Page 1

Volume XCII


THE PINE NEEDLE St. Christopher’s School, Richmond, Virginia, November 2006

Fire it up Big Red!

No. 2

Administration scraps Europe trip POINT OF VIEW by Ted Moore ’07

Pine Needle uncovers the TRUTH about shirttails See page 3

First ever Spirit Week pumps up Saints Senior Ross Hoppe brings creative talents to Ampersand productions See page 3

Dining hall reports See page 4

by Kyle Menges ’07 On the morning of Oct. 30, robed and masked men pointed out the guilty, underclassmen trembled, and the color red bled everywhere. Judgment Day at St. Christopher’s had arrived. However, rather than the predicted apocalypse in the Bible, this Judgment Day indicated the beginning of “Operation Annihilation,” St. Christopher’s first-ever spirit week. The event, organized by Student Council, took place Oct. 30 to Nov. 3 to heighten school spirit in anticipation of upcoming

athletic events, including the Collegiate football game. On Monday, Student Council members drew a scarlet letter “C” on the face of any Upper School student wearing the color green. Wearing green was banned for the duration of Operation Annihilation. At the center of Operation Annihilation was the 2006 Fall Pep Rally, held Nov. 1 in Scott Gym. Similar to past years, all members of the St. Christopher’s student body attended (along with dozens of St. Catherine’s students.) However, this year’s

Pep Rally was focused on raising student participation and intensity. The theme of Wednesday was “red and grey intensity” and for the first time strobe lights, fog machines and most importantly, darkness, were all incorporated. The previous night Student Council members snuck onto the roof of the Athletic Facility to cover the ceiling windows of Scott Gym. Football players Brelan Hillman and Ted Moore, soccer captain Ted McChesney and


Friday Night Lights at STC? by Claiborne Gregory ’07 New resident arrives at science building See page 5

As students continue to enjoy the benefits of the newly constructed Kemper Athletic Facility, the prospect of night lights on Knowles Field could push St. Chris sports events to the next level. For the last four years, the campus of St. Christopher’s has

been distinguished with one of the finest athletic facilities in the state. With the completion of the new field house, the final phase of the extensive athletics project has come to a close. However, some students feel that along with the fancy weight room, a state-of-theart- indoor track and an elevator encased inside a challenging climbing wall, a final addition of night lights on the athletic fields

Soccer team helps out at St. Andrew’s School See page 6 Students speak out on new technology See page 7 Interviews with Saints playing football in college See page 9

St. Christopher’s plays under the lights against the Bullis School in Potomac, Md. this fall.

would complete the outstanding athletic program. “I think it would be a great idea,” said Coleman Cann ’07. “Having lights would really show our devotion to our sports here at St. Christopher’s.” Along with Cann, many members of the community find the proposition impressing. “Personally, I am intrigued with the idea,” said Mr. Tony Szymendera, Upper School head. “As a baseball coach, I would love to play more games under the lights -- it’s just a fun atmosphere.” Besides the new gaming experience, many hope that night games would increase the number of spectators. Nevertheless, some students believe the addition would not be in the school’s best interest. “It wouldn’t be worth it in my opinion,” said Rob Garland ’07. “The expenses and trouble would be too great for just a couple of home games a season.”

See LIGHTS page 8>

With sports, jobs, the pool and other summertime temptations, St. Christopher’s students can lose sight of the fact there is a whole world out there beyond Grove Avenue and Windsor Farms. For the past 11 years, thanks to many faculty members such as Mr. Richard Towell and Mr. Rich Hudepohl, hundreds of St. Christopher’s and St. Catherine’s students had the opportunity to travel to Europe on a school sponsored trip. Unfortunately, the administration recently announced that the Europe trip will no longer take place. Traveling abroad has the potential to be a valuable experience for teenagers. Exploring Europe enables students to learn to travel on their own while improving their language skills and understanding of foreign cultures. The independence one feels in Europe is an eye opening and important transitional step for teens as they approach college life and the “real world.” Mr. Towell started the Europe trip. He got the idea from his traveling experience in Europe when he noticed students from all over the world exploring Europe on their own, traveling on trains and staying in youth hostels. “I recognized the students would need a little help in figuring the trains and transportation, but I saw it as a great intermediate step for student growth,” Mr. Towell said. “They get to know themselves. They learn to take care of themselves, their belongings and their friends. For the people that have a good trip, they gain experience and confidence for the future.” Some administrators and parents criticized the St. Christopher’s Europe trip because there is no set agenda; the teachers gave too much

See EUROPE Page 2 >


School News


Offering an STC experience to inner city boys by Robert Allen ’09 Students like Duncan Lyle ’09 didn’t get involved in Saturday Academy until the springtime scramble for community service hours. “I didn’t start to volunteer

until the spring when I decided that I needed to start getting community service hours in, and Saturday Academy sounded like a pretty enjoyable way to do so,” he said. But he found he liked it so much that he kept coming back on the weekends even after meeting the service hour requirements. “One of the things I enjoy is that not only do we get to help the kids with their schoolwork, but when it comes to the activities and

the playing in the gym, we get to participate as much as the kids do, which is a lot of fun,” he said. “Yet at the same time, you can see that you’re still helping the kids have a great time themselves, as well; it’s not as though you’re just enjoying yourself completely independently or anything.” Lyle is one of many St. Christopher’s students and faculty members who helps out with Saturday Academy, a program that tutors fourth through sixth grade boys from the city to help improve their education. But, it also benefits St. Christopher’s. It was started last year “to help St. Christopher’s continue to reach out to the city and help inner city boys get to college,” said Mr. Spears, the program director. A look at the camp’s diverse curriculum resembles the St. Christopher’s philosophy of “educating the whole boy.” Boys receive one-on-one assistance with their homework followed by a time for learning art, science, geography, even foreign language -- an enrichment period that

allows students to take part in a special activity or hear a speech. Students even get a chance to display their creativity in Mrs. Hoppe’s art room and learn computer skills using the school’s technology. The academic program features an inverted teacher to student ratio. “There were usually about 12 to 15 kids participating each Saturday last year, with just as many if not more St. Christopher’s faculty (and their spouses) and Upper School student volunteers helping them each week,” Mr. Spears said. The boys’ education would not be whole if there was no time for exercise. Every day there is a time set aside for gym activities such as dodge ball and basketball. This is also the time when the St. Chris student volunteers help out. Mr. Spears is anticipating growth in the program this year, both in the number of participants and volunteers, adding boys from different parts of the city and Upper School volunteers from St. Catherine’s. Meanwhile, Duncan is looking forward to volunteering yearround. “It’s a great time and I highly recommend it to anybody.”

Good things do happen in Europe!

Chandler, Billy, Matt, and Coleman check out the coliseum.

Sam shouts for joy in front of Notre Dame.

November 2006

Check your change

by Neil McGroarty ’08 and Robert Barry ’08

We can feel the excitement around the school. Everyone is involved in the change initiative frenzy since every St. Christopher’s family received a digital bank to collect change throughout the year. The Rev. Melissa Hollerith fully expects the project to be success. “I have high hopes for this,” she said. Most students said that they have all taken the banks home and as Mrs. Hollerith said “getting the banks to the cars will be the hardest step.” So the hardest task is completed. This event gives the whole school an opportunity to come together to give to those in need. One third of the money will go to Habitat for Humanity, one third to an as yet unchosen national charity and one third to an as yet unchosen international charity. Remember this is not a competition, but God loves a cheerful giver. Here’s what some students had to say about it: “I have already collected $35.” Matthew Nelligan, second grade “It’s an easy way to collect and donate money.” Brandon Thomas, second grade “I’m really excited to donate my money.” Jonny Najarian, second grade

“Yesterday, I needed $1 to give the pizza delivery man. I reached into the jar but stopped myself. I knew Mrs. Hollerith had told us to resist the urge to take money out.” Robert Allen, tenth grade

“It’s a pretty good idea to make money.” Ken Lindgren, seventh grade “Those bank counters are neato.” Tucker Brown, sixth grade “I filled it up.” Blair Farinholt, sixth grade

Europe continued from page 1

freedom (students arrive in a particular city as a group and then are released to explore the sites they want to see). Some students ended up finding trouble on the trip, but “over the years, a very low percentage of the people who go get in trouble,” Towell said. Students contend that the lack of a set agenda is what provides the trip with educational merit: students learn how to travel, live independently and bond with friends in a new way. Most students say that they had a positive, productive experience. Sadly, it has just been announced that the Europe trip is finished. This issue of poor student behavior on the trip led to the cancellation.

Mr. Stillwell mentioned that students who are interested in finding other options for educational trips to Europe can go to the website www. created by former Lower School teacher Louise Bates, who serves as a consultant for summer programs. Although the class of 2007 may smile at the idea of going down as “the last Europe trip ever,” our class has sympathy for the students who will never have the same opportunity as we did to explore Europe. Hopefully, students who would like to renew the Europe trip will find a way to demonstrate their commitment to traveling to Europe for the right reasons, and perhaps the administration will find a way to reward that commitment.

Headmaster Charley Stillwell recently issued this statement to “The Pine Needle.”

Ain’t life grand? Todd thinks so.

Brelan and Abby take a day trip. Nice shades...

Hey baby... Jake’s lovin’ life in Paris. Seniors visit cemetery in Normandy.

“Mr. Towell and Mr. Hudepohl have done a terrific job over many years in organizing a unique and interesting travel/learning opportunity to Europe. They have felt the most important element of the trip was to give the students significant responsibility and independence once there as to their daily activities. In my opinion, this focus on independence has led to the greatest personal gains for individual students. It has also led to significant challenges with students making poor decisions about alcohol use. Mr. Towell, Mr. Hudepohl, and I have discussed this dilemma and the need to find ways to prevent the use of alcohol on the trip. Over the past two or three years, they have added some different approaches and procedures. Unfortunately, input from students and parents that I have received over the past few years indicates that significant numbers of students on the trip were still deciding to consume alcohol. I felt this decision by the students was putting the students on the trip, the faculty leaders, and the school in too great a position of risk. With an understanding that the changes necessary to eliminate this risk would mean that the educational component most meaningful to Mr. Towell and Mr. Hudepohl would be lost, we all decided not to continue to offer the trip.”

November 2006



PINE NEEDLE UNDERCOVER: The Untucked Shirttail

Senior gets slack Freshman gets flack

by Spencer Hall ’07

in one day to tuck my shirt in. I prodded, “So, are you going to give me an hour?” She then On any given day, any vented that if she ever caught my member of “The Pine Needle” shirt out again, the entire year, could be “undercover.” With she would give me an hour. the so called “crackdown” on In a recent chat with Mr. violators of the dress code, we Abbott, I asked him what he had felt that as reporters, the need to to say about the findings of my test the limits and get at the truth undercover work. He said that of this new toughness on dress at the beginning of the school code violators was warranted. year, the teachers evaluated On my return from St. what a dress code really means. Catherine’s, Their conclusion having received was that if we are no instructions to have a dress whatsoever code, it needs to be regarding my enforced. He went shirt (to my utter on to say that there disbelief), I began should be “universal my walk through treatment” with the main floor of regard to the dress Chamberlayne. code, not necessarily Upon entering Mr. “universal Hudepohl’s class, punishment.” That he commented that Perpetual offender is to say that all I should tuck in my Claiborne Gregory ’07 dress code violations shirt. His reasoning should be addressed, was that some but not necessarily punished in “other teachers” may react rather the same way by all faculty. This harshly to my manner of dress. cleared up my misconception Having been warned about that any and all violations were the “others,” I made my way to receive an hour. down to one such other on a Mr. Abbott said that the matter of personal business. As “Hours List” was indeed longer I descended into the basement, due to the number of dress code I wondered how long it would violations. He also mentioned be until Mrs. Varner responded that there are certain students to my shirttail which was who can never seem to keep completely out on all sides. their shirts in, as well as certain However, after a brief chat teachers who can never say, “no” regarding the matter that to giving hours. His view is that warranted the visit, I left. if a student is seen by a faculty In fact, I went the entire rest of member, and asked to tuck the day with my shirt out, only their shirt in, the student should accruing a few menial reminders comply and not need to be asked from two teachers. On my way again. to lunch, Mrs. Mayer pointed In light of this investigation, I out that my shirt was untucked. would recommend keeping your On my way from lunch, Mr. shirttail in. However, if you do Carlson asked me to tuck it in. find it creeping out, you really I saw Mrs. Mayer again during don’t have too much to worry seventh period, and she asked me about, unless the possibility of to tuck it in again. She seemed waking up an hour early worries somewhat perplexed as to why you. she should have to ask me twice

by Thomas Johnson ’10 “See you at 7,” Mrs. Mayer said. “For what?” I asked in my best, whiny tone. “For that,” she said pointing at my shirttail. “Ok,” I said as I handed her my immunity, a note approved by Mr. Szymendera. She took everything back, laughed and realized that she was the latest victim of “The Pine Needle” undercover. Have you ever gotten an hour because of a shirttail before? What exactly do most teachers say when they see an untucked shirt? Some are sympathetic while others blast you with their hour gun. I went undercover for an entire day and tried to find out what teachers to avoid if you have an untucked shirt. Bottom line: avoid the basement and Mrs. Varner, the shirttail sniper. I was caught seven times by five different teachers, and the sniper got me three times. Mr. Horner only said, “Shirttail pal,” and Mr. Carlson busted me in the cafeteria with a “Shirttail, ok?” I think that Mr. Horner was more lenient because he went here and was busted in his days roaming these halls. Madame Wray annihilated me when I strode into fourth period French. “Get your shirttail in. Do you want an hour, Jean Philippe?” Mrs. Varner said “Is that a shirttail? …tuck it in… you don’t want an hour.” Mrs. Varner is one of those teachers whose pet peeve is untucked shirttails. She is known as the shirttail sniper and you should watch out for her, because she will see it and give you an hour. Not only I was lucky not to get one from her; I was also surprised.

Working behind the scene to create the scene by Robert Allen ’09

Some of you may not know senior Ross Hoppe. He is a quiet, reserved kind of guy. Like many St. Christopher’s students, Hoppe has found his passion. Unlike most students, his passion is not a sport such as football or lacrosse or a computer game like World of Warcraft. Hoppe has strayed from the beaten path and discovered an interest that is anything but mainstream. Hoppe has a passion for theatre. More specifically, he specializes in the art of scenic and lighting design. Hoppe prefers not to be in the spotlight, but to create it. You will not find him on stage acting out the star role at the next play, but his artistic creation will be in plain view throughout the whole show. However, the untrained eye may overlook the product of countless hours of his work. To Hoppe, designing the set of a play is an art just as much as painting is. “I consider myself an artist, but not in the traditional sense,” he said. “Traditional artists have a palette of paint or oil, but my medium as a scenic designer is much more broad. For sets, steel, wood, Plexiglas, fiberglass, Styrofoam, plastic, paint and a vast array of fabrics are all mediums that I may use.” One of the challenges in producing a good show is making it believable. If the design is effective, the audience will experience more emotion and feeling from the show. “When we create our own form of reality, a reality that must stem from the text of the script, it could be like the natural world, or it could be like a Tim Burton movie, fantastical and unique,” he said. “No matter how the show is designed though, the design must be thought through and executed properly, leading to a believable show.” Hoppe’s most fascinating medium is light. Most of us don’t think twice about the lighting in a play. We just assume that there’s a guy in the rafters who swivels around a spotlight to follow the characters on stage. Hoppe has discovered that there is far more to light than this. Light is also an artistic

medium that can be used in similar ways as the physical set design. “Light can literally control not only what the audience can see, but where they look,” he said. “Light can (be) used as part of the set or to set the mood.” Ampersand presented“The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams earlier this month. What did Hoppe do to prepare this production? “What hasn’t he done would be easier to answer,” said Mr. Maury Hancock, Ampersand’s faculty technical director. Hoppe was the lighting and set designer for the fall production that ran last week. He also was a major contributor to the publicity efforts. At the root of his amazing devotion is his vision. “…I have a vision for the show, whether I am designing the lighting, sets, or both, and want to create the vision that I have in mind,” he said. Once he has his vision, he seems to become obsessed with making it come to life. “Ross is often the first person to arrive and the last to leave,” Mr. Hancock said. In terms of the physical set for this show, the audience saw a dining room, living room, kitchen, fire escape, alley and skyscrapers all within the confines of the theatre. “By the end of the show, the audience should feel as though the family has been left behind in their own world, and that reality is pressing from all sides,” Hoppe said. He worked since the spring on designing the set, and spent time refining it until the beginning of its construction in September. He then drafted the lighting design this fall after the completion of the set design. During this time Hoppe has worked arduously, spending plenty of long nights in the theatre, but he never regrets his decision to do Ampersand. He said, “I would definitely say that seeing the design realized is a motivation force for me, but honestly, I just love working in the theatre, and I love learning as much about it as I can.”



November 2006

Who’s hungry? POINT OF VIEW by Teddy Mitchell ’08 The E. Otto N. Williams Dining Hall enjoys quite a reputation throughout the St. Christopher’s community. From the septic tank like smell that at times seems to engulf the cafeteria, to the dark green innards of the ever popular “riblet” sandwich, there has never been a shortage of discussion concerning the dining hall. However, during the past two years under the leadership of manager C.B. Walker, the cafeteria has seen vast improvement in its food selection and quality. Usually a hungry student can find at least one lunch choice that is to his liking. I think I am voicing student opinion when I say that we like the food. We just don’t always get enough. I definitely did not have enough early in the year when I emerged from the lunch line with a lone chicken finger on my plate. I was not the only one who felt this way. “I need enough food to fuel my mind for my grueling academic schedule, and this is not sufficient,” said Neil McGroarty ’08. There have also been complaints concerning the cost of a second lunch. “The value does not fit the portions,” said

John “Wilky” Wilkinson ’08. “This is not right.” A second lunch costs about $2.95, which is not a staggering amount by any means. But if a student has to get a second lunch every day, his parents will discover a food bill that is hundreds of dollars higher than expected. When interviewed about serving size, Mr. Walker helpfully answered all my questions. “With chicken nuggets, we can expect around 700 students, and we try to give eight nuggets per student,” he said. “Items like the pork stir-fry and the roast turkey are more of a guessing game.” He pointed out that a larger high school student probably necessitates a larger portion than a smaller sixth grader, and that the servers notice and try to accommodate this need. Leftovers from lunch are used at dinner that night, so at the end of the day very little food is thrown away. Mr. Walker and his staff can only do so much. “There are certain guidelines,” he said. For the portions to grow, certain policies would have to be changed. According to Mr. Walker, the cafeteria has a certain budget that it must remain within when making its food. Could the school change its budget? Or does the problem run deeper? STC contracts with by Aramark, a company that

supplies food to schools and universities across the United States. Aramark’s food is insured, and a portion of their price can be attributed to the insurance. Insured food means that if some unlucky student comes down with a bad case of E. coli from the “grilled sea trout” often served at the dining hall, Aramark is responsible, not the cafeteria and the school. The entire dining hall staff is employed by Aramark. Our parents pay about $700 at the start of the year to pay for us to eat lunch at the dining hall. Since there are about 175 days during the school year when students actually eat lunch in the cafeteria, a student’s daily meal ends up costing about $4 without a second lunch. Students believe the price of the food for the portions that we are served is too high. On the other hand, the cafeteria itself does not deserve the criticism that it sometimes receives, as Mr. Walker is only following guidelines given. Mr. Ace Ellis, school business manager, said that students still hungry after a meal can get additional servings of breakfast food or sandwiches at no additional charge. He reminded me that the school is continually trying to improve the quality of the cafeteria. One example he pointed out is the frequent Chick-fil-A or Little Caesar’s lunches that were started last year. It may seem that the student body complains about the cafeteria just because it can and because complaining about the cafeteria has become somewhat of a school tradition. The students appear to have a legitimate argument this time. I think it is important to keep in mind that the school along with Mr. Walker and his staff are always working to make it better. One can only hope that by raising awareness of this issue, we the student body can eventually provoke changes that will produce either bigger servings or better prices.

www. parrishphotos. See pictures of sports, team groups, school candids and much more! Password is saints

Students bemoan new dining hall seating

by Peter Thomas ’07

Seniors at St. Chris are feeling somewhat left out. With this year’s new arrangement of the tables in the dining hall with two long sets of connected tables at the center, seating has gotten more difficult. “I think it’s ridiculous that we have to sit outside, and it’s mainly seniors,” said Johnny Coyle ’07. The new arrangement does have some advantages, such as allowing more students to sit at the same larger tables. Also, the improved “flow” to the cafeteria makes it easier to move around and between the tables without as much trouble as last year’s more clustered arrangement. While this set up does allow many students (usually freshmen) to congregate at the same table, it also removes the possible seats at the ends of the connected tables. This new arrangement seems to be the reason why many seniors have found themselves sitting outside at lunch. “I think if they rearranged it people could eat inside,” said Zach Greentree ’07. “If they pull apart those two really long tables…it would be more than they have now.” Currently, there are 188 seats available to students inside the cafeteria. There are 308 students in the upper school. That leaves out 120 students who are assumed to have already eaten during a free period or have chosen to eat at St. Catherine’s. Maybe the seniors should just enjoy the outdoors as they eat lunch on the black benches and broken chairs outside the

cafeteria. Eventually, however, the weather will not be quite so mild out under the tall pines, and most students will not be happy with eating in poor weather. “It would be nice if people didn’t have to sit outside, because it’s going to get really cold in the winter,” said Eddie Watkins ’07. “It’s whack,” said Rich Morgan ’07, who has eaten outside the dining hall “twice, not by choice.” On the other hand, some students are not as troubled about the new arrangement. “It doesn’t bother me, but I know it bothers a lot of other people,” said John Davenport ’07. Why this problem affects seniors the most is unclear. Perhaps seating would be easier if students were more comfortable eating with students from other classes, but most seniors like eating with other seniors, and the same goes for other classes. It may finally come down to mere acceptance as students learn to take advantage of their free periods for lunch, or we all stop complaining and start wearing warmer clothes. This currently does not seem probable. What’s worse is that the overcrowding of the dining hall could lead to an increase in driving policy violations, as many students may choose the inside of Taco Bell over the outside of Williams Dining Hall. Hopefully, this inconvenience will soon be solved. It is certainly sparking some negative feeling from many students, and with the Upper chool population increasing year by year, the seating arrangement could become a bigger problem.

November 2006

by Kyle Menges ’07

Citizen Hendrik

If you see a long-haired, 6’7’’ German stomping through the halls of St. Christopher’s this year, do not be afraid – it’s probably Hendrik Shopmans, St. Christopher’s easy-going foreign exchange student from Bergisch Gladback, Germany. Hendrik arrived in America for the first time just days before attending his first class at St. Christopher’s. If that isn’t impressive enough, Mr. Wood has suggested that Hendrik’s ability in spoken English is possibly the best of any foreign exchange student that he has seen in his over 20- year long career as a teacher. An exchange student, Hendrik is studying at St. Christopher’s this year through the International Student Exchange program. The diverse perspective that Hendrik brings to St. Christopher’s is sure to enrich our education while here. Although Hendrik’s German hometown is in many ways different from his temporary home in Richmond, he has enjoyed his stay thus far. “It’s just a really great experience to live in a foreign country for a year,” he said. “Coming from Germany,

you hear about America and want to experience it for yourself.” Hendrik has especially liked the weather of Richmond at this time of year compared to the rain and cold of Germany. His hometown, a suburb of Cologne, has about 100,000 people as compared to Richmond’s 250,000. However, the nearby town of Cologne, with a population of 1.8 million, affords him and his friends many opportunities for entertainment. There are two major ways in which St. Christopher’s differs from his school at home, NicolausCusanus-Gymnasium. For one, his native high school is a public school with about 1,000 students compared to the 300 Saints. “I have found that there are many more personal relationships with teachers here at St. Christopher’s than my high school at home,” he said. Secondly, Hendrik says that


because there are not schoolaffiliated sports in Germany, there is not a sense of school spirit. Hendrik’s favorite sports are soccer and basketball, both of which are played on club teams in Germany. A pep rally similar to that held on Nov. 1 would not exist in Germany. However, Hendrik has experienced this sense of school spirit first hand as a Varsity soccer player. Although Hendrik does bring a different perspective to St. Christopher’s, he has the same interests as most American teenagers. “For fun, my friends and I mostly do things that American kids do,” he said. We just hang out or on weekends we take the 15-minute train ride to Cologne to go to concerts and bars,” Hendrik said. Hendrik is not a criminal, however – the legal drinking age in Germany is 16. His favorite American food is the hamburger. Before coming here, he was already familiar with many aspects of American culture, particularly movies and music. “For example,” Henrik explains, “The Lord of the Rings trilogy is very popular in Germany. Those movies are awesome.”

Hairy beast makes science building home by Sam Perry ’09 Since he started as a teacher here, Mr. McGuire has been on a quest to bring life and nature to the school science building. The musk ox, new this year, is the latest installment of Mr. McGuire’s growing collection of life. “Science is something you don’t learn in a book, it’s all around you,” Mr. McGuire said. The other parts of his collection of nature include a wood duck, a large mouth bass and an old engine. Contrary to popular belief, an engine is a part of nature in Mr. McGuire’s world. In fact, the story of the musk ox seems to be more a strange twist of chance than a logical progression of events. There was an auction of various dead animals to benefit the Virginia Wildlife Association. Mr. McGuire’s friend bought the musk ox from this auction and was not pleased with it. Mr. McGuire dove into action and bought the musk ox himself for STC. “The school didn’t put musk ox into its

budget,” Mr. McGuire said. Ovibos moschatus, the scientific name for the musk ox, is much more formal sounding and appropriate than some of its other names. This 200-pound herbivore was at its best when it was frolicking over frosty plains in the last ice age 100,000 years ago. The affable musk ox is not truly as friendly as he appears. Bull oxen violently compete over females and can defeat powerful predators that endanger their families.

Despite the anxious responsibilities that accompany owning a musk ox and the large effort involved in obtaining this hairy beast, Mr. McGuire is enthusiastic about his project. The biology teacher does have an affinity for restoring old things that match their past glory. In addition to collecting stuffed animals, Mr. McGuire builds and maintains old model T cars. “How many musk oxes have you seen riding in the back of model T’s?” he asked.


Mrs. Christie Wilson, fifth grade teacher, with some Battle of the Books participants.

Battle of the Books mania takes hold in Lower School

by Teddy Mitchell ’08

A mob of frenzied third, fourth and fifth graders packed the Lower School gymnasium. It was a beautiful, sunny Friday afternoon, but these anxious Lower Schoolers had their minds focused on one thing. The Battle of the Books had begun. Friday, Oct. 13, marked the beginning of the nearly year long competition that involves 10 faculty coached teams of 11 students battling each other in a contest of who can finish more books. The contest will wrap up in March just before spring break. Possible reading choices for the contestants include age appropriate fiction and non-fiction books of all genres. While some of the early hype can be attributed to the sweet Tshirts that participants received on Friday, it appears that the challenge has been met with great

enthusiasm. “We were expecting about 50 [participants], but we got 113,” said Mrs. Brenda Snead, assistant Lower School librarian who leads the program along with third grade teacher Mrs. Anne Wesley Gehring. “It appeals to their competitive nature and they want to do well for their teams.” Each team consists of 11 students who volunteered completely on their own, with no prodding from the faculty. Even still, the faculty coaches, many of whom made signs and dressed in costume, were fired up for the kick off. In short, the program makes the action of reading, sometimes considered a burden by young students, a fun activity. Of course no contest is complete without some sort of compensation for the winning team. “The prize is yet to be determined,” Mrs. Snead said. However, she safely added, “There will be one.”

Reading Rocks!

Ms. Linda DiLucente, fourth grade teacher, and Mr. Dave Menges, Lower School head, sport the new Battle of the Books t-shirt.

By the numbers 5 -- The number of unnecessary Star Wars Club announcements on average per week. 67 -- The number of minimester ideas that will be shot down. 2 -- The number of protein shakes consumed by Jackson Freeman on any given day. 100% --- The percentage of seniors who loved the Europe trip 2006.



Soccer finishes season 8-9 by Ted Moore ’07 With great success come great expectations. Last year’s soccer team posted a record-breaking season. This year’s squad discovered they had big shoes to fill. The Saints finished 8-9 with a series of frustrating games filled with missed opportunities. One of their toughest losses came to Benedictine, a 3-2 loss, in which the Saints put forth a valiant effort in what Chase Stratton, a senior captain, called their best game. A pivotal point in the game came as junior captain Sandy Wall blasted a left footed strike off the post, a tough break which was soon followed by a

breakaway goal for the Cadets. Senior forward and captain Austin Wates was sidelined for the second half of the Benedictine game as well as several games that followed. Wates is a division one soccer prospect, and his elite athletic ability was a key ingredient to the Saints’ offense. One of the team’s greatest wins came in the first game against Collegiate. Chase Stratton demonstrated great leadership by scoring two goals and helped the Saints pull out a big 3-2 win. “Both of my goals were thanks to Jay (Weisbrod)” Stratton said. Weisbrod, who is notorious for his orange shoes, provided two assists to Stratton in the game. The soccer team felt the effects of lost experience from the 2005 state championship team. Max Hare, Neil MacLean and Daniel Jenkins each had four years of varsity soccer in their time at St. Christopher’s. “It was hard losing Max, Daniel, and Neil,” said senior sweeper Jaques Farhi. “To get back to Sports Backers we will have to win some big games. It will be

Cross country team competes in all conditions

by Tyler Franz ’09

It’s a rainy Friday afternoon with temperatures in the low fifties, and almost all school sporting events are cancelled. However, the varsity cross country team never cancels a race, and they aren’t afraid of the cold or a little bad weather. “It’s a shock when you first walk out in your uniform, but it feels good once you are actually running the race,” said Harrison Tucker ’09. Despite the weather, the team has been successful of late with victories over Trinity and a fifth place finish out of thirty five teams in the McDonald’s Monument Invitational. The team’s success is due to their toughness, which includes daily runs that average seven miles a day, and a summer training regimen that was anything but cold. Benjamin Harrison, John Mark DiGrazia, and Captain Eddie Watkins combined to run nearly 1800 miles for the Saints this summer. Harrison accounted for 760 of those miles. “I ran anywhere from 3-21 miles on any given day,” said Harrison. “I started out doing one run in the morning or in the afternoon, and then towards the middle of the summer I normally did two.” Harrison’s work has paid off for the Saints. He placed second in the STAB and Norfolk Invitational. He was also an AllPrep Runner for the 2006 season. Another notable runner is sophomore Harrison Tucker.

tough playing on the road in the first round.” Matthew Conover was among the underclassmen who was been put on the field with no varsity experience. Conover had the tough task of replacing Neal MacLean in goal. “It’s been hard,” said Conover. “You can’t replace Neal. I can’t replace him. It’s impossible.” MacLean is pursuing his skills as a goalie at Johns Hopkins University. The ultimate goal for this year’s team was to get back to Sport Backers and the state finals. Sixteen teams make the tournament each year and the Saints got the eleventh seed. Unfortunately, the Saints had a tough loss to Woodberry in the first round of the state tournament. The saints had four goals called back during regulation because of offside calls and other penalties. The Saints went on to lose in penalty shots. “It was a close game, and we deserved to win,” said senior midfielder Alex Hall. “In the end things didn’t work out for us in penalty kicks.” Hall shared similar disappointments on the season as a whole. “I don’t think we played to our full potential,” Hall said. “I don’t think we started picking it up until the last few weeks of the season.”

November 2006

Q&A with soccer player Alex Hall

by Ted Moore ’07

Position: Senior left midfield Strength: “My size, being able to out jump opponents in the air.” What he’s working on: “I’d say one of my weaknesses is strength. I’m also working on getting by defenders and putting the ball in a position to be scored.” Biggest win so far: “The 3-2 win over Collegiate was big.” Biggest disappointment: “The whole Eastern Mennonite Tournament. We didn’t play well as a team and didn’t finish plays. We went 1-2 and got sixth place.” Describes himself as: “Laid back, honest, hardworking and competitive.” On following a state championship season: “It’s always hard to defend a title. Our team has the will and the talent to get back to Sportsbacker’s and the finals.” Biggest influence: “My parents. They have pushed me to do well but know to back off when I need space.” Personal goals: “Score more than 15 points (assists + goals).” Team goals: “Get back to Sports Backers.” Most wants to: “Play a Division III sport.”

Saints take time from practice to be Saints

by Brandon Nelson ’07

Tucker placed 20th in the Prep League meet at Collegiate, which he ran in 17:33. Coming off a strong season as JV cross country captain, Tucker is a promising leader both as a teammate and as a runner of future cross country teams. Many of the team’s losses this year have been due to extremely tough competition. Coach Nystrom says the team is “stronger than last year’s team, but so is [the] competition.” As fall ends, most athletes are heading indoors for winter sports. However, the cross country team endured an extra week of outdoor running with temperatures in the 30s. While the daily workouts became easier to allow the runners to prepare for the state meet on Nov. 10, running conditions have become even tougher as the team has faced even colder weather with regular rain showers. After placing fourth in the Prep League, the team headed to the state meet where they placed sixth. Runner James Smyth also achieved all-state status.

The St. Christopher’s soccer team took a trip over to St Andrew’s School in downtown Richmond. St Andrew’s is a tuition free school that aims to educate young children who have limited resources.    The connection comes from none other than Mrs. Hardwick, a former Upper School resource teacher, who began coordinating many service opportunities with St. Andrew’s School.   The Saints helped Saint Andrews in what became their biggest charity fundraiser. The Saints’ job involved taping stickers to paint brushes that would be mailed out to different families.  Their efforts were greatly appreciated.   The Saints also performed a lot of yard work and maintenance work.  The Saints laid down

mulch throughout mulch beds, dug up weeds, and even swept off the sidewalks surrounding the school. The team’s hard work greatly improved the appearance of the area outside the school.  Finally, the saints settled in for a little paper work.  The Saints’ final task involved stuffing and licking envelopes that went out to all of the families.  This event did not last that long, but it took a lot of people and cooperation to fold all of those papers and put them into the envelopes.      This opportunity was something that Coach Wood has been trying to do for several years.  He has tried to do out of season, but there were never enough guys available due to commitments players had to other sports.  Coach Wood found the perfect time this year as the soccer team had a whole week

off without a game. In my opinion this was a great experience for the soccer team. The team really needed to do something to bring them together.  This proved to be a great means of team bonding, as well as a great way to help out the community.  “The people there really needed our help and it was a small step but a step in helping them.  I think it was a good project,” said foreign exchange student Hendrich Schoptmans. Others such as Brewster Rawls felt that this experience really did something for the team. “I feel it will bring unity to the team.  Community service always cleanses the soul.  Whenever I feel like doing something cool I like to do service for the community and I think that is exactly what the soccer team is doing.” When asking Alex Hall ’07 about what he got out of the service project he responded “I felt like I was helping the community in a big way because I was doing service for the school.  And the chocolate chip cookies tasted good.” The Saints not only received “thank you’s” but also received an abundance of chocolate chip cookies and ice cold lemonade throughout their labor.  It was apparent to all who went that the people at this school really needed and sincerely appreciated our help.

November 2006



Chucky’s creator returns

by Ross O’Connor ’09 and Peter Thomas ’07

One day in 2004, Oliver Stone charged into a post-production studio in London to find a young director working on a film. Stone demanded that the young director give him use of the studio. The director refused to be intimidated, and Stone was forced to leave. That director was Don Mancini, a 1981 STC graduate, and the creator of Chucky, the murderous doll of horror film fame. This telling example, told to us by Mr. Ron Smith, illustrates Mancini’s steadfast determination and resolve as a writer and filmmaker who has made a name for himself in Hollywood. “Apparently Stone was flabbergasted,” Smith said. “Don was quite rightly pleased that the bully didn’t get his way – and later that Chucky went on to make more money than big old bloated ‘Alexander.’” Mancini became a celebrity ever since his first “Child’s Play” movie made it to the big screen. On its opening weekend in 1988, the movie grossed over $6.5 million. “Child’s Play 2” was even more profitable, grossing more than $10.7 million in its opening weekend. Three additional “Child’s Play” movies followed. Mancini visited here this fall and spoke to several senior English classes, answering questions about writing for the film industry and what he thinks about current horror films. His senior year during minimester, Mancini made a movie about the short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor. “I knew at that point that he would do something in movies,” Mr. Smith


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special guest Joe Munno, known for his energetic intensity, all spoke to fire up the Saints for the ensuing athletic matches. The results were positive; students and faculty alike agreed that it was a step forward in increasing school spirit. Varsity football captain Matthew Thompson said that the team was pumped up by the pep rally. “It ran a lot more smoothly than past years and I think everyone enjoyed themselves,” said senior Ben White. “The Pep Rally was really fun. I enjoyed going and hope it helps us out in the games this weekend.”

said. When Mancini went to St. Christopher’s, he enjoyed how small the classes were and all of the personal attention he received from his teachers. He wrote for “The Pine Needle,” and former STC teacher John Harris said that he wrote many excellent movie reviews for the school paper. But his talents extend beyond writing and producing. Mancini has also become an avid runner. Since he graduated from UCLA, he has completed two triathlons, the first of which was completed with Mr. Smith. He said that he wouldn’t like to do any marathons because he likes the transition in between the three events of a triathlon. Mancini said that it usually takes him about three to four months to write a first draft, yet even longer to improve subsequent drafts. Like most good writers, he believes that “it’s never done.” He has also written other movies that have not been produced. “Donald is a wonderful guy who has worked hard to achieve what he’s achieved,” said Mr. Smith. “He’s articulate about film technique and aesthetics -- no, he’s downright eloquent about them, as you saw when he was here... And he’s as honest and kind a person as you’ll ever want to meet – despite his slasher brainchild, his evil, ridiculous, gruesomely witty Chucky, that cute little nightmare who, young as he is, has himself conquered a pretty good chunk of the world already.”

The days following the Pep Rally were equally intense. Thursday was “Old School St. Chris Day.” Students donned old varsity letter jackets, Fall Festival T-shirts, hats and gym shorts made as far back as the 1970s. Finally, Friday featured “Braveheart Day.” A few but proud number of Saints imitated William Wallace with red and gray facepaint and attire. On the completion of Operation Annihilation, varsity football captain Ted Moore said, “Regardless of the outcomes of the athletic games following Operation Annihilation, a St. Christopher’s spirit week is a tradition that should be continued in the future to raise school spirit.”

New technology draws mixed reviews by J.P. Welch ’07

The future looks impressive as St. Christopher’s enters a new age of technology with a revamped web site and plasma screen TVs in Chamberlayne Hall and the science building. Upper School Head Tony Szymendera scratches the surface of what could be possible with these new upgrades. “Down the road a bit, teachers will be able to set up their own groups that will allow their students to work together on say a question or topic posted electronically, sort of like an online discussion group,” he said. “It could be something that is set up specifically to review for exams where the teacher holds an online review rather than having everyone have to come to school on a given night or weekend at a specific time.  Students could monitor the ‘discussion’ from the comfort of home.  And that’s just one example.” The video screens also present possibilities for the future.  Students have already been

able to see the Yankees-Tigers playoff games live after school in addition to the news and announcements that occupy the boards during the school day. For now, however, the initial phase of introducing the technology to the students is still

aren’t always willing and don’t always have the time to take a minute to look at them. “The one time I did look at it, the thing that I was looking for never came up,” Garland said. Coleman Cann ’07 agreed. “It’s more convenient to look at a piece of paper above the urinal.” “It’s more convenient to At this stage, that might be look at a piece of paper true. Some students though have begun checking them frequently above the urinal.” and have even offered a few in progress. Most students find suggestions. that SaintsNet, the creation of “I think it would be great if the which is credited to the school’s TVs had remotes,” said Brewster technology team, including Rawls ’06. Perhaps this is also a Mr. Hiram Cuevas, Middle possibility in the near future. School technology coordinator, Though it has taken a while and Mrs. Susan Mistr, school for some to get used to, many communications director, has students are already buying into been useful as far as having the system.  access to school news and Mr. Szymendera makes the homework posted on the website.  point that as more and more Many have also begun using the students are drawn to the system, new school email feature. it “will be a tremendous upgrade “The email is a good idea and in our preparation of the student is pretty practical,” says Rob body for what they will face in Garland ’07. college where systems similar to The video screens have this are already in place and are generally received positive the lifeblood of the community.” feedback as well, though students



Prep League to the ACC

November 2006

Marshall Tucker’s success story

by John Stillwell ’09 During his first practice as a Virginia Cavalier, Marshall Tucker received his welcome to college football from former University of Virginia star quarterback Marques Hagans. “My coach asked me if I knew what to do on a certain defense,” said Tucker, a 2002 St. Christopher’s graduate. “I said ‘yes,’ and he put me in. At the time Marques Hagans was playing wide receiver. He lined up across from me. It was oneon-one coverage, and, to say the least, he burned me deep. “I’m not sure if that play was the reason my coach switched me to safety, but I think it was a good move.” Before heading to Charlottesville and walking on to the Virginia football team, Tucker dominated in football and basketball at St. Christopher’s. During his four-year varsity basketball career, Tucker set the school record in scoring, free throws made, defensive rebounds, assists and steals, finishing his career with 1.259 points, 310 defensive rebounds, 234 assists and 204 steals. As a sophomore, Tucker helped the Saints capture the 2000 Prep League Championship, and as a senior, he led the Saints to the 2002 Prep League title game after scoring 41 points in an overtime semifinal victory over Woodberry Forest. “Marshall was a great athlete and a terrific basketball player,” said Mr. Tom Franz, his former basketball coach who heads the Middle School. “His presence on the court made everyone on his team better… If I had to pick the all-time starting five that played for me, Marshall is certain to be in that group.” On the gridiron, Tucker was

by Kyle Wittenauer After climbing high to a 3-0 start, the Saints’ varsity football team felt a stomach churning roller coaster plummet with seven consecutive losses, finishing the season with a 3-7 record. From the outset, the team was plagued with injuries, including Harrison Graham’s (Jr.-OL) pre-season knee injury, Kevin Isaacs’ (Jr.-DB) broken leg, Neal McGroarty’s (Jr.-RB) severe ankle sprain, Richard Morgan’s (Sr.-LB) injured foot, and Richard Luck’s (Jr.-LB) leg injury, just to name a few. In spite of the adversity, this Saints team persevered. “Everyone [on the team] was confident the whole season, even going into the last week,” said senior QB and Co-captain Matt Thompson. “At no point, did anyone feel defeated. [The team] came in with high expectations that we just didn’t meet.” Sam Karn, a senior wide receiver and co-captain, concurred with Thompson.

a two-way force at quarterback and defensive back for the Saints. Head football coach Paul Padalino remembers Tucker as one of the finest athletes who ever played for him as well as a hardworking model for his teammates. “Marshall was a talented and accomplished athlete at St. Christopher’s,” said Coach Padalino. “He had a strong competitive spirit that complemented his physical talents.” During his senior football season at St. Christopher’s, Tucker accumulated 989 yards of total offense and scored 10 total touchdowns. However team achievement was more important to Tucker than individual statistics. “My most memorable moment at St. Christopher’s was obviously beating Collegiate 33-7 my senior year,” Tucker said. “No other class had beaten the Cougars since I was in kindergarten. It was definitely memorable for me and all my teammates.” Tucker’s success during his St. Christopher’s football career led to an invitation to walk on to the University of Virginia’s football team. Tucker did not experience the same statistical success he had as a Saint, but he made the traveling team his junior year, earned a scholarship and contributed to special teams. In fact, the Wahoos scored a touchdown the first time Tucker ever entered a game. “We were playing Temple at Lincoln Financial Field (home of the Philadelphia Eagles) and I was on the punt return team. Alvin Pearman was the puntreturner and on my first play of college football, he took the punt back for a touchdown.” Tucker was recruited by a number of smaller schools where he could have starred in both

football and basketball, but he is pleased with his career and the path he took. “I don’t have any regrets about going to Virginia and walking on as opposed to going to one of the lower division schools that recruited me,” Tucker said. It was a tough decision as I really wanted to play sports, and UVa was my first choice for college.” Tucker was red-shirted during his freshman year at Virginia, and last spring he decided to pass up an opportunity to return to the Wahoos for his fifth-year season. “I enjoyed my time playing football at UVa, but I was not really tempted to stay for a fifth year. My decision was based on the number of people from my class returning, which turned out to be four. Playing football is a major time commitment and I didn’t want to come back halfheartedly (without my closest friends). I am happy with my decision because I got to relax and enjoy my last semester like a regular college student.” Tucker is now a first year student at the University of Richmond’s T.C. Williams School of Law, and he feels well prepared. “I feel like my educational background at St. Chris and UVa have prepared me well for the challenges of law school,” said Tucker. “Also playing football for four years really gives you a strong work ethic. I now find myself with plenty of free time to get extra work done instead of working out and preparing for games.” As far as the future, Tucker said, “My plans are to see where law school takes me. I am not sure right now what area of law I would like to practice.” The success of this accomplished Saint will certainly continue into the future.

IN HIS WORDS What St. Christopher’s teacher influenced you the most? “Many teachers influenced me over the course of my 13 years at St. Christopher’s. Coach Dick Kemper, although not a teacher, was so important and influential because he taught me more things outside of school. Coach Kemper was there for all of my years and he was more than a coach.” What was the best victory you had as a Cavalier? “A big moment was the Florida State win at home in 2005. It was the first win against FSU in 10 years. The atmosphere in the stadium was amazing. The crowd stormed the field after the game.” Football or Basketball? “Over my 5 years playing sports at St. Christopher’s there were so many great moments playing both football and basketball that it is hard to pick which sport was more enjoyable. Basketball is closer to my heart but I really enjoyed playing both.”


Saints end season 3-7

“We worked hard, but it was a disappointing season,” Karn said. “I wish that our record could reflect it, but [I think] we had a successful season [overall]. I hope the younger players can learn from it and have more wins next year.” Head Coach, Paul Padalino, believes this team, in spite of its relative inexperience, had a great deal of perseverance. “This is a group of guys who worked hard and had to overcome [a great deal of] injuries,” Coach Padalino said. The players all agreed that the season’s high point was the homecoming victory over Saint Stephen-St. Agnes, and they commiserated on the low points: the loss to Benedictine and the season finish, a hard fought loss to Collegiate which featured a tremendous performance by Thompson, who rushed for 239 yards and four touchdowns on 44 carries. The Saints executed a terrific game plan, and nearly pulled off an upset of the Cougars,

falling just short, 41-27. The players are already starting to focus on next season, and they are planning to meet regularly on Sundays to lift weights and begin training. “We will have to work hard and get ready for next season,” Saints’ junior DL Clarke Gottwald said. “Everyone who is coming back is willing to put forth the effort, and next year is looking pretty good,” said Junior Richard Luck.

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Thompson knows that next season will be here before too long, and he hopes the returning players are ready. “The last [four seasons] have gone by fast,” he said. “I hope the younger guys don’t take anything for granted. It goes by really fast.”

This leads to the question of what would prevent such a project in the future. Cost estimates range from several hundred thousand to several million dollars. Another controversial aspect is the reaction from the neighboring community. With residential homes bordering the majority of Knowles Field, it is reasonable to expect a wide range of responses from neighbors. So far having night lights has been purely speculation with no actual consideration. “I don’t believe the issue has ever been raised in a formal or serious way,” Mr. Szymendera said. “By this, I mean it has never been part of any strategic planning process.” Whether there are night lights or not, St. Christopher’s remains admired for its athletic commitment. Regardless, the current facilities should stand as a reminder that our school community is privileged to have such a program. Our sports facilities should not be taken for granted.

November 2006


Movin’ On Up


Saints football players try their hands at college athletics by Thomas Jenkins ’07

Running back and linebacker Thomas Hovis ’06, tight end and defensive end Richard Graham ’05, and quarterback and safety Fred Johnson ’05 were all starters on the 2004 Prep League Championship Varsity football team. For those of you who don’t remember, that was the team that defeated Collegiate 40-32 without throwing a pass. All three of them went on to play football in college. “The Pine Needle” caught up with these standouts to ask them what life as a college athlete is like and how it compares to their experience at St. Christopher’s.

Thomas Hovis

Fred Johnson

Fred Johnson stopped playing quarterback to focus on playing defensive back at the College of William and Mary. Like Richard Graham, he redshirted his freshman year with the Tribe. Defensive backs coach Scott Boone said, “He has established himself as an important contributor on Special Teams and is working hard to improve his skills as a safety. He works hard in practice and is a solid citizen in the program and on campus.” What is different about the game play in high school and college? “The game play is a lot faster, and the players are a lot more physical and stronger. But football is football on any level, so you just have to adjust at the college level.” Is it hard to balance football, classes, and a social life? “It’s not hard to balance my time. I actually have a lot of time to get things done with study hall every day. I don’t have much social time during the season because we are in hotels all Friday and after the game on Saturday I’m really tired, but I find time to chill.”

Thomas Hovis spent four years on Coach Padalino’s team refining his football skills, and it paid off Sept. 23. The Hampden Sydney College Tigers defeated the Guilford Quakers in a high scoring shootout 46-43. Hovis, a middle linebacker, recorded two interceptions, returning one 26 yards for a touchdown. The Old Dominion Athletic Conference named Hovis the defensive player of the week. Tigers coach Marty Favret said, “He was the difference in our big win over Guilford… We expect more big things from him in the coming weeks as we chase after a league championship.” What is different about the game play in high school and college? “For me, the main difference is the mental side of the game. On defense we have to know everything about the opposing offense, plus we have about a 60-page playbook.  Also, every week we adjust our playbook to the opposing offense.  That part of the game was the hardest part for me to get used to.” Is it hard to balance football, classes, and a social life? “It is hard to balance football, class, and a social life, but it’s not as hard as people think.  It’s tough to get everything done but to do that you just have to sacrifice some of your social life.  It’s not fun to sit in your room working or watching film knowing your friends are partying but it’s only for three or four months during football then it becomes a lot easier.” What did you do in the off-season to prepare for the regular season?  How did this compare to pre-season at St. Christopher’s? “Over the off-season I did not change my workout much, which was a huge mistake. This off-season I am going to lift more and run much more.” What advice do you have to student athletes who are hoping to play in college? “To the guys who want to play in college, work with your coach on getting recruited.  My advice would be to contact the schools you might want to play at and just let the coaches know you are interested. ”What do you like about Hampden Sydney? “I like everything about H-SC.  I love it here; I couldn’t have gone anywhere else.”

What did you do in the off-season to prepare for the regular season? How did this compare to pre-season at St. Christopher’s?  “My off season consists of heavy running and lifting during the winter to prepare for spring football. And during the summer I work out with Coach Blanton, but from now on I’ll probably stay at school to train during the summer. Training was the same in high school but it wasn’t as demanding like in college. I lifted with Coach Blanton to get stronger and faster.” What advice do you have to student athletes who are hoping to play in college? “The only advice I have is to play hard every game and really focus in practice to better your skills.” What are you doing to earn a starting spot? “To earn a starting spot, I am working hard on special teams every game to show the coaches that I’m a physical and hard worker. I really try to show my talents with the reps that I get in practice, and I’m waiting on graduation so some seniors can leave.”

Richard Graham

After excelling at tight end position here at STC, Richard Graham packed on the pounds and began playing on the line at Virginia Tech. He redshirted his freshman year, and now he is the second string offensive tackle on Coach Frank Beamer’s #23 ranked Hokies. “He is still learning the game, but he has played with great desire and great effort,” Beamer said.

What is different about the game play in high school and college? “I’d say the biggest difference is the time commitment. In season every week we have about four hours of lifting, about six hours of film, all on top of two and a half hours of practice a day. Also I don’t get a fall break, Thanksgiving break and hardly any Christmas break.  Also we have spring practice which is pretty tough as well summer workouts.  As far as competition, the players are a lot bigger, faster and stronger.” Is it hard to balance football, classes, and a social life?  “The hardest time to balance everything is in season because you have so much going on, but they provide us tutors and help us get into the classes we want, which is nice.  Socially I still get to have fun but not as much as most other college students.” What did you do in the off-season to prepare for the regular season?  How did this compare to pre-season at St. Christopher’s? ”I had to be here from May 21 all the way until school started and we had to lift four days a week as well as condition every day after workouts.  In comparison to high school, the lifting and running is all very structured and real intense whereas in high school it was more up to yourself and how much better you wanted to get. Nothing was really forced upon you.” What advice do you have to student athletes who are hoping to play in college?  “I’d say the biggest thing is to start getting prepared to play early in your career. The next level is all about strength and athleticism and Coach Blanton can definitely get you ready if you buy into his program and work hard from freshman year all the way ’til your last day as a Saint.  Also, get your name out there by going to camps because a lot of colleges see us as a small school without much competition so it’s important to go compete in front of them against other college prospects.” What are you doing to earn a starting spot on the line?  “Right now I’m second-string left tackle behind a senior and I’m just trying to get better every day in the weight room and also technically.  Getting better techniquewise is key but also I’m just trying to make sure I better understand my position and the offense as the season goes on.” How did the team react after the loss to Georgia Tech?  “After the Georgia Tech game the team was pretty upset because we knew we didn’t play our best and really should not have lost; however, we all have tried to put it behind us and get better as a team every day in practice so that we can win the ACC again and get into a BCS bowl this winter.”

November 2006

The Back Page


“The Pine Needle” staff pitted some familiar St. Christopher’s faces against their famous look alikes in a battle of epic proportions. These battles will be held in a secret volcano arena in the middle of the desert. Invitations were sent out only to newspaper staff members. Read on to find our insider predictions and get a sneak preview on the action. While their football allegiances differ, both share an unparalleled knack for unbridled rage. When the Steelers and the Eagles match up on the gridiron, the result will leave one of these diehard fans screaming.

The Pine Needle staff Pittsburg Steelers Coach Bill Cowher

Mr. Syzmendera

If these nerds go head to head, the result could send shockwaves of awkwardness throughout the world. Watch out! GOSH!

Claiborne Gregory Spencer Hall Kyle Menges Brandon Nelson J.P Welch

Sophomore contributors

Jack Black

Tyler Franz John Stillwell Ross O’Connor Sam Perry

Freshman contributors

The last battle invovles one of our very own newspaper staff members. The inventor of the socalled “Lacoste trend” here at STC vs. the inventor of the Internet. Whose claim is more credible? “The Pine Needle” will officially endorse Kyle in his bid to upset Al Gore as future president. Make no doubt about it, Kyle will be a force to reckon with, armed with a microphone and his unlimited ambition. GODSPEED CAPTAIN!

Captain Kyle Menges, Student government president

Junior contributors Teddy Mitchell Neil McGroarty Robert Barry

Frontman of “The Reserve” vs. star of “School of Rock” and “Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny.” The question remains: Who rocks harder?

J.T. Jester

Ted Moore Thomas Jenkins Peter Thomas

Senior writers

Napoleon Dynamite

Jeb Bryan

Senior editors

Jason Pacious Thomas Johnson Kyle Wittenauer

Faculty advisors

Mr. Hamill Jones Mrs. Kathleen Thomas Former Vice President Al Gore

October 06 Pine Needle  
October 06 Pine Needle  

October 06 Pine Needle