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The Paw Print December 2015

Volume IV, Issue 2

A Note on November 15, 2015

Sonoma Academy

Photo courtesy of LaunchOurRocket

Havoc In France by Caleb Weil

The recent terrorist attacks in Paris have brought up some concerns for those on the France intersession trip. While it looks like the trip is still on, there has been some discussion as to whether this is a good idea. John Durgin, Director of Connections, said, “There was a lot of discussion about [whether the trip should continue,] both with staff here and with parents.” Durgin, who is in charge of all the intersession trips, said there was a lot that needed to be checked on before a decision could be made about the trip. “The first thing for us was to talk to the school in France to make sure that it was still appropriate for them and that they would have us come,” said Durgin. Lyçee Suger, the school outside of Paris where some of the trip is based, offered full support for SA’s trip. “They encouraged us to come, and said that they would really like our students to be there.” “We then checked with a number of different sources to find information about security and safety, and we checked with them and found out that we would be able

Inside this issue An Unpopular Opinion on Thanksgiving Have we forgotten why we celebrate Thanksgiving? Read a thoughtprovoking opinion Page 2

to find a space where students would be as secure as could be, given the situation,” said Durgin. He said that much of the concern is financial. “If we decide to go forward with the trip, and another event happens then canceling the trip, there’s expenses and money involved. Then there’s just communication, so that if something happens we can be in touch with everybody, the students can be communicated with, and if something drastically needed to happen and we needed to evacuate the group to do that,” he said. According to Durgin, some families have opted out due to concerns about safety, Among other things. Avik Banerjee, a senior at SA who decided to go through with the trip, said, “There’s been an email sent out due to the Paris incident about whether or not we want to go to Paris even though these types of problems are happening and the possibility of it happening again could be a risk to the group.” Banerjee wants to go to France despite safety concerns because he feels it will be an important cultural experience.

He addressed the racism in Paris that could be seen as an issue for those on the trip who are not white. “I personally am not too concerned about this. I don’t think that it will affect me all too much, and I feel like the reward of visiting this place will far outweigh whatever other feedback that I get for being the race that I am,” said Banerjee. Senior Aumitis Milani will not go on the France trip, partially due to this racism. “If I was to go, my family was concerned by the possibly of me encountering racism while I am there because of the stereotypical terrorist being Middle Eastern,” said Milani. Her family is worried about the possibility of her being profiled because of her race.

Fall Sports Recap

Paper Gallery

Learn about the highlights from this fall on the field, court, and course

Take a look at the latest art done by the talented students here at SA

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December 2015

An Unpopular Opinion On Thanksgiving By Abbey Carmel

Photo courtesy of Tim Sackton

The recent holiday of Thanksgiving has had me contemplating about why we celebrate it. It’s mostly recognized as a time where we celebrate how the Native Americans helped us cultivate our first fall harvest in the New World. However, this aspect seems to have faded away with time. Many Americans have drifted away from this mindset and have begun to romanticize the holiday. To me, Thanksgiving has become less and less about the Natives’ sacrifice for our country, and more about the feasts and football games we share with our relatives. It makes me wonder, how we seem to forget to honor the Native Americans on the one day we should be forced to remember them. It’s important that we begin to reflect on the way America came to be and the Natives’ role in it. Not only do I feel like we have for-

gotten why Thanksgiving originally existed, I also feel as if America as a whole has diluted the way we actually treated the Native Americans. We refuse to come to terms with the harsh ways we have treated them in the past, and when we do, we create an illusion that it doesn’t correlate with our beloved Thanksgiving. Why do we celebrate Thanksgiving as such a joyous holiday when we have treated the Native Americans so poorly since then? I find the instances in which modern America has purposely forgotten the hatred we imposed on Native Americans very interesting. It’s almost like we, as a country, blatantly ignore what happened to the Natives in order for us to continue celebrating this holiday. I believe that this is very unintentional, but it is still interesting to analyze why we would do such a thing.

One may argue that Thanksgiving celebrates the peace we created with the Native Americans on the original Thanksgiving Day. While this is true, I think the impact we have had on the Natives since then cannot be ignored. Thanksgiving is not something that needs to cease to exist, but I do think the extravagant celebration is morally wrong. I believe that as a society, we need to create more of a commemorative vibe around Thanksgiving than a celebratory one. For instance, the way one would acknowledge Veterans day or President's day seems appropriate to the way we should acknowledge Thanksgiving. I simply believe that Native American culture deserves more recognition on Thanksgiving, of all days, for everything that they have done for us and everything we have put them through.

Homecoming Without Anyone Coming Home by Elizabeth Kolling

Each fall season, at high schools in the

not have dates; it was somewhat refreshing as the

US, alumni are invited back to be recognized and


celebrated. The week consists of colorful, risqué

spirit days and culminates in a football game on

ceived notions are mere fallacies.

Friday and a homecoming dance that typically

takes place on the subsequent Saturday. In our

people out in a cliché manner, but it was really relaxed

Duchynski is not the only one whose precon“I expected people to bring posters and ask

society, the culture of dances has been particularly and nobody was dressed fancy,” said freshman Nina romanticized and glorified. In films, dances are

von Raesfeld. “It didn’t feel like a high school dance, but

depicted as life changing agents, offering at-

maybe I’ve watched too much High School Musical.”

tendees a moment of reprieve, allowing them to

But why is this “norm” so stark at SA? Why are

release their inhibitions, and acting as the medium public school dances so much more momentous and through which they find their one true love. This


may be why students feel an impending obligation

Senior Liam Kolling said, “Because our school is

to find dates—writing cheesy puns with markers

small, social gatherings tend to rely more on the com-

on banners and taking pictures to post on social

munity rather than the individual. As our school gets

media sites, thus making publicly known the love

bigger, I’m sure it’ll be more of a couples kind of event.”

between the individuals.

reflecting on the present culture of dances here. With

What is confounding is that ideologies and

rituals such as these—the ones we conceive of as

Perhaps this is the most important factor when

fewer people, one’s anonymity is less obscure and less

characterizing high school dances—are essentially protected. nonexistent at Sonoma Academy. Perhaps the

Senior Clara Spars said, “Maybe people are scared

reason why this culture doesn’t permeate through- to go together because everything here is so close. Evout the SA community is because of the fact that

eryone seems to know everything about everything. It’s

the school is small. Perhaps it is because we don’t

less often that you see people going together so when

actually have a football team. Perhaps it is plainly

people do, all eyes are directed towards them—that is

because of the people here.


Junior Kyle Duchynski, who transferred

Due to factors such as these, one could say that

from Maria Carrillo High School, said that at public

SA discourages relationships--at least those that are

school, “You see a lot more formal invitations to

romantic—and so maybe we, as students, are being

homecoming; most people have dates. I was sur-

denied the real “high school experience.”

prised to see that at SA, it’s common for people to

Photo by Steven Gu

December 2015




Photo by Will Twomey

What's Next? Pt. 2 by Will Twomey As time continues to pass, new progress continues to be made with the big plans for our school’s architecture. On Thursday, the 5th of November, the architects that will be working on our new school plans presented to the students what will be happening. Previously, the teachers, staff, and parents have seen the plans, but now, the people who will be using these facilities the most got a chance to visualize this future. Much like what was mentioned in the previous article, the new facilities will include mainly an eating space that will house a stage and facilities to prepare locally sourced and delicious food for the students. Also included will be a new theater for community meetings and studios for engineering, woodworking, and other activities. The major part of the presentation that gave new information is how the school will have new technology and features never before implemented in Sonoma County. When asked about what some of the major problems in sight will be, a representative from the architecture firm mentioned these new features. “One of the challenges,” he said, “will be the new ideas we will be incorporating that have not been implemented in Sonoma County ever before. We will have to convince the county that concepts like using rainwater to flush toilets can be considered safe for students, faculty and other members of this community.” These ideas will not only benefit the school financially and aesthetically, but also give our school more of a presence in the community. We will have even more reasons to stand out and likely be even a more popular choice for prospective students These buildings will, however, take some time to complete. It is estimated that the major developments in levelling and foundation pouring will begin at the start of the Summer of 2016 so that the noise will not be as bad when school begins. The work will continue until all buildings are finished in the fall of 2018, or our current Sophomores’ Senior year. Although these estimates seem to be set in stone, it is important to take into account the issues that present themselves during a construction project and could potentially delay its end point. Take, for example, the extra time needed for our outdoor seating or the re-laying of our field due to the mistake in its initial laying. One can only imagine what problems will come up when dealing with multiple, very complex buildings. While it is nice to imagine the over two year future in our current day, the entire process of the updated school campus is still in the very early stages. The Paw Print will continue to provide updates as progress is made, but for now, enjoy the many amazing features of our school that we are lucky to have right now.

Fall on Fire by Elizabeth Kolling Photo by Steven Gu

Overall, it was a memorable, successful, and record-breaking fall sports season. After winning 18 games in league, a record for the team, the Varsity Girls Volleyball team earned the #10 seed in the NCS playoffs--the best seed in the history of Varsity Volleyball at SA. The team traveled to San Francisco, but lost in an intense quarterfinals game against International High School. The JV Volleyball team continued to improve over the course of the season. Captain and Junior, Phoebe Marshal says, “The girls improved drastically throughout the season, it was a team of beginners, but everyone worked hard and gained a lot of skill.” The Varsity Girls Soccer team went undefeated in league and earned the #1 seed in the North Coast Section (NCS) for the 3rd consecutive year in a row. The team gave up home-field advantage for the semifinals game, playing in Middletown as a gesture to compensate for the fire that afflicted the town in the last months. Junior and Captain, Sally Ziemer says, “the experience in Middletown is one that I think I will remember for the rest of my life. It was a great learning experience for me and everyone else that attended that even the smallest of gestures can make a big impact on a community.” After winning the game, the team played in the NCS Championship for the small schools division against rival, St. Vincent of Petaluma. The Sonoma Academy team won in a score of 2-1, marking the 3rd consecutive NCS champion title. In addition, Chloe Colbert broke the record for most goals scored over the duration of four years, surpassing Kate Bayes’ (‘12 alumni) record of 150. The new record is 155 goals. The Boys Soccer team also went undefeated in league, earning the #12 seed in NCS for the division 2 bracket. The team lost in their first game to the Urban School of San Francisco in the last minute when Urban scored, marking the final score to be 2-1. The Urban School advanced on to win the championship. During league, the Sonoma Academy team tied Anderson Valley, a team that went on to win the 2015 NCS division 3 title. The Equestrian team has competed at 5 shows so far: Stanford Red Barn (where the team cumulatively earned 2nd place), Longview Stables (6th place), Longview Stables ( 2nd place), and two showings at White Rock Stables. The SA team has 11 season points so far and needs only 9 more points to qualify for post-season competition. The Cross Country team attended NCS and competed in division 5 with the girls team finishing in 4th place overall, Sophomore, Rylee Bowen earning 1st place in the girls’ 3-mile race (time of 17:29.7), and Sophomore, Kheva Mann placing 11th in the boys’ 3-mile race (time of 16:15.3). The girls team and the two aforementioned individuals advanced and competed at the State Championships in Hayward. There, Bowen captured her second state championship with a time of 18:12.3, the girls team finished 8th overall, and Mann finished 36th for the Coyotes. Congratulations to all teams--this season will surely be remembered.



December 2015

Everyone Has to Start Somewhere by Will Twomey

Photo Courtesy of MugsyClicks School Photography

While it is hard for many of us to imagine our teachers working anywhere else, they all had to start somewhere. They have worked everywhere from a florist shop to a small store in the Basque province of Spain and done everything from entering data into a computer to moving trees into events. Our biology teacher Sam Horton got his first job at the age of only 14. Believe it or not, he worked for a florist. During his Summers in San Mateo, he would spend time watering plants and hauling decorative trees into hotels and weddings. He mentioned that he learned many things during his time there. Because of his first job, he developed a love of plants and was able to get used to long hours. As far as the impact it had on his job at Sonoma Academy, he called it an experi-

ence that, “helped [him] develop better organization”. In another country on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, Spanish teacher Maitane Elorza had her first job in the Basque country of Spain. However, because there weren’t any fast food restaurants in Spain and other jobs that young people in America commonly get, she did not receive her first job until she became 19. Elorza worked in a Basque-themed store roughly double the size of her classroom. Along with her boss and one other girl, she sold traditional costumes, tablecloths and for the tourists, souvenirs. About 900 kilometers north from where Elorza had her first job, French teacher Florence Rink had her first job in Paris, France. There, in 1976 at the age of 14, she had a one month internship at an oil and

sauce company by the name of Lesieur. “That’s where I saw my first computer”, Rink recalls. Her job was to enter invoices and data. Rink mentioned that, “It taught [her] that one part of every job is not fun.” It also showed her that having an office job was not something she’d like for herself in the future. Before her internship was up, she took part in what would later be the highlight of her job; seeing a computer for the first time, which was, at that time the size of a room. This room took up an entire floor of the building and the experience stuck with Rink even to this day.


by Connor Devlin

Every fall and spring, Sonoma Academy’s theatre teacher, Jenifer Coté, along with other teachers, puts on a production. These productions are open to all students to participate in a variety of ways. One opportunity the students don’t get with this, however, is the opportunity to direct and have all the say on what the show will be. That is where SASS comes in, a theatre program led by students— Sonoma Academy Student Show. “It’s a theatre opportunity for student directors,” says SASS show director and junior, MacKenzie Nekton, “[it] takes place within the school day so people who do sports can also do it.” SASS productions are rehearsed during exploratory periods and Intersession is also set aside for rehearsals. These shows are put together by students with little to no help from faculty or adults. However, because this the school cannot fund more shows that are as big and elaborate as the annual production in the fall, SASS directors have needed to find in-

novative ways to fund their shows. “Olivia, for example, has a very technically involved show,” actor and junior, Claire Lampson elaborates on junior and director of Once More, With Feeling-- a musical based on Buffy the Vampire Slayer--, Olivia Haas. “She’s been doing her own fundraising.” SASS directors have to be careful as not to pick a show too complicated. If shows need costumes or little set pieces Jennifer Cote will often pitch in for that. Furthering this “student led” theme, the faculty is barely involved in the process of getting these shows to happen. “Sometimes [Assistant Head of School] Ellie [Dwight] will have to approve [the productions],” says Nekton, “but that’s if you pick controversial material.” She continues to say that members of the faculty will “make sure [they] have free periods,” so directors can work on the writing and bits of pre-production. Director and junior Claire Grossman briefly mulls over the importance of

time management, “there’s a lot of factors,” she says, “actors’ schedules, director schedules … also whether we can use intercession [for rehearsals]. There’s theoretically enough time.”` While the SASS program does give amazing opportunities, it is very scarcely recognized throughout the school. “There’s not a lot of hype around it," says actor and sophomore Oscar McCauley. Olivia Haas confirms this, for SASS shows are, “...not advertised at all.” Despite occasional emails, fundraisers, or PS announcements about the shows, they are not given the same weight in the community as Coté’s productions. “I think the people who are interested in [SASS] is a very select group of people,” Grossman states, in reference to the students already involved with theatre. “Other people,” she goes on, “don’t want to take the time to learn about [SASS].” Haas states that, “...people just forget about [the shows].”



December 2015

Advisory is Advised by Alyssa Goody Advisory: that little chunk of time we experience twice a week. Is it useful or a waste of time? Some may not see the usefulness of advisory, yet the majority find it quite enjoyable. Many students actually use this time to connect with their peers. “You get to know people in different grades and bond,” said Freshman Sarena Berg. In addition, Advisory also provides a pause during a hectic day. Freshman Megan Dewees said, “It’s a nice break during the day so it’s not too intense in the morning.” Advisory enforces an important part of SA; the student bond we all share. Our school is a community and it seems that, overall, we find advisory to be a useful tool that strengthens our connections with others. In a student poll, only 14% of students found advisory unnecessary, while the other 86% found it to be a necessary feature of SA. It’s not just the students who enjoy it; many teachers also find advisory to be a valuable component of SA. Humanities teacher Jamie Murray said, “Teachers love working with students. It is a great chance for us to work with a great group of teenagers whom we may not normally work with. It’s not just the academic stuff we see in the classroom. I think the value for the students is that they get to connect with the other students outside of the class setting.”

Advisory provides a space outside of class for students and teachers to get to know one another and share their experiences. Dean of Student Life, Jason Gregory, said that it is “a key ingredient of Sonoma Academy.” We are not just a school, but a tightly knit community. However, a lot of students, although they enjoy Advisory, think there could be some improvements. “The timing is a little awkward,” said sophomore Kyle Cookson. “I am not a huge fan of the schedule.” An element that both teachers and

students loved and wished there could be more of was food. “Food is always good” said Freshman Sarah Berg. Teacher Jamie Murray also agreed that “more food” was a great idea. The new ideas do not end here— Humanities teacher, Brandon Spars, said, “I think we should do trips together, like intersession trips.” Some think it should be longer, while others think we should have it less. Either way, people would like to see a change.

What will you be watching and listening to over the winter break?



December 2015

Crimson Peak by Connor Devlin

I had been anxiously awaiting this film for quite sometime. Guillermo del Toro once again at the helm of a horror movie filled with fantastic visuals and acclaimed actors; What could possibly go wrong? Crimson Peak was a disappointment. It tells the tale of a young girl in the Elizabethan era who falls in love with a young man who lives in a large Mansion with his mysterious sister. So, first off, the characters were downright inconsistent. In the first scene we are introduced to our protagonist, making herself out to be this awesome feminist character who doesn’t need love and wants to overcome slim odds. Upon meeting the film's male lead, all of these traits wash down the drain as she instantly reverts to a "damsel in distress," spearheaded by love. The film’s script seems to be a mess of different plot

points that were interesting in theory, but became a jumbled mess when translated to screen. The cinematography wasn’t bad, but it was nothing special. Just a load of generic shots set to an unmemorable soundtrack with a plot that was just downright sloppy. Oh, and did I mention this was a horror movie? I get it--the horror was in the subtlety-- but there wasn’t enough subtlety to make that clear and there wasn’t enough horror to just make it a horror film. Overall, the film was slightly interesting but ultimately a generic mess of amateur filmmaking. - 4/10

Photo Courtesy of

Album Review: Art Angels by Grimes by Abbey Carmel It’s been almost four years since Grimes released an album, and Art Angels shows us where all that time went. After all, an album this well crafted and thought out doesn’t just appear overnight. She follows up her 2012 album Visions by making a huge leap forward, yet still maintains the odd Grimes persona that we all loved. There is a lot going on in Art Angels; It ranges from hallucinatory bubblegum pop to creepy, edgy guitar riffs and covers everything in between. It’s a huge step up from Visions in every way. It’s more straight-up pop, textured, and complicated. Songs like “California” and “Flesh without Blood” appear to be all smiles on the surface, but the lyrics have a much more sadistic and

mature tone to them. She does this on many more songs on the album, creating a light and airy vibe mixed with confident and powerful wordplay. Grimes worked hard to create a contrasting theme throughout Art Angels. She flip flops between mysterious and cheery, impeccably odd, and ironically normal. It gives off a courageous and forceful vibe, being her fourth self-produced, written, and recorded studio album. It’s far from average, and far from everything she’s done before. Art Angels is, at worst, a fantastic contribution to Grimes’ weird and colorful world.

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia



December 2015

Photo Courtesy of

Movie Review: Goosebumps by Connor Devlin When I saw Goosebumps I was stressed out of my mind. I was in LA, feverishly pouring over college flyers and booklets, fueled by crappy hotel coffee. And then, Goosebumps came along. I have been waiting for this movie for years, ever since I was a little kid. I’m a bit of a horror-movie-enthusiast so Goosebumps was always right up my alley. It was so refreshing to see all my favorite monsters and ghouls as a kid come to life during this time. Oh, and did I mention that it was actually a good film? Jack Black stars as R.L. Stine, the writer of the Goosebumps books, and the film centers around all of the Goosebumps monsters being released into the world. It would’ve been hard for all of the monsters from the books to get there own separate

little segment, so the writers decided to lump them all into a mob and use specific ones at good times, which in the end, worked really well. This “mob” was lead by the iconic evil ventriloquist dummy, Slappy, also voiced by Jack Black. In my opinion, this was a brilliant choice, for Slappy was a malicious, cocky, and fun character. While this movie wasn’t scary like the original Goosebumps books or TV show where, it was actually really funny. The film was doused with a lot of off-beat, kind of Sonoma Academy-esque humor if I do say so myself. I found myself laughing way more than I thought I would in a PGrated movie. Goosebumps was a wonderful experience. - 8/10

Photo Courtesy of NASA HQ PHOTO

Movie Review: The Martian By Connor Devlin

Ridley Scott returns to the sci-fi genre once again armed with an amazing cast and brilliant source material. The Martian tells us the story of an Astronaut left stranded on Mars and his perils being the only living thing on the planet. The film stars Matt Damon, known for his role as Jason Bourne in the Bourne movies. I, honestly, never liked him before this film. His performance was sharp and witty, making great use of all of the comedy the script gives him. Quite honestly, a treat for me was seeing Donald Glover (Childish Gambino) make a brief appearance. Martian is wonderfully shot and very well scored. Although I believe it moved a little too quickly at times, it would be hard to fit the entire book into the film, already boasting a 2 ½ hour runtime. - 8/10


Campus Life

December 2015

Paper Gallery

by Alyssa Goody Student Art is a wonderful component of Sonoma Academy. Whether plastered on the side of the building or hanging in the halls of the office, it’s always nice to see. Unfortunately, we do not get to see as much of it as some would like. That is why we have decided to provide a new place for viewing. The Paper Gallery is a section for featuring the art that we wouldn't normally get to see. Without further ado, we welcome you to open your eyes and enjoy the talent of the students of Sonoma Academy

Left, by Alyssa Goody Right, by Clara Spars

Left, by Gabby Hudson Right, by Alyssa Goody

The Paw Print Sonoma Academy 2500 Farmers Lane Santa Rosa, CA 95404 (707) 545-1770 Editors-in-Chief Elizabeth Kolling Jake Lawson Jess O'Connor Caleb Weil

Right, by Clara Galusha

Staff Writers Alyssa Goody Abbey Carmel Will Twomey Connor Devlin Advisor Michele Martin

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Sonoma Academy Paw Print December 2015  

Sonoma Academy Paw Print December 2015