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We spent our break binge-watching ‘80s and ‘90s TV shows. What did you do?

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SCDSOCTAGON.COM

VOL. XXXVII, NO. 4

Chemistry prepares for teacher change By Kamira Patel

Editor-in-Chief

As students finish taking their finals, everything seems to calm down as the new semester promises a fresh start. But for many sophomores and juniors, the start may be a little too fresh. Chemistry teacher Michael Covey will be stepping down from his position to make way for Robin Altman as she takes over teaching both Chemistry and AP Chemistry. Neither Covey nor Altman was available to teach the entire year. For the past semester, Altman has been working with a professor in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at UC Davis in a postdoctoral scholar position, studying how atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and vascular dementia may be linked to the types of foods people eat. Covey was enjoying retirement when the school asked him to teach. “I was reluctant to give (up retirement) for longer than I needed to,” he said. “Since Dr. Altman was willing to teach for the second semester, it turned our that I did not need to teach for the entire year.” Having met extensively over the summer to discuss teaching styles, both teachers said they believe that the switch will be pretty smooth. “(Altman) taught a semester here, so a lot of the logistical understanding is already embedded,” Covey said. “Now it’s about her getting to know the routines that we, the students and I, have developed so that she knows where the students are coming from. From there, she can make an informed decision on what to keep and what to change.” See Chemistry, page 3

Chemistry teacher Michael Covey sets off a combustion reaction in his hand. (Photo by Kamira Patel)

January 21, 2014

Where’s your money really going?

Do the funds raised for the Run to Feed the Hungry really go to programs helping the poor? By Ryan Ho

Online Editor-in-Chief

O

n Dec. 12, teachers Michelle Myers and Laura Steele Monahan emailed the whole school, congratulating Country Day’s Run to Feed the Hungry (RTFTH) team for raising the largest group donation once again. RTFTH, an event that’s owned and operated by the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS), is both a race on Thanksgiving morning and a fundraiser for the food bank. This is the eighth consecutive year that Country Day has led the fundraiser. With 257 participants, Team Country Day raised $8,081, well ahead of second-place Dreyer Babich Buccola Wood Campora LLP, which raised $3,475. The 493 members of St. Francis High School raised

Middle-school math teacher Laura Steele Monahan and JV volleyball coach Sarah Song (top); Susan Johnson, senior Charlie Johnson, Jamie Johnson, ’10, seventh-grader Heidi Johnson and Jay Johnson (left); and sophomores Jenny Kerbs and Emma Brown and eighth-grader Lily Brown at the 2013 Run to Feed the Hungry. (Photos courtesy of Monahan)

Valerie McCan-Murrell, third-grader Jacob Chand, headmaster Stephen Repsher and third-grader Loryn Murrell pose at the Run to Feed the Hungry on Thanksgiving morning last year. (Photo courtesy of Laura Steele Monahan)

$2,348 for their team, placing fifth in the top 10 fundraising participants. The total donations from RTFTH this year were $114,930, according to SFBFS. But how much of that money is actually going toward helping those in need? Some nonprofit charities spend more on overhead (administrative costs) and fundraising than the programs that they aim to support, meaning most of the donation doesn’t help the cause. For example, the Cancer Survivors’ Fund located in Missouri City, Texas, spends 89.9 percent of its total functional expenses ($1,392,364) on professional fundraising fees, according to Charity Navigator, a widely recognized independent nonprofit corporation that evaluates charities in the U.S. Only 7.1 percent of the expenses goes toward supporting its mission, (providing scholarships for young adults to give them a new purpose and meaning in life, to enable them to start and/or continue their college education and to provide financial help for prosthesis needs). Other nonprofit charities that are negatively rated by Charity Navigator because they spend over 50 percent of their budget on for-profit fundraising professionals include The Committee for Missing Children, Wishing Well Foundation USA and the Children’s Leukemia Research Association.

Final steps to hire new head of HS underway a teacher in one room at one time,” with colleagues for at most two he said. years, so he said he is excited at the Page Editor “My classroom would no longer be prospect of working with the same Room 1. (It) would be the whole high people for many years. The search is on for a new head school.” “(Nellis) is so present and involved of high school. The candidates come He said it would allow him to in the high school, and I want that from all over the map, including Bal- think about how the school can im- for myself,” he said. timore, Los Angeles and St. Louis, prove and to foIn Decemheadmaster Stephen Repsher said. cus on the kinds ber, Repsher “We’re looking for someone who of things he “I can tell in a conversa- c o n d u c t e d understands and wants to be part of likes to do, such tion with someone if they phone interthis school,” he said. views with as ThanksgivSue Nellis, current head of high ing lunches and would be a good fit.” several out–Stephen Repsher, headmaster side candischool, recently announced that she back-to-school is stepping down from the position events. dates to see if and returning full time to the classthey demonOne reason Mercado is interestroom next year. ed in the position is his love for the strated a level of interest that was Consequently, the school is con- school. more than cursory. ducting a “I can tell in a conversation with “In the nine nationwide years I’ve been someone if they would be a good fit,” “My classroom would at Country Day, he said. search. A little no longer be Room I. (It) I’ve really fallRepsher said he discussed hycloser to en in love with pothetical and real situations and home, Brooke would be the whole high Country Day,” issues similar to those in which the Wells (assis- school.” candidates would be involved, if givhe said. tant head of T h r o u g h en the position. –Brooke Wells, English teacher high school “Though they might not always working at and teacher) Breakthrough, agree on the best course of action,” and Adolfo Mercado, (Breakthrough he said he has been able to chat with he said, “a good divisional head (will) Sacramento director) have also ap- many Sacramento business leaders. bring in diverse opinions and come plied for the position. “I’m amazed at the high level of to a fair and just consensus in resolvWells said that he thinks assuming misinformation about SCDS. I want ing issues.” this position would be a nice way to to do more public education on what Three out-of-state candidates were invited to the school: Tucker interact with more students and fac- we do at Country Day.” ulty members outside the classroom. While working at Breakthrough, See Search, page 3 “It’s an opportunity to not just be Mercado has only been able to work

By Zoe Bowlus

See RTFTH, page 10

Point of Interest Instagram blocked Instagram, the popular online video- and photo-sharing social medium, was recently blocked on the school Wi-Fi. According to Tom Wroten, director of technology, Instagram is blocked because the school Wi-Fi blocks social media in general. “There are 53 different categories we filter, and social media is one of them,” Wroten said. Many students dislike this most recent social media blocking. “Sometimes in yearbook we use photos on Instagram to show trends,” senior Savannah Symister, the editor-in-chief of The Medallion, said. “Now we can’t do that on school computers.” Other social media blocked include Facebook, Reddit and YouTube. However, Twitter, another popular social media website, is still not blocked. When asked why Instagram is only recently blocked and why Twitter is still not blocked, Wroten had no comment. “Maybe Twitter should be blocked, too,” he said. ­­—Ryan Ho


2 Feature

The Octagon

January 21, 2014

Jordan Younger, ‘09, displays the groceries she bought to prepare for her five-day vegan cleanse. Younger posts a variety of recipes, including many fruit smoothies, on her website. (Photos courtesy of Younger)

Maintaining New Year’s resolution:

‘Blonde Vegan’ Jordan Younger’s Instagram attracts thousands of fans overnight

For example, Younger makes “tie-dye jars,” which are mason jars layered with fruit, oats, and pureed fruits and vegetables. The layers are arranged to create a tie-dye color gradient. Editor-in-Chief The Blonde Vegan Instagram page gained about 20 followers a day, which surprised Younger and her mother Jane. ast July, Jordan Younger, ‘09, woke up one morning to But then an established vegan blogger sent a message to his discover that she had acquired 4,000 new Instagram followers, asking them to follow The Blonde Vegan on Instafollowers. gram. But this wasn’t her personal Instagram; this was her That’s when Younger woke up to find out that she had 4,000 public account, @theblondevegan. new followers. Younger uses the Instagram account, which now has over Younger’s mom, Jane, said that this lifestyle was entirely new 36,000 followers, to share her vegan lifestyle, including recipes, for Younger and that it’s funny to see the change it has brought. inspirational quotes and her new five-day vegan cleanse. “Jordan had completely no interest in (cooking) whatsoever,” The account directs viewers to Younger’s Jane Younger said. blog, also called “The Blonde Vegan.” About five weeks after she started her Ins“The blog is kind of like my baby,” Younger tagram account, Younger created her blog. said. “I’m a writer, so my goal is to write as much Younger tries to post every day on the blog, as possible,” she said. which currently gets 70,000-80,000 views a She is currently pursuing a master’s degree month. In it she shares recipes, vegan restauin creative writing from The New School in rant and product reviews, and tips for leading New York City. While an undergraduate at a vegan lifestyle, such as her recent post on Loyola Marymount University, she majored in vegan travel tips. English with a minor in journalism. Despite her success, Younger’s Instagram English teacher Brooke Wells remembers account and blog are less than seven months Younger’s passion for writing. He said she alold. And Younger became a vegan only a year ways enjoyed even the lengthy assignments. ago, as a result of a New Year’s plant-based “I think she really thought through writvegan cleanse as a healthy start to the year. ing,” he said. “I had no intention of going vegan permaAlthough in school Younger has written nently while I was on the cleanse,” she said, mostly fiction, she believes she has a future in Jordan Younger “but I felt so incredible that I decided to connonfiction. tinue it for as long as I could.” “I definitely want to publish a cookbook,” After the cleanse, Younger slowly added Younger said. “But I’d rather be approached beans and grains back into her diet. (by publishers) than do the approaching.” The transition to veganism was easy for Younger, she said, Junior Micaela Bennett-Smith, a non-vegan regular reader, because she was largely vegetarian before. hopes that Younger will publish a book soon. Younger had cut red meat out of her diet in sophomore year “Even though I’m not a vegan, I love trying her recipes,” she of high school because eating oily or heavy foods irritated her said. “They always look so cool.” stomach. She ate fish and chicken several times a week until she Currently Younger is promoting her own five-day cleanse prostarted her vegan cleanse. gram. Viewers can purchase the 56-page booklet with 25 recipes Younger said her vegan lifestyle makes her feel lighter and for $25. more energized, as she has lost 15 pounds. She also sleeps better The cleanse program includes recipes for one smoothie, two and her stomach is “calm and content.” juices, one lunch and one dinner per day—all of which are plantAfter becoming vegan, Younger researched veganism and dis- based. covered its health and environmental benefits. For example, a cleanser will have kale-avocado soup for dinShe also started following about 50 vegan bloggers, though in ner on one night, followed by a strawberry smoothie the next the beginning she had no intention of blogging herself. morning. “After following vegan Instagram accounts, I started realizing Besides selling the cleanse, Younger receives income from that the food I made was as photogenic as the accounts that I vegan product reviews. followed,” she said. “So I made my own vegan food Instagram On average, she receives five products in the mail each week in June.” Younger spent last summer cooking and photographing her See Vegan Blog, page 11 food, she said.

By Connor Martin

L

Jordan’s 100% Raw, Clean, Guilt-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups Ingredients:

Chocolate Portion:

1/2 cup cacao powder 1 tbsp. organic agave syrup 1/3 cup coconut oil (melted) 1/4 cup organic vegan chocolate chips

Peanut Butter Portion:

1/2 cup natural peanut butter 1/2 cup natural almond butter 1 tbsp. organic agave syrup 2 tbsp. organic coconut oil

Q

&A

with Badier Velji, ‘03

After going Paleo, a diet designed to mimic the eating habits of cavemen, Badier Velgi, ‘03, started a website called “The Lazy Caveman” to discuss the dietary lifestyle. Q: Why did you adopt the Paleo lifestyle? A: I started doing CrossFit and weightlifting, but I felt like I was a little sluggish in my workouts. At the time I was eating a standard American diet with a lot of whole grains and everything low-fat. I was having energy issues, digestive issues and problems with my skin. My coach told me about Paleo, and I made the switch in 2010. Q: What’s the hardest part of maintaining a Paleo lifestyle? A: I’m definitely a sugar addict. If I’m craving sugar, I’ll usually go to fruit first. I have a terrible sweet tooth, so if I do end up treating myself, I make sure it’s gluten-free so I’m not punishing my stomach for a couple days, because I am that sensitive. The other big challenge is when you are in the middle of a work day, and you have a catered lunch at work. When you can’t eat gluten or dairy, pulling the bread off of a sandwich gets a lot of weird looks, but I’ve learned not to care because ultimately I’m doing what’s good for me. Q: When you eat fruit, do you only eat it in the summer as a caveman would? A: Seasonal eating is another sustainability aspect that separates Paleo from other diets. We’re very big on compassionately raised meats, local fruits and vegetables, and wild seafood. I think that really makes a difference in the nutrients that you get from that food. Winter is great for citrus, but during the summer I avoid it because it’s all imported from South America. It’s cheaper to eat seasonally as well because the food doesn’t travel very far. The cost is something that a lot of people complain about on Paleo, but when you look at the cost of food versus medications, eating right costs less.

Directions:

Whip out your trusty muffin trays, and if you don’t have them, buy them, because they come in handy for just about every yummy treat. Combine the nut butters, coconut oil and agave syrup in a bowl, and stir until the ingredients are well mixed. Place a spoonful of the mixture into each muffin cup until you have used it all. Place in the freezer until hardened. Now it’s time to start on the chocolate portion! Combine the cacao powder, coconut oil, agave and chocolate chips in a bowl, and stir until well mixed. Place a spoonful of the chocolate mixture over the hardened peanut butter mixture. Pop them back into the freezer and harden. Now comes the hard part–wait until they are hard so you can nom on those puppies!


The Octagon

News 3

January 21, 2014

The Final Five Adolfo Mercado

Terence Murray

Brooke Wells

Mark Novom

Tucker Foehl

Current School: SCDS

Current School: Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School

Current School: SCDS

Current School: Brentwood School

Current School: The Baltimore School for the Arts

Current Location: Sacramento

Current Location: Los Angeles

Current Location: Baltimore, Md.

Current Position(s): —Assistant head of high school —Director of student activities —College counselor —High-school and middle-school English teacher —Varsity lacrosse coach

Current Position(s): —Dean of students —Yearbook adviser

Current Position(s): —Head of academics

Wells: “I love to climb mountains. I spend a lot of time in the high country climbing peaks. People would be surprised to note how focused I am on small details.”

Novom: “Although I’m a lifelong and diehard Dodgers fan, I married a lifelong and diehard Giants fan. You can say that the past several years have been hard on me!”

Foehl: “I grew up playing junior golf in Southern California with Tiger Woods. There is a picture of us on the Internet playing in a father-son tournament (I’m the one with the Nike golf hat on!).

Current Location: Sacramento Current Position(s): —Director of Breakthrough Sacramento

Current Location: St. Louis, Mo. Current Position(s): —High-school dean of students —History teacher —Men’s soccer coach

Q: What’s something most people don’t know about you? Mercado: “When I was in middle school, I became fascinated with the U.S.S.R. My mom gave me a subscription to Soviet Life magazine; it was all I wanted for Christmas. Ten years later, when I got to witness a communist state first-hand, I was horribly disappointed with what I saw.”

Murray: “I tend to be an open book, so I don’t surprise many people. However, I do have a full-sized cutout of myself made by former students in my office.”

Search: Candidates come from California, Missouri, Maryland (Continued from page 1)

may have different ideas for the school’s future. so much into her work and just gives so much of herself to the Repsher emphasizes that the person coming should be a school,” Jackson said. Foehl (Baltimore), Terry Murray (St. Louis), and Mark Novom “collegial leader” who would carefully listen to all sides before “I would like to see someone who is willing to hear new (Los Angeles) so that they could be further interviewed and making any changes. ideas and is okay with a possible deviation from what they see the city of Sacramento. “Any changes that are made should be in harmony with the first planned,” senior Kamira Patel, editor-in-chief of the OcRepsher said that it is important for the candidates to see if goals of the community and consistent with the core mission tagon, said. Sacramento is a community they would like to be part of, es- of the school,” he said. She added that it is important to make sure that all the pecially since, in many cases, they have “Change should not be something students get to know the head of high school well. young children. Therefore, they might that is imposed from above, (but) Talking with Nellis, Patel said, is not like talking to an offieven bring a spouse with them since “I want somebody who is something that is developed through cial in a foreign country. assuming the position would mean realso intellectually curious collaborative effort.” location. “(Nellis) knows me,” she said. There are many qualifications that Each candidate, including Mercado and someone who consid- the school is looking for in a candidate. As editor-in-chief, Patel said that it is nice to have someone and Wells, was on campus all day on an ers himself to be a lifelong “First and foremost, that individual who is willing to take the time to talk with students and exassigned date, meeting with parents, will be someone who enjoys our stu- plain the reasoning behind a decision, “someone who is okay student.” students, faculty and administration. with the Octagon telling the truth about the high school.” –Sue Nellis, head of high school dents (and) our faculty,” Repsher said. The first candidate, Mercado, interWells said that knowing and respecting the culture of Repsher also said that candidates viewed on Jan. 8. The last candidate, Country Day is critical. must have a thorough understanding Foehl, visited on Jan. 17. “The way we let (students) decide to think independently Repsher said he plans to make a decision by the week of of and experience with independent-school education. They must be well versed and experienced and powerfully is really important to Jan. 21, barring conflicts or unforeseen circumstances. me,” he said. As part of the interviewing process, Repsher and Nellis in leadership as well. Repsher also wants the candidates “Change should not be someassembled committees of faculty and administration and “The most important quality is leadstudents and parents who are “most active in the life of the to have the highest academic stan- thing that is imposed from ership,” Mercado said. “For me, leaderdards. school,” Repsher said. ship is having a vision, conveying the “It’s a tough position to fill because above, but something that is Nellis chose the students, based on teachers’ recommendavision and having folks support (it).” it’s so important in the life of the tions, while Repsher nominated the parents. developed through collaboHe also said he thinks that experiEach committee met separately to evaluate each candidate. school,” Repsher said. “The identity ence and attention to community deCommittee members asked questions to assess each can- has such an impact on the operations rative effort.” velopment are important. –Stephen Repsher, headmaster didate’s skill sets and qualifications for the position, using an of grades 9-12.” Nellis would like the candidates to When looking at a candidate, “paevaluation form. They gave each candidate a ranking from 1-5 be intelligent, well educated, compastience and organization are key,” sein different categories: leadership skills, knowledge of cursionate, diplomatic, able to multitask, hard-working and willriculum, intelligence, breadth of knowledge, organizational nior Maddy Mahla, Student Council president, said. “(Nellis) never procrastinates and does a really good job at ing to work (“It does take time,” she said.). skills, speaking skills, listening skills, respect and sensitivity, “I want somebody who is also intellectually curious and always keeping the goal in mind,” she said. collegiality, sense of humor, and enthusiasm and energy. someone who considers himself to be a lifelong student,” she Members were also asked to rank the candidate’s overall Senior Sydney Jackson, editor-in-chief of The Medallion, said. suitability for the school. agrees that organization is important. “Being in education is always being a student.” While candidates may be well suited for the position, they “(Nellis) makes the most efficient use of her time. She puts

Chemistry: Students have mixed feelings about upcoming switch (Continued from page 1)

teacher Alan Beamer’s methods to Covey’s. “I’m most afraid of the change because we Throughout the year, Covey has kept Altman don’t want to completely switch our style of updated on everything in class, relaying to her learning,” junior Jaspreet Gill said. “Once in a the methods that he has used to approach dif- year is more than enough.” ferent topics. “For Covey, we read the book before we come “Dr. Covey has been wonderful about keeping to class,” junior Chien Ho me apprised, and I’ve said. “He uses the book a tried my best to learn lot more, which is some“I’m still a little nervous.” how the classroom has thing Mr. Beamer didn’t –Emma Belliveau, sophomore been working this year really do.” so I can stick closely to Junior Melissa Vasquez these methods and hopefully not rock the boat agreed that another switch might prove chaltoo much!” Altman said. lenging. Altman has been coming in to observe classes “I spent half a year getting used to Dr. Covsince Jan. 6 to prepare for the switch. ey’s tests, and now I have to get used to Dr. AltAfter the semester ends and Altman takes man’s,” she said. over, Covey will still be available for a couple “I’m sure that (Altman will be) pretty preweeks for consultation and questions if any stu- pared. Country Day does a pretty good job in dents need it. Covey will then return to his work general getting good teachers. It will just be hard in the school’s garden. for us to get accustomed to her and accustomed Some students are nervous about the changes to the new style of teaching.” it will bring to the classroom, especially in AP However, other students aren’t as concerned Chemistry, who had to first switch from former with the change, especially the sophomores.

Having Covey for regular chemistry, the sophomores haven’t experienced two different teaching styles for the same subject as the juniors have. According to sophomore Akilan Murugesan, both Covey and Altman assured them on Orientation Day that their tests will be consistent. “I’m sure their teaching styles will be a little different, but their tests should stay the same,” Murugesan said. “I’m sure it will be fine. “Preferably it would be nice to have one teacher stay for the entire year, and Dr. Covey is really fun.” Sophomore Emma Belliveau also likes Covey’s teaching style, saying that he makes everything very straightforward, and his tests aren’t hard if one knows the material. “I’m still a little nervous,” she said. Yet Altman has confidence that the students will be able to handle the change. “I have the utmost respect for Country Day students,” she said. “I feel so fortunate to be working with such a mature and talented group, and I am sure they will handle the transition gracefully.”

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4 Sports

The Octagon

January 21, 2014

Sophomore Emily Berke anticipates a serve during her club volleyball practice (left). Sophomore Emma Brown practices serving the ball (right). The newly formed team hopes to utilize Livermore Park’s outdoor sand courts in Folsom on the weekends. According to coach Drew Petersen, beach volleyball offers more skill development. (Photos by Kamira Patel)

New club team encourages players’ creativity By Maxwell Shukuya Page Editor

F

or most players, the end of Country Day’s volleyball season means nine months of waiting before stepping onto the court again. But with the advent of 530, an outdoor club volleyball team, that’s soon to

change. The newly created team, named after Davis’s area code, was established by Drew Petersen, a former professional basketball coach and the father of eighth-grader Kyra. “The idea behind (the outdoor team) is to play a small side (a game with fewer people than indoor volleyball) with more touches and skill development,” Petersen said. Traditionally, indoor volleyball teams play six players per side versus outdoors’ minimal two per side. Petersen said that outdoor volleyball—specifically pick-up outdoor beach volleyball—fosters players’ creativity. “With sand, the coaches aren’t telling the players what to do. The players learn how to play and how to score themselves,” Petersen said. Petersen’s sand volleyball project grew after girls varsity coach Jason Kreps read about Petersen’s team in Kyra’s independent PE form. “For years parents have been asking me to do a team, but I just didn’t have enough time for a typical club team,” Kreps

said. the players to also participate in outdoor tournaments in the While 530 is not officially affiliated with the school, Kreps spring and summer. and middle-school volleyball coach Sarah Song agreed to Furthermore, 530 doesn’t host tryouts or have an age limit. coach 530, comprised of eight Country Day players. Instead, the team has an experience requirement of a year of Sophomore Aidan Galati joined because of the “laid-back” competitive volleyball play. atmosphere. “The reason why tryouts aren’t as important for a sand club “It has fewer practices (than club volleyball) while still be- is that anyone can play at a sand tournament,” Petersen said. ing competitive,” she said. Anyone, regardless of experiOn her previous club team, ence, can play on a pick-up sand sophomore Sydney Michel “For years parents have been asking court. The only requirement is a would have to drive as far as Spome to do a team, but I just didn’t have $15 fee for the court itself. kane, Wash., for tournaments. A player doesn’t even need a “There were so many away enough time for a typical club team.” coach or team to register. games. Now we have the option Despite the outdoor focus, —Jason Kreps, coach to go to tournaments, but there most of the practices will take isn’t as much pressure,” Michel place twice a week in Country said. Day’s gym. Petersen said he deliberately structured 530 to be less “I think we’re really excited to try something different,” stressful. sophomore Emma Brown said. “(Athletic success) is primarily due to mental preparation And weather permitting, players have the option to pracand development,” Petersen said. “Part of that mental devel- tice at Folsom’s Livermore Park’s outdoor sand courts. opment is making sure athletes don’t burn out.” Michel embraces the changes, and she looks forward to Kreps agrees with creating a less stressful team. playing in a familiar environment. “Mainly, I didn’t want to impact the other (Country Day) “It always took us a couple of weeks to get used to each sports teams,” he said. other and get in our groove. Hopefully, (530) will eliminate The team will focus on training, but Petersen encourages that,” Michel said.

Short-handed girls hold ground, while boys struggle to win means she is quick, strong and fearless,” coach Matt Vargo Besides the game against Freedom Christian, Ancrum Girls’ Basketball considers the Homecoming game against Lutheran, Jan. 10, Despite losing star players such as Mary-Clare Bosco, said. Overall, Owaidat said that the young team is going to to be one of the boys’ best games. ’13, Alison Walter, ’13, and former student Alexa Griggs, the keep improving throughout the season. The team was very aggressive on defense and offense, girls’ basketball team has an overall record of 3-4. “I know for a fact that we’re not working at the best of they were hungry to win and they never let up on the pres“We’ve been performing pretty well considering we have a lot of new players and we lost a couple of key players,” our abilities, but it’s something that’s going to get better sure, he said. over time,” she said. Cunningham is the most consistent player, Ancrum said. sophomore Emily Berke said. —Garrett Kaighn He is also the high scorer with 107 points. The team had “(Cunningham) consistently plays aggressively and does only two upperBoys’ Basketball not back down when they are losing,” Ancrum said. classmen at the start “We’ve gotten girls who really want Although the boys’ varsity basketball The boys’ next game is on Friday, Jan. 24, against Buckof the season—senior Maddy Mahla to learn how to play, so they’re driven team has had a rough start to their sea- ingham. The game will be at home at 7:30 p.m. son, coach David Ancrum is optimistic and junior Isabella to do well on the team.” about the rest. —Madison Judd Tochterman—and The team’s current record in the Sac—Isabella Tochterman, co-captain Mahla is new to the Joaquin League is 1-9. team this year. Their only victory was against FreeTochterman is the team’s leading scorer, averaging 16 points per game, fol- dom Christian on Dec. 10, 54-48. The boys have been practicing specific drills designed lowed by sophomore Julia Owaidat with 11.3. “I was kind of disappointed at first because we lost (Bos- to improve their playing skills. “We are concentrating on better spacing between the co, Walter and Griggs), so I was a little worried that all the players, which will allow the ball to flow easier on the pressure would be on me,” Owaidat said. But Owaidat said that she’s happy with the team’s perfor- court,” Ancrum said. Ancrum said that throughout the season everybody on mance and with the new players that joined this year. “We’ve gotten girls who really want to learn how to play, the team has improved in at least one area. Assistant coach Gary Brisco said that junior George so they’re driven to do well,” she said. Cvetich (“Flash”), junior Skovran Cunningham (“Skovo”) Tochterman said the team is aggressive and athletic. “We have a lot of heart and we want to win, which is al- and sophomore Serajh Esmail (“Raja”) have improved the most this season. ways important,” she said. “They are more comfortable with the basketball in However, Tochterman said that the team struggles to fill their hands and have learned to be the leaders of the every position and lacks tall players. “We don’t really have a center (Bosco played it last year), team,” Brisco said. Brisco also said that the team as a whole has improved which is kind of difficult for rebounding,” she said. “We have a very short team, which makes it hard to get rebounds. So by getting more comfortable playing together and understanding their individual roles on the team. we have to make up for it with speed.” The biggest problem, Ancrum said, is that they are too Tochterman said the team’s center rotates between junior young: two freshmen, four sophomores, three juniors, and Micaela Bennett-Smith and freshman Natalie Brown. “Neither of them really have the height, so it’s difficult only one senior. Although this is a setback to the season, Ancrum bebecause a lot of teams end up getting rebounds over us,” lieves that there is an advantage. she said. “Since they will all be playing together for a couple of Bennett-Smith, who played on the team in previous years, joined two months into the season and now leads the years, they will really learn how to function with each Sophomore Julia Owaidat goes up against two Wilton other and become a very powerful team by the time they Christian defenders, Jan. 14. The Cavs still lost, 64-39. team in rebounds per game. (Photo by Daniel Hernried) “(Bennett-Smith) has made a defensive presence, which are seniors,” he said.


The Octagon

Sports 5

January 21, 2014

Electrical engineering shocks swimmer out of sport Prioritizing college work, alumnus lets go of lifelong passion By Aishwarya Nadgauda Page Editor The Difficult Decision he stress of an electrical engineering major at one of the top 10 engineering colleges in the country led Adam Pinson, ‘12, to make a difficult decision: quit swimming, his passion for the past 14 years. “(The decision) was gut wrenching,” Pinson said. The realization that he was going to have to quit swimming, the sport in which he has been involved since age 2, came to Pinson after he attended Carnegie Mellon’s career fair in September. Because of the time he put into swimming, Pinson couldn’t focus on school his freshman year. As a result, his grade point average was relatively poor, he said. Pinson had to miss many of the study sessions organized by friends or TAs because he was not allowed to skip swim practice. There were about 18 hours of practice every week, not including meets, he said. Practice took place at least once every day, with the exception of Sunday. In addition to practices, Pinson took four to five classes a semester. As a result, he slept only five to six hours. “Freshman year there was a three-week period where I got four hours of sleep a night,” Pinson said. He said he considered himself lucky if he was asleep by midnight. Three days a week, Pinson had to be at morning practice by 5:30 a.m. In addition, when meets were away from campus, the swimmers left Friday morning and didn’t return until Sunday night. For the most part, students could get work done on the bus rides to and from meets, Pinson said. However, once they were at the meets, it was more difficult to keep up because they needed to make sure they slept enough to perform well. That’s why only about one third of the swimmers that join their freshman year are still on the team as juniors, Pinson said. And there are only three students on the 31-member men’s swim team who are majoring in electrical or computer engineering, he said. Some professors were willing to give extensions on homework and make-up days for student athletes. However, in smaller classes, teachers were less willing to make adjustments for just one or two students. “When I was gone for a championship meet, I had to take my econ midterm at the hotel under the supervision of my coach,” Pinson said.

T

A Life of Swimming When Pinson talked to the interviewers at the college fair, many handed back his resume after he told them his GPA.

Some had specific GPAs that they were looking for while others knew that their employers weren’t going to look at students with low GPAs. Even when Pinson explained that he was a student athlete, there was not much they could do. Pinson saw no other option than to quit because he was at Carnegie Mellon for school, not swimming, he said. “This is something that I should have real- Adam Pinson does the butterfly stroke at Carnegie Mellon (top). Junior Claire ized before September,” Pinson said. “But it Pinson (left). Claire, an Olympic hopeful, plans to continue swimming in college was better to handle it in October than after despite her brother’s decision. Adam, middle center, begins a race (right). (Photos courtesy of Adam Pinson) getting kicked out of school.” His parents supported his decision and were proud of him. And when he visited the school, Pinson, been swimming throughout high school and “Swimming was not going to be (Adam’s) along with attending some classes, met with was chosen to attend the junior nationals last career,” his mother, their swim team. summer. Barbara, said. “We “That day I felt But Pinson and his parents predict Claire knew it was going to like I lost a really will continue swimming throughout college. end at one point, and “That day I felt like I lost a re- integral part of my“Claire manages her time better (than we knew it was com- ally integral part of myself. I’ll self,” Pinson said. Adam), and she is planning on doing a major ing.” “I’ll openly admit I (international relations or language) that is openly admit I cried.” Since swimming cried.” more compatible with swimming than engi—Adam Pinson, ‘12 had been a large part Pinson said he neering,” Barbara said. of Pinson’s life, it was misses the relation“Adam’s strong point is doing things thora significant change ship he had with the oughly and correctly,” Claire said. “I miss a for him. other swimmers. lot of details, but I get the stuff done faster.” In high school, He didn’t realize how But Claire may spend even more time on Pinson swam 19-22 hours a week, not includ- much he enjoyed the team aspect until he her sport. While Carnegie Mellon is an ing meets. quit, Pinson said. NCAA Division III school, Claire is looking He was selected for the Sierra Nevada However, Pinson hopes to join a master’s at only Div. I schools. Claire also hopes to get Scholar Athlete Award and Grand Prix Series Swim Team, a team for swimmers 18 and olda swimming scholarship. meets in high school. er, after he graduates. But if she has to choose between swimming Pinson applied Early Decision to Carnegie and school, Claire will also choose school. Mellon and was in contact with the swim Pinson’s Sister “I really, really, really want to go to the 2016 coach there both before and during the adPinson’s sister Claire, a junior, has also Olympic trials,” Claire said. mission process.

Sports Boosters’ Athletes of the Month Skovran Cunningham Junior Skovran Cunningham leads the boys’ varsity basketball team in rebounds with an average of 3.2 rebounds per game and is one of the top scorers, averaging 11.9 points per game. Cunningham has played on the team for three years.

Isabella Tochterman Junior Isabella Tochterman is the leading scorer on the girls’ basketball team, averaging 15.5 points per game and a 37 percent shooting average. She scored 21 points against Freedom Christian on Dec. 3. This is Tochterman’s second year on the team.

Athletes of the Month are chosen by the athletic department on behalf of the Sports Boosters


6

7

Centerpoint

The,Octagon

It was the best of times...

Good college news means celebration, relaxation

As senior Sydney Jackson talks about her recent acceptance into Franklin and Marshall College in Lan caster, Penn., she can’t help but smile.

instead of working on college essays like the majority of her peers.

talked to me for hours about our family in the city and gave me a little guidebook as a Christmas present.” But, of course, the lack of future college essays was also a highlight.

Seniors David Myers, Garrett Kaighn and Kevin

By Emma Williams And who can blame her? She was just accepted Early Decision to the college she “fell in love with.” In fact, Jackson was so anxious to know whether she’d been accepted that the promised release date wasn’t early enough. She said she checked her email at got to school, had free period, got home and went to bed. Ironically, the one day that Jackson didn’t check her acceptance was emailed early. The next day her letter arrived in the mail. “I wasn’t all built up with nerves the way I probably would have been on Monday,” said Jackson, who opened the letter with her parents. “But I was still really ec static. We couldn’t talk we were so excited. “Both my parents hugged me, and then they pulled out an F&M blanket they had bought me. I wrapped myself up in it and started jumping up and down.” According to Jackson, her parents said they’d known she would get in but hadn’t wanted to jinx it by telling her. In fact, when they gave Jackson her blanket, they also pulled out a hat and shirt for themselves. Jackson’s next move was to email her teachers and text her friends, all of whom replied with congratula

Fels’s message came true soon enough, as Jackson spent her vacation breaking in her new turbo VW Bug

time in the semester,” Kaighn said. Myers, who was accepted Early Action to University of San Francisco in late De Rossell, who was accepted to cember and ED to Santa Clara Harvey Mudd College in Clare University on Dec. 16, was was also happy he didn’t “Getting in was the difference mont, elated when he was accepted to have to work on applications between having to write 10-12 over break. Santa Clara. “I went weak at the knees, “I had had to turn in the UC more essays and being able to and USC applications,” he said. do absolutely nothing for two “But I hadn’t started any others. to the Cave and immediately called my mother,” Myers said. “I celebrated by not writing weeks and actually relax for “Her response was simply more essays.” screaming.” Aside from not having to For Myers, though, the feel —Garrett Kaighn, senior work on applications over break, ing was more relief. all the seniors accepted ED “My family wanted to cel were happy to know where they ebrate much more than I did,” were going before the Regular he said. Decision group. However, Myers admitted he has also noticed a from the stress of having to work on the applications. So we came home, bought a cake and watched a movie ceptance. together.” “At this point, all I have to do is pass my classes, When Kaighn found out he was accepted ED to rather than do as well as possible in order to impress Columbia University in New York City on Dec. 12, he the admissions committee,” Myers said. was at Target on the way home from school. Knowing one’s future ahead of time does come at “I told my dad when I walked in the door, and he just a cost. ED is binding, meaning that if a student is ac ran up to me and hugged me,” Kaighn said. Two days later, Kaighn and his overjoyed parents That’s why college counselor Jane Bauman stresses celebrated at Bandera. school. Kaighn was especially looking forward to telling his dad’s side of the family. a lot of factors,” Bauman said. “Once you’ve submitted “My family comes from New York, so all of the adults were excited,” Kaighn said. “Not only was I going to a great school, but it also happened to be in New York. But Jackson, Myers, Kaighn and Rossell don’t want anything to change at this point. “My great aunt, who still has a New York accent,

4

of the seniors have been accepted Early Decision.

January,21,,2014

It was the worst of times 8

of the seniors were deferred or denied Early Decision/Action.

Deferred, denied spend break working When senior Connor Martin got the email from Williams College on Dec. 12, he was sitting in the parking lot of Temple The news wasn’t good; Martin had been deferred. “It was a slow, sinking feeling,” Martin said. “I basically stared at the intersection for 10 minutes in silence.” When he surfaced from his trance, he sent college counsel or Jane Bauman and teacher Patricia Fels an email and texted some friends to share the news. As Martin drove home, he kept receiving texts asking whether he had been accepted, listening as Siri’s voice read “I burst out in tears,” Martin said. “Siri asked me if I wanted to respond. I sobbed ‘no.’ I had to repeat because Siri couldn’t understand me.” It was then that Martin realized he had a lot of work to do. Instead of spending holiday time with family visitors, he including Middlebury, Pomona, Amherst and Bowdoin. “My sister and I would have gone out to the movies and shopping,” Martin said. “I would have gone to the Bay Area to visit my dad.” And Martin wasn’t the only one scrambling to write applica tion essays as the Jan. 1 deadline approached. Senior Ryan Ho was also deferred from his ED school, Uni versity of Pennsylvania, though his reaction was less emotional than Martin’s.

Program. “It was like, ‘Oh, crap!’ You feel bad for one or two days, but you get over it.” Like Martin, Ho spent most of his break working on ap plications to schools like Rice University, Tufts University and Washington University in St. Louis. This task was made even worse because Ho was in Taiwan visiting his parents for the “I had not started on any of my other school’s supplements

“You shouldn’t do (Early Decision) unless you are more than 100 per7 cent positive. I highly suggest visiting because it’s not about the name; (for you).”

because I was secretly wishing I’d get into UPenn,” Ho said. Senior Cissy Shi said she had also been procrastinating on Regular Decision applications before hearing from her Early Action and ED schools. Shi was deferred by the University of Chicago, her Early Ac tion school, and was denied by Columbia University, to which she applied ED. “I was planning on traveling with my mom since she came summer,” Shi said. “Instead I was stuck at home writing my supplements.” Nonetheless, Shi is keeping an open mind about her chances at the University of Chicago and the other schools where she is applying Regular Decision. “Being denied by Columbia really provides me with more options,” Shi said. “I am now applying to a huge variety of other schools that I also like very much based on the research I did after I wasn’t accepted.” Senior Grant Quattlebaum, whose ED application was denied by Harvey Mudd, agrees. “Being denied helped me prepare for doing more college applications,” Quattlebaum said. “It was nice to get either an acceptance or a rejection out of the way so I could focus on other things.” Martin, Ho, Shi and Quattlebaum all say that they’re glad they applied early.

of Last year, 45% ’s ge Williams Colle as freshman class w accepted Early Decision.

Co lu mbia Univ acce ersit pted of it 20.4 y s Ea % rly D sion eciappl ican year. ts th is

gotten in, then I would have always wondered if I could have gotten into a school that is more selective,” Martin said. “It’s just a bummer that I didn’t get in.” Shi agrees. “I feel it’s worth it to apply to my dream school,” she said. For Ho, the lessened wait time was what made Early Deci sion worth it. This year Universi ty “I was counting down the days to the decision date and was of Pe nnsylvania constantly checking the admission portal,” Ho said. “I can’t imagine not hearing anything at all until the spring!” receiv

ed 3,840 early applications .

—Sydney Jackson, senior

“It’s very much like regular, just early. Use it for your number one. Once you make this commitment, you’re locked in.” —David Myers, senior

“Be sure (the school you apply to early) is somewhere you’re really passion7 ate about. Don’t just apply for the name. And even if you are pretty set on one school, you have to start working on your other apps.” —Garrett Kaighn, senior

summer of your junior year. After going through all these college essays, a lot are very repeti7 tive. Start thinking about ideas early. If you know what schools you are going to apply to, make sure you have an answer for why you want to go there.” —Ryan Ho, senior

“I would suggest everyone apply early to his or her dream school because it really makes and it’s always nice to know early.”

Graphics by Kamira Patel


6

7

Centerpoint

The,Octagon

It was the best of times...

Good college news means celebration, relaxation

As senior Sydney Jackson talks about her recent acceptance into Franklin and Marshall College in Lan caster, Penn., she can’t help but smile.

instead of working on college essays like the majority of her peers.

talked to me for hours about our family in the city and gave me a little guidebook as a Christmas present.” But, of course, the lack of future college essays was also a highlight.

Seniors David Myers, Garrett Kaighn and Kevin

By Emma Williams And who can blame her? She was just accepted Early Decision to the college she “fell in love with.” In fact, Jackson was so anxious to know whether she’d been accepted that the promised release date wasn’t early enough. She said she checked her email at got to school, had free period, got home and went to bed. Ironically, the one day that Jackson didn’t check her acceptance was emailed early. The next day her letter arrived in the mail. “I wasn’t all built up with nerves the way I probably would have been on Monday,” said Jackson, who opened the letter with her parents. “But I was still really ec static. We couldn’t talk we were so excited. “Both my parents hugged me, and then they pulled out an F&M blanket they had bought me. I wrapped myself up in it and started jumping up and down.” According to Jackson, her parents said they’d known she would get in but hadn’t wanted to jinx it by telling her. In fact, when they gave Jackson her blanket, they also pulled out a hat and shirt for themselves. Jackson’s next move was to email her teachers and text her friends, all of whom replied with congratula

Fels’s message came true soon enough, as Jackson spent her vacation breaking in her new turbo VW Bug

time in the semester,” Kaighn said. Myers, who was accepted Early Action to University of San Francisco in late De Rossell, who was accepted to cember and ED to Santa Clara Harvey Mudd College in Clare University on Dec. 16, was was also happy he didn’t “Getting in was the difference mont, elated when he was accepted to have to work on applications between having to write 10-12 over break. Santa Clara. “I went weak at the knees, “I had had to turn in the UC more essays and being able to and USC applications,” he said. do absolutely nothing for two “But I hadn’t started any others. to the Cave and immediately called my mother,” Myers said. “I celebrated by not writing weeks and actually relax for “Her response was simply more essays.” screaming.” Aside from not having to For Myers, though, the feel —Garrett Kaighn, senior work on applications over break, ing was more relief. all the seniors accepted ED “My family wanted to cel were happy to know where they ebrate much more than I did,” were going before the Regular he said. Decision group. However, Myers admitted he has also noticed a from the stress of having to work on the applications. So we came home, bought a cake and watched a movie ceptance. together.” “At this point, all I have to do is pass my classes, When Kaighn found out he was accepted ED to rather than do as well as possible in order to impress Columbia University in New York City on Dec. 12, he the admissions committee,” Myers said. was at Target on the way home from school. Knowing one’s future ahead of time does come at “I told my dad when I walked in the door, and he just a cost. ED is binding, meaning that if a student is ac ran up to me and hugged me,” Kaighn said. Two days later, Kaighn and his overjoyed parents That’s why college counselor Jane Bauman stresses celebrated at Bandera. school. Kaighn was especially looking forward to telling his dad’s side of the family. a lot of factors,” Bauman said. “Once you’ve submitted “My family comes from New York, so all of the adults were excited,” Kaighn said. “Not only was I going to a great school, but it also happened to be in New York. But Jackson, Myers, Kaighn and Rossell don’t want anything to change at this point. “My great aunt, who still has a New York accent,

4

of the seniors have been accepted Early Decision.

January,21,,2014

It was the worst of times 8

of the seniors were deferred or denied Early Decision/Action.

Deferred, denied spend break working When senior Connor Martin got the email from Williams College on Dec. 12, he was sitting in the parking lot of Temple The news wasn’t good; Martin had been deferred. “It was a slow, sinking feeling,” Martin said. “I basically stared at the intersection for 10 minutes in silence.” When he surfaced from his trance, he sent college counsel or Jane Bauman and teacher Patricia Fels an email and texted some friends to share the news. As Martin drove home, he kept receiving texts asking whether he had been accepted, listening as Siri’s voice read “I burst out in tears,” Martin said. “Siri asked me if I wanted to respond. I sobbed ‘no.’ I had to repeat because Siri couldn’t understand me.” It was then that Martin realized he had a lot of work to do. Instead of spending holiday time with family visitors, he including Middlebury, Pomona, Amherst and Bowdoin. “My sister and I would have gone out to the movies and shopping,” Martin said. “I would have gone to the Bay Area to visit my dad.” And Martin wasn’t the only one scrambling to write applica tion essays as the Jan. 1 deadline approached. Senior Ryan Ho was also deferred from his ED school, Uni versity of Pennsylvania, though his reaction was less emotional than Martin’s.

Program. “It was like, ‘Oh, crap!’ You feel bad for one or two days, but you get over it.” Like Martin, Ho spent most of his break working on ap plications to schools like Rice University, Tufts University and Washington University in St. Louis. This task was made even worse because Ho was in Taiwan visiting his parents for the “I had not started on any of my other school’s supplements

“You shouldn’t do (Early Decision) unless you are more than 100 per7 cent positive. I highly suggest visiting because it’s not about the name; (for you).”

because I was secretly wishing I’d get into UPenn,” Ho said. Senior Cissy Shi said she had also been procrastinating on Regular Decision applications before hearing from her Early Action and ED schools. Shi was deferred by the University of Chicago, her Early Ac tion school, and was denied by Columbia University, to which she applied ED. “I was planning on traveling with my mom since she came summer,” Shi said. “Instead I was stuck at home writing my supplements.” Nonetheless, Shi is keeping an open mind about her chances at the University of Chicago and the other schools where she is applying Regular Decision. “Being denied by Columbia really provides me with more options,” Shi said. “I am now applying to a huge variety of other schools that I also like very much based on the research I did after I wasn’t accepted.” Senior Grant Quattlebaum, whose ED application was denied by Harvey Mudd, agrees. “Being denied helped me prepare for doing more college applications,” Quattlebaum said. “It was nice to get either an acceptance or a rejection out of the way so I could focus on other things.” Martin, Ho, Shi and Quattlebaum all say that they’re glad they applied early.

of Last year, 45% ’s ge Williams Colle as freshman class w accepted Early Decision.

Co lu mbia Univ acce ersit pted of it 20.4 y s Ea % rly D sion eciappl ican year. ts th is

gotten in, then I would have always wondered if I could have gotten into a school that is more selective,” Martin said. “It’s just a bummer that I didn’t get in.” Shi agrees. “I feel it’s worth it to apply to my dream school,” she said. For Ho, the lessened wait time was what made Early Deci sion worth it. This year Universi ty “I was counting down the days to the decision date and was of Pe nnsylvania constantly checking the admission portal,” Ho said. “I can’t imagine not hearing anything at all until the spring!” receiv

ed 3,840 early applications .

—Sydney Jackson, senior

“It’s very much like regular, just early. Use it for your number one. Once you make this commitment, you’re locked in.” —David Myers, senior

“Be sure (the school you apply to early) is somewhere you’re really passion7 ate about. Don’t just apply for the name. And even if you are pretty set on one school, you have to start working on your other apps.” —Garrett Kaighn, senior

summer of your junior year. After going through all these college essays, a lot are very repeti7 tive. Start thinking about ideas early. If you know what schools you are going to apply to, make sure you have an answer for why you want to go there.” —Ryan Ho, senior

“I would suggest everyone apply early to his or her dream school because it really makes and it’s always nice to know early.”

Graphics by Kamira Patel


8 Editorial

The Octagon

Freedom of the Press by Jake Sands

By Grant Miner

My Angle

Oh, gee. That sounds pretty negative. I don’t think I want a story written about that.

Elegy in a parking lot

Hello, new head of high school. Could The Octagon ask you a few questions about the decrease in enrollment over the past few years? It’s for a front-page news story.

Mourning the death of my old friend Blockbuster

EDITORIAL: New high-school head must support Octagon’s press freedom With headmaster Stephen Repsher collecting opinions about the decision for a new head of high school—and our editors unable to participate in the student interviewing sessions due to time conflicts— we would like the school to keep in mind our own interests as a newspaper staff. From a journalistic standpoint, there’s one thing in particular that we care about: freedom of the press. As with any other respectable publication, we need to be uncensored, or we’d be unable to produce real news and make a significant impact on the community. Some high-school papers deal with principals censoring stories and limiting what they can publish, but The Octagon hasn’t had that problem for many years. Since Repsher’s arrival in 2003, we’ve been unrestricted in our publication of news, features and columns on topics ranging from the simple to the potentially controversial. Recently, we’ve freely published stories on sexuality, alcohol, marijuana, censorship and cheating in class. And it’s not just “adult” topics. We’ve criticized the school community, challenging the actions of administrators, teachers and even fellow students through our editorials, columns and Orchids and Onions. In just the past two years, we’ve addressed issues with Country Day athletics, talked about campus and

neighborhood safety issues and investigated website censorship on the school Wi-Fi. And whatever the story topic, Repsher and Sue Nellis, current head of high school, have always been extremely approachable and willing to be interviewed. Nellis has an open office and willingly answers whatever questions our reporters have. We thank the administration and staff for their support and cooperation, and with the selection of a new head, we want to maintain our free press. We want to continue writing about controversial topics when appropriate and to make our voices heard in regards to school decisions and events. Not only do we aim to report the news and highlight interesting goings-on within the community, but we strive to be agents of change. And we can’t be proper reporters or change makers without the continued support and cooperation from the administration. So to Repsher: please choose someone who will uphold the tradition of the free press. And to the future head: please be accepting of the stories we want to write, even if they’re about topics that might seem questionable. In return, we promise to continue to report in a manner that’s fair and professional.

The Octagon Editors-in-Chief Garrett Kaighn Connor Martin Kamira Patel Online Editors-in-Chief Ryan Ho David Myers Copy Editor Garrett Kaighn Business Manager Garrett Kaighn News Editor Emma Williams Editorial Editor Zoe Bowlus Community Editor Grant Miner Sports Editors Micaela Bennett-Smith Eric Hilton

Centerpoint Editor Kamira Patel Opinion Editor Maxwell Shukuya Feature Editors Connor Martin Aishwarya Nadgauda Photo Editor Cissy Shi Reporters Avi Bhullar Daniel Hernried Zane Jakobs Elena Lipman Madison Judd Austin Talamantes Manson Tung Cartoonist Jacob Sands Adviser Patricia Fels

The Octagon is published eight times a year by highschool journalism students of Sacramento Country Day School, 2636 Latham Drive, Sacramento, Calif. 95864. Phone: (916) 481-8811, ext. 347. The online Octagon (www.scdsoctagon.com) is updated daily.

January 21, 2014

&

Orchids Onions

I’m not sure what made me click “Update” that day. I had been ignoring the prompt for the four years I’d owned the Blu-Ray player, so why start now? Maybe it was my brain trying to fit in one last desperate attempt at productivity before watching 27 hours of “Twin Peaks.” (See p. 9) The Blu-Ray player (or as I like to call it, the Netflix Machine) came with only four apps, but when the update finished and the machine started up, I saw there were only three. Blockbuster was gone. Out of all the useless apps that weren’t Netflix, Blockbuster On Demand was the worst (and that’s saying something, considering the other apps were Pandora and a terrible YouTube app). For those not familiar with the saga of the video rental giant, Blockbuster On Demand was its final, last-ditch attempt at getting in on the ground floor of content streaming after the building was already built. I remember using it once: my family bought a “recent” release for $6 that disappeared in 24 hours. It was kind of like an old friend you had no intention of seeing again show up, ask you for money and then bail. I can’t say I’m disappointed, but, boy, did it seem like a sign of the times. Besides going to the movies, Blockbuster used to be my favorite thing in the world. The one I went to in Midtown must have gotten the short end of the stick on their lease because the front entrance was in a parking garage under a freeway. The routine was always the same: my brother and I would run to the kids’ section, fight over a movie and invoke my mother’s executive decision-making skills. While my mother was at the cash register, I would wander the game rental section, pining for all the games for the systems that my parents wouldn’t let me have. Oddly enough, my brother and I would even fight over who would stamp the parking ticket in the validator. A strict turns system was enforced. Blockbuster’s microwave popcorn bucket was, of course, non-negotiable. We could have used one of the many packets of Orville Redenbacher’s we already had at home, but how could that compare to the coolness of having it pop in the bucket? The place even had a smell. You know the one. A kind of plastic-y scent with a hint of unwashed carpet. I swear, if someone made an Eau de Blockbuster, I would douse myself with it just for the nostalgia factor. I went to the store closing sale two years ago—a sort of last hurrah for my favorite dying media form—and I bought a DVD, for old time’s sake. It was too scratched to play.

rchids to. . . sophomore Julia Owaidat for leading the Homecoming crowd in cheers at the varsity boys’ basketball game. Go, Cavs!

O

nions to. . . the DoubleTree for canceling our winter ball reservation. Student Council now has to scramble to find an alternative location.

O

rchids to. . . the owl mascot that hatched from the golden egg and bravely battled the Cavalier, making the Homecoming rally exciting.

nions to. . . teachers who gave tests the week before finals. It was hard to study new material and review old material at the same time.

O

O


The Octagon

Opinion 9

January 21, 2014

A T S E E G C O S N W D O L H O S OK D L O ‘Twin Peaks’

I have a soft spot for science fiction. Early on, my dad made sure the playroom floor was littered with plastic lightsabers, the shelves were stocked with “Star Wars” encyclopedias and, most importantly, I was with him when he watched the Sci-Fi channel. Consequently, I jumped at the chance to review “Twin Peaks,” a ‘90s sci-fi mystery. In fact, I was so excited that I resolved to watch all 30 episodes one after the other. The show premiered in 1990 to immediate critical acclaim. Though viewership declined as the series wore on, it still retained a massive cult following. It was so massive in fact that an organized mailing campaign managed to bring it back from ABC’s indefinite hiatus, the television equivalent of death row. “Twin Peaks” feels like just another mystery show, and, for the most part, it is. What gives the show its sci-fi label is the general weirdness the protagonist gets himself into the further he investigates. Besides minor memory loss (I still don’t remember climbing into bed), another side effect of prolonged sleep deprivation is a fairly accurate ability to judge what plot points in the show keep one entertained (awake). As anyone who’s seen even one episode can attest, the intro sequence is positively hypnotic, with nature shots and the show’s trademark atmospheric music. Other than that, the show kept me awake and interested. The basis of the story is that Laura from Twin Peaks, Wash., has been found dead, and FBI agent Dale Cooper has been called in to investigate.

I immediately fell in love with Cooper and the members of the Twin Peaks PD. You have the love triangle among the ditzy secretary Lucy, the equally oafish deputy Andy Brennan and the self-proclaimed “fashion aficionado,” Dick Treymane; the proverb-slinging deputy Hawk; and Sheriff Truman, the “straight man” of the group. After the show’s conclusion, the actors never really did much, mostly landing minor roles in TV shows throughout the subsequent two decades. My favorite is Kyle MacLachlan (Cooper) as the mayor of Portland in “Portlandia.” I believe that this host of characters could have carried the show, and maybe it would have been better that way because the show gets snagged on some of its subplots. Half of me wishes that the show had stopped after we found out who killed Laura. The 12 episodes that come after seem a little tacked on. My major problem with the show is that sometimes it turns into a soap (something that’s not helped by the show’s ever-repeating soundtrack). Teen drama is the theme here: love, betrayal, forgiveness. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. That said, what I like about this series far outweighs what I don’t, and it’s an easy recommendation for anyone who doesn’t mind a (mostly) well written but slow sci-fi tale. —Grant Miner

‘Dawson’s Creek’

Scrolling through Netflix this summer, trying to find a way to procrastinate on my Latin homework, I came across “Dawson’s Creek.” As is probably the case with most people my age, I had never heard of it. The show “Dawson’s Creek”—a ‘90s version of “Glee” or “90210”—was described as a “soap about a group of close-knit teens,” which was right up my alley. Dawson’s Creek was the debut for actors Michelle Williams (“Brokeback Mountain”), Katie Holmes (“Batman Begins”) and Joshua Jackson (“Fringe”). My intuition was correct—watching “Dawson’s Creek” proved an enjoyable way to waste time over the summer. Set in the small fictional town of Capeside in Massachusetts, “Dawson’s Creek” is, in essence, the story of a teenage love triangle. Yes, it’s cheesy and a bit predictable, but you can’t help

but love the characters. A total of 127 episodes (45 minutes each) amounts to more than a few love stories. This group of teenagers struggles with issues from religion to death to homosexuality. Although the characters can be described as pretentious because of their choice of words, the way they speak is one of the defining qualities of lead characters Joey (Holmes) and Dawson (James Van Der Beck). Their speaking style enhances their characters—Joey wants to break away from her small town and go to college while Dawson envisions himself following in the footsteps of director Steven Spielberg. Joey’s the smart one and Dawson’s the dreamer, but every show needs a clown. Pacey Witter (Joshua Jackson), my favorite character, is the one who enters the town’s beauty pageant. And there’s the new girl Jen Lindley (Williams), who triggers the emotional upheaval between Dawson, Joey and Pacey, which only resolves in the final episode. We are able to understand the personalities of Dawson and Joey because of the realistic acting. An affair with a teacher? Father is in jail? News spreads like wildfire. I’ll concede that at times the show stretches on a bit, but as the characters stumble through these obstacles, viewers are able to discover their multi-faceted personalities. Looking back on all the heartwarming moments and all the hearts that broke over the course of my binge-watching this summer, I can’t help but be overcome by nostalgia. Of course, my friends mocked me relentlessly for not only watching a teen drama, but an outdated one at that. But in all honesty, things haven’t changed that much since then. We like to think that we are so much cooler than our parents were back in their day. The show is just as relatable and hackneyed as any show today. —Aishwarya Nadgauda

‘Freaks and Geeks’

With a varied cast and sense of humor that should appeal to all ages, “Freaks and Geeks” is a hilarious look at what high school is like for the rest of the world and a definite mustwatch. “Freaks and Geeks” is a comedy set in 1980 that follows the lives and daily struggles of McKinley High School students Lindsay Weir and her younger brother Sam. The show also features a wide variety of now well-known actors, such as James Franco, Seth Rogen and Jason Segel. Lindsay, who has always been a nerd, is now trying to fit in with the “freaks” of the school, while Sam and his “geek” friends are just trying to survive. The kids who are considered “freaks” are generally stoners and are into hardcore rock and roll. Think Led Zeppelin T-shirts and endless conversations about their latest trips. “Geeks” are, well, your average geeks. Sam and his friends are the characteristically weak nerds who can’t stand up for themselves. Lindsay constantly deals with judgement by other students and desperately tries to fit in by throwing parties and rebelling, while Sam lives in constant fear of his bully Alan White. I admit that “Freaks and Geeks” feels a little alien at first. The dress is a bit strange, with many characters wearing classic rock shirts and their dads’ war jackets, and some of the humor is ‘80s-based, making it hard to connect to for the first few episodes. But all students can relate to Lindsay’s struggle to fit in and Sam’s feelings of inferiority to his sister and older students.

I also fell in love with the show’s ability to transition between different types of humor. The jokes on the show jump from nerdy sci-fi references to tales of drive-in movies while high on mushrooms, all of which are absolutely hysterical. To be totally honest, I did find the freaks’ (Franco, Rogen, and Segel), humor to be a bit more up my alley. This was probably because many of the actors who play “geeks” were very young and their acting could get cringe-worthy in the first few episodes. While I did love the show, I would like to give a fair warning to all who start watching “Freaks and Geeks.” The show consists of only one 18-episode season.This makes it easy to watch in a short time period, but it leaves the viewer wanting more. Despite recieving positive revies and a strong viewer base,“Freaks and Geeks” was cancelled after only 12 episodes. Since then, the additional unaired six episodes have been released as part of a DVD box set and are available on Netflix. The show also received critical acclaim after its cancellation. It is rated one of the best TV shows of all time by magazines such as Time and Entertainment Weekly. “Freaks and Geeks” also has a dedicated cult following. —Eric Hilton


10 Remainder

The Octagon

January 21, 2014

RTFTH: Run to Feed the Hungry proves to be helpful charity (Continued from page 1) According to the RTFTH website, however, 100 percent of the donations go directly to new and existing programs. Yet the website also says that all net profits from the fundraising go directly toward the SFBFS, for there are costs in putting up the event. So is 100 percent of the donations really going directly into SFBFS’s programs? According to Kelly Sifkin, communications director of SFBFS, the answer is yes. While SFBFS does have administrative costs, they are below 12 percent—“a really respectable number for a nonprofit organization,” Sifkin said. More importantly, she added, the administrative costs are not taken from donations, but rather from sponsorships and other revenue sources. Myers confirms that. She said it’s the money that team members pay to register for the event—$25 because of the team discount—that goes into administrative costs. Sifkin pointed out that administrative costs are necessary for charities. They cover a wide range of expenses such as team T-shirts, permits for street closures for the race, barricades, timing chips, staff payroll, electricity bills and car fuel. Therefore, Sifkin said, the percentage of administrative costs shouldn’t be solely used to judge charities. “It’s really tricky because a lot of people, when they’re thinking about where they’d like to share their support, head to sites like Charity Navigator and only use the overhead to judge the work and impacts that the organization has,” Sifkin said. “But you shouldn’t be judging the work that the organization does based on that.” Sifkin is not alone in that opinion.

Money raised by CD

15000

Money raised by Country Day for the Run to Feed the Hungry from 2006-13

12000 9000 6000 3000

2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Year

Charitable Programs (food, clothing, parent education, adult education, youth education and senior programs) $9,189,580

Expenses

Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services 2011

Three of the leading sources on nonprofit charities—GuideStar, Charity Navigator and BBB Wise Giving Alliance—encourage donors to look past the overhead ratio. The CEO’s of all three organizations signed a letter in 2013 that says while overhead ratios are helpful in some ways, they shouldn’t be the sole deciding factor in choosing a charity. “In most cases, focusing on overhead without considering other critical dimensions of a Management and General Expenses charity’s financial and organizational performance does more damage than good,” the letter said. $819,522 The letter also points out that overhead costs include important investments charities make to improve their work and keep their programs functional. Despite administrative costs, the SFBFS still spent $9,189,580 out of $10,009,102 on program service expenses in 2011, according to its Form 990 filed to the IRS—a file open for public viewing. Only 8.2 percent of total expenses was spent on management and general expenses. SFBFS operates six free programs—food, clothing, parent education, adult education, youth education and senior programs—and RTFTH is the organization’s largest fundraiser. The school first participated in RTFTH as a team in 2006. Paul Kessler, ’11, proposed the idea to the middle-school Student Council, then headed by teachers Joel Rickert and Monahan. “I thought it was a great idea,” Monahan said. “I’ve always been interested in issues of hunger and food equity, and for years I volunteered with a grassroots organization, RESULTS, that worked to end hunger and the worse aspects of poverty. The other thing is that it also ties in so closely to the school’s value of the habit of helping.” Kessler’s mother, Mary, volunteered to be the parent coordinator for the first couple of years. She compiled a folder with instructions on how to effectively run the team, which Myers refers to as “The Bible,” and left it with Country Day. The team grew in size over the years, attracting students like Colin Keiner, ’11, who contributed to marketing Team Country Day’s fundraising. One year Keiner raised over $4,000 on his own. When asked whether it is Country Day’s goal to remain the leading fundraising group for years to come, Myers laughed. “I think so—we always say we’re not competitive, but we are! I think we’d love to keep it. “It shows that we’re small but mighty.”


The Octagon

Community11

January 21, 2014

Vegan blog: Younger gets freebies to review (Continued from page 2) for which she is asked to write reviews. “I get tons of (vegan) protein powders!” she said. If Younger really likes the product, she’ll write a review and get paid for promoting it. While Younger’s parents currently support her financially, she hopes to earn a living off of blogging, food writing and yoga instruction. Younger was a certified yoga instructor in Los Angeles, but decided not to teach yoga during her first semester of graduate school. She finds herself plenty busy with her blog, she said, as she receives 50-150 blog-related emails every day, and responds to about 40. “Some people have questions about eating healthy; others just want to say ‘Hey, I like what you’re doing.’ Often I get emails from people that say my recipes have changed the way they eat,” she said. Despite her rapid success, Younger has also received opposition on her blog. Most comes from fellow vegans. One time Younger posted a recipe containing honey, which usually isn’t considered a vegan food. “I got such a backlash from people,” she said. “Someone said to me, ‘A vegan who eats honey is like a vegetarian who eats beef.’ “People were commenting novels back and forth to each other on Instagram.” She responded with an impromptu blog entry on “non-judgement.” While Younger appreciates veganism for its ecoand animal-friendliness, her major reason for being vegan is for health, she said. “That was the first day I realized that my blog was not only for strict vegans,” Younger said, “but also for people who are looking to adopt a healthier outlook on life. A lot of my followers aren’t vegan. “What I try to promote on The Blonde Vegan isn’t any specific or rigid way of eating. It’s about looking within and finding the healthiest, happiest version of yourself.” One of her most recent blog posts talked about her struggle with veganism in the fall, which she kept secret from her readers to keep from discouraging them. In the post she confessed that she started to feel sluggish in the fall and her stomach problems returned. In October, Younger ate a few bites of shrimp, and a few months later, a piece of salmon. She hoped adding extra protein would give her a kickstart. “I didn’t feel particularly awful about it,” Younger wrote, “but I didn’t feel great about it either. Both times trying fish reaffirmed to me that it wasn’t what I was missing in my life, and instead I needed to search inward to find the root of the problem.” In retrospect, she realizes that her vegan diet in the fall became too high in sugar and included too many non-plant-based foods. “The truth is that we as people are ever-evolving individuals, physically, mentally and spiritually,” she wrote, “and the best thing we can do for ourselves is pay attention to our bodies to learn how they function best.”

Younger’s “Autumn in a Jar” dish is layered with apples, dates, cinnamon, oatmeal, berries and honey. (Photo courtesy of Younger)

Meet Baxter! 50th-anniversary owl gets a new historical name By Micaela Bennett-Smith Page Editor

S

orting through 326 submissions for the contest to name the 50th-anniversary mascot turned faculty and alumni judges on the anniversary committee into real night owls. But after much deliberation, Wendy Ross, director of institutional advancement, and senior Patrick Talamantes announced Friday morning that Baxter was the winning name. Baxter received five votes with the runner-up, Alice (after Alice Matthews), receiving three. Baxter Geeting was a founder of the school, and a staff member submitted the name in his honor. The anniversary committee is composed of faculty, former faculty and alumni, and is headed by Richard Mancina, ‘73. Member Sue Nellis, head of high school, put Baxter in her top five favorites. “I think it’s a fun name, but I also liked it because of the history,” Nellis said. Among the losers were a number of random, weird, creative, sentimental and just plain silly entries. Two popular names for no apparent reason were Bob and Richard. Twenty-two students from the lower school and high school chose Bob or Bob Jr. and, coincidentally, 22 students from the lower, middle, and high schools chose Richard, Rich or Rick. Bob was a particular favorite in the second grade, perhaps in honor of a certain nautical sponge, with 11 votes.

Cavalier Patrick Talamantes presents newly named Baxter with a proclamation declaring him the 50th-anniversary mascot on Jan. 17. (Photo by Cissy Shi)

It was a real hoot reading some of the puns submitted. Examples included Owl the Great and Powerful (second grade), Owl-vin (fifth grade), and Owlfred (middle-school). Punny entries from the faculty included Ima X. Tinct, Ivana Buyyav Owl, the Russian owl, and Mr. Know-itOwl. History teacher Daniel Neukom suggested Solon. He was an Athenian statesman, and “the wisest leader of democratic Athens,” according to Neukom. Names of other school founders were also popular. Herbert (or Herb) was recommended by a faculty member in memory of Herbert Matthews. Matthews, a math teacher, was the school’s first headmaster.

Another name in honor of a former leader of the school was Georgia, after Georgia Rust, the lower-school librarian for almost 30 years. Harry Potter also received some love with names like Hedwig (Harry’s owl) and Pigwidgeon (Ron’s owl) proving popular. A clever play on words, Stephen Raptor, was submitted by a middle schooler in a nod to headmaster Stephen Repsher. Eight juniors suggested Chien Hoot in honor of ever-studious junior Chien Ho, whom they said they consider a role model for the school. For now, Baxter is the owl’s official name and all the rest will have to wait their chance, until the Country Day centennial in 2064.


12 Feature

The Octagon

January 21, 2014

SAC ANIME Photos by Grant Miner; graphic by Connor Martin

Sacramento convention attracts the ‘anime-ted’ By Aishwarya Nadgauda I stood in the lobby of the Sheraton Hotel on Jan. 4, dressed in a borrowed ankle-length black dress with a fur collar. I was 2P Russia from “Hetalia.” Not only was I confused about what my name meant, I was also confused why people were there. It was my first time at an anime convention, and I was utterly clueless. For the uninitiated, anime is a Japanese style of animation (think “Pokemon” or “Speed Racer”). Though the convention was called SacAnime, it covered all of nerd culture: manga (Japanese graphic novels), children’s TV shows, webcomics and video games. Apparently, the big thing at these conventions is cosplay (a portmanteau of the words “costume” and “play”). Most attendees dress up as their favorite anime/manga characters. “Aww, man, are you a predator?” a man yelled from across the lobby. He was talking to another guy dressed in brown fish scales with shoes 3 feet long made of duct tape. As I nervously waited near the ticket counter for junior Grant Miner (I wasn’t going to do this alone), a girl with neonorange hair in pigtails licking a rainbow lollipop the size of her face skipped towards me. “I have a dress like that, that I used to wear to choir years ago,” she said with a laugh. I saw a shirtless man wrapped only in bloody rags, dragging a 5-foot sword. His head was a large metallic pyramid. He was Pyramid Head, a character from “Silent Hill 2.” When Grant finally arrived, we bought our tickets and walked down to the convention center. Blond, brown or black hair was a rare sight. Ahead of me stretched a sea of blue, pink, yellow, green and orange heads. We walked in circles before I saw a sign announcing a panel with the voices of “Legend of Korra”—a show that I had actually seen. Leaving Grant in line for the panel, I went to explore. For the most part, people congregated in the hallways talking about anime shows and impersonating their characters.

I soon found myself in Dealer’s Alley, a bazaar-like collection of anime merchandise stands in one of the exhibit halls. “Don’t you wish you could morph and teleport?” a man with a green vest and a hat pulled over his ponytail asked me. “Um, sure,” I answered and hurried away, ducking my head. I next spotted a crowd of cosplayers surrounding a vendor selling swords. At registration Grant had been told he couldn’t bring his baseball bat inside because it could be used as a weapon. But the swords were only some of hundreds of items for sale, including posters of anime characters, video games, J-pop (Japanese pop) music, anime artwork, keychains, puzzles and costumes. Grant later explained that what looked like decorative sleeping bags were actually Dakimakura, person-sized pillows, and that hardcore anime fans use the usually scantily clad characters printed on them for…private activities. Looking at the people purchasing them, I wasn’t sure how to react to this news. We hurried to get seats because I didn’t want to get stuck behind someone with 8-foot wings or a 4-foot headpiece. As we settled into the second row, I decided to be proactive and ask the man next to me what his costume was. He laughed and introduced himself. “I’m Quentin Trembley, eighth-and-a-half president of the United States. I froze myself.” He then pointed to the “No Pants” sign he carried as if that should make it clear what he was talking about. “He’s from ‘Gravity Falls’!” was Grant’s exasperated reply to my blank look. “Uh huh...” After about 20 minutes at the panel, Grant and I left to check out an event on the balcony a floor above. Along the way, we ducked into a side room where people were playing board games. “Hey, can I take your picture?” It was Pyramid Head guy and he liked Grant’s costume. Grant was Ness from “Earthbound” with a blue-and-yellow striped T-shirt, baggy shorts, a backpack and a baseball cap. “So many people ask to take pictures of me that I have to split my time between cosplaying and participating in activities,” Pyramid Head complained. He went on to share the details of his custom-made sword and head, all made with skills he learned in Boy Scouts.

According to his Instagram he’s the “premier cosplayer of Pyramid Head in northern California.” I suspect this is a niche in which he may be the sole inhabitant. When he finished, I continued to the balcony. “I am the messiah!” a teenage boy chanted as he ran past wearing all black and a crown of colored flowers on his head. Chuckling, Grant and I finally reached the balcony. In the corner were guys in suits and various headgear and girls in red-and-black dresses from the anime show “Black Butler.” They were playing a game of Truth or Dare. “Incest! Twincest! Incest! Twincest!” group members cried. I guess “Black Butler” has a lot of love affairs within the family. Immediately a 12-year-old boy got down on one knee and, holding out a red rose, proposed to the girl next to me. She blushed and stammered a hesitant yes, and the rest of their group cheered and clapped. “Now we’re going to ship people,” said a girl clutching a 7-foot pole topped with a skull. So I joined in the circle. “Aishwarya, shipping is where they pair you up with one of the people in the group and then you act like you are dating them,” Grant explained with a laugh. “Shipping,” along with “dere dere” (lovestruck) and “chibi” (little one), is part of anime vocabulary. I followed him out, catching sight of a woman with a red dress and an elaborate paper mache head. “Take a picture of me with her,” I called to Grant. Again Grant pulled me back, explaining that the lady was, in fact, a man. A lot of the “women” wearing these fake heads were men, he said. So we headed down to watch the Masquerade, the day’s biggest event. And then the lights went black, a spotlight appeared on stage and the fashion show began. I felt like I would need some Dr. Seuss words to describe the costumes. A couple walked on in matching costumes. As they posed, the guy got down on one knee and proposed. The crowds cheered in a deafening roar. The girl shook her head, yes. Two proposals in one night! Not what I had expected when I arrived at the anime convention. But then nothing else was either!

Octagon january 2014  
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