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June 10, 2013

The Merionite


Reflections from the other side of the desk Aviva Mann Editor-in-Chief

Home and school for me have always been inextricably linked. My front yard was once Pennypacker Field, where I would sled every winter. After the new school was built, my front door became the walkway to the atrium. My peers and teachers know that I can run home quickly to grab my charger, and that I leave my house at the five-minute-bell every morning upon hearing it from my kitchen. The physical proximity bonded me to the school, and has greatly impacted how I have interacted with it over the past four years. Although I attended Welsh Valley, I wasn’t drawn to attend Harriton. The sense of community at LM stood out to me as a relaxed and accepting atmosphere. I was concerned that entering freshman year with only a few close friends might be a challenge and that finding the feeling of “home” at school would be hard at first. Through clubs like The Merionite, Ace Harmony, and Model UN, I was able to surround myself with new faces from all different grades and varied paths along their high school careers. I remember, as an underclassman, struggling to understand the senioritis-stricken Ace

Margaret Meehan

Managing Editor

Harmony member or the outspoken and opinionated Merionite editor. I wondered if I, too, would develop these characteristics. During the past four years in these particular arenas, I have realized the joy of starting out as an uncomfortable freshman and feeling the growth that comes through senior year. LM has definitely become like home. As I reflect on the teachers I’ve had, I have learned to not be embarrassed to lean on them for support. By opening up communication lines, I found that my teachers cared not just for my academic standing, but for all of the aspects of my life that influenced my school experience. In summation, make school your home and bring school home with you. Even if you can’t see the school building from your bedroom window, find ways to form as strong a connection as possible. Find those uncharted alcoves to eat lunch with a few friends. Take a nap under a Merionite room desk (I sure did). Stay after school to study in the atrium for that APUSH test with fellow classmates. Take your siblings to the art show or to the district playoff basketball game. These small pieces add up. They have inspired me and given me pride in LM. The journey of finding home in school was a defining experience, one that I hope to replicate in college.

Going to LM was my way of giving myself a second chance. I went to Welsh Valley and, simply stated, those three years were not my favorites. I knew that high school would be different and scary, but I was so thrilled to be able to break out of the Welsh Valley bubble and create my own high school experience. On the first day of school, all of the Welsh Valley kids sat at the same lunch table. I remember it so clearly and I remember thinking, “What am I doing here? I never even sat with these kids in middle school.” On the second day of freshman year, I asked Mira Nathanson if I could sit with her and her friends at lunch. I’ve been sitting with them ever since. Making new friends, meeting people, and improving my social self have been critical focuses of mine at LM. I didn’t chose where I went to elementary school or middle school, so choosing my high school was an important decision to me and, for that reason especially, I have so much pride and love for my school. LM has offered me so much more than an incredible group of friends and social experiences. The classes that I’ve had the opportunity to take (and the many more that are offered) have been incredible, and the teachers, staff, and administration have seriously helped to make LM a supportive environment for my overall growth in the past four years. A special shout out to Mr. Levy, Mrs. Knight, Mr. Elder, Mrs. Gillman, Mrs. Mandarino, Mrs. Reisch, Mr. Henneberry, Mr. Hawkins, Mr. Kazcmar, and Mr. Hughes. I was fortunate to be able to participate in two Players shows this year, something that I

Rebecca McCarthy Editor-in-Chief

never thought I’d get around to, but I’m so thrilled that I did. Players is an incredibly talented, hard working, cohesive organization, and I learned so much from being involved in it. The amount of dedication that the students have for each production is contagious and, while I wish that I’d become involved sooner, I’m so glad that I didn’t miss out. First and foremost for me, though, has been participating in The Merionite. It’s through The Merionite that I found my niche at LM. I came out of my shell, I learned about leadership, and I learned about getting the job done. I’ve become friends with people who I likely never otherwise would have and have faced difficult challenges that will absolutely help me moving forward. I’m so grateful for my Co-Editor-in-Chief, Aviva Mann, for her creativity and dedication, and would like to thank her for making this year successful. I love The Merionite, I’m so proud of it, and I have great love and high expectations for next year’s editorial staff. My four years at LM have been better than I could have ever imagined. My academic, extra curricular, and social opportunities have put me in a place where I am absolutely ready for the next chapter of my life. I cherish the memories that I have from LM and the friendships that I made, which I know will continue.

Noah Levick Content Editor

school, I’ve approached academics I remember that when I enwith a pragmatic attitude—I would tered high school, my oldest do what was necessary, and little brother looked at me and said more, unless I was genuinely pashalf-sarcastically, half-insultingly, sionate about the material. What “Wow, Marg. Now you are a made waking up at 4:30 A.M. to real person. Your opinions might “finish” a big paper tolerable was actually matter.” Unsure whether my ability to empathize with my to be insulted or not, I considered friends who also had obstacles in Photo by Ilana Nathans/Staff their way that, at the time, seemed how true his statement was. How, Management (from left): Rebecca, Margaret, simply by walking through LM’s insurmountable. The fist bump is a Aviva, and Noah. front doors, do I become a “real” our time here is for the better. Maybe To quote 2 Chainz, “I’m different.” In all unifying symbol, a sign that we all person? What does that even mean? we are “unreal” citizens navigating this seriousness, I’ve gradually recognized and are battling in our surreal surrounding, not just If anything, I saw high school as just false society, and that can seem fruit- embraced my unique persona during my time to complete burdensome work, but that we are another four years of being trapped less at times—especially at a school in at LM. I’ve accepted that I’m probably known struggling to excel and embrace our identities, inside a bubble that restricts us from which we focus so much on trivialities. for a couple things – having a big beard and all while functioning on a few hours of sleep. reality. But maybe, I thought, I would Suddenly, however, we will realize that triumphing in freestyle rap battles. Though It also doesn’t hurt to root for your comrades, miraculously become wiser and more we are “real,” whatever that may con- those exploits don’t encompass my whole per- even if that means a silent fist bump after they knowledgeable. I would suddenly be sist of, and we will have to manage an sonality, I’m not at all offended or especially catch a fly ball in practice or a pep talk as they taken seriously as a part of this society. even larger, scarier society. Surviving concerned by my reputation. One act that I mentally prepare themselves for a mortifying I’d get it, whatever it was. This was all at LM shouldn’t be just getting through think says a lot about who I really am is the “fist APUSH exam. I like to let people know that I an exciting prospect. with your head down, but learning how bump.” For the unfortunate individual who is have their back and that no battles, even those A couple of years into school, I one day we will take on the world. unfamiliar with the fist bump, this simple yet that end in devastating defeat, result in failure, heard my oldest brother again give So as much as we may swear that we transformative experience involves extending as long as one remembers to keep in mind what similar congratulations to my other “can’t wait to get out of here,” allow your closed fist to acknowledge your apprecia- matters, stay true to themselves, and share a fist brother after his college graduation— LM to teach you what it can, while you tion for another person. In a way, the fist bump bump or two in the seemingly endless, often “You’re now a legitimate member can, before you are thrust out blind into represents my philosophy on life. It’s tempting exasperating process. of society!” What about me?! I was the “real world.” to recall the highs and lows of my high school Ironically, considering that little motivadisgruntled. When will I be REAL?! Four years after my brother’s snide experience, to reminiscence on everything I’ve tional spiel, I ended high school by limping to Or at least, when will society see me comment, here I am being asked to learned, to spout platitudes about the existential the finish line. Believe it or not, I slept through as legitimate? I was ready to pop the reflect on my experience as a high knowledge I’ve gained. But I’d prefer to “kill my Government final. Thankfully, Mr. Flynn LM bubble and flee to this so-called schooler. I can’t pretend like I feel the clichés,” in the words of Mrs. Mastriano, was generous enough to let me take the test, reality as fast as possible. much wiser and more knowledgeable, to speak honestly and maybe impart a little but I know that I narrowly escaped disaster, and The mini-society of Lower Me- “real” or “unreal,” or that I can give wisdom along the way. And I’d like to ac- that my organization and initiative will have to rion frustrated me. I understand why you the secret to high school. But I complish that by advocating for the fist bump substantially improve as I move onto college. some students swear that they can’t know, as teachers have repeated to me movement. (Yes, it is a movement, and no, I I’m far from perfect, and it’s important to me get out of this place fast enough. I’ve over the past month, that high school in am not “shmacked” as I write this.) that I don’t let my optimism prevent me from definitely been there; I think we’ve general, or LM in particular, will affect You see, the fist bump breaks down unwrit- seeing my faults. Yet I’m excited about emall been there. After all, high school us. Maybe these connections and little ten barriers. I discovered this amazing fact barking on something special at Bates College, shouldn’t be the best four years of our moments we have together are more when I found myself fist bumping a casual because I have confidence in my resolve, values, lives, as some would reflect, or else we profound than they seem now. So en- acquaintance who had just made a percep- and heart. That intangible yet integral quality are definitely in trouble. But as much joy LM and allow it to take its toll on tive comment. And even though I knew it all is rarely recognized, but I believe that the fist as we may curse it, there’s no escaping you, even though it may suck at times, along, the fist bump reinforces the important bump is a visible representation of “heart” that high school. And eventually, you not because in the long run, we need what value that the people you’re around matter spreads the positivity and integrity essential to only have to embrace it, but realize that LM has given us to survive. more than any test or paper. Throughout high conquering high school and the world beyond.


June 10, 2013

The Merionite Parting words from our Valedictorian Yes – high school can suck, it can be stressful, blah blah blah (we’ve all heard that spiel). I’ve fallen victim to this perspective too; a month into my freshman year, I remember thinking, “I can’t wait to get out of here,” and I have felt this way many times since. But by focusing so much on the future and the fun you think you’ll have when you’re older, you miss out on the fun that is going on around you now. This “live in the moment” advice is totally cliché and very lame, I know, but it is true. A too-cool-for-school, I’mbetter-than-this attitude really does just make school more miserable. High school isn’t meant to be the best four years of your life, but that doesn’t mean it has to be the worst four years of your life. People think I’m joking when I say that junior year was my favorite year in high school. (I’m not joking; I liked junior and senior years the best). I loved my friends, my teachers, my classes, my sports. But one of the main reasons why I remember it with such fond-

ness is that I wasn’t stressed. Okay, sure… I was overwhelmed or tired of schoolwork at times, but I think I did a pretty good job of not feeding into that “junior year stress” that is so pervasive and very unhealthy. Because there are such negative expectations for junior year, I think that people trick themselves into being more miserable than they actually are. Being stressed and unhappy then becomes the norm – which is definitely not the way it should be. Besides, in the grand scheme of things, most of the problems LM students encounter are simply not that big of a deal. Basically, what I mean to say is, try not to stress (easier said than done). Millions of students have gone through what you are going through or about to go through, and have survived. A big math test is not the end of the world. So calm down, and realize that nothing is do-or-die. Figure out what’s important to you. Do your best. Don’t complain (too much). Don’t wait for high school to end – seize these four years to have a really good time.

Jane Urheim Valedictorian

Looking back with gratitude First, I want to say thank you. Thank you for the mornings spent freshman year betting that Mr. Moeller wouldn’t show up to his little converted computer lab in the old library. For the lunches under the shade tree in the old courtyard. For the nervous bus rides to the Science Olympiad State Tournaments, and for the deli breakfast before the Central League Golf Championship. For plotting with friends in the library, no matter how social our needs were in nature. For crosswords and “would you rather” games when we had substitutes in English, and “the floor is lava” all over Mr. Elder’s tables. For Buzzword in Mr. Dawson’s class and for B-Day Breakfast with Mr. Kaczmar. For Mr. McAfoos acting out West Side Story to teach chemistry concepts. For the Merionite room Harlem Shake (which has been lost forever) and Levick Doe vs. Sool Daddy rap battle with Mr. Feeney. Last but not least, for every damn time I saw #teamcarter on Twitter or Facebook (I’ve been told it’s a movement). Thank you LM for all of the little things that make you so wonderful. When I first arrived here, LM was a nothing but a school. It was a dirty old school that was about to be knocked down, with a rich tradition and culture that

I didn’t really understand. Over the year, I grew to love it, but before I knew it, that great school that I’d spent so much time in was gone, and replaced with a sterile, gleaming monument to property taxes. No longer did the school carry its own innate sense of history. Quickly, this helped me to recognize what makes the school so great. It’s the people. Even with our bare walls and hospital atmosphere (current upperclassmen will understand a little better than others), our school community proved yet again how vibrant it can be. What makes LM so great, and creates all of these small, wonderful moments that we so treasure, are the phenomenal teachers and (somewhat) diverse, engaged, students. By the time I graduated, our Class of 2013 was a community. LM was no longer a school, it was home. As is true with the homes we grew up in, though, there has come a time when we need to move forward from our school. Both homes have left indelible marks upon us, both have allowed us to move into adulthood, and both, while many of us now yearn to leave, will leave us with fond memories and a place to which we will love to return. So, Class of 2013, go forth to serve. For the rest of you, through your actions, make LM your second home.

Carter Rauch Salutatorian

You never really think you have a lot of power when it comes to decisions regarding your early education. Your parents move to a town, and they send you to the local elementary school, middle school and then high school. No one asks if it’s a good fit or if there could be someplace better for you; it’s just a given. In my case, I started at Gladwyne Elementary, moved up to Welsh Valley, and then started my high school career at Harriton. Suddenly in High School, I started to question whether I was happy. I had lots of friends but somehow I just lost the passion for being a student there. It took me a year and a half to find that out and it was hard to decide to make a change, but I knew that I owed myself the chance to try to find a school where I could be happier. I applied and was given the chance to attend LM after midterms of my sophomore year. It wasn’t easy at first; I knew about five kids at LM before the switch, and I was faced with a whole host of new

SENIORS 2013 Farewell address

LM rewards people for being individuals. It’s cool to be smart. We encourage our friends to be passionate about academic and extracurricular interests. On reflection, this is why I loved my high school experience. I was celebrated for my interests, and saw others celebrated for theirs. Instead of our school culture being defined Student Body President by one set of expectations of what is “acceptable” or “popular,” as seemed to dominate middle school culture, in high school I saw the diverse kids in my grade find different niches within LM to discover themselves, and by the end of senior year, truly be open about who they are as individuals. That’s powerful. Because LM celebrates a variety of paths and interests, it really doesn’t matter if you were “popular” in middle school—by the end of senior year, in my mind, everyone has found their place, and are popular for their own individual contributions to our community. When I was in elementary school, contrarian me saw myself as the anti-popular, purposely ignoring any norms of cool. I loved being a nerd and not playing sports. I have matured a lot, and grown into a much more social person, but even a much less hardline not-cool-normfollowing me would have had trouble finding a place in most high schools around the country. At Lower Merion I was celebrated for my intellectual passion and my drive, something that would have been mocked, or ignored, in many other communities. For that support, I feel extremely grateful. There have been immeasurable Merionite articles and vocalizations about how LM kids are driven to such high involvement and academic achievement because of looming college admissions. In my opinion that’s cynical, and even if it is true, who cares. Yes, some kids are motivated for bad reasons, and burdensome academic stress does exist here for some students, but the good that results from students actually caring for their grades as well as their contributions to the school community far outweighs the bad. Lower Merion is an excellent high school because we care. My experience, and all the experiences of my fellow classmates, has been far more fulfilling because of our culture here that pushes us to succeed, and most importantly, celebrates the diversity of our successes.

Andrew Pasquier

New kid on the block

teachers, new expectations, new students, and new school culture. After a tough first month, I started to feel a change. I’ll be honest; I never was a big fan of school. I enjoyed learning and liked seeing my friends, but it was never the environment that made learning fun for me. For some reason, LM felt different, and I can’t completely explain why. When I finally made the switch, I needed to repair my relationship with school and with learning. I could have very easily given up and let my high school years fly by without giving or getting anything from LM, but I had to find out if my high school years could be better. And after transferring, I discovered, they were. It started with small things, like being excited about my new teachers and classes. Then, I started to make friends, participate in sports, and

go to school functions; I started to enjoy being in school for the first time in months. The kids at LM were so welcoming, the teachers cared about me, and fun things were going on at all times. I grew to love LM incredibly quickly. My confidence increased, I tried things I would have never dreamed of trying, like acting in Players, trying new sports like ultimate and track, and choosing classes outside my comfort zone, like Art 1 Honors. If I had told the ninth grade me that I was going to throw on a pair of “jorts” and dance around in a turtleneck in front of the whole school for Mr. LM, I would have said, “you are crazy.” LM gave me the perfect environment to grow and it changed my perception of school and of myself. Taking the leap of faith by transferring to Lower Merion

Parker Laren

was the biggest gamble I’ve ever made, and it’s given me the most worthwhile return I could ever have asked for—lifelong friends, teachers that have pushed me far past the limits I set for myself, and some of the most fun that I never would have expected from high school. If you take anything from my story, I hope you learn not to settle for sub par existence. If the fit’s not right, change it. I feel LM is amazing at nurturing passion and allowing students to impact their school environment, thus allowing for change and improvement, which is why the school impacted me so much. I could have so easily given up on myself and wasted my years in high school in a place where I wasn’t happy, and I’m so thankful that LM and the kids I’ve met here didn’t let me give up. I’m really proud of who I am today, and will always remember how important it is to not settle. Thank you LM students and faculty, for helping me grow into the person I have always wanted to become.


June 10, 2013

The Merionite

Caught in a storm

When I first moved here from Brooklyn, New York, I had no clue how I was going to survive in LM. I was a deer stuck in headlights. Coming from a community where poverty and crime were prevalent, I felt an enormous sense of culture shock. Shiny new laptops, a brand new school, top of the line equipment, teachers who were extremely proficient in their fields, sports teams that were nationally known, students who were held to the highest academic standard, students whose hardest decision was choosing which continent to spend their summer in, and then there was me. I will always remember my first day in English 1. Every student had an oral presentation prepared that correlated with individual chapters in Haroun and The Sea of Stories. While waiting to present, the students had to take notes on their laptops. Before moving here, I didn’t even know what a laptop was. The first group went up to present. My mind immediately went into slow motion. The class was dead silent, and when my fellow classmates uttered their first words, fingers began racing across keyboards, capturing every thought, every word. The sound of their skilled white fingers all hitting the keys simultaneously was so rhythmic, so daunting. It was like thunder. And then there was me, lost in the storm. Looking back, freshman year was my best year. It was filled with milestones, in cluding learning how to type faster.

Everything was so new, and everyday was a new adventure. I never thought I would have to leave. To be quite honest, I never understood why seniors would complain about being sick of school; school was fun. Oh, sweet ignorance. As the years passed, in what seemed to be a mere blink of an eye, LM continued to mold me further and pull me into its embrace. If I sat down and counted every single time I laughed in LM I would be stuck for hours. It’s not until you actually start think about graduating and officially leaving LM that you realize how time flies. I remember having to look up at almost everyone in the halls and now it’s me having to look down to avoid the crazy freshmen in the halls, who are mesmerized by their computer games. I remember when the whole freshman class was stuck at the same level on Bubble Shooter 2. I am so happy I’m graduating, but at the same time I’m sad. And yes, a little bit scared. No longer will I have a routine that is the same day in and day out. I sound so old reminiscing. If you actually took the time to read through all of this and not just look at the pictures, remember this: savor every single second you are here. At this very moment you are the youngest you will ever be again. Time flies in the blink of an eye, so make sure every decision you make, every goal you set, leads to a better you. High school may seem like a long time but trust me, next time you blink it’ll be graduation day and you’ll be wondering where all that time went.

Wayne Phillips-Gelley

Unlocking high school I still remember my first day of high school at LM like it was yesterday. Coming from Welsh Valley, I had no idea what to expect when I walked into the old building for the first time. I immediately regretted not choosing to attend Harriton. All of my friends went to Harriton and the old building, while possessing a lot of character, was pretty run down at that point. I knew almost no one at LM. That first day I felt lost and alone. I was convinced that I had made the biggest mistake of my life. Four years later, I can safely say that attending LM was easily the best decision I ever made. I look back on that first day and wish I could tell myself all the things that I know now. Things like, “Yes, you will make new friends. No, the seniors are not scary despite the fact that they are much larger than you. No, you will not be up four hours a night studying.” These fears seem foolish now, but at the time they were legitimate. I think the problem was that I got my view of what high school was like from TV. Everyone reading this knows what I mean; the seniors beat up the freshmen and the teachers are horrible and mean. Those things do not occur in real life, or at least not at LM. I think there are four keys to thriving at LM. First off, get involved early. I did not do this nearly enough, but it really eases the transition to high school. Go to a basketball game or join

a club. You get to meet people with similar interests and it helps you make new friends. Building off that first point, the second key to doing well at LM is making a solid group of friends. Having a support group in your school does wonders for every aspect of your life. Reach out to people and do not stay in your shell; you might find friends in the strangest places. Thirdly, do not get caught up in petty squabbles with your friends and others. They will take up a large portion of your time and are never worth it. Finally, do not worry too much about your future. I am not saying you should slack off because you should always do your best, but too many times have I seen someone act as though a B on a test is the end of the world. If taking five AP classes will make you miserable, do not do it just to get into college. Enjoy where you are, not where you are going to be. It still seems surreal to me that my time at LM is coming to an end. Despite my initial dread of high school and my reluctance to attend LM, I really did have the best four years of my life here. I had some great friends (you know who you are), some great teachers (shout out to Mr. Kaczmar, the best teacher I have ever had), and some great times. I would not trade my high school experience for the world and I hope that you all feel the same. I know that the LM class of 2013 will go on to do big things and I wish you all the best of luck.

James Johnston


A real part of LM

I spent a considerably large amount of my time at LM complaining. I’ve complained about everything from teachers to our closed campus to the basketballintensive culture to Uggs (which makes me a hypocrite, now everyone knows my dark Ugg secret) to the selection of juices in the cafeteria. The truth, however vialed I have kept it, is that no matter how many basketball games I spent stubbornly refusing to jump and yell, or a capella concerts I spent with a rebellious frown on my face, there is something about LM that I love. The friendships I have made here are certainly a huge part of my connection, but for some reason when I look back on high school I don’t think I’ll mainly remember individual people. What I expect to remember is the wildly reposed structure that allowed me to find myself repeatedly. Thinking about the freshman that stepped into the old building four years ago, I can see clearly that the familiarity between her and me has dwindled. I spent time nervously flirting with upperclassman boys, testing the number of hours I could study a night with vicious dedication, feeling out the boundaries of life in my new window of freedom as a high schooler. When I decided to join the LM community, dropping the half-hearted, I’d-rather-be-doing-something-cooler mindset that had been so deeply engrained in my mind since seventh grade, I was met with welcoming arms. There are few places in the world that open up to you after extended periods of dismissal, and LM is one of them. Not only did this community extend its arms to me, but also it did so by embracing me as a person. No one cared that I didn’t cheer the loudest or go to the most parties; they were just when glad I showed up. There is a place here for everyone, and with that said, don’t spend high school trying to pretend you are not here. You are here. Embrace it and it will embrace you.

Hadyn Hornstein-Platt

Home away from home I felt intimidated as a freshman. As I sit here contemplating my growth over the past four years, I most definitely know that I was both frightened and overwhelmed when I first roamed the halls of LM. Back then, I clung to my friends and my customary routines for dear life. In a sea of uncertainty, of towering upperclassmen, and of foreign LM traditions, I found solace in associating myself with the familiar. Then, slowly but surely, LM became a home. Perhaps I began to feel more comfortable when I finally mastered the bell schedule. Or perhaps my transition was facilitated when I began to challenge myself academically. It’s difficult, probably impossible, to pinpoint the exact circumstance that brought me ease at LM. Rather, reflecting on the past four years, I realize that LM started to feel like a second home when I began to reach out and connect with the people of our student body and with the activities that LM had to offer. Once I had discovered school communities in which I was comfortable, the school was no longer a winding set of hallways, but a meeting ground where both laughs and notions could be shared. The student body was no longer a distant mass, but a diverse population, full of friends and unique perspectives. The personal bonds I had formed, the concepts I had mastered, and the realizations I had encountered at LM had suddenly merged together to form integral parts of my character. LM, once so unfamiliar that I was frightened by it, had become so familiar after I connected with school communities that it now was a part of me. Luckily, LM is home to countless communities: sports communities, art communities, math communities, the list goes on. I truly believe that at LM, people of all interests can feel accepted and welcome. My advice to underclassmen is to branch out and explore. Find the communities where you’re most comfortable and where you’re most happy. It’s in these types of environments where you’ll form the strongest connections and achieve the greatest success. Finally, don’t be afraid to venture down an uncharted path every once in a while—sample everything that appeals to you, no matter how different the interest appears on the surface. Sometimes opportunities await in the most unexpected of places. I will miss LM dearly; Maroon Madness, late night, the sweet taste of a warm cafeteria cookie. As I say goodbye, I realize that I’m not only parting with my school of four years, but also with the people—peers, teachers, administrators—who helped shape my current perspective. I would like to thank all of my classmates and the LM staff for an unforgettable four years. To the Lower Merion Class of 2013—good luck with all of your future endeavors.

Darby Marx


June 10, 2013

The Merionite

“Bio” and “Box”

It’s so easy for us seniors to look back on high school with rose-tinted glasses, only remembering the good times, and forgetting the times that, well, sucked. It’s easy to remember the euphoria felt by all of us when the varsity basketball team won the state championship, but it’s hard to remember the dread flowing in our veins after looking on Powerschool to see that D+ on a Latin test (I’ll come clean, I never studied for Latin). High school was filled with memories, both good and bad. Each year brought new highs and lows, new experiences. Freshman year was all about “box” (aka Xbox) and biology. Every week my fellow brethren and I, socially inept and awkward (also known as male freshmen), would crave Fridays when we would fire up our “boxes,” put in MW2 (Modern Warfare 2), and go through the mind-numbingly stupid and childish games of MW2’s multiplayer mode. Yet as sad as it might sound, on those virtual battlefields, my fellow male freshmen and I found friendship as together we fought our way to the next prestige. “Box” was more than a way to zone out and forget the impossibly hard Honors Geometry test that we had just taken hours before; it was a way for us freshmen to connect with each other. Honors Biology is one of the few classes that I have taken that changed me as a person. Before Honors Biology, science was not one of my main interests in school. History was my favorite. But biology flipped my interests; it made science my favorite subject. Learning about DNA, evolution, cells, and ecology fascinated me. Biology was able to explain life in a simple way, and simplicity, I find, is beautiful. Yet I won’t just remember the material covered in the class. Ries’s set one Honors Biology imprinted memories that will stick with me for a long time. Like the failed liver lab. Or seeing half your male classmates playing Pokémon on their computers. Sophomore year was filled with challenges I had to face. The stress of having to memorize 100+ lines for my Shakespeare plays in Mastriano’s class was not a fun experience. Yet as much as my fellow sophomores and I would complain about the “unreasonable difficulty” of such a feat, we soon realized that it was possible. You can memorize 100+ Shakespeare prose in less than a month; trust me. Honors Chemistry during Sophomore year introduced WebAssign (“Webby”) to me. At first, I, like the rest of my classmates, would wait until the Friday that a Webby was due to start the assignment. However, I soon realized that doing “Webbys” at the last

minute could lead to a fatal error. After cutting it close several times and nearly not finishing the “Webby,” which would have led to a fatal 0/50, I resolved to do my “Webbys” on time. Not only was this helpful in reducing the stress of getting the assignment done on time, but I also found that doing “Webbys” early helped me understand the material better. Next, I faced the “dreaded” junior year. Junior year, from what I had heard, was supposed to be the death of the LM student. AP’s were impossible, especially APUSH, the readings of which were supposed to be impossible. Yet I was pleasantly surprised to find that junior year was my most enjoyable year of high school. APUSH, along with my other AP’s, was not that bad. To any underclassman who is debating taking APUSH, my advice to you is: TAKE IT. Not only is the class extremely interesting, but also Mr. Henneberry is one of the top teachers at LM, and the material you learn in the class is extremely interesting. Although it is so easy to simply remember the academic side, for me, junior year was about more than just grades. Our basketball team went on a great run to the state championship. For the first time, I went to a basketball game as a student and soon loved being a member of the Dawg Pound, something that would carry over to my senior year. Senior year had to be the most confusing year of high school for me. Knowing that this was my last year of high school was bittersweet. Knowing that I will probably never again see 99% of those people who I see now, or will see for five minutes at a reunion, is a bittersweet feeling. However, not all of senior year was bittersweet. Watching the basketball team’s run to a state championship title was one experience that I would not trade for anything. Being in the Dawg Pound for senior year was amazing, except for the self appointed “Real” Dawg Pound, which broke the unity that the Dawg Pound created by insisting that a select group of male fans was more dedicated than the rest of the student body. Here are some words of wisdom to the “Real” Dawg Pound. Number one: women can cheer, and number two: if there is a “Real” Dawg Pound, there is only one member, and that is Noah Levick. High school was a roller coaster ride. Graduating from high school is bittersweet. Sometimes I wish that the ride had gone on for longer, yet I know the ride is over and it is my time to exit high school. My college career has just begun. I can’t wait to meet new people and experience a new school. And to my close friends; you know who you guys are, we will always be close.

Sigmund Lilian


New country, new life

When I arrived at LM four years ago, I was coming to a new place, leaving my friends and family behind. I really didn’t know what to expect, but I knew this was going to be the best thing for me and my

future. There were so many new things I had to adapt to when I arrived; a different way to dress, a different culture, a different way of life. I would like to thank my parents for letting me come to the United States during a really tough time for all of us. They knew that this was the right thing for my sister and me and made a huge sacrifice with our best interests at heart. You know, when I got here, I didn’t even know if I wanted to play basketball. I did it at first because my brother did. But over the past three years I learned to love the game. It has become a huge part of my life and has taught me important lessons about hard work, being part of a team, and accomplishing goals. Winning the state championship with some of my closest friends was the greatest experience of my life.

On June 11, the Class of 2013 will form its Sea of Maroon and White for its last time for another 10 years. Its diverse eco-system filled with artists and athletes, singers and scholars, gathering together with the mutual understanding that we are all LM. I am proud to be part of this Sea, but four years ago, I was scared to step into what seemed like an abyss. Significantly shorter than the upperclassmen and with less hair on my head than on their faces, I timidly walked through the doors of the old building. As a new student to the school district, I took my seat in African and Asian studies. Sitting in that classroom, the only thought in my head was “Fourteen hundred days.” That was my rough estimate of the number of days I would have to endure until graduation. Within fourteen days, however, my fears had subsided. I had dived headfirst into the Sea of Maroon and White. I was quickly enveloped by the endless opportunities that were offered, opportunities that created a diverse spectrum of chances and choices that colored my high school experience. I was once told that LM students do a lot of “stuff,” and this was what set them apart from other local students. 1400 days later, I can say that what really sets us apart is not that our students do a lot of “stuff,” but that our students care so deeply about our “stuff.” We attend a capella concerts and art shows, board buses to support Aces in faraway places, and bleed and battle against Radnor and Harriton on Arnold Field. All of this is what sustains our student Sea of Maroon and White. It’s these moments

that make LM so special. Despite location changes, our Sea remains and our culture of caring endured. This is evident in our third floor hallway, which is, one poster at a time, slowly reclaiming the character once reserved for only the old building. This is evident on our fields and in our classrooms where LM continues to perform at a baseline level that astounds all. This community would be impossible if it weren’t for the individuals within it. We, the Class of 2013, have been an integral part of our school’s history. Much as oxygen is to coral reefs, our individual contributions are to our school’s history. Without our individuals’ contributions—that of our artists, our athletes, our academics—our eco-system would die. But our Class’s contribution to LM’s history is not yet over. A secret: this year, while organizing the TED conference, we looked for interesting and successful alumni from both high schools to speak. Almost every candidate that came up had graduated from LM. It is our job to ensure that this remains an assured occurrence for years to come, if not for any other reason than just to stay one step ahead of Harriton. In all seriousness, many 1400-day segments lie ahead. Many more communities will benefit from what we have to offer. May our humble part in LM’s community forever be with us. May our lessons learned and friendships fostered flourish with time, but most of all, may our Maroon and White never wash away.

Yohanny Dalembert

Sea of maroon and white

Itai Barsade

Love the little moments

I have been staring at this blank Word document for the past half hour, re-playing the evolution of my high school career in my head, overwhelmed by the fact that I’m even a senior and in the position to pass on words of advice to those of you reading this. There is so much I want to say, so I suppose the easiest place to start my reflection is the very beginning of my career: the transition to freshman year. I went to a middle school that had one hallway. It contained a grade of 49 kids, where we regarded each other as family, and I was able to find my sense of self. So the transition to LM was a hard one. Between the hundreds of kids in my grade and the fact that this school contained what felt like one hundred hallways – 99 versions of the school I had known for three years could fit in this new world—I was hesitant to show my individuality past my group of friends, nervous to branch out. This leads me to my first piece of advice, a reoccurring theme you will probably have read in almost all of these reflections because it is so true and so important: don’t wait until senior year to make new friendships or to feel comfortable. While as a young freshman I had every reason to be unsure, I often regret that I didn’t put myself out there or show people my sense of self. Senior year is incredible because social boundaries that may have existed before melt away and bridges are built between friend groups. Don’t wait until senior year to thaw the boundaries or build the bridge.

Molly Weilbacher

Now that last paragraph was filled with a lot of don’ts, so here are some dos. Do find something outside of classes that you have a passion for, so when school itself gets hard, your passions are always there to catch you. I found my niche in Players, which I obviously encourage everyone to try at least once in their high school career, because Players was always there on my good and bad days. Find communities like Players that can raise your spirits and remind you that anything is possible, that there is power within a strong, open, and passionate community of students. Another do: surround yourself with positive people. Try not to let negative talk about grades, SAT scores, or how many AP classes someone is taking influence how you view yourself or your future. Don’t get caught up in the comparisons, the things that are so insignificant but LM students obsess over. Focus on your grades and your future alone. Senior year, and frankly every year of high school, is more pleasurable when you are not wasting your energy on what other people are doing and instead focusing your energy on yourself. The last do: find significance in the mundane, daily routine of high school. While the days are exhausting, the 2:00 a.m. homework nights are stressful, and having three papers due the next day sucks, it’s these very little things, from saying “hi” to a peer in the hallway to bonding with a classmate over an annoying homework assignment on Facebook chat at 1:00 a.m., that keep you going. These moments tend to get lost but should always be treasured; these connections are what you’re going to miss when you’re done. Senior year challenged me in every facet, but it was also my favorite year of high school. The biggest piece of advice I can try to pass on is this: have fun with it, don’t take it too seriously, and take advantage of both the good and bad moments. Because let’s face it, it’s high school, and you’ll never get a chance to do it over again.

LM Matriculation 2013: Go Forth To Serve...

Mark Abi-Khattar Najee Adadevoh Caroline Adams Natalie Agoos Valeria Aguilera Naranjo Matthew Allon Elda Alvarado Allen Anderson Rebecca Arenson Sophie Arnold Arami Avalos Austin Baker Nemanja Bakula Daniel Barnes Batista Adam Barr Itai Barsade Ilana Barzel Jeffrey Batchler Alexa Batt Naomi Batzer Tavi Beadenkopf Olivia Benditt Adam Bergere Jake Berkowitz Jacob Berlin Morgan Berman Logan Berman Colby Berman Samantha Biben Keith Blake Brian Blake Amir Blocker Anna Blumenfeld Adam Bolts Steven Bomze George Boudreau Kara Boutselis Aaron Bowen Evan Bowen-Gaddy Tyler Brainard Brooke Brewer Hope Brodkin Jazmine Brown William Brown Alexander Buckmann Hejin Burris-Lee Xavier Cachon Sean Cameron Natalie Carstens Sara Cheloha Scott Chieu Craig Christian Anne Clark Daniel Clark John Clark Jonathan Cohen Jamie Cohen Allyson Cohen Breandan Colgan Gabrielle Constantine Gillain Constantino Madeline Cosgriff Douglas Cotler Eilis Cunningham Yohanny Dalembert Kiersten Daly Christopher Daly Angela Dang Julien Daouphars Ariel Dayan Jesse Denenberg Michael Dennis Heather DeWaal Najah Dixon-Ford Adam Dobkin Francis Dougherty Menalek Dressler Brielle Dunne John Einhorn Morgan Farrell Alexander Fennell Richard Figelman

University of Denver Unavailable Rice University Boston University Delaware County Community College Gap Year Unavailable Northwood University Pennsylvania State University Vassar College Gap Year Clemson University Montgomery County Community College University of Michigan West Chester University University of Pennsylvania Continuing studies at LMHS Cheyney University University of South Carolina University of Pittsburgh Drexel University ‘18 Drexel University Cornell University Pennsylvania State University New York University University of Pennsylvania Pennsylvania State University Lehigh University Pennsylvania State University University of Pittsburgh Drexel University ‘18 Undecided Pennsylvania State University Automotive Training School Continuing Studies at LMHS Temple University University of Pittsburgh Villanova University University of Pittsburgh Unavailable Gap Year Pennsylvania State University Unavailable Temple University University of Wisconsin University of California, Los Angeles Juniata College Muhlenberg College University of Pennsylvania University of Pittsburgh Military Unavailable Mills College Cornell University Temple University Swarthmore College Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University University of Alabama Unavailable Temple University Rosemont College Carleton College University of Pennsylvania Iona College James Madison University Shippensburg University Monmouth University Drexel University ‘18 Pennsylvania State University Cheyney University University of Maryland Temple University Temple University ‘19 Unavailable Berklee College of Music Muhlenberg College Undecided University of Arizona Temple University Unavailable Pennsylvania State University University of Pittsburgh

Samuel Finkenstaedt Katie Finkle Anthony Fisher Samuel Fishman Marina Forster Aaron Friedlander Alexander Fuchs Jymal Gabbidon Kelly Gabor Ethan Gage Hadrielle Galfand Kathryn Ganley Matthew Ganon Andrew Gardner Gerald Gardner Kayla Gaskin Julia Gilman Rachel Golden Evan Goldstein Eliana Gottesman Lindsey Grabell Jade Greene Evan Greensweig Henry Grenier Maurice Grimes Samara Grossel Kathy Guo Alejandro Gutierrez-Perez Ina Halili Khalia Hall Raheem Hall Joshua Handleman Eilon Harel Joshua Harper Albert E. Harris Alexander Hatza David Herman Matthew Hernandez Ashton Hicks Jessica Hoffman Hillary Hoffstein Matthew Hollin Haydn Hornstein-Platt Baird Howland Steven Hu Gio Hudock-Alston Samuel Jennings Robert Johnson Lucas Johnson James Johnston Erik Kallberg Baudoin Kambara Milanka Karmolinski Hayley Karp Alexander Kastein Matthew Kaufman Maxwell Keller Aaron Kessler Matthew King Julia Kirkland Samara Kitnick Nadia Klincewicz Adam Knapp Danielle Kolton Sophie Koorhan Brian Kraman Sara Kramer Julia Kramer-Golinkoff Lindsay Kunz Brock Ladenheim Ahilani Lafferty Ashley Laliberte Parker Laren Kenneth Lassiter John Lee Noah Levick Rachel Levin Jeffrey Levin Allison Levy Gregory Levy Talia Lieberman Sigmund Lilian

Keystone College Franklin & Marshall College Catholic University of America Rochester Institute of Technology Drexel University Carnegie Mellon University Vanderbilt University Unavailable Drexel University Unavailable Undecided West Chester University of Pennsylvania Community College of Philadelphia Continuing Studies at LMHS Delaware County Community College ‘15 Smith College Temple University University of Rochester Lehigh University New York University Ursinus College Lincoln College Temple University Syracuse University Drexel University Temple University University of Pennsylvania Drexel University ‘18 University of Pittsburgh Unavailable Delaware State University University of Maryland Pennsylvania State University Muhlenberg College Unavailable Pennsylvania State University Temple University Unavailable Work University of Alabama Emory University Chapel Haven School Pennsylvania State University University of North Carolina University of Pittsburgh Berklee College of Music University of Pittsburgh Syracuse University University of Arizona Pennsylvania State University West Virginia University Undecided Temple University San Diego State University Pennsylvania State University Dickinson College Continuing Studies at LMHS Undecided McGill University Temple University Pennsylvania State University College of Charleston Temple University West Chester University Belmont University Tulane University Brandeis University Tulane University College of Charleston Hobart and William Smith Colleges University of Southern California Community College of Denver University of Puget Sound Syracuse University Pennsylvania State University Bates College Pennsylvania State University University of Miami Pennsylvania State University Millersville College University of Pennsylvania The George Washington University

Matthew Lindheim Benjamin Litt Jonathan Liu Jonathan Loeb Olivia Lohmann Christopher Lu Brinna Ludwig Sibyl Major Danielle Mancuso Aviva Mann Jessica Mantell Alexander Marino Craig Markman Leah Marks Joshua Marks Darby Marx Kelly Mazzanobile Rebecca McCarthy Madeleine McComb Christian McDaniel-Liddell Stephanie McKendrick Amanda McKnight Margaret McRae Margaret Meehan Mackenzie Melman David Menard Joshua Metzman Kayla Meyer Madeleine Meyers Audrey Mills Christopher Mora Joshua Moskow Drew Murray-Jolicoeur Kei Nakagawa Yoonah Nam Efrosini Narliotis Mira Nathanson Maxx Newstat Hannah Nibauer Carolyn Normile Thomas Northern Arielle Novak Gabriella O’Leary Mynor Ordonez Garcia Jared Oriel Justin Padovani Stephanie Paley Andrew Pasquier Vincent Patrizio Alessandra Patrizio Markellos Paxinos Simone Pearson Ernest Pendleton Katarina Perich-Radisavlevic Jenna Perna-Elias Moira Petrie Alexa Petroff Wayne Phillips-Gelley James Piatt Michaela Podrasky Carly Pomerantz Sara Posusney Maia Potok-Holmes Cheyenne Pringle Felipe Rangel Carter Rauch Tajudeen Reilly Griffin Remick Rachel Riesenbach Brian Roberts Madeleine Rose Joshua Rosenzweig Ariel Roth Allison Rothschild Max Rotondo Josh Salzer Raul Sanchez Halen Sav Jacob Scharf Daoud Schelling Julie Schoenhard Andrea Schuster

University of Maryland Continuing studies at LMHS University of Pennsylvania Drexel University Unavailable University of Pennsylvania University of Rochester Undecided Arizona State University Washington University in St. Louis University of Miami Unavailable University of Michigan University of Maryland The George Washington University University of Pennsylvania University of Rhode Island New York University University of California, Los Angeles University of Akron Riverview School in Cape Cod The University of the Arts Temple University Cornell University Pennsylvania State University University of Pittsburgh Syracuse University University of Pittsburgh Harcum College ‘15 Emory University Pennsylvania State University Washington University in St. Louis Unavailable Brown University Pennsylvania State University Northeastern University Northwestern University Temple University Temple University University of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania State University Pennsylvania State University Bates College Montgomery County Community College Pratt Institute Boston University Undecided Columbia University Elon University Hobart and William Smith Colleges Drift School of Miami Cheyney University East Stroudsburg University Bluebell Community College Smith College Providence College Albright College Howard University Worcester Polytechnic Institute Indiana University West Chester University Work Goucher College Unavailable Pennsylvania State University Duke University Hampshire College ‘18 University of Wisconsin Muhlenberg College Bucknell University University of Michigan Muhlenburg College Hampshire College Duke University Susquehanna University University of Pittsburgh La Salle University University of Pittsburgh Queens College, City University of New York University of Virginia Temple University Clark University

Alexandria Schuster Michael Scott II Martin Segall Nathaniel Selzer Sultan Shabazz Logan Shallow Jessica Shander Bryan Shapiro Ryan Shaw Sophie Sheintoch Alexander Shetzen Emma Shields Emery Shiffraw Sydni Shub Brian Smith Charlotte Smith Rasool Smith Raleigh Sneeringer Anne Sniffen Zulema Solano Chandley Solberg Julia Spandorfer Rachel Stahler Brooke Starkman Owen Steinberger Avery Super Hannah Sweeney Mara Swift Justin Sy Michael Tallos Samson Tesfamariam Karron Thomas Lydia Thompson William Thornton Max Titlebaum Eliana Tolub Vernon Trumbull Alex Tseng Nicholas Turton Adam Tuttle Jane Urheim Giovan Urteaga Emma Vander Noot Jacob Van Houten Thomas Vernier Steffen Vestal Robert Walker Wesley Walker Yeqing Wang Yishu Wang Zhiyi Wang Geoffrey Warrington Matthew Wasson Najeeb Way Molly Weilbacher Aaron Weiner Robin Weiner Lily Weinrieb Alyssa Weker Eric Wells Thomas White Justin Williams Tyler Williams Alexander Williams Troi Williams Drew Williams Mason Wilson Bar Woidislavsky Richard Wong Kanda Wongyai Segev Yarden Connor Yu Logan Yu Trevor Yu Blayne Yudis Jiawen Zhang Tony Zhang Robert Zhou Elias Zimmer

University of Pittsburgh Montgomery County Community College Lafayette College University of Pennsylvania Empire Beauty School Northwestern College Pennsylvania State Univeristy Washington College Emerson University University of Arizona Unavailable Cabrini College University of Miami Pennsylvania State University Unavailable University of Hawaii at Manoa Atlanta Sports Academy University of Colorado at Boulder Washington College Unavailable The University of the Arts Colgate University Franklin & Marshall College Montgomery County Community College University College Dublin Howard University Montgomery County Community College Temple University Temple University Michigan State University Albright College Unavailable Work University of Massachusetts Amherst Pennsylvania State University Berklee College of Music Unavailable Philadelphia Community College Unavailable West Chester University Princeton University Work University of Pittsburgh University of Pennsylvania Swarthmore College Military Temple University Temple University Unavailable Pennsylvania State University Pennyslvania State University University of Maryland Washington and Lee University Unavailable Clark University American University American University Goucher College Gettysburg College Work Unavailable Unavailable Temple University Pennsylvania State University University of Pittsburgh Bowling Green State University Unavailable Drexel University Pennsylvania State University University of Pittsburgh Temple University ‘18 Northeastern University ‘18 Hamilton College Northeastern University The George Washington University Unavailable Temple University New York University Michigan State University

The Merionite offers its sincere regrets to anyone not mentioned in this year’s Matriculation list. We wish you all the best of luck in your future endeavors.


June 10, 2013

The Merionite

Discover through mistakes

As senior year drew to a close, I found myself–like many others–pondering the net gain and merit of my high school experience. Did I prioritize correctly? Did I successfully balance the extracurriculars with the academics? Did I take the “right” classes? Did I create enough meaningful friendships? As questions like these encircled my mind, I gradually realized I had failed in each area. I did not prioritize correctly; I joined too many clubs and too many hard classes. I did not try to create the meaningful friendships I could have had. I did not manage my time as well I could have and I did not–under these criteria–“succeed,” like many of my peers did in high school. Despite all my “failures,” these past four years were invaluable. What I learned from my mistakes and encounters undoubtedly made me who I am today and also helped me realize the kind of person I want to become. So without further ado, here is what I learned and want to share with you. Explore and take advantage of what LM has to offer. There are no such things as mistakes and everything you try only leads

you closer to discovering what you really love. I know it may be hard to remember that when we all live in such a competitive environment and college seems to be ever lingering, but remember that these two entities are not mutually exclusive. Exploring and finding your passions does not actually hinder or set you back in life. Do everything as if you love it. Treat every assignment or task seriously. It is harder done than said but the rewards are endless. You will discover that the more effort you put into a task, the more you will get out of it. We are lucky to be intelligent beings on this earth. To learn about the world around us is not a waste. Be responsible. Realize by signing on to certain tasks, you have a commitment to adhere to. Your actions do affect others and many people depend on you. Be kind to others. Repeated countless times, this phrase holds an essential truth. Do treat others how you would like to be treated, because they are also human like you, and are complex and full of emotions. Be open-minded and understanding, and never be quick to pass judgments. Remember that kindness has

Nicole Wang


the power to heal, is contagious, and is the cornerstone that all other virtues and successes are built off of. High school is real life and the things we do and the words we say define us. But what defines us just as much or perhaps more is the attitude we respond with when faced with adversity. We will make mistakes–sometimes even the same ones–but what matters most is our reaction to our mistakes and our ability to learn from them. So toss away any questions you may use to judge yourself and always remember that you come as an individual before you come as a student. My four years in high school were valuable because I discovered who I was, realized my flaws and insecurities and learned how to deal with them, and finally discovered what kind of a person I wanted to become. So while some may say high school is defining, I believe differently. These four years cannot define you; only you can define yourself. Every kind act, every positive attitude, every piece of hard work, and lastly, the quest to always better yourself, will define the ever changing you. Lastly, I’d like to thank all of the amazing teachers I’ve had the honor to encounter these last fours years, my caring family, and my kind friends for always motivating and believing in me during my hardships.

The “ultimate” unknown

Unlike a lot of people, I really liked middle school. Coming to Lower Merion from Welsh Valley, I was a little nervous about not knowing many people but I was hoping to find the equivalent of my middle school group of friends and to continue being the same version of myself. Looking back now, I am Allison Rothschild so grateful that didn’t happen. Being pushed out of my comfort zone was the best thing that could have happened to me be-

cause it forced me to seek out new activities and people that I genuinely love. Even if your comfort zone follows you to high school, I would encourage you to actively try to push out of it and do things your middle school self wouldn’t. I don’t want to trivialize how hard it can be to purposely make yourself uncomfortable, because there were times when I really struggled with missing the familiarity of my surroundings and my friends, but it is so worthwhile. Right now it’s taking everything I have to hold back from just ranting about ultimate frisbee, not because we won the state championship (shout out to Lady Baba!), but because that team and every girl on it means so much to me and I can’t describe my high school experience without it. Looking back now I can’t believe that I didn’t play at one point, but just four years ago I didn’t even know how to throw a disc. Ulti-

My parents were right

My parents always told me that high school would be one of the best times of my life. As a timid freshman I was skeptical, yet optimistic. When I first walked through the doors of LM, I was horrified. I was hit by a hacky sack, could never find a bathroom stall with a toilet, and didn’t know the difference between the moodle and a noodle. The seniors, perched high above the ground in the cafeteria, reigned supreme, while I spent more than a few lunches hiding in a staircase in the basement of the tech building with my best friend. After that first year at LM, I decided that my parents were wrong, and that there was no way that my high school experience would live up to its potential. Freshman year had simply become an extension of middle school, and sophomore year proved to be just the same. Disheartened, I entered junior year with low expectations. So naturally, that’s when things picked up. Thanks to six weeks in summer school with Mr. Elder, my junior year schedule contained a plethora of frees. I would go to school for three or four classes each day, and then, instead of going home, I spent the remainder of the day hanging out in the library. This horrified a lot of people. No one could understand why I consciously chose to stay in the building instead of going home to Netflix and my bed. Now, this is where I must confess; I really liked being in school. I loved taking spontaneous naps in the courtyard,

wandering through the hallways with nowhere to go and, of course, I loved the people. Thanks to my infinite free time, I was able to meet dozens of new and interesting peers. When most people think of their junior year, they think of hours of SAT studying, APUSH cram sessions, and impossible Webassigns. I think of the friends that I made. Maybe this is a little corny, but I don’t care. I’ve made some of my absolute best friends in these past two years. So this is my advice to you: don’t wait, put yourself out there now. Make friends. Take chances. Do something new and exciting. Don’t be one of those kids who looks at high school as just a blip on the horizon on the way to college. Stop and look around, and realize that even though you aren’t going to see many of these kids again, they have the capacity to change the way you view yourself and the way you view those around you. I was shaped by my peers, and I couldn’t be happier. Looking back, I can wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments of my parents. I had the time of my life at Lower Merion, and am forever grateful for the incredible friends I have made along the way. So thank you, each and every one of you, for making the past four years so special to me.

Kara Boutselis

mate was far from my “thing.” Ultimate was completely foreign to me, but it has introduced me to the most amazing group of people and given me confidence I wouldn’t have even imagined I’d have at the beginning of ninth grade. My advice to underclassmen would be don’t worry about what you’re supposed to do or who you’re supposed to be, whether that pressure comes from parents, friends, or yourself. Find something that makes you excited every time you do it and put everything you have into it. Find individual people that you love spending time with and put your energy into those relationships. LM students face a lot of pressure to fit into a certain mold, academically, extracurricular-ly, and socially, and some of those expectations are beneficial, but make sure you break out when you feel you need to in order to be the person you want to be.

Steps to LM success

I have to be honest with you. I can’t wait for college! The thought of living in a new place with hoards of new people from all different backgrounds and lots of activities and exciting academic opportunities around me is absolutely exhilarating. But as I get ready to pack my bags for New Orleans, I can’t help but get the tiniest bit nostalgic. Reflecting on the past four years, I’ve identified three things that profoundly shaped my time here at LM. I’d like to share them with you in hopes that everyone can get as much from their time spent at LM as possible. One: Get involved. Sometimes, you learn more outside of the classroom than inside the classroom. There are countless clubs and sports offered at LM and, as cliché as it sounds, you’ve got to find what you love to do and give it everything you have. The people you will meet and the experiences you will have participating in activities that you choose to be a part of will shape your experience at LM. Two: Talk to new people. It is easy to get caught up in your own close friends, but some of the most enriching experiences hap-

pen outside of your normal group. Try actually having a conversation with that guy who sits behind you in math class or having lunch with those people you nod “hi” to in the hallway. Different people offer different things. Three: Find teachers you love and get to know them. It is inevitable that you will have some bad teachers, or teachers that you just clash with, but you will also find there are some gems. Teachers are not only amazing at their jobs but are also incredible people. By doing this, you will not only learn a lot about Western Civilization or algebra or physics, but about life and about who you are and who you want to be. So, while I can’t give you one piece of advice that will make junior year a breeze or give you the secret to finding your perfect college, these three key ideas allowed me to get the most of what this amazing school has to offer.

Julia KramerGolinkoff


June 10, 2013

SENIORS 2013 Advice from the Advisor

The Merionite As the senior class prepares to march on to their new lives, the occasion has brought me to reflect back on my own high school graduation years ago. I wondered what I might have been thinking at the moment of matriculation, and whether those thoughts could be useful advice to our current seniors? So I found and dusted off my high school yearbook, The Chronicle, and leafed to my own picture. Listed next to my “accomplishments” were select quotes I had chosen for posterity. What enduring words had I selected to remember this moment? What gems of wisdom did I register next to my grinning face, resplendent in tuxedo (at right)? I read on. The first was a cryptic line by French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau: “Never exceed your rights and they will soon become unlimited.” Huh? Was this supposed to mean something about my life, or my aspirations? Or did I select some random pretentious quote because it made me sound smart? Probably the latter, I disappointingly surmised. Below it, another line, considerably worse, truly awful, cringe-worthy even. The quote “Let’s Party!” The author: Arnold Schwarzenegger. Flushed with shame, I shut the book, resolved to bury it and to never let this humiliation see the light of day. Inspiring words for the Class of 2013 would need to come from more worthy sources. Or so I intended. But my thoughts returned time and time again to those execrable quotes. What was my 18 year-old self

thinking? What did these words mean to me then, and could any good advice be squeezed from them two decades later? So let me ruminate on these words further. Putting aside my mortification, let’s look at the Schwarzenegger quote first: “Let’s Party!”a dreadful bromide, emphasis on the “bro.” I had selected a catch-phrase from a godawful movie, 1985’s Commando, co-starring a twelve year old Alyssa Milano and Rae Dawn Chong (Who?? Exactly!). Not even a more worthy quip from a timeless Schwarzenegger classic like Predator? Or even Terminator? But at its face value, it is an expression every one of you seniors can relate to: the desire to celebrate your accomplishment, to revel in the passage of this life event, and to spend final memorable moments with close friends with whom you will soon part ways. So, although the quote is cheesy, the sentiment is not. The Rousseau quote proves more difficult to parse; “Never exceed your rights and they will soon become unlimited.” I learned it came from his “Discourses on Inequality” (1754). It is the last line of a larger passage that states: “Show respect, therefore, to your fellow citizens, and you will render yourselves worthy of respect; show respect to liberty, and your power will increase daily. Never exceed your rights and they will soon become unlimited.” It can be taken to mean that we should acknowledge and appreciate the freedoms we and our fellow citizens have, not to abuse them or

Chad Henneberry Social Studies

LM through a lens

One of my favorite clichés, the phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” does a good job of summing up my high school experience. Over the course of the 2012-2013 school year alone, I have taken upwards of 10,000 photographs at Lower Merion High School. From sports and Players shows to school sponsored events to everyday life at LM, I have had the privilege of witnessing and capturing so much of what goes on in this community. Besides the tangible applications of my photography—publication in The Enchiridion, The Merionite, the Aces Basketball Facebook page, etc. —my camera has provided me with the opportunity to see into the depths of LM in order to appreciate how incredibly lucky we are. Being a part of the yearbook for two years has forced me to branch out and approach people I wouldn’t usually talk to. By joining Players as a photographer for Alice in Wonderland, I discovered the behind-the-scenes magic that comes together in order for a Players production

to happen, and I met so many incredible people who I hadn’t had the chance to interact with before. Through a capella concerts and events like Maroon Madness and Mr. LM, I got to capture performances of the talented people that

Efi Narliotis make up our student body. By shooting basketball games, I saw how committed the Aces Basketball program and its

fans are to success. Getting to stand on the floor of the Giant Center and shoot everyone’s reactions when we became state champions is easily one of the most amazing things I’ve been lucky enough to do. I shot countless buildOn service projects including our Trek to Haiti last year, which provided me with an opportunity to photograph things that many people never get to experience in order to spread awareness for buildOn and the service it provides. It is safe to say that without photography I would not have the same appreciation for the amazing things that go on at Lower Merion. I want to thank anyone that I’ve ever bothered for a yearbook picture or stood in front of to get a better shot, and I want to encourage all of you to find your own way to get involved in everything LM has to offer. By appreciating the opportunities we have at LM and becoming an involved member of the community, I have had four unbelievable years that I will not soon forget.

take them for granted. It can also mean that we should respect ourselves (and others), to learn to master our impulses, and we will have earned the right to govern ourselves. Okay, this is starting to look not so bad, dare I say profound? Is there a link to be found between the two phrases? Can a larger significance be gleaned from the combination of these quotes? Perhaps there is some advice to be found in both Arnold’s imperative to lose yourself in the celebration of the moment, but in your days ahead to heed Rousseau’s exhortation to always remember your responsibilities to the greater society. To paraphrase our school motto, you have entered here to learn, and now the charge is upon you to go forth to serve. Best of luck, Class of 2013!

Make it worthwhile

Dear class of 2013, First of all, congratulations on your accomplishments! You are beginning some of the most special years of your life! I am amazed how many of you have already contributed with your kindness and your wisdom to make this a better world. Your graduation from Lower Merion is perhaps your most significant accomplishment to date and by extension, one of the most joyous occasions of your life. As you leave for college, the work force, or the military I cannot promise that there won’t be challenges: life is unpredictable. However, despite the obstacles, see today as the beginning of a joyful and exciting journey. You have a fresh start elsewhere! Now, a few words of advise: First and foremost, stay in touch. Call your parents. Visit your high school teachers! We love to see you moving forward! Manage your money: this is a skill that high school doesn’t teach well. Ask for asistance! Try new things. It is a time of adventure. Enjoy it and make it worthwhile because this moment happens only once. Do everything your best, no matter how small the task. No job is too menial or beneath you if it is in pursuit of a higher and noble objective. Don’t be defined by who you are today but by who you want to be in the future. Many people find themselves after high school–you are young; you have time. Read, travel, master a second language; be kind to the planet and give your talents to the world. Accept the paradox that the feeling about what to do with your life may never leave you. Some people solve it, some don’t, and that’s okay. And please, don’t go to school in your pajamas!! All the best in your future!

Sara Nemoy Spanish

Never “Lego” of your youth

I love high school. I haven’t always, and there are parts I’m not too fond of, but this past year I’ve enjoyed the seven or more hours that I spend every weekday on my LM education. This is because I realized how much happier I was back when I didn’t overthink things. When my biggest concern was not being able to beat a dungeon or losing every single Yu-GiOh battle to my brother. When Sith were invading my backyard and it was up to me to save the confederation from tyranny. It took me a long time to understand that the most important thing about growing up is to hold on to your youth while you still can, because eventually even epic battleships and intergalactic warriors will seem naught but a conglomeration of K’Nex. Luckily I was able to rekindle my inner child and find wonder in everyday life. Now I’m always the kid in the theater with my jaw dropped to the ground – it doesn’t take much to amaze and amuse me.

Maddy Cosgriff

Speaking of being easily entertained, it is a proven fact that smiling makes you happy. So right now, while reading this article, crack a big smile and feel your mood lift. While you’re at it, look up from your paper and share your smile with those around you without a word. I suspect many of you in public refrained, and if so, ask yourself – why? Unless you just had some local anesthesia, look like Grumpy Cat and are allergic to happiness, it was because you were self-conscious around your peers. We’re high school students – of course we care about what others think. Being cool is our prime directive. Peer acceptance appears vital to us in this vulnerable and pivotal point in our lives. The way I overcame my insecurities about my coolness (or lack thereof) was by convincing myself that not caring what other people thought of me was cool. By acting like I didn’t care about being cool, I was being cool. Next time you see someone strolling down the hallway like they don’t give a damn, consider that they might actually care a lot about how cool they seem to you. The goal is to eventually “fake it till you make it,” and then you too can stroll down the hallway like you don’t give a damn, because you won’t. It wasn’t until I had survived the first few years of high school that I was wise enough to choose happiness over coolness. This meant letting go of my apathetic demeanor. Deciding to be the weird kid dancing in the park because it made me happy, but also because if I saw some weird kid with weird hair dancing

in the park it would make me happy, and I like making people happy. I’m really quite selfish; I will go out of my way to commit a random act of kindness to someone deserving of it, because it makes me happy to make people happy. It doesn’t necessarily take much effort to brighten one’s day – I routinely wave at busses and pull funny faces at children knowing that, at the very least, I made their day a little weirder. I don’t need to stick my tongue out at little kids to get their attention – my absurdly colorful hair’s got that covered. I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t dye their hair, unless their favorite color is yellow, brown, black or orange. I think the Earth would be a funnier place if everyone had dyed hair, and it would be much easier to pick people out of a crowd. You can bet all the money in your lunch account that I’ll be the nutty old woman with neon hair dancing in the park, captivating children whose worlds are filled with excitement and imagination. Hopefully I’ll be senile enough to relate, because the most valuable lesson I learned in high school is to appreciate childlike wonder and positive perceptions of the world. Now is the ideal time to change for the better, because you’re old enough to be self-aware but young enough to form good habits while still impressionable. So dust off your Lego bin. Break out your lightsaber. Chase down some hobgoblins. And while you’re at it, smile because you still have youth to inspire you and the rest of the world to explore.


June 10, 2013

SENIORS 2013 Follow your passions

The Merionite In May of 1995 as I was preparing to graduate from college, I received a letter from my father. In it he urged me to follow my passions. He encouraged me to seize the moment because as we grow older, he warned, we gain more obligations–mortgages, bills, children to love, clothe, and feed. Those obligations make it increasingly difficult to chase dreams. He said this was the time to take risks and follow my heart and that he and my mom would support my choices. I imagine many people would have been thrilled to receive such an encouraging and supportive letter on the eve of their college graduation. I felt panicked. What was my passion? What did it say about me that I couldn’t identify it? What dreams could I chase? And truth be told, even though I was perceived as the confident daredevil of the family, I was not–and am not–a tremendous risk-taker. Regardless of my

imminent diploma, I felt in many ways like I had failed. I spent the next year living in Washington, D.C. with a group of friends. I tried my best to t a k e m y f a t h e r ’s advice by pursuing an internship that I thought might match my passion. The internship was in the communications department of a major sports marketing and management firm, and I hated every long and boring second of it. I found myself staring nostalgically at school bus stops filled with kids waiting to start their day, and I recalled my

childhood dream of being a teacher. At some point I had decided that teaching was too mundane, that there must be something more unique that I could and should do. But in my first year removed from an academic institution, I found my mind constantly returning to that childhood desire. Luckily, I had a friend from college who was teaching at a local private school. I got in touch with her and she helped me get an internship and coaching position

Jill Knight History

Through the years

“Your words are shaped by you” “Why I Write” is an essay penned by intensity of your junior year, during your George Orwell, an essay that I was assigned senior year, you have invited your teachers, to read as a senior in high school, an essay your parents, and each other to recognize that I still remember these twenty-one years you in new ways. later. More importantly, it is an essay that I Yet you also recognize that the act of writhave been thinking about for the last week as ing is not simply about avoiding being misI reflect on this graduating class. In it, Orwell read by others. Writing is dangerous because articulates four reasons it is also a way to confront people write: to redanger rather than surmember, to be rememrender to it. Your words bered, to create beauty, save and sustain you. A and to debate politics. set of song lyrics tucked Yet even as an eighin the back of a college teen year old, I sensed desk drawer, a journal some larger purpose in detailing your last sumwriting. I knew—and I mer at home, an essay suspect that you as high that you saved to re-read school seniors know— the comments, a text that that writing is always you don’t delete: each a little dangerous. In of these is dangerous in crafting an essay for a powerful and positive a future professor, an way. They urge you to reemail to a teacher, a member poignant details tweet to those who at the exact moment that follow you, a status you recognize this parupdate for Facebook, ticular moment is now Leslie Pratt you get read by others past. You’ll feel it soon English who by extension read in the complicated mix you. Your words are of joy and sorrow as you sign yearbooks. shaped by you; they also shape how others You’ll feel it this summer when you save a learn who you are, what you value, what you voice mail from your parents. You’ll feel it believe…or misunderstand all three. as an adult when you re-read an inscription I have a sense that the Class of 2013 has to a book gifted to you years before. known this. I suggest this because you have And then you’ll remind yourself that the been writing and re-writing yourselves. From real danger is in not writing at all, in not emthe day you entered high school, through the bracing the danger of writing yourself into challenges of your sophomore year, into the the life that you imagine.

in their athletic department. Connecting with kids and being surrounded by their energy felt instantly rewarding and so very different from my previous internship. It confirmed for me that my passion would be found in schools. So, what is to be made of this? I impart to you my dad’s advice to follow your passion. Don’t do what I did and wait until it’s time to find a job to try to discover your passion. Use the comfort and safety of the college years to take [safe] risks. Use your summers to try out jobs that you think might be in line with your passions. And don’t be afraid to admit it if what you thought was supposed to be your passion simply is not. Accept that with passing years, your passion may evolve or change completely. Be brave enough to make changes accordingly. In spite of those growing obligations, your first responsibility is to yourself. I hope you all find and chase your passions.

As I stood outside of the Lowe’s Hotel in Center City, Philadelphia, greeting the students coming to the senior prom, I realized that I have a number of different connections with the Class of 2013. I have acted in several plays with a few of the graduating seniors. I was very nervous when I started performing on stage, and the young people who were in the cast helped ease my tension. I have known some of these students since they were young children at Camp Kweebec. I watched them grow up at camp throughout many summers. I shared their successes and victories, and I helped them deal with losses and failures. The bonds formed at camp remain strong. Some of these teenagers were my Bar and Bat Mitzvah students when they were twelve years old. I spent close to a year with these children, training and preparing them for a huge event in their lives. And several others are my neighbors in Merion Park, and I have had the pleasure of giving them

candy when they came to my house on Halloween. Of course, many of the seniors were students in my chemistry classes, both during the school week and on Saturdays as part of the Organic Chemistry program. Every student presents a unique challenge and has a unique personality. Getting to know each student is always the most rewarding part of teaching, and the Class of 2013 has so many wonderful individuals. It is always a great feeling when one of the seniors stops me in the hallway and thanks me for writing a college recommenda tion or lets me know that she intends to major in chemistry in college or that he wants to go into teaching. Many students continued to stop by my room just to say hello even though they were no longer in my class. There are so many fond memories I have of the Class of 2013, so I will conclude by wishing you all the best of luck in whatever life holds for you. Be healthy, be safe, be successful, and, when you come back to visit Lower Merion, please stop by and say hello.

Glenn Brooks Chemistry

The wise words of Mr. Kaczmar Keep all things in perspective.

Peter Kaczmar Mathematics

In the years allotted to you, integrity, family, faith, and relationships will matAcademics are important, but so are ter more than degrees and income. other things. Reason carefully through all the data Have fun learning new ideas and ex- tossed into your lab. Logic still works. ploring the breadth of their applicability. There is an intellectual rush in doing Pursue truth always…it does not althis, sort of like a 3G roller coaster. ways rest in the latest iPhone –x, Galaxy Sx (x is an integer), or Google glasses. Learn not only “what” and “how”, but also more importantly “why.”


June 10, 2013


The Merionite

Matriculating Staff Paul Petrillo

Paul Petrillo began his career at LM in 1969 as a social studies teacher. A former student remembers him as funny and kind, as someone who could make World Cultures, not her favorite subject, come alive. Mr. Petrillo was the first teacher at LM to teach African American History. He taught experientially before it was a buzzword in education. The Industrial Revolution became more meaningful when his summer school students actually formed an assembly line. He was football coach and baseball coach, making him even more popular and connected to the LM community. In 1985, Mr. Petrillo became a counselor at LM, a position he has filled for 28 years, 26 of them as department chair. Mr. Petrillo has been an inspiration to us all in the guidance department. Mr. Petrillo brings a sense of humor, a vast

Doug Arnold It is an honor for me to recognize my colleague, team member, and friend Mr. Doug Arnold. Mr. Arnold began his educational career in 1980 when he worked in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at Duke University. He started in Lower Merion School District in 1992 when he worked at Bala Cynwyd Middle School as a Guidance Counselor and Assistant Principal. Mr. Arnold finally came to LM in 2006 as an Assistant Principal in charge of a grade level and many other administrative responsibilities. And, from working with him for nearly 8 years, I know he’s loved every minute of it! His leadership and educational style ex-

udes confidence, commitment and class. He is one of the smartest people I have ever worked with and an asset to the LM administrative team, faculty, and staff. He consistently strives to help his students and his colleagues reach their highest potential. He knows how to build relationships, inspire people, and he leads by example. My friend and mentor Nort Seaman always said good leaders know the rules and great leaders know how to inspire people – Mr. Arnold is a great leader as he sees people as individuals and treats everyone with the respect and attention that they deserve. Mr. Arnold, thank you for your service to LMHS, its students, the faculty, and this community. You should be proud – you have made a difference in many people’s lives – the true power of an educator.

Art by Jared Oriel

- Sean Hughes

Marcia Goldstein

Mrs. Goldstein is a dedicated professional who brings warmth, understanding and compassion to her work. She cares deeply about the students at LM and her door is always open for a friendly conversation, concerned listening, or a piece of candy. Others describe her as being kind-hearted, genuine, and helpful. She is a creative, innovative thinker, who can problem-solve away any predicament. She has served as an invaluable resource to staff, students, and parents. Her presence and commitment will be missed. - Debra WolenskyChiaradonna Art by Jared Oriel

fund of knowledge, and a love of teenagers to all of his work. I’ve watched him joke with students to calm their anxieties about getting into college or transitioning to high school. He is able to talk students with school phobia back into the building. His retirement will leave a huge gap in the guidance department. I personally will miss his quips every day when he walks into the office. I may have taken over as department chair, but those shoes are too large to fill. I aspire to be, what he is to all of us, “our fearless leader.” We will miss you Mr. Petrillo and we wish you the best. - Marsha Rosen Art by Galen McMullen/Staff

Sandy Hoopes Imagine devoting 45 years of your life – 100% of your heart and soul – to a single cause. This is what Sandy Hoopes has done for the LM community. Coach Hoopes will be retiring from teaching in a few weeks; as her colleague and friend, I will of course greatly miss the ponytail, the sweat pants, the limitless, positive energy – and most importantly, the amazing legacy she has left at LM. Legendary Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda would often say, “cut my veins, and I bleed Dodger blue.” I am certain that Coach Hoopes’ blood is maroon and white. Her devotion to LM and its students and athletes is unparalleled in the history of the school. A teacher

wears many hats: parent, educator, doctor, psychiatrist, mentor, parent, etc. Coach Hoopes has worn each of these hats with remarkable pride and effectiveness. I wish Coach Hoopes well in the next phase of her life, and consider myself lucky to have worked so closely with this amazing, inspiring person. Please make an effort before school ends to congratulate her on 45 years of excellence and thank her for her devotion to you and your school. - Gregg Downer

Art by Robin Weiner

Helen McManus

Helen McManus bleeds the colors orange, white, and green. When she walks in the room you can feel the Irish pride behind those Irish eyes. As she goes through the hallways her step is always light and whimsical with a song or whistle as she glides by. If you need a hand or listening ear, she is right there. All of the students and staff that have worked with Mrs. McManus will truly miss her. We wish her all the best and know that her next journey will consist of fun, adventure and continuing her love of life! Good luck on your way, Mrs. McManus. - Melissa Sinapi-Gibson

Art by Galen McMullen/Staff


June 10, 2013

By the numbers

The Merionite


Where will our seniors be next year?

Most Popular Schools for the Class of 2013

Thank you to The Enchiridion for the headshots!

Matriculation 2013  
Matriculation 2013  

June 2013