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The Pine Needle Volume XCI

Editor’s Note: By Jason Pacious Editor in Chief

St. Christopher’s School. Many different words and phrases may pop into your mind when you think about this place. Such characteristics as honor, trust, athletics, and arts would probably be your first thoughts. But there is one phrase which may not receive as much attention upon recalling St. Christopher’s: religious faith. However, religious faith at St. Christopher’s is one of the key factors that sets St. Christopher’s School apart from many other private schools. In truth, the ‘Saint’ at the beginning of our school’s name immediately portrays to people what type of school we are and many of the values we embody. Our Episcopalian tradition provides a foundation here that is unavailable or not emphasized at many schools, such as Collegiate, Norfolk Academy or the Landon School in DC. Without this tradition we would be lumped together with the many private schools known for just their academics and athletics. Our Chapel services are an important indicator of the importance we place on religion at our school. At least three days a week students will file into chapel and hear a moving sermon after singing a hymn. Religion classes are an integral part of the academic curriculum at St. Christopher’s, and allow students to delve further into their faith and spiritual beliefs... to see that we have a higher calling than just academics.

See Page 10 Editor’s Note


May 2010

Richmond, Virginia

The Man with the Orange Hat By Wells Baylor Junior Contributor

Since the fall of 1964, Bruce Nystrom has shown dedication both in the classroom and on the track. He has remained a steady constant, as permanent a fixture as Chamberlayne Hall itself. This year, however, a legacy ends. After 46 years, Señor Nystrom is retiring. Coming to St Christopher’s was a lucky coincidence for both the school and Mr. Nystrom. When he lived in New Jersey, his mother, a secretary at Princeton University, demanded that he get a job. He went to see the head of employment at Princeton, Warren Elmer. Mr. Elmer had recently accepted a job as St. Christopher’s headmaster and asked Mr. Nystrom to come teach Spanish in the Upper School. After spending the past couple years backpacking across Europe, he found the stability of St. Christopher’s a perfect fit. He was fluent in Spanish, having grown up in Uruguay, so the role of Spanish teacher came naturally. He just needed a job and wanted some direction. “I wasn’t worried about making money, which was lucky because I was making $3,800 a year,” he said. Mr. Nystrom has always been an integral part of the athletic program. At his first meeting, a long-haired Mr. Nystrom arrived wearing short sleeves. The rest of the faculty was dressed in suit and tie even though it was still summer and there was no air conditioning. A seeming punishment for what was considered inappropriate attire at the time, he was given control of the Middle School football team that he would eventually lead to an undefeated season despite pos-

sessing no previous knowledge of the sport. However, Mr. Nystrom gravitated naturally towards track, eventually taking over the cross country and long distance teams. His practices are steeped in tradition. “When a young man signs on to run with Bruce Nystrom, he becomes part of a legacy that possesses both a long history and a deep memory,” Dick Kemper said when presenting Mr. Nystrom the Distinguished Coach Achievement Award. For the past thirty years as per tradition, Mr. Nystrom has worn an orange knit cap, and the first cross country practice each year consists of a ten-mile course.

His dedication to hard work and perseverance makes him the coach runner’s need, but not always the one they want. Runner Jamie Ruml ’10 said of Mr. Nystrom, “For two hours every afternoon, Bruce Nystrom is the most hated man on the planet. It is his devotion to making his athletes miserable that makes being a runner at St. Christopher’s so meaningful. If it was easy, it wouldn’t matter, and Mr. Nystrom understands that.” He has loved his time spent at St. Christopher’s. He has also had a deep passion for his work, something that has kept him at the school for more than 40 years. “Teaching Spanish literature is what I get the biggest kick out of,” he said. He finds the same excitement in track; each year he looks forward to

Show Some Appreciation

Last Minimester a Success p. 8 - 9

Henkel Throws Perfect Game p. 11

Left: “Firecracker” by Jabriel Hasan. Right: Self-portrait by Brendan Doyle

By Jabriel Hasan Junior Contributor

With the 100 year mark soon arriving, St. Christopher’s has begun to make some definite changes, one of which is its approach to the arts. In the school’s mission to educate the whole boy, it has found a place where that mission slightly faltered. All of the visual arts teachers shared similar opinions about arts appreciation here at St. Christopher’s. They all agreed that progress is being made. With

construction on the student center beginning as early as the start of next school year, the direction for the arts is onward and upward. However, past efforts and current attitudes have stalled. It’s time to look at where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re going. The journey starts with Mr. Marshall Ware, who graduated from St. Christopher’s in the early 80s, and then returned to teach in the late 90s. He was here when visual art classes arrived over thirty years ago. He is now the Middle School art teacher and

planning the workouts for the year and creating a plan that progressively gets harder without hurting the students. Mr. Nystrom will miss the people, the students, and the teachers the most. He will miss the regulation St Christopher’s has given him for the past 46 years, but he knows that “as soon as you get impatient with what you are doing, you’ve got to move on.” He wants to have a Spanish retirement, a jubilación, or celebration. “The Spanish implication is different than the English [one],” he said. “In English, the idea is that you step back, you’re washed up. People no longer have any use for you, but in Spanish culture, it’s jubilación. I hope my retirement is closer to the Spanish word.”

School puts New Emphasis on Art

Faculty Talent Show p. 3

Padalino Says Last Goodbyes p. 10

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track coach. “To me, art is taken much more seriously. I think I’ve seen an increase in how people appreciate it and how people see it. I think people appreciate more of a variety of things. It is a solid B, maybe B+; heading up.” One art credit is required in Middle School. This course is based around traditional art: self-portraits, still life and reproductions of famous works. There is also an optional eighth grade elective that is designed for students who wish to venture more in depth than still life. Digital video animation us-

ing crafty story boards and sets created by students is one of the staples of the elective. Mr. Ware says that participation in sixth, seventh and eighth grades are strong, but the eighth grade experience is notably more “jaded.” This is simply a matter of development, he says. “I think part of it is that they become more conscious of their peers.” So what can easily be perceived as a lack of appreciation is more so just a matter of being moved by other interests. There’s a lot of concrete thinking in Middle School, he said. But he likes to challenge his students. “When they’re engaged, they like to think a little more,” he said. Looking to the future, Mr. Ware thinks that the next big arts project after the student center would be a performing arts center. Ms. Cathy Hoppe became the second Lower School art teacher in 1987. Art has been in the Lower School for 33 years. She notes that, in the lower grades, arts and crafts are appreciated by all: parents, students and teachers. However, it seems that part of the interest “really does drop off

See Page 4 Arts

School Life


May 2010

Peirce Leaves for Texas

By Tim Huster

Sophomore Contributor

Lower School Gets Botanical

At the end of this year, Mrs. Ryan Peirce will be moving to El Paso, Texas with her husband Greg and baby boy Andrew. The move comes because of her husband’s new residency at William Beaumont Army Medical Center where he will be in general surgery. Mrs. Peirce has been with us for seven years. She has taught chemistry, physics and Applied Physics. She is has some mixed feelings about leaving. “I am excited and sad too, sad to leave St.

Chris,” she said. Mrs. Peirce cherishes many things about St. Christopher’s but one thing that stands out is her relationship with students. “Overall the relationship that you get to build with your students in and out of the classroom makes St. Christopher’s unique,” she said. Still she is looking forward to the new experience she will have in Texas. We thank Mrs. Peirce for everything that she has done here and she has made a lasting impression on all of us. We wish her the best in everything in her new life in Texas.

McAdams Heads to Charlotte

By Wells Baylor Junior Contributor

By Richard Hankins Freshman Contributor

A new school garden has given St. Christopher’s a green opportunity, but it is now up to the teachers to embrace and incorporate this. A number of teachers have wanted a school garden for many years because of the rich learning opportunities it would offer the boys. But it took Lower School science teacher, Mrs. Schnell, along with many volunteers, to get the garden started. Parents Meg Turner, Susan Robertson, and Fraser Davis helped with the design and implementation. KC Jones and his maintenance crew, Grader Kenny Fogg, and Mike Jackson, school facility planner, also helped. The garden’s goal: “From the onset we have emphasized that this is not the science garden, or even the Lower School Garden, but instead a whole school, curriculum-driven garden,” Mrs. Schell said. It will also have an outdoor classroom so classes can enjoy the out-

doors when weather permits. When Chamberlayne Hall was renovated, Mr. McGuire salvaged an antique blackboard, which is going to be used there. Also the Students for Environmental Awareness, a school club, has built benches for the classroom. Originally, the JK backyard was a rarely used piece of land with severe drainage problems. When Schnell, Turner, Davis and Robertson asked for a piece of land for a garden, they got it. But instead of looking at the problems as a negative, they quickly realized the drainage issue could be used to their advantage: the water would flow into a cistern, which would in turn feed the drip hoses that are put under the soil. In addition, the garden will not only cover science, but almost every single subject in school, from Virginian history to religion. The garden will also promote responsible water use, composting and recycling – using removed trees to make other wood products, instead of leaving them to rot. The Garden also has a birdhouse with a live camera in it, so

you can see what is happening by going to This summer, there will be opportunities for the school community to help. Mrs. Schnell would like two families per week to help tend to a quadrant of the garden. The family must weed and water the garden, and in return can take any fruits or vegetables their quadrant produces. Ninth grade biology teacher Dr. Sharp thinks the garden is a good thing, because it “makes the teachers think more creatively.” He also thought that he could do a research project based around the garden, with his classes. But Dr. Sharp sees the one main obstacle for the garden’s success is that many teachers don’t want to change what works. Also the garden cannot be added on; it must be incorporated into the existing curriculum. Now the school community [now] has to respond. As Mr. McGuire said, “In the garden, its success will be determined by the faculty’s willingness to integrate it into the existing excellent work

Saints Run for a Cure

By Foster Haynes Junior Contributor

Our very own Monument avenue 10k team, the St. Christocures, raised more than $17,000 to benefit the VCU Massey Cancer Center. Maybe the only thing that could make that figure more astounding is that, with 46 members, the average amount raised per person was over $370 While it is an amazing statistic, it is slightly inflated by the combined efforts of Ted Gottwald ’10 and Rennie Merhige ’10, who raised over $7,000.00 and

$3,000.00, respectively. There is much to be said about the initiative of both students, who raised the money through both face-toface meetings and through email. Merhige even took the time to write every donor a personal thank you letter. The idea for a St. Christopher’s team 10k team was originally the idea of Mrs. Janie Molster, mother of Swain Molster ’13. Mrs. Molster, who is on the volunteer board of the Massey Cancer Center, contacted Mrs. Hollerith about the idea of having a team. Obviously Mrs. Hollerith

saw something in the idea. Before the team could run, they needed a faculty captain. A grizzled veteran of the 10k, Dr. Hudson was the person for the job. It goes without saying that none of this would have been possible without the effort of Dr. Hudson. Also deserving recognition are the student captains, Si Wofford ‘10, Ted Gottwald ‘10, Swain Molster ‘13, and Jamie Ball ‘11. The student captains were responsible for organizing meetings, recruiting members and generally keeping a smooth operation. Not only did many Saints run the race, some of them ran it extremely well. Middle School teacher Chris Carrier finished with an impressive time of 32:53 finishing 14th overall. Middle School Assistant Head Ken Miller won his age group at 38:04. (A full two minutes faster than the second place finisher in that age group.) Encouraged by the resounding success of this year’s team, the St. Christocures will return next year. Anyone can participate and those who aren’t up to running can walk. The Massey Cancer Center is undoubtedly a worthwhile cause. As Merhige said, “Everybody knows somebody who has been affected by cancer.”

It only took two years for Ginger McAdams to fall in love with St. Christopher’s. Though her time here was brief, she enjoyed working with an all-male student body in a private school environment. She found the students grow to become more comfortable and willing “go further with less guidelines.” After teaching at a public school, the school atmosphere was something unique for Mrs. McAdams. “I will miss the small, intimate connected environment,” she said “You have the teachers, parents, students and I love that.” Highlights of her last year in-

clude a new pen pal program with students in Manhattan and having parents come in to read books to the kids. “We love to move around a lot and we laugh a lot.” said Mrs. McAdams, describing an average day in first grade. “I’m really, really going to miss St Christopher’s,” said Mrs. McAdams. “It will be harder to leave St. Christopher’s then Richmond. It fit me really well as a person and as a teacher.” Her husband got a job in his hometown of Charlotte, so it was time for them to move. When asked what he will miss most about Mrs. McAdams, first grader Henry Weatherford said “I’m going to miss her nicenessness.”

Arts Power

By Jabriel Hasan Junior Contributor

It’s not a competition. It’s not about winning. It’s a learning experience. Arts Power is a day-long program held at Collegiate School’s Hershey Arts Center, incorporating visual arts, theatre, music and dance. Mrs. Kathy Hoppe, Lower School art teacher, created Arts Power after being sent to a workshop in California by the school. By talking with other teachers, she learned of a convention in Dallas. With St. Catherine’s dance teacher Jackie Mason, she experienced the showcase. There, bands, choirs, films and art exhibits were used as learning tools for attendees. The showcase would inspire Mrs. Hoppe so much that, when she returned to Richmond, she decided to create a program in the same vein. With the help of Mr. Rusty Wilson and the encouragement of Mr. Stillwell, Mrs. Hoppe created Arts Power. “I think the format is very original. We wanted it to be artistically fulfilling as well as a social event,” said Mrs. Hoppe. “We wanted [the students] to be able to mix with people of their own interests.” Providing artistic students with an opportunity to mix with peers who have similar interests is the most important element of Arts Power, she explained. The day-long experience incor-

porates all types of art. Dance, acting, music and visual arts are all equally stressed through fortyfive minute classes in each of the genres. After completing the sessions, the artists are challenged to work together in teams, each creating a presentation that uses all of the genres. There is no winning or losing team, there is only a concluding discussion about the presentations and the experience in general. It was Mrs. Hoppe’s intention not to include competition. She wanted the event to simply be a learning experience for students and teachers, like the Dallas convention was for her. Arts Power is now in its fourth year. It was held this past February at Collegiate School, with sixty students from St. Christopher’s, St. Catherine’s, Collegiate, Appomattox Governor’s School and Trinity in attendance. Trinity Episcopal School will host the event next year on April 8. Ms. Hoppe is proud that this opportunity can be provided to St. Christopher’s and other area schools. Mr. Wilson agrees. “Arts Power is a reflection of a shift in St. Christopher’s culture towards the arts,” he said. The event is being run well, he says, and he is hoping for a future program that is more than just one day a year. “I think the school is on the right track,” Ms. Hoppe said. “Of course… nothing is fast enough for me.”

School Life

May 2010


Faculty Represents at Talent Show

Second Annual Event a Success

Mr. Emmett Carlson

Mr. Don Golladay

Photos and Story By Kurt Jensen Junior Editor

Encompassing classical composition, opera, 90s acoustic rock ballads, and even a flute with an Australian didgeridoo, the musical talent of the St. Christopher’s faculty and staff is tremendously varied and powerful. The second annual faculty talent show on Thursday, April 9 showcased ten acts of profound and occasionally surprising vocal and musical ability. Upper School math teacher Emmett Carlson began the show with an acoustic mash up of lyricism reminiscent of a sardonic teenage angst defined by 90s groups like Counting Crows. Representing the youngest generation of faculty, he said, “[the mid 90s were] when I started for the first time to get into popular music.” Mr. Carlson was inspired to perform by his father who is a singer/songwriter, and his performance was faintly nostalgic of finding his place in the world. Of performing in public, he said, “it puts pressure on me to put myself out there in a bit of an uncomfortable position.” Mr. Comita and accomplice Ann James treated the audience to a fantastically precise interpretation of a Bach composition, on cello and piano, respectively. Mr. David Menges, Lower School head, played guitar along with Lower School teacher Allyson Steele of the Mills Family Band, Rusty Farmer and Mary

Rogers, Extended Day teacher . Mrs. Steele and Mrs. Roger’s vocals were stunningly passionate in their rendition of folk gospel. “Our faculty is filled with so many talented people,” said Mr. Menges. “Performing with Mary Rogers was a bit of a surprise, because I had never heard her sing before, and she has such a beautiful voice.” Susan Davis played flute alongside the deep, nervous drone of the Australian didgeridoo. Perhaps the most interesting talent, the circular breathing involved with playing the didgeridoo allows for a consistent stream without pausing. “It was trippy,” said junior Henry Ilnicky. Upper School English teacher Sherman Horner showcased his acoustic talent, at once channeling John Mayer, Jack Johnson and Bob Dylan, even sporting Dylan’s signature harmonica neck holder. “I find it amazing that something, an object with some strings attached to it, can be so expressive, so simple, and so complicated at the same time,” he said. Not one of Mr. Horner’s poignant original compositions featured a harmonica solo or any harmonica playing at all, however. “I suddenly decided against it during my last song,” he said. “The vibe wasn’t there.” He did stylistically include an element of comedy throughout his set, proving that his talent may be one of literary ambiguity. Middle School Head Phil Spears performed “My Girl” along with

Upper School a cappella group, The Beaux Ties. Mr. Spears characteristically disguised his supreme vocal talent with a modest veil of old-fashioned humor, yet undeniably proved he could be Michael Bublé in another life. Middle School math teacher Don Golladay employed his folk experience solo on the acoustic guitar, though he’s more accustomed to playing the upright bass for The Company Store Band. With a theme of memory and a few stumbling primary attempts to remember lyrics or the right keys, Mr. Golladay invoked a powerfully nostalgic and concise vision of memory in two songs. Mr. Nick Brata, Middle School choir director, displayed his incredible operatic tenor along with Band Director Mrs. Leslie Long playing her powerfully clear clarinet and Mrs. Fiske on piano. Mr. Brata’s vocal expertise alongside Mrs. Long’s clarinet was nothing short of stunning. Mr. Robert Johns marked the third math teacher to take the stage with lyric intent, his son senior Robert Johns III joining him on acoustic guitar. The fatherson duo performed two covers of deep-voiced Johnny Cash and Henry Chapin admirably. Stealing the show, the headlining band of Middle School Chaplain Durk Steed on guitar, Ampersand Director and drama teacher Rusty Wilson on drums, and Jazz Band Director John Winn on piano and saxophone played two powerful songs of rock and jazz

along with St. Catherine’s senior Emma Brodeur on bass guitar. The three most technically talented musicians, Mr. Steed, Mr. Wilson and Mr. Winn, proved that their presence in the community is a gift that may only last as long as their record deals allow. As there were no non-musical talents, the show may more accurately be termed a concert. Considering the cost of admission, the audience thoroughly appreciated the return on their investment. While it filled a significant fraction of the Middle School auditorium, a smaller percentage of the crowd was made up of fellow faculty members, including Upper School math teacher Richard Towell. “It was a big audience, but I was surprised there wasn’t more faculty there,” said Mr. Towell. Only the second annual show, the event will hopefully expand to greater attendance by the community at large. The student body was vastly underrepresented in the audience beyond members of The Beaux Ties who stayed to watch. This small percentage of attendance showed an unjust lack of support for everyone who prepared such outstanding music. “Everyone did really well. Usually those things are more amateurish,” said Mr. Towell. Junior Robert Harland accurately summarized the power of the event. “I enjoyed how everyone really put their heart into it,” he said.


Mrs. Leslie Long and Mr. Nick Brata

Mr. Sherman Horner Top Left: Mr. John Winn, Mr. Durk Steed and Mr. Rusty Wilson; Below: Mr. Phil Spears and the Beaux Ties

See SaintsNet for video of the event.


Culture of Laziness

School Life

May 2010

Draws Mixed Reviews

By Jason Pacious Editor in Chief

Nerds detest it. Procrastinators welcome it. It permeates the air, hovering around sleepy students. Teachers have battled against it since the beginning of school. Even the earliest beings probably experienced it once in a while. This is the horror of laziness. Throughout all of time laziness has been a key factor in both large and small situations. The cave man regretted his laziness seeing the saber tooth tiger bearing down on his buttocks. The soldier would lament his laziness when the gun he forgot to load properly did not fire in a life or death situation. The real question is, however, if over time there has been a substantial increase in laziness and decrease in work ethic, and if students at St. Christopher’s have greeted this laziness with open arms. Veteran teachers at St. Christopher’s actually have differentiated views on this issue. Many do believe that students have experienced decline in their work ethic. Coaches sometimes complain about the lack of drive in many of the players. “The exertion placed into practice does not translate into the games at the same level,” said one coach in

By Jack Jessee

particular. Students do not seem pressed to work or try harder in academics or athletics. The number of students texting under their books or sleeping on the couches in the Athletic Center are to some faculty sure signs of a plummet in work ethic. Upper School Spanish teacher Bruce Nystrom believes that work ethic may be declining these days for many reasons. “There are a lot of issues involved,” he said, “parental (helicopter) involvement, grade inflation, TV, videos and texting, more activities, lower parent and teacher expectations, the feel-good society, and competition from other schools are just a few.” Indeed, while students may not even notice this decline in work ethic, nowadays factors such as technology and expectations are key aspects in where focus is concentrated. Other administrators and staff acknowledge that students may be undergoing a decline in work ethic, but this is due to increase concentration in other activities and extracurriculars. Andy Smith, a past Head of Middle School and present Upper School history teacher, clarifies this progression. “There has been an oceanic shift in the environment in which our students exist,” he said, “it’s not apples to apples, it’s different and we need to pay

A senior hangout from days long past.

attention to the differences.” Students today seem to have a lot more to do then the students of past decades. One teacher said “In the 1970’s no one did things like EMT, and community service and sports were never required.” Opportunities being narrow, students in the past were able to focus more on their studies and less on other activities and projects. With a zillion new choices of what to do, these options will ultimately have some consequences in terms of where time and effort will be placed. Jim Boyd, Upper School math teacher, also comments

that students should be “Scholars first, but this has become harder to enforce.” The conditions in which students are working today are very different from the past, and for this reason classifying students as lazier is harder to determine. Many students are now concentrating a majority of their focus on activities outside of the school. While the school does wish to promote these activities (as long as they are productive and beneficial, of course) it must also pull attention back to studies. Although work ethic may not be changing, there has definitely

been as shift in where it is put to use. “In the 1980s at St. Christopher’s the smokers club, eventually replaced by the dip clubs, held some of the brightest minds on campus,” said Dr. Smith, “so most of their free periods were spent spitting.” St. Christopher’s students have transitioned from smoking clubs to language clubs, not necessarily from working to sleeping at every opportune moment. Today’s work ethic may just no longer work like it used to in the ancient times. Everyone will pay for laziness.

See Mr. Smith’s OP/ED on Page 10

Literary Society Change Inspires Debate

Senior Editor

The school’s recent announcement regarding the name change of the Lower School’s Literary Society has been the subject of great debate among both current students and alumni. As most of the community is aware, the Literary Society team names have been changed from the Lees and the Jacksons to the Chamberlayne Reds and the Chamberlayne Grays. According to Mr. Stillwell, the change was made not only further the school’s commitment to providing an inclusive experience for all families and avoid the negative stigmas associated with the Confederate generals, but also to continue to honor Dr. Chamberlayne and the values he instilled in the school. Those in favor believe the decision believe it will help St. Christopher’s begin its second


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in the Middle School.” Students go from having art class once a week, all year, in each grade to only having it one trimester in Middle School. “Boys lose confidence in their ability and therefore I think they lose interest,” she says. “As an art teacher, I wish [students] had more opportunities.” Ms. Hoppe has definitely done her share to aid in advancing the arts program here at St. Christopher’s. The creation of Arts Power with Mr. Rusty Wilson is a part of her repertoire. Although in the future, she, like Mr. Ware, would love to see a building especially for the arts after the construction of the Student Center. She would also like to have a full arts program between St. Christopher’s and St. Catherine’s. “There’s a lot that could be done,” she says. Mr. Rusty Wilson started at St. Christopher’s as a part-time faculty member six years ago. Before he arrived, there wasn’t a theater

The above appeared on the facebook group page “Save the Lees and Jacksons.”

century in a new, positive light and include more students from a more diverse backgrounds. Some in the community felt uncomfortable with the names, and now support the more inclusive environment. While some laud the school’s

presence at St. Christopher’s. He was the first full-time arts instructor in the Upper School. He is now the theater teacher here. He describes the attitude towards arts as “diverse,” because many students, many of whom do not participate in the formal visual and theater arts credits, play instruments. “[The Arts] requires you to look at the world through different eyes,” he said. Art mixes collaboration with critical thinking and problem solving. Mr. Wilson, like Ms. Hoppe, pointed out that the drop in interest is probably in Middle School. He notes that there is no drama requirement, and drama is only an elective in eighth. Students become out of synch with part of the arts, and with focus shifting to athletics in seventh grade, it easy for a student to fall out of the process. All of this could be remedied in the near future. Middle School Head Mr. Phil Spears and Mr. Wilson are looking for ways to get students more active in grades six through eight. “Culture Vultures”

decision, there has been a significant backlash. Students and alumni have mounted in opposition via a Facebook group and a petition that has received thousands of signatures. An article detailing the events of the change made the front page of the Rich-

may be introduced. It is a plan for a program that selects students to go to area art events. There will also be two Middle School plays a year in the future as opposed to the one winter production now. In the Upper School, arts will be pushed into the curriculum. After Mr. Wilson, Upper School Head Mr. Szymendara and Headmaster Charley Stillwell pondered the new schedule and what it meant to be alive and successful in the twentieth century; they decided that Arts would be a core academic requirement starting in the fall of 2010. Every student who wishes to graduate from St.

mond Times-Dispatch. Dissent with the change essentially falls into three basic categories. There are those against the change itself, those against the way in which the change was carried out, and those against the choices for the new names. Disapproval of the change itself is widespread and multifaceted. Lee and Jackson were chosen as representatives for the society due to their role as ideal southern gentlemen. To many, the move simply seems like a step towards political correctness and thus a step away from the traditions that are such an important part of the school. Lee and Jackson represent many of the values Chamberlayne wished to instill in his students, and were both in fact opposed to slavery as a practice. A large portion of the community was also displeased with the way in which the change was conducted. The community as a

Christopher’s will now be required to have a full semester of art, equaling one full credit. “Exposure and participation in the arts is a huge piece to the whole boy concept,” Mr. Wilson said. Mr. Szymendara expressed similar sentiments. “We want students to learn to think, analyze, and problem solve in new ways, in ways that they had not considered previously. We hope that we will see a carryover as students use their skills in other classes or courses,” he said. “We also hope that students will be inspired to take more art

whole was never polled or asked whether or not the change should occur, and most were not made aware of the change until it was already official. The choices for the new names have also come under fire. While many respect the effort to honor Dr. Chamberlayne, some worry that the names will quickly be shortened to the “Reds” the “Grays.” Many who disagree with the change hope to memorialize the Lee Jackson Society in some way. No efforts have been formalized as of yet, but Mr. Stillwell said that the current plaques commemorating the Society’s victors will remain. Though the decision to change the names of the society was made several months ago, the controversy surrounding the issue is still a significant topic of discussion in the school community. classes in the Upper School. The ability to create and craft, rather than make, will be America’s advantage in the workplace moving forward-or so the experts tell us.” After the Student Center, Mr. Wilson would also like to see an arts building. He remarks that nothing happens overnight, but “people are becoming aware that [public affirmation] is something that needs to happen.” Mr. Ware may have summed up the thoughts of all of the art teachers. “Arts is sometimes separated from having other interests too. ‘You can’t be a painter and an athlete.’ One of the things that I think is our mission is to show that you can do both,” he said. “You can appreciate both. It’s our mission that we become interested in other people and interested in other interests.” Where we’ve been has changed. Where we are is changing, and, in the words of Herbert Hoover, we “have no fears for the future. It is bright…with hope.” Stay tuned. This may be the dawn of a new era.

School Life

May 2010


Reporter’s Notebook: Singing with the Choir at the Spring Concert By Henry Ilnicky Junior Contributor

Director Greg Vick was unable to hold back a smile and his eyes glistened in a way that let us all know how proud and excited he was. “That’s why I do choir,” whispered Ethan Jackson ’10 during our final Saints Singers practice before the end of the year spring concert. I couldn’t help but agree. We had just experienced one of those moments when the 20-some voices blend into one harmonious sound for the first time. It’s impossible to deny the emotional rush that follows such an accomplishment. After hours of tediously learning each note, constant repetition and the occasional angry outburst from Mr. Vick, the anticipation in the air was palpable on the precipice of a performance. The joys of participating in choir manifest themselves during the performances. The thrill of expressing to the rest of the community our hard work and dedication combined with a display of natural talents is incredibly satisfying. The spring concert is a culmination of a year of hard work. This year’s edition on Monday, April 19 was no exception. The concert began with the performance of “I Walk the Unfrequented Road” and “Bashana Haba’sh,” by the Lower School Choir. This was the first year the Lower School was represented at the concert, and their inclusion

certainly added to total community feel of the show. The Middle School’s Boy Choir followed. This year’s group was one of the largest in recent history, and the influence of new Director Nick Brata, was definitely evident. After a few years of transition in which they experimented with a couple of different directors, the Boy Choir seems to have finally hit their stride. The group performed two songs, “Songs of Art” and “Loch Lomond,” and they confirmed that with the increase in membership came an increase in skill. After the two full group songs, the Middle Schoolers surprised us with their newest project: an a capella group. I can say for a fact that all the members of the Beaux Ties, the Upper School a capella group, were impressed with the expertise demonstrated in their rendition of “I Wonder Why,” a popular doo-wop song from the late 1950s. There were certainly some potential future Beaux Ties among the ranks of the Middle School group, and it’s exciting to know that the Beaux Ties appear to have a promising future. Next the Boy Choir was joined onstage by the Glee Club, the Upper School ensemble. Directed by Mr. Brata while Mr. Vick accompanied on piano, “The God Who Gave Us Life” was a success, although admittedly the tenors (of which I am one) did botch one line. Nevertheless, it is always impressive how well the voices

of students from a range of seven grades blend. Following the combined choirs’ song was a performance by the Beaux Ties. Participating in the Beaux Ties has been one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences of my St. Christopher’s career. Not only do we have a blast with the chance to perform a more popular style of music, such as the two songs performed Monday night, “Chasing Cars” and “Moondance” with soloists Daniel O’Neill ’10 and Ward Wood ’1, but the courage gained from performing before an audience in such an intimate group without the safety of the piano’s accompaniment is remarkable. On Monday night O’Neill and Wood were incredible, and we rejoined the rest of the Glee Club with a heightened sense of confidence. The performance of “When I Fall in Love” with the addition of Mrs. Amy Roberts on

French horn was one of the most poignant moments of the night. The Chorale, the St. Catherine’s version of the Glee Club, performed next under the leadership of Dr. Nick Stephenson. Their two pieces “Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day” and “The Servant Song” provided a pleasant contrast to the all-male concert up to that point. Next the Censations, the St. Catherine’s Upper School a capella group, had a chance to make their case for the “best a capella performance of the night.” The verdict is still out, but their renditions of “October Road” and “On the Way” were both expertly arranged by members of the group, and beautifully performed. The next group to share their gifts was Saints Singers, a co-ed group from the Glee Club and Chorale that gives the opportunity to tackle more difficult pieces of music. Monday night’s

“Praise to Thee Lord Jesus” was arguably our best of three public performances this year. Next we debuted a simple, melodic piece entitled “Give Me Wings.” The smaller ensembles allow for each individual a greater role in the overall sound of the group; they allow for each member to shine in the context of the group in a manner that is more difficult to achieve in the larger groups. After the spirited performance of three songs, “Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in C,” and “Pilgrim’s Hymn” came the evening climax. The Boy Choir, the Glee Club and the Chorale all met on stage for the performance of “Saints Bound for Heaven.” The energy in the room is explosive as nearly 100 people join together in song. I am a firm believer in the idea that the live performance of music is one of the purest forms of art, and this moment was a prime example. The sound literally fills the entire room, and I can feel the energy levels rise and fall the dynamics of the song. It is a truly profound experience to be able to create such powerful art in front of a live audience. This is why I dedicate three nights a week and countless hours during the day to three singing groups. Performing music is the creation of art in the moment for the enjoyment and pleasure of an audience, and the mix of excitement, fear, passion, pride and ecstasy that stem from it provides me with an incredibly powerful experience.

Bishop Emphasizes Renewal

By Jabriel Hasan Junior Contributor

There is an old saying: the church is always one generation from extinction. And so Bishop Shannon Johnston of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia questions: “Is there a way that we’re presenting the faith to the next generation that is appealing and inviting and truly welcoming, because it is important not just to encourage participation, but to ensure it,” he said. This is one of the reasons why youth and young adult formation was voted top priority at recent diocese Town Hall meetings and why the bishop is choosing to make youth formation the top priority for his agenda. The bishop believes that the town hall voting was geared by genuine concerns that the church has not been reaching out effectively to the youth. He remarked that this is the first time that the church cannot expect that children have been baptized or that youth are active church members. Cultivating current and future leadership is, indeed, at the forefront. To do this, the Bishop is not only looking to the churches throughout the various regions of Virginia, but to Diocesan schools, like St. Christopher’s and St. Catherine’s. The Bishop suggested both physical and mental opportunities. Shrine Mont summer camps are an experience that children from elementary school to high school

can enjoy. The Diocese offers eight camps from June to August ranging from sports camps to art camps, as well as a volunteer service camp for high schoolers. On average, 200 6th and 7th graders, 100 8th graders, and 125 high school students attend. Middle schoolers go to six of the eight camps. Bishop Johnston would like to double attendance. “We have the numbers to do it,” he says. The Diocese also offers service projects for youth who do not want to participate in camp life, including a summer mission trip to Appalachia. The Bishop wishes to expand mission work to the inner city and possibly Native American settings. Among the other initiatives, youth rallies are also considerations on the agenda. The rallies would be regional meetings meant to bring youth together “where people see that there are many others like themselves who are alive and kicking in the church, a part of the church’s life, proud of being a part of the church’s life, looking to make things bigger and better, looking to reinvent the wheel where it needs to be reinvented,” the Bishop said. Bishop Johnston wants the rallies to draw thousands of people, and would include group discussion, food, a keynote speaker, music and demonstrations of how electronics and media can be used in church events. The mental initiatives are more long-term. “Diocesan schools have the

perfect opportunity to find ways that we will help develop the spirituality of adolescence….The best part of spirituality is at the high school age. The sense of restlessness, to me, is a very strong sign of the Holy Spirit at work in a life,” Bishop Johnston says. “The adolescence capacity to question and to not accept the status quo as being the ready-made answer; the adolescence self-knowledge that you are all the time becoming-that you haven’t settled into a rut.” Herein lies the first mental initiative. We should question the status quo. “The Church can be very accomplished at not going anywhere,” the Bishop says. “[It can be] very comfortable in its status quo, and so even if people don’t mean to—and they don’t really want to—they think about it, and they set things up so that nothing ever changes.” While breaking down the status quo, we should also remember to accommodate change. The church, the Bishop says, is in need of fresh perspectives. Most importantly, we must reclaim the word “Christian.” Bishop Johnston noted that there is a stigma in society that questions the motives of the church, and asks whether or not it is at all relevant. With 60% of the Unites States population not attending church at least once a month, those stigmas are worrisome. “We need to let people know that the word ‘Christian’ does not mean ‘narrow.’ The point of the Christian faith is not to make everybody believe and think the same thing. It is to build faithful communities that serve the world… that serve each other.” We must grow. We must change. We must redefine. Bishop Johnston reinforced this with a message of hope. “We’re not trying to groom you to be the next generation of leaders as much as we are trying to get you to take the place that only you can have right now, and exercise the ministry that only you can exercise.”

By Jabriel Hasan


Junior Contributor

After interviewing Bishop Johnston, I thought about the things that St. Christopher’s is already doing. Aside from encouraging religious and spiritual growth through morning chapels, the school also offers FOCUS. We occasionally hear announcements for meetings but I, along with many others, do not know what the group exactly is for. FOCUS stands for the Fellowship of Christian Universities and Schools. It is a religious, youth organization founded in New England by Peter Moore in the 1960s to explore Christianity in new ways. Peter Moore began to expand his mission, and the Fellowship eventually spread through the eastern sea board, influencing

some of its leading boarding and day schools. The St. Christopher’s and St. Catherine’s chapter of FOCUS meets on Fridays during lunch in the Athletic Center classroom, and on Monday nights at various student’s homes. There is typically a dinner followed by a meeting where games are played and biblical passages are read and discussed. The meetings emphasize friendship and group-based work. Attendees normally talk about ethical issues and how they relate to the Bible. Instructor John Marc Haden acts as a facilitator and raises complex questions for discussion. Some topics include homosexuality, abortion and God’s meaning for the students. For more information, visit

Lower Schoolers Read and Compete

By Jackson Southworth Lower School Correspondent

Battle of the Books was one of the most fun activities I’ve done at St. Christopher’s. In Battle of the Books, third through fifth graders are divided into teams. Each boy reads at least three books from a list. In March, there is a competition where the teams are asked questions on the books. Each team in B.O.B. votes on a team captain. The team captain gets to answer the questions. In the first round of the competition the team captain writes the answer on a white board and holds

it up so the judges see if you got the answer right or wrong. The top four teams go to the finals. In the finals, the question reader asks questions and the first team to buzz in gets to answer the question. I have participated in B.O.B. since third grade. This year I was captain of the “Green Eggs and Books” team. We won the competition and each of us got a five dollar gift card to Barnes and Noble. The most exciting thing about Battle of the Books is when you are waiting to hear the results at the end of the contest. Battle of the Books is by far the best contest at school in my opinion.

School Life


May 2010

Photos taken by Dr. Smith

Alumni Spotlight By Stephen Wood

Unbinding the Works of Dean King

Junior Contributor

Dean King, St. Christopher’s alum and bestselling author, is proud to say that he has added to the historical record. His new book, “Unbound- A True Story of War, Love, and Survival,” tells of 30 women whose determination and perseverance make for a truly fascinating story of which few of us would ever have heard were it not for Mr. King. In addition to the stories that he tells, Mr. King’s own hard work and dedication to his job have made him a highly respected author and, now, an authority on Mao Zedong’s Long March. Mr. King had one goal in mind when he began work on “Unbound.” “I wanted to write an adventure story,” he says. And, after “Skeletons on the Zahara,” a wildly popular tale of Americans shipwrecked in Africa, he decided to write about something with which he had a little more experience: women. Being the brother of four sisters and the father of four daughters, he was intrigued by the story of the women who accompanied Mao’s army on the Long March, filling the roles of nurses, entertainers and morale boosters. These women underwent

countless hardships on their long trek because they believed that Mao offered them a new hope. As our own Dr. Smith said, “They saw it as an opportunity to break free from the constraints of Chinese society.” This society was not an ideal one for women. “Shorty” Wei, whose story begins “Unbound,” was sold as a tongyangxi, a child bride forced to work for her in-laws, at age 6. Faced with the prospects of a life of back-breaking labor and an arranged marriage (“Imagine having to raise your own husband,” says King), she eagerly joined Mao’s Red Army when it came to her village. She and 29 other women marched over mountains, across rivers and through highaltitude bogs for the Communist cause. To better understand what these women went through, Mr. King and Dr. Andy Smith, with a team of translators and guides, went to China this past summer to walk the most difficult part of the Long March’s path. Though they did not face all the challenges of the Red Army, which included aerial attacks by Sun Yatsen’s Nationalist forces, the group still had incredible obstacles to overcome. Even before they began the actual trek, they needed numerous vaccinations, encountered some minor troubles with local authori-

ties, and endured a very lengthy drive. “That was our exposition to just how vast China is,” Dr. Smith said, “that you would have to drive 500 miles just to get to the trailhead.” King and his companions traveled from 8 or 9 a.m. into the late afternoon, covering between 10 and 15 miles a day. Along the way, they passed through the same villages through which the women had walked, and saw murals celebrating their march. Dr. Smith, who documented the journey with numerous photographs, was excited to “get a personal perspective on what the Long March would have meant to those doing it.” For King, it was a chance not only to experience the challenges about which he had read and written, but also to add to the historical record, something of which he is very proud. He accomplished this by correcting a mistake historians had been making for some time. King had heard of a “crucial” meeting of Red Army leaders in a village called Shawo, but upon arriving at the spot he learned that Shawo, which means “Sand House,” is actually a house in the village of Wodeng. This correction is included in “Unbound” alongside a picture of Shawo taken by our own Dr. Smith. Mr. King also had the opportu-

nity to talk with some of the subjects of his book, including Wang Quanyuan, the last surviving Long March woman. “They’re very careful about what they say,” said King of the women he interviewed, but they were eventually able to give him valuable information. Mr. King considers himself very lucky to have spoken with these people. They made it easier for him to find out what really happened on the Long March, the story of which, though a vital part of modern Chinese culture, has been clouded by what King called “decades of propaganda.” In addition to the telling the fascinating stories of the Long March and of his own experiences in China, Mr. King was able to deliver a message to St. Christopher’s students on Career Day. His advice to aspiring writers was simple: “Find a way to keep writing.” King explained that he owed his success to his continued dedication to writing, regardless of the subject matter or compensation. After graduating from the University of North Carolina, where he edited the school’s most prestigious literary magazine, he went to New York University to get his degree. “While my classmates were paying their way through by waiting tables,” he said, “I was writing.” He found work at small

magazines and publications that, while not glamorous, allowed him to do what he loved. He then turned to writing companion books to Pat O’Brian’s novels. His first book, though rejected by nine out of the ten publishers to whom it was sent, was met with good reviews, as were his subsequent works. When he decided to write O’Brian’s biography, Mr. King uncovered much more than he had expected. In a search for the truth that took him to Ireland and then to Australia, he learned secrets about O’Brian’s identity and heard a number of fascinating stories, including one about the attack of a venomous platypus. Though not what most people envision when they think of the life of an author, this was what King was willing to do to achieve his dream. Now that Unbound has been released to excellent reviews, he looks forward to more writing. Though he has expressed interest in departing from the genre of the historical novel, his next work will be on the famous HatfieldMcCoy feud in West Virginia. Dean King’s dedication to writing is truly remarkable, and perhaps it is this persistence that gives him the excellent ability to tell the story of Unbound.

School Life

May 2010

Editor’s Note: Due to a schoolwide obession with the legend that is Durk Steed, three separate students independently wrote articles about our Middle School reverened. As a result of this unusual intrest in one teacher, The Pine Needle is dedicating a full page to sheer awesomeness that is Durk Steed.

Story Time with Mr. Steed

By Ben Moore ’15

Middle School Correspondent

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, the Middle School files into the auditorium to attend chapel. Every day, Mr. Steed, the Middle School chaplain, stands up and speaks about our connections with The Lord and how to interpret them. But outside of chapel, who is this guy? His messages in chapel are wonderful, but who is he really? I took a couple days to get to know him and within five minutes of sitting down to lunch with him, I was totally enthralled with his stories of the exciting things that had taken place in his life and the Middle School over the years. How about the time when the eighth grade history teacher, Mr. Dickinson, realized that he had in his possession, a copy of the declaration of independence signed by Thomas Jefferson, and authenticated by Monticello? Or Mr. Steed’s World War II collection, which spans everything

from dog tags he dug up on numerous Pacific islands to bullet casings from Normandy. Over the past days, I have fondly begun calling him “the storyteller of the Middle School,” and I believe he duly earned that name because of the many untold stories I have yet to hear and the many that go untold here. But Mr. Steed’s worth goes far beyond someone who can conjure fantastic stories at will. No, he is an essential part of the St. Christopher’s community. The telling of stories and general knowledge of the school’s history impresses me far beyond anything that I have yet witnessed here. There is much that we could learn from Mr. Steed and his stories. Some are funny, some are weird, but most all have a meaning, no matter how deeply engrained. And while most of you picture a man with a white beard bouncing small children on his knee when you think of a storyteller, I think of Mr. Steed.

Durk Steed vs. Michael Jordan By Richard Hankins ’13 Freshman Contributor

In the winter of 1983, Mr. Durk Steed played against one of the best basketball players of all time, one on one – in a snowball fight. It was Mr. Steed’s freshman year, during the first big snow of the year. “I went outside to check [the snow] out and somebody started throwing snowballs from the bushes at me, so I just started firing back,” Steed said. This continued until Mr. Steed called for a truce, and “out popped Michael Jordan from the bushes,” Mr. Steed said.


Steed Releases Sophomore Album By Kurt Jensen ’11 Junior Editor

When Middle School Chaplain Durk Steed approached Charles Arthur after a performance to ask him to join him in recording his second studio album, he wasn’t aware that Arthur rarely recorded with new artists. He also didn’t remember that Arthur was his partner many years ago at a wrestling camp at Woodberry, but Arthur remembered him. Virtually free from commitment in the summer, Mr. Steed chose to spend his time having fun the best way he knows how – recording music with his friends. Charles Arthur was only one of a long list of talented musicians and friends of Mr. Steed who joined him to record his second album. Will Judd, Todd Herrington, Jim Bennett, Lauren Spears, and recent alumni Alex Murphy and Brendan Worst all joined him at Minimum Wage of the songs, he found it difRecording Studio to produce the ficult to explain their genres in a album, named “Tattoo Regret.” general sense. He even features The album is hardly an an entirely different take on the amateur effort, however. Having most recorded song in American fun was simply one of the goals history, “St. Louis Blues,” which behind a brilliant sophomore suc- he described as a “latin, jazz type cess, developing further the sound thing.” and style of his music. “I wanted In summation of the classic to go for a different sound,” said effort to evolve from one album Mr. Steed. to the next, Mr. It wouldn’t said, “you Each album is a snap- Steed be a stretch to don’t want anycall the album shot of where you are one to say ‘oh, experimenmusically at that time. that sounds like tal, but that ,’ because then wouldn’t exThey’re just different –you’ve failed. actly capture the snapshots.” You want them spirit in which -- Mr. Durk Steed to say, ‘whoa, it was made. that’s cool.’” Wanting to Beyond its have more fun in the studio was a sound, the album represents a driving factor behind the effort, as further mastery of songwriting well as wanting to break the mold for Mr. Steed. “I wanted to have of his previous album. songs that had more exciting stoMr. Steed made it clear that ries to them,” he said. For each as his musical tastes and interests original song, he wanted to write evolve with time, so should the something that someone could music he plays. “Each album connect with while maintaining is a snapshot of where you are the fun attitude of the music. musically at that time,” he said. The title song, “Tattoo Re“They’re just different snapshots.” gret,” he describes as “a twentyIn one song, Mr. Steed even first century love song,” and moved away from his famous it was inspired by a phrase he electric guitar, borrowing Elliott heard while listening to the radio. Warren’s acoustic guitar for the “Meet Her Needs” is a wistful recording. The song even feaand nostalgic song about lost tured acoustic piano for his wife, love, which was written about his Nancy. “That was completely out favorite Jeep. “There was a fist of my comfort zone,” he said. fight in my front yard over this What is so striking about the car,” said Mr. Steed. album is how every song is a Where the album shines is new experience. “They’re all just where the pure fascination its totally different tunes,” said Mr. author has with music is most Steed. In speaking about plenty apparent. Listening to Mr. Steed

Learn from the Master: Guitar Lessons and Music Theory with Mr. Steed For More Information Contact: 804-217-9511

talk about the songs is almost as beautiful as lying in the sun and simply listening to it for an hour. For Mr. Steed, what is so interesting about music is the infinite variety that can be derived from simple scales and progressions. “So few ingredients can make so much variety,” he said. “That’s pretty amazing.” Mr. Steed even finds music incredibly poignant and relevant in everyday life, incorporating lyrics into his famously entertaining, beautiful and meaningful sermons. While he resists it for his wife’s sake, it’s entirely apparent that Mr. Steed can’t help but begin to plan his third album from simply listening to music and jamming on his guitar. He did say, however, that even the phrase “third album” might cause Mrs. Steed to chase him around their house. Creating art does represent a large investment of time and money. Now that he is finished recording for the near future, Mr. Steed plans to return to teaching guitar lessons to anyone interested. The incredible artistry of his art has to justify any and all investments in Mr. Steed’s pursuits. In possible future efforts, he may or may not create the most beautiful album ever recorded, but in any eventuality, he’ll follow a simple rule. “With music, the ear rules,” he said. “If it sounds cool, do it.”



May 2010

History in Normandy By Jay McChesney Junior Contributor

Standing just a few hundred yards from Omaha beach, Mark Burlee, Ted Gottwald, Charlie Forbes and Bayn Stanchina were overcome with an immense sense of honor and respect as they carefully folded the U.S. flag at the Normandy American Cemetery. Surrounded by more than 9,000 American soldiers who fought and died bravely for our country, these seniors were humbled by what they saw and felt on the site of one of the greatest and most horrific events in world history. June 6, 1944 is a day of tremendous infamy as well as tragedy in our nation’s history. Three million men and 4,000 ships laid siege on a stretch of beach only 50 miles long, creating the largest amphibious assault of all time. This was the beginning of the end for the German army, Hitler’s Nazi regime, and the worst war the world had ever seen. And it all started on this small section of beach with the sacrifices and dedication of

the U.S. Army and their allies. It is for this reason that so many people have spent so much time studying this battle and why this group of St. Christopher’s seniors decided they wanted to go to the beaches. Visiting the place where one of the most significant days in the history of the world took place was a great privilege. “Seeing the cemetery in the movies is one thing, but actually being there and hearing the story of what happened to one of the names on the tombstones is a completely different experience,” said chaperone Greg Tune, Upper School disciplinarian. The four students said that the most memorable part of the trip was the cemeteries. The group visited all of the cemeteries in the Normandy area, including the burial grounds for the British, Canadian and French. The group was especially awestruck by the massive scale of the tattered but still very much intact German fortifications that remain on the beaches, at the bunkers at Point Du Hoc and at the massive German artillery sites on Omaha

Beach, which was the most heavily fortified of all the beaches. During the course of a week the group traversed Normandy and visited the beaches as well as other historical sites. The seniors were guided by two of the finest and most knowledgeable tour guides available, Jacques Pureau and Andre Heintz. Both Frenchmen were actually there on the day of the Normandy invasion. Mr. Heintz was a French resistance fighter during World War II who passed invaluable intelligence to the British through the use of a radio he built from scratch. He was only a teenager at the time but now at age 99 he still remembers his experience as a fighter and has compiled a staggering knowledge of the events of World War WII and D-Day. Mr. Pureau was only 4 years old at the time of the invasion but is one of the most prominent Normandy tour guides. He was even selected to give President Ronald Reagan a personal tour of the beaches when Reagan visited Normandy for the 40th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. Standing on one of the beach-

Left to Right: Mark Burlee, Bayn Stan

es, Mr. Pureau lifted down his collar and revealed to the group a long thin scar spanning the length of the back of his neck. He explained to the students how a piece of shrapnel from a German airplane hit him in the side of the neck, just millimeters from his jugular. His mother rushed him off to a German medic station, where a German army


surgeon defied his orders and helped the young Frenchman. The surgeon was able to save the boys life by removing the shrapnel and repairing the wound, leaving him with a sprawling reminder on the back of his neck of his brush with death. Everyone that went on the trip agreed that it was an amazing experience. As Mr. Tune said “To

Seniors Rec Extended Ja

Viva a Mexico!

By Jason Pacious Editor in Chief

Left to Right: Alan Harris, Ian MacLean, Daniel Conover, Mitchell Dillon, Drew Pangraze, Jason Pacious, Jono McCusty

By Henry Ilnicky Junior Contributor

“Cenotes,” underground caverns filled with some of the only potable water available in the region, have long been sacred to the Mayan people of the Yucatán Peninsula. The native people were so appreciative and receptive to their visitors from Richmond that they insisted everyone experience the sacred waters firsthand, which meant jumping from a platform raised 30 feet above the water into the cool, dark depths of one of the underground pools. “There were bats, lots of bats, the ladder was falling apart, it was

really dark, and you didn’t really know what you were jumping into, but other than that it was perfect,” said Drew Pangraze ’10. Pangraze was one of seven students who accompanied Spanish teachers Kimberly Mayer and Sue Varner to the Yucatán Peninsula on the eastern tip of Mexico for a nine-day Minimester trip. This year’s expedition mirrored a similar one last year to the same region. Other than some time spent in Merida, the capital of Yucatán, upon arrival and before departure, the majority of the group’s time was spent in Yunkú, a small Mayan village of around 250

people, most of whom are related in some manner. The trip was a balance between community service and an immersion in the Mayan culture of the region. A majority of the time was spent tutoring the youth of the village and playing games with them. “This year we went intentionally to build some relationships,” said Mrs. Varner. The team even brought webcams so that students could continue to foster personal connections with the villagers after returning home through programs such as Skype. Eating meals with the villagers and sleeping in hammocks on

“haciendas,” Mexican plantations, allowed for a completely immersive experience with the Mayan culture. Day trips to the ruins of Kabah and Uxmal further expanded the group’s grasp of Mayan history and culture. “It was wonderful,” said Mrs. Varner, visibly bustling with enthusiasm over the success of the trip. One of those experiences where you say ‘never again will I have this opportunity.’” Luckily for the rest of the St. Christopher’s community, there may be other opportunities, as a similar voyage is in works for next year’s X-term.

Producing a complete album is an admirable achievement. Making it in two weeks is almost unbelievable. This, however, was actually the goal of seniors Robert Johns, Wilson Parks, Matt Lisk and Dillon Wright for their minimester project. Each student spent a couple days brainstorming a song and picking a specific genre of music for their music. They were accompanied by John Asare, David Micheli, and William Newman on several of their songs. Every day thereafter the seniors sidled over to Wilson Park’s house and met in his “man cave”, complete with a condenser microphone and Garageband, to jam out on their new tunes. They spent the rest of their minimester making the notes on their papers into music. This process could take a while in itself, as the songwriter usually had certain ways in which he wished it to be performed. “(Recording each other’s songs) took some patience in some cases because we had to learn how to work together, but recording the songs was really fun in the end,” said Matthew Lisk. Another highlight of the recordings was the solos. Many of


May 2010


Johnson Meets Brown Recluse in Children’s Garden By Patrick Delaney Senior Editor

nchina, Ted Gottwald, Charlie Forbes

walk the actual ground of one of the greatest moments in history is incredible and is an experience everyone should have at least once in their lives.”

cord Album, am Session

Thomas Johnson, Mikey Bogese and Todd Thurston anticipated two weeks of carefree service, relaxed hours and scenic surroundings in the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. They found themselves, however, tired and exhausted at the end of each day, sweaty and calloused from physical labor. The three seniors worked to restore the park’s Children’s Garden. The job consisted of planting, trimming and mulching. While these tasks sound less than exciting, Johnson assures that the job had its periods of entertainment and action. Interestingly enough, these periods had their roots in animal life, not botany. First, in what Johnson calls “the positive highlight of the week,” the group spotted and observed a muskrat. A not so notable event for many, this sighting came as a welcome and humorous relief to the gardeners. Second, in what can fairly be coined “the negative highlight of the week,” Johnson was bitten by a poisonous spider and watched as part of his side developed into an abyss. Although Johnson did not notice the initial bite, he believes that it must have happened while they were moving dry wood from a basement to a nearby

shed. “It was a perfect place for a brown recluse spider to hide,” he said in reflection. A few nights after the bite, Johnson went to the emergency room at 2 a.m., as he was unable to sleep due to severe pain. He had prolonged the visit until that time, not wanting to make a big deal over an incident he could not verify. After two hours of waiting, this mentality prevailed once again and Johnson headed home with no clear answer, content with Advil for the time being. Still suffering and fed up with hospitals, Johnson went to consult his grandfather, a doctor, who gave him a treatment plan and confirmed that he had been bitten by a brown recluse. While many associate brown recluse bites with instant hospitalization and potential death, most bites are less serious and follow the pattern of symptoms experienced by Johnson: swelling and infection. While he is still alive, many can attest to the gruesome wound caused by the bite. Classmate William Bannard ’10 said, “It looked like a gunshot,” and Johnson himself said, “I probably should have taken the bite more seriously. I could have had a major problem.” He added laughing, “It looked kind of cool though, almost like my flesh was decaying.”

Above: Bogese, Johnson and Thurston Left: A Brown Recluse Spider

Matthews Returns to India

By Jack Jessee Senior Editor

the songs consisted of multiple solo opportunities for the band members, who sometimes went on wild rampages. Along with the songs, the group also had a few “jams” where they played a riff or chord progression that came to mind and then just started to play with it. “We just set up a condenser mic in the middle of the room and played,” said Lisk “So that made the quality pretty rough but the content was pretty good.” The temporary band actually formed a jam that lasted about sixteen minutes, but the sound unfortunately had not mixed. Even if the sound quality did not turn out spectacular, the group had a fun time playing together for the first time. The students also learned several important lessons from this unique experience. “When a jam sounds bad,” said Johns, “double-track it and pray.” The group also recommended not singing, so only two words from Lisk were actually placed on the entire CD. “I found out that making music is pretty easy even with people who you’ve never played with before if everyone knows how it works,” said Lisk. Lisk’s “Sonic Jigglebath” was nominated a one hit wonder. Look for it on the top of the charts in the coming months.

French Spoken in France By Tim Huster Sophomore Contributor

Imagine being immersed in a land with a vastly different culture, frustratingly foreign language and only one person you know who can communicate your needs to others. Evan Maxwell and Stuart Williams knowingly committed themselves to this journey when they decided to visit France during minimester. The initial four days Maxwell and Williams spent their time in Marseilles, while they lived with a kind foster family speaking little if any English. After having a few days to cope with the major language change, Maxwell “actually learned some French.” Before too long, he was able to understand the majority of what people said due primarily to contextual clues. The next three days in France, Maxwell and Williams toured places such as the Eiffel Tower, Champs-Élysées and the Arc de Triomphe all while riding bikes. Maxwell’s favorite part of the trip was the bike tour, especially around the Arc de Triomphe. The most difficult part was the

language. “I couldn’t speak a word of French going into the trip, but I learned a lot throughout the course of the week,” he said. If you were to ask Maxwell to speak any French now though, all you would get is “bonjour.” Williams’ favorite part was the entire trip. There were few things he could complain about, but he did find some trouble in translating for Maxwell almost completely. Williams even accidentally mistranslated and told the foster family that Maxwell’s dad was a car thief instead of car salesman. There was one instance in particular Williams remembers being a pain. “The art museum tour guide kept ranting about Cezanne for nearly 4 hours – everybody was bored and just wanted him to stop,” he said. After all was said and done, Williams was satisfied with the immersive nature of the experience. “The main point of the trip was to immerse ourselves in a culture that spoke a different language, and it was a great way to learn and practice French,” he said. “The experience was crucial.”

Instead of slacking off and mentally preparing for spring break like many other seniors, Titus Matthews used the twoweek Minimester to make an important personal trip to his family’s native country. Much had changed in the ten years since Matthews had last travelled to India. His grandfather had passed away and several other family members had taken ill. Perhaps most importantly, Matthews was a decade older and able to see the country in ways that he was unable to see before. Matthews spent the better part of the trip serving at child development centers in the districts of Wayanad and Chungathara. These centers allow underprivileged children to receive food, shelter and an education. He also worked at an area government hospital and spent time with patients. Matthews’ work in the community exposed him to the crippling poverty that affects much of India. A large portion of the children who rely on the development centers live in hut-like structures, many of which do not have any electricity, running water or any other modern amenities. Everyday items that Americans take for granted are simply not available to a significant portion of the Indian population.

The level of poverty was also evident in the hospital. A family staying in the hospital actually wished to stay there as long as possible because the hospital provided food and shelter, luxuries that would not be guaranteed outside its walls. In addition to reminding him of the serious socio-economic issues present in modern India, the trip was important to Matthews on a personal level. It was his family’s first trip to the country since the death of his grandfather five years prior, and the sadness of his passing was still hanging over the family. One of their first ventures was thus to their grandfather’s gravesite. Matthews was also able to reunite with his extended family and stay in their homes throughout the trip. Unfortunately, even members of Matthews’ family face difficult living conditions, a few have shelter with little electricity. “But they are still happy and blessed that they have one another,” he said. “I am grateful to live in the United States because I have many opportunities that people in other countries cannot imagine. People here complain about not having a new TV, video game or computer. Such thinking is unfathomable in India, as many people struggle to get through each day.” The trip was both a reminder of unfortunate circumstances in other parts of the world and a form of closure for Matthews and his family.



May 2010

Athletic Director Padalino Leaves St. Christopher’s After 10 Years By Kyle Wittenauer Senior Editor

For a decade now, Paul Padalino has served the St. Christopher’s community in various capacities—as a parent of two students here, an Upper School math teacher, head Varsity football coach, Varsity lacrosse coach, assistant athletic director and for four years, as full-time athletic director. In June, Mr. Padalino will leave St. Christopher’s to take on his new roles at the Landon School in Baltimore. There, he will serve as an upper school math teacher and head Varsity football coach. He will also help coach the Varsity lacrosse team. “I just want to know that I made a difference in the lives of the people here, even if there is just one groups of boys on whom I have made an impact,” Padalino said. It would be tough for anyone who crossed paths with Padalino to forget his burly presence, his hearty laugh, and his overall enthusiasm. He will leave behind a legacy in his own right. From 2006-2009, Padalino served in the dual role of head Varsity football coach and athletic director. Beginning in mid-2009, the decision was made to split the job into two full-time positions. Padalino took on his primary role as athletic director full-time, and for the first time in his tenure at St Chris, he no longer played a coaching role here. He quickly learned just how much he missed it. “I think the last year has been really hard on him because he wasn’t coaching and didn’t have that hands-on connection,” said Ren O’Ferrell, assistant athletic director, “He really cares about the kids. I think his favorite hour of the day [this past year] was teaching math class because he had the hands-on connection with the students.” Padalino echoed this sentiment. “I am most looking forward to the

Padalino (left) celebrates after a tocuhdown.

opportunity to work closely with the boys [at Landon],” he said. “[But] my family and I have had a great 10 years here, and I’m really going to miss the St. Chris family.” Headmaster Charley Stillwell has also worked closely with Padalino during his time as former coach and now as current athletic director. “[Mr. Padalino] is passionate, and he has a commitment to excellence,” said Mr. Stillwell. “I think it helped him to be a good athletic director to understand coaching [the way he did]. As a coach, he had great interest in all his players, and through his AD job, I think he learned what he really loved, [coaching].” And he is obviously very good at it. In 2004, Padalino led the Saints’ Varsity football team to a Virginia Prep League Championship, and in 2001 and 2004 he was named the Virginia Prep League head Varsity football coach of the

year. Both Greg Ballowe and Greg Tune coached alongside Padalino for several years at St. Chris. Ballowe mentioned how interested Padalino is in family relationships and noted that it is a part of him people really do not see as much. “I know a lot of football coaches who you’d go to dinner with and say you’re not going to talk about football and that would last about two words,” Ballowe said. “But with Paul we could do that. We’d spend a lot of time talking about our families.” Tune described Padalino top-notch. “He’s one of the nicest people I have ever met,” Mr. Tune said. “He knows a lot about football, and he had great relationships with the players and coaches.” There are many qualities that folks at St. Chris will remember about Coach Padalino, not the least of which is that “he looks

like Fred Flintstone,” Tune said. “[But] I’m going to miss him most as a friend and a mentor; he was always looking out for you, not just for himself.” Ballowe will miss Padalino’s “inability to stay on the sidelines.” His fiery enthusiasm forced more than one encounter with the officials on the field. “I don’t think Paul understood the concept of the coaches’ box,” Ballowe laughed. As many of his players and coworkers know, passion and dedication are Padalino’s forte. “We will miss the enthusiasm he had for all players and coaches involved, [and] we will have to find a special leader to replace him,” Stillwell said. As an athletic director, Padalino set a sound example. He showed

genuine interest in all sports, never favoring one over another, and he was often in the office at least six days a week. According to O’Ferrall, Padalino is “willing to do whatever he could to get a program what it needed. He is supportive and protective of the coaches, and he understands the right way to do things.” Padalino’s presence on campus is prominent. In his leadership capacity coupled with the mandatory sports requirement at St. Christopher’s, every student has interacted with Padalino on some level. His energy and passion will be missed. Former St. Chris athlete, Neil McGroarty ’08 who played both Varsity football and lacrosse under Coach Padalino, has fond recollections of his interactions with Padalino on and off the field. “Coach Padalino is a great person and coach,” said McGroarty. “He was able to connect with his players very well. Conversations with him weren’t just about football or the college application process. He looked after and took interest in his players off the field.” McGroarty said Padalino understood the players’ different personalities and that enabled him to better relate. “He wasn’t afraid to bark at certain players who he knew would respond well to his critiques,” McGroarty said. “At the same time, he had the ability to take a more conservative approach with players who did not always need a fiery speech to be motivated. He took a blue collar approach with his players.” “I am sad to see Coach Padalino leave St. Christopher’s,” McGroarty said. “But I hope the best for him and his family at the Landon School.”

Gottwald Wins Lexus Scholarship, Seniors Honored

Left to Right: Bogese, Wittenauer, Gottwald, Burlee and Chalkley

By Drew Pangraze Senior Contributor

Each week of the school year Lexus of Richmond recognizes one high school senior scholarathlete who excels both in the classroom and on the field of play. This year, five seniors have been nominated as award finalists. That is the most ever from St. Christopher’s School. The award winners this year include Kyle Wittenauer, Mark Burlee, Ted Gottwald, Mikey Bogese and Bryce Chalkley. Just last week Gottwald was selected for the Lexus Pursuit of Perfection Leadership Award, a $10,000 scholarship for his hard work in the classroom and in athletics. Kyle Wittenauer, the week

one nominee, is a three-year starter on the Varsity football team, an editor of The Pine Needle and a former class vice president. He participates in St. Christopher’s MADE Mentoring program and volunteers with Bainbridge Community Ministries. In addition to participating in a number of other extracurricular activities, Wittenauer has earned High Honors each trimester at St. Christopher’s and will attend Yale University where he will play football. Mark Burlee was the school’s second nominee, in week five of the program. He was captain of both the Varsity football and wrestling teams this year, contributed to student publications and is a counselor at Camp Sea Gull where he helps with

community service outreach. Mark has made Honor roll each trimester at St. Christopher’s and will be attending Washington & Lee next year where he plans to play football. In week thirteen, Ted Gottwald was nominated for the Lexus award. Ted was a captain of the Varsity football team this year and has earned a total of eight varsity letters at St. Chris. He is an Honor Council representative, a former class president and a peer advisor. Gottwald is an Eagle Scout who participates in Saints’ Saturday Academy and has earned High Honors in high school. He will attend Virginia Military Institute where he will compete as a member of the wrestling team. Mikey Bogese was nominated

for the award in week sixteen. He was a two-year captain of the Varsity swim team and was named Scholastic All American by U.S. Swimming. He is secretary of the senior class, has volunteered at Salvation Army and Boaz and Ruth and has produced a series of short films. Bogese has been on the Honor roll throughout high school, and he will join Wittenauer at Yale University where he will be a member of the swim team. Finally, in week eighteen, St. Christopher’s fifth nominee, Bryce Chalkley, was announced. Chalkley was a two-year captain of the Varsity golf team, has been ranked 24th and 52nd for the Class of 2010 internationally in golf and has volunteered at Salvation Army and at the

Richmond Food Bank. He, too, has made Honor roll throughout high school, and he committed to play golf at Virginia Tech in December of his junior year at St. Christopher’s. St. Christopher’s School perhaps has a slight advantage because Mr. Scott Mayer, associate director of college counseling, and Mr. Paul Padalino send in nomination forms at the very beginning of the school year. “Many other schools don’t even think to send in nomination forms until halfway through the fall,” said Mr. Jump. The total of five nominations in one year is a great accomplishment for St. Christopher’s and a testament to the daily work ethic and talented ability of these five student athletes.


May 2010

Henkel ’10 grabs catcher Wagner ’10 in a bear hug after the final pitch of his perfect game.

Henkel Stellar in Consecutive Outings, Records No-Hitter and Perfect Game By Tucker Thompson ’11 and Kurt Jensen ’11 On Saturday May 1, what many people consider impossible happened – perfection. The St. Christopher’s Varsity baseball team defeated their arch rival Benedictine High School 3-0, and Campbell Henkel ’10 accomplished one of the rarest things in sports: a perfect game. A perfect game in baseball means no runs, no walks, no hits and no errors. On this particular Saturday night not a single Cadet reached base. The credit goes largely to pitcher Henkel, but it is also a team effort. In Major League Baseball only 19 pitchers have accomplished this feat in its 131 years of existence. Not only did Henkel shut down a 19-7 Benedictine team completely, he also logged 11 stikeouts over his seven perfect innings. On the year, Henkel is now 9-0 with an ERA of only 1.09, having 104 strikeouts over 57 and 2/3 innings. The game is one that most

people will only see once in a lifetime. “Cambell’s performance was truly inspiring,” said Henry Ilnicky ’11. Even those who don’t follow baseball closely knew that the game was a special moment. Emotions ran high during the moments after the game ended. After his accomplishment, Henkel said with tears of joy, “It was the best feeling I have ever had. Knowing that I had just accomplished every pitchers dream, and not only that, I had accomplished it with all my best friends.” Benedictine, who has a record of 21-7, isn’t an easy team to shut down. After that stunning performance, a win against rival Collegiate School and clinching Preps, a great showing in the state tournament seemed inevitable. Coach Tony Szymendera felt confident in Campbell saying, “Campbell will pitch his best as he has done all year.” A week later, against Liberty Christian in the state tournament, Henkel repeated with a similar feat, throwing a no-hitter with 14

strikeouts. Unfortunately, the Saints were once again unable to clinch the State Championship, losing to Benedictine 6-0, Henkel’s only loss this year. Despite his stellar performance this year, only VMI offered him a scholarship to pitch at the next level. The lefty has been criticized by scouts for his lack of velocity and physique. This is due mainly to the fact that Henkel contracted mononucleosis before his Junior season and was unable to pitch as well as could have for scouts. During the offseason, Henkel dropped 10 pounds and added about 8 mph on his fastball, justifying his status as a top prospect if he were able to return to his Junior year. In an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Coach Szymendera said, “He stacks up with anybody out there. There are going to be a lot of schools at the next level, other than VMI, who are going to be thinking, ‘How did we miss this kid?’”




May 2010

Harris ’10 Bobsleds

By Jay McChesney Junior Contributor

Fleming Considered for MLB Draft

By Jay McChesney Junior Contributor

Kurt Fleming stepped up to the plate and knocked a homerun out of the park. This was not Fleming’s first homerun of the day. Just a few innings earlier he had another homer, except a little different. He scored his first from the other side of the plate. While switch-hitting is no easy task, it is not uncommon today. The thing that separates this feat from the rest: Fleming was only 10 years old at the time. “I remember thinking to myself ‘Wow that was pretty good,’ ” said Kim Fleming, his mother. “His coach told me in the 40 years he had been coaching he had never seen anything like it from a player so young.” With many switch-hitters today few are ever able to achieve the same power or accuracy with both hands. Having a mastery of this skill, especially at such a young age, is one of the many things that makes Fleming such an astonishing player. While it may not be entirely uncommon, it takes countless hours of practice and critique that can be extremely frustrating for anyone, especially a young child. “When I was 5 years old I was a righty hitter but my dad made me start hitting lefty and after years of that I can now bat just as well with both hands which really mixes up the pitcher,” he said. Fleming has proclaimed this skill as the most important thing he did to become the kind of player he is now.

While Fleming’s baseball achievements are undeniable, Fleming posses a type of athleticism that has attracted both college and major league teams. Fleming was All-State in football and baseball and during the indoor track season was also AllState in the 55-meter dash, the 4x200 meter relay and the 300, where he had the tenth fastest time in the nation. Fleming suffered an ACL injury and was unable to play football his senior year but was once again was named to the All-State 4x200 meter relay team and was All-Prep in the 300. Fleming’s blistering speed has attracted coaches from all over but he chose U.S. Military Academy at West Point. “He’s always been fast cause his older brothers always used to chase him around the house so he had to be fast, it was survival of the fittest,” said Mrs. Fleming. This kind of constant driving force is exactly what young athletes need and Fleming has excelled through his hard work. “He’s always staying after games to do extra batting practice with his dad and it really shows,” said senior teammate John McCann. Fleming’s development as a baseball player started at a very young age. “All three of our boys grew up with baseballs in their hands,” Mrs. Fleming said. “It’s a family tradition.” With two brothers playing baseball and a father who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, it only seemed right that Fleming would continue the trend. “I really

learned the game faster with so much baseball knowledge around the house and having two brothers that play,” Fleming said. “We were all very competitive and being the youngest I had to fight harder or be left in the shadows.” The tradition started with Fleming’s father, who after graduating from Thomas Dale High School in 1975 was drafted into Major League baseball with the Pittsburgh Pirates. After spending some time in the majors he tried his hand at coaching, first at the University of Alabama where his team went to a national championship and later at Georgia Tech. Both teams were No. 1 at the time. Since then, he switched to scouting, first with the Pirates and now with the Atlanta Braves. While Fleming may have an impressive baseball resume, his two older brothers were no slouches either. The older brother Kyle played baseball at West Point where he was named All-Patriot league his senior year. His brother Kenny went to Texas Tech on a baseball scholarship but has since transferred to Shelton College where he is now competing in the junior college World Series. Following family tradition is important to Fleming but he has always attempted to be a little different. Whether it’s striving to set himself apart by being the best or maybe by a sense of oddity or ridiculousness people just don’t see very often. Maybe it’s the full baby blue tuxedo with full-length fur coat he wore to Junior Senior or maybe the St.

Christopher’s wrestling singlet he wore (although only briefly) on one of our wear anything days. Although Fleming’s happy go-lucky, sometime childish personality is evident from spending more than just a few minutes with him, some might not expect the type of passion you see from Fleming on game days. “He’s an easy going guy during practice but on game days he focuses and is a really intense guy,” McCann said. Fleming may be a laid-back type of guy but when the time comes, Fleming is all business. Many players with such skills may become self-centered and egotistical, but this has not happened with Fleming. “If someone makes an error he’s always there saying ‘it’s all right just get the next one,’ ” said junior Woody Stanchina. Fleming’s commitment to baseball and to the team has paid off. The team aking it to the state championship game this season, and set a new record for wins in a single season with 23. “Kurt’s abilities have helped take this team from good to great,” said Coach Szymendera. “He has a combination of skills that are very rare: he is fast and strong... He can hit for average and for power. He understands the game and how to play it.” However, Fleming’s most proud moment came last year as a junior where he once again, this time against Collegiate, he hit two homeruns, one from either side of the plate.

Just a few weeks ago, a group of fifteen athletes gathered at the Olympic Training Facility in Lake Placid, New York to be evaluated on their potential as Olympic bobsledders. Among them was St. Christopher’s senior Hiter Harris. Harris ’10 got the idea to try out bobsledding while watching the Olympics this past winter. “ I was watching [the Olympics] with my family and noticed that most of the bobsledders were former sprinters or football players, and my family thought I could be good at it, so I decided to try it out,” said Harris ’10. Harris emailed the Director of the Bobsled Federation to tell him that he was interested in becoming a bobsledder and giving him his weight room and track stats. The Director emailed back and invited Harris to Lake Placid. The evaluation at Lake Placid included a series of trials meant to test strength and speed. Each athlete was tested in a 60 meter sprint, a 30 meter sprint, broad jump, shot toss and power clean among other things. Harris finished with the best times in both sprints, the best broad jump, and the best power clean. When asked about his performance Harris said, “I did well on most of the tests. My sprint times were good and my power clean was really good. Shad and Coach Blanton do a really good job of teaching us technique and that really helped because some of the guys looked like they didn’t know how to clean that well.” Harris also said that being in season for track really helped him. “ Most of the guys there were college graduates, so they hadn’t been in season and working out like I had been.” Harris and the others also spent some time on the ice with the actual bobsleds. A bobsled crew can consist of two or four people. The fourman team consists of three pushers and one driver. All of the participants got to cycle through the different positions. Harris got a chance to brake and drive, but spent most of his time during the workout as a left pusher. Harris and his partner in the two man bobsled finished the day with some of the best times down the track. At the end of the day the coaches let the athletes know what they thought. Of the fifteen athletes that attended Harris was one of the three that was invited back for more workouts over the summer. Harris is excited to have such a great opportunity, and if all goes well St. Christopher’s could have a future Olympian.


May 2010


Kiefer Steps Down, Leaves Legacy

By Patrick Delaney Senior Editor

Mr. Frank Kiefer is known around campus as the bearded, strong, funny, witty, Russian speaking, corny joke telling, chess playing math teacher, but to many students he has also been a coach throughout the wrestling and outdoor track seasons. Unfortunately, however, after the completion of his third successful wrestling season as head coach at St. Christopher’s, Mr. Kiefer announced that, due to doctors’ orders, he would have to step down as head coach. While Coach Kiefer says he will miss the wrestlers and the intensity of the sport, he, at the age of 63, knows that it is the right move. “If you view life as a big wheel, then there’s a point in time when it will turn,” he said. “I have to think it’s now time for me to move on to another phase, from being head coach to something else.” Mr. Kiefer’s wrestling involvement extends far beyond his seven years coaching here. He has been a coach for more than 35 years and before his coaching career he was a successful wrestler himself. Mr. Kiefer, with aspirations of playing college football, began his wrestling career under the

orders of his football coach. His coach told him that if he wanted to be a better player on the field he would have to wrestle. In reality, “It wasn’t a recommendation,” he said. “I did not have much of a choice.” In retrospect Mr. Kiefer claimed that he was not very good at wrestling when he first started. “I was just stronger than everyone else,” he said. “People did not lift the way they do now. My high school didn’t have a weight room and the few guys that lifted had to do so on their own.” When college football did not play out the way he planned, Mr. Kiefer turned to wrestling. He found success at the college level and continued to wrestle for clubs, at one point even becoming a regional Olympic Trials finalist. Also, Coach Kiefer competed in throwing events at the highest level, earning Master All-American distinction in weight throws. He was well known for his physical strength, at one point taking second place in an arm wrestling tournament against some of strongest men in the country of Belarus. While wrestling after college, Mr. Kiefer worked odd jobs, including some years as a successful businessman formulating feed mixes for mills and university agriculture departments. Mr. Kiefer said he enjoyed that time

making money, spending money and playing golf. However, golf was more than just a hobby for Mr. Kiefer. He played competitively was a club champion golfer in Indiana. Later, Mr. Kiefer earned his master’s in information technology from Rutgers University and spent time utilizing what he called his “librarian credentials” running a bookmobile for a year or so in New Jersey. At one point he almost pursued a friend’s request to become a professional wrestler, going as far as to create an alter ego known as “the Human Orchid.” While Mr. Kiefer decided against that path, saying “it was a sketchy business back then,” he did once call upon his character, wearing oversized sunglasses, a floppy, feathered hat and a golden Speedo, to liven up an assembly while working at The Westminster School in Atlanta. Mr. Kiefer also had other jobs as a stage manager of a dance company, a repo-man, a bouncer and as a stand-in for the role of Stanley Kowalski in “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Before finally settling into a quasi-permanent residence along the middle of the East Coast, Mr. Kiefer estimates that he lived in more than two dozen places all across the country. Mr. Kiefer said that he never

started off with the intent of becoming a teacher. He had spent time coaching local youth wrestling teams before he realized that it was something he wanted to do. Once he got into teaching, however, Mr. Kiefer was surprised at the many similarities. He found that preparing a student for a test or quiz was much akin to preparing an athlete for competition. Both involve getting people out of their comfort zones and stretching themselves. “If you don’t push against what you think are your limits, you’re not going to change and grow,” he said. “That’s the essence of life, to change and grow.” Now, with 13 team state titles and 12 state coach-of-the-year awards in tow, Mr. Kiefer reflects that much of his success came at other schools and in other states. Specifically, he was recently inducted into the Westminster’s athletic hall of fame for his contributions to their athletic program. After spending so much time around wrestling, and having accomplished so much throughout his career, Mr. Kiefer said, “I feel like I haven’t done too much here. It seems like I just arrived.” Loren Phillips ’10, a four-year wrestler and this year’s captain, disagreed. “I speak for the whole team when I say how much we

appreciate Coach K,” Phillips said. “He wasn’t looking to be head coach. He did it for us, and somehow he still managed to stay close to the team.” Phillips also said that without Mr. Kiefer’s “calming presence, jokes and laughter” the seasons would have been much longer and more stressful. On a more personal note, he said,“Kiefer has been a second father to me since I came to St. Christopher’s new in ninth grade. If it wasn’t for him, I probably would have quit wrestling.” Mr. Abbott, fellow teacher and wrestling coach, said, “I have been around wrestling most of my life and Coach Kiefer is truly unique…He is one of the great high school wrestling coaches in the country and we were lucky to have him.” Mr. Kiefer is currently warming up to the thought of having some more spare time. He will continue to coach shot-put and discus, a job that he much enjoys due to the nice weather and the more relaxed environment. Also, he said that he will not disappear completely from the wrestling scene. He wants to continue to be a source of advice and guidance for the wrestlers and coaches in the coming years, but, continuing his metaphor, he said, “Of course who knows when the wheel will turn?”



Silent Protest

By Tim Huster

Sophomore Contributor

Silence, there are no words spoken, just the cacophony of others questioning you and others answering for you as best they can. Everybody wants to know why you are doing something so “stupid,” but you cannot and will not answer them. When I heard faint mumblings from students about how this is “stupid” and “there’s no point to this,” I felt pained by people’s ignorance. I sadly couldn’t explain the significance of this day, or why it was important to some people. The orange ribbon around my wrist on the Day of Silence showed everybody my views on homosexuality and transgender beliefs. I chose to wear the orange ribbon instead of the yellow because my own uncle is homosexual. Some of you may know that fact, but the majority of you don’t. Because my uncle is gay, my understanding of the difficulties that homosexuals have dealt with and continue to deal with has become clearer than it had been in previous years. After knowing my uncle for a decade, I found out he was gay. I was astonished that he hadn’t told me, or that I didn’t even figure it out. I had completely misconstrued his sexuality, and just assumed he was heterosexual. The revelation of my uncle’s homosexuality opened my eyes to the fact that many homosexuals and transsexuals hide their true identity, even from family. My uncle lives in New Mexico, so I see him only once a

Editor’s Note Continued from Page 1

Indeed, our faith forms the backbone of many St. Christopher’s values. One of the most important values is our Honor Code. We sign our names at the beginning of the school year to confirm we will abide by this code, and these signatures are not only backed by our personal honor but also by our “timor domini”… “Reverence for the Lord”, embodied in the school seal - INITIUM SAPIENTIAE TIMOR DOMINI – ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.’ Our faith stresses that it is important to withstand such temptations as lying, cheating and stealing. Trust and honor live at this school if we abide not only by what the authorities tell us is right, but by what our faith tells us is correct. Even at athletic competitions, both at home and away, our faith needs to be at the forefront of our minds. Our belief in treating other teams and players as you would want to be treated and honoring our coaches’ decisions are examples of where our faith comes into play. If a spectator, player or coach insults one of us, we must not give in to the opportunity to strike back with words or actions. Instead, we remind ourselves of the spiritual example we are trying to set on and off the field. I cannot help but recall Rev. Hollerith’s anecdote in a recent chapel about a baseball team helping an injured opposing player around the bases. In

year, if that. I first found out that my uncle is gay when I was in sixth grade. There were no ringing bells or sounding whistles to alert me to this, just a plain and simple talk with my mom about my uncle. It began simply with me asking if my uncle ever wanted to be married, since until this point I thought he was single and straight. It turns out that the man I originally thought was only his close friend ended up being my uncle’s partner. At first it didn’t faze me that my uncle was homosexual. There was no colossal meltdown that destroyed my relationship with my uncle, life just continued as per usual. There were only a couple notable differences after I gained this knowledge. The first difference being I noticed when people said “you are so gay,” or “you faggot,” and I actually felt offended even though I wasn’t the one being insulted. The other difference was the next time I visited my uncle, I decided to get to know his partner. It turns out that he is a lot like my uncle. My view on this former random friend of my uncle completely changed. No longer was he just “that guy I saw at my uncle’s house,” but he now seemed like family. For all of those who said “this day is such a waste,” I hope you now understand why the Day of Silence is important. To me, this day isn’t just about showing that you are ok with homosexuality or transgender people, it is about understanding that some people aren’t able to be who they are, how God made them.

similar ways students at St. Christopher’s have earned the respect and support from others outside of our community. Religion at St. Christopher’s has also played a role in the emphasis we place on community service. Although we are not compelled by our religious beliefs alone, they are definitely factors in our attitude towards assisting the community. Service experiences ranging from Saturday Academy to helping orphans in China are examples of the importance we place on helping others with no thought of receiving anything in return. As I remember my 13 years at St. Christopher’s, I continue to recall the significance of my faith here and the ways in which it has affected my actions. From my first glorious days as a fresh kindergartener to my final days as a graduating senior Saint, my religious faith has been the key component in my upbringing and the formation of my values and standards. I hope that my classmates and I can continue to strengthen this part of our persona as we embark on our separate ways to a remarkable selection of colleges and universities. And when someone asks me what I consider the most memorable aspect of St. Christopher’s, I will always come back to the importance the school placed on the caretaking of my soul. And to the many younger students who are moving up in the coming years to take our places, I stress to you only this: keep the faith.

May 2010

Letter to the Editors

The letter below is a response to questions from The Pine Needle about what one editor referred to as “the new culture of laziness at St. Christopher’s.” Dear Editors, People are always saying things were better in the old days. Adults, especially old folks, have been saying this at least as far back as ancient Athens. I’ll bet cave men complained that stalactites just weren’t what they used to be. But sometimes it’s true. Sometimes things WERE better in the past.

I’m going to be blunt about this: Students at STC used to do much more homework than they do now. Much more. And they used their time between classes--their time before class got underway-much more efficiently. They worried more about being late to class. And they worried much more about being ready when the class began. Don’t get me wrong: I have some outstanding students. But few of our best students put in the hours of focused homework their counterparts used to, our middling students don’t put in the hours our middling students used to, and our weakest students—or our less motivated students--don’t put in the time they used to. Why is this happening? I’m not sure. I do not believe it’s a “technology issue,” any more than it has always been. Just as they have always bemoaned the loss of the good old days, people have always lamented the negative effects of new technology and the materialism it encourages. More than a hundred years ago Emerson complained, “Things are in the saddle, / And ride mankind.” Maybe the main factor at STC is that students have more athletics and more clubs and more outside activities than ever before. Some of this may involve a more or less wholesome trade-off; for instance, I get the feeling students have more significant family time than they used to, more nights and weekends during which family activities fill the entire interval and take precedence over everything else, including homework.

I’m told by coaches that our athletes have more away games than before and that they do not read on the buses. (Wasting that travel time strikes me as simply crazy. Someone should calculate how it can add up over an Upper School sports career.) Other factors? Maybe the broader culture’s relentless pressure toward superficiality, toward just skipping over the surface of things, of doing many things poorly instead of a few things well (unless those few things are athletic or competing on “American Idol”)--maybe that pressure has, for some reason, finally warped or buckled something in the STC value system. The broader culture emphases talent rather than tenacity, conclusions rather than logic, winning rather than doing your best. I think, in some ways, we at STC have given in. We’re less likely now to think in terms of virtue or values and more likely to think in terms of virtuosity and victory. We emphasize personality more than character, manners more than morals. We talk about “finding your passion” but we expect day-to-day life to be relaxed and comfortable. Especially when it comes to academics, we emphasize community to the neglect of competition, interconnectedness to the neglect of individualism, society to the neglect of self-reliance, diversion to the neglect of discipline. We talk so much these days about “choices.” But 99% of what human beings do in an average day is not a matter of choice, it’s a matter of habit. We should be talking more about student habits and less about student choices. Habits are hard to break—both good ones and bad ones. Too few of our students have the habit of intense, focused daily work. Too many of our students have the habit of continually socializing with their friends. Of hanging out when they should be getting down. To work, that is. My students are generally good, some of them are remarkably good, a few of them may be as good as students have ever been. But so many of them could be so much better. Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear? I don’t know. Let me know if you discover the answer. Sincerely, Ron Smith March 27, 2010

THE PINE NEEDLE STAFF Incoming Editor in Chief: Outgoing Editor in Chief: Kurt Jensen

Jason Pacious

Incoming Editors:

Outgoing Editors:

Senior Contributor:

Junior Contributors:

Wells Baylor (News) Jabriel Hasan (Contributing) Ben Resnik (Web) Drew Pangraze

Patrick Delaney Jack Jessee Kyle Wittenauer

Sophomore Contributors: Cameron Barlow Tim Huster

Foster Haynes Henry Ilnicky Jay McChesney Tucker Thompson Stephen Wood

Freshmen Contributor:

Middle School Correspondent:

Richard Hankins

Ben Moore

Lower School Correspondent: Jackson Southworth

Faculty Advisor:

Mrs. Kathleen Thomas

Publications Consultant: Mr. Greg Weatherford

Class of 2010 College Decisions David Lino Micheli, Jr. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University William Randolph Newman Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Matthew Macaulay Newton University of South Carolina

Nicholas Carlson Arancibia George Mason University

Bryan Spencer Finch University of Mary Washington

John Bediako Asare Tufts University

William Wallace Belt III Boston College

Kurt Stockner Fleming United States Military Academy at West Point Charles Hobday Forbes V Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Thomas Alexander Gannon Washington & Lee University

James Penn Blanton University of Virginia

Christopher Scott Gill Virginia Military Institute

Jason Edward Pacious Davidson College

Michael Joseph Bogese III Yale University

Bruce Cobb Gottwald III Hampden-Sydney College

Andrew Healy Pangraze University of Notre Dame

Peter Tucker Braden University of Georgia

Edward Parker Gottwald Virginia Military Institute

Wilson Gray Parks George Mason University

Warren Hunter Brown Hampden-Sydney College

Alan Craig Harris, Jr. Washington & Lee University

Peter Stone Partee, Jr. Washington & Lee University

Mark Christopher Burlee Washington & Lee University

Henry Hiter Harris IV Wake Forest University

Albert Loren Phillips III Belmont Abbey College

Daniel Martin Burris University of Maryland

Charles Sheppard Haw Clemson University

James Alvin Treadwell Ruml Knox College

John Baldwin Catlett III Washington & Lee University

Campbell Clement Henkel Virginia Military Institute

Jack Stephen Scherger University of Georgia

Christian Bryce Chalkley Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Taylor Christopher Sinclair Cobb Elon University

Ethan Langston Jackson University of Virginia John Trimborn Jessee, Jr. University of Virginia

Zane Wingfield Seals Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Warren Leslie Snead III The University of the South

Tyler Guthrie Combs University of Virginia

Robert Eddie Johns III College of William & Mary

Baynard Lewis Stanchina University of Alabama

William Joseph Connolly III Montana State University

Hunter Maxwell Johnson University of Alabama

Joseph Arthur Thompson College of William and Mary

Daniel Mitchell Conover College of William & Mary

Thomas Lunsford Johnson University of Virginia

Todd Samuel Thurston University of Virginia

George Joseph Corwin University of Virginia

Taylor Knight Duke University

Ryan Daniel Van Sumeren University of Michigan

Michael Edward Custer, Jr. Wofford College

Charles Richard Lampkins II Boston University

William Ernest Vaughan The University of the South

Thomas Burke Daley University of Virginia

Matthew Alexander Lisk The College of Saint Rose

James Alexander Vozenilek University of Virginia

Christopher David Delaney University of Chicago

Ian Matthew MacLean University of Pennsylvania

Seth Edward Wagner Hampden-Sydney College

Patrick Michael Delaney University of Chicago

Nicolas Bemiss Marlton Carnegie Mellon University

Vivian Earl Dickinson III Southern Methodist University

Hawley Richard Martin University of Mississippi

Benjamin Whiteley Waterland Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Stuart McKechnie Williams University of Virginia

Mitchell Dean Dillon Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Brenden Michael Doyle James Madison University

Titus Varughese Matthews University of Virginia

Miller Lee Wilt Lehigh University

Evan Rolf Maxwell University of Mississippi

Kyle Stanton Wittenauer Yale University

James Edward Dunivan III Post-Grad

John Jarratt McCann Hampden-Sydney College

Robert Watkins Sires Wofford College of Charleston

Matthew Natalio Ferramosca James Madison University

John Bernard McCusty University of Virginia

Dillon Tucker Wright Hampden-Sydney College

William Newell Bannard Haverford College

Mark Reynold Merhige, Jr. Virginia Military Institute

Daniel Joseph O’Neill III University of Michigan

The Back Page

Class of 2010: 20-Year Reunion



After graduating summa cum laude from William & Mary, Robert Johns decided to grow a moustache and save St. Chris the cost of reprinting its letterhead by accepting a job teaching math at STC. He is also technical director for the regularly inactive school website. Thanks to the publicity gained during his frequent 10-minute chapel announcements, Johns has finally made silver hair fashionable. Johns sidelines as top advisor to Bill Gates.

After a fruitful kicking career at the University of Virginia and 10 years in the pros, Vozenilek returns to STC to replace Hamill Jones as head Varsity basketball coach. He often makes announcements in chapel to boost both game attendance and overall enthusiasm for the basketball program. (Yes, he still wears muscle shirts.)




After trying unsuccessfully for a couple years to break into the world of academia, Fleming decided to become a male model. Then, after a series of mediocre muscle shirt and fur coat/top hat photo shoots, he found his niche as a pitcher in the Major Leagues, pitching a perfect game in the 2014 World Series. Fleming brings his academic prowess and life experiences to his post-playing career and now tutors young college ball players.

Thanks to the efforts of its relentless PR Manager Jamie Ruml, the formerly little-known Richmond, Va. band, Caged Angel, reached the top of the charts and produced numerous platinum recordings. After retiring at the age of 30 on his earnings from several of the band’s world tours, Ruml now performs on Broadway and continues probono to promote the band and its record label. He is occasionally known to stop by St. Christopher’s to make spirited Caged Angel announcements.

Seals graduated cum laude from Virginia Tech, but after vowing to never miss a single Hokies sporting event, he had trouble finding a job that fits his demanding gamewatching schedule. He decided to become the full-time Hokie mascot where he can actually be paid to fulfill his lifelong dream. Several current students are upset, however, that their opportunity to don the turkey suit has been lost indefinitely to a 40-year-old man.




THOMAS JOHNSON While in medical school, Thomas decided to conquer a severe identity crisis that began in childhood. So after changing his legal name to Paul Zinedine Rabil Zidane, Dr. Johnson—or Dr. Zidane, as he is now known—becomes the only highly accomplished physician who also has impeccable handwriting.

Frustrated with the carelessness of fellow researchers in the undergraduate biology lab, Delaney decided to attend law school. After several successful years defending the ethical treatment of fruit flies, Delaney returned to medical school and became a pediatrician. He now heads the Mayo Clinic and acts as its general counsel. On the side, he owns and operates an “Edible Arrangements” franchise. In the next few years, he hopes to fulfill his lifelong dream owning a small ice-cream truck business.

While an undergrad at Boston College, Belt joined a secret spy society with ties dating back to the American Revolutionary War. After graduation, he successfully completed the Navy Seal training program, and spent several years in service overseas. Upon his return to the States, Belt joined the NSA. He spent 15 years there shrouded in mysterious activity. Belt now serves as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

During his days at Michigan, Van Sumeren became renowned as the biggest Wolverine fan. However, following several incidents at the Michigan-Ohio State games that included one all-out brawl against the entire Ohio State football team and its fan base, Van Sumeren was sentenced to a lifelong ban from attending Michigan games. He has appealed his sentence several times and now spends his days in the Wolverine Witness Protection Program attempting to change his name to Lloyd Carr.

Thanks for a great year.

- The Editors

“You’re welcome.” - Titus

May 2010 Pine Needle  

Last year's final paper, published late due to technical error.

May 2010 Pine Needle  

Last year's final paper, published late due to technical error.