Lost in Translation Students not yet fluent after years of language
News Page 3
Students lead professional lives after school hours
Pharcyde Guide to movies that are coming soon to DVD
Spotlight Page 10-11
4875 Grandiflora Road, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
The Scene Page 16
February 22, 2011
Committee announces Head of Upper School
School locked down during police search for felon near campus
Mr. Latta Baucom will join the TBS community as Head of Upper School next year in place of Mr. Selvig. n
By Casey Pearce Staff Writer
On Feb. 10, Head of School Mr. Robert Goldberg announced to the entire Upper School staff, faculty and parents via email, that Mr. Latta Baucom, the Head of Upper School at All Saints’ Academy, will be replacing Mr. Jay Selvig as Head of Upper School in the fall. Out of 150 applicants, Mr. Baucom was the unanimous choice of the Search Committee, headed by the Lower School and Middle School Director of Student Services, Mrs. Susan Poncy. Mr. Baucom and his family are very excited to be joining the Benjamin community. They were very impressed by the community involvement and the quality of the students and faculty. Mr. Baucom commented that his current school’s mission statement is similar to Benjamin’s and will be an easy transition. They all feel as if they will be very welcomed and Benjamin will offer a great education as well as a sense of a family. For the past six years, Mr. Baucom has been working at All Saints’ in Winter Haven, FL. He started at All Saints’ as
the Middle School head, but three years ago the school asked him to take on the role of Upper school Head when All Saints’ created a seven year program incorporating 6th through 12th grade. Mr. Baucom said this job has vast responsibilities, but it is manageable. There he streamlined communications with the faculty and created a better curriculum. While observing classes, Mr. Baucom realized that in some instances the curriculum at All Saints’ was redundant. With his faculty, he worked to review and revise the curriculum to make it better for the students. He said he also had the privilege of creating a middle school program that makes the transition from 5th to 6th grade a very smooth and clean move. Mr. Baucom spent much of his childhood growing up in South Africa, but he came back to the United States and earned a BA in Economics and a minor in history at Wake Forest University. He went on to receive an MBA in management at Baylor University and is currently working toward a doctorate in Education at Nova Southeastern University.
By Tory Tiano & Meredith Berger Staff Writers
Mr. Latta Baucom Before starting in the educational world, Mr. Baucom was in the United States Army and served his first active duty assignment as a platoon leader and company executive officer. He served two active duty tours as well as tours with the Texas and North Carolina Amy National Guard. As an officer, he took control of the health, welfare, and training of his soldiers. Mr. Baucom’s first administrative and teaching experience was at NorthRidge Christian Academy in Haines City, Florida. At first he served at the school in a volunteer position, but by the second year he was employed as its principal. His parents have lived in South Africa See Baucom Page 2
On Feb. 16, the Benjamin Upper School went into a code yellow lockdown and the entire Upper School community took the necessary safety precautions. The code yellow was a result of a situation involving the local police and a convicted felon who was spotted around campus. Dean of Students Mr. Jimmy Clark said, “He was a felon drug dealer and user, and they found him... hiding in the apartment complex north of school. He fled near the baseball field and softball field on the property line on the west side.” Head of Upper School Mr. Jay Selvig said, “We were advised by the local law enforcement to go into a code yellow because there was a person of interest who was close, if not on the property.” Teachers and administrators were required to lock the doors and stop movement. Senior Frank Cunningham said, “I felt very safe with Mrs. Buxe. She would’ve taken a bullet for us.” See Code Yellow Page 2
School security guards issue tickets, tighten policies By Olivia Campanella Staff Writer
Student drivers have been alarmed to discover that they can receive citations for offenses in the parking lot, but according to Dean of Students Mr. Jimmy Clark, the notifications are not tickets. They are a new method to monitor parking lot activity. Mr. Clark said, “Issuing parking notices was mainly done for parents and visitors who would park in the spot of a faculty member or student. The tickets don’t come with consequences, but we still need a way to notify them of their mistake.” However, he wanted to make it clear that if students continue the offense, more serious action will be taken. An anonymous student said, “I did not know that you can receive a ticket for parking in the wrong spot at school. The warning I was given scared me and, since then, I have always parked in the correct spot.” Junior Morgan Welton said, “It takes one person to park in the wrong spot and start a downward domino effect. I only have a few minutes before class and now have to go find an untaken spot, and risk being late. Just because that one person is lazy and doesn’t want to walk a long distance to class, doesn’t give them the right to See Parking Page 2
MATT MURRAY / Photography Editor
School security officers have begun to issue warnings in the form of tickets for school parking lot misdemeanors. The tickets seem to be minimizing parking lot confusion, because many students often park in the wrong spots.
Let Your Hair Down Abbey Coffman reveals I’m OCD hair after Alopecia battle
School Life Page 14
Lose the Labels
Students demean disorders by misspeaking
Opinion Page 6
Colton’s years as coach lead to teams’ successes
Sports Page 18
February 22, 2011 COUNTDOWN: 54 days until Passover/Easter Break on April 16
Social Studies, video classes added
By Victoria Cribb
From Page 1
for 42 years, and in the summer of 2000, Mr. Baucom and his father sat down and planned, from start to finish, the creation of a school in Pretoria, South Africa. It started with a total of 18 students in a little house, and now the school consists of about 150 students. This opportunity was only his second experience in administration and education. Mr. Baucom hopes to bring a new perspective and new experiences to Benjamin. He wants to spread global awareness to students so they can understand the world in which they live. He would love to start an international program with TBS and provide opportunities to
connect with schools in South Africa to create global cooperation. Mr. Baucom, his wife, Gina and their three children still living at home will be joining the Benjamin community next year. Mr. Baucom has six children, but the three oldest are already out of high school. Their youngest children will be attending Benjamin in each of the three school divisions. Rachel will start in 11th grade, Abby in 6th, and Joel in 3rd. He said he will “make every effort to work with the faculty and students at The Benjamin School to help make everything that the school is already doing well even better.”
Q & A with Head of Upper School Mr. Selvig
A Pharcyde reporter recently sat down with Mr. Selvig to ask him to reflect on his tenure at Benjamin and to look ahead to the future of TBS. n
Pharcyde Reporter: What
was your favorite part about being Head of Upper School?
Mr. Jay Selvig:
I would say that would probably be the daily interactions with students.
What advice would you give the new Head of Upper School?
The important things would be to, one, get out and get to know everyone, and two, he should make sure that he is involved in all that goes on within the school community so that he is showing support, be it arts, athletics, or whatever it might be.
Is there anything you would want to say to the new Head of Upper School?
JS: He is getting a great place,
and I assume that he will continue it and move it onward and upward and make it better and better in the future.
Is there anything you wish you would have known before becoming the Head of Upper School?
PARKING From Page 1
completely upset the parking order.” Many students share Welton’s sentiment. In response to this recurring issue, Security Officer Joe Murphy came up with the idea to notify student drivers and off-campus guests that they have parked in a spot where they should not be. Security officers and Mr. Clark are not keeping records of the notifications; however, if a repeated offender is noticed, action will be taken.
The person I succeeded as Head of Upper School was someone that I had worked with down in Miami, so I got to talk with him, and he was always very open, but I prefer to come in, not necessarily getting all sorts of information about individuals, and I would rather make my own judgment on situations. I would prefer, when new students come into our 9th grade, not to necessarily have a lot of information about them and would rather establish who they are when they come in.
Is there anything you would want to say to the students and faculty?
JS: Thank you for a great thir-
teen years. Out of the thirteen years, there have only been about three days that I was not looking forward to coming in. I think that is a pretty good percentage, and even when I wasn’t looking forward to coming in, usually there were more positives than negatives in the day. I think whoever comes in will get the same support I have gotten from students, faculty and parents. That’s part of what makes it that much fun to come in to work each day.
Mr. Clark said, “I am technically in charge of the parking situation but the parking lot is so huge with so many drivers and so few spots including parents that come onto our campus, we have to be able to monitor the parking. People can’t just park where they want.” Coach Clark is unsure of whether or not this method will be used next year, but people have been adhering to the written warnings thus far.
The upcoming school year of 2011-2012 will offer a couple of new one-semester courses: Introduction to Law, Modern Asian History and a series of revamped multimedia courses. For the first time in recent Benjamin history, a law course is being introduced and offered. History teacher Mr. Wesley Logsdon, having graduated from law school and taught law courses at his previous school, suggested the notion of a law course here at Benjamin. According to the Course of Study Booklet, “Students will analyze case studies, participate in mock trials and role-plays as well as use local community’s resources to gain knowledge about the legal and political systems.” Mr. Logsdon also added that he hopes to take students to a couple of cases where they can sit in the gallery and also talk with attorneys or judges to get an idea of their daily routine and see what the job has to offer. He said, “I plan to cover the basics of a variety of laws ,such as criminal law, civil law, constitutional law, sports law, property law, contracts and family law, just so the students can have a taste of everything. But I am most looking forward to the mock trials; they’re always fun because the kids get to play a variety of different roles, and they tend to really get into it and develop the mindset.” With a course like law generally being offered only in college, many students feel as though Mr. Logsdon’s class will be a popular one. Junior Alexis Wilson said, “Law is an extremely common profession and aspiration for a lot of students, and they usually don’t get to explore it until college or grad school. I am extremely excited to get a taste of the course during high school!” Another course that is new to our curriculum is a course focusing on modern Asian his-
tory. History teacher Mr. Jamie McVicar, who is going to teach the course, said, “We used to offer African and Asian studies. We thought by reintroducing the course with a facelift and a more coherent focus, the students of Benjamin would benefit. The course also adds diversity to the History Department’s offerings.” The curriculum for the course will trace the countries’ modern political, economic, religious and cultural rise in the latter half of the twentieth century and their potential role in the twenty-first century. According to Mr. McVicar, he is interested in teaching this course because its content is so relevant to the modern geopolitical landscape. “The West and the United States in particular need to realize that India and China are going to be major players in the next few centuries. The better we understand their culture, government, and economy, the better we will be able to co-exist in a globalized world,” he said. Looking to challenge herself, junior Sydney Schor plans to take the Modern Asian History course and learn about a part of the world that will have a direct impact on our future. Schor said, “I am currently taking Chinese as a language, and I believe it would be beneficial to broaden my knowledge about Asian culture and history. Besides, with Mr. McVicar teaching the class, it has to be interesting!” Not only is Modern Asian History a course that has been revamped, the multimedia program has reformed three classes: T.V. Studio and Field Production, Television Broadcasting and Journalism, and Film Production. In these classes, students will learn every aspect of live program and video production, including planning, writing, shooting, interviewing, editing, reporting, hosting and live show execution. It is hoped that these
CODE YELLOW From Page 1
While students and teachers remained in locked rooms throughout campus, the Crisis Response Team, which consists of administrators, was meeting with the Palm Beach Gardens Police and finding out information regarding the situation. Director of Student Services and Crisis Response Team member Dr. Amy Taylor said, “The Crisis Response Team makes sure everything runs smoothly. Today it was just making sure everybody was where they were supposed to be.” Mr. Clark, another Crisis Response Team member, said, “We knew what was going on and we were very cautious; however, we didn’t know whether or
not he was armed.” Running close to campus, the felon was spotted by the police and security guard, Officer Joe Murphy. When he was told to halt, he continued to flee into the thick brush near the west side of school property, making it difficult to locate him. The Palm Beach Gardens Police secured the perimeter and entered the back of the school in order to box him in. Shortly after, the felon was caught and arrested. The police commended the school for its quick responsiveness and preparedness. Mr. Clark said, “The police and sheriff’s department informed us that they saw our school was locked down
three classes will take place in a state-of-the-art high definition digital broadcast studio and post-production facility and all films will be shot on high definition film cameras and edited on industry standard Final Cut Pro workstations, all of which will be housed in a proposed renovation to the existing video production studio. Although the school has not yet authorized the funding for the studio year, the multimedia program plans to offer an immersive experience in producing live television and focus on empowering students to become effective communicators in a world dominated by new media.
and very well prepared.” Mr. Clark said, “Our security guard Joe Murphy was above and beyond good. He immediately was working with the police. He constantly communicated with me and everybody on the Crisis Response Team and let us knew what was happening. He was really on the ball.” Mr. Clark wrote in an e-mail sent to the entire school, “As your Dean, and as someone who is directly in charge of the security of this campus – along with Mr. Murphy our security guard – we want to thank you for hanging in there and behaving so well during this lockdown.” In response to the experience, Cunningham said, “I feel as if we now see that our school really does make it a safe environment. Our security staff and Dean of Students are nulli secundus.”
February 22, 2011
Demerit system merits student scrutiny, joking Although the system is outlined in the handbook, some students treat the system as being trivial and even as a competition.
By Tory Tiano Staff Writer
BEN GERMANO / Staff Writer
A plaque in the library shows the 10 character words in the three languages taught at TBS.
Students lament lack of fluency, teachers defend language dept. By Ben Germano Staff Writer
Some of Benjamin’s graduating seniors are looking back on their experience at Benjamin and wondering if they were well served by their years of language instruction through lower, middle, and upper school. Other younger language students also expressed disappointment in their abilities but declined to go on the record because they did not want to offend their teachers. Many felt that they should be fluent speakers after so much language education but instead claim they do not speak with a high level of proficiency. One student, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed disappointment that she is not a better speaker after beginning French in kindergarten. “When I was in the fourth grade, the school gave us an option to switch to Spanish but my parents wanted me to stay in French because I had all those years behind me already. It has now been over ten years and I still cannot speak fluently,” she said. In an attempt to offer guidance to those confused by what they see as a lack of progress, Spanish teacher Mrs. Ivette Casiano said, “What they must be looking at is years. They’re saying, ‘I took it 6th grade, 7th grade, 8th grade and then high school.’ What they’re not looking at is how often they are taking it and at what level they’re taking it.” Mrs. Casiano also stressed the significance of looking at high school language courses in a different light from lower and middle school classes. “When you have lower school and middle school Spanish, that cannot compare to high school Spanish. I think most of the students graduating here [who] take all four years of high school Spanish are at a pretty good level,” she said. Language Department Chair Mrs. Anita Spassoff, who
has been teaching at Benjamin for the past 30 years, believes that students are much more competent in their language than they may feel. She said, “Most students do not realize how proficient they are in their target language until they are in a situation outside of the classroom.” Mrs. Spassoff went on to outline the goals of the department for students who have been in language classes over many years in an effort to give them a realistic perspective. She said, “The goal should be that you are proficient in all four skill levels [reading, writing, speaking and listening], and that you should be able to place out in the lower levels of college language. And if you go on through to the AP, you will be able to get credit for it.” These goals match those of other private schools in the area. As Assistant Secondary Principal Jim Kolar of The King’s Academy explained, TKA’s lingual achievement is quantified by its AP scores. “Our program enables students to learn how to understand and speak, and by the time they are in AP Spanish, they do speak it and understand it. Two years ago we had 100 percent passing the AP exam; last year [we had] 89 percent,” he said. As a testament to the value of lower and middle school language courses, Mrs. Spassoff stressed that those goals change tremendously for students just starting language in high school. According to Mrs. Spassoff, students starting in level 1 as freshmen can only attain the basic principles of their language. Head of School Mr. Robert Goldberg, a language department chair at a previous school in his career, emphasized the need for the goals of the language department to be less concerned with AP scores and more focused on students’ ability to communicate in their target language. He said, “I really believe that when a student takes full advantage and has some natural capacity, that
student should be able to be comfortably communicative on nontechnical topics. For students of ours, at the end of our program, we would like their level of communication to be at some significant level of proficiency.” Mr. Goldberg went on to explain that his dissatisfaction with AP testing is based on its lack of a practical application. “You could be in the middle of Paris having a blast speaking in wonderfully communicative French, but maybe if you sat down to take the AP test, you may not do that well because you don’t write well, or reading for you is difficult. The AP test is a very relative thing. To get a 3 or above, you have to have more or less a proficiency of 3 in all the skills. So I’m not very worried about the AP test,” he said. Mr. Goldberg does, however, have goals for the language program orientated around communicative ability. He said, “I want students to enjoy a comfortable speaking relationship with a native speaker of that language, or read a newspaper at a pedestrian level of sophistication.” However, an anonymous language student who has taken 13 years of her language does not feel she is at that level. “My French vocabulary does not extend much past the basic vocabulary word lists, including clothing, food and colors,” she said. While some students may be disappointed with their language progress, Mrs. Casiano has firsthand knowledge of students who have achieved a high level of proficiency. She recollected a time when she was new to the language department and went out to lunch before the school year with her colleagues. As she went on to explain, they ran into a group of recently graduated seniors and they carried out a full conversation in Spanish. “I was so surprised that these were their students and they were communicating in Spanish outside in the real world. Those were students that had gone through all the four years of high school, so it is possible,” she said.
The demerit system was initially created to provide a clear and defined form of punishment; however, over the years, many students and teachers believe the system has become ineffective. In response to students’ concerns, Dean of Students Mr. Jimmy Clark provided his insight into the demerit system while acknowledging these issues. One student feels many are unaware of the punishments that come along with demerits. Junior Jorge Dominicis said, “Nobody even knows how many demerits it takes to get in trouble.” However, Mr. Clark wants students to remember that the consequences are fully listed and explained in the Student Handbook. The handbook states that five demerits result in a notification home. Ten demerits earn a Saturday Work Detail and 15 to two Work Details. Twenty demerits is citizenship probation and a parent meeting. Twenty to 29 results in an in-school suspension. Thirty demerits results in dismissal from school. Due to the alleged ambiguity of the system, one student noticed that others see demerits as a means of intimidation rather than a form of punishment. Senior Brett Rosenthal said, “I feel like people feel that the demerits don’t have any value; therefore, when they don’t have any value, abuse comes from that.” Because students believe demerits are worthless, some would not even consider the consequences until they became severe. Junior Robby Datollo said, “The demerit system doesn’t scare me or intimidate me; it’s just there. But, if I ever got to a point where I was close to getting kicked out of school or suspended for demerits, then I’d be more cautious.” Mr. Clark thinks students do not worry about it because they do not receive very many. “It’s important to remember that you can earn demerits and nothing will happen; you might have four demerits and think that that’s a lot, but there is no consequence for that number. The vast majority will never even come close to consequences.” Some students are under the impression that other students receive multiple demerits and virtually no action or punishment takes place. Rosenthal said, “Many kids will get four, five or six demerits and nothing will happen.” While many students feel as if they have received numerous demerits based on a teacher’s verbal warning or response to the situation, it is possible that demerits are not issued if the teacher chooses not to send an email to Mr. Clark. Mr. Clark said, “Teachers
do not issue demerits; I do. If teachers don’t contact me, the student won’t get a demerit. The only time demerits are recorded is when I receive a notification of some sort from the teacher or I see it myself.” Mr. Clark, who tracks demerits, stresses the fact that demerits can only be tracked and considered valid if they are reported. He said, “The demerit system is a great way of using discipline. It allows administrators to track everything that is reported.” Though some teachers issue demerits, others prefer to take their own disciplinary action. An anonymous teacher said, “I generally take care of things in my own fashion. I’ve actually never given a student a demerit. I probably wouldn’t issue demerits unless there was a really serious situation.” Accumulating demerits has even become a competition of sorts among students. Students gain bragging rights and increased self-confidence with each demerit. Rosenthal said, “The meaning of a demerit has shifted from what it’s supposed to be; it’s supposed to be a tool to straighten kids up; now it has the reverse effect.” Although the demerit system provides a form of punishment, many students express doubt in the efficiency of the system. Senior Tanner Torres said, “Demerits may make an easy and good form of punishment for teachers, but to the majority of students, they are worthless and have no value.” If students continue to brush off the demerit system as irrelevant or a way to gain bragging rights, Mr. Clark promises the system will be reviewed and possibly changed. He said, “I will be reviewing the handbook with our administration for next year to recommend that demerit infractions be more severely weighted if students do not see them as a deterrent.”
Demerit System as outlined in the Student Handbook
10 15 20
Saturday Work Detail Two Saturday Work Details Citizenship Probation & Parent Meeting
Dismisssal from School
February 22, 2011
Community ponders potential effects of Oxbridge Academy By Katie Schepps Managing Editor
The announcement of a new, independent college preparatory high school that will open in West Palm Beach next fall has raised questions about the potential impact on Benjamin and the surrounding community. The vision for Oxbridge Academy began with the founder of West Palm Beachbased private energy company Oxbow Corp, Bill Koch, who was also named Number 316 on the 2010 Forbes list of billionaires. The parent of six children, Koch is dedicating around $50 million of his own money to this project, according to the Palm Beach Post. He expressed his motivation in founding Oxbridge when he wrote, “Parents in all parts of Palm Beach County – indeed from all areas of South Florida – have expressed the same desire for an independent school like Oxbridge Academy.” Oxbridge is still waiting for accreditation with the Florida Council of Independent Schools (FCIS) as well as the National Association of Independence Schools (NAIS). The 40-acre campus will be located at the former site of the Jewish Community Center on Military Trail, north of Okeechobee Boulevard. Benjamin Head of School Mr. Robert Goldberg does not seem too concerned. While he cannot predict the impact that Oxbridge Academy will have on the community in the fu-
ture, he is confident that Benjamin will not be immediately affected by its opening in terms of enrollment. He said, “I do believe, and I’ve said this 100 different times, that Benjamin really is an extraordinary school, and to match Benjamin in academic rigor, number of AP classes, opportunities for leadership in clubs and organizations, many offerings in the visual arts, the performing arts, all of the musical programs, athletics, the kind of camaraderie the kids have among themselves and the type of relationships the faculty and the students have, that’s really hard to build in a year or two.” In fact, Mr. Goldberg believes that the emergence of this similarly goal-oriented college preparatory school might be beneficial to the Benjamin community. “In a capitalistic marketplace, competition is a good thing, because it keeps everybody on the edge,” he said. Though Benjamin has reviewed the plans that have been published, Mr. Goldberg says that he has yet to see any delivery of curriculum or to observe a reaction from the community about the program, either positive or negative. This new source of competition may affect the relationships between all the schools in the surrounding area—not just Benjamin. Koch has previously served on the Board of Trustees at Palm Beach Day Academy, which goes through 9th
grade. Oxbridge’s hope seems to be that the independent high school will attract those students coming from Palm Beach Day. As of now, many of the students from Palm Beach Day come to Benjamin for high school. With Oxbridge now in the equation, these students might be provided with a new option. Senior Abbey Coffman, who came to Benjamin as a freshman from Palm Beach Day, said, “Oxbridge is only going to have a freshman and sophomore class for the fall, so the kids who go there next year probably won’t get that same high school experience and feeling of a true school community that they would get at Benjamin.” Apart from the worry that students might be drawn to Oxbridge lies the possibility that the teachers might also be attracted to the new school. Goldberg refuted this concern when he said, “I think anything is possible. It’s hard for me to imagine that a school that has proven itself for 50 years and has the reputation it has in town would lose too much in terms of good people going to a brand new entity that hasn’t yet proven itself.” Even with this new “player” in the configuration, the Benjamin community does not feel overly pressured to advertise, change its programs or restructure its tuition in response to Oxbridge. Mr. Goldberg said, “They are aggressively marketing.
They’re a start-up school; they would have to. We don’t see ourselves as doing too much differently because we’re such a well-defined and established institution at this point. Our marketing efforts are creative and plentiful as they are.” At the same time, Mr. Goldberg acknowledged that, while Oxbridge has been heavily advertising in the Palm Beach Post, on the radio, and in several other ways, Benjamin does have a PR firm which publicizes its name, whether it is for the W.O.W. program, Mandarin program, any of the many academic or athletic competitions or its college admissions profile. The financial implications play an inevitable role in the competitiveness among surrounding schools. However, Oxbridge’s tuition is not very far off of Benjamin’s, which goes up to $23,000 for 12th grade students. In an effort to attract students in its beginning stages, Oxbridge has promised the founding class members of the 2011-2012 school year a “significant tuition discount.” Mr. Goldberg explained that, because Benjamin budgets very carefully and “to the bone,” given its nonprofit status, the school is not in a position to change the tuition structure as a reaction to Oxbridge’s tuition. He said, “We have every intention to continue offering the same rigorous 21st century program as well as growing it in every way possible as we have been doing
over the past several years.” Even as new competition emerges, Benjamin is not sitting still; the school is developing not only to address competition but also to better itself as an institution. Mr. Goldberg spoke confidently of the school’s status in the community and its everevolving programs when he said, “Before we even knew about Oxbridge, since I have arrived, we have been successful in expanding several programs: We’ve expanded Mandarin all the way up to senior year (offering a 15-year sequence from W.O.W.), and we are building a state-of-the-art, professional level TV studio and video production center that will be available in August. We know that a lot of our students will choose these new options as electives because they are very career-oriented.” Acknowledging the competition but remaining confident, Goldberg said, “When there’s a new player, I think all of the dominoes will be affected in some configuration or another because there’s new competition.” Students loyal to Benjamin feel Goldberg’s confidence in the school’s future and are not wary of Oxbridge’s entrance into the community. Junior Meredith Anderson said, “I can’t imagine that any prospective students and their parents would be attracted to a brand new school over the strong and elite legacy that Benjamin has created.”
Students gather on one-year anniversary of Mr. Wissner’s death By Lauren Bernick Staff Writer
Sunday, Feb. 6, marked the one year anniversary of the death of beloved faculty member, Mr. Dan Wissner. Former AP U.S. History students of Mr. Wissner’s, seniors Emily Kochman and Jamie Burke, led a memorial gathering throughout the day to reminisce and honor his memory.
“I truly couldn’t believe that it had been a year.” EMILY KOCHMAN senior Last year, immediately after word of Mr. Wissner’s death had reached the school community, students created Facebook statuses and groups to invite everyone to gather at the school. Students and faculty came together to mourn his loss, gathering in front of the center white block—Mr. Wissner’s favorite spot to grade papers and spark conversations with passing students and faculty. Kochman commented on last year’s gathering, stating, “There was a large emotional re-
action the day of his death that spurred a large crowd to attend school on a Saturday. Past and present students told stories and jokes about Mr. Wissner on the day of his death, because we knew it was what he would have wanted us to do.” This year, Kochman spread news of a memorial gathering on Facebook through a mass message to members of one of the Facebook groups created last year. The message indicated that anyone was welcome to stop by throughout the day in front of the pelican, which was erected in his honor. Approximately fifteen students left bouquets of flowers on the base of the pelican, installed less than a month ago and chosen because Mr. Wissner once lightheartedly told his wife, Math Department Chair Mrs. Phyllis Wissner, that if he were reincarnated, he would probably come back as a pelican. Burke and Kochman hope that though the last group of students who had him as a teacher will graduate this year, students will continue to gather in years to come. “I hope that it will continue every year, even if it is only one or two students bringing flowers to the site,” said Kochman. An entire year has passed, and students and faculty still
carry his memory and jokes with them. “Jenna [Bernick], Jamie, and I truly couldn’t believe that it had been a year, and we just sat down for a little to think back to
how great he was and how fortunate we were to have had him in our lives,” said Kochman. A former student of Mr. Wissner’s, senior Frank Cunningham said, last year after his passing,
“Mr. Wissner was a great person and his memory lives on in all the students who he taught and touched in his own way. He will never be forgotten and will be forever loved by so many.”
MATT MURRAY / Photography Editor
On Sunday, Feb. 6, students gathered and placed flowers under the pelican statue erected in memory of Mr. Wissner last month. Later, students placed the flowers on the statue itself.
February 22, 2011
Lack of research papers creates concern for college preparation By Rachel Smith Staff Writer
Although Benjamin prides itself on being very technologically advanced and working toward 21st century education, 24
percent of students at Benjamin reported in a recent Pharcyde survey that they have never been assigned a research paper, papers which are often considered a staple of high school
Graphic by Jared Fishman Most students have only done one, two or three research papers at TBS.
Graphic by Jared Fishman Almost one fourth of students haven’t been assigned a research paper.
curriculums. While opinions differ, some people wish that Benjamin taught students more thoroughly how to write a research paper. Asked about her own experience, 2010 graduate Nicole Grabel said, “Benjamin does prepare you for writing a basic academic essay.” However, she also acknowledged that she had no true research papers at Benjamin, and said, “I wasn’t assigned any real research papers in high school, except maybe a couple that required very minimal research.” She explained how this affected her ability to do research papers in college. She said, “Writing research papers actually is a lot different from writing other papers, and it’s a skill I really didn’t have before college. I probably could have written papers a lot faster if I didn’t have to sort of teach myself how to organize myself and go about writing the papers.” Head of the Upper School Library Ms. Franci Jefferson talks to few classes and teachers each year about research and research based papers, and those she does talk with are mostly concerning the required science fair. She said, “I almost always talk to the science classes every year, about the most efficient way to research for science fair, and then I’ll have a few other teachers who ask me to help with research projects.” Although most teachers do not assign research papers on a regular basis, some verified that, for the courses they teach, research papers are a necessity. History teacher Mr. Steven Anderson explained that he does assign research papers to his students in both sophomore
and senior classes. He said he thinks that “they are a vital component of the social studies curriculum.” AP Language and Composition teacher and 11th grade English teacher Mrs. Lynne Feyk explained that, even though English is not always a research-based class, her students “do some researchedbased types of writing,” but she does not consider these to be true research papers. She additionally explained that she supports learning stronger writing styles and skills through research on certain topics. “In English, we’re focusing on your writing, your use of grammar, on understanding and analyzing and critical thinking. We do do research, but it’s not under the terms of doing a research paper,” she said. Ms. Jefferson added that a lack of understanding as to how to do the proper research for science fair, or other papers which are rarely assigned, is somewhat likely to occur because of how easy it is to access websites which do not always have the correct information. She said, “[For] most of the research done in high school, Google and Wikipedia usually have enough information, as much as I don’t even want to mention Wikipedia and the issues with reliability. But there is so much more in the databases, and it’s so much more reliable and authoritative.” Ms. Jefferson explained that she thinks this lack of research papers has increased over the years. She said, “I think historically when we were still on the old campus, a lot of teachers didn’t want to bring the kids
upstairs to the library, especially when there were Kindergarten and 1st grade classes having story time. It was disruptive for the high school kids to come up. I think that’s when a lot of library research stopped, because it was upstairs and it was a multi-use community.” She went on to say, “Now that we have our library here, I think just because teachers were used to not coming into the library, it’s been hard to get it going again.” Ms. Jefferson also explained that if students do not understand the process of writing research papers, it will put students at a disadvantage when they begin college. She said, “I would like all of you guys to have that experience here using the databases and eBooks before you go to college because you’ll be ahead of so many other kids in one more area. You know everything we do here is really high level, and you guys are really prepared, but when you go to college, you don’t know how to use the library efficiently, even online.” Ms. Jefferson understands that she thinks the school does have a problem with research and the way in which it gets done, or does not get done, but she is not definite that the solution is to assign more research papers. She explained, “I don’t know so much that assigning more research papers is the answer... maybe finding out what the library can do to assist the teachers and students, but I think the kids also need to to look in the library databases first, before they go on the internet, because there are just so many more reliable sources in the databases.”
Environmental Club increases student awareness efforts n
The club has posted signs at every trash at the Upper School and plaques labeling tree species at the Lower School.
By Meredith Berger Staff Writer
Recently, the Environmental Club has increased its efforts by reminding students how important it is to protect and care for the Earth. One way members have promoted environmental awareness is by posting their popular “Don’t be trashy!” signs all over the school campus next to the recycling bins. The Environmental Club is using the signs to remind students not to toss their soda cans into the garbage, a fairly common practice at Benjamin. The signs use a catchy slogan as well as a colorful graphic of recyclables to remind students to keep their trash and their plastics separate. Junior Jamie Corey said, “The signs can be found everywhere around the campus and describe what students should recycle, which includes ‘glass & plastic bottles/jars and aluminum foil.’ I feel these signs are working and are actually getting more people to recycle.” While continuing to boost their efforts, the Environmen-
tal Club showed a video to the entire student body during assembly. The video pictured a soda can that had been left on the ground instead of recycled. The video showed the progression of the can over 50 years and how, by littering, people mistakenly think that their trash will just disappear overnight.
“I feel these signs are... actually getting more people to recycle.” JAMIE COREY junior Environmental Club member, senior Ali Colclasure, said, “We placed the signs near the paper and plastic recycling bins to make students aware about recycling. We know everyone is capable of putting the right things in the right spot,
but it comes down to what is convenient. If someone wants to throw away a soda can and there isn’t a blue bin in proximity, most people will just throw it in the trash bin. In addition, we wanted to emphasize the benefits of recycling, especially paper since students print a lot of extra paper, and sometimes don’t even take their papers from the printer.” “By showing the video and putting up the signs, we intended to make a New Year’s resolution for the school,” she added. During its recycling campaign, the environmental club is also designing plaques that they will put in front the various types of trees surrounding the lower school campus. The function of the plaques is to teach the lower school students about plant life and the environment. Environmental Club president, Senior Raquel Bicknell, said, “When kids walk around campus, they can learn about all of the different species of Florida trees by reading the plaques. Our goal is to have all the plaques up by Earth Day.”
JENNA BERNICK / Editor-in-Chief
The club members placed signs like these around campus.
February 22, 2011
The Pharcyde Jeers
Dodging Cancer The Relay for Life dodgeball tournament
Flu Week Many students have been sick in the past week.
Editorial The opinion of The Pharcyde
The Pharcyde hopes that with the new Head of Upper School comes positive changes to improve Benjamin.
As The Benjamin School community welcomes in
Dean of Students Mr. Jimmy Clark’s speech to the
The Pharcyde staff is excited to welcome Mr. Bau-
Mr. Latta Baucom in anticipation of his leadership as
student body about bullying was the perfect middle-
com as Benjamin’s new leader and hopes he is one
the new Head of Upper School next year, The Phar-
ground: He did not address scenarios in specific, but
who is never pleased by the status quo. Benjamin stu-
cyde would like to propose some ideas for positive
he did remind the student body that, if you bully, you
dents only have four years on their campus, so there
will be punished.
is no time to waste to make a change.
With any new school year comes the need for new efforts in decision-making and the communication of those decisions. This year, The Pharcyde reported on a few disciplinary cases in which students turned against ad-
Administrators must work toward positive changes and students and teachers must embrace these changes.
When a problem arises, administrators should address it efficiently, but if it is a decision that involves student welfare, students should be involved. Students spend the majority of their high school lives on this campus—big decisions should involve students. They are, after all, the ones affected most.
ministrators because they were disappointed in the lack of disciplinary action taken, and administrators
Along with this transparency is the need for swift,
A change in leadership is not really just a change
later had to address the students, telling them that ac-
clear and transparent action on school issues. As we
in leadership. It is a change in dynamic, in the feel of
tion actually was taken.
have seen this year so far, people panic when deci-
the school, and in the lives of teachers and students,
These situations were handled in a backwards
sions are not made soon enough. There is, however, a
and the community must embrace this change. In or-
fashion. Students should not have the chance to doubt
happy medium that administrators and students must
der for Benjamin to advance rather than remain the
administrators’ authority and ability to handle con-
find. Administrators should work to make informed
same, The Pharcyde believes the aforementioned ef-
flicts. Administrators should not necessarily have to
decisions in an efficient fashion, but students must be
forts must be made.
announce punishments, but it also should not be so
patient and realize that with big decisions come big
secretive that it seems as if nothing has been done.
discussions, and sometimes big controversy.
Administrators: Create change. Students: Embrace it.
Lose the Labels
Students too often state that they have certain disorders, trivializing and misrepresenting the disorders themselves.
In a culture in which college essays depicting adverse childhoods serve as the standard and having the most homework is something to brag about, students have become more label-obsessed than ever, but in a new, unknowingly inconsiderate way.
Jenna Bernick Editor-in-Chief Students have taken disorders which that once hushed – like Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and mental retardation – and are now using them in incorrect contexts in an attempt to describe or perhaps pity one’s self, diminishing and insulting those with the disorders themselves. High school culture has always thrived on labels. The cars we drive, the coffee we drink and the clubs we join all contribute to how we are viewed. But this labeling obsession has expanded over time to reach something as sacred as our minds, and we are claiming these labels as our own, often carelessly and insultingly. Students have adapted technical terms to mean things that they do not. Our generation is redefining words, and not for the better. But this is not just about
semantics. Yes, using a word in an incorrect, irrelevant context irks a writer; each word has a meaning for a reason. But by allowing each other to misuse terms, students, over time, cause the terms to lose their meaning and importance. Students who do not have these disorders flaunt the idea that they do, often because they do not understand what the disorder truly entails. Too often students say “I’m OCD,” usually because they are particular about the way they organize their things. Students call themselves ADD if they are procrastinating instead of doing their work. Students label people, assignments and even inanimate objects as ‘retarded’ instead of being called ‘stupid’ or even ‘ridiculous.’ However, what many students do not know is that OCD can include illogical obsessions about frightening things, as discussed in the page 13 article ‘OCD students share struggles, plead for understanding.’ People with OCD are often tortured by these thoughts and perform compulsions in response. People with ADD or other attention disorders often cannot focus on a task despite how hard they try. They take longer to complete assignments and tasks than an average student might, and some take medications to combat these symptoms. People who suffer mental retardation often have abnormally low IQs and can have difficulty with social rules, memory and problem-solving – and all of these things are inherent, unchangeable parts of their genetic makeup. In the page 13 article, students diagnosed with OCD express their frustration with the disorder which they
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are forced to live with and which classmates seem to pretend they have as an excuse for their perfectionism. By stating ‘I am’ or ‘I have’ OCD without actually having the disorder, the life-altering obstacles that this disorder presents become not only misunderstood and misrepresented, but diminished. How can one truly sympathize with a person who has to repeat actions illogically and compulsively, perhaps to their social disadvantage, when half of the kids in his math class claim that they ‘are OCD’ because they like to keep their binder organized for the sake of organization? Students who have these disorders are annoyed that others reference them so frequently, and often incorrectly, because those who struggle with these disorders wish they did not have to. These students are not as appreciated or understood for who they are with respect to their disorder because so many people claim to have these disorders when they simply do not. This incorrect over-labeling is embedded in our linguistic culture. Words evolve over time – that is what keeps languages alive and interesting. However, these terms are diagnoses. They are based on medical science, and every day students at Benjamin and schools all over the world struggle to complete daily tasks with the extra obstacle of having these disorders. Each time you tell someone you have something when you truly do not, realize that your comment, which might seem harmless or funny at the time, is contributing to the misconception and trivializing of the disorders themselves. There is no reversing this trend completely, but the first step is in education. If everyone understood even briefly what living with these disorders is like, students might not be so OCD, ADD, or retarded after all.
Advertisements Membership The price of a full page ad is $200.00/issue. The Pharcyde is a member of the Florida Scholastic Press Association, American Scholastic Press Association, Columbia Scholastic Press Association and the National Scholastic The price of a half page ad is $120.00/issue. Press Asscociation. The price of a quarter page ad is $90.00/issue. General The Pharcyde, the Upper School newspaper of The price of a business card ad is $50.00/issue. The Benjamin School, is published seven times a year. If you or anyone you know would like to place The Pharcyde is distributed to every student and faculty an ad in The Pharcyde, please contact Katie member and is availalbe in the Upper School office. Each isSchepps at katie.schepps11@thebenjaminsue is mailed to every Upper School family’s home address. school.org. The Pharcyde encourages submission of Letters to the Editor. Send your feedback, criticism, or outside opinions in 150 words or less to email@example.com. The Pharcyde reserves the right to edit all letters for length, grammar, and clarity.
The opinion articles in this paper are the opinion of the writer and/or The Pharcyde editorial staff. They are not the opinion of The Benjamin School or our advertisers.
February 22, 2011
If You Build It, They Will Come
The artistic productions at TBS are too professional to be forced to work without proper performing accommodations.
Despite the never-ending battle for an on-campus theater and improved resources, the arts at Benjamin still provide quality entertainment as well as a birthplace for confidence and self-expression. The arts are designed to fabricate an escape. They give individuals a chance to go beyond the physical and into the metaphysical—a chance to take on a challenge and beat it in their own way.
Will Sabayrac Opinions Editor
For years, Benjamin Upper School students have been faced with their own challenges. The lack of accessible and state-of-the-art resources—in particular, an on-campus theater—has greatly hindered the development of the arts program. Despite this major shortcoming, the students and dedicated faculty involved with the arts produce art that rivals that of some professional institutions. The performing arts at Benjamin are entirely based on the desire and motivation that those involved wish to put forth. For the most part, no one is ever turned away without a role or told that he is not good enough. Benjamin produces quality with the talent it has. It is time for that quality and dedication to be rewarded. The arts at Benjamin deserve a ‘thank you.’ Members of the Benjamin community spend time, money and effort in producing quality work and would appreciate more than a round of applause from time to time. A performing arts center on the Benjamin Upper School campus would be the ideal. It would provide a top-of-the-line meeting place and a hub of general education. It would also act as a catalyst for creating bigger and higher quality technically produced works of art that would return the investment in the years ahead. Currently, the school has plans to construct a pool complex equipped with a locker room and full amenities. Even though the swim team is a respected team at Benjamin, it brings and generates little revenue for the
MATT MURRAY / Photography Editor
Variety Show participants sing in the finale of this year’s performance, ‘Time Warp’ from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The Variety Show is in the Eissey Campus theater in Palm Beach Gardens each year.
school to utilize. The arts, however, exist as a source of income for B.A.S.H. One donor infused money into the system for what we now know as the Barker Performing Arts Center. The BPAC has served its purpose admirably, but the level and scope of Benjamin Upper School arts have indeed surpassed the confines of such an auditorium. Not building a new arts center is the equivalent of fencing in the dreams of the aspiring artists. Benjamin is all about developing the aspirations of its students so that they can perform above average; Benjamin has never been about adequacy. The productions are already well above adequate and provide the student body with the arts that it enjoys, but imagine what could be done with the proper resources. Director of School Productions Mr. Henry Hamilton said, “The drama program that I oversee produces work that is consistently ambitious, important, thought-provoking and as good as you will find in any high school in the country—public or private.
More importantly, if you ask the students involved, I’ll wager that most of them will tell you about the joyful collaborative nature of the rehearsal process.” The students at Benjamin act and sing and dance because they love to and are talented. It is time to add to their passion and allow them to develop to their full potential. Mr. Hamilton continued by saying, “Art is more powerful than any one individual, and sincere artistic expression can never be suppressed by any institution.” The students, no matter what boundaries they have, will continue to produce quality shows and events; but it is time to back them up. Give them more support and more recognition than they already receive. Benjamin is all about building a foundation for its students as they develop into talented and determined individuals. Un-fence the dreams of the students; build upon the already existing foundation and give the arts what it deserves.
At Your Service? Community service is a big part of Benjamin school for a variety of reasons. Benjamin students do community service when participating in clubs, applying for Bright Futures, completing Congressional Medal of Honor Awards’ applications and seeking NHS membership.
Casey Pearce Staff Writer Yet, too often students get credit for work that is barely serving the community. Community service or volunteering is specifically defined as a service performed to benefit the public, an institute, a community or a non-profit organization. The quality of some community service at TBS is questionable. Benjamin offers a summer camp program to young children, but in order to volunteer as a counselor, a student must pay for this position. Other Benja-
min students admit to getting more community service hours than what they actually worked for, just because an organization or a person wants them to come back and work for an event again. An anonymous student said, “I have received more community service hours than I actually worked. It was the easiest community service I have ever done and probably didn’t deserve any hours.” Benjamin students also partake in counselor jobs that sound like they would be a lot of work, but in actuality sitting around watching kids instruct themselves is not much work. Volunteering goes on a student’s college application. If a section on an application asked the applicant to list the activities performed to gain these hours, no one would put, “My community service consisted of reading a book and watching kids teach themselves how to play tennis while I sat around doing nothing.” Colleges want to see a student working hard volunteering and actually making a difference within his community even if it is not required for graduation. When it comes down to it, Benjamin students need to help the TBS community improve and advance. Volunteering should help others that are less fortunate, be it kids, adults, the elderly, animals, and even strangers. Volunteering is about building good habits, and if
students cheats the system now, then what are they going to do when they have to go to work every day or need to help a friend out with something? Are they just going to sit around and watch while others do all the work for them?
Letter to the Editor I want to thank Ben Germano for the article he wrote in The Pharcyde. The students aren’t the only ones that are getting something out of the relationships that we build with them. Many times my students have taught me life lessons. When they come back and visit it is reaffirming that the relationship was real and that the student got something out of it as well. Our career is not a job, it is a commitment that we make to our students. Sometimes we aren’t the most popular person in their lives but, hopefully, sometime in the future, they will realize it was for their benefit that we were hard on them. Their visiting tells us that we did something right. They are our kids and we want them to do well in life. Thanks, Ben - Mrs. Ivette Casiano, Spanish teacher
February 22, 2011
Chillin’ & Grillin’
MATT MURRAY / Photography Editor
Freshmen, Ellie Jamison and Ethan Kaslow, dressed as old people, were the grade’s best dressed.
MATT MURRAY / Photography Editor
Juniors stack caps on their grade’s hat pole.
For the first time in history, the senior class won the Golden Spatula, the first place Chillin’ & Grillin’ prize. Throughout the week, students competed in best dressed competitions, game show activities, and sporting events.
JENNA BERNICK / Editor-in-Chief
Juniors boys dressed as babies in diapers on the generation dress-up theme day. MEREDITH BERGER / Staff Writer
Left: Freshman girls hung out on the football field on Friday afternoon’s lunch whichaccounts for the “Grillin’” piece of Chillin’ & Grillin’ week, and marks the end of the week of activities and competitions between the grades. This year, the seniors won. Below: Seniors Ali Colclasure and Dash Zahringer dress as pebbles and Dino from The Flinstones.
MATT MURRAY / Photography Editor
A student measures hats on one of the poles during Benjamin’s second annual Stack the Caps event which occurs at the end of Chilin’ & Grilin’. The hats are donated to children with cancer.
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VARIETYSHOW Left: Sophomore Sammi Schlecter dances in a short solo during a group number of this the 15th annual Variety Show, held at the Eissey Theater. This year, the Variety Show included over 150 participants, including actors, singer, dancers, choreographers and back-stage helpers.
Photos by Matt Murray
Right: Senior Dazzler Cara Cecchini dances in a group number by the Dazzlers which was peformed at the Variety Show. This was Cecchini and the other senior Dazzler’s last Variety Show, as they will graduate in May.
Page 10 The Pharcyde
February 22, 2011
HUNTER TORO / Online Editor
Junior Bridget Crosby, Froyotopia employee, says she has time to do some of her homework during work.
With jobs s on the nati Benjamin st choosing outside of scho Benjamin-stude Whether in working env in an entre fashion, the are in the wor
Students work part-time jobs for fun, cash By Jared Fishman Graphics Editor
Although many Benjamin students may not need to work outside of school, many choose to work to earn extra spending money or to gain a real-world experience. Pursuing employment at local restaurants and businesses, students have used personal connections as well as the old-fashioned job application to find positions all across the bottom rung of the business ladder. Bridget Crosby–Froyotopia To some, finding employment has been an easy opportunity. Junior Bridget Crosby found her current job at Downtown’s own Froyotopia while simply on an excursion for yogurt herself. She works four days a week, three hours on weekdays and six hours on Sundays, and values her position because it does not conflict with other aspects of her life. She said, “My job really doesn’t interfere with school or my social life: I work with one of my friends, and they don’t care if I text and do my homework during work.” In addition to the relatively easy duties of working the cash register and directing customers on yogurt self-service, Crosby enjoys her start to financial independency. She said, “It’s a good feeling to not have to ask your parents for money.”
Belle Shea–Tropical Smoothie Another Benjamin student in the frozen treat service industry is junior Belle Tannenbaum, a current Tropical Smoothie employee. Working five hours on Saturdays and Sundays for six months to save up for a car, she finds that the instant gratification of splurge spending keeps her bank account from growing. She said, “I actually have nothing saved up at all. It’s just so hard to keep money in the bank. It’s just that... I earned it; I want to spend it!”
“I actually have nothing saved up at all. I earned it; I want to spend it!” BELLE SHEA junior Tannenbaum does find her employment taking a toll on her academic life and simply views this position as just an odd job. She said, “It’s a lot harder to keep up grades, and I wouldn’t say the job itself is preparing me for very much. I think I want to be a human rights lawyer, so working at Tropical Smoothie
doesn’t help very much with that.” Despite the lack of intellectual stimulation her job allots her and the financial plateau she has reached, she appreciates her on-the-job education in “dealing with all types of people” as well as in smoothie blending. She said, “I know how to make all the smoothies, so I end up going to Publix, getting all the ingredients and making “Mango Magics” at home. They come out the same.” Kevin Moore–Oakwood Grill/Spoto’s Having held two jobs in the past year, senior Kevin Moore worked to fund a summer trip to Greece with students from his old high school. Moore worked as a food runner as well as server assistant at both Oakwood Grill and Spoto’s Oyster Bar, jointly owned restaurants on PGA Boulevard. About the experience he said, “It’s very different from the school environment. You’re on your own, and it’s all about what you can offer. There’s a specific reason behind your presence there, and you can’t screw around or you’ll pay for your mistakes out of your own paycheck.” He worked four hour shifts three times a week from January to March 2010 and then again from last November to the end of this January, when he was laid off. About his severance ,he said, “In the restaurant business, when you run out of something you use the term
86, as in ‘86 on the calamari.’ So they basically said to me 'Kevin, we’re overstaffed, we're gonna 86 you.'” Trevor McAlees–Johnny Longboat’s Similarly employed is junior Trevor McAlees, a current food runner at Johnny Longboat’s on Singer Island. He also found his job through family connections. Having worked all of last summer, and despite the drive from his home in Palm Beach Gardens, he keeps the position because it lets him work only one day a week, allowing him to slowly but surely reach his own financial goals. He said, “Hopefully by college if I have enough money saved from this job, I’ll be able to work in an internship or something more along the lines of my eventual career.” With many students earning jobs through family connections or on-thespot opportunities, others have difficulty finding employment at all. Sophomore Allana Yurko has applied for various positions locally but to no avail. Having gotten no replies from Haagen Daaz, Publix, and various other stores in the mall, she said, “I’m not very hirable I suppose. I guess people think I look like a slacker.” Optimistic, she added, “I’m still searching. I’ll try to have Belle recommend me to work at Tropical Smoothie with her.”
Page 11 The Pharcyde
February 22, 2011
still scarce ional level, tudents are g to work ool, defying the ent-stereotype. n a classic vironment or epreneurial ese students e working rld. Senior Adam Velinsky has a recording studio which he built in his garage. His label is called Mahogany Studios.
HUNTER TORO / Online Editor
Entrepreneurial students pursue passions By Laura Barry Features Editor
Some Benjamin students have taken a unique approach to the age old pressure of having a job in high school which enables them to gain distinctive business experience unlike most students their age. Adam Velinsky–Music Producer Senior Adam Velinsky worked at his dad’s office for a while, pulling wires and installing home theater and security systems into houses being built. After gaining experience putting in equipment and speakers, Velinsky decided to use his talent to pursue his dream job. Velinsky said, “I have always had a love for music as anyone might know, but something I also loved more than playing was creating. When I decided to focus more time on music, I found that it is really expensive to rent studio time, so I talked to my dad and he came up with the idea that if I cleaned out the 3rd car garage we could make it into a studio.” He created a full acoustic studio in his garage including all of the equipment needed to record a CD and is currently running his business, Mahogany Studios, from his home. “I provide a place where musicians, mostly other teenagers around the area, can come and record music. I let bands
or musicians come, and I can do anything from recording and producing a full CD or just one or two songs on files just so they can add them to a website or something like that,” Velinsky said. His job description includes mixing tracks; setting up microphones on drums, guitars and vocals; editing tracks; printing labels onto CDs and duplicating a mass number of CDs for his clients. Although he puts a lot of work into his job, Velinsky makes sure that his studio is easily accessible for young people. “Something I pride Mahogany studios on is how cheap it is. It is only 25 dollars an hour for a full band, and 1520 dollars for a single musician,” said Velinsky. Velinsky’s clients include students from Dwyer, “The Stereotypical Jews,” and a few local bands from Newman. He and his father have even received a job recording voiceovers for commercials out of Mahogany Studios. No matter what career Velinsky chooses to pursue later in life, he says, “Running the studio gives me insight on how to run a business as well as experience working around a studio and actually recording bands.” Dakota Torres–Website Creator/Writer Sophomore Dakota Torres has always been pretty tech savvy, and when
he heard that he could make large amounts of money off the internet, he decided to put his talent to work. Torres contacted a man to help him with social media in exchange for payment, and he ended up being so impressed by Torres that he asked him to write for his website, www.AndroidCommunity.com. He said, “I would write a minimum of three articles each day about various Android news. What really got me hooked was that companies would actually send me free products to review in my blog, so I got some pretty cool stuff out of that.” After leaving the company, Torres started up his own website, www.trojandynasty.com, as part of a contest held by the USC Athletic Department to get a press pass to the game. He said, “I ended up winning that contest and got to go to the Oregon vs. USC game for free and hang out with guys from ESPN, ABC and the Associated Press. It was pretty cool.” After his success with his own website, Torres emailed www.SlashGear.com looking for a job. The company emailed him back immediately and asked him to conduct a phone interview. “I was a little intimidated at first, but he liked the fact that I had started my own website and had previous blogging experience. The in-
terview went well, but he said that I had to work full time on SlashGear if I wanted the job.” Torres believed that he was not capable of writing 10 to 15 articles a day on top of his school work; however, he was also offered a part time job for another website. “I gladly accepted the offer and we agreed on the pay (eight dollars per post). He set me up with the senior editor, and he walked me through things. I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t be able to write six articles a day but I got the hang of it and quickly was able to balance my school work with writing,” said Torres. Torres would also like to pursue his interest in writing for websites in college. He said, “I would love to work for a big site like Gizmodo or Engadget because I enjoy it and I know that it is a profitable business, plus there are tons of perks such as going to cool events and getting the newest phones and computers free because companies want you to test them out.” Both Velinsky and Torres believe that their unique business experiences in high school will be large assets for them when looking for jobs elsewhere. Torres said, “I know this will help me in the future because I have the business experience needed to be successful in a bigger company.”
February 22, 2011
The Pharcyde COUNTDOWN: 40 days until the B.A.S.H. Gala on April 2
TBS teachers, students oppose Huck Finn censorship By Olivia Loving Copy Editor
The recent censorship of Huckleberry Finn’s latest edition has inspired debate across the country, but Benjamin teachers and students unanimously agree that they disagree with the new version’s changes. These include substituting the word “slave” for “nigger” and “Indian” for “Injun.” English teacher Dr. Peruggia believes that the discussion lends itself to a “forest for the trees” problem: “The censorship of works of literature often draws attention to things in a way that gives minor elements of a work importance over major things.”
“Understanding our past helps us move into the future.” MRS. DITARANTO English teacher Photo illustration by Matt Murray
By supporting the censorship, Dr. Peruggia explained, students and teachers are neglecting to focus on the development of one word in a historical context. At the time it was written, the book reflected a different society. Censoring literature, then, means “rewriting history,” according to history teacher Mr. McVicar. Students need to understand Twain’s purpose in using the word to emphasize its offensiveness. English teacher Mrs. Feyk
Although other high schools will adopt the censored version or now begin to read it, members of the Benjamin community will continue to read the book in its original form, as they oppose the censorship, as it changes the meaning and history.
believes that Benjamin students need to recognize the subtlety that Mark Twain uses in employing the word. Huck Finn and Jim form a relationship, but Huck copiously uses the offensive term “nigger” to describe his friend. Therefore, students should question how its common usage worked to devalue Jim, a freedman. By contrast, English teachers Mr. Behan and Mrs. Ditaranto connected the changing of
literature not with history, but with art. “Archaeologists and anthropologists study literature, artwork, poetry as a way to understand past cultures,” said Mrs. Ditaranto. Even though Americans are ashamed of slavery, they should see the book as a learning opportunity and not a criticism. “Understanding our past helps us move into the future,” she continued. “Art imitates life,” conclud-
ed English teacher Mr. Behan. “Through literature we gain insight into sides of humanity that would otherwise remain unexposed.” Ironically, the Huckleberry Finn controversy comes right after the release of Mark Twain’s autobiography; its publication was slated for 100 years after the author’s death. The autobiography is controversial itself and is Twain’s “last rant” on religion, racism and politics.
Mrs. Feyk credited The Benjamin School with giving her and other teachers the freedom to create a varied reading list. This freedom allows students to see literature from a balanced and “mature” perspective. “Students gain a broader understanding of the world around them,” she said. “It’s a classic book,” said senior Zach Krumholz, who read Huckleberry Finn in his sophomore year. “You can’t just change that.”
Family ties: Students feel sibling pressures, bonds within school context By Riley Burke Staff Writer
James and Nick Theofilos bet $5 to see who would get the highest grade in Classical Civilization after the first semester. Nick won because, as James joked, “I didn’t even try.” And Nick added, “The kid never paid up.” James remarked, “Yea, I did. I paid it at dinner.” This friendly competition is one of many ways Benjamin siblings interact with each other. In addition to the Theofilos brothers, The Pharcyde talked to siblings from two other Benjamin families, and here are their stories. The Theofiloses “Friendly competition at its finest.” This is how Nick Theofilos sums up the relationship among his brothers. The Theofilos family includes senior Stefan, junior Nick and freshman James. According to Stefan, Nick
has the higher GPA and James is the best athlete out of the three.
“It’s just great having a best friend around all the time.” BRETT ROSENTHAL senior However, Stefan made it clear, “Our parents have their own expectations for each of us. They don’t expect me to get a GPA as high as Nick does. They don’t expect James to be as amazing at music as I am.” Stefan added, “As long as we give all of our effort, they’re okay with the friendly rivalry. It’s really when it gets too competitive when they start getting worried [but]… not worried…”
Nick chimed in, “Verbal support. That’s all it is.” The Rosenthals “It’s just great having a best friend around all the time.” Senior Brett Rosenthal is happy to call his younger brother Austin a friend. Austin said he looks up to Brett. “I just want to try to be the best I can. I want to be like him, but I don’t want to be his exact person,” Austin said. Although Austin looks up to his older brother, he does not feel that much pressure to keep up with Brett. Austin said, “I feel that I have to achieve, but not to his extent because he’s a genius. But still, I don’t feel that much pressure.” Even though the brothers share interests, Brett said that he does not feel he pressures Austin. “I’m just here to help, so I try not to leave too much pressure on him in anything,” he said. “We’re just really competitive. It’s just the type of people we are.”
Brett jokingly added, “He never beats me at anything.”
The Syeds “I feel pressured to be as good as my sister because she is the better of the two of us.” That is how sophomore Sanni Syed feels about the demands of trying to keep up with her older sister. Saani explained that her siblings, including senior Parisa and eighth grader Annie, all swim and go to the gym, which is a fun way to spend time together, but with shared experiences she feels pressure from her parents. “My parents always expect me to be as good as my older sister in academics and in sports because she is a better swimmer than me and is better and more enthusiastic about school.” However, Parisa regrets certain choices she has made in high school that she believes could unfavorably affect her sister.
“In 10th grade, I did something naive and created an awkward and difficult situation for my sisters. I hope my teachers treat my sisters as a different individual rather than the sister who broke the rules.” Parisa also said that as an older sister, she does not know whether she is a good role model or not Parisa explained how she has good grades but could be more involved in other extracurricular activities. She said, “I hope Saani learns to be more involved.” Despite the regrets Parisa has, Saani looks up to her sister. Saani said, “She is always kind to people and is always a good person.” The Theofiloses, Rosenthals and Syeds all approach their sibling relationships differently inside and outside the classroom. But at the end of the day, no matter who receives the most recognition, they have a common bond – they are family.
February 22, 2011
“It’s so strange to me that people are happily labeling themselves with a mental disorder that they’re lucky not to possess.” - anonymous junior
OCD students share struggles, plead for understanding By Hunter Toro Online Editor
“It’s a lot more complex than people think it is. Most people think, ‘Oh, that little mark on the white board that the teacher halferased is really bothering me; I definitely have OCD,’ but it’s so much more than that,” said junior Tina Ladosko*. Ladosko is one of the seven percent of Benjamin students medically diagnosed with the often misunderstood Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), according to recent Pharcyde survey. She, like fellow OCD students, struggles with unthinkable obstacles due to her disorder every day and hopes to dispel misconceptions by sharing her story. The Facts OCD is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by recurring, unwanted thoughts - obsessions - that produce extreme anxiety. This anxiety leads to repetitive behaviors – compulsions - that are used to counteract the obsession. OCD sufferers perform compulsive rituals in an unsuccessful attempt to make the obsessive thoughts go away or to prevent the obsessions from being realized.
40% of 193 students surveyed say “I’m OCD” even if they have not been diagnosed.
OCD is often misconstrued as perfectionism. Many students believe that OCD is nothing more than a desire for orderliness or cleanliness, but this is not necessarily the case. A habit is a behavior that occurs with little or no thought that does not cause stress and that is not done in response to an obsession. OCD thoughts and behaviors cause tremendous distress, take up huge amounts of time and interfere with daily routines, jobs and relationships. Ladosko’s OCD interrupts her daily life. She said, “Even when I’m not busy actually obsessing or carrying out my compulsions, I am constantly getting frustrated with myself that I have them even when I know that they’re illogical. This, of course, makes me anxious about the situation so then I start counting, starting the cycle over again.”
She added, “It’s actually kind of funny to me when perfectionists say that they
have OCD because I truly wish it was as simple as being a perfectionist. It’s so strange to me that people are happily labeling themselves with a mental disorder that they’re lucky not to possess.” Lee Skinner*, who has struggled with OCD since seventh grade, disproves the myth that OCD is all about cleanliness. She said, “Sometimes I have to do disgusting things to punish myself for the thoughts.” Skinner encourages people to think before they speak about OCD. She said, “Think about who you’re around when you say it; I’ve had OCD for years and want people to understand exactly what they’re saying. I’m not asking for pity, just for understanding.” A Disturbing Reality Before Skinner knew that OCD existed, she believed that her disturbing obsessions meant she was possessed by the Devil. “What made it even more confusing was that the thoughts were cringe-inducing and I would spend hours at a time resisting them.” Not-so-Simple Solutions Skinner rationalized her OCD through religion. She would kneel and pray in public places, and her prayers became very long and ritualized. During her worst struggle with OCD, she would kneel 60 times a day. Her atonement also came
which of course it never is, but if I do it enough times, it works eventually. My obsessive counting gives me a goal to focus on rather than
Art by Matt Murray
from punishing herself for her obsessions. This “punishment” entailed licking and kissing the floors and doorknobs of public places she knew to be dirty, like the bahtroom floor at school. She said sometimes she would pretend to be searching for something in her backpack during class so she could kiss the carpet without classmates noticing. Ladosko, however, does not rationalize her OCD. She recognizes that her obsessions and compulsions are illogical but believes her compulsions are the only way to gain relief from her obsessions. Ladosko uses counting to prevent herself from losing control. She said, “I count pretty much everything that I do. Sips of water I take, number of stairs I’m climbing, number of steps it takes for me to get from one class to another. You name it, I count it. Counting is my way of controlling the things around me. No, I cannot help it if all of the freshman girls decide to have a social gathering in the middle of the stairs, but I can definitely control how many steps it takes me to get around them.” She added, “Counting is also a way for me to deal with panic attacks. When I feel a panic attack coming on, I always tell myself ‘count to 100 and it will be gone’
focusing on what’s triggering my anxiety, and it makes me feel in control of the situation.” Ladosko also obsessively checks to make sure every door in her house is locked at least three times before she goes to bed even though she knows her mom always checks them, too. She says she does this because she believes if she does not, someone will break into her house and rape or kill her.
7% of 193 students
surveyed have been diagnosed with OCD. She said, “I am fully aware that this sounds crazy to most people, but making sure that the doors are locked at all times is the only thing that alleviates my fear. It’s an awful feeling, knowing that what you’re doing doesn’t make sense but that you have to do it anyways. It really does make you feel like you’re crazy.” Dismissing Misconceptions Both Ladosko and Skinner acknowledge the challenge of explaining OCD to someone who does not have it. Ladosko believes the mislabeling of OCD
Letter from the Editor
The following letter is in response to the significant censorship of the above article.
The article above is published in an abridged form due to censorship by the advisor of The Pharcyde. This change was to the grave disappointment of The Pharcyde staff, Hunter Toro, the poised writer of the article, and me, the Editor-inChief of The Pharcyde. The above piece in its current form does depict very real, intense stories of two of the few Benjamin students who have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). However, before the censorship of
this piece, it included more details of the life of the anonymous student Lee Skinner as it is affected by her disorder. The Pharcyde advisor said he censored the article because he felt that members of the community would misconstrue some of Skinner’s comments and draw conclusions inappropriate to the facts presented. The writer, Toro, and the student, Skinner, hoped that by sharing the dark thoughts that
consumed Skinner, students and teachers at Benjamin would stop saying “I’m OCD” or “I have OCD” in referencing a trivial, intentional desire to be organized or clean. This censorship is offensive to the student, the writer, and all who have OCD. Skinner, a student honorable and courageous enough to share her story with an entire school community, has a voice that deserves to be heard and under-
stood. Upon hearing that quotations would be removed from the article, she spoke adamantly to me as the editor to say that this information needs to be shared. Her passion for and dedication to dispelling misconceptions cannot be described properly in words, but only in the tears she shed upon hearing of this censorship. This is not to diminish the struggles of the other student quoted who struggles every day
has only increased the challenge of explaining it. She said, “It’s hard for people to understand the severity of OCD because they associate it with the people labeling themselves as having OCD without fully getting it. They can’t grasp how destructive and devastating it really is because they think it’s as simple as liking being organized. But if you really had OCD, you wouldn’t be bragging about it, trust me.” Before learning more about the disorder, junior Annie Loppert misunderstood her organizational habits for OCD. MTV’s True Life: I have OCD made Loppert see that she underestimated the intensity of the disorder. She said, “A lot of my friends joke around that I have OCD because I like things orderly and organized, I think that people don’t really know the intensity and the meaning of OCD; people generalize that being really neat and organized means having OCD.” Looking Forward Both Ladosko and Skinner regularly see a therapist and have tried medication to help treat their OCD. Ladosko opted to end her medication after a short period of time, citing that she wanted to deal with it herself. While she still makes efforts to improve it, Ladosko believes that her OCD will last with her forever. She said, “As much as I would love to say that I think I will be able to get over my OCD, I think that it is something that will always linger with me in one way or another because it is an addictive thought process that always manifests itself in a new way once you get rid of an old obsession.” Skinner is on a medication that treats both depression and OCD, and she has noticed a significant improvement in her OCD because of the prescription. She no longer has to cross herself in prayer throughout the day or risk getting into an accident because she has to touch her knee to the floor of the car. Skinner believes that her greatest progress has stemmed from coming to terms with her OCD. She said, “It took me a long time to realize that I wasn’t a bad person for these thoughts. It seems weird – it’s completely illogical – but it is what it is. What people should realize is that it’s not me; it’s the disorder.” *This name was changed. The student chose to be anonymous.
and must complete compulsive acts as well. Skinner’s story is a very dark one, and one she has come to terms with enough to share it. The Pharcyde has been forbidden from publishing this article in its full form. The staff apologizes and hopes that students understand that OCD extends beyond the confines of this article. I’ve never fought harder for an article. - Jenna Bernick, Editor-in-Chief
February 22, 2011
Senior reveals new hair after her 14-year Alopecia battle By Lauren Bernick Staff Writer
“No, Mr. Selvig… It’s me, Abbey Coffman.” Though she has been a student in the high school for four years, senior Abbey Coffman rang in the new year and the second semester as a stranger to the Benjamin community. Head of the Upper School, Mr. Jay Selvig and even her closest friends could not recognize her as Abbey. After years of sporting her array of bandanas, Coffman has finally begun to defeat Alopecia Areata, letting down her hair for the first time and sharing her story. According to Coffman, Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disease where the body simply rejects hair, because it believes that the hair does not belong. Alopecia can affect just one’s head or the entire body. While most four-year-olds’ biggest concerns involve playgrounds and time-outs, Coffman’s worries at four were more extreme. She was undergoing treatments like injections into her head while struggling to find the strength to feel comfortable with who she was. Coffman lost all of her hair at the age of four when she was diagnosed with Alopecia. “When I was younger, it was very very scary. My mom always gave me a Barbie after each treatment as a present,” she said. Coffman was six when her re-growth began. “Luckily, I went into first grade at The Palm Beach Day School with a full head of hair,” she said. When the battle was thought to have been won, Coffman’s hair loss began again in 6th grade. The disease crept up on Coffman during a vital stage of her childhood, when conforming to the norm was ideal. She said. “I started to lose my hair again in 6th grade and it was gone completely by age 11. It was really difficult losing my hair again especially at that age.” “It was hard for me to accept the fact that I couldn’t dive into a pool because my bandana would fall off or that I couldn’t be aggressive in sports.” Despite Coffman’s obvious differences, she was never harassed by other classmates. “I was never really bullied and I’m really fortunate for that. A lot of kids with Alopecia drop out of school because the bullying becomes too extreme,” she said. She believes that the reason why she was never harassed for her condition was that she had grown up with the same group of kids. Though most were unfamiliar with her actual disease, they were accepting and treated her no differently. Locks of Love According to Coffman, prior to her diagnosis, her family was already familiar with the disease. Her mother, Mrs. Madonna Coffman, had Alopecia when she was 23. Though no proven facts are available, Mrs. Coffman and her daughter believe that their hepatitis B vaccination could
Abbey Coffman, 2010 have caused their development of Alopecia. “My mom had the shot when she was around 23 and that’s when she lost her hair. I had the shot when I was four and that is when I lost my hair,” she said. Coffman claims that her mother’s recovery was much quicker than hers. “My mom went through treatments and her hair came back completely and it never went away,” she said. “When I lost my hair completely at four years old, it had a major impact on my mom’s life. She didn’t want me to have to grow up feeling such major differences from other kids. She immediately began all this research and involvement.” Mrs. Coffman chose to dedicate her life to helping others with Alopecia after her daughter’s diagnosis. She took over a company that sold hairpieces and transformed it into the national charity, Locks of Love. “There has been research going on at the University of Miami for the past four years. Locks of Love has donated a total of 1.1 million dollars to the university to execute research to find the cause and cure,” said Coffman. “In addition to these resarch funds, Locks of Love is funding $1 million in research at Columbia University,” said Mrs. Coffman. “Locks of Love is an organization where people are able to donate their hair. Based on the color and the length of the hair, it is separated into different piles and then sent to a different country where each hairpiece is made strand by strand, which is really unique.” “The hairpieces are not wigs at all; they are silicone and they are made specifically for each child so that bullies can’t pull it off. The only person who can take it off is the child herself,” said Coffman. Sharing Her Story Coffman too became very involved with Locks of Love. She was spotlighted in an E! Network show and The Today Show. When asked how much pressure she felt on her first television show on E!, she said, “It was a recording so we could do the same thing over and over again; it wasn’t bad. I wasn’t asked many questions; it was more my mom since I was younger,” she said. “They filmed me swinging on the swing set, shooting a basketball and even eating an apple with my brother in the kitchen.”
MATT MURRAY / Photography Editor
Senior Abbey Coffman came back from winter break with something her peers would have never suspected. After many years of battling Alopecia, Coffman now has hair to flaunt.
Coffman’s second appearance on television, on The Today Show, was much more stressful, yet one of the many life-altering aspects of her battle. “The big push was in 7th grade on The Today Show. It threw me out of my comfort zone,” she said. “The show was live in front of millions of people; it was terrifying.” On the show, Coffman was asked questions about her treatments and the progress she was making. In addition to this, she was asked what advice she would provide to other children who are struggling with the same disease. “My answer was: keep your hopes up and never give up in the fight. I would let them know that they can never give up. You never know what the future will bring,” she said. “I love having the ability to share my story with all of these children that are out there dealing with the same thing as me,” she said. In spite of the rewarding feelings that came with The Today Show, Coffman claimed she was also flooded with fear. All of her classmates and teachers had watched the show. “I came back to school and officially everyone knew about me. At first I was really angry because I only told my teachers about my condition and told
them not to tell any of the students,” she said. “I was younger and I wanted to keep my Locks of Love life completely separate from my school life. I was in my shell. I wasn’t comfortable with my difference, I wasn’t accepting of it and I was angry.” In spite of her initial feelings of rage and anger, Coffman claims that The Today Show was truly what broke her out of her “shell.” Lending a Hand Though Locks of Love has provided life-changing assistance to so many, Coffman would argue that she has benefitted most from the charity. For the past two summers she has attended the Locks of Love three-day summer camp, where approximately twenty kids between the ages of 15-17 who have the disease are given the chance to just be themselves, while interacting with others with the same condition. Coffman, who started off as a camper herself, is now a counselor. “Our children come down to basically just spend time with each other because most people don’t meet others with the same disease. We are all so happy to be together and share our stories,” she said. “You talk to a person and you realize that they know ex-
actly what you mean. You are able to laugh about things that I couldn’t tell someone without the disease. The camp is something I look forward to every year,” she said. Though Coffman spent her time as a camper, the most rewarding experience was her year as a counselor. “The last Locks of Love camp really changed my outlook on life and made me realize how lucky I am that my hair was growing back, whereas the other girls I met had tried so many different treatments that wouldn’t work for them.” Coffman admires the other kids she met who she found managed their condition with a sense of confidence. “The strength and courage these kids have to not even bring their hairpieces to camp is just really inspiring. I don’t think I could have ever done that. Even though I’m older than they and I’m more involved in the charity, I learn something each summer and with each new person I meet,” she said. “I am so lucky for what I have. I really want to dedicate my time towards giving other people with Alopecia the hope and the strength to continue fighting this disease. I want See Coffman Page 17
February 22, 2011
You’re grammer sux: Student slang transfers to academic work By Meredith Berger Staff Writer
Benjamin students are recognizing a decline in formal language due to technological prevalence, and some say modern teenage abbreviations and colloquialisms are affecting academic work. In the past, children learned to appreciate grammar, syntax and language. However, today’s youth focus on creating new and informal words. “We think we are a new generation of linguists. We have created acronyms such as ‘LOL’ and ‘BTW’ and then adapted them into new words such as “lawlz” and “beteedubs,” said Junior Mariana Zindel. People blame the rampant use of cell phones, computers and other electronic devices for the demise of language in the teenage demographic. An article on Bamaed.ua.edu, a site connected with the University of Alabama, stated that technology directly contributes to the decline. A excerpt from the article said, “Text messaging has surely given our society a quick means through which to communicate, taking out the need for capitalization, punctuation, the use and knowledge of sentence structure… Educators suggest that this new age form of messaging may be hindering today’s teens’ abilities to apply grammar correctly in their writing and social skills.” Sophomore Dakota Torres agreed and said, “Text messaging, the internet and television
have a large impact on grammar. People are really lazy now and text messaging and instant messaging are forms of quick and easy communication. Because of how technology affects us, we are more likely to speak using abbreviations and acronyms as well. We misuse and misspell words, which can negatively affect our grades and test scores.”
“We think we are a new generation of linguists.” MARIANA ZINDEL junior An article from The Christian Science Monitor (TheCSMonitor.com), an unbiased web news source, quoted John Briggs, an English professor at the University of California, Riverside. Briggs said, “The amount of reading that students do in preparation for college is sinking. Online writing may cultivate informal use of language, but that doesn’t increase kids’ access to the more formal register of literature and academic prose.” “This ‘formal register of literature and academic prose’ is lost with our dependence of quick and easy communication,” said Torres, comment-
ing on Briggs. “Teenagers are struggling with basic vocabulary words because these words are no longer a part of our daily language.” In addition to the spread of technology’s negative effects on language, many students feel that listening to others’ poor grammar also negatively impacts language. Sophomore Clancy Waugh said, “The environment a person lives in influences a person’s grammar. It’s almost a sort of peer pressure. We are listening to others, and if we don’t speak the way everyone else does, then we will sound weird. This is how slang and colloquialisms begin and spread. We either consciously or subconsciously change the way we speak based on the language patterns around us. When I am with my friends, I speak informally because they speak informally.” He continued, “Last year, a foreign exchange student named Maxime attended Benjamin. He spoke very little English and learned how to speak by listening to other students and reading what they wrote on Facebook. In formal essays he would use “yo” and “fo sho” because he thought that it was an acceptable form of language. It must be very confusing to foreigners who hear and read our teenage colloquialisms.” While language is constantly evolving and changing with technology and changing according to what is popular, students agree that it is imperative
iPhone screenshot photo illustration
In this fabricated text conversation, students make multiple grammar and spelling mistakes, and use slang. Teachers say this is transfering over to formal writing and school work.
to maintain good grammar in their daily lives. Zindel said, “We need to force ourselves to speak better or the decline will just worsen. We cannot allow that to happen.” “I feel as if this whole language movement could be per-
manent. I think this is our final descent before we completely rewrite our language. Perhaps we will resort to simple words, reducing the size of our alphabet, or perhaps we will just get rid of words all together and only communicate through pictures. I fear language will lose all meaning.”
Going Greek: TBS girls set goals to join sororities early n
Seeing siblings go through college influences some girls to decide what sororities they want to be in before college. By Casey Pearce Staff Writer
The names Pi Beta Phi, Chi Omega, Sigma Kappa, Delta Gamma and Alpha Phi are more than just a bunch of greek letters; for some students, these represent future identities. One of the most anticipated aspects of college for some TBS girls is sorority life, the basis of social society at some colleges. While some students are starting to think about the sorority life in their high school years, others believe greek life plans should be reserved for when students are actually at their respective collges. In college one of the most anticipated things for some girls is to rush for a sorority, the social societies for college students. Benjamin students are starting to think about the sorority life in their high school years instead of just in their college career. Senior Christie Nicklaus said, “I’ve always wanted to join a sorority.” Many things have caused them to start thinking about sororities. Two of the main reasons are siblings and friends. Junior Meredith Anderson said, “My three older sisters were in TriDelta, so I definitely want to be in one.” Junior Hattie Reedy also started to get interested in sorori-
ties when her sister started rushing for one last summer. “It is a very long process which includes recommendations and résumés for all of the sororities to look at when you begin rush,” she said. For some girls at Benjamin, sororities are a big part of the college experience, and they will make their application choices based on whether the school has these sororities. For Reedy it is a top priority. Reedy said, “I think it is a great way to make friends, especially your first year of college when you are starting new at school.” Nicklaus wanted to join for some of the same reasons Reedy did. She said, “I want to join one so I can have a close group of friends. I’m looking forward to formals and all the other events sororities and fraternities have.” Others say that they are less concerned with the sorority life. “It is just a side perk to the college but I am not basing where I apply on the sorority life there,” said Anderson. Senior Elise Pitcairn does not plan to get involved with sorority life at all. “When looking at colleges, greek life was definitely not a part of my criteria. I think going greek is a cultural thing that, many times, you’re brought up with and my family never mentioned it.” She added, “Most of the
schools I’ve applied to don’t have greek life anyways, so I plan on finding my friends through dorm life and classes. I don’t think sororities are bad, they just aren’t for everyone.” For senior Rachel Fayne, greek life has been on her mind, but in a different way than for some, and believes that it should not be a deciding factor in the college process. “I don’t think it’s intended to be a deciding factor like peo-
ple make it out to be, but rather something you decide once you get there.” She added, “One of my top choice schools has a dominant greek scene, so I”m definitely thinking about it, but it’s not a decision I intend to make until I’m there.” If Fayne does rush for a sorority, it will be in the spring. “It seems like people who rush right off the bat don’t even have a chance to settle in and
make an informed decision.” Sorority life also goes through generations in certain families. Reedy said she is going to rush for Alpha Gamma because it has been passed on through generation and Anderson has thought about rushing for TriDelta because of her three sisters. When girls start thinking about the college process, their social life is also an important complement to their academics, but to some, it is all Greek.
Graphic by Matt Murray
Senior girls and even some juniors are already thinking about the sororities they want to join, and this influences the colleges to which they will apply or have applied.
February 22, 2011 COUNTDOWN: 17 days until the next Backdoor Cafe on March 10
Album Review: Sensation of Falling showcases student artist’s talent
By Olivia Loving Copy Editor
On first listen, Jordi Zindel’s new album, The Sensation of Falling, sounds like any teenage-produced album of today: it’s fast, electronic and appealing to young desires and whims. Zindel, a sophomore, credits his music success to his grandfather in Mexico City, Zindel’s birthplace. Though Zindel has been writing songs for only two years, The Sensation of Falling is his second album, after Pano II. The first was produced over a year ago, when Zindel first began recording. When his music was originally released, Zindel described the process, which involved sending music to iTunes, Napster and Amazon, as “simple.” The hardest part, then, was the albums’ production. The Sensation of Falling combines Zindel’s mature voice with lyrics that often clash with this maturity. Too often, the lyrics are generic, and the girl Zindel croons about is invisible and forgettable: “I wish I could lie with you/I’ve been wanting to be all over you.” But there are many good moments, and the music is neither too slow nor too fast. Zindel relies on sense, and words like “eyes,” “noice,” “voice” and “sense” repeat throughout the album. The songs are directed to an anonymous “you,” except for the case of “Annie,” who forces
the artist to escape his “sight of reality.” But even though Zindel often uses the second person, most songs are too focused on their creator. I wished that they would reflect outward more, would draw me in as much as I wanted them to. Zindel is successful when his lyrics settle on concrete metaphors: Annie is a “treasure that shines brighter than gold.” In his next song on the track (“Bullets in the Sand”), the artist is wistful; he wants to stop war, wishing that “they might spray their bullets/into the sand again.” Often, artists are most successful when appealing to the emotions, but Zindel’s best work comes when he creates clever and image-inducing lyrics. Zindel is clearly blessed and versatile, and is growing into his talent. Arguably, the lyrics are often repetitious, and the shortest song is a lengthy 4:27, while the album’s longest stretches to over six minutes. It’s still hard to expect a great deal from an upcoming teenage musician, and Zindel gives his all. His music is more futuristic than nostalgic, and he successfully makes up for a lack of expansive life experience with promising talent.
MATT MURRAY / Photography Editor
Junior and signed musician Jordi Zindel performs at Rock for Relief, a Haiti Relief concert hosted by TBS last year.
Pharcyde’s Guide to ‘Coming Soon’ DVDs If you missed these three films in theatres, be sure to rent them once they are out on DVD. Underated and entertaining at least, these three movie are mustsees.
Reviews by Hunter Toro
The fact that the movie has no substantial plot can easily be overlooked by the hypnotic quality of Aguilera’s heavenly voice. The movie goes from a worthless cliché to an entertaining cliché because of Aguilera’s vocal abilities and because of the beautiful, godly Cam Gigandet. The movie provides plenty of unintentional laughs, especially at the horrid performance of Cher. Burlesque is comparable to reality TV; it has no substance, but it’s ridiculously entertaining. Expect scandalously sequined and sparkled costumes, beautiful people (minus Cher) and excessive staging - not life lessons.
Jackass 3D Tangled Innocent enough to watch while babysitting, funny enough to watch with the family, and heartwarming enough to watch alone, Tangled may be the best movie of the year. Disney always delivers, especially in this new twist on the classic story of Rapunzel. They succeed in making the most likable princess yet; she’s beautiful, bold, and not perfect like the other princesses (she actually has quite the noticeable overbite). The music is charming, and the message is perfectly Disney; everyone deserves a second chance. Tangled brings a bit of magic back into our lives, no matter our age. Now if only we could grow 70 ft of long, magical hair…
Inappropriate, vulgar and graphic as always, the Jackass crew charms their way into audiences’ hearts once again. Once you get past the motif of boy-humor: bodily fluids and nudity, the pure slapstick comedy of the movie makes it a guilty pleasure for everyone. While, of course, sometimes they go too far, the brilliance of the comedy is found in their willingness to put themselves in excruciating pain, with stunts like the “Lamborghini Tooth Pull,” and their willingness to put others in horrible pain without warning them first, like trapping Bam in a pit full of snakes, his biggest fear. Jackass 3D arguably has the best sketches of the Jackass series: Midget Bar Fight is the funniest yet. The movie leaves you gagging, but begging for more.
February 22, 2011
Day in the Life of Juan: Dresner cleans her way to a new friendship n
After spending time with Juan, Alana realized that he is not your average maintenance guy, but the “secret weapon” of Benjamin.
By Alana Dresner Columnist
Our campus is like a country club. The buildings are immaculate, the ground is spotless, and even the trash cans sparkle on the rainiest days. Why don’t other Palm Beach County school campuses compare to ours? It’s because we have a secret weapon, and his name is Juan. Perhaps the biggest asset of the maintenance department, Juan Jaramillo has been working at TBS for the past two years. His routine varies from day to day, but some things never change. Every morning he cleans the gym floor and then circulates around the different buildings on campus and inspects for messes, dirty windows, graffiti, and any other imperfections. Juan drives a golf cart that contains everything from liquid stain remover to the latest high quality dusters. We both laughed when, during my tour of his supplies, he noticed there was a bottle of lemonade just chillin’ among all the toxic liquids. My first heart-to-heart with Juan took place at seven in the morning in the gym. We talked about his past working experiences at ranches in Texas, his love for soccer, and his talents in construction. With a mop in hand, he paced up and down the gym floor, making sure he covered every last inch of wood. This is when I realized how meticulous Juan really is. He picked up microscopic pieces of paper and wiped away almost-invisible scuffs – things that the average worker would have walked past and hoped nobody noticed later on. I knew that following Juan would be
like following, in some ways, my alter-ego: someone who is neat and loves being neat. He put my maintenance skills to the test when he asked me to help him change some carpeting in the office’s college counseling room. We got down on our hands and knees and he pointed out the square of carpet we were about to remove. I was a tad confused at first because I couldn’t seem to find anything wrong with the carpet. Then again, I’m extremely unobservant when it comes to certain things – a girl can wear the same dress to Homecoming, a friend’s party, and in 27 different pictures on Facebook, and I’d never notice. After we pulled up the lightly-frayed carpet with ease, Juan handed me a brand new square of carpet and directed me to put it in the right direction. Wait, since when is there a “right direction” when it comes to carpet? Doesn’t it all look the same no matter what? Think again, losers! My definition of “cleaning my room” is taking the objects that make my room appear messy and doing one of many things with them. When I’m lazy, I’ll simply throw them under my bed. When I’m feeling adventurous, I’ll grab a chair and use it to elevate me to the highest shelf in my closet, where the previous mess will join ancient messes dating back to my middle school years. Juan’s thoroughness and love for what he does made me feel like such a bum. After observing how hardworking and methodical he is, I had the strongest desire to run home and properly dispose of every centimeter of chaos and clutter that I’ve ever put aside. In your dreams, mom. But what makes Juan so pop-
COFFMAN From Page 14
them to eventually have the feeling that I am feeling today,” she said. A New Beginning Coffman started out the New Year with a new, almost full, head of hair. She said “goodbye” to her bandanas for the first time in front of the Benjamin community. The first day of school, following a two-week hiatus during winter break, is a day Coffman knows she will never forget. “I was really nervous for the
first day of school. I came to Benjamin in 9th grade and no one knew me without my bandana on. No one knew me with hair,” she said. “I was just nervous because if my Dad couldn’t recognize me, I knew people from school wouldn’t either.” Even with her nervousness, Coffman found the reactions from her fellow classmates and teachers “hilarious.” “I walked into the hallway and people looked at me like ‘who is that girl,’” she said. “Mr. Selvig saw me and said, ‘I saw
MATT MURRAY / Photography Editor
Alana supports Juan’s ladder as he changes a light in the maintenance room. After spending time with Juan, Alana learned what ‘clean’ really means, according to her new friend.
ular? Why is it that the senior boys tend to greet and huddle around Juan, and no other maintenance member? The answer is simple: Juan is one-of-a-kind. As a husband and father of two, Juan keeps our campus looking immaculate every day, and he still finds time to show his love
for TBS by supporting students at sporting events. Juan makes the most unappealing tasks look pleasant, as he’s always smiling and quick to start a conversation when people walk by. When I asked multiple people why they think Juan is special, most of them had the same answer: “Well, just
because he’s Juan.” So the next time you see Juan, whether you’re at a lacrosse game or going to your next class, don’t hesitate to greet him and strike up a conversation. You never know; that discussion may be the beginning of something Juan-derful.
you with Kate Moran yesterday during assembly, are you a shadow or are you her friend in town?’” “It was very hilarious to me; I mean I enjoyed it a lot. It’s a new thing for me so I was really happy with everyone’s reactions,” she said. Though it was well contained underneath her bandanas, Coffman has had spurts of hair regrowth for the past three years. “I would have to put it in a bun and pin it to the top of my head every morning because it was so long. My hair grew thicker and it wouldn’t fit as well. It took a lot of effort every morning,” she said.
Coffman found that her most recent laser treatment which she has been doing for the past three years has made the biggest difference. “I do laser treatments about twice a week. I used to have to go to Miami but my mom bought a laser for my house so she is able to do the treatment for me,” she said. According to Coffman, despite her continual treatments and several remaining spots that still do not have hair, she decided to remove her bandana. She did so because of how much progress she has made and how fortunate her whole journey’s outcome has made her feel. To document the progress
she has made over the past three years, Coffman has decided to re-take her senior picture for the yearbook. “I wanted my senior picture to show the real me, especially since the big reveal occurred during my senior year. I have plenty of pictures of me in a bandana,” said Coffman. “I am so fortunate for what I have. Rather than worrying about what I don’t have, I should essentially show off what I do have,” said Coffman. “Having my hair back gives me more confidence, but to be honest with you, even if I still wore a bandana, I would be just as confident as I am now.”
February 22, 2011 COUNTDOWN: 19 days until the next SAT test on March 12
Tough Love: Tennis coach of 38 years coaches teams to victory By Austin Matese Staff Writer
The performance of athletes is often measured by numbers, and coaches are measured no differently. Mrs. Delores Colton is a coach whose numbers speak for themselves. She has handed out more varsity letters than the number of students currently enrolled in Benjamin, WOW through 12. She has distributed more than 1,750 varsity letters during a total of 99 award ceremonies. Mrs. Colton has also received the Palm Beach Coach of the Year six times throughout her tenure at Benjamin. The Palm Beach Post has awarded her once for soccer, twice for volleyball and twice for tennis. She obtained all of these awards within her last fifteen years at Benjamin. She was admitted into the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame in 2007, and The Sun Sentinel has awarded her Coach of the Year multiple times as well. As a teen, she started to play tennis. This activity would continue to be a major component in her life for 40 more years. Before the 70’s, tennis was a recreational sport for women, but she was so successful that her Alma Mater, Illinois Wesleyan University, invited her to join the coaching staff Although she is known for her coaching knowledge of tennis, she has coached two other sports, soccer for 34 seasons and volleyball for 27. When asked what the proudest moment she has experienced is, she said, “Definitely when I took the volleyball team to the state championship.” She also led the volleyball team to a winning record of 385-221 throughout her 27 seasons as head varsity volleyball coach. Under her coaching wing, the volleyball team has won 15 district titles, eight regional championships and competed at two state finals. Her history at Benjamin be-
gan with the creation of competitive sport teams in 1974. She helped Mr. Benjamin with the swim and track meets in the 60’s. She went from being a P.E. teacher to becoming an athletic coach. Over the years at Benjamin, she has seen how the nature of the players has changed. During the beginning years, almost all of her tennis athletes played three sports in a school year. However, in the more recent years her best tennis players practice year round. She credits most of the tennis teams’ success to the players who embody the backbone of the team. She said, “I’ve always have had some men and women that carry the team during the important matches.” Zach Krumholz is the number one player on the men’s tennis team and is one of the backbone players Mrs. Colton addressed. She wants another district title for the men’s team because this is Krumholz’s last season at Benjamin. She also wants a state title for Krumholz. Mrs. Colton’s season goals for the women’s team are to develop her five freshmen. She plans to have a district title for the women, as well as the men. She would also want both the men and women’s teams to win the regional semi finals, regional finals and then progress onto states. “Our tennis teams could not reach such success without coach Colton and even though she is tough, she is a great coach,” said number one women’s varsity tennis player, Ally Sexton. Despite Mrs. Colton’s coaching genius, she has never considered leaving the TBS community for other local high schools. She has no retirement plans, but rather she gave verbal reassurance when she said, “When you love your job, as I do, how could you imagine leaving?”
AUSTIN MATESE / Staff Writer
Mrs. Delores Colton, tennis coach of 38 years, is aiming for a district title for both the girls and boys teams this season. Coach Colton has been awarded Coach of the Year by The Palm Beach Post on multiple occasions for soccer, volleyball and tennis.
Kaplan named new head coach for baseball team By Phil Staiman Sports Editor
Photos courtesy of Brian Kaplan
Mr. Brian Kaplan, right, coached last year, but has been promoted to the position of head coach for this season.
The Buc baseball team has entered a new era under the leadership of new head coach Mr. Brian Kaplan. With Mr. Kaplan’s direction, the Bucs won their preseason tournament, gaining victories over both Glades Day and Jupiter Christian. They defeated the teams by a combined run margin of 41-6. Their bats have since cooled down, as they lost to Kings Academy 10-0 in their first regular season game, but sophomore DJ Paone believes that the sky is the limit with Mr. Kaplan managing the team. “Coach Kaplan is an out-
standing mentor. He’s definitely a player’s manager, and he brings a completely different feel to the dugout. He is a big time competitor and being coached by someone like that will help us do well this season,” said Paone. Though having a team made up of six upperclassmen and 16 underclassmen may be perceived as a challenge for the Bucs, Mr. Kaplan sees it as a positive. “Young talent is more of an advantage. We may not be as fast or as strong as some of the opponents we come up against, but the players know that and it gives them ambition and heart that no other team can match. Kristian True is our lone senior
and he has to welcome the responsibility of pushing these guys past any limitations they may think they have,” said Coach Kaplan. True believes that he is ready for that challenge, and he hopes to carry his team to its first district title in 18 years. “When I came to this school my freshman year, I looked up at the district banner and saw that 1993 was the last year we won. I then promised myself that I would leave this school with at least one district championship. This team has a lot of potential, and I think that this can be the year that we win districts, and make a strong push into the playoffs,” he said.
February 22, 2011
Softball team optimistic with addition of freshman Armstrong n
Though she has not played in high school ball before, her experience and family background in baseball helps her. By Phil Staiman Sports Editor
The Lady Buccaneer softball team looks to improve this season with the addition of freshman Jessica Armstrong after finishing with a record of 9-10 and barely fielding a team last year. Armstrong is already making a quick impact: She hit a grand slam home run in the girl’s first game of the season, a 12-1 victory over St. Andrews. All of Armstrong’s siblings have experience on the diamond, so she does not have to look far for guidance. Influenced by her father’s major league baseball career, Armstrong started playing softball when she was six years old. Her two brothers both play baseball at the Division 1 collegiate level, and baseball is a big part of the Armstrong family life. Whenever Armstrong feels as if she is out of her comfort zone, she turns to her family for aid. “The advice that I receive from my family on a regular basis helps me the most because they all know so much about the game. They help me keep a level head, and they are always there for me,” she said.
This is Armstrong’s first year on a varsity softball team, but she believes she is ready for the challenge of a new environment. “I am definitely excited to play at Benjamin. It just seems like the right atmosphere, and everyone has been so welcoming toward me,” she said.
“I think that Jessica’s talent will significantly help our team.” KELLY KOHLMEYER senior, team captain
She added, “High school softball is definitely a step up from middle school and travel ball, but I believe that because I have about 10 years of experience, I will be OK. I’m used to competing at a higher level each year, and I’m up for any challenges that are thrown at me.” Armstrong is not the only one that is excited about the fact that she is at Benjamin this year. Senior team captain Kelly Kohlmeyer believes that Arm-
strong will help the team improve right away. “I think that Jessica’s talent will significantly help our team, and I couldn’t be more excited to have her. I have heard a lot about her, and I heard that she’s an excellent first baseman. I’ve seen her hit, and I know that she’s going to contribute to a ton of scoring,” said Kohlmeyer. Last season, the girls gave up 106 runs in nine district games, and according to Kohlmeyer, many of their games were lost because of defensive miscues. Although last year was less than stellar, she believes that the team can bounce back. “I think our defense is going to be our strongest attribute this season. I know that our infield will be very solid, especially with the addition of Jessica at first base. Also, our hitting will be better than last year because it is clear that everyone has put in a lot of hard work over the offseason,” said Kohlmeyer. With the addition of new talents like Armstrong, Kohlmeyer is confident that the Lady Buc softball team will make its way back to relevance. She said, “This year we have a lot of new talent, and we have a great starting line-up. I think
that we will definitely do significantly better in districts if
we really put our hearts into it and give it all we’ve got.”
CASEY PEARCE / Staff Writer
Freshman Jessica Armstrong is new to Benjamin but is not new to the sport of softball. The team expects that with her membership it will improve from last year’s performance.
Boys’ basketball wins districts, moves on to regionals By Katie Schepps Managing Editor
On Saturday, Feb. 12, the Men’s Varsity Basketball team claimed the district title for the second consecutive year. The boys defeated Pope John Paul II in a 62-50 victory, finishing the tournament with an undefeated district record as they head into regionals.
“We are hoping to keep this momentum through the playoffs.” FRANK CUNNINGHAM senior The Bucs entered the game as the clear favorite to win, already having defeated Pope John Paul twice this season. A rocky start for the Bucs, however, left the game tied at halftime. One of the traveling fans, senior Jen Wallshein said, “When Jamie and I walked into the gym at Kings during the second quarter, we expected the boys to be up by 20. We were surprised, but they really picked it up in the second half.” Senior Brett Rosenthal, who led the team with 28 points, said, “At halftime, we were not performing to our potential. We needed some inspiration. I personally like performing with that kind of pressure. The momentum in the third quarter carried us on and we entered the fourth quarter with an 11 point lead.” The team was also challenged as
HUNTER TORO / Online Editor
The boys’ basketball team celebrates this past Thursday night’s regional quarter-final victory vs. Coral Srpings.
senior Kevin Crescenzi picked up multiple fouls throughout the game, forcing the rest of the boys to step up not both offensively and defensively. Still, the Bucs took home the title. “It’s a shame that such an exciting victory wasn’t played at home for everyone to see,” said Wallshein. Even with the excitement of the championship title, the boys believe their job is not yet done. Senior Frank Cunningham said, “It’s great to be one of the teams to be
named District Champions back-toback, and we are hoping to keep this momentum throughout the playoffs.” Coach Jeffrey Cavallo spoke of the team’s motivation when he said, “It is an honor to represent The Benjamin School and show pride in how we approach the game of basketball. We want to improve individually and collectively -- ultimately reaching the highest level of success on and off the court.” With a record of 20-6, the boys beat
Coral Springs Christian Academy in the regional-quarterfinal game 4644 on Thursday, Feb. 17. They lost to CSCA last year by only two points in the regional semi-final game.
Get full coverage of Thursday’s game @ PharBlog.com
February 22, 2011
Girls’ track team in high spirits despite injuries By Meredith Berger Staff Writer
Girls’ track this year is picking up in popularity, and many people have recently joined the sport. According to long-time track team members, many new students joined track for the first time this year. “Quite a few new people have joined, somewhere between ten and fifteen,” said junior Meredith Anderson. “There is a good amount of freshman but only a few new upperclassmen,” she continued. With a sudden influx in the number of people participating in the sport, track seems to becoming more popular with the student body. While track may seem daunting to some people, a large group of people are finding the positive aspects of the challenging sport. Junior Jeanelle Ackerman said, “Track is one of those sports that everyone loves to hate. Going into a meet, I’ll be asking myself, ‘Why do you do this sport? This is not fun. Why would I ever want to run a few
circles, to end up where I started, out of breath with no feeling in my legs, just to have Coach Ho tell me that I needed to ‘pick it up?’ The answer is that you can’t quit track—it’s actually impossible. It’s because you’re a part of a team and there’s no better feeling than the one you get from finishing a race after giving it all you have.” New track member junior Sydney Schor said, “I joined because I needed a sports credit, but I’ve found I really like track. This year there are a lot of talented people and we are all working really hard.” Junior Taylor Cogsil shared her love for the sport and said, “I love track! I look forward to the season because of the team, practices, meets, and coach Ho.” “Coach Ho,” she continued, “works with each girl individually, finding an event that is right for her. He realizes that girls sometimes just do it for a sports credit, but he helps even those girls excel. I would say some girls find out they like it more and do more than they
expected to because of the wide variety of events.” Anderson agreed and said, “Some people think that the new members are only joining for an easy sports credit, where they can go unnoticed. But even those people are working very hard this year.” With the increase in popularity, a large portion of the team is injured, which puts a damper on the optimism of some runners. Sophomore Nataly Lambert said, “I think our team will get better and stronger as the season goes on.” “But as of now,” she continued, “a large percentage of our team is injured and it isn’t looking so good.” Yet with the challenges the team is currently facing, track team members are confident in their future success. Cogsil said, “Our season may start out rough, but we have extremely promising talent and I’m sure, by the end, we will rise to the occasion and sweep districts as we have for the past 13 years.”
Pharcyde File Photo
Junior Jeanelle Ackerman pole vaults in a girls track meet last spring. The team has many new members this season.
New girls’ lacrosse coaches bring new tactics to team By Hunter Toro Online Editor
The girls of the newly assembled varsity lacrosse team are hopeful about this years’ season, due to the addition of two new head coaches, Mr. and Mrs. Trey and Sarah Burlingame. As a varsity player since her freshman year, senior Nicole Villablanca has noticed a positive change in the team, especially under the new influences of the Burlingames. She said, “This year everyone definitely has higher expectations, and as a team we are willing to work harder, especially because we are being led by such awesome
and experienced coaches. We’re really strong as a team this year, and if we keep up the intensity and dedication through practices, I think we will be able to go further in the season.” Mrs. Sarah Burlingame has a long history with lacrosse. She played men’s lacrosse for her high school team, was a member of the Canadian U-19 women’s team in the World Cup, was on the Canadian World Cup women’s team, and was an alternate for the 1991 World Cup. She also played at Cornell University and was a 2-year captain and has continued playing in women’s leagues since. Mrs. Burlingame shifted from
playing to coaching when she graduated from college because she “wasn’t ready to stop being involved.” She plans to better the Benjamin team by what she calls a “cultural shift.” She said, “Culture is what is ingrained in what you do. We change the culture by changing and raising the expectations of who we are and what we do as a lacrosse team, which means we practice Saturdays, we stay late, we come early—we are constantly intense.” She added, “By shifting our perspective, we then learn to own the right to be mentally above our opponents coming
CASEY PEARCE / Staff Writer
Coach Mrs. Sarah Burlingame demonstrates with junior Gabby Gaudet during a practice. The team is now practicing six days a week and has adopted new goal-setting techniques.
in, knowing that we’ve worked hard and deserve to be there. So it’s a cultural shift in our dedication and what we do and our expectations of ourselves in lacrosse. “
“I envision us being the best team we’ve had since I’ve been here.” LINDY BRADFORD senior As a way to keep the team focused and dedicated, the Burlingames make daily practice plans. The plans outlines minute by minute what the team is expected to do, who is in what group, and what the focus thought is. Each week, the team is given a goal stating what it is going to master and work on, and what it is going to work up to. However, the goals focus on more than just on physical aspects. Just as the players receive their physical goals, they receive character-building goals to help further themselves and the team. Along with the weekly agenda, the plans also include the team’s ultimate goal. This daily reminder helps to keep the girls inspired and focused. She said, “We review our goal for the season every day. Our mission is to win our district championship with relentlessness, tenacity, team spirit, grace and compassion. Once we do that, we’ll be into the South Florida Playoffs and the rest will just take care of itself.” The introduction of the practice plans were not the only things to change about practice
itself. Villablanca said, “This year is definitely harder. Our coaches come to practice every day prepared, so we are able to get a lot done. Everyone has been really dedicated this year to the 6-day-a-week practices. Practices are definitely more intense; there’s a lot of conditioning and we have a lot to get through everyday so everyone has to stay focused to get it all done within the two hours of practice.” Although the program may be more challenging now, senior Lindy Bradford is thankful for Mrs. Burlingame. She said, “Sarah is an absolutely amazing coach. She is driven, focused, and dedicated to the sport. She pushes us to do our best and teaches us so much. I learned more in the first week then I did all last year.” Similarly, Villablanca said, “What makes this season different is that Sarah really brings out the best in each player and focuses in on each individual’s strengths. She knows each player’s potential and pushes us to meet those expectations.” Bradford said, “I envision us being the best team we’ve had since I’ve been here. The team will definitely be close, I already feel closer to the girls than I did last year. It’s all because of Sarah! She is so talented, I can’t stress it enough. I’m so happy to have her as a coach and to see how well we play.” Sarah reciprocates her team’s affection. She said, “It’s been such a positive experience with the student athletes, with the coaches, with our athletic director. I think we have every reason to be successful from a coach’s perspective. We are grateful to be here and feel very welcome.”