540 S Commonwealth Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 90020 - 213.385.7351 - www.pilgrim-school.org
Volume 4 • Issue 2
DECEMBER 16, 2011
Welcoming Our World, Occupying Our Streets Pilgrim To Expand By Accepting Boarders
By Chloe Chais
Commonwealth Avenue from the campus. They’ll be just like regular students from the first to the last period of the day. But then instead of being picked up or driving themselves or taking a bus to their homes, they’ll simply walk across the street to a building where they’ll lead the type of dormitory life that high school students normally only hear about happens in college. And it isn’t just international students who will literally be able to call their school their home. Though the announcement of adding boarders came as a surprise to most Pilgrim students, Dr. Brooks has been working for some time on the idea along with the school’s board of directors. “It was the result,” Dr. Brooks says, “of some of our students leaving our school to go to boarding school because of their specific family situation, and the issues that arose with our foreign students all having a different Pilgrim experience. Some home stays that our students have had were fantastic, but others presented challenges for the host families and the students. I believe we can offer a program that provides the support our students need.” Even though he has not previously run a school that has featured boarders, Dr.
If you think that waking up to the sound of your mom screaming how late you’ll be for school while she forces you to munch your cereal as you run out the door is hectic, imagine you and the same classmates you share sleepovers with every night waking up to the sound of your third period math teacher knocking on your door. The first thing you see when you rub the sleepy men from your eyes is the main entrance to your school across the street from your bedroom window. For about twenty Pilgrim students, this scenario will be neither a dream nor a nightmare next year. It will be a reality. Head of School Dr. Mark Brooks is known for coming up with new ways to shake things up at Pilgrim, whether it is introducing the latest technology or transforming the old secondary school library into the Academic Resource Center. He is fond of saying, “If you aren’t making changes, then you just aren’t moving forward.” This time, though, even Dr. Brooks has outdone himself. Beginning with the 2012-13 school year, Pilgrim will be home to boarding students who will live full-time at the Mayflower House on the other side of South
The Mayflower House, seen through the gates of the Pilgrim campus, will be home to the school’s first class of boarding students from across the country and around the world. Brooks has been able from his position as a Board Member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) to learn from what it’s like to combine boarding
Witness To Movement That Captures Nation By Lily Armstrong
Courtesy of Elizabeth Turro
Pilgrim School students were able to see first-hand during their recent tour of Eastern colleges and universities the Occupy Wall Street movement that began in New York before spreading to different parts of our area, as seen here with protestors in downtown L.A.
with day students, which is similar to the approach that Pilgrim School will take in 2012-13, when the boarding component (Continued on Page 5)
Pilgrim students on their recent high school college trip had just over twenty-four hours remaining in New York City. In the final few hours, while some students sampled The Big Apple’s legendary cuisine and others shopped till they dropped with their bags full of fashions, still another group decided to check out one of the city’s newest and most exciting attractions: the impromptu camping ground in the wilds of Wall Street that sprung up in protest of financial inequality and the big-bank bureaucracy that has caused the nation’s economy and consequently millions of lives - to spiral downwards. Welcome to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Now in its fourth month, the movement that began in the financial district of New York City has survived in different forms as protestors were eventually moved from their encampments. It began as leaderless, relatively freeform, and largely inspired by the Arab Spring of early 2011 as well as the American civil rights movement of the mid-twentieth century. It eventually evolved at its highest point from virtually a sit-in into a full-scale live-in. The area of Zuccotti Park is speck-
led with blue-tarp tents, an information booth and food stand, and littered with folding chairs and Sharpie signs on cardboard, many referencing the sometimes obscureseeming “99%.” Although it might seem complicated, the 99% is not all that difficult to understand. The wealthiest 1% of the nation owns about 42% of its accumulated wealth. The rest of us - the 99% - are left to divide the leftover 58%. Although this type of mathematics has been true for a very long time, Occupy Wall Street and its associated protests show the 99%’s tougher side. Ordinary citizens are finally realizing that despite their apparent lack of power, what everyone in this country has is a voice plus a desire for justice that might make a difference - not only in public awareness and perception, but eventually also on Capitol Hill. That October evening in New York City, Krystal Von Seyfried, Henry Klapper, Chloe Wong, Isabella Chambers and I were fortunate enough to witness Occupy Wall Street firsthand, an experience that we all agree has changed us. Although neither protest residents nor regulars, and probably tourists by New York City standards, the five of us were welcomed into the community (Continued on Page 9)
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the SAT
Tis the Season for Giving From the Heart
Pilgrim’s Version of Reality TV couple
Her Artistic Flair Benefits Her Students
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December 16, 2011
Sat: Easy To Spell, hard To Master By Gabriella Carmona
Xavier Sallas-Brookwell – Editor-in-Chief Marina Pena – Senior Writer/Assistant Editor Gabriella Carmona - Senior Writer/Assistant Editor Sam Kim – Photographer Chloe Chais - Senior Writer Delina Yemane - Senior Writer Lily Armstrong - Columnist/Feature Writer Audrey Yun - Graphic Artist Jacob Hamilton - Staff Writer Ivan Esparza - Staff Writer Mr. Michael Smith - Advisor
December 16, 2011
End Of World As We Know It . . . Or Only A New Beginning? What Would You Do If You Knew It Was All Over? _
You open the test booklet, take a deep breath and try to relax. Yeah, right. As if you can possibly take it easy when you know that the next three hours of your life might determine the next several decades of your life. You’re worried. You’re scared. All the classes are over. All the practicing is done. Now it’s time to shine by filling in those squircles. You’ve done everything right up to now. Been kind to dogs. Eaten your vegetables. Tried to be nice to your little brother or sister. But it’s all on the line. One shot. One test. One result. It all depends on the most recognizable yet also dreadful three-letter word to high school students: S - A - T. Everyone knows about how you have to take the test, but do you really know what it is? The SAT is basically three hours of torture conceived by people whose job it is to trick you into giving the wrong answers. Think about it. If everyone got all the answers right, everyone would go to Harvard. The Educational Test Service, is a non- profit organization that is responsible for the SAT questions. The test writers may know all about their subjects, but they sure don’t know anything about you except your social security number. If you think that’s cold, think North Pole. Everyone is different, just as every school is different. Some kids are budding Einsteins, others may become Robert Frosts. Some schools may have great math or English departments that stress the type of material that appears on the SAT, while other schools not so much. Some kids may be drilled on SAT vocabulary. Others may never have heard of half the words. The problem is, you’re not just trying to earn your highest possible score. You’re also competing against students from across the country for acceptance to similar colleges. You have heard the stories about the SAT being unfair because it may be culturally biased, but how do they truly make the test fair for everyone? “There are 10 sections of the SAT, and only nine of them count,” according to Ms. Elizabeth Bacon, who is in her first year as Pilgrim’s college counselor. “One of the parts is the experimental questions, which is to see how students have learned over time and used to calibrate future tests.” As those SAT veterans know, the test can be basically seen as split into two subjects - English and math. Why, though, aren’t there more subjects? Why not science, or history … or even PE? “What you have to remember,” Ms. Bacon says, “is that the SAT is an aptitude test for the future. It doesn’t test what you remember from what you have learned in your classes. It wouldn’t be fair to have history or science in the SAT, because everyone is at different levels of those subjects. Whether or not you know who the 16th presi-
dent is by memory doesn’t tell how you will learn history in the future.” Those students who don’t know the history of the SAT itself might be surprised to find how much the test has changed through the years. It wasn’t long ago, for instance, that there was no essay on the test. There used to be instead a series of analogy questions. You know, the kinds that ask you how a fire hydrant is to a daffodil like a folding chair is to a bowl of chunky soup. If you don’t like to write - especially under the pressure of having 25 minutes to compose the essay, you might long for the old days. Otherwise, make sure you have your literature and history examples ready to go then pray that the essay prompt will allow you to use your subjects. There’s another part of the test that makes some kids feel like they’re at a disadvantage compared to others even before they open the booklet. It’s become fashionable these days for some kids to take SAT prep courses from the time they were first able to spell the name of the test. It’s not just the content of all the parts that kids who take prep courses can study. They’re also learning all the tricks within the test. “The SAT is not as accurate a test as it could be,” says Pilgrim senior Evelyn Kim, “because if you can’t afford to take SAT prep courses, you’re then going to be at a competitive disadvantage. The kids who can’t take the extra classes may not do as well as the ones who go to take the prep courses. And how are colleges supposed to know that?” Say you actually like science: chemistry, biology, and physics. You’re probably thinking that the ACT is better for you because there is some science that appears on that test. It’s not what you think. “The science sections are more about reading about science and tests to see if the student can read charts and things like that,” Ms. Bacon says. “It doesn’t exactly test your knowledge of science.” The test taking trauma isn’t only for juniors and seniors. Pilgrim freshmen this past October took their first step toward the SAT by trying their luck on the PSAT (P means preliminary, meaning this is only the beginning). “I see it as an advantage to take the PSAT with everyone else,” says freshman Jacob Hamilton. “And if kids are already preparing for the SAT, you should, too, so you won’t fall behind.” So, when is the best time to start your preparation? “Students should be taking SAT prep from eighth grade,” Ms. Bacon says. “That’s not too early because all you have to do is focus in class and learn. The SAT uses the things you learn in school, so just make sure you know the material well now so you have a better place to start in a few years.” In case this sounds too complicated, just remember: If you can spell SAT, you should be preparing for it.
It’s that time of year (SAT time) for Pilgrim seniors such as Chloe Chais and Xavier Sallas-Brookwell, to seek advice about everything to do with college from Ms. Elizabeth Bacon, who has brought the benefit of her experience with Princeton Review to campus.
Wishful Thinking For Reading Comp By The Commonwealth Staff
I can’t believe I have to read another one of these passages that was probably written by some lonely, bald, little man with wire-rimmed glasses who sits at his cubicle all day figuring ways to torture teenagers by coming up with inane and insane reading comprehension topics designed to drive me crazy enough so I won’t answer enough questions correctly to get into Harvard. I mean, we’re supposed to read this stuff and answer these questions while still having time to finish the section before the teacher in the front of the room screams “Time!” like she really takes pleasure in seeing me sweat. It’s only my entire future that’s at stake here, that’s all. So here I sit with the clock ticking away and all I can think about is all of those SAT prep courses I took that are doing me absolutely no good right now because I can’t figure out what the guy from Passage 1 on Lines 15-18 thinks about what the guy from Passage 2 thinks in Lines 26-29 and, oh, by the way, is it I, II, or III, or all of the above, or none of the above, or I haven’t put down a C answer for a while, so maybe that’s it. Meantime, the kid sitting next to me who looks like he’ll be a starting linebacker at USC is dozing off. He knows his score doesn’t matter because they’ll give him a full scholarship to play football while I’m stuck here trying to legitimately earn me way into the college of my choice. I wish I could fill in the blanks with whatever letter I choose and say the heck with the whole thing, but I know I blew the vocabulary section so I have to do well on this part. I thought I’d do well on the vocab after I studied every word in those 100,000 SAT wordbooks that my mom gave him with a smile like she was doing me a favor or something. But I still wasn’t ready for this question: After completing all the sections of the SAT, most test takers would agree that their experience could be best described as one filled with ___________________ A) hepaticocholangiocholecy B) amprophony C) finnimbrumism D) pseudoantidisestablishementarianism E) floccinaucinihilipilication If you think I’m going to give you the answer, why don’t you try to answer it yourself and then you’ll see what I mean about taking this test. Or you could just take a whack at it and then look up the words to see if you somehow lucked into the answer. Anyway, here are some SAT-type reading comprehension questions based on the passage you just read: The “future” mentioned in Line 6 is most like that of: A) Bernie Madoff B) Mubarak supporters C) Kris Humphries D) Charlie Sheen E) All of the above The acronym SAT in Line 7 stands for: A) Scholastic Aptitude Test B) Such an Awful Time C) Something to Avoid Totally D) Sad And Traumatic E) Signing up Another Tutor
I’d help you out with the answers, but I have to get back to Practice Test 5,876 of my College Board SAT prep book. I’m sure after this go round that I’ll be taking the test again next month ... then again ... and again ... and again. On second thought, I wonder how I’d look in shoulder pads and helmet while fighting on for old USC.
“Put together my home safety kit.”
“Watch the space fetus appear in 2001: A Space Odyssey.”
“Give everyone a hug.”
Jacob Hamilton“Rob the treasury.”
“Hijack the space shuttle before the world ends.”
Krystal von Seyfried-
“Tell everyone to elect me Leader of the World so I could stop the end of the world.”
“Spend all my money.”
“Ask an astronaut to take my family to outer space.”
“Hold all my kids and fly away.”
To Do Or Not To DO Your Homework Pilgrim sophomore John Rehwald once again lends his artistic talents to our pages by composing his latest cartoon that’s all about a typical student who figures why do homework if the world is coming to an end ... only to experience good news and bad news. The good news: he’s survived. The bad news: his homework is due.
By Marina Pena
Welcome to the beginning of another Pilgrim School year. We’ll soon also be saying welcome to the year 2012. Or will we? Believe it or not, we’re only a matter of months away from what some people believe is Doomsday. We’re not talking about how a unit test in Geometry or a deadline for a research paper, or the threat of a detention for chronic tardiness that may represent in their own ways a sort of doomsday for Pilgrim students. We’re talking Doomsday as in the end of the world as we know it. If you’re not at all worried about it, no sweat. But if you wondering what all the fuss is about, blame it on the Mayans, a Mesoamerican civilization who contributed to astronomical systems that have led some mathematicians and scientists to believe that December 21, 2012 will constitute the end of the world. The Mayans made many contributions to the invention of time, including creating calendars and tracking the winter solstice. The calendars have helped them figure out what the future position of the stars will be. As a result, the Mayans were able to discover the Earth’s wobbling as it spins on its axis. Due to their significant history with time, the Mayans were also able to have such an immense influence on today’s population who take their theory as gospel. Yet pointing to the Mayan calendar as proof that the world will end is simply a theory, just as the many others have come and gone, only to find us all still alive and kicking while the Earth remains spinning. Remember the infamous Y2K panic? The start of the new millennium was supposed to also signal the crashing and burning of anything run by computers. Imagine a life without Facebook, I-Chat or Tetris Battle. Of course, nothing happened. All through everyone’s houses there wasn’t even a peep, not even from any of the computer’s mouses. Why take a chance, though, when there actually could be something to the Mayan calendar theory. We figured who better to ask on the Pilgrim campus then our own Mrs. Nichols, who knows a thing or two about scientific theories - not
only since she teachers everything from Biology to Physics, but also because she wouldn’t have made such a life-altering decision recently if she didn’t think we’d all still be around a year from now. “The Mayans had a calendar,” says Mrs. Nichols, “and 2012 is the year that the calendar stopped. You also have the Christian Rapture, which talks about how before the world ends. God’s chosen people are taken to heaven and everyone else is left behind.” If the Mayans are correct, though, we’ll all be leaving together. Mrs. Nichols understands those who are true believers, but she also begs to differ with those who “rely on what they hear on the news and therefore that is how they make their decisions. Many times they are misinformed, but if they keep getting told that something is going to happen, they will eventually believe that it will.” But has the time finally come for all of us to believe to there’s a possibility the doomsdayers could be right? “Time itself,” Mrs. Nichols said, “is an invention. It’s a very interesting thing. But before mankind came along, there was no keeping time. Then when the Mayans made the calendar, they kept time. The only credible thing about the theory is that the Mayan calendar doesn’t keep track past 2012. But that is the same with every calendar; they are not infinite.” What will Mrs. Nichols do if her students bring up the 2012 scenario in class? “I wouldn’t want to just start a conversation because it may be so controversial,” she said. “I mean, I will talk about it when asked about it. I’ll explain what I know about the history of the Mayans. But I’m not going to start preaching about whether to believe in it or what to do about it. “As someone who teaches science, if you ask me if in the next hundred thousand years, will there be many changes to the Earth, I’d say, yes, there will be changes. The Earth is finite, after all, and so is the Sun. So it all has to come to an end at some point.” Mrs. Nichols has science on her side in doubting the Mayan theory, but she also has personal history to show she isn’t worried about everything soon coming to an end. After all, she’s still a newlywed.
What Will You Do Now That It Won’t Be Over? Mr Manly-
“Throw away my home safety kit.”
“Say sorry to every person I’ve ever hurt.”
“Shave my soul patch.”
“Take flying lessons.”
Mae Humphreyille“Backpack in India”
Monica Lopez-Ramos“Get more pets.”
Krystal von Seyfried-
“Keep telling everyone the world will end so I remain in power.”
“Cry because I spent all my money.”
“Change my name to Jacob Hamilton.”
“Retreat to Kardze in China.”
December 16, 2011
Life Can Be Like A Fairy Tale ... By Chloe Chais
an I wanted to be! I think Antonia is like that too.” “Antonia is so talented in so many ways,” says Von Furstenberg, “she will choose what she wants to do and I’m sure she will be successful at whatever her decision is.” That may sound like typical grandma bragging, but it’s fair to say, by age 12, that, Antonia has done more in the fashion industry than her peers. With family ties to the profession, Antonia already has a leg up. “When I go to my grandma’s office in New York, I go down to the sample room and help design clothes and sew them. I’m lucky that my grandma makes special orders of her clothes that fit me.” Imagine wearing an article of clothing that buyers pay thousands of dollars for, made especially for you. Many artists are asked where they get their inspiration. Von Furstenberg explains how hers came quite naturally. “Women were my inspiration,” she says. “I wanted to give them easy, practical, sexy little dresses they could wear anywhere! The success of the wrap dress is due to the fabric, the cut, and the prints. I had no idea that dress would last for generations to come! It has never happened to a dress before!” That explains her clothing being some of the most popular and expensive around. But Antonia has not allowed her family’s success to keep her from being a normal sixth grader. “You would never be able to tell she’s a princess,” said one of her classmates. “She’s really nice and down to earth. Not like one you see in the moves.” Antonia says the same goes for her famous grandmother. “She pinches my cheeks and tells me she loves me. I know the castle makes me seem different, but I’m just a normal kid, too.”
people for real after watching the TV show from home. It was like that was the moment you knew that something special was going to happen.” First, though, Gracie had to endure her own version of a wardrobe malfunction. “To perform we had to change into these uniforms, which were blazers and skirts,” she says, “but everything was falling off me and didn’t fit right. I had to try on like six different outfits before I found something that was like it was tailored for me.” There was nothing stopping Gracie now. “As I stepped on that stage, the lights were blinding and I couldn’t see the crowd,” she says. “The theater was filled with so many people, and then Alice Cooper came out, which meant it was time for us to go and sing with him.” The experience Gracie felt with the music blaring and the lights
flashing was unforgettable, but it was also fleeting, as if one moment she was living a fantasy but the next moment she was back to reality. So, how does it feel for Gracie to be a star - at least for the moment? “When kids hear about it,” she says, “they’ll come up to me and say, like, ‘Did you really do that? Were you really on American Idol?’ I can show them the clip from the show on the computer. It’s like, they say, ‘There you are! That’s really you.’ And I just say, ‘I told you.’” Gracie can imagine showing the clip for years to come, even when she’s an old lady and her grandchildren hear about her claim to fame. Or maybe it won’t be long before Gracie does something even grander to make herself an even bigger star than she was when her dream to be an American Idol came true.
... When Anyone Can Be An Idol
By Gabriella Carmona
Coming and Going, Ties Remain Strong By Marina Pena As trends come and go, so do Pil-
grim students. Each and every school year, the student body is introduced to new personalities, customs, and faces. Though it’s fun for returning students to meet and greet their new classmates, transfer students endure their share of challenges at the beginning of their transition. “I wasn’t nervous, but I was freaked out because it was so different,” says junior Liliana Perez. “I was used to a school with about 100 kids in one grade compared to here where there are only about 20.” It wasn’t just the numbers that mattered. “I was worried,” Liliana said, “that I wouldn’t make any friends.” But just a few months into her first year, she now feels comfortable with her academics as well as her athletics, especially after she turned out to be a big contributor to the success of Pilgrim’s first cross country team. One of Liliana’s teammates was sophomore transfer student Kimberly Madrid, who admits that she, too, was concerned, “that I’d be miserable at Pilgrim because it was such a big change for me.” It turned out to be a change, all right, one that Kimberly now can say, “was definitely a positive one for me.” Fellow sophomore Jacob Lower had the unusual experience of finding his transfer relatively free of anxiety. “I found Pilgrim very easy to adapt to,” Jacob said, “because of the way that everyone in the population welcomed me and how organized the teachers were when they tried to help me.” Although many transfer students have not been at Pilgrim that long, they were already able to find several things about the school much to their liking. “I like the set up of Pilgrim, along with the one-on-one time you’re able to get here,” Jacob said. “At my old school, the kids were not there to learn. Here, it’s different.” It’s also different on a personal
Pilgrim freshman Gracie Hurley, on the lower right, performs on American Idol, while proving that you never know when you, too, will experience your moment in the spotlight.
basis, according to Liliana “Kids here are way better than at my old school,” she said, “because over there, kids used to talk behind your back all of the time. At Pilgrim, you can have good relationships with your classmates without worrying about how they say one thing to your face and another thing when you’re not there to defend yourself.” Sophomore Casey Wong went one step further than Liliana when she described a place where, “the people are great. Everyone at Pilgrim is really unique and nice. It feels just like a really large extended family. If you’re new to a school, feeling like you belong is maybe even more important than your grades.” The first day at a new school, there are bound to be many things that surprise or even shock transfer students due to the difference in environments between schools that typically have more students in one high school grade than Pilgrim has in its entire secondary school. “What really surprised me,” Kimberly said, “was how small Pilgrim is. Seriously, 350 kids was the size of the freshman class at my old school. I’ve heard kids and teachers here talk about how they think they have a big class when there’s 15 students in there, but walking into a class of less than 20 students is still pretty shocking to me, even after I’ve been here a few months.” Liliana has experienced not only a big change in numbers, but an even bigger change on the amount of responsibility put into the hands of students. “At my old school,” she said, “they didn’t even count homework. In fact, they didn’t even give homework. All they counted towards your grades were tests. Now I have a lot of different ways to get my grades up if I am willing to work hard.” That’s easier said than done for Kimberly, especially when it comes to her English class. “It has to be the most challenging thing for me at Pilgrim by far,” she said of her American Literature course. “Not even
American Literature features transfer students (left to right) John, Ivan, Kimberly, Russel, Jake, Michael, Casey, Isabella and Krystal, who literally make up half the class. making friends and adjusting to the size of the school has been that hard. I used to think I was good at English. Then, I met CCCP.” For as much as all transfer students said they were able to make adjustments to Pilgrim based on the support they received from classmates and teachers, they also agreed that there is still one thing that gets to them. “Everything was rather fine,” said Jacob, “but then I saw the schedule and I knew it would take some time getting used to it.” Pilgrim embraces new faces every year, but the school also never forgets about the old faces, either. The sophomore class this year that now includes Kimberly, Jacob, and Casey plus fellow transfers John Rehwald and Ivan Esparza, lost its fair share of classmates from last year to this one. Declan Moles and Andrew Kim are now in boarding schools. “For me, it was easy to make the switch,” Declan said, “because I have more freedom, more structure, more studying time. It is a boarding school, after all.” Andrew admitted that, “I don’t like change, so it took a while for me to get used to everything that’s different. But you really have no choice but to get used to it. ” Christopher Yoon may no longer
be a Pilgrim student, but he still feels close enough to his former classmates that he attended the recent Homecoming Dance. “It’s strange,” Chris said, “the way I felt out of place at my new school because I felt so comfortable at Pilgrim. I stuck out like a sore thumb. Plus, you don’t have that feeling at a public school the way you do at Pilgrim that people care about you. You’re just one of 1,500 kids. At Pilgrim, every teacher actually knows your name and your personality.” Chris put the difference between Pilgrim and Fairfax this way: “Pilgrim is a backyard full of people who all know each other. Fairfax is a football stadium pack with people who don’t know each other. Sure, the public school has more sports and AP classes and extracurriculars. But there’s more to going to school than that.” Students such as Declan, Andrew and Chris continue to be in the thoughts of those who were lucky enough to get to know them when they were here. They share time on line while also sharing their new experiences. Meantime, as all the new students will be welcomed, all the former students will not be forgotten. After all, once a Patriot, always a Patriot.
The boarders will have Pilgrim’s resources during the school day, but also after-hours to receive all the academic help they need. “They will receive a consistent experience, access to the library and to the gymnasium on a daily basis,” says Dr. Brooks. “Students will not be distracted by other activities that may occur in the host family homes. The housing will be fully dedicated to making students successful.” It would be only natural for students and parents alike to wonder exactly how the boarding school idea will work out, especially in its first year. But if the reaction is any indication, the first class or boarders are in for a treat. “When I understood that Pilgrim was turning the property across the street into dorms, I was in disbelief,��� says senior Xavier Sallas-Brookwell. “Kids going there will have the experience of a lifetime.” The inner workings of the boarding house are still developing, but the general idea regarding everyday life of the noncommuter student has already been planned. “Students will have breakfast at the Mayflower House in their dining room,” says Dr. Brooks. “Lunch will be on campus and Dinner will be prepared fresh and served at the Mayflower House. Students will have tutoring provided as well as SAT prep. Weekends will include transportation to shopping and entertainment venues and bi-monthly trips to museums and other educational and fun destinations. A separate girls suite is also being developed.” Since Dr. Brooks is the brains behind the operation, it’s natural to expect him to sign up for dorm duty. “I’m very excited
actually,” he says. “My favorite after- school activity was the high school dance when the neighbors reported us to the police for being too loud (By the way, wee were not really all that loud!) Any activity with our students is fun.”
SCHOOL TO BE HOME AWAY FROM HOME
could perform on stage.” That meant there would be an unlucky five who would have to watch American Idol at home just like everybody else while their friends turned into stars. Though the odds were in her favor of being selected, Gracie couldn’t know for sure that she would be one of the lucky ones. So just like Charlie from Willie Wonka, Gracie was looking for her golden ticket to the celebrity factory. “They brought in a hat to decide who would go, and it was filled with numbers from 1 to 20,” Gracie says. “If you got 18 or 19 you pulled again, but if you got 20, you were out. Luckily for me, I picked 18, so I got to pull again.” Imagine your future being defined by a slip of paper. They say that one moment could change your life, like another slip of paper that every Pilgrim student is familiar with some too familiar with. If you earn all D’s and F’s on your report card, you can kiss your weekend goodbye, plus that party you wanted to attend is history. But there are always other weekends and other parties. For Gracie, this was her one and only chance to experience a dream while remaining wideawake. As she prepared to pick another piece of paper, all Gracie could think was, what if I pull a 20? As it turned out, no sweat: Gracie pulled a five, which meant that she would soon begin practicing at the famed Nokia Theater for a performance of Cooper’s “School’s Out” - ballad that made famous the phrase “No more teacher’s dirty rule books!” As the excitement built and the practices went on, the day of the finale came before the kids knew it. “We had to get there six hours before the performance and practiced it seemed like thirty times,” Gracie says. “We stayed in this lounge for the rest of the time with the contestants who came for the performance. It was cool to see these
Courtesy of Gracie Hurley & FOX
Who hasn’t dreamed of becoming a rock star? Performing on an elaborate stage in front of an adoring audience that swoons at your every movement and hangs on your every word? Your fans chant your name while their T-shirts of your smiling face shine back at you? What would you be thinking? How magnificent you are? How embarrassing it would be to forget your lyrics: Oooh, baby, baby, baby … Oooh, baby, baby … Oooh, baby. Everyone may want to be a star, yet not everyone has his or her time to shine or shrivel in the spotlight. If given the choice, would you take it? When freshman Gracie Hurley joined the choir at Oakwood School prior to her transfer last year to Pilgrim, she had no idea that it would be more than simply singing as a group with the occasional performances where your parents snapped rolls of pictures and applauded much too loudly. She didn’t know that her chance for a taste of stardom was within her reach. It all came about when a visitor one day to Gracie’s class, who just so happened to be a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend’s dad with ties to show business, offered the group the chance of a lifetime to sing background for 1970s rock star Alice Cooper on the finale of an American Idol series. In this age of reality TV, where everyone it seems is dancing with stars or playing survivor or trying to lose weight or find their perfect mate, Gracie would have the chance to have the spotlight shine close enough to her that she could consider herself a star. “It seemed too good to be true,” Gracie says. “Everyone was so excited, and we practiced every day after school, but when the man came back a week later he told us some bad news. We had twenty something kids in our choir, but only 15
December 16, 2011
Courtesy Tatiana von Furstenberg
Antonia (left) strikes a pose with her grandmother, center, and mother, right, as one of Pilgrim’s most famous families, yet the sixth grader remains a down-to-earth friend. We’ve all read fairy tales about says, “I prefer our house in Connecticut. royal families who live in castles with seem- There is a lot more to do; It’s right on a lake ingly perfect lives. But what if you learned surrounded by apple trees. You get to forget that one of your classmates was actually liv- all about life in L.A. for a while.” You might ask what does a ing the fairy tale? You would never be able to tell what it’s like unless you knew. Pilgrim 12-year-old need to take a break from. But sixth grader Antonia Steinberg knows. As Antonia is not your average kid. With such the granddaughter of world famous clothing a well-known grandmother, she is exposed designer Princess Diane von Furstenberg, to celebrities and events that most people Antonia is proof positive that royalty runs in only read about in magazines. “My grandma has an Oscar party every February,” Antothe family. “Welcome, Princess Antonia,” she nia says. “I’ve met Oprah and Paris Hilton. hears as she enters her family’s estate in They just seem like regular people to me Germany that has all the features of a castle, now.” Though it sounds like a fantasy including personal chefs and portraits of the royal family that would make a visitor life, being the granddaughter of a famous feel like he or she is walking through a time designer and princess isn’t as easy as it apmachine. Castles may be cool, but Antonia pears to be.
“People always come up to me asking, ‘Is it true you’re a princess?’ “ Antonia says, “and I just think, ‘Why is that going around!’ Everyone at my camp knew who she [Von Furstenberg] was, and I saw a change in the way people treated me when they found out she was my grandma.” Antonia brings her best friend and fellow Pilgrim sixth grader Tiger Safai everywhere she goes, from New York fashion week to trips to the lake house. Tiger has become so used to sharing adventures with Antonia that she says, “It’s normal. I don’t look at it as anything other than just have fun with my best friend. I’ve known Antonia since we were 18 months old, and nothing has changed.” Well, almost nothing. “You might think that I hang around with Antonia because of all the places we go and the things we see,” Tiger says, “but we have just as much fun on a regular sleep over as we could ever do at a such a fancy place.” It’s also safer. “One time we were at the mansion,” Tiger says, “and Antonia wanted me to ride a motorcycle. So the motorcycle starts, except I wasn’t ready. The next thing I knew, I hit a tree, and then apples kept falling on my head.” It’s no wonder many teenagers don’t develop headaches from all the pressure coming from parents concerning what they plan on doing with their lives. It’s normal to think how kids can become completely stumped about their futures. Antonia faces no such problem. “I really love art,” she says, “so I definitely want to do something with that, maybe even designing.” It may just run in the family. Von Furstenberg admits when she was Antonia’s age, “I was not sure what I wanted to do, but I knew the kind of wom-
The view across the street from the Pilgrim campus from inside the Mayflower building, which will offer boarding students beginning next year a unique perspective.
(Continued from Page 1) is not only intended for international students, those from the Los Angeles area and other parts of the country may be among the first group. Even some current Pilgrim students are excited about the possibility of living at the Mayflower House. “My mom travels a lot so I will have a place to be watched over and make sure I get my work done,” says Pilgrim eighth-grader John Gittens, “And it’s right
by Downtown LA; it’s a cool city.” The School’s location is indeed one of the boarding school’s key selling points. When most people think of boarding schools, they think of those in New England or New York that are usually found in country settings where students are basically in their own little corner of the world that seldom takes them beyond the gates of their campus. But given Pilgrim’s proximity to downtown L.A., boarding school students would be close to the city’s rich culture of art, music and theatre. How will Dr. Brooks go about signing up students to become borders? “No need to recruit,” he says. The first question admission is asked from students outside of Los Angeles is ‘do we have a boarding component?’ ” Once the group is assembled, the next job will be to find a staff that will take care of all the day to day needs of the boarders. “Running a boarding school obviously requires additional work and responsibility for the staff and for the head of school,” Dr. Brooks says. “However, the benefits of providing a high quality consistent experience for our students outweighs those responsibilities.” The idea of having boarders among the student body is something even seniors who are about to graduate are excited about. “Kids across the world will have the opportunity to attend school here with all the advantages of living across the street,” says senior Evelyn Kim. Students will also have the chance to build strong relationships with the “house parents” who supervise them.
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT With Pilgrim about to add boarders to its student body in time for the next school year, we wondered not only how a pair of former members of the 2010-11 eighth grade class were doing at their boarding schools, but also if they had any advice for those planning on becoming part of Pilgrim’s first group of boarders. Andrew Kim: “You would think that the first thing you’d have to face at a boarding school is dealing with homesickness. That’s what I thought, too, but it really didn’t happen to me. I’ve really never ever seen a kid who was in bad shape because he missed his home so much. It’s important that you have a good relationship with your roommate. My advice would be to interview kids beforehand to find out their interests. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with your roommates, so if you get along well, you’ll start doing things together and everything will go along well for you.” Declan Moles: “Getting used to dormitory life is hard, mostly because it’s so different from what you’re used to doing if you just go to school all day and then go home. The main thing is to keep yourself occupied once all of your classes are over for the day. The same goes for how you spend your time on the weekends. You have to plan things to do and then you’ll be able to keep your mind off the fact that you’re not home. Still, you have to prepare yourself for missing home. And you also have to get used to taking care of the little things by yourself rather than having your parents take care of it for you.“
December 16, 2011
December 16, 2011
These Pilgrim GiftsStraightFromTheHeart
Illustrations and inscriptions by Audrey Yun
December 16, 2011
Keeping up With The ... Sarafians By Marina Pena
Pilgrim, took a pay cut, and here I still am.” Coach Sarafian remembers how it all began for him at Pilgrim, when, “The director of athletics was starting a different job and he called me to see if I’d be interested in being a PE teacher. I came out, saw the school and the students, liked what I saw and was hired. That was 1982.” When you do the math, you realize that Coach Sarafian has been at Pilgrim more than double the time (29 years) that most students have been alive. Coach Sarafian has been a PE teacher, senior class advisor, dean and coach at various times in his Pilgrim career. “It’s given me the opportunity,” he says, “to work with the kids in so many different ways. But the one thing I’ve learned is that whether it’s as a coach or a dean or an advisor, the best way to get kids to work with you is to let them know how much you care about them. That’s the thing that has never changed and never will change.” Like husband, like wife. ”I’ve been able to work in so many different departments along with my current position,” Mrs. Sarafian says. I once even developed a cheer squad here that was nationally ranked. Whatever I’ve done, I have always been ready and willing to help out wherever I’m needed.” It’s only natural that many things change over time. As hard it might be for current students to realize, Coach Sarafian once had a football team that went undefeat-
By Ivan Esparza
Coach Mike Sarafian and wife Cheryl have dedicated themselves to make Pilgrim School run smoothly with their efforts as athletic director and assisstant to the Head of School. ed. Now, of course, Pilgrim hasn’t been able hair on the sides, just like my hair was then. to field a team for the last two years. The students and teachers were stunned that “Having that team that won all he would go to such great lengths to imitate the games, that was great,” Coach Sarafian me. I was quite flattered. People still talk says. “I was also named Coach of the Year, about it to this day.” even though all of our success was due to the Mrs. Sarafian hasn’t earned any kids. I’ll never forget it.” trophies for the job she does in the Head of Nor will Coach Sarafian ever for- School’s office, but she also would say that get his most embarrassing Pilgrim moment. It all has to do with a bunch of kids who are “It was the Halloween Costume being quite driven to succeed academically contest in Stuart Hall about seven years and athletically. The moments that you share ago,” he says. “One of our seniors, who with them turn into memories when you happened to be on our baseball team, came look back at your career.” dressed in navy blue shorts, white Pilgrim It’s not just the students that keep Polo shirt, whites tennis shoes, short socks, the Sarafians at Pilgrim, though. Both husand a Pilgrim baseball cap - exactly what I band and wife agreed it also has much to do was wearing that day. with their relationship with their boss. “During the costume contest, he “Dr. Brooks has made my job so stepped out after his name was called. What much easier because of what he has allowed he didn’t show anybody up to that point was (Continued on Page 8) that he shaved his head in the middle with
Patriot Sports Are All About Teams By Chloe Chais
The start of the second trimester means Pilgrim’s most popular sports are back with new twists to rosters but high expectations for results that are as good if not better than last year. The women’s varsity basketball team must work hard to match its 2010-11 Omega League Championship, especially without the talent and leadership of graduates Madeleine Kanazawa, Nkechi Ampah, and Myriam Odinga. Yet instead of rebuilding, the Lady Pats are reloading. “I expect to do really well this year,” says co-captain Delina Yemane. “In the four years I have played basketball for Pilgrim, this is the most potential I’ve seen in the beginning of a season.” Freshman Chace Henning plays a major role in the standards being raised for first-year players. Having played the sport for nine years since transferring to Pilgrim, Chace has already made a smooth transition to filling a need on the team for a ball-handling leader. However, each player on the team will have to give her best in order to surpass last year’s record. “I think what is the most
The Patriot soccer team has three females on its roster, which may be surprising at most schools but isn’t new at Pilgrim. Sophomore Kayla Creightney is back for her second year, joined by classmates Krisztina Slesinger-Bentson and Casey Wong. “I’m having fun,” Casey says. “It doesn’t really matter how many boys there are and how many girls there are on the team. What matters the most is having the chance to play a sport that I really like to play.” It’s all not fun and games, though. After a fall season of inactivity, senior captain Justin Choi is raring to go. “I know the lack of a football team disappointed a lot of people,” Justin says, “but I plan on our soccer team making up for it. We have a lot of new players with and without experience, and a lot of room to grow.” With sixteen players making up Pilgrim’s largest sports roster, Coach Sarafian has high hopes for a successful season. “On the first day of practice” he says, “I told the players what I expect from them: to show up on time and to play hard and smart.” So far, so good? “Well,” Coach says, “hey show up on time - sometimes. They play hard. But now we’re working on playing smart. If they play with as much heart as they have been, but are able to knock out the mistakes, we will be unbeatable.” Coach’s presence on the field has already had a positive effect on the players. “When you meet Coach Sarafian,” says junior Tyler Wade,, “he’s this goofy guy who you can’t picture getting angry. But on the field, he is as serious as it gets. It’s like he’s a different person. He wants to get the best that we have to give.” *
Though the fall season has come and gone, members of the first-ever Pilgrim cross country team are still talking about their achievements that included individual
and team awards on its way to the C.I.F. semi-finals over the famed Mt. San Antonio College course. The girls placed second out of eight teams and the boys were fifth of nine in Westside League competition. Co-captains Gabe Garza and Marina Pena earned individual championships. Gabe was voted male co-runner of the year, and Marina female runner of the year. “The amount of work our team did this year made me feel fantastic,” Gabe says. “It’s so cool to me that our first year out doing this we placed so well, especially the girls. I was shocked after every race I ran; I had no idea that I would be able to get something done on this team, and it was very uplifting to get as far as I did.” Gabe and Eli Halbreich made first team all-league for the boys, while Marina, Gabby Carmona, and Liliana Perez made first team all-league for the girls. A great debut season will now be a tough act to follow. “Now we know what it takes to get this far as a team,” says Marina. “So next year we will be able to pick up where we left off and hopefully go even further.”
League champion Gabe Garza needs recovery time following his all-out effort at C.I.F. in a state championship three-mile race.
With the Pilgrim eighth grade class about to become the first recipients of iPads as a means of introducing a new form of technology into classrooms, there is much anticipation about how the curriculum will be augmented by the use of the computers. But should there also be a feeling of trepidation surrounding the use of iPads that will eventually spread throughout the secondary school grades? Pilgrim is following a nationwide trend of schools that have brought more and more technology into the classrooms in various levels and ways. The school already makes use of Smart boards, so it would seem like iPads are the next logical step toward making textbooks obsolete when students refer to chapters with the simple touch of their screens. With the spread here and elsewhere of such technology also comes the question: Does placing technology in a classroom naturally enhance the intellectual growth of students? The New York Times recently published a study that produced surprising results regarding the effectiveness of technology’s role in augmenting the quality of education. In a classroom in Tempe, Arizona, “students are bent over laptops, some blogging or building Facebook pages from the perspective of Shakespeare’s characters. One student compiles a song list from the Internet, picking a tune by the rapper Kanye West to express the emotions of Shakespeare’s lovelorn Silvius.” Yet, “since 2005, scores in reading and math have stagnated
in Kyrene, even as statewide scores elsewhere have risen.” Shouldn’t it be the other way around? The most worrisome part of the problem is that by the time the solution has been found, it may be too late. According to the Times, “schools are spending billions on technology, even as they cut budgets and lay off teachers, with little proof that this approach is improving basic learning.” The current economic woes in this country make the subject of technology in the classrooms even more problematic. The gap continues to widen between American students and those of certain Asian countries as far as standardized test scores goes, in particular when it comes to mathematics and science. The use of technology has now entered the debate of exactly how can such a gap be closed. The question of how good computers are at positively affecting students’ test scores has been puzzling researchers since one-to-one laptop programs became popular. The unsettling truth is that there is little proof that computers improve learning. Computers may be able to provide private tutorials while prescribing personalized practice. But that may not be enough without the one-on-one instruction from teacher to student. Pilgrim’s veteran Chinese teacher Dr. Sherry Walker believes that “school trips are a better investment than computers. I wouldn’t give everyone
Pilgrim kindergartners have already benefited from technology that includes iPads, which will soon be available to eighth graders in hopes of enhancing learning in the classrooms. laptops. Everyone has a computer at home; she then presents in class. She can also save an extra laptop isn’t any good. You can use the notes she writes in class for later referyour home computer. Many kids use it only ence, in case students need help with spedestructively.” Indeed, a 2003 U.S. census cific topics. “I really like not having to write report revealed that 76 percent of school- aged children have access to home comput- everything,” Ms. Morgan says. “My notes are pre-prepared, so there’s more teacherers. There are two sides to the story, ac- to-student attention during class even when cording to Pilgrim foreign language teacher I am using the technology.” The integraMs. Hiromi Takahashi, who says, “Students tion continues outside of the classroom as are very lucky to have laptops. They are use- well. Rather than require her students to lug ful, but they create problems too. The kids a textbook to and from school to complete who are going to do well, they do well with homework assignments, Ms. Morgan she or without the laptops. The kids who are an online application called WebAssign that going to do poorly, they do poorly with or takes content directly from the math textwithout the laptops. The computers aren’t book and presents it to students online. The technology also provides a the motivation. Technology is good for edu- cation, but you need to know how to use it.” system through which students can request The academic department at Pil- homework and due date extensions, while grim and elsewhere most conducive to the accessing online copies textbooks. They can use of technology would be without a doubt even watch demonstration videos that exmathematics. Ms. Carly Morgan’s lessons plain the way problems are solved so they are laced with modern technologies. She can learn through example. “This is where the world’s headuses a program in her computer in conjunc- tion with her touch-screen Smart-board to ing,” Ms. Morgan says. “If we don’t jump prepare the problems within the lessons that on, we’re going to be left behind.”
used to experiencing, especially compared to the 1960’s heyday of people taking to the streets to protest everything from the war in Vietnam to the racial inequality in the Deep South. Nearly 3,000 miles from the New York City frontline and closer to home, Californians have joined in the action. One of the movement’s fartherreaching tendrils was a demonstration of approximately 80 people in Pasadena that was set seemingly innocuously next door to the Ortho Mattress on Lake Avenue, but across from the imposing beige box of Bank of America. No one was camped out on the corner of Colorado Boulevard, but even in the small-scale, one-day protest of dozens rather than thousands, spirits were high and sentiments were strong. This protest in Pasadena was in the vein of Occupy Wall Street, but was admittedly slightly different. The message was clear—protestors believed that people should take their money out of banks, where it might be misused through the corrupt corporate system. Besides that, the protestors of Occupy Pasadena were there to show that, as one sign read, “The people united can never be defeated.” Sentiments of solidarity with Occupy Wall Street were strong on Colorado Boulevard. “I feel that a lot of reasons they’re camping out are my reasons too,” said Paul Krehbiel, a former union worker and activist. Patrick Briggs, who organized the protest through moveon.org, was called to action by how “these young people put their bodies on the line. They gave up their homes, jobs—they’re making sacrifices I’m ashamed to say I’m not making now.” Occupy San Diego offered a different scene. While Occupy Pasadena was designed as a one-day protest intended specifically to raise awareness for Occupy Wall
Street, Occupy San Diego was a smaller attempt at the microcosm of society that Wall Street is trying to create There were fewer signs on the block where Occupy San Diego is camped out by the city’s civic center than there were on Wall Street. Most of the space on the block belonged to protesters’ campsites. The spirit of the Occupy San Diego protest was captured by a man named Michael, who explained, “We’ve been here since Day 1.” The People’s Library was located next to the table where a bearded veteran made sandwiches to order, showing how some leaders have stepped up not only to lead the Occupy movement, but to bring people even closer together. As much as Occupy Wall Street has served as the framework for the Pasadena, San Diego, and Los Angeles groups, the spin-offs were not the full extent of its influence. Briggs maintains, “what inspired me was to see the workers of Wisconsin stand up to that Tea Party governor Walker. I feel like we are really standing with Wisconsin,” while referencing the events of 2010, when Walker’s attempt to prohibit collective bargaining for workers sparked protests of solidarity that then erupted throughout the nation. Who knows what will become a trigger for the kind of movements that we are now experiencing in many major cities? What is the moment when Americans decide it is time to stop passively watching corporations become a larger part of our politics and our world than ever before? Much of the media still does not recognize Occupy Wall Street as a legitimate, intelligent protest action with a sense of purpose and direction. Unfortunately, with every peaceful movement, the 99% comes with a violent
Protests Close Generational Gap Continued from Page 1
like anyone else. Although we imagined that the rain, cold temperatures, and usually sluggish 7 p.m. hour might result in a quieter, less active Zuccotti Park than we had seen on the television news, we were glad to be proven wrong. While approximately 100 people rallied while chanting in English and Spanish, we wandered through the Park. Isabella said she noticed, “the sense of community from many different generations dancing, smiling, eating free food.” Seemingly, protesters were there with a mostly united purpose—that of getting money out of banks while raising awareness of the plight of the 99%. “I felt like I was in a cult gathering,” Isabella added. “If they busted out some Kool Aid, I would’ve run in the other direction,” The unity we witnessed on Wall Street is unlike anything our generation is
Courtesy of Elizabeth Turro
Pilgrim’s men’s basketball is also returning to the court with a bunch of familiar faces but a whole new attitude. The Patriots welcome back five seniors, including Xavier Sallas-Brookwell, Cosmo Kelly, Johnny Pan, Tim Ng and Calvin Ng. Xavier believes this could be the team’s most successful season in his high school career. “I’m so proud of everyone,” he says. “The players on our team are making my last basketball season really special. I’ve been playing since my freshman year, and it’s clear how much everyone has grown as players and as people.” A basketball team can often be compared to a family, but on the Patriots, the term brother is used literally. Allen Park has played since his freshman year, but senior Dustin has finally joined him to end his high school sports career. If you have seen the way he hustles on the court, regardless of pressure or injury, it’s not hard to imagine Dustin bear-hugging Coach Smith after the nail-biting, one-point victory against Newbury Park Adventist and exclaiming, “That was my first ever basketball game!” The Patriots also have a twin secret weapon in sophomores Alec Palchikoff and Russell Zhou, who add both height and strength to the team’s front line. “We have pretty basic goals,” says Alec, “We want to work as hard as we can while having as much fun as we can. If we do that, the winning will take care of itself.” The Patriot roster has a distinctly international feel to it. “I know I’ll never have an opportunity like this again,” says Xavier. “I’m in a group of people where almost half of them are from around the world. That’s crazy.”
Xavier Sallas-Brookwell brings both skills and leadership to the Patriots along with his fellow senior co-captain Cosmo Kelly.
different this year is attitude,” says Coach Manly. “The team as a whole is committed to winning together rather than entrusting one ‘star’ or two or three girls to win a game. This team can be pushed hard right out of the gate and has the will and the strength to stand back up and punch back.”
December 16, 2011
Technology In Classrooms: A Boom Or Bust? Sam Kim
Everyone knows the Kardashians, but only Pilgrim School students truly know that the family they want to keep with is the Sarafians. Mr. and Mrs. Sarafian are as much a part of the Pilgrim scene as Kim, Khloe and Kourtney are on the popular reality television show. The girls may have taken over Miami or New York, but the Sarafians have established themselves through their long years at Pilgrim as having taken over Commonwealth Avenue. Coach Mike Sarafian has a much higher profile as athletic director and secondary school Dean of Students than Mrs. Cheryl Sarafian does as the Head of School’s administrative assistant. But Dr. Mark Brooks knows he couldn’t get through a typical day of meetings and deadlines without Mrs. Sarafian leading his way. “She’s more than indispensable,” Dr. Brooks says, “she is the Pilgrim Head of School office. Every time I think I can’t possibly take care of every thing and every person during the day, Mrs. Sarafian is there to keep everything together.” Longevity is one reason that Mrs. Sarafian is as good at her job as Coach Sarafian is at his. It wasn’t like Mrs. Sarafian had a direct career path that took her to Pilgrim. “I was in the corporate world,” she says, “and because of that, I didn’t get the chance to see my children very much. So I came to
This homemade message captured by Pilgrim students while in New York was truly a sign of the times for the Occupy movement.
fringe. Brutality has marred the sides of both protestors and police, most infamously at the Occupy Oakland protest in early November, where before the camp was disassembled, police used tear gas and rubber bullets allegedly on both peaceful and violent protestors. The protestors, too, were to blame, allegedly flinging lit roman candles and Molotov cocktails at police officers alongside chunks of concrete and pieces of pipe. Violence in Oakland by a fringe group of protestors who set blazes, rioted, and smashed windows near the Port of Oakland, the fifth largest of its kind in the nation, ceased maritime operations for an entire day, and unfortunately, changed many people’s views of the 99% Movement for the worse. .Occupy L.A. has continued to break ground despite being shut down by police, but with a new, more specific target: foreclosure auctions. With such possibilities now on the horizon, there is no telling where the 99% Movement could lead. The shut down of the Occupy Wall Street brought to mind how one of the protestors suggested during our visit that we retain a sense of “Occupy consciousness.” Despite the violence in Oakland and elsewhere, he would happy to see how an entire nation now knows how people care about the problems that will affect theirs and future generations. Agree or disagree with the protestors’ methods, the issues income inequality and corporate rights are now likely to permeate and even dominate the politics of this decade. No protest can take place without fringes, skirmishes and injuries - or the perseverance it takes for so many voices to be heard as one. The 99% has had to adapt and fluctuate, but it has also proved that it will not be silenced.
December 16, 2011
The Rap On the Apps Is how You Hurry And Then You Wait
Decades Of Service Bring Peace Of Mind Continued from Page 8
me to do with athletic program: financial support, equipment, custom uniforms. Whatever I’ve told him I’ve needed, he’s given. Not because I’ve asked him, but because it’s for the kids.” No matter how long the Sarafians have been
“I can’t put it into words how proud and pleased I am now that Aiden is going to school here.” at Pilgrim, they still see ways to improve the school and want to become part of that improvement. “I want to see more students come to Pilgrim, so there is an increase in the athletic participation,” Coach Sarafian says. “I want to get back to the 90s, when we had varsity and junior varsity teams in our sports program. The more we can get students actively involved in athletics, the more it helps them and our school.” The Sarafians have yet another reason to stick around on the job here. His name is Aiden, and he knows that every day at school he can count on seeing his grandpa
and grandma around the campus. “I can’t put into words,” Coach Sarafian says, “how proud and pleased I am that Aiden is coming to school here, how well he’s doing and how good he is. He became accustomed pretty quickly to Pilgrim and he loves every moment that he’s here. Not as much, however, as we love having him here.” It’s hard to imagine life around Pilgrim School without either of the Sarafians pitching in by doing their jobs. Who would take care of all the athletics? Who would take care of Dr. Brooks? Everything must eventually come to an end, but Coach Sarafian isn’t even thinking about the day when he and his wife will retire from Pilgrim. “I feel as good now as I felt back in 1982,” Coach says, “and I know Cheryl feels the same way. “We both have the kids to thank for helping keep us young and healthy and active. I’m still able to do everything I need to do on the job, so I don’t plan on leaving any time soon. Why should I, when working at Pilgrim gives me such peace of mind.”
Chloe: Can they be four-letter words?
Delina: Tedious … time-consuming … gut wrenching. You have to have the guts not to hold anything back even though you’re writing about yourself. You have to believe schools will accept you. You can’t secondguess yourself. You have to just do it.
Chloe: It’s only matters for the rest of the your life. But you can’t just click on a box and say, ‘I want to go there.”
Delina: I didn’t mean it like that. I meant that you have to believe you have a chance to get into, say, Penn. The only way you know you won’t get in is if you don’t apply. You never know. They might find something about you that they really like. Chloe: I’ve had my share of “reach” schools that I decided not to apply to because you look at all the supplemental essays and you just can’t do them all. You have to set your priorities. Delina: I applied to lots of schools. Chloe: How many?
Delina: A big number. We’re talking 75 to 80 extra essays. Chloe: How can you do that many essays and still do them well? Delina: We’ll have to wait and see how well I did them.
Chloe: The waiting is the worst. It’s even worse than doing the apps. It’s like you don’t control your fate. Plus, you get into the mode where all you’re thinking about is college, and then all of a sudden it’s back to schoolwork. Delina: Especially when you get back from college visits.
Chloe: When I went to USC for my interview, I felt alone. The campus was so big, it made me feel small. It was like I was wearing a sign that said She Doesn’t Go Here. But at least I haven’t visited any place yet where I’d say I definitely can’t go here. You have to know what you’re looking for before you start all your visits.
Delina: I know. Do you go from small to big? Do you go small to medium? Do you go small to small? I’m thinking small to small. I don’t think I could go from something as small as Pilgrim to UCLA. Chloe: I know. Val (Pilgrim 2010-11 graduate Valentine Adell) told me that his teachers at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo don’t care about the students as much. That would be hard to take after being at Pilgrim where your teachers really do care about you.
Chloe: Lots of free time. I plan on working, and doing community service. Delina: I’m plan on being bad.
Chloe: I can’t wait to see my roommate. Hope she’s not the one from hell. Leaving her food and her hair products and her dirty clothes all over the dorm. She better not be touching my stuff.
Delina: If my roommate likes to party, I’ll tell her don’t bring the party back to our room. We’ll leave that stuff for outside. Chloe: Musicals. It’s all about musicals. My roommate can’t love musicals. Delina: What if my roommate thinks that I’m painfully unfunny? Chloe: I love you, Delina. But face it: you’re painfully unfunny.
Delina: All those essays were nothing to laugh about.
Chloe: I lost half of my hair writing them. I think I need extensions. Delina: Never thought I’d make it.
Chloe: My advice? Go somewhere where there’s no TV. Turn off the internet. Don’t listen to music. Get away from your parents. I mean, they want what’s best for you. You can let them look over the essays, but don’t let them judge them. Have only one or two people you trust look them over, not 1,000 people. Work on the apps for a solid hour. Don’t think you can keep it up for four hours. But don’t spend those four hours instead on Facebook. Delina: Try to keep your spirits up. I remember when I first saw the essays at the beginning of school, I was so excited because I was going to get to talk about myself. That feeling sure ends fast. But there are things you actually learn about yourself through all of the writing.
Chloe: I agree. When I wrote about my community service experience, I realized that as much as I was helping the kids I worked with, they were helping me. The thing that makes it tough in the essays, though, is how you want to say stuff like how much you’ve learned, but you also don’t want to come across as somebody who’s just saying that to look good. In fact, that’s the whole point. You have to make yourself look good without trying to make yourself look good. Hopefully, you’ll have others who write your letters for you do that.” Delina: And you think when you first start
out doing all this that nobody will write those kind of letters for you. It’s like you’re afraid
By Gabriella Carmona
What do you do if you don’t like your Christmas gift? You mean you don’t absolutely love the pajamas with the feet in them that your aunt so thoughtfully gave you? You don’t want to hurt her feelings, so give an award-winning smile while being so gracious it hurts. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure, right? Besides, think about how your aunt just saved you money that you would’ve spent on someone else’s present. Does the word re-gift ring a jingle bell? It’s like Halloween. All the candy that no one ends up eating ends up being given out the following year to trick-or-treaters. Recycling is not just good for the environment. So, be eco-friendly. Pass around that gift until someone finally likes it. But don’t forget to say thank you in the first place. It is the thought that counts. And even if you don’t love the present, you still love your aunt. Plus, you know about how everything old becomes new again in fashion. You’ll be ready for the next trend that’s all about pajama feet. What do you do if you don’t know what to give someone for Christmas? One word: socks. Everyone needs them, right? In case I’m on your list, I prefer the fuzzy ones that feature every color of the rainbow. You can pick out pairs for every day of the week. Think of the advantages: your friend will thank you for never forgetting what day it is. There isn’t a better way to say you care about someone by making sure their feet are warm, especially on that rainy day when you just want to stay snuggled under the covers except your toes hang out. That’s where the socks come in. If you’ve already given out your fair share of
socks, think about what would good on you. Your friend may not like your gift, but you can always ask for it back. Don’t forget a card. But don’t go the Hallmark route. Make your own. Nothing says I care more than a homemade card where you color outside the lines while delivering a holiday message that is as warm and fuzzy as your socks. What if the person that I really, really like doesn’t even know I exist? First of all, stop wearing the invisibility cloak you borrowed from Harry Potter. If he can’t see you, he can’t get to know you. If that doesn’t work, hire a guy to wear one of those signs that you see on the corner of busy intersections to attract you to buy some furniture or something. Or you can get someone to write your name in the sky. Just make sure your pilot uses spell check. Whoever said that the guy has to make the first move? You could even arrange a quartet to announce in the middle of his science class that, “I’m into you.” If you’re a bit on the shy side you or you already spent your allowance and can’t afford such grand gestures, you could always start with hello. It works wonders. If he responds with something as clever as “hello.” Maybe he’ll pull a Jerry McGuire and say he has you there. If all else fails, remember, girls: you’re emancipated. You have equal rights. You can always make the first move. How do I start a school club? How about No Pants Monday? There’s an idea for a club that will surely get everyone’s attention. It’s not like you don’t have opportunities to start any kind of club you want to start at a school as small as Pilgrim. All you need is a few kids and a wiling teacher to supervise. Let’s see if we
Our Dear Gabby shows her holiday spirit while she offers as her present to all Pilgrim students the latest version of her answers to their questions about anything personal. can match some Pilgrim teachers with the sports aren’t so bad, either, especially at Pilkind of clubs they’d be perfect to supervise: grim where you never have to worry about Mr. Concialdi and Mr. Grady - San Fran- being cut from a team. Try it. You might cisco Giants Fan Club? Mr. Fodor - Pacifists like it after all. Club? Ms. Williams - Book Banning Club? No good, huh. Still stuck for ideas? Talk up How do I confront someone who your idea. Put up some posters. Drum up I know is talking behind my back? some interest. You’ll need some company because it’s hard to have a club of only one Fight! Fight! Fight! Whatever you member. But at least you could make your- do, tell me before hand, I want to be in the self president. front row and will definitely be cheering you on while munching on my popcorn. Sharpen What if I don’t want to take P.E, up those nails and don’t forget to lose the but I also don’t want to join a sport? earring - no jewelry allowed in the ring. It’s never a good idea to pick a fight with some Whoever said that you need to play one bigger than you, but is it necessary? Try a sport at school? It’s not like you’ll end up a peaceful solution. Go right to whoever it making millions of dollars someday leading is you suspect is talking trash about you and your team to the Super Bowl, the World Se- ask him or her to tell you the truth. You’ll not ries or the World Cup? Chances are, you’re only avoid trouble, you’ll also find out once more liable to join a hula hooping class or and for all if the kid is really your friend. a dart club. If you call it a sport, you could There’s nothing wrong with giving him or probably get away with it. As long as you her the benefit of the doubt. And didn’t your can claim how your muscles are working mother ever tell you that it’s never good to whatever you’re doing, what’s the differ- allow someone else to have power over you? ence - even if that muscle happens to be your She may not be right about making you eat thumb that you use to control Halo on Xbox. all of your spinach, but trustme that she is P.E. isn’t so bad after all. You get to social- right about this one. ize with friends while playing games. And
sition was meant for him. “The pitcher” he says, “controls the game. Nothing happens until he decides to throw the ball. There’s nothing like it in any other sport.” Nine years after stepping on the mound, Alec has built a career he hopes will allow him to keep on playing long after most kids put away their uniforms for good. He started out on a small Little League team near his home, moved on to a summer league team when he was 12 and now takes part in a travel team league where he faces some of the best competition in the Los Angeles area. He would, of course, also be playing ball for Pilgrim, but there weren’t enough upper school boys to field a team last year. So he hit the road with his fastball and his dream. “It hurts a lot,” Alec says, “that we didn’t have a baseball team at Pilgrim last year. It’s like we’re missing something that is essentially American. Playing with your classmates from school is important because you stick with them for four years. You also build friendships that last forever.” Alec hopes it doesn’t take as long to achieve his goal. “I want to make it to Major Leagues,” Alec says, “but to get there, I’ll have to work really hard. The main thing is my control. I throw hard, but I don’t always throw strikes. I also have to develop a better breaking ball to go along with my fast ball.” He’ll also have to beat the odds. Of the millions of hopefuls who start out in Little League, less than one thousand players from all over the world make it to the majors.
“For his size on ability, he has got a lot of raw talent,” says Pilgrim athletic director Mr. Mike Sarafian, who coached Alec when the Patriots last had a baseball team in 2010. “He’s got a bright future ahead of him. Baseball is clearly what he loves to do, so he has that going for him. “ Alec’s a classic story of how first comes hope, then hope turns into a dream, and finally the dream turns into reality. But even before there’s hope, there has to come a goal plus the determination to achieve it. In that way, Alec is no different than the current group of Pilgrim seniors whose goal was to be accepted at the colleges of their choice. They then had to work hard compiling all the information then composing all the essays contained in their college applications. Now they are in a waiting period to hear from the colleges and to see if their dream becomes a reality. In his own way, Alec is also preparing himself for the same process by pushing himself to make the most of his baseball career. “Alec treats his essay assignments as if they were ball games,” says Pilgrim English teacher Mr. Michael Smith. “If he can produce a paper where he earns grades in the 90s, it’s like he pitched a complete game shutout. If he comes in with grades any lower than that, it’s like he gave up a base hit with the bases loaded. I can see his intensity when he writes, and I can imagine his passion when he’s on the mound. “Alec doesn’t have to make the majors to have a successful career in whatever he ends up doing, because he will always bring that passion and that intensity
His Future Is All In The Cards By Jacob Hamilton
He toes the runner, looks in to get the sign, shakes off one, accepts the other, bends from the waist, starts his wind up, cocks his arm, and lets the ball fly. The batter takes a mighty swing, but like Casey from Mudville, there is no sound until the umpire yells, “You’re out!” The pitcher is Pilgrim sophomore Alec Palchikoff. And the picture is a perfect illustration of his passion and his dream. Even as a 6-year-old when he first started playing baseball, Alec knew what po-
to ask. But then when your teachers tell you that they’ll be glad to write your recommendation letters, it makes you feel supported. It also makes you realize how it won’t be long now before we’re on our way . Chloe: One year from now?
Delina: I think I’d be really happy to be at Loyola Marymount. Taking some communications. A little English. Some journalism. Writing for The Daily Lion, which is the name of the college newspaper. Playing intramural sports. Being close to home. But I could also end up back East, near my sister (at Cornell) and my family. Chloe: Married with kids? Only kidding, mom. I’d be happy at UC Santa Barbara. Majoring in English. Enjoying the sun and the beach. Delina: Wherever we end up, we’ll always be together. We’ll always keep in touch. Chloe: Every night.
December 16, 2011
Gabby’s The Reason For Joyous Season
Alec Palchikoff (center) wants someday to have his own card to add to his collection that currently numbers over 1,000.
The Sarafians (Administrative Assistant Cheryl, Atheltic Director and Student Dean Mike plus grandson Aiden) make working and attending Pilgrim School literally a family affair.
Delina: Nkechi (Pilgrim 2010-11 graduate Nkechi Ampah) says you’re on your own. You’re in charge. There’s no one hovering over you.
Delina: You know what I mean. If you’ve been sheltered, you want to see what’s out there.
While Chloe (left) expresses delight about conquering the Tetris Battle game, Delina (right) strikes a pose she hopes she won’t need while college acceptances become official.
Welcome to our second edition The College App Edition - of Face Off between Chloe Chais and Delina Yemane. The Pilgrim School seniors have answered the questions, solicited the recommendations, filled in the bubbles and composed the essays while completing applications to the colleges of their choices. Now, the waiting begins to see where they’ll be accepted so they can decide where they’ll spend the next four years of their lives. Since the most notorious of all questions is the one where they had to describe themselves in three words, we’ decided to begin by turning the tables by asking the girls to describe the college application process in three words.
Chloe: You’re already bad.
with him throughout his life.” Even if you’ve never seen Alec play ball, you can get a sense of what the sport means to him by simply listening to him describe his baseball card collection. He’s like a kid who wants to be the net Einstein and so has posters of e=mc2, or the would-be artist whose bedroom walls are filled with reproductions of Van Gogh. Alec estimates that he has over 1,000 cards that he keeps in boxes rather than trading them at card shows in order to turn a profit. He’s not into his hobby to make money. “I guess I could sell some of the cards for a profit,” Alec says, “But why would I want to do that when the value of the collection to me is more than anyone could give me for them.” And what is his favorite card of them all? “I have a 1956 Duke Snider card,” Alec says. “It’s beautiful because it’s one of the last cards that was painted. But it’s also special because he was one of the greatest Dodgers and they are my favorite team.” The cards not only remind Alec of the Dodgers, they also remind him of what he wants to do with his life while providing him with the motivation to reach his goal. “Every player whose picture is on those cards,” Alec says, “has achieved his dream. So when I look at them, I get all the motivation I need to work as hard as I can to do what they did. Having my own card someday, that would be great. It would mean that I’d be allowed to say for the rest of my life that I made it. It would mean to everybody that I was there. It would be my dream come true.”
December 16, 2011
Expressing Herself And Inspiring
Students While Using Her Art By Calla Carter
Courtesy of Katrina Alexi
Ms. Alexy helped beautify the nursery school wall in one of the many examples of how she contributes her artistic talents to her community both within and beyond Pilgrim. Art is found everywhere, in many We went to Chinatown and Little Tokyo. We shapes and forms. From a young age, Pil- went to Filipino masses. We grew up very grim’s own Katrina Alexy created art from Catholic, but we had many Jewish friends. simple objects. “I grew up out by Topanga We just were a very open family.” Canyon, and was free to roam the wilds of Before taking on her teaching job the San Fernando Valley, where I would at Pilgrim, Ms. Alexy was an artist, a job create nature sculptures from pine needles, that she describes as more multi-dimensticks, shells,” she said. “One of my stron- sional than most people would think. “Begest memories is sitting under a huge cedar ing an artist involves a lot of work – you’re tree in my front lawn, a child in the rain always working trying to get commissions, making sculptures out of wet pine needles grants, and artist’s residency. It involves tryand showing my little sister how to do it.” ing to sell your art in whatever capacity that Ms. Alexy carries her love of com- means.” bining nature with art within and beyond her As an artist, Ms. Alexy showed her Pilgrim elementary school classroom. “I still work in several galleries around Los Angeuse mostly natural items and found items. I les while in the public realm. Some of her art just finished a huge piece for the Audobon can be seen throughout the city today. “You Society out of wood,” she said. Her passion can find a piece at the Edendale Library at and ability to create something out of noth- Alvarado on Sunset,” she says. “There’s a ing is exhibited in her students’ art work as piece at Sunset and Echo Park Boulevard, well as her own. and all up and down Glendale and Atwater “The second graders start with there are several pieces.” some recycled goods and plaster,” Ms. Living as an artist was a rewarding Alexy explained, “and end up with fully job, but also a challenging one. Ms. Alexy formed puppets with characters that possess created all sorts of things, from a bus stop entire histories by the time we perform our on Sunset and Echo Park to an altar for the puppet show. I love it when the kids get to festival of Our Lady of Guadalupe. “When you usually receive a grant, it’s to create a see the end result of all their hard work.” Even as a child, Ms. Alexy said she piece of art over a period of time,” she says, “had respect for all cultures. We celebrated “whether you make it with a community, or Mexican holidays even though my mother if the community describes its needs and was from England and my dad was Russian. you produce it.”
Ms. Alexy’s Pilgrim School students (center) enjoy her sculpture at Disney Hall. Her third-graders created their own horse sculptures (below) while using recyclable packing materials. The horses may not ever be seen at Santa Anita Racetrack of Hollywood Park, but they come to life through the imagination and care of the students. “I like to think on my toes,” Ms. Alexy says, “and I like it when my students are able to do the same. I always enjoy creating all types of art for neighborhood needs. I hope that my students will feel the same about what they can do to help.”
The popularity of Ms. Alexy’s creative contributions to the community became clear as people began to request her artistic knowledge. “I was making a living as an artist and was asked to teach some workshops at various museums,” she says. “Some administrator from schools asked me to be a guest artist, and then they asked me to come on staff. Before I knew it, I was teaching.” Teachers and artists are different occupations, but Ms. Alexy thinks of teaching as a form of art. “You try to mold children,” she says, “like you try to mold clay. You have less time for your own personal art, but you’re taking on a new art form.” Despite the challenges of mixing one craft with the other, Ms. Alexy slowly adapted into a teacher without losing any of her love for creativity. Her call to Pilgrim School came from Ms. Toni Devito, the Director of Development and Alumni. “I taught Ms. Devito’s two sons when they were little boys at another school called Community Magnet, and approximately 10 years later, she called me saying she’d like me to come and interview at Pilgrim,” Ms. Alexy recalls. “I met with Dr. Brooks, and we just fell in love.” With an existing job at Larchmont Charter, Ms. Alexy was initially a guest artist at Pilgrim, but eventually she landed the position of elementary art teacher. “Every school has a different sort of spirit and philosophy – they all have their pros and cons, “ she says, “but I really like Pilgrim’s sense of family. And - I have the greatest art room in all of Los Angeles!” In addition to her experience as an artist and teacher, Ms. Alexy has also been an actress from the age of nine. “I love theatre as an art form, experimental theatre and avante garde,” she says. “I particularly like when theatre is mixed with other art forms: dance, music, film, the visual arts.” Nevertheless, Ms. Alexy has always seen herself as more of an artist than an actress. “I come from a line of theatre artists, so I think that they [her family] were more excited for me to be in the theatre,” she says. “As soon as I became an adult, I really moved on to more of the visual arts.” Though she no longer acts, Ms. Alexy integrates her theatrical knowledge
Courtesy of Katrina Alexy
into her art classes, such as when her students made puppets out of recycled objects and then put on a show. “I’m able to put a script together through improvisation, guide the kids in creating their own plots and characters,” she says. “It definitely is involved when teaching about masks. Even putting an art show together, I think about how to stage it.” Ms. Alexy enhanced her community with her art years ago, but now she is able to contribute to it in a whole different way. After the unveiling of Pilgrim’s art center two years ago, “I thought that we have so much here – beautiful room, art supplies, that maybe we could share our wealth,” she says. When Commonwealth, a public school not far from Pilgrim, had its art program cut in such tough financial times, Ms. Alexy took action. “The church agreed to pay for all my supplies,” she said, “and I go there and volunteer my time to teach art.” Her generous offer means a lot to the Commonwealth students, who she said are “really happy to have art for an hour and a half.” Whether at Pilgrim or at Commonwealth, Ms. Alexy enjoys teaching children because of the way she believes they “get” it. “Art is an experience in experimentation,” she explains, “and children tend to have no fear. They jump right into it with joy and enthusiasm. Unlike most adults, a child will trust one’s own creativity and inner joy. They all want to create.” Ms. Alexy believes she has maintained a child’s mindset in her role as the adult in her classroom. “I think,” she says, “that’s why I relate really well to little children. I also think that when they then use art to enhance a community while strengthening their inner souls, that’s a very powerful thing. It gets them going in the right direction. And it keeps me going.” The Commonwealth wishes to thank former Pilgrim School student and Newspaper class member Calla Carter for all the reporting and writing she did while still here that made this story possible. The feature story on Ms. Alexy and her art work didn’t make our pages last year due to space constraints, but we hope you’ll agree that the wait - and Calla’s terrific effort - was worth it.
The abstract painting (below) by Pilgrim first-grade students was the result of using fabrics and acrylics. Ms. Alexy provided the inspiration and the recycled materials. The kids did the rest. “The thing I like the best about Ms. Alexy,” says sixth-grader Daisy Kim, “is how she thinks that even if your art isn’t the best in other people’s eyes, it’s really cool in her eyes. I’m not really good at art, but every time I did something for her, Ms. Alexy said it was awesome. When you hear things like that, it makes you want to try your best so you can be best that you can be.”
Courtesy of Katrina Alexi
Courtesy of Katrina Alexi