February 2012 Issue

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thereview VOL. 64, ISSUE 5





Planning for the future With 13.4 acres of new land, shaded above in green, SJS now owns familiar campus spots, including the St. Luke’s parking lot, Taub Field (middle left) and the patch of land originally intended for the school garden. The River Oaks Plant House (above right), Blanco’s Bar (middle right) and the building that once housed a psychic (bottom right) now sit on SJS property.

Race against time leads to purchase of Taub property, expands campus by 45 percent BY ALYYAH MALICK AND IMAN CHARANIA As the clock ticked down on the last day in 2012, the Board of Trustees completed a daring venture: the rapid acquisition of a large chunk of land across Buffalo Speedway that otherwise would have been lost to commercial development. Following a short three months of negotiations between lawyers and a hectic three-week search for philanthropic support that yielded over $26 million, Board of Trustees Chair Ann Stern (’75) secured the land by signing a contract with representatives from the Taub family at the Stewart Title Residential Properties office near the Galleria. The idea of acquiring land first arose at an August retreat when the Board discussed the school’s future. “I don’t think anyone back in August would have anticipated that we would actually be working on the purchase of land, but luck and happenstance came together,” Headmaster Mark Desjardins said. The school first heard about the availability of the neighboring Taub property in late September when the owners, siblings H. Ben (’70), Marcy (’74) and Kitch Taub (’76), contemplated developing the land

on either side of Taub Field. They planned to construct three or four high-rise towers by May 2013. “The Taubs were considering multiple projects that included office, residential and commercial entities,” Desjardins said. “We were concerned about how that development might infringe upon the school both in the short term and long term.” If the land were developed, the chances of acquiring it at a later date would diminish greatly, a looming specter that prompted the trustees to seriously consider the possibility of purchasing the property. “I think it’s a great move on the part of the school both because it allows increased flexibility in the long run in terms of campus facility, and I think it’s also wise because if we didn’t buy it, someone else would and develop it commercially, and then we’d have increased traffic congestion,” Head of Upper School Kef Wilson said. On Sept. 20, Desjardins met with Stern, Vice Chair John Moody (’67) and the three Taubs at the River Oaks Country Club to express an interest in the property. The Taubs initially stated they would need

six to 12 months to decide the best use for the land. Informal negotiations began in mid-October and proceeded slowly until late November, when the Board learned that the Taubs wanted to sell by Dec. 31, before taxes increased in 2013. “The unexpected availability of the land put in motion a series of negotiations that had multiple twists and turns,” Desjardins said. Discarded options included purchasing part of the land or making a swap, possibly for Caven Field. The Board’s support of the purchase depended on philanthropic assistance, so the school met with an elite group of donors in early December. Many of the details fell into place within three weeks. “The timing forced a compressed process whereby some of the school’s most historically generous benefactors were asked quickly whether or not they felt like the school should move forward,” Director of Advancement Mark Dini said. “Their encouragement and indications of support are a large reason why the acquisition was completed.” Continued on Page 2

GUNS This issue’s centerspread is dedicated to the topic of guns and their role in our community. In light of the recent debate regarding gun control, read two differing opinions on the subject as well as a third stance that comes from a military perspective.



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Land acquisition presents opportunity Continued from Front Page


st. john’s

episcopal Land comparison SJS now occupies approximately 42 acres, more than Episcopal (35 acres) but less than Kinkaid (64 acres). Kinkaid purchased 24.6 acres (shaded grey above) in 2010.

The philanthropic support was key in the Board’s decision to purchase the entire 13.4 acre tract at a special meeting Dec. 26. “We had an anonymous donor pledge $10 million, and that encouraged others who were captivated by the urgency and the historical significance of the moment to pledge some big gifts, including a $6 million gift and two more $5 million dollar gifts,” Desjardins said. “We generated enough support to take the plunge off the high dive and purchase.” The headmaster added that despite these generous donations, the school has a ways to go. Director of Finance and Operations Greg Swan obtained financing from Frost Bank that enabled the Dec. 31 purchase. The expeditious purchase was nominated for Houston Business Journal’s Finance Deal of the Year. “We’ve incurred a significant amount of debt, and we think it makes all the sense in the world,” Swan said. “Our next plans are to bridge that into permanent financing.” Though Upper School tuition will increase by 6.5% ($22,951 for the 2013-2014 school year), the purchase did not factor into the increase; it is instead part of a multi-year plan announced last year to decrease usage of the endowment fund and increase the repair and replacement budget. There may be future tuition increases. In a little more than three months, the school increased its footprint by 45 percent. With the sale, the Taub siblings continue a legacy of collaborating with SJS. The School purchased the original 12 acres of the South Campus from their great uncle, Ben Taub, in 1948 for the comparatively low price of $7,000 per acre. Their father, Henry J.N. Taub, donated the money for the Carol Joseloff Taub and Henry Taub library in the late 1970s and contributed $20,000 for Lower School renovations in 2009. The family’s legacy includes Ben Taub General Hospital and donations to other local organizations. “In the long term, the Taub property gives the school incredible flexibility as we look to make plans for what the school is going to look like five, ten or twenty years down the road,” Desjardins said. SJS now owns Taub Field, previously

rented for the baseball team, and the St. Luke’s student parking lot. Businesses on school property include Blanco’s Bar and Grill, River Oaks Plant House and three billboards owned by Clear Channel Communications. A psychic, who operated on the property for at least 25 years, was given notice by the Taubs earlier in 2012 and vacated her building in January. Blanco’s lease expires at the end of May, but the school plans to extend it until November 2013. River Oaks Plant House will remain in operation. “We don’t think there is anything inconsistent with the plant house operating on school property,” Swan said. “That will continue to be evaluated.” SJS is working on a new agreement with St. Luke’s that will allow the church to continue using the student parking lot on Sundays. The lease with Clear Channel Communications has a 60-day termination clause that the school will exercise to remove the billboards within the next two months. Clear Channel Communications will take down the billboards at no cost to the school. SJS has hired Architectural Resources Cambridge, which specializes in working with educational institutions, to create a master plan for the school, a process that will last 12 to 18 months. There are no immediate plans for the Taub property until the firm finishes determining what the best use is, but construction of a tunnel under Buffalo Speedway is likely. “I would hate to put a division, meaning Lower, Middle or Upper School, on the property. I think that anytime you are going to remove a division from the rest of the community, it is not ultimately productive,” Desjardins said. “What is important is that whatever we do, we maintain the core values of St. John’s.” The purchase does not mean abandoning the Great Hall project. While no final decisions have been made concerning the Great Hall, the School hopes to begin construction on that project in the next two years. The architects, Curtis & Windham Architects, Inc, completed schematic designs in August 2011 but have not yet made construction plans.


The Alumni Internship program, implemented last year, provides students with on-the-job experience as well as contacts in fields ranging from journalism to restaurant business to veterinary medicine. “The student interest this year was very high,” Associate Alumni Communications Director Lorin Leatherwood said. “We have already received more than fifty surveys.” The Alumni Board are contacting graduates in Houston and plans to assign summer internships to around 25 students by March. Kanchana Raja

East Asian Affinity Group (EAAG) and African American Affinity Group (AAAG) shared their cultures with the Upper School in assemblies Jan. 30 and Feb. 6, respectively. The EAAG program featured traditional Mongolian and Chinese dance numbers, two K-Pop medleys and speaker Karen Lu, mother of freshman David Lu, who related her experience as an Asian American at a private K-12 school in Baltimore. The AAAG assembly included a dance choreographed by sophomore Isabelle Wallace-Green, a number exploring the history of African-American dance and speaker Bobbi Porche (’08), who discussed breaking free of the labels that others placed on her in high school. Eugenia Kakadiaris

Seven students traveled to San Marcos, Tex., Jan. 31-Feb. 2 to participate in All-State Band and Choir after a round of auditions in December. Sophomore Ty Boone made the Jazz Band as its sole drummer while freshman Gabe Malek (trumpet) and junior Amy Kang (flute) made the Wind Ensemble. Seniors Taylor Gutierrez (tenor), Rohan Ramchand (bass), Erin Granberry and junior Carolyn Martin (both sopranos) were named to the All-State Choir. Amy Kang


Welch named Director of All-School Wellness BY REBECCA CHEN After working as the Middle School counselor for less than six months, Dr. Jennifer Welch has been appointed Director of All-School Wellness, starting next year. Welch previously worked at the Children’s Assessment Center for 10 years and then ran a private practice for nine years. When Welch was first approached about a job at SJS, she was hesitant, but she changed her mind after coming to the school and meeting the teachers. “I was hooked the first day I came,” Welch said. “I was excited to work with faculty who are that passionate about helping students learn.” Almost half a year later, Welch is happy with her current role and looks forward to her new position next year. “It’s pretty exciting, but it’s also a little

bit daunting,” Welch said. “It’s such a big, important thing, but it’s something professionally I’ve been very passionate about for ten years.” Welch heard about the opening for a Wellness Director when she interviewed for her current job last summer. She approached Headmaster Mark Desjardins about it and was interviewed over the course of several months, starting in October. “Dr. Welch was the perfect fit based upon her background and experience, her strong interest in young people and her passion for the topic of wellness,” Desjardins said. “Moreover, as a current parent [of sophomore Taylor Welch] and member of the faculty, she knows our community and the multiple tension points that exist

within our school culture.” Welch’s new role will involve applying cutting-edge knowledge and research to help the whole school community. “The idea is that I will get to be involved with everything from K through 12,” Welch said. “I’ll be talking to people from all divisions, trying to touch on every aspect of life here in the SJS community, not just students, but faculty and parents as well.” Welch appreciates the new opportunities her upcoming position will afford. “I’m really excited and honored to have the opportunity to be involved,” Welch said. “I think this is the direction most private schools across the country are going to go in the next ten to twenty years.”


Moving on Up After counseling only Middle School, Welch will advise all grades next year.








Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam. And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva. So tweasure your wuv. – The Impressive Clergyman in “The Princess Bride” (1987) Five couples on campus are united not just by marriage, but by their work — here at SJS, husbands and wives teach and coach together in perfect harmony. COACH MERCADO2



Coaches Richard and Brenda Mercado met when she came to SJS from Casady School for an interview in 1989, but they had no idea they would end up together. Fast-forward 23 years, and they are happily married, sharing a life at work and at home. Mr. Mercado, head coach of girls’ track and field and boys’ cross-country, enjoys working with his wife, who coaches field hockey, because it gives him the opportunity to spend time with his kids, junior William and seventh grade student Matthew, and wife at school. However, this benefit does not come without difficulties. “It’s always a challenge trying to find something to talk about at home that does not involve school,” Mr. Mercado said. “We end up complaining about the same things.” Their marriage strengthens their relationships with students because they often work with the same athletes at different stages, so they can share information. Mr. Mercado admits that most of the kids regard his wife as the nice Mercado. “All the little kids love my wife,” Mr. Mercado said. “I joke with them that ‘I am Coach Mercado, too. I am the nice one,’ but they inevitably wrinkle up their noses and say, ‘No, she’s the nice one!’” MUSICAL PAIR


Music teachers Darrell and Audra Parrish met as students in music school and have been married for 21 years. “The most rewarding, yet most challenging, aspect of working together is the constant togetherness,” Mrs. Parrish said. “We hug and kiss when we see each other in the hallways.” They have two sons, sophomore Tyler and Kyle (‘01), the Annual Fund Manager. For Kyle, having both parents highly involved at school was beneficial to fostering unity and loyalty to the school. “Spouses who work in the same place typically work harder, stay with the company longer and report greater happiness with their jobs, which generally describes my family’s experience” he said. Seeing his parents in action allowed Kyle to gain a greater respect for his parents, especially when watching them perform together during School programs. “As their son, I got a chance to see the kind of teamwork, mutual respect, communication and love that makes up a marriage,” he said. “I think it helped make me the man and the husband I am today.” LOS DOS


Heart-to-heart The Kehs (above), Sharps (middle) and Leakeys (below) agree that working at the same school often makes their conversations very SJS-oriented. The couples enjoy the extra time together, though, especially during the morning commute. ool-related topics.

While teaching Spanish at the same high school in North Carolina, Stephen and Sherifa Kehs became best friends and started dating soon after Mr. Kehs gained the courage to ask her out. Despite teaching in the same department, Mr. and Mrs. Kehs do not see each other often in school due to different schedules.

The couple still takes advantage of the perks of working together, like using the HOV lane and having company during the daily commute. Mrs. Kehs says that working with her husband allows her to become a better teacher through collaboration. “I love having someone who understands what my day is like,” Mrs. Kehs said. “It is nice having him nearby if I’ve had a bad day or just need someone to talk to.” The common experiences at school help fuel the Kehs’s conversations at home. “Working in the same environment and encountering the same challenges gives us a lot of common ground,” Mr. Kehs said. “We can relate professionally because we understand each other’s job.” Mr. and Mrs. Kehs enjoy attending school events together, but, like other married faculty members, they say they spend too much time talking about school. “While we love our jobs, we have other interests outside of school that often take a backseat because of our professional demands,” Mr. Kehs said. “We talk about SJS too much. Having a conversation about something other than SJS is harder than it might seem.” LEAKEY HEARTS Becky Leakey thought of Anthony Leakey as arrogant and aloof when they first met, but little did she know he would later become her husband. They have been inseparable since they first met and will be married for 15 years this June. Mrs. Leakey, who works as the Upper School Administrative Assistant, admires her husband’s dedication to his job in the Fine Arts department. “I enjoy working with him because he’s an amazing teacher to watch,” Mrs. Leakey said. “I get to see him at his best, filled with passion for his job.” Mr. Leakey appreciates having a knowledgeable person to talk to. “I enjoy getting to discuss work with someone who actually understands and knows about all the things that I talk about,” Mr. Leakey said. Although both constantly suffer from school overload, sometimes even resorting to a “No talking about SJS” day, the Leakeys enjoy being part of the school together. “We’re happy to both be a part of this amazing community,” Mrs. Leakey said. “It truly is a family that we’re extremely proud to be a part of.” DOUBLE SHARP Douglas and Marilyn Sharp have been married 36 years. The math teacher first met Mrs. Sharp when visiting her roommate, his childhood friend. Dr. Sharp rarely sees his wife, the Upper School Assistant Librarian, during the day because of their vastly different schedules, but he appreciates the fact that they work together. “The greatest benefit of working together is being able to share common enemies,” Dr. Sharp said. “The constant proximity is a challenge, though.” While the Sharps work at the same school, Dr. Sharp occasionally wants to switch places with his wife. “Sometimes I wish I could be a librarian for a day,” he said. “Hiding behind stacks of books would make me feel considerably better.”




AMERICA DEL SUR brings enthusiasm to the team,” freshman Lillian Chen said. “She’s an extremely skilled player.” Besides improving their English and learning about American culture, Abusleme and Schwerter are learning what most students strive for: time management. “The classes are shorter, and there is more homework at SJS. SJS students don’t have much time to do things, so they have to make the most out of the time that they have,” Schwerter said. Sophomore Katherine Wu is impressed by Schwerter’s English. “You honestly couldn’t pick out from the rest of our English class that Sofia’s from Chile,” she said. Although Abusleme and Schwerter have been improving their foreign language skills, they have also learned more about their native language. “In Chile, the most difficult subject is Spanish,” Schwerter said. “At SJS, I’ve learned a lot of grammar terms that I’ve never heard of, so it’s interesting to see an American approach to teaching Spanish.” “We’d really like to thank the SJS community for welcoming us the way they did,” Schwerter and Abusleme said. We will really miss the school when we go back to Chile and we are hoping to leave with the best memories.”

Chilean exchange students experience American culture BY JESSICA LEE


Trading places Even though Sofia Schwerter and Noemi Abusleme are 5,000 miles away from home, they are not the only ones learning about a foreign culture. “I think we gain much by hosting international students,” exchange program cooordinator Aline Means said. “It allows us to come in contact with other cultures and ways of life without even having to leave campus.”

scenes behind Head of Upper School Search the

Noemi Abusleme and Sofia Schwerter came to America from Chile believing that the school they would be attending would be something out of a Lindsay Lohan film. “I was expecting a ‘Mean Girls’ scene with cliques and jocks. In Chile, an American friend told me not to expect people to be welcoming,” Schwerter said. “The people here are a lot nicer than I thought they would be. They go up to you and ask, ‘How are you?’ and if you’re lost, they will help you find your classes. It’s more cliquey in Chile compared to SJS.” Another surprising aspect of America for the exchange students was the lack of a stereotypical identity in such a cosmopolitan city like Houston. “In Chile, everyone follows a certain type of living and dresses in the same clothes,” Schwerter said. “No one wants to be different. There is a cultural identity.” Schwerter and Abusleme are here as part of the Chile Exchange Program, a sixweek program with the Redland School in Santiago. While most foreign exchange students come mainly for education, Abusleme intended to participate in sports as well. “There aren’t that many sports in Chile,” Abusleme said. “I wanted more opportunities since I play field hockey and soccer.” She now plays offense for the JV soccer team. “She always has a smile on her face and


The perfect match Headmaster Mark Desjardins is one of many people involved in the search for a new Head of Upper School.

BY LIN GUO Three finalists have emerged in the search for an Upper School head after months of winnowing the pool of candidates. Following news of Kef Wilson’s departure, Headmaster Mark Desjardins apppointed a committe to find a replacement. Head of Lower School Christine Curran and Upper School Counselor Patricia Reynolds serve as co-chairs of the committee, which includes representatives from faculty, college counseling, fine arts and athletics. “Ms. Reynolds and I see our role as helping to organize and facilitate conversation,” Curran said. “We feel very appreciative that everyone is very invested in the process.” The committee posted the job opening in various independent school venues within the National Association of Independent Schools. They pared down the candidates to semifinalists, whom they invited on campus for interviews. Finalists were recommended to Desjardins and will be interviewed later this month. The candidates will speak with faculty, parents and small groups of students. “There will be great opportunity for input

from all members of the school community then,” Curran said. The committee will consider the Student Affairs Council and the best representatives of different student groups for this process. “We will try to get as many voices involved in conversations as is reasonable,” Curran said. The committee plans to be in the final stages of the search in early March. The new US Head will most likely begin working by July. The candidates have proven track records as effective teachers and leaders. “It does come down to fit,” Reynolds said. “Your communication style, what you bring to the gathering in addition to your background and credentials.” Both co-chairs stress that candidates should evaluate the school from their point of view as well. The on-campus interviews for finalists in the spring will allow candidates to see the school from an administrator’s perspective. “It’s a two-way street,” Curran said. “People look for a place where they will be valued and where their talents will round out a collective pool of expertise.”


entertainment THE REVIEW




“It was interesting and fun because it was my first production,” Hannah Tyler said. “I learned the ropes.”


“Selling your own corpse...what’s the world coming to?” asks sophomore Gabe Bennett-Brandt. “Beggars can’t be choosers,” replies sophomore Hannah Tyler. This exchange, one of the earliest in this year’s winter play, “Faith, Hope and Charity,” set the tone for the tragic comedy full of struggle and insanity. The play ran Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 in the Black Box Theatre and was Upper School theater director Chris Hutchison’s first play at SJS. “It’s been a fun combination of exactly what I expected and nothing like I expected,” Hutchison said. “The challenges are the good kind, though.” Hutchison first performed the play in graduate school at the Univ. of Washington, and it has stuck with him ever since. “It’s so human,” he said. “Government, poverty, economics, injustice and social stratifications are all covered, and these topics make it universal. People will be able to make connections with the modern world even though the play is set in the 1930s.” The play follows Elizabeth (Hannah Tyler) and her struggle to survive in a world where name and money mean more than personality. She encounters a cast of insane characters including a bipolar dissector (Bennett-Brandt) who make Elizabeth’s life as difficult as possible.

“The play manages to be extremely sad, funny and current all at the same time,” said Hutchison. “It is amazingly topical in terms of our current situation.” The story focuses on the human elements of the characters. “I really love all the characters,” Bennett-Brandt said, “It’s been really fun to try and figure out my character and develop him into the crazy, bipolar man that he is.” The Black Box gave the play a different atmosphere than the mainstage shows in the VST. “The Black Box is really the perfect place for this play,” said Hutchison. “Its barebones style and dark, intimate setting really set the mood.” Hutchison’s background allowed him to immerse himself fully in all aspects of the production. “Coming in as an actor, developing these characters and making them seem real is the most important part for me,” said Hutchison. Hutchison has a storied history as a professional actor. One of his fondest memories is of the time his wife shot him onstage. “This particular play was really like a Quentin Tarantino movie,” Hutchison said. “There were 13 gallons of blood and three sawed-up bodies on the stage by the end. And my wife shooting me and killing me, that was pretty cool too.”

The play in question was “The Lieutenant of Inishmore,” one of two works by Martin McDonagh that Hutchison has performed at the Alley Theater, where he was a company member since 2006. The other play was “A Behanding in Spokane.” “That one is also pretty violent, but in a much more psychological way,” Hutchison said. “It centers around a suitcase full of severed hands.” Hutchison, who grew up in Pittsburgh,

majored in English at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa. and earned a MFA at the University of Washington in 1999. Hutchison has performed in professional productions from Minneapolis to San Diego to New York City. Despite his advanced degree, Hutchison always knew he wanted to pursue a career in theater. “After high school, I just never moved away from it,”Hutchison said. “I really felt at home.”






“Lincoln” is almost certain to win Best Picture. With Steven Spielberg’s direction and Daniel Day-Lewis’s acting, “Lincoln” is unstoppable. This chronicle of our 16th president’s struggle to pass the 13th Amendment as the Civil War drew to a close is fascinating, elegant and compelling. Spielberg has made a masterpiece with “Lincoln,” and he will likely be rewarded for it. “Argo” is “Lincoln’s” main competition. Even though Ben Affleck did not receive a nomination for Best Director, his gripping account of the rescue of American hostages in Iran has been highly praised by critics and awards shows alike. As in 2011, nine excellent films have been nominated for the Academy’s biggest prize, but this year, snubs in the Best Director category have thrown the Best Picture race for a loop. “Lincoln,” “Argo” and “Zero Dark Thirty” were considered the front-runners, but since “Argo” and “Zero Dark Thirty” were not in the Best Director category — and films whose directors are not nominated rarely win Best Picture — this competition dynamic has changed.




Daniel Day-Lewis. Need I say any more? Next to the definition of “shoo-in” in the dictionary is a picture of this guy. It is true — Day-Lewis is arguably the most esteemed actor working in Hollywood today, and his performance in “Lincoln” was universally praised. He is nearly guaranteed to win Best Actor. The other nominees include Bradley Cooper, Hugh Jackman, Joaquin Phoenix and Denzel Washington, and they’re all just happy to be in the same category as Day-Lewis. There is no contest; there has been no contest all season. He has won every significant acting award in the business. For any doubters, he completely deserves the accolades. Day-Lewis’s portrayal of Lincoln is soft-spoken yet powerful, patient and calm yet fiercely determined to get what he wants. According to rumor, Day-Lewis refused to break character while shooting the film, insisting on fully embodying Lincoln at all times. Day-Lewis’s impressive dedication has paid off — he gave a masterful and inspiring performance as our 16th president and is set to win gold for it.

Unlike the Best Actor race, this category actually has a hint of competition. Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, Emmanuelle Riva, Quvenzhane Wallis and Naomi Watts are the nominees, and each has a plausible chance of taking home the prize. Jennifer Lawrence, in her role as the disturbed young widow Tiffany in “Silver Linings Playbook,” and Jessica Chastain, as the CIA agent who orchestrated the murder of Osama Bin Laden in “Zero Dark Thirty,” are the two main competitors. Both women gave intense, gut-wrenching performances and have won several awards this season for their superb acting. Given the timeliness of “Zero Dark Thirty” and its subject matter, combined with the more solemn tone of the Academy Awards, Chastain will probably win for her role. Notably, the Best Actress category this year has both the youngest and oldest nominees in Oscar history — Wallis is nine years old, and Riva is 85. Though it is unlikely that either woman will win, it is always exciting to see such diversity in the usually predictable Academy Awards nominees.


Oscars reel in predictions

It’s a confusing time to be a movie fan. Leading up to awards season, entertainment magazines made their predictions, and film critics made their judgments, allowing amateurs (like myself ) to make reasonable guesses as to who would win the Academy’s top prizes. When the Oscar nominations were announced Jan. 10, however, the snubs and surprises completely changed the awards game and upended all my previous conjectures. Disoriented and perturbed, I have had to completely reassess my Oscars predictions — it has certainly been a trying time, but here I try to assess the Academy race to the best of my ability. This year’s Academy Awards ceremony is sure to be an interesting one, not just because of the actual awards competition, but also because of its host. Seth MacFarlane, creator of “Family Guy,” is set to emcee the Oscars telecast on February 24. In contrast with last year’s dated host Billy Crystal and 2011’s awkward pairing of James Franco and Anne Hathaway, MacFarlane is slated to bring his crude, hilarious spin on the Academy Awards and, hopefully, save the ceremony from its descent into irrelevance. Both the host and the races will make this year’s Oscars ceremony an exciting one—I am looking forward to the 24th to see if my predictions come true.

There is not much contest in this category— Steven Spielberg will almost assuredly win for “Lincoln.” His only competition is Michael Haneke, whose film “Amour” is just depressing, touching, and French enough to win the Academy’s love. There has been much controversy regarding this category because of its exclusion of Ben Affleck, Katherine Bigelow, and Tom Hooper. Their films, “Argo,” “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Les Miserables,” respectively, were beloved by critics and audiences alike and were considered front-runners in the Best Picture race. All three were brushed aside by the Academy, and their elimination from this category has led to the biggest uproar of the 2013 awards season. The ambitious achievements of these directors were widely thought to guarantee their nominations, and the pop culture world was shocked when this expectation was not met. This decision throws a wrench into the race for Best Picture, especially since Ben Affleck won both the Golden Globe for Best Director and Best Picture for “Argo.”




IN THE SPOTLIGHT It is 5:18 p.m. on Saturday, less than two hours before the red curtains of the Lowe Theatre will part to reveal a single spotlight onstage. Only the sounds of third grade student Wenqing He’s piano performance of Frédéric Chopin’s “Nocturne in C# minor” fill the theatre. The second run-through of the entire show has just begun. Maverick Magic, the annual allschool talent show, took place Jan. 19 following auditions that ran the first two days of the spring semester. The show began with an introduction from this year’s masters of ceremonies, seniors Katie Owens and Taylor Gutierrez, who earned laughs right from the beginning. “Being an emcee was a blast,” Owens said. “We tried to keep our introductions short and informational.” Middle School Choir Director Stephen Bedford approached Gutierrez, also known as “Taylor the Latte Boy” from Maverick Magic 2011, and Owens to host the show. “We just try to pick the best,” Bedford said. Bedford has run the show for nine years. “Forty [acts] audition, and we can only have about 20 or so talents.” Students are only allowed to participate every other year. The show gives younger students

an introduction to performance skills. “Seeing the audience clap is thrilling,” said seventh grade student Grace Huang, who danced to Adele’s “Turning Tables.” One of the most unique talents this year was a mellifluous piece “Chūn Miáo” by sixth grade student Sabrina Hu on the guzheng, an ancient Chinese stringed instrument. Other highlights of the night included fourth grade student George Caldwell’s series of yo-yo tricks and the “I Won’t Give Up” duet by Cara Wolff and Carly Tiras, both representing the seventh grade. An audience favorite was the Beach Boys’ “Barbara Ann” performed by Jaya and Naveen Krishnan, both in sixth grade, and junior Nikhila Krishnan along with their stepmother Margaret Stone, all wearing Hawaiian shirts. For both younger and older students, participation in the talent show was a gratifying experience. “[Maverick Magic] is such a great opportunity to perform for the first time,” Gutierrez said. “A lot of the kids that Katie and I talked to had never performed at SJS before. Maverick Magic is a great place to test the waters.”

Talent abounds at annual Maverick Magic PHOTOS AND STORY BY MCKENNA GESSNER

“[Maverick Magic] is such a great opportunity to perform fot the first time. A lot of the kids that Katie [Owens] and I talked to had never performed at SJS before.”

Abracadabra From a yo-yo demonstration to vocal performances, Maverick Magic showcased the talents of all divisions. The show gives students a chance to perform in front of their peers and develop their on-stage presence.

Taylor Gutierrez


2424 Dunstan Rd. Houston, TX 77005 Open 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Mon-Thurs, until 10 p.m. Sat, until 8 p.m. Sun $16 for typical meal

Gourmet local fare satisfies PHOTOS AND STORY BY IAN MELLOR-CRUMMEY Local Foods brings the best local ingredients from the farm to the table through their innovative recipes. Located in Rice Village next to its well-known brother establishment Benjy’s, Local Foods specializes sandwiches and salads featuring locally grown ingredients. While the food is clearly worthy of association with Benjy’s, so are the prices: a sandwich and a drink will set you back roughly $16. However, when you’re given sandwich options like duck confit with arugula, melted brie and cranberry preserves or gulf shrimp and blue crab with green goddess dressing, the extra expense seems a bit more justified.

Each sandwich comes with a choice of two sides or a cup of soup, with enough options to satisfy. I highly recommend the Tuscan kale and the quinoa. As for drinks, they offer fresh-brewed iced tea, organic kombucha and their own “mintade,” a mix of lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit juices with a touch of mint, along with the usual selection of soft drinks. Vegetarians will appreciate their falafel sandwich and can order all of their salads without meat. Though the menu is not particularly extensive, every item on it is sure to satisfy.

8beyond THE REVIEW



Carol Boren Silenzi (‘59) left the United States to catch air on the slopes of the German Alps. She returned to America 46 years later with an Italian accent and experience as an undercover agent. While most alumni only travel abroad for brief periods of time, Silenzi’s entire career took place in Europe. She returned to the United States in 2012. Silenzi’s journey began in 1953 when she entered SJS in seventh grade. Silenzi played on the girls’ basketball team and acted on the old Hoodwink theater stage in Johnnycake musicals. “Our class was wonderful but very small with only 39 students,” Silenzi said. “We’re very close and don’t even wait until reunions to meet up.” Silenzi graduated from Tulane University in 1963 with a bachelor’s degree in Modern European History. After college, she was hired by Pan Am as a stewardess. During her first year, Silenzi flew only to South America. The following year, her job transported her all over the world. “After two years, I felt like I was done working for Pan Am,” Silenzi said. “A career as a flight attendant wasn’t a very serious thing for a college-educated woman to do. I wanted to better live up to my potential.” Silenzi decided to continue her education. She moved to Germany and lived in a small village on the Austrian border where she attended a foreign language school. “I moved there because I loved to ski, but I ended up really enjoying the [German] language,” Silenzi said. Once she outgrew the small village, Silenzi moved to study at the University of Munich where serendipity led her to the


job that would change her life. “Right before I was about to return to America, I was invited to a dinner party by an old friend who happened to be passing through.” She sat next to the host to be polite and good manners paid off. “Conversation was regular small talk. He asked me what I was doing in Germany, and I explained I was just a student and would be going home soon, unless I could find a job,” Silenzi said. “He told me to pop by his office the next morning because he had something for me.” Her acquaintance’s offer catapulted Silenzi into working for the Radio Liberty organization, which transmits knowledge to countries where freedom of expression is banned. The organization is an extension of the better-known Radio Free Europe broadcaster (RFE/RL). “My experiences across the globe probably made me a good candidate for the job,”

Silenzi said. “I loved the job because it let me keep my American roots while making a name for myself in Europe.” Silenzi was hired by RFE/RL when the Eastern Bloc was dominated by the Soviet Union. Her job involved translating books banned in the Soviet Union and providing dissidents the works. “When I talk about my early career, many assume I transmitted a lot of propaganda, when actually, I translated mainly classics, like Kafka and Camus,” Silenzi said. “We also published some books by Soviet dissidents and brought those beyond the border, but I’d like to think the classic works made a greater impact on the struggle towards freedom.” In 1968, her second year working for RFE/RL, Silenzi was transferred to Rome and began adapting to yet another culture. During this time, Silenzi also worked an undercover job for RFE/RL. “I can’t talk much about it, but I can say I

“I can’t talk much about it, but I can say I did various important things.”

Carol Silenzi (‘59)


did various important things,” Silenzi said. After the end of the Cold War, all the offices of Silenzi’s former post were closed since they were no longer needed. For Silenzi, what began as an opportunity to study abroad became her life’s work. Although she returned to America twice every year to catch up with her family, Silenzi considers herself fully assimilated into Italian culture. “There are disadvantages to living in Europe. The things you once thought were quaint, like the queue lines, become irksome,” Silenzi said. “But all the trouble is counterbalanced by the beauty, the interesting people, the different culture Europe has to offer.” Silenzi has two children, a son and a daughter, who were born and raised in Italy. “They’re third culture children, with their American mom and their Italian dad. Both are bilingual and world travelers just like their parents,” Silenzi said. Silenzi recently retired from her job as an office manager at an American law firm in Rome and moved to Colorado Springs. While Silenzi first experienced culture shocks adjusting to life in Europe, upon returning to America she was unfamiliar with many of the developments her home country made. “The polarization of politics is overwhelming here. And other places in the world don’t have the obesity issues we do. But I’m always pleasantly surprised by welcoming and courteous behavior of Americans.” Silenzi said, “It’s great to be back, but America has certainly changed a lot in the past 46 years.”






Suited up Though Ryon Adams now works in the Pentagon, he spent the past year and a half training soldiers in Afghanistan.

Adams strategizes against Taliban BY AMY KANG After a year and a half of service in Afghanistan, Major Ryon Adams (’90) is finally home. Adams began active duty in 1998 after earning a law degree at the University of Houston. As a logistics officer, Adams overlooked shipping of military materials. Intrigued by the military training and the opportunities for leadership and professional development offered by the army, the former football player and wrestler Adams acquired an interest in becoming an army officer during his sophomore year. “Ryon was a very focused young man and worked hard in practice every day,” former wrestling coach John Friday said. “If anything, I’d like to think that his time on the SJS wrestling team helped him recognize that he wanted that discipline and training regimen to be a part of his life after SJS.” “I can remember from my time at SJS that more than one of my teachers said that they could see the military being my niche,” Adams said. “As it turns out, it was.” Adams began the application process for a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) Scholarship during his junior year. “It was just an idea that popped into my head at the time,” Adams said. “I figured that if I applied for an ROTC scholarship, it would help me stand out.” “I was not surprised by his decision,” Channing Davey (’90) said. “Ryon has

always been very reliable, circumspect and efficient in what he does.” Adams attended Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland where he completed his ROTC training. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in management and completed additional minors in Japanese and industrial engineering. Before going to Afghanistan, Adams added Dari to his repertoire of languages, which included English, Spanish and Japanese. “While earning the German armed forces proficiency badge was the most physically challenging aspect of my military training, learning Dari was the most intellectually challenging aspect,” Adams said. His time at SJS eased the travail. “Mr. Lee Knauerhaze, who was my one of my Spanish teachers at SJS, developed my aptitude in foreign languages, and that aptitude has come in handy for the rest of my life,” Adams said. In Afghanistan, Adams worked with the Afghan military and police in order to improve their operations and help plan operations against the Taliban and other insurgents. Underdevelopment within Afghan society posed difficulties for Adams. “The illiteracy rate is something like 70 percent in Afghanistan, and that makes it very hard to train soldiers,” Adams said. “We want to help develop the Afghan military so they can take over security from

Catching Up With Former School Year Abroad Students

the United States, but it’s nearly impossible to train the locals when they can’t read the training manuals.” Despite obstacles, Adams and his troop saw significant improvement in the units they worked with. “We were able to train them in U.S. weapons, improve their supply system and train their officers and staff,” Adams said. “You felt like all the work you’d put in was actually making an impact.” Though Adams witnessed progress while in Afghanistan, the challenge of distinguishing between enemy and foe proved the toughest part of his stay. “The most difficult aspect of my time in Afghanistan was the fact that you could never be sure who your friends and who your enemies were,” Adams said. “I had to constantly wonder if the Afghans on our side would turn on us, if they were really Taliban double agents.” Adams heard that a suicide bomber, disguised in an Afghan Army uniform, had infiltrated the forward operating base (FOB) Gamberi and detonated an explosive vest, killing himself, four Afghan officers and six U.S. personnel. “I arrived as FOB Gamberi was still recovering from the attack,” Adams said. “That woke me up to the fact that it can often be very difficult to distinguish friend from foe in Afghanistan.” After spending a year in cramped barracks in Afghanistan, Adams was happy to return to his American lifestyle.

“In Afghanistan, I didn’t have my usual creature comforts,” Adams said. “There was no cable television, no restaurants or fast food, and I had to eat food in an army cafeteria three times a day; spending time in a place like Afghanistan really makes one appreciate the advantages we enjoy here in the USA.” Adams currently works at the Pentagon as the executive officer to the Army’s director of maintenance. His position includes planning meetings and readying the director to brief staffers and Congress members. “I had already been promised to be assigned at the Pentagon,” Adams said. “The day I arrived, the officer who had been working in my current position had been given orders to go to Korea and suggested that I start transitioning into his job. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.” Adams was also stationed at Camp Red Cloud in Uijeongbu, Korea, where he served as division transportation officer, planning all military movements by truck, rail, water craft and airfreight, and in Beaumont, Texas. “I’ve always been grateful to SJS for the outstanding college prep,” Adams said. “I’m confident that if it had not been for the education I received at SJS, I wouldn’t have done as well in college, had as successful of a career or had as fulfilling of a life.”




French was my favorite subject, and I had always wanted to travel, so it was an easy decision for me to go abroad. I may have spent my junior year away, but I gained infinitely more than I lost. My year abroad in France convinced me that time spent exploring new places and new interests is never wasted time, which is one of the reasons I decided to take a gap year. I’m currently living and studying in Kazan, Russia.

Going abroad to China was one of the greatest decisions I’ve made. China allowed me to experience a whole new world, a nice reprieve from four straight years at SJS. Being fluent in Chinese has opened so many doors for me and has helped me in my international business. I am currently starting a record label called Mooty Beats, and I am studying economics, accounting and finance at Claremont McKenna College.

I remember arriving in Zaragoza, Spain, exhausted and overwhelmed from making the trip and meeting fifty new classmates. Although I had taken Spanish at SJS, I was in no way prepared to have a full conversation. I decided the next morning that I had to take charge in order to get everything out of the nine months abroad. I definitely learned from the experience that the biggest risks yield the biggest rewards.




his is Texas. Everyone has a gun. My florist has a gun!” Although this quip from “Miss Congeniality” may elicit a chuckle from Texans, few students actually believe it to be entirely accurate. “Sure, there are a lot of gun owners and guns per capita in Texas, but the numbers really aren’t overwhelming, in my experience,” junior Daniel Bland said. “My family doesn’t own a gun, and we know many families who also don’t own guns.” A poll conducted by The Review Online revealed that, out of 62 respondents, nearly 70% of families do not own guns while less than 30% own guns and keep them in their house. Most students and even some teachers, regardless of their views, however, have shot a gun before. A significant part of the student body goes hunting or shooting, from as often as once a month to as little as a few times a year. “To me hunting is a recreational sport, and it is safe when handled appropriately,” senior Eric Hobby said. For some, recreational shooting and hunting are integral family pastimes. Senior Eleni Demeris said, “Hunting is a way that I get

to bond with my family, especially my dad.” “Hunting is a pastime and a family tradition, while shooting skeet with my family is more of a competition,” junior Cole Johnson said. Others justify hunting for its practicality. “Hunting is harvesting an animal to use its meat or fur,” junior Michael Timte said. “It’s not just killing something.” Though many guns are used for hunting purposes, guns are often found in homes to act as a means of protection. And while video games are often blamed for gun violence, studies have proved otherwise, and students would suggest otherwise as well. Junior George Davies plays violent video games every day. “I think gun violence is terrible,” he said. “The blame is being placed on the wrong thing.” Still, students admit that such games desensitize people to guns and shooting. “Violent first-person shooter games have definitely

desensitized me to combat since in these games, a war becomes just that — a game and not a fight for survival,” junior Lauren Hodgson said. “Also, games like Call of Duty use historical references and real scenarios, uniforms and weaponry, completely blinding the gamer to the horror of global wars.” On the whole, students overwhelmingly concur that SJS provides an open environment for discussion on the issue despite the polarizing views on the issue. The Junior State of America club has hosted several dialogues on gun control, offering a forum for students to voice their opinions. “Talking and debating with my peers has definitely given me a different perspective,” junior Jeffrey Fastow said. “SJS has overall made me more circumspect, more open to outside influence and ideas, while allowing me to retain my core values.”

PRO Increased gun control and regulation is integral to limiting violence and unnecessary fatalities in America. Guns make it both easier and faster for criminals to commit crimes. Guns are unmatched in their ability to injure and are even fatal in some circumstances. The right to live is the most important freedom. If more gun control means more lives saved, then more gun control means more freedom. The U.S. Constitution was written in an era in which firearm technology was incipient, and the need for “a well-regulated militia” was essential. In terms of protection from a tyrannical government today, a gun is no match for the military’s firepower – a gun will do little to halt the onslaught of tanks and missiles. Private ownership of guns was common under Saddam Hussein, but that did not prevent the tyranny and massacres that occurred under his regime. Although guns have been used for justifiable homicides, their risks certainly outweigh their benefits; a homeowner’s gun is 43 times more likely to kill a friend, a family member or an acquaintance than to be used in self-defense. Guns, in comparison to other means, remarkably increase suicide rates, turning impulsive suicidal tendencies into painful finalities. Guns are a menace to children and adults alike. Children living in the five states with

Gun Control


Pallavi Krishnarao

the highest levels of gun ownership are three times more likely to die from firearm homicide than the children in the five states with the lowest levels of gun ownership. How can we as a society stand aside as a gun-wielding madman massacres innocent children? Military-grade assault rifles have no place in homes, let alone classrooms. Tougher legislation on assault weapons, thorough background checks and limitations on high-capacity magazines are essential steps this country must take to curb gun violence. Violent crime rates in England are less likely to end in death than those in the United States even though the British crime rate exceeds the U.S. crime rate. In 2006, 54 people died in Britain because of firearm homicide whereas nearly 12,000 died in the United States for the same reason. Our gun control laws are the loosest in the developed world; consequently, our rate of gun-related homicide is the highest. If Nancy Lanza, the mother of the Newtown killer, had locked her gun in a safe, perhaps tragedy could have been avoided. In an ideal world, having guns would pose no problem because everyone would act in a responsible manner. The problem is that people are neither infallible nor always responsible, and this innate lack of responsibility costs lives and families.

School safety in the crosshairs BY STEPHANIE GUO After the tragedy at Newtown and the ensuing response by the NRA, school security plans have come under increased scrutiny. While plans are still being finalized, Security Coordinator Andrew Blitch of the Houston Police Department is working on improving the School’s safety procedures. The School has several layers of safeguards. Vigilant faculty and staff make up one layer of insulation from harm. Riverdale Patrol and Houston Police Department officers make up another. HPD officers carry guns and are fully trained to use them. Riverdale Patrol officers do not carry weapons. At any given time, there is at least one HPD officer on campus. Generally there are three to five HPD officers. “It has been a great comfort to see Riverdale and HPD officers on campus,” Dean Popp said. In addition to the watchful guardians, the police force has created lockout and lockdown procedures to keep unwelcome intruders out. “If we become aware of something going on around school, within a one- or two-mile radius, a lockout is initiated,” Blitch said. In a lockout, gates are closed, the exterior of the school is locked, and security closely monitors the entrances and exits of the school. “But on the inside of the school, business goes on as usual,” Blitch said. “Classes go on and the students are not disturbed.” Lockdown, on the other hand, involves the students directly. Blitch said, “Lockdowns occur if there is an intruder on campus or in close proximity of campus, and he or she is wishing to do harm to somebody on campus.” If a gunman were to come onto or near campus, Blitch would be alerted. He would immediately turn to a division head or Headmaster Mark Desjardins to initiate a lockdown. “Right now, only the heads can initiate a lockdown, but there are changes being put in place, and soon any faculty member will be able to call a lockdown,” Blitch said. When a lockdown is called, classes lock themselves in their room, after first looking around for students not currently in class. And while the students are locked in, security remains alert and mindful of intruders. “The officers are all well trained for these types of situations,” Popp said. Blitch added, “They are all trained to know what to do depending on the situation.” And at this point, the School has no plans to arm teachers, as several Texas State Legislators have called for. Teachers generally agreed that they would prefer not to be required to carry guns. “The idea of a deterrent at every point may be attractive,” English teacher Ruth Bellows said, “but I don’t think people should handle guns without a great deal of training and preferably some experience.”


Major Ryon Adams (‘90) (featured on p. 9) on Gun Control

It is correct to say that firearms are unfortunately used to commit crimes. Nevertheless, firearms also play a valuable role in protecting homes, families and persons. I believe that private firearm ownership a part of a greater natural right to self-defense and is a legitimate check on the power of the state. Firearms like fully automatic weapons or those with caliber greater than .50 have no place in a private emergency or in legitimate sports and should be restricted to military and police use. I do believe, however, that possession of all other sorts of firearms should be legal for non-violent, law-abiding citizens without mental illnesses.


A true statement: America will never be without guns. Guns are both guaranteed by law and deeply entrenched in American ideology. Even if the president could magically bypass the Second Amendment, he could never carry out a full confiscation of guns without imposing dictatorial measures and terrifying the American populace. Thus, the main issue of the gun control debate is the extent to which American personal liberties can be restricted by the government. The conservative side opposes such restrictions. Conservatives believe that the sale and manufacture of guns, including assault rifles, should not be banned and that magazines should not be reduced to ten rounds as the president has proposed. The main reasons for this resistance: 1. Criminals will obtain assault rifles regardless because they know how to bypass the law. Many also have access to smuggled guns. 2. Banning assault weapons keeps guns that could be used for justice or self-defense out of the hands of law-abiding citizens. This benefits foreign manufacturers by destroying domestic industries. 3. Assault weapons and other guns are used

for more good than people are willing to admit. Guns provide a means for self-defense and deter possible crime. 4. Guns do not force people to commit suicide. 5. Law-abiding citizens use assault rifles for legal activities such as hunting, and a ten-round clip in those circumstances is atrociously impractical. 6. Although Communist China has strict gun control laws to keep citizens in submission, the number of homicides continues to increase as people find new ways to kill one another. In the United Kingdom, due to stricter gun control laws, the number of knifepoint crimes and rapes has risen drastically, earning the U.K. the nickname “the violence capital of the world.” The truth is that people who want to hurt others will find ways to do so regardless of any obstacles. The problem is not the guns but rather the people. Ironically, Americans have purchased more guns under the current administration than under any other president in American history. Forget words; Americans have voted with their feet.

Gun Control

Andrew Chung


12opinions THE REVIEW


This editorial is so... When is the last time you said something that had the potential to hurt someone around you? Chances are, not that long ago. Offensive words permeate students’ vocabulary, weaseling their way into everyday conversations and offending listeners. The culprits: “gay” and “retarded.” These words alone are not offensive, but the ways in which students use them prove harmful. As an Editorial Board, we can attest to the overwhelming use of these two words in the community. “That’s so gay.” “You’re acting retarded.” At a school that emphasizes academics, we’d first like to point out the syntactical error that the above statements commit. Using “gay” or “retarded” in the aforementioned examples makes little to no

sense. Equating “retarded” and “gay” with “stupid” is inaccurate and insensitive. While these phrases may reflect badly on your intelligence, they also have the potential to inflict damage on those around you. Regardless of sexual orientation or IQ, anyone can take offense to the inappropriate usage of “gay” and “retarded.” We implore all students to reduce or cease their use of these phrases altogether. We understand that the use of these words isn’t always meant to offend others, but that is just an inherent side effect of using sensitive words in a negative context. The use of these words to denote stupidity has become so cemented in our vocabularies that most people don’t even see the distinction. It is important to separate the definitions before these words become


As a senior, I have begun to reflect on my experience at SJS. From these reflections, I came to a conclusion that, on the surface, might seem bizarre: I wished I had failed more as a student (I have had more than my fair share of social and athletic failure, so I’m good on that front). One disclaimer: I have enjoyed and benefitted from my time at SJS immensely. But as with any other institution, our school is not perfect. So, for what it’ss worth, I offer you my thoughts. Failure is a loaded term and seems to be a fairly normal thing to avoid. I admit that, for a long time, I feared failure. I was often driven more by a fear of failure rather than a desire for success. When I earned a good grade on a test, I felt relief, not excitement. I am not promoting failure for the sake of failure. Failing a test because you neglected to prepare the necessary amount is not productive (although that failure could teach you the importance of studying, but that is neither here nor there). Instead, I want failure to become a product of the freedom to take risks. The risk-aversion mentality at SJS is

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permanently synonymous. A community is hard to build but easy to destroy. As a school, we want to build an accepting, welcoming community. Using words like “gay” and “retarded” will only destroy that atmosphere. Freshman year, all students sign an honor pledge that emphasizes the importance of respect, a school tenet that the derogatory use of “gay” and “retarded” contradicts. Therefore, we would like to extend a challenge to students: attempt to cut these words out of your vocabulary (unless you’re using them in their proper context) and convince your friends to do the same. Let’s build an accepting community, one word at a time.

perhaps most evident in English classes. Numerous times have I taken the conservative route and written a “boring” paper. The paper may be technically sound and my main idea may be logically supported by substantial evidence, but what have I gained from that paper? Yes, I have reinforced proper writing techniques and furthered my ability to make logical connections, but I have not taken a risk. I don’t know why SJS is academically risk-averse. Some of it may arise from the emphasis on grades and admittance into elite colleges. And yes, getting into a “good” college will be significantly aided by having high grades. But long-term, the impact of several failures might be more beneficial. Out of failure comes growth. If the School’s goal is to teach us how to learn and think, failure needs to play a more prominent part. Grades should not be the end goal. A love of learning should be. I don’t want the School to reward failure. But I do want teachers to reward those who take a calculated risk and understand that failure is a real possibility.

So I compel you to take a risk: write the paper less written, experiment on your experiments. I would like to believe that The Review has embraced the ethos of risk-taking this year with our expanded coverage of “big” issues that we might not have covered in other years. In this month’s centerspread, you will find a discussion on guns and the need for our community and our country to evaluate our current gun culture. I hope the centerspread will engineer discourse, and I hope you enjoy this issue. Sincerely,

Andrew Vogeley Editor-in-chief

Member of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association-Gold Medalist 2011-2012 National Scholastic Press Association-6th Place Best of Show, First Class 2012

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Eugenia Kakadiaris Suman Atluri Winnie Brandfield-Harvey Nikhila Krishnan Pallavi Krishnarao Daniel Brenner Joseph Caplan Jessica Lee Cara Maines Guan Chen Gabe Malek Rebecca Chen Elliot Cheung Nina Manian Ian Mellor-Crummey Jake Chotiner William Clutterbuck Matthew Neal Iris Cronin Kanchana Raja Caroline Reasoner Chloe Desjardins Joshua Dickerson Megan Routbort Oliver Ruhl Elaine Dong Claire Dorfman Emily Sherron McKenna Gessner Benjamin Shou Anirudh Suresh Lin Guo Stephanie Guo Jennifer Trieschman Caroline Harrell Hannah Tyler Scott Hereford Virginia Waller Orion Hicks Tiffany Yue Anna Huang Christopher Zimmerman


David Nathan Shelley Stein (’88) Steve Johnson

Mission Statement

The Review strives to be an engine of discourse. We seek to inform and engage the St. John’s community.

Publication Info

The Review is published eight times a school year. We distribute 900 copies each issue, most of which are given for free to the Upper School community of 584 students and 80 faculty. Writers and photographers are credited with a byline. Corrections, when necessary, can be found on the editorial pages.

Submission Guidelines

The Review provides a forum for student writing and opinion. The opinions and staff editorials contained herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Headmaster or the Board of Trustees of St. John’s School. Staff editorials represent the opinion of the entire editorial board. Letters to the editor and guest columnists are encouraged but are subject to editing for reasons of clarity, space, accuracy and good taste. On occasion, we will publish letters without a name, provided the editor knows the author’s identity. The Review reserves the right not to print letters received or advertisements. Running an advertisement does not imply endorsement by the school. Either e-mail letters and guest columns to avogeley@sjs.org; give them to Andrew Vogeley or David Nathan in the Review Room (Q-210); or mail letters to The Review, 2401 Claremont Ln., Houston, TX 77019.





Life goes on, even after rejection BY GUEST COLUMNIST LILY BROWN

In “Universified,” senior Lily Brown chronicles her journey from applications through acceptance. In part five of the eight-part column, Lily offers a look on how to deal with rejection. Most colleges said they would post their decisions for early applicants on their website on or before Dec. 15. I automatically assumed that the letter would be posted on Dec. 15. Well, apparently not. On Dec. 2, an email from my early decision college popped up in my inbox. “Dear Lily,” it read, “Thank you for your continued interest/we appreciate you/ you’ve worked hard/you’re an awesome kid” and so on and so forth. At the bottom of the email, as if it were an afterthought, was the sentence: “The early application decisions will be published on Thursday, Dec. 13.” That final sentence sent me into a flurry of panic. The whole week prior to the decision, I could not concentrate. I drifted


off into immensely detailed daydreams that either ended with me as the leader of the free world or as the manager of the Whataburger on Chimney Rock between Richmond and Westheimer. I felt like my entire future hinged on this one decision. Rejection simultaneously feels like a slap in the face and a knife in your back. There’s no other way I can describe it. It felt as if the twelve years of often excruciatingly difficult and inane work had amounted to nothing. I had tried my best, done what I could, but apparently that wasn’t enough. To say I felt hopeless is a bit of an understatement. When I found out, I sent a group text


to tell my friends, and then I turned off my phone. I wanted to avoid all human interaction. I honestly felt like a failure. After about an hour of lying in bed and staring at the ceiling, I heard the doorbell ring and my mother answer it. Two of my friends burst into my bedroom with a couple of CVS bags filled with junk food. One of them said, “We weren’t sure if you wanted us to come over, but my mom said she would disown me if I came home without seeing you, so here I am.” I still have moments of self-pity and selfdoubt, but the rejection really isn’t worth dwelling on. It happened, my world didn’t end, and I don’t think I will become a line-

cook (not that there’s anything wrong with that, I just don’t feel myself particularly talented at the art of burger craftsmanship). At this point, I think I’m over it. At the very least I haven’t had the time to think about it much. The combined stress of the last two weeks of school and then a week and a half of the flu and then another week and a half of completing ten other college applications forced me to think about something else. So I got denied. And it was rough. I definitely cried for a bit, and I ate more than my body weight in Raising Cane’s Chicken, but somehow I got through it and somehow I’m okay.


Will this investment ever pay for itself? No, but that wouldn’t negate how cool having our own heliport would be. Also, it wouldn’t take 10 hours to get to John Cooper in traffic anymore.

And then give it a ridiculously pretentious name, like the Reservoir. Great for relaxing, jogging and stocking with fish and ducks.

Whataburger Because you can never have too many Whataburgers. While we’re at it, a tunnel to new Whataburger would be nice too.

Polo Grounds SJS cannot compare itself to top schools nationwide until we have our very own highly regarded polo team. Riding around on horses all day seems to be an effective solution to reducing our school’s stress.

Printing Press






Not that I want this maze to look exactly like the one from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but…mazes are fun, and could be an added element to the admissions process.

Build a Lake




As everyone should know (if you read our front page), the school acquired a handsome chunk of prime real estate, which includes the baseball field and adjacent territories, in order to fulfill our Manifest Destiny. Figuring out what to do with this new land can be daunting, so the Board of Trustees should consider this well-developed list of completely legitimate possibilities. Besides, following this list will save consultant fees and drastically reduce planning woes.

One of the most practical items on this list? Also a yes. SJS publications will no longer have to outsource the printing job. Furthermore, The Review can finally fulfill its dream of becoming a daily paper.

We need an ice rink and a luge track. This reqeust is non-negotiable. Obviously, it’d be practical to have these attached to a ski mountain. There needs to be a tubing river around the complex for optimal relaxation.

I don’t seriously anticipate a zombie uprising anytime soon, but there does seem a certain practical element neglected in our education. This course would address survival skills, from how to build a treehouse from practically nothing to fixing broken-down cars.

These machines accelerate particles to high speeds and run them into each other just to see what happens. The next time someone comes close to discrediting Einstein or creating a black hole that could consume the earth, it should be right here.


Mini-Hadron Collider


Zombie Survival Course


Ice Rink/Luge Track/Ski Mountain





Delayed report cards lead to student request for earlier release IN SUPPORT



Winter break is a time to relax, sleep, catch up on missed TV and waste time on the internet. Winter break is also the much-anticipated opportunity to see first semester grades. I was one of those panicked students monitoring the website daily. I was even able to see my report card when they were accidentally made accessible. And then – as suddenly as they had appeared – they vanished. My brief encounter with grades was followed shortly by Mr. Wilson’s email that report cards were incomplete and to be released later. His announcement sparked conversation among my friends, who were puzzled and confronted with questions: Would we see our exams in class before we saw report cards? When would we find out our

BY DR. DWIGHT RAULSTON grades? Why the delay? And whatever happened to the idea of a fresh start? The premise of the new year being a time of beginnings was defeated by the release of report cards well into January. The shadow of first semester was impossible to escape. The disorganized disclosure of grades during the first week caused even greater anxiety because students didn’t know whether to expect exam grades or just a regular lecture in class. The administration should have expected this anxious behavior. If report cards were released before the start of school, stress could have been reduced. For a school that recently created a Director of All-School Wellness position to alleviate pressure on students, this untimely release of report cards was a step backward.

Not having grades due from teachers until we get back from break is a great thing. Such an arrangement means teachers of writing can have more writing on exams or expect better papers from students and take the time to read them more carefully. Exams in other subjects can have fewer multiple choice questions and ask more thought-provoking questions (which take longer to assess) if they choose. With the turn-around time in the past for exams of 48 hours, it was extremely difficult to have many questions that were not multiple choice in some subjects. While the School could set a turnaround time of a week, for instance, for semester grades, which might meet objections to students’ having to wait so long for their report cards, such a policy would require department heads (and per-

haps other administrators) to spend time around Christmas proofing comments and checking grades. Such a requirement would be very disruptive to many families and to those traveling on vacation. Apart from some people’s natural impatience to get their grades as soon as possible, there’s no substantive reason to require grades much earlier than the first week back to classes. Even seniors who might want to send first semester grades to colleges needn’t worry: Colleges don’t need such grades sent until the end of January. Given that there are no real reasons to rush to get grades out except for a student’s cry of “We want them!” and that there are good reasons not to do so, the new system is a big benefit and should be retained.

MODEL UNiverse

From the desk of an ill-prepared Kittitian BY JOSEPH CAPLAN The Houston Area Model United Nations is a haven for those high school students who dare to put forth their global political intellect, support their designated nations and fight for stimulated regulations to best bring prosperity to those nations. These students account for around 90 percent of “Model UNers.” This article is about the remaining ten percent. The first topic of discussion was absolutely over my head: the UN’s responsibility to control treatment of workers in multinational corporations. Perhaps my confusion derived from the fact that I was a citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis, a nation in the southern Caribbean with 50,000 people and zero corporations. Or maybe that confusion was simply due to my inability to prepare on behalf of a psychological disorder known as “I’m lazy.” To the majority of delegates, the solutions were obvious and seemingly apt. To the glorious delegate of the wondrous St. Kitts and Nevis, the answer came after about eight hours of trying to figure out what the topic actually was. My final solution – self reliance, baby. As a St. Kitts and Nevisian, I decided to base my platform on Ralph Waldo Emer-

son’s philosophy of transcendentalism. I declared with pride, “St. Kitts and Nevis will never need to rely on the UN again! As a self reliant nation who creates fuel and foodstuffs by combining the chemical formula of cocaine, which has plagued our nation so horrendously, with the power of learned scientists we stole from Germany, St. Kitts and Nevis will reign famous to all of the world for eternity!” No matter whether you are a member of the 90% or 10% (with respect to my two types of people reading this article), no matter whether you slog through this splatter of words or breeze through it as if it were Jane Austen’s super-easy-to-readand-totally-not-extremely-wordy “Pride and Prejudice,” you, reader, have just now discovered that I, the delegate of St. Kitts and Nevis, found Model UN to be a wonderful event. Not only does it offer kids who have prepared for months (minutes?) an outlet to express their presumed understanding of the world, but it also gives us ten percenters an opportunity to put forth our creativity through ridiculous plans such as using transgenic DNA to defend against nuclear attacks or surviving in complete isolation to live upon cocaine-compounded food.


Around the world in two days Junior Joseph Caplan represented the Caribbean country of St. Kitts and Nevis at Model UN. Fifty-seven SJS students attended the 38th annual conference, which took place at George R. Brown Convention Center.





NICOLE LANG Department of Justise Justise Winslow, averaging 29 points per game, looks to lead the basketball team to its third consecutive SPC championship. Winslow is currently ranked ninth in the national ESPN Basketball Recruiting Database, garnering attention from college coaches and visiting celebrities, such as T.J. Ford, Connor Barwin and Darryl Strawberry.

Quest for the three-peat: Basketball looks to defend back-to-back SPC crowns BY PARKER DONALDSON

Episcopal’s Crum Gym smelled like varnish and humidity as hundreds of fans packed themselves into the stands, jostling for a better view of the court. The squeaking of basketball shoes was drowned out by fans contesting calls and cheering baskets. By the end of the third quarter, the Knights had erased the Maverick’s lead, and the fourth quarter started tied 37-37. As the fourth quarter ticked away, SJS found themselves losing. After a flurry of Knights shots went in, the Mavericks lost 65-55. “The only team that beat us is us,” junior Justise Winslow said. That night, the Mavericks only managed to make 37 percent of their field goals and even fewer of their three pointers. “Episcopal is a good team,” junior Jim Mace said. “[The result] just totally depends on how we play.” The loss at Episcopal raised the question of whether the Mavs could defend their back-to-back SPC titles. The Mavs are currently second in SPC’s South Division. “The key for any tournament run is

to be playing our best basketball of the season when we arrive in Dallas next week [for SPC],” Athletic Director Vince Arduini said. “Playing well and having momentum heading into the tournament will be very important.” At the forefront of that momentum is junior captain Justise Winslow, a top ten national recruit for 2014. “There is definitely pressure for us to perform,” Winslow said. Winslow contributes an average of 29 points per game, almost as much as the rest of the team combined. As of Feb. 5, he has scored 886 points followed by senior co-captain Kory Haywood (373) and senior Yusef Chabayta (217). “Justise’s impact on the athletic program goes much deeper than his exceptional talent and the excitement that he has brought to the basketball court and the entire SJS community for the past two plus years,” Arduini said. “Having the opportunity to witness his desire, commitment and competitive nature up close to achieve at an extremely high basketball level of performance has elevated our entire athletic program.”

While a clear leader on the team, Winslow is not alone. Fellow captains Haywood and junior Wes Wallace also provide veteran leadership. Even at the end of the bench, new faces freshman Paul Labanowski and senior John Kim embrace their roles. Labanowski is the youngest on the team, but standing at 6’5”, he is among the tallest. Labanowski played volleyball in the fall. “I have to do some chores for the team, but overall it’s a really good time,” Labanowski said. Labanowski has 12 points and 26 rebounds in limited action. “A guy like Paul is really just trying to find his way in the varsity atmosphere,” Winslow said. Labanowski says he appreciates playing with Winslow and has gotten used to seeing scouts and fans come specifically to see the recruit. He has confidence in Winslow and the rest of the team going into SPC. “I guarantee an SPC Championship,” Labanowski said. “All 13 guys need to step up and do their individual jobs. If those 13 jobs get done, we will win.”

Despite this being his first year on varsity, Kim has a job to fulfill as well. “Just because I’m a senior, doesn’t mean I get any privileges,” Kim said. “I get treated like Paul.” Despite his limited playing time, Kim is glad to be a part of the winning team. He especially has gained appreciation for Winslow’s leadership and talent. “His basketball IQ is really high,” Kim said. “He does a lot of smart things you don’t notice in the stands.” Like Labanowski, Kim is confident in the future of the team. Solid defense, quick offense, and strong leadership, he argues, will lead the team to a championship win. “Even though we have a lot of guys who have been on varsity for a long time, we have to make sure not to try to do things our own way,” Kim said. “We’ve had a couple of lackluster games, but I think we look good.” After the defeat at Episcopal, the Mavericks rebounded with back-toback wins in counter games against St. Mary’s Hall (85-35) and Kinkaid (59-50) to re-establish their claim to the SPC crown.





Gonzalez nabs national sportsmanship award for athletic, academic ability BY WINNIE BRANDFIELD-HARVEY Dri-fit hat, check. Nike shoes, check. A wristband on each arm, double-check. Junior Xavier Gonzalez is dressed to dominate the tennis court. Gonzalez received accolades due to his ability to excel while overcoming moments of frustration on the court that lead other players to exhibit unsportsmanlike behavior. In a recent tournament, Gonzalez recalls, “My opponent went bananas when his ball was called out. The guy started using the old trick of saying that my ball went out earlier and that the refs didn’t call it.” Faced with such challenges during matches, Gonzalez maintained his poise. The United States Tennis Association (USTA) recognized this trait and nominated him for its most prestigious sportsmanship award, the Clarence Mabry Award. The USTA committe chose Gonzalez, along with three other high school players, out of 8,000 males and females to receive the award, which honors exemplary sportsmanship, character, academics and tennis play. “I heard back from the committee in

December,” Gonzalez said. “When I won I was extremely surprised but immensely honored. I felt more responsibility to live up to the high standards of this award.” exhibited.” The awards ceremony will be held in July in Newport, R.I., where Gonzalez will receive a silver platter for his achievements. He will also be present to watch the induction of tennis greats into the Hall of Fame. Gonzalez, who is the highest ranked Texan nationally at No. 27, has already won eight sportsmanship awards for tennis. The Houston Examiner calls Gonzalez’s love for the game a “neversay-die competitive spirit.” At SJS, Gonzalez is on both the cross country and tennis teams. After the tennis and cross-country teams placed third and second, respectively, in recent years, he is hopeful for future championships. Gonzalez said, “I am working hard with the hopes that, through at least one of these teams, I will be able to help bring back a championship trophy to school.”

“When I won I was extremely surprised but immensely honored.”

Xavier Gonzalez

Train and trust Xavier Gonzalez is ranked 27th in the nation for his tennis prowess, earning him many prestigious awards such as the Clarence Mabry Sportsmanship Award. Last year, he led SJS to a third-place finish in SPC and is co-captain of the team this year.



22 4

Each year, our team has always been so close, and it’s a dynamic unlike any other team I have been on. Each year we’ve come so close to winning a championship, and this year, there is nothing that I want more.

Amanda Leavell, basketball co-captain


High Scorer Amanda Leavell, the leading scorer on the team, has basketball in her genes. Her dad is former Rockets player Allen Leavell.

Games won (entering Friday night’s game against Houston Christian) by the girls basketball team. A win Friday secures at least a 2nd place finish in South Zone. The team has come up just short in the SPC tournament over the last 3 years. In 2010, they lost to Holland Hall. In 2011, they finished in 3rd place, and last year after a loss to Kinkaid in the championship game, the team won 2nd.

Members of the team who have been on varsity for four years. These players are captains Amanda Leavell, Lauren Lockett and Briana Williams, along with Robby Rybarczyk. The team also features threeyear member senior Jane Labanowski.


Young Gun Nell Copeland, a sophomore, is the lone underclassman on the team.





Novice divers prepare to make a splash at SPC BY BENJAMIN SHOU

First-year diver Sam Burkett prepares to demonstrate one of his new tricks.

Three figures wait to fling themselves off the edge of a precipice. The first one steps forward, bounces up into the air and plunges downward. This year’s diving team is made up exclusively of first-time divers who chose to join the diving team without any previous training. “I’m excited to see how the program will go,” junior David Ziemnicki said. “I’ve always thought it was a cool sport, and the team has just been a good group of people.” Even though the team is nascent, head

diving coach, Bob Lieber, does not find the students’ inexperience to be a hindrance. Swim and diving coach Ron Raper said, “What is important is the character of the person to work to achieve their goals and to improve. Where you start doesn’t matter. Where you finish is what’s important.” All three divers have successfully qualified for SPC by learning eleven dives and competing in an eleven-dive meet. “It was never really a choice to learn eleven dives,” senior Sam Burkett said. “Our coach tells us to jump off the board in a new way; sometimes we do it in the way

he wants, and sometimes we don’t.” Each diver came into the sport with good coordination and some acrobatic experience. Burkett and senior Anya Ring are both Terpsichore dancers, and Ziemnicki is a gymnast. Diving still posed an entirely new challenge for the trio despite their background. “Water hurts a lot. Anya and I often look like we were hit by a car in terms of the size and number of our bruises,” Burkett said. “There are definitely some dives that you just don’t want to do because they are terrifying and hurt, but you kind of have

NICOLE LANG to just suck it up and try not to go splat.” “We’ve all learned more about the sport and how to work with the board to get our best jump and form necessary to spin faster and rotate better,” Ziemnicki said. The perks of joining such an uncommon sport may outweigh the relatively painful cons. “I did eleven dives, and although I didn’t perform very well in the meet in terms of actual technique, I “won” because I was the only diver,” Burkett said. “There are advantages to being in such a small sport.”




Sixty seconds with Nalyah Johnson name grade state of mind color music hero breakfast vegetable starbucks love to hate hate to love misery superpower sing in the shower i collect treasured possesion relationship status

nalyah fishy awesome all of them frank ocean beyonce cereal vege-what? yes please nada obsession with timo cruz that doesn’t happen mind control so loud earrings and shoes accessories #foreveralone

movie book dream occupation dream date dream vacation sport to play sport to watch professional sports team fav spot on campus holiday omg did you know? can’t beat this i wish feeling down just do it! motto

pitch perfect the hunger games actress channing tatum spain volleyball basketball don’t have one... everywhere b-day why can’t i be beyonce i’m not good at basketball my variety of shoes i could run fast eat some ice cream be yourself! do what makes you happy


Discourse about senioritis, cotillion and cartoon characters Come on, you guys, don’t you want to dissect? These Cotillion was fun, but I think I might need to be things died so you can play with them! baptized again. Dr. Estrera on the joys of dissecting sheep brains

Anonymous sophomore

Ms. DiPaolo: You have the worst case of senioritis I All you need is a black shirt. If I had a black shirt, I have ever seen. could be Kim Possible. John Kim (Possible) Catherine Sullivan: Yes, that’s why I went to the doctor. Student and teacher discussing frequent abscences


It’s always better to have a big heart. I mean, would you rather have a big heart and be a fool sometimes or be like a shriveled-up crone emotionally? Dr. Sharp discussing his emotional psyche

Good thing we have another one. Amanda Leavell referencing the benefits of having two Labanowski sisters on one team


Meh List





three two

Dollar signs in names


The SAG Awards


“Where mediocrity is the standard”

Piano in W205

Key Rings

American Idol Season 12

This Meh List


Trending around campus twitter @Single_Because

why we love it

Valentine’s Day ushers in a wave of emotions: love, romance and the painstaking awareness of one’s single status. This Twitter account is the voice of all single people sitting on their couches on Saturday nights, watching TV and petting their cat, using their free hand to shovel cheese puffs into their mouths. Can you relate? Follow this account that both parodies and chronicles the thoughts of a young single person.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, this account appeals to those looking for a way to feel not so alone in their loneliness. Tweets include: “My legs hurt so much from that run today, and my arms hurt so much from lifting so many weights, and my conscience hurts from lying” “I don’t understand how people can say ‘I Love You’ and not be talking to a cat”

In the aftermath of college acceptances, seniors join Facebook groups for each college. Entering such a group is precarious — a balancing act between impressing your future classmates without coming across as self-centered. While some post practical additions to the group feed, others use the page as a forum for self-humiliation. This blog does the perfect job of collecting and documenting posts that either make you cringe, scoff or laugh. Each

post is accompanied by witty commentary from the blog curator. Examples include: (Vassar College) I am literally in love with you. ALL of you. No one’s safe. ‘Night. (Howard University) If we’re roommates…DO NOT TOUCH MY APPLESAUCE…that is all (Ole Miss) I need to make friends so I have someone to go to Chili’s $20 Dinner for Two with.

why we love it


Accepted! 2017


Blast from the past

We became incensed junior year when our beloved short, rectangular lunch Jon Peterson: apple-roller tables were replaced by long row picnic tables. We engaged in the standard protests to the administration and editorials in The Viking Press, but to no avail. Then one magical day, a classmates discovered an advantage of these long tables: stuff rolled a long way on them! One of the strangest tasting items in our industrial-grade lunch were the ageless apples. Disgusted with this “fruit,” someone rolled it down the ta-

ble, and it just kept rolling and rolling and rolling. Immediately people began bowling apples down the table. Sometimes they’d roll on the floor, sometimes they’d swerve onto someone’s lunch tray causing a merry splat, and on rare, glorious occasions the apples would jump from one picnic table to the next. Classmates became almost professional apple bowlers. Teachers got into it, too, turning a blind, but amused eye. Then the excitement became too much as our starting linebacker broke a glass juice bottle over his head, and the administration shut us down. We had an encore, however, senior year as we ended our final senior lunch period with one last roll.



“Say Fromage!” Ms. Stein takes a selfie with the visiting mime on International Day.

therearview 2. 1.






I Spy: School Edition

Every person has a signature item. Our yearbook’s senior surveys even have a column dedicated to that topic: prized possession. But do we associate a person with an object, or vice versa? Test it out — see if you can guess the owners of the unique items on this page. To find out the answers and to see more photos, go to The Review’s new website (http://blogs.sjs.org/review).

6. 1. School pride I spy with my little eye, a grey SJS sweater that this person wears whether it’s sunny or wetter. 2. Red kicks Hint: “I’m so glad my driving moccasins made it onto the back page,” the owner of these shoes said. 3. Lookin’ sharp I spy with my little eye, a navy blue vest worn by the person that photographs the best.


4. Go fish Hint: The goldfish carries around this person’s dance clothes, and you might see it swimming around the art room. 5. The Things They Carried I spy with my little eye, a distinctively alien creature that is this backpack’s defining feature. 6. Wrap around Hint: The lettering on this belt may give

you a clue as to who this bow-tie-patterned belt belongs to. 7. Public eye I spy with my little eye, things that help you see. The owner of these has a last name that starts with a D.

photos by Nicole Lang (2, 4, 5), Claire Dorfman (3) and Virginia Waller (1, 6, 7) story and captions by Lydia Liu