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The Pine Needle

By Wells Baylor ’11 Junior Contributor

October 2009

Richmond, Virginia

Volume XCI

Number 1

On Model the Teacher RoadTakes Again to his Model T

This summer, Mr. Billy McGuire crossed the Great Plains, trekked through the Rockies and journeyed through the desert in a restored 1909 Model T. Temperatures ranged from the low 40s to upper 90s. And his Model T didn’t even have heat or air conditioning. Mr. McGuire explained all this in a blog about his trip. He mentioned how the Simon and Garfunkel song “We’re All Off to Look for America” applied to his journey to find the essence of this country. He wrote in the blog, “Each day, I’ve tried to capture my observations not in a romanticized or patriotic shrouded guise, but objectively working to figure out just what this country is and how it works.” During the summer, the St. Christopher’s science department chair participated in a 54-car trip across the nation. The journey, which spanned more than 4,156 miles, marked the 100-year anniversary of a Ford advertising gimmick where many of the world’s most successful car companies entered a cross country race. Ford raced alongside these early automotive giants, though at the time Ford was a relatively small car manufacturer. The Model T beat out many of the more expensive luxury models and won. The victory shoved the Model T into the public’s eye and rocketed Fords sales into unprecedented numbers. Since 1984, the 75th anniversary of the event, Mr. McGuire had been planning to participate in the 2009 race. When that date finally came around, the Model T Ford Club International president and owner of six Model Ts was

Wittenauer Commits to Yale By Patrick Delaney ’11 Senior Editor

ready. The trip began in New York City. More than 50 slow-moving Model Ts accompanied by a police escort crammed into the already congested New York City streets. After the brigade of Fords had freed itself of the city, the Model T’s were off and over the Catskill Mountains. The group eventually traveled through the rust belt, across the plains and into the Rockies. Along the way, the parade of Model Ts saw some amazing sites. They saw dizzying mountain peaks, scorching deserts and some of the world’s most developed skylines. But for the

majority of the trip, they just saw miles and miles of corn, Mr. McGuire said in his blog. Seeing the nation this way truly revealed the diversity of natural wonders and manmade marvels that make up our country’s landscape. The Model Ts were completely exposed to the elements, but according to Mr. McGuire, this was a good thing as there was “no better way to see the country.” Back in 1909, the cars had no air conditioning to keep the desert air out, no heat to prevent the mountain’s frost from entering and no side windows to protect

John Asare Receives Highest Honor at Boys State

By Ben Resnik ’11 Junior Contributor

John Asare did not start out as a major contender. When Asare, ’10, arrived at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, he had no plan in mind for what he was going to do. Over the course of the next week at the Boys State program, a new state would be formed, and its leaders chosen. Asare knew he wanted to be one of them. Personal drive aside, he was immediately at a disadvantage. “When I came, I didn’t know what was going on,” he said. “I had no idea how Virginia was split up.” Asare saw the party divisions and felt like he was the right person to help unify the state. “Right off the bat I decided to run for governor,” he said. “If you’re going to run for something, why not go big?” The decision did not map out an easy week for Asare. The Boys State program pulls in 800 high school seniors representing the entire state of Virginia each year, every one of them ambitious and proactive. In a scenario with this much motivation and very few elected offices, it was clear to Asare that his work was cut out for him. The Boys State program is organized like a tiny democracy.

Rising seniors are subdivided into a city, each named after a general, and from there attendees elected by their fellow program go into office. Elections span the entire week, with larger elections taking place towards the end of the program. At Boys State, holding an office is a badge of honor. “It was huge because people the people who voted you into office are the people who are seeing you every day,” said Asare. The election for governor was at the end of the week, and even though he decided to run for the top spot at the outset, Asare didn’t get a head start. “There were lots of people who came to Boys State already planning to be governor,” Asare said. These people were having ideas and forming connections and alliances from the moment they stepped off the bus. The first step in getting elected was making it to the top of one’s political party. The camp was divided into two factions, the Nationalist and the Federalist, not representing any political affiliation. “The two parties started from complete scratch,” he said. He was chosen as a Nationalist. Asare’s opening foray into the world of Boys State politics was no small step; he had to convince his entire party that he was the man who could beat the Federal-

ists. “The party convention in itself was huge,” he said. It consisted of 400 people. Asare’s primary opponent was Jeff Masse, a senior who had been laying the groundwork for election since the beginning. Since Masse already held the high ground in terms of time, Asare decided to go for a different tactic. “I made it a priority to present myself as a very honest person; I never backed down and I made people know that,” Asare said. Taking advantage of his natural speaking abilities and gregarious personality, Asare defeated Masse and became the nominee of the Nationalist Party. For Asare, it was here that the real test started. In Boys State’s two-party system, citizens typically vote along party lines, and the entire election depends upon swing-voters. Candidates at every level recognized this, and did everything in their power to bring members of the other party to their side by any means necessary. “There was a whole lot of backstabbing,” said Asare. “Emotions got so high; it was absolutely fantastic.” Here, Asare gained a better understanding of the pressures of running for elected office. He said that the hardest part of

campaigning was “the fact that you were in the public eye 24/7. You had to always be ready to talk to people. I did it for a week, but I imagine it must be pretty difficult for governors to do it for four years.” Asare’s new opponent was Travon Baker, a man who had successfully conquered the Federalist primaries. Because the parties did not have many ideological differences, (Asare’s platform was that he “strongly supported more sleep,”) the race was about the man. “Everyone wanted the same thing,” he said. “It came down to the candidate himself.” Though Asare was required to produce a new, original speech every time he stood in front of a different group of voters, his strategy remained very much the

Discipline, determination and drive—three words that describe senior Kyle Wittenauer. He plays tight end, linebacker and long snapper and has started for the Saints’ Varsity football for the last three years. “Ever since I can remember, I have always wanted to play football in college at a highly academic school,” said Wittenauer, a Pine Needle senior editor. “I have been focused on that goal and have worked toward it every day of my life.” Last spring, 26 college coaches visited Wittenauer on St. Christopher’s campus, most of them from D-1A and D-1AA schools. Their early interest in Wittenauer’s athletic skills brought schools like Stanford University, Boston College, Duke University and others to our campus for the first time in years, if ever. They liked what they saw in Wittenauer, and now they will likely return to visit future recruits from our program. The Ivy League schools showed up in full force with Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth College and Brown University all among last spring’s visitors. They were initially attracted to Wittenauer’s skill on the gridiron; after they saw his academic profile they were hooked. There were several state universities (the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, James Madison University and the College of William & Mary) and regional schools (the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Liberty University, Elon University, the University of Richmond and Towson University) that also showed a great deal of interest. Liberty University offered Wittenauer a full scholarship, and numerous schools invited him to their spring junior prospect days and summer senior showcase days. The University of Notre Dame, a childhood favorite of Wittenauer’s, was one of those schools. The Fighting Irish ended up offering Wittenauer a preferred walk-on spot after he attended their senior showcase camp in June. Wittenauer’s summer was full of lots of hard work and travel after attending a dozen showcase camps including ones at Duke, UVA, Boston College, Harvard, Princeton and Yale. Boston College and Duke continue to express interest in potentially offering Wittenauer a football scholarship, but Harvard, Princeton and Yale have already offered him a spot on their teams. After an exhaustive recruiting experience, Wittenauer has made a definitive decision on where he wants to spend his next four years attending school and playing football.

See Page 3 Asare

See Back Page Wittenauer

from rain. Still, these little black cars were no pushovers. The Model T could reach speeds of 40 mph and boasted a ridiculously high 22 miles per gallon. That’s the same gas mileage of my car, which, coincidentally, is also a Ford. Out of the 54-car convoy, only six, including Mr. McGuire’s Model T, made the whole trip without needing any repairs. One car couldn’t finish at all, but for those that did make the whole trip, they saw something amazing. They experienced “a great and unbiased sample [of America].”

Saints’ Summers


October 2009

Internships and Outreach To Feed a Village By Si Wofford ’10 Senior Contributor

Lanky Si Wofford ’10 stands a head above the crowd.

Mark Burlee ’10, the Next President?

By Patrick Delaney ’10 Senior Editor

Although he would be the last person to tell you, Mark Burlee ’10 is an active member in the U.S. democratic system. Rather than adopting the usual laissez faire attitude on politics, Burlee decided to get involved this summer by interning at the Virginia Victory office, where he worked on the Virginia republican campaign, particularly Bob McDonnell’s campaign for governor. After volunteering 18 hours a week for seven weeks, Burlee was able to experience many aspects of the campaign. Under the management of Julie Coggsdale, field director for the office and legislative assistant to Delegate Chris Peace,

Burlee, among other activities, organized walk books for people going door to door, scanned survey data, prepared yard signs for events, and recruited others to volunteer. As an intern, Burlee learned that there is much more to a political campaign than most people realize. In his mind, the internship was a success. “I enjoyed the experience and learned a lot about what goes into a political campaign,” he said. While he has not given much thought to his future career, Burlee says he has certainly not ruled out the possibility of a future in politics: “Hmmmm, yeah, I could see myself as president,” Burlee laughed.

Finley Fraternizes with Supermodels

By Drew Pangreze ’10 Senior Contributor

This summer Zach Finley spent four hours on some days taking pictures of supermodels. The opportunity came about through a three-week Virginia Commonwealth University photography internship in July. In addition to model shoots Finley and four other students also traveled throughout Richmond, Washing-

ton D.C. and Charlottesville to find interesting photos. A VCU teacher of photography and three other professional photographers instructed the group. “The professional photographers were great and taught us a lot,” Finley said. The group was able to utilize the state-of-the-art photography studio at VCU. “I’ve always loved photography,” Finley said. “This was a great opportunity to fine tune my skills before college. “Taking pictures of supermodels wasn’t bad either.” Look for Finley to continue to use his photographic talents in contributions to Raps & Taps this year.

Patrick Delaney interns at MCV By Kyle Wittenhauer ’10 Senior Editor

For one week in July, Patrick Delaney shadowed Dr. Scott Gullquist, Medical College of Virginia associate professor of pediatrics and director of noninvasive cardiology. Delaney viewed a wealth of medical interventions, observed three open-heart surgeries and sat in on the pre- and post-operation check-ups. “I took no active role in the process itself but it was very rewarding, after observing pre-op and surgery, to see that everything had worked out well.” In at least one case, a child’s life was saved because of the surgery. Delaney especially appreci-

ated that the doctors readily explained exactly what was happening before, during and after surgery so that he was able to at least understand the basics of his experience. “By the time my one week was up,” Delaney said, “I knew the meaning of terms like PDA, SVC, echoes and cases.” At times, Delaney felt a bit out of place, but he was quick to point out that no one treated him as if he were intruding. He found his experience beneficial, and though still undecided regarding future career plans, Delaney believes the experience opened his mind to the possibility of a career in the medical field.

This summer, I went with a small group organized by St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and a relief organization called Carpenter’s Kids to Mwitikira, a small African village of 6,000 people in Tanzania. The land is poor, but the people are honest and hardworking. The purpose of my threeweek trip was to teach English to students aged 7 to 18. They speak Swahili but must take their exams in English. Everyone was so eager to absorb the language, and they were amazed to have a fluent English speaker living in the village with them. This trip has forever changed my perspective of the world. As we approached the village, the dusty road was filled with people who came to welcome us to their home. Children ran several kilometers to meet us and then followed our Land Cruiser to Mwitikira where I noticed something new and exciting. I was surrounded by complete strangers who were ecstatic that I was there. Within the first few seconds of being in the village, I knew that I was accepted as if I was a new member of their family. In talking with the local Episcopal Bishop’s wife, I found out that this year’s rainy season brought very little rain. Therefore, food is scarce, and some of the amazing children whom I grew to love may not survive until the next rainy season. Malnutrition is already a problem, and starvation is a definite issue this year. This realization hit me like a train as I was looking at everyone as I left. One of my new friends, Jafar, one of the “tough” soccer players, started to cry as he waved good-bye. This led me to tears. To know that Jafar and

his friends Leonardi, Mwilwa, William, Ronaldo and many others may not be there when I return is truly heartbreaking. St. Christopher’s has taught me to act on my beliefs, and so I am starting with some friends a simple act of raising funds for food for the students I taught. There is a critical, immediate need for money to save these children that are being helped by the Carpenter’s Kids program. $25 will feed one student until the end of the dry season. Thanks to everyone’s help

we reached our goal of $20,000. The Carpenter’s Kids organization bought the food and truckloads are still coming into the village. My father was there in late September to witness some trucks coming in and everyone was blown away by the great surprise of food in a time of famine. With the help of Mr. Stillwell and Dr. Smith a school-driven trip to Tanzania will happen this summer. If you are interested please speak with Dr. Smith. Mwitikira, Tanzania is an amazing place full of faith, fun and smiles.

Van Sumeren in the Islands By Jack Jessee ’10 Senior Editor

Ryan Van Sumeren ’10 had a rather eventful internship experience. During his three- week service trip to the U.S Virgin Islands, he helped on a farm, worked in a botanical garden, and tutored local kids. Unfortunately, he also suffered a gruesome machete-related disaster. The accident, the first of its kind on an Overland trip, occurred while attempting to cut down a tree on the farm. Instead of cutting the tree, Van Sumeren cut through his own knee, opening a huge gash and cracking his patella. Even after having a doctor insert his finger into the wound to determine the extent of the injury and receiving 12 stitches, Van Sumeren decided to stay for the last week of the trip rather than return home. While most students would be horrified by such an experience, he remains unwaveringly positive. “Although the machete incident was incredibly painful, overall the trip was worthwhile and I’m glad I went,” he said. “I also have something to write about in my college essays now.”

Ms. Asha Bandal and Stephane Irankunze ’09

Remembering AJOS By Zane Seals ’10 Senior Contributor

Many remember Stephane Irankunze’s presentation in chapel last spring when he spoke about AJOS, an association that helps protect young orphans from AIDS and poverty in Burundi, his native country in Eastern Africa. Irankunze led efforts to collect materials that included notebooks, pens, clothing and athletic equipment. The donations improved tremendously with the help of MADE, a student organization that advocates diversity and equality. Last March MADE sponsored dances for several schools in the Richmond area that included St.

Christopher’s, St. Catherine’s, The Collegiate School and The Steward School. The proceeds were originally going to be donated to Church Hill Activities and Tutoring, but after Irankunze’s chapel presentation, MADE decided to use the funds to ship the materials to Berundi. Mrs. Varner, the faculty sponsor of MADE, said AJOS was chosen because “it was directly related to the school community through Stephane.” In midsummer the children received countless supplies that the school had collected. The weight of the materials was so heavy that the shipping cost more than $1,300.

School Life

October 2009

Saints Turn Japanese

Alumni Spotlight Alumnus Bill Schmidt Named Gates Scholar

By Connor Lifson ’16

Middle School Correspondent

“Because of a simple game of baseball, two entirely different cultures from around the globe are united,” says Jeb Bemiss, ’16. This summer a delegation of 25 people (16 kids and nine adults) traveled halfway across the world to Saitama City, Japan. Each person remembers everything from the Seattle Space Needle to the Japanese Temple to the pro baseball game we saw on our last night in Japan. On Aug. 3, all 25 of us woke up early to travel by bus to Dulles Airport. Our five-hour flight from there to Seattle seemed so long. When we arrived in Seattle we took a bus to our hotel, ate dinner at Ivar’s Acres of Clams and walked to a dock to watch the sunset over the water. Then, we walked back up the steep downtown streets to enjoy the pool perched on the top floor of our hotel. At night, the view was spectacular. The next morning we were free to do whatever we wanted. Some went to Pike’s Market and others went to various coffee shops or the Seattle Space Needle. We then came back to the hotel and piled into taxis to go to the airport. Many of us wished we could spend a few more days in Seattle. Christopher Thompson, 13, says, “The architecture was amazing. And overall, Seattle was fun.” It was hard to imagine that in less than 10 hours we would be halfway around the world. We boarded our Boeing 777 to Tokyo’s Narita Airport. Nine hours later, we got our first glimpse at Japan. No cities. No huddled people. Just fields of crops. This would soon change. We got off our plane and sped through customs. The Japanese are the best in the world in terms of organizing many people in tight quarters. We got our luggage and were greeted by a massive group of people with posters and smiling faces. They led us to our bus that would take us on a 2.5-hour bus ride to Saitama City Hall. We were exhausted. It felt like 4 a.m., but it was only 5 p.m. Japan time. We were greeted by more posters and smiling faces. Every two kids were assigned to a family while each adult went with a different family. Christopher Thompson and I were assigned to a family with a teenager and a 12 year old. Most of us went home and fell straight to sleep. In the morning Christopher and I woke up and walked around the neighborhood. The streets were small. But on almost every corner, there was a vending machine. We went up and our host dad offered to buy us a drink and we gladly accepted. We all got Mountain Dews which each cost 110 yen or $1.10. We then drove to City Hall to meet the mayor who greeted us with gifts. The next day, we went to the mall to buy souvenirs and gifts. Strangely, all we could find were American stores. The T-shirts made no sense but the Japanese thought they were cool because they had English writ-


By Kyle Wittenauer ’10 Senior Editor

Members of St. Christopher’s delegation pose for pictures.

ing. Some bought picture books for home (which by the way was difficult, because all of the books seemed to be about America) or jewelry for their moms. After the mall, we went to a water park with racing slides, a lazy river and many rafts. Thomas Lynde says, “My favorite part of the pool was the waterslide because you can race your friends.” After that, we headed to our first baseball game, which was rained out. The next day Christopher and I attended a baseball practice with our hosts’ team, followed by a lunch of noodles, and went bowling with our family. After that, I met my dad and his host and took a bus to the proposed site of the 2016 Olympics. We and 300,000 other people then went to watch the annual Summer Festival fireworks. Better than July 4 in Boston or Washington D.C., the show lasted an hour and 20 minutes. When it was over, more people than live in the city of Richmond walked out and crowded onto buses. The next day, we headed to the Arawa Sports Park. We lost our first game, exchanged gifts with the other team and ate a McDonald’s lunch. We then played another game and won. The next morning, rain delayed our game so we played t-ball and won. For many of us, this was our last Little League game. Many people hit two home runs in 3 at bats. Christopher, our last batter, hit a walkoff home run. We then played basketball. We Americans were about half a foot taller that most of them so we dominated. Afterwards, we headed to a cook-your-own-food restaurant. Many of us did not excel in cooking but Henry Stillwell was a notable exception. Later that evening, we went to an amazing farewell party where we were guests of honor. Everyone from the mayor of Saitama to the game umpires was there. The mayor and the owner of the Yukut Swallows (a Japanese pro baseball team) spoke. We all went home with our host families. Each family was different. Mine lived on top of their grandparents’ house. We played Wii a lot in our hang-out time with our Japanese friends. John Tyson’s favorite part of living for a week with our host’s families was, “getting to see how they live their lives.” The next day, my favorite day of the week, we went into Tokyo and to one of the oldest Temples in Japan -- Asakusa Kannon. We saw what we thought was the temple but it was only the first

gate, Kaminari-mon, or Thunder Gate. We walked under it and entered a long string of shops. From jewelry to Samurai swords, everyone found something to their liking. To the left of the gate was a five-story pagoda built in honor of soldiers who died in war. Ahead the actual temple was under construction. We saw a place to worship, a jewelry vendor and a few shrines. All over the temple grounds, there were gold tables. You put a hundred yen ($1) in a slot, then picked up a gold canister, shook it and took out a scroll with your fortune written in Japanese and English. If it was good, you kept it. If it was bad, you tied it on a pole so that it would go away, and then bought a new fortune. Strangely, most of the fortunes were bad. Afterwards, we headed to Tokyo Tower, an almost an exact copy of the Eiffel Tower in red. We then headed to a game played by the Yakut Swallows, one of 12 major league Japanese teams. We arrived several hours early so that we could meet two North American players and Aoki, the center fielder and the star player. Many of us got autographs and one of us got his sunglasses. We visited the dugout and even were invited to practice batting. When the game started, we soon figured out that we couldn’t understand anything but the scoreboard and the chants. The scoreboard was only in English and the main chant was “Go, Go, Swallows!!!” When the announcer said it, it sounded like Goo, Goo, Swallooos!!!” We all have been chanting it ever since. Aoki started and finished the game with a home run. The next morning, we woke up and went to City Hall to say our final good-byes. We got on the bus and 35 Japanese people waved and yelled, “Sayanara!!! Good-bye!!!” We did the same. After a visit to an aquarium, we passed through security at the airport and said good-bye to our chaperones. We were all sad to leave. Many of us were itching to give gifts to friends and family at home. As we boarded the plane we took one last look at Japan and someone spotted our chaperones from the airport windows. We waved and they and waved back. They had waited for hours to see our plane off. That was the moment most of us realized how much they cared about our sister city relationship. We all looked back upon the trip and realized how good this experience was. Mr. Schmick, Middle School geography and history teacher, said, “It’s wonderful that the boys get a chance to visit a foreign country and gain appreciation for a different culture.” So from the Seattle Space Needle to the Japanese Temple, Asakusa Kannon, to the Yakut Swallows game, all of us loved and will cherish the memories forever. The Boeing 777 took off and our trip ended 12 hours later.

We couldn’t understand anything but the scoreboard and the chants...

Strangely, all we could find were American stores...

Christopher Thompson and Connor Lifson watch the sun set in Seattle.

What do alum Bill Schmidt and Bill Gates have in common? For starters, they share the same first name. Perhaps more impressive, the Gates Foundation, founded by Bill and Melinda Gates of Microsoft fame, has named Schmidt a 2009 Gates Scholar. Schmidt attended the Millwood School in Woodlake through 8th grade before coming here. After graduating valedictorian in 2005, he went on to Yale University where he graduated in May with a double major in English and psychology. He’s now at Cambridge University pursuing a master’s of philosophy in criminology. “I had applied to Cambridge (and was accepted) before I got the scholarship, so I was planning on going there no matter what,” Schmidt said. “I just had to figure out how to make it financially possible. The scholarship made that a lot easier.” The Gates Cambridge Scholarships are similar to the Oxford University Rhodes Scholarships. The biggest differences is that Gates scholars study at Cambridge and the program, which began in 2001, is much newer. The scholarship includes all tuition costs, a maintenance allowance and discretionary spending allowance for study-related activities. The foundation selects about 100 scholars a year from around the globe. Scholarships are based on “a person’s intellectual ability, leadership capacity and desire to use their knowledge to


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same -- to present himself as the more trustworthy man. Here, Asare felt he held the advantage. “I had a slight edge on him. I spoke to people more personally,” he said. On the final day of the Boys State program, 800 seniors filed into voting booths to cast their ballots. Both candidates had been forced to devote their week to campaigning for the gubernatorial election; it was either win big or go home with nothing. At the end of the day, Asare exulted in his victory. He had entered the race with nothing but the drive to succeed and his way with people, and came out with a medal, a T-shirt with his name on it, a scholarship worth $500, and, the office of governor. Throughout the week, Asare had gotten up early and gone to bed late. He had met major play-

contribute to society throughout the world providing service to their communities and applying their talents and knowledge to improve the lives of others.” How does one apply? “The way I’ve been told it works,” Schmidt said, “is that when you apply to your department at Cambridge, if they think you’re one of their top apps, they send you on to the Cambridge Trust. You can then be considered for other trusts if you don’t get it.” Schmidt was one of about 700 of the top applicants in the country and one of 100 of those selected for an interview. Of those 100, 37 U.S. students were selected as Gates scholars. What makes Schmidt a stand out? He’s too humble to say for sure, but rewind to high school. At St. Christopher’s, Schmidt ran cross-country and track and played baseball. He was coeditor of The Pine Needle and Hieroglyphic as well as Honor Council chairman. Plenty of teachers at St. Christopher’s fueled his drive to excel. “Every teacher at St. Chris had a great impact on my education and on me as an individual,” Schmidt said. “I went to the Redwood Forest a few weeks ago, and they have a road called ‘The Avenue of the Giants.’ That’s sort of how the St. Chris teachers are, if you know what I mean. Each one is an institution.” During his senior year, Schmidt also worked with St. Christopher’s biology teacher, Mr. Billy McGuire, in conjunction with Dr. Ellen Heber-Katz, a University of Pennsylvania professor, on an independent

See Back Page Schmidt ers in Virginia politics, Governor Tim Kaine and Attorney General Bill Mims not the least among them. John also met Bob McDonnell, the Republican nominee for governor, and, as a result of his victory, laid the foundation for working for his campaign in the future. Boys State also helped Asare towards his direction in life. “It made me realize I work pretty well with people,” he said. As he completes his studies at St. Christopher’s this year and looks to college and beyond, he sees a world of possibility that his experiences at Boys State helped him define. He expresses his interest in getting into law in graduate school, but later may turn to his memories of his week’s time at the Boys State program to lead him forward. “It made me realize that politics is definitely a possibility in the long run,” he said.



October 2009

St. Christopher’s Welcomes Coach Turner

By Kyle Wittenauer ’10 Senior Editor

Fall means football, and there is at least one new face on the gridiron at St. Christopher’s this season. Former head Varsity football coach Paul Padalino has assumed the expanded role of full-time athletic director. Filling his vacancy as head coach is Mr. Michael G. Turner, who joins the St. Christopher’s family from the RoxburyLatin School near Boston. At Roxbury-Latin, Mr. Turner served as head Varsity football coach, admissions officer, classmaster and history teacher since 2006. Prior to that, he wore similar hats at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pa., a Philadelphia suburb. Mr. Turner grew up much like many of St. Christopher’s faculty children. He actually attended Germantown Academy where his father was a football coach and teacher. When it came time to consider college, Mr. Turner sought an outstanding education coupled with the opportunity to play baseball and football. “I wanted my family and friends to be able to visit and see my games,” said Mr. Turner. “I visited Penn, and it just felt right to me.” While a student at the University of Pennsylvania, Coach Turner played primarily defense (linebacker) and was named captain his junior and senior years. Most football players follow very specific pre-game rituals. Mr. Turner was no exception. After the team meal and a short nap, he would take a shower, dress and hit the field, frequently being the last guy out of the locker room. “It drove our defensive coordinator crazy until he realized that this was my ritual and what I needed to do to prepare,” Turner said. Turner helped his team to back-to-back Ivy League championships his final two seasons at Penn. “I have many fond memories,” Mr. Turner said. “The extraordinary success we enjoyed my junior and senior years was, of course, remarkable.” At the end of his senior season, Mr. Turner was selected to play in an All-Star game at the Epson Bowl in Osaka, Japan. After graduation, Mr. Turner worked for about five

years in the business world and government for the city of Philadelphia. He always thought he would end up teaching in some capacity, figuring it would be a second career opportunity. That career move came sooner than he planned. “An opportunity arose to return to my alma mater to teach history and coach,” Mr. Turner said, “So I jumped at it. From the start it felt right to be in the classroom, on the playing field and working with young people.” When the head coaching job opened up at RoxburyLatin, Mr. Turner followed the natural progression. According to his childhood friend and current colleague at R-L, John Lieb, he has been a fantastic asset. “Coach Turner is creative, motivating and organized,” Mr. Lieb said. “He creates an atmosphere in which hard work and dedication are valued and demanded, and he prepares his players well and puts them in a position to succeed.” So why the move to Richmond? Roxbury-Latin is an all-male school for seventh to twelfth graders. Boston is city with a high cost of living. Both Coach Turner and his wife, Meredith, experienced the benefits of private school education at Germantown Academy and want the same for their three young children, Maggie, Fran and August. Both are teachers and coaches. Mr. Turner did the math and applied the logic. The St. Christopher’s-St. Catherine’s community offers a perfect solution for their dilemma. Maggie is in first grade at St. Catherine’s in the fall. Fran is in kindergarten at St. Christopher’s, and August will turn 2 in October. Mr. Turner’s wife is an avid gardener and runner who will enjoy the longer growing season and fewer layers as she trains in a much more favorable climate. The Turners chose St. Christopher’s for other reasons, too. “The most attractive aspect of St. Christopher’s is the sense of familial community,” Mr. Turner said. “People at St. Christopher’s seem genuinely to know,

like and care about one another.” The other perhaps most compelling draw for the new head Varsity football coach is “having two full-time strength coaches and a weight room most colleges would die to have,” Turner said. As part of his role to oversee the entire football program at St. Christopher’s, Coach Turner wants to take an integrative approach. He plans to work closely with the Bulldog and JV coaches to develop the program from the younger years all the way through the Varsity program. Hailing from Philadelphia by way of Boston, the entire Turner family is excited about their move down south, but Mr. Turner does harbor a concern that Virginians will not appreciate his “northern sarcastic wit.” Sarcastic wit and all, the St. Christopher’s community welcomes Coach Turner and his family. “He brings tremendous football knowledge and experience with the game,” Mr. Padalino said. “In addition to his understanding of the x’s and o’s, Coach Turner really cares about developing the whole boy. He brings the right combination to be a great addition to our community.” Mr. Turner’s Roxbury-Latin colleagues confirm Padalino’s sentiments and were sorry to see him leave. “We will miss Coach Turner’s enthusiasm and ability to navigate his team through adversity,” said Leib. “[He has the ability] to keep focus and perspective on the larger themes of teamwork, striving for excellence, and being a part of something larger than yourself.” Roxbury-Latin’s loss it seems is St. Christopher’s gain. “I think he’s the right guy for the job,” said Junior Brody Hingst who plays running back and linebacker. “He will bring a new intensity [that will help] turn the football program around.” And even after a disappointing season opening loss to Trinity and with several players out with injuries, players are optimistic about the season. Injured running back/defensive end Junior Thompson Brown hopes to be back on the field soon and sees some wins in the Saints’ future. “I think Coach Turner and the other coaches can help the team make the necessary adjustments to put our talents to use and make it a winning season,” Brown said. Though his mantra is about much more than winning alone, that’s exactly what Coach Turner is hoping for as well. In addition to his coaching responsibilities, Mr. Turner also serves St. Christopher’s as an assistant in the Admissions Office and Upper School history teacher. One last thing to know about Coach Turner is that he has a nickname. But every player must earn the right to learn what it is.

Catlett Pedals to Victory Players Enjoy

By Jack Jessee ’10 Senior Editor

It is 6 a.m and senior Jay Catlett is nearing the end of his final lap. Suddenly, the light mounted on the handlebars of his mountain bike goes out and he is left with only a dim light attached to his helmet. Forced to press on through the dark woods, Catlett grinds out the remaining four miles of his lap and completes the 18-hour endurance race. Such harrowing incidents are common in the world of off-road cycling, but Catlett is clearly unfazed. This summer alone, he competed in eight races, including the previously mentioned 18 Hours On The Farm, in which he finished tenth. He has also placed in the top 10 and top five numerous times, including a first place finish at the Urban Assault dur-

ing the Dominion River Rocks Festival and a second place finish at the Poor Farms Spring Cup. Catlett initially began riding as a way to exercise and have fun, but he has since become a serious competitor on both the mountain bike and road bike circuits. As a member of Team Natures Path/3 Sports he rides up to 200 miles per week, splitting time between the trails and the road. In lieu of participating in a traditional sport this fall, Catlett will continue cycling through an athletic contract in preparation for several upcoming events, including the Shenandoah Mountain 100 and the Paranormal, another endurance style race in Charlottesville. Although biking is not an NCAA sanctioned sport, he hopes to continue cycling at the club level in college.

Commowealth Games

Seniors Kurt Fleming, Campbell Henkel and John McCann

By Drew Pangraze ’10 Senior Contributor

This summer, while many students were relaxing on the beach, Kurt Fleming, Campbell Henkel and John McCann were playing baseball alongside the best high school players in Virginia. From July 10-12 Roanoke hosted the annual Commonwealth Games. The event, which

brings together the best high school baseball players across Virginia, is a showcase tour for high school players to be seen by college coaches. Fortunately, Fleming, Henkel and McCann did not disappoint. Henkel and McCann each pitched and won their respective games and Fleming batted over .500 with a homerun.

The 64 players in the games were divided into four teams based on their region. Therefore, the North, South, Central and Eastern teams each had a squad of 16 players. “It was a great experience,” Henkel said. “If any other St. Christopher’s kids get chosen to play in the future, I would highly

Mauricio Pava Elected Director of Soccer

By Jason Pacious ’10 Editor in Chief

Many soccer fanatics claim that “soccer is life.” For Mauricio Pava, this is probably true. This past summer Coach Pava was named St. Christopher’s Director of Soccer Coaching. This means that he will work with all five school teams, which include 7th grade, 8th grade, Junior, Junior Varsity and Varsity. With his experience, Coach Pava offers valuable technical and tactical insights. While he may not travel with the teams, he will help players and coaches learn certain aspects of the game on the practice field. “We were fortunate to have Mauricio help the Varsity Soccer and Indoor Soccer teams last year,” said Varsity Soccer Coach

Jay Wood. “I am very excited to have Mauricio as our Director of Coaching—all of our soccer coaches will benefit as we tap into his vast experience, and I am confident that our players at all levels will learn even more with his shared insights.” Mr. Pava also coaches the Middle School soccer team, which plays in the spring. Since the other soccer programs run in the fall, luckily no conflict occurs between practice times. In 1988 Mr. Pava received his B.A. in physical education and sports from the Universidad Pedagogica Nacional in Bogotá, Colombia. He went on to earn a degree also from the Universidad Pedagogica Nacional in Specialization in sports coaching and an M.S. in sports management from

the Virginia Commonwealth University in 2000. Mr. Pava worked as a physical education teacher for about 12 years in various schools in Bogotá. After graduating from VCU,

See Page 5 Pava


October 2009


Fall Sports Previews

Scoring a Touchdown

By Kyle Wittenauer ’10 and Mark Burlee ’10 Senior Editor/ Senior Contributor

A new and exciting chapter has begun for the Saint’s Varsity football team this season. Coming off three consecutive 3-6 records, this year’s team, dominated by returning seniors, looks to win more games and make it to the playoffs. Providing plenty of leadership and experience, the seniors number 18, at least a dozen of whom saw significant playing time on the gridiron last season. With the reinforcement of more than 15 juniors, the number of talented, experienced players is tremendous. The team even remains optimistic despite several early-season injuries. Both Kurt Fleming (knee) and Casey Fox (shoulder) are out for the season. Thompson Brown, a key junior, suffered a broken wrist during pre-season but has now returned. The entire team, seniors and underclassmen alike, has benefited from the addition of Coach Pospahala, the Saints strength and conditioning coach who works with Coach Bob Blanton. They have inflicted grueling yet necessary workouts on each of the athletes both in and out of season.

Soccer Strikes Gold

By Jason Pacious ’10 Editor in Chief Seth Wagner ’10 carries the ball for a big gain.

The program has also experienced major changes in the coaching staff since last season. Former head coach Paul Padalino will become full-time athletic director, and Michael Turner will become the new head coach. Offensive Coordinator Jim Starnes was replaced by Greg Ballowe, and George Bland is now on staff as a quarterbacks coach. Rick Goodwin joins as receivers coach, and Chuck Robinson will work with the running backs among other positions. Defensive position coaches Greg Tune and Emmett Carlson remain on

staff. The 2009 squad has put in the time and effort it takes to win games in the competitive Prep League. This team’s summer workouts were well attended, and several players and coaches even practiced two nights a week in July and August leading up to two-a-days, learning and implementing new plays. This year’s team has embraced the concept of off-season training. The regular season will conclude with a home game against archrival Collegiate on Nov. 7, and then, on to the playoffs!

Running for the Prize By Kurt Jensen ’11 Junior Editor

Jamie Ball ’11 leads the pack.

If you were to ask Junior Wells Baylor about running Cross Country, he might tell you a tragic story involving a bottle of Gatorade and Coach John Green. Running for miles every day makes you thirsty, and this year’s team is exactly that. “This is one of the best examples of a team that’s balanced from twelfth grade to ninth grade,” said Coach Gene Bruner. “We’re good across the board.” Their talent, however, doesn’t come without challenge. “This is a tough league this year,” Coach Bruner said, but regarding senior leadership, “they know how to compete.” Challenge is just the thing to motivate a large group of young adults choosing to run, though

not without understandable resistance. “I’m not really sure why I do [Cross Country],” said junior Nick Richardson; it’s not an uncommon sentiment at the beginning of a long practice. Still, the outlook is optimistic. “We’re one of the best kept secrets in the area,” said Coach Bruner. As Coach Green said, “I’m not going to let our secrets out of the bag.” The real secret of the team, it seems, is the fun they have in the face of adversity. More than one runner commented, “I love the camaraderie,” including junior Foster Haynes. But as Junior Stephen Wood said, “The short shorts are probably the best part.”

Rennie’s Fall Sports Predictions 1. Look for Robert Johns and Jamie Ball who have been training hard to have top finishes in the state cross country meet. 2. Watch for the Saints football team to gain footing after a rocky start and push forward for an exciting Collegiate game. 3. Talented freshmen Will Abbott and Porter Reinhart will make noise on the soccer pitch. 4. Thompson Brown will make heads turn as he returns to the gridiron after a broken wrist. 5. Get ready for a fun-filled Spirit Week leading up to the Collegiate Game.- (Make sure not to miss Si Wofford outfitted in full Saint Christopher garb.) 6. If we’re lucky we’ll see another Will Connolly chapel announcement preceding a home sports game. 7. Saints soccer defense will remain a brick wall. 8. Tom Maas will continue to impress with his after-goal celebrations. 9. Expect Mrs. Peirce to make an announcement about Austin Boze succeeding on the climbing wall prior to her maternity leave. 10. Regretfully, Shad will be the same.

The Christchurch Tournament victory was a definite success for the Varsity soccer team, but they still have a long way to go. It was a short summer for the team. Before preseason practice began August 10th , most of the team participated in a week long U.K. Elite Camp, waking up at the normal time they would for school. The Saints then took on several club teams from the Kickers and F.C. Richmond. After suffering a hard loss to the U-17 F.C. Richmond team, the soccer team went on defeat the Kickers. Following these games the team took on Trinity and finished with a 4-0 victory. The first season game against


Continued from Page 4

Mauricio taught Spanish in Richmond for nine years before arriving at St. Catherine’s School in 2007. His playing and coaching careers are widespread in his native Bogotá, Colombia. Mr. Pava played two years for both La Equidad, a semi-professional club, and Independiente Santa Fé, a first division professional club. He later played four years for the Universidad Pedagogica Nacional, a College Futsal Division 1 Team. While playing for La Equidad and Santa Fé, Mr. Pava coached youth club teams of various ages for both organizations. Also in Bogotá, he served as the Universidad de los Andes Futsal coach for two years, the Carmel Club Director of Soccer for five years, and the Colegio Nueva Granada American School Soccer Coach

St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes turned out to be one of the most challenging so far, and St. Chris was narrowly defeated 2-0. After going into intensive training, the Saints went ready for battle into the Christchurch tournament. After beating Hampton Roads 3-0 and Landon 2-1 in overtime and again at Homecoming 2-0, the soccer team went into the finals and defeated Cape Henry Collegiate 1-0. Remaining strong after the tournament, the Saints won four other games. Now with a 8-1-1 record, the team is hoping to continue their streak through upcoming games against the Collegiate School and St. Anne’s Belfield.

and Athletic Director for four years. As a graduate student in Richmond, Mr. Pava served as the VCU Women’s Assistant Soccer Coach for one year. He has also been coaching elite travel soccer teams with the Richmond Strikers the past nine years for almost all ages. Mr. Pava’s former club players from the Strikers include STC alums Marco De León ’08, Josh Pacious ’08, Wood Revercomb ’09 and senior Jason Pacious. Mr. Pava is the husband of St. Christopher’s Lower School third grade teacher Alisa Pava. They have two children: Alejandra (second grade at St. Catherine’s) and Nico (kindergarten at St. Christopher’s). “With his family’s professional and academic ties to now four divisions in the St. Christopher’s/ St. Catherine’s community, Mauricio is a great addition to our staff,” said Coach Jay Wood.


Senior Privileges

By Jason Pacious ’10 Editor in Chief

Senior privileges. A touchy subject for the beginning of the year, but one I feel must be addressed. These privileges range from being able to drive to lunch on Thursday, using the Senior Lounge, or leaving chapel first. By now the Senior Class understands that they must earn these privileges. That is exactly what they are… privileges. Many previous senior classes lost these privileges even before or soon after obtaining them. What we need to understand, of course, is that these privileges should not be misconstrued as “rights.” What I wish to address, however, is the price many seniors have to pay when one or several seniors mess up, especially rearding the privilege of driving. I have talked with several teachers and they state that the reasons seniors lose their privileges are as foolish as not turning in health


forms on time. However, in recent history, these mistakes have been affecting the Senior Class as a whole. I believe that only the seniors involved in the offense should need to pay the price for it. This is our big year, and one person ruining something for the whole class during their senior year does not seem fair, especially if the others are doing it correctly. Seniors who do make good decisions should not have their privileges taken away. I propose that if the seniors earn these coveted privileges, only the ones who break the rules in some way or other should lose them. If they lost these privileges for the entire year, Mr. Szymendera would only need to remember a few names and not worry about when this or that student would get his privilege back. In this way the other students are not deprived of this freedom and more than likely will not repeat the offense. For the rule breakers…tough luck.

October 2009

The S-Lot actually has a free parking space for once.

“This land was made for you and me”

By Jabriel Hasan ’11 Junior Contributor

I was overjoyed and inspired by President Obama’s speech on the importance of education, and I was incredibly proud of my school for allowing students to watch the message; but there were students throughout the country who weren’t granted that opportunity. Some parents wouldn’t let their children go to school on their first day because they believed that our President was somehow trying to mesmerize and brainwash them with his positive message. Was President Bush brainwashing the children in Florida as he read to them Sept. 11? Was Nancy Reagan being a Nazi when she persuaded kids to “Just Say No”? Was it wrong for Cindy Sheehan to get arrested for wearing a T-shirt to Bush’s State of the Union address proclaiming how many troops had been killed? Joe Wilson continues to be unapologetic about his outburst. Should I have not watched Bush’s State of the Union address every year (even though I didn’t agree with a word) just to be informed? People who say that they want their beloved country back have accused President Obama of being a socialist and a Nazi. In recent months, the President has been portrayed as Hitler, Stalin, the Devil and in the form of a witch doll. Guns have been brought to rallies

against the Obama policies, and the President’s nationality is still being questioned. The saga continues… So what country do the protestors want back? Back to “the good ole’ days?” Many of these people refuse to comprehend that for so many, there haven’t been any good ole’days. The previous presidential administration represented hopelessness and the unquenched greed of the wealthy and their supporters. For eight years, America, as Gloria Steinem once said, had been a huge cupcake in the middle of millions of starving people. The problems that we now face did not arise in the number of months President Obama has been in office, but towards the end of the Bush administration--when the chickens of the previous seven years came back home to roost. I am sickened by the disgraceful hatred and bigotry that is showing in my country. Yes, my country. I can’t bear to watch a congressman disrupt the President during a nationally televised speech by calling him a liar. It’s worse to see thousands of people in our capitol defending Joe Wilson’s underlying hatred and the number of angry bigots at town hall meetings across the country. I never noticed this massive outcry when millions lost their jobs, or when thousands came home in body bags. These protestors didn’t want justice when they learned about tent cities popping up all over America, when the economy collapsed, when they learned that the war

THE PINE NEEDLE STAFF Editor in Chief: Jason Pacious

Senior Editors:

Patrick Delaney Jack Jessee Kyle Wittenauer

Junior Editor: Kurt Jensen

Senior Contributors: Mark Burlee Ian Maclean Rennie Mehrige Drew Pangreze Zane Seals Si Wofford

Middle School Contributor: Connor Lifson


Mrs. Kathleen Thomas

Junior Contributors: Wells Baylor Jabriel Hasan Ben Resnik Tucker Thompson Elliott Warren

Sophomore Contributors: Cameron Barlow Harrison Houlihan Jack McDowell Will Turner

Freshman Contributors: Richard Hankins Joe Dragone

that continues was started on the basis of a lie. I don’t remember a congressman calling former President Bush a liar. None of these people made signs when they continued to thrive while millions were living in private miseries. I do understand that some people are legitimately concerned with the issues, but for many it’s racism. “When a radical fringe element of demonstrators and others begin to attack the president of the United States as an animal or as a reincarnation of Adolf Hitler or when they wave signs in the air that said we should have buried Obama with Kennedy, those kinds of things are beyond the bounds,” said former President Carter. “…I think people who are guilty of that kind of personal attack against Obama have been influenced to a major degree by a belief that he should not be president because he happens to be African American.” Though President Obama may be naïve at times, none can deny that he is trying to make the situation in America better. He is striving to be a bipartisan politician--a stance that has gotten him arguably nowhere. He has been fair and reasonable with politicians who only wish to play hardball. It would be difficult for him to be any more idealistic. The truth is that our country has never been fair. The battles have always been won by those that have the money, power and skin color to win them. This is the country that many of those protesters want back. Our President is seeking to change that scenario, because this land was made for you, me, and everyone else. Every day he reminds us in a press conference or a mesmerizing speech that the battle is not won by the strong alone, but by the courageous and the hopefuls who never stop dreaming, praying and wishing. They never turn their backs on the greater destinies yet to come. They continue to work until they have no more to give, remembering that they share this world with others. There is a new way and new goals for the new decade quickly approaching. Bitterness will only increase the polarization and bigotry that is re-emerging in this country. As Bob Dylan sang, “[The] old road is rapidly aging. Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand. For the times, they are a ’changing.”

Dr. C working in Homa Bay in 1990

Betcha Didn’t Know!

By Ian Maclean ’10 Senior Contributor

One fact that many may not know about the Upper School physics teacher Dr. Alina Cichocki is that she served in the Peace Corps for two years in Homa Bay, Kenya. After completing her master’s degree in physics from University of Massachusetts Amherst, Dr. C felt burnt out from school and working and needed time to think about her next step in life. Following her friend’s advice, she enrolled in the Peace Corps (hoping it would serve hiatus from the real world) and was stationed in a primitive, rundown village called Homa Bay in western Kenya. There, with 40

volunteers, she taught sciences to high school students and “enjoyed the simplicity of life.” Dr. C quickly became accustomed to the new lifestyle with showers from water bottles and beans as her main dietary staple. She said, “I got a great appreciation for reading,” and that while there she read the most she had ever read. She offers this advice to students in light of her experience: dare to experience something different from your close-knit, comforting community while you’re still young. She said, “If you get an opportunity, take it because when you’re young it’s easy to do and it rounds you out as a person.”

Where are the cheers?

By Mark Burlee 10 Senior Contributor

Last weekend’s Homecoming was one of the most successful in recent years. The soccer team beat Landon 2-0, and the football team defeated Norfolk Academy 28-14 for its second straight home win. Many students, alumni, faculty members and guests showed up for the festivities. However, one group that is traditionally at the game was missing: the cheerleaders. The administration has told the seniors that due to past behavior no cheerleading will be allowed at games this year. Standing on the field before the game, I was excited to see the number of people in the stands at the start of the game. Students crowded the bleachers wearing red and gray. But as the game went on I was shocked by the lack of noise from the crowd. Other than the yells when the Saints scored a touchdown, the crowd was virtually silent. In the second quarter, I heard

a group of girls try to start a cheer that weakly faded into the murmurs of the crowd. The cheerleaders are a long time tradition at St. Christopher’s. I have been going to Varsity football games since I was in kindergarten, and the cheerleaders were always an important part of the atmosphere. When I was young it was almost as important to see the seniors in blue jeans with painted faces beating the drum on the track as it was to see the football players. Now as a Varsity football player I still consider the cheerleaders important. Last year, the crowd at the home games were considerably louder, even though they had much less to cheer about. The home crowd serves as an advantage to the football team, but when the crowd is silent this advantage is neutralized. The cheerleaders help keep the crowd in the game, make it more fun for the fans and give the football team an advantage. They are also an important tradition at St. Christopher’s that we should not let die.

New Faces

October 2009


New Faces in the Crowd Menduri Hoessly ’10

Menduri Hoessly came to America to broaden his horizons and meet new people. This Swiss cousin of Lukas Geissbuehler is visiting here for six weeks as part of a student exchange program. In an interview, Hoessly explained how Europeans view America. Nestled between Italy, France, Germany and Austria, Switzerland is central in the European continent, and the Swiss viewpoint is central to the European mindset. Arriving in a new country that speaks a foreign langue can be daunting, but Hoessly was glad to see that most Americans are outgoing and willing to step out of their way to integrate him into their society. He is impressed with the wide

open countryside and schoolsponsored athletics. He enjoyed seeing the big cars and trucks, which are unpopular in Europe for their high gas mileage. In fact, the two major sources of tension between Europe and America, Hoessly said are the Iraq War and non-ecofriendly cars. But that’s not to say that European-American relations are bad at all. In fact, he told me that there are few major differences between European and American societies, that most Europeans hold no grudge against Americans, and that he personally wished that America would “remain the world’s most powerful nation.” What Hoessly enjoys most about America is spending time outside of school with new friends and experiencing the American way of life. --Wells Baylor ’11

Charlie Forbes ’10

A transfer from The Steward School, Charlie Forbes joins the St. Christopher’s community for his senior year. Not knowing anyone from St. Christopher’s prior to summer football practice, Forbes wanted a change of scene as did his younger brother, Sam. According to Forbes, St. Christopher’s is more difficult academically and more intense athletically; however, he thinks these are beneficial changes that force him to work hard throughout his senior year.

Athletically, Forbes is an excellent addition to the football team as a running back and he will contribute greatly to the lacrosse team as a midfielder. Overall, Forbes is very content with St. Christopher’s. Although he is not a fan of the dining hall, Forbes likes change and is enjoying his new school and new friends. --Pat Delaney ’10

Robert Kernodle ’12

Here’s a way to make an entrance into St. Christopher’s: play an excellent prelude in chapel only two weeks into your first year at the school. That is exactly what new sophomore Robert Kernodle did. Kernodle is 16 years old and comes from Cosby High School.

He heard about St. Christopher’s through his counselor, the mother of St. Chris graduate Terrence Wilson ’06. While Kernodle is a talented musician, he also plays basketball and tennis. He has already joined M.A.D.E and the Philosophy Club. Kernodle said his experience at St. Chris so far, “is great.” “It (St. Christopher’s) is allowing me to flourish intellectually and socially.” --Cameron Barlow ’12

Tyler Cornett ’12

The sophomore class welcomes Tyler Cornett, 15, from Massaponax High School in Fredericksburg. Cornett wanted to come to St. Christopher’s because of our highly talented wrestling program which aims to win its ninth consecutive state championship. Cornett is multi-talented as a trumpeter and good chef. He has already received high praises from friend and teammate Rennie

Merhige ’10. “Tyler is going to give us a lot on the mats, as well as to the school,” Merhige said. Cornett has enjoyed his experience so far at St. Christopher’s. “I love it; I like the atmosphere here, and there is a lot more freedom.” --Cameron Barlow ’12

Abe Barksdale ’13

Abe Barksdale decided to come to St. Christopher’s because he wanted to try something different. “I wanted a bigger challenge,” he said Barksdale, who joins us from Tuckahoe Middle School, enjoys the schedule setup, the

freedoms and the people at STC; he only dislikes the food. So far, his favorite teacher is Mr. Towell and his favorite subject is history. Barksdale plays soccer, tennis and runs track. Barksdale says that overall he has enjoyed his transition to STC and is looking forward to a good year. --Joe Dragone ’13

Robert Murphy ’13

The freedom St.Christopher’s gives students is one of Robert Murphy’s favorite parts of our school. Murphy, a new freshman here at St. Chris, attended Pocahontas Middle School last year. For Murphy, the transition has gone smoothly and he is welcomed here. He made the Middle

School baseball team last year and looks forward to playing on many sports teams. He also likes how positive the school is and how good the teachers are. --Richard Hankins ’13

Tom Maas ’10

If you’ve been to a St. Chris Varsity Soccer game this fall, you already know who Tom Maas is. He’s the 16-year-old German forward who is currently the No. 10 scorer in the Prep League. Maas hails from Hamburg, Germany and is spending a year here in America as a foreign exchange student. He is living with the Shaffers, a Richmond family with children at Douglas Southall Freeman High School. Maas arrived in late July and spent his summer traveling with the Shaffers to Pennsylvania, Washington D.C. and Disney World and getting to know St. Christopher’s students during soccer two-a-days. Maas, a junior, has quickly integrated into the community. His favorite part about St. Christopher’s is the sports opportunities. “In Germany, we don’t really have school teams like here in the U.S.,” he said. “It’s mostly club teams. I really like being able to play for my school.” Maas also finds the St. Christopher’s community welcoming. “All the guys are really

nice, and the teachers help me out whenever I have a problem.” He finds the biggest difference between America and Germany is that everything in America is bigger. He was surprised by the portions at restaurants, the distance between places and the size of SUVs. Maas also said that Germans do much less homework than we do -- about an hour per week, all classes combined. When he returns to Germany, Maas will have another two years of high school because German high school goes to year 13. After high school, Tom aspires to be a journalist or a sports anchor on TV. He sums up his take on America and his experience here saying, “It’s different; not necessarily better or worse but it gives me a perspective of the world that I think will be valuable for me later in life.” --Elliott Warren ’11

Brandon Jeske ’13

New freshman Brandon Jeske says the transition from his old school near the Chesapeake Bay to St. Chris has been fairly difficult. But, the thriving wrestling program and the tremendous athletic facilities suits his ideal extra-curricular activities, as he is a big wrestler who looks forward to

this upcoming season. Brandon comes from a family of four children. He has two brothers and an 8-year-old sister. He said, “They [teachers] go really fast,” referring to the pace in the academic classes. Although the transition academically is tough, Brandon feels that St. Christopher’s will help him in the long run in preparation for college.

--Jack McDowell ’12

Ben Foley ’13

Ben Foley brings a unique set of skills and interests to the St. Christopher’s community. This Richmond native has been playing ice hockey since he was 4 and is currently playing it as his fall sport. In the winter, Foley will be the latest addition to the prestigious St. Christopher’s Varsity climbing squad. Ben plans to play la-

crosse in the spring. Being a fresh St. Christopher’s recruit, Ben still enjoys the cuisine our cafeteria has to offer. Ben seems happy to be at St. Christopher’s despite it being “more my parents choice than mine to come here.” --Harrison Houlihan ’12

Sam Forbes ’12

Sam Forbes, 15, joins us from The Steward School along with his brother Charlie ’10. Forbes wanted to come to St. Christopher’s to play different sports including football and lacrosse.

Forbes has quickly made many friends and has made an easy transition to life at St. Chris. In addition to sports, Forbes enjoys hunting and fishing. Overall, he’s settling in well. “So far, so good. I’m glad I’m here.” --Cameron Barlow ’12

Logan Dillard ’13

Moving from Connecticut to Richmond can be tough, but freshman Logan Dillard has had a relatively good transition to the new city and school. “People are a lot more friendly here,” said Dillard. A member of the JV football team, he is getting more comfortable in the St. Christopher’s environment. Although he likes his new school, there is one little issue. “I don’t even have a house yet,”

said Dillard. His family has had a tough time finding a place to live because of tough economic times, but the situation is close to being resolved. “I’m staying in some apartment for now, but I’m pretty close to having a house,” he said. --Will Turner ’12

Casey Bendall ’11 Coming to a new and different school can be a little intimidating, but Casey Bendall was excited to join the St. Christopher’s community. He found his new peers to be friendly and welcoming. Bendall was originally attracted to St. Christopher’s to play lacrosse and will be a great addition to the Varsity squad. He said that he has found a slightly

more challenging but still manageable academic work load compared to J.R. Tucker High School. In reflection, Bendall said that “It’s better than expected.” Better than expected translates to “more co-ed” than he originally anticipated.

--Wells Baylor ’11

Kevin Hjelm: Librarian

Mr. Kevin Hjelm has an interesting take on his new job as one of our Upper School librarians. Mr. Hjelm believes his job consists of more than telling people to be quiet. He believes that he needs to help “connect people to information” and their ultimate search for knowledge. Born and raised in Fairfax, Mr. Hjelm (31) got his bachelor of arts in religion and classical civilizations from the University of Mary Washington. He later received his master’s in library science from the University of Maryland. Mr. Hjelm is excited to be here and looking forward to helping students for some time to come. --Tucker Thompson ’12

Kenara Fisher: Math Mrs. Kenara Fisher, the new 7th grade math teacher who moved here from Savannah, grew up in outside of Los Angeles. She has a master’s of business from Georgia Tech and worked as a technical trainer for a communications firm before working with the Department of Homeland Security. She also owned a tutoring company. “She is an awesome teacher because she lets us play fantasy football,” said Julian Mills ’15. In her spare time, Mrs. Fisher enjoys playing tennis and hopes to be a part of the Middle School tennis program in the spring. She said that she is up to the challenge of being the new teacher and hopes to meet the expectations set by previous teachers. --Joe Dragone ’13

A Student Teacher Alum Tito Smith-Harrison ’01 is working as a student teacher under Mr. Hamill Jones through the the University of Richmond’s teaching program. In that role he both observes and teaches. Smith-Harrison played lacrosse at the Air Force Academy for two years but his career ended early due to injury. Nonetheless, Mr. Smith-Harrison stayed on to graduate. “I wanted to do something for my country; and that’s why I’m teaching. I just want to give back to the community.” He then worked as an aircraft maintenance officer in California before a 2007 discharged to work on an Alaskan salmon fishing boat. In January, Mr. Smith-Harrison enrolled at the University of Richmond and will complete his studies in December. He hopes to teach English or history at a school in Colorado or a U.S. Foreign Embassy. He is currently coaching Jr. JV Soccer with Mr. Rider and is may coach lacrosse here this spring. Looking back on his St. Christopher’s education, Mr. Smith-Harrison said, “As a student I was more academically prepared than many of my classmates in college. And more importantly, I had a sense of honor and integrity that other kids just didn’t understand.”

--Elliott Warren ’11

The Back Page Saints in Summer 2009

Summer Adventures

Tyler Yeatts spent his summer dropping rhymes and looking fresh by the pool.

James Dunivan edited his dunking videos and uploaded them to Youtube. Look for them to hit Sportscenter this fall.

Zach Finley was attacked by a band of 12 ninjas. Using his MMA skills, he was able to defeat all 12 while simultaneously photographing the event. Unfortunately, the film was lost.

Jay Boyd bonded with his younger brother, Ryan. They discovered they share a common interest: the Midwest.

Will Connolly spent the summer perusing the great outdoors with his new friends.

Luke Canavan mourned the death of the King of Pop.

Top Five Faculty Activities: Top Five Student Activities: 1. Placing bets on number of Szymendera chapel explosions. 2. Attempting to keep Kurt Fleming out of their classes. 3. Searching for a summer location in Virginia where they will not run into an STC student. 4. Learning proper fire drill protocol. 5. Hearing about Mrs. Peirce’s pregnancy.


Continued from Page 3

research project that looked at dedifferentiation in zebrafish. In layman’s terms, that’s basically stem cell formation. Schmidt has demonstrated plenty of initiative to complement his intellectual curiosity. “Bill would come to the lab with ideas that he had researched without being told where to go to get them,” Mr. McGuire said. “He made connections with university professors because he thought that their research was interesting.” Schmidt was interested in wound healing. “Mr. McGuire was a fish person, [and] Dr. Heber-Katz had an idea for a project that would be manageable for someone with my time and resources but would still have very interesting implications,” he said. Unfortunately, the formalin they used contaminated the fish tissue, and they did not collect much worthwhile data. But the experiment reinforced Schmidt’s leanings to pursue a degree in biological sciences where he hoped to continue doing neuro-

science research. How did the pendulum swing from the sciences to the humanities? “I’ve always loved studying the humanities,” Schmidt said. “And Mr. Smith would hit me with his cane if he even suspected that I thought otherwise. You can’t really say science is better than ‘Paradise Lost’ or ‘The Wasteland’ or vice versa.” At Yale, Schmidt took a class in psychology and instantly connected with the subject. A professor there helped him realize that he preferred the cognitions of psychology to the substrate of the biological sciences. Double majoring in English was a no brainer as Schmidt has always been passionate about that discipline as well. St. Christopher’s English department legend, Mr. Smith, no doubt had some impact on Schmidt’s fondness for the subject. And Mr. Smith clearly appreciates Schmidt’s personal attributes beyond his obvious intellect. “I have never encountered a student who was more ethically mature than Bill Schmidt,” Smith

1. Taking parallel parking lessons from Percy Andrews. 2. Lamenting the death of Billy Mays. 3. Searching for a summer location in Virginia where they will not run into a STC teacher. 4. Tweeting. 5. Planning J-Lot escape strategies.

said. “His clarity, compassion, fairness and resolution as leader of the Honor Council are legendary.” Smith elaborates on Schmidt’s clear mastery of the English language and matters of logic. “Bill explained thorny situations and difficult decisions to both adults and young people better than any other student--or teacher, for that matter--in my nearly 40 years at STC,” Smith said. “Articulate, level-headed, curious, kindhearted, Bill Schmidt is quite simply one of the noblest human beings I know. And ‘noble’ is not a word I use as often as I would like.” Echoing Mr. Smith’s words of high praise, Mr. McGuire expounds on Schmidt’s unique intellect and his approach to life. “While Bill was certainly an outstanding student, one thing that set him apart from others was his willingness to think in new and creative ways,” Mr. McGuire said. “His approach was to constantly make connections between things that he already knew and those things that he was learning. While working hard to get good grades is often

a means toward an end for many students, for Bill, working his brain hard was just an approach to living.” Clearly, Schmidt made a lasting impression here through his scholarship, leadership and character. At Yale, in addition to his continued academic success, Schmidt found time to serve as vice president of the Mock Trial Association, tutor at a local school and lead the Yale Ballroom Dance Team as captain. Schmidt and his mom, Kathy, enjoyed an 11,000-mile journey around the United States this summer and, a few weeks ago, he flew over the Big Pond to embark on his next big adventure. After Cambridge, Schmidt hopes to work/travel his way around the world for a year or two before returning to the States where he wants to pursue criminal justice policy work before going on to law school. Schmidt is sure to continue to fly high well into the future. Congratulations, Bill!

Wittenauer Continued from Page 1

“The Yale coaching staff made it a very clear choice,” Wittenauer said. “They know exactly how and where they want to play me. I can be an early impact player there, and the coaches are dynamic. They are young, energetic and run an efficient D-1A type program. I also love the school. I’m really excited to become part of the Bulldog family.” So far this season, Wittenauer has continued to help the Saints find success on the field. He was recently recognized as a WTVR Hometown All Star and as the first recipient of the 15th annual Lexus of Richmond Pursuit of Perfection Leadership Award.

September 09 Pine Needle  

September edtion of the pine needle for 2009

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