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February 14, 2012

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MORE NEW STUDENTS Chinese students sophomore Dezhen [DEchin] Kong, whose English name is Daniel, and freshman Zhuoren [JHOR-en] Ma, whose English name is Johnson, started their education in English this semester at SCDS. Kong and Ma have studied English for 10 years. They are able to understand English without too much trouble, Kong said. According to Ma, the learning style is very different in China. in the book,” Ma said. “In China, you’re given the answer and you have to memorize it.” Ma, who is 14 and was born in Shenzhen, enjoys playing basketball in his free time and can’t wait to join the school team next year. Kong is 17 and was born in Shanghai. He loves to listen to music and played the guitar and drums in a band in China. His favorite American song is “One Step Closer” by Linkin Park. Ma and Kong, along with freshmen Rio Liu and Lulu Wang, live with Ting and Stanley Hung. —Emma Williams POETRY OUT LOUD Freshman Claire Pinson competed at Sacramento County’s Poetry Out Loud (POL) competition, Feb. 8, at Rosemont High School. The winner of Sacramento’s round was last year’s victor, senior Brittany Wiltz, who attends Natomas Charter School. Pinson defeated two-year reigning champion, Barrie Feusi. She was picked as the school’s representative for the Sacramento County’s POL competition on Jan. 10. This year’s competition at SCDS (which is incorporated into the Public Speaking class taught by Joel Rickert) had six contestants. The judges were teachers Jane Bauman, Jane Batarseh, Patricia Dias and Ron Bell. I died” by Emily Dickinson and “Fairytale Logic” by A.E. Stallings. —Micaela Bennett-Smith

Seniors Shaun Shah, Blair Wigney, Barrie Feusi, Nicholas Samson, Anna Young and Corvia Jones take notes in AP Biology. Most of the students in that class use laptops, some from the school’s mobile lab, because they must take notes too quickly to write them by hand. (Photo by Kelsi Thomas)

MacBooks for all—kind of

Ninth graders will get laptops next year By Mollie Berg

Editor-in-Chief

I

n September, among pencils, pens, notebooks and paper, a shiny new MacBook will be in each freshman’s backpack, as SCDS becomes the

a 1:1 laptop program. Additionally, the school will purchase two mobile iPad labs for the lower school. The laptop decision results from the success of the middle school iPad program and months of decision-making, headmaster Stephen Repsher said. Assisted by technology director Tom Wroten, Repsher made a formal presentation to the Board of Trustees in early December about the laptop plan. So in January, when the board voted to approve the school’s 2012-13 budget,

Long-time college counselor leaves position after almost two decades By Yanni Dahmani

Page Editor

A

fter 18 years of advising students, college counselor Patricia Fels will step down from her duties next year, and English teacher Jane Bauman will become the new college counselor. Fels’s decision was based on the additional stress of the job this year. A large number of students applied either early decision or early action, she said. Many of these early

applications were due by Nov. 1. “This year was very hard for me,” Fels said. “I was very stressed in September, October and November trying to get everything done.” Fels decided she needed more time for her life. Counseling wasn’t her favorite part of the job—she prefers to teach English and advise the Octagon— and she needed to make a change, Fels said. “The job is more time demanding since parents are more involved with the process along with

the cost of new laptops for the freshmen and new iPad stations for the lower school were included. As a result, they “tacitly approved the technology initiative,” Repsher said. While Repsher and Wroten have not decided what type of MacBook will be given to the freshmen, they are considering the 11-inch MacBook Air or 13-inch MacBook Pro and are leaning towards the MacBook Air. The MacBook Air is $999 and the MacBook Pro is $1,199 (not including the 10 percent educational discount the school receives). Both prices don’t include software, which will be installed in students’ laptops. However, the laptops will not cause a spike in tuition, according to Repsher. He pointed out that tuition has increased approximately 3.3 percent annually for the past few years, and the increase will

the students,” she said. When told of Fels’s decision, headmaster Stephen Repsher, Sue Nellis, head of high school, and assistant college counselor Brooke sition. Before teaching at Country Day, at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, for eight years, specializing in the admission of international students. “I like administrative tasks and organizing,” Bauman said. “(The college-counseling job) seemed like the perfect complement to teaching.” She hopes to change the way

be about the same this year. “Many people are worried about the cost, but we have addressed that adequately,” Repsher said. “This is just a tiny part of our total (technology) budget.” There is technology funding available every year, Wroten said. Giving laptops to freshmen is an example of taking advantage of this funding—just as the school would use the funding to update school technology like the library computers. Steve Edwards, vice president of the Board of Trustees, said in an email that the board is “really excited about the program and (feels) the money spent is well worth it.” Although Repsher said that most parents are delighted with the new technolSee Laptops, page 3

college counseling is done by having checklists and dates on the school’s website and a link to a college-counseling homepage on the Friday email. She wants to have a little more presence on the school’s website. “I’d like to see if I could use technology Patricia Fels stands in front of her wall of colto improve communi- lege pennants. (Photo by Kelsi Thomas) process, she will still advise Baucation with parents and students to help them navigate the man next year. Additionally, Fels will teach all maze of college application,” Baujunior English classes—instead of man said. Even though Fels will not be a AP only—and will continue to advise the Octagon.


2 Feature

The Octagon

February 14, 2012

Senior Nick Neal, junior Morgan Bennett-Smith, sophomore Charlie Johnson, senior Richard Whitney and junior Ben Hernried, members of the varsity soccer team, double as band members to play the national anthem before their own Homecoming game. These soccer players are some of the many Country Day athletes who play sports and participate in music, as well as other extracurriculars. (Photo by Will Wright)

Country Day Conundrum:

soccer and cross country in the fall and is playing baseball and lacrosse this many athletes play on two or more, spring, feels that juggling two sports in It’s 7:30 a.m. and 2636 Latham Drive which, Kreps believes, brings down the one season is “completely doable. is abuzz with activity. level of play. “It’s all about prioritizing,” Sutley Music blares from the MP room as the “But that’s the Catch-22,” he said. said. Jazz Band launches into another song, “This also gives our students some great And yet it is this same prioritizing opportunities.” that junior Ben Hernried (who plays with the sound of tuning instruments as These opportunities don’t come with- exclusively baseball) blames for lowerthe chamber ensemble readies to play, out a price, as seen most clearly during ing Country Day’s level of play in the and across campus the gym echoes with the spring season. spring. shouts from the boys’ varsity basketball While the ten“They have to team, who have already been practicing nis and track pick and choose for an hour. teams sent repre- “It’s my belief that everyone which pracThe day starts and, after seven hours of sentatives to their tices they go classes and electives, this scene repeats championships should do something aca- to, and coaches itself as the last bell of the day signals last year, the golf demic, something athletic, become very the beginning of another frenzied round team won theirs, casual about and something artistic, so a t t e n d a n c e ,” of practices, games and rehearsals. and girls’ soccer The 135 high-school students work made it to play- you stretch yourself those Hernried said. overtime to support over 30 extracur- offs, other spring “This may bring ways.” riculars, with the average student com- sports seem to down skill level –Bob Ratcliff, band director later on in the mitted to three-and-a-half activities. have fallen by the According to Lonna Bloedau, director wayside. games. of admissions, this is one of the school’s The baseball “A lot of peoselling points. team hasn’t won more than four games ple just don’t take sports seriously.” She described the extracurriculars as in a season since ’08-09. On the other hand, junior Jacob Franthe “pulse and nerves” of the school. Softball has had three wins total since kel considers this casual approach a “They round out the students; they the team was founded three years ago. plus. provide open forums for expression, for And although the swimming/diving “I think that part of being at a small dialogue, debate and interpretation,” team has had members qualify for sec- school is that you don’t necessarily have Bloedau said. “They give practical ap- tionals, the team had only three partici- to take sports seriously and you can try plication to classroom lessons, and they pants last year. a lot of them,” he said. extend the concrete learning into abBaseball coach Chris Millsback says High extracurricular involvement stract thinking.” that between student activities and all seems to be, as band director Bob RatBut does this high involvement stretch cliff puts it, “the culture of our school,” students too thin, thereby weakening inand unavoidable as so few students dividual programs? “There are a lot of sports to choose work to support so many activities. This is, in a phrase, the “Country Day from, and then when you throw other For instance, of the 28 students (of Conundrum.” activities like Octagon, Mock Trial and Jason Kreps, coach of both the girls’ drama on top of everything, kids are cians, 24 participate in sports as well, varsity volleyball and ski and snow- being pulled in too many directions,” and all but one have other extracurricuboard teams, believes over-extended Millsback said. lar activities. students hurt the school’s athletics. And, even with a full team, Millsback But Ratcliff says his students’ sched“(We’re) hurting our own programs,” struggles to make it truly competitive ules don’t bother him. Kreps said, referring to the large num- due to poor practice attendance as ath“It’s my belief that everyone should ber of Country Day athletes who play letes split time between sports. do something academic, something more than one sport a “Simple reasoning athletic and something artistic, so you season. tells you that (multi- stretch yourself those ways,” Ratcliff According to “Simple reasoning tells sport athletes) won’t said. “Stretch your mind, stretch your a poll, of the 75 be as good as they body, stretch your soul.” percent of the you that (multi-sport ath- can be,” Millsback Then, he believes, everyone should high school who letes) won’t be as good as said. choose one area and “strive to be really has or will play a Athletic director exceptional at it.” they can be.” sport this year, 20 Matt Vargo, boys’ Because of this belief, Ratcliff doesn’t percent have or –Chris Millsback, soccer coach, dis- mind sharing his musicians with other will participate on baseball coach agrees with Mills- activities. multiple teams a back. “I don’t expect everyone to be an exseason. “I don’t think ceptional musician,” Ratcliff said, recogKreps sees this as a problem. (the teams) would be more competitive nizing that some of his students choose “If someone is trying to do multiple necessarily,” he said, pointing out that to go in depth in other areas, which, for sports at the same time, they aren’t able Country Day teams already play “right,” them, take precedent over music. to give their full effort to any of them,” with coaches keeping academic perforThis aside, however, Ratcliff is frusKreps said. mance the priority. trated by his students, many of whom, He questions the logic of offering 15 Vargo added that while it can be a he feels, do not put the kind of time or sports annually when the student body “challenge” to schedule multi-sport ath- effort he wants into music. is not, in his opinion, large enough to letes, “there are certain sports that just “Everybody has their reason for not support them. wouldn’t have a team if sports didn’t putting in the time, whether it’s that This spring, for instance, eight sports share players.” See Conundrum, page 10 are being offered, up from seven last Senior Trevor Sutley, who played

By Margaret Whitney

Page Editor

Percentage of studentathletes in the high school

Percentage of high schoolers in the music program

Percentage of students who miss class due to extra curriculars

Percentage of students on the Mock Trial team

Percentage of athletes who play two or more sports a season

Statistics based a poll of 114 high school students.

Exploring the Catch-22 of high extracurricular involvement year.


The Octagon

News 3

February 14, 2012

Laptops: Keeping SCDS in touch with technology (Continued from page 1) ogy, some parents of next year’s sophomores, juniors and seniors are disappointed that their children will not have laptops. But providing laptops to all 135 high-school students would be too expensive, Repsher said. The Columbia Scholastic Press Association requested these designs for a CD of Crown nominees’ pages. The golden handcuffs (top) were created by Mollie Berg. The other two were the work of Nicole Antoine.

Former editor-in-chief to pick up Octagon’s crown in NYC By Christina Petlowany

Editor-in-Chief

T

he Octagon was recently nominated for a Crown Award, a prize given by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) to middle-school, high-school and college newspapers, magazines and yearbooks nationwide. tion, although the newspaper has entered the competition over 15 times. Nominees will receive either a Gold Crown or Silver Crown at the CSPA’s 88th annual convention on Friday, March 16, at Columbia University in New York City. According to the CSPA website, the Crown Awards are the most prestigious of CSPA awards and are awarded for overall excellence in journalism. The Gold Crown was created in 1982, with the Silver Crown following two years later as a second-place award. Adviser Patricia Fels believes that the Octagon previously hadn’t been nominated due to its lack of contemporary design. “I believe what tipped it this year

is Nicole’s art,” Fels said. Nicole Antoine, ‘11, was an editor-in-chief last year. The CSPA requested designs for a ists, and two of the three pages they requested were Antoine’s designs, such as the spread on technology and cheating (Feb. 15, 2011) and the spread about teachers’ previous lives (Nov. 2, 2010). The other was current editor-in-chief Mollie Berg’s back-page feature design design (Dec. 7, 2010) which featured a story about an alumna avoiding the “golden handcuffs” of debt. Antoine believes that increased use of color pages and longer issues contributed to the nomination. Previous editor-in-chief Parul Guliani, ‘11, who is a freshman at Columbia, will attend the ceremony to accept the award. “(The nomination) made me really, really happy,” Guliani said. “That made up for not winning the Pacemaker, all right.” Last year’s Octagon was also nominated for a Pacemaker, the highest award given by the National Scholastic Press Association, but did not win the award.

Transition period Wroten acknowledged that there will be a transition period when some students have MacBooks and some don’t--just as there was in the middle school, when only the sixth grade received iPads. “There’s going to be an evolution,” Wroten said. The computers will be leased to the school, and at the end of the lease, the school will own them. The computers will likely be given to students when they graduate, Wroten said. Throughout the lease pe-

However, because many textbooks aren’t in the iBook store, not all teachers will move to an electronic curriculum. “We’re not telling the teachers they have to change textbooks because it has to be online,” Wroten said. “If it arises that there are textbooks that are cheaper, more interactive, better all around and computer based, we hope they will move in that direction.” According to Repsher, another concern in the months of deliberation was creating a “steep learning curve” for teachers. “We want (the laptops) to be something that enhances teaching—not something that reinvents it. Teachers are busy as it is,” Repsher said. So, on Feb. 8, the faculty started training on how to use the computers and their software. Led by Cindy Kendall, a Ph.D. candidate at Michigan State University, via webcast, an hourlong Webinar taught teachers how to integrate technology.

be owned by Country Day although students will retain “full control,” Wroten said. And full control means full control—the school will have no power to stop students from Laptop distraction downloading illegal music and In addition to not being “lapcopies of textbooks. top savvy,” some teachers worry “We can’t restrict music spe- that they won’t be able to see what their students are doing. However, it is illegal,” Wroten “It’s up to the teachers to insaid. struct the students on how they “I want students to take own- want to use the laptops in class,” ership of their machine—I don’t Repsher said. plan on having a lot of restricAlthough math teacher Patritions. We (had restrictions) for cia Dias expects to take advanthe middle school because of tage of Geometer’s Sketchpad how the iPad is designed and and Google ToolBar in class, she because they’re younger,” he worries that “math is most easily said. done with pencil and paper. Nevertheless the school’s “It is (almost) impossible to “Acceptable Use Policy” ought take notes in a math class on a to deter potential illegal down- computer—I could teach them loaders. how to do it, but the fact of the Sue Nellis, head of high matter is it’s faster to do it with school, said that if illegal mate- pencil and paper,” she said. rial is downloaded in a school “And If it’s in paper I can see computer, the school could get all the way back to the room into serious legal trouble. and see if they’re really doing Legal issues aside, students math.” like eighth grader Aidan Galati, However, Dias said that it who already has a MacBook of will be convenient to have the her own, are wondering what laptops on days she schedules will become of their laptops. projects. According to Repsher, stuAlthough history teacher dents like Galati will be given Daniel Neukom doesn’t plan Macbooks, and will be expect- on incorporating laptops into ed to use their school laptops for his class regularly, he does think the high-school curriculum. that his curriculum will someBut Repsher expects parents what change. not to buy their high-school children laptops in the future. Eighth grader Leslie Young, who will attend SCDS next year, doesn’t have a laptop. Her parents, were “seriously thinking” about buying her one with the start of high school, and now her parents don’t have to pay the extra expense, she said. Eighth grader Manson Tung, who is not planning on attending high school at Country Day, said the laptop decision has increased his interest in SCDS. education. My mom was really excited about it,” he said. Moreover, Repsher said, the school is planning on taking advantage of Apple’s new iBook program, which allows students to download textbooks for about $15 apiece. The downloaded books not only cost less, but also provide interactive access to videos and links.

Neukom also believes that the laptops will force teachers to be more vigilant. He said that he’s already witnessed students using their laptops in a non-educational way during class with their private laptops. Wroten is looking into turning the Internet off in certain classrooms to prevent students getting distracted while taking notes or testing. Dias is also concerned about students being responsible for their own equipment. Now, Dias said, students lose their Ti89 calculators or get them stolen. “You put your bag down for 45 minutes while you’re eating lunch and someone’s messed their own stuff,” she said. Also, she fears that strangers will come onto campus because they’ve heard that everyone has computers and know that teenagers aren’t responsible. Wroten, however, said that in the two years the middle-school iPad program has been in place, “somebody hasn’t walked onto campus and stolen 30 iPads.” When a student inevitably does lose their laptop, their family will be left with the bill. Middle-school students sign an agreement that says that if their iPads are lost or stolen, they must pay for them. The same program will be implemented in the high school, Wroten said. The school is also considering purchasing an accidental damage warranty. What’s ahead Wroten is unsure what to expect for the future. “Three years ago we would talk in our technology meetings about what we were going to do. No one said anything about iPads,” he said. “Ten years from now technologically will be totally different.” But Neukom is a little more skeptical, perhaps because he’s “seen other ‘miracles’ of education in 40 years.” “(There were) new trends and new ideas that people thought would make big differences, but it doesn’t happen very often,” Neukom said.

Eighth grader Aidan Galati checks out a MacBook Air. She will be one of the students transitioning from an iPad to a laptop. (Photo by Kelsi Thomas)


4 Sports

The Octagon

February 14, 2012

Ski and snowboard needs attendance, snow & dedication By Kamira Patel

Graphics Editor

A

s the season reaches its halfway point, the ski and snowboard team is ranked third in the Central One Division, despite a lack of snow, motivation and dedication, according to coach Jason Kreps. Poor weather conditions proved problematic

Freshman Michael Wong hits a drop short, a low shot that just clears the net and bounces quickly, at the 2008 U.S. Nationals for pingpong in Las Vegas. (Photo courtesy of Wong)

Valley. “It was raining and hailing the whole time and they almost cancelled (the Boreal race),” junior Cooper Jackman said. However, sophomore Margaret Whitney placed

Freshman tables other sports for pingpong

while senior Zach Lemos placed eighth in the

Reporter

And at Squaw, junior Donald Hutchinson team isn’t dedicated because only two people of 19 regularly go to dry land training, which is on Thursday for an hour.

“No one is going out of their way to improve.” –Jason Kreps, coach According to Kreps, more than half of the team didn’t attend the second race. Since the third race at Alpine Meadows was only three days later, many skipped the race to go to school, Kreps said. However, students disagree. “I actually signed up and paid for the third race

By Shaun Shah

M

eet freshman Michael Wong, the pingpong prodigy. The week before Winter Break, Wong wasn’t at school cramming for exams. Instead, he was in Virginia Beach, Va., competing in the 2011 U.S. Nationals Table Tennis Event. The event plays host to over 800 table tennis players from all over the nation. Players of all skill levels are welcome to compete, but the tournament featured a small group of exceptional players. This group included Wong. Table tennis players are rated according to a scale that starts at zero. Beginners usually have a rating of 200 to 1000, and the average is 1400. Players above 2000 are considered Masters, and there are only 200 in the United States. Michael is one of them, with a rating of 2100. “I have been playing for a while but still have so much to learn,” he said. When he was 12, Wong discovered table tennis while vacationing in Watuka, Mexico. Wong stumbled upon a lopsided pingpong table and played for hours each night against guests of the hotel. When he came home, he enrolled in lessons at the Sacramento Club, and quit basketball and tennis to devote his time to his newfound sport. “After all of those hours I spent practicing locally, I realized it was time to take my game to another level,” he said.

said. Others said they are more concerned about school than sports and can’t miss classes. “Most of the people on the team just do it for fun,” sophomore Charlie Johnson said. In the fourth, most recent race at Alpine, Whitney, Hutchinson and Lemos placed top ten again. But Kreps is still disappointed because of the low attendance at Alpine. “If everyone showed up to all the races, then we would be doing better,” Kreps said. “No one is going out of their way to improve.”

Junior Mary-Clare Bosco-led the Cavs at the Buckingham (Jan. 27) and Lutheran (Feb. 7) victories with 22 and 26 points, respectively. Currently, she has a .43

Senior Trevor Sutley landed 14 points at the Homecoming Lutheran match-up on Jan. 13 with age. He scored as much as the whole Lutheran line-up did combined.

We thank The Caves Family

The Nichols Family (Case, ‘11) The Martin Family

The Williams Family

Suzanne Kyle Design, Inc.

The Bosco Family

The Berg Family

After three years of practice at the Sacramento Club, Wong developed a higher rating than his instructor, who was rated at 2000. So on weekends, Michael started taking group and private lessons at the World Champions Table Tennis Academy (WCTTA) in San Jose. The academy features instructors including Li Zhen Shi and Zhang Li, four-time world champions of the Olympic Table Tennis Event. “Playing at WCTTA has really prepared me for competitions like the U.S. Nationals because I’m playing against the very best,” he said. his competition 3-0 in all sets. He advanced from each level of the competition by beating each member of his Red Robin group, which consisted of three other players. However, the his Red Robin group, Wong faced a 42-year-old who had been playing for over 20 years. respectively. Despite a strong effort in the third match, winning 12-10, he fell short in the fourth, and lost the set 1-3. Wong recently won the bronze medal in the U.S. Opens Doubles Competition, which took place in Milwaukee, Wis. Wong will travel to Berkeley to compete in the 2012 Western Open from February 18-19.


The Octagon

Sports 5

February 14, 2012

Closing the point spread, basketball teams rebound By Ian Cardle

Editor-in-Chief

Valley Christian Lions maul low-scoring Cavs.” “Lutheran Panthers trample over Cavalier girls.” “Boy Cavaliers swept by Sacramento Adventist.” “Girls’ basketball suppressed by Faith Christian Li-

ons.” These are the boys’ and girls’ basketball seasons thus far— rough, hard-fought and losing—but not terrible. True, both teams are 2-8 in their leagues and ranked sixth of seven. However, the teams’ success does not lie in their records or standings, but rather their game-to-game point spreads. Each season, the Cavs face every team in the Sacramento Metro League twice, once at home and once away. Because of this, the second game serves as an opportunity for both teams to improve. And the Cavs have done just that, senior Shaun Shah said.

“We didn’t win, but we fought.” Senior Madison Galati agrees. “Once we get involved and realize that we’re all a part of the team, we’ll play better than we did before,” she said. Statistics prove her right. duced a 36-point losing spread, while the second was only a 25-point losing spread. an 18-point losing difference, while the second time it was only one of 13. The girls, too, have seen diminishing point spreads between their league games—and large ones. They lost to Lutheran by 16 points on Jan. 13, but beat them by 13 only three weeks later. And against Sacramento Adventist, the point spread closed from 23 to 8 between the two losses. Boys’ coach David Ancrum said that

game, Feb. 7, which they won 49-36—and with only six players, four of whom were sick. “We started out with just (high-scorer) Mary-Clare (Bosco) scoring,” junior Alison Walter said. “But in the last (Lutheran) game, everyone made a shot.” Both teams faced Wilton Christian on Feb. 10, but results were unavailable at press time. They will tackle Faith Christian, whom both have lost to earlier this season, tonight in Yuba City in the last game of the season.

said. “But in January, everything just clicked.”

League Opponents Buckingham (Jan. 3, Jan. 27) Sacramento Adventist (Jan. 5, Jan. 31) Wilton Christian (Jan. 9, Feb. 10) Valley Christian (Jan. 10, Feb. 3) Lutheran (Jan. 13, Feb. 7) Faith Christian (Jan. 20, Feb. 14)

Boys’ Scores

Girls’ Scores

34-70 (L) 34-59 (L) 53-71 (L) 46-59 (L) 63-67 (L) N/A 36-87 (L) 39-90 (L) 65-14 (W) 60-13 (W) 38-78 (L) N/A

27-31 (L) 29-28 (W) 18-41(L) 30-38 (L) 26-53 (L) N/A 35-55 (L) 35-68 (L) 25-41 (L) 49-36 (W) 31-46 (L) N/A

Overall records Boys: 3-13 Girls: 6-11

ing spaces,” or niches, on the team. Senior Bryan Nakagaki agrees, claiming that the practices are far less “chaotic” now that everyone has adjusted to their positions. “We don’t make the same mistakes any more,” he said. “Now we’re making new mistakes.” Ancrum also believes that extra training before and after practice has developed the team. “You can have a negative season if your guys are not trying,” Shah said. “But we’re trying our very best.” According to Galati, boosts in the ing, are to thank for the upward trend in the girls’ season. While the girls started the season strongly with a loss followed by a threegame winning streak, they went on to lose six games in a row. However, the team quickly rebounded at the Homecoming match against Buckingham, Jan. 27, and then the Lutheran

Freshman point guard Jared Barnes, center, fends off two defenders in the Jan. 27 game against the Buckingham Knights. Barnes scores an average of 5.8 points per game. (Photo by Kelsi Thomas)


6

Centerpoint

The Octagon

Portraits of the artists

as high-school students

February 14, 2012

Artist: Sasha Ragland

“I love how photo transfers are not as clear as actual photos. The translucency adds another level to the piece. I had done a self portrait for AP Art History, and (art teacher Patricia Kelly) suggested I try photo transferring. To transfer the photo, you coat a printed photo like the portrait with layers of this transparent gel medium

Artist: Tommy Peng “I designed the shoe

when I was an intern over the summer in China. I was working in a studio with an ex-Prada designer. I showed the designer my portfolio, and he said he would give me the internship and write my recommendation for college. This is where I designed my

After it dries out, you scrape the photo off the back of the hard gel, and it leaves the shadow of the picture. It has a kind of smoky effect, like a shadow of the picture, and I really liked that. It incorporates art and photography together but alters the photograph in an unusual way.” —Jeffrey Caves

shoes and sandals. The shoe I designed is made of hexagons. My inspiration for the shoe was a building in China that is designed with hexagons. The shoe material is leather, except the heel. The heel is supposed to be plastic, but we aren’t going to sell it so we just used wood. I made the sole and pattern (myself) in the factory that my dad owns, but we ordered the other materials. I only made one pair because I am not going to sell it right now. I might make a website when I get into college, and I might make a business—not just shoes, but other products too. I want to go to Parsons (The New School for Design in New York City). Parsons is the biggest reason why I came to America. It is like a dream to get into there. I want to make my own brand, TOMMY PENG. I will focus on dress-up clothes, like fancy stuff and couture, but I also want to do men’s design.” —Mary-Clare Bosco

Artist: Kamira Patel

“I saw this really cool design of a white tree on a black background—like a silhouette but in reverse—and I wanted to do something similar. The key on one side makes it look kind of creepy. I guess because you have the trees in the background and the only other color is a brown and this sea-foamy green. I was trying to get that kind of eerie effect. Inside the actual key part I added a treasure chest at the last minute, so it was like you were inside the key with the treasure chest, but you needed the key to open the treasure chest. It added more visual depth. It was kind of like a paradox. (Art teacher Patricia) Kelly told me I had to work with big pieces of paper, so I used acrylic (instead of dry media). I usually don’t use paints because they are really soft and can spread everywhere.

Artist: Anna Young

vessel, and it had to have some sort of creature on it. I made an owl. (Ceramics teacher Julie) Didion said that it was really cool and that I should make a life-size one. The wings were probably the most complex part. I had to wait for the clay to dry almost completely before I attached them. I cut open the body where the wings would at-

didn’t know what I was going to do.” I worked on it during class time for like two weeks and then brought it home during Winter Break. I would say it probably took three or four weeks in total. Ms. Kelly is entering it into the (California Art Education Association Youth Art of the Month exhibit at the Crocker Art Museum).” —Mary-Clare Bosco

Then I scored the wings on the outside then closed the doors. The wings had to be just hard enough so that they wouldn’t break, but not so heavy that they would fall down. The plan was to have the wings outstretched, but as I continued, I realized that wasn’t going to happen without stilts. On the owl’s back I used some tongue depressors to make it look like The thing about barn owls is they have all these shades and spots. I put a base coat of gold, then took a sponge and put on my own shade of grey. For the white part I had to take another type of clay that I painted it on, which made it look like it had feathers. —Mary-Clare Bosco

Who’s on the page Featured here are Country Day artists who represent various media and backgrounds. Art teacher Patricia Kelly teaches all but one of them. In the fall sophomore Kamira Patel, along with sophomore Margaret Whitney and juniors Imani Ritchards and Shwetha Prasad, won third place in the Mercy Cancer Institute group art competition. “Kamira has a good eye, and she is willing to put in the time. And as a sophomore she can do that because she has more time than the AP students,” Kelly said. “(Patel) has a good eye for composition and colors, and a lot of the time she is right on cue with what I am saying.” Senior Gordon Ho approaches art from a “cartoony” aspect, according to Kelly. He interplays mythical elements in his piece, which she described as “really playful, borderline cartoon, and very contemporary.” Another senior artist, Sasha Ragland, has adopted the photo transfer method. “She has really embraced it and is experimenting,” Kelly said. “I admire her for thinking out of the box with that process and really exploring it.” Another of Kelly’s students is junior Nick Fesler. “I love Nick’s creatures. He has a unique style, doesn’t have a preconceived notion when he starts working on a piece, and then something clicks and it starts developing,” Kelly said. Kelly said she also admires the “formulaic approach” and drawing skills of junior Tommy Peng. Senior Anna Young studies ceramics with art teacher Julie Didion. Didion praised Young’s “patient and repeated experiments” as she sculpted her life-size ceramic owl, which Didion described as “powerful that they were some of the many tiles she made to try out her colors!” Didion said. —Mary-Clare Bosco

Artist: Nick Fesler

“Almost everything is completely random in my paintings. Sometimes I do a follow-up on a spe-

turns into something very different. I begin with doing a pencil drawing of what I am going to paint. I don’t usually have anything in mind. I just kind of draw stuff as I go along. After that I go over all the pencil lines with a pen. Then I paint over that and add more detail with pen (The topic) mostly comes to me as I go. I usually try to do something, but at some point I decide ‘Screw it’ and just change it to something else. Why does it depict what it does? Because that’s what I felt like drawing at the time.” —Jeffrey Caves

7

Artist: Gordon Ho “I always

like randomness in my paintings. I talk to myself while I paint, and I’m always asking myself if there’s an element that’s not quite normal. I made the background, but I decided that (the paint) was going on too heavy and the color was too powerful, so I had to mute it with white powder. I was going to stick with just that, but (art teacher Patricia) Kelly asked me what I thought I could add to do something different or take it to another level. I had used dolphins in a few paintings, and I wanted to do a whole series with them. So when I decided on (adding) Medusa (to the painting), I wanted to use something that wasn’t snakes.” —Jeffrey Caves


6

Centerpoint

The Octagon

Portraits of the artists

as high-school students

February 14, 2012

Artist: Sasha Ragland

“I love how photo transfers are not as clear as actual photos. The translucency adds another level to the piece. I had done a self portrait for AP Art History, and (art teacher Patricia Kelly) suggested I try photo transferring. To transfer the photo, you coat a printed photo like the portrait with layers of this transparent gel medium

Artist: Tommy Peng “I designed the shoe

when I was an intern over the summer in China. I was working in a studio with an ex-Prada designer. I showed the designer my portfolio, and he said he would give me the internship and write my recommendation for college. This is where I designed my

After it dries out, you scrape the photo off the back of the hard gel, and it leaves the shadow of the picture. It has a kind of smoky effect, like a shadow of the picture, and I really liked that. It incorporates art and photography together but alters the photograph in an unusual way.” —Jeffrey Caves

shoes and sandals. The shoe I designed is made of hexagons. My inspiration for the shoe was a building in China that is designed with hexagons. The shoe material is leather, except the heel. The heel is supposed to be plastic, but we aren’t going to sell it so we just used wood. I made the sole and pattern (myself) in the factory that my dad owns, but we ordered the other materials. I only made one pair because I am not going to sell it right now. I might make a website when I get into college, and I might make a business—not just shoes, but other products too. I want to go to Parsons (The New School for Design in New York City). Parsons is the biggest reason why I came to America. It is like a dream to get into there. I want to make my own brand, TOMMY PENG. I will focus on dress-up clothes, like fancy stuff and couture, but I also want to do men’s design.” —Mary-Clare Bosco

Artist: Kamira Patel

“I saw this really cool design of a white tree on a black background—like a silhouette but in reverse—and I wanted to do something similar. The key on one side makes it look kind of creepy. I guess because you have the trees in the background and the only other color is a brown and this sea-foamy green. I was trying to get that kind of eerie effect. Inside the actual key part I added a treasure chest at the last minute, so it was like you were inside the key with the treasure chest, but you needed the key to open the treasure chest. It added more visual depth. It was kind of like a paradox. (Art teacher Patricia) Kelly told me I had to work with big pieces of paper, so I used acrylic (instead of dry media). I usually don’t use paints because they are really soft and can spread everywhere.

Artist: Anna Young

vessel, and it had to have some sort of creature on it. I made an owl. (Ceramics teacher Julie) Didion said that it was really cool and that I should make a life-size one. The wings were probably the most complex part. I had to wait for the clay to dry almost completely before I attached them. I cut open the body where the wings would at-

didn’t know what I was going to do.” I worked on it during class time for like two weeks and then brought it home during Winter Break. I would say it probably took three or four weeks in total. Ms. Kelly is entering it into the (California Art Education Association Youth Art of the Month exhibit at the Crocker Art Museum).” —Mary-Clare Bosco

Then I scored the wings on the outside then closed the doors. The wings had to be just hard enough so that they wouldn’t break, but not so heavy that they would fall down. The plan was to have the wings outstretched, but as I continued, I realized that wasn’t going to happen without stilts. On the owl’s back I used some tongue depressors to make it look like The thing about barn owls is they have all these shades and spots. I put a base coat of gold, then took a sponge and put on my own shade of grey. For the white part I had to take another type of clay that I painted it on, which made it look like it had feathers. —Mary-Clare Bosco

Who’s on the page Featured here are Country Day artists who represent various media and backgrounds. Art teacher Patricia Kelly teaches all but one of them. In the fall sophomore Kamira Patel, along with sophomore Margaret Whitney and juniors Imani Ritchards and Shwetha Prasad, won third place in the Mercy Cancer Institute group art competition. “Kamira has a good eye, and she is willing to put in the time. And as a sophomore she can do that because she has more time than the AP students,” Kelly said. “(Patel) has a good eye for composition and colors, and a lot of the time she is right on cue with what I am saying.” Senior Gordon Ho approaches art from a “cartoony” aspect, according to Kelly. He interplays mythical elements in his piece, which she described as “really playful, borderline cartoon, and very contemporary.” Another senior artist, Sasha Ragland, has adopted the photo transfer method. “She has really embraced it and is experimenting,” Kelly said. “I admire her for thinking out of the box with that process and really exploring it.” Another of Kelly’s students is junior Nick Fesler. “I love Nick’s creatures. He has a unique style, doesn’t have a preconceived notion when he starts working on a piece, and then something clicks and it starts developing,” Kelly said. Kelly said she also admires the “formulaic approach” and drawing skills of junior Tommy Peng. Senior Anna Young studies ceramics with art teacher Julie Didion. Didion praised Young’s “patient and repeated experiments” as she sculpted her life-size ceramic owl, which Didion described as “powerful that they were some of the many tiles she made to try out her colors!” Didion said. —Mary-Clare Bosco

Artist: Nick Fesler

“Almost everything is completely random in my paintings. Sometimes I do a follow-up on a spe-

turns into something very different. I begin with doing a pencil drawing of what I am going to paint. I don’t usually have anything in mind. I just kind of draw stuff as I go along. After that I go over all the pencil lines with a pen. Then I paint over that and add more detail with pen (The topic) mostly comes to me as I go. I usually try to do something, but at some point I decide ‘Screw it’ and just change it to something else. Why does it depict what it does? Because that’s what I felt like drawing at the time.” —Jeffrey Caves

7

Artist: Gordon Ho “I always

like randomness in my paintings. I talk to myself while I paint, and I’m always asking myself if there’s an element that’s not quite normal. I made the background, but I decided that (the paint) was going on too heavy and the color was too powerful, so I had to mute it with white powder. I was going to stick with just that, but (art teacher Patricia) Kelly asked me what I thought I could add to do something different or take it to another level. I had used dolphins in a few paintings, and I wanted to do a whole series with them. So when I decided on (adding) Medusa (to the painting), I wanted to use something that wasn’t snakes.” —Jeffrey Caves


8 Editorial By Zach Lemos

My Angle Reflections on the freshman me

D

uring my freshman year, I was probably the worst math student in my Algebra II class—I literally had to write (x, y) over (3, 2) so I could figure out which was the x-

EDITORIAL: Advantages of new school laptop program far outweigh the costs

W

hen the Board of Trustees announced its decision to provide next year’s freshmen with laptops, courtesy of the school, we were less than thrilled. After all, we’d be left out of the program—paying for it, yes, but We were worried about teachers being forced to change their curricula to use these computers, and we thought that computers might be nothing more than a distraction for students and a burden on teachers. But after the initial shock wore off, we realized that this position was based more on jealousy than on reason. This program gives teachers the option to modernize the curriculum by incorporating digital textbooks, online materials and computer-based lessons. Digital textbooks will not only help lighten students’ over-bur-

dened packs, but also provide multi-media aspects like videos, interactive photographs and graphics. Standardized school laptops will also simplify the movement of typed documents, eliminating compatibility issues between the many brands of laptops and desktops students currently own. The arguments we initially had against the problem have proved good this program could do for the school. The costs are substantial, but the money is already set aside and will be only a small portion of the overall budget. Additionally the same argument used to justify the expense of the middle school iPads holds true here. If even two students are swayed to attend the high school by the promise of laptops, then the program will nearly pay for itself. And while the computers will

be a mandatory part of a student’s school supplies, teachers are not required to change their curricula or switch to digital texts if they do not wish to. And, sure, laptops could be a distraction for students, but students will use laptops in college and in life. The same argument we advanced against online grades holds true here: high school is about becoming independent, and students need to learn to be responsible. Not every class will utilize these tools, but having laptops gives teachers an opportunity they have never had before. Imagine having a physics lesson with every student simultaneously looking at three-dimensional waves on their own laptop or a biology class examining an interactive model of the cell. In 10 years, every private school in the area will have a similar program. Country Day can lead the way or be left playing catch-up.

coordinate. And my ineptitude at math wasn’t from lack of trying: I devoted hours each night to my homework, but as much as I tried I could not manage an A. By the end of that year, I knew I was just bad at math, and always would be. As a freshman, I believed that I was basically my adult self—I looked how I would always look, I thought like I would always think and I felt like I would always feel. I was a mature human being—after all, I was 14. It wasn’t until one blue-skied day when I was trapped in Mr. Millsback’s AP Calculus AB class last year that I realized how wrong I was back then. Despite the class’s continued requests to head outside and enjoy one of the few sunny days that dismal spring would grant, Millsback was teaching us how to integrate with U-substitution, one of the more advanced topics we would learn all year. And, like most of the topics we covered that year, I understood U-substitution pretty much as soon as Millsback finished his explanation. Yet I realized this was significant only as I jealously stared at the Algebra II class that had been let out a few minutes early to enjoy the sun. Where I once struggled with the most basic abstract concepts, I was now tackling advanced calculus with relative ease. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that my brain was still maturing. But it’s not just academic growth—it’s social as well. I don’t think like I used to think, and it’s almost humiliating to see who I used to be. A week ago, I looked through a Facebook conversation from 2009. Throughout the conversation, I intentionally misspelled words in a way I considered “cool.” A few of the more glaring examples include “becuz its tight” and “ill tell u 2mz at skoo if u want.” Three-and-a-half years later, I find people who intentionally misspell their words so obnoxious that I openly mock and refuse to talk to them. Yet, in March of 2009—the end of my freshman year—I was one of those people. “You’ve really grown a lot,” a friend told me after reading the conversation. And I have, but I’m definitely not done. Comparing freshman Zach to senior Zach made me realize how much I’ve matured in high school, yet it also opened my eyes to the maturing I still have to do. In college, I’ll reflect on my life in 2012—both on who I was and how I learned—and there’s a good chance college Zach will be disappointed in high-school Zach. Until then, I’ll just enjoy the ride and my older self can say, “I was young back then.”

The Octagon Editors-In-Chief Mollie Berg Ian Cardle Christina Petlowany Copy Editor Zach Lemos Assistant Copy Editor Garrett Kaighn Business Manager Ian Cardle News Editor Christina Petlowany Editorial Editor Jeffrey Caves Community Editor Yanni Dahmani Sports Editors Mary-Clare Bosco Darby Bosco Ryan Ho Centerpoint Editor Mollie Berg Review Editor Connor Martin

Feature Editors Madeleine Wright Margaret Whitney Online Editors Anthony Valdez Yanni Dahmani Morgan Bennett-Smith Photo Editor Kelsi Thomas Photographer Will Wright Graphics Editor Kamira Patel Reporters Micaela Bennett-Smith Skovran Cunningham Grant Miner David Myers Shaun Shah Max Shukuya Patrick Talamantes Emma Williams Cartoonist Camille Getz Adviser Patricia Fels

The Octagon is published eight times a year by high-school journalism students of Sacramento Country Day School, 2636 Latham Drive, Sacramento, Calif. 95864. Phone: (916) 481-8811, ext. 347. Email: octagon@saccds.org, Web address: http://www. scdsoctagon.org.

O

rchids to. . . Sarah Wilks continuing to water the high-school

Orchids

&

survived the summer and are thriving.

Onions O nions O

nions to. . . teachers calling tests “quizzes” to avoid putting them on the test calendar. Please be honest so that students aren’t faced with three in one day.

O

nions to. . . parents who arrive late after dances. A few minutes is understandable, but please be prompt so that chaperones don’t have to stay too late.

O

rchids to. . . World

Passport Lunch was delicious, and the addition of the new rooms was greatly appreciated.


Review 9

Unwrapping the passion The Octagon

February 14, 2012

By Jeffrey Caves

Chocolates satisfy any romantic craving

By Connor Martin

fashioned recipe.

Page Editor

T

he ever-coveted kiss. The Hershey’s chocolate, I mean. It’s the most thrilling of the two kisses anyway. According to a study by David Lewis of Mindlab International, chocolate is more pleasurable and stimulating than any run-of-the-mill kiss you receive from that special someone. “Chocolate caused a more intense and longer lasting ‘buzz’ than kissing, and doubled volunteers’ heart rates,” according to a BBC article on Lewis’s research. It’s all because of phenylethylamine, a chemical in chocolate that raises the endorphins in the consumer’s body, therefore raising pleasure. So on this Valentine’s Day, give your special someone what their brain really wants: chocolate. But please, no Hershey’s. Not even See’s. Or Godiva. Romance requires creativity, so why go for the mass-produced norm when you can go for the richer, tastier, local alternative? Snook’s Chocolate Factory Set in historic Folsom (731 Sutter St.) and established in 1963, Snook’s offers old-fashioned charm. The interior of Snook’s is split in two: the customer area and the “factory.” A glass wall separates these rooms, so customers can peer in on employees makother confections. The chocolates are moderately priced—$8.75 for six. Chocolate aside, Snook’s features honeycomb, a crispy foam candy made of white and brown sugar that they based off of an old-

olate, it makes for one sweet surprise.

fused into chocolate and Snook’s amaSnook’s most popular chocolates, is the “Snooker Bar.” Think of a Snickers bar,

“Chocolate caused a more intense and longer lasting ‘buzz’ than kissing, and doubled volunteers’ heart rates.” Often, chili-infused chocolates are sits in the back of your throat.

Capital Confections For those who like large, rich chocoin one go, Capital Confections (2605 El Paseo Lane) is your place. The shop is hidden in the Town and Country Village, but the shop interior award-winning confections. In fact, taste testers from the Sacramento Bee decided Capital Confecof six other chocolatiers. After tasting their dark and milk I could see why oped such a reputation. They weren’t fancy by any means, but they were delicious. Deep, slightly bitter, and exceedingly these golf ball-size to satisfy anyone’s craziest chocolate had Snook’s outstanding amaretto sion as well. greater ratio of ganache

are large. Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates I’d say Snook’s and Capital ConfecGinger Elizabeth (1801 L St.) is a true I was in a high-end shop.

romantic). The pistachio chocolate, with pistachio brittle, did not disappoint my pal-

ing. knack for another traditional sweet: the Parisian macaron. From salted caramel to yuzu poppyseed, each one of them is to die for. The yuzu poppyseed macaron had a to make the perfect harmony. an Asian hybrid citrus with a refreshing taste like a mix between lemon and butteriness of the poppyseed and the chewy macaron base, it is nothing short at Ginger Elizabeth. A six-piece chocolate box is $12, and

fect for those who want chocolate to be the

with all the essential confections (such as assorted chocolates, candied almonds, cookies, and hot chocolate mix) will cost you $175.

ous, try the popular

Elizabeth chocolates, it’s worth the cash

Cooking in the Cave Succulent organ meats: why not give them a try?

T

he clientele at Chando’s Taco Stand is an odd bunch. Here, cops and the homeless rub shoulders with obviously wealthy denizens of East Sac and Midtown, all shivering together on a frigid January night. I had been to Chando’s (863 Arden Way) before, even written about it in a column, and I’ve frequented it since. But this time was different. This time I was on a hunt for organs. Not just organs, but bone marrow, succulent pork cheeks and more—all those neglected bits of deliciousness just now making a comeback. “Cabeza!” the man taking my order nearly shouted, gesturing at his own head. “It’s good! It’s good!” He was right. It was fatty and rich, braised until it disintegrated into a spicy, smoky, unbelievable porky mix—like bacon, pulled pork and carnitas mixed together. In short, it was the only thing keeping me going in 37-degree temperatures. But what sparked this hunt for organs, bones and all the other unwanted bits of meat that have the potential to be oh, so delicious? Last issue, as my column went through the final stage of editing, a copy editor made a seemingly insignificant comment on my story. I had written that Catalán cuisine was rich in organ meats, and the well-meaning editor remarked that this sounded frankly disgusting. But why? Why are these cuts no longer appreciated? Why do so many Americans treat them with such disdain? It’s true. Most of these tasty bits were once the food of poverty. Let’s face facts, though. The best of Mexican, Italian, Indian, Spanish and even French cuisine is peasant food. So why then did we lose sight of the greatness of the lesser cuts that so often were the cornerstone of those dishes? It is a question without a simple answer and indeed a question I will not even try to answer. The bottom line is that all this is changing. Restaurants across the country are rediscovering these morsels and serving them to an increasingly adventurous public. This movement goes by many names, though “Nose to tail eating,” a term coined by British chef Fergus Henderson, seems to describe it best. But that doesn’t matter. The importance of this movement is that without it, we would never know the unbelievable luxuriance of pork belly as I mentioned in my last column. Without it, restaurant-goers would never have known the buttery deliciousness within large cow bones that is bone marrow. Even in our humble city, Ella Dining Room and Bar offers marrow on the menu, scooped onto toast by the diner and piled with parsleycaper salad to provide an acidic counterpoint to the smooth, fatty richness of the marrow. Sure, sweetbreads are the thymus glands of young cows or lambs, but they are also rich, juicy and without the gaminess of many other organs. And they are now a staple on fine restaurant menus all over the United States. Mulvaney’s Restaurant in Midtown has long featured sweetbreads—although they are made different every time, they are always delicious. And tongue is no longer confined to the humble taco stand but is now featured at some of the finest restaurants in the Western world. However, this may be one area in which fine cuisine is not yet supreme, for Chando’s has the best tongue in the city. Lengua, beef tongue braised into a succulent, spicy, intoxicating mixture, is hard to beat. Maybe some things are best prepared the old-fashioned way. For Chef Jeff ’s recipe, Roasted Marrow Bones, see “Cooking in the Cave” at www.scdsoctagon.org.


10 Remainder

The Octagon

Conundrum: small size of school creates need for doubling up extracurriculars (Continued from page 2) they’re overcommitted or they just don’t care,” Ratcliff said. “More often than not (with this band) it’s because they’re overcommitted.” According to Ratcliff, if every student spent one to two hours practicing a night, “we’d have a program that would just kill. It’d be unbelievable. “But that’s not going to happen.” Ratcliff isn’t alone in this sentiment. Sophomore Garrett Kaighn, a saxophonist in Jazz and Concert Band, agrees there is room for improvement in the Jazz Band at least. “Concert Band has more inexperienced people than Jazz Band,” Kaighn said, “so it’s not at the same level regardless. “But the ple practiced more.” This culture of high involvement has also taken its toll on the drama department. “The school (administration) wants a lot of people involved (in drama),” director Brian Frishman said. “They want a lot of bodies on stage.” But Frishman describes the task of scheduling around the many commitments of his large casts as “impossible,” saying students end up missing rehearsals regularly. “This limits the productions,” Frishman said. “It can keep their full potentials from being realized.” Frishman does his best to get the time he needs with his actors, meeting with students at lunch, after school, and making up practices with individual students. However, he said he still wants more time to work with them. “A lot of the time I’m directing strictly for results, not process,” Frishman said.

“I have to show an actor exactly what to it and make the role their own.” Currently, the drama department is working to put on a play inspired by Henrik Ibsen’s “Enemy of the People.” The production will involve music and dancing and, according to Frishman, organizing it so far has been “a nightmare.” Frishman isn’t the only one who struggles to rehearse with a full cast. Jeanine Boyers, coach of the Mock Trial team, has been again and again thanks largely to student absences. “It’s like a Rubik’s cube,” she said of the school participates). “You move one thing, and the whole picture changes.” Thanks to this “domino effect,” Boyers has had to reassign roles six times so far, reshufwhelmingly because students were unable to commit.” “Everyone’s doing numerous activities, and they’re stuck going in a million directions and can’t focus on the team,” Boyers said. Students forced to miss practices “easily” fall behind their peers, creating extra work for the coaches and Mock Trialers who have to bring them up to speed. “It’s just not a good use of time,” Boyers said, putting unneeded pressure on the whole team. According to Boyers, other schools don’t have this problem. “The top schools have kids sign a contract saying they will only do Mock Trial, nothing else,” she said.

Though Boyers doubts Country Day will herself at odds with the school’s policy. “Not everyone should do everything,” Boyers said. “Students should focus on just one or two things instead of over reaching.” In AP Studio Art, time-strapped students have also caused problems, according to teacher Patricia Kelly. In the eight years she has taught the class, not one Country Day artist has ever submitted to the AP board for review. “There have been, and are, students capable of doing this, but no one ever submits a portfolio,” Kelly said. Kelly says part of the problem is time. A completed AP art portfolio requires 24 pieces, demonstrating the artist’s breadth of ability and a concentration. Five pieces are sent in (the rest are submitted digitally). Because not every piece of art is up to these standards, according to Kelly, students must have an extensive body of work before they begin to revise and select pieces. “It’s quite a lengthy process,” Kelly said, one that is often started by her students, but has not been completed in a long time—and probably won’t be this year either. While seniors Alex Stamatis and Barrie Feusi are unsure whether they’ll submit, Grace Mehta, Sasha Ragland, and Ryan Ho know they won’t. “It’s very time consuming,” Ho said. “Besides, it’s not like I’m going to focus on art in college.” And Ho isn’t the only one with college on the mind; on top of all their academic and extracurricular commitments, juniors and seniors have the ever-growing college application process to look forward to. This year, the average senior applied to 11 colleges, up from seven 10 years ago, said college counselor Patricia Fels. The number of activities they participate in ranges from 0-11, with the majority involved in 3-4. But Fels thinks that this high-involvement approach to college applications is no longer the “hook” schools are looking for. “There was a time when the idea was to do as many activities as possible. Everyone had a lot of activities so that they could list

February 14, 2012

them all on the lines of the college application,” Fels said. But now highly selective schools are looking instead for students who have a “passion” for something, according to Fels. immersing yourself in it,” Fels said. She does, however, admit that both graduates with a clear “passion” and those involved in a “huge number of things” have gone on to prestigious colleges. ing on fewer activities. “The reality of it is a lot of people don’t discover their passions in their sophomore or junior years of high school,” Fels said. But in her capacity as newspaper advisor, involvement “really frustrating.” “I look at someone who has enormous talent (for writing or design), and I think, if this were a public school, this person would be much more concentrated,” Fels said. “And instead the person gets pretty good at a bunch of things.”

(only school-related activities) -Mock Trial -Drama -Concert Band -Jazz Band -Ambassadors

-Ski/ Snowboard -Golf -Lacrosse

Cabot Jackman, senior -Octagon -Concert Band -Jazz Band -Soccer

-Crosscountry -Basketball -Baseball -Lacrosse

Morgan Bennett-Smith, junior -Mock Trial -Medallion -Studio Art -Ambassadors -Soccer

-Cross-country -Basketball -Baseball -Lacrosse

Trevor Sutley, senior

History teacher has appendectomy By Yanni Dahmani

Page Editor

F

or 10 years, history teacher Bruce Baird never missed a day of work—except for a court hearing. That was until Jan. 21. Baird woke up that Saturday and felt a pressure in his abdominal area, as if he had “some weird gas” there. But he thought nothing of it. out,” he said. But it got worse. The pressure kept building and soon became painful. Even worse, everything he tried failed to cure it. “It felt unlike any gas I’ve ever had,” Baird said. “I couldn’t belch it out.” At 2 p.m., after being unable to sleep, he called Kaiser. After a 30-minute phone call, Baird was told to come in since the nurses didn’t know what was wrong. When he arrived at the hospital, Baird was administered morphine and a series of tests, including an EKG and an ultrasound. However, the tests proved useless. So the emergency-care physician began pressing around Baird’s abdomen. Despite the morphine, Baird’s eyes widened in pain when she pressed his lower right side. The physician knew what it was: appendicitis. Appendicitis is caused by an inDoctors reassured Baird that only a small percentage of people actually die from the ailment. “They said that children in India whose appendixes burst end up sick

Baird said. hospital, 30 minutes of which were spent in a closed surgery—a procedure without any incision larger than a penny—to remove his appendix. After this, Baird remained at home for a week, unable to drive to school due to the strength of the medicine the doctors prescribed to him. While he was gone, art history teacher Joel Rickert substituted for his classes. Despite the pain Baird experienced prior to his surgery, immediately after the operation he didn’t understand why he had to stay at home. It wasn’t until Wednesday afternoon that he began to feel shaky and ill. By Friday, however, Baird said he was in much better condition. “I knew everything was taken care of and the classroom was in good shape––and I got to have a real day off.”

Bruce Baird shows off his scars, which are now scarcely visible. (Photo by Christina Petlowany)


The Octagon

February 14, 2012

Community 11

Mock Trial’s role changes frustrate team members

Several upperclassmen did not adhere to that rule, and Although Boyers feels like Country Day did not get the some became upset when they did not receive their preferred most out of the scrimmage because of Ponderosa’s imcomPage Editor roles or any at all. plete team, she was content with the performance of the Graves has almost always been the opening attorney, she rama is common in a courtroom. But the Mock said. However, she missed the day of the retreat because she team captain Adam Pinson. Trial team’s drama started well before they walked into court. When she returned, she was informed that she did not Feb. 16. The team is experiencing a “roller-coaster” season have a role. Over the last six years, Country Day has taken fourth, third so far, according to senior Hayley Graves. “(The coaches) said I wasn’t committed enough,” Graves and second place at the competition. Head coach Jeanine Boyers, returning after a year of absaid. “I don’t think (missing the retreat) is enough to de-role sence, started the season by arranging scrimmages much earsomeone.” lier than before. After sitting out for the most recent scrimmage against PonCountry Day faced Tamalpais High School of Marin Counderosa High School on Feb. 3, Graves is now the defendant instead of an attorney. Mock Trial team has won 17 consecutive county champion “In order for the team to perform well, the defendant has to titles and a national champion title. be likeable, and more importantly, believable,” Boyers said. However, despite Boyers’s effort to give the team a head “We have tried it with several students and are hoping that start, the team encountered unexpected challenges and probthis change will work.” lems as the season progressed. According to Graves, she has never had a defendant role, To begin with, the team’s size and members’ variation in so this will be new and fun for her. But still, after being on the team for three years, Graves would have preferred a more The team had 23 members in the beginning of the year. The challenging role. bare minimum required for a team is 12. Gudebski did not miss the retreat and originally received Wanting to provide roles for everyone, Boyers and cothe role as the defendant. But after the latest scrimmage, she was switched to a defense witness. However, that solution wasn’t feasible, according to BoyWhile Gudebski agreed that role switchings were necesers. sary and Boyers was right about students not putting in their Forming two teams required many members to double up best effort, she also felt that “it’s not fair.” on roles, making every member’s presence at “(Boyers) had told us that the roles the competition crucial. Being one person were set in stone,” she said. short at the last minute would have forced Junior Cooper Jackman recently quit the entire team to forfeit. “I don’t think missing the team. Jackman also did not attend Besides the fact that the team is now the retreat and did not receive a role. down to 19 members, “students just aren’t the retreat is enough to He tried out for a witness role in the last doing the work,” Boyers said. de-role someone.” scrimmage, but didn’t get it. Instead, he While big-school teams such as Elk –Hayley Graves, senior received the role of bailiff for the third time in three years. Country Day students meet only three to However, Jackman did not quit the four hours every Sunday. team just because he received a small On top of that, many students often strugrole. gle to attend practices, because they already participate in “I felt like good decisions weren’t being made,” he said. numerous other activities. Students are not able to practice as Boyers, however, described Jackman’s situation as one of a team, and this affects the team “immensely,” Boyers said. the inevitable ones in Mock Trial. “Our kids really have to step it up,” she said. “They are reAccording to Boyers, Jackman has been working incredibly ally at a disadvantage.” hard, but the witness role was simply not right for him. BoyStudents weren’t able to put enough effort into learning ers believed Jackman would be a good middle attorney, but their roles, resulting in constant role changing that delayed the overall progress of the team, according to Boyers. Boyers describes the process of assigning roles as solving “(Mock Trial) is all about work,” Boyers said. “I don’t care how much potential you have. You have to practice.” roles, they also have to know how their parts relate to the Therefore, Boyers has decided not to divide the team, case as a whole. Students have to be likeable during comwhich means some members will participate as understudpetitions to earn the most points possible, and the students’ ies, learning and preparing for next year. interaction with other students is crucial. However, the role changing continues and has caused sig“You have to have it all,” Boyers said. Boyers understands that students work very hard and that Jianna Gudebski. they get frustrated about role changing, but during scrimmagFor Gudebski, the annoying part was how she learned everything about one role, but then it was quickly taken away Boyers also needed students to go beyond in-class work to from her when she received a new role. do more outside work. Graves agrees. “It’s hard to keep up with the sudden chang“It’s not enough to just sit in your bedroom and write what es,” she said. “It takes the fun out of (Mock Trial), making it you are asked to do,” she said. very stressful.” Despite all the problems the team has faced, students have started to come together, Boyers said. She feels that the team Top, Kai Mauer (portrayed by freshman George Cvetich) their newly given roles. has gotten past the drama, and “the team as a whole is work- uses a diagram to show where he was on the night of the According to Boyers, she made one rule very clear in the murder at the Wooly Wizard music festival. Middle, freshing really well.” beginning of the year: Students were required to attend the “The retreat was really the turning point,” she said. “Every- man Claire Pinson and senior Cabot Jackman discuss stratMock Trial retreat, held at junior Jeffrey Caves’s house on Jan. egy while the prosecution questions a witness. Bottom, se21-22. niors Alistair Fortson and Trevor Sutley ponder an objection tuning (the details) now.” “If you don’t come to the retreat, you won’t be guaranteed And the improvement was obvious in the scrimmage while the defense cross-examines a witness. (Photos by Kelsi a role,” Boyers said. Thomas) against Ponderosa on Feb. 3.

By Ryan Ho

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12 Feature

The Octagon

ery day, believes soda preferences differ not because of gender, but because of what children’s parents push on them at a young age. “I grew up with (diet soda) so I never learned to dislike it. My mom wouldn’t let me drink things that were high in sugar or high in fat,” he said. Junior Ben Hernried also prefers diet soda because that’s what was in his refrigerator. “BeIf you’re a girl who has thought about trying Dr. Pepper Ten, forget about it—the drink is “not for women” the new face of the diet soda says. Dr. Pepper Ten’s latest commercial depicts a macho man in an Indiana-Jones style action movie, killing snakes with laser beams and trapping vicious villains in booby traps. Attempting to break the stereotype of girls preferring diet soda, the adventurer in the commercial exclaims, “So you can keep the romantic comedies and lady drinks, because we’re good (the ‘we’ of course referring to all men).” After all, he says, the drink is only ten “manly” calories—and it’s “what guys want.” Although junior Cooper Jackman calls this just a “silly marketing strategy,” Dr. Pepper’s marketing team feels their research supports direct targeting of the male population. Dr. Pepper Ten was developed after the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (the company that distributes the soft drink) found that men are reluctant to drink diet drinks that don’t seem “macho” enough, according to ABC News’s website. Therefore, the new “macho” drink, contained in gunmetal grey cans, is meant to appeal to the male population. Senior Zach Lemos, who said in an Octagon poll that he drinks only regular soda, believes there is a stereotype that girls prefer diet while men prefer regular. Lemos even admitted that he would mock one of his friends if he preferred diet soda. “But not in a mean way—just poking fun at them,” Lemos said. And 45 percent of high-school students polled agree with Lemos about the stereogype. But just because they know the stereotype

Hernried said. If anything, Hernried said, drinking diet soda makes him feel “more manly” because he’s not scared to drink diet soda because of some silly stereotype. Junior Donald Hutchinson, who prefers the taste of regular soda, drinks diet soda a few times a week because it’s what his parents keep around the house. However, because he took teacher Kellie Whited’s nutrition class, he thinks that diet soda isn’t as healthy as regular. up and create tumors,” he said. diet soda is “all (his) parents keep around.” Senior Nicholas Samson said that although he’s “developed (his) own preferences over time,” his parents certainly had an impact. “My dad drank a lot of Diet Coke. I’ve gotten so used to drinking sodas without a lot of sugar,” he said. In The Octagon’s soda test, 81 percent of students and faculty could correctly distinguish Dr. Pepper Ten from Dr. Pepper, but a lot of boys said they preferred the taste of diet soda. Junior Alex Kardasopoulos prefers Diet Coke because it’s “less sugary tasting.” Some boys say they drink diet because it’s healthier.

and that “it’s a lot easier to gain weight drinking the regular soda.” “Soda is just empty calories,” said senior Cabot Jackman, who drinks diet because it’s “a healthy alternative that tastes better than water.” Janet Roberts, a licensed family practice doctor, said that there are actually health concerns about both diet and regular soda. Regular soda’s high sugar triggers an insulin In response to the commercial, The Octagon held a taste test comparing diet and regular so- response, which makes soda the leading cause das—including Coke, Mountain Dew and Dr. of obesity in children, Roberts said. However, Roberts also noted that diet soda Pepper—in which both students and teachers is “loaded with chemicals” (like aspartame, participated. While 53 percent of women said that they acesulfame-K and citric acid) to make up for the never drink diet soda, only 26 percent of men missing sugars. said that they never do. And while 11 percent of girls drink diet soda at least a few times a week, safe, but the effects of these in the long run are unknown,” Roberts said. 31 percent of males say they do. Roberts added that people who drink diet soSenior Ian Cardle, who drinks a diet soda ev-

February 14, 2012

das assume that they can consume them without the guilt complex associated with caloric fullsugar sodas. But diet sodas, too, can stimulate an insulin response in the body, leading to obesity and diabetes, just like regular soda, she said. Dr. Pepper Ten’s campaign strategy may be working nationally. According to USA Today, 60 percent of those who have purchased Dr. Pepper Ten are male. And Jim Treblicock, executive vice president of marketing for Dr. Pepper said he isn’t worried about the campaign offending women. In an Associated Press article he stated, “Women get the joke.” “Is this really for men or really for women? It’s a way to start the conversation that can spread and get people engaged in the product,” he said. But at Country Day, Dr. Pepper Ten obviously won’t be picking up many diet-hating males. And the company may alienate SCDS females. In a second Octagon poll, 33 percent of highschool girls said they found the advertising campaign offensive. And 17 percent said they would never drink Dr. Pepper Ten because of the commercial.

at boys versus girls stereotypes. The Yorkie English chocolate bar has been marketed as “not for girls” since 2001. Regardless, Kirstyn Luton, who grew up in London, said the advertising didn’t stop her from eating the candy bar. “If anything the guys played on the advert more than girls, joking that we weren’t allowed to eat it,” Luton said. However, she said her friend, a strong feminist, doesn’t want anything to do with the Yorkie bar. Harriet Bradley, a graduate student living in London, believes that the advertising “forces even the most politically correct person to conclude it’s just a bit of fun.” But she admits that a girl might receive “banter” from a shop assistant when buying one. In a famous Yorkie commercial, a girl dressed unconvincingly as a man tries to buy a Yorkie bar, (including opening a jar, explaining a complex soccer rule, and confronting a spider). To check out that commercial, go to www. youtube.com/watch?v=QcjlzSod0CE. It’s bloody brilliant. And either sex can watch it. —Mollie Berg


The Octagon February 2012 Edition