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The Commonwealth

Volume 2 • Issue 1

The Commonwealth

November 6, 2010


Pilgrim School: We are the World By Xavier Sallas-Brookwell





It’s one thing for such a small school as Pilgrim to promote an international flavor among its student body, but it’s quite another to maintain its reputation as the most diverse school in the Western United States at a time when private schools are suffering declines in enrollment due to the stagnant economy. What’s the secret to Pilgrim’s success? There are many different ways that prospective international students in other countries may find Pilgrim School. Several established agencies around the world help Pilgrim find the ideal students who will not only make the most of their experience for themselves, they will also enhance the Pilgrim experience for their American classmates. “We don’t say to agencies who help us find kids that we need four kids of a specific kind,” said Dr. Kidder. We say, ‘Give us your best.’” The rigorous process ensures that students who end up attending succeed. Head of School Dr. Brooks has met students while traveling around the world to, among other places, Vietnam, Korea, China, Iran, and India. Dr. Walker, Pilgrim’s Chinese teacher, has traveled to her home country of China to meet students and tour schools there. Another way students may find Pilgrim School is through old-fashioned word of mouth. The network created by Pilgrim alumni and current international students attracts new students and families from around the world. The international students benefit from their Pilgrim education when they blend their classroom lessons with knowledge about the American culture. As a result, many graduates remain in the United States to attend college. But the American students also win when they are exposed to classmates from so many varied cultures, preparing them for a real world that is becoming more global all the time. While visiting so many other countries, Dr. Brooks realized that students beyond our borders were “zooming ahead of our kids in education.” To stay competitive internationally, Pilgrim exposes its students to aspects of schools that they would find around the world in terms of language and diversity.

Why is this so important? “Because our real competition,” Dr. Brooks said, “is in Seoul, Beijing, Ho Chi Min City.” Which is also why it matters how Pilgrim’s program is ideal for assimilating international students into American culture, and vice versa. The melting-pot atmosphere created by the amount of different cultures at Pilgrim eliminates international language and cultural barriers between students of different nation-



Dr. Mark Brooks alities. Although it is challenging for students to handle the language barrier on top of the academics, 90 percent of international students at Pilgrim School attend American colleges, with the remaining 10 percent going to universities around the world. Vivian Lee, Class of 2010, is a perfect example of someone who has overcome the language barrier and succeeded not only at Pilgrim, but also after high school. Dr. Kidder likes to say, “her (Vivian’s) success story… is our success story.” She came to Pilgrim from her home country of China and graduated the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program at Pilgrim before she mastered the difficult Advanced Placement (AP) courses, eventually receiving awards and scholarships to attend UC Irvine. While so many efforts are made throughout the country and around the world to bolster Pilgrim’s international program, it’s easy to forget that part of the reason for its diversity is its own neighborhood location. Consider how Los Angeles is one of the most diverse cities in the world. Now consider how the school sits in Koreatown, just west of downtown L.A. Pilgrim resides at a hub of different cultures, from Asian to Latin American. So it’s safe to say that Pilgrim reflects its neighborhood, just as students reflect their community – one that is as wide as the world.


S. Korea


A Peek Inside The Commonwealth Ready for Some Football? Page: 2

Obama and Me

To LounGe or Not to lounge

Teacher Aids a Cause

Page: 3

Pages: 4-5

Page: 9

The Commonwealth


November 6, 2010

Empty Field, Empty Feeling By Christopher Yoon

The Commonwealth Staff of 2010-’11

Reed Lovitt (’11) Sean Dew (’11) Yihan Chen (’11) Kaiwen Liu (’11) Justin Choi (‘12) Xavier SallasBrookwell (’12) Annabella Arakaki (’12) Eric Hwang (’12) Sam Kim (’12) Marina Pena (’14) Gabriella Carmona (’14) Gavin Somes (’14) Chris Yoon (’14) Dominic Endelman (’14) Advisor: Mr. Smith

A Message to Readers The Commonwealth staff wishes to extend its gratitude to all Pilgrim administrators, staff, faculty and students whose contributions helped make possible this first edition of the school year. Special thanks goes out to Dr. Brooks and Dr. Kidder, whose “press conferences” provided both the information and inspiration for many of the articles within these pages.

Dustin Park (left) and brother Allen (right) are cast in the shadows after the Pilgrim School football season was canceled for 2010.

Brothers but no Longer Teammates By Xavier Sallas-Brookwell What is it like to have your passion taken away from you?  Dustin Park (’12), a starting fullback and team captain of Pilgrim School’s currently nonexistent Varsity 8-man football team, knows what that is like.  Due to the lack of players, Pilgrim was unable to field a team in the CIF Omega League for the first time in over 30 years.              Dustin Park and his younger brother Allen (’13), also a varsity football player, were devastated when they realized that despite their recruiting efforts, not enough players were coming out to play.  “No matter what we did, Dustin Park said, “we just had to face the fact that there was not enough interest in football.” Helpless is a good representation of what many players felt.  Everyone from Dr. Kidder to Coach Wurmlinger, plus team captains and co-captains personally pursued prospective players to no avail.             Once it became apparent that a team would not be fielded, the shock set in.  Initially Dustin Park refused to believe that there would not be a team; he continued to beg seniors, juniors, sophomores, freshmen, athletes and artists alike to volunteer.  Personal house calls, constant pestering, and peer pressure were all desperately employed in the scramble to find players.  Disappointed and upset, Dustin Park quickly had to move on. “I have to keep going,” he said. “I can’t think about it

or else I get angry sometimes.” Allen Park at first wanted to find a scapegoat.  “Eventually I just had to face the fact that it wasn’t anyone’s fault,” he said. “It just didn’t work out.”             Just not working out though doesn’t do justice to the player’s loss.  The Park brothers, among others, lost part of their lifestyle. To them, football is more than just a game. It is an inspiration, a motivation, a reason to wake up every morning.  “During football season, football is what I live for.  I eat, drink, sleep, and think football 24/7,” Allen Park explained.  Love of football, or any sport for that matter, is unexplainable to someone who has never experienced it.             Not only did football players lose their passion, many relied on football as part of their ongoing process in choosing a college or university.  “Four years of football would have looked good for me in my college application, but now the best I can do is 3, if that.” Said Dustin Park. “Now you have to explain what happened to that fourth year.”             While the majority of Pilgrim students may not even play football, the varsity football team represented more than that. Even in its recent losing streak, the team’s hard work and dedication despite the school’s small enrollment reflected how Pilgrim is proud, diverse, hardworking community. Now the Park brothers and others have lost their chance to have their school benefit from their dedication.

Courtesy of the Commonwealth Staff

If anyone is qualified to comment on Pilgrim’s diversity, it’s someone who lived in New York City for 10 years and attended school in Greenwich Village, which has one of the great culturally mixed populations anywhere. While I spent time in New York, I’m originally from Canada, which adds to the cultural mix here. Unlike our truly international students, though, I didn’t have to overcome a language barrier. It’s hard to imagine what that would be like, and all of the challenges that it presents. But I can identify with the international students who must also overcome stereotypes. I’m from Canada, right? Contrary to popular belief, we don’t all live in igloos. We don’t all speak French, and not all of us LOVE hockey (which I happen to do.) I ‘m sure that with a lot of international students, there must be stereotypes placed on them before they even come to our school,. Once they get here, though, they are welcomed like they are part of the family. That’s the way I felt when I came here. I guess that’s Pilgrim for you, ‘eh? - Dominic Endelman (‘14)

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When it was announced that there would be no football team, it seemed like it would be a disastrous year for Pilgrim School athletics. Many students naturally asked who is to blame. The answer, according to administrators, is no one. “Football is not a blame issue,” said Secondary School Head Dr. Kidder. “The athletic department and the football team tried really hard to recruit students for football.” While admitting his own disappointment, Dr. Kidder also suggested that the lack of a team could be “an opportunity” for the chance it gave the girls’ volleyball team to be showcased during homecoming. “A change,” he said, “can be refreshing.” Head of School Dr. Brooks was similarly distraught yet optimistic while considering both the positive and negative effects of not having a football team. He, too, believed it was good for the girls to have some attention focused on them. But he also saw the development as a reflection on the strengths of this particular Pilgrim senior class. “It’s hard,” Dr. Brooks said, “to find the time to be involved in football if you are also involved in other activities, music, the arts, getting ready for SATs and college applications. Every class is different. We just have to make sure that we do whatever we can to see that we have a team

again next year and in coming years.” Yet for Pilgrim athletes, it’s difficult to look to the future when there is so much disappointment over the present situation. There is always the possibility that not having a football team might affect other sports if the trend of not participating carries over to sports in other seasons. The football captain, Dustin Park (’12) agreed with both administrators when he said, “We can still have a team next year.” As Dr. Kidder pointed out, “The good news is we have some boys from 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th grade that are interested in playing football next year so we have a good chance of having a football team next year and the years after that.” Still, you have to ask yourself why is it that not a single senior signed up for football? “I would like to call out the seniors,” Park said. “Thanks, guys. What happened?” Not having a football team doesn’t just affect Park and the others who wanted to play. It affects school as a whole. Pilgrim has had a football team nonstop since 1978. Not having one this year might imply that we have gotten weaker in the sports area, which could also mean that Pilgrim School developed a broader view of things beyond athletics. Yet tradition must count for something. Isn’t homecoming all about tradition? But the tradition was broken this year.

From the cradle to The Commonwealth ... Guess which current staff member is all smiles about his future with the Pilgrim newspaper?

The Commonwealth


November 6, 2010

Presidents Day By Abby Bergmann

President Obama addresses a crowd of supporters in Los Angeles as his party approaches a mid-term election in a contentious political climate.

Casting a Vote

By Sean Dew Sean wrote this article prior to Election Day, so he obviously could not have known the outcome. The 2010 California Governor election on November 2 signaled the end of the Arnold Schwarzennegger double-term era while ushering in a new one. The primary in June revealed the leading candidates. Leading the Republican Party with 65 percent of registered republicans is was former ebay CEO,Meg Whitman. Heading up the Democratic party with 84.4 percent of the vote was former governor and current attorney general, Jerry Brown. Brown is seen as a traditional democrat mirroring the politics of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He is credited with the gentrification of his home city of Oakland in the ‘80s, a city notorious for drugs, gangs, and violence. Brown favors raising taxes, improving Medicare and Medicade and starting a multi-billion dollar program to re-structure the California public school system along with a plan to lower the overhead wasted in the system. Brown is in favor of such proposals as the legalization of marijuana and making sex education and abortion more accessible to young people without getting parental guardian consent. Although she is not a traditional Republican, Meg Whitman is in favor of hands-off government and lower spending for California. She has had no experience as a politician, un-

like her running mate, who has spent his entire life in the public eye. Whitman favors lower taxes, is against the legalization of marijuana, and says the school system is not under funded but is just inefficiently run. She would make every school a charter one while transforming the administration of the school system and other government institutions. She plans to reform them to be administrated as private corporations to cut out inefficient red tape and unnecessary spending, earning support from moderates and republicans in contrast to her idealistic and liberal opponent. As I just turned 18 this summer and this will be the first election I will be voting in, I took time to carefully calculate my choice and not just follow my family’s liberal ideals and selections. I am morally a liberal and usually also politically liberal as well; but I can’t help begging the question of whether high taxes and big spending is good for the already jarring debt and failure of private businesses that have overtaken us during the recession. Although I don’t agree with some of her conservative ideals, I believe that Meg Whitman, a successful CEO, is what our tattered economy needs at this time. Looking around at the boarded up buildings and economic state of my friends and their families, I feel Whitman is the safer choice. We simply can’t handle larger taxes and more spending.

Pilgrim’s Presidents

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ASB Co-President Val Adell has big plans for the 2010 school year.

Claire Reyes-Gilpin, is also eager to work with her fellow officers.

There are all kinds of reasons for skipping school, from a bad case of the sniffles to a severe case of test anxiety. It isn’t often that you can miss classes in order to see the President. But that’s where I was on a recent Friday when Barack Obama came to town. My mom and I arrived on the packed streets of the University of Southern California two hours before the gates opened at 11:00. Even so, I worried that we wouldn’t make it into the 22,000-person square. A line formed, winding up one side of the street and down the other. On every corner, volunteers stood to direct the people to the end, which is where our journey began. The wait was long but the people watching was great. Some individuals paraded in the street, canvassing different propositions for the upcoming election. In an attempt to satirize Meg Whitman, a group of nurses accompanied by a woman calling herself “Queen Meg” marched through the center of the crowd. Assorted college students encouraged people to vote “yes” on Proposition 19 that would legalize marijuana, by advertizing the boost that it would give to the California economy. As the gates opened, the line began to move and we were pushed forward by the flow of the crowd. Finally, we were able to see the metal detectors surrounded by Secret

Service. On the lawn outside, people had abandoned their umbrellas, water bottles and anything else the Secret Service had forbidden. We hurried inside and pushed as close to the raised podium as we could get. The speeches from obscure politicians and USC students began, followed by the invocation from Rabbi Denise Eger of Congregation Kol Ami. Filled with pride for a woman I have known all my life, I cheered her on. To my mom’s dismay (she’s a Bruin), the USC marching band began to play their school song, accompanied by shouts of “UCLA S---s!” Wasn’t this rally meant to bring us together not to separate us? Jamie Foxx took the stage to introduce Jerry Brown (once the Governor from 1975 to 1983), who asked democrats to make him the future head of state in the upcoming election against Whitman. Senator Barbara Boxer spoke, yet she was often drowned by the chant of: “Who do we want?” “Obama!” “When do we want him?” “Now!” Finally, Mr. Obama began to speak, and we were held in attentive silence. He spoke about our economy, comparing it to a car. “When you want to go forward,” he said, “you put the car in ‘D’. When you want to go backward, you put the car in ‘R’.” Get it? Outlining his loyalty to America, he said, “Although we are proud Democrats, we are prouder Americans!” I was just proud to be there.

Officer Training By Marina Pena

The Commonwealth asked ASB president Valentine Adell (’11) for his thoughts, suggestions, advice and admonitions for all those Pilgrim students who were recently voted by their peers to positions in leadership from middle school through high school. Val‘s comments were punctuated by his insistence that there was ‘’no excuse” for officers not putting themselves on the line in order to get things done for their particular classes and the school. “You have to know what you’re getting into,” Val said. “You have to be ready to convince people that you’re right, especially when they think you’re wrong.”

Valentine Adell’s Guide for Class Officers: “Make sure each class feels like it’s a part of our community.” “Be prepared to raise money for each class fund.” “Try to accomplish something each day.” “Be in a good mood.” “Convince kids that they have no option but to help you.” “Understand that the relationship between administrators and class officers is like parent-child. They establish all the guidelines that we’re supposed to follow. It’s up to us to take it from there. They say we’ll have a Spirit Week. But then it’s up to us to make the Spirit Week work.” “Keep pushing – like the dance. Kids didn’t want to go. But after they did go, they said they had a great time.” “It’s up to us. We have this chance. Go out and make the most of it.”

Pilgrim’s Student Government ASB Co-President: Valentine Adell Co-President: Clare Reyes-Gilpin Co-Vice President: Haydn Muir Co-Vice President: Nkechi Ampah Co-Vice President: Dustin Park

Grade 9

President: Dom Endelman Vice president: Abby Bergmann Service rep: Sofia Walton

Grade 10

President: Henry Klapper Vice President: Gabe Garza Service Rep: Joseph Casabar

Grade 11

President: Justin Choi Vice president: James Son Service rep: Chloe Chais

Grade 12

President: Henry Downs Vice president: Hadassah Heard Service Rep: Grej Pesjaka

The Commonwealth

November 6, 2010


No Senior Lounge ... No Problem?

By Justin Choi

Many schools give thier senior classes privileges that the rest of the students do not have. One of them is a lounge that only they can use. The senior lounge is a place where the seniors feel free from the grasp of teachers. It is a special room that has all the necessities for an average senior: television set, video game system, computers, a large sofa with pillows, a large desk to do work. Pilgrim School no longer gives its seniors the privilege of a lounge. Once the Class of 2010 graduated, Dr. Brooks, Head of School, announced that there would be no

such privilege for this year’s senior class. This naturally upset seniors, but it also disappointed members of the junior class who wondered if this year’s class doesn’t have a lounge, will we have one when it’s time? Maddie Kanazawa (’11) said, “I want to have my own resting place instead of sleeping in the noisy library.” Kaiwen Liu (’11) added, “We want to have our own space where we can joke around.” Sam Kim (’12) explained how, “we need a place where teachers can’t bother us like telling us to be quiet in class.” Seniors also feel since it

is their last year at Pilgrim that they should be able to enjoy privileges that their underclassmen don’t enjoy. If there are senior privileges, younger students can always look forward to the year when they are rewarded for their hard work throughout their high school experience. There is also a strong feeling among the seniors that they should have the right to be set apart from all the other students from all the other grades. Having a lounge would make them feel special. And don’t they deserve something special for putting in all their years at Pilgrim?

Bridging cultural Gaps





By Yi Han Chen and Keiwen Liu

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“Did you eat anything?” my guardian asked me. “No,” I said. “So, you did not eat yet?” “Yes.” Now she was confused, so she asked again: “Did you eat?” I said, “No.” She said, “So, you didn’t eat?” “Yes.” Art this point, she felt like collapsing. I still felt hungry. This embarrassing yet true story could’ve happened to any international student at the Pilgrim School. If you think it’s frustrating that the language barrier could lead to such confusion over a meal, imagine what it’s like to be in a classroom where you have to find a way to follow a teacher’s lecture while also trying to follow the words so carefully. With such a large number of international students among Pilgrim’s small enrollment, we can all benefit from each other by learning as much as we can about each other’s cultures. From our point of view, we feel like we are blending in better with our American students, the more both groups will benefit. One way we blend was during Golden Week last year, which is a whole week after the Christmas break where we shared our cultures with the other students. Last year, it was focused on Japan, and this year it will be focused on China, it will be called White Tiger Week. Every week, though, is a challenge in the classroom for international students. Some other students may doubt if the international students have the ability to study and live well in United States, but the answer is absolutely, yes. According to Angela Xu, (‘12), I had difficulties in history for a while;

International students from around the world fill Pilgrim’s playground to add variety to the school. it’s hard for international students to understand. I spent a lot of time on it and was able to do it in the end.” Vivian Lin, an international student who graduated last year from Pilgrim, came here as an ESOL student. She studied really hard and graduated from the class in the first trimester, and was then able to take A.P. English as a senior. From ESOL to A.P. is quite a jump, isn’t it? Vivian Lin earned some academic awards from Pilgrim and a college scholarship. Her successful experience can be a reference for international students. When we first came to Pilgrim, we found it was really hard for us to show ourselves in the classes. Fortunately, we still earned decent grade

point averages, but it took much more work than the typical student faces because we had to overcome the difficulties with the languages. Now that this is the second year that we are at Pilgrim, we all thought that this year would be smoother, because we are familiar with the teachers, students, and our English is more fluent. But we found the courses we take in the senior year are much more difficult than last year because of the high difficulty of A.P. classes. There are also a lot more tests and quizzes, and the college application process takes up so much time. The date to apply to college is closer and closer. Then there is the college essay, the SAT and

the TOEFL exam that all make us nervous. It seems that there is no time for us to have a rest, but we all try our best to succeed at Pilgrim. Most of the Chinese students live with host families, which is a good way to practice English. It’s better for us to live with adults who can take care of us than living outside by ourselves. We can discuss something about our hometown while we are having dinner; we can let some Americans know more about our culture, and also we can also learn much culture of America from our guardians. The more we exchange our cultures with our guardians, the more we’ll be like one big family. And we won’t go hungry.

Pilgrim Connection to the World

By The Commonwealth Staff The Event: Chilean miners rescue

The Event: BP Oil Spill

The Event: Midterm Elections

The Event: Lebron James spurns his hometown team

The Pilgrim Connection: Rescue workers faced a seemingly impossible task of lifting dozens of miners trapped far below the surface after a cave-in accident. Despite all odds, the rescuers and miners kept their hopes alive and their spirits up, just as Pilgrim students must do the same when all seems lost academically or socially. The lesson: No matter how low you can go, you can rise above your problems a positive attitude and help from others.

The Pilgrim Connection: The British Petroleum officials who knew about the dangers of deep-oil drilling yet chose to ignore them in pursuit of more discoveries that would lead to greater profit is like the Pilgrim student who understands the consequences of plagiarism yet breaks the rule in order to earn a higher grade. The lesson: If you consider honor and integrity, you don’t have to deal with consequences of actions.

The Pilgrim Connection: The fact that President Obama and fellow Democrats are under siege from Republicans plus newly formed Tea party members resembles the Pilgrim student whose parents come down on him or her for a report card full of unsatisfactory grades. The Lesson: You can avoid criticism and possible punishment if you do what it takes to keep the promise of fulfilling your academic expectations.

The Pilgrim Connection: James, once the most popular player in the NBA, has become a target for fans in Cleveland and elsewhere after he left his birthplace to seek even more fame and fortune in Miami. The Pilgrim equivalent is the student who abandons his or her longtime friend to join a clique. The Lesson: Loyalty is a twoway street. If you want your friends to be loyal to you, you must be loyal at all times to them.

The Commonwealth

November 6, 2010


Lounge: More Harm Than Good? By Reed Lovitt

The Pilgrim School’s senior class started the year in a rage. Not only did the students begin without their off campus privileges, but there was also no more senior lounge. While many students are furious about the new policies, the loss of several of the “senior privileges” will change the school for the better. The lounge was a small room that the seniors would furnish themselves. Last year, they brought a couch, a few chairs, and a television. All other

students were excluded from the area. Four years ago, there was a senior class that did exceptionally well. The students fulfilled their community service requirements, worked hard on their college applications, and maintained their attendance throughout the year, unlike most other senior classes, in which the students typically stop attending regularly upon being admitted into college. Dr. Brooks, the Head of School, presented the class with a senior lounge. The tradition has continued ever since.

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Khari Rines (left) finds out the hard way that the room used last year as the senior lounge is being used this year as an office.

Honors Action

By Gavin Somes

At every school there are always a some students who will eventually get into trouble. Usually, such issues are resolved between teacher and student but sometimes the student needs to be referred to a higher authority. Pilgrim has assigned this responsibility to the newly-formed romed Honor Council that is basically a court made up of students that decides the consequences of a student’s actions. Twelve high school and middle school students make up the council, whose job it is to listen to the teacher’s side of the story and then listen the student’s side. The student-to-student conversation allows whoever appears before the council to have a more open discussion about what the problem actually is. The Honor Council then refers its decision to Head of School, Dr. Brooks, who determines possible consequences. Last year, there was a similar program called the Judiciary Committee. The Honor Council is different for the way it wishes to have more of a focus on honor rather than punishment. The Honor Council is run by Ms. Hatfield and Ms. Salter, who oversee the students while helping them with procedures and actions. “Although a major part of the Honor Council is dealing with the negative actions of students,” Ms. Hatfield said, “the Honor Council also is dedicated to making programs and presentations to keep students out of

“When something good happens, it is rewarded.” Dr. Jon Kidder trouble. ” The Honor Council is considering the idea of translating the Honor Code to help it become more accessible to the international students. “This would help international stu-

A student recently turned in a lost $50 bill to its rightful owner. Pilgrim awarded the student’s actions by allowing him to have a week of free dress to show how Pilgrim values honesty and honor dents better understand the values and ideals that Pilgrim stands for,” according to Ms. Hatfield.” The Honor Council now is able to provide more then just consequences for Pilgrim students. That way, all students can learn how sometimes difficult situations can turn into new opportunities for the entire community.

Current seniors wonder why they do not have the privileges this year. Certain students believe the new policy was established in response to the Class of 2010’s abuse of their lounge privileges. Students were loud and rambunctious, and then they would go to their next classes late. Many students also believe that this year’s senior class is being punished for their behavior. The Class of 2011 has a reputation for not participating as much as they should and for being highly disruptive. Pilgrim has so much to offer by sanctioning many school dances and holding monthly spirit days, but the class of ’11 barely participates in any of the events. “I think that [the class of 2011] is missing a great opportunity to have fun and leave a legacy by not participating in the events we hold for them,” according to biology teacher, Ms. Hatfield. However Dr. Kidder, head of the secondary school, asserts that, “[Taking away the lounge] was not a matter of punishment for students. We simply do not have room.” Both the school and the church have expanded. The school has grown by about 7 percent, and the Church congregation has grown from 40 members to now over 400 members. The room that used to be the senior lounge is now office space.

This year the Church needs more offices and the school needs more offices, so it is a challenge finding room to fill everyone’s needs. Not to mention, can we really complain that there is no senior lounge. The senior lounge was just a privilege. Having the senior lounge also caused a divide in the secondary school. When I was in sophomore, I was close to many juniors, but as I became a junior, and the juniors became seniors, we no longer spent any time together. The seniors were in the senior lounge all the time. I rarely ever saw my old friends. One of the great things about Pilgrim is that it is small enough so that everyone feels like a family. The senior lounge, though, creates a barrier between the seniors and the rest of the secondary school. While seniors deserve some extra privileges, they should not be the type that excludes them from the Pilgrim community. While Dr. Brooks says that he plans to find some space in the school to add a senior lounge, it’s not worth the extra effort. Without it, the school is more of a community. Why should there be a room that excludes anyone? Isn’t that unfair? If the seniors need a space to “lounge,” they can join the rest of the students elsewhere around the campus.

Making the Most Out of Second Chances By Anabella Arakaki Every Monday morning at 10 o’clock, Pilgrim high school students are required to dress in their formal uniforms and attend chapel. Being no different than any group of teenagers, they can sometimes be a tough audience. The job of keeping the students focused while learning some valuable lessons now belongs to first-year chaplain Ms. Graffius. She not only loves the challenge, she’s also up for it. “It’s great to come together in a community,” she said. “I think we are a particularly interesting community because it’s so diverse. It’s good practice to come together and be different but still united.” For our very first chapel lesson, Ms. Graffius decided to emphasize the importance of second chances. “The church kicked off a whole season where we are going to focus on love, compassion, and the art of forgiveness,” she said. “I thought what better place to start on top of the fact that it was Rosh Hashanah and our Jewish students were already kind of in that period of atonement. It all came together. But kind of a funny topic to start with, I know.” Second chances are given to everyone, and often times we don’t even realize when they appear. “I feel like over and over again, especially in friendships,” Ms. Graffius said. “I’m just really aware of giving second chances and the mistakes I have made and I’m just grateful for another chance to get better.” A sample of Pilgrim students

“Second chances are given to everyone, and often times we don’t even realize when they appear.” Ms. Graffius shows that we all have our own versions of experiencing second chances and appreciating their value. Valentine Adell (’11), our student body president, had the chance to turn himself around in school when he was a sophomore here at Pilgrim. “In 10th grade, my grades were pretty bad and I was told that I needed a wakeup call, so I wasn’t allowed to go on the retreat. After that, I realized how important school was, and I started doing better and then junior year I got a 4.0” Kayla Creighton (’14) , a new freshman, recently had the scary experience of having her appendix removed. “All the people in my class made me a get well card and it was the most amazing feeling ever,” she said. Kayla Creighton was absent for a week, but now that she’s back at school, “I have the chance to show them how I feel about them.” While some students are able to learn from their mistakes, others not so much. Haddassah Heard (’11) admitted, “I get second chances every day at Pilgrim. Every time I make a mistake. Every day. Every school year.”

The Commonwealth

Centerfold 6

November 6, 2010

Pilgrim’s Fine Art Center: Student Art Hope

By Muj Rahman (‘16)

Antelope in Paradise

By Nkechi Ampah (‘11)

Study #2 From the Abstract Equipment

By Marina Pena

Whoever thought you could possibly compare Lady Gaga to Pilgrim? How about Eminem? The Beatles or Elvis, too? Had enough of music? What about Bill Gates compared to Pilgrim? Or Oprah? Or the Facebook guys? What do all these people have in common with Pilgrim? Give up? Think about how all those people prove that different is better. Now think Pilgrim arts. How is different better? Lady Gaga and the rest are famous because they are so unique. Now consider, given the state of the economy, how most schools cutting back on their budgets by eliminating art classes. Now consider what Pilgrim has done just in time for this school year. You have it, right? Pilgrim School is proving, among other things, how being different is sometimes better by promoting arts as never before in the form of a new arts center designed to showcase the creativity and talent of the student body. When asked to put the new art center into the perfect perspective, Mr. Kopp said quite simply, “It’s a blessing.” Many schools are cutting back on art classes because they believe that art is not as impor-

“Pilgrim believes that art should be a priority.” Mr. Kopp tant as math, science, or English. Pilgrim, on the other hand, believes that art should be a priority since it not only helps you with your other classes but also in daily hardships when you have to be creative to solve problems. When asked how art helps out students, Mr. Kopp said, “I think that creative thinking is something that’s quite missing. I think that it’s really beneficial. For example, creativity can help the sciences. I think that a lot of the thinking that happens in this class definitely transfers over to other classes, even sports. Understand-

By Gabriel Garza (‘13)

They said it couldn’t be done, but thanks to Dr. Brooks’s effort and vision, the Pilgrim Art...

The Commonwealth

Centerfold 7

November 6, 2010

“It’s A Blessing”

ing art can always transfer over to understanding sports in different ways.” The art center not only helps show the community that art should never be cut back from curriculum, but it helps those Pilgrim students who want to pursue art do so in a studio-type place. According to Mr. Kopp, “It’s a much nicer space to be making art in, the light is wonderful, and all these huge


“Art is a lot about communication.” Mr. Kopp windows that allow the light to come in, having better sinks. I don’t know if you remember the sinks from last year, but these are much better. It feels more like a studio then a classroom. It gets kids into the mind set of an art studio.” Mr. Kopp also believes that conversations that take place during art classes help students express their thoughts. He will post quotes to help generate discussions in the class. “Sometimes the quotes do [help them], a lot of the discussions that I have that involve pop culture, politics, religion,” he said. “Even if it’s a quote that has nothing to do with art, it spurs conversation, it gets people to think, it gets you to work. Art is a lot about communication. Many of the things we discuss can be incorporated into art. It’s a mean of communication, so that’s why I have the quotes on the board. I like to get to know my students on a deeper level. And if that happens, students get to know themselves even better.” Of all the quotes Mr. Kopp has used in class, his favorite is: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” The Winston Churchill words, mean how students must stay focused on the fact that nothing stays the same forever. “Just be persist,” Mr. Kopp added, “and go through the hard times with you head held high. Don’t give up. You’ll have even more strength to face other hellish situations.”

Shaded Blind Contour

By Olana Himmel (‘14)

The Postman

By Eric Seo (‘13)


By Yilin Chen (‘11)

...Center has became a reality to showcase students’s crestivity and talent for all to see.

The Commonwealth

November 6, 2010


Spotlight on Girls’ Volleyball

By Gabriella Carmona

Sophia Walton (‘14) jumps to set the the ball at a game in Pilgrim School’s home volleyball court as the girls take center stage.

Fit for a Queen

By Gabriella Carmona

When you think of a homecoming dance, many think of a kickoff to the school year. For Pilgrim, though, the event was more of a showcase. The dance wasn’t just a party to celebrate a game; it promoted Pilgrim to students from neighborhood schools who attended as guests. Everyone in the high school was encouraged to bring his or her friends, who even were able to enter at a discount price. Whether they realized it or not, Pilgrim students were promoting their school. Pilgrim is such a small school that many are not familiar with, so the more publicity it gets, the better. Students from other schools may not like the idea of a small school, or the fact that it has every age group from toddlers to seniors on its campus. But after meeting Pilgrim students at the dance, the kids from the other schools may have changed their opinion. About one-third of the crowd was made up of non-Pilgrim students who helped make the party more lively and interest. “When you invite more people to the dances it’s more fun,“ said Delina Yemane (’12), “because you get to branch out and meet new people, inviting them to become part of the community. “Everyone gets to make new friends and learn about different schools as well.“

Les Klein

Pilgrim students have naturally been upset that there is no football team this year, but everyone has to look at the bright side. Girls’ sports are being recognized as never before with the spotlight on the volleyball team for homecoming. According to Coach Hatfield, the timing is perfect. “I think that we have been working really hard to change the view on girls’ athletics for a couple of years and it’s finally starting to pay off,” she said. “Everybody is starting to pay more attention to our sport.” All this attention was a bit nerve racking for some girls who were not used to the spotlight and therefore had mixed feelings about it. Some players looked at this chance as a benefit to grow at Pilgrim. “I think it’s great for women athletics,” said Maddie Kanazawa (’11). “We can take the advantage of our chance to have more people watching us.” Yet being the only high school sport for the fall season, the girls also had to represent all of Pilgrim athletics, which added

to the pressure on them to perform. “With all the added attention, it makes it hard to know how it is going to turn out for us,” said Delina Yemane (’12) before the homecoming game against West Valley Christian, but even if we don’t win we are still going to be the Lady Pats and the Patriots.” Sure enough, the match turned out to be a defeat for Pilgrim, although it became intense in the third game when the Lady Pats started to pick up their play and won 25-17. The girls were inspired by the enthusiastic support from the boys’ middle school flag football team, who cheered while holding up their homemade signs. Though the match was something that the girls believed they could have won, they also believe that the experience helped them in following matches. Thier first win came against Westmark in a five-set match that went down to the wire. Maddie led the team with winners in each set won by Pilgrim. Thanks to Maddie and teammates, female athletes are earning some well-deserved attention.

Like any other homecoming dance, Pilgrim’s included the traditional crowning royalty: How do you become roy-

Seniors King – Valentine Adell Queen – Nkechi Ampah Prince – Hadyn Muir Princess – Clair Reyes-Gilpin Juniors Prince – Cosmo Kelly Princess – Delina Yemane Sophomores Prince – Allen Park Princess – Grace Cho Freshmen Prince – Christopher Yoon Princess – Olana Himmel

alty? Delina ought to know, since this was her third straight year of being voted Princess. “Its nice to know,” she said, “that you have people who would vote for you.” Does she have any advice for would-be Princes and Princesses? “Make sure that you start off the year the right way,” Delina said. “Treat people right or they won’t be your friends so they won’t vote for you. And don’t go around saying ‘Vote for Me.”

Poetry Class

By Marina Pena

If you ask students about poetry, they’ll probably say that it is hard to appreciate because it also hard to understand. Many students consider poetry to be one of the most difficult ways of expression, but Pilgrim School recently played host to a trio of published authors who believe they have found a way to make verse more captivating by connecting the process of writing poetry to a student’s life. “I’ve found that the best part of writing for me is not getting a piece published, but the actual work of writing,” said Bhargavi Mandava, who shared her thoughts with Pilgrim students. “It’s the struggle that is the most rewarding.” In other words, writing poetry is like a Pilgrim student whose four years in high school are more important than where they actually end up in college. It’s not the destination that matters as much as the journey does. Let’s face it, though. Anybody who has ever tried to compose a poem by writing one line and then going through the alphabet to find a rhyming word to end the next line knows it’s easier said than done (especially if you end the first line with “orange,” then drive yourself crazy thinking of a companion word. Ms. Mandava, along with fellow poet Vandana Khanna, answered a series of questions about writing in general and poetry in particular posed to them by The Commonwealth: Commonwealth: How young were you when you realized you could be a writer? How did you discover your talent?

Evelyn Gopal

From left to right: Mariah Davis, Nkechi Ampah (‘11), Delina Yemane (‘12), and Chloe Chais (‘12) bust out moves at the recent Pilgrim Homecoming Dance.

years of writing and taking workshop classes where I honed my art. Commonwealth: Do you recall the first poem you ever tried to write? Ms. Mandava: I believe it was a rhyming poem about a first snowfall in New York. As my mother and I walked from elementary school, she would ask me to recite a poem. I would make them up on the spot, about the sky, the trees; whatever caught my fancy on the walk home. Ms. Khana: I don’t remember the first poem I tried to write but I have kept my old writing journals from when I was a pre-teen and teenager and I do have some poems in there. Commonwealth: What is the most difficult part of writing poetry? Ms. Mandava: Having been born in India and growing up speaking both Telugu and English, I sometimes struggle with appropriately translating and conveying Indian sentiments. So, the searching for the best words is the most difficult. It is also the most thrilling. Ms. Khana: One of the most difficult parts of writing poetry is that really, there are no rules. There is no manual to follow, no right way to do it. A poem can be one word or 50 pages. It can contemplate the modern and the ancient all at the same time. Commonwealth: you have for

What advice do aspiring writers?

Ms. Mandava: I was in the 6th grade. I remember it was after I had handed in a history report on ancient Rome. I had also slipped in a poem about Roman times. My teacher, Mrs. Mueller, was absolutely thrilled, and she told me so. It was not that it was a fantastic poem, but I had connected to something beyond research and report.

Ms. Khana: My advice to aspiring writers is to write all the time, every day if you can and not to be too critical of yourself. Just get your ideas down on the page and see what develops.

Ms. Khana: I was 9 years old the first time I attempted to write. I used my mother’s old electric typewriter that hummed when I turned it on. I guess I discovered my “talent” through

Ms. best ting tual gle

Commonwealth: What is the single most important thing you would like Pilgrim students to remember from your visit? Mandava: I’ve found that the part of writing for me is not geta piece published, but the acwork of writing. It’s the strugthat is the most rewarding.

The Commonwealth


November 6, 2010

aiding the cause By Marina Pena

“The idea,” Ms. Arribas explained, “is that patients from third world countries who cannot afford to travel great distances to hospitals for the treatment that they so desperately need will be able to monitor themselves and know when there are warning signs. What Noah and so many others are trying to do is figure out a way to lower the cost of helping people to be able to help themselves.” Ms. Arribas also has a son, Lucas, who is a medical researcher. According to her, he has had first-hand experience of how truly terrible the disease can be. “Lucas has been in the Peace Corps in Mozambique,” Ms. Arribas said. “While he was there, he had to witness his own landlord die from AIDS. It’s a brutal thing because in so many parts of the world, AIDS is treated like something that can’t be acknowledged. You’re not supposed to talk about it. But how can you turn your back on it when you’ve seen the effects that it has on people?” In addition to her two sons, Ms. Arribas also has two daughers-inlaw who work for the AIDS Project Los Angeles. She believes it is important for Pilgrim students to also give their time and energy to lend a hand for others. “AIDS is still associated with young people who commit suicide,” Ms. Arribas explained. “As a Pilgrim community, we don’t want to attach any more stigma to the disease than it already has. We want to show others, especially young people, that we aren’t afraid to stand up for anyone who needs our help.”

First Comes the Hope, Then Comes the Giving By Chris Yoon A recent guest speaker at a Pilgrim School morning meeting asked for donations to help his Hope Net organization feed low-income families in nearby communities. But in delivering his message, Executive Director Douglas Ferraro also gave students something

“All people in our surrounding community are our neighbors”

Teacher’s Pet

By Gabriella Carmona Have you ever wanted to jump out of you skin and become someone new? Meet Hairy Carrie the tarantula who can do exactly what every Pilgrim School student wants to do when that major exam comes rolling along, and his companion, Pinchetta Stingbottom the Emperor Scorpion. Everyone has heard of class hamsters or fish, but how about a scorpion or a tarantula? It’s a new hit in Ms. Koller’s 5th grade class and a great learning experience for the kids as well. When life becomes too hard, or you have an embarrassing moment, you feel drained and tired. Imagine having to rip yourself out of your body so you can retreat to a hiding place. Tarantulas molt, but not like other animals, they leave the

old one behind for whole new bodies. Think of it as the creepy crawling version of getting an Extreme Makeover. Hairy Carrie and neighbor Pinchetta require class “zoologists” who feed the animals crickets while taking care of their well-being. The students watch them eat while describing even the smallest, yuckiest details about them. “Hairy Carrie spits on the food and it’s like the color of the desk,” says Lily (’18). “It’s like she’s making her own yummy acid and cricket smoothie,” which is no doubt everyone’s favorite delicacy. Tarantulas and scorpions don’t always come out in the open, so you have to keep your eye out to see things like this. But it’s worth it if you get to see them in action. And just think of the biggest benefit to having such a class pet: When you don’t do your homework, you can always say, “Hairy and Pinchetta ate it!”

Why are Pilgrim 5th graders Daisy Kim (left) and Lily Kachilis (right) frozen in fright? ... Blame it on class pet, Hairy Carrie (below).

Sam kim

to think about when it comes to dealing with their peers on an everyday basis. “Who is your neighbor?” Mr. Ferraro asked the group of secondary students. “We view all people in our surrounding communities as our neighbors.” And because three out of every 10 such neighbors “are concerned about being hungry,” Ferraro challenged Pilgrim students to contribute to the piggy banks he left behind with hopes they would soon become full of nickels, dimes and quarters. “Pilgrim has a great reputation for giving,” Ferraro said, “based on all the things that you stand for at your school. Our motto at Hope Net is that none of our neighbors should go hungry. And you are examples of young people who use their skills to help others.”

Senora Arribas (far left) leads Pilgrim students from all high school classes in the annual AIDS Walk,a cause near and dear to her heart.

Sam kim

Mr. Ferraro

Mr. Ferraro used examples of old proverbs to relate the moment in life when one can distinguish between light and darkness in terms of understanding one’s responsibilities for others. “The moment happens,” he said, “when you are able to look into someone else’s eyes and see not a stranger but a brother or a sister. It’s only then that you realize how much you can help them.” Though his point was made to motivate students to give, Mr. Ferraro may also have been talking directly to Pilgrim students about the way they have learned to treat each other as brothers or sisters rather than strangers, especially in such an international setting. “It’s true that what he said about his group is also true about us,” said Pilgrim senior Sophia Park. “When I came here three and a half years ago, I didn’t think I would be able to make so many friends from America because of the language difference and the cultural difference. But now I have friends like Reed (Lovitt) because he would come over to us and just wanted to hang out together.” “The more you share classes with others who may not be from your culture, the more you find out how much you have common with them. You find out that you’re not strangers any more.” Instead, like Mr. Ferraro said, Pilgrim students have discovered that they are more like brothers and sisters.

Sam kim

Pilgrim is no different from other schools that have community service organizers among its faculty or staff. But it is different when it comes to its leader of the recent AIDS Walk. Senora Arribas not only cares enough about the cause to encourage students to join her on the walk, she also has family ties to the subject of AIDS. More than two dozen Pilgrim high school students joined Senora Arribas and Mrs. Elizabeth Turro for the 26th Annual AIDS Walk that started and ended in West Hollywood. Those who walked were to collect pledges from others who wished to contribute to the Aids Project of Los Angeles and other AIDS service organizations. If you know anything about AIDS, you understand why the walk helps such a worthy cause. If you know about Senora Arribas’s family, you would also understand why she is so committed to the cause. “I’ve lived through the whole era of AIDS,” Ms. Arribas said. “I remember the stigma attached to the disease when it first became well-known. I can recall how people who were diagnosed with AIDS were treated by some people in this country like lepers from the Bible. I believe that part of the AIDS Walk is to show everybody how this disease not only affects those who have it. It also affects us all.” It certainly has affected Ms. Arribas’s family. Her oldest son, Noah, is a chemist in Fremont who works in the production of a t-cell counter that would function like how diabetics are able to read their sugar levels.

The Commonwealth

November 6, 2010


A Bite from the Big Apple By Justin Choi

Grade 8 Takes a Hike

famous Fenway Park that included KG Burgers made especially after the Boston Celtics star Kevin Garnett. Among the colleges they visited in Boston was

“You have to be able to blend in” Eric Hwang (‘12) Harvard, which is one of the most famous colleges in the country. You might not know that Hampshire College is also famous – because that’s where Dr. Kidder went to college. So, how did the trip help the students learn about themselves? “If you’re from L.A. and you go to New York,” said, “you have to be able to blend in, to mix it up. That way you’ll be able to get along with everybody that’s different than you. So the more you have experience with different people, the better it will be for you.” It’s one of the biggest challenges that every high school student has when he or she leaves home to go to any college.

Eric Hwang (‘12) reflecting the lights of Times Square in N.Y.C.

Big Bear Alert

By Gavin Somes

By Gavin Somes

Eric Hwang (‘12), Delina Yemane (‘12), Justin Choi (‘12), and Evelyn Kim (‘12), clockwise from top, take a moment to pose for the camera in between their many stops along the East Coast college tour.

“I had a great time and was able to bond with my class”

From Fantasy Back to Reality

James Son

In every school, it is good to be in a class that gets along. Being with people you like makes it easier to be yourself while you are learning. One of the ways for a class to learn to work together is on a trip, which allows students to get to know each other outside of school. It is not uncommon that when students are at school their personalities change based on the amount of stress they are under. When students are on trips, they are able to avoid focusing on work and actually start to get to know their classmates as friends. Our eighth grade recently took

Alysha Johnson (‘15) By Sam Kim such a hiking trip together, with everyone being optimistic at the start. Unfortunately, things do not always go as planned. When the students arrived, they were told that the area where they were going to hike had been flooded. As you can imagine overall the moral of everyone dropped. Then the question arose, what to do next? The teachers decided that it was still important for the eighth graders to hang out together, so over the following several days the students stayed in hotels while joining in activities. Although the experience was not the same as a hike, it still allowed the students to learn about each other. “I had a great time and I was able to spend a lot of time with my class,” said Alysha Johnson (’15). Over time, the class was able to make up for not going on the hike and returned to Pilgrim having learned about each other from their time spent together. They only were able to do that once they adapted to change, took what they had to work with and made the most of it.

James Son

Some schools today are offer trips for a limited amount of junior students to travel to a far-away region of the U.S to give the students the chance to look at colleges they might never have the chance to visit. Luckily for Pilgrim, because of its tiny size, Pilgrim gives not just some students, but every junior student, the opportunity to go to the East Coast to visit colleges from Boston to Washington D.C. The tour took Pilgrim students to major East Coast cities such as New York, Boston and Philadelphia (where they, of course, sampled some famous Philly Cheesesteaks). But as Eric Hwang (’12) put it, “The biggest thing we noticed was the difference between New York and Los Angeles.” Most members of the group agreed that the most memorable campus was New York University (NYU), the school known for its arts located in the heart of Greenwich Village. Several students said they would follow up after the trip and consider the possibility of attending NYU. But that would mean

undergoing a big change in lifestyle. “There is such a big change when you go from L.A. to New York,” Eric Hwang said. “In L.A., everything is so relaxed. You can tell from the people you see on the streets. And people in L.A. dress in an urban style. Baggy clothes, you know. In New York, it’s the opposite. Everything moves so fast. And the people are dressed up all the time. We felt out of place if we were going around the city in our T-shirts. We noticed that people in New York smoke a lot, too. It must be all the stress.” The students had their own hectic schedule. Juniors were appointed to meet at LAX before 5:45 in the morning and had to prepare to be checked at the security area. Some people quickly trashed their items that were not allowed on the plane. Andrew Chung (’12) had a huge opportunity to trash all his lotions and gels. Especially for him, gel is so important that he shouldn’t lose it. He said, “I am so sad that I can’t take gel with me, but I guess I’ll have to buy new gel in New York.“ The students arrived in Boston after sitting in the plane for five long hours. They had dinner near the

Pilgrim high school classes headed in different directions during the first week in October for their annual trips. The freshmen went on a backpacking adventure to Cedar Lake, while the juniors visited colleges on the East Coast. Where were the sophomores? The class of 2013 left for the Channel Islands in a small ferry along with a few other local schools. They were expected to exist on an island for a week with a limited supply of food and water. Can you say Survivor? Talk about roughing it. There were no beds with plush pillows or bathrooms with sinks and a bathtub. Instead, there was dirt and water, the natural elements of the earth. The sophomores were challenged to become one with nature itself, but what they found was how they really had no choice. “It was really a workout,” said Grace Cho (’13). “I got sunburns everywhere.” At the same time, in Los Angeles, the weather was dreadful. Extreme heat filled one day while rain poured the next on the sophomores. Imagine what the weath-

er was like at Channel Islands! “The weather was killing us, said Allen Park (’13). “It was hot while we hiked and freezing during the nights. I felt like Bear Grylls from Man vs. Wild.” Once they figured out how to survive the elements, the sophomores learned basic skills like kayaking and hiking for long hours. It was the ultimate test of stamina. Drew Robinson (’13) said, “What was fun was all the types of things we

“I felt like Bear Grylls from Man vs. Wild”

Allen Park (‘13)

did from playing games like camouflage and kayaking through beautiful caves. When we hiked at night, we saw a beautiful sky filled with stars.” Grace Cho complained, among other things, about the “low-key nasty” food on the trip, until she and the others were able to feast at In –N-Out burgers after the trip. Welcome back to reality.

The 9th grade class spent a week beginning on Monday, October 5, on a journey to Big Bear, where for five days and four nights they formed bonds while learning to trust and have faith in each other as classmates and close friends. The highlights of this trip were the challenge courses and council, which also related to the trip’s themes. During the trip, the 9th graders were introduced to the concept of council, where many people would get to know each other as they opened up by sharing and more about themselves with the class. These councils were, as Dr. Kopp summed up in a single word: “intense ” When asked why he held the councils, Dr. Kopp explained how,

“[They] need a safe place to talk” Mr. Kopp “Ninth graders need to have a safe place to talk. Adults do not understand teenagers. So we tried to create bonds by opening up with each other.” He added how impressed he was with the students for the way they acted like mature, young adults. Because of such behavior, the experience felt authentic. The ninth graders also went on the challenge courses having the same theme of trust and faith in one another. Many students originally had doubts about their ability, but they succeeded because they learned to depend on one another. Dr. Gregory was among those chaperones who, “was very proud of you guys (the 9th graders) as you dominated the high ropes course.” Dr. Kopp went even further when he said, “It has been a long time since there was a great 9th grade trip like this.” If the lessons of trust and faith worked so well on the courses and in the council during the trip, they can also work everywhere around Pilgrim’s campus.

The Commonwealth

November 6, 2010


Alumni Checkup

Trading Places: A Tale of Two Pilgrim Sisters

By Xavier Sallas-Brookwell

By Anabella Arakaki

Les Klien

Patricia Lee, Lili Arakaki, and Erin Choi, left to right, celebrate thier Pilgrim graduation last June before they ventured off to different colleges.

Commonwealth: What are you up to? Lili: Well, a lot has gone on. I’m living across the country in a small college town while taking biology, chemistry, modern dance, English composition, and a few labs. I recently tried out and made the colleges cheerleading team and have also been accepted into STARS, which is a student alumni relation society that works with students and alumni. Besides

that, I am absolutely loving college. Commonwealth: Any advice for the seniors this year? Lili: Really research colleges. The worst thing you can do is pick schools based on their names. You may think it looks good, but it only hurts you. Put aside all labels and make a list of qualities you want in a school and start researching. Pick a school to fit you, don’t pick a school you have to fit to. And a note to the girls, I am attending an all women’s college. I am probably the last person in this world who would have ever thought of going to an all girls school, but I absolutely love it. Commonwealth: How well do you think Pilgrim prepared you for college? Lili: I honestly can say my first year here at college is about the same if not less intense than Pilgrim was. It has prepared me for a lecture setting, a seminar setting, and to effectively study and manage my time.

A-OK ON PSAT By Gabriella Carmona

Anabella Arakaki smiles just inside the main entrance as she begins another new day at Pilgrim School. graduated from Pilgrim and I’ll admit, I had always been curious about what a day at Pilgrim would be like since Lily arrived here four years ago. In the morning of my second day of my junior year at #9, I told my mom I was unhappy and that I was considering looking into Pilgrim. That night when she picked me up from school, my mom told me I would be spending the next day at Pilgrim while shadowing a student and looking into school. I went to Pilgrim the next day and never went back to my former school. Now that I’ve been here only a month or so, I really wish I looked into Pilgrim my freshmen year. I could’ve saved myself a lot of time and trouble. I already feel like I’ve been here forever. I know all the students. I share inside jokes with the teachers. I don’t even need to ask where the main office is. Best of all, I feel like home.

tionwide finalists that will be be judged on an application that includes an essay. “It feels good,” Evelyn said, “to know that I’m in the mix for this

“There is still a long way to go” Evelyn Kim award, but I realize that there is still a long way to go. I can’t look at it at this point and say that it’s over. All this has done for me so far is open the doorway to a scholarship.” Having conquered the test that confounds so many other students, one would think Evelyn would have a tried-and-true system for acing standardized tests. Think again. “How did I do it?” Evelyn said. “I didn’t do anything. I just went in there and took the test. The more you can relax and the less you can stress, the better you’ll probably do.”

Sam Kim

The PSAT is a four-letter word to most students who don’t look forward to spending several hours trying to figure out answers to impossibly difficult questions, especially when the old stand-by system of eenie, meenie, miney mo doesn’t work. But to Pilgrim School junior Evelyn Kim, the test could represent only the beginning of a process that could end with a college scholarship. Evelyn was recently informed that she had passed the first step of qualifying for a special achievement scholarship based on the results of her PSAT that she took last October while attending Stuyvesant High School in New York City. “I found out on my way to dinner when my aunt told me that I had to pick up a letter from Dr. Kidder” Evelyn said. “She told me it had something to do with being a PSAT finalist.” Based on her score of over 200, Evelyn now finds herself among 1,600 na-

Sam kim

Ever wonder what happened to some of your favorite graduating seniors the last few years? This year The Commonwealth will take time to catch up with recent alumni every issue and see not only how they are doing in their new college lives, but also how they can pass on the benefit of their experiences to current Pilgrim students … Lili Arakaki (Class of 2010) cheer captain and dance standout her four years at Pilgrim School, now attends Mary Baldwin University in Staunton, Virgina (Ms. Hatfield’s alma mater). Her younger sister, Anabella Arakaki, now attends Pilgrim as a junior:

Think of your first day of school. You probably felt excited, scared, nervous, self-conscious, all at once. You probably also felt odd or out of place. But at least so did everybody else. Not me. Not my first day at Pilgrim. Not as a transfer student a month into the school year. And especially not as the younger sister of a recent graduate (Lili) who everyone seemed to love. On top of everything else, I was wearing her uniform. Welcome to Pilgrim and welcome to my world. I could feel people watching me as I passed down the hallway, which only made me more nervous. With a school as small as Pilgrim, it’s hard not to be noticed. “You’ll blend in fine, don’t be so self conscious,” I tried to convince myself. No such luck. I went into my small newspaper class and saw Dr. Brooks, the Head of School, in the front of the classroom. “Everyone will be staring at him, not me, ” I thought. Just when I thought I was safe, Dr. Brooks turned the attention of everyone in the room directly on me. “I tried to get Anabella to come here for her freshman year,” he announced, “but after seeing the errors of her ways, she decided to finally come to us and join our school.” It was too late to squirm but time to tell my story. I went from an all girls’ catholic school, with the rolled-up skirts and the weekly liturgies, to a huge performance arts public school with dancers roaming hallways and artists looking for their next inspiration during lunch. I tried to find the most opposite schools possible, and yet it still never felt like home. I didn’t know where to go. I didn’t belong with the swarm of girls who were obsessed with the local boys school and who would spend more time at lunch in the bathrooms than the cafeteria, nor was I ever quite in with the “drama table” at #9 that I used to watch after school as the girls sang show tunes at the top of their lungs when they weren’t too busy spending time during class writing lyrics instead of actually paying attention for a change. There I was, Junior year, completely and utterly lost. My sister just

Evelyn Kim (‘12) takes the first step toward a college scholarship.

Pilgrim on the Move The Commonwealth


Wish Come True?

By Sam Kim

So, what if you were granted one wish for this Pilgrim School year? What would you want to come true? When The Commonwealth asked the Head of School, Dr. Mark Brooks’s answer was surprising, especially considering how this year’s senior class does not have a lounge. According to Dr. Brokks’s wish, though, Pilgrim students could have something even bigger and better. “I’d like to have a Student Center,” Dr. Brooks said. “Not just a lounge. I’m talking about a place where students would have computers, mailboxes, and copy machines, a nice big spacious place that would be theirs. Students could bring their lunches and lounge on the couches. Call it a no-faculty zone.” Imagine if you had an entire area for yourselves compared to the small yard or the library. During lunchtime, students are allowed to eat their lunches and socialize, but only until a certain time. Once the clock strikes 1:15, the kindergartners come out to play in the big yard. The hardworking “older kids” are forced out, their foods half eaten. The library is the only other place for kids to hang out without distracting classes. What’s the point of getting sent to the library for being too loud in the hallways, if students get kicked out of the library for the same reason? Where else could they go? Dr. Brooks believes that the school needs a designated area solely for students. He said, “Students are always working around the campus. I want them to have their own place.” Will his wish come true? No one expected him to build the art center, but in the end, he proved everybody wrong

by getting what he wanted. Perhaps a Student Center is not just a whimsical dream. Maybe it will soon be a reality. Meanwhile, we asked Pilgrim students for their wish for the school year.

Nkechi Ampah (‘11)- “To have a remote control to control time, like the movie, ‘Click,’ so that I can fast forward homework.” Michelle Koh (‘11)-“Keep the school the way it is.” Gabe Garza (‘13)- “Have free dress everyday.” Grace Cho (‘13)- “To go to Harvard through Pilgrim.” Grej Pesjaka (‘11)- “A swimming pool.” Delina Yemane (‘12)- “More dances that bring students together.” Hillary Harrod (‘14) - “To kill all the pigeons at school.” Valentine Adell(‘11)- “For everybody to do exactly as I say.” Maddie Kanazawa (‘11)- “To win a basketball championship.” Dustin Park (‘12)- “To have senior privileges like getting food from outside of school.”

November 6, 2010

Our House is Your HouSe

By The Commonwealth Staff

Open House is coming soon to Pilgrim School, and you know what that means: Parents and students who are shopping around for a place to attend next year come to the campus to check out anything and everything about our school, from academics to athletics, curriculum to community, plus administrators,

teachers and stuff, and current students. In the spirit of the Sunday, November 7 Open House, the Commonwealth staff got together and came up with the following Top 10 reasons beyond the obvious ones that a family should consider sending a son or daughter to Pilgrim (see bottom left):

Thrills and Chills in Santa Monica By Marina Pena Pilgrim School students, faculty and parents supplied the missing sunshine when a good time was had by all those who attended the recent fund-raiser at the Santa Monica Pier. From the parking lot to the hospitality tent, on the roller coaster to the Ferris wheel, whether gathering, strolling, playing, eating, drinking or riding, there were plenty of familiar Pilgrim faces seen all around the pier. The conditions may have been gloomy but the atmosphere was festive, no thanks to the weatherman but thanks instead to all the hard work from friends and family of volunteers who made possible the following mem-

orable moments from Pilgrim students:

Frankie Chantel-Liles (‘14)- “ I really liked that people came from Pilgrim. It was nice to see everyone having a good time and bonding outside of school.” Nadia Skelil (‘14)- “I won a dog, but I ended up giving it away to a little girl at the coffee bean. I didnt need something to remember the day.” Olana Himmel(‘14)- “We went on lots of rides and it was nice to have a break and relax all together after a hard week of school.”

Top 10 Reasons to Enroll at Pilgrim 10. Watching student president Valentine Adell “A Freeze” dance at morning meetings.

8. Toddlers marching down the hallway to distract you during long block classes.

Les Klein

9. Enough free dress opportunities to show off your wardrobe.

Frankie Liles, Olana Himmel and Nadia Skelil enjoy a day at the pier.

7. Free refills in the lunch line. 6. No annoying bells to signal beginning and end of periods. 5. Trips, Trips, Trips! 4. The world’s biggest pipe organ right next door. 3. Who needs a GPS when going from Nancy White Way to Amanda Scott?


Les Klein

2. No-cut policy for sports teams means you don’t have to be a superstar. Gabe Garza, Tyler Wade and Danylo Lopatonok pose for the camera.

Issue 1: 2010-2011  

This is the first issue of The Commonwealth in the 2010-2011 school year.

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