May 27, 2014
Farewell Columns: Editors-in-chief reflect on Octagon and SCDS
Kamira Patel, fifth grade
Connor Martin, sixth grade
Garrett Kaighn, sixth grade
Ryan Ho, sixth grade
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That particular debate occurred every single paste-up week. That must be a record. But, alas, I feel sentimental. I’m going to miss the quirkiness of the staff. There’s Max who will suddenly burst out in a German accent, holding the baseball bat in the Cave as if it were his riding crop. There’s Grant with his hilarious but random jokes, or Emma and her unwillingness to not do work. That’s just to name a few. As our deadline to send the issue to the printer approaches, Fels begins talking about how Octagon is ruining her marriage. Last-minute changes to the pages are always made on Friday. Fels stresses out about missing happy hour as we frantically look at the PDFs of the pages, searching for any mistakes. But in the end, we somehow pull it all off after pushing people to get their stories done in time. The irony is that the editors-in-chief never write their articles until the last minute. I guess “senioritis” is taking over.
cookie left over from staff dinner. For good measure, I’ll get on Max’s case about how he needs to stop talking to Grant and focus on his page.
specially filed—for the purpose of writing this statistic—all 3014 college emails I’ve received since I took the PSAT as a sophomore. I have learned that some of my preconceptions about certain schools were false. From one letter I actually read, I learned that while smart people go to MIT or Caltech, really smart people go to New Mexico Tech. I also concluded that Harvard is the second-worst school in the nation, for they mailed me two identical letters on the same day, a mistake no self-respecting school would make. The worst school, of course, is Stevens Institute of Technology, which sent me the same email 23 days in a row.
I’ll skip the warm and fuzzy reasons about how it changed my life and just cut to the chase. Country Day is where I found my individualism.
“There’s Max who will suddenly burst out in a German accent, holding the baseball bat in the Cave as if it were his riding crop.” Garrett’s story, although written in about two days, is, of course, perfect. I remember thinking that I should probably give Fels an article that wasn’t late for the final issue of the year. But do you think this column was written on time? Of course not.
“I need another cup of tea. The caffeine will help me decide.” Because if I can motivate other people to work during my break time, then no productivity is lost, right? And sometimes I just can’t figure out whether to left-align or justify the text boxes. I need another cup of tea. The caffeine will help me decide. And then there are those random black pixels that appear when scanning in graphics. I should probably spend the next half hour on Photoshop, zoomed in 2,000 percent to make sure I erase all of them. Because they will actually show up on the page, I swear. Screw it—I’m lazy. And I think my work ethic is similar to that of the other staffers (except for Zoe, Emma and Ryan, who are bona fide workaholics). Why do now what you can put off for a few more hours? But maybe it’s really that we have a very hard-working side to us, which just takes some form of motivation to kick in. Because once it sets in how imminent the deadline is, we all work like crazy. Well, I guess it’s time to end this column. But I need to make it clever, so I’ll need some time to think. Let me make some tea…
Renovations: Some say a new MP room would attract future students (Continued from page 1) avoid having to share one room with several different parties and to have individual practice rooms. Art teacher Patricia Kelly said she would also like a possible indoor ceramics room and a space to display artwork. “(An art display would) extend our classroom out to a public venue because right now we’re very confined,” Kelly said. “Who sees our stuff? Not many people.” And Medallion does not even have its own space—the staff simply uses the computers in the back of the French room— so the possibility of their own room would remove the need to burden a host teacher. “‘Medallioniers’ would be able to speak freely on topics of sensitivity,” adviser Joel Rickert said. “No longer would the adviser have to shout, upon the entrance of a non-yearbook person, ‘Outsider! Outsider! Outsider!’” Rickert also said that a special room would give the staff a sense of pride. But there is a major factor that dictates the need for both the L-building and the performing arts center—enrollment. Take junior Emma Williams: a Country Day lifer, next year’s editor-in-chief of the Octagon, a concertmaster of the school’s orchestra and a member of chamber ensembles. Dissatisfied with Country Day’s performing arts facilities, Williams considered attending St. Francis for high school when she was in eighth grade. At the time, Williams took ballet and played the violin and the piano, and she was impressed with St. Francis’s performing arts facilities and programs. “I thought it was something you’d see at a college campus rather than at a high school,” she said. “It was kind of a fantasy for me almost to go to St. Francis because it was this kind of adventurous new world where I was going to be this great violinist and great dancer.”
“From one letter that I actually read, I learned that while smart people go to MIT or Caltech, really smart people go to New Mexico Tech.” From my classmates, I learned that even the tiniest groups (24 students) can have their share of social tensions and divisions. We even had to cancel the traditional grad night trip to Disneyland because so few people wanted to go, so I guess we’ll say our goodbyes at graduation before promptly sprinting our separate ways. But as everyone else sprints away, I will leisurely stroll, reflecting on those precious few moments we had together and all the lasting memories we’ve created. Eh, who am I kidding? College is going to be better. I bid you all a most enthusiastic adieu!
“The emphasis here is on my new-found ability to choose what I’m interested to do.” Country Day gave me the first taste of freedom and the ability to choose what I want to do. Yes, everyone thinks all I do is study, but even if true, studying is as much my own choice as it was my decision to join The Octagon in freshman year. The emphasis here is on my new-found ability to choose what I’m interested to do. I initially joined The Octagon only for the prestige. In my defense, the paper is not an academic class (cue Asian joke), and the workload is at times larger than that of a regular class. Plus, the stress I got from it is a primary contributor to my increasing number of gray hairs. (Thanks a lot, Fels.) All kidding aside, the paper still somehow turned out, like Country Day, to be a place where I felt an increasing sense of belonging. The staff feels like family and the Cave feels like home. This is why I’m finding leaving Country Day so difficult. My greatest fear is that what I consider important now will be lost and forgotten in a few years. And yet, like Sandra, I must move on. I have made a valiant effort to contribute to the school and to make lasting memories and friends, and I guess that’s all that I can ask for.
Williams is a member of the Sacramento Youth Symphony, “I think that the visual and performing arts center would but she said she is not challenged by Country Day’s orchestra. have a great impact on the attractiveness of the school—no “My experience in the school orchestra here has been more question about it,” he said. “The MP room’s days are numof a fun, almost social thing just because most of the students bered, and it will be replaced with a much more usable, modhere are beginners or not as experienced,” she said. ern facility.” “If I had gone to St. Francis, they have orchestras who are But Repsher believes that the L-building is still a priority, for people who are more advanced, and they are going to chal- and the reason is, again, enrollment. lenge you more automatically.” The middle school will soon be approaching its capacity Ultimately, Williams decided to stay at Country Day for and will need additional classroom space, he said. high school and quit ballet because she valued academics and This issue will be partially remedied by the math and scifelt SCDS was superior in that aspect. ence building that will be constructed this summer, but the “The arts were really important to me and still are import- middle school will still be stealing space from the high school: ant to me, but when it came down to it, I wanted to be and three of the four (previously two) classrooms in the portables still want to be a doctor,” she said. behind the gym will host middle-school classes next year. Freshman Elena Lipman also considered not returning to “The middle school has gone from 90 kids about four years Country Day because she was considerago to about 145 next year, so we ing Natomas Charter or a school in LA are definitely brimming,” said San“I think people would take dy Lyon, head of middle school. for their stronger drama programs. “For about two months last year, I was our programs more seriously Lyon anticipates that the sevmissing school about three days a week enth grade will be split into four (to perform in the Sacramento Theater if we had a nice place to per- sections next year (for comparCompany),” Lipman said. form—I know the kids would ison, each high-school class has Like Williams, Lipman decided on only two sections), and both the feel better in a performance seventh and eighth grades may Country Day for the academics. “When my mom checked (Natomas hall rather than our MP room.” have four sections the year after. Charter) out, they had only one AP, so This increased enrollment —Felecia Keys, orchestra teacher would likely require her to hire there was no way she wanted me to go there,” she said. two additional full-time teachers, However, Williams said that improved performing arts fa- who would also need two new classrooms. cilities could help attract talented students who might not Plus, if the middle school’s growth spills over to the high make their final decision based primarily on academics. school and grades have three sections instead of two (which “If you have better facilities, you’re going to have more peo- Repsher said would be expected at the school’s full size), the ple who want to actually come, and with that you’re going to high school will also need more teachers and more classrooms. have a greater percentage coming with some knowledge about Following these admission trends, the additional space promusic or whatever art it is,” she said. vided by a two-story L-building would be needed to support Keys agrees that improved facilities would make the arts at the middle and high schools, meaning the building would Country Day more attractive. have to be built before the visual and performing arts center. “I think people would take our programs more seriously But Repsher said nothing is definite: trends may change, if we had a nice place to perform—I know the kids would a substantial donation may spark the construction of somefeel better in a performance hall rather than our MP room,” thing different, or the L-building and performing arts comshe said. “The MP room just does not match the rest of the plex could even be connected and built at the same time. school.” Ultimately, all of the remaining older buildings on campus Repsher agreed that new facilities would help attract stu- will be replaced, but the urgency of each one is obviously still dents and improve the image of the school. up for debate.