Page 1



Non-Profit Organization U.S. POSTAGE PAID Sacramento, CA Permit No. 1668 @scdsoctagon

VOL.44 NO.6 • Sacramento Country Day School • 2636 Latham Drive, Sacramento, CA• www.scdsoctagon.com • March 9, 2021

DISTANCED, BUT NOT DISTANT (Clockwise from top left) History Department Head Chris Kuipers teaches his Comparative World History class in the library; freshman Orlando Ponce Blas attends AP Spanish in room 6; juniors Elliott Crowder and Malek Owaidat attend pre-calculus online in the gym as junior Jesus Aispuro passes by; history teacher Liz Leavy teaches her World History class in room 5. PHOTOS BY ARIKTA AND ARIJIT TRIVEDI

Students remain split between in-person, remote learning BY SAMHITA KUMAR


espite Country Day being in a hybrid schedule, many students have chosen to remain at home. Some recent schedule changes and COVID-19 concerns have affected high school students’ decisions. Fridays now follow a club schedule, with meeting times for advisory, morning meeting and clubs. Class times are shortened to 45 minutes and electives do not meet. Students attending in person have all

been placed into Cohort B due to low attendance, according to a Feb. 8 email from Head of High School Brooke Wells. Rising rates of COVID-19 affected student decisions as well. Senior Carter Joost attended school in person before Thanksgiving break, but decided to switch due to rising COVID-19 cases in Sacramento County. “My dad’s over 70, so we decided that it would be better just to stay remote,” he said. Joost said while the transition from hy-

brid to remote was not difficult, he prefers learning in person. “Staring at a screen all day sort of has your eyes out for a while,” he said. “It’s also nice having a routine. When I’m at home, I have to create my own.” He returned to in-person classes after mid-winter break due to the fall in COVID-19 cases and hopes that vaccinations will keep numbers low. If numbers rise again, he will stay home. Changes in the pandemic also affected sophomore Jackson Fox.

He stayed home after winter break until the start of the second semester due to rising cases in the county. “My parents were a little scared to send me back right away, but they came around, and now I’m back,” he said. His decision was also affected by the ease of in-person learning. “You’re able to ask questions much easier, and you also get to see your friends,” he said.

ATTENDANCE page 3 >>

Teachers vaccinated, hope for complete return in person BY EMILY COOK Country Day high school teachers have been proactive in getting COVID-19 vaccinations since Sacramento County expanded its distribution policy on Feb. 16 to include teachers. Biology teacher Kellie Whited received her first dose of the Moderna vaccine the same day the county expanded its distribution policy. Whited was vaccinated at a local Walgreens. Math teacher Patricia Jacobsen and chemistry teacher Victoria Conner received their vaccinations at the Arden Sac-


ramento Urgent Care Now. Both Jacobsen and Conner received the Pfizer vaccine. Conner said the process was straightforward and organized well. She said people must sign up for appointments. Once there, they receive the vaccination and then wait for 15 minutes before leaving to ensure they do not have an allergic reaction. Head of School Lee Thomsen said while there was no organized way to get vaccinated through the school, he worked with a lower school parent who works for Dignity Health who helped make sure that independent schools, like Country Day,

were included in the vaccine clinics once they opened up for teachers. He was vaccinated on Feb. 17 with the Pfizer vaccine at the Arden Urgent Care Now. Thomsen said the goal is to get all the teachers vaccinated by spring break, which starts on April 5. After all high school teachers are vaccinated, the plan is to hopefully be able to have all high school students welcome at the same time on campus five days a week, he said. This schedule would likely come into play after spring break. Brooke Wells, head of high school, said that after he got his vaccine, he was renewed with

SPORTS 5 Sports have resumed, and students are itching for action! Learn about some of the first sports games of the year: golf and ski and snowboard.

hope and optimism. He’s glad that he can help keep himself, his family and the Country Day community safer with the simple action of getting a shot. He hopes the already secure and organized safety measures the school is taking, coupled with the vaccinations, will make students more willing to return to campus. Jacobsen said she also hopes that teachers being vaccinated will encourage students to return. “The reason I became a teacher, the reason I like teaching, is the enthusiasm and the positivity that students have,” Jacobsen

CENTERPOINT 6-7 Listen to students’ views on some of the biggest topics of debate in the country — abortion and the reliability of COVID-19 vaccines.

said, “And when the students aren’t here, it’s just a building. It’s just a bunch of buildings. So I’m really hopeful that more people get vaccinated and hopeful that the kids can get vaccinated so we can all get back to school.” Like Wells and Jacobsen, Whited and Conner said all the other teachers hope that the students can come back to school and normal life can begin once again. “I want everyone back on campus because it’s really great having kids in class and I get to goof around with them and it almost feels normal again. So I really hope everybody wants to come back.” Whited said.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT 11 As everything becomes digital, art is also transforming from paint to pixels. Does technology rule when it comes to art?


News • March 9, 2021

STAFF PRINT EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Sanjana Anand Ming Zhu ONLINE EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Ethan Monasa Arijit Trivedi NEWS EDITOR Nihal Gulati FEATURE EDITOR Ming Zhu SPORTS EDITOR Miles Morrow A&E/OPINION EDITOR Dylan Margolis PHOTO EDITOR Hermione Xian PAGE EDITORS Arjin Claire Nihal Gulati Dylan Margolis Ethan Monasa Miles Morrow Arijit Trivedi Arikta Trivedi Hermione Xian BUSINESS STAFF Arjin Claire, manager Samhita Kumar, assistant SOCIAL MEDIA STAFF Samhita Kumar, assistant Arikta Trivedi, editor HEAD OF TECHNOLOGY Nihal Gulati REPORTERS Rod Azghadi Jacob Chand Emily Cook Jonah Angelo David Simone DeBerry Katie Espinoza William Holz Samhita Kumar Lauren Lu Callister Misquitta Samrath Pannu Natalie Park Aarushi Rohatgi Ishaan Sekhon Kali Wells Hermione Xian Garman Xu PHOTOGRAPHERS Miles Morrow Arikta Trivedi Hermione Xian MULTIMEDIA STAFF Arjin Claire, staffer Samhita Kumar, staffer Dylan Margolis, editor Samrath Pannu, staffer Garman Xu, staffer GRAPHIC ARTISTS Charlie Acquisto Brynne Barnard-Bahn Lilah Shorey ADVISER Bonnie Stewart

The Octagon

SCDS students compete in National History Day competition despite remote format good sources for her topic. was based solely on the product “I chose the Black Panthers itself. However, the opportunity because they have a Sacramento to speak with the judges could articipating in the National connection when they stormed help highlight the strengths of History Day Competition is the Capitol,” said Grey, referring a student’s project. Therefore, a tradition for Country Day to the 1967 event in California. Kuipers’s grading for the projects as middle and high school“It was difficult finding quotes this year will also be mostly uners submit projects for evaluaand sources about it because it changed. tion and to hopefully also win The competitors have subwas not well known.” awards. For each of the projects, there mitted their work and process This year’s theme for research were requirements about the paper online in late February. was Communication in Histocontent and location for sourc- The results will be announced ry: The Key to Understanding. A ing. But Grey, Genetos and Bark- on March 14 and showcased in a total of 125 students completed er found most of their sources virtual exhibition. Students who projects as assignments for their online because it was easier to qualify after the county competiclasses. Of those, 65 students tion will be eligible to advance to access remotely. have decided to officially enter the state level competition and “Getting book sources and into the competition, with 30 hard copies was a challenge since possibly to the national finals. from the high school. The range we couldn’t really check of the topics covered includes the library or museums,” messages communicated Genetos said. “Everything through nursery rhymes to had to be online, and it Getting book sourccommunication during the made it harder to find.” Space Race. Some students es and hard copies In previous years, there also did their projects on was a challenge since we was also an interview piece activism and protestof the competition and stucouldn’t really check the ing. dents had the opportunity to library or museums.” Freshmen Zoe Genetos and Brooke Barker — Zoe Genetos physically present their projects to the judges and answer constructed a digital questions. This year, however, exhibit on communiects, which were already rare. the competition has dropped the cation and leadership In some cases, certain catego- interview portion due to operatTo find out more during the spread of hysteria ries were limited by choice this ing on a remote model. about NHD, visit and fear of witches. Prior to the year. Kuipers said that the interproject, they mutually had an inthe website here! Seventh grade teacher Tess view was never officially part of terest in looking deeper into the Kahn decided to restrict the the project evaluation, which history of witches, so the assign- choices this year to only online ment was a good opportunity for exhibits and websites. She also them to explore. removed her requirement for We got the idea from an exam- book sources due the most of the ple project on the Salem Witch research being done online. Trials, and we just thought that “I have never done this in the was so cool,” Barker said. “We’ve past,” Kahn said. “I wanted to seen crystals and incense that re- make sure that I could really suplates to witches so we focused on port them with providing handEuropean witches in Germany to outs and focused instruction.” England to France.” In addition, tenth graders Along with all other students had the opportunity to adapt throughout the school who com- their sophomore projects, sepleted an exhibit this year, the mester-long research papers on pair constructed their project self-chosen topics local to Sacraonline through Google Draw and mento, to compete in NHD. are preparing to submit their Jada Grey, a frequent NHD work to the judges online. competitor and winner of cash High school history teacher prizes in the past, decided to reChris Kuipers said that running search the topic of protesting. NHD remotely had been relative- For her project, she focused on ly smooth and successful. Like specific historical groups like he required in previous years, the Black Panther Party. She also Kuipers’s freshmen students wrote about events like the prohad to focus on topics outside of tests during the Vietnam War the United States to tie into the and how they have impacted the world history aspect of the class. way things operate now, like the BEWITCHED Freshmen Zoe Genetos’ and Brooke Barker’s He said the assignment con- military draft system. sisted of making independent, One thing she struggled with NHD poster centered around European witches. PHOTO student-driven research projects, was staying on track and finding COURTESY OF ZOE GENETOS



so staying remote has not impacted the process significantly. “In the classroom setting, I can walk around and sort of be more hands-on,” Kuipers said. “That’s more difficult. I can’t see their work and their progress as much.” However, the popularity of specific project formats has changed this year as more students chose to do their projects digitally. In previous years, physical posters and exhibits were a popular choice, but Kuipers has found that more students gravitated toward making websites or writing research papers instead. Additionally, there were no live performance proj-

The Octagon is Sacramento Country Day’s student-run high school newspaper. Its purpose is to provide reliable information on events concerning the high school in order to inform and entertain the school community. The staff strives for accuracy and objectivity. The Octagon aims to always represent both sides of an issue. Errors will be noted and corrected. The Octagon shall publish material that the staff deems in the best interest of the school community. The staff recognizes the importance of providing accurate and reliable information to readers. The Octagon does not represent the views of the administration, nor does it act as publicity for the school as a whole. The Octagon will publish all timely and relevant news, subject to the following exceptions: obscenity; slanderous or libelous material; or material contrary to the best interests of the school community, as judged by the guidelines among the newspaper staff, adviser and school administration. Editorials are approved by an editorial board. Columns/ commentaries shall be labeled as such and represent only the opinion of the author. In the interest of representing all points of view, letters to the editor shall be published, space permitting, unless otherwise requested. All letters must be signed and conform to the above restrictions. The staff may change grammar and punctuation or abridge letters for space considerations. Comments can be made on our website to address all stories run.

HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS Sophomore Samhita Kumar works on her sophomore project that she will also submit at the NHD competition. PHOTO COURTESY OF SAMHITA KUMAR

The Octagon

March 9, 2021 • News

Students hold mixed views of remote and hybrid learning BY ISHAAN SEKHON


uring Country Day’s first semester in fall 2020 and continuing into the spring of 2021, the school created two schedules for students and teachers: the remote schedule and the hybrid schedule. Both schedules impact the routines and daily lives of students. The most notable differences are between the lunch times, the sleeping times, the time for commuting to and from school and the time to do school work and homework. Whether working at school or at home, students need time to do their homework and time to focus during those periods of work. Freshman Eshaan Dhaliwal, a fulltime remote student enjoys the remote schedule. “I feel like you’re able to get more work done in between classes. Because at school you aren’t able to get work done during breaks,” Dhaliwal said. Although he has more time to work on homework and projects, he has less time to interact with classmates. It’s not really that easy online,” he said. “If it’s a class, you don’t really interact with people. You just do your work in class and then move on,” Dhaliwal said. Dhaliwal said that he didn’t make good use of his time last semester because he was still adjusting to the remote schedule. This semester he was able to do his school work properly. He would rather have it over

social interaction. Freshman Imani Cochran, a student who has experienced both the hybrid and remote schedules, said it is easier to learn in the hybrid schedule because of the in-class interactions. She prefers the in-person learning over the Zoom learning because of the social aspect. “It’s easier to learn more. Your teacher is right in front of you, and you’re not staring at a computer screen,” Cochran said. “It’s a lot more engaging.” The commute time is also altered by the schedules. While students in the hybrid schedule have to commute to school, students in the remote schedule only have to move around their rooms. Sophomore Jiayu Tang, a student who has experience with both the remote schedule and the hybrid schedule, prefers the remote schedule over the hybrid schedule. He also enjoys the time flexibility that the remote schedule adds. “I don’t need time to commute; I don’t need to go to a classroom,” Tang said. Another major time difference between the schedules is the lunch time. Tang cooked and prepared his lunch during the remote schedule. “If it is a hybrid schedule, I only have 25 minutes, so I can cook it and just heat up some frozen food so I can catch up, so I can go to the fourth class in the day,” Tang said, who decided to stay remote. Another student, senior Connor Pederson, who has experienced both schedules,


RAPID RENDEZVOUS A group of juniors gather in the high school quad during lunch. Under the hybrid schedule, lunch break is only 25 minutes. PHOTO BY ARIKTA TRIVEDI dislikes both lunch schedules. “The remote lunch time is too long and the hybrid lunch time is too short,” Pederson said. Pederson said that the remote schedule forced him to stay home and not be able to pick up food. He also said that while he had less lunch time, he did have one positive with the remote schedule. He had more time to do homework, but he had less class time to help him prepare for and understand concepts for his tests. “The testing and homework load are very similar for both schedules,” he said. Cochran experienced a change in sleep-

ing schedules due to the different school schedules. The time differences between the schedules, especially with the home and school days of the hybrid schedule, create a disrupted sleep schedule for her. “I don’t really have much of a sleeping schedule, so it varies,” said Cochran. Though during in-person school days she goes to sleep at around 10 p.m. Pederson said that he has a more organized and defined sleeping schedule in the hybrid schedule than he has in the remote schedule. “For people who like order, organization, the schedules can be a little much to go between them.”

Attendance: Students stay remote due to freer schedules (continued from page 1) Senior Brian Chow is taking a different approach. He only attends in-person classes for AP Biology and the anatomy and physiology class. “I’m going a day a week, and I’m only going for dissections and labs,” he said. Chow doesn’t attend more classes in person due to his schedule. He has free periods first and sixth periods, meaning he spends less time in classes. He also has to deal with a long commute when attending in person, which is upwards of 1.5 hours one way.

“There’s no point,” he said. “If I wake up early to go to school, but then have an hour where I do nothing in the middle of the day, then have a class, but have to go get lunch (and) go back to school, it would be a lot of time wasted driving around.” Instead, he attends the anatomy and physiology class and AP Biology class in back-to-back periods only on days when dissections and labs take place and spends the rest of his time learning at home. However, fear of COVID-19 does not factor heavily into his decision, as he said the school appears to be doing a good job keeping the situation under control. “I feel like I’d be more worried if there were a lot more people going in person,” he said. Chow doesn’t plan to change his attendance in the foreseeable future, even with the cohort change. Schedule changes were also a factor in senior Lili Brush’s decision to stay home for the two weeks before mid-winter break, although she ultimately stayed home because she couldn’t get her mandatory COVID-19 test. “I have a lot of free periods so it sucked to be out in the rain or in the gym, just sitting there,” she said. The rain also meant that people spent more time indoors, which worried Brush.

PHOTO-SYNTHESIS Biology teacher Kellie Whited gives a lecture to her class. Like others, Whited has to accomodate for remote students, often telling students in the classroom to attend Zoom to see the slides. PHOTO BY ARIKTA TRIVEDI “People would eat inside without their mask and then some people would eat and talk at the same time, so my parents didn’t really feel comfortable with that,” she said. Despite her concerns, she returned after mid-winter break, as she was able to get her COVID-19 test. The increased number of people on cam-

pus with the cohort change was a positive for Brush. “I really appreciate that they did that because it was kind of weird,” she said. There were only a few seniors in her cohort, and a few in the other, she said. “It’s nice to be able to be with them,” she said. Brush also doesn’t mind the new club schedule, but wishes there was more time for electives, especially her Advanced Topics in Computer Science class. There are currently 78 out of 144 high school students in person, according to Valerie Velo, assistant to head of high school, but changes have been hard to track due to students and parents changing their minds. Head of High School Brooke Wells said more students began attending in-person classes after winter break and that growth is fairly steady. He believes this is due to the combining of cohorts as well as the county’s move out of the purple tier of viral transmission. Even if some students are on Zoom, it doesn’t make a difference as long as classes are evenly divided, he said. “The goal is to have everyone in person. That’s the best experience for everyone.”


Feature • March 9, 2021

The Octagon

Book Club attempts to stay alive despite record-low attendance



nline learning wiped out most Book Club members and their longtime tradition of eating brownies and hot apple cider. Founded in 1997 by former Country Day librarian Sheila Hefty, the club has a Country Day twist to it. Unlike your traditional book club where everyone reads the same book, students pick their books individually and talk about them at meetings. Joanne Melinson took over as librarian in 2007 and became the Book Club adviser because she loves to see students enthusiastic about reading and indulge in deep conversations about books. Melinson, alongside assistant librarian Melissa Strong, has been running the meeting via Zoom since the beginning of the year. Strong takes notes during meetings and makes a list of all the books that are discussed. “The summary of each meeting is on our website, so if you miss a meeting you can still be filled in,” Melinson said. Since the club’s formation, it’s been tradition for the members to eat brownies and drink hot apple cider during meetings. Occasionally, Melinson would bring other snacks, but brownies remain superior. “People love the brownies so much that

now I have to ask permission to bring any other snack,” Melinson said. But online meetings, the tradition couldn’t be continued this year. Meetings are once a month, but scheduling has been a problem. With the recent changes from the remote to hybrid schedule, Book Club has been trying to find a time that works for everyone. After meeting during lunchtime via Zoom with only a couple people showing up, Melinson set the meetings to one Thursday a month at 6 p.m. Book Club has a history of varying attendance year by year. “There was one year when it seemed like if we got five people, it was a lot. And then there’ve been other years where we need to drag some more chairs in,” Melinson said. During the 2019-2020 school year, Book Club was averaging up to 20 members a meeting, including students, teachers and administrators. The attendance of recent meetings has been slim, with only two students showing up to the latest meeting. Melinson attributes the low numbers to two things: the graduating class of ’20 had several loyal members , and current students spend hours on Zoom each day, making reading an additional strain on their eyes. Melinson, who has also been experiencing the strain, has transitioned to mostly

listening to audiobooks. There are two other reasons why students don’t attend Book Club — a lack of time and a lack of interest in books. Sophomore Haylee Holman has a passion for reading books, but her full schedule makes it difficult to carve reading time. From volleyball for hours a week to long study sessions, Holman needs all the rest she can get. “I really value my evenings, and it’s almost impossible for me to make a meeting,” Holman said. Freshman Kaitlyn Dias is one of many students who doesn’t attend Book Club for the other reason: she doesn’t enjoy reading. Dias said pleasure reading isn’t a productive use of her time, and she would rather be playing volleyball, doing homework or listening to music. Also, Dias

believes the books that are assigned in English class are more than enough for an average high schooler to read. Sophomore Samhita Kumar is the sole, loyal Book Club member. Her passion for reading started from a young age from her mother being a writer. Kumar has been a member of several book clubs, but she especially enjoys the discussions and book recommendations that are brought up during meetings. She said the main difference between Book Club last year and this year is the attendance. “When meetings aren’t in the library, people forget that it’s there. There’s also no free food, so that incentive is not there, either,” Kumar said.


JEDI Council makes effort to strengthen sense of community BY SIMONE DEBERRY Senior Kenyatta Dumisani begins many JEDI Council meetings by explaining the meaning of his name and encouraging new members to do so as well. “My father named me Kenyatta because he wanted me to be like Jomo Kenyatta, a catalyst for widespread social change,” he said. Sharing names creates a feeling of familiarity between the members of the council, he said, strengthening the sense of community, just as the council intends to do within the school. The JEDI Council is an assembly of students dedicated to improving the Country Day community as a whole. Its title is an acronym for Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion — the tenents the council strives to achieve. Head of High School Brooke Wells said the idea for the council began in December 2019 after the National Association of Independent Schools’ People of Color Conference. “As I listened to the kids share their experiences, I remember

hearing the acronym ‘JEDI.’ Immediately, I knew we needed to pursue this,” Wells said. Turning this vision into a reality proved difficult at first. Progress was slow, and without a designated leader, the probability of the council being ready by the coming year was slim. That was until Kenyatta Dumisani decided to take initiative. For Dumisani, the idea for the JEDI Council began his freshman year. “I struggled to find where I belonged,” Dumisani said. “High school hits you like a tidal wave, or at least it did for me. I not only faced a new onslaught of academic and athletic challenges, but I also developed a sinking feeling of alienation as I was the only African American student in my class.” Over time, Dumisani succeeded in finding a sense of belonging. Now, as a senior, he intends to use his experience to help others in a similar situation. With Dumisani’s leadership, the council has begun to engage with the student body via a series of surveys. The data collected

through these surveys will provide the council with the resources needed to best move forward. They intend to strengthen bonds within both the student body and the greater community of Sacramento. To accomplish this, the council plans to host games and Zoom get-togethers that they hope will function to increase comradery between classmates. Currently, the plan is to use some of the information collected from the surveys to create a game that will allow students to better know one another. Yet, like other clubs, the JEDI Council has faced difficulties operating remotely. “Conversations over Zoom are an interesting conundrum,” Dumisani said. “Sometimes people can be camera shy, and I find it very interesting to talk to a gray name box on a computer about complex emotions.” Nevertheless, Dumisani is not deterred; rather, he views it as an opportunity for him to be more engaged. “The fact that we are online reduced the quality of our club significantly, but it just means

A NEW HOPE The JEDI Council met on Feb. 26 during the club time to discuss problems they face in their lives and find solutions for them. PHOTO BY SAMHITA KUMAR

I have to work twice as hard to make sure that doesn’t happen,” Dumisani said. His efforts have not gone unnoticed. In fact, freshman Sylvia Valverde said that it was Kenyatta and the other club members’ determination that made her want to be a part of the club. “After joining a meeting just to check the club out, I felt like I wanted to be a part of the group effort,” she said. “I could see that the people in the group were genuinely determined to improve our school’s dynamic.” Since then, Valverde has made a point to attend the weekly meet-

ings. With students apart due to COVID-19, she feels a sense of community is more important than ever. Like Valverde, freshman Mia Crowder views the council as a needed avenue for change. “In any school, there will be, and are, problems that go unnoticed or under the radar. Having a group of students who can focus some of their time toward helping to find those issues and potentially helping students directly could make a big difference,” Crowder said. “Just having discussions about general problems is always important.”

The Octagon

March 9, 2021 • Sports

California state guidelines allow start for all outdoor sports



fter nearly a year without athletics, Country Day sports returned when the ski and snowboard team hit the slopes on Feb. 15. They had two competitions during the mid-winter break. Golf and cross country followed with their first matches on Feb. 22. Sophomore Grace Eberhart competes on the Cross Country team, which began practicing following finals. Eberhart competed in cross country during the fall season of 2019-2020. She is “a little worried” about participating in athletics during the pandemic, but looks forward to returning to practices and meets and continuing to improve her running. “It feels refreshing to have an excuse to be outside and with people even if it’s a small group,” she said. “And it gives me an excuse to go out and exercise.” Freshman Delsyn Beaton is competing with the golf team. Beaton, who played golf in seventh grade, decided to play this year because he enjoys the sport and wanted to participate in athletics not affected much by

COVID-19. “I mostly look forward to just playing and being able to do something during the pandemic,” he said. Track and field and tennis, which have been approved to play by the state since guidelines released in December, will have their first competitions on April 21 and April 20, respectively. The track and field schedule is unofficial, Athletic Director Matt Vargo said. Soccer and baseball were recently given a green-light in Sacramento county on March 2 following a drop in COVID-19 cases. Vargo said it’s likely soccer will have games beginning in April while baseball will start competing in May. The Sac-Joaquin section granted its leagues autonomy from the California Interscholastic Federation at the beginning of February, allowing the leagues within the section to make sports schedules separate from the state-wide federation. This means sports not scheduled until late spring can begin early if the leagues follow county health guidelines. On Dec. 14, California released guidelines of which sports can play at a county’s COVID-19 tier.

These guidelines were amended on Feb. 19 when it was announced that all outdoor sports could resume in counties with 14 or fewer COVID-19 cases per day per 100,000 people, regardless of tier status. If a county reaches this mark and then sees a spike in COVID-19 cases later, it would not be required to shut down sports. As of March 2, Sacramento County had 12 cases per day per 100,000 people. Two weeks prior, it had 18.7. The state recommends that athletes are limited to one sport at a time. The school has decided to make this recommendation a rule, Vargo said. Swimming and diving, which is eligible to start under current regulations, does not have a set schedule. County regulation limits all competitions to two teams only. Country Day swimmers competed as a third-party with other schools in the past. Vargo said it will be tough to schedule a few dual meets for the swimming and diving team. Other sports, such as cross country, track and field and golf are also affected by the two-team only rule. Indoor sports do not fall under the new guidelines. Volleyball will


FORE! Freshman Delsyn Beaton watches his shot at the golf team’s March 1 match. The Cavaliers lost their match against Sacramento Adventist. PHOTO BY ARIKTA TRIVEDI not start until the county passes into the orange tier. Basketball must wait until the yellow tier. Currently, Sacramento County is in the purple tier where it has been for nearly the entire pandemic. County metrics on COVID-19, such as the number of positive

cases per day per 100,000 people, can be found here. All athletes must be cleared to be on campus to participate in sports. This means athletes who are tested frequently enough to attend school in person, but choose to stay remote, can still compete.

CIF Timeline March 13, 2020: Country Day goes remote

Feb. 22: Golf and cross country first matches

Dec. 14, 2020: COVID-19 tiers established

Feb. 15: Ski and snowboard first match since lockdown

March 2: Sac County drops below 14 cases per 100k people, allowing soccer and baseball to begin

Feb. 19: New guidelines allow all outdoor sports to begin when county drops below 14 cases per 100k people

April: First competitions for soccer, tennis, and track

May: First competitions for baseball

High school athletics make a return to Country Day BY MILES MORROW Sports at Country Day and other schools across California are slowly making their return. On March 13, 2020, Country Day shutdown along with its spring sports of baseball, golf, tennis, track & field and swimming. Cross country, golf, and ski and snowboard are the first Country Day sports to resume since the pandemic started last year. These sports were among others in the California Interscholastic Federation’s purple or widespread tier with minimal guidelines. “We’re all super excited to be able to play

again,” said Matt Vargo, Country Day’s golf coach and athletic director. “Athletics is a great way for some kids to express themselves, so I’m very happy that we are bringing that back.” Vargo said that certain sports could have started much earlier. “Around 40 other states started playing sports before us,” Vargo said. “People have been playing golf for a very long time. Given how minimal guidelines are for some sports, we definitely could have started sooner.” The golf team practices at Hagen Oaks golf complex with minimal guidelines, Vargo said. “All players must be wearing masks at

WE’RE BACK! (From left to right) Sophomore Callister Misquitta, freshman Harper Livesey, junior Hailey Fesai, coach Jason Kreps and freshman Ishaan Sekhon pose for a photo at the Feb. 26 meet. PHOTO COURTESY OF JASON KREPS

all times while practicing and competing,” Vargo said. “And there’s restrictions on the number of spectators.” Freshman Delsyn Beaton also is excited to be playing again. “High school sports was something that I was looking forward to going into my freshman year,” Beaton said. “Finally being able to practice is very exciting.” Cross country coach Joe Hartman said that bringing back sports is very important. “I believe everyone is aware that the stress level facing students either has increased or has the potential to increase because of such deviance from normal,” Hartman said. “The only real goal this season is to gain experience and hopefully retain athletes for next season.” The cross country team’s COVID-19 guidelines are similar to those of golf. “During practices, the runners wear their masks at all times when they are not actively running,” Hartman said. “During discussion, drills and stretching, the athletes are wearing their masks. We’re on a very fine line of sensibly working the runners into shape.” Since the teams are so small, all runners run varsity — 3.05 miles — but some races will be 2 miles. Sophomore Grace Eberhart said it’s great to be back. “Being back in cross country gives me a sense of normalcy and gives me an excuse to workout,” Eberhart said. Eberhart agrees that practices are restrictive. “We only practice when our respective cohorts are at school,” Eberhart said. “Last year we had five practices a week where now we just have two.” Eberhart hopes to improve her long-dis-

tance running skills this year. “I would like to build my stamina and improve my personal record,” she said. “But since the year is so short, my main goal is to stay healthy and build my stamina.” Ski and snowboard coach Jason Kreps is excited to have outdoor sports back. “It’s great in the right setting,” Kreps said. “The sports that are outside and are able to spread out are manageable.” Kreps said that the COVID-19 guidelines are similar to the ones at Country Day. The athletes must fill out questionnaires before each race. The races go by school, so there is no alteration or mixing. The team has had three races so far. “The first two races during mid-winter break were pretty snowy and windy, so it was not ideal for racing but we got through it,” he said. “The last two races were at Alpine and we had fantastic weather and great racing. I am just happy to see some sports back and the athletes together and smiles on faces!” Junior Hailey Fesai is also excited but also nervous. “Sports are super important to all athletes,” Fesai said. “But with these new guidelines, it can be stressful to compete, more so than it already is.” The ski and snowboard team must wear face masks under their helmets and headgear. “It may be uncomfortable to wear masks on hot days, but I don’t mind that much,” Fesai said. “Skiing has been my love ever since I was four and I wouldn’t give it up for the world., I’ll do whatever it takes to be in the snow.”

March 9, 2021

Q: With the context that President Biden recently signed an executive order reovking the Mexico City Policy, are you pro choice or pro life? And why?

agree C

ountry Day students, freshman Paige Graham, and seniors Brian Chow, Kenyatta Dumisani and Carter Joost participated in an Octagon political roundtable on Feb. 17, featuring current events from COVID-19 to abortion. Chow and Graham align with the Socialist Party, Dumisani aligns with the Democratic Party and Joost is unaffiliated with any party. The complete conversation will be posted online. STORY BY DYLAN MARGOLIS; GRAPHICS BY ARIJIT TRIVEDI AND ETHAN MONASA

Joost: Abortion is just distasteful.

There’s really no way around it; it just sucks. Even with that, I’m pro-choice. It’s just more practical to make abortion legal. If abortion is illegal, then people will perform unsafe abortions, which is very problematic. I don’t think it’s immoral because we already decide when someone is considered worthy of life. Three hundred years ago, you weren’t really counted as a real person until age 10 because of the likeliness that you would die. Now, once you’re born, you’re pretty much set for a while, at least in the United States, and it’s been like that for a while. The whole concept of early childhood is pretty modern. If you move back when rights should be given a little further, such as before conception, you could also make the argument that by abstaining you are preventing life. The only real difference between a young baby and a fetus is if it’s experienced things or not. It’s just up to society to decide what is most practical and what determines if life is a life. Overall, it should be allowed because it’s simpler.

Graham: I believe that we should

repeal the order that bans the U.S. from funding other nations’ abortion clinics. Certain places can’t fund these clinics, and I believe we should provide the option to as many people as possible. If a teen mom just isn’t ready, we shouldn’t put that upon them. Also, if you are a 17-year-old person having a child, you may not physically be ready for that since your body’s not done developing. So yes, I am also pro-choice, and I do believe that women should have the right to abortion.

Chow: I agree with Paige and Carter. I think it was a good thing that the policy was repealed because we should give funding to these organizations. As Paige said, many countries have an extremely high cost of living; even the U.S. has this issue. So if you’re a pregnant woman, odds are you will be forced to live paycheck by paycheck. I think having equal access to abortion is really important and could help that problem. Otherwise, having that child, as Paige said, would really just be an added burden. I am pro-choice because I think it should be the family’s decision if there should be an abortion. Most importantly, it’s the mother’s personal choice. The government’s purpose is to

serve the public so if the government can offer something that people want they should. If the option wasn’t there, the government would be doing the public a disservice. There are so many factors that go into why someone becomes pregnant, and why someone may want to terminate the pregnancy. The government should give the public that option. That should also include foreign countries. I feel the same way about this as I do health care. Everyone should have free access to it.

Dumisani: I am pro-choice. I do

essary bureaucracy.

Graham: I disagree with Carter. I do believe that we should fund them. If we don’t help fund countries that may not be able to support these clinics themselves, then their poverty line will most likely be raised. Also, these children born into poverty will be malnourished and possibly abused by their parents. I definitely think that we should fund it because we need to help them. I definitely agree with Kenyatta that we shouldn’t force it upon other countries, but if the country is open to abortion, I definitely think we should help them.

What is the Mexico City Policy? The Mexico City Policy banned the U.S. from funding foreign organizations that support or perform abortions. The policy was created during the Reagan Administration, and it has been rescinded and restored multiple times since its creation.

believe that it should be the woman’s choice to be pregnant or terminate the pregnancy. I both agree and disagree with the Mexico City Policy. If we have the resources to, we should extend the luxuries that we have domestically abroad. Now, we shouldn’t impose any ideals on other countries. We’re here to inspire, not enforce. On the other hand, the source of this funding that we’re sending abroad should probably be reapportioned to address the issues that we have in our own communities locally.

Joost: I don’t think that foreign

non-government organizations should receive funding for abortions. To say we’re not going to fund an organization because they perform abortions is ridiculous, but the amount of money that gets appropriated for abortions, frankly, could be used in a lot of other places. If a foreign country needs to get involved to perform abortions, there are probably a lot more pressing issues within the country receiving that aid. That money is better spent doing more necessary medical procedures. However, it is hard to regulate what NGOs do without creating more trouble than it’s worth. If possible, funding abortions internationally should be discouraged, but trying to ensure government funding does not fund foreign abortions creates a lot of unnec-

Joost: There are better ways to

curtail population growth in other countries, most notably encouraging contraceptive use. That’s considerably cheaper than promoting abortion. Abortion is the epitome of the last resort and is a pretty expensive procedure. There are better ways to go about reducing population explosion. A good example of government funded medicine gone wrong, is in a lot of Native American communities during the middle of the 20th century. Many doctors set up women’s clinics and, without asking, would tie their tubes. This results in a lot of suspicions and worries surrounding these foreign government-funded clinics in other countries. Abortions could also help discredit NGOs in a lot of areas which would cause a lot more trouble than it’s worth.

Graham: I understand what

you’re saying Carter, but what if people are using contraceptives and still get pregnant? Contraceptives don’t always work. Even if it’s a small population of the public, why should we make treatment unattainable? What if the person is raped? And the person just doesn’t use a condom? Why should they have to have a child that is from their rapist? I don’t see how that’s fair, especially if they don’t want the child. It doesn’t

make sense for a 15-year-old who was assaulted to have to have the baby. If she doesn’t want the child, she should have the option to be able to get rid of the child. I understand that it’s expensive, but I still think that it’s better than the child living a terrible life.

Chow: I agree with Paige. There

are so many instances where pregnancy is unwanted. For example, in the case where the pregnancy isn’t wanted, like a victim of rape, then if abortion isn’t an option, what happens? What happens to the child? What happens to the mother? If the option of terminating the pregnancy is there, and if it is available because of the U.S. government funding foreign organizations, it will be better for the country in the long run. This is all done for the well-being of the mother, and just having that choice is important.

Kenyatta Dumisani


Paige Graham


Joost: The problem with this con-

versation is that we are a world away from these NGOs, and it’s difficult to make decisions about them. On a larger scale, it’s not really worth it because that money could be just better spent. There are other ways to help more people. I mean, yeah, it’s not fair, but you can only help so much with so much money.

Graham: Couldn’t we help pre-

vent spending more money on things like food stamps by allowing abortion? I know that in the United States, the foster program is very messed up. There are a lot of families who just want the money and are bad foster parents. So, if the mom continues the pregnancy but doesn’t want to keep the child, they have to put it up for adoption. Then if the child isn’t adopted, they are put in the foster care system, which is not a good system. There are definitely some good families, but if there are more good than bad is definitely in question. Also, we can’t just take away the bad families because then there won’t be enough housing for all the children. If money could go to getting a woman’s abortions then children wouldn’t be forced into these situations.

Joost: I guess there’s only actu-

ally one way to settle this, and that’s to look up what different things actually cost, and that I’m sure varies region by region. And, frankly, so should this policy.


Brian Chow

Forty-one high school students responded to a Feb. 8 poll. Here’s what they said.

Carter Joost

cially thought of this when I first heard that the vaccine was ready to be administered. When people asked me if I would take the vaccine during its first phase, I said, “no,” I wanted to wait. When a new drug is tested, there are side effects, especially with one that was so rushed. It usually takes several years for a vaccine to be approved by the FDA, but this one got approved in less than a single year. Because they were in such a rush to get this out, I always think they might have overlooked something, which is worrisome. Also, from personal experience, my dad got the Moderna vaccine, and he said it was pretty bad. He couldn’t sleep for a few days after the second dose due to the side effects. In the long run, it’s probably safe, but I do understand why people will say that.

Joost: It appears to protect

against the coronavirus, so that is good. At least the ones that have been sent out are, but there are definitely side effects. My dad got his first dose. He is 72, and he’s been down and out for a couple of days. There’s no way of knowing at this point, as just a general citizen, what’s safe and what isn’t. It’s very difficult for people to find the correct data. The only way to find out if it is safe is to either take it or just wait 10 years and see what happens. It’s probably better to take it than not take it because the coronavirus is an immediate threat.

Graham: I believe that it’s

good for people to take the vaccine. I understand why people would be hesitant to take it, seeing as there are side effects, but we can’t wait any longer, letting the virus spread more. Cases continue to go up, so we need to have the vaccine widespread. Overall, I do think it’s better to take it versus not taking it at all because the side effects can be overcome.

Dumisani: I agree with everyone who’s spoken before because I believe it’s beneficial to take the vaccine. I don’t think enough has been done to aid the concerns people have with the development rate of the vaccine. More time needs to be spent informing the public on what it’s going to do, why this is happening and how it will benefit them. I know some of my family members are wary of taking it because of that lack of background information. I think that’s present for a lot of the members of my community. I think the extra effort needs to be made before I’m comfortable taking it, as well as a wide variety of Americans are comfortable with taking this vaccine.

Chow: I agree with Paige and Carter that it is a good idea for people who can get the vaccine to take it because it will help with the group’s effort toward stopping the virus. On the other hand, though, there should be more education put out in the forums because the vaccine is pretty unique. It is an mRNA vaccine unlike most, such as the influenza vaccine. This basically just means that

it gets your body to make antibodies itself, instead of injecting a dead strain of the virus. So, I think people will be more worried. A lot of people hear mRNA, and they’re like, what is mRNA? Most people who took high school biology most likely forgot all of it. I’m in AP Biology right now, but give me 20 or 30 years, and I will probably forget this stuff, too.

Joost: There is a big difference

between caution and willful ignorance, so I don’t think it’s fair to ask whether or not someone’s concerned about injecting themselves. It’s pretty much always valid to have concerns unless someone is willingly not taking steps to find out information. It’s difficult to find the information necessary to have an informed opinion on whether or not it is safe. Most people can’t really look to the science for that or the trials because they don’t know how the trials are run or how they should be run to be as effective as possible. It’s the lack of accessibility of information that I think causes issues. So yes, of course, it’s valid.

Graham: It’s a valid concern to

be worried about what we’re injecting into our bodies. For example, my nana and papa both took the vaccine, and my papa had side effects afterward. I was very concerned for him, but he’s doing great now, and I know the vaccine has helped them feel more comfortable with coming to see us because we haven’t seen them much in a year.

vaccine is unsafe?

Chow: Yes, definitely. I espe-


Q: Is it valid for people to make the claim that the COVID-19

The Octagon




o disagree.


Opinion • March 9, 2021

The Octagon

Samhita Kumar

Why etymology is cooler than you might think

“Perseverance” by Brynne Barnard-Bahn

EDITORIAL: Why you should care about space


t’s an exciting time for space exploration. New startups like Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin have changed the way the space game works with commercialization and new innovations like reusable rockets. NASA has committed to return to the moon by 2024, and with NASA’s successful Feb. 18 landing of the Mars Perseverance rover, things are looking up for space geeks. Of course, whenever attention is drawn to NASA’s work, there is always the predictable response from critics. Shouldn’t we be using the billions of dollars that NASA gets to actually improve the situation on Earth instead of spending it on frivolous accomplishments? After all, the Perseverance rover alone cost $2.4 billion, according to CNBC. We could probably spend that on something more important, such as fixing climate change. To which we should say, no. First, the U.S. budget doesn’t function

“Connection” by Charlie Acquisto

that way; you can’t just redirect funds from agency to agency. Each project that has spending allocated to it has to be approved by Congress year by year. Agencies’ spending is not linked in that way. A climate change agency could easily request the same amount of money as NASA from Congress, which would evaluate the plan to see if money should be budgeted to it. But that’s more of a procedural point. The main argument against funding NASA is that federal funds should not be used for pointless projects that don’t benefit the people. However, let’s bring in some facts. Most people overestimate the actual budget that NASA gets from the U.S. government. Before I give you the figure, take a guess. What percentage of the U.S. budget do you think NASA gets? The answer is about 0.5% of all U.S. spendings, according to NASA’s website. By comparison, approximately 15% of this U.S. budget goes to military spending, according to the U.S. Department of Defense website. NASA is not “hogging” the U.S. budget. We are completely capable of improving the world without cutting into NASA’s comparatively small share of money. Moreover, NASA actually adds a decent amount to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and jobs compared to its budget, simply from its large engineering workforce and its contracts with U.S. companies. They also take on a significant number of world-benefiting projects, such as NASA’s SMAP project to improve global agriculture with satellite and climate measurements, or the International Space Station, which is constantly conducting experiments that can’t be done anywhere else. This brings us to NASA’s main benefit. NASA, by furthering our scientific capability as a country, has a significant impact on long-term human development that is arguably greater than simply putting that money into other programs. Scientific knowledge has an intrinsic value in and of itself; it’s worthy of chasing even if there were no other benefits. But there are. People have benefited worlds and worlds again from the development of

engineering and science. And space exploration is a continuous extreme test of humanity’s skill in this area. Nothing sparks innovation and improvement like a test, except maybe a war. So, even if Congress did fund another project with NASA’s money and that aided the world — ignoring the fact that humanitarian projects often work so ineffectively — the long-term benefits of gaining knowledge in scientific areas that could eventually be used for humanity’s benefit are possibly greater than anything you could do here and now. For example, let’s look at satellites, which have had an immeasurable benefit to the world. Obviously, NASA does not fund the vast majority of the world’s satellites, but it’s undeniable that space exploration opened the doors for this technology, a door that might have stayed closed for far longer than it did. Satellites are used for everything from a Global Positioning System to mapping and evaluating cropland to predicting hurricanes to planned, worldwide satellite Internet such as SpaceX’s Starlink. Other benefits are perhaps less quantifiable, but still important all the same. Innovations and technologies used by NASA have often found their way into the consumer market — CMOS chips used in most smartphone cameras, aerodynamic truck fairings and baby formula just to name a few. On a more philosophical note, if humanity ever wants to leave its cradle of the Earth and survive the inevitable death of the Sun, space exploration is the only way forward. Fundamentally, it’s the next step forward in our evolution as a species, the next step to make history as multi-planetary life. So, don’t begrudge NASA its budget. Exploration and scientific research will always be worth funding, and it’s how we got to the global empire of humanity we are today. Arguing that it should be put to other purposes is prioritizing short-term benefits over long-term gain. It’s a moot point to boot, since we really can and should do both — fund space exploration and solve our problems on Earth. It’s not that hard to understand — it’s not rocket science. Oh wait, it is.

Have you stared at a word long enough that it doesn’t seem to make sense anymore? Ever wondered why a word has the meaning it does or silent letters it doesn’t need? There are a couple reasons for that: etymology and Noah Webster. Webster, a famous American lexicographer, created the first standardized English dictionary in 1828, single-handedly changing the spellings of words like “center” and “honor” from the British versions, “centre” and “honour,” altering written word. He had a vision of a phonetic, easy-to-understand language. Not all of his reforms caught on, and some scholars think he was wrong about some changes — Webster also pushed for reforms such as spelling soup as “soop” and tongue as “tung.” His reforms of English are what make etymology somehow logical and ridiculous at the same time. Etymology, the study of the history or origin of a word, appears at the end of the average dictionary entry for a word. Paying close attention to it can reveal a lot. Take the word “science,” whose history traces back over centuries and across continents. It starts with Middle English and Anglo-French “science” and from Latin “scientia” (knowledge, awareness), according to Merriam-Webster’s entry. That traces back to the verb “scio,” to know, which has a tangled history that could be from the European “to cut or flay” and the Sanskrit “to pull off skin.” That origin calls to mind a dissection or an autopsy — the curiosity of how living beings can exist the way they do. The first recorded use of the word “science” is in the 1300s when it was a universally understood concept put together from pieces of language all across the globe. Language doesn’t always work like that, though. Take the word “jumbo,” which Merriam-Webster defines as anything that is a very large specimen of its kind. Its origin traces back to one specific elephant: P.T. Barnum’s gigantic one named Jumbo. The word’s first use was around the same time Jumbo was sold from the London Zoo: 1883. Although Jumbo the elephant is long gone, he managed to be influential enough to stay in common usage more than 100 years later. No matter what word you find, its etymology can tell you a story about how you came to understand it and why. Whether it’s about people hundreds of years ago or about how a certain Twitter meme managed to make its way into the dictionary, etymology is the connecting thread. Which, everything considered, is really, really cool.

A BIG THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS FOR KEEPING US IN THE BLACK! Anand family, Claire family, Cook family, Kumar family, Intel Foundation, Gulati family, Monasa family, Trivedi family, Zhu family

The Octagon

March 9, 2021 • Feature



school orchestra, so Rye had to adapt. “It’s a totally different experience being enior Sarina Rye won gold for her in Youth Symphony with a full orchestra solo violin performance of “Medita- and full sound and playing higher level tion from Thaís” at the 2020 Golden pieces,” Rye said. “It just makes you more Empire Music Festival. That was her well-rounded.” High school orchestra director Maria favorite piece at the time. Hoyos complimented Rye’s playing in the “It’s always stuck in my head,” Rye said, “and I have a bunch of variations of it in my orchestra. “Sarina helps to strengthen the overApple Music.” Rye’s journey with the violin started in all sound of the orchestra,” Hoyos said. fifth grade, when all students had to pick “She is conscientious and she is a strong leader in the orchestra and in the an instrument to play. “I knew I didn’t want to do something in chamber group.” Rye’s experiences playing the violin band because I just didn’t think I could get weren’t always smooth sailing. enough air to make a good sound.” During her junior year, Rye was Originally, she wanted to learn cello, taking weekly vibut her sister protested. olin lessons with “My sister told lower school mume, ‘that is way “Whether it has lyrics sic teacher Elena too big for you. or not, I always find Bennett. Though I’m not gonna rewarding, it very easy to conhelp you lug Rye said her it around.’ nect to music.” lessons could So I picked — Sarina Rye get straining. the violin “Sometimes, instead,” Rye music can be stressful, especialsaid. She started taking lessons during the ly if you’re playing in different summer before fifth grade and ended up orchestras,” Rye said. “And the violin especially can be a rigorous instruliking the violin, so she continued to play. In her freshman year, Rye joined the Sac- ment.” One day, after a busy day ramento Youth Symphony. She auditioned and was placed in the Classic Orchestra. After two years, she moved to the Academic Orchestra, a level above Classic. “Before ninth grade, I didn’t really know it existed or anything. I did a bunch of stuff in ninth grade, like trying out new things and seeing what I liked. That was the first thing I did that was outside of school,” Rye said. SYS has much bigger orchestras compared to the


of practicing for orchestra and working on the school newspaper, The Octagon, she grew tired of the violin going into her lesson with Bennett. “I didn’t really feel like playing the violin or doing music lessons,” Rye said, “so then I went and I was like, ‘do you think we could just have a ukulele lesson right now?’” Bennett agreed and taught her four basic chords for the ukulele. “That weekend, I went and got my own,” she said. Rye had always wanted an instrument to accompany her singing, which couldn’t be done on the violin. Besides, she enjoys music in all forms. “Whether it has lyrics or not, I always find it very easy to connect to music or, even if I can’t personally connect, learn about emotions other people are hav-


ing,” Rye said. To express her love for poetry and music, Rye writes her own songs to sing and play on the ukulele. The theme and content of her songs vary, as Rye uses a mix of melodies and phrases taken from her daily life. “On my Notes app, I have this whole document just full of little phrases and sentences or sentence fragments, basically from anything I read, like books, songs, tweets or articles that just kind of resonate with me,” Rye said. Rye’s collection of quotes range from a warning message in Minecraft to a Franz Kafka quote. “I also just get melodies stuck in my head that don’t actually exist.” On her phone, Rye’s voice memo app is filled with 5 to 10-second recordings of her humming tunes that came to mind. “And then sometimes I go back, I’m like, let’s turn this into something,” Rye said. Her first song was made with little planning. There was no theme, and Rye didn’t have a clear idea of how to write the song. “There has always been the feeling like, ‘oh, it seems pretty hard to take the chords and stuff and go with it,’ so for my first one I just kind of went for it.” Rye worked on her first song in 15-minute intervals and sometimes waited months before composing the chords for her song. “It’s very catchy, and it’s stuck in my head all the time,” Rye said. “But it’s just kind of random.” Rye wasn’t sure about the meaning of her song. “I might need to get someone else to tell me what it means.” Unlike her first song, her subsequent works are more organized. For example, one of her songs is based on how a person’s appearance doesn’t convey their true feelings. Rye is writing her fifth song, and she is still deciding on a theme. Currently, her collection of quotes for her new song is sorted into five categories: time, burning, violence, desperation and heart. She doesn’t choose her themes ahead of time, but rather she groups certain quotes that convey similar meanings and builds from those meanings. Rye has the most inspiration for this song out of all her previous works, so she is still deciding on what to use as her lyrics, she said. Rye records the music she experiences and expresses them as her own. Whether it’s composing or performing, music will always be part of who she is.

songwriting notes “YOU THINK YOU DESERVE IT?” Source: Instagram Post


“THERE ARE MONSTERS NEARBY” Source: Minecraft Sleep Error Message “ALL TANGLED IN HIS PUPPET STRINGS” Source: Ultron, modified “I AM A CAGE, IN SEARCH OF A BIRD” Source: Kafka “GREY IS NOT A COMPROMISE” Source: SOng by “Sleeping at Last” “HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS IN THE DARK” Source: Book Title


Feature • March 9, 2021

The O cta gon Portfolio




Graphics by Arjin Claire



Invest In





+$6.00 (+5.08%) Today $34


Est. Quantity


-$3.18 (-2.56%) After-Hours


Review Order








Country Day students invest in volatile stock market



ur stock market has made major headlines over the past few weeks. For Country Day students and others around the world, this stock market frenzy has produced endless opportunities. A primary cause for this dramatic fluctuation has been the influence of online communities on the stock market. The most notable one being an online Reddit community: WallStreetBets comprising amateur investors targeting short-sellers to create a profit for themselves. In turn, these short-sellers practically bet on different companies to fail, which is why the failing company Gamestop, seemed like an easy target for most notable stock traders. However, if the stock doesn’t fail, short-sellers are forced to do what is called short-covering, buying more stocks to make up for their losses, which is exactly what happened in mid-January. Starting in mid-January, the amateur Reddit investors surged the Gamestop stock, finishing at a 134% increase, and short-sellers losing around $23.6 billion, according to a post by Business Insider on Feb. 18. Consequently, new online groups started going against short-sellers and investing in different dying companies, including AMC, Blockbuster and Blackberry. This terrorized elite investors and practically crashed the market. Although it seems good to most, the recent stock market news leaves some Country Day students scared for the future. For junior Dylan Breen, the stock market has always been a way to have some fun while making some money. Although he hasn’t joined

any online stock trading comCoffin said he’s never seen munities yet, the recent suc- short-coverings to this extent cess they’ve been acquiring has throughout his 33-year career. spiked his interest. “The market was extremely Unlike the Reddit stock traders, outrageous to an unimaginable Breen decided not to invest in point,” he said. “I’ve seen some these dying companies because short-sellers capitulate and have they were “too risky.” to buy to make up for their debts “I may end up investing into and those stocks take off, but this them if this trend of investing in was a whole different ballgame.” these types of companies conPossible upcoming legislative tinues, but I think I was a little changes could be good to ensure late to the table,” he said. “If I people won’t be taken advantage would’ve gotten to them quicker, of, he said. However, he doesn’t I could be sitting on a nice pile of know cash, but how to I’m happy fix the The market was w i t h damextremly outrageous t h e age alprofready to an unimaginable point.” its I’ve — Jim Coffin done. got” Coffin C u rsaid that rentthe recent events will have draly, Breen invests in six different matic near-term consequences as companies, including Rally Rd, Reddit communities continue to Tesla, Nokia, Unity Software, Ge- grow. nentech and Toyota. “Short term, I think this really Breen invests through a finan- scared retail investors and makes cial advisor but started his trad- them fearful that the system is ing career two years ago through rigged against them,” Coffin said. the Rally Rd. app, where he could “I also think a lot of the amateur buy and sell equity shares in col- investors think they’re geniuses lectible assets like cars. because they profited extremely Breen says he likes invest- over the past couple of weeks. ing in these companies because But in actuality, all this has rethey’re stable and unstressful, so ally done is tainted the mind of a he doesn’t have to continuously lot of new investors because they check his phone. think this is what true investing However, he has some fears is really like, making me wary of about his future in stocks. the future of stocks.” “With the extreme unpreFor the long-term future of dictability of what’s going on investing, Coffin said that major right now, I’m scared my reliable changes will definitely be presstocks could somehow end up ent. badly,” he said. “The online investing commuBut this stock market chaos nity will only get bigger after this, hasn’t scared Breen away com- and it’s really going to alter how pletely, as he continues to invest people think about what to invest and plans to make it a bigger part in,” he said. of his life in the future. “I don’t think this will kill out Jim Coffin, a financial advisor most short-sellers, but their profor Morgan Stanley, fears for the fession is going to be undergoing worst during this stock market a lot more stress in these upcomcrash. ing years.”

Stocks* AMC

































Lists Cryptos to Watch

My First List

Tech Stocks *Stock data as of March 3

The Octagon

March 9, 2021 • Arts & Entertainment




‘Fast and forgiving’ digital art style unleashes creativity



alk into art teacher Andy Cunningham’s classroom and you’ll find students working with graphite pencils, paintbrushes and even digital pens. Students are able to experiment with all sorts of mediums, traditional and digital included. Senior Meghan Kaschner makes digital collages. Her love for digital art began when she was 8 years old, and once she bought her own iPad over a year ago, she rediscovered this art technique. “It gives me the opportunity to make a piece quickly,” she said. Kaschner prefers using Adobe Fresco. “It gives you a lot more options, and it allows me to use tools that I haven’t learned how to use. For example, I haven’t learned how to use oil paint, though I can use the oil paint feature on my iPad, which is really cool,” she said. Differ- ent types of watercolo r s , p e n s , markers, pencils, charcoal and so much more are available when doing art digitally. In addition to brushe s , many layers can be inserted into one document, Kaschner said. Art teacher Andy Cunningham describes digital art in two words: “fast and forgiving.” “I think that digital art is a space for spontaneous creativity and just getting ideas out. For example, if I’m on a train, I’m just going to doodle on my iPad — I

don’t want to dig out my pencil and paper.” Sophomore Brynne Barnard-Bahn has been pursuing digital art since she was in fifth grade, and last summer, she created commissioned digital pieces. She likes the versatility of the Procreate app, especially because she has access to every color and is able to mix them all conveniently and consistently. Barnard-Bahn said she’s less inclined to add coloring for a traditional piece when a color she wants isn’t there. Her favorite part of drawing on her iPad is the undo feature, something which can’t be done as easily using traditional art supplies. Junior Jesus Aispuro has tried digital art but prefers traditional art, specifically spray

painting, which been freshman

he has doing since year. If he were to also do digital art, he said he would probably spend 70% of his time with traditional styles and 30% with digital styles. He noted that artists can save space, carry art around easily and have the option to do whatever they want digitally. Aispuro said he “wouldn’t have to worry about being messy, wet, or cleaning up if he did digital art.” The set-up would also be easier, which, for spray painting, is a lot of work. “Before I even begin, I have to set up the board and put something behind it to


make sure that the paint doesn’t go anywhere else.” Cost is another factor for Aispuro. Buying a tablet and a digital pencil once is less expensive in the long run compared to constantly buying spray paint and boards, he said. “I could never completely leave spray painting,” said Aispuro, who found inspiration frequently on buildings when he rode the train to school. He originally started spray painting because it was something unique that he hadn’t done before, but loves it because it shows his “freedom of expression.” Digital and traditional art can be used together. In the past, Cunningham has used digital mediums to help him with his traditional artwork. When he had an iPad, he would take pictures of his painting and draw on top of them to see how something might look. He said it was helpful to choose and change colors as well as plan out the rest of the piece. Kaschner uses both mediums for her art as well. “Digital art is helpful to get ideas out of your head, so I’m trying to use that to transition it into a more traditional, physical piece of art on a canvas,” she said. “The physical feel of a canvas or tool is inspiring.” But there’s just something about traditional art that some artists prefer. Cunningham likes the “exciting and liberating” part of traditional art. He would rather spend time focusing on traditional art than learning a whole different medium. Junior painter Angela McCurdy has been pursuing art seriously since middle school. She said high-end art has a more textured and

real look to it. “I feel like my art experience revolves more around me physically and emotionally creating something. I like to cut out things and kind of just throw everything together.” Although digital art is Barnard-Bahn’s main medium, she feels more comfortable with traditional art — her favorite medium is graphite pencil. “I’m comfortable with shading and how hard I press the pencil against the paper. That feeling is hard to explain,” she said. “With my iPad, there’s pressure — still it’s different.” Although traditional artwork requires more patience, the final result is more gratifying, Kaschner said. She enjoys and has spent the most time doing traditional art the most, specifically painting. She’s been painting for as long as you can remember. “I really do love the tactileness of traditional art and actually being able to feel the paint,” she said. “You’re just using your hands, you’re not thinking too much, and if you do it well, it’s a really big reward at the end, even more rewarding than doing a digital piece because you know that you’ve literally used your hands to make that.”


Endpoint • March 9, 2020

The Octagon

s ’ n o s n i l e M . s M




hile attending La Salle University, Country Day librarian Joanne Melinson’s comparative religions professor taught the class using only novels. Her teacher would pair and assign books that played off one another, which Melinson appreciated. That’s where she got the idea of book pairings. Below are 31 books that have been paired by Melinson, all of which are readily available at the Matthews Library. When asked which book was her favorite, Melinson couldn’t come up with an answer. “Asking a librarian what her favorite book is is like asking a parent to pick a favorite child. You just can’t!” Melinson said. If you read the below books, your stress levels will decrease and your reading comprehension skills will improve. Also, you may deepen your understanding of topics you explore.

If you are missing sports:

Read “Furia” by Yamile Saied Méndez. Camila’s parents don’t know that she plays fútbol and is known as La Furia, a force to be reckoned with, otherwise they would forbid it. She is risking a lot for her passion as her team qualifies for the Sudamericano (South American Tournament), and her secret may be revealed. Or read “Dragon Hoops” by Gene Luen Yang, a graphic novel/memoir, which is about basketball, journalism and discrimination.

If you want to read about social justice issues:

Read “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You” by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi to learn more about the history of racism, and pair with “The Hate U Give” or its prequel “Concrete Rose’’ by Angie Thomas, “All American Boys” by Jason Reynolds, “Dear Martin” or its sequel “Dear Justyce” by Nic Stone.

If you like thrillers:

Read one of Karen McManus’books. Pair “The Cousins” with “We Were Liars” by E. Lockhart. Pair “One of Us Is Lying” with the movie “The Breakfast Club,” or wait for the TV series on Peacock to begin.

If you like historical fiction that focuses on WWII:

Try “They Went Left” by Monica Hesse, a story about the Holocaust after liberation and how to rebuild your life when you’re not sure where your family is anymore. Pair it with “The Enigma Game,” a historical thriller by Elizabeth Wein or the non-fiction book “Flowers in the Gutter” by K.R. Gaddy, a WWII resistance featuring the Edelweiss Pirates, a group of German teens who worked against the Nazi.

If you like your fantasy novels diverse:

Try pairing a couple of these books: “Candle and the Flame,” a Silk Road fantasy with magic by Nafiza Azad; Melissa Bashardoust’s “Girl, Serpent, Thorn,” described by Kirkus as “an alluring feminist fairy tale” inspired by Persian culture and mythology; “Pet” by Akwaeke Emezi, a magical realism and LGBTQIA+ fantasy; “Black Sun” by Rebecca Roanhorse, a 2021 Alex Award Nominee or “Winterkeep” by Kristin Cashore.

If you want to laugh rather than scare the bejesus out of yourself: If you like John Green or Jason Reynolds, try “Field Guide to the North American Teenager” by Ben Philippe, or “My Lady Jane” by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows if you’re looking for funny fiction. Pair one of these with a phone call to your funniest friend or Richard Adams’ “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” a book that Country Day kids have loved for generations.


Pair “Furia” with “With the Fire on High” by Elizabeth Acevedo, a story about a young girl who defies the odds — especially good if you like cooking. Pair “Dragon Hoops” with “American Born Chinese” or “Boxers & Saints,” both not about sports, but also by Yang because he’s awesome! If you’d rather stay in the sports realm with your pairing, read “Here to Stay” about basketball and bullying by Sara Farizan or “Golden Arm” about baseball by Carl Deuker.

If you want a book that’s tooclose-to-reallife-but-alsonot: The graphic novel series “Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign” is about a virus that kills adults but spares kids and makes it possible for vampires to take over. Pair it with your favorite vampire book or other vampireless pandemic/ plague dystopian books like “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel, “Wither” by Lauren DeStefano or the psychological classic, “The Plague,” by Albert Camus.

Profile for The Octagon

Octagon 2020-21 Issue 6  

Octagon 2020-21 Issue 6  

Profile for octagon25