements, Donald Trump baffles his critics through pure shamelessness. However, the far less obvious but more long-lasting effect of Donald Trump’s war on the media is the utter destruction of the established press. For almost all of American history, the press has been one of the most vital private structures in the system of checks and balances. Privatized for a reason, the press is meant to act in the interest of the American people, not the American government. In early 1914, for example, during the presidency of Woodrow Wilson, rumors began to spread in Washington that a congressional committee would begin to decide which journalists would be allowed at the president’s newly regular press conferences. This, of course, was the very reason for the founding of the WHCA and from it have come other non-governmental journalistic organizations. The goal of the WHCA is to toe the line between manipulation of

information and a lack of transparency, with the former being the major fear of the people during previous administrations. The White House Correspondents’ Dinner perfectly showcased how the government and its supposed monitoring structure truly sat down together at the dinner table. Any inkling of that worry has completely dissipated now as the Trump administration, rather than bring the balance back to the center, has decided to jump straight across to the other side. Now Trump shows unabashed favoritism to those news outlets that glorify him, particularly newer, more extremist ones like Breitbart. In the meantime, he attacks those that question him, regardless of their credibility. One LM student called it “unconstitutional,” saying that it was “disheartening to see such a strong bias take effect in the government.” He praises Infowars, an internet outlet that spreads blatant conspiracy theories and insults and demonizes outlets like the centuries-old New York Times. The absolute reflection from the issues of the last few administrations can be seen in the fact that Donald Trump will not even be attending the White House Correspondents’ Dinner this year without so much as a decent excuse. While it could be argued that this choice by Donald Trump shows a future without corruption of the media, the truth is much less bright. In reality, Trump’s decision cements the end of true transparency in this administration. He has decided to silently assassinate the autonomy of the press. Rather than covert manipulation, Trump will opt for overt control. The WHCA will soon be deemed useless as its clear channel of information; rather than being tainted, it will be completely dammed. From now on, the public will see only what Trump wants Graphic by Amy Xi ’19 them to see, hear only what Trump wants them to hear, and know only what Trump wants them to know. As for the common argument used by Trump that the mainstream media has some sort of vendetta against him, the decision must ultimately be left to the people. If a news source truly does not reflect the world around them, the people will gravitate towards others that do. In other words, if Trump truly does make the country better, he has nothing to fear from the media, as people will move away from those sources that are blatantly putting forth lies when they see that their lives do not match the rhetoric they receive from the press. On the contrary, if Trump does not meet his own expectations, it will be the job of the media to share this fact, and therefore there will be need for the very sources of information that Trump critiques. Otherwise, without any press that is not pro-Trump, the days of Americans being essentially spoon-fed unbiased information will end. It therefore must be urged that each and every citizen wake from their passive absorption of information, as it will soon be our duty to seek out the truth. There will no longer be any organization to rely on to keep our government in check, and it will fall on all our shoulders to keep the freedoms of this country alive.


May 24, 2017

Opinions The Merionite

Accepting everyone’s story

Molly Gonzales ’17 Arts & Entertainment Editor “That’s so gay!” yells one of the boys I babysit to his brother, who just missed a layup. The two boys, both in middle school, are fifteen minutes into a oneon-one basketball game. The younger one missed the shot, prompting the homophobic slur. I’m not calling him a homophobe; he doesn’t know any better, right? But then I wonder what kinds of values he learns in school and at home. “Boys will be boys,” their mother says when I bring it up later. But how, in 2017, are kids still keeping these slurs in their vocabulary? We are currently experiencing a time of great political unrest. We don’t have time for “boys will be boys” or for children to grow up into homophobic adults. We need to be proactive, and we need to raise accepting children who will fight tomorrow for the rights of all. The current state of our nation is dependent on teaching the next generation to be ac-

cepting and loving people. “There is no one you can’t learn to love once you learn their story,” says Andrew Stanton, a writer and director for Pixar. This quote has stuck with me since my English teacher showed it to our class in September. If students were exposed to and learned about all different cultures in elementary school, I am confident they would develop a deeper understanding of their own privilege. If we were to celebrate women and their history, not just in February, but actually as it happened along with our curriculum, I have a feeling girls wouldn’t be talked down to the way they are now. I always thought piano music was kind of lame. After listening and truly paying attention to classical music and learning about composers like Scott Joplin and Myra Hess, I developed a greater respect for pianists and am now less inclined to call them nerds. Let’s bring that logic into our schools. If teachers can find a way to weave works from women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community into their English classes, children will be less inclined to call their friend’s ugly shirt “gay.” Respecting someone who is different from you stems from understanding their history and culture. When you call someone a “faggot,” do you realize the historical significance attached to that term? Do you realize gay people in nineteenth century America were attacked with burning bundles of sticks, called faggots? Despite the

word’s manipulation into modern-day slang, calling someone by the word implies they should be burned at the stake. But I guess that’s okay if you’re just using it with your soccer pals, right? If history teachers take more than ten minutes a year to share the accomplishments of women throughout history, I guarantee the level of internalized misogyny and sexism in schools will decrease. I am not offering a cure to sexism, but I think men will respect women more if they realize their contribution to society over the years. There would be no moon landing or genetic engineering without them! Look at me, some white suburban girl, writing the antidote to all oppression. No, that’s not what I’m saying. I am saying that we have an obligation to the future of our nation to open our arms and promote equality. We have an obligation to celebrate the great accomplishments all people have contributed to our society, and it all starts in our schools. It’s no secret that our history classes, textbooks, and curriculums have a bias. Not necessarily a partisan bias, but certainly an internalized white agenda. We are allowed to remember leaders of our country for their accomplishments while accepting their faults. I am not trying to say that FDR was a racist, but we have to accept the facts with a grain of salt. He heaved the country out of the worst economic depression in history, but he also locked away Japanese Americans because of their race. We glided over

that part in history, just like we glided over Reagan turning his back on the AIDS crisis because he lifted us out of an economic depression. Students need to understand the good and the ugly when learning history. On the flip side, when we remember great women for their accomplishments, we are immediately pestered with their faults. “Susan B. Anthony was a racist!” Sure, she was, but so were most white men of this period, and I don’t see that being advertised. Learning history as it happened is extremely vital, but learning and leaving out key chunks of the truth with the excuse that “winners write history” perpetuates a white superiority complex in our society. If we want a future of acceptance and equality, we need to start in our curriculum. We need well-educated and accepting people tomorrow, and centralizing curriculums to eliminate exclusion can accomplish this. Expose young students to books and poems written by people of color. Show us everything women have contributed to history. We don’t need teachers who deny the existence of Sally Hemings. We need teachers who celebrate works of art, writing, and literature created by all. We need to learn history as it happened, not just a narrow form of history that promotes the acceptance of hate and bigotry. Once we learn everyone’s story, we can continue onto a path of acceptance.

Special Feature

WEED at LM The Merionite

Dear Reader,

The Merionite is presenting this study of marijuana usage at LM in order to promote a better understanding of the behavior of LM students pertaining to the drug. We want to emphasize that we neither condone nor discourage the usage of weed. We decided to maintain anonymity for the articles in this special feature to protect the identities of the students who wrote them. We believe that this allows the authors to give the most honest and genuine opinions. We used social media to gather responses for our survey and believe that the student body answered our questions truthfully. The Merionite hopes this special feature will answer questions generally written off as unanswerable and shed light on what we consider to be an important topic at LM. Sincerely, Simone Burde ’17, Isabella Dumitrescu ’17, and Deepika Jonnalagadda ’17

Information from our wellness counselor Janet Pudlinski You may have heard a lot about medical marijuana and legalization in the news in recent years. Studies have found that the use of marijuana may actually be appropriate for some medical conditions, especially when used in a limited amount or frequency. Sounds like a good thing, right? Pot must be safe, right? Well….while research is uncovering potential medical benefits, they are also learning that it is particularly risky for young people whose brains are still developing. That’s an important point to make; often we hear positive things about the effects of something and convince ourselves that it means it is safe for everyone. Think of your body developing like building a house. As a child you lay the physical foundation and groundwork. During high school you are completing most of the electrical work and wiring in the brain. All these changes in the brain require a high level of neuroplasticity. In simpler terms, at this point in time your brain is like clay easily molded and susceptible to change. This helps all of the new wiring and networks take place but also makes it easier to “trip the switch” that leads to addiction or unhealthy connections. A recent study looked at brain scans of 18 to 24 year olds who smoked marijuana once per week and found changes to the shape of two areas of the brain, the amygdala and nucleus accumbens. The more frequently an individual smoked, the more abnormal the shape. This is significant because these areas of the brain are involved in determining motivation and rewards, processing emotions, and forming long-term memories. This is just one example of how easy it is to damage these areas. Some of the short term effects include changes in mood, temporary hallucinations, increased heart rate, breathing problems, difficulty thinking and problem-solving, and impaired memory. And because marijuana has effects on attention and coordination, using this drug is also associated with an increased risk of being in a car accident. The research also finds that some of the long term effects of

marijuana use may include a reduction in thought, memory, and learning functions. It’s even linked to lower birth weight during pregnancy. As more research is being done, we continue to learn about the pros and cons of marijuana but in the meantime we know it is here and people are using it. There are many resources available if you are interested in learning more or have concerns about someone’s use. Answering yes to any of these questions may suggest a developing problem that would benefit from

talking to a trained professional: 1. Have you ever ridden in a car driven by someone (including yourself) who has been using? 2. Do you ever use to relax, to feel better about yourself, or to fit in? 3. Do you ever use when you are alone? 4. Do you ever forget things you did while using? 5. Do family of friends ever tell you to cut down on your use? 6. Have you ever gotten in trouble while you were using? You can go to any trusted adult for help – teachers, coaches, parents, aunts/uncles. The Counseling office has your School Counselor, School Social Worker, and Mental Health & Wellness Worker (that’s me). The Nurses are a great source of information, as well. If you aren’t comfortable speaking to someone directly, make an anonymous START referral (forms can be found on the district website or outside my door). The important piece is that you go to someone, make the first step to creating positive change.

May 24, 2017



Why I do Anonymous

Marijuana is generally painted for students as the “gateway drug.” Yet in actuality, considering alcohol is just as easily accessible and makes one prone to making far worse decisions, this categorization of marijuana is unfounded. There are no detrimental side effects to consuming marijuana in its various forms, aside from the obvious consequence of smoking as a general activity. Over the years in our health classes, teachers warned us against using weed with ambiguous and irrelevant threats, mostly focusing on the illegality.

However, they failed to mention the fact that weed in American society is almost as popular as alcohol. Additionally, society rarely discusses the problem with punishment on victimless crimes. There is an overwhelming number of American citizen who are incarcerated due to crimes involving marijuana, especially the “business” aspect. In fact, last year almost 750,000 people were imprisoned due to marijuana related violations (Drug Policy Alliance). I recently had a conversation with the mother of one of my friends, and she told me her only concern with her son smoking was that he could get booked. This is a valid concern, but only because it’s a response to our generally problematic criminal justice system which focuses more on enforcing the War on Drugs and less on punishing perpetrators of violent crime – a phenomenon that disproportionately imprisons men of color. Children are also warned against marijuana

beca How funct lesce adep sump for o to ne for e in qu abus Ad cally Abus juana

Why I don’t Anonymous

Marijuana is certainly a drug that has become less taboo and more popular amongst young people due to its literal and figurative “evolution” (i.e. new forms of production, medical research, etc.). While I currently do not plan on using marijuana during this time in my life, I am not against others use of recreational marijuana in any way, shape, or form. Any substance that provides a euphoric “high” or any “high” does so because it interrupts or creates new chemical reactions in the brain. Marijuana, in particular, has a devastating effect on daily, weekly, and even monthly users. It is a common misconception that marijuana carries no risks and is simply a form of stress relief or a basic form of intoxication

at a party—like alcoho only provided evidence This article is no ence of it all, but to sha put it bluntly, marijuan abysmal effects on the on the long-term effect one starts smoking freq it can lower their IQ le 2014). Although a seem 8 IQ points makes the d and “average” which m rize and understand thi occurs because the hum ture until one is about 2

Special Feature

May 24, 2017


The Merionite

ause of how it affects their academic performance and success in life. wever, marijuana tends to expand the creative thought process and tionality of the pineal and pituitary glands. I’ve seen countless adoents feel more comfortable with themselves, become more socially pt, and be more artistically productive due to a fairly regular conption of marijuana. Many people have cited marijuana as the reason original and unique thoughts and ideas as it opens up people’s minds ew perspectives. Of course, todo en moderación, but the same goes everything. Marijuana only becomes a gateway drug when the person uestion is inherently experimental, or perhaps just too susceptible to sing substances from the start. dditionally, marijuana is one of the few drugs that isn’t scientifiy classified as addictive. According to the National Institute on Drug se, approximately nine percent of people become dependent on maria. It’s important to note the distinction between addiction and depen-

ol. Yet, recent research has e of the opposite. ot meant to get into the sciare my personal opinion. To na has demonstrated to have IQs of chronic users. A study ts of marijuana has shown if quently under the age of 18, evel by 8 points (Filbey et al., mingly small drop, a range of difference between “gifted” measures the ability to memoings. This drop in IQ points man brain does not fully ma26 years old. If brain devel-

dence, although it can be difficult to discern. As a person who smokes cigarettes and does not smoke weed, I’d much rather it be the other way around. Smoking weed is not something that is physically essential for the day to go on, and is not difficult to quit. Marijuana is a pretty simple drug: it makes people feel good and happy while having minimal physical effects. Why is this portrayed as such a problem? Research has found that marijuana can help improve uncomfortable symptoms associated with HIV, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and is medically prescribed for post-traumatic stress disorder in several states. In addition to these benefits for those who use medical marijuana, adolescents who use recreational marijuana cite improved anxiety, stress, and depression. Therefore, in my opinion, as long as you know the consequences of smoking, you should be allowed to do whatever you please.

Why I’m conflicted Anonymous

Should I be allowed to smoke weed? Do I even want to smoke? Who gets to decide who can smoke? The questions – these and more – that surround the legalization of recreational marijuana usage create a difficult and often confusing landscape. Add the haze of popular rumors surrounding marijuana usage, “it’s not addictive,”or “there are no harmful side effects,” and deciding how I feel about marijuana becomes even harder. Marijuana, colloquially known as weed, is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States, and has been shown to lead to addiction and to distort perception and coordination. Long term use can cause serious brain impairment. Studies by the National Institute on Drug Abuse show that pot smokers are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, or suicide. Marijuana use can inflate the heartrate for up to four hours, and pot smokers have a higher risk of heart attack within one hour of smoking weed. In teenagers, marijuana usage can affect brain development and the drug, “may reduce thinking, memory, and learning functions,” ( Smoking weed

opment is interrupted by the chemicals in marijuana such as THC, it will have an adverse effect on the development and daily functions of the brain. Nonetheless, a lower IQ is not the only reason why I do not smoke marijuana. Marijuana often serves as a very useful tool for distraction, but distraction is arguably not the best way to deal with problems. Many of the most active smokers cite anxiety, depression, or general insecurities as reasons for using marijuana, a phenomenon I have noticed among my peers, although this is not to say that all users smoke for this reason. While I personally struggle from anxiety and my own insecurities, I find abusing any substance in order to compensate, inherently unhealthy. Instead, it is healthier to

can also cause the same breathing problems tobacco causes, including coughing and frequent lung-illness. To me, the evidence is stacked pretty high against legalization. Yet, I’m still conflicted. Alcohol has many similar risks, especially to minors, but it is legal for anyone over the age of 21. Alcohol also has harmful developmental effects to teenagers, causing more than 4,300 teenage deaths a year (CDC. gov). Overall, alcohol leads to about 88,000 deaths a year. Tobacco is also legal, to people over the age of 18, and its danger is widely recognized. So why is weed, arguably the least harmful drug of these three, illegal? Or if you would prefer, why are cigarettes and alcohol legal? Personally, I believe that it comes down to freedom. America is the land-of-the-free, and if you would like to slowly hurt yourself, you are entitled to that ability. Marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco are all relatively harmless to other people – and our society tends to allow self-destructive behavior. I am still left with a dilemma; should we allow people to engage in behavior that is inherently unhealthy? Or should we restrict each other, for our own good?

tackle personal issues head on along with the help of friends and family. Research for medical marijuana usage has shown a potential application of the drug to stop malignant cancer cells from spreading, as well as slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. However, the discovery of these beneficial properties in specific instances does not justify all recreational use. I believe marijuana should be made legal nationwide, but strictly for consumption by adults as there are a variety of negative effects on adolescent users. Therefore, I personally do not smoke and encourage active smokers to reconsider their decisions.



May 24, 2017

The Merionite

The conversations found in this feature were conducted by Senior staff member Vanessa Roser. Statistics were collected from Aces Nation surveys.

Elizabeth Hazard ’17 AP Art Student Tyler School of Art ’21

Do you have any experiences regarding this culture at LM that particularly stick out to you? I’m not sure if it’s specific experiences so much as the voice in my head telling me that because I am an artist, I’m not going to be smart. Just a solid baseline of well you’re only good at artistic stuff, so you’re not good at academics, which is true. So it’s this baseline of being intellectually stupid. Would you say that the attitude towards students in art classes has prevented you or made you less likely to take non-art courses that interested you? I think definitely. I’ve felt, and I still feel, that even though I’m friends with people that are smart, if I was in a situation in which I was surrounded by those sorts of people, I would just end up feeling ashamed about myself. So I definitely think that I avoided situations where those people would put me down because of our perceived levels of intelligence. Even though deep inside I know that it’s not true, the rest of me believes, they have a much higher status than you, because that’s always just what I have been taught: that there’s a huge gap between me and them. Speaking more generally about the “art kids” with whom you are close, would you say that many of them possess similar feelings? Definitely, I think that it’s kind of a big thing if you are an artist, and that’s all you’ve got; you do end up with this sense of being lower than other people because society doesn’t value what you’re doing. The one thing that we’re good at, society doesn’t value. Sometimes, even though I know it’s bad, I wish I couldn’t draw; I wish I couldn’t paint, because that’s the only thing that I’m good at. I wish I could have been good at something else.

Etienne Kambara ’17 Principal horn player for Philadelphia Youth Orchestra Do you have any experiences regarding this culture at LM that particularly stick out to you? I remember in the beginning of this year I was enrolled in AP Physics C: Electronegativity and Magnetism, and I just didn’t feel like I was in the right environment. I remember feeling like all of the kids around me had chosen a completely different path than I had, and they were all going into science degrees in college, and that maybe some of them participated in extracurriculars, but for the most part they were all super science and math focused. I just felt so out of place, which was kind of weird because I’ve always enjoyed science and math. But I just didn’t feel right, so I dropped the course and ended up taking choir instead. Would you say that prioritizing art classes has ever made you doubt your intelligence? Maybe a little bit. I feel like sometimes the questions of “Am I smart? Am I intelligent,? Do I work hard?” have risen due to the fact that I have decided to focus on music classes. Sometimes it does feel a bit invalidating if people think that music and art classes aren’t hard and that I am not an intelligent person for taking them. I think that’s unfair because there are kids who are really smart, dedicated, and focused and do really well in the fields of art and music, but who are not valued for their intelligence. It’s not felt the same way as the kids who really dedicate their time to STEM. So you would say that students who choose to divide their time are pretty consistently seen as less intelligent than the students who focus exclusively on STEM? Oh sure. You’ll be seen by the entire high school community as the “art kids” and there are negative stereotypes that come with that.

If you could, if you were in a place that supported it, do you think that you would prefer being able to do both arts and academics even if it meant that you wouldn’t be as skilled as you are at just one? I would absolutely want that because there are so many academic things that do interest me. I thought Geometry was really fun and I really like learning languages. I took French for eight years and Japanese for two years, and I’ve also taught myself a little bit of Korean, so there are a lot of things that I would like to explore.

Do you think that there is a sense of resentment there, where kids who primarily do art feel like “These people don’t value what I do. They talk down to me, I just can’t associate with them?” Definitely. There is a huge divide between the two. You know, at LM, I don’t think that there’s really a “jock” social group, but there’s definitely the group of kids who are going to go to Ivy Leagues and are really, really smart and don’t do music and don’t do art. They just stay in their group, and there’s a little bit of animosity between the two groups. It’s very difficult to straddle both of them.

You just described all of these academic things that you’re actually really engaged in and interested in learning. Why do you label yourself as being “intellectually stupid?” I would say that I’m interested in those things, but a lot of the time, because I’m an “art kid” it gets overshadowed. It just becomes like an umbrella term for who I am. I think it honestly comes down to social circles. Everyone has a place, and a lot of the time it’s to very frowned upon if you ever step outside of your circle. Would you say that some of the trends you have described are maybe due to the fact that there’s no real reason or no real way at LM for those social circles of kids who are interested in art and kids who are interested in science to interact? Yeah, of course. There’s so much separation, one hundred percent. There’s absolutely no reason for anyone to come down to the art wing unless you are in art, and that [is] frustrating to me. No one is going to see what you do unless they are another art student. Do you think that students really make the choice to just give up on the interest in art entirely, to shut themselves off from that part of their identity? Definitely. It’s highly, highly unfortunate because there are so many kids who have such a incredible talent and they should be pursuing. But at the same time, it’s hard for me to encourage people who aren’t in the art scene to come to it because I know the sacrifices that will be made, and I don’t want to make anyone else have to feel this awful. Do you think there might be a lot of students at LM who have never really had to think about this issue? Yes, our value isn’t worth anything to them, and that ends up reflecting back on us. We pick up on that. So about ninety nine percent of art kids have this very low sense of self-worth. They’re not going to think that they’re doing well or that they’re smart because of what everyone else is saying to them and around them and because of the way that they are treated.

-Dermot Anderson, Guidance Counselor


May 24, 2017


The Merionite

Vanessa Roser ’17 TSA Officer AP Art Student

Olin Wei ’17

Science Olympiad Captain Philadelphia Youth Orchestra Do you think that a lot of kids feel some kind of outside pressure to take science and math classes? Lots of schools are just cutting funding for art and music programs. There’s a huge push in society towards stuff that doesn’t involve art, and that’s part of the problem here: to succeed and to get into a “good” college, you have to be taking maths and sciences. You have fairly concrete plans about integrating art into your college education. Is that something that you regret not doing at LM? Or is it a situation where you feel that there was just no other way?

In the process of writing this article, I realized two things. First, that I had unknowingly plunged headfirst into a complicated, deep-set issue that has affected far more people than I had initially realized. Second, that I had become part of the problem. Without realizing it, I had spent four years quietly trying to shape myself according to the narrow definition of intelligence that permeates LM-one that ignores intelligence in the arts. For a long time, I told myself the same lie that can be heard in the halls everyday: there is nothing to be gained from taking art classes. It was easier to believe this unspoken message shared by many of my classmates—that art courses were ”jokes,” that they didn’t lead to successful careers, that they simply didn’t have the same educational value as STEM courses— than to analyze why I was really afraid to take them: I was afraid of being seen as any less intelligent and any less capable than my high achieving peers in science and math courses. I watched as students in AP Calculus BC and AP Physics C: Mechanics classes tallied up electives like points on a scoreboard: Senior Seminar: (ten points) AP Chemistry (eight points) and AP Art (nothing). Like most of my academically achieving peers, it was easier for me to dismiss students who were involved in the arts, to perpetuate this narrow definition of what intelligence was, than to acknowledge that students could be just as smart and successful outside of the strange ball game in which we were competing. It was only after taking AP Art this year that I realized how serious the repercussions of this STEM-focused arms race were for every student at LM. I discovered that while this separation between arts classes and STEM classes manifests itself differently in every student, it hurts us all.

I feel like there wasn’t really any other way, because I couldn’t fit it into my schedule. I really wanted to… I really wanted to keep doing art. Is there anything you’ve heard or experienced that is representative of this divide? We know people on both sides of the story, and that it’s not just “intellectuals” who are intellectual or the “artistic people” who are artistic. It’s that some of them actually really want to try the other thing, and that some of them maybe did try when they were younger, but it’s just too hard to keep that going at LM. Do the pressures at LM make you question your decision to choose science while trying to retain your interest in music and art? I question my life all the time. Like every single choice I make. Usually, unless I have a clear decision, I might just flip a coin to make a decision no matter how big it is, just because I can’t choose. And the thing is, we have the time to explore, we just need the opportunity to be able to explore. If we’re not given the opportunity to try, then there’s no chance of us ever being able to find out.

-Dermot Anderson, Guidance Counselor

Gabriel Krotkov ’17 Dawgma Captain Flying Aces (LM A Capella)

Cultural problems are deeply intractable, mostly because of a dismissive attitude towards changing culture. This makes sense, because if everyone had to change the way they think, speak, and behave every time they were vaguely ambiguous, the rate of change would quickly outstrip the human ability to process new information and adapt to it. That said, tearing down the walls that separate the arts from academia is worth our time and attention. The arts have a great deal to teach academics, and academics have a great deal to teach the arts. It’s unacceptable that we as a culture voluntarily kill the opportunities afforded by artistic-academic collaboration because we feel better when everyone’s in their nice, neat, little boxes. In a world of rampant anti-intellectualism, of slashed National Endowment of the Arts budgets, and increasingly short-sighted corporations, we cannot afford that laziness. It’s important that we reject the culture of isolating arts from academia because they simply work better together. “Interdisciplinary” might be a buzzword in academia, but it exists for a reason. Research discovers faster, projects are more quickly completed, and more innovative concepts emerge when a diverse group of individuals collaborate to make progress towards problems. Both the business world and institutions of higher learning have realized this: it’s evident in their hiring practices, in their team structures, and in what they value.

This divide results in students who are highly advanced in math and science developing a distressingly limited definition of which subjects and which people have value. There are few reasons for them to engage in the arts, and even fewer ways for them to do so. After being fed the narrative that only math and science lead to good colleges and good careers, many leave LM unprepared for a workforce that ever increasingly values interdisciplinary skillsets and creative thinkers. It results in the students who have skill in both academics and art relegating themselves to only one path because of how challenging it is to allocate time to both disciplines within LM’s current curriculum and social environment. It also results in the students who do prioritize art internalizing this perceived lack of worth in what they do and devaluing their own intelligence and ability to their own detriment in a social hierarchy that does not recognize what they do. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. There are students on either side of the spectrum that value art and academics, as well as students who are able to engage successfully in both during their time at LM. However, the recurring theme that has been documented in survey data, interviews, and conversations with many students at LM shows that the simple act of being involved in the arts and STEM requires incredible dedication and energy on the part of the individual just to cross that divide.



May 24, 2017

The Merionite

These snacks have your back Melissa Bell ’20 Smoothie #1 1/2 cup blueberries 1/2 cup raspberries 1/2 small banana (peeled and frozen) 1/4 cup diced pineapple 2 Tbsp chia seeds 3 ice cubes 1/2 cup pomegranite juice 1 serving vanilla whey protein powder

Graphic by Vanessa Roser ’17/Staff

Smoothie #2 1/2 small banana (peeled and frozen) 1 Tbsp chia seeds 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 3/4 cup soy milk (vanilla or plain) 1 serving vanilla whey protein powder

It’s no secret that finals are one of the most difficult and stressful times of the year. However, with the help of the right snacks, you can take on your finals at your best, with an alert mind and a full stomach. When forced to face sleep deprivation and incessant studying, most people’s first instinct is to resort to caffeine. But, take a break from your beloved brew every once in a while; this is one of the worst things you can do when you’re bearing down to study. Even though caffeinated drinks can give you a short burst of energy, they’ll inevitably make you more stressed, less focused, and even more tired the next day. In fact, Red Bull settled a $13 million false advertising lawsuit in 2014 for claiming it would greatly improve mental and physical performance, when in reality there was no concrete scientific information to support that claim. Additionally, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that a single energy drink can raise levels of norepinephrine (a hormone released during times of stress) by seventy percent. Finals are stressful enough as is without the extra dose of fight-or-flight hormones. If I’ve successfully convinced you to ditch your daily cup of coffee, consider drinking smoothies during finals week. They’re a great way to sneak lots of healthy brain fuel into a delicious drink. Experts believe chia seeds are one of the best “study foods” because of their vital role in transmitting signals between brain cells. In addition, blueberries and raspberries are known for being some of the best foods to boost memory (try recipe #1 to put these ingredients into your smoothie). Dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in sparking motivation and positive attitude, can be found in more protein-filled foods (check out recipe #2 to work some more protein into your diet). Protein also fills you up, so you won’t have to get distracted by

your grumbling stomach during an all-nighter. If you’re not exactly a smoothie enthusiast, teas like mint, chamomile, ginseng, or lemon are perfect for calming nerves and reducing stress. They’re great for studying during the day when you need to focus or calm down but also helpful to drink before bed after a lot of studying so you can get as much sleep as possible. When studying, it’s best to avoid foods that are high in sugar, have been heavily processed, or contain a lot of trans fat. Even though it may be tempting to reward yourself with an unhealthy treat, there are many alternative foods that are helpful and delicious. Avocados, for example, are high in stress-relieving B vitamins and potassium. So smear some on toast, enjoy some chips and guacamole, or add some slices on a salad. An ideal breakfast before a final would be yogurt with berries and nuts. Yogurt contains many vitamins and nutrients that help with relieving stress. Many berries, such as blueberries, help with memory while you go over last minute notes. Nuts reduce stress hormones and improve the immune system, so you can avoid that seemingly-universal finals week plague everyone faces due to stress. For dinner and lunch, you should attempt to keep fatty fish in your diet. Fish such as salmon and tuna all are high in nutrients such as omega-3 fats and vitamins B6 and B12, which counteract stress. When looking for a treat, definitely turn to dark chocolate. The flavonoids and antioxidants in dark chocolate have been shown to lower stress hormone levels and improve moods. Finals week can be intimidating for everyone. But armed with the right snacks, you won’t only survive the week - you’ll crush it!

Teach, Work, Apply Caleb Shack ’19 Just as during the school year, you operate on a schedule in the summertime. Like a blossoming flower, you spring yourself out of your blankets and out of bed. Your morning routine flows as swiftly as pollen through the wind but cuts to a stop immediately when you realize work starts in five minutes! You bolt to your car and barely make it there in time. Upon reaching your destination, you are greeted by a wall of chlorine and the screams of children. Welcome to your summer job… This, of course, is an exaggeration of what my morning routine really is between the months of June and August. However, this seems to be an accurate representation of what many think they would have to go through on a daily basis. I’m here to tell you that summer jobs come in a wide variety and can be some of the most rewarding experiences. Personally, my ideal summer is spent at the pool. I enjoy teaching swim lessons and lifeguarding. It is one of the most rewarding jobs I have ever had because it allows me to teach children a useful skill. The ability to swim could save their lives or make their trips to the beach a little bit better. The best part of teaching, however, is the feeling after seeing mass amounts of improvement in my students’ abilities. The knowledge that I made a difference in a child’s life by teaching them a new skill fills my heart with feelings of joy and achievement. However, as I said before, swimming is not the only option for working, or even teaching. The summer brings with it numerous opportunities in almost every sport or activity, so if teaching is your forté, I encourage you to reach out to anyone who is involved in a program to see if they are hiring new instructors. Teaching, of course, is only scratching the surface. There are so many job opportunities available to high school students during the summer. Stereotypical ones include lifeguarding, being a camp counselor, or working at a restaurant. It’s important to remember though, that there are many many more jobs out there. Sophomore Davon Collins is going to be a golf caddy at Philadelphia Country Club. He was able to obtain this position by simply calling the caddy master from a phone number he found on the club’s website. Collins explained that there was a quick training process he had to undergo before he was hired: “I had to shadow a professional golf caddy for a full game.” After he demonstrated his likeability

and people skills, the decision to hire him was obvious. Collins’ situation provides an excellent example of how to achieve a job by simply taking initiative. Whether these aforementioned positions seem appealing or not, there is one thing that makes it all worth it—your paycheck. Being a swim instructor has not been my only job but has been the only one I truly enjoyed. That being said, I still reaped the benefits of all of the aspects of my employment. For example, in my opinion, lifeguarding is really boring, but during the last week of summer, doing something I found boring paid off. The pool was paying triple the normal rate due to lack of lifeguards. Before this offer was made, I would have never dreamed of working at a facility that requires a daily excavation of feces from a public swimming pool. But, triple pay meant that $8 per hour turned into $24 per hour—an irresistible offer. By the end of the season, I was tired of the work but was very happy to see my paycheck. Even if you find a job you’re not excited about, the payoff is always worth it. You will appreciate seeing that extra money in your bank account later on. Overall, summer jobs provide you with a rewarding and important experience for your future role in the workforce. Whether you love what you do or or not, it is necessary to find something that gives you the tools early in life to succeed in later years. Graphic by Christopher DeSantis ’20

Arts & Entertainment

May 24, 2017


The Merionite

Annual Art Show showcases student talent Pamela Li ’20

For over thirty years, the LM Art Show has featured students’ artwork throughout the first floor. From the main entrance to the upper atrium, the presentations of the artwork are entirely created by students—they have full control over their individual boards. As art department chair Russ Loue says, the student-driven aspects of the show “include the backgrounds of the displays, their choice of arrangement on the walls, and the artwork they choose to put up.” Having control over how their art is exhibited gives students more power over the message it sends and the way observers will interact with it. The tradition of showing off the artistic talent of the student body has carried on every year, with careful planning and consideration. The Art Show demonstrates the hard work of students in classes with three-dimensional focus areas, like Metal Arts and Ceramics, and two-dimensional ones, ranging from Ninth Grade Art

Honors to AP Studio Art. One of the most popular exhibits is the comparison between two self portraits made by those in Art 1 Honors—one from the beginning of the year and one from the end. Viewers can see the definitive impact that the class has made on the drawing skills of its participants show great improvement in realism and detail. Seniors who take advanced art classes are granted the privilege of creating large multi-panel displays in the upper atrium. The themes of the artwork displayed fall into a wide range, such as isolation or the beauty of the human body, which reflects the diversity of artists at LM. Alexandra Gordon ’17, an AP Studio Art student, focused on “modern femininity, resistance, and vulnerability.” Her works included pictures of young girls posed in the middle of the frame, staring straight outwards. Although it may seem jarring, she wanted to leave viewers, especial-

ly girls, with feelings of strength and resiliance. Vanessa Roser ’17, another AP artist, took inspiration for her intricate work from “people that had characteristics or personalities that [she] found interesting and that [she] wanted to try to capture in art.” Students in every grade level love to go to the Art Show to celebrate their friends hard work in class. Families of artists also get to see the work that has been hiding in the school all year. Just walking down one hallway provides a view of the immense talent of LM artists. Junior Cathy Si’s favorite part about the Art Show is seeing that “no matter where you look, there’s always something that stands out. All the artwork really reflects the many unique perspectives of the large variety of artists here at LM.” Though the Art Show is over now, make sure you still take a look at the art around the hallways, and appreciate all the hard work that LM students put into their projects.

Photos by Molly Cutler ’19/Staff

Woodmere Art Museum Grace Wei ’19 Located in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, the Woodmere Museum of Art is a diamond in the rough. This charming museum features artwork by Philadelphia’s finest artist held in a refurbished Victorian mansion Unlike your average art museum, the Woodmere aims to engage the Philadelphia community by offering live music recitals, art classes, and lectures. It brings together guests of all ages as they ponder the raw topics displayed in the artwork. The Woodmere art collections are housed in a stone mansion that was owned by Charles Knox Smith. Smith purchased the estate in 1898 and brought life and spirit back into the gray manor by showcasing his art collection there. Living in urban Philadelphia, he was filled with a sense of purpose to combine art with nature’s beauty. He finally revealed his art collections to the public in 1910, thus establishing the Woodmere Art Museum. Following Smith’s visions, the staff at the Woodmere strive to continue to bring together art and the natural world. Over the years, they have acquired distinguished pieces of outdoor sculpture by Harry Bertoia and Dina Wind. In fact, “Spring & Triangle,” a monumental sculpture designed by Dina Wind to interact with the natural environment, has been enlarged to ten times its original size and is currently on display at the museum. The thirty-foot sculpture contains a conglomerate of colossal springs, rings, and geometric aspects. Catch a sight of this immense sculpture before it is gone in June! As for Harry Bertoia, his momentous sculpture is also part of the museum’s ongoing exhibition. His “Free Interpretation of Plant Forms” has been in storage since 2000 after being commissioned for Philadelphia’s Percent-for-Art program. This ongoing program, the first of its kind in the nation, mandated that building developers dedicate a percentage of of construction costs towards the commissioning of public fine arts. Now, his abstract sculptures will return to their former glory this summer, where many will be able to admire it again at last. One more upcoming exhibition at the Woodmere will feature another large-scale collection. This exhibition, the first in more than three decades, will highlight the public art commissions by Violet Oakley. Oakley was recognized for her murals and stained glass art during a time period when murals were exclusively painted by men. In addition, she was a notable contributor to the “American Renaissance,” defined by the Woodmere as “a period of cultural renewal following the Civil War.” Oakley designed and painted a multitude of medallions, seals, and murals for the city of Philadelphia and the nation. Due to her substantial contributions to Philadelphia, she became the first woman to receive the prestigious government commission for the Philadelphia State Capital and the Cuyahoga County Courthouse. Next fall, come see the paintings of the woman who broke social standards and became one of the most prominent mural artists. Some paintings at the Woodmere Art Museum can make you stop in your tracks and contemplate controversial topics. For example, “A More Perfect Union? Power, Sex, and Race in the Representation of Couples,” highlights ways in which “artists of different generations have explored the meaning of marriage, the nature of human relationships, sexuality, and public versus private expressions of love.” Artwork in this collection brings up issues concerning gender roles in society, class, race, and same-sex marriage. There is also a performing arts component to this exhibition, “Duets For a More Perfect Union,” which provides a surreal and intimate view into the passion, tension, and strength of human connections. The “Stained Glass Project: Windows that Open Doors” is another ongoing exhibition, showcasing vibrant stained glass windows produced by underserved Philadelphia students. The museum is truly unique in that it dedicates an exhibition each season to artwork created by such students. Even elementary school students from Philadelphia have had the opportunity to have their artwork featured in this prestigious museum, filling them with a sense of accomplishment and pride. Besides all the stunning pieces of art, the museum also incorporates community events into its schedule and presentation. There is a continuous series of live dance performances, live music recitals, and art lectures at the Woodmere. Every Friday night, the Woodmere welcomes renowned jazz bands in their galleries, providing optimal music alongside the captivating paintings. The museum even hosts classes on topics ranging from oil painting to yoga. Best of all, students are able to experience these events for free! So go visit this enthralling museum with its one-of-a-kind exhibitions. Take an oil painting class and explore shadows and colors. Attend one of the delightful jazz concerts. You will surely have fun and consider new perspectives at any of the programs the Woodmere offers.

Person of the Crowd: The Contemporary Art of Flânerie Marli Weisman ’18 The Barnes Foundation proudly presented a new project, “Person of the Crowd:TheContemporaryArtofFlânerie.”“Flânerie”isanineteenthcenturyterm referring to the act of wondering. Edgar Allen Poe originated the phrase in the short story “The Man of the Crows,” in which the main character aimlessly travels the streets of London, observing its citizens and public activities. Two decades later, Charles Baudelaire, a French poet, revived the term during the French Impressionist movement. The movement slowed when the allure of abstract expressionism, which emphasized the artist’s inner world instead of the outer society, began to spread. “Person of the Crowd” invited everyone to wander into different Philadelphia locations and let new experiences and sights capture their attention. The point of the project was to document and expand on modern art by involving the audience members in exhibits and performances. One of the most popular exhibits, “WE SEE/WE HEAR/WE ARE,” was a mixture of both physical and virtual wandering. It explored the definition of what it means to be a flâneur in the twenty-first century, and what it means to live in such a diverse society. The exhibit was open from February 25 to May 22. The Barnes Foundation’s project featured work by more than fifty international artists, who created out-of-the-box experiences by, for example, scavenging in unique shops and playing detective, launching guerilla campaigns, and designing art and live performances. They addressed issues of social justice like gentrification, gender politics, globalization, racism, and poverty. The exhibit invited guests to be “modern flâneurs” and participate in walking tours, photography, and several other activities. Thom Collins, the Barnes Foundation’s executive director and curator of the show, told, “It [was] the Barnes [Foundation]’s most ambitious project to date.” Installations offered a fresh perspective on the modern relevance of the Barnes collection, since younger artists such as Marina Abramovic, Jenny Holzer, and Zhang Huan contributed to the project. For example, two groups of high schoolers from Philadelphia went to 30th Street Station to act as flâneurs of sound, spending eleven minutes listening to the sounds of the city and then writing down what they heard. They then recited and recorded descriptions of their surroundings. The results were edited into a seven-minute video, shown in the “WE SEE” exhibit at the Barnes. In addition, artists have recreated classic works in contemporary ways, like interpreting Sylvette, a Picasso portrait, in 3D form. According to Esther Yoon, a staff writer at, “if looking at bowls of fruit and naked bodies painted on canvases isn’t really your thing, the Barnes Foundation’s latest project goes beyond the walls of the gallery and into the street.” “Person of the Crowd” also featured Ayana Evans, an artist who traveled to iconic Philadelphia locations (such as Pat’s and Geno’s cheesesteak restaurants and the Rocky steps) in a signature skintight, neon yellow, zebra-printed catsuit. Evans performs challenging aerobic tasks at these spots, like jumping rope in four-inch heels for over ten hours a day, and invited audience members to join in. Another participant was the artist Wilmer Wilson IV, who created a performance and sculpture artwork called “Channel,” based on the 1968 death of a young television repairman. Wilson walked through the streets of Philadelphia collecting discarded televisions, and then displayed X-rays of human ribs on them. Wilson then took the sculpture to the streets, with the X-rays showing against his own body. All activities under the umbrella of Person of the Crowd were documented online as part of “cyberflânerie.” Man Bartlett, a New York-based artist, added to the online aspect of the project by recording street performances and inviting guests to become flâneurs themselves. Bartlett encouraged audience members to post their own photos on Instagram, using the hashtag #personofthecrowd.

Arts & Entertainment

May 24, 2017


The Merionite

Samuel Gamberg

What is your favorite part of photography/acting/singing? I think with both acting and photography and really all forms of art you have the ability to tell a really specific story. I like work that gives voice to experiences that mainstream society either has historically shut out or with which it has not come into contact. Do you plan on continuing your art in college/the future? Yes, I’m going to college for acting and photography.

Who is your biggest inspiration? I’m inspired by anyone who’s saying something new with their work. Every day I watch a video of Rihanna stomping down the Victoria’s Secret Runway and that influences me because I feel ten times better after watching. But some people that I’m really into right now are Solange, Dev Hynes, Hari Nef, Ryan McGinley, Chloe Wise, Alessandro Michele, Jill Soloway, and Cher’s twitter account. And obviously Beyoncé. What’s your favorite LM memory? Leaving. Photo by Gamberg

Mary Stellato How long have you been making art? I guess I’ve been doodling around for as long as I can remember, but I haven’t made anything I felt was worth showing until this past fall.

Alexandra Gordon Do you have a favorite piece of art you have made? My favorite piece of my own art is “In Defense of the Selfie. It’s two small mirrors placed next to each other, one blank and one with my original writing on it defending selfie culture. That’s definitely something I’m fascinated with—it defines modern femininity and promotes healthy selfishness and allows “muses” or “object” of art to become the subject which is a powerful lesson to me. What is your favorite LM memory? I walked into a bathroom in maybe freshman year and seeing a toilet broken on the floor—like a WHOLE toilet.

What is your favorite part of creating art? My favorite part of creating art is the problem solving. I never really go into a piece with a full sketch or plan, more of a concept or idea I want to express, and I work from there. Who is your biggest inspiration? My biggest inspiration currently is Nina Simone. I love her radical and nuanced way of expressing her thoughts and emotions, regardless of what the public thought. Something about her willingness to continue no matter what inspires me in my work.

Vanessa Roser


What is your favorite part of creating art? One of my favorite things about art is that every piece brings its own kind of challenges for you to think through. Even with the silliest, most simple doodles, you really have to think critically and figure out creative ways to solve problems.

Do you plan on continuing your art in college or the future? I hope to get into a computer graphics program in college, either for front end design or graphic design, but I don’t know what exactly I want yet. What are your outside of school art related activities? All the art I do is outside of school, and most of it consists of sitting on Adobe PhotoShop or Illustrator for hours on end. I do take an art class with MLNS on Tuesday nights but it’s mostly me just hanging out with a bunch of old ladies drawing still lifes. They’re a lot of fun, and it’s like having seven temporary grandmas complimenting my art. What are your favorite musicians, movies, books, TV shows, etc.? My favorite musician is probably the Wombats or Zella Day, my favorite movie is Spaceballs, my favorite book is American Gods by Neil Gaiman, and my favorite TV Show is Peaky Blinders.

Art by Stellato

Claire Ochroch ’18 Arts & Entertainment Editor

Art by Gordon

Who is your biggest inspiration? I’m always inspired by the people around me. I think that the little differences and quirks in the ways people think and act are really interesting.

Catherine Schnarr What is your favorite part of singing/acting? My favorite part about singing is the power I have over any type of audience with my voice and my performance, and singing is a very raw aspect of myself, so it’s absolutely spectacular and breathtaking when I can captivate people with a piece of my soul. What’s your favorite LM memory? Being the first person to sing the national anthem at an LM hockey game. They rolled out the red carpet for me and everything. When we ended up winning the game, I don’t think I have ever been more proud to be an Ace. Do you have a favorite piece of music? Never. I like to keep my options open, but everyone should go check out Ari Lennox because she’s my new artist to watch.

How has making art impacted your life outside of the classroom? I used to be an extremely shy and awkward kid, and singing and acting has made me so much more confident in myself. Not to mention any type of music is healing, and so when I can just make music any time I want, the headspace tends to be pretty relaxed.

Photo courtesy of Schnarr

What are your outside-of-school art activities? I’ve taken a lot of art classes outside of LM during weekends and over the summer at the University of the Arts and the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Art that definitely helped me improve. Philly has so many incredible resources for people who want to make art outside of school. I also work as a freelance graphic designer when I have the time. If you were trapped on a desert island and could only bring 5 things what would you bring? Four of those 99 cent Arizona iced tea can things and one bathing suit.

Art by Roser

Sueños y Pesadillas (Dreams and Nightmares)

Many people come to the US in search of a better life and an escape from the hardships of their countries of origin. Liliana Velásquez ’17 did just that, and she has written a book about her experience. Published by Parlor Press on April 1, 2017, it is entitled Dreams and Nightmares: I Fled Alone to the United States When I Was Fourteen. Velásquez details her journey, which began when, as a fourteen year old, she fled violence and poverty in Guatemala. She courageously traveled by herself to the United States and encountered many challenges along the way, including getting robbed by narcos. She rode the freight trains of La Bestia (The Beast), also known as the El tren de la muerte (The Death Train) or El tren de los desconocidos (The Train of the Unknowns). This is a network of Mexican freight trains that are utilized by US-bound migrants to more quickly traverse the length of Mexico and are extremely dangerous and illegal. It is estimated by the International Organization for Migration that yearly between 400,000 and 500,000 migrants ride these trains in the effort to reach the United States. Velásquez organized thirty of her fellow Central American bus passengers to convince the federal authorities who had arrested them to allow them to continue on their way. Finally, she made it to the US border and traveled across the Sonoran Desert, where she had a near death experience and was eventually arrested by US immigration in Arizona. After four months in a detention center, Velásquez was placed in foster care while the courts decided whether to deport her. She spent a year in in a horrendous foster situation, but eventually landed on her feet with a great family. After she recounted the story of her life in Guatemala several times, the judge determined it was too dangerous for her to return home and gave her a green card. Now a senior at LM, Velásquez works to support her family back home and plans to go to nursing school. In 2016, approximately 124,000 young people from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras were immediately eligible for work authorization and relief from

deportation through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Each year since 2013, an average of 50,000 such unaccompanied children have been arrested at the US border, and their fate is decided by the immigration system. Velásquez’s story is uniquely hers, but it mirrors the stories of tens of thousands of children who have fled violence and poverty in their home country to find a safer life in the United States. Velásquez’s book will encourage feelings of sympathy and empathy towards the often nameless immigrants we hear about on the news, and her story of courage, commitment and passion is truly inspiring.

Photos courtesy of Liliana Velásquez and Parlor Press

Arts & Entertainment

May 24, 2017


The Merionite

Kathy Wei ’19 The lights of the theater dim. Chattering voices hush, people turning towards Each of these students have been playing an instrument for nine to twelve the stage in excitement. Silence is suspended over the still seats, broken by thun- years, and all credit their success to practice, practice, practice, and a love for muderous applause as Isabella Egawa ’18 (Harriton) walks on the stage and begins to sic. Kambara detailed his preparation for the PMEA auditions, saying that he “listune the orchestra. She sits as the conductor makes his way to the podium. The air tened to recordings, practiced études for all the aspects [he] found difficult, and is thick with anticipation as he raises his arms, pauses, takes a breath, and flicks practiced the excerpts until [he] could play them without mistakes several times the baton to launch the first note into the air. in a row.” These students have spent hours preparing, which paid off in the form of On April 19, four LMSD students boarded a small van with their instruments several extraordinary musical achievements. They have participated in countless and band teacher, Joshua Cooperstein, and drove up to McDowell Intermediate musical competitions and programs similar to the Tri-County Concerts AssociaHigh School in the Lake Erie area to participate in the Pennsylvania Music Ed- tion Youth Festival, or in Egawa’s case, the international Verbier Music Festival ucator Association All-State held in Switzerland and the Orchestra (PMEA). The festiNYO-USA. She names the val lasts three days and conVerbier Festival, of which sists of non-stop rehearsals she was associate principal, followed by a concert. The as her favorite orchestra berepertoire is very difficult cause “all the people around and includes pieces such as [her] were friendly, not comthe Fifth Symphony, competitive, and amazing playposed by Dmitri Shostakovers who were just passionate ich, affectionately dubbed about music.” “Shosty,” a piece that severThese exceptional musial students named as their cians have all participated in favorite. To have the ability several prestigious musical to play in All-States is exensembles, but they all cite tremely challenging, as the their continued excitement PMEA music festivals are and enthusiasm for the muan audition-based, selecsic groups offered by LMSD. tive process beginning with They praised their teachers the district level orchestra. for being encouraging and Students are given a score entertaining, and described based on several combined the classes as fun and relaaspects of their audition, tively challenging. Zhu deand the top-ranking half scribes the exceptionality of of musicians in each of the the LMSD music programs twelve district ensembles in by their “large degree of supPennsylvania are combined port that they give to musiwith one other neighboring cians in a time where many district into six regional ormusic programs are under chestras. From each regional attack due to budget slashes.” Photo courtesy of Isabella Egawa Kambara lists his orchestra orchestra, the best six to ten scorers move on to the state class as his favorite part of orchestra, re-auditioning at (From left to right) Grace Wei, Etienne Kambara, Isabella Egawa, and the day and Egawa and Wei every level. This system does Anthony Zhu pose during the three-day All-State festival, where they both assert their appreciation have its flaws, as Grace Wei performed with Pennsylvania’s best young musicians. for the difficulty of and care ’19 (LM), a violinist, points put into the music programs out: “it only measures how good you are at auditioning and many people can vary by both the district and its teachers. Wei says that “many may not be cognizant of between nailing or bombing an audition.” However, it still does measure the skill the importance of music, but it’s great LMSD is making an effort to make it availof a musician. Not only have several LMSD students earned this top honor, they able across so many schools.” have also proven themselves to be some of the best on the state level. Egawa was Not all of these students plan on playing music professionally, although gradthe top-scoring violinist in the state and earned the role of concertmaster, with uating senior Kambara is, but they are considering a double major or recreational Wei as a close second as the associate principal. Anthony Zhu ’18 (Harriton) of the hobby at the very least. None plan on quitting anytime soon, as music has been viola section merited fourth chair and Etienne Kambara ’17 (LM) led the French such a big influence on their lives. Zhu relates his experience with music as “a conhorns as their principal. Several of these students also plan on auditioning for tinuous journey of experiences and learning opportunities.” These students are the national level orchestra, with Egawa having participated last year. All have bright both inside the classroom and out, but they shine brighter than a freshly been playing in youth orchestras outside of school for some time. Egawa, Wei, and polished tuba under the lights of Verizon Hall, when they have their instruments Kambara all play for the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, and Zhu is a member of in hand, ready to dazzle a theater of sold-out seats. These incredible four musithe Delaware County Youth Orchestra. cians are truly something this district should be proud of.

Coming soon to an atrium near you... Molly Gonzales ’17 Arts & Entertainment Editor The atrium experienced a bit of visual change over spring break, when a large metal sphere was first delivered. LM alumnus Peter Gard ’93 has been working on a sculpture for the school since before the new building was even constructed. “When we first began talking about a sculpture for the new school, I immediately knew that I wanted to use parts of the old school in the work,” Gard says. After walking through the old school, he was inspired by the maroon and yellow lockers and spent an entire day cutting and dismantling them, salvaging over 150 doors. At this point, he was equipped with materials, but not a direction to go with them. “Materials inspire me,” says Gard. “The lockers have so much inherent content that I wanted to keep them as recognizable as I could.” Gard worked with engineers in order to figure out what shapes to cut the locker doors into and how to get all the pieces to come together. The seven-and-a-half foot sphere is comprised of warped and melded lockers and will hang in the lower atrium. Gard used numerous techniques in order to shape the steel lockers into a spher-

Photo by Claire Ochroch ’18/Staff The great metallic ball contains three generations of lockers, including one that belonged to the artist, Peter Gard.

ical shape. The doors were rolled or bent to a specific radius by a large machine called a plate roller. “Typically this type of machine is used to turn flat sheets of steel into arcs or tubes,” elaborates Gard. “Because welding would have burned the paint of the doors, I used bolts and screws to make all the connections.” Gard, along with his team of engineers, has logged over two hundred hours on the project—two hundred hours of rolling, bending and shaping solid steel into a nearly 700 pound globe of lockers. The crew was able to complete a rig with which to hang the sculpture, and it will be installed in the coming weeks. “There’s a lot of parts in this project,” comments maintenance coordinator Gary Musial. Musial adds, “The element of sway, we have to account for that.” The project has actually been completed for around two years, and will be hanging in the atrium by the end of the school year. So next time you walk through the lower atrium, look up for a spherical surprise!



May 24, 2017

The Merionite

Boys’ lax hungry for victory

Softball: team together

Emily Barson ’18

Matt D’Aquila ’17 Sports Editor

After a frustrating start to the season, and a strong finish to end the season, the boys’ lacrosse team is hungry for future success. In March, the boys walked into practice with commitment and enthusiasm. Now that the season is over, the boys are reflecting on their performances and preparing for next year. With a new coach, Roland D’Ortone, there was a transition period for the players to learn his coaching style. However, many of the boys had the advantage of looking at the game of lacrosse with a new perspective and new ideas brought to the field. Although the boys finished with a record of 3-15 this season, the team leaders made sure to keep a positive mindset for the future of the team. The captains, Avi Warren ’17, Jordan Lancaster ’17, and Everhett Grimes ’17, helped to bring high hopes and spirit to the team for the future. They also made sure to continue to work

mitment to lacrosse. A highlight that Wackerman recalls was “going into double overtime against Harriton.” Wackerman explains, “even though we ended up losing, it was still a good game.” Wackerman and his teammates value the game and focus not only on winning, but also value efficient play as a team. Even though this season did not play out how most of the players wanted, the underclassmen on the boys’ lacrosse team will continue to work hard in the offseason. The new coach had emphasized the importance of individually working on weaknesses so that all players can come together and dominate. During the fall and winter, the boys plan to devote their time to improve their skills and building a stronger and better team. Reflecting on this past season, many of the boys’ lacrosse players are stressing the importance of fan supPhoto courtesy of the Enchiridion

Warren ’17 rushes down the field after scoooping up a loose ball. hard as a team and improve for the next season. New key contributors to the team, like Nate Lepat ’20 and Quinn Black ’20, have shown immense skill this season. The fact that these freshmen players made the starting lineup is a feat few current LM players have ever accomplished. Not only did the captains encourage the team, but dynamic players such as Kyle Salutric ’17, Brendan Leonard ’17, and Quinn Scanlon ’17, always play their hardest with full focus and dedication, setting an example for their younger teammates. A critical player on the team this season was James Wackerman ’18 who approached every practice and every game with a positive attitude. His goal was to emphasize his com-

port. LM students play a huge part in hyping up the sports teams. Student support at home lacrosse games will fuel the team’s performance. Lacrosse games are also a great way to spend time with your friends, support your school team, and learn about a game that you may have never participated in before. The LM boys’ lacrosse team has a bright future ahead of them. Although a large group of seniors are leaving the team behind, incoming freshmen and current underclassmen will take over and provide the team with the support needed to achieve more victories. The team has nowhere to go but up.

staying smart at bat. Beyond Epstein, there’s only one junior and thirteen freshmen and sophomores. “While our team is so young, there is actually immense potential,” says Epstein. Sophomore pitcher Hannah Charleson and sophomore right fielder Zoe Kaplan have been big contributors on the diamond. At bat, freshmen Kylie Pacchione and Alyssa Holmberg are crucial for the team’s run scoring. “Everyone is continuing to grow, and I can bet that by the time all of these girls are upperclassmen, the team will be one to reckon with,” states Epstein. Moreover, Epstein sees that the future of her program is in good hands with its veteran coach Jim LaPera

Photo courtesy of Jessie Epstein ’17

Graphic courtesy of Aces Lacrosse

LM softball has made great strides this season under key leadership. This season, softball has looked for leadership from its only senior captain, Jessie Epstein. After the graduation of star captain Mo McConnell, LM class of 2016, Epstein has been rallying her players to make her last season count. Most of these players are underclassmen filling in the gaps left behind by some great former talent. The LM softball team has been “team together” since Epstein started playing her freshman year. In her final season, Epstein has seen ups and downs, though she recalls a very positive experience throughout her entire career. “While LM softball’s record

The LM girls’ softball team poses after a game. Captain Jessie Epstein ’17 is fifth from the left. doesn’t really show it, our team has improved immensely over the past four years that I have been here,” says Epstein. After not obtaining a single win the past season, LM softball has won three games so far this season. In fact, on May 16, the team beat Central League rival Conestoga. On May 18, the team beat Academy Park at home by ten runs. This positive momentum is a good sign for the rest of the season and for future seasons since Conestoga is a top-tier team in the always competitive Central League. The LM softball team hasn’t beaten them in over seven years. “I can’t say our record is great, but our season has gone relatively well because the team is learning how to build off each other, work together, and play because we love the game.” This season, Epstein had a stellar year at shortstop, controlling the infield for many error-free games. The team goal this season was to eliminate as many errors as possible while

and assistant coach Mike Culbert. Speaking about her coaches, Epstein says only positive things, “our coaches rock. They are extremely supportive and dedicated to our team.” She elaborates, “though our coaches are patient with us, they also know when to buckle down and tell us to get our heads in the game.” LM softball for Epstein is more than just a sport in which she participates. It’s about the individuals who make the team such a positive experience. “Working together, having a bond, and improving as much as we can,” are some words that best describe Epstein’s softball squad. “Softball teaches us that having a good team isn’t all about winning,” explains Epstein. With this attitude, Epstein and LM softball hope to enjoy the last few games of the regular season while playing their hardest so they can finish this season satisfied.

Epstein ’17 and Charleson ’19 exchange a high-five after completing an inning in the field.

Photo courtesy of The Enchiridion



May 24, 2017

The Merionite

Statsketball Kelsey Stanton ’18 Copy Editor

In an effort to keep his students engaged and combat their “Senioritis”, math teacher William Hawkins assigned his AP Statistics class with a project that put a statistical spin on March Madness. Creating brackets for the NCAA tournament is a popular activity at LM, and Hawkins’s project required his students to do just that. The assignment was to create a bracket and enter it in the American Statistical Association’s “Statsketball” competition. Their brackets had to be created based on some form of statistical analysis and pertain to material Hawkins had taught them in class. Hawkins’ students were required to participate in the “Pick ‘em Upset Challenge,” which involved the creation of a bracket predicting the winners of each of the 32 first-round games in the March Madness tournament. In this challenge, students were awarded points for correct choices as well as for seed upset predictions. Their brackets were reviewed by a panel of judges from the American Statistical Association that selected a winner based on total number of points as well as strategy. One hundred seven high school students entered the “Pick ‘em Upset Challenge,” and the champion was LM’s own Naveen Gooneratne ’17, who earned a total of

Freshman Benjamin Hewitt

79 points, correctly selecting 29 winners and obtaining 21 upset points. His winning bracket was designed based on data from the websites RotoGuru, which contains information regarding the results of the 2016 March Madness tournament and FiveThirtyEight, which provides

information about past games that were not a part of March Madness. He focused primarily on the data from the previous March Madness to construct his bracket, but relied on statistics from other games when that data indicated no preference as to the winning team. Gooneratne’s statistical analysis included analysis of “the matchup by seed, the probability of an upset

Sophomore Euna Carpenter

What sport(s) do you play? Field hockey, indoor track, and lacrosse What are you most looking forward What are you most looking forward to to in the summer and why? in the summer and why? Just sleeping in and traveling because I Sleeping in and learning to surf. haven’t done that in a long time. On a scale of 1-10, how bad are On a scale of 1-10, how bad are your pollen allergies? your pollen allergies? 0, I don’t get ‘em About a 3. If you were stranded on a deserted island with If you were stranded on a deserted island with dying phone reception, dying phone reception, who would you call? who would you call? I would call Jeffery Zhou for a ride home. my sister... or my dog ¯\_( )_/¯ What sport(s) do you play? Ultimate Frisbee

for that seed, points given for upsets in those seeds, expected points for correctly picking an upset in each seed, the probability that the better seed wins, the points given if the better seed wins, and finally, the expected points gained when the better seed wins.” As a prize for his victory, Gooneratne received a membership to the American Statistical Association, a t-shirt, and 200 dollars. Reflecting on his win, Gooneratne says, “When I found out I was very surprised, excited, and honored.” He had not expected to win, especially considering this was his first attempt at a March Madness bracket, because he is “not big into basketball or the whole March Madness event.” Gooneratne is happy to have had the opportunity to compete in the “Statsketball” competition and would like to “shout-out to my stats teacher Mr. Hawkins for both motivating me to join the competition, and also for teaching me statistics this year as I definitely would not have been able to win this competition without his help.” His win has set the bar high for Hawkins’s future AP Statistics classes, should he choose to assign this project again.

Junior Jake Stoller

Senior Alexa Cotler

What sport(s) do you play? Baseball What is your favorite summer movie? The Sandlot and Camp Rock

What sport(s) do you play? Soccer, indoor track, and spring track What is your favorite summer movie? Napoleon Dynamite

On a scale of 1-10, how bad are your pollen allergies? 1

On a scale of 1-10, how bad are your pollen allergies? Somewhere between 1 and 10

If you were stranded on a deserted island with dying phone reception, who would you call? Profit Gang$$

If you were stranded on a deserted island with dying phone reception, who would you call? Eleanor Ebby


May 24, 2017


The Merionite

Boys’ tennis secures third district championship

Boys’ track takes league title Kelly Harrigan ’17 Sports Editor

Zach Simons ’18

Seeing how talented this roster is, matches generally are going this team’s way. But their coach has a certain level-headedness about him that keeps these boys under control. During their matches, the team rallies around each other and consistently encourages one another. One of the most vocal duos play in two doubles that consist of Harrison Axelrod ’18 and Jordan Robinson ’17. The two of them, along with the rest of the team, always hype up their matches and try to spread the positivity across the courts. They have this modest yet confident persona about them that is just infectious and drives them to compete and play even harder. Above all else, this team just has an enormous amount of fun on and off the court which contributes to their team chemistry and the success of this year’s tennis team.

As spring slowly transitions into summer, the last season of the year’s sports come to an end. However, following the end of the regular season is that of playoffs and championships. One LM team that has ended the regular season strong is boys’ track and field. This spring, LM’s collective boys’ track athletes won the Central League Title for the first time since 1973. This title is significant not only because it marks the success of this year’s team, but also because it displays the hard work and determination dedicated to the improvement of the team in over forty years since the boys were last ranked first in the league. Track team championships are unique in that, while being recognized as an individualized sport, each competing athlete has to improve his own speed, which therefore scores more points, in order to increase the team’s collective ranking. This qualification provides evidence that the boys’ success must be attributed to the entire team. Unlike some sports, it is very difficult for one runner to carry the entire team. A team is more likely to earn a higher ranking if a larger

Graphic courtesy of Chris De Santis ’20

As the boys’ tennis season comes to a close, they can already deem this season another successful spring. The Aces cruised through their regular season with a remarkable undefeated record of 160. They were led by senior Matt Chen and junior Sean Attebery. Attebery played one singles while Chen played two. Collectively, their power, along with that of freshman Matt Robinson at thrid singles, collectively boasted an astounding record with merely two individual losses through their regular season and district run. The Aces won districts along with the Central League Title this season. After losing the title to rival Radnor last year, the Aces bounced back to beat Conestoga in the finals this year. Additionally, the team dominated throughout districts and impressively beat Unionville, another highly ranked program like LM, in the finals. The Aces are very confident that they will win states for the third time in a row. The Aces have recently become a powerhouse in Pennsylvania tennis and look to continue that success at states and next year as well. The boys’ Tennis Team has created a winning culture that “is great on and off the court. We became friends first and encourage each other to keep getting better and working hard. We have faced some adversity this year compared to previous years with a few members of the team quitting, but we rallied around each other and continued to push on through the season. We have had a great mindset and have had a ton of fun winning this season,” remarked Attebery. This adversity that Attebery mentioned was a serious mountain that this team had to climb throughout the year. The way the team joined together and has continued to push each other to succeed this season is a true testament to the culture of Aces tennis and to their coaching staff as well. When asked about their coach, Attebery proclaimed, “Our coach motivates us to succeed, and he is a great mentor when we faced this adversity this year. He knows how to keep us calm and collected when matches aren’t going our way.”

Girls’ crew takes Cities

group of the athletes does well than if one or two athletes score far above the rest of the competitors. Although most teams have high hopes upon starting a fresh season, these athletes needed to have strong motivation from the very first meet in order for them to place first in the Central League. Captain Erez Potok-Holmes ’17 recalls, “Our biggest challenge would probably be our first meet. Penncrest really gave it to us and we had to bring our A-game.” Moving on from a tough first meet, the team had to focus all of its energy on improving throughout the spring. As Captain Matt D’Aquila adds, “The tough part was staying focused on our goal because the target was on our backs when we raced our league competitors.” Being that track is a highly mental sport, the athletes had to increase both their physical and mental strength if they planned on placing highly in the league—which, as we now know, they were able to do. Having battled throughout the season, the boys found themselves faced with the final meet of the season. With all of the Central League teams present, this meet was quite populated, so stress was high. However, after the meet—as LM was announced as the 2017 Central League champions, stress was exchanged for shock and excitement. Potok-Holmes elaborates, “knowing that we’d brought this program back to life and swept through the entire league was a feeling of pure ecstasy.” Compiling each of the Central League teams’ scores for both that of last meet and overall, LM scored more points than the others. Now, as the team prepares for the 2018 season, they have the responsibility to uphold their competitive status. Most athletes motivate both themselves and their teammates to work hard and succeed in whichever form of participation they partake. The LM boys’ track team looks forward to the upcoming season, as well as the preseason that precedes it, with the same motivation and focus that led them to their achievements this year. D’Aquila elaborates, “The future of this team is bright. We have stellar athletes in all events who are eager to replace the seniors who have made this team a Central League cross-country and track powerhouse.” After all, accolades in the world of sports usually parallel the team’s effort and dedication. Especially for a large team, closeness is also a key to success. As Potok-Holmes states, “above all I think it’s important to keep that aspect first and foremost.” Keeping this mentality, the team looks forward to continued enthusiasm and more victories in the forthcoming years.

Zack Slogoff ’18 Sports Editor

ment a boat hopes to achieve during the season. The girls really had to come together as one boat in order to pull out the victory. The team hopes to find continued success with this core group during the nationwide competition. When asked about the success of her fellow teammates, Simpson states, “My boat (JV 4 +) has improved so much over the season so far and we’re only getting faster. We had to make a few changes to the lineup of our boat that caused some emotional tension on the team. Through many hard workouts and training we developed our swing that made it possible for us to win cities. I remember my body collapse underneath me when we past the finish line. Our whole boat was exhausted and shocked because we just beat 27 boats and took the gold. Winning cities was something was only speculated about doing. My favorite part was rowing up to the grandstand and having our medals placed around our necks with all our parents there to watch.” It is important as a part of Aces Nation to go out and support the girls in their hunt for success at the next level. The energy at regattas is incredible and the boat really feeds off the motivation their supporters give them. In their next com-

petition at nationals, the team hopes to have some support from their peers. Come support the team onto National glory on May 26 and 27 on the Cooper River, NJ.

Pictured above is the winning boat holding up their victory medals. The whole coaching staff is very proud of the girls.

Photo courtesy of Minori Cohan ’18

On May 6, the girls’ crew team had a huge victory that defined their season up to this point. A boat containing Annika Edwards ’19, Eva Nates ’18, Morgan Simpson ’18, Valentina Frusone ’19, and Minori Cohan ’18 won a critical race at Cities in which they finished eight seconds ahead of any other boat. This is a feat not easily accomplished. The whole LM crew family is extremely proud of the girls for this great victory. Girls’ crew has put in a ton of work this season, practicing almost every day in harsh weather conditions for long hours. This process can be very draining, but all their hard work has paid off with this victory. The girls defeated 23 schools in the race, including two Mount Saint Joseph boats that were powerhouses in races earlier in the season. Harriton also competed in the race, but fell short to the Aces placing sixth. The power displayed by the Aces on the water was extremely impressive, drawing attention from many local websites. With this win at Cities, the girls qualified for Nationals which will be later this month. Qualifying for Nationals is a rare feat that not many LM boats have done in the paJust like any other sport, Nationals is the pinnacle accomplish-

May 2017  
May 2017