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THE BEACON MAY 2012

SPRING!

ISSUE 4

The Unabomber: Story of a One-Man Wolf Pack Gone Wrong By Kimberly & Michelle Mehrtens Staff Writers

The Evolution of Ted Kaczynski

from college (1968) to prison (1999)

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he last Dom Luke Childs lecture of the year introduced a fascinating and terrifying look into the mind of a domestic terrorist. On April 23, 2012, former FBI agents John Behnke ’76 and Terry Turchie discussed their involvement in the infamous “Unabomber” case. They provided first-hand accounts of the notorious criminal, Ted Kaczynski, as well as photographs of his living quarters and copies of his detailed notes. It was an electrifying talk that revealed the persona, the mentality, of a real-life villain. Rather than watch an episode of “CSI” or “Law & Order,” students were able to witness an actual study of a felon—one who terrorized the United States for eighteen years. Mr. Turchie, a former deputy assistant director of the Counterterrorism Division of the FBI, centered his presentation mainly on the elaborately detailed and vengeful workings of the Unabomber, as well as his own personal involvement in the FBI investigation. In 1978, a supposed solitary bombing incident at the University of Chicago expanded to subsequent bombings over the years; these bombings grew more advanced and extended to locations such as Salt Lake City and San Francisco. The situation had become what Mr. Turchie called “a bureau-nature case.” Over the years, three people were killed

and twenty-three were injured. In 1994, Mr. Turchie and Mr. Behnke worked together on the case. The Unabomber wrote letters to the New York Times, Washington Post, and Penthouse Magazine stating that he would cease bombing only if at least one of them published his “Terrorist Manifesto.” Mr. Turchie and Mr. Behnke encouraged the newspapers to do so in order to gain more clues, and they were right. Though the FBI had a list of 2,416 Unabomber suspects and thousands of documents within the case, it was only after this manifesto publication that Kaczynski’s brother approached them, recognizing in it the same format of letters he and his brother had exchanged in the past. Analysts pored over the letters, comparing them with the terrorist’s work, and recognized the match. The lead took them to Lincoln, Montana—to a cabin in the woods, where Kaczynski resided. Mr. Turchie and other agents approached Kaczynski and handed him a search warrant; there was no struggle. Upon entering the cabin, they discovered it had no running water, no computer, and no utilities; but it did have a homemade assembly line of parts necessary to build a bomb, as well as a packaged bomb underneath Kaczynski’s bed. The FBI also found written confessions of his crimes, as well as musings behind

Greta ‘12 and Will Behnke ‘15 and their uncle John Behnke ‘76 with his FBI partner Terry Turchie after the Dom Luke Childs Lecture

The Headmaster Search Matthew Benevides Staff Writer

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ince Dr. James DeVecchi announced his retirement, we have all wondered who will take over the role of Headmaster. Students hope for someone who can embrace twentyfirst century ideas, while faculty and staff seek a superior administrator who can enhance the educational quality

and increase the reputation of the Abbey far outside of New England. As we follow our daily schedule, a group of selected people and a hired Search Consultant work together as Dr. Timothy Flanigan, a member of the Board of Regents, says, “to find the best overall candidate.” The Portsmouth Abbey Headmaster Search Committee and Mr. Lawrence W. Becker, the Senior Search

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his actions—which stemmed from vengeance. Those papers revealed Kaczynski as a detached, analytical mastermind who despised technology. The presenter underlined that the terrorist disliked the noise of airplanes, of motorcycles, and believed that technology was destroying the world; anyone or anything that encouraged further advancement in these endeavors meant to brainwash people, and should thus be punished as well. On a slideshow, Mr. Turchie showed excerpts from Kaczynski’s notes, in which he celebrated a victim’s death and mentioned how “flattered” he was at the pricey reward offered for any information about himself, the Unabomber. In another, Kaczynski stressed that he was not insane and feared the possibility of being “misrepresented” as such. Later in court, already diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic by a psychologist, Kaczynski refused to be regarded as mentally ill. As advised by his lawyer, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a lifetime in jail without parole. Mr. Behnke and Mr. Turchie effectively stressed the importance of relationships in their lives—something Kaczynski greatly lacked. As speculated by psychiatrists, Kaczynski’s use of “we” to refer to himself in writing and his participation in his one-man terrorist group “FC” signified that even he could not cope with the inability to connect with other people. These strategies implied an outlet through which Kaczynski imagined himself as part of a group, a relationship. When asked how he handled his own persistent and demanding commitment to this case, Mr. Turchie replied that people had to forge trusting relationships with others and then “surround yourself with them because then there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.” Mr. Behnke paused before giving his advice and thoughtfully acknowledged that everyone faces professional and personal challenges in life, pointing out the unique quality Portsmouth Abbey School gives to its students. This quality lies in providing students with the “innate ability to face these problems,” or “the ability to have faith that equips you for the challenges in life and equips you to grapple with these difficulties.”

Consultant for Carney, Sandoe & Associates, head the search for the new Headmaster. The Search Committee includes nine members of the Board of Regents and two elected faculty and administration members. The Search Committee meets regularly for a search update and to hear what interest they have received. The role of the faculty representative, Dr. Michael Bonin, is to speak on behalf of the faculty and what they desire or fear in a new Headmaster, and the ad-

ministration representative, Mr. Patrick Burke, performs a similar task for the administration and Abbey staff. Mr. Lawrence W. Becker receives daily calls from possible candidates, and he travels far and wide to find a suitable Headmaster. Mr. Becker works for a recruitment firm that was incorporated in 1977 and has worked successfully with 1,500 schools to provide more than 28,500 people with careers. Mr. Becker re-

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Portsmouth Abbey School 285 Cory’s Lane Portsmouth, RI 02871 (401) 683-2000 www.portsmouthabbey.org

Backdrop to a Crisis By Eden Franz Staff Writer

Fierce violence between the Syrian government and several opposition groups has drawn global attention in the past year. Resentment against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad for failing to enact the reforms he promised upon assuming office in 2000 has resulted in nine thousand fatalities on both sides of this civil strife. The United Nations has made several attempts to encourage a diplomatic resolution to the conflict, but with little success, leaving the question of whether or not the west should simply allow events to play out in this bloody fashion to clear the way for much-needed reform in Syria. The matter is further complicated by the broader implications of the conflict in Syria for other nations in the Middle East, including their neighbor and ally Iran. Syria, originally comprised of Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Palestine and most of modern Israel, was reduced in size greatly during the first World War when France and the United Kingdom took nearly half of the entire country for themselves. Lebanon was not separated from Syria by the French until the 1920s, and relations between the two countries remains strained because Syria has not truly recognized Lebanon’s independence. The current Assad regime came into power in 1970 with the senior Assad’s successful coup, thanks to an almost entirely Alawi military. The Alawis, an offshoot of Shia Islam, mix Muslim teachings with Christianity, and are a minority in Syria to which the Assads belong. Seventy-five percent of all Syrians are Sunni Muslims, who regard the Alawis as little more than heretics. Despite Syria’s exclusive political system, in which the Ba’ath Arab Socialist Party (the elite Alawis) is designated as the sole leader of Syrian society and government, the Assad regime has become Syria’s only stable government since World War II. The recent violence appears to be the result of a decade of frustration at Bashar al-Assad’s failure to carry out promised reforms. Actual events are difficult to confirm because Syria restricts international press access. A number of journalists who have gained entry have been wounded or killed in the violence they were attempting to document. However, social media in supplement to reports from the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) has proved invaluable in updating the Cont’d P4

Gendered Violence in Bangladesh By Kimberly Mehrtens Staff Writer On April 4, 2012, Elora Halim Chowdhury came to UMass Dartmouth to deliver a presentation about acid attacks against women and girls in Bangladesh. A Women’s Studies class sparsely filled the small classroom and the relaxed atmosphere seemed to intensify the feeling of informality; some students had even brought snacks. However, the focus soon became serious as Professor Chowdhury, an Associate Professor of Women’s Studies at UMass Boston, began her lecture. She commenced her slideshow with a picture of her recent book Transnationalism Reversed (SUNY Press, 2011), which delves into the subjects of gendered violence, transnational feminisms, and human rights advocacy (with emphasis on South Asia). Using this as a reference point, she elaborated on the touching points of her slideshow. She described how acid attacks have recently been gaining global media coverage from the Oprah Winfrey Show to the BBC, and how on her recent trip to Bangladesh she was able to interview many female victims. These women’s stories told of several different reasons for such attacks: rejection of sexual advances, refusal of marriage proposals, family or land disputes, and dowries that were not paid. These “reasons” for acid attacks have left many women permanently disfigured, some even going blind. However, many times the victims were never the source of the dispute. In Bangladesh—where 31.5% of the population lives under the poverty line (HIES 2010)—many families sleep together in the same bed, and one of the most active times for acid attacks are at night. One woman, whose face was permanently disfigured, had been sleeping with her sister and cousin in bed when a rejected suitor of her cousin threw a cup of acid through the empty window frame at their faces. The woman got the full brunt of it while her sister and cousin were splashed. When they tried to press charges, the man, who had friends in the government, was protected and hid-

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ABBEY LIFE

ABBEY LIFE

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Head Boy and Head Girl 2012-2013

This Year’s Abbey PG’s

By Jake Kim Staff Writer

Katherine Rodrock

Brian O’Connor

How did you come to the Abbey?

I came to the Abbey through a program called US Naval Foundation, which gave me a list of schools to choose for a prep year. The Abbey has been preparing me for the Naval Academy life. It is similar to the Academy in its academic and daily schedule, such as the privilege system by grade, check-ins and study hall. I also learned to be away from home.

Head Boy-Elect Fletcher Bonin

Head Girl-Elect Dorothy Dickmann

Speeches By Fletcher Bonin

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ello friends, For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Fletcher. I apologize if I don’t know your name, because I make it a point to try to learn everyone’s name as I walk around campus. I even try to know everyone’s nicknames, like our friend James Maguire. And I would love to be your Head Boy next year. I like to think of our student body as an actual body, and a strong one at that. Joe Yates and Steve Cho make up the brain of our body. Tiernan O’rourke, Sophia Diadotti, and Rasaanh Matra are the do re migos that make up our vocal chords. Zack Tipton is no doubt the heart and soul of this body. The powerful legs of our student body are supplied by our favorite stallion, Sean McDonough. Our gorgeous hair comes from a tie between Gaby Perez and Will Locke’s formidable mane. Justin Mistikawy is our appendix, because he doesn’t do much, but he’s always there. And of course, Coach Brown is our mustache. Finally, I would be the ears, not only because I have large ears, but also because I will listen to your ideas and act on them in Student Council to better our school. Given the opportunity to be Head Boy, I would like to create more dorm bonding and increase school spirit. To do this, I would like to increase the number of Ravens Cup events, perhaps adding a tuck shop games-triathlon in the Fall, including ping-pong, pool and foosball. In the winter, perhaps the trivia bowl and a dorm decorating competition for Christmas or Halloween. In the Spring, we could have outdoor basketball or soccer tournaments. The old, one Raven’s Cup event per term is way too mainstream for a school as hipster as we are. And your ideas for inter-dorm competitions would

of course be welcome. Basically, we’re looking for maximum opportunities for Michael Stark to wear double shooting sleeves and eye-black. I also think that student council could set up some kind of group on Facebook for Abbey students to voice their opinions and we could take polls on how we can make your Abbey experience better. The Student Council page could even “like” your comments and posts to give you high self-esteem. I want everyone here to be involved in the student government, because that’s justice. Now, nobody’s perfect. My torso is far too small for my disproportionately long arms and legs. I’ve been told that I say “haha” too much when I text. And by default, I am a member of St. Brigid’s girl’s dorm, not by choice. And is it sad that I’ve seen “Hot Rod” over 12 times? No, but it is sad that I’ve seen it over 16 times. And I can only apologize for the short-sleeve button-down shirts. However, I have two years of experience in Student Council, and I would like to strengthen its influence on the student body next year. I am willing to work hard to turn your opinions and desires into actions. This is a job I will take seriously, and a responsibility I’m willing to take on. As far as assembly goes, I will read the announcements with energy and skill each Monday and Friday, including the hard to pronounce schools such as Marionapolis and Choate. A vote for me is a vote for your own ideas to be represented in student council, and I promise you I will listen. I honestly love this place so much, which is why I almost never leave, by choice, and I want all of you to love this place as much as I do. And plus, when my brother and sister aren’t home, I am my mom’s favorite child. These are all great candidates up here, good luck voting and thanks for listening.

By Dorothy Dickmann

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t surprises me regularly that with the small size of our school and the amount of time I spend on campus, people still slip through the cracks. I know all of you can relate to this: there’re kids that you see walking the paths, or in the dining hall, and you can’t for the life of you think of what their name is. Or conversely, a name comes up in conversation and you’re thinking, “who?” While some of you sitting here right now know me extremely well, others of you, I’m sure, have no clue who I am – perhaps have never even seen me before now. So, for the latter of you, allow me to introduce myself. Hi. My name is Dorothy Carol Dickmann. I know; I have the name of an 80 year old woman who probably has arthritis, lots of cats, and no idea what the internet is. Also, I recognize the hilarity of all of your clever Wizard of Oz jokes, as well as the other, more inappropriate ones concerning my last name. I’m really sorry if I don’t always laugh, it’s just that after the five-hundredth time of hearing “do you have a dog named Toto?” the jokes tend to lose a bit of their punch. I’m a day student. I live less than ten minutes down the road and drive a nineteen-yearold Saab with thumb tacks in the ceiling. I have a tendency to trip over my own feet. I have a sort of absurd and uncalled for love of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. I sometimes misjudge the angles and walk into walls, door frames, tables, and people). My face has a horrible habit of turning red at the drop of a hat— even when I’m not embarrassed. Eight times out of ten, my clothes don’t match. Especially during the winter when layers are involved. I

have an annoying habit of humming, whistling, and making other odd, obnoxious, idle noise. I sometimes, or rather, most of the time, have a hard time keeping my mouth shut. I’m the girl in your class who always speaks out of turn. For that I am sorry, I realize how irritating it is—it’s a problem I’m working on. Semiunsuccessfully. Now, I know that this seems like a jumble of bizarre things about me that you don’t care about at all. I mean, how do they have anything to do with why you should elect me? If you’re still listening, allow me to relate it. Everything has flaws. I clearly do, you do, Portsmouth Abbey does. No one can deny that. But that doesn’t stop any and all of those things from being great. This school is great. There’re things about them that we don’t necessarily love, that I can’t promise to change, because they never will. Like the dress code, or how easily my face flushes. But there are things that we can change. It’s not just changing things we don’t like, though. It’s also making sure things we love about the Abbey stay, and improving upon the strengths our school already has. I could stand up here and spout off a list of things that I’ve done, and things that I’m involved in, and tell you why I think they would make me the best fit for the job. But what I think I bring to the table can’t be listed on a resume. If you elect me, I will bring with me tons of enthusiasm and determination that I will use to try my best to put everyone’s ideas into action. Because I believe that with the right combination of energy and hard work, this next year can be legendary. So, allow me to ask: please, give me the honor of making your 2012-2013 school year the best year Portsmouth Abbey has ever seen.

Watch the speech on YouTube!

Fletcher’s Speech

Dorothy’s Speech

Smartphone users: Search for “QR Codes” in your Appstore and use those apps to scan the code!

What are your plans after the Abbey and the Academy? In the Academy I am planning to study applied math, political science with international studies, and I want to learn Chinese and Japanese. After the academy, I will be a Surface Warfare Officer, deployed on a ship. I want to travel around the Mediterranean and Asia, especially Japan. How does the Abbey compare to your previous school?

It is definitely very different from my old school. First thing, I don’t have a car! I have been driving since my sophomore year, and now I can’t drive. Also the boarding life, being away from home, and not having my own bed. And I love cooking, but I can’t cook in my dorm. Academics are pretty much the same; they have pretty much the same classes, and they are more or less equally challenging. At the Abbey there are more language class options, and I really like the art classes. It is great that we have a whole building just for art.

What motivated you to join the Armed Forces? Many people from my family served in the military, and the people I lived with and respected are in the military and I want to be like them. I want to serve my country; I don’t want to waste my life, I want to make a difference. And I want to see places.

Being a PG at the Abbey?

For the first month it was weird. I didn’t know anybody but everybody knew me, and I was doing my senior year again. But it is nice that I don’t have to worry about college, and I have gotten to know a lot more about myself and gained a deeper perspective. I am more confident, because I know things are going to work out, so it was a good learning experience.

Something you would like to say to others?

If it is not okay, it’s not the end. When I didn’t get into most of my colleges, I was very disappointed and thought I wouldn’t be going to college. Even if you don’t see it, things will work out.

I was recruited to West Point last May to play lacrosse, but there was no spot this year, so the West Point coach connected me to Coach Brown for a prep year. I win just about every faceoff so faceoff is all I do; I go in, get the faceoff and come right back out. What are your plans after the Abbey and West Point? I am planning to major in chemical engineering, and look at nuclear engineering. At West Point, you don’t have to decide a major until the end of your sophomore year so I have a lot of time. I want to work with chemical weapons during my active service, and then I’ll probably get an engineering job.

Rooming with Whitney?

Rooming with Whitney… (laughter) is very interesting. Whitney’s a great guy, I’ve had a lot of fun rooming with him, and as the entire campus knows, he’s an interesting guy. We’ve gotten along really well, and I would definitely room with him again in West Point.

What motivated you to join the Army?

I came to the Abbey because the West Point coach wanted me to have a year of academic prep as well as to work on lacrosse to prepare for D1 lacrosse at West Point.

What are your plans after the Abbey and college?

I would like to study International Relations in college and after my time at the Army I would like to get a political position, or go into business or law. How does the Abbey compare to your previous school? My old school was very big, and I didn’t know some people even until graduation. But the Abbey is really small and even after 7 months of being here I feel like I know everyone and I’m somewhat friends with everyone. I met a lot of good people and made many friends that I would keep in touch with after graduation. The athletic teams are smaller here, coaches are closer to kids and it helps a lot with team chemistry.

Rooming with Brian

(Throughout the interview, Ryan continuously accused Brian of being an avid knitter, a perfect summary of their life together.) I really enjoy my experience with Brian. Brian’s very easy to live with, and we help each other out. We’ve gotten very close, and I would definitely room with Brian again.

Being a PG at the Abbey?

What motivated you to join the Army?

How does the Abbey compare to your previous school? My old school had three thousand two hundred kids, so that’s a huge difference. I know we’re planning on getting a new one, but I think the science building is good here. In my old school we just did our labs in our classrooms, we didn’t have specific lab rooms.

Being a PG at the Abbey

Anything you would like to say?

Something you would like to say upon leaving?

I’ve been having a lot of fun. It’s really good to come here as a PG, especially going into service, because it is so different from a public school. In public school there weren’t rules besides at home, but everything is structured here. This is a good transition for me.

Take life as it comes to you. I found out that I had to do another whole year of high school less than a month before graduation, when I thought I would be going to college. I could’ve gotten upset but I took the best case scenario; and I think it helped me get ready for West Point.

pressed his concern on the Abbey’s perception of the club. Carnegie serves as a venue for tennis, golf, and the occasional relaxation day by the pool. With just as pretty a view of the bay as we have, Carnegie is the perfect site for such a resort. But none of this comes cheaply. Just as we students have to pay an annual tuition fee, members pay a large amount to be a part of this resort. As an exclusive site, one can only become a member when 23 years old and must meet the financial qualifications. The club isn’t as “exclusive,” as it may seem, but membership is no walk in the park. My family has been members of the club for about six years now, way before I even knew

views resumes and will eventually travel to meet possible candidates. As Dr. Bonin explains, “Resumes and recommendation letters can only tell you so much—you have to meet people face-to-face.” At the end of the search, Mr. Becker will review all the applicants and provide the Search Committee with a list of top candidates. The committee will interview these candidates and recommend a finalist to the full Board. The Search Committee emphasized the importance of the entire Abbey community having a say in the search. On January 27 Abbey students, faculty, staff, parents, regents, alumni, and friends were invited to complete a survey about what they would like to see in the next Headmaster. The survey results were made available to the Search Committee, and were used to help shape the job description for the Headmaster position contained in a long document entitled “Head of School Leadership Opportunity.” The Head of School Leadership Opportunity consists of appealing information about our school. It describes the Head of School position; the history of the Abbey; the Monastery and monks; the School’s Statement of Phi-

How did you come to the Abbey?

I originally wanted to be in Air Force because I wanted to be a fighter pilot. But going into my senior year I got recruited to West Point, and now that I’ve looked into both of them, I think West Point is a much better fit for me and that I’ll be much happier there.

By Kat Haines Staff Writer

Benevides, Continued

Ryan Whitney

How did you come to the Abbey?

That Other Abbey

Apart from fancy graduation brunches, golfers, and the constant reminder of the blatant Tower, most Abbey kids don’t know much about Carnegie Abbey. All of our Abbey grounds were established in 1900 by the Benedictine Monastery, but it was not until recently that Peter de Savary bought a 99-year lease from our monks. Given 500 acres, Carnegie Abbey is a luxurious resort built on Abbey land. Currently, Mr. Brian O’Neill is the owner, and enthusiastic about Abbey life. Personally, I had the good fortune to sit in on one of Mr. O’Neill’s meetings about the construction of the Carnegie Tower, which sticks out like a sore thumb on a mass of flat land. Mr. O’Neill ex-

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about Portsmouth Abbey School. I believe it serves as a great way to be introduced to the Abbey though; I remember going to little kid summer camp on Abbey grounds. The meals in the dining hall were definitely the highlight of that program. Despite the introduction, as a member, my Abbey life and club life are pretty much isolated from each other. Both the Abbey and Carnegie are national historic sites for the Revolutionary War. Crashing a golf cart into one of the trees in “Bloody Run Dam” when I was younger frequently reminds me of where the Battle of Bloody Run took place. Dr. DeVecchi even found a cannon lying around the grounds when out for a walk. However much we may seem isolated, our common land will connect us for however long Carnegie Abbey exists. As a member, ending a Spring Warm Weather Dress day sitting by the Carnegie pool doesn’t get much better.

losophy; the academic program; and the challenges the new Headmaster will have to face. The statement emphasizes Portsmouth Abbey’s commitment to Benedictine Catholic education, therefore the new Headmaster will need to embrace the School’s Mission and work within the School’s tradition. Dr. Flanigan says, “Our School is in a position of power, and the new Headmaster will have to take it to the next level.” In order to do that, the new Headmaster will not only have to sustain the school’s financial status and academic reputation, but he or she will have to fundraise for the School’s Capital Campaign; keep tuition levels in check; embrace 21st century teaching and learning; strengthen admission and college placement; and raise the school’s profile in Catholic and Independent school circles. As we go about our day-to-day business, the search for Portsmouth Abbey School’s future Headmaster continues in the hope of finding someone who sees our School’s potential and will improve our School in the years to come.

I’ve always had deep respect for people who served their country and the opportunity to go West Point presented itself through lacrosse. With getting one of the best educations of the country for free, it wasn’t much of a decision. I get respect from guys when it comes to sports; I feel more responsible. We are held to higher standards when it comes to academics and sports, which is expected. Boarding taught me about responsibility and discipline. . I really enjoyed my time here, I’m very happy I chose the Abbey to go for my prep year, and I’ve made many good friends I’ll keep in touch.

Both the Equestrian Program and Golf program here at the Abbey are significantly woven into Carnegie life. Carnegie employees help these teams reach their goals, specifically the riding coaches at the stables. Mr. Hobbins serves as the equestrian team’s personal driver, crossing the line between the Abbey and Carnegie every day with the girls. As a golfer here at the Abbey, what’s better than a 5-star course in which to practice a round? Staffed with a PGA director of golf and professional coaches, Carnegie Abbey is a great place to start up a golf game on the Scottish links and extremely traditional course. I’m proud to say that I have “parred” one hole, #3, on the Carnegie course, despite its being the easiest. With an 18-hole golf course at the tip of our fingers, many faculty members, such as Mr. Moffie and Mr. Sirois, take advantage of this opportunity.

Mehrtens, Continued den away. These attacks do not solely target women, nor are the perpetrators always men. Yet, while most male victims are splashed on their skin, like shoulders or arms, female victims are often targeted in places that injure their chances of finding a husband, like their faces or genitals. These calculated attacks make it almost impossible for a woman to survive in the masculine society of Bangladesh where they may only hope to prosper through marriage. This patriarchal system leads many women into a cycle of woman-to-woman violence as they target their lover’s “other woman” as a way to solidify their futures and protect themselves from destitution. Both parties are victims of their society. Yet this solely provides some needed context and does not mean these female perpetrators are blameless. Professor Chowdhury emphasized the struggle of finding women willing to speak out on their attacks because many feared for their friends, family, and themselves if they were seen discussing the issue. This prompted one college student to ask whether Professor Chowdhury had ever felt unsafe her-

Carnegie should be a bonus, not a burden. The golf course, fancy lunches, and horseback riding program redeem a bit of the annoyance of the Tower. As Carnegie serves us, we serve them. Many student families have joined the club due to their enrollment in the Abbey. “Portsmouth Abbey is a second home to me, and Carnegie is just an added bonus,” Fifth Former Callie Hall remarks about her membership to the club. It is a great place to which boarders can slip away with their parents upon visiting, especially for international students. Having a golf course on Portsmouth Abbey land is a good way of helping to preserve the beauty of the property in years to come, especially since the community can benefit from its use as well.

self, as a single woman in Bangladesh often traveling to the poorer sections of the city to meet victims. Professor Chowdhury paused, but soon readily admitted that she never felt herself in danger. She confessed that as an upper-middle class, Bangladeshi woman, who lived in a gated area with a car for transportation, her safety was never truly at risk, unlike the victims. Professor Chowdhury concluded her seminar by describing local women’s organizations and international agencies striving to educate women of empowerment, rescue, and rehabilitation. Pictures and stories of survivor-activists and Bangladeshi immigrants in the United States accentuated her message. Acid attacks occur all over the world, including Europe and the United States. However, Professor Chowdhury’s focus to the particular situations and victims of South Asia allows her to probe deeper into the episodes of acids attacks on women and girls, behind the statistics. Her emphasis and diligence in telling their stories does not simply bring awareness, but gives faces to a transnational message against gendered violence.


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SPORTS

BEYOND THE ABBEY

Appalachia

Baseball

By Fletcher Bonin Contributor

This is three Mountain Dews and a cigarette for breakfast. This is NASCAR baseball hats. This is satellite dishes bigger than houses, and Dodge pickup trucks that are even bigger. This is dogs chained to cinderblocks. This is the sound of constant strip mining explosions. This is chickens, hens, and ducks walking in unhindered flocks. This is more ATV’s than cars in the driveway. This is school buses travelling uphill to deliver school children. This is burn your trash or live in it. This is Chavies, Kentucky, and this is incredible. Portsmouth Abbey’s unmarked white vans trundled down to Kentucky for this year’s Appalachia Service Project during March vacation. Ms. Thomas directed the trip this year, and under her detailed plans and Mr. Williams’ exclusive driving control of her van, we made it to the ASP center that we would call home for the next five days. We were divided into work crews, and set off each morning at eight to carry out the task that the ASP center had designated to us under the careful instructions of group leaders Mr. Frank Sienkiewicz, Mr. Peter Ramsden, Mr. Paul Williams, and a man that went by “Willy.” With their help, our work groups completed construction jobs on houses that badly needed aid. Our groups fixed underpinnings on these sadly dilapidated homes; re-roofing jobs on homes that had been crudely built by the current residents; siding jobs on houses whose outer walls had been left bare to the unpredictable Kentucky weather; and ramp building for a blind woman and her husband. The leadership of this year’s ASP Sixth Formers Ford Bauer, Bitsy Conklin and Sean Buckley was imperative to the completing of these ambitious projects. But simple construction jobs were not the sole purpose of our trip, as we also hoped to establish relationships with the owners of our worksites. Depending on the residence you were working on, this could be harder for some groups than others. Residents--many of whom had built the home themselves--were justly hesitant about having these teenagers from a northern prep school use hammers and saws on their homes. This hesitation came from an intense pride, a pride that’s nearly as abundant in Kentucky as their chief export, coal. After initial reluctance, my group’s homeowners, Tony and Kat, were quite nice, offering us sodas, coffee and use of their Corn Hole game, which Tony built along with his house. The house next to us though, with the work crew headed by Mr. Williams and Ms. Stenberg, had little luck in establishing a relationship with their home’s family. Much of this came from pride, but also embarrassment that they needed help, as they, too, had built their home themselves, and because of this, curtained their windows and remained inside for the entirety of our visit. The husband did, however, display his gratitude, continuing our

Franz, Continued world on this tenuous situation. Protests, inspired by similar events in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, began last March in response to the arrest and torture of a group of teenagers who painted revolutionary slogans on the walls of their school. Syrian security forces allegedly opened fire on marchers protesting this abuse, killing four, and later shot at mourners at the victims’ funerals. Opposition protests remained peaceful until last September, when several factions calling themselves the Syrian National Committee, the National Coordination Committee, and the Free Syrian Army (made up of defectors from the Syrian military) began to fight back against the oppression of the Assad regime. SANA has vaguely designated these activists as “armed terrorist groups”, and has attributed attacks on military transports as well as oil pipelines to these rebels. The government has retaliated against their acts with the apparently random shelling of suburbs in large cities such as Homs, with little regard for the harm done to civilians in the process of exterminating violent opposition. But as some activists boast, for each person killed by Assad security forces, an entire family will join the cause against the longtime regime. The opposition’s determination to force reform and democracy in Syria has driven anti-government activists – generally independent of the groups named above – to violate human rights through kidnappings, torture and executions of military personnel as well as civilians, according to Human Rights Watch. Though these abuses have occurred on a much smaller scale than those reportedly perpetrated by the Assads themselves, the opposition appears to be growing as brutal as its oppressors with no signs of a return to their original form of peaceful protest. In the world of diplomacy, progress is equally absent. A draft resolution proposed to the United Nations by Morocco in October condemning the violence in Syria was vetoed by Russia and

5 Girls Lacrosse

By Tiernan O’Rourke Staff Writer

By Melanie Camacho Staff Writer

It’s time to dust off the old glove and pull out the hat because baseball season is back. If you listen closely over the whistles of the other sports, the crack of the bat can be heard all around. The Abbey baseball team started the season a little rough, but has stayed strong relying on the strength of eight Sixth Formers. Each has produced big hits and big outs in important situations, and the leadership to fight through has proven invaluable. A standout game came against Concord Academy. In the first inning the team scored four runs, but then let up five. The game went back and forth, but the Abbey fought it off until pulling off a 10-9 win. The season has just begun, but it looks to be promising, so stop by and spend an afternoon enjoying the game, after all it is America’s pastime.

This year the Varsity Girls Lacrosse team kicked off their season to an excellent start. Even though they lost their first scrimmage against the powerful Moses Brown team, they picked things back up very quickly when they won 6 consecutive games afterwards in the regular season. With new head coach Ms. Reardon, who played the game herself back in high school, and with an enthusiastic Mr. O’Connor as an assistant, it isn’t hard to see why the Lady Ravens haven’t lost yet. Even though the season initiated just three weeks ago, Caitlin Villareal scored her 200th goal of her Abbey career just after the season began. Other players who were also on a roll include Annie Kirscht, Kelley Oliveira, and Callie Taylor on offense and Katie Glosson, Ann Gallagher, and Devon Hogan on defense. New members on team this year include Kristine McNulty and Taylor Lough, both Third Formers who have both played in other leagues at their previous schools; both have raised the bar for incoming talent. The Lady Ravens most recent victory was against the infamous St. George’s team. The Lady Ravens came up with their much-deserved 18-8 win with both an excellent offensive and defensive effort. Known for their Tie-Dye Tuesdays and their drive for excellence, this team will be sure to continue with an excellent season.

Softball By Sarah Auer Editor-in-Chief

Recovering from the loss of two key players, the Abbey softball team has truly come together to start off another great spring. The girls began with a great 18-4 win against Berwick. Though Tabor proved a struggle, the softball team battled in the last two innings of their game against Marianapolis Prep. Their batting only seems to improve as the weeks go by and the fielding comes together more with each practice. It looks like the Abbey Softball team is lining up for an awesome season.

Track and Field By Annie Zhao Staff Writer

work after we left and before we got there, but never when we were present. Other groups, such as Ms. Thomas and Mr. Ramsden’s group, left their family’s home with tearful goodbyes of appreciation, as in the case of Joe, who lived in the home and conversed freely with our work crew. Whether expressed or not, we left our worksites in Hazard County, Kentucky each day knowing our work had not gone unnoticed. It would be easy at this point to say that these people will live happily ever after and that we are all “changed” by the experience, but that’s not necessarily the case--at least not fully. At best, I can say that this was a purely boarding school or prep school experience. Not in the conventional sense, like sit- down dinners, a school dress code or Sunday mass, but a boarding school experience nonetheless. The point of these boarding schools, the reason why we pay these tuitions, dry clean these Polo’s, and take Latin is to graduate with character, not simply to fulfill Mommy and Daddy’s Ivy League dreams, and not to play croquet and wear tennis whites as many people may think. By going to Appalachia, we see the adversity that few of us will ever have to face, and knowing and understanding this fact amongst your friends and teachers brings us closer to the character that we hope to graduate with in the spring.

China, who share important trade connections with the Assad regime. The Soviet Union was once Syria’s greatest arms supplier, and Russia continues to provide weaponry to its ally in the Middle East. Russia and China vetoed a second, tougher resolution in February that called for president Assad to step down from power – to the chagrin of Western nations including the United Kingdom, France and the United States. China has a long record of non-intervention in other nations’ domestic affairs, and maintains that the Syrian government and opposition should resolve their conflict through discussion rather than violence. Critics of China believe that its government simply does not want to condone any revolution for fear of inciting a similar challenge to their own regime. Though most agree that direct military involvement like that in Libya should not be repeated in Syria, many countries advocate supplying arms to the opposition forces, and President Obama and other international leaders have considered giving them medical aid as well. In the meantime, U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan has attempted to hammer out peace deals between the opposing groups, but as recently as this April, the Syrian government has apparently ignored whatever terms it had previously agreed to. In an attempt to pressure President Assad to bring an end to the violence, the European Union has placed sanctions against Syrian first lady Asma al-Assad, preventing her from visiting the place where she was born and raised. The Syrian first lady, a critic of the Israeli oppression of Palestine and a founder of a number of charities for disadvantaged women, has been criticized for shopping online while her people are massacred. The president himself has been described by expatriate acquaintances as a man who is not a leader, but follows the lead of the regime itself. The younger son of Hafez al-Assad, Bashar did not expect to come into power and was studying ophthalmology in London when his older brother Basil died in a car wreck in the early 1990s. When he assumed the presidency after his father’s death, he inherited a regime that

The Abbey Track team has assembled a smaller-than-usual but strong team for the Spring term, led by the captains Amelia Gray, Emily Kaufman and Will Parsons. The boy’s team has run in two home tri-meets thus far against Bancroft, Wheeler, Mariannapolis and Landmark school, both of which were strong performances that came away with victories for the Abbey. The girl’s team has run in a dual meet and a tri-meet alongside the boys, and despite the many newcomers and a fresh 4x4 relay team, resulted in a close loss by a 5pt margin in the dual meet and 2nd place by a 2pt margin in the tri-meet. In terms of achievements, Hadley Matthews entered the list of top ten pole-vaulters for the Abbey in her first meet. With hopes for mild weather, Track and Field is looking at the 2012 spring season as one filled with potential.

Boys Lacrosse By Timothy Cunningham Staff Writer

Hafez had built singlehandedly, which Bashar had no real control over. A divide exists within the Assad regime: a younger generation, headed by Bashar, favors democratic reforms and modernization, while the Ba’ath Old Guard maintains more conservative ideals. Bashar al-Assad has made some important concessions to the rebels’ demands in the past year – repealing the Emergency Decree that had essentially put Syria under martial law for the past fifty years, and introducing a new constitution that allows for multi-party elections. But for the Syrian opposition forces, these improvements are too little, too late; most feel that al-Assad will never truly break free from the conservatism of the Old Guard and only through revolution will democracy be achieved. Al-Assad’s chief advisor disagrees; Bouthaina Shaaban believes that Assad could slowly modernize Syria and eventually establish a democracy. But she says that western plots against Syria as well as threats from Israel (because of Syria’s support of Palestine) have kept the country under a siege mentality that has prevented the progress Assad promised from taking place. As an ally of Israel, the United States has certainly taken issue with Syria’s support of Palestine, and hostility from Arab countries influenced by America like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Iraq makes Syria’s task of reform all the more difficult. After the Iraq invasion of 2003, the Bush administration considered invading Syria as well, with the encouragement of Israel, in order to overthrow Assad. The animosity toward the Assads comes from their connection to the militant Shia in control of Iran, since the Alawi stem from the Shia movement. Syria was spared simply because the Assad regime would have been replaced by the Muslim Brotherhood, an even more worrying prospect to Washington than Syria’s position as Tehran’s Middle Eastern ally. (This could still happen now if the Assads were to fall from power.) In slightly different circumstances, Syria could have found itself in a situation very similar to that of Iraq; Saddam Hussein’s attempt to regain Kuwait, which was

originally part of his country, ended with drastic consequences. If Syria had attempted to reclaim Lebanon around the same time, the Assad regime could have come to the same harsh end. Syria’s conflict with Israel over Palestine introduces potential ulterior motives for Western support of the opposition forces. As an ally of Israel, the United States has put trade and arms sanctions into place against Syria, causing their economic decline, which in turn contributed to the current unrest. Since Israel and the United States are both concerned by Iran’s nuclear capabilities, they might hope that his ally Assad’s downfall would intimidate President Ahmadinejad enough to put Iran’s nuclear program on hold. This could explain the current outrage despite the fact that neither the U.S. or Britain protested in the least when Rifaat Assad, Hafez’s brother and the commander of the Syrian military, massacred 10,000 Sunni Muslim protesters in 1982 – a greater number than all the casualties in the last year on both sides of the conflict. After his failed attempt to seize power in 1984, Rifaat fled to Europe and now lives in London, just blocks from British Foreign Secretary William Hague’s office, working as an activist for the current Syrian opposition. To add to the irony of the whole situation, Israel essentially conquered Golan Heights, a part of Syria, and now has nuclear missiles within range of Syria’s capital of Damascus. Alawi and Christian minorities continue to support Bashar al-Assad for fear of sectarian war if he loses power, though Christians resent the fact that they still are not permitted to run for the presidency themselves. As late as this April, the Syrian government has ignored the deadline for a ceasefire and withdrawal of troops from “liberated” territory under the control of the opposition. With no clear resolution in sight, some consider it best to allow this raging sociopolitical inferno to burn itself out, in the hopes that real human suffering will not be forgotten or drowned out by the vast, global implications of Syria’s struggle to rediscover its identity.

The Boy’s Varsity Lacrosse team is on pace for yet another very successful season. Captains Matt Brigham, Liam O’Connor, Drake Kreinz, and Trevor Kenahan lead the Ravens this year. The group is close and plays well together, as many of the upperclassmen have played together for three or four years. Coach Brown’s goals going into the season were to win the season opener (which they have already accomplished), be competitive in out of league games, win the league, and beat St. George’s. In addition, Coach Brown hopes the team will play enthusiastically, develop their lacrosse IQs, use teamwork, and receive leadership from the VI Formers. The Abbey Lacrosse team prepared for the season with their annual spring trip and two scrimmages (both of which ended as victories for the Ravens). The Ravens opened their season with three out of league games. The team played well and earned a win against Hyde to open the season. However, despite a great defensive effort, the Abbey fell to a very strong Wellesley team in their second game. The team also lost a close game to Dexter. The Ravens will play one more out of league game before they begin league play. The Ravens appear to have a promising season ahead of them.

Sailing

By Mossiah Kuassi-Brou Staff Writer The sailing team has become an almost entirely new team this year, taking on many new recruits. Returning Coach Ms. Duncan and new assistant coach Mr. Ross-McCormick are leading the team towards victory. The varsity team’s first regattas have been hopeful, capturing four wins and pulling through three losses in competitions with other nationally ranked teams. Captains Andrew Godfrey and Marguerite Crandall are proving to be valuable leaders and hope to push the team to the championships once more this year.

Tennis

By Emily Magnifico Staff Writer Even after graduating seven of their most skilled players, the girls’ varsity tennis team still managed to kick off the season with a series of wins uncompromised by any losses. Under the guidance of this year’s captains, the team has grown into one of the most competitive teams the Abbey has assembled in a while, marked by their depth and drive at practice. Even with the challenges presented by facing off against rivals Winsor, Concord, and Bancroft, the outlook on the season was essentially positive. While the boys’ varsity tennis team came out with a rocky start, they managed to pull it together after a loss to Moses Brown to achieve a victory over Worcester Academy. Even though the team’s ladder took a while to solidify, any of the top five players can give a competitive match to his teammates. Because of this the boys have had to work even harder to maintain their positions at practice, causing the entire team to grow in depth over the course of the season. Despite the flux, the current lineup is capable of offering a fair and serious match in any EIL competition.


6 The Hunger Games: A Dystopian Triumph By Michelle Mehrtens Staff Writer “The Hunger Games,” adapted from Suzanne Collin’s young adult book of the same name, is a global phenomenon. It is a recordbreaking blockbuster, appearing as the third-best opening for a movie of all time and the best opening for a non-sequel. In its first weekend, “The Hunger Games” earned $155 million at the box office. The movie has also spurred debates and discussions from different parts of the spectrum—some intelligent, and some not so intelligent. There have been conversations revolving around whether the movie was a successful reworking of the book, and whether the actors and actresses accurately captured the essence of many beloved characters. “The Hunger Games” has also prompted discussion of Katniss’s significance, her role as a strong female protagonist, and her appeal to a broad range of viewers. Then, of course, backlash has also occurred, though some criticism has gained notoriety—mainly, complaints from audience members about African American actors portraying a few notable characters. “The Hunger Games” has become the center of a variety of conversations, both enlightened and tinged with prejudice. Let’s begin. As a fan of The Hunger Games trilogy, I viewed the movie with trepidation. Josh Hutcherson as Peeta seemed a little strange, but, more importantly, I wondered whether the movie would successfully portray the atrocities and contradictions of the dystopian world of Panem—would the movie capture the nuanced messages of the book, the criticisms underlying a society so desensitized to violence that the wealthy watched kids kill each other for entertainment? …In a word? Kinda. Jennifer Lawrence triumphs as Katniss because she shows her thoughts, her emotions, on her face flawlessly. In times of crisis, in times when Katniss has to confront brutality and violence, it is the expressions on her face that cement the insanity of the world she lives in. Panem is a warped world, and Katniss’ awareness of this emphasizes that realization. When Haymitch, Katniss’ mentor, witnesses a small boy playfully pretend to “kill” his sister with a

toy sword while the Hunger Games occur onscreen, it also shows how a disconnect has taken place in human emotion and empathy. However, The Hunger Games book also serves as a warning to us, now: we, who watch reality television and enjoy laughing at the foolishness, the pain, of others. What happens in Panem is a grotesque exaggeration of what we are now. The movie fails to draw the connection. Katniss is a female protagonist unlike most. She has spent her life hunting to survive, as well as caring for her sister and mother.

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars By Michelle Mehrtens Staff Writer As Hazel Lancaster, the protagonist of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, so succinctly puts it: “Cancer books suck.” For the most part, she is correct. Many books that attempt to delve into the complexities and hardships of cancer undoubtedly fall prey to maudlin, preachy, or callow plotlines—some even employ all three for a mind-numbing trifecta. In The Fault in Our Stars, Hazel herself has terminal cancer. But before you begin to shy away from this book lest tears spring to your eyes, hold on. What makes this story so fresh and original is that its characters and the lives they lead are unapologetically real. Sure, Hazel has cancer. But she’s also a seventeen-year-old girl with a snarky attitude, someone who laments being forced to attend a kids-with-cancer support group and who, unlike some books would have you believe, has a life outside of her disease. Of course it plays a huge part in the story—and her life. But it’s not who she is. And The Fault in Our Stars is much more than that, as well. The teenagers in this book do not fall into the lazy stereotypes that all too frequently dominate books, movies, and television shows. Hazel may watch “America’s Next Top Model,” but she doesn’t continuously populate her sentences with “OMG!” and “Shoes!” In support group, Hazel befriends Isaac, an insightful boy with a glass eye. Although humorous and witty, Isaac is not reduced to simply the comic relief, the character who inserts a dry remark and then fades into the background (there is, though, a hilarious scene when Hazel visits Isaac after his surgery). And then, of course, there is Augustus Waters, who is in remission and has a prosthetic leg. Although he is the Romeo to Hazel’s Juliet, he is far from perfect. There are no martyrs. In one scene, Hazel

Can You Guess Which Faculty Member Wrote This in Third Grade?

FACULTY

REVIEWS

and Augustus spend an afternoon playing completely violent video games and then contemplate the philosophical meanings behind a decrepit swing set. In another, Isaac extols the virtues of his girlfriend—the next, he’s egging her car. Sometimes they’re too clever

At times, she is completely unlikable. But ultimately, we root for Katniss. We empathize with her struggles, the brutalities she faces, and admire her gumption. She’s a fierce girl who has had to grow up faster than most. Katniss does not typify the norm of femininity. As Autumn Whitefield-Madrano from The New Inquiry explains, it is Katniss, not Peeta, who has a hard time adjusting to the fashion, the lights, the charade of romance, that they must embrace to win. She is also what makes “The Hunger Games” movie refreshing, new. She is the female hero, someone who, as exhibited by the movie’s awe-worthy success, appeals to many different people. As A.O Scott from The New York Times points out, girls are used to relating to male protagonists, whether he is Harry Potter or Spider-Man; but boys never want to be princesses or, you know, Bella Swan. It is all too common for girls and women to put themselves into the shoes of heroes, but it is quite rare for boys to put themselves into the shoes of heroines. “The Hunger Games” movie provides an experience in which a strong female protagonist leads the adventure, and everyone wants to follow. Criticism—both reasonable and questionable—shadow any big hit. Following the premiere of “The Hunger Games,” a number of audience members whined about the fact that Rue (Amandla Stenberg), Thresh (Dayo Okeniyi) and Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) were played by African American actors. Never mind the fact that the majority of the movie was whitewashed (Dodai Stewart, editor of Jezebel, points out that the book clearly describes Katniss with “olive skin” and “straight black hair,” meaning she could have easily been played by a Native American, Asian, or Hispanic actress), these complaints are completely incorrect. Stewart takes note that on page 45 of The Hunger Games, Rue is described with “dark brown skin and eyes”; Thresh is seen with “the same dark skin as Rue.” Fortunately, Twitter has created a Tumblr revealing these racist tweets as a tool to fight back. Despite all this, the movie has continued to thrive, as have its actors and actresses. Rue shared one of the most touching and pivotal scenes of the book and movie, and Amandla Stenberg portrayed her movingly and poignantly. “The Hunger Games” is an entertaining and fast-paced movie, and is executed with clear-cut precision. Although the movie did not always effectively portray the novel, it still manages to capture its essence, and creates a world rife with meaning and thought—as well as heated debates. Hopefully, “Catching Fire” can recapture— or surpass—the success of “The Hunger Games.” As Effie Trinket trills, “May the odds be ever in your favor.”

for their own good, presumptuous, ambitious, and other times, they are silly and heartsick. Hazel, Augustus, Isaac: they are complex, multifaceted people who happen to be teenagers. However, they are all forced to face the harsh realities of growing up alongside their illnesses, which they do with admirable maturity and wisdom. From the beginning, Hazel is wary of forging new relationships with other people. She knows her time is limited, and she does not want to hurt anyone. Her parents—who also refuse to become caricatures—are open with Hazel; there’s no coddling. But they also help her realize the importance of staying present in her own life. Unlike Hazel, who first fights to make her footprint on the world that much smaller, Augustus wonders how he can leave a mark on the world, how he can make his time matter. No matter how trite it may sound, everyone inevitably thinks about the meaning of life, and the meanings in their own lives; it is a part of being human. Hazel and Augustus attempt to piece together their own understandings of the universe, of the infinite space humans occupy. As people who deal with death on a day-to-day basis, their musings are tinged with a mortal awareness that most avoid. The Fault in Our Stars provides an honest, frank portrait of those struggling with cancer, and struggling to lead normal lives. Do not expect a dewy, doe-eyed patient reclining casually on her hospital bed. The situations are genuine, messy, imperfect, and heartbreaking. On the other hand, there is no exploitation of suffering and grief to force feelings or tears. Hazel is a strong, intelligent character, and everything that occurs happens organically. The Fault in Our Stars inspires a whirlwind of emotions. Readers may find themselves laughing hysterically, and then struggling to not bawl in a public place. This is a book worthy of your time. Hazel Lancaster is a standout protagonist, as are her family and friends. It is a story that makes its genre fresh and sincere, and sheds the stereotypes and forced gloom to create a spectacular read. It is a story that provokes a thousand different colors of emotions, as all goods books should. Read The Fault in Our Stars. You will wish you actually knew Hazel—and, of course, Augustus. Trust me.

Zoom-in on our Tech Guys By Julia Slupska Staff Writer

F

or those who do not know, the Information Services people, also known as the IT guys, can be found next to the Science Building computer lab, in a small room packed with boxes overflowing with different computer parts. They are all very talented and helpful, and they see themselves as under-utilized. So, in case you ever have computer troubles, you should get to know the IT guys. Farthest from the door is Mr. Victor Pacheco, who is originally from Fall River and is married with two boys: Aidan is 9 years old and Brandon is 13 years old. He spends most of his free time coaching Fall River United, his boys’ soccer team. He also enjoys collecting rare Japanese maple trees. His dream job would be to be a park ranger in Yellowstone National Park. Mr. Pacheco has worked for the Abbey for twelve years and specializes in the Abbey Technology Budget; he is also part of the Technology Committee (which includes Mr. McDonough, Mr. McCarthy, and Mr. Zelden.) The Technology Committee discusses and makes the decisions about new technology for the school – for example, whether certain classes should get iPads next year. When asked if that will actually happen, Mr. Pacheco replied that he is not the one who makes the decision, but that the teacher must “have a plan for utilizing them.” Next is Mr. Robert Brett, who claims he is a gypsy and grew up everywhere (more specifically most of the coastal states because he comes from a Navy family). He has a wonderful wife (of 25 years) named Biz (short for Elizabeth) and three sons. In his off time, he works on his house and yard. He also has two pet squirrels. They are both very friendly and like to eat carrots. On Friday nights, he works at a comic book store called the Annex in Newport. For the past four years, he has hosted a gaming night there where local kids come and play Magic the Gathering: “Fridays are very long days for me,” he added. The owner of the store, Wayne Quakenbush, also supports local artists by giving them space to display and sell their art. Every month has a different theme: March was Bigfoot month. I highly recommend looking at their comic store (http://www.facebook.com/pages/AnnexComics). Mr. Brett’s dream job would be to live in Yellowstone National Park with a small bear sidekick and pilfer picnic baskets. Until that day, however, Mr. Brett says he specializes in delivering ink and fixing Portsmouth Abbey printer jams. When asked why the printers break down so often, he said, “It’s a combination of old models and lots of traffic.” Mr. Brett (and, surely, most of the student body) hopes that the school will get at least some new printers next year. Closest to the door is Mr. Paul Williams from Warwick, Rhode

The Smithereens By Eden Franz Staff Writer

Recognized as the indigenous tribe of Portsmouth Abbey, faculty children make their presence known on campus – and sometimes, feared. Through some combination of local mythology and actual experience, none are considered more wild or dangerous than the Smithereens, just three representatives of the native culture. And yet this writer can vouch from personal experience that Conor, Sean and Thomas – the savages have names, after all – are surprisingly civilized. After an evening of babysitting, which consisted of a very normal game of Monopoly complemented by an episode of Myth Busters, I began to wonder if the rumors of the Smithereens’ savagery were exaggerated. It’s true, my foray into the jungle otherwise known as Stately Smith Hall did end with an episode of Swamp People – a bit scarring for a person of my vegetarian sensibilities. For those readers unfamiliar with this primetime feature on the History Channel, it chronicles the travails of heavily-accented, American-flag-bandanaclad alligator hunters in the marshes of the Deep South. Luckily, our viewing interest was in the unparalleled twanginess of the accents more than the thrill of watching “swamp-men” shoot reptiles in the head. Many of us may not realize that most of the faculty kids who aren’t yet students at the Abbey have spent most or all of their lives

First correct answer submitted to The Beacon gets bookstore bucks.

From the left: Mr. Bob Brett, Mr. Paul Williams, Mr. Victor Pacheco Island. In the words of Mr. Brett, “he is a lone wolf and has no children.” He is also a full-time student working towards a Bachelor in Information Systems Security. He enjoys rehabbing old homes, diving, and mountain biking through Yellowstone Park when park ranger Victor is off duty. His dream job would be to professionally compete in offshore sailboat racing. At the Abbey, he specializes in Network Security. In any case, one of the technology changes we will be seeing next year is a new and improved security system, under which changing your IP address will not get you Internet in the banned hours. What are some other changes? All the dorms will be getting New Dell Optiplex XE computers with new monitors. Additionally, some of the math classes will be using different calculators than the TI89. Mr. Brett mentioned that both the Technology Committee and the IT guys are very open to suggestions from students: “For example, if enough students wanted it, we could get Photoshop for some of the computers in the computer lab or the library.” Another proposed change would be a reorganization of the school computer login. Apparently, the login we all use (“student” with password “student”) is supposed to be just a generic account. Every student actually has an individual account (yourname_yoursurname with on this campus. They have watched generations of students enter the school as wide-eyed freshmen, the perfect unsuspecting targets for falling acorns that the natives just happened to drop from their perch in the trees. And they’ve seen the same students smoking those nasty cigars you get at graduation, wondering when someone would notice the effects of that little something extra they slipped into the refreshments. In all seriousness, though, many of these kids have never known any other way of life, at least that they can remember. They’re curious to know what it’s like to live in a normal neighborhood without strange, clumsy giants always bothering their parents about permission to take a taxi or asking for help before tomorrow’s test. Given the chance to experience the normal lifestyles many Abbey students take for granted, they might even pass for average schoolchildren. It was with a straight face, I’m proud to say, that I asked Conor Smith if he and his brothers really were the wild little savages that all Humanities students have nightmares about before a particularly nasty paper is due. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has imagined them leaning through the window, hollow reeds loaded with poisoned darts in position at their lips, ready to take out anyone who fails to participate in a plenary discussion. But he just laughs. “We’re kind of normal,” he admits. A seventh grader, Conor looks forward to his time at the Abbey. He says he might not even mind having his parents as teachers – weird as it undoubtedly would be. The role of the faculty themselves in spreading the myths surrounding the native wildlife appears to be a significant one. The Smithereens wouldn’t enjoy half their notoriety were it not for Mr. Smith’s frequent examples of their savagery in his attempts to il-

lustrate faults in John Locke’s theory of government. There’s little he likes more than recounting their bloodthirsty exploits in graphic detail. But the accuracy of these anecdotes is doubtful at best; perhaps he’s just projecting his own youthful adventures on his innocent children. So next time you hear rustling in the rhododendrons by the Holy Lawn, don’t worry – faculty kids are as harmless as the squirrels they’re hunting!

17. Mr. Cowan once drove through a rainbow and the rain in front of him was sdhimmering gold. This was before cell phones had cameras.

18. Mr. and Mrs. Cowan rode on the tallest and fastest roller coaster on earth. Twice. In a row. It was so fast that Mr. Cowan believes that he lost part of his soul.

1. Mrs. Cowan’s favorite class was her graduate class on Menippean Satire.

19. Mr. Cowan’s favorite movies are “Moon Over Parador,”

2. Mr. Cowan lived in Marseilles, France for one year when

“Kagemusha,” and Dave.”

he was five years old. He went to school with gypsies and was supposedly fluent in French.

20. Mrs. Cowan’s great uncle was the Prime Minister in Spain.

He was actually assassinated in the public plaza in Madrid which is now named after him.

3. Mr. and Mrs. Cowan’s favorite meal is tripe and snails with morcilla (a Spanish blood sausage).

than the normal human being. It is a medical condition called Sang Froid and usually indicates a complete absence of pity.

Thomas, Sean and Connor

way from New Orleans to Baton Rouge.

By Hannah Niles Staff Writer

4. Mr. Cowan has a significantly lower blood temperature

the same password as your school email) which he or she can use to login to every computer on campus. Furthermore, if you email Mr. Pacheco, he can set up a drive called a UDrive for your specific account. If you have a UDrive, you will be able to save a document on any school computer and open it from any other computer – which would obviously be a huge help when printing documents and more. “Next year, we’d like to get rid of the generic account and have everyone use their individual logins,” added Mr. Pacheco. Mr. Brett also wanted to make sure everyone knows that, “If you try to access a website and it is blocked and you do not feel it should be, let us know and we can unblock it. Our software automatically blocks sites based on category. It is a very generic process and can block websites that should not necessarily be blocked.” They want to get to know you and help you: Mr. Pacheco says, “We’re more than just the Internet people – come ask us questions! We’re always here to help if you have a computer virus or your machine is slow.” Mr. Brett quickly adds, “But we’re only here Monday through Friday.”

16. Mr. Cowan once almost ran over an alligator on the high-

25 Things You Didn’t Know About the Cowans

10. Mrs. Cowan apparently has the funniest dreams because

21. Mr. Cowan claims to be related to Robert the Bruce who

11. Mr. Cowan can walk on stilts.

22. When Mrs. Cowan was younger, her house was accidently

she often wakes up laughing.

orchestrated the assassination of William Wallace.

number 10 jersey on every soccer team she’s played for. The number 10 is one of the many things that she and Lionel Messi have in common.

burnt down by her two younger siblings. As a close neighbor, Tommy Hilfiger, heard the story and asked for a photo of Mrs. Cowan’s entire family wearing Hilfiger clothes which he supplied. He framed it and has it hung up in his Connecticut home.

Paradiso) out loud in Italian because he wanted to hear the work in its original language. He hardly understood a word.

13. Currently, Mr. Cowan is developing a new skill called

23. Mr. Cowan loves trying exotic foods. He once ate a grass-

7. Mrs. Cowan is skilled in the art of tracking. She can not

14. Mr. Cowan finds no humor in anything. His laugh is a care-

5. Mrs. Cowan has a rare condition called Unheimlich I

which causes her to hide beneath things and jump out and scare unsuspecting people.

6. Mr. Cowan read the Divine Comedy (Inferno, Purgatorio,

Submit guesses to The Beacon.

7

only tell which animal has made a footprint but also how fresh it is!

8. Mr. Cowan is easily starstruck. If he meets anyone famous he sweats profusely and gets tongue tied…just ask Tim Gunn.

9. Mr. Cowan once had a job that had him drive to all the bakeries in Chicago picking up bread from 1AM to 6AM.

12. Mrs. Cowan’s favorite number is 10. She always wore the

”dark lining” which involves training the eye to read bar codes.

fully constructed burst of sounds simulating what he has observed in other people. He knows when people find things funny but does not technically find them funny himself.

15. Mrs. Cowan comes from a long line of equestrians. Her grandfather coached an equestrian Olympic team and her uncle rode in the Olympics for Argentina. Mr. Cowan is convinced her grandfather is a horse whisperer.

hopper taco which caused him to break out in hives.

24. Mr. and Mrs. Cowan love to make pan-au-chocolat from scratch. Benet’s girls will get a taste soon!

25. The name of their baby girl.


8

LIFE IN ST. MARTIN’S

CANDIDS

9

St. Martin’s Common Room

By Sidharth Sharma Editor-in-Chief

A

lthough the spring brings exciting thoughts of graduation to the Sixth Form class, it is also good news for those who are remaining at the Abbey. The sight of St. Martin’s dorm—which seems to have sprung up overnight--incites anticipation for this year’s Fifth and Fourth Formers. Construction on the dorm began a little over a year ago, but the dorm will be ready to house its first set of residents in the fall of this year. I was invited to take a tour of the dorm with Mr. David Brown, current student Alex Knoeppfler, and his father Alejandro Knoepffler ‘78, who is also a member of the Board of Regents. While taking the tour, I am both impressed and, to be perfectly honest, a bit jealous of next year’s inhabitants. The layout, while very similar to that of St. Brigid’s, has a few differences. Walking through the front entrance of St. Martin’s, you see the computer lab on the right. This room is already set to be equipped with a television like the other boys’ dorms’ computer labs, Mr. Brown explains. The common room, instead of being across on

the left like in St. Brigid’s, is further down the hallway on the right. The left wall is blocked off, concealing faculty housing that has a Big Brother-esque window from which to observe the common room. The residential part of the dorm follows very much like St. Brigid’s in terms of layout. Having had the opportunity to take a tour of St. Brigid’s last year for another Beacon article, I noted that these rooms are slightly smaller but in essence the same. The faculty residences are also laid out in the same vein as St. Brigid’s, although there will only be three faculty residences in St. Martin’s. One large difference is that St. Martin’s has only two floors, and the basement will contain not only security offices, but also the laundry service currently hosted by St. Benet’s. Along the wall are wooden cubbies, one for each student who has a subscription to the laundry service for their bag of clothes. Of course, there are scores of other issues besides the actual building that arise from integrating a new dorm into campus life. Mrs. Baker, Dean of Residential Life, has some answers to these questions, although she admits that many things have yet to be decided. Do we know yet who the houseparents will be? If not, are there any who are interested? Will some faculty have to move out of nondorm housing to accommodate the need for new houseparents, or will new faculty cover the posts? Mr. Gittus will be the Head Houseparent – we are still working out the rest. (Mr. Zelden has since confirmed that his family will also be living in St. Martin’s, and they are very much looking forward to it.)

Brigid’s? I don’t really see any issues here. St. Bede’s boys have been living dangerously close to St. Brigid’s and St. Benet’s girls for years now! (However, Mrs. Bonin adds that a big issue will be remembering to close shades on windows, especially at night.) Will the number of admitted students increase next year, or will there be more opportunities for prefects and Sixth Formers to have double singles?  There is no plan to increase the size of our student body.  Some of the rooms in St. Hugh’s, Aelred’s and Leonard’s will be converted to day rooms.  Double singles will continue to be a rare commodity. Will Martins take the place of Bede’s in terms of church/assembly seating?  This is yet to be determined. Church and assembly seating are a numbers game which gets reviewed every summer.  While the dorm is not yet finished, it is very close to its completion. The fresh new building on campus reminds students and faculty of the plans for the renovation of the Abbey campus that have been proposed by the administration. When I interviewed Dr. DeVecchi the fall before construction began, he assured me,

The Funky and Modern Water Fountain “We will build the dorm. Do not worry; it will come.” The administration has finally made good on this promise, and the Abbey population can only eagerly await what else is to come.

Since the structure of the dorms is changing, will each boys’ dorm have day student prefects like the girls do? Day students will apply for prefectship across all houses now, similar to the way the girls’ houses have operated.  What will be the fate of St. Bede’s next year?  Good question!  It will no longer be home to our Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Form day boys as we can now integrate them back into the houses. St. Martin’s Computer Lab

How will the administration address the issue of the close proximity of St. Martin’s to St.

A Double Room in St. Martin’s

The “Big Brother” Window Looking over the Common Room

A Single Room in St. Martin’s

Cubbies for the Laundry Service

Day Student Lockers


PHOTO CONTEST

10 Editors-In-Chief Sarah Auer Jesse Bessinger Sidharth Sharma

STAFF WRITERS & PHOTOGraphers Matthew Benevides Meredith Horan Melanie Camacho Xuanqing (Amy) Huang Young Hoon (Brian) Chung Isabel Keogh Yidan Cong Mary-Frances Kielb Bitsy Conklin Jake Kim

Layout Editors Christian Barcenas MinJae (Steve) Cho Photo Editor Hyung Seok (Toby) Yun FAculty Advisor Mrs. Bonin

Emmett Conway Tim Cunningham Nicholas DeLieto Dorothy Dickmann

Jisoo Kim Alejandro Knoepffler Mossiah Kouassi-Brou Douglas Lebo

Abby Hackl Katharine Haines

Xiang (Bill) Li Emily Magnifico

Eden Franz

Michelle Mehrtens Annette Monheim Margaret Owens Youngrok Park Peter Russell Julia Slupska Emma Smith Lauren Thompson Claudia Trahan

Kevin Legein

Kelsi Harper

Peter Vergara

Stephanie Waterman Xiaodian (Diandian) Xu

David Maldonado

Brianna Heaps

Sang Seo (Andrew) Yi

Kimberly Mehrtens

Annie Zhao

T H E B E A C O N P H O T O C O N T E S T

Special Thanks Ms. Kathy Stark Mr. and Mrs. Cowan Mr. David Brown Mr. Pacheco Mr. Brett

Mr. David Brown Mr. Paul Jestings Ms. Baker Ms. Kathy Heydt Ms. Joney Swift

Mr. Williams Ms. Katy Booth Dr. DeVecchi Dr. Timothy Flanigan ‘75 Mr. Cameron Ross McCormack

CONTRIBUTORS Fletcher Bonin Gaby Gutierrez

Digital Media Strategist Ms. Katy Booth

2 0 1 2 2nd Place, by Carly Augustis-Kokoni

1st Place, by Nick DeLieto

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Steve Cho

3rd Place, by Nick DeLieto

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Toby Yun

Julia Slupska

The Beacon - May 2012  

The Beacon is Portsmouth Abbey School's student-run, award-winning newspaper.