ST. JOHN’S SCHOOL STUDENT NEWSPAPER
Maverick Pride An in-depth look at the 10-year anniversary of the mascot change. See Page 10.
2401 CLAREMONT LANE · HOUSTON, TX 77019 · VOLUME 65 · ISSUE 1 · SEPTEMBER 2013
MOHAMMAD RAFIEHA: LION OF S. CAMPUS by Megan Routbort
Mohammad Rafieha, the ever-smiling South Campus Ambassador, passed away after a brief battle with bone cancer in the early morning of Sept. 5. He was 78. Rafieha, affectionately called “Mr. Mo” and likened to Aslan the Lion by Middle School history teacher Gordon Center, drove school buses, directed traffic and patrolled the south campus. From the youngest kindergarteners to the senior faculty members, the community mourns the recent loss of Rahiefa. “I very much miss him,” Middle School science teacher Gail Gant said. “It doesn’t seem right not seeing him out there.” Rafieha grew up in Iran. His father worked as a police officer, inspiring him to serve and protect his community. He worked as a bodyguard and eventually became part of an elite commando brigade. Rafieha led his family’s escape to the U.S. during the 1979 Iranian revolution. “His arrival in the U.S. was unexpected, and his permanence here even more so, but he fully embraced the situation,” Head of Middle School Eric Lombardi said. Rafieha displayed his concern and care for young students starting from the first day he set foot on campus in 2006. “He was driving a chartered bus, and the school decided to purchase its own buses,” Lombardi said. “Impressed with his friendliness and concern for the children and his constant smile, they decided to hire him full time.” Rafieha quickly became an integral member of the community. “He was always there helping out, and I guess we took his service for granted,” junior Sarah Hansen said. Rafieha was known for maintaining a constant vigilance in protecting students while also sharing smiles and kind words with all who passed his golf cart. “Mr. Mohammad was absolutely the face of SJS,” Middle School history teacher Rosie Beniretto said. “His cheerful good morning and salute was always followed by, ‘It’s a wonderful day!’” Students and teachers appreciated Rafieha’s support of the community, from the fifth grade students during Medieval Day to athletes practicing on the track. “Mr. Mohammad was an incredible colleague,” Lombardi said. “The care he showed for us faculty was only surpassed by his concern about the children.” Rafieha is survived by his wife of 55 years, two children and four grandchildren. For those who wish to make charitable donations in Mohammad Rafieha’s name, his family suggests St. Jude Children’s Hospital, the American Cancer Society or the United Nations Children’s Fund. Condolences to the family can be sent to Ehteram Rafieha at 5331 Nodaway Lane, Spring, TX 77379.
Online this Month: Profiles of new teachers, Chapel Condensed, Jaywalking and Freshman Retreat recap
Raising the bar Teachers and students line up at the renovated salad bar for new options like black beans, fresh fruit and tofu. The salad bar is one of the many cafeteria additions that emphasize health and freshness.
New year, new tastes Focus on nutrition, wellness paves way for next cafeteria by Jessica Lee
every day. “Our faculty and staff work incredibly hard to provide the students with challenging and rewarding experiences,” Desjardins said. “It’s important to take care of those who make this school a better place.” Apart from the purely nutritional aspect that the cafeteria now brings, Director of Wellness Jennifer Welch also cites the social advantages of the improvements. “Students have been sitting down and eating breakfast while socializing, rather than grabbing and going, which
rooms for both dining and conferences, underground parking and a café. eadmaster Mark Desjardins be“I’m really excited about the new facililieves in the power of food. ty,” Dean of Students Stephen Popp said. “Food plays a vital role in our larger “It will serve as a place where students culture and an even greater role in the life and faculty can gather, and it is going of schools,” Desjardins said. to be the hub for student activity on the After coming to SJS in 2010, DesjarNorth Campus.” dins started epicurean traditions includThe construction and lack of kitchen ing Back-to-School breakfast and Reading space will bring challenges. In August, Day breakfast to create a better sense of the administration intends to set up a community. temporary modular dining center in the “Having breakfast allows students and courtyard of the VST. Kitchen constraints faculty to get off to a great start before will mean the cafeteria will prepare simthe heavy lifting of studying and pler choices with a limited menu. grading,” Desjardins said. Administrators have considered Following Desjardins’ goal of having food truck vendors come providing quality food to every on campus to supplement cafeteria “Food plays a vital role in our member of the community, the options. cafeteria has reinvisioned its “My goal is to try to set expeclarger culture and an even greatmenu, aiming for more nutritations for the community so they er role in the life of schools.” tious meals. understand what will happen,” Swan “This year our focus is less said. “It is very important for people sodium, fewer frozen and canned to know what they’re going into next Headmaster Mark Desjardins year, and we don’t want people to items and more vegetarian options,” Food Service Direcbe surprised. It will be a transition tor Anita Walker said. “We are year.” focused on giving more fresh food.” is valuable for students’ social-emotional Despite the temporary hassle during New head chef Willard Ferrell’s experihealth,” Welch said. construction, the completed Great Hall is ences with healthy cooking contributed The mingling students are a promising expected to serve as an integral addition to the push for more nutritious choices step toward the school’s vision of estabto the North Campus. on both the breakfast and lunch menus. lishing a more defined sense of communiDesjardins said, “I hope some of the Students welcome the new offerings. ty. Starting fall 2015, students will have a fondest memories of students, faculty, “The increased volume and variety new central venue in which to congregate: parents and alumni might be centered of breakfast foods in the cafeteria are a The Great Hall, which is scheduled to around a meal that they shared or a refreshing departure from the limited sebegin construction this spring. conversation that took place in one of the lections offered in previous years,” junior “We felt the school didn’t have a central many well-designed and crafted spaces Frank Spence said. place,” Director of Finance and Operathat this new building offers.” Faculty and staff also have the opportu- tions Greg Swan said. “This project was nity to enjoy the revamped cafeteria. In not about growth but rather creating a Related coverage: see Page 3 for a profile of past years, the school provided complicommunity center to serve our current New Head Chef Willard Ferrell and Page mentary lunches for them on Thursdays student body.” 14 for Joseph Caplan’s Top 10 Cafeteria while other days were half-price. This The two-story Great Hall will include Items. year, all employees receive free lunch a kitchen, central dining center, meeting
NEWS...............................................2 FEATURES........................................4 ENTERTAINMENT.............................7
BEYOND...........................................8 IN FOCUS.............................................10 OPINIONS......................................12
SPORTS.........................................15 ODDS & ENDS.......................................18 PHOTOSTORY................................20
THE REVIEW SEPTEMBER 2013
In Brief News from around campus Upper School Head Search
Leatherwood said, “I want people to know that it’s never their fault.”
Administrators have hired a group of recruiters to scour the country for possible Head of Upper School candidates. An internal committee led by Upper School counselor Pat Reynolds and Head of Lower School Christine Curran will review candidates for qualities such as experience, communication skills, tech savviness and understanding of SJS goals to narrow down the pool of candidates. The final decision will be made in the spring by Headmaster Mark Desjardins, and the new Head will take over in July, following Ann Louise Hagerty’s year as Interim Head.
Senior Tea Senior Tea has been reconfigured in order to minimize disruptions to eighth period classes. The previous time and location created a bottleneck in the Quad, with tea-enjoying seniors blocking pathways and disrupting classrooms. Senior Tea now takes place from 2:10 to 2:50 p.m. instead of 1:40 to 2:20 p.m. and is held in the plaza instead of the Quad. “It takes getting used to,” Dean of Students Stephen Popp said, “but we’re still seeing all smiles at the end of the day.”
Staph Infection Two senior football players contracted staph infections at the beginning of September, causing coaches to take extra precautions to prevent an outbreak. Players cleared out their lockers, which were then sanitized. Players must now wear shoes in the shower and cannot leave clothes lying on the floor of the locker room. Coaches are not taking any chances after an outbreak of a contagious skin infection that affected three members of the wrestling team last school year.
Theatrical Performances The Theatre Department will stage three productions this semester. The fall play, “The 39 Steps,” features a large ensemble cast, while the winter play, “Completely Hollywood (Abridged),” has two three-person casts, one entirely male and the other female. The one-acts were reintroduced this year due to increased student interest in the fall and winter plays. Another change to the the theater program includes the addition of two new directors: Jim Phillips and Avital Stolar (’08). “I’m really excited,” freshman and “39 Steps” cast member Emma Shea said. “I
Terriﬁc Taub Senior Danielle Rubin leads kindergarten student Bri Scott into Liu Court for All-School Convocation, Sept. 9. The house shirts turned the gym into a sea of color. The Advancement team made a video of footage from the ﬁrst three weeks of school, ﬁlling the gym with Serena Ryder’s “Stompa” and The Lone Bellow’s “Bleeding Out.”
feel like I can bring a lot to my part.”
Preseason Football Honors The 2013 Preseason All-Greater Houston Private School Football Team included four SJS seniors. Quarterback Wes Wallace, offensive lineman Daniel Jellins, and tight end Risher Randall were named to the offense while linebacker Wain Wanguri was the sole Mav represented on defense. “The four are definitely the backbone of the team,” football coach Steve Gleaves said. While preseason honors are nice, the team is focused on more than individual accolades. “I just want to win SPC,” Wanguri said. “It doesn’t matter how we get there.”
The Review The National Scholastic Press Association recently released the finalists for their 2013 award cycle. The Review’s Ian Mellor-Crummey (’13) is a finalist in
the Sports Reaction Photo category for his Kinkaid issue front-page shot. Senior Alyyah Malick and Iman Charania (’13) are in the running for News Story of the Year for their article about the Taub property purchase. Two of Guan Chen’s (’13) comic strips were named finalists in Cartooning. Winners will be announced Nov. 17. The Columbia Scholastic Press Association named The Review a Gold Medalist based on issues from the 2012-2013 school year.
WHEE Lorin Leatherwood from Advancement talked to Women Helping Empower Each Other (WHEE) about her experience with sexual assault when she was 15. She talked about rape culture and victim-blaming and encouraged girls to help any friends in need. For the past 10 years, Leatherwood has been sharing her story and talking about sexual assault around Houston.
National Merit Accolades Forty-three SJS seniors achieved National Merit Semifinalist status by scoring a 219 or better on the PSAT last October. Other notable totals include Bellaire High School, 25; Kinkaid, 10; Lamar, 3; Episcopal, 2. For the past two years, SJS has had more students earning this distinction than any other school in the Houston area. Approximately 16,000 seniors nationwide achieved semifinalist status; about 15,000 are expected to be named Finalists and compete for 8,000 National Merit Scholarships. National Merit Scholars will be announced next spring.
Official SAC News Students Affair Council (SAC) has met three times this year. Topics discussed include Homecoming plans and food items in the cafeteria. SAC also held a mock Honor Trial to familiarize new representatives with the process. Meetings take place every Thursday at lunch in S104/5, and SAC welcomes public participation. For the latest SAC news, follow @SJSSAC on Twitter. by Prefect Daniel Jellins
Compiled by Jay Bhandari, Rebecca Chen, Amy Liu, Gabe Malek, Irene Vazquez and Michael VerMeulen
Faces in the Cloisters
Get to know your classmates better
Since the first week of school, freshman Hank Lasley has worn the same red-and-black-striped bow tie every day. Lasley decided to don the spirited neckwear soon after he bought it at the end of eighth grade. “I couldn’t find a reason why I shouldn’t,” Lasley said. He has received positive feedback about his signature accessory from both teachers and students. “I was prepared to get a ton of snarky comments about it, but no one actually said that they disliked it,” Lasley said. “None of the teachers got even remotely mad at me for wearing the bow tie, and most of them actually gave me compliments.”
Changing autumn leaves and snowy winters were just some of the unfamiliar sights that greeted sophomore Pete Bechtol last year during his stay in Boston. Bechtol attended SJS for eight years before he and his family moved to the northeast, where he attended Belmont Hill, an all-boys school. “We wanted a new experience and perspective on the world,” Bechtol said. Bechtol was a block away when the bombs exploded during the Boston Marathon. His mom was just a few miles from finishing the race. Bechtol said, “It’s great to be back where my roots are.”
Junior Amanda Aniansson, an exchange student from Sweden, is juggling classes, cross country, dance and another language. “My first few days have been very exhausting, interesting and exciting,” Aniansson said. Aniansson is also adjusting to the Houston heat, which at times is nearly twice the temperatures of her native Stockholm. “The heat in Houston is a big difference, but I like it,” Aniansson said. “I don’t love it at 4 p.m. in cross country, but it’s better than the cold.” Aniansson is living with junior Sarah Hansen and her family.
Compiled by Cara Maines, Jared Margolis and Megan Shen Photos by Chloe Desjardins and Isabelle Metz
SEPTEMBER 2013 THE REVIEW
NEWS NEW STAFF
From hotel to hospital kitchens, Chef Ferrell brings expertise to cafeteria Revamped menu provides students with nutritional, delicious food by Jessica Lee
ew Head Chef Willard Ferrell has cooked in many different kitch-
ens. Starting at the age of 13, he worked at his family’s catering business, Bennie Ferrell. Ferrell was initially a dishwasher, but he eventually fell in love with cooking. He remembers watching his uncle Bennie cook marinated shrimp, Ferrell’s favorite dish. “I watched him do it every day for a year. One day, I decided to marinate the shrimp myself for a party,” Ferrell said. “It was my uncle’s secret recipe, and I somehow figured out the exact recipe. From that moment on, I knew I was born to be a cook.” After graduating from the University of Houston with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management, Ferrell took a two-year apprenticeship and later worked his way up from sous-chef to executive chef at Stouffer’s Hotel. While working for the Stouffer’s chain, which is now part of Renaissance Hotels, Ferrell learned to cook a variety of cuisines and worked in many different departments within Stouffer’s, including a French restaurant, an American sports bar, an espresso café, a pastry shop, banquet rooms and room service. “One thing I had to learn was sauces,” Ferrell said. “They are the key to cooking. Working in the French restaurant taught me how to make them. Sauces and soups are now my strength. I also learned that I didn’t like working in restaurants because everything is smaller quantities and timed. I prefer larger quantities.” After 10 years with Stouffer’s, Ferrell
New-trition Chef Willard Ferrell, who previously worked at Stouffer’s Hotel and Memorial Hermann Hospital, brings salutary fare to the cafeteria. Lunchtime offerings now include a revamped salad bar, fresh sandwiches and more vegetarian options.
took a position in the Memorial Hermann hospital system. At that time, hospitals around the nation were reconsidering their meal choices for patients. “Image became important for most hospitals,” Ferrell said. “Major hospitals wanted to merge hospital food with gourmet style.” Ferrell had to blend the roles of a clinical dietitian and chef in order to cook nutritious gourmet hospital food. “It was tougher than working in a restaurant,” Ferrell said. “We had to write recipes that stuck with a nutritious diet but did not completely eliminate salt and butter. We also had to serve about 700 patients
daily in all four hospital divisions.” After 26 years as executive chef, Ferrell now runs the SJS cafeteria. During the summer, the school interviewed five people for the position of head chef. “It became clear that Chef Will was an ideal candidate for the School based on his significant experience, his calm demeanor and commitment to team work and his commitment to excellence in all aspects of food service,” Director of Finance and Operations Greg Swan said. Through the cafeteria’s new menu items, Ferrell hopes to alter the opinion of students that the cafeteria is merely a place to get food.
“When it comes to food, there is a lot of room for creativity. We want an experience for the students,” Ferrell said. “When they graduate from SJS, they will not only remember the teachers, education and friends they met here but also the food.” Related coverage: see Page 1 to learn about the effort to make the cafeteria more nutritious, Page 8 for Chris Zimmerman’s Mav Munchies and Page 14 for Joseph Caplan’s Top 10 Cafeteria Items.
Student handbook undergoes updates Social media, study abroad policies among changes by Matthew Neal
The student handbook is like the U.S. Constitution. At least that is what Dean of Students Stephen Popp says. Students may think of the handbook as a 72-page donation to the recycling bin, but the new edition includes important additions and revisions. Significant changes this year include the social-media policy, the search-and-seizure policy and the studyabroad policy. The revised social-media policy prohibits students and teachers from being friends on social websites such as Facebook. Additionally, teachers and students can only communicate through social media for educational purposes. The same rule
applies for phone interactions. “This is the biggest change that will affect students here: finally having something written down to the point where we can understand the teacher-student relationship,” Head Prefect Sira Ntagha said. Members of the community differ on how the change will affect student-teacher relations. Upper School teacher Dwight Raulston, who was Facebook friends with many students and actively participated on pages such as SJS Confessions, had to unfriend current students. “It will affect my presence very little since the majority of my Facebook friends have always been alumni,” Raulston said. Students are unsure about the effects this social-media policy will have. “I think that not allowing teachers and students to be friends on social media will create a larger gap between the two groups,” sophomore James Southwick said. The search-and-seizure policy gives faculty and staff the right to search, under
reasonable suspicion, the personal property of anyone on campus or at a school event. This year marks the first time the policy has been published in the handbook. “These policies aren’t out to get anyone; they’re just to keep students safe,” Ntagha said. The major change in the study-abroad program is that students must now receive permission to participate in these programs from the Academic Dean. Based on a recommendation from the security audit made last winter by Praesidium, Inc., the handbook states that employees should report suspicions of domestic abuse to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services abuse hotline. Each year, division heads and department chairs send in information to Dean Popp, who revises the handbook and updates policies. “I think there’s a tremendous amount for students to take pride in when they look at this handbook,” Dean Popp said.
Unfriended Students and teachers are now restricted to calling, texting and messaging for educational purposes only.
“Sometimes we look at it as just a bunch of rules, but when you read the spirit of it, in the interest of students, it is a tremendous document.”
THE REVIEW SEPTEMBER 2013
FEATURES Schoolhouse rock
Faculty families coexist on campus by Iris Cronin and Oliver Ruhl
Every morning, sophomore Olivia Havel hugs her father goodbye before walking the 500 feet from his classroom to her advisory. The Havels are one of several families in which both a child and a parent spend their weekdays on campus, one as a student, the other as a teacher. “One special aspect for me of being a parent and teacher at SJS is the fact that I come to work every day with my daughter. She is a lifer, so I’ve had the opportunity to give her a hug before the beginning of every school day,” art teacher Dan Havel said. Having a parent on campus may seem like a burden, but the situation also brings unexpected perks. “I really enjoy having my mom [Spanish teacher Cara Henderson] in the Upper School,” junior Henry Paradise said. “I love being able to talk to her about my day and knowing she understands.” “It really can be a blessing,” Henderson said. “I get a unique perspective on his school life that not many parents are privy to.” Teachers with children at SJS enjoy the advantage of familiarity with both the school and faculty. “It is so good to know Olivia’s teachers,” Havel said. “That is a head start not all parents get.” Despite their employment status, these teachers still fulfill typical parenting roles.
“Going to a parent-teacher conference and other events is pretty much the same for me as for any other parent,” science teacher Vicky Estrera, mother of freshman Gregory, said. “I have the same questions and concerns, but at the same time, the student world is not entirely foreign to me. ” The added perk of transportation ease is a saving grace for many families. “We love having one commute,” chemistry teacher Sarwat Jafry said. When Jafry’s freshman daughter Shez was at Duchesne, it was “an endless game of strategy, figuring out how to get her to school and get here on time.” “It’s definitely more convenient,” Shez said. “I really like being able to leave my stuff in her room instead of the cubbies.” Teachers with children old enough to drive even get their own personal chauffeurs. “It’s great driving with Olivia,” Havel said. “Now that she has her permit, she can even drive me.” Despite the many advantages, sharing school and home life is not without challenges. It is SJS policy that parents cannot teach their children, but that does not prevent the two worlds from colliding. “It’s a little weird to think that my friends will have my mom as a teacher or a study hall proctor,” Shez said. Her mother agreed. “I don’t have any of her close friends in my chemistry class yet because I teach sophomores, but next year I’m sure I’ll
The family business Junior Henry Paradise discovers an advantage of having his mother, Cara Henderson, as a teacher — unlimited access to school supplies. Paradise is one of several students whose parent is a teacher.
have some of them, and that should be very interesting,” Jafry said. “I’ve known most of those girls since they were in second grade.” For Henry Paradise and his mother, the collision was more direct. “There was actually one point last year,” Henderson said, “where Henry ended up in my study hall. We have two different last names, and I guess the administration just didn’t realize. It was a little weird; we actually decided just to tell the other kids in the study hall straight away, to remove any awkwardness.” For the most part, families cite the SJS experience as bringing them closer togeth-
er, not driving them apart. “I feel like my relationship with my dad is much stronger as a result of going to school together,” Olivia said. “I love having him in the Upper School.” “One thing that’s so great is that I’m here for Shez if she has any questions about the Upper School or life here,” Jafry said. “Of course, she’s such an independent person. She’s going to go out and uncover things for herself, whether or not I’m here.” Additional reporting by Suman Atluri and Ben Shou
Behind the Scenes Teachers’ Lounge
Safe haven The lounge, a more sophisticated version of Senior Country, offers a place for teachers to escape the chaos of their classes. by Benjamin Shou
While the teachers’ lounge is not exactly like Senior Country, it’s pretty close. From the occasional fajita to delicious teas, the teachers’ lounge is much more than just another administrative hub. The room, located near the southwest entrance of the Quad building, always has something to offer to faculty. “That’s the den,” history teacher Melinda Sloan said. “It becomes a common hangout place for teachers.” Teachers love the lounge for good reason: it is home to an abundance of food, brought in by the Parents’ Guild or occasionally the administrative team. “Usually, the most interesting things are what gets left over from Senior Tea,” Sloan said. A new Xerox duplicator appeared this year in the faculty lounge. “There is a fancy new copy machine,” English teacher Rachel Weissenstein said. “It is amazingly cool and state of the art. It even punches holes.” “The copy machine is huge, and we can send things automatically from our computer,” Sloan said. “It magically prints if you set the right buttons.” Along with the new technology, a wide
variety of coffee and teas greet teachers and keep them awake throughout the day. While there is an impressive range of gourmet foods and beverages available, some teachers wish for healthier choices. “The new snack vending machine has every type of bad junk food possible,” Sloan said. “There needs to be healthier snacks in there, especially for the morning.” The lounge also contains a “freebie” table, which features unwanted school supplies, classroom materials and anything else teachers think their colleagues may want. Even with the new machinery, abundance of food and free goodies, some teachers just like the serenity in the lounge. “I think it’s unique because there are never any students in there,” physics teacher Dan Friedman said. Despite the lounge’s tranquility, teachers prefer to eat lunch with the students in the cafeteria than stay there. “I like the energy [of the cafeteria],” Sloan said, “You can get to know about the personality of the kids outside of class.” The teachers’ lounge affords teachers a place to converse with colleagues and take a respite from student interaction. Weissenstein said, “My favorite thing to do is to catch up with my colleagues.”
SEPTEMBER 2013 THE REVIEW
FEATURES AHEAD OF THE CURVE
‘I just wanted to be Sira’: Ntagha leads SAC as sole female prefect Senior surmounts timidity, age as first female African-American head prefect
STUDENTS TEACHING STUDENTS by Megan Routbort
by Alyyah Malick and Megan Routbort
Sira Ntagha did not initially sign up to run for head prefect. Her classmates wrote her name on the candidate list, and she repeatedly crossed it out. She was not sure she wanted to run, and she did not believe she could win. At the last minute, she heeded the call of her fellow students with unexpected results. At age 15, Ntagha became both the youngest and the first African-American female head prefect in SJS history. When Dean of Students Stephen Popp announced the list of prefects last year, cheers spread through the VST. For Ntagha, being on Student Affairs Council (SAC) means more than the popularity or college application boost. “Dean Popp called all the candidates into his office to share the results earlier, but it didn’t feel real until I heard friends shouting for me,” she said. “That’s when I realized that I had been elected for a reason.” When Ntagha entered SJS as the youngest member of the freshman class, she found the transition from Westbury Christian difficult. During her middle school years, she had been a student of the Breakthrough Houston summer program, which is designed to prepare high-potential, but limited-resource students for college-prep high school and university attendance. Ntagha’s Breakthrough teachers encouraged her to apply to SJS, but she never expected an acceptance letter. “I came into SJS with preconceived notions that hurt my initial experience: I worried about snobbery at the school, and my religious teachers at Westbury Christian warned me about the dangers of going to a nondenominational school,” she said. Ntagha was accustomed to having a class size of 35, with 18 African-American students. Her new class of 142 students and only eight other African Americans shocked her. For the first few months on campus, Ntagha spent most of her time in the Breakthrough Houston office or with Upper School counselor Pat Reynolds. “People always reached out to me, but I was too shy to respond,” she said. “I did a lot of nodding and smiling.” After a period of adjustment, Ntagha began to come out of her shell. “Ms. Angus’s honors bio class was the first place I started to express myself,” she said. “I wasn’t the student getting A’s on every test, but I started talking and asking questions. Ms. Angus was always supportive and even let me play my music on her speakers before class started.” Ntagha began to participate in more activities, managing the softball team since freshman year and working with Reynolds at diversity conferences. “People were amazed at my transformation,” Ntagha said, “but it was really just a return to my normal personality.” Though she adjusted to the social life, Ntagha still found academics a problem. “At first I thought I had to be at the top in all my classes,” she said. “Based on my
Eye of Ntagha In her first address to the student body, Head Prefect Sira Ntagha welcomed all new and returning students. The first African-American female head prefect, Ntagha is also the youngest member of the Class of 2014.
experience at Westbury, I thought I needed to make high A’s.” Ntagha came home from her freshman year frequently stressed out, and her parents became concerned. “They were so worried they looked for excuses to pull me out SJS even through the end of my second year,” Ntagha said. Ntagha told her parents to give her more time. “I had to remind them there would be a moment when I could come totally out of my shell and shine,” she said. That moment came for Ntagha when she ran for SAC the second semester of her sophomore year. Her election as junior class president was a turning point. “I realized that it was my life and my high school career,” Ntagha said. “So I stopped pressuring myself and my parents began to relax.” During her tenure as junior class president, Ntagha grew closer to her classmates and served the school. “My favorite part of being in SAC is taking my peers’ ideas to the administration and pushing for its approval,” she said. “SAC has taught me leadership skills, time management, speaking skills and interaction skills with adults.” Though Ntagha enjoyed her term as president, at its conclusion, she was still unsure if she wanted to run for prefect. “I was really nervous, and I didn’t put my name on the list until the last moment,” she said. When Ntagha decided to run for prefect, she wanted to win on her own terms. “At first, I started campaigning and trying to talk to everyone in one day,” Ntagha said. “Then I realized that I didn’t want to get elected for being a politician. I just
wanted to be Sira.” She never expected to be elected despite her previous success. “As soon as I was elected, my mind started whirling with all sorts of ideas for what SAC can do this year,” Ntagha said. “I can’t wait to unveil them throughout the year.” Ntagha is the only female senior representative on SAC this year. “I get along pretty well with my ‘brothers,’” Ntagha said, with a laugh. “They’re great, but I feel the pressure of having to represent all the girls in the student body as the only female prefect.” Ntagha faces a few other challenges this school year. She will undergo jaw surgery later this year and will be unable to speak for three to six weeks. “I’ll be missing two weeks of school to correct a misalignment,” she said. “Then I’ll be returning to school with my jaw wired shut for another two weeks. It’s going to be awesome.” The surgery’s date is still undecided but will likely be between November and March. Senior prefect Jeffrey Fastow will speak in lieu of Sira at official events until she recovers. Outside of SAC, Ntagha is involved in activities including band, International club and the African American Affinity Group. She takes her responsibilities as head prefect seriously. “SAC is definitely on my mind 24/7,” she said. “It’s doesn’t start and end like a class does, and I feel like I’m always on duty as head prefect.”
Breakthrough Houston (BTH) is an extension of the nationwide Breakthrough Collaborative, a program that provides tuition-free college preparation for academically talented students with limited resources to reach their full potential. Since the Houston branch was opened in 1996, it has reached over 1500 teachers and students. The program has experienced widespread success; in the past five years, 70 percent of 187 BTH middle school students have gone on to attend Tier One college preparatory high schools. ... Senior Sira Ntagha went from being a BTH student to working as a teacher. “I did not fully appreciate the program until I became a teacher and realized the impact that Breakthrough has on a child’s life,” Ntagha said. ... The program is designed not only to provide assistance to its gifted students but also to inspire promising individuals to pursue careers in teaching. “BTH teachers are some of the most driven, hard-working people out there,” intern Pooja Salhotra (’12) said. “The experience inspired me to continue working towards educational equality.” Emily Boyce (’12) taught a seventh-grade writing course this summer. BTH gave Boyce “the opportunity to develop my skills as a teacher, with everything from lesson planning to classroom management,” she said. ... Teachers, who are dedicated high school and college students, are also rewarded with the opportunity to get rewarding experiences working within the teaching field and making a difference within their community. Many individuals who work as teachers at BTH go on to pursue careers as educators, and the program is often regarded as a precursor to Teach for America. ... The summer program, which lasts two months, is housed at SJS. The school year program takes place at Episcopal High School. Students at SJS can apply to work as teachers for the program. BTH is ranked by the Princeton Review as a Top Ten Summer Internship. Many SJS students and alumni work for BTH during the summer and throughout the school year. “BTH will always have a special place in my heart,” Boyce said. “I loved every minute of it.”
THE REVIEW SEPTEMBER 2013
Networking across continents Johnson overcomes language barriers, red tape to bring computers to Burkina Faso by Elliot Cheung
asara, nasara! Hundreds of people gather around: news teams, parents, children, all waiting in anticipation of the huge event. They sing, they dance and they rejoice. The kids cheer. Nasara, nasara! With this chant, the crowd gives credit to the boy who has made this big day possible. The nasara, “white man” in the Mooré language, is bridging two distant worlds. This past summer, senior Cole Johnson launched a project to build a computer lab for kids in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, a landlocked African country with a total population of 15.7 million and an average annual income of $300. Johnson began his project, the Burkina Classroom Connect, with his friend Alex Ouedraogo, a student from Ouagadougou studying at the University of Houston. Their mission was to empower students at the Nongomikma School by connecting them to a world of possibilities. Only three percent of the population uses the Internet in Burkina Faso. Johnson ventured to Africa to change that statistic. “A computer lab is the biggest asset I could give them,” Johnson said. “The only Internet access over there is in small cyber cafés where people sit in huge lines to wait. There’s no way any kid could go to one of
them. This is really the only way kids there could ever even touch the Internet.” Johnson and Ouedraogo worked for months to prepare for the project. Johnson learned how to program in HTML so he could design a website to promote his project and get donations. He made visits and calls to several companies and potential donors including Apple and Acer. His largest donation of nine computers and 18 monitors came from River Oaks Baptist School. In total, Johnson raised around $15,000 for the computers and materials needed to build and furnish the lab. After months of preparation, Johnson boarded a plane to Burkina Faso in late July. He quickly realized that executing his plan would not be easy. “For the first week and a half, we couldn’t do anything because our shipment got delayed. We were shipping about 600 kilograms [of equipment], so it got kicked off the plane, and we had to pay an extra $600 to make sure it could arrive the next week,” Johnson said. “When it finally got there, we had to battle with customs to avoid paying another $4,000 in import tax.” The delay meant that Johnson’s father had to depart before the project started, leaving Cole and Ouedraogo to undertake the job by themselves. The duo soon encountered more obstacles. Several computers and monitors
Interlinked Senior Cole Johnson built a computer lab at the Nongomikma School in Burkina Faso. A local news channel filmed a segment, from which this still is taken, on the opening of the lab. COURTESY PHOTO
were destroyed by water damage in transit. Finding replacements was a difficult task. “Business in Burkina Faso is the slowest,” Johnson said. “You know how in Mexico they always use the phrase ‘mañana’ (tomorrow)?’ Well there it was more like ‘próximo mes’ (next month).” To add to his difficulties, Johnson faced a language barrier: the native language in Burkina Faso is French, yet Johnson had only studied Spanish. Ouedraogo had to serve as translator. The team managed to overcome obstacles and build the lab, setting up 17 computers, a teacher’s station and a working printer, as well as chairs and tables for the room. A local news channel came to cover the opening of the new lab with a largescale media event. “It seemed like the biggest event of the summer for them. At first, the kids were
afraid of the computers and wouldn’t touch them, but they ended up all loving them once we showed them Windows XP Pinball,” Johnson said. “When we were letting some of the kids test them, you would see one kid sneak in, then another, and in five seconds there would be 50 kids flooding the tiny room.” Even though Johnson worked 12 to 14 hours a day for 10 days and lost 12 pounds in the process, he plans to create more projects like Burkina Faso Connect. He wants to do larger-scale projects at multiple sites, targeting countries mainly in Latin America to match his foreign language training. “If you know you can do something, and you have the ability to do it, make sure you go and do it yourself,” Johnson said. “Don’t let other people do it for you. Be proactive.”
512.473.2775 w w w. w i n n t u t o r i n g . c o m
SEPTEMBER 2013 THE REVIEW
Filmmakers have a bloody good time
Alumni turn campus into set for indie horror-comedy
There will be blood This summer, Bubba Fish, upper left, Michael Steves, upper right, and Gabi Chennisi, bottom left (all ’09), returned to campus to shoot their first feature film, “Clinger.” The horror-comedy was filmed on-location at SJS and features students and faculty as both supporting actors and extras.
by Rebecca Chen
ome call “Clinger” Rushmore 2.0, but with more blood and fewer extracurricular activities. Bubba Fish, Michael Steves and Gabi Chennisi (all ’09) recently wrapped filming “Clinger,” which was shot on campus this summer. The three were best friends in high school and kept in close contact through college even though they all went to different universities. They had always wanted to make a feature together, so when Steves came up with the idea, he and Chennisi wrote the script. “Even though the first draft had a long way to go, I knew it had the potential to be something really special,” Fish said. “I had to be a part of it.” Steves directed “Clinger”; Fish produced and edited the film; and Chennisi served as director of photography. In the horror-comedy, ambitious senior track star Fern Peterson (Jennifer Laporte, sister of 2011 grad Chris Laporte) tries to move on with her life after her boyfriend Robert Klingher (Vincent Martella) dies in an embarrassing accident. Robert comes back from the dead in order to kill Fern so they can be together in the afterlife. While most of the crew members were film majors and classmates of Steves from Wesleyan, the actors auditioned or were recruited. The cast includes professionals such as Martella, the voice of Phineas on “Phineas and Ferb,” as well as Houston natives like Laporte, a 2012 graduate from Episcopal, and Jeffrey Bean, a company member from the Alley Theater. Ben Griffin (’13) auditioned and was cast as a football player named Marcus. “I played football in high school, so they thought I’d be perfect for this role,” Griffin said. Many students were extras, including members of the girls’ cross-country team. “They had us come sit in a room for
about five hours and shoot for one,” gotten enough sleep,” Steves said. “Specifsophomore runner Margaret Trautner said. ically, I watched a take and thought there “My favorite part was watching them film were people applauding, and I almost told scenes because they would just do the same the crew to be quiet and stop it.” thing over and over again.” Despite the inevitable trials that accomJuniors Priyanka Jain and Emma Gobilpany movie-making, Steves, Chennisi and lot and senior Joseph Caplan were produc- Fish are all glad to be working in a field tion assistants. They interned on set after they enjoy. applying through the alumni internship “It’s definitely a riskier career since there’s program. no real job security, but at least we’re doing “It was really nice to get to see people what we love to do: we’re happy and we get who were following their dreams and doto work with our friends and be creative.” ing something I’m also interested in,” Jain Steves said. “If you have the right ideas and said. “It was definitely not a normal intern- you know what people want to watch, you ship. It was very hectic and everything was can be very successful.” constantly changing, but it was one of the Steves, Fish and Chennisi all started their best experiences film careers at of my life.” SJS. Steves, Fish Steves wrote and Chennisi and directed learned that a series of “We spent a couple days filming a movie vignettes called walking around sets that were has a variety of “Dirty Sexy covered in blood.” problems, both Short Plays,” expected and which was unforeseen. in the Michael Steves staged “It’s been Black Box the biggest Theater. As challenge of our sophomores, lives so far,” Fish said. Fish and Chennisi started MavTV, a video To fund the $80,000 budget, the trio series with three episodes a year, featuring raised $15,000 on the crowdfunding websports, short films and campus events. site Kickstarter and received the remainder “It wasn’t something that a lot of people from 12 private investors. were doing; it was kind of just me and Steves and Fish not only recruited cast Bubba and Michael,” Chennisi said. “Evand crew members but also housed those eryone thought it was cool and was really from out of town. The team also had to supportive of it.” take care of stunts and non-computer-genMemories of attending SJS brought erated special effects. the filmmakers back to campus for their “Blood has been the bane of our exisfirst feature. At least half of “Clinger” was tence,” Steves said. “You ruin everything filmed on campus in locations such as the — we’ve destroyed a set, destroyed clothes. eighth grade science lab, middle school We spent a couple of days walking around hallways, locker rooms and the track. sticky sets that were covered in blood.” “Our experiences were shaped by St. Shooting all night was stressful for both John’s, and it felt like high school to us, so cast and crew. Filming began in the early it seemed like a good setting,” Chennisi evening and frequently lasted until dawn. said. “I’ve been hallucinating because I haven’t Steves contacted Head of Middle School
Eric Lombardi in February and asked for permission to film on campus. After contacting Director of Finance and Operations Greg Swan and Headmaster Mark Desjardins, Lombardi approved hosting “Clinger.” “I am exceedingly impressed with their professionalism,” Lombardi said. “They’ll take a photo of a room they want to use and change it to the way they want it to be for the movie, then look back and make sure they recreate the room the way it was. That goes for a room they use for the actors to hang out, a room they use to film, a room they use to keep their props in. Every place they go, they have been very attentive.” Fish said, “We can’t express how much the school has done for the movie. It’s a testament to everyone on campus that the school and its alumni and faculty want to support us. It makes me so happy to have graduated from here, probably more so than I’ve appreciated it before.”
CREDITS Gabi Chennisi, a graduate of Rice University, co-directed the documentary “Babushka” (2011), directed a “save the date” video for an Atlanta bar mitzvah video that went viral (2013) Bubba Fish, a graduate of University of Southern California, directed dozens of short films, including “Workout Buddies: A Bro Love Story” (2012) Michael Steves, a graduate of Wesleyan University, co-wrote “Workout Buddies: A Bro Love Story” (2012) , wrote and directed the short film “Hello Cruel World” (2012)
To watch these and more videos from from creators of “Clinger” creators, go to The Review Online.
THE REVIEW SEPTEMBER 2013
ENTERTAINMENT STUDENT TRAVELS
Budding photographers, dancer engage in summer programs around the world Students refine their crafts, explore artistic talents in different settings by Oliver Ruhl
Many students explore new environments over the summer. Labs, law offices, and late-shifts are common destinations for the pre-professional student, but this summer, several Mavericks chose to indulge their artistic sensibilities some of them did it thousands of miles away from home. Fotografía en España
what made it so fun.” The group also took classes each day from professional photographers. “I loved the photography classes at SJS,” Yeates said, “but I wanted to go further.” Yeates and Metz spent most of their time in Barcelona, but they also had the opportunity to tour Spain. “We walked absolutely everywhere,” Yeates said. “It’s completely different from America, and that’s why I loved it.” Yeates became enamored with photography during Chuy Benitez’s Photo I class. One of Yeates’ photos, “Tell Me I’m Pretty,” was chosen for the Houston Contemporary Arts Museum’s “Perspectives 181: Human Nature” exhibit. The trip opened new doors for Yeates. “I absolutely love Europe,” he said. “I’d love to go to college in Spain after I graduate.”
When the hail started to fall, junior Collins Yeates knew he and his fellow bikGrand Jeté ers were in trouble. Yeates, senior Isabelle Metz and their group had just embarked Almost 4,000 miles away, senior Kristen upon a biking expedition in Spain when a Santiago woke up every morning to car heavy storm hit. horns and sirens. Santiago spent three “The rain turned to giant pieces of hail weeks in New York with the LÉON Dance before our eyes,” Yeates said. “We were all Arts NY, a company founded by SJS dance so miserable, but we couldn’t stop laughteacher Dorrell Martin. She attended four ing.” classes a day, dancing from 9 a.m. to 7 Yeates and Metz went on a photography p.m. trip to Spain with National Geographic, “The class really taught me to make where they movement my and other own and show young phomore emotion,” tographers Santiago said. spent two “The [dance] class really taught “When I started, weeks roammy motions had me to make movement my own no feelings being Spanish plazas and hind them, and and show more emotion.” honing their the classes really photography Kristen Santiago helped me to get skills. better at that.” “We got Santiago to work roomed with firsthand with other girls at a tiny hostel, and she took a National Geographic photographer for the subway to class every morning. about half of the trip,” Metz said. “The “We worked at a place called Chelsea hands-on experience really allowed me to Studios, which is a studio famous for holddevelop my work independently.” ing auditions and rehearsals for big shows Yeates appreciated the lack of restrictive and movies,” Santiago said. “One day, the assignments, which allowed for the phocast of the new Peter Jackson movie (the tographers to pursue their own subjects. sequel to ‘The Hobbit’) was rehearsing “You had the freedom to take photos of across from us.” whatever you wanted,” Yeates said. “That’s The girls also toured New York on the
In the Big Apple Senior Kristen Santiago does an arabesque in front of the New York City skyline. Over the summer, she danced 10 hours a day, five days a week with LÉON Dance Arts NY in Manhattan.
weekends, visiting SoHo, Little Italy, Coney Island and Hoboken. “My group and I got to meet the Cake Boss (Buddy Valastro from the TLC series “Cake Boss”) in Hoboken. We hung out with him and his family,” she said. Santiago also saw Broadway musicals, including “The Book of Mormon” and “Annie” as well as several dance shows. The summer program put on its own showcase at the end of the three weeks, and Santiago
participated in three dances. Santiago recently joined the Houston Metropolitan Youth Too Company, where she continues to pursue her passion for dance. She hopes to pursue dance as a career. “Dance would make an amazing profession,” Santiago said, “but it’s absolutely terrifying to be a professional dancer.”
Maverick Munchies East-west fusion at Fat Bao by Christopher Zimmerman
Fat Bao may sound like the nickname of an Asian gangster, but don’t be fooled: it’s actually the moniker of an unassuming restaurant that serves delectable fare. Opened last December, this eatery, a mere five-minute drive from campus, offers a casual setting and distinctive cuisine. The menu emphasizes the bao, a Chinese steamed bun used to make pseudo-sandwiches. The restaurant uses these casings like tortillas and stuffs them with unconventional ingredients. Fillings range from exotic delicacies like pork belly to American classics like beef brisket. The soft-shell crab bao, made with fried crustacean, Asian slaw and spicy mayo, is
a “Fat Bao Fav.” The balance of flavor and texture makes for a unique taste not found anywhere else. If you are in the mood for something completely different, try the Bigbyrd Bao, which is stuffed with fried chicken and basil. The fusion of Eastern and Western cultures blends into a surprisingly delicious meal. The restaurant offers several dessert baos for sugar fanatics. The S’mores Bao updates a classic campfire treat, stuffing Nutella and marshmallows into a lightly fried bao to make it even more delicious. One bao makes a satisfying snack, but those looking for a square meal can buy the lunch special. For $9.25, you can pick any two baos plus a side dish and a drink.
DIRECTIONS AND INFO Fat Bao 3419 Kirby Dr. Houston, TX 77098 (713) 677-0341 Mon-Sat: 11:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. Sun: 12:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. 2 Fat Baos Special: $9.25 3 Fat Baos Special: $12.25
SEPTEMBER 2013 THE REVIEW
BEYoNd STUDENTS TURNED TEACHERS
Alumni return to new positions, old traditions New hires refamiliarize themselves with campus, recall fond memories by Cara Maines
lthough the classes, mascot and campus have changed, teachers returning years after graduating agree that the cafeteria’s corn-muffin recipe and the caliber of the students have remained constant. “There is this desire to excel, to be your best,” English teacher Kimberley Olan (’87) said. “Every student possesses it at some level. It’s still the same.” Olan is one of five new faculty members who graduated from SJS. She and English teacher Brian Beard (’95) return to the Upper School, but now they get to sit at the big desk. “The essential feel of the place is the same,” Beard said. After teaching with the Peace Corps at an agricultural technical school in the West African country of Benin, Beard earned a degree in education and moved back to Houston. His memories of the Storied Cloisters led him to apply for a position at his alma mater. “I know firsthand what a remarkable place this is,” Beard said. “There are few places I’d rather be than in a classroom of thoughtful, passionate and intellectually curious students taking part in a discussion around a piece of literature. To me, that process is deeply meaningful.” Olan returned to Houston after teaching in Detroit and New York. “I love the challenge. I love the rigor. I love having to be at my absolute best all the time,” Olan said. “I just needed to get back in that environment, get back to my core. It’s just part of how SJS kids are unique.” Lindsay Giam (’05) returns to the Storied Cloisters as a kindergarten teacher. “SJS feels like home,” Giam said. “Even though I wasn’t here for Lower School, walking around and hearing the Alma Mater in Chapel — it’s amazing.” Olan, Beard and Giam are now co-workers with some of their former teachers. “It is amazing how many teachers are still here from when I was here — it’s definitely a testament to how wonderful
Back to the beginning After graduating eight years ago, Lindsay giam (‘05) walks the Storied Cloisters once again. This time, she is a kindergarten teacher, one of five alumni who have returned to SJS.
and Giam were members of The Quadranthe school is and what a wonderful place gle. Giam also participated in Tour Guild, it is to teach,” Giam said. “It’s nice to see that so many are still here, that they love it lacrosse, volleyball and softball. Beard ran cross-country, acted in plays, wrote for The so much.” Review and participated in SAC. Marty Thompson, Director of ExOlan cited perimental Friday morning Education, was pep rallies as Giam’s Texas her favorite history teacher part of SJS, in seventh “I love the challenge. I love the while Giam’s grade. rigor. I love having to be at my best memories “The first absolute best all the time.” involve the time that I saw cafeteria. him in one of “The food our meetings, I is one of the turned around Kimberley olan (’87) things that and he was stands out to holding up a people when high five for me,” Giam said. they remember SJS,” Giam said. “I’m Olan observed that SJS has more clubs excited that I’m enjoying corn muffins and now than when she attended. Both she
all the delicious things that are still here, 10 years later.” Giam expressed excitement over new additions, such as the house system. “I think it’s a really fun way for the student body to come together, especially across divisions,” Giam said. All three teachers mentioned their love for school traditions. Giam said, “Being reminded of all the traditions like walking around the Quad gives me that same feeling of coming home.” Two other alumni returned to work at SJS but not in the classroom. Michelle Phillips (’95) is now the Development Director of Breakthrough Houston, and Margaux Harbin (’02) assumes the role of Associate Director of Admissions as well as field hockey coach.
Catching up with former Chorale Leaders
ROHAN RAMCHAND (’13)
ALEX ELDER (’11)
ANNA ZIEMNICKI (’09)
I’m majoring in computer science and math at UT Austin. I auditioned for three a capella groups and ultimately decided to go with the Songhorns. I had the opportunity to perform Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble,” which was the best possible way to start the year. I loved directing Chorale at SJS. Being in Chorale and Kantorei was my favorite memory from SJS, which is why I’m looking forward to doing choir at UT.
I am a psychology major at Pomona College. I’ve been singing in Pomona College Choir since freshman year, and I’m also part of an a cappella group, Midnight Echo. Balancing rehearsals with academics is sometimes a challenge, but it’s worth it because singing has become such a huge passion of mine. Mr. Bonasso always pushed us to work harder. That sense of dedication to the arts has definitely transferred with me to college.
I recently graduated magna cum laude from Southern Methodist University with a B.A. in Political Science and French. While at SMU, I sang and danced in mini-musicals during Recruitment Week for Alpha Chi Omega. I am starting my first year at the UT Austin School of Law, and I am still singing One of my favorite SJS memories is singing “Wonderful Peace” at the close of my ninth, and final, Candlelight, surrounded by friends and family.
THE REVIEW SEPTEMBER 2013
Era of the Mavericks
Ten years since mascot name change, diversity increases, controversy li Story by Pallavi Krishnarao and Tiffany Yue Photo by Jake Nyquist, Modeling by Carl Bernicker
Last week, National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about the controversy surrounding the name of the Washington Redskins. Goodell acknowledged, “If one person’s offended, we have to listen.” While change in the nation’s capital has been slow to occur, other teams and schools have been changing politically incorrect names over the last 20 years.
n 1990, a group of Upper School students gathered in Hoodwink Theatre to discuss changing the school mascot, defying decades of culture and tradition. They were rebels, ashamed to be the Rebels. For some people, a rebel is a leader, visionary and inspiration for change. Yet the same word carries a century of baggage containing bigotry and racism. These two diametrically opposed views led to generations of controversy regarding the school mascot. What many may not realize is that the Rebel mascot, which debuted in 1950, was not the original SJS mascot – that was the Crusaders. In a 2003 interview with The Review, faculty emerita Suzy Mercado said, “The school’s headmaster Alan Lake Chidsey allowed the Rebel mascot not as symbol of the Confederacy, but as the idea of being rebels in a society that unthinkingly clings to the past without challenging its own conventional wisdom.” Despite the original intention, the connotation of intolerance later became unavoidable. The cover of the 1983 yearbook, The Rebel, displays a Confederate flag, and the first page features a photo of the graduating class waving Confederate flags with the caption “Pride of the South.” Rick Archer (’68) recalled, “A huge, larger-than-life statue of a Confederate general was trotted out at football games.” The stigma associated with the Rebel image created a rift within the school community. O.J. Latin (’90), an African-American head prefect and football captain, was one of the initial proponents of the mascot change.
“It was a racially divisive mascot,” Latin said. “Regardless of the initial intentions, there was still a group of people who were targeted and really offended.” African-American students were not the only ones who strongly opposed the Rebel mascot. Teachers, alumni and parents alike recognized the shift in societal attitudes toward political correctness. Upper School teacher Dwight Raulston was the Head of the Upper School in 1990. “I will never forget what O.J. [Latin] said in a meeting with some students. A fellow football player, who was against changing the mascot, said, ‘Look, O.J. is an African American, and it doesn’t bother him.’ O.J. responded, ‘Yes, actually, it does bother me. Every time I play football and see somebody in the Rebel Guard running up and down the field with a Confederate flag, I feel sick to my stomach,’” Raulston recalled. “The fact that the mascot was hurting people who were part of our community was the single most powerful argument for changing it.” Archer, a local dance instructor, returned to campus over two decades after graduating and was shocked to see that the Rebel mascot remained. “I was stunned. I shook my head in disgust. I could not imagine why someone in authority hadn’t put their foot down and done something about this nightmare nickname,” Archer said. The argument for the mascot change left some unconvinced. In 1990, an Upper School student vote revealed that 243 students wanted to change the Rebel mascot, 130 wanted to keep the name but change its visual representation (the Confederate soldier, Johnny Reb) and 29 wanted no change. The Board of Trustees voted to change the mascot, but the matter was postponed after complaints from alumni. The Board reversed its decision in November, stating that the Rebel name would carry on as long as there was no association with the Confederacy. Ben Easton (’77), a former SJS Middle School math teacher, believes that reframing the logo to avoid Confederate ties was the correct path. Easton associates the Rebel
symbol with the strong independence “I am a proud Rebel,” Easton said. stands on his or her own best judgme proves not to be the best judgment. B I think that’s a wonderful thing.” Easton argues that the inherent con rather than embedded in the negativi “The Founding Fathers were rebels as patriots,” Easton said. “Princess Le the Rebel Forces. James Dean, Elvis P Ron Paul: all kinds of people are rebe that a perfectly legitimate concept, re reeks of historical revisionism and ety Although he grew up as a proud Re believes that the mascot change was b “For the people who wanted to rem tradition and a dogged insistence that the Confederacy,” Mercado said. “The product of time. Fundamentally, after change, the school was still the same, goals were still the same and the missi was still the same.” In 2003, Latin and others from the class of 1990 approached the Board of Trustees once again to change the mascot. After some deliberation, the Board proposed the change to alumni, teachers, students and parents for further review. Over the course of 13 years, opinions had changed, and the Board voted unanimously to change the mascot. In a letter to the alumni,
SEPTEMBER 2013 THE REVIEW
e and willpower of students. “A rebel questions authority; a rebel ent. And sometimes that judgment But a rebel stands for independence.
nnotation of the word is positive, ity of the Confederacy. - only now we like to refer to them eia and Luke Skywalker were part of Presley, Madonna, Clint Eastwood, els. Caving in to the absurd stance ebel, is tainted by a specific event ymological butchery.” ebel, Coach Richie Mercado (’79) bound to happen eventually. main the Rebels, it was a matter of t the name had nothing to do with e mascot change was an inevitable r the the ion
IN FOCUS President of the Board of Trustees Jim Elkins stated, “Mascots are meant to unify. They are not meant to divide.” The issue then became: What would be the new mascot? THE MASCOT SEARCH The mascot committee, headed by Board member Paul Hobby (’78), collected nominations for a new mascot. Besides Mavericks, the finalists were Cavaliers, Red Devils and Warriors. Some members of the committee were concerned that the Mavericks would be confused with the Dallas Mavericks professional basketball team. Lindon Leader (’68), a professional graphic artist and owner of LeaderCreative, designed the Maverick logo package (See Page 19 for alternate mascot logos). “[Leader] assured us that once you wrap the word in its own color and images, the confusion disappears,” Hobby said. “He was right about that.” Once the mascot was chosen, images of the Maverick logo were disseminated throughout the community. The initial art package consisted of several different designs, including the horse and rider, the Maverick star and the SJS monogram as well as a graphic standards manual detailing the proper ways to use the art. As an alumnus who had two nephews at SJS at the time, Leader developed the logo for free. “In donating the work, I believed this would be a fine way to acknowledge all that the school did in preparing me for the future,” Leader said. After establishing the new design, encouraging students to embrace the new graphic identity was the next obstacle. Mercado said, “When we were redoing the track, the guy painting it said that we would need an unbelievable amount of money to paint the Maverick logo on the track. Headmaster John Allman said to me, ‘Just put it on, it doesn’t matter.’ We were trying to get the identity out there for everyone to enjoy.” DIVERSITY AT SJS
he wrote, “The name was already an anachronism in the 60’s. Think about it as a parent would. You are a person of color, and you are debating whether to send your gifted and talented son or daughter to a school whose nickname represents images of the Civil War, the most horrible era in American history. If I am this parent, I take one look at the mascot and say, ‘I’m out of here.’” Although the growth in diversity of SJS cannot solely be attributed to the mascot change, the percentage of students of color has risen by 68% over the past decade. In 2003, there were 237 self-identified students of color out of 1,221 students, whereas this year, there are 413 students of color out of 1,278 students. “As a minority I’m glad [about the change from Rebel to Maverick],” Upper School English teacher Kimberly Olan (’87) said. “When I was here, we didn’t have the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. It became one. And the school’s been much more sensitive to these issues. It shows that, as a school, we’re willing to reach out and make students feel like they belong.”
Percentage of Students of Color by Year 32% 30% 28% 26% 24% 22% 20% 18%
Coming from a complicated history with regard to diversity, SJS has made efforts in the past decade to enhance the diversity of the school community. “In 1968 there were 200 students in the Upper School, no African-Americans, no Hispanics and one Asian. SJS was hardly a vanguard of social change,” Archer said. The tide turned in the late 60’s and early 70’s, with the progress of the Civil Rights movement bringing the issue of integration to the forefront. Mercado said, “Part of the story was that we were threatened by the government that we would lose our non-profit status if we did not integrate.” Dr. Lynne V. Perry-Bottinger (’78) was the first African-American student at SJS. According to Mercado, although racial integration initially prompted a conservative backlash, the community was generally accepting of Perry-Bottinger. Changing the mascot was an essential component in making SJS an inclusive community. Archer attended SJS before integration. In a 2004 blog post,
2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Data is self-reported by students on their applications Courtesy of SJS Office of Admissions
THE REVIEW SEPTEMBER 2013
SAC should lead discussions of handbook regulations, clarify changes At the start of the school year, rumors of a new addition to the student handbook, a reasonable-cause drug policy, sent students into a frenzy. We worried that administrators could randomly force us to take a drug test, possibly incurring major disciplinary repercussions that would affect college applications. In reality, this policy has been a part of the Student Handbook for over a decade. The drug policy came to our attention when administrators added a search-andseizure policy to the Student Handbook this year. This policy, like the reasonable-cause drug test policy, has been a part of the school rules for a long time. Unlike the drug testing section, search-and-seizure had never been published in the handbook. In an effort to be more transparent, the administration decided to make the rule public. This addition states that the school can “search student personal possessions or property, including automobiles, while students are in attendance, are on campus, or are attending School events.” We commend the administration for their efforts to become more open about school policies and their concern for our
While the initial scare was unjustified, overall well-being. After all, a high school must prepare us for the future and oversee we admit the student body’s concern about our physical and increasing adminemotional health. istrative control is In order to assist understandable. with this task, the The current drug school employs policy was made counselors, nurses with the best and trainers. This intentions, and, search-and-seizure while we believe it policy will serve will not be abused, we must acknowlas an extension edge students’ of this aim by enfears about what couraging students they perceive to make healthy as a potentially choices. dangerous increase Many people did of administrative not know about power. The probthe school’s drug lem is the so-called policy until this slippery slope — year even though JAKE NYQUIST students question it had already Too long; didn’t read Amid the plethora of been in effect. We schoolwork, the student handbook often gets how far this policy caution students may push the tossed aside and remains unread. against jumping to already-unclear conclusions before boundary between knowing all the facts. In reality, these polia student’s school life and personal affairs. cies are not another ploy by Big Brother. These questions and concerns raise the
issue that students are relatively unaware of the handbook rules and their rights, an issue we feel must be addressed. A handbook should establish the ground rules and penalties for a school; however, if no one reads the handbook, it serves no function. Though advisory time was set aside to discuss the handbook, we feel this method was not effective. We think the most practical solution would be to have SAC representatives go over important aspects of the handbook with their respective grade levels in a class meeting. The handbook, like SAC, serves as an intermediary between the administration and the student body. Since SAC understands the needs and concerns of the students, the representatives should be able to highlight sections of the handbook that are of particular interest to their grade levels. We understand that the handbook is not an enthralling page-turner, but we feel that the entire school needs to be aware of its content. Students need not memorize the entire handbook, but they should take responsibility and be cognizant of their rights.
From the editors Learning to say goodbye
The front page of our final issue last year featured an article about love and kindness, warmth and community. Writing the article about Mohammad Rafieha who, in May, was battling cancer, wasn’t easy. We remember listening to Megan Routbort as she recounted the difficulties she faced while writing the article. As journalists, we empathize with her; we understand the dedicated work that goes into writing a good article: setting up interviews, finding an interesting angle, determining the perfect way to structure a piece. But Megan’s challenges included another aspect that seldom finds its way into most articles: emotional attachment. She told us about the tears that threatened to spill during her phone interviews with Mr. Rafieha. And, we must admit, when we saw the picture that the Rafieha family had sent us, a powerful image of Mr. Mo kneeling amidst a sea of handmade pink and purple cards, we were
on the verge of tears as well. Mr. Rafieha passed away the morning of Sept. 5. On the front page of this issue, we honor his memory. We commend Megan for pursuing this topic once again; it’s the follow-up article that no journalist wants to write, and we’re proud of her tenacity. We invite you, our readers, to join us in remembering this wonderful man who added so much to our community. As the rhythm of the new school year falls into place, we hope you will pause and appreciate our community. From the parents to students, teachers to maintenance crew, security guards to cafeteria workers, each individual who walks these Storied Cloisters makes those late nights and stress-filled weeks just a little brighter. As a news organization, we try to cover all the achievements and talents of those on campus, and we also aim to expand your understanding of our multi-faceted school
through our in-depth centerspreads. As the year progresses, try to see the school not as a faceless entity striving for perfection but as a community of warm, kindhearted people. If you are ever in doubt, we hope you will remember Mr. Mohammad Rafieha’s smile, his love for the school, and the lasting impact he made on our community. Love,
Samantha Neal, Alyyah Malick and Lydia Liu (S + Al + Ly = Sally)
The Review · St. John’s School · 2401 Claremont, Houston, TX 77019 · email@example.com · 713-850-0222 blogs.sjs.org/review · Facebook SJS Review · Twitter @SJS_Review · Instagram _thereview
Member of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association-Gold Medalist 2012 & 2013 · National Scholastic Press Association-6th Place Best of Show (2012), First Class 2012 & 2013 Editors-in-Chief Lydia Liu, Alyyah Malick, Samantha Neal Senior Design Editor Parker Donaldson Online Editor Amy Kang Assignment Editors Rebecca Chen, Pallavi Krishnarao, Megan Routbort Design Editors Claire Dorfman, Jessica Lee Photography Editor Jake Nyquist Video Editor Emma Gobillot Copy Editors Iris Cronin, Tiffany Yue Asst. Online Editor Cara Maines Online Copy Editor Oliver Ruhl Social Media Editor Srini Kumar Business Manager William Clutterbuck Asst. Business Manager Gabe Malek
Staff Harrison Atlas, Suman Atluri, Jay Bhandari, Maya Bhandari, Daniel Brenner, Kelly Buckner, Joseph Caplan, Stefania Ciurea, Elliot Cheung, Jake Chotiner, Chloe Desjardins, Caroline Harrell, Anna Huang, Priyanka Jain, Eugenia Kakadiaris, Brooke Kushwaha, Mikaela Juzswik, Amy Liu, Christian Maines, Jared Margolis, Justus Miles, Katherine McFarlin, Isabelle Metz, Matthew Neal, Andrei Osypov, Kanchana Raja, Megan Shen, Emily Sherron, Benjamin Shou, Matthew Steiner, Jennifer Trieschman, Irene Vazquez, Michael VerMeulen, Virginia Waller, Max Westmark, Christopher Zimmerman Advisers David Nathan, Shelley Stein (‘88), Steve Johnson
Mission Statement The Review aims to inform the St. John’s community, prompt discussion, and recognize achievements and struggles through our print and online presence. 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 574 students and 80 faculty. Policies 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 unless otherwise noted. Writers and photographers are credited with a byline. Corrections, when necessary, can be found on the editorial pages. Running an advertisement does not imply endorsement by the school. Submission Guidelines 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 anonymously, provided the editor knows the author’s identity. The Review reserves the right not to print letters received. Either email letters and guest columns to review.sjs@gmail. com; give them to David Nathan in the Review Room (Q-210); or mail letters to The Review, 2401 Claremont, Houston, TX 77019.
SEPTEMBER 2013 THE REVIEW
Take college rankings with a grain of salt by Lydia Liu
As college application season begins, seniors have to endure the most enfuriating question of all-time: “Where are you applying to college?” Finalizing a college list, though not the most stressful aspect of the application process (that award goes to writing the essays), has certainly caused a fair share of tension between students and their parents, teachers, and anyone else who dares contribute their opinion. Millions of questions run through our minds when we try to determine if we “fit” with a particular college: How academically strong is the institution? What if the courses are really hard, resulting in a low GPA when applying to grad school? How is the social life (if there is any at all)? What if I freeze to death (really, a legitimate question for Houstonians)? But we’re also pressured to look at another aspect: prestige. Or, more simply, college rankings. The recent movie “Admissions” features a scene in which the Dean of Admissions at Princeton welcomes his colleagues back to another application season...and then proceeds to chastise them for dropping to the No. 2 spot on the U.S. News & World Rankings (USNWR). Though the scene is meant to elicit laughs, the dialogue is eerily revealing of each college’s true feelings toward rankings. The world of admissions revolves around the term “yield,” which is the percentage of students who ultimately decide to enroll out of all accepted students. The higher the yield, the bigger the smiles on admission officers’ faces. Once accepted, students receive shirts, mugs, banners and anything with the college’s mascot to lure them to campus. If successful, the college’s yield goes up and, unfortunately, so does its perceived superiority. Publications that come out with an an-
nual rankings insist that their methodology is justifiable and accurate (i.e., they claim not to rely solely on yield rate). USNWR, who released their 2014 rankings earlier this month, even adjusted their methodology this year. But by quantifying various unable-to-be-quantified items, these lists manage to confuse everyone involved — seniors included. How do you express the academic prestige of a college using numbers? In fact, is the rank of a college even based on the difficulty of problem sets (an indicator, presumably, of academic repute)? USNWR claims to rank based on “best value.” Excuse me, but a $40,000 price tag at America’s Top 20 schools seems to stretch the definition of “best value,” especially when in-state schools cost a quarter of that. I’m not quite sure what the take-away is from USNWR’s rankings. So how should we determine a college’s rank? I place colleges on my list into general categories, not a specific ranking. This desire to assign a numerical value to each institution is flawed; the multiple facets of a college cannot be adequately expressed in base 10. During spring break, I visited a few college campuses in the northeast, sitting in on information sessions, asking the two pre-prepared questions, diligently jotting answers in my notebook. Midway through
the trip, we stopped at Princeton. If rankings are any indication, I should have left their ivy-covered campus with a sense of awe, a true understanding of the characteristics that push Princeton to the top. In actuality, I left disappointed. The admissions officer skirted my questions, my tour group contained enough people to fill a small country, and the undergraduate I met didn’t hesitate to reveal that she started every paper the night before the due date. Our engineering tour guide apologized profusely as she struggled with her map because she studied Operations Research and Finance Engineering, a major housed in a completely different building from the other engineering studies. I’m not saying that I don’t like Princeton. Their campus is gorgeous, and the achievements of its graduates are mind-blowingly impressive. I was only ANDREI OSYPOV in New Jersey for one day; perhaps my experience was an anomaly. But I shouldn’t be forced to love Princeton, to admire Princeton, simply due to its No. 1 ranking. I have my own opinion — and that opinion, for now at least, is ambivalent. Admittedly, rankings do serve one purpose: when labeling safeties, matches and reaches, knowing the general caliber of a certain college is one step in determining these groups. But to blindly believe that
No. 4 is better than No. 5 without any outside research? That magnitude of adherence to college rankings is simply poor judgment. In the end, we go to college for ourselves (or at least that’s the reason we should go). We choose based on a professor that seems inspiring, an on-campus group that embodies our own values, a particularly good vibe after visiting. We shouldn’t choose a school based on some arbitrary number plugged into an even more arbitrary algorithm. USNWR’s new rankings? No thank you. I’ll make my own list.
CURRENT RANKINGS US News & World Report 1. Princeton 2. Harvard 3. Yale 5. Columbia 5. Stanford 7. Duke 7. MIT 7. UPenn 10. Caltech 10. Dartmouth Forbes 1. Stanford 2. Pomona 3. Princeton 4. Yale 5. Columbia 6. Swarthmore 7. U.S. Military Academy 8. Harvard 9. Williams 10. MIT
Political Corner Discourse on Syria
Russia and the U.S. have agreed to eliminate chemical weapons in Syria, preferring a diplomatic option to military strikes. This decision echoes with the sentiment of the majority of Americans. The job of the United States is not to wield international police power, but to act in accordance with the laws of the United Nations. The conflict in Syria does not pose a threat to our own security, and before the human rights violation, we paid no attention to a civil war that has claimed over 110,000 lives. The use of chemical weapons has brought this on-going issue to the forefront of the U.S. agenda, but we must ask ourselves: Is this our war to fight? Syria has made no threats of war against the U.S. or its allies and poses no real national security issue to our country. Unless the U.N. Security Council authorizes the
attack and there is an international consensus, the U.S. has no place interfering in Syria. Even if we go in with a military strike, there is no guarantee of success; there is a high possibility that the regime would survive, and we would waste millions of dollars on a failed mission. What do we hope to accomplish by striking? In this conflict, there is no good or bad, nor one clear side that the U. S. can support unquestioningly. The rebel groups are fragmented, ranging from jihadist fighters and Islamic fundamentalists to socialists; even if we manage to overthrow Bashar Assad, the rebel groups, which would inherit their chemical weapons, could be even worse than the current regime. At least with Assad, we know whom we are dealing with. U. S. military intervention poses the threat of great-
er death and destruction in Syria. Military strikes will inevitably cause civilian casualties; if the U.S. bombs Syria, enraged Islamic nations may bomb Israel, resulting in massive global conflict and perpetual war for the U.S. The International Crisis Group has noted that U.S. military action “could trigger violent escalation within Syria as the regime might exact revenge on rebels and rebel-held areas, while the opposition seeks to seize the opportunity to make its own gains.” The greatest argument against the war in Syria is the lack of public support. Based on the results of a CNN/ ORC International poll, seven out of ten Americans say a military strike against Syria violates national interest. The public has spoken with a resounding No to the possibility of a military strike. Written by Pallavi Krishnarao Photo by Anna Huang
THE REVIEW SEPTEMBER 2013
Top Ten Cafeteria Foods
by Joseph Caplan
1. Breakfast Tacos There is a reason I love Tuesdays and Thursdays – breakfast tacos. Funny enough, of all of the foods served during lunch, the champion food comes from the breakfast team. The breakfast taco is the Adrian Peterson of running backs, the T-Rex of dinosaurs and the Brian Boitano of male figure skaters from the 1990s.
Missed opportunities become regrets three years later
2. Dumplings A warning to the freshmen – the fast food line will be a war zone on dumpling days. Competitions are held to see who can eat the most of these glorious, doughy pockets of savoriness. The prize? You got to eat the most of those glorious, doughy pockets of savoriness.
3. Spaghetti Ever notice the line for the entrée extending beyond Soledad? Ever witness underclassmen sneaking past administrators, mouths watering? That was probably all due to those goose-bump-rising-good spaghetti days. A heap of saucy spaghetti and a piece of warm, buttery garlic bread – man, just writing this is making me hungry.
4. Thanksgiving Lunch A conglomeration of traditional Thanksgiving offerings, the Thanksgiving Lunch is filled with stunningly delicious foods. From pumpkin pie to turkey, from stuffing to tamales – this lunch seriously gives you something to be thankful for.
5. Beef Stew This hearty bowl of delicious noodles and rich pieces of meat fills your heart with a burst of warmth. It is perfect solution for combating a chilly day.
by Elliot Cheung
If I could go back and tell my freshman self just one thing, I would probably explain to him how I managed to travel through time, tell him to invent Instagram, and watch him get rich and famous. However practical an understanding of time travel might be, my editors have told me to write about a different type of knowledge, some sort of advice or wisdom that I needed back then. So, if I could go back and advise my freshman self of just one thing, I would tell him this: You’ll regret not trying a lot more than failing. [cue flashback] It was the night of the freshman Valentine’s Dance. I was all dressed up. I’d had a huge crush on one of the new girls since the beginning of the year, and since it was a Valentine’s Day dance, there
Freshman perspective on freedom
A bowl of this Cajun classic is a dream come true for your taste buds. It’s the perfect equilibrium of beans, rice and sausage.
7. Blueberry Pancakes
8. Butter Crunch Ice Cream This sweet treat is a cool way to finish off a meal. Go grab a scoop and chill while you enjoy this super nice flavor.
9. Poppers The twin team of chicken and shrimp poppers definitely deserves a spot on this list of best foods. I make sure to pop some of these suckers into my mouth every time I see them.
by Christian Maines
What’s the biggest change in moving to the Upper School? Freedom. Freedom means being able to wear my Top-Siders with no socks or carrying my
cell phone around school in my pocket. I have always viewed freedom as a series of opportunities that are essentially handed to us. It is up to us to take advantage of them. I resolve to relish my experience in Upper School and make the most of these opportunities. I tend to play it safe. I am not an adventurous person. I like simple things like hamburgers and sleeping in on Saturday mornings. Routine is easy and safe, but it can also be boring and unsatisfying. I made a promise to myself at the beginning of the year that I would do what is expected: work hard, make friends and have fun, but I also intend to take full advantage of my opportunities. I could perform in a play. I hope to play
in an SPC tournament. I would like to go on a community service trip to Costa Rica. Who knows? Over the past few years, my opportunities have been more structured and fairly limited. I understand that this structure is important during the transition from Lower School to Middle School, but now that I am in the Upper School, I can branch out, experiment and challenge myself. The possibilities are endless. I want to look back on my high school years with satisfaction and a feeling that I took full advantage of what SJS has to offer. I want to make lasting memories. I hope my fellow freshmen will do the same.
Senior gives advice to fishies
10. Catfish Another Cajun classic making the list is the good ol’ fried catfish. This artery-clogging entrée tastes fantastic with a side of hushpuppies and a splatter of tarter sauce. Crunch into this fishy taste of goodness if you’re looking for some good home cookin’.
ize that it’s just like any other night. As a freshman, I wish I had known to be more courageous and use my time here to do more things, whether I did well with them or not. I don’t regret joining the cross-country team as a freshman, being the slowest guy on the team. I do regret not trying out for volleyball the next year I know some volleyball players reading this are right now are thinking “volleyball is so much work and time and stress so don’t worry about it.” Still, I wish I’d chosen to experience that ordeal myself instead of having to hear about it from others. You always regret not trying new things, regardless of whether or not the experience is a good one. There are so many clubs, courses, and events I wish I had been a part of during my time here. I’ll be trying to hit as many of them as I can this year, but I wish freshman Elliot had started sooner. Time goes by fast. If you have any sort of inclination to try something new, I advise you to go for it. Whether it’s playing a new sport or taking an art class or just asking a girl to dance, take a page out of Nike’s playbook and just do it. You’ll regret what you didn’t do, not what you did. Although seriously, that advice isn’t nearly as cool as knowing the secrets of time travel.
A FRESH START
6. Red Beans and Rice
A rookie on the breakfast team, the blueberry pancakes are starting their season in the cafeteria off with a boom – of flavor. Topped with a warm layer of maple syrup, these pancakes are no flapjacks to be turned down.
would probably be some slow songs, and I could ask her to dance. Which, to socially awkward 15-year-old Elliot, would be a huge deal. Near the end of the party, the DJ finally put on something slow. I was all ready to go up to this girl and ask her to dance. There weren’t many songs left in the night, so this would probably be my only chance. But being the absolute dork I was (well, am), I froze up. I got nervous, and the moment slipped away. The song ended and the lights came up a little while later. I eventually forgave myself, but even now, almost three years later, I sometimes think about the night I was too scared to simply ask a girl to dance. I doubt that asking this girl to dance would have changed my life much, but the fact that I didn’t do it brings up the “what ifs” that drive me crazy. As a freshman, I was always timid about trying new things. I told myself that I should use my first year to get used to high school life — coming across the street is a big transition, so I didn’t want to overwhelm myself by being too overzealous and making too many more changes to my life. I told myself that I’d always have more time later. High school is a long time. But four years goes by fast. Synthesis paper night might seem to last a million years, yet after you hit “submit,” you real-
by Srini Kumar · D-Halls are a curse that will haunt you the rest of your high school career.
Have too many (like, three, since your classmates will have an alarmingly clean record) and parking in Caven as a senior will be your fate. · Do not take the “no eating in the hallway” rule lightly. As tempting as finishing that ice cream cone will be, it will most likely warrant a D-Hall from any keen faculty passerby. · Do not take the threat of Caven lightly. The trek seems almost eternal some mornings and will forever remind you of the ghost d-halls past. I am a survivor of parking in Caven for two years. · Understand, young padawans, that when it comes to getting that last breakfast taco or biscuit, all loyalties and friendships
are suspended. These are the real Hunger Games. · Choose sleep over everything. · You will not truly understand the meaning of the word #struggle until second semester of your junior year when it seems that teachers forget that you are taking multiple courses, not just theirs. · Limit posts on social media, specifically those including song lyrics and extra letters on words (know what I mean, “guyzzzZzzzzZ”). In a few years, when one of your “friends” resurfaces these posts, you will regret them and most definitely question your very character. You have been warned.
SEPTEMBER 2013 THE REVIEW
SPORTS COACHING ADDITIONS
Craddock, Gibbs lend experience to younger athletes
Falcon sheds feathers
Young alumni join coaching staff by Emily Sherron
If a great coach must have personal experience as a player and a passion for the sport, then these new coaches fit the bill. Recent graduates Jack Craddock (’12) and Julia Gibbs (’09) are already making a difference. “Coaches who return had a great experience when they were here and want to give back,” Athletic Director Vince Arduini said. “Kids benefit immensely from SJS alums.” Gibbs has returned to work with girls’ volleyball Coach James Fuller after playing volleyball at Middlebury College for the past four years and being volleyball captain at SJS. “Coach Fuller was very good about keeping in touch with his former athletes, checking in on our college seasons, and even remembering our birthdays,” Gibbs said. “Our coach-player relationship has evolved into more of a friendship, which was necessary transition to make for this new role of mine on a SJS team.” Gibbs started out in college as pre-med with a major in biology but realized she did not want to be a doctor. She is assistant coaching while looking into interior design as a future career. “Having Coach Julia on the team is equivalent to having an older sister on the team,” junior Katherine Wu said. “Since she’s gone through everything we’re currently experiencing, I feel like we all connect with her on a unique level, both athletically and mentally.” Craddock, who recently returned to Stanford University for his sophomore year, worked with his former high school coaches as well as former teammates in the football program. “I’ve built pretty good friendships with most of the coaches from my time as a player, so there’s definitely an element of fun involved with spending so much time with them day to day,” Craddock said. Craddock played football at SJS from middle school through high school and was a captain his senior year. Senior Daniel Jellins, who as a sophomore played football with Craddock, said, “It’s great because he played so recently as a Maverick so he really understands how we think and learn.” Alumni coaches bring a unique understanding of SJS academic demands because of their own experiences. “I’m only two years removed from
Head in the game Jack Craddock (‘12) served as an assistant coach for the football team before he returned to Stanford for his sophomore year. Several players on the current team played under Craddock’s leadership when he was captain during his senior year.
playing, so I understand what it’s like to balance practice and game preparation with papers and tests,” Craddock said. “I think I can put myself in the players’ shoes a little bit, and that’s a huge help as far as knowing what they’re capable of and where they might be struggling.” “SJS teachers and coaches create a self-fulfilling prophecy, eliciting excellence from students by setting high expectations and believing in their abilities,” Gibbs said. “I assume every player is capable of
greatness.” Though they are now giving back to the athletics program that shaped them, Craddock and Gibbs both insist that they are the beneficiaries. “Truthfully, coming back to SJS as a coach is a way to postpone nostalgia for another season,” Gibbs said. “I just love the culture and sport of volleyball so much that I wasn’t ready to give it up.”
Former Kinkaid Coach Ziad Allan has switched sides by joining the SJS athletic department as the boys’ head soccer coach and a JV field hockey coach. “Even though I came from Kinkaid, there’s no tension,” Allan said. “I’m so Coach Ziad Allan excited for the opportunity to meet a new community.” Allan played soccer professionally in both the Continental and World Indoor Soccer Leagues from 1994 to 2001, including a stint with the Houston Hotshots. He coached girls’ soccer, girls’ lacrosse and JV field hockey at Kinkaid for 17 years. “Although it was hard to leave Kinkaid, I always told my players, ‘I love you’ before the game and ‘I love you’ after the game but not during,” Allan said. “This decision, like soccer, is not personal.” “I’ve only heard great things about Ziad,” senior Matthew Kreutter said. “Everyone in all of my various soccer circles seems to think that he is God’s gift to soccer, so I’m pretty excited to have him as a coach.” Junior Akshay Jaggi attended Coach Allan’s soccer camp this summer along with other Upper School students, including Kreutter. “I quickly became familiar with his tough but rewarding workout routines and his passion for the game,” Jaggi said. “Coach Z has great things in store for us, and I can already see some hardware in our future.” When Allan applied for the position, he impressed Athletic Director Vince Arduini with his professional soccer experience, his passion in coaching and his ability to engage athletes of all levels. “Ziad is such an enthusiastic coach who enjoys working with students,” Arduini said. “He has a real passion for soccer and his enthusiasm will be infectious.”
Upon further review
with Basketball Captain Justise Winslow
Points scored by Winslow in his three years on the varsity team with the Mavericks. He scored over 1000 points during his junior year, more than doubling his point total from his freshman year. In contrast, four-time NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James scored 756 points in his junior season.
Colleges Winslow is currently considering. His list includes (alphaetically) Arizona, Duke, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Stanford, Texas A&M and UCLA. Winslow said, “When I decide where to commit, I want to first consider academics and make sure it’s a prestigious school and go somewhere where I feel comfortable playing ball.”
Games played by Winslow for SJS. He averages 22.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.9 blocks per game. Winslow has led the Mavs to the SPC Championship Game three times, winning the chanpionship in 2011 and 2012. JAKE NYQUIST
THE REVIEW SEPTEMBER 2013
Sports briefs Fall update
Boys’ Cross Country Despite missing three top runners, the team took first place in the Varsity B Division of the Friday Night Lights meet on Aug. 30. Juniors Akshay Jaggi and Julian Henry placed third and ninth, respectively. “If we can keep everyone healthy,” captain Douglas Moody said, “we have a really good shot at winning SPC this year.”
Girls’ Cross Country The 32-member team took second place in the San Jacinto 5K race on Sept. 7. Freshman Peyton Brown (third) and sophomores Lillian Chen (fourth) and Margaret Trautner (ninth) placed in the top ten. Captain Elise Viguet said, “Through our
retreat in Malibu and morning workouts, our team has really bonded.”
Field Hockey The team is out to defend their back-toback SPC championships. The Mavs are 4-0 after defeating Duchesne, Kinkaid and St. Agnes. Senior Eden Epner and junior Kendall Bernard lead the team with four goals each. Captain Paige Albert said, “The team has so much depth, and all the new players are really strong.”
Football With a 35-23 win against St. Andrew’s
to start SPC play, the team is 3-0 overall. Quarterback Wes Wallace leads the team with seven touchdowns. On defense, junior Michael Newar and captain Carl Bernicker lead the team with 14 tackles. “We are the best team in SPC,” captain Wain Wanguri said. “We’ve just got to keep grinding in practice and it will show on the field.”
Boys’ Volleyball The team has gotten off to a solid start after finishing first in South Zone last year. The team finished third in the Houston Cup, Sept. 6 and 7, after beating St. Mary’s Hall, Greenhill and Kinkaid. The
boys won their first counter game against Episcopal, 3-1. “If we fulfill our potential,” Captain Justin Bernard said, “we will be difficult to beat.”
Girls’ Volleyball “The best moment this season was when we beat Houston Christian at the St. Mary’s Hall Tournament,” captain Caroline Labanowski said. “We lost to them last year in our counter match, which almost knocked us out of DI contention, so this win was really satisfying.” The team stands at 8-5 and is gearing up for SPC play. Briefs compiled by Samantha Neal Photos by Jake Nyquist
SEPTEMBER 2013 THE REVIEW
SPORTS OVERLAND ADVENTURE
Ramzel cycles across America
Biking enthusiast completes coast-to-coast journey from Charleston to Santa Monica
Going the distance Despite a tragedy that struck the biking group ahead of his, junior Jack Ramzel was determined to complete his transcontinental ride. An avid biker, Ramzel has participated in rides such as the MS 150, the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Race and the European Challenge. by Iris Cronin
Two years ago, junior Jack Ramzel first encountered the Overland program at the top of his family’s junk mail pile. “My dad was going through the mailbox one day, and he came really close to throwing the brochure out,” Ramzel said. “At the last second he decided to give it to me. He didn’t even know if I’d be interested.” Overland is an outdoor adventure company for students from grades 4 to 12. The organization offers hiking, cycling and service expeditions in the U.S. and abroad. Ramzel went on his first Overland expedition, a four-week hiking trip in Seattle, during the summer of 2010. He went on to travel with the program three more times. After hiking in the Alaskan wilderness in 2011, he chose to pursue his real passion: cycling, which he has been involved in since he was six. “One day, my dad brought me out to the bike store because he was shopping for a tandem, and on the rack right below those was this little child’s road bike,” Ramzel said. “We took it home, and I started riding it all around the block. I was so excited that my parents decided to bring me out to Katy and set up a real, 11-mile course for me to ride. I wasn’t so excited then. I think by the end I was weeping.” Despite early trauma, Ramzel began
trying longer rides, including the MS 150 To prepare for the over-3,000-mile jourin 2007 and 2008, as well as the Register’s ney, Ramzel had to undergo prolonged, Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa in grueling pre-training sessions. 2010. The Overland cycling trips were the “After Christmas, I started spinning on a next logical step. stationary bike two mornings a week, and “I loved the group atmosphere and the about a month later I started the training feeling of exploration on the trips, and, rides,” Ramzel said. “Forty miles, once or at that point, I was already pretty serious twice a week, and then I worked my way about cycling,” Ramzel said. “When I saw up to 60.” the European The AmeriChallenge trip can Challenge for 2012, it was presented the pretty much a clear dangers “It’s not just ‘I have to do this,’ no-brainer.” of equipment The European or ‘I will attempt to do this.’ It failure, minor Challenge, a biinjury and has to be a firm, resounding ‘I cycle tour from dehydration, am going to do this.’” Amsterdam to but participants Barcelona, was were forced to Jack Ramzel consider even Ramzel’s first ride of signifigreater risks. A cant distance. group of riders This summer he followed it up with that departed two weeks before Ramzel’s Overland’s American Challenge, a six-week trip was hit by a car in West Helena, Ark. coast-to-coast ride from Charleston, S.C. One rider was killed, and seven were sent to Santa Monica, Calif. to the hospital with serious injuries. “The hardest times would have to be the “We heard about [the accident] a few desert days when we rode through Arizona days before we were scheduled to arrive in and Nevada,” Ramzel said. “You had to that same town,” Ramzel said. “The leaders adopt a whole different mentality. It’s not pulled us aside and explained the situation, just ‘I have to do this,’ or ‘I will attempt to and the next day we routed to another city. do this.’ It has to be a firm, resounding ‘I Nobody really asked questions. Honestly, I am going to do this.’” was kind of numb.”
Calling home is usually prohibited on Overland trips, but the incident caused a necessary exception. When Ramzel’s mother asked him if he wanted to complete the trip, his answer was immediately affirmative. “I had to keep my mind on the destination, on finishing. It kept me from being afraid or rattled,” Ramzel said. “I told my mom that we always knew that was a possibility. It’s just another risk. She didn’t ask me again.” The danger and exhaustion of the journey paid off when the group reached the end of the route: the Santa Monica Pier. “It was amazing, surreal almost,” Ramzel said. “The program director was waiting for us with a cake. The ocean was right there, and we’d been in the mountains only a few hours before. It was so weird to have something that long and that intense just be over.” When asked if the program had affected his growth as a cyclist, Ramzel paused. “Yes and no,” he said. “Obviously you grow as a biker and as an athlete. You can’t be on the bike seven hours a day for six weeks and not get stronger. But I don’t think that was the important part. At the end, I didn’t just feel stronger, I felt more capable. More grounded. I think the important part was that it made me a better human being.”
THE REVIEW SEPTEMBER 2013
ODDS & ENDS
Sixty Seconds with Sarah Gow
The Review asked for 60 seconds of your time, and we received some comedic gold. Here’s the first of our favorite submissions: a minute with Spirit Club captain and sister to the SJS quarterback dynasty, Sarah Gow. Name Sarah Gow Grade 12 ··· State of mind sjs spirit Known for my brothers Color red ··· Love to hate gluten Hate to love gluten ··· Happiness DC comics Misery Marvel ··· Sports team mavericks Olympic sport trampoline ··· Fav spot on campus quad Dream date Lawson Gow omg Relationship status future nun ··· Comfort food tex-mex Guilty pleasure sleep Cafeteria food i bring my lunch ··· Place to live the cupboard under the stairs I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles Treasured possession Wesley Gow The best thing gluten-free pretzels ··· Spirit animal duck Hero Kory Haywood Superpower flight Fictional character Clark Kent ··· Book summer reading TV show Smallville Movie Emperor’s New Groove ··· Phobia dolphins Stress reliever a drive in the billboard car ··· Motto all I need is 1-1-6 Anthem hail St. John’s ··· Sing in the shower? Makin’ It Better Doppelganger Meg Bres I am happy to be here I’d rather be in Lampe ··· Follow us? ¿su wollof
word word Mr. Friedman: Is time a vector? Xavier Gonzalez: It might be. Can’t you bend time? Mr. Friedman: Well, I personally can’t but... Xavier Gonzalez comprehending Mr. Friedman’s capabilities in AP Physics There are conspiracies that claim that Mohenjo-Daro was destroyed by a nuclear weapon 4,000 years ago. Sarah Bland continuing the Bland family’s tradition of spouting random facts Ms. DiPaolo: All of the Middle Eastern countries that end in “-stan” mean “land of.” Cade Shanks: So is America Freedomstan? Cade Shanks learns about the world in Modern Middle East
Mr. Nathan: Who was the Roman equivalent of Nike? Santiago Henning: Adidas? Santiago Henning displays his knowledge of athletic mythology. FYI , it’s Victoria. Dr. Bellows: “Calm down. You guys are so giddy today.” Class: “It’s because it’s Friday!” Dr. Bellows: “And there are going to be 30 more of those this year, so be quiet.” Dr. Bellows admonishes her senior seminar class on First Friday
What do people even do in Complex Analysis? Just sit around and think? Fred Lang tries to wrap his head around difficult math classes
McCOMIC by Katherine McFarlin
By the numbers
16 Red armchairs on the 2nd floor of the Quad
SEPTEMBER 2013 THE REVIEW
ODDS & ENDS
Did you know?
In 2003, we could have been the Cavaliers, Warriors or Red Devils. Images courtesy of Lindon Leader (’68), the graphic designer who created logos for each of the mascot finalists. Read about the change on Page 10.
BY TIFFANY YUE
YES Are you an animal?
YES Were you a good girl?
YES Were you far from plastic?
YES Do you want it?
YES Do you want to hug me?
YES You must wanna get nasty
Then you must be Miley Cyrus
NO Then you are an intelligent, thinking person who is not interested in sexist drivel.
# SJSproblems The difficulty of choosing between whole-grain French toast or a fruit parfait in the cafeteria for breakfast
Having “nerd pride” as the theme for a home football game
Classes denature when there is no AC in the Quad building
Having two AP exams on one day and not being able to reschedule them Do you feel angst that is only understood by your fellow Mavericks? Tweet your headaches to @SJS_Review using #SJSproblems.
Blast from the Past
Walk down memory lane with biology teacher Doug Elliott Oh boy – blast from the past! I have so many stories to tell, so choosing just one is a difficult task. How about that time when some classmates were inspired towards mischief after reading the assigned novel “The Pigman” by Paul Zindel? Nope, probably not for sharing. But really, what were our English teachers thinking? And my senior prom? Ugh. A long and
only one in ten students actually reads the entire handbook
sad story. My mom made me wear a yellow tuxedo. This was 1978, the era of disco and awful clothing. I looked like a banana. Perhaps I should tell the story about how, as a skinny and untalented sophomore, I went out for football at my large public school. I got my arm broken on the second day, but the coach called me a “sissy” and told me to “get back out there.” I showed up the next day in a cast and
told him how sorry I was that I had to quit the team. “That’s OK, Elliott, you weren’t going to play anyway,” he replied. Ahh, the good old days. But I got the last laugh. His daughter asked me to the Sadie Hawkins dance later that same year. “Hey Coach, remember me?”
statistics taken from an online poll of 115 participants
Featured Bloggers lettersfromlin & fromtexastomalaysia Lin Guo, who is spending her junior year in Rennes, France, with School Year Abroad, is documenting her experiences in her new blog, “Letters From Lin.” She describes the town, her host family and her struggle to master the language. “A lot of my friends urged me to start a blog. I’ve browsed a lot of SYA France blogs from previous years, so I decided to
start one myself,” Guo said. “Hopefully it’ll help answer the question ‘Lin, what are you even doing over there?’ and help inform anyone who might be interested in doing SYA, like I was.” Sophomore Anirudh Suresh is also documenting his study-abroad experience in Ipoh, Malaysia with his blog, “Journal to the Silver State of Malaysia.”
Suresh is in Malaysia on a scholarship awarded by the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Abroad Program, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. “I’ve always loved traveling and learning about different cultures,” Suresh blogged. “This experience will allow me to learn about several cultures and languages.”
THE REVIEW SEPTEMBER 2013
1. This is not the first time we’ve had to coax ourselves out of summer hibernation. Some of us struggle to convince ourselves that, yes, plaid looks good, blue uniform shirts cover up what’s printed on white undershirts and we’ll probably have a summer reading quiz on the first day. For others, this year marks a series of firsts. Seniors like Caroline Reasoner (Photo 1) get to walk on the Quad for the first time. Freshmen heard Headmaster Mark Desjardins (2) speak at the first chapel. And for recent graduates, this was the time to say goodbye to friends and faculty like Coach Richie Mercado at the Senior Sendoff (3). It’s strange looking at all the people around us and realizing that the same timid freshmen are now leaders of sports, academics and clubs (4). It’s even stranger to
Back to school see seniors at All-School Convocation, stand next to the youngest Mavericks, like first grade students Julia Mickiewicz, Adeir Patterson and Robert Mixon, and realize that those seniors had once been in their shoes (5). Back-to-School Breakfast and Convocation were chances to see everybody together, especially our friends (6).
Over the summer, we scattered to all parts of the world, but now we’re together again. Whether or not this is your first rodeo, let’s enjoy the good times together that lie ahead.
Photos by Jake Nyquist (2-5) and Kelly Buckner (1 & 6) Story by Tiffany Yue
Published on Sep 19, 2013