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The Merionite December 21, 2007

Volume 79, Issue 4

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

Knife and letter shock LM community Jacob Plotnick

Class of 2008 Around 6:15 am on Wednesday, November 28, a teacher informed Interim Principal Nort Seaman of a document taped on a bathroom wall that suggested a possible act of violence. Approximately fifteen minutes later, Seaman received an email from a different teacher informing him of a kitchen knife taped to the entrance of the school. Seaman contacted the police, and gathered the campus aides, asking them to search the school for similar documents and remove them. The aides found similar documents in the library and in multiple other bathrooms, all suggesting violent messages. Police were present at LM all day and

by that afternoon the student responsible for these acts had turned him/herself in. “[Calling the police] was prudent,” said District Superintendent Jamie Savedoff. “We had a police presence in the school [that day], and security aides were on heightened alert. The administrators said that there was a sense of heightened security to make sure that nothing would happen and that people were protected. We also had people throughout the day working to try to see if we could find out who was responsible. [We wanted to know] was it someone who was a member of the student body, was it someone outside the school, could it be someone from Main Line School Night? There was always a lot of activity going on.”

At the end of the day, Seaman attempted to make an announcement on the PA system, but it was malfulnctioning. He informed the LM community through letters that administrators and police wrote collaboratively and a recording of the letter that was read through the automated phone system Global Connect, a program that contacts each student’s emergency contacts. When the police called LM to inform administrators that a student had confessed, a revised message was posted on the district website and sent through the Global Connect system. That night, many news networks reported on the events. The document contained quotes from the existentialist

See Letter, page 2

Board approves budget; construction to start in January Sivahn Barsade

Class of 2010

On November 18, the Board of School Directors unanimously approved the bids and contracts for the construction of the new LM at a special board meeting in the LM library. The high school modernization process that began in 1993, now named the Capital Program, will commence in January 2008 with the construction of a parking lot on Arnold Field and work on Pennypacker Field. The board approved the construction bids of the Foreman Group and the architectural designs of KCBA Architects. “The new school meets the needs of Lower Merion students, it meets the needs of the school board, and it meets the needs of the community,” said Rosemont/Villanova commissioner Philip Rosenzweig at the board meeting. Highlights of the new LM include state-of-the-art classrooms, a natatorium facility (indoor pool, spectator area, offices, locker rooms and showers), performance theatre, gymnasium, a lecture room with tiered seating, and an environmentally friendly “Green” design featuring enhanced energy performance and daylight harvesting. The board meeting began with a presentation by Ray Sewell, the Construction Manager from the Forman Group, describing the possible “alternates” or add-ons to the construction base bid that had been requested. Such proposed alternates included the natatorium facility, tiled walls as opposed to painted walls, laminate wall cabinets, and a new sound system. An additional alternate was to upgrade from vinyl composition tile flooring (VCT) to the more durable Terrazzo flooring on the ground floor corridors, cafeteria and lobby, since those areas would undergo more wear and tear. However, School Board member and current Harriton parent Diane DiBonaventuro made a motion to change the Terrazzo flooring to the less durable, but cheaper, vinyl flooring. The motion to change the flooring failed because of a lack of a second by anyone else on the board. “Before we go making motions I want to bring up a concern... We are talking about spending an additional

See Construction, page 4

Photo courtesy of Celeste Lavin

National Student Coordinator for the Student Global AIDS Campaign (SGAC) Erin Burns (left) protests the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) at a protest at the White House on December 1, World AIDS Day. Burns recently spoke to LM’s chapter of SGAC about PEPFAR and other national efforts by SGAC to help fight the AIDS epidemic. LM junior Celeste Lavin is the High School Coordinator for this national organization and was in attendance at the protest. See World AIDS Day, Page 2, for more.

New administration yet to be determined A. Woo/ C. Chou

Class of 2009

Superintendent Jamie Savedoff recently extended his contract with the district to the end of this academic year, until a replacement is found. He announced his resignation as district superintendent last February and originally intended to leave when his contract expired this coming February. The new Board of School Directors, sworn in on December 3, is now responsible for the search—it hopes to make a hire by this summer. “I hope that the board finds a high quality person to lead the school district,” said Savedoff. “I would hope that the person selected will build upon all of the good things that currently exist and continue the progress we have made

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See Features, page 9

See A&E, page 11

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in facilities, curriculum, closing the achievement gap and implementing technology throughout the schools.” The district also recently rearranged the responsibilities of the assistant superintendent position, which has been vacant since Dr. Thomas Tobin left the district at the end of last year. Dr. Michael Kelly is now the the Acting Assistant Superintendent of Pupil Services and Steve Barbato will hold the position of Acting Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment. The district originally intended to hold off on naming a new assistant superintendent until a new superintendent was hired, but it now plans to keep the two new positions and review their efficacy after a

See Admins, page 3

Rubik’s Cube fever hits LM See Features, page 8


December 21, 2007

NEWS World AIDS Day aims to increase awareness The Merionite

Jordan Cooper

active, abstinence-only education just undermines effective prevention programming. PEPFAR also leaves much to be desired as far as health care workTo commemorate World AIDS Day on Decemers, addressing the vulnerability of women, and all of ber 1, LM’s chapter of the Student Global AIDS the countries not included in it,” said Lavin. Campaign (SGAC) hung up socks with messages The present goal is to project these flaws to the to Congress written on them in the Main Office government and the general public, which made Lobby. This was part of the national organization’s advocacy and awareness chief concerns for World campaign “Sock it to “Em,” which called for major AIDS Day. As the AIDS charity organization “Avert” improvements for the President Emergency Plan for advertised, “World AIDS Day is not just about raisAIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which is up for reauthorizaing money, but also about increasing awareness, tion in 2008. High schools and universities across fighting prejudice, and improving education.” the country collected socks and will send them to The day of service on World AIDS Day in PhilaCongress on clotheslines and in laundry baskets in delphia included the display of 100 panels of the January 2008. AIDS memorial quilt at Haverford College, thanks “[We are] ‘airing out PEPFAR’s dirty laundry,’ to the student run AIDS Service Network. Other by writing our demands on socks and sending them panels of the quilt were on display at the William to key members of Congress,” said LM chapter Way Community Center and the AIDS Fund sponleader and National High School Coordinator Cesored a march from the community center to a health leste Lavin. and awareness fair at the Broad Street Ministry SGAC is calling for a comprehensive prevention in Center City, which five LM students attended. plan for women and girls, and for the US to pledge These events aimed to raise awareness about the at least $50 billion to the Global Fund over the next AIDS epidemic. five years. They also want the government to change According to UNAIDS there are approximately its allocation of funding—it currently devotes one33.2 million people living with HIV, and it has also third of its funding to abstinence-only programs, Photo courtesy of Celeste Lavin been estimated that every day 6,000 children will which some health groups like SGAC do not believe LM junior and National High School Coordinator for SGAC Celeste lose a parent to AIDS. Since 1988, December 1 has are effective in preventing the spread of AIDS and Lavin protested PEPFAR in Washington DC on World AIDS Day. been the day to fight HIV/AIDS in cities across the other STDs. They also want the government to lift globe, and Philadelphia was one of them. riage programs, even though they are ineffective. Abstinencethe federal ban on free needle exchange. The theme chosen for 2007 was “leadership,” “There were very strict stipulations on [the money allotted only education leaves people uninformed, disregards people and stressed that the AIDS epidemic is a challenge that calls for PEPFAR]. Thirty-three percent of all of the money going who don’t have marriage as an option or abstinence as an for the many qualities of leadership such as innovation and toward prevention has to go to abstinence-only-until-mar- option. In a world where half of all youth are already sexually perseverance. Class of 2010

Knife and letter found at LM Book drive for From Letter, page 1

philosopher Martin Heidegger who was a member of the Nazi party. Channel 6 Action News then related this quotation to a past string of anti-semitism that occurred in the district, even though the letter contained no anti-Semitic remarks. “What made me sad was that by the evening the media really threw everything out of proportion,” said Seaman. “I almost ripped my T.V. apart.” The letter was partially written in the student’s stream of consciousness and included only vauge threats, nothing specific to individuals or the school. Administrators chose to keep the school open on Wednesday and Thursday to maintain a sense of normalcy and to prevent future violent threats just to get out of school. “We did not feel there was necessarily a threat to the student body or to the staff,” said Savedoff. “What we were more concerned about was that there was a person who could be in crisis and might actually do harm to him or herself. That was probably the biggest concern that we had that day.” “The reality of it is if you close for stuff like that, then you’ll notice you get more of those occurrences happening because it becomes a game,” said Seaman. “If in my mind there’s even the tiniest little bit of danger, I’m closing the school because I don’t want anything to happen to me and [the students]. You know [the students] come first obviously, but I wouldn’t want anyone in danger. I never felt all along that it was really, there was a level of concern but a level that I thought we could deal with.”

This incident brings up concern over the efficacy of the recently installed security cameras around the school. The one that was filming the front door of the school was temporarily broken, so administrators were unable to see who posted the note and knife. “[When] this school was built, security wasn’t an issue back in those days. We’ve got like ninety entrances into this building where as when they get a new structure it will be limited entry and it can be more secure,” said Mr. Seaman. “The one outside camera that would’ve solved our problems in five minutes was dysfunctional. It’s not like the individual involved knew anything and disabled it, it was just a coincidence.” Students were somewhat dismayed by this fact. “I feel that the school has let us down because the cameras failed when we needed them,” said junior Nadav Hirsh. Despite these flaws, the school has taken precautions to ensure the safety of its students. “We’ve created a lockdown situation between the high school and the administration building,” said Savedoff. “For years, we were trying to secure the high school by keeping the doors locked and everything, but you could come right through this building or exit from the hallway so we’ve tried to tighten up the security.” Security aides, teachers and administrators now keep constant surveillance of the school and to make sure that all visitors have visitor’s passes. “The best thing is really for teachers and students to be on alert and try to identify people that are struggling, are in crisis, alienated angry,” said Savedoff. Similar events are becoming more and more prevalent. Inside Harriton, a student found a bomb threat written on a bathroom stall. Radnor High School had to be evacuated after a student found a bomb threat on a chemistry room door. At Plymouth Whitemarsh, police found an arsenal of weapons inside the room of a male student. It is believed that he would possibly have attacked other students, had police not caught him.

the troops Chloe Bollentin

Class of 2011

This fall, Hero Club and LM’s Service League sent out between 2,500 and 3,000 gently used paperback books to troops in the Middle East. The book drive was part of a nationwide effort called Operation Paperback, a non-profit organization that collects used paperback books and sends them to American soldiers stationed on bases without books. LM’s Service League, sponsored by Guidance Counselor Marsha Rosen, serves the school by working at the afterschool candy counter, sponsoring the annual club fair, and participating in many other activities that help the school community. Members also serve the Lower Merion community by helping various non-profit organizations. Hero Club is another community service club at LM that is sponsored by social studies teacher Tom Reed. Members sell candy after school to raise money for local causes. These two clubs sponsored their own book drive at LM through One Book One Lower Merion, a community-wide project run by Operation Paperback. In order to collect the books, they organized it as a contest between the advisories to see which one could bring in the most books. The winning advisories were those of art teacher Kay Moon and math teacher Kevin Grugan. After the drive was over, members of the two clubs organized and packed the books for shipping. LM collected books for ten to fifteen different troops overseas, each with different specific requests. The Hero Club and Service League members sorted the books according to genre, labeled every one of them, and then boxed them according to the person to which they were going to be sent. In total all of this work took three afternoon. Operation Paperback was founded in 1999 when Chief Master Sergeant Rick Honeywell, stationed in Kuwait, found himself on a base without any recreational facilities. Honeywell’s wife sent him care packages, and his fatherin-law, Dan Bowers, sent him his own paperback books. Bowers then began accepting contributions from others. His individual efforts grew into the organization known as Operation Paperback, which now accepts help from volunteers around the country and serves soldiers in locations all over the world.


December 21, 2007


The Merionite

Education Foundation hosts NEWS IN BRIEF first annual Phone-a-thon SUAVE to host annual gala in March

Molly Rowe

Class of 2011 During the week of November 26, the first Alumni Phonea-thon took place to benefit the Education Foundation of LM (EFLM), an organization founded in 2006. Sponsors for the Phone-a-Thon included Citibank, Wawa, Trader Joe’s, and the Pub of Penn Valley. The funds that are raised through fundraising events such as the Alumni Phone-a-thon are given back to the school in grants that support scholastic necessities such as funds for the construction projects and supplies for the schools’ curriculum. The event raised nearly $5,000. The high-earner for the Phone-a-thon was Ben Bar-David, who raised nearly $700 and won an iPod for his service to the event. “We utilized a call list of 5,500 [alumni] who live outside the Lower Merion area,” said Young. The idea for an Alumni Phone-a-thon was introduced by Doug Young and was systematized by a group of LM and Harriton students. Among the students in this Planning Com-

mittee were seniors Max Marine, Ben Bar-David, Boya Gao, and Andrew Millard. The student Co-Chairmen who organized the event were LM seniors Ahmed Mueed and Steve Meehan. School clubs and sports teams, such as the LM Boys and Girls Basketball teams, LM Players, the Harriton Boys Basketball team, and the Harriton International Baccalaureate, also took part in the Phone-a-thon. The EFLM gathered student volunteers to call the alumni of LM and Harriton to ask for donations, particularly to benefit students with special needs. “The experience was great,” said senior Ahmed Mueed. “I talked to a lot of important people in order to set the event up and wrote the script. The whole process of just organizing and making sure that an event is successful helped me grow a lot.” “While I haven’t heard any results yet, we are really grateful for the hard work and energy of all the students who helped organize and pull off the Phone-a-thon,” said EFLM President Richard Wells. “This is just one example, I think, of what makes our public schools so great.”

District rearranges admin. setup From Admins, page 1

superintendent has been hired and has had time to evaluate the scope of services delivered through this new structure. Kelly and Barbato split the responsibilities so that each played to his individual strengths and areas of expertise, but both will also continue to fulfill the responsibilities of their former posts as Director of Pupil Services, and Supervisor of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment for Science, Technology Education, and Family Consumer Science, respectively. “These positions will take advantage of our individual areas of expertise and ensure the district continues to provide the leadership and services all its students and for all its programs and priorities,” said Barbato. “All of the position responsibilities that Dr. Tobin had pertaining to curriculum, instruction, and assessment have been incorporated into my

--Matt Rublin, ‘11

Taste of LM to celebrate tenth anniversary

From left: Savedoff, Barbato and Tobin current role as Director. [Although] the Pupil Services and Curriculum Departments are separate departments and Dr. Kelly and I have separate roles and responsibilities, our depart-

Photo by Dot Goldberger/Staff

ments have always worked collaboratively in a number of ways to ensure all students’ programs are meeting their needs and are of the highest quality educationally.”

Changes in advisory period proposed Anna Menaged

SUAVE will be holding its annual gala Friday, March 7th at the Merion Tribute House from 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm. SUAVE, Students United Against Violence Everywhere, will be raising money for Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC). “The money goes towards the organization’s “On the Ground” work—helping civilian victims of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan rebuild their lives, because the parties who are responsible will not do anything about it,” said SUAVE President Lindsay Fusfeld. Every year, SUAVE chooses an organization that works against a specific injustice and raises money for it through the annual gala. At this year’s event, attendees will have a chance to learn more about the victims in Iraq and Afghanistan, as a speaker from CIVIC will be there to give a presentation. There will be food and entertainment, including a performance from Ace Harmony or Ace’s Angels. People will enjoy the fun atmosphere along with the pleasure of giving a helping hand to those who need it.

Class of 2011

Student Government has proposed a new plan for the Academic Recovery period that involves adding an “A” period to B and D days and moving the period to the beginning of the day. Students would have three different opportunities to meet with teachers, with C day staying as a Connections Advisory. Upperclassmen who do not feel they need help would have the option of treating this period as a free and could sleep in. “Many of the complaints [about the schedule] we have heard center around Connections periods, Academic Recovery periods, long periods (70 and 79 minutes), lunch, sleep, and overall stress levels,” said Student Government President Sam Helfaer. Helfaer has been deeply involved in the planning for the schedule change and hopes that by moving the A period to first set, many of these complaints will be eased. One recurrent complaint that students have voiced is the decrease in teacher availability due to the lack of skip days in the new schedule. With 105 minutes a cycle to meet with teachers, students would have more opportunities to meet with teachers, and teachers could spend more time with each student. “Last year I knew that on my class’s skip day I could meet with my teacher and he or she would only be occupied with the other kids in my own class,” said sophomore Bridget Butler. “Now I only have thirty five minutes a week to meet with a teacher and many times he or she is occupied by one of their students from their several other periods. Sometimes a teacher might need to spend a good amount of time helping students with a subject that I don’t even have that teacher for.” In the near future, a survey will be passed around during Connections Advisory concerning this and many other complaints about the schedule. In this survey, students will be able to submit complaints anonymously. “We encourage everyone to use the survey as an opportunity

to voice any opinions they have about the schedule,” said Helfaer. After winter break, the committee of faculty members that originally developed the new schedule, the Two Schools Advisory Committee, will reconvene and use this data to make decisions regarding possible changes to take place next year. They may opt to follow Student Government’s plan, or to devise a new schedule entirely. Any new change would take effect at both Harriton and Lower Merion. Currently, the only difference in the advisory schedules is that Harriton Connections Advisory takes place on A day, and Academic Advisory on C day. Students and faculty hope for a change that will better the current situation for students. “I think this advisory is very important and definitely want to keep it at a time when all students will attend,” said Ninth Grade Assistant Principal Marcy Hockfield. “As far as the A day advisory, I would have no problem having it every morning from 7:30-8:00. I think it would be great for students to have the option several mornings a week of seeing teachers to make up work or for extra support.” Others, however, are skeptical. Some do not think these changes will be approved by the administration, while others, like junior Rachel Corson, feel that upperclassmen will take advantage of the time to sleep in. “People are going to take advantage of the ability and just take it as a first period free and not sign up,” said Corson. “I would much rather sleep than make up a week old French test.” But Helfaer said he and the administration would establish high standards of eligibility, so that people would not “abuse” the privilege. “We are aiming for a higher standard than athletic eligibility standards as we feel that exemption from this period should be a privilege for those who not only don’t ‘need’the time, but also consistentlydemonstrateanabilitytoorganizetheirownschedulesand achieve at high levels without excessive coaxing,” said Helfaer.

Taste of Lower Merion on February 24 will mark the event’s tenth anniversary and will continue past efforts to raise money for both the junior class, the ABC House of Lower Merion, and the Lower Merion Township Scholarship Fund. This year ’s theme is “Around the World,” so along with the usual array of food from area restaurants, the event will include a sale of items from Ten Thousand Villages, a store which sell handicrafts from around the world. In efforts to raise money, there will also be a silent auction, to which community members can donate items or services, and a program book, in which anyone can place an ad. Invitations will be sent out to all LM families in the mail, and more information is available at “TOLM is such a great fundraiser because not only is it a fun (and tasty) night for anyone who attends, but it raises thousands of dollars for the junior class and for the ABC house,” said junior class treasurer Lauren Singer. “If anyone wants to get involved, there are contact lists in their advisory. Pick the committee you wish to work on, and e-mail the committee head. We would love for any juniors help, its not too late.” --Carolyn Chou, ‘09

Church Road Bridge opened on Wednesday On Wednesday, December 19, the Church Road Bridge in Ardmore reopened after more than 15 months of construction. In a ribbon cutting ceremony at 8:30 am, the Lower Merion Township Public Works Department officially celebrated the event. Around Labor Day weekend last year, the Public Works Department officially shut down the part of Church Road that connects Montgomery Avenue to Lancaster Avenue. Many LM students, who used the bridge to travel to and from work or home, found the construction to be an inconvenience. “It was incredibly annoying because that was the best way to get to Lancaster instead of cutting through Suburban Square,” said senior Ben Fraimow. With the construction of the 100-year-old bridge complete, traffic flow has returned to normal. “I was surprised that they announced that it was going to be completed so soon because I heard that it would take more than two years to finish,” said senior Ben Kaufman. --David Faich, ‘08


December 21, 2007

The Merionite

Building with Books members to build school in Mali Itai Doron

Class of 2011

This year over spring break, juniors Meredith Guss and Katherine Seitel are going to Mali as part of the Building with Books (BWB) organization to build a school and learn about Malian culture and language. This club is new to LM this year and is a community service-based club that provides members with opportunities to do service projects on Saturdays in Philadelphia. Building with Books is a national non-profit organization founded in 1991 by current president and CEO Jim Ziolkowski, his brother Dave Ziolkowski and his friend Marc Freidman. Every year, the association sends two kids from each participating school to a different country. The organization’s main goal is to Photo by Dot Goldberger/Staff build schools in developing regions of the Seitel and Guss will go to Mali over spring break to build a school in world. Through this task Guss and Seitel Mali. They are accepting dollar donations in the cafeteria to fund the will also be able to learn about the culture purchase of construction materials to build a school in Guatemala. of the country in which they are staying. for the dangerous jobs. They will do this until noon, which Using private donations, Building With Books will fund is when they eat lunch, and then leave the site to spend time Guss and Seitel’s trip. All they need to do is get passports, with the families in the villages. immunizations, spending money, learn a few words of Bam“We want to learn about their culture,” said Seitel. “Their bara – the language of the village they are staying at – and family dynamic, meal time, music, dance, etc.” then wait until spring break. After flying to Africa, they will They will spend the rest of the day with the families settle down at the village near the school construction site. until they go to bed and start again the next day. This rouFrom here, their days will start to follow a routine. They tine will continue for two weeks, until the construction is will wake up at six o’clock in the morning and head down completed. to the construction site. The project is run by construction “I’m excited!” said Guss when asked about being picked workers hired by Building With Books, while villagers and to go on the trip. students such as Guss and Seitel do all of the work except These two students were chosen to go to Africa because they showed the most interest in Building With Books and were considered by the organization to be most deserving. “It is an awesome opportunity and I feel really honored to have been chosen to go.” said Seitel. Building With Books has already built over 230 schools in nine different countries such as Nepal, India, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Mexico. Now with the help of Guss and Seitel, kids and adults in Mali will have the chance to learn in school.


Seaman to stay for duration of year Conor Ferguson

Interim Principal Nort Seaman will stay at LM until the district hires a new principal to work here permanently. The search committee, comprised of students, parents, faculty and administrators, decided that the candidates who were up for the principal job weren’t a good match for LM. “After talking to my wife, we have decided that it would be best for the staff and students if I stayed with Lower Merion until they find a permanent principal,” said Seaman. “It just wouldn’t be fair if they brought in a new principal in the middle of the year. The search has been reopened and ideally by the beginning of next year LM should have a new principal.” This decision comes as a delight to many students and teachers. “He is doing an awesome job, no one does as good as he does,” said Spanish teacher Mary Gillespie who also taught at Harriton when Mr. Seaman was principal. “[He is the] coolest man ever, is willing to give a handshake or a hug to anyone who wants one,” said junior Charlotte Weisberg. Seaman advocates a strong sense of community in the school and wants all members of this community to respect their environment. “One of my goals this year is to improve the morale of the make all teachers, custodians, and even administrators feel equal. It should always be we or us, not them. To me when you walk into a school and stuff is all over the place you get the wrong impression. Unfortunately first impressions do count so we need to keep the school clean. It’s the little things that you can tell what school spirit is, and keeping the school clean is definitely one way.” Seaman worked at Harriton from 1969 to 1998 as a physical education teacher, then administrator, then ultimately as principal for nine years. He was the interim principal at Harriton for the 2004-2005 year and also the interim principal for two months at Gladwyne Elementary the following school year. “Even after I leave, I will always be connected. Lower Merion School District was my career and after a while you get attached and it’s hard to disappear,” said Seaman.

LM Construction to start in January From Construction, page 1

1.3 million dollars in terrazzo floors at this site while we are putting in VCT floors in Harriton and it’s a distinctive difference between the two buildings,” said DiBonaventuro. “I think that terrazzo floors are a luxury that we don’t necessarily need.” After the motion failed, Marcia Taylor continued with her motion to approve all of the bids proposed including the base bid and all of the alternates. School Board President Larry Rosenwald called for a roll call to vote on the motion where each member voted either to approve or not approve the motion presented that would finalize plans for the construction of the new LM. The motion passed with an 8-0 vote. “My vote is for the current and future children of this district, but not only for them, it’s for the community, and I vote yes,” said School Board member Jerry Novick when he was called upon to vote for the motion. The final cost of the new high school will be $108,544,417. While the alternates added $5.6 million to the base construction bid, the final cost was $1.4 million less than the board’s do-not-exceed budget of $109,966,819. During construction, space will be tight. However, the administration is already working on classroom and gym arrangements for the impending demolition of the Ardmore Annex. Health and PE teacher Robert Pavia said that the PE department is already planning how

Class of 2011

to organize gym classes for 1600 students with only one gym (the Downs’ Gym in the old building). Pavia suggested that Pilates and yoga in the cafeteria might become options for gym class. “[Students] are still going to have gym, but it will be different,” said Project Manager of the Capital Program James Lill. Students and administrators will notice changes to the school upon their return from winter break; starting in January construction will begin of the temporary parking lot on Arnold Field and demolition of the Operations building behind Pennypacker Field. Also, traffic patterns will be altered to accommodate the new parking lot. Once this academic year ends in June, the Ardmore Annex, including the classrooms, Ardmore gym, main gym, and pool, will be demolished. Construction of the new school will begin on the site parallel to Owen Road during the summer. Later, the new wing, tech building, and cafeteria/library wing will be demolished to make room for more construction. By the summer of 2010 construction should be finished and the permanent driveway for buses and main entrance to the school completed. If all construction goes according to schedule, the current freshman will be walking into the new LM as seniors in the fall of 2010. However, work will not cease when students move into the new LM in the fall of 2010; landscaping, restoration of the athletic fields and construction of bus lots will continue through the spring of 2012.


December 21, 2007

The Merionite

EDITORIAL Accuracy, Brevity, Clarity Where are the ABC’s of Journalism?

Journalistic integrity is the very cornerstone of all legitimate news operations; holding no ethical standard in journalism degrades it to the mere level of sensationalism. Sensationalism is a cruel perversion of true journalism, one which ignores its effects on the individuals it molests. Accordingly, we are infuriated when sensationalist journalism invades our own school community. We talk of the news coverage of the recent agitation at LM caused by the disturbing letter distributed on November 28. While much of the coverage of this event was calm and objective, we cannot ignore 6 ABC’s sensationalist spin of the event. Although we hesitate to pointedly attack 6 ABC, the only apt description of its coverage of this event is despicable. The entire piece was an attempt to spin the coverage to make the event seem anti-Semitic. This was done very cleverly. Athough the piece states that no district authority said that the letter contained anti-Semitic elements, it goes on to discuss a supposed “growing pattern” of anti-Semitism in LM. It cites past events, like the swastikas found two years ago in LM and a few parents’ concern over anti-Semitism to support their insinuations that the letter was anti-Semitic. All the while the black and white of Hitler’s SS marched in the background. Though the piece does not state the event was racially motivated, the sole purpose of its diction and imagery was to encourage readers to associate the word “anti-Semitic” with the letter. We simply cannot ignore the inequity of ABC’s coverage. This flagrant example of media spin is callous in its writing and malicious in its intentions. There was, and is, no factual basis for the assertion that the letter was racist. The insinuation of the opposite can only have been intended to sell ABC’s story. The only benefit of presenting such a lie, albeit indirectly, would be to blow the event out of proportion with a pungent racist appeal to grab more primetime viewers. This is completely immoral. In the first place, it lacks any sense of ethical journalism. But more importantly, it does not anticipate the possible effects it could have on the individual being covered. We must remember that behind the coverage of this event, there is a person. Labeling this person as anti-Semitic adds an unwarranted burden to someone who is already troubled. As a news organization, it was 6 ABC’s duty to consider the effect their coverage could have on this person before considering their own popularity. The lack of journalistic integrity here is unforgivable. Unsigned editorial on this page reflect the general opinion of student editors, not the views of individuals.

The Merionite Published since 1929

Editors-in-Chief Jon Blistein, ‘08 David Faich, ‘08

Arts & Entertainment Editors

Sophia Hirsch, ‘09 Jenny Smolen, ‘09

Managing Editor Samantha Rosen, ‘08

Layout Editor Sam Blum, ‘09

News Editors Carolyn Chou, ‘09 Liz Jacobs, ‘09

Business Manager Marissa Presser, ‘09

Op-Ed Editors JC Chou, ‘09 Niklas Thompson, ‘09 Features Editors Samantha Rosen, ‘08 Emma Saltzberg, ‘09 Jessie Scolnic, ‘09 Sports Editors Lex Carlin, ‘08 Jodie Eichel, ‘08 Elie Peltz, ‘09

Photo Editor Dot Goldberger, ‘08 Copy Editors Matt Taylor ‘08 Corinne Zucker, ‘09 Advisor Mr. Chad Henneberry

Editorials/Letters Letters to the Editor

Back in the USSR? With the plethora of clothing stores and designers in today’s society, there is a style out there for everyone. Some people wear tank tops, some people wear dresses, and some people wear polos. And then there are those who wear t-shirts with the infamous Hammer and Sickle of the Soviet Union. This symbol probably means little to most, it’s just a symbol of an organization that was comprised of a lot of countries in Eastern Europe. But to me, this symbol represents decades of oppression and suffering of millions of innocent victims. The USSR, or the Union of Soviet Socialist Repulics, was formed in 1921, after a long and bloody civil war. This organization was comprised of 14 current day countries in Eastern Europe, and sought to unify these nations under one government. In reality, however, this meant the “Russification” of all of the nations that comprised the USSR, and the prohibition of basic human rights. There was no individuality, and no freedoms of any kind. Under the rule of Josef Stalin, the Soviet Union created a famine-genocide, known as the Holodomor that killed between 7-10 million people between 1932-1933. This was done through systematic farm collectivization, where kulaks, or land-owning peasants, were required to give a quota of grain to the state. This unreasonable quota left no food for the people. Anyone who rebelled or stole food was executed or exiled to Siberia. Many other un-

fortunate events occurred in this Union, including Show Trials and mass deportation. I associate the hammer and sickle to the USSR, and all of the atrocities it encompassed, especially this genocide. This symbol holds too much history, too many deaths to be publicly acceptable. While I’m offended by this symbol, especially when publicly displayed on a t-shirt, I don’t expect people to be as concerned about this topic as I am. There’s no reason for anyone to care that much about this, unless their ancestors were targeted under the Soviet Regime. In fact, I wouldn’t know anything about Soviet history if I wasn’t of Ukrainian descent. Also, I don’t blame people for buying these shirts if stores sell them, because to most people, it is simply a representation of an organization that existed from 1921-1991. I assume that people who wear shirts adorned with the Hammer and Sickle are not Bolsheviks who are intent on re-creating the USSR. Despite this, I do think that designers should display more consideration and knowledge when making t-shirt designs, and stores should have enough sense not to buy things that could be considered offensive. I don’t expect everyone to have a thorough knowledge of the Soviet Union, but if you’re going to manufacture a symbol that holds 70 years of history, you should probably know a little bit about it. Designers and buyers should have enough knowledge to realize that this symbol represented a death sentence for millions of people, and decades of starvation and suffering for others. Marianna Kozak, Class 2010

Quit Whining. (and write it down)

Come to the next Writers’ Meeting, Monday, January 14!

Business Advisor Mr. Sean Flynn

The editors believe all facts presented in the newspaper to be accurate. The paper acknowledges that mistakes are possible and welcomes questions as to accuracy. Inquiries regarding accuracy should be directed to the editors of the paper. Editors can be contacted via e-mail at or in Room 116. To represent all viewpoints in the school community, The Merionite welcomes all letters to the editor. Letters can be sent via e-mail or dropped off outside the Merionite office. The Merionite reserves the right to edit letters to the editor for length or clarity.

For the record The sports article in the November 2007 issue of the Merionite entitled “Girls tennis nets wins; doubles makes states” erroneously claimed that junior Yuxin Liu officially ended the season for the team with her loss in the opening round of the state tournament. Liu, in fact, won her match that round, keeping alive any hopes of prolonging the team’s run in the playoffs. The Merionite would like to apologize to Liu for this oversight.


December 21, 2007

The Merionite

College Coaster Tycoon What would you do if I walked up to you right now and offered you $43 to administer a multiplechoice test with a short essay component to me? You would have Connie Hua Class of 2010 to design the test fairly, book test centers and organize the distribution of the tests. Not to mention, you’d have to grade my test and essay—then get the results back to me within a month at the very latest. It is a lot of work and most people would shirk from such a huge task. But what if more than two million people asked you the same question and they each offered $43? That’s more than an $86,000,000 incentive right there. Regardless of whether or not you’d accept the proposition, another corporation has: College Board. They are the executive owners and administers of the SAT Reasoning Test, as well as all the Advanced Placement tests, the PSATs, and the SAT Subject Tests. Overall, they test more than seven million students in America and they rake in massive amounts of money for a so-called “non-profit” organization. Granted, we must give College Board some credit here. They take years of meticulous planning to allot appropriate payment to those who plan the SAT and those who grade the essays. It can’t be all that entertaining to read rushed essays over and over again. And then they have to go through the trouble of hiring Educational Testing System—who serve clientele as diverse as butchers and professional golfers—to actually make their tests. But these reasons are not enough to excuse College Board from its flaws. Currently the cost of taking an SAT is exorbitantly high. Although seven million teenagers still chalk over hard-earned money every year, College Board’s charge is unreasonable. Its main competitor, the developers of the ACT Assessment, charges twelve dollars less for a similar aptitude test. Some students, especially those who are aiming for top-tier colleges, take the SAT multiple times in order to achieve a higher score. According to the College Board, there is no limit to how many times one can take and retake the test and the average student takes the test twice. There are also so many extra fees that College Board surrepti-

tiously tucks in that without careful inspection of the final bill, more often than not, students pay more than what they had originally expected. These pricings and hidden fees are unfair and College Board, as the non-profit organization that it is, should be aware of this. The biggest problem with College Board, though, is that it is a virtual monopoly. As mentioned before, they do have to contest with the ACT for superiority in business, but in all actuality there is no real competition. Walk into any bookstore, and chances are you’ll see more SAT prep books than ACT prep books. There are more SAT preparation courses and more SAT study guides than ACT materials. And while the ACT offers only one test, College Board offers significantly more—58 more to be exact. Mr. Gates would be proud. Let’s examine College Board’s AP (Advanced Placement) Exams. Only College Board can administer the test, and schools offer AP classes more often than IB (International Baccalaureate) classes. Thus, in order to gain college credit for his or her hard work, students must pay the $82 to take AP the test—there is no other feasible pragmatic option open to them. College Board has another upper hand over the ACT makers. They offer the SAT and the SAT Subject tests every month of the school year, while the ACT does not. Thus, College Board maximizes profits as greater numbers of students come and take the SATs. Thus, College Board has almost complete control over the standardized tests students take before entering college. Throughout history, people have protested monopolies by boycotting when the government has not interfered. Nevertheless, it’s impossible to convince all juniors and seniors in America to disregard the SAT for the ACT. Besides, College Board will be fueled by funds from the alternate assessments they provide. Although unlikely, it is possible that the ACT assessment will one day be removed because of lack of interest, or from too few students taking the test. In a business fueled almost entirely by brand reputation and notoriety, there is little room for an underdog to overcome. If you insist on fueling College Board’s monopoly, I urge you to instead consider taking the ACT as well. America’s economy was built on capitalism—the monopoly is at its core un-American. Education has become business, and in business, the mob has the power. So even as lowly high school students with little influence in politics, our actions can lead to both great and righteous results.

OP-ED Die-Hydrogen Monoxide How bottled water is destroying the U.S. Economy Americans have an addiction. And no, I’m not talking about celebrities, reality television, or foreign oil—I’m talking about bottled water. In the United States, we throw out about 60 million David Faich plastic Class of 2008 water bottles each day, according to Waste Management, Inc. At LM, almost every other student can generally be found carrying around a Deer Park, Poland Spring, or Dasani bottle. Well, what’s wrong with that? Simply put, it is a waste of resources, specifically money and oil, as well as harmful to the environment itself. The bottled water industry is reaping the benefits, with estimates between $50 and $100 billion in annual sales in the United States alone, according to the Earth Policy Institute (EPI) and The World’s Water: The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources, a project of the Pacific Institute. In fact, bottled water sales exceed those of all other beverages except soft drinks, according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation. But wait—water? Yes. Americans are spending up to $100 billion a year on bottled water—an amount that could pay for about five hundred more days of

fighting in Iraq—for something that we can get for practically nothing. Additionally, the idea that bottled water is healthier or cleaner than tap water is erroneous. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, at least 25 percent of bottled water is purely tap water. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency have looser regulations on the filtering of bottled water than they do for standard tap water. The simple fact remains: one gallon of bottled water costs an average of $6, while a gallon of tap water costs roughly one-fifth of a cent. Further, the cost of oil in the United States is indisputably one of national, and even international, concern. However, few Americans are aware of one source of petroleum that is simply thrown away each year—bottled water. The amount of oil it takes to produce the plastic in water bottles Americans demand each year is staggering. According to the EPI, the figure is more than 1.5 million barrels annually—roughly 63 million gallons. With gas at a national average of just under three dollars a gallon, that’s almost $190 million in wasted oil each year. The amount of oil that is used to produce water bottles could be used to fuel around 100,000 cars in the United States, according to the EPI. The next time you fill up your tank and complain about the rising gas prices as you take a swig of your

Aquafina, remember that what you are drinking is part of the cause. Probably the most horrifying aspect of bottled water’s harm is its impact on the environment. According to the EPI, it can take up to 1,000 years for a single plastic bottle to decompose if thrown out instead of being recycled. Imagine the accumulating volume of the almost 40 billion plastic water bottles that are not recycled each year. Only about a fifth of the 50 billion water bottles used by Americans in 2006 were recycled, according to a July 2007 issue of Fast Company magazine, leaving the rest to decompose in landfills. The United Nations World Water Report claims that about one billion people in the world do not have access to clean drinking water, largely in populations in Africa and parts of Asia. More than two and a half billion people on the planet do not have adequate sanitation. In the United States, these problems are practically nonexistent. Why must Americans continue to ignore the greater problems of international importance by throwing such valuable resources away? From breast cancer and HIV/AIDS to world hunger and pollution, supporters of various causes all say that a little change can make a big difference. What smaller change can there be than to save your dollar on a bottle of water, and, instead, drink out of a water fountain, or refill the same water bottle each day? What smaller change can there be than to drink the tap water we have so readily available, something we hold so dear yet still take for granted?

“LM, don’t you trust me?” You’re being watched. All seven hours of every school day. Every corner you turn there is either a security camera or a campus aide scrutinizing where you’re going. The library, the cafSam Fineman eteria, Class of 2009 and the auditorium lobby are no safe haven from LM security’s watchful eye. The school’s intent is security of course, but creating the feeling that someone is looming over your every move doesn’t make for the most relaxing environment. This—in addition to the removal of many other traditional student freedoms—makes me ask myself: “LM, Don’t you trust me?” This year, LM installed more than 50 security cameras in the school. The purpose was to catch people breaking LM rules on videotape to prevent any menaces against students or to use as evidence for punishment. While walking around the school during a free period, one

cannot help but notice the cameras over one’s head, or the suspicious looks campus aides give to anybody taking an innocent walk. These two factors give LM’s hallways a cramped feeling. (And it doesn’t exactly help that the cameras look like eyes, either.) The cameras do, however, greatly aid in LM’s ability to supervise its students. But why do students still have to be watched over like hawks by staff members? When students walk around hallways during frees, they can be questioned or stared at. Even when students are trying to relax in the library, library aides are ready and waiting to swoop down and scold students for navigating to non-educational websites. Apparently, the school doesn’t fully trust students to be honest about tardiness, either. As of this year, a student can receive a detention for having a certain amount of days of excused tardiness. It’s as if the school is telling you: “How dare you have a legitimate reason to be late for school! Maybe you should have thought about the consequences before you went and caught the flu!” The fact that the school will assume that one is forging signatures highlights LM’s issue with student trust even more. The real world is nothing like the trapped and limited world that

LM is creating for students. Nowhere in real world libraries will you be swarmed by alarmed employees when typing “” into your web browser. Nowhere will you be stopped in an innocent walk and asked, “Where are you supposed to be right now?” LM students learn nothing when they aren’t allowed to make important decisions. If students graduate with a lack of experience making decisions when it comes to daily challenges such as productive time usage, they could make wrong decisions that have very detrimental effects. Though the rules mentioned have the students’ interests in mind, the extent to which they are being carried out has gone too far. LM needs to loosen its tight grip on student freedom and decision-making, which can make students more relaxed and prepared for real world situations. Plus, a slight loosening of watchfulness can make students feel more comfortable and at home in school. If LM trusts its students to think for themselves and act more independently on these issues, while still guiding them toward the right path, then perhaps our next graduates can be better prepared for the everyday challenges outside of our protected suburban community.


December 21, 2007

The Merionite

Class of 2010:

The administration’s tool Hey there buddy, wow, why are you all hunched over there in the corner directly below the security camera? Do you feel sick? Why are you mumbling to yourself? What? Huh? A cellphone?!! Oh sweet J.J. Warshaw Class of 2010 Susan B. Anthony. What a daredevil this guy is, and so ingenious, who would think those lovely, newborn babies’ headshaped security cameras can’t see what’s going on right below them? You got me. Oh you’ve got to be joking me. Get out of town! This guy is also washing a delicious pack of Jujubes down with a most holy Wawa-purchased soda. Well he’s on my bad list. Oh, how you are letting this school down! Have you even glanced at our rushed, typo-ridden school handbook? I distinctly remember hearing a soothing baritone on our announcements stating that “you don’t have to be here”. I’d take that advice if I were you Mr. Typical Rebellious Teenager. But wait, hold on for a second – wasn’t there a time when all this was allowed? Oh no, someone get me an administrator. I remember my first day of school, all those upperclassmen getting their panties in huge bunches. It didn’t take me long to realize what the hullabaloo was all about. Turns out the Pennsylvania Legislature had decided that junk food was bad for you and possibly addictive. Students were all in a flutter about it down in the cafeteria sipping on their school-made coffee. And adding salt to the wound, cell phone usage had been abolished by the administration. Wow, pretty bad time to be a freshman if you ask

me. Looks like 2010 was getting the shaft, and I’m talking about a 6’3” African-American Isaac Hayes theme song singing sized shaft. Especially considering that this was my year to finally “be me” and, to quote innumerable horrid teen movies, to “spread my wings and fly”. But just look at all these rules! Well it has been a year and here we are, with a spankin’ new schedule, thrown onto us like blaxploitation films onto 70’s culture. This time last year, students were outraged after hearing about this new burden. This was the part in the movie where foreign people with indecipherable accents come in legions against Shaft. But the Class of 2010 didn’t stand and fight and kill all of them in ridiculously absurd and cool ways We took it all down in one gulp. Now here we are with blocks and sets, and sets of blocks. But to be honest, though some students are still being little Debbie Downers about the whole block scheduling, the teachers are really coming around. One of my funnier educators played a hilarious prank on us by teaching us the same lesson plan for half the class; we all had a great laugh and were assigned homework that was to be reviewed tomorrow in class during our skip day. Now as if all these new rules and changes weren’t enough, a more disturbing trend has been appearing. Nowadays it seems that with the growing rise of rules against students, and students not doing anything about them, teachers have gotten on the love train and started enforcing rules that plainly scream they just don’t care. A great example of this would be using iPods with earphones in study halls. Now after checking my handy-dandy student handbook and getting a kick out of reading about how throwing acorns at someone is not permitted, I turned to the page about iPod use. Turns out that using an iPod “with an earphone (or other means to allow private or non-intrusive use) may be used during student time...”, but all other times it is at the teacher’s discre-

tion. So what is student time I ask? Well I went to our friend Mr. Arnold to ask what constituted as student time, and it turns out that anytime a teacher is supervising you, you are most definitely not having student time. It turns out that for study halls the answer is yes and no. Though the students are free to do things they want to do, the teacher overseeing the study hall ultimately has control over whether or not iPods with headphones can be used, but Mr. Arnold says that teachers “need to have discretion over what is disruptive and what is non-disruptive”. Hmm, that seems fair. I imagine if someone was listening to their iPod with earplugs while dancing on their desk, screaming the words out and flinging contents of their book bag into the air, it would be pretty disruptive. But what about just sitting quietly, doing your work, listening to your favorite Chopin prelude or A Tribe Called Quest album? So why do teachers outlaw this? And why do most study hall teachers, who won’t allow iPod use, announce this at the beginning of class without giving anyone a chance to show some responsible listening? It looks like some teachers don’t really care about these questions. Seem a little unfair? Well good news for everyone is that the students of Class of 2010 are in these study halls, so I imagine there’ll be no trouble. Now one could argue that the classes of ’09 and ’08 have shared their brunt of the administerial fury, but to be honest, I don’t really care. Maybe the administration took a little time to think about the other grades, but I think all these policies have been in the vault for a while and they were just looking for the right, timid, pacifist class to lay it down on. Who knows why? Maybe it started in middle school, with teachers commenting on how our class accepted rules and regulations like a well-trained lap dog. Maybe in ancient Ottoman codes “2010” reads out as “female dog”. Who knows? All I can say is, with all this obediance, where’s my doggie treat?


Salesman in lockstep There is a tall figure descending the stairs to the cafeteria. He is dressed in dark blue, and the crisp uniform is flecked with the colors of his polished badges. He does not smile. Some stuLeah Rosenbloom dents Class of 2011 back away cautiously as this giant of a man makes his way through the cafeteria lobby, others stare at his shiny black boots, his hardened face. He has a confident presence as he reaches the assigned table by the red doors. There is a seat, but he remains standing. Hands clasped behind his back, he is waiting. Standing as he was taught to stand, his hard face does not soften. He waits patiently, staring at a fixed point straight ahead, for the first lunch period. As a rush of students flood the cafeteria, his eyes do not wander from that point on the wall. In the crowd of students, this man catches my eye. I notice he is not the usual type of person who occupies the table by the door—not like the motivated seniors fighting to save Darfur or some club passing out cookies or candy to whomever signs up to help their cause. No—this man’s intentions were not so clear to me. Keeping one eye on him, I sit down with my friends at the table near the front. I point this man out to the rest of the table, for they had not noticed him. For the first time, I see the banner on the table. The man is a Marine. “What is he doing here?” a friend broke the silence as my eyes follow his first visitor. The boy stops at the table and starts to talk to the man, but over the general din of the cafeteria I cannot hear his words. The man looks down at the boy, finally taking his eyes off of the affixed place. His mouth moves, and he points at a pamphlet. The prominence of his jawbone becomes more pronounced as he talks, and his hard face keeps its composure. The boy laughs and the Marine man raises a corner of his mouth in an attempt. To me, it does not look like a smile. The boy walks away with the packet and a sticker, catching up with one of his friends. The Marine remains standing and fixes his eyes on the wall again. I wonder—does he see LM for what it is? Does he see how we are happy

here, talking and laughing, getting an education? Or does he see fighters, who are willing to give up their families, friends, and all that they have come to know and love? And if they have nothing else to spare, citizens willing to give up a chance to follow a dream? I ask myself which I cherish more: my friends, family, my dreams, my school, or my country. It is an easy answer. I appreciate America for the developed and supporting country it is, however America is not a family. I do not think of myself as a child of the government. I do not wish, as an individual with my own way of thinking, to be represented by our government or our military. I would not like to be grouped with those killing for the sake of fighting terrorism. Being involved, however, is inevitable. But I am not just an American. I am a Rosenbloom, a Fleischman, a proud student of LM, a writer, an artist, and, most of all, free to be what I want to be. “I dare you to go talk to him,” my friend whispers to me. I laugh a little and agree to do it. I am not afraid of his intimidating figure, or his razor sharp crew cut, or his intentions. “Hi,” I say as I reach the table. He nods, and there is an awkward silence in which I look over the materials on the table. I wonder to myself if the pamphlet will be like the commercials—advertising the army like it would be a vacation to exotic places to meet exotic people and experience their culture. Whatever it takes to stick me on a plane, my eyes darting over the Marines bumper stickers and merchandise. “So,” I ask him. “You’re recruiting for the Marines?” “That’s right,” he says. His voice is deep and gruff, just what I had imagined. “Are you interested in joining us?” I pause, as if I am pondering his question. In truth, I am thinking about the things I would like to say to this man. You don’t belong here. This is a high school full of students who have their whole lives ahead of them. Don’t take advantage of those who haven’t made up their minds. Don’t think just because we are children that we are soft and flexible material you can mold into one of you. What if he wanted to be a doctor, lawyer, dentist, astronaut, or a teacher? We are America’s youth, but that’s not all. We are sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, students, artists, scientists, musicians; we deserve a chance. “No,” I say finally, smiling. “I don’t think so.”


December 21, 2007

The Merionite

Yunica Jiang


Rubik’s Cube Riot

can solve the cube in under a minute. “They’re an addiction,” said Bing. “I have a Rubik’s Cube with me. And there are Here’s a brainteaser: What has pictures of my Rubik’s Cube costume on six faces all in different colors? Facebook! Honestly, they are awesome!” That’s right. A Rubik’s Cube! The RuSome LM students, however, are much less bik’s Cube first made its appearance enthusiastic about Rubik’s Cubes. as a toy in 1980. Six years earlier, “I hate Rubik’s Cubes,” said Hungarian sculptor and architecture freshman Sam Raper. “All they do professor Erno Rubik had invented is make people angry and frustratthe cube as a mechanical puzzle by ed because they can’t solve them.” the name of the “Magic Cube.” The Senior Justin Tu, although Ideal Toy Company adopted the denot as fervent as Raper, said, sign and eventually renamed the puz“I’d rather do something else. zle “Rubik’s Cube” after its creator. I’ve never really gotten pleaThe challenge and complexity of sure from doing them, and I the toy increased its popularity in the also don’t want to take time to 1980s. It won the German “Game of figure out how to solve them.” the Year” Award in 1980 and is said to But you don’t need to know be the best selling toy in history with how to solve one to love them. over 900 million sold worldwide. “Personally, I can’t solve a Rubik’s Cube,” said sophomore Kira The mechanisms of the cube are Goldner. “I can only do one side, quite complex: buried inside the but it’s still incredibly challengcolorful façade of the main cube are structures that support the other ing and fun. And I love watching pieces and allow them to be rotated people who are really good solve around. Each rotation changes the them. It’s extremely amusing.” position of one-third of the cube. A “If I could finally figure one standard-sized Rubik’s Cube can out, I would probably like Ruhave 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 bik’s Cubes,” said junior Syldifferent positions, but only one soluvia Herbert. “I know there are tion: a position that gives the cube extons of videos on how to solve Photo by Dot Goldberger/Staff actly one color on each of its six faces. Junior Harry Winkler (left) and senior Jake Flaschen (right) go head-to-head in an epic Rubik’s them on, but I As the novelty of the toy diminwant to figure it out myself Cube battle-- a not-so-unusual sight at LM over the past few months. ished, its popularity went with it. eventually. But it’s still really It lay dormant throughout most of the hit the entire cross-country team, the Ru- “It’s just a bunch of patterns over and over. It mesmerizing to watch people do them.” 1990s, just a forgotten fad, until it made bik’s Cube trend spread like wildfire, from takes absolutely no skill or ability to be able Figuring out how to solve a Rubik’s Cube its reappearance at LM earlier this year. senior Larry Bing’s big cardboard Rubik’s to solve them—just pure memorization.” on your own may take a while. But that The Rubik’s Cube trend at LM started in Cube Halloween costume to the many Bing, who turned heads with his shouldn’tbeaproblem,astheLMcrazedoesn’t the middle of August, when the boys’ cross- pocket-sized three-by-three cubes present Rubik’s Cube costume for Halloween, seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Class of 2009

country team went on their annual camping trip. Junior Jake Perry brought a Rubik’s Cube with him on the trip. He pulled out his cube and solved it within a few minutes. The other members, admiring his skill, became his disciples. After the enigmatic toy

Hello Mutter, Hello Father

Sammi Hershman

Class of 2009

Imagine having the chance to get up close and personal with the deformed and genetically mutated specimens of the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia. Now tack on a gourmet meal of your choice at Philadelphia’s world-famous Reading Terminal Market. Sound better than a typical Monday at school? The genetics students who participated in the field trip last Monday thought so. “[The Museum] contains specimens of organisms with a variety of genetic diseases and physical abnormalities,” said genetics teacher Jennifer Sand. “We chose this museum so the students could venture out of the classroom and see first-hand some of the phenotypes, or physical traits, that can result from genetic mutations.” “Up until this point the genetics classes have studied the basics behind cell division and Mendelian genetics,” said Sand. “We also just completed a lab in which we mixed a strain of E. coli bacteria with a T4 virus carrying antibiotic

resistance. The virus gave the bacteria the gene for resistance and the E. coli was able to grow on a plate with antibiotics. It’s very exciting stuff!” For junior Rachel Kelemen, the most memorable exhibit at the museum can be summed up in three short words: “Eight-foot colon.” “They have it there in a case, and it’s flaking,” said Kelemen. Senior Claire Krotkov was also affected by the Mutter’s strange exhibits. “We kind of lost our appetite after the museum, but I guess the food [at the Reading Terminal Market] was so good that we gained it back.” “The trip was really cool and it was interesting to see examples of people with different diseases or deformities,” said senior Kate Wells. “I learned a lot of things about diseases on the trip that surprised me. We have to appreciate how great our health care is because not that long ago, people died from all these diseases that we now can cure,” said junior Hannah DeCleene. “The field trip was fun, and I’m really glad I went on it.”

in the hands of freshmen and seniors alike. “[Rubik’s cubes] are sweet,” said senior Jacob Flaschen, who holds a personal record time of one minute and 30 seconds. “It’s fun trying to improve your time.” “It’s not particularly hard,” said Flaschen.

An Acceptable Addiction

Mia Vallet

Class of 2009 For stressed-out teenagers desperately seeking a way to unwind, LM students aren’t such heavy drinkers. Sure, some admit an addiction, claiming they simply couldn’t make it through the rigors of the school week without a little “pick-me-up.” Most, however, only started indulging recently and typically in the context of social situations. Even you addicts shouldn’t sweat it; most studies fail to show any major harmful long-term effects of drinking daily. That doesn’t mean you should carry a flask everywhere, but 3 to 8 ounces a day is generally accepted for teens. Drinking isn’t a terrible thing—coffee that is. No, alcohol isn’t the focus here: it’s coffee, another addictive drink filling students’ cups weekly and during and social outings. Their fates have been linked for centuries. According to legend, coffee was discovered by an Ethiopian shepherd who noticed his herd “dancing” after consuming wild coffee beans. When wine was banned in the Muslim world, coffee became a substitute in religious ceremonies. From there, it spread across the Arabian world. Ever smuggle a Starbucks drink into school after an illicit mid-day romp to Suburban Square? Well, Baba Buden smuggled coffee from Mecca into Europe. There, the drink was finally accepted as a “Christian beverage” by Pope Clement VII in 1600, despite appeals to ban the “Muslim drink.” Thanks to Pope Clement, coffee spread across Europe, and now it has

spread across LM. When asked if she would consider herself addicted to the drink, Junior Susan McGowan said “Probably. If I don’t drink it I get tired.” Junior and known coffee enthusiast Ian Wilson spoke of his attempts to reduce his intake this year. Despite suffering headaches, Ian has found that only consuming the beverage every other day has led to increased concentration and fewer “highs and lows.” LM students find themselves at Starbucks anywhere from once a month to every other day, and the cafeteria recently Teachers are also joining in on the trend. History teacher Chad Henneberry recently added a coffee machine to his classroom after being repeatedly rudely received at a local coffee house. Though he says the coffee in stores is stronger, brewing in the classroom adds convenience and decreases expenses. And Mr. Henneberry should know. He claims to consume an average of five cups a day. When asked why he opts to forgo midday coffee outings, senior Aitan Lawit responded with an admirable douse of school spirit: “I love my Lower Merion. If we had no cameras, I would probably sleep somewhere in the school. I’ve heard Mr. Segal does this periodically.” Others have a better grasp on reality. Freshman Itai Doron claims: “I do not drink coffee that often. The only reason I don’t is that I never get the chance. I don’t have the time to make a cup of coffee in the morning or to run to Starbucks and buy a cup.” Don’t scoff. Freshmen have work too. Starbucks, Wawa, Dunkin’, cafeteria... LM students just can’t resist coffee.


December 21, 2007

The Merionite


A lesson in gift-giving Kyra Sutton

Class of 2009

It’s that time of year again: the season when merriment fills the air, families come together, and, yes, a time for gifts. Let’s admit it—many of us have been keeping holiday wish lists for some time now. But if you’re among the few who are low on gift ideas, either for your own wish list or to give to others, fear not: we have turned to an unexpected source this holiday season, as some of LM’s finest teachers reflect upon their best gifts ever received or given. Math teacher Michael Bomze’s favorite gift dates all the way back to the fifth grade, when his best buddy bought him Snoop Doggy Dogg’s first CD for Hanukkah. Bomze’s mother would not buy what she felt to be an explicit CD for such a youngster, nor would she let her son purchase it himself. Bomze explains, “My friend found a loophole in my mom’s regulations and as a result I got the opportunity to rock out to what is possibly one of the greatest rap albums ever made.” The message here: What your friends’ parents won’t buy them, you can. And as Bomze knows best, the generosity of giving a quality rap CD is never forgotten. Searching for that perfect gift to entice a lover? When a rap CD alone won’t convey your emotions, science teacher Glenn Rosazza’s got you covered—back in the early ‘80’s he planned a romantic

Rosazza had the gift delivered to his gift for a high school sweetheart. Rosazza was anxious to impress this “awe- lady friend’s office, where her fellow some lady” whom he had only recently employees watched in glee as she opened begun dating. He purchased a yellow box after box until reaching the rose. rose, which “I only was “quite wish I could the rose as have been far as yellow there for roses are the grand concerned,” openings. Rosazza reOh well, it called. “Inwas worth cidentally, a it because I yellow rose can still reis a symbol member this of friendgift as if it ship and were yesis an ideal terday and choice for we are still brightening good friends s o m e o n e ’s today,” Roday,” he adsazza said vised. wistfully. After obMeantaining five while, Engboxes of diflish teacher ferent sizes, Michael he placed Segal’s best the delicategift ever ly wrapped came f rom Photo by Dot Goldberger/Staff rose in the his students English teacher Michael Segal poses with his smallest box, back in his “best gift ever,” a Sergeant Hartman doll. accompanied first year of by a card. “I won’t tell you what I wrote teaching AP Language. The class had just on the card,” said Rosazza. This box was finished a rhetorical analysis of Stanley then inserted into the next biggest box, and Kubrick’s film Full Metal Jacket. One so forth until the final box was huge. character in the film, named Sergeant

Nightmares on Christmas Katie Cochrane

Class of 2009

Here’s the situation: it’s December 21, you’re about to go on vacation to see family, friends, whoever, and you still haven’t gotten gifts for everyone. Don’t panic, even though the choicest items are probably gone. You’ve got a few hours to make some important decisions. I’m here to help. Here’s a list of what NOT to throw in your shopping cart. 10. Pine Tree Air Freshener: Who would give a gift like this? It’s cheap, and everything it touches will then smell like the inside of a taxi. Great, just what everyone’s always wanted. 9. Jigsaw Puzzle: Jigsaws are great when you’re stuck at grandma’s or when you’re snowed in, but giving one as a gift implies that you think the person has nothing better to do with their time than sit down and put together 5,000 pieces of some cute kittens or Princess Diana’s head. 8. Singing and Dancing Santa Toy: These things are scary, the sound quality is terrible, and after Christmas they’re useless, so what’s the point? I’m sure you’ll agree if your Aunt Caroline suffers a heart attack after walking past the thing and activating its motion sensors. 7. The Chia Pet: Please, the least you could have done was to get a snow shovel or something else from the hardware store your random relative can actually use.* 6. Tickets to Celine Dion: Yes, some people love Celine Dion, just like some people will tell you Jewel’s poetry changed their lives. Either way, it’s just a bad gift idea if you’re not positive that she (or he) is really dying to see Celine sing her little heart out with the help of an army of backup dancers that could take on the Spartan 300.

5. The Magic Bullet: Now, I know you’re thinking, “Not the Magic Bullet! I’ve watched the infomercial for that super-powered mini grinder with a napkin in hand to wipe away the drool, that’s how badly I want one!” Yes, it’s true; they can reduce die-cast cars to dust. It’s still a bad idea. After a while, you run out of brooms and iPods to throw in and watch as they’re ground up in seconds.** 4. Cheap Chinese Recalled Toys: They’re all fun and games until someone decides to lick one. 3. Beano: As a gas preventative, it’s a wonderful idea. As a gift, it’s a less-thansubtle way of telling someone they have bad gas. Imagine Charlie Brown on Halloween. “I got an iPod!” “I got a ski pass!” “I got Beano...” 2. Collector’s Edition DVD of Gigli: The 2003 movie that began the phenomenon of “Bennifer,” Gigli tells the story of mobsters played by Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez on a mission. I know, it sounds AMAZING. Honestly, no one saw it in theaters, why would they want it on DVD? I think they opened the movie one Friday morning and closed at noon. At least it feels that way. 1. Communist Takeover: All right, so it’s not really a gift you can give, but it’s still a worst-case scenario. Every gift you’ve received now belongs to the state, and will be collected promptly. Merry Christmas. *In this day and age, you may not need a snow shovel much, so stay away from those as gifts as well. **Ok, so the Magic Bullet is really cool, just know that from here on out, watch where you put expensive electronics or long wooden poles. Both are pretty fun to grind up.

Hartman, is somewhat lacking in verbal restraint. In fact, as Segal puts it, “he is a master of political incorrectness and raucous verbal abuse.” The gift? A talking Sergeant Hartman doll. With the simple push of a button, one could hear a variety of obscenities. “I was entertained with the gift, but my wife was not when my 4-year-old son went running through the house, broadcasting vulgarities to the world,” says Segal. “It now stays locked in my closet at school.” Still running low on gift ideas after those brilliant teacher tips? French teacher Jean-Claude Contassot suggests treating someone to a nice meal. His most memorable gift was when his good friend Martine invited him to one of the most famous restaurants in France, where he enjoyed an 11-course meal. “It was unbelievable!” says Contassot. “It was really some ART CULINAIRE!” If a fancy restaurant doesn’t quite make it within your budget, there are always the gifts money can’t buy. “My instantaneous reaction to the question of best gift was this: both given and received, to my husband and myself—our daughter,” says English teacher Jean Mastriano. Note: The Merionite does not advocate teenage pregnancy. Simply being a gift to your parents this holiday season will do the trick.

Green Gift Guide

Hannah Goldberg-Morse

Class of 2010

This year, eco- and socially-conscious gifting is a trend that’s growing quicker than bamboo in China. Here, The Merionite has compiled a list of items that are not only amazing gifts, but also good for our planet and the people on it. FOR THE FASHIONISTA: CARGO PlantLoveTM Botanical Lipstick: The tubes of these lipsticks are made of corn, a renewable resource, instead of plastic. The box which the product is packaged in is made of flower seeds, and can be moistened and planted to grow real flowers. The collection of 15 colors includes shades designed by celebrities and inspired by places of ecological beauty. Cargo donates two dollars from the sale of each lipstick to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. At Sephora, $20. American Apparel Sustainable Edition: American Apparel’s new line of clothing is not only sustainable, but also organic. The offerings include T-shirts, dresses, tank tops, and underwear. The clothing is sweatshop-free, and employees are offered subsidized health insurance andEnglishlessons.AtAmericanApparel,$8-26.

late guarantees ecologically sound, sustainable farming practices along with fair prices and benefits to farmers. The baskets from Equal Exchange incorporate organic products, and are packaged in fairly traded baskets constructed in developing nations. At, $17.50-75.

FOR THE TRAVELER: The Ethical Travel Guide: Your Passport to Exciting Alternative Holidays: This book, a follow-up to The Good Alternative Travel Guide, contains multitudes of ideas for responsible traveling. The destination entries, which include places throughout the world, contain all necessary information including detailed descriptions, activities offered, and cost. At Borders, $15.30.

FOR THE TECHIE: Solio Classic Hybrid Charger: This solar charger, which works for both mp3 players and cell phones, is a great gift idea for anyone with an mp3 player, cell phone, camera, or PDA— that is, almost everyone. Once charged using a wall or direct solar exposure, the Solio can store the power for up to a year, and holds enough energy to charge an iPod Nano at least twice. The Solio charges electronics at the same rate as FOR THE FOODIE: a conventional charger, and, when charged by Fair Trade Gift Basket: A gift basket full the sun, reduces energy consumption. Available of fair trade products like coffee, tea and choco- at and, $100.


December 21, 2007


The Merionite

Finding the perfect path: LM’s own traffic experiment

I step from the warm Annex hallways through the late bus exit and into the frigid winter air. Turning left and walking past the parking lots down the long flight of stairs towards the field, I start to enjoy the nice weather. The wet pavement. The slippery leaves. The bite of the freezing air. It’s not too bad. I walk through the tiny door in the fence below the annex lobby. I have not encountered a single living person yet. Unlike the main hallways of LM, this route contains no pushing, no yelling, and no getting sidetracked. It is like a secret hallway, and it’s easy to forget you still have to get to class on time. This is a change. I get to think while I walk. Usually, in the main hallways, I don’t get a chance to relax after a tough class and make a good transition to the next one. Just yesterday, I got extremely annoyed at the person in front of me who kept hitting my face with his backpack as I tried to walk faster than him up the steps. Not only was I slightly out of breath, but made it to class a measly 30 seconds before the bell rang. I turn left between the bleachers and the side exits of the cafeteria. I swear the ground is getting wetter. I walk past the dumpster and under the hallway that connects the tech building to the main building. I swing around and walk up that flight of stairs located near the bus dropoffs. Three minutes have passed already. I walk up to the door and peer in. Three seconds pass and I start banging on the door. I start tapping my foot. I rap my knuckles on the glass. Finally someone comes, and I am saved. Side effects of my journey include a minor injury to the fist and frosty toes. But overall, a great expedition.

Complied by: Avi Chatterjee ’11, Jenny Ma ’10, Jessica Scolnic ’09 Inspired by The Washington Post

The challenge: make it from Mr. Rosazza’s (AA01) to Mr. Grace’s room (T006) as quickly as possible.

Time taken:

Photos by Dot Goldberger/Staff

Time taken:

3 minutes, 28 seconds 4 minutes, 18 seconds

Steps taken: 314

Steps taken: 490

Luckily for me, traffic is slow this time of day; few people seem to have academic advisory in the annex. I’m one of about 3 people in the hallway as I head towards the main building. My pace is good, and I’m optimistic about finally making it to class on time. But then I realize the tech building is still about four hallways away, and my hope fades a little. In the next hallway, the smell of chlorine singes my nostrils slightly, and I speed up a little; the halls are still fairly empty, so this is still possible. I make it past the pool and the campus aide by the main entrance easily but as I approach the main hallway, the problems begin. A crowd of five girls, probably sophomores, clumps by some of the lockers. I plan my route around them and prepare to make a break into oncoming traffic, but all of a sudden, they begin to move! My plan is foiled and my pace slows to a crawl as I’m forced to trudge behind them for the entire length of the main hallway. They finally turn off towards the auditorium, as I continue straight on towards the tech building bridge. I cross the bridge without incident, but someone’s spilled their coffee on the tech building stairs, closing the down lane of traffic. All the people trying to go down have to merge with the people going up, and I’m stalled for approximately 10 seconds. As usual, the bottom half of the tech building staircase is about 90% empty. I feel the air get colder and know my journey is almost complete. I go through the doors and down the white hallway and collapse into a chair outside Mr. Grace’s room, exhausted after a trying hike.

Graphics by Sam Blum /Staff

Take a load off: Tips for a lighter backpack

L. Rosenbloom/ E. Saltzberg

Don’t want to end up like Ian? Here are some steps to a lighter backpack:

“In ninth grade my backpack burst under pressure. The zipper burst, but I had to keep using it. I used to carry five-pound weights around because sometimes I have to carry textbooks and I wanted to get used to it.”

1. If you know you have a free or study hall the next day, borrow the textbook from your teacher and do the work then. Pick and choose teachers carefully. If you disrupt some teachers’ classes, they might just throw the book at your head.

Class of 2010/2009

—junior Ian Wilson

2. Binders weigh a lot, and they’re bulky. Folders are lighter, and the rings don’t snap shut on your fingers when you aren’t looking. That’s always a plus.

3. Use the copy machine in the library. Be careful not to make noise, because if you do, the librarians will kick you out eventually. 4. Accordion folders are also helpful. If your friends laugh at you, sit up straight and remind them who won’t be addicted to Advil for the rest of their life. 5. This one might go without saying, but just in case: leave the five-pound weights at home. Your back will thank you.

Art by Sam Votto


December 21, 2007

The Merionite

December Jordan Cooper

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT flicks An “Enchanting” film

save a young boy and find redemption for Class of 2010 his childhood crimes. Anyone who has read the book and loved it will love the movie The winter months can be crazy for ev- just as much. Now playing. eryone. Between freezing weather, buying I am Legend presents for obscure relatives, and the genWhat started out as an award winning eral bombardment of holiday commercial- novel by Richard Matheson was made ism, it’s always nice to relax in a big comfy into three different film adaptations before theater seat with a large popcorn and lose reaching the post-apocalyptic/horror movie yourself in a great movie. starring Will Smith, now in theaters. Smith So to help you through these next few portrays Dr. Robert Neville, the only human months, here are seven movies that are sure being immune to a vampiric and man-made to warm you up faster than hot cocoa with disease that is wiping out all of man-kind. marshmallows. Between a few thrillers, Now the last man on Earth, he searches avidly some romantic comedies, and for a cure while fighta singing and dancing Johnny ing off the infected. Depp, there’s sure to be someThe edgy thriller thing for everyone. does a great service Juno to Matheson’s masEllen Page portrays Juno, a terpiece and to audiprecocious teenage girl whose ences everywhere. life is thrown into turmoil by Now playing. her unplanned pregnancy with National TreaPaulie Bleeker (“Superbad” sure 2: Book of star Michael Cera). But with Secrets help from her parents (J.K. Picking up Simmons and Allison Jan- Photo courtesy of where the first “Naney) and her best friend Leah Johnny Depp stars as Swee- tional Treasure” left (Olivia Thirbly), Juno sets ney Todd in the film adaptation off, Nicolas Cage, out to find the perfect parents Harvey Keitel, Diof Broadway’s hit musical to adopt her child, and deals ane Kruger, and Jon with her isolating high school. Definitely a Voight return to unveil more American seheartwarming teenage movie, “Juno” also crets. This time they must clear the name stars Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, and of Ben Gate’s (Nicolas Cage) great-great Rainn Wilson (a.k.a. Dwight Schrute from grandfather when John Wilkes Booth’s “The Office”). Now playing. diary reveals that he was a conspirator Atonement involved in the assassination of Abraham Another book adaptation, this time by Lincoln. Not quite as climactic as an unauthor Ian McEwan, stars Kiera Knightly derground tomb full of gold, but “Book as Cecilia, a girl who falls in love with the of Secrets” offers plenty of action-packed family’s charity case, Robbie (James MacA- scenes as the treasure hunters’ meddling voy) in the summer of 1935. When Cecilia’s gets them on the bad side of the president younger sister Briony (Romola Garai) wit- of the United States (Bruce Greenwood) nesses their innocent act of love, her imagi- and their mission takes them from Paris to nation gets the best of her and she accuses London where they enlist international asRobbie of a crime that separates him from sistance from the talents of Helen Mirren. Cecilia for decades. As Briony grows up In theaters December 21. and realizes the magnitude of her crime, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber guilt plagues her and she sees how much she of Fleet Street changed the fate of her sister, Robbie, and Johnny Depp proves his musical talent in herself. True romantics and AP Lit students the film adaptation of the musical Sweeney will enjoy this film, promising quite a few Todd. It follows Sweeney Todd (Depp), who, tears throughout. Now playing. after being accused of an unjust crime, reThe Kite Runner turns as the Demon Barber. Mrs. Lovett (HelIf you already have talked to the fresh- ena Bonham Carter) helps him gain revenge man and sophomores who were fortunate on all those who have wronged him. Sweeenough to see the early screening in No- ney Todd’s primary victim is the evil Judge vember, you have already heard what a Turpin (Alan Rickman) who had him imprisbrilliant adaptation director Marc Foster oned and now holds custody of his daughter. created from Khaled Hosseini’s novel. Al- Tim Burton once again teams up with Depp though alumni of Mrs. Schuller’s freshman and Carter, who previously made The Corpse English class last year probably noticed a Bride and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. couple omitted parallels and symbols, the The film also features hilarious performances film has the same lasting effect as the book. by Timothy Spall and Sacha Baron Cohen. In With performances by Zekiria Ebrahimi theaters December 21. and Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada as best Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story friends Amir and Hassan, the movie exJohn C. Reilly portrays the fictional plores life in Afghanistan from the Soviet music legend Dewey Cox that meshes the invasion to Taliban rule through the life of biographical drama “Walk the Line” with Amir (Ebrahimi), an Afghan emigrant who comical aspects as seen in movies like must return to his tumultuous homeland to “Spinal Tap.” Dewey Cox is the popular Rock & Roll legend who’s career highlights include sleeping with 411 women, fathering 22 kids, developing and recovering from addictions to every known drug, befriending the Beatles and becoming an American icon all with the help and love of his backup singer Darlene (Jenna Fischer). His life is full of ups and downs but starting today, everyone is sure to love and laugh at Dewey Cox. In theaters December 21. With all of the free time you’ll have Photo courtesy of John C. Reilly and Jenna Fischer over break, grab a friend or two and take your pick of December’s best movies. spoof musical biopics in Walk Hard

Disney creates a new kind of fairytale

Emily Sorenson

Class of 2010

“Enchanted” is the definition of a feelgood movie. The combination of its clever script, terrific songs, and splendid cast make it marvelously entertaining. Disney takes all of its traditional film elements: the talking animals, evil stepmother, handsome prince, and the wide-eyed maiden, and tosses them into a new, unfamiliar location: New York City. Giselle, (Amy Adams) the maiden wishing for “true love’s kiss”, is the first to enter our strange and frightening world. She would have been hopelessly lost trying frantically to find her castle, but Robert, (Patrick Dempsey) a divorce lawyer, took her under his wing. While at first their clashing views of “happily ever after” put them at odds, ultimately their views bring them together. When Giselle and her prince, Edward (James Marsden), finally do meet up in NYC, Giselle isn’t sure what she thinks of her empty-headed fiancée anymore. Lucky for them, Robert has a girlfriend, Nancy (Idina Menzel), who is attracted to Edward’s “romantic” ways. I’m sure anyone who’s seen a Disney movie can guess how it turns out. Robert and Giselle’s budding romance should have been the main focus, but instead it shares the spotlight with other subplots. To keep her throne, Edward’s evil stepmother Narissa (Susan Sarandon) spends the film plotting to kill Giselle. This story line, as well as Prince Edward’s search for Giselle, is entertaining, but a little less would have sufficed. Pip, Edward’s faithful chipmunk, amusingly attempts to communicate in the real world, but again, too much time is devoted to it. The first ten minutes or so of the film were done with traditional 2-D animation, and for anyone who watched the classic Disney movies growing up, it’s nice to reminisce. However, the true fun begins in NYC. Despite the new setting, “Enchanted” is able to

make comedic references to fairy tales such as “Snow White,” “Sleeping Beauty,” and “Cinderella.” Giselle’s “Happy Working Song” channels both “Snow White” and “Cinderella,” and is especially hilarious. Adams is simply perfect; she embodies a Disney princess with ease, and her light, pretty singing voice is exactly what the role needs. “Grey’s Anatomy” fans will delight in Dempsey’s role as Robert. Never having watched the show myself, I still found him great and entirely believable. As a Broadway fan, Menzel’s appearance as Nancy was a treat. The only thing lacking in her performance was a song, as hers was cut very early, so I’m left hoping it will be on the DVD. All in all, the casting was impeccable. While watching Disney mock itself, it’s nice to know that such a mega-company has humility. Then again, who wouldn’t be humble if they were paid well for it? “Enchanted” is certainly a success at the box office, and made it to the charts as the second highest-grossing Thanksgiving release ever. There’s already been talk of a sequel, although as much as I loved the movie, I don’t see how or why the story should continue. After all, what could be more enchanting than ‘they all lived happily ever after?’

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Co.

Amy Adams steps into the real world as Giselle in Disney’s Enchanted.

“Main Line ARTitude”

Hannah Weilbacher

Class of 2010

Oh, the magical world of art: paintings, music, dance, sculpture, film...What could be more relaxing than a good old day spent enjoying the more artistic things in life? And a good old day is what you get when you visit “First Friday Main Line: A Main Line ARTitude,” a program happening here in Ardmore, Haverford, and Bryn Mawr. This relatively new program started in 2006. It is a non-profit organization that was created by Sherry Tillman, owner of Ardmore’s Past*Present*Future with the mission of bringing art to the Main Line community by creating opportunities to experience art in everyday life. “FFML brings art to unexpected places like retail stores and car dealerships, coffee shops and hair salons; this de-stigmatizes art and brings art to the people,” said Tillman. This organization hosts programs on the first Friday of every month in the three towns. The programs are supported by local businesses and art organizations. Previous events have included concerts at Milkboy Coffee, a free Salsa lesson at DanceSport, and gingerbread cookie decorating. Also, restaurants such as Fellini’s and Mikado have offered special menus or discounts for First Friday.

Tillman said bigger and better things are expected for the future. The agenda for the New Year is chock-full of things to do and experience. “We are planning a taste of FFML with food, wine, music & art for January,” Tillman said. “For March, our charity giving month, we plan to showcase the art of kids and adults with special needs in our venues to raise money for art programs for kids with special needs in our schools.” The Biotonic Wellness Center will host an exhibit called “Paintings from the Inside Out” for January’s First Friday, showcasing paintings by artist Sal Panasci. Also, keep an eye out for a solo exhibit called “Places and People” by local artist Jerri Ross at the Viking Gallery and Culinary Arts Center. In order to fully experience all events, visitors can ride for free on one of two trolleys running loops through Ardmore, Haverford, and Bryn Mawr, beginning at 5 pm. Something new and exciting is happening every month—you can listen, watch, dance, eat, cook, shop, walk, and create! First Friday Main Line provides a diverse array of events to choose from, so there really is something for everybody. Plus it’s free! Stop by the next First Friday on January 4 to usher in 2008 with taste.


December 21, 2007


Is the magic gone?

Ethan Cohen

Class of 2009

Jim and Pam have finally gotten together. But has their happiness dulled the humor on NBC’s “The Office”? Sure, we all love to see a happy couple, but before their relationship, semi-flirtatious encounters would greatly add to the comedic awkwardness of the show. Now that they are going steady, they still joke, but it is more with each other than with us. The viewer has become the third wheel of Jim and Pam’s relationship and although it sounds mean, I wish they weren’t going out. I liked things the way they were before. In 2003, network television comedies were corny. Shows like “Everybody Loves Raymond” were being hailed as the greatest comedies, warm and fuzzy family oriented shows where everything worked out in the end—plus they threw in a couple of jokes here and there. Cuteness was overtaking comedy. Then the sarcastic savior came. “The Office,” originally a British comedy taking place in a paper company, came to NBC with a new adversary to cuteness: awkwardness. Painful, painful, awkwardness. It’s hilarious; it made “Seinfeld” the most popular comedy ever, and it’s the reason Woody Allen gets laughs. In the nature of its eponymous British cohort, “The Office” dwelled on awkward people in awkward situations. Although sometimes— okay, most of the time—farfetched, the show’s ability to capture uncomfortable situations proved to be its genius. The romantic relationships were a great vector of awkwardness on “The Office.” Ryan, the temp with a lot of ambition but a lack of emotion, was dating Kelly—a relationship reminiscent of those in middle school. Stanley, the sole black member, was married to a white woman, a normal relationship that was made awkward by boss Michael Scott’s stereotyping comments. Phyllis, the least attractive woman in the workplace had a fairytale romance with Bob Vance, the equally unattractive owner of Vance Refrigeration. Dwight, the office dork, held a top-secret relationship with Angela, the cold, hard, office killjoy. After Michael, by far the most awkward of

T-Pain: Living the good life

Jon Blistein

An A&E Commentary

the bunch, and his boss Jan’s secret relationship was discovered, they too became an official couple. There was, however, no romance—or lack thereof—more painfully aggravating yet adorable than that of Jim, the slightly dorky yet naturally funny salesman in the office, and Pam, the timid but equally normal receptionist. Pam had been engaged to her meathead fiancé, Roy, for years, yet her feelings towards Jim were obvious to the viewer. Jim went on dates, and in season 3 had a steady girlfriend, but his feelings for Pam were equally blatant. The two claimed to want only friendship, yet the transparency of their mutual attraction said otherwise. Because of their relative normalness, Jim and Pam were the two characters that we as viewers could relate to. In a way their view of the office reflected our views of our own lives, seeing ourselves as normal and categorizing everyone else. Every time Jim looked into the camera, it seemed like he was saying to the audience, “Alright, you and I are the only normal people here.” The audience could also relate to their failure in establishing a relationship. You couldn’t help but root for Jim and Pam; every time they smiled at each other, you couldn’t help but wish they would just give in and start making out on the spot. They even did in the finale of season two, but it was only a split second impulse that never grew into anything more. That is, until this season. Jim and Pam are officially boyfriend and girlfriend. While I thought I would be happy to hear this news, I can’t help but feel that The Office has lost its main pull. Of course all of the other awkward habits remain; the boss, the dork, the alcoholic, and most of the other relationships, but the Jim-and-Pam factor has gone from awkward irresistibleness, to Raymond-esque cuteness. Even Jim, in a recent episode, saw my point: “I just have to ask, now that we’re public, um, is the magic gone?” Pam, deadpan, then replied, “I now find you ... repulsive?” Yeah, they are being sarcastic, and though I would not go so far as to say I am repulsed by the lovebirds, I just think it isn’t like it used to be. Their relationship brings “The Office” one step closer to being a cute network comedy.

the “snakes on a plane” line), and that song has been nominated for two Grammy’s. Coincidence? Probably not. In fact, T-Pain has As I write this, Faheem Namj, or T-Pain, been nominated for a total of four Grammy’s if you will, has five songs in the top 50 of this year, two of which are in the best Rap/ the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, three of Sung Collaboration category—the keyword, which are in the top ten. Of these five songs, of course being “collaboration.” none of them are actually by T-Pain; he is only So what is it about T-Pain’s hooks that featured, meaning he’s really only in about a have made him so valuable for guest spots on fourth of the entire song. Nevertheless, that songs? Simple answer: his hook will get stuck quarter of the song is most likely the best part. in your head, and all you’ll be able to listen Over the past few years, T-Pain has done the to for the next week is that song. Basically, music business a freakin’ T-Pain sells records. service and brought back The long answer, howevone of the most important er, is that T-Pain’s hooks are aspects of pop music: the the epitome of our society hook. as a whole. We live in a fast Now, T-Pain isn’t just a paced, get it done yesterday featured artist; he’s a wellworld, and we don’t have the established solo singer. time to remember all the lyrHis smooth, sultry, comics to a three-minute song. puterized voice has made This isn’t the 1960’s anyhim the best synth-singer more when you’d sit down since Frampton. Plus, it and read the liner notes on a completely makes up for Bob Dylan album and then his chubby face, recedlisten to all six minutes of ing hairline, and hideous “A Hard Rain’s a Gonna Photo courtesy of Fall” and memorize every dreadlocks. But even in his solo hits, the best (or Faheem Namj, known to most single word. We need instant most catchy, rather) parts as T-Pain, flashes his bling. gratification, and T-Pain ofof his songs are still the fers that ten-fold. Like I said hooks and choruses. T-Pain’s ability to sing earlier, no one really knows who Flo Rida is, 25 seconds of a chorus that will stay in your but the second you start talking about “Apple head for weeks has made him one of the most Bottom jeans” and “boots with the fur” the important people in music today. first thing you’ll think of is T-Pain and how T-pain’s influence has catapulted many you have to listen to that song right now, just other artists into the main stream. Probably to hear that 30 second chorus. the best example is rapper Flo Rida. As I write Still, whether you like him or not, T-Pain this, I’m listening to “Low” for quite possibly has brought the hook back to pop music, the fifteenth time in the past two days, and and we should all be incredibly grateful. For that doesn’t even include how many times the most part, the beauty of any song lies in this song has been playing in my head. Up the hook, those 30 seconds that stay in your until this point, I had never heard of Flo Rida, head for days and make an otherwise unbearand odds are none of you had either. And I able song listenable. So T-Pain, I thank you. still don’t really know who he is, because the Thank you for making terrible music listenonly part of his song I can actually remember able, thank you for jump-starting the careers is the T-Pain hook. of so many young artists, and thank you for But its just not new artists who are ben- always, always letting there be something efiting from the cash and hit making ma- really catchy playing in my head. And, like chine that is T-Pain. Established artists such many other people, I am looking forward to as Kanye West and Chris Brown have taken your next collaboration, which, if Wikipedia notice, and are reaping the benefits. The best is correct (it usually is), will be “Shorty Get part of the Kanye West song “Good Life” is Loose” by Lil’ Mama, which can only mean the T-Pain hook (although the beginning of a song like “Lip Gloss” but ten times better, the third verse is just as good. I can’t really simply because of you, T-Pain. repeat it here because of the content, but it’s

Stay away from mauve Member’s Only jackets (windbreakers of any sort) and glasses without lenses. A little scenester goes a long way, so use sparingly. The next look is a little less South Street and a little more Walnut Street. The elements of this look are so timeless you probably already have them in your closet. You don’t need to pop your collar or start wearing Uggs to put a little prep in your look. All you need is a pair of khaki corduroys, your favorite concert shirt, and a simple grey sweater, topping it off with a pair of white low top Converse. Make sure that the sweaters used for layering are not too bulky. Another way to tackle this style is to layer an unbuttoned dress shirt with a solid colored shirt underneath. Then just scrunch up the sleeves for an effortlessly cool look. What to wear when dressing up is a common problem for guys, whether it’s for a Bat Mitzvah, fancy dinner with the family, or a date. The appropriate attire really depends on the invitation and location. If you have an invite to a black tie event, opt for a black tux

with a nice tie, (no cartoon characters or musical instruments) and save the cummerbund for prom. What to wear to a fancy dinner or a date? Try a nice striped sweater with a blazer and a pair of khakis or dark wash jeans. You could even sport a pair of nice sneakers instead of dress shoes. LM girls have their own opinions about guys’ fashion. The number one pet peeve is low riding pants that expose underwear. “Why even bother wearing pants if we can see that much?” said junior Anna Haase. Everyone agrees boxers should remain on the inside of your pants. Isn’t that what belts are for? Another universal fashion faux pas is wearing shirts that are too tight; you might love that 1996 76ers All Star Game shirt from second grade, but it’s time to let it go. Buy shirts in the right size—they will look much better! So what have you learned? When in Urban Outfitters, don’t strip the first mannequin you see. Take the time to find cool pieces that will express your sense of style. For a classy and

Class of 2008

Stylin’ Out —the guys’ guide

Maddie Bailis

Class of 2009

Generally, when you think of fashion, your mind zips to stick-thin female models stomping down a runway. But fashion doesn’t only apply to emaciated women, it applies to the entire world, and the people who need the most help are usually men. Before you pick up that dirty “I had a rockin’ time at Jake’s Bar Mitzvah!” shirt, read on. Unlike women’s fashion, men’s is slower to change (notice how Urban Outfitters has been featuring layering T’s for the past 3 years), and therefore harder to keep fresh. Here are two key looks that are in right now, and some tips to help you clean up your look. The first look has the kind of urban vibe to it often associated with the deadly term “hipster.” You might think of a skinny jeans-clad kid, but the style elements can be used in less drastic ways. Layer a bright solid T with a fun hoodie, a pair of straight leg dark wash jeans, and your favorite pair of Nike Dunk Low’s.

clean-cut look, don’t automatically think polo’s and khakis. You just need some simple pieces and smart layering. Buy shirts in the correct size, wear belts if your pants can’t stay up on their own, and don’t freak out over dressy occasions. Follow these tips and you will be cool, confident, and most importantly, in style.

Photo by of Dot Goldberger/Staff

One of Maddie’s suggested looks, shown by junior Tyler Steinbrenner.


December 21, 2007

The Merionite

Squash continued from page 15

“My goals this year are to make the US Junior Men’s N a t i o n a l Te a m i n o r d e r t o compete in the World Junior Open Championships in Switzerland, and to win the US Junior Nationals in the Boys Under 17’s,” said Greenberg. He will also have to play his best for the team in what figures to be a challenging year.

And while the players have worked hard to improve, they will still have to find ways to overcome the loss of six players. With the new players coming in, consistency is key for this young team. “We really need to work on our consistency on the court as both players and as a team,” said Pizzutillo. Leadership by the veterans and coaches will also be important. The experience and guidance of seniors Pizutillo, Mike Kofsky, and Greenberg will anchor the boys. While Fleekop and juniors Kara Sil-

berthou, and Hannah Morse will provide the leadership for the girls squad. Squash is a very mental game and a strong mentality and focus can only come with experience. The veterans will look to boost the newcomers’ progress by espe-


cially helping them with the mental aspect of the game. “With squash I think a lot of it is staying in the mental game. We focus on trying to win each point and stay on the court for as long as we can,” said Fleekop.

With solid veterans, upand-coming rookies, and a star player leading the way, the squash team looks to overcome its losses and again perform well at the local and national levels.


December 21, 2007

The Merionite

Indoor track warms up for season Jodie Eichel

Class of 2008 Optimism surrounds the Lower Merion boys and girls indoor track teams as they approach their winter seasons. Both teams are looking to improve upon last season’s finishes, and the players and the coaches feel they achieve that. “The team is looking to send several relays—the Distance Medley Relay, 4x400m, and 4x800m as well as several individuals to states,” said senior Sam Agoos. Last year the boys sprint team was side tracked with a number of injuries,

Photo Courtesy of Don Rich

Drew LeDonne running in the 4X8 relay at TFCAGP last year.

but the distance team still managed to send a 4 x 8 team to states. Although most of those runners have graduated, several young runners last year made tremendous strides, and excelled during the outdoor season. For the girls: “Many of us are just trying to get back into the swing of things,” said experienced junior captain runner Haylee Hanafee. “We need to figure out the chemistry of the relay teams before we can really get competitive.” She added: “Last year things went well. We had a strong team of seniors as well as underclassmen, and later in the season we started to excel at the bigger meets in New York.” Fighting for a top spot will not be easy for both teams, as there is stiff competition from the rest of the teams. “We compete against tons of different schools from southeastern Pennsylvania, mainly the Philadelphia area, but we also compete with runners form the northeast at the Armory (in the city), and in New York City,” said Agoos. “We have a great group of kids this year,” said girls coach Dermot Anderson. “The sprinters and distance runners are working together and the team is much stronger as a result. Our returnees are a strong group of experienced runners and are helping the younger runners. Our four captains, Michele Lockhart, Hayley Hanafee, Cara Piccoli and Jess Randel are hard workers and doing a great job as leaders. We are trying to expose more runners to meets this year so that they can experience what it is like to compete. We have a great group of new runners which bodes well for the future.” The boys and girls teams already have been training hard. “Practices

range from easy, light days to challenging interval work-outs on the track and hill work-outs,” said Anderson. “No matter the weather, or the cold, we practice outside,” he added. “The girls ran hills in the snow last week and this week were training in the rain.” The players on both teams know the importance of remaining consistent. In indoor track, you can’t tire quickly or underachieve. Injuries are another issue. It is common in track for players to suffer injuries, and it is something both teams hope to avoid by conditioning well and staying in shape. Who are the players to watch? For the boys: Neal Berman and Ben Furcht are coming off of a terrific cross country season. Both made states and they both will be trying to qualify individually for states in the 3000 and mile. Scott Chernoff is a senior leader of the distance team. Drew LeDonne is a strong junior 800 runner. Aaron Schlesinger and Mike Xu are both returning senior throwers. Senior Matt Sokolic, junior Dave Bernstein, junior Sam Golden, and Agoos are the members of the 4x4 relay team. Junior Tim Regan has already medaled at a meet and he is the returning Central League Champion. The sophomore class has a group of very good runners with a ton of potential. For the girls, there’s a strong group of junior/senior sprinters, including Emily Cohen, Taylor Hayes, Sammy Levy, Michele Lockhart. Also, there are returning cross country runners: Juniors Cara Piccoli, Leah Hyman, Jess Randel, Chaz Leibowitz, and Gabby Mezochow.

SPORTS A brief look at the LM sport stories you may have missed

Babaganouj Are City-Champs On November 17th, Lower Merion Babaganouj’s A team won the Fall City Championship tournament. This tournament, which brought together some of the best schools in the Philadelphia area, marked the team’s first tournament win in a varsity division since the founding of the club two years ago. It also helped establish Babaganouj as one of the top 50 teams in the country. The team, excited by this win, plans to use the winter to train for the spring season, where they hope to be contenders for the state championship, among other tournaments. --Compiled by the Sports Staff

LM-Prep Charter Recap The LM-Prep Charter boys basketball game lived up to its hype, featuring two area ranked teams in the nightcap of the December 15 Main Line Scholastic Play-by-Play. The lead went back and forth throughout the game until the Huskies took a 59-53 lead with 1:10 left to play. Then, the Aces started a rally led by senior Carl Johnson, who hit a layup, and senior Steve Meehan, who sank his fifth 3 pointer of the night, cutting the lead down to 1 point with 31 seconds remaining. After a basket by Prep Charter, junior Harley Williamson hit two free throws to cut the lead to one. The team then caught the break it needed when the Huskies missed two free throws to give the ball back to the Aces with .4 seconds remaining. Chants of “It’s all over!” could be heard from Prep Charter fans. Unfazed, junior Kevin Escott perfectly aimed a cross-court in-bounds pass from mid court to Williamson, who made the most important 10 ft. shot of the year. “We made the play on the spur of the moment,” Williamson later told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I just saw the ball go right in the hoop.” The 62-61 win, the biggest game of the season thus far, led to complete pandemonium and celebration on the storied Main Gym floor. As fans and teammates rejoiced, the Prep Charter parents and fans lingered on the other side of the gym stunned and embarressed. After all, just a few seconds earlier they had chanted “It’s all over.” But then again, Photo by Jodie Eichel/ Staff especially with the Aces, nothing is over Gregg Robbins driving to the hoop during a hoome game ‘till it’s over.

versus Haverford High. Robbins later played a part in the Aces’ big win over Prep Charter.

--Elliot Elbaum ‘11

Merionite’s Monthly Health Tip: Mr. Oboyle Fact or Myth: Nobody is immune to the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Actually, there is a very small population of people in the world that have a natural immunity or natural resistance to HIV. A group of Kenyan women have been studied to determine why they are unable to contract HIV after being exposed to the virus for years. In fact, some of the Kenyan women have been prostitutes for 10-20 years – repeatedly having sex with infected men. Scientists have also introduced high levels of HIV into the blood samples of Steve Crohn, a man resistant to HIV, and have been unable to infect his blood. Natural immunity to HIV studies show a lot of potential for the development of vaccines and a cure, but the world of HIV/AIDS is very complicated. There are multiple strains of the virus. Will a vaccine protect everyone? Will a cure work for one strain, but not another? Would you be willing to trust such a vaccine? Remember–abstinence remains the best approach to avoiding HIV. If you make the choice to engage in sex, be sure to use a condom properly. For more information on HIV/AIDS, go to Courtsey of Google images


December 21, 2007


The Merionite

Young hockey finding its way Elie Peltz

Class of 2009

After last year’s second place finish in the Central League, the varsity hockey team is still trying to pick up its first win after seven games. Moreover, the team is trying cope with the problem of replacing eight seniors from last year’s squad. “Losing the seniors from last year was a big loss, but it looks like we have a lot of good talent. Our team is very young, but the more we play together, the better everyone is getting,” said senior goalie and captain Steven Stewart. Contributing to its winless

record is the team’s inability to generate points. So far, the team has managed to score only eight goals as opposed to fifteen at the same point last year. This fact can be attributed to the amount of scoring lost as a result of the departed seniors Will Wolf, Mike Lundy, and Marty Gottlieb-Hollis, who accounted for over half of the team’s scoring last year. Fortunately, freshmen John Zeidman and Jake Stevens have filled the roster spots, while senior Jonny Fleisher and sophomore Jordan Wolf have picked up the scoring load. “Once [Zeidman and Stevens] get those first couple goals, I’m sure they will just

start flying off of their sticks. Zeidman is a playmaker and a scorer. Jake Stevens is a real grinder and gives the most effort that I’ve seen come from a freshman,” said Stewart. Key returnees, including captains Stewart and junior defenseman Sam Stevens, as well as junior forward Jon Lundy, provide the much-needed leadership for the team. “We have a good group of leaders and some of the younger guys are also stepping up to lead,” said Stewart. On the ice, Fleisher leads the team in the points category with three goals and one assist. Stewart has once again proven

captainAlex Pizzutillo, who plays third seed on the boys varsity team. Both teams have filled the empty roster spots with new players and have improved their game by playing often during the off-season. “I think in the off season we were worried about our prospects for this year. But the girls were lucky in getting two new players in the top of our order. The boys also gained a few players from the JV squad who improved a lot in the off-season,” said senior captain Julia Fleekop. Greenberg, however, still remains the heart of this team. He began playing squash six years ago when his soccer coach recommended the sport to him. Since then, he has never looked back. He is currently the number one ranked player nationally in the 17- and -under division and a top ten player in the 19and- under division. “I like the speed and intensity of the sport, and that whether I win or

lose relies solely upon myself,” said Greenberg. But being a top player has not been easy, and his success has only been earned with hard work. Greenberg practices five days a week, while also leaving room for two personal lessons. And, according to Greenberg, managing his time between schoolwork and practice hasn’t been easy: “It has been hard to manage time between school and squash, I have to focus and concentrate to finish my school work before I can go down to the courts and practice.” His successful career has not come without his share of tough moments. A few years back, he lost both the Boys Under 13, and Boys Under 15 finals at the US Junior National Championships. But he got past the bumps in the road and focused on improving his game.

to be one of the league’s finest goaltenders, a position made even harder by the offense’s inability to control the puck in the opponent’s zone, allowing nineteen goals in 134 attempts. The team’s lackluster record, though, does not fairly represent the progress and growth of this young team. And increased camaraderie and on-ice communication will only come as a result of more experience. The players, despite their record, remain optimistic that the team can excel once the eventual boost of experience and improved offensive attack kick in. “We will win soon, very

soon, as soon as we start playing well together. Each individual player has a game where they play amazingly, but our team just can’t bring it together. But I feel that we are going to do that very soon,” said Jake Stevens. Stewart concurs, even boldly asserting that the team has the potential to advance into the playoffs. “Although our record may not show it, our young team is showing a lot of improvement and promise for the future. I feel that we have a pretty good shot at going deep in the playoffs once we get our youth some experience under their belts,” said Stewart.

Public in a private world

Xinran Wang

Class of 2010

Overshadowed by the multitude of LM’s sporting achievements, a topten nationally ranked squash player lies here in relative obscurity. This year, junior Danny Greenberg leads a reloaded squash team in hopes of another solid season. Last year, the boys team capped their terrific season with a successful performance at the U.S. National High School Squash Championship, winning the consolation round. This year, however, the boys must contend despite the loss of six seniors to graduation. And while the girls team did not do as well, they have vastly improved and remain optimistic about the coming season. “This is going to be a rough year due to the lost of six varsity players at the end of last season,” said senior

See Squash, page 13

Hobbies: Favorite winter activity: Quote:

Sledding and drinking hot chocolate “At least I’m not putting salt in the sugar shakers. Well, actually sugar in the salt shakers, but... now where did she get off to? -Marva Kulp, Sr.” -Safeer

Sports: Goal:


Kofsky backhanding a serve during the team’s win over Malvern

Steve Stewart

The best athletes that LM has to offer



Erin Knox

JV Basketball To do our best and never let down Hanging out with friends, playing basketball


Sports: Goal:

Chris Baumhaul


Kaitlin Lederer

Faces of the Aces

Photo by Dot Goldberger/ Staff

Varsity Cross Country Varsity Indoor Track Track Run mile in 4:50 and help team qualify for states Running, playing guitar, watching baseball and football

Favorite winter activity:

Buying a Christmas tree


“Shut up and run”

Sports: Goal:


Varsity Field Hockey Varsity Basketball Lacrosse To win the Central league


Hanging out with friends


Favorite winter activity:


Favorite winter activity:



“Don’t let life’s setbacks keep you from moving forward ”


Varsity Ice Hockey Win the Central league and prepare our young team for successful year after my graduation Hockey, video games, long walks on the beach, and romantic dinners Hockey, sledding, and christmas presents “What do you call a life filled with nothing but hockey? Time well spent” -Sidney Crosby


Volume 79, Issue 4


The Merionite Public in a Private World

Danny Greenberg leads Squash team in rebuilding campaign. See Squash, page 15

December 21, 2007

Boys and Girls Indoor track

Led by strong junior classes, boys and girls indoor track brave through long winter season. See Indoor, page 14

Hockey team lacks experience

Squad struggles due to youth and lack of offensive weapons. See Ice Hockey, page 15

Ahmed Mueed

Class of 2008

Coming off of a 17-9 season last year, the varsity girls basketball team is looking to improve its record and make a run into the playoffs. Last year, the team posted an impressive 7-2 home record, but struggled to maintain its effectiveness away, going 6-5 at guest courts and 3-3 at neutral courts. If the team can improve its away record, the sky is the limit. “Our team goals are to improve with each day and grow as a unit. It is important that we continue to learn and get better as the season goes on,” said coach Lauren Pellicane. So far, the Aces are off to a 5-2 start, despite opening with a heartbreaking 51-50 loss to Norristown. They have recorded key wins against Chester, Strath Haven, and West Chester Henderson. While last year’s attack was anchored by the strong senior core of Talia Katz, Anne Marie Burke, and Julia Salina, this year’s team is lead by an extremely talented junior class. Four junior starters return from last year’s squad: Lil Carney, a 5’6 guard, Alvida Clemons, a

5’5 guard, Molly Hanlon, a 5’10 swing, and Amy Woods, a 6’0 forward. Hanlon led the team last year, averaging 14.1 points per game and 5.5 rebounds per game, earning herself a first-team Central League selection. Carney will move over to the point guard position this year with the departure of Burke. Carney averaged just under 10.0 points per game and 2.5 assists per game. Woods, a solid defender, returns to the middle after averaging 5.5 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game. Clemons is a terrific athlete with explosive quickness, and hopes to be more of an offensive threat this season. Junior Erin Knox and sophomore Dana Albalancy add depth at the guard spots and should provide consistency off the bench. “We have a very talented junior class, and I think we have the leadership to make it a successful season,” exclaimed Carney.

Photo by Jodie Eichel/ Staff

Strong junior class dominating force The Aces welcome a number of newcomers to the team as well. Rekik Woiku, a 6’0 sophomore forward and versatile post player, transferred to LM from Gahanna Lincoln High School (OH). Freshman point guard Sheba Hall is a talented athlete who will make an immediate impact once she returns from an injury. 5’11 freshman forward Shakeah Jenkins will also push for immediate playing time in the frontcourt. With ample scoring weapons, the Aces need to work on their defensive skills to shut down the offensive powers of the Central League. “Our strengths must continue to lie at the defensive end. We can probably score by accident this year with the amount of talent we have on the floor. We must get better defensively, however, and control the backboard in order to be the best team we can be,” said Pillicane. The girls, unfazed by playing on the big stage, displayed their hard work and

improvement in their 45-16 win over West Chester Henderson in the “Hoops for Hopes Classic” at Cabrini College. Woods led all scorers 11 points, while Woiku chipped in with 10 points. The December 15 event was the first of its kind and was the brainchild of Pellicane and Harriton coach Carla Coleman. The tournament benefited the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and featured a slew of talented teams, including Upper Dublin and Downingtown West. Last year, the team fell in the second round of the district playoffs, but will try to use last year’s experience as this year’s motivation. Returning champion, Conestoga, returns as the favorites to conquer the league once more. The team, despite its critical loses, was picked to finish second in the league by The Philadelphia Inquirer. “Our initial goal which hasn’t changed from year to year is to compete for a Central League title. Overall, the league is talented this year. No team can be overlooked,” said Pillacane. The quest to knock off Conestoga for the Central League title begins.

finishes, senior Rob Levinthal and freshman Mark Leitch who finished in second, and first place for Fulginitti. There is still a long road ahead for the team but they are looking to take the season one

day at a time. “We have a very, very young team and so this season is really all about growth. I won’t get upset with the team as long as there is constant growth,” said Burke.

Wrestling pinned down by inexperience; still places 3rd at tournament

Lex Carlin

Class of 2008

Tucked away near the rafters of the main gym is a team hard at work perfecting their craft. This group of individuals goes relatively unnoticed during the after school hours, unless they happen to run up behind you as they charge down the halls. Despite the lack of overall visibility they are some of the most dedicated athletes in the school. This team of winter warriors is in fact the LM wrestling team. Led by long time coach David Burke, the team currently holds a 1-2 record and hopes to improve on last year’s outing. The team finished the 20062007 campaign with an overall record of 9-11 and a rather disappointing league record of 3-6. Despite the lack of league success, the team sent five wrestlers to the District One tournament at Spring-Ford High School. While four of the

five were edged out by their quarterfinal opponents, then junior, Anthony Fulginitti made it to the 189 lb. championship final but was defeated in a hard, fought 5-2 loss. This year senior captains Fulginitti, Marcus Neafsey, and Matt Sicilliano look to improve on the previous year’s record. The captains lead a rather oddly balanced team with a number of veteran seniors and new freshmen, but with very little in between. Like most clubs the loss of seniors has had an affect on this year’s team but not nearly as much as current seniors who decided to opt out of this season. “What has really hurt us this years are veterans who either quit or just did not show up,” said Burke. “As a result we had a number of holes to fill in our lineup,” added Burke. With the number of empty spots left in the lineup, the team has turned to the influx of

freshmen to fill the gaps. Despite their relative inexperience the class of 2011 is already having an impact on the squad. “It’s still early in the season and all but our team looks a great deal better than expected because we have lots of underclassman wrestling varsity,” said Fulginitti. Leading the freshmen pack is 103 pounder Robert McGowan, Josh Novak, and Zeke Zimmer who wrestle at 145 and 160 pounds respectively. The team currently stands at 1-2, with tough losses coming at the hands of Central League opponents Garnet Valley and Ridley. The team captured their lone win against Cheltenham by a score of 48-30. On Saturday December 8, the team competed in the annual West Chester East Tournament in which they finished an impressive third out eleven area teams. Individual medals were awarded to Neafsey and Zimmer for their third place

Photo by Jodie Eichel/ Staff

The wrestling team looks to make some noise in the Central League.

The Merionite  

The official Student newspaper of Lower Merion High School

The Merionite  

The official Student newspaper of Lower Merion High School