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


VOL.42 NO.8 • Sacramento Country Day School • 2636 Latham Drive, Sacramento • May 28, 2019


four middle school teachers, two lower school teachers, learning specialist Kelley Brown and hen junior Larkin Barnard-Bahn chief financial officer William Petchauer. “We weren’t really dead set on changing the founded the high school a capella schedule; we were trying to have a conversaclub last year, she anticipated the club’s small size (only five mem- tion about a better option for our students,” Jacobsen said. bers) would lead to some problems. The issues with the current schedule began But she didn’t foresee the biggest challenge to appear, Wells said, with another idea in the — finding time to practice. Swim practices, chorus rehearsals and strategic plan — organizing lunches at which school publications keep students too busy teachers in the same subject matter but at difto practice after school, so the club rehearses ferent grade levels could discuss their teaching twice a week before school, inconveniencing methods and material. According to Wells, there was nearly no members who need to complete homework or time when teachers from different grade levsee teachers. els could meet. Their lunches were taken up But next year, those problems may disappear with the addition of a flex period, a by faculty meetings, student-teacher meetings, club meetings and more. 35-minute period after elective. “Our task became to alleviate time and The flex period was designed to allow students and teachers to accomplish tasks that space pressure for students and teachers,” are currently pushed into lunch, elective or af- Wells said. Jacobsen said one of the committee’s additer school, such as getting help from teachers, tional goals was creating a schedule suitable going on field trips (although the flex period is not after or before lunch), practicing for up- for both the middle and high school. Another was accommodating different coming concerts or holding club meetings. teaching styles. Music teachers, she said, preThe flex period is one of four major changes in the new high school schedule, announced fer to meet with their students daily, while Jacobsen said she and the art teachers and don’t by head of school Lee Thomsen on May 8. need to meet with students evThe decrease in the number ery day and would rather teach of classes per day, the length for longer periods of time. We had to of classes and electives and the Jacobsen added that due to put on our addition of passing periods are students being late for class or the three other changes for the adult hats on and leaving to get water or go to the high school. sort of say, ‘We restroom, she gets only 40 minIn the middle school, there are the adults and utes of teaching time, which will also be a flex period, shortrarely gives her students time to er periods and passing periods, we are the profesdo homework in class. but the middle school elective sionals and we’ve However, she said doing remains the same length and studied this.’” homework in class is valuable takes place at the same time as —Chris Kuipers because it can help her identify in the current schedule. comprehension issues early. According to head of high After considering teachers’ school Brooke Wells, the initial desires, the committee examined the schedpush to change the schedules came through ules of various high schools in the area, and the areas of growth identified in the school’s some teachers on the committee informally strategic plan released this year (such as the polled their classes about the current schedule arts, emotional well-being and STEM — sciand changes under consideration. ence, technology, engineering and math). History teacher and committee member “The (planning) committee always wanted Chris Kuipers said though student opinion to look at the schedule, because if we wanted was valued in reshaping the schedule, there to add, for example, a better computer science was no all-school or all-high school poll about program or better drama program, the schedthe proposed changes because the collective ule kept getting in the way,” Wells said. wisdom of educators outweighed that of stuAccording to dean of student life and math dents. teacher Patricia Jacobsen, the scheduling com“It was what we believe is best for students, mittee that proposed the new schedule was so we had to put on our adult hats and say, ‘We formed in the summer and began meeting in are the adults and we are the professionals and September. we’ve studied this,’” he said. The committee was open for all teachers However, students did fill out a Google poll to join, according to Jacobsen, and ultimateabout changing the schedule at the beginning ly included committee chair Wells, head of of the school year. middle school Rommel Loria, head of lower In a May 21 Octagon poll of 59 freshmen, school Christy Vail, five high school teachers, sophomores and juniors, 43% favored chang-


First period: 8:20-9:05

First period: 8:20-9:12

Second period: 9:05-9:50 Break: 9:50-10:10

Second period: 9:15-10:07 Break: 10:07-10:22

Third period: 10:10-10:55

Third period: 10:25-11:17

Fourth period: 10:55-12:05

Fourth period: 11:20-12:12

Lunch: 12:05-12:45

Lunch: 12:12-12:52

Elective I: 12:45-1:55

Elective I: 12:55-1:55

Fifth period: 1:55-2:40

Flex period: 1:55-2:30

Sixth period: 2:40-3:25

Fifth period: 2:30-3:22

SCHEDULE SWAP The above shows an “A” day on the current schedule (left) and the new schedule (right). Major changes include holding only five classes per day and the addition of three-minute passing periods and a 35-minute flex period. GRAPHIC BY SARINA RYE

ing the schedule in some way. going to be vying for the time of our kids.” After going through about 16 versions of the However, Ratcliff said he currently pulls schedule, Jacobsen said the committee recom- middle school jazz band players out of advimended the adoption of the Beta three sched- sory to allow them to rehearse with the high ule for the 2019-20 school year. school before big competitions. The new schedule will not be tested before For those few weeks, he said, a shared flex its implementation, according to Kuipers, as period could be useful. the changes are too minor and there is insufIn the middle school, Thomsen said the flex ficient time left in the year for an accurate test. period will replace advisory but also could ofThe biggest departure from last year’s fer students time to attend clubs. schedule is the addition of a flex period. Sixty-four percent of students polled on Jacobsen and Wells said a calendar will be May 21 who said they favored changing the created to alschedule suplow teachers ported the and clubs to flex period, If you’re an athlete and have to “book” certain and three of leave early, you’d only miss one flex periods. eight teachThe com- academic class, but now you miss two.” ers polled on mittee also —Lee Thomsen May 13 said designed the they strongly flex period to favored it. allow music According to Thomsen, the flex period was groups to practice every day. also added to help student-athletes. Band director Bob Ratcliff said he won’t “If you are an athlete and you have to leave know the full effect of the flex period until it early, you would only miss one academic class, is implemented, nor does he know if he will but right now you miss two,” he said. use the period until he has a better idea of the Students would be missing a class that they composition of next year’s bands. won’t have the next day, though, due to the Though Ratcliff said he would like to meet backward rotation of classes. with his class every day, he said he won’t count According to Wells, the schedule will rotate on using the period regularly. backward because it ensures teachers with “I don’t view flex time as class time,” Ratcliff said. “It’s not going to work like that; we’re all SCHEDULE page 3 >>

College Board’s new ‘adversity score’ garners mixed reactions INSIDE BY SARINA RYE

From facing controversy over the scoring of the August SAT to dealing with an admissions cheating scandal, the College Board has had a busy school year. Most recently, it unveiled a new tool on May 16 with the goal of evening the standardized testing playing field by taking into account socioeconomic and educational background. Although the development has been in the works since 2015, ac-

cording to The Wall Street Journal, the announcement came as a shock to many — including director of college counseling Jane Bauman. “It’s unusual that the College Board didn’t send the message to (high) schools until a week later,” she said. “I heard about it when the story broke (in) the New York Times.” The Times ran a front-page story about this “adversity score,” as it’s being called by the public. The College Board’s website refers to

Three-minute passing periods

Revamped 2019-20 schedule includes fewer daily classes, flex period, passing periods

it as the Environmental Context Dashboard. According to the College Board, the score is meant to contextualize SAT scores based on factors from students’ neighborhoods and schools. On a scale of 100, the average score is 50, with a higher score meaning a student has faced more adversity. The 31 factors that are weighed equally to generate the score `can be found on College Board’s website — for example, the neighbor-

hood percentage of adults with less than a high school diploma, percentage of adults with agriculture jobs and the unemployment and crime rates. Senior Yanele Ledesma was surprised when she heard about the tool. “At first I thought it was a big joke,” she said. “But I really appreciate (the score) and wish it could have come sooner.”

ADVERSITY page 4 >>

News.....................1-4 Sports.................... 5-7 Seniors................8-9 Opinion............10-12 Feature.............13-15 Backpage.............16


News • May 28, 2019

The Octagon

Octagon, Medallion, Student Council leaders chosen for next school year



ctagon, Medallion and Student Council leaders have decided the students who will fill seniors’ posi-


This year, the Octagon had five overall editors-in-chief. Next year’s group will be separated into print and online editors, which will be going back to the usual system. The current editors-in-chief — seniors Jack Christian, Allison Zhang, Mehdi Lacombe, Chardonnay Needler and Mohini Rye — are handing their positions to juniors Anna Frankel, Héloïse Schep, Jackson Crawford and Larkin Barnard-Bahn. Schep and Frankel will be the print editors-in-chief, and Crawford and Barnard-Bahn will be the online editors-in-chief. Adviser Paul Bauman, who helped decide next year’s leaders, said he looked for editors who could “take charge because it’s (the students’) newspaper, not mine. “The current editors and I also chose them for their experience and writing ability. (Crawford) has only been on the staff for a year, but he did a great job and has a great sports background. “Next year I look forward to improving our sports coverage and posting stories sooner.” Barnard-Bahn said she is looking forward to adding more multimedia to the online edition.

“All Pacemaker award-winning websites use apps to make their stories more readable so there’s not just a wall of text,” she said. “There are visuals and graphics that attract the readers' attention.” Barnard-Bahn also wants to improve the sports coverage. “We’re looking forward to making our sports coverage more consistent and more interesting for the reader along with being more timely and getting everything covered and, of course, teaching the staff,” Barnard-Bahn said. Meanwhile, Frankel said she hopes to improve the design of the newspaper. “(Schep) and I are going to change some of the more standardized things we do, such as the format of pullquotes and the fonts we use,” she said. “We also want to focus more on the design elements, such as using different-sized images and having pages with shorter, more playful stories.” Frankel said she wants to add more student-life stories so that students can get to know their peers. The Medallion will have one editor-in-chief and two senior editors. Junior Jewel Turner will be the editor-in-chief, and the senior editors will be juniors Yumi Moon and Savannah Rosenzweig. Although the senior editors will do almost the same job, they won’t have the title of editor-in-chief, according to senior Yanele Ledesma. Adviser Liz Leavy called the new editors the “leadership

dream team.” “(Moon) brings a lot of experience to the table,” she said. “She produced some really terrific spreads this year, including lower school stories, and I know I can count on her continuing to provide excellent content next year as well. “(Rosenzweig) has only been on the staff for a semester but showed up eager to learn. She’s developed a solid skillset in a short amount of time despite the steep learning curve necessitated by joining in the second semester.” The current editors-in-chief — seniors Michaela Chen, Kyra LaFitte and Ledesma — chose the positions for next year along with Leavy. “Jewel showed the most enthusiasm for becoming editor-in-chief next year,” Ledesma said. “She was proactive with reminding this year’s editors to teach and create the yearbook and constantly asked questions to better understand her job. “It was a tough decision, but I think it was the right choice.” Leavy agreed with Ledesma. “Jewel let us know early on that she was interested in the editor-in-chief position,” Leavy said. “She checked in frequently to ask questions about what she could do to prepare herself for the job. “Jewel took a ton of initiative in learning the ins and outs of the process, not only by gaining the technical skills needed but also by doing things like looking through our older yearbooks and books from other schools in order to get a good sense of the possibilities and pitfalls of creating a great book.” Leavy said one of the main goals for next year is to expand coverage of the middle and lower schools, as well as expand the marketing of the Medallion. Turner has already made plans for next year’s yearbook. “I want to create the best book possible and something that the school hasn’t seen yet,” Turner said. Along with new editors, there are also new heads of

PLANNING FOR PERFECTION Junior Rebecca Waterson leads a Student Council discussion about class elections. PHOTO BY SHIMIN ZHANG

departments. The heads of the copy department will be sophomores Nate Leavy and Athena Lin. It was made a shared position because both students have little experience but are great with copy, according to Ledesma. The head of photography will be junior Maddie Woo. Although she’s not technically in the elective, she’s been helping with photography all year, according to Ledesma. The head of design will be junior Jason Li, who also joined fairly recently but has “put himself forward” to really understand yearbook design, Ledesma said. As for the Student Council, sophomore Bri Davies will be the student body president, one of the first juniors to be president in a long time. “I’m really excited to be president. I want to make everyone at Country day as happy as possible and make it a very enjoyable year.” Da-

vies said. Juniors Jackson Margolis and Rebecca Waterson will be the co-student body vice presidents. The current president, senior Monique Lonergan, said she, the other seniors on Student Council and adviser Valerie Velo chose Davies for many reasons. “She’s been on Student Council the longest of all our applicants, so she had the needed experience,” Lonergan said. “She also shows initiative and is a great leader, as well as being very dedicated.” Waterson and Margolis were chosen because “they work well together and have a lot of experience with spirit,” according to Lonergan. “We thought they will be great at helping oversee the dance and spirit committees as well as assisting (Davies),” Lonergan said. Officers for next year will be junior Garrett Shonkwiler (chair of finance), Moon (chair of spirit), sophomore Lili Brush (chair of dances) and freshman Arikta Trivedi (chair of communications.)

The Octagon

May 28, 2019 • News


Schedule: Teachers hold conflicted opinions on extended classes (continued from page 1)

teacher during flex period, and some students may not be as available or multiple periods of the same class nev- motivated to talk to their teachers. Senior Jack Christian said the pace er have one period lagging more than of AP Physics C, which is already “inone day behind another. Thomsen and Jacobsen said anoth- sanely fast,” definitely will be affected. The curriculum is split in two parts, er goal of the flex period was to free up mechanics and electricity/magnetism, lunch for teachers and students. Many teachers spend their lunches and according to Christian, many working, Jacobsen said. Meanwhile, schools teach the sections as separate, students meet with teachers, take year-long classes. Country Day is among the less than makeup tests and work on projects. Thomsen added that many teachers 1% of schools nationwide that teach AP called for the chance to talk to their Physics C in one year, Christian said. During the summer, students learn colleagues and eat their lunch. Jacobsen said, “If you walk around the whole first chapter, motion along during lunch, there will be teachers a line. The entire mechanics unit is with rooms with five or six kids just taught in the first semester, and all of electricity and magnetism in the seckind of waiting (for the teacher).” ond. Kuipers agreed. Furthermore, Christian said an im“It seems like eating has become sort of secondary to what takes place portant part of the class is having time to do homework while Mangold can during lunch,” he said. Jacobsen added that the flex period help. “Every minute in that class is valucould be used for reviewing for AP exams. Currently, teachers who want to able, and we don’t even get to everyhold review sessions — such as physics thing,” Christian said. For example, Christian had to learn and math teacher Glenn Mangold and harmonic motion and history teacher Sue inductors outside of Nellis — often need to class. do so after school. But with “Taking away time Furthermore, Jacobelective, is especially hurtful sen said she hopes the in the electricity and period can be used for you see them on magnetism section of drug and alcohol and a Thursday, and the course, because sex education classes you’re not going that is decreased even to minimize the impact to see them again shorter because of the of such all-grade activAP test,” he said. ities on mixed-grade until Monday or “Due to the difficulclasses. even Tuesday.” ty of the AP Physics If students don’t —Bob Ratcliff material and the sheer have anything schedweight of material, it’s uled during flex perigoing to be very diffiod, she added, students cult to lose 15 hours of can simply do homework or work with class time.” their friends. In the May 13 poll, three high school “Socializing is really important,” Jacobsen said. “It helps alleviate stress, teachers stated they strongly favored and it’s really good for (students) to the five-class rotation. History teacher Chris Kuipers is a learn how to talk to each other and proponent of reducing the number of have some downtime.” But Spanish teacher Patricia Portillo classes because, he said, it will help said adding a flex period may not help students feel less stressed. “I’m not naive enough to think that her with student-teacher meetings. “I think that instead of me as a dropping one period is going to solve teacher feeling like I have more time, everything, but having five classes in I’m going to feel like I’m going to be one day is less than six,” he said. “It’s more stressed and more pressed for one less class that somebody has to making sure that (students are) on run and one less class that, hopefully, track and that they didn’t miss some- you need to do homework for.” Jacobsen agreed. thing,” she said. “I think that sometimes students To provide time for the flex period, the number of classes per day will be and teachers can get burned out, and it’s a relief for the students to think, decreased. Currently, six classes meet every ‘Oh, I don’t have geometry tomorrow; day in a 6-day rotation, but next year, I can have a break from that homeonly five classes will meet per day in work,’” she said. Both Jacobsen and Kuipers said a 6-day rotation. Students will still be able to take up to six different classes, they do not plan to assign extra homebut every day, only five of their classes work on the days their classes will be dropped. will meet. Wells said there will even be a Though students who take five classes may go a day without their free school rule against assigning homeperiod, the flex period will ensure stu- work on the days class isn’t held. “We’re not trying to make up for lost dents have free time every day. Fifty-six percent of students polled time,” Jacobsen said. “Hopefully, we on May 21 who said they favored will actually get back time that’s taken changing the schedule also supported away with field trips and drug and alreducing the number of classes in the cohol talks.” These all-grade or all-school events rotation from six to five. But sophomore Avinash Krishna usually cut into class time but will take place during flex period next year, acsaid he does not. Krishna said at academically rigor- cording to Wells. English teacher Jason Hinojosa said ous schools such as Country Day, repetition is crucial, especially for students dropping a class every six days may decrease the number of books his stuwho struggle in classes. “I have a hard time with math, and dents can read, but the loss is easier to without that repetition, I might forget recover than in other classes. According to Hinojosa, the AP Enconcepts or struggle to understand glish Literature and Composition them,” he said. exam does not require students to read Junior Spencer Scott agreed. “In math, I feel it’s important to just a specific number of books. Rather, it keep a rhythm: you learn something tests their ability to write about a few, new, you do the homework,” he said. which students can still do with the “In APUSH, I really like to just keep on new schedule. Chemistry teacher Victoria Conner going every single day. “I feel we could get used to (the said that over time, the lack of contact new schedule), but it will upset the between students and teachers every day will become a non-issue. rhythm.” But in the foreign language departKrishna said students could see their teachers during flex period, but ment, the loss of a class can have more “it’s not the same as having in-class in- drastic effects. “As language teachers, we don’t struction.” Furthermore, he said he may not like (dropping one class), as constant, be the only student who needs that thoughtful redundancy is the way to

learn a language,” Latin teacher Jane Batarseh said. She added that in the Arabic class she will teach at the University of California, Davis next year, students have class five days a week because learning a language requires repetition. Portillo said the potential for forgetting material is much higher in the new schedule. “You may introduce a topic one day and not have class the next day or have a weekend in between,” she said. “Students who are learning language usually learn better by having continuous repetition and practice of the materials. The more we break that up, the more difficult it is.” The reduced classes, along with the elimination of long period, create a loss of 15.75 hours a year, assuming 45- and 65-minute classes for a 33-week school year; even assuming 40- and 60-minute classes, 2.25 hours are still PREEMPTIVE PREPARATION Sophomore Martin Cao watches as high school dean of student life Patricia Jacobsen maps out his classes for lost each year. Some students say the hour loss junior year. PHOTO BY EMMA BOERSMA won’t affect the pace of higher-level “Without that long period, I don’t time to complete their drawings. classes. know how I’m going to be able to give “My art style is very realistic, so I Sophomore Avinash Krishna said AP U.S. History will not affected by practice in a way that’s fair to the stu- need a long time to draw, and the curlosing class time, such as the three dents and adequate in terms of time,” rent schedule doesn’t have that,” Li said. hours of class time lost in the fall Portillo said. However, Kuipers said the delivery However, instead of using the flex when Country Day closed due to bad of AP-preparatory content is not de- period to extend the elective, Li said he air quality. would prefer to go home and work on “We missed three days, but things pendent on the schedule. “There are a lot of different high his art without worrying about getting went smoothly, and my classes are still schools in the country with a lot of dif- supplies. doing fine,” he said. ferent schedule models that do really Thomsen said the passing periods Scott disagreed. “AP classes need to get through a lot well on the AP,” he said. “Sheer min- will diminish the “hamster-wheel efof stuff, and you can’t just cut back on utes in class is not going to be is not the fect” created by back-to-back classes and allow students to go to the bathdetermining factor on AP exams.” their hours and make it up,” he said. Non-academic teachers are affected room or get water without being late Meanwhile, each of the six classes will meet for 52 minutes, with no more by the schedule change, too; the elec- for class. Hinojosa said he is “very excited” tive period will be reduced from 70 long period. about the passing periods. Hinojosa said he looks forward to minutes to 60. Ratcliff said the shortening of electhe longer classes. “It seems small, but to actually He said there will be more time for tive will affect his class, especially be- have time to get to class, to catch your workshops, in which students write a cause he said he likely will not be able breath and use the restroom is so imthesis statement or an introductory to get every member of the Jazz Band portant,” he said. paragraph and receive his feedback. together during flex period. “Right now, it feels like everyone’s “Right now, that kind of activity gets Currently, he plans for about two rushed and sort of frantic, and we don’t squeezed at the end, and we don’t get a hours of class a week due to the high start class on time or end class on time. chance to talk about it,” Hinojosa said. amounts of holidays in the current “There’s always this expectation While the long period is occasion- schedule. that you’re about to be late.” ally used in science classes for labs, After teaching AP Music Theory, Junior rWaterson agreed. Conner said the new schedule makes which met daily, last year, Ratcliff said “With passing periods, you have the it easier for faculty members with mul- meeting daily, even for shorter periods time to, as the class is settling in, make tiple sections of a class. of time, allows him to cover more ma- a cup of coffee or go to the bathroom,” “It’ll be much easier to keep the dif- terial. she said. ferent sections on the same task and in “I could talk about something one However, Batarseh said she doesn’t the same place,” she said. day, and they would remember the know if passing periods Jacobsen said the lonare necessary for her ger classes will allow her classes. to dive deeper into the Socializing is really important; it “I like people to be on teaching material every helps alleviate stress, and it’s really time, (and) if you start day, so she won’t miss the class on time, students good for (students) to learn how to talk to long period. tend to want to get to “If you’re doing math each other and have some downtime.” class on time,” she said. for 50 minutes, that’s an —Patricia Jacobsen “Sometimes I have to exawful lot of time, especuse myself to go to the cially if you’re doing 30 bathroom or my students minutes of homework,” do, but we know to go to she said. “If that’s not (enough), we next day,” he said. the bathroom and get back to class; it’s might be trying to teach too much.” “But with elective, you see them on not a big deal.” Like Jacobsen, Hinojosa and Kui- a Thursday, you’re not going to see him Scott agreed. pers said the long period isn’t crucial again until a Monday or maybe even “I’ve never really had a problem getto their curriculum. Tuesday.” ting to a class,” he said. “If I was late, I Hinojosa said he utilizes the long Though Ratcliff said he prefers period for activities such as TED Talks meeting with his class every day, if that just told the teacher that I was in the but that they can be incorporated into is not possible due to booked flex pe- other class, and every single teacher has been OK with it.” next year’s extended class periods. riods, he said he would want as much Overall, Thomsen said the greatKuipers also said he uses long petime per day as possible. est advantages of the new schedule riods for videos and deeper investigaArt teacher Andy Cunningham said are creating more time to go deeper tions but can adapt those to any class the current schedule doesn’t give his into studying, thinking, reflection and length. his students enough time to work. practice through the extended classes; “I’m not sure that extra 18 minutes “Students come into the classroom, holding no more than two classes be(of class during long period) is going to and they don’t automatically get to fore some kind of break through the be the key that unlocks some special work (because the classroom) is a flex period; and cutting down on the learning ability,” he said. But foreign language teachers said space for decompression, and getting number of preparations student do night-to-night through the five-class losing long periods severely hurts test into art takes some time,” he said. Cunningham said students also rotation. preparation. But Portillo and Batarseh aren’t sure Portillo said students in her AP need time to get their supplies at the Spanish Language and Culture class beginning of class and time to clean up the new schedule will revolutionize the amount of work or stress students practice the AP exam’s 55-minute per- at the end of class. Some art students even work during have. suasive essay every other long period. “The students here are so busy that Unlike multiple-choice or short-an- lunch, Cunningham said. While Cunningham said “some kids when there’s any gap and any free swer questions, which can still fit into a 52-minute class period or split into may just get up and leave” during the time, they fill it, especially if they’re multiple class periods, the essay must flex period, he added that the addi- upperclassmen,” Batarseh said. Portillo agreed. be completed in one sitting to prevent tional time would certainly help some students from doing any research out- artists. “Kids are going to be busy no matter Junior Jason Li, an AP Studio Art what,” she said. “The competitiveness side of class and simulate the testing experience as realistically as possible, student, agreed that the current sched- of students who are competitive is goaccording to Portillo. ule does not offer students enough ing to stay the same.”


News • May 28, 2019

The Octagon

Adversity: SAT tool looks to provide context but spurs skepticism (continued from page 1) Ledesma said people have different experiences and resources with standardized testing, so the adversity score is an “awesome idea.” Sophomore Avi Krishna disagreed, calling the tool shrouded in mystery. “I thought, ‘This can’t be real,’” he said. “When I looked on the College Board website, they didn’t really have any details about the factors. Maybe I could judge it better if I knew.” This lack of transparency also made Bauman skeptical. “We don’t know exactly how the College Board comes up with the number,” she said. “Students don’t know they’ve been given an adversity score, and there’s no choice involved. We also don’t know which colleges are using it.” According to NPR, 50 colleges, including Yale University, Florida State University and Trinity University, have already tested the score, and the College Board plans to release it to 150 schools this year and more widely in 2020. Associate director of college counseling Chris Kuipers said that “we’re all trying to figure it out.” Although it is up to colleges to use the adversity score, Kuipers, who has worked in the Stanford University and Amherst College admission offices, said the more data, the better. “(The College Board) has access to more than any admission office would have,” he said. “The more data those offices have, the better they can understand students and create a full story for them. Trust

the offices to weigh data accordingly and make wise decisions.” Bauman said she needs more information and hopes to hear from the 50 colleges already using it. “In everything I’ve read, the reaction has been mixed,” she said. Bauman said the score is diverting attention from what’s important. “College is unaffordable for (many) people,” she said. “We need to focus on how we can get more kids from diverse backgrounds into college without accumulating devastating amounts of debt.” Krishna agreed, citing student loans — which are increasing each year — as a “huge issue.” Krishna said he opposes the adversity score because, while it doesn’t take into account race or ethnicity, he thinks it is a proxy for race. “If you look at minorities, they’re going to have lower median household incomes, higher poverty rates and crime rates,” Krishna said. “It’s effectively race-based admissions without saying it is, because they’re trying to avoid that title.” Bauman said the College Board would be foolish to include race because a public university can’t use race in admissions in California However, Ledesma said that in a perfect world, race would be a factor. “Race had a lot to do with my experience,” she said. “Everyone goes through life differently because of their race.” While race and individual information aren’t considered when generating the adversity score, Kuipers said some of that information is already stated in other parts of a college application.

“You still have the student’s race, personal information and their family background as part of an application,” he said. “There’s a desire to have this one adversity score be an automatic decision maker, but schools with holistic review are already looking at other factors.” Bauman said she includes school -wide demographics in the Common Application and University of California application about some of the same information the College Board includes in the adversity score. “I answer in-depth questions about how many students are eligible for free lunch, how many English-language learners there are and how many APs we offer,” she said. Furthermore, Bauman said she was “reluctant to even speculate” how the adversity score would work at Country Day. “We’re not a public school, and we’re a small school,” Bauman said. “Do we have widely reported data?” According to the College Board, the score is calculated from the its own data and sources like the U.S. Census Bureau. Kuipers said it makes sense that the College Board is trying to create a systematic way to measure scores. “They understand the SAT is not a perfectly objective measure,” he said. “I’m not sure you can come up with a truly objective test, but if the College Board could, they would.” Kuipers said he hopes the adversity score will publicize how subjective the SAT is and de-emphasize its importance. However, he also commented on

the business factor of the new tool. “This is capitalism in the marketplace,” Kuipers said. “The College Board is a private business trying to make money.” Bauman said that since the ACT and SAT are competitors, she believes the ACT will come up with a similar message very soon. However,

CEO of the ACT Marten Roorda said on May 17 that he doesn’t think the adversity score is a great idea. Kuipers said the ACT might see how the adversity score plays out before acting. “Right now, there’s too many questions out there to know what the consequences will be,” he said.

The Octagon

May 28, 2019 • Sports


Mudd commit cherishes ‘uplifting team experiences’



After transitioning from recreational to year-round swimming at age 9, Zales realized that training at DART Sacramento was different. “The kids are faster, work harder, and it’s year-round,” he said. Zales recognized the time commitment and arduous schedule. Starting in sixth grade, swimmers attend two morning and five afternoon practices in addition to a practice on Saturday. Then, in ninth grade, swimmers tack on a third morning practice. All morning practices start at 5:15 a.m. To balance swimming and school, Zales said he utilized independent PE throughout middle and high school. “(Swimming) makes you have to be on top of your workload,” he said. “All the swimmers I know have to have great time management in order to continue to swim.”

t’s 5:15 a.m. Most students are sleeping, but senior Joe Zales is hopping into the pool for his third morning swim practice of the week for two hours before school. This dedication of about 20 hours in the pool per week has paid dividends. Zales recently signed with Harvey Mudd College in Claremont to swim for the Division III Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Stags. Zales prioritized academic and athletic balance during recruiting trips to Dartmouth, Harvey Mudd and the Massachusetts Institute of DIVING IN! Senior Joe Zales begins a 200-meter butterfly during a meet in 2017. PHOTO Technology (MIT), along with an COURTESY OF ZALES unofficial trip to Brown last fall. “You fly out and spend the weekAccording to Zales, joining the preliminary and third (4:34.76) in there about nine months, it’s just as end with the team,” he said. “I high school swimming and diving the final, qualifying for the Califor- close of a team. wanted to be able to do engineerteam in his freshman year sparked nia Interscholastic Federation (CIF) “My happiest memories of swiming and swim, which is really hard him to think more about swimming State Championships, May 10-11 at ming aren’t necessarily the racing, to do at most schools because of the in college. West Clovis High School in Fresno, which is fun. It’s really the team time commitment.” “You see kids going off to swim in both events. coming together for relays, trips or Zales said he ultimately in college, but you don’t know how Zales, however, was unable to breakfast after a morning practice.” chose Harvey Mudd befast you’re going to be senior qualify for the finals in either event. Zales added that swimming will cause of the team year,” he said. “It has always Coach Brian Nabeta praised Zahelp him acclimate to college. environment. been the next step or the les’ development as a swimmer. “I already know I’m rooming “The Harvey Even though swimming is an individ(goal) you work toward.” “Joe epitomizes growth,” Nabeta with swimmers in a suite,” he said. Mudd people were ual sport, you compete against othThis year, Zales compet- said. “He grew as a swimmer and “It (gives me) access to upperclasshappy to be there,” ers and yourself, bettering your time.” ed in the varsity 200- and learned to be a student of the game, men and a group of people that (I’ll) he said. “Even —Joe Zales 500-yard freestyle at the and that is what helped him become know on campus.” though (Harvey Sac-Joaquin Section Di- the swimmer he is today.” Zales said he enjoys not only the Mudd’s team) is vision III Swimming and Moving to the high school group individual aspects of swimming, but across three schools, Diving Championships on with DART knit tight relationships, also the uplifting team experiences. the team was super close.” In addition to maintaining his ac- May 2-4 at Tokay High School in Zales said, with some of his favorite “Even though swimming is an inAttending Harvey Mudd will also dividual sport, you compete against give Zales access to the four other ademics, Zales volunteers by teach- Lodi. Zales placed sixth in the 200 memories occurring on trips. “(Swim) creates a family,” he said. others and yourself, bettering your Claremont colleges and more non- ing swim lessons. After starting at preliminary (one minute, 43.26 secSTEM (science, technology, engi- age 12 as a helper, Zales moved up to onds) and sixth in the final (1:42.34). “I moved to swim with (DART) Da- time,” he said. “Your team is there to teaching on his own by age 14. Zales placed third (4:35.23) in the 500 vis, and even though I’ve only been pull you up and make you stronger.” neering and math) students.

Baseball player chooses sun at Division III Pitzer over snow on East Coast BY JACKSON CRAWFORD Senior Nate Jakobs wasn’t always the highly touted player he is today. He started like most kids in what he called a “prototypical American summer” filled with baseball, burgers and ice cream. After years of hard work, Jakobs signed with Pitzer College in Claremont on April 29 to play outfield for the Division III Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens. During the college search process, Jakobs looked mostly at Division III schools, noting the significant time commitment and difficulty of playing in higher divisions. At first, Jakobs had interest in East Coast Division III schools. “I didn’t want to be in the snow, which only left a few options for schools that were good academically and good baseball programs,”-

said. “Pitzer happened to be the one that fit my goals, and I was a good fit there.” Jakobs mentioned the difficulty of the recruiting process, citing the uneasiness involved with college admissions. “It’s a lot of guesswork,” he said. “Coaches don’t have an incentive to be clear because there (are) a lot of uncertainties. I am lucky to be where I am.” Growing up, Jakobs liked baseball and started playing in the Land Park Pacific Little League at age 5. Though right-handed, young Jakobs first picked up a bat and swung lefty — never looking back. After playing Little League for seven years, Jakobs joined his first club team at age 11. Jakobs started to focus more on baseball at ages 14 and 15, continuing to craft his swing and motion. After going back and forth about

SIGNING OFF Senior Nate Jakobs stops for a photo with mother Kelley Taber, baseball coach Chris Millsback and father Gary Jakobs on April 29 after signing to play for the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens. PHOTO COURTESY OF NATE JAKOBS

continuing to play and the time commitment, Jakobs’ interest in stats and analysis Jakobs recognized his passion for baseball and branched into writing about baseball. Through decided to “hammer down and go for it,” prac- “baseball Twitter,” he met Jeremy Frank, a felticing five or six times a week. low high school senior who became popular “I looked into swing planes and developed a tweeting about baseball statistics. After Frank new routine to get rid of old habits,” he said. “I created a writing service, he contacted Jakobs practiced hitting it absurdly high off a tee, go- to write articles. ing through different progressions that helped Not just a player but also a baseball fan, Jame get a feel for my swing.” kobs jumped on the opportunity to work in the For Country Day, Jakobs batted .584 with an Sacramento River Cats’ clubhouse this spring, on-base percentage of .688 and 34 extra-base getting a behind-the-scenes look at players. hits, including seven home runs, in his four Throughout high school, Jakobs gained years. “irreplaceable” memories in Jakobs also pitched, striking Japan and Israel. He experiNate out 119 batters in 79 career inenced Japanese baseball with nings at Country Day. his club team, Walbeck Force, Jakobs is However, Jakobs missed nine one of the most for two weeks during a culturof 11 games this season followal exchange in July 2015. Jakobs talented baseing a ski accident at Lake Tahoe played baseball, met other playon Feb. 20. Partially tearing ball players that I ers and visited temples on his his anterior cruciate ligament have worked with trip. (ACL) and medial collateral lig- in my 20 years of In Israel, Jakobs competed ament (MCL), he went through coaching.” in the 2017 Maccabiah Games, a few months of physical theraor the “Jewish Olympics,” in —Chris Millsback which over 10,000 Jewish athpy at Results PT. Now, Jakobs said he’s doing letes from 85 countries compete an intensive ACL return-toin 45 sports. Besides the cultursport training class, also at Results PT. al experience of playing baseball in the Holy Coach Chris Millsback commended Jakobs Land, Jakobs brought home a gold medal for on his career. the U.S. team. “Nate Jakobs is one of the most talented Jakobs said he cherishes the relationships baseball players that I have worked with in my he has formed and his Little League memo20 years of coaching,” he said. ries. Jakobs has been selected to play for the Op“The connections I’ve made around the timist High School All-Star North team for world through the national team in Israel are small schools on June 8. so valuable because a lot of (the players) are “It’s primarily for ballplayers that will be going to top colleges around the (U.S.) and playing in college, and 5(Jakobs) is certainly are smart kids that I’ll be able to connect with deserving of this honor,” Millsback said. forever,” he said. “Also, I’ve met good coachJakobs also decided to delve deeper into es around the (Sacramento) region who have advanced statistics and analysis during high been great resources throughout the years.” school. Studying baseball in a new light was Baseball has influenced Jakobs’ life in many the “transcendental moment” for Jakobs. ways — including his outlook on career op“I was interested in the strategy and inner portunities, he said. workings of swings, pitching mechanics and “I’m definitely interested in working in basehow players move,” he said. “I started studying ball, but not as a player,” he said. “Seeing the what elite hitters do, and that deepened my in- ins-and-outs of how the business side works is terest and also made me a much better player.” pretty interesting.”


Sports • March 6, 2017

The Octagon

Girls swimming team makes school history BY JACKSON MARGOLIS

100 butterfly. The quartret placed fourth in the 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays. espite losing its fastest Despite Country Day’s section tiswimmer, Amalie Fackenthal, ’18, last year, the girls tle, Turner said she considers this a swim team made Country “growth” year. “Losing Amalie from last year Day history with back-to-back titles in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division was a major downfall,” Turner said. “But we actually did a III Championships pretty good job holdon May 2-4 at Tokay ing our ground.” High School in Lodi. The meet Waterson and seIt was the school’s culminates nior Joe Zales qualsecond girls section ified for the Califortitle, both of which all the training that the kids did in nia Interscholastic are in swimming. Federation (CIF) The girls team the prior weeks to Swimming and Divconsisted of junior get to this cimatic ing Championships Rebecca Waterson, point of the seaon May 10-11 at Clovis sophomores AtheWest High School in son.” na Lin and Sydney —Brian Nabeta the Fresno area. Turner and freshman Waterson placed Hailey Fesai. This seventh in the 100 was Waterson’s third butterfly in 54.47 sectime competing at Sections, Lin and onds and ninth in the 100 backstroke Turner’s second and Fesai’s first. Waterson won the 100-yard but- in 55.83 seconds. Zales was unable to reach the fiterfly with a time of 54.25 seconds and placed sixth in the 100 back- nal in either of his events, the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle, partially stroke with a time of 56.95. Turner finished fourth in the 200 due to a head cold, he said. Zales individual medley and sixth in the added that his training for an upcoming meet in Vancouver, British


JUST BREATHE Senior Joe Zales sneaks a breath while freestyling for DART. Zales qualified for the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Swimming and Diving Championships. PHOTO COURTESY OF ZALES Columbia, also could have been a factor. Zales said he was still happy about his results and proud to represent Country Day at States. Waterson also said she didn’t have the smoothest experience. “I was really nauseous after my 100 fly, and I missed 10 days of practice two weeks before for college recruit trips, which is a lot,” Waterson said. Even so, Waterson said she was happy about qualifying for the finals. Turner enjoyed her experience. “Sections is cool because I get to compete against people that I’m on the same team as during competitive

swimming,” Turner said. “We wear sure the swimmers got in the numthe same cap at practice but not at ber of swims they needed in the preSections.” liminary meets prior to Sections,” Coach Brian NabeNabeta said. “Some ta also said Sections kids had other obliWe wear were his favorite part gations, and others of the season. had school conflicts. the same “The meet culmi- cap at practice I always hope for the nates all the training best.” but not at Secthat the kids did in However, because the prior weeks to get tions.” none of the girls on —Sydney Turner the relay team are to this climactic point of the season,” Nabegraduating, Nabeta ta said. said he is optimistic And though the season ended about next year. with a section championship and a “I am looking forward to a possiswimmer in two state finals, Nabeta ble three-peat as Sac Joaquin Divisaid it had its challenges. sion III girls swimming champions,” “The hardest part was making Nabeta said.

Senior snags second straight title; tennis team loses section opener BY SARINA RYE After finishing the regular season with a 6-4 record in the Sacramento Metropolitan Athletic League (SMAL), the tennis team lost in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II Coed Championships. Three players went to the SMAL championships, with senior Leonardo Eisner winning boys singles and sophomores Ming Zhu and Ashwin Rohatgi placing third in boys doubles. This was the team’s second trip to the section team championships in the last four years. According to coach Jamie Nelson, the team was seeded eighth (last) and traveled two hours on April 29 to play top seed and 2018 Division II champion Delhi. Country Day lost all nine matches. “A stop at In-N-Out on the way home helped us deal with the disappointment,” Nel-

son said. about the score as much,” Huang said. However, senior Michaela Chen, who lost Meanwhile, Eisner attributed his 6-4, 6-2 6-2, 7-5, said she wasn’t disappointed not to ad- loss against Dehli to an equipment problem. vance; she was disappointed to have qualified “About halfway through warming up, my for the section team championships in the first racket string broke,” he said. place. Eisner used Nelson’s racket but said it wasn’t “I was really miffed when I the same. found out we got third out of “I hit the ball as hard as I five schools in our league,” she could, but it would still come off Without said. “If we had only gotten at slower speeds than I’m used your own one place lower, we wouldn’t to,” he said. “Without your own have had to travel (two hours) own racket, you racket, you feel like you’ve never there and back.” played the sport before.” feel like you’ve Sophomore Keshav Anand, never played the Eisner said winning the who lost 6-0, 6-1, disagreed. league title on April 22 at Highsport before.” “Making playoffs was good, lands High School was the “pin—Leonardo Eisner nacle of the season.” and we should (always) aim to win,” he said. This was Eisner’s second conFreshman Tina Huang said secutive league championship. she was also disappointed to not move on. According to Nelson, Eisner lost the first set She and freshman Vanessa Escobar lost 6-0, 6-2 but had “the mental toughness” to win the 6-4 after making a comeback in the second second set 6-4 and finished with a “nail-biting” set. 10-8 victory in a match tiebreaker . “We were down 5-1 but gained three “I was down 8-6, and you (games) because we got rid of our nerves and stopped caring

have to win by two (points),” Eisner said. “I had to get four points in a row, and that’s exactly what I did.” Eisner said he wasn’t overly disappointed by his 6-3, 6-3 loss to RJ Garcia of Orestimba in the quarterfinals of section boys singles on May 2 in Stockton. “I cared about Sections, but I had reached my own goal at that point,” he said. Eisner said the team needs more accountability and dedication next season. “Figuring out who will take my spot as captain has been tough,” he said. “For every match, I had to really push each player to come.” Eisner and Nelson agreed a larger roster would help prevent forfeits. “We will need four additional boys on next year’s roster to field a full team,” Nelson said.

ACE! Senior Michaela Chen serves during the section championships against Delhi High School as senior Leonardo Eisner competes in his singles match on a neighboring court. PHOTO BY ALLISON ZHANG


Sports Boosters’ Athletes of the Month Leonardo Eisner Leo has won back-to-back league singles titles. He served as our first team captain, making for easy interface between the coach and the team. He was gracious and exhibited the highest degree of sportsmanship.

Aleya Harmon Aleya placed first overall in the PAL JV Track and Field Championships. She broke the championship meet record in the 100 meters. She also helped the middle school red soccer team (make it) to a runner-up finish in league.

Paid for by our generous Sports Boosters. Quotes by tennis coach Jamie Nelson and athletic director Matt Vargo For information, please see SCDS homepage under the Quicklink “Parents.”

The Octagon

May 28, 2019 • Sports

Small size impedes golf team BY HÉLOÏSE SCHEP


he golf team completed its season with just six players — the fewest Matt Vargo said he has coached on the squad in more than 10 seasons at Country Day. The small size meant Country Day could not compete as a team, allowing only individuals to qualify for the May 13 Sac-Joaquin Section Masters tournament in Stockton. Since the girls Masters took place in the fall, juniors Emma Boersma, Anu Krishnan and Yumi Moon were unable to compete in the spring tournament. Junior David Situ, according to Vargo, was close to qualifying for the Masters but couldn’t play in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI Championships on May 6 at Diablo Grande in Patterson, near Modesto. Situ said the event was too close to the Spring National High School Journalism Convention in Anaheim. Nevertheless, senior captain Harrison Moon placed in the top

six in the Sacramento Metropolitan Athletic League Championships, April 29 at Haggin Oaks. He qualified for the Masters but was unable to attend due an upcoming senior seminars training session. According to Vargo and Situ, the team’s small size affected Country Day in every match. Boersma and Yumi Moon had other athletic commitments throughout the season, limiting their participation, and the journalism convention took place near the division championships too. Krishnan, who played in three of the four matches, said fewer Country Day golfers competing at each match had a psychological impact as well. “If the whole team isn’t there supporting each other, it feels different,” she said. Furthermore, according to Vargo and Situ, the team was less experienced than last year’s. “Last year, we had a pretty full team, and the players were all very interested in playing golf at a high level in the matches,” said Situ, who played in two of the four


matches this season. Only Harrison Moon and Situ had played in championships before this season. Boersma, Krishnan and Yumi Moon were on the team in prior years but played only in regular-season matches. Still, the season had plenty of highlights, Vargo said. Krishnan, according to Vargo, improved the most. “She was super consistent, playing in nearly every match we had, and she did a great job,” he said. “It was so fun to have her out there.” Krishnan, who has been on the team since her freshman year, said she “improved a lot” this season. “I still think I have a long way to go, but it was good,” she said. Vargo also said he was proud of Krishnan and Gulati for their “mental toughness” in playing through challenging conditions, such as poor weather and low match participation. Krishnan said she was proud of the girls on the team for playing their best even though they couldn’t qualify for Masters.

Baseball team has winless season BY DAVID SITU The baseball team finished 0-10 in the Sacramento Metropolitan Athletic League and 0-11 overall. According to senior pitcher Jack Christian, low team morale early in the season played a large role in the winless record. Low morale resulted from losing senior pitcher-shortstop Nate Jakobs – one of the team’s key players – to a knee injury, Christian said. Jakobs suffered a partial medial collateral ligament (MCL) and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear while skiing in February and missed the first nine games. Because of low morale, the team “didn’t have a lot of people showing up to practices or games,” Chris-

tian said. Christian acknowledged busy schedules also led to subpar turnouts. “(Regardless, team members) just didn't seem that into baseball this year,” he said. However, as the season continued, Christian said players became more committed, attending practices more often. Therefore, Christian added, the team played better. “People were happier and more excited to come out and play no matter if we won or lost,” Christian said. “The end of the season was really fun.” According to junior third baseman Aaron Graves, Jakobs' return helped morale immensely. “It was such a big morale boost to have Jakobs back, as he’s one of

the more experienced players on the team,” Graves said. Sophomore first baseman Avi Krishna agreed, especially because Jakobs played well despite his ongoing recovery. Coach Chris Millsback declined to comment on the season. Christian and Jakobs were the team’s top hitters, batting .667 this season. Christian was 6 for 9 and Jakobs 2 for 3. Senior outfielder Alex Rogawski led the team with three RBIs. Junior Max Kemnitz had the lowest ERA of the team at 4.20. He also caught. Although the Cavs went winless, Christian and Jakobs agreed that despite some setbacks, the team enjoyed itself.

COVERING ALL THE BASES Sophomore Hayden Boersma bats during Country Day’s regular-season finale on May 6 at Mather Sports Center. PHOTO BY JACQUELINE CHAO


SENIOR SECTIONS Senior Heidi Johnson stands next to coach Rick Fullum after placing fourth in the triple jump in the section championships at Chavez High School in Stockton. PHOTO BY SUE JOHNSON

Senior finishes track season with top-eight placement in Masters BY ETHAN MONASA As the track and field regular season came to an end, two individual athletes and the boys 4x100 relay team advanced to the postseason. Senior Heidi Johnson has competed in the long jump and triple jump all season, frequently placing first or second in each events. She advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section Championships, May 8 and May 10 at Chavez High School in Stockton, in the both jumps. Her 35-foot, 2-inch triple jump landed her a spot in the Masters meet for the fourth consecutive year. The Masters was held at Davis Senior High School on May 17-18. Johnson placed eighth in the triple jump, with a season-high 36 feet, 11 ¼ inches. She did not advance to the California Interscholastic Federation

Sports Boosters’ Athletes of the Month Charles Thomas He’s a really encouraging and positive assistant coach. He’s a great runner that everyone can look up to. His 400-meter, 800 and mile best times are 53 seconds, 2 minutes and 13 seconds, and 5 minutes, 17 seconds, respectively.

Sydney Turner Her positive energy is contagious, so if you’re having a bad day at practice, you can’t help but feel happy when Syd cheers you on! She’s developed into a really dedicated swimmer, and she’s an amazing role model for the team.

Paid for by our generous Sports Boosters. Quotes by teammates Emma Boersma (track) and Rebecca Waterson (swimming). For information, please see the SCDS homepage under the Quicklink “Parents.”

(CIF) State Championships. “I would have loved to jump farther, but I’m happy with how I ended the season,” Johnson said. Junior Charles Thomas competed in the 400 meters at the section championships, finishing in 54.66 seconds. He did not place in the top eight. Thomas also ran with sophomore Kenyatta Dumisani and freshmen Craig Bolman and Elliot Crowder in the 4x100-meter relay during the season. The relay team’s best finish was 47.17 seconds in the Sacramento Metropolitan Athletic League (SMAL) finals, in which it placed second. According to coach Rick Fullum, the season “went well. I found a group of student athletes that are great to work with. The best part was seeing the joy from improvements on the faces of the athletes.”



The Oc

CLASS 2019 of

20 urban 15 suburban

20 in-state 15 out-of-state Senior statistics Accepted to

209 colleges

$1,532,675 in merit aid

14 lifers

233 AP classes

16 public 19 private

May 28, 2019


Where are they headed? CALIFORNIA California Polytechnic State University Abby LaComb Tori Van Vleck California State University, Sacramento Alan Gallardo Harvey Mudd University Joe Zales Loyola Marymount University Michaela Chen Heidi Johnson Kyra LaFitte Pitzer College Nate Jakobs Stanford University Jack Christian Mehdi Lacombe Allison Zhang University of California, Berkeley Joe Mo Brandy Riziki Mohini Rye Jacqueline Chao University of California, Davis Yanele Ledesma

University of California, Santa Barbara Leonardo Eisner Yelin Mao Sophie Naylor University of San Francisco Chloé Collinwood COLORADO University of Colorado, Boulder Josh Friedman Lia Kaufman Blake Lincoln GEORGIA Savannah College of Art and Design Grace Naify MASSACHUSETTS Boston University Rita Chen Boston Conservatory at Berklee Monique Lonergan Brandeis University Alex Rogawski

NEW YORK New York University Luca Procida OREGON Oregon State University Bianca Hansen PENNSYLVANIA University of Pennsylvania Gabi Alvarado Chardonnay Needler RHODE ISLAND Rhode Island School of Design Bella Mathisen WASHINGTON University of Puget Sound Emily Hayes University of Washington (gap year) Eivind Sommerhaug WASHINGTON, D.C. George Washington University Harrison Moon

Teachers share their biggest college regrets Chris Kuipers Amherst College The two biggest regrets I have are (based on) playing it too safe. One is that I did not study abroad. At the time, I loved Amherst, I had a lot of friends, and I just wanted to prioritize that. In hindsight, I like the idea of being able to experience the rest of the world. The second regret was that I double-majored in history and political science. While I love political science, I wish I had taken three or four political science courses instead of (the required) eight, then used the other four or five classes to take a science or environment class, or something a bit broader. My takeaway is that college is a really cool time to explore and expand your horizons without a lot of consequences.

Jane Bauman University of California, Santa Cruz I passed the AP English exam as a senior, so when I went to (college) I didn’t have to take the freshman English classes. It turned out to be a big mistake. (Those classes) would have taught me how to do research and how to interface with the library, something that we had to do back in the day because we didn’t have electronic databases. Many schools don’t accept AP credit anymore, so everybody has to take writing-intensive freshman-level classes. And I’m really in favor of that. What you learn in high school isn’t demanding enough for the college level.

Sue Nellis Whittier College I have two regrets. One is that I didn’t do an abroad program. I did go to Europe hitchhiking with my cousin between my sophomore and junior year, which was great and less expensive than trying to go abroad with the college. But I wish I’d spent more time in one place. It’s hard to know if it would have changed the trajectory of my life, but I think going to a university in another country would have been enriching. The other regret is that I didn’t become bilingual. I wish I had kept up with my Spanish or my German when I was in college, but I didn’t.

Jason Hinojosa St. John’s College I went to a college that had a really strict curriculum, so I didn’t get to choose my classes. Every class I took was on a classic work of Western literature and philosophy. I wish I had been able to take other classes that stretched me a little bit — something more artistic, less Western, less dead white man focused, weirder. None of those things really crossed my path. Looking back at that creative, impressionable time, I think I could have benefited from stretching myself more, academically and personally.

Jane Batarseh Principia College I regret my college choice. It was a religious college in the Midwest, and the campus was absolutely beautiful. However, the education was not rigorous, and I didn’t have the kind of teachers that I see (now.) It wasn’t a good intellectual environment, and I don’t think I would have learned anything if it hadn’t been for my roommate, who was more motivated than I academically and brilliant. She was the one who prepared me for graduate school. My advice to the seniors is that you make your college experience what it is, no matter where you are. There are books, online courses and professors to seek out (and get advice from) if you’re not happy there.

Glenn Mangold Massachusetts Institute of Technology I don’t regret anything in college except not doing track for two years. I did cross country, but I stopped after one semester. You are usually your fastest in your 20s, and I’m curious to see the fastest I could have ever run.



Opinion • May 28, 2019

The Octagon

so long, seniors! allison zhang

Country Day has several issues that need to be addressed


d love to write about how amazing an such as swimming, running, flying, experience Octagon has been (some of etc. The duck was a good swimmer but a my best memories have been during late- slow runner, and he had to spend so much night paste-up in the Cave), how much time after school to practice running that more comfortable I’ve gotten interviewing his swimming skills suffered. and talking to strangers (I get slightly less Many painful anecdotes about a “probtense when placing my order at In-N-Out) lem child” eagle and a squirrel that overexand how much better my writing skills have erts himself later, and I think the point has gotten (I’d rather not look at my first story). been hammered home: Students have differHowever, if there’s one ent skills, talents and needs, thing I’ve learned this year — and schools need to adapt to through the craziness of losing those so that the eagle doesn’t After 13 our former adviser, Patricia have a nervous breakdown years, Fels, and all her pen-twirling and accidentally eat the the words ‘soglory, redesigning the website squirrel (I took some ar(shoutout to senior Joe Mo, cial-emotional tistic liberty here with a genius who saved us when learning curricthe hypotheticals). it came to anything tech-re- ulum’ still mean There are problated), and running Octagon nothing to me.” lems with this fable, practically on our own for a but the moral rings multifaceted students, and we don’t de—Allison Zhang true. So how does few months — it’s to omit unserve a tiny music room, mural-less walls and necessary words. Country Day hold empty gyms during games. This year, five of us can up? Most important, however, is to maintain write something that will be printed a thouWell, the tiny music room has a leaky roof, the rigor and level of academics that I resand times and distributed to students, teach- and the air conditioning hasn’t worked for member from a Country Day not too long ers, faculty and alumni of Country Day. years. Visual arts students are, shall we say, ago. It’s amazing that we’re aiming to be a diI’ve read my fair share of these “senior displeased with the mural situation on camverse, accepting community, but that doesn’t goodbyes,” and rather than repeat stories pus. There’s little school spirit for sports mean we can resort to giving points arbitrariabout funny, memorable experiences teams, and pep rallies have lost their pep. ly to keep everyone (and their parents) happy related to Octagon and Country Day, After 13 years, the words “social-emotional with a high GPA. in the remaining few inches of my learning curriculum” still mean nothing to It’s easier said than done, of course. None last Octagon story, I hope to ad- me. of these changes can be made overnight, but dress something different: the And how many Asian teachers can you change needs to happen. shortcomings of the past 13 name? Even though I’m graduating and movyears that I’ve spent at CounAsk high schoolers about their current ing on, I truly hope that the Country Day I try Day. classes, and I guarantee you they’ll say for know and See, while attempting to at least one, love — the come up with an idea for “Oh, this Country Day We’re all talented, multifaceted stuthis story, I Googled “fa- class is a joke. that helped bles about education,” We don’t do dents, and we don’t deserve a tiny the Octagon which led me to a story anything, but music room ...” grow, not written by George Rea- it’s an easy A censor it and —Allison Zhang vis. if the teachcut its budTo sum up his sto- er likes you.” get, that let ry: There was a new And when students be school for ani- you approach an administrator with convocal with their concerns and did something mals to learn cerns about said class, the table gets flipped about those concerns, that put strong acadifferent and the students are the ones blamed for bedemics before a facade of education-ese and skills, ing “unable to adapt.” fancy committees — will return. How can we pull Country Day out of this eagles-eating-the-squirrels cycle? Look for more diverse backgrounds when hiring. Foster the artistic side of Country Day’s students, but don’t forget about athletics. We’re all talented,

MARK BOGETICH P: 916 476 6647 F: 916 720 0334

1415 L Street, #1260 Sacramento, CA 95814


jack christian

SCDS was great, but it’s time to go For almost seven days, I sat down at my laptop and tried to come up with a marvelous, life-altering idea for this senior goodbye, which has been a tradition for editors-in-chief on staff for who knows how long. Why do we even have stupid traditions like this? I felt somewhat obliged to write something of merit, as I’m a lifer at Country Day and have spent 14 years of my life here, including over 2,520 days of class and 17,640 hours of instruction. You would think I’d have a wealth of ideas to write about. But you would be wrong. As the week before paste-up went by, I started to read my fellow editors’ goodbyes. Mehdi was sarcastic and funny as always. Allison was critical and reflective about her time at Country Day. Mohini was entertaining and witty. I never read Chardonnay’s, though, because of course she was having “technology problems” and couldn’t get it written. Maybe she forgot to charge her computer. I have always been an atrocious opinion writer. I think I have written all of two opinion pieces in my four years on staff (please do not call up my Winter Wonderland review online). So to get some ideas for my goodbye, I asked some of my friends, and they all suggested some very “Jack” topics. The first one was spin. If you have a streak with me on Snapchat, you have probably received my early-morning spin streaks at 5:30 or 6 a.m. I’m a spin addict and spend almost every day at a TEAMRide studio in midtown or East Sac, burning 500-plus calories while listening to “Good as Hell” by Lizzo. TEAMRide is a second home to me. All the instructors, owners and front desk workers know me by name, and they often comment on my Instagram posts as well. It’s not weird, trust me. My friends also suggested I write about how I’m a red-headed Mexican who doesn’t speak Spanish. But we won’t get into that. None of these ideas really piqued my interest. But I guess I’m doing pretty well so far, as I’m already onto page two of my goodbye. I better wrap it up quickly. I finally came upon the perfect idea for this goodbye when I was showering after a spin class (classic Jack move) on a Sunday afternoon. I was in the middle of singing along to Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” when I realized I don’t need to say goodbye to anyone or anything or wrap up my time here at Country Day in a perfect bow. I am ready to move on to college — to be somewhere I don’t know the name and gossip of every single person in my class and school. I am ready to be a small fish in a big pond in an entirely unfamiliar and challenging environment. I have loved my time at Country Day, but, God, am I ready to leave this place. I guess I should really be saying, “Hasta la vista, Camp Country Day — and hello, Stanford.” P.S. If you didn’t know from the countless Stanford merchandise I flex on a daily basis, I will attend Stanford University this fall.

The Octagon

May 28, 2019 • Opinion


Technology is confusing; fake it till you make it mohini rye


mehdi lacombe

Like most Country Day students, I participated in way too many activities. From acting in plays to Mock Trial to singing along with Mr. Wells’ plum song, I was always busy with something. But the field I dedicated myself to most was athletics. When I started at Country Day, athletic director Matt Vargo came up to me — probably excited to see a new student and potential athlete show up — and asked if I played any sports. He recommended I try a few, but I couldn’t let Country Day sports win such a strong athlete over that easily. So I respectfully declined. They would have to earn me. Instead, I joined the noncompetitive marathon training elective. I trained all year to run the race, only to find myself on the verge of throwing up afterward. But that’s how everyone feels after running, right? I didn’t let that experience stop me; I kept training the next year — well, until one unfortunate night. I left my sports bag outside f o r three days, and by a stroke of bad luck, someone stole it. Who

Country Day will have to manage without this outstanding athlete

knew the top of my locker wasn’t a safe place for it? And gone with the bag were my custom-made soles, the last bastion protecting my feet from serious pain when running. So, with that somewhat flimsy excuse in hand, I was forced to bail from the race that year. And for good measure, I didn’t run the year after that either. But marathon training wasn’t the only time I pursued my passion for athletics. Throughout my Country Day career was the Ancil Hoffman capture-the-flag game. When I joined our class’ team, we had a 1-0 record. So I took on the job of keeping that record positive. And I did. At the end of senior year, after I had repeatedly run across only to get chased back and maybe saved the prisoners once, our record grew to 4-0 — oh, wait, flip the numbers. It seems I heard the record wrong when I joined. But I didn’t want to keep slumming it in the little leagues (sorry, Ancil). I moved up in the athletic world and joined the soccer team!


Actually, I just showed up at one game because the team was down a player. I found a girls uniform to wear and went home to grab some running shoes. Notice I said “showed up” and not “played”? That’s because after warming up with the team (and, obviously, scoring a goal while taking practice shots), I sat on the sideline. I never actually played, but I got to sit with my friend’s mom, Kathryn LaComb, which was pretty fun. But as in any true success story, I didn’t let that benchwarmer game get me down. So when this spring came around, I joined the baseball team. I signed up, bought gear and everything. I even went to practice! And with that first practice began my astounding baseball career. To make a long story short, let’s just say I ended the season with a 1.000 batting average (my baseball mentor, Nate Jakobs, let me know that’s what it’s called when you get a hit every time you bat). Don’t ask why coach Millsback had me turn in my hat and uniform. But all that success wasn’t enough for me, which is why I decided to dedicate the most time I had ever spent on a sport to the greatest sport of them all: esports. Ironically, it’s the only sport in which I participated that has had a semblance of success.


onfession time: When I first sat down at my computer as a sophomore page designer, I couldn’t find the power button — and not for lack of trying. Former editor-in-chief Marigot Fackenthal, ’17, was giving us an intro to page design that day, and I figured asking “how to turn the thingy on” wouldn’t leave the best impression. After all, who would trust that person to design a page in an award-winning newspaper? There was only one solution: lurk. So I spun around in my chair, feigning boredom and scanning the room until a smarter sophomore turned her own computer on. (The button was in the back lower-left corner — a place I’d already checked. Go figure.) I wish I could blame the situation on the computer’s design or my eyesight, but I’m just technologically inept. Always have been, actually. In lower school, we had iPads in the classroom. Don’t ask me what we used them for; my memory barely covers high school. However, I do remember the panic I felt when I had to use the cursed device. My worst fear was that it would randomly turn off, because — surprise — I didn’t know where the power button was for iPads, either. I eventually got over my technology phobia, so I wasn’t too con-

cerned about having a MacBook in credit should go to Allison. As the freshman year of high school. I had person sitting next to me in the no idea what I was doing the first Cave, she had to hear all my quesfew months, but Google served me tions and complaints — along with well, and tech-savvy friends took all my throwaway cartoon ideas. pity on me, which also helped. Luckily, I became a decent page The only speed bumps I hit that designer in the process. It’s been year were because of Octagon. From quite the journey: Sophomore year tracking down shared staff folders I had to scramble to redo a page I (somehow, everyone else opened forgot to save. Meanwhile, this year, them easily) to learning Google I made a plate of snazzy sushi using Docs culture (get off that document InDesign because I was too lazy to if an editor is on it!), technology was switch to Illustrator or Photoshop. once again out to get me. That said, I still don’t understand But if those were speed bumps, technology beyond design. Just last the metaphorical mountain was week, my solution to a nonfunclearning page design. tioning printer in the Cave was to While designing pages is equal ask, “Is it plugged in?” followed by parts artistic vision and technolog“What if you unplug it and plug it ical prowess, I had just one of those back in again?” qualifications. Furthermore, of all Unsurprisingly, neither suggesthe applications I needed to learn tion worked. And seeing as I’ve alto use — Adobe InDesign, Photoready had to call the University of shop and Illustrator — I’d only ever California, Berkeley’s helpline three heard of Photoshop. times about my portal, it looks like Coincidentally, Photoshop was I’ve signed up for another four years the program I’d been avoiding beof confusion. Yay, me. cause it glitched out my Mac the first time GRAPHIC BY MOHINI RYE I opened it. Tack on an unexpected cartoonist position, and Octagon in sophomore year was a recipe for disaster. But I’m still here, so it obviously didn’t go that badly. With all my technology woes, I still don’t know how I got through the years. Most of the

Hi, I’m headed to college, and I’m a music-holic chardonnay needler

I just love answering questions from 40- and 50-year-olds. Especially those who know me and remember me “in my diapers” (a lovely phrase) when I have no memory of who they are. I also just love how once the favorite inquiry of the past five months — “Where are you going to college?” — is finally answered, there’s a new one: “Do you have a boyfriend?” “No.” (After looking at my haircut and seeing my demeanor): “Oh, a girlfriend, then?” How progressive. I’m still single, as I want to be. And that’s OK — really. It could be worse. For one, I’m 18 and still don’t feel interested in certain teenage activities at all. As the shark from “Finding Nemo” said, “Guys are friends — not food.” I might’ve misquoted that … But it’s OK because everyone has somebody, or something, to love. (“Somebody to Love” is really just a Queen song to me.) Ecosexuals — a community I found out about via Mehdi a few paste-ups ago — love the earth and spend their “weddings” to Mother Earth involved in all Her elements, from coal to the soil. Everyone has a community for what they love, but how have I not found more musicsexuals? No, musicsexuals don’t marry Mozart by listening to (the high school band’s performance of ) “Marriage of Figaro” while per-

forming elaborate rituals involving white wigs and claviers. Musicsexuals just enjoy listening to music. Oh, and they get the chills. A lot. Hear me out (pun intended), but you might be a musicsexual too. Have you ever gotten the chills while listening to music when it reaches points of heightened intensity? That sforzando that seems to come from nowhere and ends a phrase abruptly? A climactic high note? Chills. The technical term is “frissons,” but as I distinctly remember the phrase “avoir des frissons” (to have the chills/shiver) from AP French, I’d rather not associate the contents of a vocabulary quiz with an intense psychological and physiological phenomenon. Especially one with another choice romantic term. Feeling frissons is more than just receiving good vibes from good air vibrations. It’s an addiction, according to a BBC article. Music is a drug — an auditory, dopamine-releasing stimulus that can produce dilated pupils and palpitating heartbeats just as effectively as other vices. And it’s an expensive habit at that; I’m hemorrhaging paying that 10 bucks a month for Spotify premium, not to mention my cello’s $2,000 price tag. But I’ll do anything to get that little euphoria that comes from a note fingered on just the right spot of the fingerboard, from any pitch my vocal cords tap just right. Wait, what? There’s a subreddit dedicated to this phenomenon, r/ frissons, a forum for fellow musicsexuals? Fantastique, I’ll be right there.


Opinion • May 28, 2019


The Octagon

My Angle

“Not Guinea Pigs” by Emma Boersma



Jack Christian Mehdi Lacombe Chardonnay Needler Mohini Rye Allison Zhang

I still haven’t lost all my baby teeth

NEWS EDITORS Jack Christian Allison Zhang

SPORTS EDITORS Jack Christian Allison Zhang


Chardonnay Needler


Mehdi Lacombe


BUSINESS MANAGER Larkin Barnard-Bahn


Larkin Barnard-Bahn Jack Christian Jackson Crawford Anna Frankel Mehdi Lacombe Chardonnay Needler Mohini Rye Sarina Rye Héloïse Schep Allison Zhang


Sanjana Anand Arjin Claire Dylan Margolis Jackson Margolis Ethan Monasa Miles Morrow Arijit Trivedi Arikta Trivedi

GRAPHIC ARTISTS Emma Boersma Jacqueline Chao Mohini Rye



Jacqueline Chao

PHOTOGRAPHERS Jacqueline Chao Elise Sommerhaug Shimin Zhang


Harrison Moon, editor David Situ, assistant Ming Zhu, staffer


Paul Bauman The Octagon is Sacramento Country Day School’s student-run high school newspaper. Its purpose is to provide reliable information on events concerning the high school and to inform and entertain the entire school community. The staff strives for accuracy and objectivity. The Octagon aims to always represent both sides of an issue. Errors in stories will be noted and corrected. The Octagon shall publish material that the staff deems is 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 timely and relevant news, subject to the following exceptions: obscenity; slanderous or libelous material; and material contrary to the best interests of the school community, as judged by guidelines between 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 author’s opinion. In the interest of representing all viewpoints, letters to the editor shall be published, unless otherwise requested. All letters must be signed and conform to above restrictions. The staff may change grammar and punctuation or abridge letters for space. Comments may be made online to address all stories run.

EDITORIAL: Hold off on new schedule until hearing student voices


hen the Octagon made the new schedule our editorial topic, we didn’t expect such fractured opinions. Traditionally, editorials are produced by a unanimous consensus from our editorial board — and traditionally, said consensus is reached in one elective period. Not only have we had two board meetings to debate, we’re still at odds over our final verdict on the changes. The one point we could agree on was that we should have known about the committee’s plans to change the schedule earlier. Even for students aware of the possible change, few expected the new schedule to happen next year. Why the mystery? Why no official student polling? And most importantly, why was the proposed schedule never tested? In September, students could fill out a 13-part Google poll entitled “Schedule Feedback” from head of high school Brooke Wells. The poll said the administration wanted community feedback, as the 2018-23 Strategic Plan involved taking a “close look at (the school’s) daily and yearly schedule.” However, it did not mention responses could be used for a new schedule in 2019-20. And given that this was the only schoolwide feedback the scheduling committee received, it wasn’t not official student polling. “Informal polls” are not a viable substitute, either. Not only do they create a small sample size, they lead to bias. What works for one student or class will not work for another given differences in interests — sports, the arts, class difficulty and more. Most concerning is how

rushed the schedule seems. If, as high school dean of student life Patricia Jacobsen said, the committee’s original goal was “trying to have a conversation about a better option for our students,” how have we already determined a definite schedule? We fail to see why the timeline for a new schedule needs to be carried out in just one year. Furthermore, we don’t understand why the schedule would get approved with no testing or final student opinions. History teacher Chris Kuipers said testing would not happen because there is not enough time left in the year. That is true — seniors are no longer on campus, and many classes are in relaxation mode. But without testing, there’s no way to tell whether this schedule will work for all subjects — especially foreign language, which requires steady, daily practice — or whether it will decrease student stress, which was mentioned as an objective for the new schedule. This editorial’s primary goal isn’t to address whether the schedule is good or bad, because the reality is that some students will do better on it and some worse. Passing periods, for example, will allow students to get books before class. The addition of a flex period will extend some students’ free electives, giving copious time for homework or socializing. And athletes will likely miss only one class for games due to the reworked schedule order. Others, however, will be disserviced by changes. Students in labor-intensive electives like band, orchestra or choir, which are already running on insufficient time, will lose 10 minutes because of the shortened elective. For them, the flex period may

have to be booked often just to stay on track with music. Speaking of flex period, despite being only 35 minutes, the slot is expected to be used for countless events. Given makeup tests, extra elective time, drug and alcohol meetings, sex ed, field trips, club meetings and more, it’s unlikely flex will account for everything, and students could end up double-booked. Plus, because of the new five-class rotation, students in content-heavy classes — AP U.S. History, AP Physics C and AP Biology — will be losing class hours each year. Assuming a 33-week school year and factoring in long periods, 15.75 hours will be lost per class. And even if a current class consistently starts five minutes late, it will lose 2.25 hours. Finally, students learning foreign languages will no longer have daily classes, impeding fluency. The aforementioned issues make us wonder how this schedule will run error-free next year. Although head of school Lee Thomsen said the committee will meet in the fall to “evaluate implementation of the schedule and recommend any further adaptations,” any issues up to that point will be difficult or impossible to reverse. And if there are any major complications that cannot be fixed, the entire school year could be jeopardized. Next year’s students are not guinea pigs. Consider holding back the schedule a year and using 2019-20 to improve issues like lost elective time, overstuffed flex periods and handicapped foreign language departments. In the meantime, gather those missing student opinions.

A BIG THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS FOR KEEPING US IN THE BLACK! Anand family, anonymous, Bahn Management Company, Christian family, Frankel family, Impact Venture Capital, Lacombe family, Monasa family, Needler family, Schep-Smit family, Situ family, Zhang family

Most children lose all their teeth, except molars, by age 10, but I have a bit of a different story. I’m 14, and I still have five teeth to lose. In fact, three weeks ago, I lost another tooth. I lost my first tooth around age 4 and lost a couple more teeth before age 6. After that, I didn’t lose any more teeth for a very long time. I actually thought I had lost all my teeth because all my friends said they’d lost all of theirs. My teeth were not even slightly loose for almost eight years, which in my mind solidified the false idea that I wouldn’t lose any more. Finally, eighth grade came around, and my mouth started to feel sort of weird. One tooth on the right side seemed to hurt whenever I bit into something. At first, I thought it was a cavity (I had never had one, so I didn’t know how it felt). Two or three weeks later, I went to the dentist for a checkup. I still hadn’t told my parents about my tooth because I was worried they would get mad at me due to my perfect record at the dentist. As I walked to the chair where my dentist would look at my teeth, I secretly hoped it was a cavity because I didn’t want it to be anything worse — like if my tooth was rotting. At the end of the checkup, I asked my dentist, “Do I have any cavities?” My heart was racing, it felt like an eternity before his mouth opened, then he replied, “No.” This is when I started to get rather worried. But I still told no one. I got home and brushed my teeth relentlessly for the next couple of months, but my tooth kept hurting. I wondered, “What if my tooth is rotting?” Two months later, I felt a small but sharp pain in my tooth. One of the strands holding my tooth had broken, and it started moving back forth when I ate or talked. At that point, I was convinced I would have to get a gold tooth. Still, the thought that my tooth was loose didn’t even cross my mind; if someone had said that to me, I probably would have laughed. The eighth grade Washington, D.C., trip was about to happen, and my tooth was dangling because two strands were now broken. I was worried something was going to go wrong with my tooth on the trip. Everything went well until we got to the airport to return home. I was walking down a hall in the airport when another strand broke. At this point, blood started to come out, and I was absolutely freaking out. Then, in the back of my mind, I thought, “Could it possibly be that I haven’t lost all my teeth?” I thought to myself, “No way.” I was fighting myself over and over until I finally called my mom. She said, “No, you couldn’t be losing a tooth — you lost all of yours years ago.” Over and over, I asked her, “Are you sure?” Soon after, she had to get off the phone, leaving me in a worse state than before. Around 30 minutes later, my mom called back and said she had called the dentist and that I still had around eight or nine teeth to lose. I was so relieved. Only 10 minutes later, my tooth came out, and I enjoyed most of the rest of the eighthour-plus plane delay in Baltimore.

The Octagon

May 28, 2019 • Feature

Ex-chemistry teacher, longtime garden coordinator leaves ‘best job on campus’



fter 21 years at Country Day, former chemistry teacher and current garden coordinator Michael Covey will retire this year. Christina Kaufman, mother of senior Lia Kaufman and Theo Kaufman,’18, will replace Covey as the garden coordinator. Covey taught chemistry for seven years at Country Day, first to the 10th grade and later the Advanced Placement course to the 12th grade. After leaving the chemistry department in 2006, Covey returned to the school two years later to work in the garden. Covey immediately realized the garden needed a lot of work. “Ten years ago, the garden consisted of 15-20 8-by-3-foot garden beds and a whole lot of weeds, and I thought it could be better,” he said. “I started in the garden by volunteering, but when I realized that I was putting in 10 hours a week of work, I talked to the school to make it official. In a way, working in the garden has been a semi-retirement.” Covey said one aspect he will miss most about the garden is working with students. “I have the best job on campus,” he

said. “I got to work with kids as young as preschoolers all the way up to some high school classes.” Covey added that he has enjoyed the simplicity of gardening. “I never had to give any tests or invent a curriculum,” he said. “Every day I could view the beauty of nature. In fall and spring, migrating cranes fly overhead, and the majority of people don’t notice it, but I was always lucky enough to be able to see and hear them.” For Covey, retirement is bittersweet. “This is an amazing job,” he said. “This garden has a great community, and I will miss it very much.” Covey also enjoyed working as a chemistry teacher, saying there was “no better subject to teach.” But the job held less enjoyable aspects too. “I miss the classroom time,” Covey said. “But I don’t miss grading, writing tests, making labs or building the curriculum. However, I always really enjoyed my students.” After retiring from teaching, Covey headed the Farm-To-Fork elective. “About five years ago, (previous head of middle school Sandy) Lyon came to Ms. Burns and (me) with the idea for the elective,” he said. “(It) was always called the ‘garden elective,’ but Ms. Lyon wanted us to incorporate the har-

vesting aspect of the garden. Thus, (we) created the Farm-To-Fork elective.” Students in it help take care of the garden, grow various fruits and vegetables and eat what they grow. Freshman Craig Bolman was in the Farm-To-Fork elective for most of middle school and spent time in the summer working in the garden for community service credit. “Mr. Covey knows a lot about how to do everything in the garden,” Bolman said. “Whenever I had a question, he knew what to do. If there were students freaking out over bugs, he’d come over and handle it. I always had a great time working with him.” Overall, Covey said his favorite part of working at the school has been high school graduation. “Young adults, who only four years earlier were just emerging from middle school confusion, are roasted and honored for their amazing high school accomplishments,” Covey said. “Graduation was always a time of joy and pride for all involved.” In retirement, Covey plans to travel in the United States, to Costa Rica and to Japan. Covey won’t be leaving the school forever, as he said he is willing to return as a substitute teacher.


FARM TO FORK Garden coordinator Michael Covey harvests with second graders in the garden. Once a chemistry teacher, Covey now teaches students about different crops and garden management. PHOTO BY ALEXIS COVEY

Controller of finances to resume dollhouse-making hobby in retirement BY LARKIN BARNARD-BAHN

ested.” She cited the auction and new enrollment. “There’s always something coming up,” Wessels said. “It’s surprising to people how much there is to do.” Additionally, Wessels said she’s enjoyed watching SCDS grow in terms of buildings, enrollment and programs. “Oh, gosh, all the extra programs have changed a great deal!” Wessels

really have to problem-solve and figure out what you can do to streamline the accounting. Five headmasters ago, before the “It’s a lot of detail work, which creation of the lunch program and isn’t for everyone, but I enjoy it.” Frank Science Center, controller Amy Wells, director of the annual of finances Carol Wessels came to fund, said Wessels’ “meticulous” naCountry Day. Now, after working ture is perfect for her job. there since 1987, she will retire. “It’s amazing what (errors) she Wessels had been working for can catch and how she can actually churches before she decided she make everything balance out at the wanted a job that provided a retireend of the day,” Wells said. ment plan, and a friend working at Although the school has inSCDS referred her to an opening. creased in enrollment, Wessels “It was almost like working in a gives families the same indichurch setting, which I liked,” Wesvidual attention in their sels said. “I liked the bills and other needs, acfamily atmosphere, cording to Wells. I have so many long-term friends and the people (were) She added that Wessels nice. I (had) tried from way back (at SCDS); we still get is exceptionally kind. a corporation for a together.” “I joke and say Carol is while, and it wasn’t a —Carol Wessels a saint,” Wells said. “You good fit for me.” can always go to her and Hired as the bookask her a question. And keeper, Wessels besaid. “Everything has just grown, she’s also very generous in her percame the staff accountant in 1992 grown, grown. And it all deals with sonal life, taking care of people and the controller in 2000. “Even though I sit at my desk a lot, accounting and makes (my) job big- who’ve been sick.” When former French teacher I enjoy the parent interaction when ger and different.” Other changes, such as major Gerlinde Klauser developed terI can, my coworkers and the work a lot,” Wessels said. “I have so many switches and updates in software, minal cancer, Wessels helped care for her and keep her connected to long-term friends from way back (at have posed a challenge. “Every time you have a new prodSCDS. SCDS); we still get together. “My husband and I helped her “And there’s enough variety in my uct, it’s a learning curve for everyone,” Wessels said. “Sometimes you around the house with things she job that keeps me growing and inter-

FACULTY FRIENDSHIPS Carol Wessels, second from right, poses with members of the 2000-01 faculty. PHOTO COURTESY OF WESSELS

wanted, and sometimes I’d just go and visit,” Wessels said. “One time I called her and she needed something made to eat because she was too weak, so we went and cooked her something. It’s all small stuff.” After retiring, Wessels plans to spend more time with her family (including seven grandchildren), camp in the area, volunteer for her church and do more of her hobbies, such as making dollhouses. Wessels, who said she has always enjoyed miniatures, and her husband began assembling dollhouses when she received a kit from Elegant Dollhouse (1120 Fulton Ave., Suite E)

for Mother’s Day in 1998. Since then, they have completed several workshops, dollhouses and room boxes, donating two small rooms to the auction and one large farmhouse to a Rulindo fundraiser. Wessels said she wants to donate more dollhouses as she downsizes. “It’s a nice hobby we do together because he does the building, the shingling and the little building things, then I decorate,” Wessels said. “We kind of got away from it the last few years because we were busy doing other things, but I’m hoping we can finish some projects and do it more again.”


Feature • May 28, 2019

The Octagon

History teacher retires after 36 years full of friendships, travel BY CHARDONNAY NEEDLER


he year was 1982. Hair bands were in, guys (former head of high school Dan Neukom included) still wore shorts that would be deemed a bit too short by today’s standards, and history teacher Sue Nellis was finishing her University of California, Davis student teaching credential at Casa Roble High School in Orangevale. Nellis and her husband, Mark Gorton, a recent graduate of Pacific McGeorge School of Law, frequently played tennis. It was at one of these sessions that Nellis would hear about the school to which she would dedicate 36 years of her life. “There was a hiring freeze at San Juan (Unified School District) at that time, so I couldn’t go to Casa Roble even though the principal wanted to hire me,” Nellis said. “So then my husband’s law partner asked, ‘Have you tried Country Day? My son went there for years.’ “I just said, ‘Country what?’” Although Nellis had lived in Sacramento for only four years and had no experience with independent schools, she was undeterred. “The very next morning, I went to the phone book,” Nellis said. “I called, and they had a history job.” Dan Neukom interviewed me — in his running shorts. He came over right away because he only lived across the street — it was all just so ‘Country Day.’” And although Nellis has been a ubiquitous figure in the school’s history department for decades — having taught seventh grade, eight grade, 10th grade, 11th grade, and AP U.S. History — she almost avoided the subject as a career path. “When I graduated from high school and started (at Whittier Col-

KNOWLEDGEABLE NELLIS Sue Nellis reviews a practice AP U.S. History exam with students at her house. PHOTO BY SHIMIN ZHANG

lege), I thought, ‘I don’t want to do history — I love this, but I want to see what else is out there,’” she said. “So I took a bunch of different classes, but I kept coming back to history. “Examining the histories of all these different ethnic groups was the greatest part of college.” This love of nontraditional history pushed Nellis through her first year, when she started teaching ninth grade world history — a class she wouldn’t rescind for over 30 years — and eighth grade U.S. history. At that time, she said, every teacher juggled multiple classes and electives between both middle and high schools. Nellis’ roles extended outside of history classrooms into art studios and gymnasium courts, as she taught middle school stained glass, jazzercise electives and badminton.

She experienced more “Country Day moments” as yearbook adviser, a role she held for seven years. “I did yearbook up until I had Jared (Gorton, ’08), and I had him three weeks early, right before the yearbook deadline,” she said. Nellis gave birth on Easter Sunday, right before the 1989 deadline, and she left her son at the hospital to help her students finish up. “It was crazy,” she said, shaking her head and smiling. But she said her craziest, and best, times at Country Day were traveling. “All my travels were great opportunities for me to grow as a person and make a lot of really great friends,” Nellis said. “I had never been to (Washington), D.C., until I took the eighth graders there, and then I went four or five times. I’d never been to Italy

until I went with (Latin teacher) Jane Batarseh and (former AP art history teacher) Kay Schweitzer.” In addition to visiting, Nellis said she treasures her opportunities to see plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, kayak in the Pacific Ocean and explore old towns in Havana, Cuba. But not all of her adventures have been as peaceful. “I spent my 30th birthday skiing for the first time in my life with the eighth graders,” she said. “It snowed five feet in Bear River Valley, (Utah), and we had to dig ourselves out of the cabins it was packed so high!” Although Nellis said she loves traveling, the classroom — especially teaching and preparing lessons for AP U.S. History, where her “passion really lies” — is what she will miss the most. “I’m going to miss my interac-

tion with the students and my colleagues,” she said. “I’m not going to miss the grading; I’m not going to miss some of the meetings.” To stay connected to Country Day, she put her name on the substitute and AP exam proctor lists. Six juniors have already asked her to write college recommendation letters. “I don’t think I’ll have another professor like Ms. Nellis,” said senior Josh Friedman, 2018 recipient of the James W. Weatherholt II Excellence in History Award. “Something funny happened every lecture that she either played along with or encouraged.” Friedman has a list of these quotes, including, “Two-thirds of America was lit” (in reference to the advent of electricity) and, “Those who get cholera die, and that’s OK.” Thanks to Nellis’ tutelage, Friedman and others have been encouraged to do research, which Nellis says is her primary goal in teaching. “If you read the news at all and you want to know about elections and things politicians say and specify what’s true and not true, you need to be able to try to determine the legitimacy of sources,” she said. “I’m interested in making sure that juniors, who are going to be voting, have a good sense of our history. I don’t care what political party they belong to — or if they don’t belong to a political party.” Through all the quips, research projects and ruthless document-based questions, Nellis said she strives to bring history alive. “If I can somehow relate it to their current lives, their future lives, the lives of their grandparents, that’s what makes the difference,” she said. “When we get into modern history, I hear a lot of kids saying, ‘Oh yeah, my grandma remembers that.’ “It can also help answer some questions on Jeopardy.”

Latin teacher leaves 25-year legacy BY JACK CHRISTIAN

really pressed me to a new understanding of English and many other languages too. “Latin is basic to all culture, not only linIt is 1994. Jane Batarseh is sitting in the office guistically but culturally as well.” of headmaster Dan White. Batarseh is interBatarseh’s family, however, did not immediviewing for a high school teaching position, ately appreciate her work as a Latin teacher. but the two aren’t discussing potential curricu“I was suddenly being paid for something la or salaries; Batarseh is instead telling White that no one in my family valued,” she said. about her belief that God is a post-menopaus“They were all millionaires, and I was nothing al Arab woman because “God’s lived through to them — I only read books.” everything.” Batarseh added that her new job required a “When I went home that day, I told my husmajor life adjustment. band, Haitham, that I don’t care if I get the “I had never had a job independent of my job,” Batarseh said. “Because I just had one of family,” she said. “My husband had his own the best conversations of my life.” priorities, which he didn’t That conversation paid off, change. I was trying to be his as Batarseh was hired and has accountant and social secreworked as a Latin teacher at At Countary, a mother and a teacher Country Day ever since. She is try Day I all at the same time.” retiring this year after 25 years at These responsibilities soon was more than a the school. became too much, as Batarseh mother — I was a Batarseh said she learned experienced a nervous breakabout the open teaching position teacher.” down at the end of her first from her friend Barbara Ore, year of teaching in the spring —Jane Batarseh who was a teacher and adminisof 1995. trator at the school. Recognizing Batarseh’s “Barbara said to me one day, struggle, White sent her to the ‘Jane, you need to apply for a job at Country American Classical League’s Summer InstiDay as a Latin teacher,’” Batarseh said. “I said tute for Latin Teachers. OK, and she said that the deadline was tomor“I met other Latin teachers, which, frankly, row!” had never happened before,” Batarseh said. Batarseh came to Country Day with no “They shared lesson plans, pedagogical methteaching experience. She had worked as a ods, resources and enthusiasm, which helped bookkeeper for her husband after obtaining a put me on my way to becoming a teacher.” master’s in English from California State UniFor the first time in her life, said she felt fulversity, Sacramento. Batarseh wrote her thesis filled. about the influence of Latin rhetoric on medi“Before coming to Country Day, I never had eval poetry. a vision of myself independent of my family,” “I was 43,” she said. “I walked into the class- she said. room with no teaching experience, but after “But at Country Day I was more than a the first day, I came home and said to my hus- mother — I was a teacher.” band, ‘This is what I was born to do.’” Batarseh has since found many lifelong Batarseh said her love of Latin lies in the friends among the faculty. grammar and structure. “Because of the nature of my family on both “There is a world within each individual sides, I could never discuss in an abstract manword,” she said. “The ability to compare the ner with anyone about the history of thought,” way Latin and English are constructed has she said. “That all changed because of (teach-

VIVAT LATINE! Jane Batarseh explains a grammar technicality to her Latin 3 class. She came to SCDS with no teaching experience. PHOTO BY EMMA BOERSMA ers) Sue Nellis, Patty Fels, Ron Bell, Daniel Neukom, Glenn Mangold, Jason Hinojosa and many others. “There is always somebody at Country Day, whether it be a teacher or a student, with a different perspective than your own,” she said. Batarseh said she also loves that teachers at Country Day are never arrogant or petty, unlike some college-level academics. Looking back on her 25 years of teaching, Batarseh said the students have kept her at the school. “The scholarly interaction among students here is unmatched at any other institution,” she said. Some of Batarseh’s favorite memories at Country Day have been time spent with students, everything from herding them out of a soccer riot in Florence on the school’s first trip to Italy to cycling through the hills of San Francisco on the freshman trip. Batarseh said one of the things she will miss most about teaching is the routine. “As much as I’ve railed against it, I’m going

to miss the routine of the classroom and the school day, (despite) sometimes not knowing who is going to show up in your class or what your day will be like,” she said. Batarseh said no two classes of hers have been the same, and she will miss watching students evolve and grow. “Language teachers are so unlike every other type of teacher,” Batarseh said. “We get to have the same students for four or five years, which is really special in getting to know students and watch them grow and excel.” While Batarseh is ending her teaching career, she said she will not truly be retiring. “Retirement is a withdrawal of worldly affairs to a sheltered abode,” she said. “I am not retiring in that sense because I’m not a retiring, quiet or inactive person.” In her first year of “activement,” as she calls it, Batarseh plans to study Arabic. She won’t mind lounging around at home, though. “I won’t have to wear makeup, bathe or do any of that stuff anymore!” she said. “I can just read books all day long in my PJs.”

The Octagon

May 28, 2019 • Feature


NELLIS AND BATARSEH MILESTONES When Latin teacher Jane Batarseh and history teacher Sue Nellis sat together on a bus in 1994, they knew they were destined to be best friends. Over the past 25 years, Nellis and Batarseh have traveled the world together.

First meeting “The first time I met Sue was when we were on a bus on the way to a CAIS (California Association of Independent Schools) conference. I sat down next to her, and she asked me to tell her about myself. For the next two hours, she listened as patiently as a saint to my entire life story. That’s where our friendship started.”

Retirement “After Patty retired last year and Sue told me she was retiring this year, I knew I had to go too! Without those two women, I don’t know what school or life would be like.” —Batarseh



d er in 1998, an taly togeth I to gh t u en da w “We Jane, her y in Rome, y and I the last da ter) Whitne gh u da y (m , f the da m an ter Am e botto o gether at th ial to c er pe s nn a di h had t was suc I . ellis ps te — S of us.” N Spanish n the four ee tw be t en mom

: each other t u o b a e v hey lo judge. If Qualities t mment and

you co to both slow lutely tient and he is abso “Sue is pa t again. S ou es m co never y mething, it ing you sa tell Sue so peats anyth re r ve ne e nd. Sh y as a frie trustworth —Batarseh husband!” er h to ow. ver even omen I kn to her, ne sionate w as p m o c t mos ne of the s her stu “Jane is o oors, love td u o t ea gr ig as the s heart as b ell.” —Nelli She has a ends so w ri f er h and treats s her job dents, love

Walking their dogs: Saturday morning together at 7:30. “Sue and I walked for about 10 years every needlework and have dinner, but we We still get together once a month to do hers!” —Batarseh stopped walking because my new dog hated her on the levy, and one summer “Jane and I used to walk our dogs toget a storm suddenly came in. We and day we were out when it was warm, and

and when we got home we couldn’t our dogs got soaked from head to toe, ed. We spent a lot of time walking even go into the house we were so soak

our most memorable walks!”—Nellis together, but this was definitely one of


Backpage • May 28, 2019

The Octagon



n my final year at the most expensive high school in Sacramento, I — along with some fellow seniors — wondered, just how much do we spend in a year? So I vowed to find out, keeping track



of all school-related expenses since the beginning of the year. Naturally, this breakdown shows my own expenses, which will differ among people based on how many school events they attend, how many college applications they fill

STAT 300 at Cosumnes River College (textbooks and materials)



AP Biology online

out and how good they are at getting people to pay them back. Nevertheless, here’s how I spent $33,086 from Aug. 28 until May 15. STORY BY ALLISON ZHANG GRAPHIC BY HÉLOÏSE SCHEP




(plays, workshop, backstage tour, bus, room, food)



Journalism convention in Anaheim

(nonrefundable deposit; unable to go on trip)




Bought used books on Amazon, baby.

Passport lunch

Winter Ball

Prom ticket + dress

Ancil Hoffman T-shirt

Octagon hoodies






The hoodies were $25 each, but someone never paid me back ...

Traveling is expensive.

Journalism convention in New York

Chef Bo



(PokeNoke, Taqueria, Jacks, Boudin)

flight, hotel, food)


Biology textbook


This is counting only food I ordered at school. The Chef Bo people know me so well that when I call, they know the address, the fact that it’s a school and that the driver needs to pull up at the handicapped parking spots.

Forum Music Festival (bus)


Econ textbook

(class fee, lab equipment)

I never realized community college classes are free for high schoolers. I regret not taking advantage of that earlier — especially because getting a community college email means student discounts!

A Country Day education is worth its weight in gold ...

English books



Going out for lunch

Application fees to 16 colleges



(with a class during long period)


Standardized testing fees and score reports


“College Board: not for profit,” my ass.

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