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The Merionite February 12, 2009

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

School board decision to implement “Modified Plan 3” sparks controversy

Coaches fight cancer with cookies Jenny Ma

Photo by Sivahn Barsade/Staff

Parents gathered outside the school on the day of the final redistricting meeting to protest the adoption of “Modified Plan 3.” Community members have expressed concern that the plan has racial undertornes and prevents some students who are able to walk to school from doing so.

Conor Ferguson

Class of 2011 On January 12, six of the eight LM School Board Directors voted in favor of the “Modified Plan 3” redistricting proposal. Community reaction, especially in South Ardmore, to the final proposal was mixed, and complaints have been filed with the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The original version of Plan 3, presented to the Board on December 16, was reorganized into this modified version due to the community’s initial opposition. Modified Plan 3 permits students located in the LMHS walk zone to choose which high school they will attend. If students decide to attend Harriton High School, transportation will be provided. The modified plan states that Harriton will continue to be an option for all students within the district, regardless of their residence. The District is offering new academic programs exclusively at Harriton, including Penn State College courses specializing in business, in hopes of attracting more students to Harriton. The Modified Plan 3 allows future students to stay with peers by following an assigned feeder pattern from grades K-12. It also protects the official Walk

Zones for elementary, middle and high schools, giving students that live close to a school the option to attend it. The plan also maintains grandfathering for all current high school students. The District’s redistricting plan has received an abundance of media attention in recent weeks, and the District administrative office has received over 1,500 emails regarding the plan. The District understood that the ratification of this plan would not please everyone. “This is a time that calls for understanding and healing. There are immediate issues such as access that we can begin to address, but there are deeper issues that also need to be discussed, examined and worked through so that we can again stand together as one community in support of our students,” said superintendent Dr. Christopher McGinley. “The process of planning for effective transition is important.” To ease community apprehension toward the plan, the District has set up a series of seminars for 8th grade parents and students that provide more insight on redistricting. The seminars aim to ease the students’ transition into a new high school. However, there are still members of the community that are outraged with this decision.

Modified Plan 3 states that residents of South Ardmore south of Cricket Avenue, North Narberth south of Price and Montgomery Avenues, and Penn Valley south of Bryn Mawr Avenue, all areas once assigned to LMHS, must now send their children to Harriton regardless of their proximity to LM. Former Board president Diane DiBonaventuro, now a regular member of the Board, was one of the two who voted against the ratification of “Modified Plan 3.” “The two communities most notably affected by the plan (Narberth and Ardmore) have no representative on the board,” said DiBonaventuro. This leaves these areas at a disadvantage. Along with DiBonaventuro, many members of the Ardmore community disapprove of this plan. The redistricted section of Ardmore is predominantly African American. Forty-one percent of redistricted students are minority members of the community, leaving some to call this a racially insensitive move on behalf of the Board. This has motivated members of the South Ardmore community to file more than 30 complaints to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). However, no action has been taken by PDE at this time, and they were not available for comment.

Junior class scrambles to triumph over Taste of LM cancellation Jason Kramen

Class of 2010 Due to economic problems as well as a lack of space and outside participation, the junior class has cancelled Taste of Lower Merion, the annual junior class fundraiser. While the general consensus preceding the 2008-2009 school year was that A Taste of Lower Merion was not going to work out, the officers of the Class of 2010 still attempted to organize this event. However, many restaurants were reluctant to offer their services during these turbulent times and the closing of the annex forced the event to be relocated to the less spacious cafeteria.

The Oscars: The Merionite’s Take

See A&E, page 15

“The economic problems made getting restaurants to agree to come difficult,” said junior class secretary Marta Bean. “Also, there were very few parents involved, and there was little energy coming from the students.” “The event became so large that we had a lot of trouble finding a committee of parents willing to commit to such an all-consuming undertaking,” said junior class sponsor Jen Dawson. “Previously, Taste of Lower Merion was partially run by a professional event planning company who, for various reasons, was not a good fit to continue to work with us any longer.”

See Taste of LM, page 2

Keep On Keepin’ On Punxsutawney Phil may have seen his shadow, but there are a lot of reasons to keep on trucking this winter! See Features, page 7

Class of 2010

This month LM is participating in the nationwide Coaches vs. Cancer organization to increase awareness and raise money for cancer research. As part of the Central League, LM has taken part in this program for six years. Each year, two district games are set up to fundraise for Coaches vs. Cancer. Other charity events, such as the bake sale last week and the sale of shirts and bracelets, have also raised money for the program. This year, the Coaches vs. Cancer game was held on Tuesday, February 3 at BCMS. LM defeated Haverford 60-36. “A jar was passed around where you could put in your donation. All proceeds went to Coaches vs. Cancer,” said junior Noah Zuares. “Many students were at the game, most wearing the pink Coaches vs. Cancer shirts, and I think it’s a great way to get them to donate money to a good cause.” Overall, LM collected more than $1,000 for Coaches vs. Cancer: $400 from the Coaches vs. Cancer shirts, $100 from the bracelets, and the rest from donations. “In the last two years, Lower Merion was in top five percent of contributors in the Central League,” said Athletics and Activities Secretary Kim Shalon. “This year fundraising was harder because of the scheduling problems,” said Athletics and Activities Director Don Walsh. “Before, the boys’ varsity and girls’ varsity teams played on the same night. But now they have to be in the same building at the same time, which is a problem with our limited space.” LM also raised money for Coaches vs. Cancer by hosting breakfasts and lunches. Delancy Street Photo courtesy of Bagels has donated Coaches wore sneakers instead breakfast food to the of dress shoes in honor of the cause. Last Friday at a occasion. Many students wore faculty breakfast faculty pink for the same reason. members paid three dollars for bagels and donuts. All proceeds were donated to Coaches vs. Cancer. According to chemistry teacher Dave Moyer, the program began in 1993, when people around the country were moved to tears by Jim Valvano’s inspirational ESPY speech. He closed with, “Cancer can take away all of my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever.” Shortly after, Valvano died of cancer. Moved by his words and inspired by Norm Stewart’s challenge to fans to pledge a dollar for every three points made by his University of Missouri basketball team during the season, Coaches vs. Cancer evolved. Today most high schools in Pennsylvania participate in the organization.

Photo by Eugenia Jin/Staff

Happy Valentine’s Day! Check out the Valentine’s Day shoutouts in the Center Spread


February 12, 2009


The Merionite

Junior class looks to new fundraisers to compensate for loss of Taste of LM From Taste of LM, page 1

In an effort to recapture funds, the junior class is holding small fundraisers such as a Valentine’s Day Flower Sale and afterschool food sales. In addition, the officers are organizing a five-kilometer run to be held sometime in the spring. A portion of these proceeds will go to charities such as the ABC House and the LM Scholarship fund. Due to this perseverance, many juniors have exhibited indifference towards the cancellation of the event. “I’m disappointed that it was cancelled,” said junior Courtney Cines. “But the run is an efficient and fun way to raise money and something the students will be willing to participate in.” “I think it’s a shame that A Taste of LM was canceled at the last minute, but the 5K run is going to raise a lot of money and will be a welcomed event in the LM community,” said LM parent Carolyn Lindheim.

Itai Doron

Class of 2011 Now that the foundation and walls of the new school have been completed, tasks at hand include installing mechanical, electrical, and plumbing equipment. This month, workers are connecting pipes and wiring to air conditioning equipment known as chillers, and to boilers which serve as heating equipment. These installations will take another several months to finish. Workers are also constructing walls and floors of the pool section and the first floor art room the new school by setting up structural steel to support the walls. To provide further

structural support, construction workers must backfill the walls, packing large amounts of heavy material against them. Following the completion of the walls, cured concrete is layered into the floors of the new school. The newly-poured concrete must be kept at a constant temperature and in liquid form to regulate the chemical reaction between the water and concrete. “Temporary partitions, or plastic sheets, and temporary heat are being used in order to allow the concrete to cure,” says Project Developer James Lill. Work at the construction site this month is being moved

Photo courtesy of Jason Hilt

underground as electrical circuit systems are designed and installed along with a storm and sanitary sewer. Many structures that began being constructed a few months ago are reaching completion, including the decking of the locker and art room buildings. After much strenuous work the last footers and foundations are being completed in the area containing the future pool. Next month’s construction will include work on footers, electrical equipment, concrete walls and floors, backfilling, structural steel, as well as completing other structures.

Work experience students revamp recycling program Jake Delman

Class of 2011 Starting on February 9, members of the LM Work Experience Program assumed paper recycling collection duties at LM. “This is a win-win situation for everyone,” said Work Experience coordinator Mrs. Bonnie Fox. “Our school recycles more paper and our students get to practice another job skill along with improving their social and communication skills.” This project was born out of a partnership between the Work Experience coordinator, the custodial staff, and the LM environmental club. “We met with Mr. Rosazza and it was his suggestion,” explained Fox. The paper trash collection process requires teachers to place their recycling bins outside their door from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. During that time the work experience students will make their way around the school collecting the trash. Mrs. Fox has also made plans to accommodate teachers who would rather not put their bins outside. Teachers were able to request that students enter the room to collect recycling containers. “We promise it will only take a moment and we will do our best not to disturb your class,” she wrote in a recent email to teachers. “Programs such as this [one] help prepare our students for the job market,” said another Special Education teacher, Marianne McGuire. “Each skill they learn is a marketable skill. A high school graduate who already has on his/her resume that he/ she knows how to empty trash bins efficiently can easily get hired by an office building downtown. Someone who already knows how to wipe tables clean can be hired as a bus boy at a restaurant. It is the focus of the work experience program to give these kids exactly those experiences.”

Photo by Esther Hoffman/Staff

Work experience students (from left) Eric Wells, Matthew Hollin, Lydia Thompson, and Rachel Fishbein during their first day on the job.

Some people have also expressed concerns that paper products at LM are not recycled properly. “They tell me [all trash] goes to the same place anyway,” said Social Studies and Theology teacher Mark Levy. “[So] why bother?” “I think [that the trash is being recycled] because we wouldn’t have the blue trash cans for no reason, but if [the trash isn’t being recycled] that’s a problem that needs to be dealt with,” said sophomore Drew Ackerman. But LM Environmental Science teacher and advisor to the Environmental Club and Green Council Glenn Rosazza assures the students and faculty that they need not worry. “According to Allied Waste, the company that collects our paper trash, LMHS recycled more pounds of paper trash in 2005 than every other school in the district combined,” said Rosazza.

Photo by Esther Hoffman/Staff

Junior class officers began selling roses and carnations during lunches to compensate for the funds lost from the cancellation of A Taste of LM.

February 12, 2009


The Merionite


LMSD experiments with hybrid bus technology Hana Rouse

Class of 2010

LMSD recently acquired the use of a hybrid bus for three weeks. After its time in LMSD has expired, the bus will move on to Radnor School District. The bus is fueled primarily by diesel, but batteries provide additional electric power. “Modern locomotives have been using a similar power system for years,” said Supervisor of Transportatin Michael Andre. “Our local dealer, Wolfington Bus Sales, has made available the hybrid bus as a demonstration,” contin-

ued Andre. “Lower Merion Transportation is always interested in exploring ‘green’ transportation technology. We would have been foolish to pass up the opportunity.” While it was in the district the bus was assigned to the regular daily route #68, and operated by Karl Hohorst. The district has no immediate plans to purchase such a bus for its fleet, but LMSD has used alternative fuels for a number of years. In 1996 the District purchased its first school bus run on natural gas, and

Administration cracks down on student sign-ups

Photo courtesy of

since then the number of such buses has grown to 69. “The District is currently the largest alternative fuel school bus fleet on the East coast,” said Andre.

Record number of students LM Sci-Oly: preparing volunteer for Bloodmobile by procrastinating Samantha Hershman

Class of 2009 The LM Bloodmobile, a semiannual drive held since 1980, has collected record amount of donations since a Pennsylvania state bill was pased in January 2008 permitting 16 year olds to give blood with parent permission. “It has really helped the drive,” said PE teacher and Bloodmobile director Sandy Hoopes. “There were so many 16-year-olds that wanted to help others, but could not due to the old law.” In past years, between 100 and 150 pints of blood were collected at each drive, but with the additional donors the November 2008 bloodmobile exceeded all previous records. “During the last drive we broke the record and got 185 Photo by Esther Hoffman/ Staff pints,” said member of Laura Maxwell from the Red the board of directors Cross briefed volunteers over junior Caroline Carpey. protocol prior to the February “Now that 16-year-olds Bloodmobile. can donate blood, the amount of people that have come to donate has increased.” Each donation saves the lives of approximately three patients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Thus, during the November bloodmobile, the first drive to include minors, the collected blood helped the lives of 555 people. Several days before donating blood, students should eat foods high in iron and drink plenty of water. Student volunteers facilitate the Bloodmobile by checking student donors in and out of appointments. “We also have ‘hand holders’ who help walk donators from the donating beds to the recovery mats in case someone needs to lean on someone to walk,” said Carpey. “And we give snacks to donors to get their energy back up.” The Bloodmobile provides the opportunity for LM students to reach out to members of the community. “I figured that I was old enough now to help some people out,” said senior Eric Tseng. “It felt good giving blood [in November], and I’m going to do it again in the upcoming drive.” “Some students are uncomfortable around needles, but still donate because they want to help,” said Hoopes. “It is a selfless act of kindness and I am very proud of our students.”

Global News You Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th US President on January 20, 2009. Since then he has selected a number of his Cabinet members, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and Commerce Secretary Judd Gregg. After a three week war between Israel and the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, a ceasefire was declared on January 18. Even so violence continues on both sides. Egypt is currently working to broker a long term truce between Israel adn Hamas, but so far neither side can agree.


Samantha Hershman

Class of 2009 The LM Science Olympiad team came in sixth place at the invitational competition held at Athens Area High School on January 17. Currently the team is preparing for the Southeastern Pennsylvania regional competition. 14 team members were awarded medals for seven different events including Cell Biology, Ecology, and Dynamic Planet. Junior Connie Hua and senior Jonah Joffe took first place in the cell biology event. “We did pretty well at the invitational,” said the club’s vice president, junior Jonah Mann. “There is very strong competition— all the best teams from New York state and Pennsylvania.” “We use invitationals as a way to get to know the events and let the new club members get some experience,” said club president Ariel Morganstern. “For invitationals we all study on our own time, but not really,” said Mann. “Many people just start studying on the bus up to Athens.” Nevertheless, the team prevailed and won many medals. “There was this one event, It’s About Time, where we were supposed to have built a timekeeping device accurate to a tenth of a second for up to five minutes,” said Mann. “But we never built anything, so we just sent Dan Aronowitz and Xinran Wang to count in their heads and then take the average of their times. They came in ninth out of 30.” “We have adopted a slug as a mascot if that gives you some clue,” said Morganstern. “We tend to procrastinate and still place a solid fourth at state.” “I am very excited for regionals,” said Mann. “It is the easiest competition, meaning the best chance to win lots of medals.” The student-run club is also led by treasurer Sophia Hirsch and secretary Jenny Ma.

When students returned from winter break they were confronted by stricter rules enforcing Academic Recovery (AR) sign ups. Administrators responded to the deficit of students signing up for this extra-help class by instituting “hallway sweeps.” Hallway sweeps occur five minutes into the AR period after administrators remind the student body via the loudspeaker to remember to sign up multiple times throughout the day. At this five-minute point, teachers are instructed to close their doors and not allow any other students into their room. Then, administrators and campus aids shepherd the straggling students to the auditorium where they are given a warning for their first offense and a detention for any successive offense. “We tried everything. We ran out of things to do short of picking [the students] up and tossing them into classrooms,” said Assistant Principal Scott Kilpatrick. The administration apprehended fifteen students during the first hallway sweep and six during the second. After the first week of this new policy AR attendance improved and the administration cut back on their hallway sweeps. Last week, however, the administration reinstated the sweeps when AR attendance dwindled. This past Thursday twelve students were issues detentions as a result. “In general these students are great, they just need that reminder to sign up,” said Kilpatrick.

--Sivahn Barsade, ‘10

Merionite recognized for excellence

The Merionite recently received a Gold Medalist Award from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA). Each year a number of student newspapers, magazines, and yearbooks are invited to submit their material to the CSPA for review. In 2005 CSPA began reviewing online media as well The goal of the CSPA is to help improve the quality of student work. Adviser-judges assess and offer constructive critiques complimenting the strengths and addressing the weaknesses of the student media. There are three possible distinctions given to student publications: Gold Medalist, Silver Medalist, and Bronze Medalist. The Merionite staff will again attend CSPA’s annual conference this March in New York City, at which point this year’s awards will be announced.

--Hana Rouse, ‘10

LM welcomes new miniature hall passes

Photo by Eugenia Jin/ Staff

LM Science Olympiad officers meet to discuss the logistics of the upcoming regional competition.

May Have Missed On January 31, 2009 new security measures allowed Iraqis to gather at polling places to cast their votes in the nation’s first peaceful election. Peanut products contaminated with salmonella, stemming from the Peanut Corporation of America, have infected more than 500 people and caused the deaths of 8 individuals. The Georgian peanut plant recalled all of their products manufactured from July 2008 through January 2009.

Three months after the administration implemented a universal hall pass system, featuring 8 ½ x 11 inch cardstock passes in a variety of bright colors, the administration switched over to a smaller “mini-me” pass. The LM Environmental Club (LMEC) initiated this change in response to the environmental “unfriendliness” of the original passes. LMEC approached Assistant Principal Scott Kilpatrick with the alternative “mini” pass. After Principal Sean Hughes approved the change in the second week of January, the administration set out to switch over to the new pass system. “We have an open door policy here,” said Kilpatrick. “If you have a problem [the administration] is happy to talk about it. LMEC did a great job because they did not only come in with a legitimate concern, but also with a solution.” The new pass is only 5 x 4 inches and can be used continuously, as opposed to the previous hall passes which needed to be replaced every month. If a student loses his or her card, replacements are available in the main office. “I have not had one complaint [about the new hall passes],” said Kilpatrick. “Actually, I have seen more of the mini-me’s than the other hall pass.”

--Sivahn Barsade, ‘10


February 12, 2009

The Merionite EDITORIAL

EDITORIAL/LETTERS Letters to the Editor

Drinking and drugs, the be all end all? Pledge, say it like you mean it...

As we slowly escape the clutch of dead winter, the days continue to be dark and the temperatures low. Boredom and depression haunt the community. It is here that we find ourselves fighting off indulgences. Confined to our houses for weekends, some LMers find little to do and turn to drugs and alcohol for entertainment. We don’t aim to examine the question of whether or not drugs should be used—we’ve all taken D.A.R.E; we’re familiar with the scare tactics—but just to ask for caution and self-control in their use. But what does it mean to use drugs responsibly? Does it mean stopping intake just before you reach dangerous levels? No, we believe responsibility comes from your attitude going into drinking or drug use. Responsibility isn’t about being lucky and just avoiding your limit, but rather about being determined to not hit that limit. It’s one thing to figure out how far you can go; it’s another to blindly stumble toward the edge. Indeed, many LM students seem to think that drinks and drugs should be the ends of a great weekend rather than just a means for having a bit of fun. This kind of attitude results in abuse. We do not always fully realize the potency of the substances we use—or the harm we can do to ourselves and others when we go overboard. And that’s one thing we believe is missing from this discussion: concern for others. Underage drinking and drug use are inherently rebellious activities, and it’s easy to rationalize away dangerous behavior by claiming that you’re only hurting yourself. But too often, individual indulgences endanger the wider community. Drinking and driving has been successfully stigmatized; why should smoking pot and driving be socially acceptable? It, too, poses a risk to others. Let’s face the facts: drugs and alcohol exist and are available, so teenagers will use them. Anti-drug programs often ignore this, favoring fear tactics and pleas for abstinence. The only way we can effectively curb substance abuse is by changing our attitudes toward these drugs. And to do this, we must foster social pressure to stop the view of drinking as the goal of our high school years. Although we cannot change human nature, we can remind one another to keep recklessness in check. 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 Managing Editor News Editors

Op-Ed Editors

Features Editors

Arts & Entertainment Editors

Carolyn Chou, ’09 Liz Jacobs, ’09 Emma Saltzberg, ’09 Sivahn Barsade, ’10 Samantha Hershman, ’09 Hana Rouse, ’10 Chou Chou, ’09 Ethan Cohen, ’09 Niklas Thompson, ’09 Hannah Goldberg-Morse, ’10 Bina Peltz, ’10 Jessica Scolnic, ’09 Sophia Hirsch, ’09 Jenny Smolen, ’09 Hannah Weilbacher, ’10

Sports Editors Elie Peltz, ’09 Xinran Wang, ’10 Corinne Zucker, ’09 Layout Editor Sam Blum, ’09 Graphics/ Noah Zuares, ’10 Web Editor Business Marissa Presser, ’09 Manager Photo Editor Esther Hoffman, ’09 Copy Editors Isaac Lindy, ’10 Emily Sorensen, ’10 Advisor Mr. Chad Henneberry 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.

Something always bothered me about the Pledge of Allegiance. We would stand every day in elementary school; I was young and ignorant and didn’t really think for myself. I got used to it though, and went through six and seventh grade obediently. There was, however, always that little part of me in the back of my head that asked, “Why do we do this?” Then I learned about “patriotism,” about the pride we take in our country, and how we praise our forefathers for the freedom they gave us. I never really thought about the words of the pledge until eighth grade, when I started listening. I had no idea of the history of the pledge, but interpreted the words to my own satisfaction. The only part I really had trouble with was “under God.” That, I decided, was a violation of the constitutional amendment of “separation of church and state,” and shouldn’t belong in the pledge at all. The rest I said every day, and just fell silent when the rest of the class muttered “under God.” In ninth grade, I really got tired of the Bush administration. So tired, in fact, that even the words of patriotism to America started to sound like lies and propaganda. I was always thankful to live in America, of course, I just didn’t exactly feel obligated to stand and salute the America in which we were living. This might just have been my Democratic bitterness, but I felt strongly that the pledge should be something you say wholeheartedly and with conviction, not just because the teachers tell you to. It wasn’t until the ceramics teacher, Ms. Moon, showed me that the pledge was originally written for the popular children’s magazine The Youth Companion with the word “equality” after “liberty” and “justice.” There was no “under God.” Someone decided to adopt this pledge for classrooms all around the country, but they had to make some necessary changes first. Of course, African Americans were not considered “equal” at the

time it was adopted, so “equality” was left out because it was considered too controversial. “Under God” was only added later in 1954, reflecting the undying influence of Christianity on America, even though the original writer, a Baptist minister, was smart enough to figure out that it was unconstitutional. I immediately refused to say the pledge all together. However, I realized that even though I may not like the administration, or the wording of the pledge, I still respected and was happy to live in America. I love “liberty” and “justice” as much as the next guy, and feel privileged to live in a place where I can have both. And, although we’re still working on “equality,” we’ve made a lot of improvements over the last few decades. Henceforth, I decided to mark occasions that I felt deserved recognition, the things that reflect what make America great. Things like Barack Obama’s inauguration and Independence Day. That way, the pledge isn’t just something I say everyday because I have to, it’s something that marks my pride in America. Even though I drop “under God” and stick in “equality” where it rightfully belongs, the general meaning of the pledge is the same--in fact it’s what it should be. Avi had some valid points in his article—there is always the lazy person who just can’t get up in the morning—but I have also seen people that wholeheartedly agree with me. I just don’t think it’s fair to group people that say the pledge and don’t say the pledge into “patriotic” and “lazy.” There is more to the pledge than the dull words we repeat everyday, and each and every person in free America has the right to choose if they say the pledge or not, when they say it, and how they do, for whatever reason that may be. Deep down, pledge or not, it is our gratefulness to America that matters in the end. Leah Rosenbloom Class of 2011


February 12, 2009

The Merionite George W. Bush, in retrospect There are two versions of former President George W. Bush. There is the man the world has come to know as stubborn, determined and abrasive, with embarrassing approval ratings born of extensive mishandling of tasks ranging from speechmaking to government-departmental oversight. Then there is the Isaac Smith man whose world Class of 2009 vision—the notion of creating a flowering democracy in the heart of an unstable and dangerous region so as to aid in the spreading of economic, social, and political freedom, equality, and development— is so understandable and admirable that one can only feel at a loss that events did not turn out as he had hoped. The world knows the former much better than it does the latter. In fact, one could say the latter version does not even exist, that the description is just a euphemistic portrayal of a megalomaniacal leader’s quest for hegemony. Regardless of general sentiment about the man, public perception of him could change if the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan end successfully. If, by whatever means and for whatever reasons, Iraq and Afghanistan become vibrant, even semi-democratic countries with political and economic stability, Mr. Bush may very well become known as a visionary who worked to see the world weather tough times. The most notable precedent for this is the legacy of Winston Churchill. As Prime Minister of Great Britain, Churchill was staunchly in favor of maintaining colonies, and had an opinion of Gandhi—who is well-revered by Americans today—so insulting that no modern American politician would ever think to quote him favor-

ably on it. His legacy as a champion of western democracy, however, outlives whatever racist or colonialist opinions he harbored, and it is on that positive note that Mr. Churchill is quoted and referred to today quite favorably by American politicians and citizens alike. This is not to guarantee the likelihood President Bush will ever be named amongst the great leaders but rather, considering the virtually unanimous desire to see Afghanistan and Iraq become healthy, to predict that his legacy is bound to improve. We may not see the benevolence in him yet— and there could very well be none—but the more these two projects make strides, the better we will remember President Bush. That it is possible for a leader to be thought of differently when looked at retrospectively than while he or she is in power is an interesting check against public opinion. The media has explored the President’s quest to determine his legacy numerous times, whether in relation to something as mundane as the building of a presidential library or as spectacular as the request for 15 billion dollars to fight AIDS in Africa. These programs will be remembered in addition to the waterboarding and the illegal wiretappings that surround his name, and will balance his negative image with a more positive one. While President Bush may not be the first leader to benefit from this check—Thomas Jefferson did own slaves in addition to having intimate extramarital affairs—he will be the first to tie it, in addition to the cute little library in Texas, to the fate of millions. By linking his legacy so directly to the fate of two nations, Mr. Bush has ensured that Americans will not only remember him, but that many of them will be inadvertently working to place him in a better light—for if they do not, it is known what horrors could happen. And if, in the end, his instincts turn out to have been right, in addition to naming him as one of the notable visionaries of western democracy, we ought to name him as one of the cleverest.

That it is possible for a leader to be thought of differently when looked at retrospectively than while he or she is in power is a check against public opinion

Why I support Israel Since the most recent conflict broke out in Gaza, I have heard many warped and skewed positions on Israel, and sometimes from people who have no idea, or little idea of what they’re talking about. Without proof, some people have said that Israel is committing genocide, intentionally killing Palestinian civilians. I have heard people blame IsraElliot Elbaum Class of 2011 el for the abysmal living conditions in Gaza. The worst, however, is that I have heard people claim that Israel has no right to be a Jewish state because, as they believe, “Palestinians” are indigenous to that land. There are a lot of problems with that last claim, especially since the only time I’ve seen “Palestine” on a map is in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.

People who believe this fail to realize the following points. Jews have always had a presence in Israel, which according to ancient texts, goes back to 1312 BC, about 2,000 years before the rise of Islam. The first time the name “Palestine” was used for the land was around 130 AD when Hadrian conquered the land and called it “Palastina,” and that is still nearly 1,500 years after Israel. Arabs have only been calling themselves “Palestinians” for about 40 years now, so how could there ever have been a “Palestine” that dates back to Israel’s origin? For instance, take a look at this quote by Arab Historian, Prof. Philip Hittl, “There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not.” Now, I don’t know how anybody could still call the country “Palestine,” claim that Israel stole the land, and say that the country goes back throughout history, but if anyone still refuses to see the truth, I have some simple questions to ask. Can anyone tell me who founded the country “Palestine”, and when it was founded? Major cities? Unit of currency? What was its capital? And when I ask what


Junior Scheduling

A full course dinner

As course selections come up, it’s a pretty great time to be a junior. Unlike the rest of the underclassmen who must take a certain number of courses in math and science, second-semester juniors have the option of foregoing such classes their senior year. It’s a little-known secret that Lower Merion only reConnie Hua quires three credits Class of 2010 of math and science to graduate! So for all of us who’ve struggled through years of torturous math classes or boring science labs, senior year is the light at the end of a very long tunnel. Choosing the classes you want to take senior year without worrying about the constraints of graduation requirements is a great idea. Why make people who know they hate math and science suffer any more than necessary—especially during their last year? I know math and science courses are crucial to many career fields and make you a more educated person, but are they really necessary to success in all future professions? Think about the number of adults who would know, unnecessarily, how to balance a chemical equation to equilibrium; who would be able to calculate the distance a projectile would go if fired from an angle of 30 degrees above the horizontal; or who would know how to prove the binomial theorem with mathematical induction. What adult needs to know these things? Chances are, by the time you’ve reached senior year, you know basic mathematics well enough and don’t really need to waste time learning more math that you’ll never actually use. But logically speaking, this same idea should apply to the opposite side of the spectrum, right? After all, for every student who abhors the sciences, there has to be one who dreads the humanities. As confusing as math can be, I’ve seen history textbooks that are so much worse. Granted, they may not require as many analytical skills or tapping in numbers on a TI-84, but the tedious amounts of memorization can be killer. Not to mention that higherlevel English papers require not only writing skills but also an ability to delve

deeper into the material and draw out new conclusions. Undoubtedly, the humanities are difficult as well. But unlike the science and math courses, four years of humanities are required as a graduation prerequisite. Of course, this is not to say that writing skills should be completely ignored either. The ability to communicate clearly through writing is important in almost any field. However, there are limits to how much one needs to know. Sure, students should know how to write effective résumés and cover letters, but is it necessary to know how to write a rhetorical analysis or a synthesis essay? The current graduation system does not account for how much students actually need to know— rather it concentrates on what the School District thinks students should know. This unequal system proves inefficient as it blatantly ignores the talents and struggles of students who would rather take more analytical courses in lieu of their required humanities courses. Students will sit, bored, in classes where they will learn little. It would be much more effective for them to take classes in which they would be engaged and learn things that they would probably use later on in their lives. Secondly, this system is also unfair because it seems to give humanities more weight than science and math for the majority of LM students. Personally I think all subjects can be very difficult, especially as high school progresses: I don’t draw a distinction between a hard AP Physics class or a hard AP English class, and I’m sure not many other people do either. Of course these two different classes draw upon different skills, but by no means is one skill universally more important or harder to master than another; it all depends on the person and his or her future career path. To truly be fair and account for the needs of all its students, LM has to recognize that everyone has certain strengths and weaknesses—people aren’t just uninterested in science and in math. We already have a great policy in place where one can choose a course load from dozens and dozens of interesting classes, but this option should be open to a variety of different subjects. Only then can everyone have the opportunity to explore a curriculum that is customized just for him or her, leading to a better education and a much better senior year.

was its capital, don’t say Jerusalem, because for the past 3,000 years, Jerusalem has never been any Muslim, Arab, or “Palestinian” capital. Even when the Jordanians inhabited Jerusalem, they never made it their capital, and Arab leaders never even came to visit. Throughout time, the ruling power in this land has changed hands more times than I have appendages. But in 1948 with the land under UN control, the UN created a proposal that would benefit both the Jews and Arabs. The proposal was a ‘split state’ solution. Half of the land would be Israel, the Jewish state, and the other half would be Palestine, the Arab state. Whether it was because they were unable to live next to Jews or because they just wanted all of the land, for whatever reason, Arab armies invaded Israel from Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. To this day, Israelis have been attacked unexpectedly by Palestinians time and time again, while the media continues to make Israel out to be the bad guy and takes the side of the Palestinians. I have also heard people claim that Israel is cutting off humanitarian aid in order to mistreat innocent Palestinian civilians. According to organizations such as the United

Nations Relief and Work Agency, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, however, terrorists from Hamas have been looting humanitarian aid that was intended for the poor. In addition certain humanitarian aid trucks have been smuggling supplies such as night vision surveillance equipment into Gaza. These trucks could just as well have been carrying weapons and rockets. Israel was not simply being cruel, rather after ruthless attacks from terror groups such as Hamas, Israel needed to be extremely cautious. A cease-fire may have been called a few weeks ago, but Hamas has already fired rockets at Israel, and those rockets were not fired in self-defense. I expect Israel to defend itself, but when Israel does defend itself, people continue to accuse it of committing genocide. People will also continue to say that Israel is the reason for the poor living conditions in Gaza, even though they refuse to look at the corrupt government that is in charge. Regarding the modern day conflict, however, I’m not saying that Israel has done nothing wrong. We should aim to understand both side’s anger. As Golda Meir, the former Israeli prime minister said, “We can forgive you for killing our sons. But we will never forgive you for making us kill yours.”


February 12, 2009

OPINIONS Facebook family requests, accept or ignore? The Merionite

After completing a school day filled with tests, assignments, and extra-curriculars, I came home recently and logged onto the computer as I usually do. I took a quick look at G mail, ES PN , and all my other non-educational sites. Last on my voyage was Facebook. I typed in my password and entered the socialnetworking uniMatt Rublin verse. Hmm… Class of 2011 do I spot a friend request in the upper right corner? Could it be somebody from school? A friend from camp? Somebody with whom I’ve lost touch? To my surprise, it was somebody that I was not even expecting to have a Facebook account, let alone friend me. It was my aunt. Yes, you read that correctly. My aunt from California has a Facebook. Are you kidding me? My brain attempted to grasp the crazy situation. Should I graciously accept my aunt and let her enter my Facebook world? Or should I reject it and look like a jerk instead of a good nephew? I was about to click on that “Reject” button, but I began to have second thoughts. Accepting anyone as a friend on Facebook grants that person access to parts of conversations, photographs, videos, etc. A kid could be hesitant to add an adult who would then be able to see such content. It’s a well-known fact: teens do not want

adults to “interfere” with their social lives. However, how would an adult’s presence disturb a teen’s social life? If you are so worried about an adult seeing a photo, video, or conversation, then should such content be on Facebook in the first place? Should that picture from “the party” be available for all friends, both teens and adults, to see on the world wide web? If a teen really wants to “hide” different aspects of his or her overall profile (I’ve got nothing to hide), then Facebook has adequate privacy settings to let him or her do just that. The entry of adults on socialnetworking sites does not impact the ways we carry on with our day-to-day social lives. You can keep the same friends that you had before. No one is asking you to change a single thing just because an adult can see your profile. According to a January 2009 Pew Internet and American Life Project study, around 35% of online adults now have at least one profile on a social networking site. The number of grown-up members has roughly doubled every 18 months over the last four years. Clearly, adults have a greater share of the social-networking world.

Adults are not going on Facebook to annoy you or make you feel embarrassed. They actually want to connect with some of their friends, as shocking as that may seem. An adult may want to re-connect with that long-lost college friend from 30 years ago or talk with their boss about life. They plan class reunions and make groups so they can reminisce about certain experiences. Despite what you may believe, adults are not going on Facebook just to intrude or find out the scoop about your social life. They have lives, too. I really like my aunt. But if I didn’t, wouldn’t Facebook be the best way to have interactions with her? Nothing could be more awkward than having a conversation face to face or over the phone without anything to talk about with a relative that you are not really fond of. Plus, I’ll look like a good nephew when I write on her wall to wish her a happy birthday. Let’s get to the basics: Facebook was not originally for us. Its original purpose was to connect college students. Had Facebook stayed with its original concept of allowing only college stu-

dents to join, then neither adults nor high school teens would have been exposed to this phenomenon that we have grown to love. We were once in the same boat as adults. So, once we joined Facebook, wouldn’t adults joining have been the next logical step? I don’t understand how it would be fair for teens to join and for adults to be encouraged not to join. If we were in the same boat at the beginning, then we should be in the same boat at the end. I know I’m advocating an unpopular position. Most kids dread the thought of older relatives or parents entering their social paradise. They worry that parents would dig through their little “gossip sanctuary.” I can agree with everyone who believes it is important for kids to have some space away from their parents. However, what kids ignore is that most parents DON’T CARE about the “daily happenings” of teenage social lives. As long as you are upfront about certain issues, events, or problems, parents won’t feel the need to search around your profile. The key issue is trust: if parents can trust you to tell them about things and not hide them, they will never snoop around your profile. If you are uncomfortable about accepting a parent or relative as a friend, then talk with them about it and set some guidelines. If you think it is truly necessary, set up those privacy settings. Just be fair and nice to that parent or relative. After all, most likely they bought that computer for you. There is no need to start a rift in the relationship just because you don’t trust them with an Internet page. With all these matters in my mind, I accepted my aunt into my mecca. I never envisioned seeing “You are now friends with…” with my aunt’s name in it.

Optimism : the road less traveled

I’m not here to rant about typical teenage trials and tribulations. My issue does not lie in the SAT/college application process, social pressures or any hypocritical Lower Merion policy. I do not write this with any great concern for the economy, political system or state of religion. It’s none of that. Though it incorporates all of these. Rachel Cohen I’m here to talk Class of 2010 about optimists. I am pretty sure what I say will resonate in many LMer’s ears. It has become normal, accepted and even praised to be a critic. Being cynical and negative is all the rage these days. So how come? Why do those kids that speak up about the “ridiculous, corrupt government” sound more intelligent in class discussions than the timid positive ones? Because it’s easier; hence the road more traveled. In my book, being cynical is a cop-out. Do I believe there are serious and legitimate flaws that need to be addressed? Of course. I’m not flying on Cloud Nine believing all is happy and jolly. I’m conscious of the fact that standardized tests do not reflect on our college application what type of person we are deep down. I acknowledge that technology can harm us as well as help us. I realize we are in the midst of hard economic times and that everyone is playing the blame game and pointing fingers. I also know that

teenagers are too often belittled and their opinions too often ignored. These are serious problems; however, they are not set in stone. Not one of these issues should be looked at with a defeated, resigned manner The issue I recognize is not solely negativity. It’s that there are certain phrases that get packaged, rewrapped and recycled through the mouths of students in our school because we already know them to be “accepted statements.” It seems as though we don’t even realize how toxic this trend really is. Is it all the kid’s faults? Oh no. Teachers eat this stuff up. Teachers will view these kids as “insightful” or “thoughtful,” not even considering how worn-out half their statements are. When that kid in class raises his/her hand to speak of the “abysmal direction of America’s youth due to addictions to cell phones,” they are engaging in what’s known as “fashionable cynicism.” For example, when kids complain that we have too many laptops at Lower Merion. Yes, there are striking disparities between school districts. But simply complaining is not going to help fix the inequalities. It is a little different if someone actually tried to do something – such as taking advantage of the resources offered to him or her at Lower Merion and trying to get in contact with someone who could actually make a difference. Save us all the headaches and bad moods and put your energy to good use. What I consider less traveled and hence more difficult is the path of rising above fashionable cynicism. It is the kids who understand an issue and also research ways to address it before making judgment. But come on. That’s inconvenient. It’s less time consuming and apparently more so-

cially respectable to just repeat what I like to call “postulates of society.” Statements that society assumes to be true, so we don’t even bother proving anymore. But, what if instead of hopping on the bandwagon, you wanted decide their validity for yourself? Please do not fear “the smart kids” with their know-it-all tones. I’d bet money they don’t know half as much as they pretend. Now, I have this hunch. I have this feeling that we’re unhappy being this giant pile of Negative Nancys. We look at our parents growing up during the 60’s waving their peace signs and listening to their Beatles music. They had the power of the Civil Rights Movement. They were motivated by inspiring rallies to end the Vietnam War. Even with daunting issues like racism and sexism they were still fired up and prepared for change. Unfortunately when their hopes and dreams of a changed world failed to materialize, America was left with a hefty load of Baby Boomers revved up on a substantial amount of cynicism. Our generation has inevitably fed off of their attitudes. When the Iraq war was waged without clear objectives there were no bursts of patriotism, which is often commonplace after a country goes into war. But there didn’t seem to be many protests either. Instead of rallying together for either a continuation or an end to the war, we shrugged it off and continued with the mindset of indifference and “there’s nothing we could do anyway.” Carried on with life as usual. We now venerate angry rap music and arguing “no” on the laptop 1:1 initiative debate. It’s the easier side to argue after all. We want to be optimistic. Why do you think so many kids across the country felt

compelled to join Barack Obama’s campaign? Because they said, “Alright. Here’s an Ivy League lawyer...he’s clearly intelligent. He seems to understand the issues. But he’s optimistic. Now that’s a change.” Does he have a harder time making his points? Is he battling against a greater majority? Yes, absolutely. But I promise you most of his listeners secretly are hoping he’s right. They want to believe him. We have just become so mentally trained to challenge everything. Some of you will finish reading this article and think, “This is hypocritical. She’s writing about optimism in a negative tone.” And then you’ll have misunderstood me. I am not arguing that critics cannot help society. It is important to question what’s around you. However, a pessimist is one who simply complains and then resigns and accepts the conditions they are dealing with. I can be an optimist and a realist without getting tangled in hypocrisies. I am criticizing a flaw in our system. And maybe the way it’s being expressed is biting. But in no way do I feel jaded about the issue or believe it is at a point where it cannot be changed or fixed. I’m optimistic about us. So now Lower Merion, I challenge everyone to take the road less traveled. Drop your clichés about the “stagnant corrupt political system.” Obama was elected. Chill with your “LM is a cold institution that only cares about packaging us up for college.” You sound whiny and over privileged. Be original. Take the less convenient route. Dare to defy the cynics. After all, as Thomas Friedman once said, “Pessimists are usually right and optimists are usually wrong but all the great changes have been accomplished by optimists.”


February 12, 2009

FEATURES Yes we did: Inside scoop on the inauguration The Merionite

Liz Bruss

Class of 2010

As I got off the escalator at Union Station the day before the inauguration, I stopped dead in my tracks. Washington DC had undergone a startling transformation. The city was flooded with people and on every corner there were vendors selling Obama hats, scarves, shirts, buttons and every other type of paraphernalia imaginable--you name it. The excitement was contagious. Everyone was decked out in Obama merchandise, smiling, laughing and talking excitedly. On the morning of the 56th presidential inauguration my day started early, three a.m. to be exact. By four in the morning there was already a long line of cars waiting to get into the Metro station parking lot and our train quickly filled to capacity. When we finally reached our destination we joined the tens of thousands of people walking up to the Mall. As we walked toward the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial, excited cries of “Obama” could be heard across the grounds. We quickly parked ourselves in front of a jumbotron, one of the many large TVs sprawled throughout the mall, and waited….and waited…and waited. Finally, at about 10:30 the monitors switched to the view of the Capitol and the VIPs arriving. The crowd cheered as their favorite celebrities and politicians were shown to their seats. As someone who works on Capitol Hill, Ryan Costella, US Senator Bob Casey’s special assistant, provided me with

an insider’s perspective. Costella was lucky enough to escort made the early morning, the crush of bodies and the freezing Martin Luther King Jr’s family to their seats. “I reflected on how temperatures worthwhile. fortunate I was to be greeting the family of the American hero While watching video clips of the Mall, I couldn’t even who, in many respects, placed our nation on the path which made distinguish the mass of people, let alone find myself amongst the flurry of red, white and blue. Costella described the scene from the Capitol, “I could see millions of people all the way back to the Lincoln Memorial, and chills ran up my spine –I had never seen a crowd like that.” Junior Caroline Wells, who was also in attendance, captures the spirit of the crowd, “The crowd was the friendliest crowd I have ever seen. Everyone was so excited and happy to be there. Even when we were all squeezed together no one was upset. Strangers were interacting and welcoming each other.” My favorite part of the day, however, came at the end. As we left we heard a commotion near one of the jumbotrons. We stopped to watch President Bush board a helicopter and disappear behind the Washington Monument as we all gleefully waved goodbye. As I gazed out on the sea of joyful faces Photo courtesy of around me, the entire message of Sunday’s this day possible,” said Costella. concert, “Out of many, we are one” took on a new meaning. It Nothing can describe the crowd when Obama finally fumbled wasn’t about finding myself in the crowd; it was about stepping his way through his swearing in and was declared the 44th presi- back and being a part of the mass of humanity who all shared the dent of the United States. The pure joy that radiated off every face common bond of celebration and the hope of a better future.

Feeling down? Keep on keepin’ on Katie Cochrane

Class of 2009 Winter is anything but encouraging. Darkness falls earlier and slithers away as slow as the morning bus ride. The weather shifts from cold and dry to gray and wet. The stretch of long weekends and vacations the fall offered has nearly ended, with the exception of President’s Day, that beacon of light, heading our way. The testing schedule has been anything but kind and as a quarter and semester came to a close, grades were stuffed in wherever they fit and tests piled up on top of one another. So how are we supposed to make it through these cold, dark, stressful days to come? Here are ten things to comfort, intrigue, or at least temporarily entertain you. 1. The Merionite is back! I know, you missed it so much over break and through the lonely month of January. Well, don’t be lonely any more- we’re here to at least keep you warm, if you so choose to use this publication while napping on a park bench. 2. Midterms have finally ended. That’s right, that single test that happens to be worth almost half of a quarter grade, at last over! Hooray for you, you made it to this point. Don’t quit, you’re closer to the finish than the start. Positive thinking, right? Right? 3. Obama has been officially sworn into office. If anything, just sigh and rest happy knowing the honorable George Walker Bush is safely back at the ranch. Even if you didn’t support him in the general election, take comfort knowing that many of the faces on C-Span will (finally) be changing. 4. After weeks of monotonous and unexciting gray, it seems the weather gods have finally heard our tired pleas. While we may never get a blizzard, we finally got a snow day with the chance of some more bad weather in the near future. 5. Good news: a recent scientific study

showed that hot beverages and soups really do ease the symptoms of colds and flus. Chicken soup in particular has been shown to contain compounds that help your body to dissolve mucus in the lungs and suppress inflammation. As these weeks of cold air progress, a warm bowl of soup might be just the thing you need to keep you going through that pile of homework. 6. Here’s a recipe: Eggies in a basket. Super simple, but good food that gets you warm and feeling alright. Take a slice of bread and a cookie cutter (one that will fit inside the slice without cutting it in half, but make sure it’s not too tiny either) and cut a hole in the middle of the bread. Do whatever you want with the shape, because you’re using the rest of the bread. Spread butter across what’s left, and place another little sliver of butter in your frying pan, much like you’d do with grilled cheese (another great option here is olive oil. It’s lighter and I think it gives a nice flavor and leaves the bread a bit crispier). Drop your slice of bread into the pan. Immediately crack an egg into the hole in the bread. Keeping your flame at a medium-low, flip the bread/egg combo after about a minute and a half. Check the underside after another minute and a half to make sure it’s cooked and you’re done! This is great on its own or served with ham, sun-dried tomatoes, cheese, or anything else you can think of. 7. The days are getting longer. We’ve got more hours of sunshine, so

we’re not waking up or going home in total night rocking out while this man slams out darkness anymore. Late bus frequenters, some sweet tunes on the piano. If that’s not your style, catch Rufus Wainwright at the you understand my pain. Kimmel Center. 8. Palmer’s chapstick: You know that 10. As we fly through another season giant chap stick people have been carrying around, the one that resembles a glue stick? of awards shows, some really great movIt totally makes the dry winter air bearable, ies are popping up everywhere. Looking and I highly suggest you go out and get one for something to do on a cold, windy weekend evening? Head on down to your local for yourself. movie theater or video rental and check out 9. Being single in February is rough, the nominated flicks. but have no fear, Ben Folds will be your Best of luck, Lower Merion. Just revalentine. He’s performing on February 14 at the Electric Factory. Spend a Saturday member to keep on keepin’ on.


February 12, 2009


The Merionite

The daters and the haters

Marta Bean

Class of 2010 Ah, Valentine’s Day. Roses, chocolate and cheesy Hallmark cards with sparkly hearts. Energetic girls wearing crazy outfits with pink feathers and red antennae walking through the hallways, giving friendly yet impersonal cards with Hershey’s kisses to anyone they have ever talked to. Love, true love. But the rosy colored glasses of Valentine’s Day aren’t everyone’s prescription. There are always those kids, wearing green or black, who glare at the people carrying roses and passing out Hershey’s kisses. But WHY? Why do these people hate on the ones who date? How bad can it be? Are they jealous? Are they lonely? Are they bitter because they can’t make dinner reservations and the line at Rite Aid is longer? Are they perturbed by the artificial affection? Maybe, but these people also offer legitimate reasons for disliking February 14. At first thought, the only people who have a justifiable reason to hate

Valentine’s Day are the frequent restaurant-goers. Getting a meal from a reputable restaurant is virtually impossible come February 14. In fact, many of the area’s best restaurants have been booked for over a month. A week before Valentine’s Day, Bistro Romano in Philadelphia only had two reservation spots left: 4:00 pm and 10:30 pm. The maître d’ from the restaurant said that she has been getting calls since before New Year’s for Valentine’s dinner. All tables at Buddakan have been booked for a month. People began to make reservations for dinner at Le Bec-Fin for Valentine’s Day 2009 on Valentine’s Day last year, although generally the tables are not completely filled until two months before February 14. But long before our peers complained about Valentine’s Day, other people were acting even odder about the holiday. In medieval times, young girls would eat strange hallucinogenic foods so that they could dream about their future spouses. During the Middle Ages,

“Valentine’s Day is an excuse for the overly-affectionate to behave like soap-opera lovers and have others label their behavior as cute. It pressures the rest of us into behaving similarly and it just makes me feel uncomfortable. It is an excuse for the motorized vehicle companies to allow us to fatten ourselves towards immobility, one Godiva chocolate box at a time.” - sophomore Jake Wellens

To view the answers, visit!

people believed that the first unmarried person with whom they came into contact on Valentine’s Day would be their future partner. During the Roman festival of Lupercalia, men would hold lotteries to find their future wives on February 15. The overall opinion of most Valentine’s haters is that the problem with Valentine’s lies in its emphasis on love. Mere chocolates and roses cannot possibly represent such a strong feeling. If “Friendentine’s Day” occurred on February 14, “well, that would be different,” says a freshman who wishes to remain unnamed. Naturally, different people will have different attitudes and opinions towards the holiday. So if you happen to be the type of person who hates Valentine’s Day, just try to stay away from the people who are going to remind you of everything you hate about it. Good places to avoid are expensive restaurants, movie theaters, ice skating rinks, romantic parks and jewelry stores.

“Our generation has completely destroyed the meaning of true love because of what some consider to be ‘love.’ I know I haven’t ever been in love before because, like most other teens, I don’t have enough life experience to know what needs are fulfilled by the word ‘love.’ I also think a lot of people use Valentine’s Day as

an excuse for sex, which is one of the most demoralizing things I can think of. I just don’t think that any one of us is completely ready to give ourselves up to love.” - senior Bev Johnson

by Junior Emily Eisner

father wouldn’t need the shotgun” 35) uno more than due 36) “Arsenic and Old _____” 37) Greek god of lust and love with arrow in hand 38) Cylindrical snack cake of chocolaty goodness 40) Genre of music that originated from hardcore punk 41) Mile High City 45) Hoover’s claim to fame 48) Question of the day! 52) Smallest (by volume) of the Great Lakes 53) Forward, woman’s name; backwards, sleeping spot 54) Elevator Company and singer Redding 55) Close 56) ___, Em, Oh, Oh, See, Aitch 57) Hebrew “house of”


1) Insulin secreting cells 5) Chicago baseball team, abbr. 8) Not fair, for 5A 12) Prefix for two-carbon chain 13) Old MacDonald had a farm, E ___O 14) Between theta and kappa 15) Type of chocolates that may be packaged in a heart shaped box 18) Where Obama was president

“First off, girls had cooties in elementary school so even exchanging cards was a dangerous, dangerous game. Faking the love is worse than not loving at all. If you’re supposed to live your life as a loving person, why do you need a holiday about it? By differentiating you’re saying that you shouldn’t be 100% loving all the time. Basically, Valentines Day makes love less special by ‘forcing’ you to show it, and then it goes ahead and sells you a card. So does that make you a more loving person? Can you rank love? Buy it? Celebrate it?” - junior Ben Halpern

Valentine’s Day Crossword



“It is good to have a day devoted to love and kindness. It reminds us that we all must look beyond ourselves as we think of the needs and wants of others. I personally find individuals who say that they hate Valentine’s Day to be somewhat misguided. Valentine’s Day is about celebrating all love— whether or not it is your own. To claim to dislike Valentine’s Day because of one’s own romantic problems (as so many do) is both petty and small-minded.” - junior Jacob Adenbaum

before the USA 19) High region, particularly on mountains 20) Not well 22) dormiens nunquam titillandus, and Malfoy 26) Often au lait 28) American Indian Reservation in Arizona 31) Chinese army, abbr. 32) Sentence starter for “… her

1) Wrote “Toccata and Fugue in D minor” 2) 36A backwards 3) More than scared 4) Between “One” and “Time”, maybe in response to how quickly one guzzles 15A 5) Heaven for a Frenchman 6) Beatles’ album 7) Internet everywhere! 8) Word for both a clerk and a manicurist 9) Common ending for “c,” “f,”

“p,” and “sch” 10) Theoretical element 139, abbr. 11) A young boy 16) Bad - French 17) Genre of rock 21) Moon-Lander 23) Greek goddess of love and Mother to 37A 24) Pinocchio’s pet fish 25) A rowboat requires two of these 26) _______ of brotherly love 27) Popular 70’s hairstyle 28) Department of social services in NYC 29) Elf-gone-bad in “The Lord of the Rings” 30) Harold brought all nine kinds of this that he liked best 33) Dark, narrow street 34) Symbolized by a donkey, abbr. 39) Swedish defenseman for Vancouver Canucks Alexander 40) Before – archaic 42) A central or connecting point 43) Saturn sport utility vehicles 44) _____ and flows 46) A thing that hatches on the scalp beginning with its alrticle 47) Used in clothes for sports and in nets 48) Boil or growth on the skin 49) Anger 50) Common ending to “Austra,” “Ame,” and “Nata” 51) Large, violent group

A Valentine’s Day commentary JJ Warshaw

Class of 2010

Cheese and crackers! Another Valentine’s Day and I’m left without a fair maiden. I guess I’ll have to spend the night with some warm milk, my mother’s baked goods, and my new flight simulation game. You could say I’m not one of those “girlfriend” types (as in I’ve never had one), but hey, between my studies, oboe lessons, and trying to grow hair in these “man regions,” I’ve got a lot on my plate! Besides, I have pretty discerning tastes when it comes to possible mates: they should be hot like Kate from Lost, but wise like Gandalf, caring like Sally Struthers, yet spunky like Ellen DeGeneres, and they must share my passion for the SciFi Channel. Unfortunately, as you can see, this whole “perfect girl” philosophy hasn’t been working out. That’s why this Valentine’s Day I’m becoming a new man and opening myself to all females far and wide! Don’t worry, I’m not “cutting loose” like some of the free-wheeling, pants-off lechers in this school; I still plan to stay pure and wait for that special someone before firstbase. It’s just now I’ve opened my options a little bit for whom that special someone may be. In preparation for this metamorphosis I’ve been “bulking up my bod” to result in a physical transformation, dare I say, to rival that of Patience Phillips into Catwoman. But things haven’t quite been going as planned. Those protein tablets that promised “emaciated” to “beefcake” in two weeks didn’t really hold up their end of the bargain, and the weightlifting kit I purchased just hurt my arms and gave me a pelvic hernia. However, there’s been some progress. I’ve gained five pounds of muscle mass, but it just might be from the fact that I can’t go to the bathroom. While I wait for surgery, I’ll be sure to spend some time looking over my science trivia pack to impress the ladies with my intellectual prowess. So anyway, I guess the whole point of this is that if there are any girls out there interested in the new me—post-op, and would like to meet at a designated, adult-chaperoned “boy-girl” party, just call! Oh, and when you ask to speak to me, talk in a low voice so my mom doesn’t think you’re a girl. Thanks!


February 12, 2009


The Merionite

Happy Valentine’s Day! Love, The Merionite

To: Cecilia Rosenbaum Hey CC! From: ? To: Albzyp0o0o Let me be the first to say I hatezz drama! But seriously stop looking at me like that. But like, seriously love ya lotzz. From: Hey gurl hey To: Hannah Weilbacher Anything you can do I can do better. Because there ain’t no mountain high enough so build me up buttercup. From: dabigbum9 To: Merionite Staff You guys are so great and so supportive! Love you! Love, your editor-in-chief aka B. Hafts To: Isaac When your skates slice the ice, my heart slices in two. <3 icesk8tingcutie4eva To: Maris I hope you like my lasers. I love you. From: Kurt Cobain To: Shourjo Take her. I don’t want to deal with it. She’s too neurotic. From: Julien To: Noah Zuares Hi! I’m only doing this because you asked me to. From: Meron Woidislavsky I love moi! Napoléon To: Leslie Your brilliance dazzles me From: Sunglasses

I <3 DW From: Secret Admirer

Will you be my Valentine?

To: Aliza Berger Hey there girlfriend. I just wanted to tell you that you’re really cool and you’re the center of my world. I think you’re really pretty. I’m glad we are so close, if only you noticed me. I <3 U! From: Your Best Friend To: Emily Seidman Love you! Happy Valentine’s Day! From: Jonny To: Maggie Walker My incident when I threw up in front of you was because of the sexual tension that was nipping at my loins. Love ya, Lucas VH

Dearest Aly, You light up my life (and make me pay for valentines). Yours forever, Isaac

To: Stephen Lenrow Happy Valentine’s Day! I love you! From: Keisha Mulugeta

To: Julia See you at my house tonight ;) xoxo your sexy boyfriend Joe DuBrow

To: Jen Barker Super human From: your husband Ahmad

To: Robby Blechner We had such an amazing time on the ski trip. I have a crush on you. You look gorgeous with your shirt off. Love, Debra.

To: Ari Stern Even though we are divided by the width of our great nation, our love will remain true and never die. From: Juliana

To: Katie Bode Happy Valentine’s day! XOXO- Kirsten Frank To: Grace Happy Valentine’s day! XOXO- Kirsten Frank To: Dan Witte Let me be your new Black Betty From: JJ To: Alex A-W I love you. Meow. From: Sophie To: Rachel S. Happy Valentine’s Day From: Secret Admirer To: Mr. Nort Seaman Roses are red, Violets are blue, You are so awesome, And I miss you.. You will always be in my heart Love: AJ & Gabe To: The person who delivered the ipod touch to the office on Friday the 30th— YOU ARE MY HERO From: Lenna Blistein

To: Max Tassano You’re so skinny! Be my valentine? Love ya! From: your secret lover

I’m not very good at writing these things, But I’ll give it a shot; it can’t be as bad as I sing I don’t care if he’ll be in a blaze, You are the world to me, let me count the ways… When I see your beautiful face, my wide smile illuminates the skies, It lights up the place. I’ve been everywhere from Disney World to The Louvre, But my favourite places in the world are the places I go with you. I constantly think about you through all my classes (no wonder I’m failing math), from dusk till dawn, I even think about you when I listen to my death metal/pop cover songs. You’re such a distraction. You are my world. You are the breeze I feel in the wind. You are the splashes of water I feel when I swim. You are the stars in my sky. When I’m with you I feel I can fly. Before I met you I was only half a man, I couldn’t think straight, I didn’t laugh then But thanks to Physics, I’ve been in Heaven for 107 days, The planets have aligned, Sara Jeanette Guerra Murray…will you be my valentine? -Andrew Lawrence Schiffrin

To: Ben Franklin Loving many of you when there are one hundred of me. Love, George

To: John Fadely <3 Cody Hornung

To: Aliza Berger I love our late-night study sessions Love, Isaac

To: Kilpatrick Thanks for the Tastykakes! From: The Merionite

To: My second favorite teacher in this school Happy valentine. <3 Chloe

To: Kimi I love you so much. From: Nate

To: Nadav Hirsh Love you and the Phantom

To: Avi On this day of love, I hate you so much. Love, Conor

Hey Audrey! Love: your phone…haha :)

Love you Grace. Love, Alex

To: James Irving It’s okay, it was my first time too. From: Kathy Bates

To: Ben Franklin Loving many of you when there are one hundred of me. Love, George.

To: Mike Lista From: Your secret lover

To: Allie Cade I don’t love you, Roberta Love, Roberto

To: Dani Lindheim We rockin’ that thing like! From: Ahmad & Jonny & Sabby

To: Stanley Hoffman You are a hot man! Fetch! From: Jake Dulitzki

To: Lakeisha Happy V-Day. I love you! From: Stephen

To: Mr. Henneberry Roses are red Violets are blue A days are gr8 Just because of you! Love, Your advisory

To: Ebola You are my flesh-eating bacteria. From: Bubonic Plague

To: Mariclair Valliant Your smile makes school a lot better. Happy Valentine’s Day! Love Austin

To: Bedelman, Player’s biggest heartthrob I love it when you project.

To: Klevis You’re cool! I expect a Valentine’s hug! LOVE YOU! From: Kylie

To: Mr. Kilpatrick Love ya! From: all the junior girls

Dear Jordan, Eat a burger please. LOVE YOU! From: Nadav Hirsh

Dear sweet pea, I’m so happy to be with you and can’t wait to see what’s in store for us next. I love you with all my heart. Happy Valentine’s Day! Love, Lucas

To: Emily McCarthy You are my light when things get dark. Happy Valentine’s Day! P.S. Your vids are whack From: Anonymous

To: James Don’t let Maor see this. Love Barr

To: MGM It’s like that thing that Jon Bon Jovi said: “No man is an island.” From: HGM

Dear Mark and Abel and G, I love you… From: craftyhair

To: Emily McCarthy You are my light when things get dark. Happy Valentine’s Day. Ps your vids are whack From: anonymous To: Isaac Lindy Your skating puts a smile on my face. Thanks for being my friend. You are cute From: Your BFF Robyn! I love you! Sophie said you wouldn’t buy one… <3 Eleina (Jake Mandel) Maddy, I love staring at you in chem class --Your secret Admirer Dear Revolutionary, You are my knight in shining armour. You make me feel like a natural woman. Love always, M

To: Noelle Happy Valentine’s! From: Kirsten Hey Caitlin. I really miss you out here in Ohio. We should chill. You’re sweet and I miss you a lot. Love you lovely. Jeff Norf, Heart rhymes with...? You da bomb like tick tick. xxxx, E and G Caitlin, I’m happy. Suck that.

To: Ivana Happy V-day! Loveeee youuu <3 To: Seth You’re the best <3 Love you :) To: Reno Best of luck in the bike race! Dearest Joshua, Thank you for your amazing car rides, oh what a thrill. However, all is not forgiven. You owe us :) Love always, You know who

To: Gabe Words can never describe my love for you. From: Nik To: Katie Bade Happy Valentine’s Day! Xoxo—Kirsten Frank To: Isaac You’re hott. Happy Valentine’s Day sexy! From: Olivia To: Jenny Ma I love you and your moustache, Roberto

February 12, 2009

Graphic by Noah Zuares/Staff

To: Courtney Happy Valentine’s Day. We love you-From the crew of two plus you know who! From: Josh and Kelly Nache Jones We’ve been wrecking each other’s lives for a full year now. It’s been fun, Agent From: Ariel To: Elena Behar You are beautiful. Your videos on my newsfeed brighten my day, brighten my life. <3 Anonymous

To: Morgan We’ve had our ups and downs, sometimes more downs than ups, but through it all I’m still here. Together or not I’ll always love you Love Debbie Emma and Grace, You da bomb like tick tick Your loving brother, Conor Dear Sharkey, Thank you for your generosity! <3The Merionite To: Nik I want to reach around the barriers that separate us. From: Nik Dear Caitlin, It’s stupid that you stopped calling. You’re not good enough for me, but lets play music anyway. Actually, you’re better than me so you make me uncomfortable. But you’re hot so lets hook up. Billy From: Jan Hemmingway Helen Saracina Line Garvin Darlene Mandarino Jess Yinger Gurls—I <3 U Mr Cahill, My love for you blossoms like an orgy of speculation. Love, Ragged Dick Dear Cat While our relationship might not be facebook actual Our love is factual You are the antibacterial to my soap You’re just like Barack Obama you give me hope Your lips are red Your eyes are blue If you weren’t hooking up with someone I’d be all over you It’s time to finish this little jig slash rhyme So call me up and we’ll have a good time Your admirer --Griffin Dean Schwartz Ms. Hofmann, Will you go to prom with me? From, All the senior males

Dearest Caitlin— Your eyes are blue as the sky on a partially shaded, clear but sunny, pleasantly warm unpolluted day. When I’m near you, everything is right again. I know there’s someone else, but he’s all the way in Italy and I’m here now. € Con amor, TUS CHICAS

To: Mr. Kaczmar Our love for you is as valid as

To: LM faculty, staff, and students Happy Valentine’s Day! From: The Merionite

To: Doug Young You’ll always be the most eligible bachelor in our hearts. From: the ladies of LM

To: Brawndo Why come I crave you? From: Plants Adrienne— Touching your knee was heaven. --E.

~ [( p∧ q → r)∧ ~ r →~ p∧ ~ q] → ( p∨ q∨ r ↔ q)

From: Senior Seminar

To: Merionite staff Will you come to my wedding? From: Mr. Henneberry

To: Jake Bosin You’re pretty cute. Do you have a cigarette? XOXO, Ross Hannah, You’ll always be Old Greg to me. Love, Carolyn


February 12, 2009

The Merionite


The good, the bad, and the leaky Niki Forman

Class of 2010

Set three and nature calls. You rummage through your bag to find the loudly colored pass, beg your teacher to sign, and head for the nearest bathroom. You kick open the first door only to find a clogged disaster. After a brief recovery, you try again, but the second stall hosts only a bucket. The third stall is altogether empty, the fourth doesn’t have a lock, but that beautiful fifth stall greets you with an internal hallelujah chorus. Rarely is anyone capable of finding such success on the first attempt, but in this sea of restroom mediocrity, Lower Merion’s own Russian roulette, lie a few hidden gems. These bathrooms are just waiting for those brave enough to trek to the opposite side of the building, possibly traversing floors, during those short yet crucial minutes between classes. LM bathrooms have been known to offer the user a whole spectrum of insanity. Sure we may not have “functioning toilets” or “locks that work” and, okay, you may not be sure what that mysterious puddle at your feet is composed of, but these adverse conditions may not be all bad – heck, they may actually do some good. “Everyone who uses the bathrooms at LM will have rock solid cores by the time they graduate. Going to the bathroom without making contact to the seat or floor is a skill that we all, as LMers, possess (or need to). If there is one thing I take away from the LM experience, it is that we are all contortionists in a world of unfriendly bathroom situations. Thanks, LM!” said junior Leah Greenspan. Shocking though it may be, there are students who aren’t grateful for what LM is doing for their upper body strength. And for those students, my colleague Katie Cochrane and I embarked on our journey, trudging through and reviewing every bathroom Lower Merion has to offer. You may be thinking “Ok, kick open a few stalls, take some notes, no big deal.” But oh-no, my friends, it is so much more than that. We first set up a detailed rating system, grading facilities based on cleanliness, toilet to stall ratio (which,

sadly, is rarely 1:1), awesomeness of graffiti, and much more. After that, we trekked across Lower Merion, sneaking into the boys’ restrooms, and seeing bathrooms you thought were just in B-List horror flicks. We saw the best and the worst of LM, everything from the second floor boys’ bathroom of the tech building, which has graffiti that you wouldn’t believe (seriously, its insane, go see it – just don’t get caught if you’re a girl), to the girls’ bathroom in the cafeteria, which is missing a ceiling. So join us as we plumb the depths of LM’s plumbing (pun carefully thought out and absolutely intended). Without further ado, the data:

One of the sadder, toiletless stalls found. Photo by Esther Hoffman/Staff

Some notes on the data:

The grading is out of ten for everything but the following: *Stall to Toilet ratio (which is in ratio form...duh) *Working number of sinks is a ratio of number of functioning sinks per number of sinks available. *Mirrors: how rating works for mirrors is the following. one point is assigned for full length mirrors, 0.5 for half length mirrors (in the case of the Girls bathroom in the cafeteria, it is a full length, but considering it is like one of those carnival mirrors that warps your image, we only gave it a .25... unless of course my head really is that shape).

The verdict:

All in all LM bathrooms are equally mediocre with a few standouts. After conducting these reviews I find myself looking for excuses to go to the top floor of the tech building’s, dragging anybody I know who hasn’t yet seen those bathrooms along with me. The second floor of the new building, while hosting some mysterious puddles, is mighty convenient, and has decent ambiance. Bathrooms to avoid: Third floor of the old building (who needs a toilet when the majority of the stalls have buckets?) and the cafeteria bathrooms (seriously, they are creepy). Lower Merion, you’re welcome. After my exhaustive research, you now know for sure what you hopefully had figured out since your second week of freshman year. When confronted with a full bladder at any point during the day its best to avoid the nightmare that is LM bathrooms. Suck it up and hold it in..

Course selection is upon us: check out something new Delia Votsch

Class of 2010

Hidden away in the back corner of the tech building is one of the best kept secrets of LM. Room T101 is the tech lab, where nationally recognized Tech Ed teachers Mark Piotrowski and Rich Kressly have completely revamped the Tech Ed department. This isn’t your grandfather’s woodshop class, but don’t be intimidated by all the robots and the 3-D printer; anyone can take the Tech courses offered at LM. And no, that wasn’t a typo, there really is a printer that prints objects drawn on the computer in 3-D. It’s cool to see and even cooler when it prints something that you’ve designed yourself. All the courses are fun and challenging. They are project- and process-based and centered around designing, building and testing your creations. From the mousetrap car to the pneumatic can- crusher to the remotecontrolled robot, these courses challenge you to develop and implement your science, tech-

nology, engineering and mathematics skills in an accessible, fun way. The aim of Tech Ed is also to instill in students a sense that “technology, innovation, and invention without a social conscience will merely allow us to destroy ourselves in more creative ways,” said Kressly. Both Piotrowski and Kressly have been recognized for their unique and engaging approach to teaching Technology Education, and they have both published articles in Technology Education journals at the state and national level. However, both of them are down to earth, practical, and actually fun teachers. They both take the fear and intimidation out of learning technology systems. Maybe the most unique thing about their methodology is the “us versus the problem rather

than you versus me” approach that they use in the classroom. They want students to collaborate together when it comes to designing and building projects rather than focusing on the competition and worrying about the grade. It’s an approach that helps even the least of the technology-literate students and makes the learning so much more enjoyable. The Tech courses offered at LM are:

Foundations of Engineering and Design: a basic class that allows students to

dabble in a large variety of Tech applications and is great for students who enjoy hands-on problem solving and projects

Advanced Engineering and Design:

takes the skills learned in Foundations of Engineering and Design and expands on them, students create more complex projects and are exposed to more advanced technology.

Computer Aided Drafted Design I:

students learn how to use software to design and draw products on a computer and how their creations would work in real-world conditions.

Computer Aided Drafted Design II:

expands on skills from CADD I and allows students to work together to create a 3-D model of a product of their creation.




The most advanced Tech course offered at LM, students enrolled learn how to design and build complex robots using the VEX robotics system. The course is similar to a sophomorelevel course at MIT.


February 12, 2009

The Merionite


The perks of being a physics teacher Meredith Goldberg-Morse

Did you know...

Class of 2010

You know you’ve entered the classroom of Eugene Guay when you frequently hear unique exclamations such as “fudgebuckets”, “fire in the hole”, or “jeepers!”. Guay, a former engineer who has worked on products ranging from sprinkler heads to Ford machinery, has taught physics at Lower Merion since he entered the profession. Having moved from Illinois to Pennsylvania just four years ago, Guay still misses certain aspects of his home state, particularly all the “good German food that you don’t find here,” and “the lakes you’d pass every five minutes.”However, he was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the Philadelphia Art Museum, as he was initially skeptical of it in comparison to his favorite Chicago museums. Since his move, Guay now enjoys local delicacies such as the cheesesteak rather than a Chicago-style favorite of his, Italian beef. Guay has a taste for travel. In 1990, Guay left the Windy City for a month and drove to America’s “Last Frontier,” Alaska. Upon crossing the Arctic

...Mr. Guay’s favorite movie is Monty Python and the Holy Grail? ...that he likes to spend his vacations at his condo in Coco Beach, Florida? ...that he was a shot-putter in high school? ...Mr. Guay put himself through college by working in a bicycle shop? ...his favorite winter activity is sledding in the snow with his children?

Guay in his natural habitat.

Photo by Esther Hoffman/Staff


Sweet Action! Fire bad! Fudgebuckets! Just for snicks. It behooves you. Fire in the hole! Get crackin’. The proof is in the pudding. Sounds like a leaker!

Circle, a momentary break in the wind caused his truck to become infested with mosquitoes, which he and his traveling companion had to kill before continuing their journey. Guay noted that “the

laws of the road were very different … if you stopped on the road, all the other cars would stop to see if you needed help.” This came in handy while traveling through 400 mile stretches without

service stations or any breaks. A former high school physics student himself, Guay says that the modern physics classroom is “very student-centered, as opposed to direct instruction.” One particular highlight of the school year for Guay is the annual amusement park field trip offered to physics students, where he enjoys roller coasters such as the Coal Cracker and American Eagle. Another benefit of teaching physics, he says, is the “friendly, helpful nature of the science department... we all get along great and support each other - we’re like a little family, I guess you could say.”

How to stay healthy at LM during the long winter Emily Sorensen

Class of 2010

With all that we LMers do—from wearing ourselves out at sports to staying late for Players to working hard in our classes—it’s important that we stay healthy. Unfortunately, that’s not always so easy, especially with the onslaught of the cold season. But here are a few ways to make it easier: 1. Eat breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day. Sorry, but a Pop-tart or cinnamon roll doesn’t really count. You need to fuel your body with stuff that it needs, not just junk food. If you don’t have time before the bus comes, grab some oatmeal from the cafeteria. 2. Walk quickly. Moving fast between classes will get your blood flowing and probably keep you aware for at least five more minutes in your next class, before you sink into that stupor again. 3. Avoid sick people. It may sound unfriendly, but it’s actually completely reasonable. No, you don’t have to flee from the room if a sick person walks in. Just keep enough distance so that they don’t breathe directly on you, and definitely don’t share drinks. So what if people laugh at you for being “germaphobic?” When they get sick and you don’t, you’ll be the one laughing (or maybe not, since that’s not very nice). 4. Wash your hands. Those posters in the bathroom are no joke—washing your hands frequently and thoroughly is one of the best ways to ensure good health. At the very least, wash your hands after going to the bathroom and before eating. Or, if you’re lazy, you can always keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your backpack (it works, but it doesn’t work as well as washing). 5. Sleep. No, not in class—at night, for at least eight hours. You’ll probably prepare yourself better for tests by getting a good night’s sleep than by studying until three in the morning.

Photo courtesy of

And if you make sleeping well a habit, you probably won’t need to study as much because you’ll be able to pay more attention in class. Sounds good, right? Plus, sleep is a surefire way keep your immune system strong. 6. Eat a healthy lunch. If you buy from the cafeteria everyday, this could be tricky, so it warrants a bit of special attention. If you decide to brave the hoagie line, when you finally get up to the counter, choose a lean meat like turkey, whole wheat bread (always choose whole wheat in anything if you have the choice— it’s good for you), and pile on the vegetables (lettuce, tomato, onions etc). Choose carrots or apple slices to go with your meal—skip the potato chips. I f y o u p i c k t h e s a l a d b a r,

good for you, but a salad can still become a health disaster. First off, make sure your lettuce is GREEN, not white (or brown, but that’s another issue entirely). The greener, the better. Then focus on the vegetables for an immune system booster, and skip the funky pasta salads (just because it has the word salad does not make it healthy—in fact, they’re usually the opposite). Croutons, though delicious, are not good for you, so skip them or put on a very small amount. Don’t overdo the dressing, especially if it’s a creamy one. Dressings are often the main threat to a healthy salad. Choose a vinaigrette and pour lightly. Skip fried foods (like those twice-weekly chicken fingers and the ever-popular shrimp poppers), pasta alfredo, and

macaroni and cheese. They’re full of things your body doesn’t want. Get a side of vegetables, not fries. Skip the pizza, too (especially if it has meat like pepperoni or sausage on it). If you occasionally indulge, it’s ok—just don’t make it a habit. When it comes to soup, make sure it’s not cream-based, and has a clear broth. As we all know, sodas were ditched a few years ago and replaced with “healthy” fruit juices. Unfortunately, there’s only a small percentage of real juice in them, and they’re filled with what makes soda “evil”: high fructose corn syrup. I could go into all the negative effects it has on your body, but suffice it to say it’s bad. Stay away. Hate to break it to you, but you shouldn’t be eating anything from Savi’s Hut regularly. Yes, it’s delicious. Yes, it’s quite bad for you. Again, indulge occasiona l l y. D o n ’ t g o overboard. Now you should be armed with all the information you need to stay healthy, though it’s certainly not infallible. If you get sick anyway, drink tea and sleep. But take these preventative measures beforehand, and maybe that won’t Photo courtesy of happen.


February 12, 2009

The Merionite


“Just Dance” to this party playlist S. Blum/C. Rosen

Class of 2009

Usually only acceptable on people’s “party playlists,” we’re just (wo)man enough to admit that we listen to this trash all the time, and know for a fact that everyone else does too. So all you elitist-hipster-organic-hiphop-classic-alternative-indie rockers take a giant step back: Drum machines, materialism, and Taylor Swift are wiping those brooding looks right off your superioritycomplex-ridden faces.

aging long-term effects. She’s an epidemic, a plague if you will, who is infecting even the least suspecting of people (you can’t hide, Mr. Lynn). Is “Love Story” a par-

Charlotte Rosen’s picks: Photo courtesy of

Lady GaGa featuing Colby O’Donis: “Just Dance” With such zingers as “wish I could shut my playboy mouth,” I don’t really see what’s not to like about this infectious dance jam. When it first came out, I tried really hard to resist—I thought I could be that person at the party who complains about the song as they dance furiously to it. But I have since embraced the wisdom of GaGa and the croons of O’Donis. As GaGa innocently tells me about her “half psychotic, sick, hypnotic” night, and pleads with me to “just dance,” my body uncontrollably moves to the beats of the memorable electronic hook and I realize there’s no turning back; whether I like it or not, I’ve been GaGa’d.

Taylor Swift’s newest hit CD, Fearless, was released in November 2008. ticularly deep or musically interesting song? Surely not. Can anybody stop listening to “Love Story,” or for that matter, can anyone listen to it without getting ruthlessly sentimental, or even a little teary-eyed? The answer is a resounding no. Swift tells of her modern Shakespearean love romp, a saccharine fairy tale that arouses emotions in even the Debbiest of Downers. Sure, we all “hate” her, but I’ll admit it, I listen to this song at least three times a day and love every pop-enhanced, waterworks-inducing guitar twang and country fiddle that it so generously offers.

Taylor Swift: “Love Story” Taylor Swift should be outlawed or perhaps exiled, because I’m fairly certain that her music contains addictive substances with unknown and potentially dam-

Savage: “Swing” I’ve always had a special soft spot in my heart for this bumpin’ ditty, but it has grown into a phenomenon this year—dare I say, even a theme song for the senior

class? I don’t know whether it’s Savage’s gritty and thick growl, or the forceful bass line paired with the quintessential hand claps that unfailingly bring any group of partiers together in absolute mayhem. At any rate, this song has influenced youths everywhere to “move it like a gypsy.” To be honest, there isn’t a more jovial and unifying party song out there. You know what Savage, I WILL “stop, woah, back it up,” just because you asked so nicely. Unk: “Walk It Out” My favorite part about this song is observing all the different varieties of “walking it out.” Each has its own personality; some are entirely ridiculous, some are scarily legitimate, and some are trying really hard to be legitimate but are unfortunately just ridiculous. Regardless, this song brings people of all ranges of dance skill together, for you don’t need a degree in “walking it out” to do so. Its simplicity and effectiveness make it overwhelmingly fulfilling to perform. It’s a straight-up beat, a pre-prescribed and lovable dance move, and the classic ever-bumping bass line that causes the crowd to pulsate with a thousand diverse yet reassuring “walk it outs.”

as a class act and a gentleman as he croons “From the top of the pole I watch her go down.” Featuring Keisha Cole, this song is perfect for a duet with your dance partner, or as an inner dialogue with your own various dance party personalities. As usual, Flo Rida’s simple beats, infectious chorus, and stripper themes liven up any party, and it is a perfect choice for getting your alleged “freak” on. Kanye West: “Robocop” So what if Kanye’s singing career is somewhat of a joke? Thank goodness for the fruits that auto-tune so generously bears. The extraordinary and romantic string instrumentals paired with a dramatic chorus of the charming and addicting “Okay…okay, okay” makes this song prime for a party sing-a-long. Not to

dolf effortlessly brings rock back to the party scene. The combination of rock and hiphop gives the illusion of being at a rock concert, while still feeling the energy of grooving on the floor at a dance club. I’m not a pyromaniac, so it’s not my style to “bring the fire” when I arrive, but I make an exception for Rudolf’s blazing tune. The upbeat fusion of a pop song definitely gets the party going and most importantly, rocking.

DJ Earworm: “United State of Pop 2008 (Viva La Pop)” DJ Earworm is the one who created the mash-up “United States of Pop 2007,” a song that aired frequently on Wired 96.5 last year. This year’s mash-up of the Billboard Top 25 songs of 2008 uses “Viva La Vida” and “Disturbia” as a background for 25 different samples from artists including Lil Wayne, Leona Lewis, Katy Perry, and Chris Brown, to name a few. This song is certainly a crowd pleaser. Partiers can’t get over the fact that their favorite songs can be mashed Photo courtesy of up in such an appealing way (maybe it has something to Kevin Rudolf hit the music scene do with the fact that all these in late 2008 with his single, “Let songs sound the same…no, it Rock,” featuring Lil’ Wayne. couldn’t be). For those who have no attention span or are Sam Blum’s picks: mention the thick, pounding just afraid of that big step tobeat that revs up your body’s ward commitment, this song Flo Rida: “Right Round” engine in the ultimate prepa- is ideal: you get to hear tanThis song comes from the ration for the crazy dance talizing snippets of every hit same artist who thinks baggy moves it’s about to experi- song of the year without acsweatpants and Reeboks with ence. As always, well played tually having to commit to straps are stylish, but regard- West. Well played. any one jam. It’s also great if less, it’s a hit. With a chorus you’re in a pinch for a party similar (OK, nearly identical) Kevin Rudolf ft. Lil playlist. You know, if you are to the classic “You Spin Me Wayne: “Let It Rock” throwing one of those aweRound” by Dead or Alive, Scoring a collaboration some four minute, 31 second Flo Rida keeps his reputation with rapper Lil’ Wayne, Ru- parties.

Stand up for “Da Stanky Legg”

Jake Wellens

Class of 2011

They’re doing it everywhere. On top of cars (moving and stationary), residential suburban driveways, warehouse parking lots, and what appears to be a school auditorium…you can bet they’ll be hitting the dance there. I am referring to the recently popular Youtube dance phenomenon known as “Da Stanky Legg.” For those of you who have not seen it, I implore you to take four minutes and 16 seconds out of your day to watch it. For some, it is a life changing experience. Who are the masterminds behind this bizarre ballet? They are the GSpot Boyz, and they want you to know that they are available for booking. The group consists of an innumerable amount of members, but there are five notable southern gentlemen at the core

among the infinite ranks of G-Spotters: Prince Charmin’, Marc D, Souf Side, Slizz, and D.K. The original video boasted over 4,365,000 views as of February 1. But what is it about this video that has escalated it to such a widely known status? Well, probably the fact that the entire video provides unmatched entertainment from start to finish. I will now attempt to break its four minutes and 16 seconds of gold into bite-size, describable nuggets. 0:00-0:27: The beat kicks in, and a few members of the squad are introduced by name. The G-Spot Boyz appear in a parking lot; five stand listlessly on the ground, and two are precariously perched on the hoods of opposing parked cars. 0:28: The Boyz pull up their pants in perfect unison.

0:29-0:38: All seven ’Spotters begin doing the Stanky Legg. 0:39-0:53: The G-Spot Boyz turn into a mess of seizure-inducing flashy green silhouettes…one of the low-points of the video. 0:54-1:07: More and more GS Boyz come out of the blue and join in the dance. There are approximately 12 of them at this point. 1:08-1:19: Soloist #1 performs a routine in his all-black, Budweiser-themed attire. 1:20-1:25: Another Boy joins in and together they hit the Booty Do. 2:22-2:35: A chain-laden man does the Stanky Legg on the roof of a house. 2:36-2:45: A car rolls by, with someone dancing on its hood. 3:03-3:09: WOOP DA DEE DOOP’n in a school auditorium. 3:10-3:21: A G-Spotter dressed in an entirely purple outfit hits the Stanky

Legg in the street, absolutely radiating sassiness. Hands down, the greatest moment in the entire video. 3:21 to the end: Eight Boyz dance in the parking lot as the beat fades out. The song has reached #70 on the billboard charts across America. AJ Burton, CEO of Suthun Muzik Distribution, is optimistic about Da Stanky Legg’s future. “When I heard Stanky Legg, I was blown away, seeing five and six year old children doing this dance and loving this band…I knew from the start this would be a hit.” The G-Spot Boyz have only a few words to say to anyone who doubts them. The following explanation of their success can be found under the quotes section of their myspace page: “WHAT CAN WE SAY? THEM GSPOT BOYZ RUNNIN THIS.” I am in utter agreement. GS Boyz: you guys ARE running this.


February 12, 2009

The Merionite


Academy Awards 2009

Who should win? The Merionite staff decided which movies and actors we feel deserve the highest honor in Hollywood--the Oscar. Best Actress: Meryl Streep--Doubt Hailed as the greatest actress of our time, Meryl Streep reinforces this notion with her portrayal of Sister Aloysius in Doubt. She plays the stern nun with such a confidence that even a stare sends chills through the audience. She proves her acting prowess in the last scene as she breaks down and finally shows her character’s vulnerability. While this may be her Photo courtesy of 15th nomination, she certainly deserves this win. Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger--The Dark Knight As The Joker in the second installment of the Batman series, Heath Ledger undoubtedly carried the film. His interpretation of the classic character as a maniacal, anarchist who sows chaos and havoc was made all the more creepy because he seemed to do so for the pure joy of it—his motivations are never revealed. Ledger’s superb performance, enhanced by his disturbingly disintegrating makeup, created a character for which we feel he deserves a win.

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Best Actor: Sean Penn--Milk Sean Penn shines in his portrayal of gay activist and politician Harvey Milk. In the wake of Proposition 8, Penn’s portrayal of Milk inspires us to continue to fight for equality, and makes us wonder: where would we be if Harvey Milk had lived? Penn displays a range of emotion and showcases all the sides of Harvey Milk, continuing his legacy into a new generation.

Best Supporting Actress: Amy Adams--Doubt With her performance in Doubt, Amy Adams proved to the world that she can be much more than a cheery Disney princess. As the young nun Sister James, Adams was able to portray the character’s conflicting emotions without going overboard. While playing the timid nun struggling to keep faith and protect those around her, her acting instincts shine through. Her character stands out from the more outward performances of the lead Photo courtesy of actors, showing Adams’s versatility and ability to tackle more challenging roles.

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Best Costumes: The Duchess As the movie explains early on, “women employ feathers” as a means to express themselves—The Duchess proves this statement, as Michael O’Connor, the movie’s costume designer, was able to show the personalities of upper class members of 18th century England through their clothing. With the enormous plumed hats, elaborate and lush gowns, and lavish fabric selections, O’Connor’s costumes stand out, allowing Keira Knightly to prove her character Georgiana Cavendish’s fashion icon status. The costumes are a visual feat, making the film a must-see for any fashion lover.

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Best Visual Effects: The Dark Knight Visually stunning, The Dark Knight managed to convincingly portray its hero and villains, as well as many intense stunts. Great visual effects are essential to any superhero movie; without them, a film comes off as dull, but too many break the viewer’s suspension of disbelief. The Dark Knight struck a perfect balance. Batman zooms by on his Batpod or Batmobile and flips over a 19-wheeler truck, and Two-faces disfigured visage dominates the screen.

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Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire Both heartbreakingly upsetting and wonderfully uplifting, this story of an orphaned, ghetto-raised kid and his unconventional life and education captured the hearts of numerous moviegoers this season. Adapting Vikas Swarup’s novel Q&A, Screenwriter Simon Beaufoy carefully weaves original plot lines into an exciting achronological story of life and love. Visually stimulating and artistically dazzling, Slumdog no doubt deserves the Oscar. With a great soundtrack and an unknown cast that shines, Slumdog was a great mix of Hollywood and Bollywood, dance scene and all. Best Animated Film: WALL-E Although a children’s film, WALL-E made a particular impression this year because behind the cute robots making funny noises was a somber environmental warning apparent to the adults in the audience. The story follows lovable robot WALL-E, who cleans up the mess humans left behind on Earth after they fled to a space station. Pixar once again shows that the future of animation is bright with delightful digital characters like M-O, the petite obsessive-compulsive robot, and EVE, WALL-E’s modern girlfriend.

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February 12, 2009

The Merionite

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Perez Hilton: gossip blogger, Will fans watch guilty pleasure, now author Emily Shepard

Class of 2011

Armando Lavandeiro, better known as blogger and television personality Perez Hilton, has officially secured his title as “most hated man in Hollywood” with the release of his debut novel “Red Carpet Suicide.” True to his reputation, Perez mercilessly victimizes unfortunate celebrities, and pokes fun at the craziness of the gossip-driven world in which we live. Regardless of whether you idolize or despise the celebrity gossip blogger, Perez’s new book is definitely worth the trip to the bookstore. A recurring theme within the book is the idea that stunts that once would have earned celebrities’ discredit and humiliation now seem to solidify their fame. Americans indulge in a sort of perverted satisfaction in seeing who among their favorite celebrities has recently checked into rehab, crashed their car, or made tabloid headlines drunkenly displaying a little bit extra of their legs while climbing out of a vehicle. Lower Merion students are no exception to this trend. Sophomore Adrienne Ross said, “I’m not proud to say it, but Perez Hilton is one of my many guilty pleasures. He is extremely judgemental of people and as aw-

ful as his criticisms can be, I have to admit, they make for great entertainment and that’s why his website is part of my routine as soon as I turn on a computer.” Perez makes sense out of the celebrity obsession that has consumed and even defined so many teenagers. He said, “Psycho celebrities dominate news, fashion, and trends, influencing how we speak, what we wear, and who we hang out with.” Perez admits that he too is entranced by the celebrity lifestyle, but leaves the reader to either condemn or continue to indulge this guilty pleasure. The book is divided into three sections: the first is a guide on how to become a Hilton. Tips on earning nationwide notoriety include posting pictures of yourself using illicit drugs, crashing your car, checking into rehab, and if all else fails, staging a suicide attempt. This section begins hilariously but starts to drag towards the end. I certainly enjoyed Perez’s crude drawings that accompanied his various jokes and lists. The second section is predictions about what the future holds for today’s celebrities and their babies. His prophesies for the lives of not only Lindsay and Britney, but also Shiloh, Apple, Maddox and Suri, made me laugh out loud. The final section of the book is about Perez’s life; it documents

the Watchmen?

Peter Johnston

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Gossip blogger Perez Hilton has a new book on the secrets to fame.

the birth of his blog, his adoption of the pseudonym “Perez,” and his website’s evolution to where it is today. I found this part to be mildly entertaining, but generally unnecessary. Perez makes a living off documenting the lives of others, and the majority of people don’t read his book to learn about him. “Red Carpet Suicide: A Survival Guide on Keeping up with the Hiltons” is exactly what you would expect from Perez - a hilarious satire about the bizarre and celebrity driven world in which we live. It’s a quick read and certain to deliver many laughs.

LM artists break the mold at professionally juried art show Jenny Smolen

tant life experience which everyone needs to learn.” In 1985, Christa McAuliffe was LM artists put out a great show at chosen to participate in NASA’s the 22nd annual Pennsylvania State Teacher in Space Project. On JanuEducation Association (PSEA) ary 28, 1986, the shuttle she was on, “Touch the Future” High School the Challenger, exploded shortly afStudent Art Exhibit, a profester launch. She was killed along sionally juried art exhibit. The with the rest of the crew of the art show included pieces by 12 shuttle. The PSEA art show was different LM students, and senior originally created as a tribute to Niklas Thompson took home first McAuliffe, who once said, “I prize in the metal arts category. touch the future…I teach.” “Along with first place, I also The artwork of the twelve LM won a cash prize of $50; I would students were chosen out of about like to use the money to purchase 875 other pieces to be displayed metal working supplies so that in the show. I can work at home as well. A “These students are very cretorch, solder, metal, things like ative and take pride in their craftsthat,” said Thompson. manship, so it is very satisfying to The Pennsylvania State Edusee that their work received reccation Association (the PSEA) Photo courtesy of Nik Thompson ognition,” said Moon. holds an art show every year In the metal arts category, Senior Nik Thompson’s necklace came to which high school students in first place for jewelry/metals in the 2009 sophomore Stephanie Eckhart, from 22 different schools can PSEA art show. juniors Claudia Bokulich, Eva submit their artwork. Brown, and Cody Heller, and “I think it’s great to see all of the gives the student an opportunity to seniors Michael Henrich, Courtney student work from our school and have another art professional look at D’Agostino, and Thompson all had other schools in the region,” said their work. The student takes a risk. pieces in show. Junior Jennifer Jometal arts teacher Harriet Acker- Their work can be accepted or re- vinelly, Frieda Peterson-Horner, and man. jected by the juror. The result can be seniors John Pappas and Rachel Judges choose from these sub- a very rewarding or a disappointing Kelemen also had their ceramics missions, and this year the accepted experience,” said ceramics teacher pieces accepted into the show. These works are on display at the Abington Kay Moon. “It is a little taste of how students and their families were Art Center until February 22. Car- the real art world works, and coping honored for their achievement at the mina Cianculli judged these pieces with disappointment is an impor- February 9 school board meeting. Class of 2009

for various prizes, including “best of show,” a Juror’s Prize, and one winner from each medium. Cianculli is the assistant dean for admission of the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. “Participating in a juried show

Class of 2010

Fresh off the massive box office smash 300, Warner Brothers quickly snatched up the director to head a film version of the Watchmen. The movie has been filming since September 2007 and is currently ready for a March 6 release date. Cast members range from the kind-of-famous (Billy Crudup) to former child stars (Jackie Earle Haley). But the film ran into trouble a few months ago when 20th Century Fox (the former owners of the rights to make the film) sued Warner Brothers (the current holder of the Watchmen copy-

In 1986, a new work hit the comic book industry with the effect of an atom. To this day, comics have yet to find something better. Watchmen, written by Alan Moore and drawn by Dave Gibbons, takes place in an alternate version of the 1980s where Nixon is still president, the Cold War is heating up to a boil, and costumed vigilantes exist. The plot focuses on the tale of six former vigilantes who are thrust into a murder mystery when one of their former colleagues is murdered-but to bill Watchmen as a simple murder mystery would be a disservice to the book. Make no mistake-Photo courtesy of although the From left, vigilantes Ozymandias, Nite Owl II, Silk characters Spectre II and Rorschach of the film The Watchmen. may dress up in bright tights and fight crime, they still right) for copyright infringement. have human flaws. The charac- Had the judge ruled in 20th Centers include Nite Owl, a washed tury Fox’s favor, they could have up former mechanical genius cancelled the film altogether. who thinks of himself as a self- Luckily, both sides reached a resmade failure; The Comedian, a olution and the film is on track to ruthless man who lived without meet its release date. morals and whose death serves Still, the most important quesas the catalyst for the entire plot; tion remains: What will the fans Dr. Manhattan, the only one with think? Many comic fans believed superpowers who doesn’t see that the comic was unfilmable the point of defending a world and that any adaptation wouldn’t that can’t take care of itself; Silk do justice to the source material. Spectre, who, as the daughter of a Even writer Alan Moore said, “I former vigilante and the girlfriend didn’t design it to show off the of Dr. Manhattan, can’t bear to be similarities between cinema and around the insanity of vigilantes comics, which are there, but in for much longer; Ozymandias, my opinion are fairly unremarkthe self proclaimed “smartest able. It was designed to show man on the planet,” who has be- off the things that comics could come a very successful business- do that cinema and literature man after retiring from his heroic couldn’t.” activities; and finally Rorschach, But after the first trailer came the masked vigilante who puts out, and after fans and neophytes together a conspiracy theory that picked their jaws off the floor, explains why The Comedian was there was much rejoicing. The killed and the implications of his buzz that had surrounded the death. comic book community has now Moore and Gibbons use these become one of the most hypedcharacters to present themes such up films of this year. as humans’ reactions to power Many LMers who have never and how no person is ever truly read a comic in their life have “good.” When released, it was picked up the book and have instantly hailed as a classic and loved it. has since been seen as the bench“It was the first comic I’d ever mark for the medium, even mak- read and it definitely made me ing Time Magazine’s “Top 100 appreciate comics more,” said juNovels of the 20th Century” list. nior Lexi Miller-Golub. Over the past two decades, Junior Chris Baumohl said, there have many attempts to bring “[The trailer] got my attention and the comic to the silver screen. then I read about the book, found Some held promise, while oth- out it is in Time Magazine’s ‘Top ers sent terrible shivers down the 100 Novels of the 20th Century,’ spines of many a comic fan, but and decided I’d read it.” But will even by 2007, an adaptation had the movie live up to the hype, or not been produced. will no one watch the Watchmen? Enter Director Zach Snyder. All will be revealed on March 9.


February 12, 2009

The Merionite


Philadelphia: Class of 2009

Although New York is a great destination for theatergoers, too many people are unaware of the fantastic theater opportunities right here in Philadelphia. As someone who is a current subscriber to five Philadelphia area theater series, and who has seen somewhere in the realm of 150 shows, mostly in and around Philadelphia, I can say with confidence that Philadelphia has an incredible theater scene of its own. Theater here is especially appealing because subscriptions to theater series are available. Unlike

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The Arden Theater presented the world premiere of a play version of the late Chaim Potok’s My Name is Asher Lev.

on Broadway, where a show has a run in a theater for however long it can stay, the theaters in Philly pick about five shows each season. This season is roughly the same period of time as the school year. One can buy a ticket to any of these shows during the year, and those who choose to subscribe get tickets to every show in the series at a discounted price, giving them a great opportunity to experience a variety of shows at a lower cost. The next time you hop on the train or bus at Suburban Square down to China Town, why not see a show? Currently in its 200th season, the Walnut Street Theatre, just blocks from the Gallery, is the longest-running English-speaking theater in the world. It has a main stage with shows like A Streetcar Named Desire and The Producers, but it also has the Independence Studio on Three, a small, blackbox theater on the third floor, offering some of the cheapest tickets around for some of the best theater. For those of you who don’t know, a black box theater is exactly what it sounds like—a small theater that is, in essence, an empty black room. This means that seating can, and does, change from show to show, and the stage could just be the floor. With such a small room, any seat will put you

City of theater-ly love experience at every show. In last season’s production of Our Town, the wedding scene took place next door at Christ Church. Always innovative and creative, the Arden is a good bet for anyone. The Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia, composed of over 40 theaters, spreads awareness about and helps generate funding for the theatrical arts in Philadelphia. The Alliance includes

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Honor and the River is playing at Walnut Street Theater’s Independence on Three from February 24-March 15. close to the action. The Independence Studio on Three delivers new and lesserknown works, with a couple favorites like The Fantasticks thrown in. Walking into the theater is a new experience each time, and the unknown shows are often the best. The Walnut has also announced it will be adding a third performance venue soon, a theater in the round, where the stage is in the center, surrounded by seats. Another local theater company, The Arden Theater Company, has two performance spaces and regularly changes the setup of the seats and stages to make a unique

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Nadav Hirsh

The Walnut Street Theater’s 2008-9 series featured the Tennessee Williams classic A Streetcar Named Desire. the Walnut, Arden, and People’s Light in Malvern in addition to Prince Music Theater, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, the Wilma Theater, the new Phila-

delphia Theatre Company, and Lantern Theater. The Theatre Alliance even has annual Barrymore Awards given to theaters and members of the Philadelphia theater community. Going to see a show can even help you with your classes (especially Mastriano’s). Over the past few years Twelfth Night, The Crucible, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, The Glass Menagerie, Crime and Punishment, and other US History and Western Civ-related shows have been performed in our own backyard. Do not be frightened by $150 tickets and train rides through Jersey. Take the bus or train into the city and go see a show. Everyone should give theater a shot, and Philly is one of the best places to do it. Buy tickets to a series if you want exposure to things you may never have known you would like, plus the chance to see more shows for less, Give a big musical a try, or go to a black box theater and have lemonade with Walt Whitman, or watch two men play 30 characters all just inches from your seat. The Philly theater scene always has new and different shows for a wide variety of audiences. You can find a show to satiate your appetite, no matter your tastes.

Players presents The Diary of Anne Frank Maya Afilalo

Class of 2012 “I want to keep on living even after my death,” Anne Frank wrote in her famous diary. LM Players made sure she does. Their winter drama, The Diary of Anne Frank, was based on Frank’s diary and ran February 5-7. Anne Frank wrote her diary in the “Secret Annex” of an old office building in Amsterdam, where she and her family hid after the Nazis occupied Holland in 1942. For the following two years, while the Franks and another family lived in hiding, Anne Frank recorded her impressions, observations and thoughts about their hidden life. Since the Holocaust, her name has become synonymous with the survival of the human spirit in the face of the worst form of cruelty. The company was deeply moved by Frank and her words; the powerful spirit of her diary permeated their work on the show. Senior Nadav Hirsh, who plays Mr. Van Daan (another occupant of the Annex), remarked on how the drama resonated with him. “There is a scene that takes place during the first night of Hannukah that combines joy and terror and excitement and utter sadness in such a dynamic way,” said Hirsh. Along with the emotional difficulties of portraying the families in hiding, the actors were faced with the challenge of portraying real people in history, rather than fictional characters. “They had to be cautious and sensitive in approaching their characters in

order to portray those people justly. [The actors] have all brought an enormous amount of understanding and sensitivity to their characters,” said senior Laura Piccoli, the show’s director. Some actors drew from experiences in their daily lives and incorporated them into their characters. “To get into the role, I tried to observe my mother and how she interacts with me and my sisters. I needed to be able to play a grown woman and understand her body language as well, which is extremely hard to emulate,” said junior Aliza Berger, who played Mrs. Frank. While the play was coming together onstage, the costumes, lighting, sound, scenery, props and publicity crews were putting it together backstage. The crews worked for hours after school preparing the show. “It’s really cool how all the different

crews, acting, lighting, sure it conveyed that costumes, scenery, and feeling. publicity come together “In my design, I tried in the end to make a really to impose a cramped, great show,” said junior cluttered feeling upon Rebecca Plotnick, the the hideout, while still stage manager. enabling the actors to The play was assemactually move around,” bled over two months and explained the set designthe company committed er, junior Kira Goldner. many hours to ensure the The emotions atbest possible production tached to the show of the play, sewing cosand its place in history tumes, building sets, and struck a chord with the hanging lights, among entire company. The other things. confinement of Frank Photo courtesy of C. Chou/Staff The costumes crew with her parents, sister c o n s i d e r e d t h e s t y l e Freshman Elsa Schieffelin and another family for and personality of the takes the stage as Anne Frank such a long period of characters who wore the in the Players’ production. time, along with the outfits when designing intense fear for their clothes. lives that accompanied hiding during the “The biggest challenge is to en- Holocaust made a particular impression sure that you accurately represent on them. not only the fashions of the era, but “I’m still trying to deal with the fact also the personalities of individual that all these things really happened [to characters,” said costumes crew- Anne],” said freshman Elsa Schieffelin, head Emily Shepard. who plays Anne Frank. “You get to conceptualize the “[The play] is about a peoples’ peridentities of the characters, and severance. More than death, this show envision a personality for each of is about survival. The feel of the play is them. It’s pretty awesome to see based on this concept, where everyone your vision come to life,” said ju- is fighting their own demons to find the nior Amanda Lewis, who designed best in their situation, and to be strong Photo courtesy of C. Chou/Staff the costumes. for one another,” said Piccoli. The set designers had to take The company’s ability to identify with In each of their Players’ drama debuts, soph- into account the fact that Anne Anne Frank created a realistic rendition omore Ben Edelman and junior Aliza Berger Frank lived in a small attachment of her extraordinary story and strength of star as Anne’s parents, Otto and Edith Frank, to an office building while in hiding spirit, and continued to fulfill her wish to in The Diary of Anne Frank. when building the set, and make keep living, even beyond her death.


February 12, 2009

The Merionite

SPORTS Teamwork drives Beating out the cold, girls’ indoor track on fire boys’ indoor success Ethan Goldstein

coli qualified in two events. The distance medley relay (DMR) Class of 2010 team, consisting of Piccoli, Hanafee, While the rest of the school endures Kleiman, and sophomores Patty Neckthe bitter cold, the girls’ indoor track owitz, Peterson, and freshman Lacey team, which practices outdoors, is em- Serletti, qualified for states at the Meet bracing this time of year, overcoming of Champs at Lehigh University. Cara the temperature and running their hardPiccoli has also qualiest. The girls are back this season with fied for the 3000m. strong returning runners and several The girls are all exnew additions to the roster. With many pected to do very of the runners physically fit and menwell with the sixth tally in tune from the cross country fastest time in the season, the team was quite prepared state for the relay. for the indoor schedule. This “Even in the most close-knit team is determined competitive district to work as hard as it can to in the state, our DMR improve and make the team has proven that we better not only for indoor, are one of the best,” but for preparation for outsaid Piccoli. door track and field. This group of Returning runners such young girls has stayed as seniors Cara Piccoli, close as a team and Hayley Hanafee, and junior has mended any Zoe Matza have provided problems thought veteran experience and to be a dividing leadership while some first factor. The unity year runners are making a has helped the large impact on the team. t e a m ’s g r o w t h Senior Emily Kleiman a n d p r o s p e r i t y, and sophomore Laura and has brought Peterson have proven motivation to all themselves running inof the runners to imdoor track for their first prove. This intensity year. With the returning and attitude brought and new runners leading to the track flows the team, Matza believes, throughout the whole “ t h e t e a m h a s e m e rg e d team, and the girls stronger than last year.” are always there supOne main focus for this porting their teamseason has been working mates, no matter the on conditioning not only situation. for this season but for “[The girls] work outdoor track and cross w e l l t o g e t h e r, t r a i n country next year. The hard, are very disciplined, team is thinking ahead and have great attitudes,” while training for the pressaid coach Dermot Anderent at the same time. Along son. with building this base for With the seaPhoto by Liz Jacobs/ Staff the future, the players are son coming toalso focusing on the presg e t h e r n i c e l y, ent as they have fun while the team is ready competing at their top to face any chalJunior Zoe Matza keeps levels. Even with all lenge in its way. warm during practice of these things on their All of their trainminds, the girls have succeeded in ing and determination will pay off as sending a relay team to states, and Pic- the runners look to succeed in states.

Mike Buchwald

Class of 2011

the final straightaway to steal the win. This was another exciting race of the season. Furcht was recently named the Gatorade Company’s 2008-09 Pennsylvania Boys’ Cross Country Runner of the Year. An astounding feat, Furcht is the first LM student to ever receive this award. Indoor track is considered by many to be a conditioning program between fall and spring sports. As the seniors finish up their final season in the spring, younger runners are training hard to fill their shoes. “We’ve definitely got some g u y s who are going to be great in the future: A l e x

Despite the absence of an official team record and a heavy emphasis on individual performance, the boys’ indoor track team has developed a very close-knit community that has led to a strong team and a successful season. “We just race for good times, wins, and qualifications. They don’t keep score like cross country or outdoor track,” said senior Neal Berman. The team’s lack of appointed captains speaks to the fluidity and natural leadership that emerged from the strong senior section consisting of Berman, Ben Furcht, Drew Ledonne, J a k e P e r r y, J a son Warrington, Harry Winkler and Conor Murphy. Berman and Furcht both qualified for states in the mile Thames, and 3000 events. In the Tom Fischer, Michael New Balance Games, a McGowan, and Gilad meet held at the Armory Doron to name a in New York, Furcht few,” said Furcht. finished the mile fourth Although the in 4:24, with Berman sport is mostly one following, finishing of individual perfor12th in 4:30. Perry and mance, (save the medReagen hope to qualify leys) Furcht believes that for the 800-meter-run and the team’s greatest strength triple jump events, respecis the sense of team camaratively, at the Meet of Champs derie and friendship. Furcht this Saturday, also went on to February 14. Photo courtesy of Chelsea Gorney say that at evSome of the ery race the rest Gatorade named Senior Ben Furcht most memoraof the team is the Pennsylvania Cross Country ble races of the waiting at the finRunner of the Year season include ish line screaming Berman’s statetheir heads off and qualifying 8:53 in the 3k, a time 12 cheering for the runner coming down seconds under the time required to track. qualify. “ We ’ r e l i k e a b i g f a m i l y, ” s a i d “He finished the race smiling, like he sophomore Alex Thames, who runs the hardly even worked hard at all to win,” 400m and 200m open events. said Furcht. “Personally, my favorite part of bePerry’s 2:02.75 time in the 800-meter ing on the team is, well, being on the race, in which he made a great move in team. People think that track is a sport

Merionite’s Monthly Health Tip: Mr. Pavia A Smokers’ Misconceptions Are you a smoker? Why? Smoking has been called the single most avoidable cause of disease, disability and death in the United States. In spite of this fact, a Smoker Misperceptions survey (American Legacy Foundation and GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, 2007) revealed a significant difference between what smokers believe are the risks associated with smoking and the realities of tobacco-related disease and death. Consider these surprising survey results that appear to indicate how ill-informed smokers are: 66% didn’t know that their chance of developing lung cancer was greater than that of a non-smoker. 40% incorrectly believed that developing lung cancer depends primarily on genes, not on behaviors like smoking. 33% mistakenly thought that they could reverse the harmful effects of smoking by exercising and taking vitamins.

Graphic by Staff

Wow, as a health teacher I find those results to be very disturbing. Despite the efforts of 29 US Surgeons General and countless other health care professionals, smokers must be in serious denial as to the health risks of their nasty habit, or perhaps the lure of tobacco (and its undeniably powerful addiction) may even be responsible for the subsequent death of an awful lot of brain cells! At the risk of being redundant, I’ll say it again: are you a smoker? Why?


February 12, 2009


The Merionite

Newly-created girls’ ice hockey team meshes on and off the ice

Gilad Doron

Class of 2010

The girls’ hockey team is working hard to make something out of its first year on the ice. Organized by junior Lauren Stevens and freshman Alex Liu, the girls’ ice hockey team began this year with little experience. According to their coach, John Stevens (Lauren Stevens’ father, not the coach of the Flyers), “some girls had never even skated before [coming out to play],” and many had no experience with the game. Despite a lack of experience, the girls on the team have made immense progress this year. They achieved their first ever win against Conestoga in late January – making an incredible comeback from a 5-2 deficit to win 6-5, with high scorers Lauren Stevens and Alex Liu. In addition to the team’s competitive accomplishments, the girls have made tremendous strides toward forming a solid team with great chemistry. Coach Stevens says that because the team is made up of students from both Harriton and Lower Merion, “many of the girls didn’t know each other at all” at the beginning of the season. However, Coach Stevens proudly claims that “the team has really developed,” and is full of “crazy characters.” In accordance, his daughter and team leader, Lauren Stevens, identifies their strengths as “[their] camaraderie and drive.” Still, even with a successful first season, the players face many challenges. The team has only 14 players – a very low number for such a grueling sport. Furthermore, the team only has one day a week to practice at the University of Pennsylvania’s ice rink. With only one day a week to practice,

Photo courtesy of Alex Liu

The girls huddle up during a recent game

skills that were lacking at the start of the season are hard to fully develop. In spite of these potential setbacks, Coach Stevens is extremely pleased with the development of the players. Stevens says that his goal in starting this team was “to develop hockey skills, but more importantly to develop a love of the sport.” He greatly encourages girls of any skill level to come out and give ice hockey a shot. Growing up with a love of ice hockey, he played all the way through high school and college, and is extremely enthusiastic about sharing his love for the sport with girls who have had an interest in playing but have never pursued that interest. Fortunately, the girls’ ice hockey team has entered a community with a real love for the sport. Lauren Stevens reports that every public school in the Central League has an ice hockey team and most private schools have one too. The team has a game every Friday, which has been helpful in the development of skills, although Lauren Stevens says that the

team’s greatest weaknesses remain poor defense and lack of experience. Overall the girls’ ice hockey team has had an immensely successful year and cannot wait until its next season. Although the players are not fully satisfied with their record, they have accomplished their goals for the first year: coming together as a team and developing a love for the sport. Lauren Stevens expressed the team’s attitude toward this situation perfectly when she said: “It is our first year so we are not doing very well but we have improved so much this season and plan to be much better next year after everyone has had at least one year playing.” Coach Stevens expressed the same contentment with the team when he identified the team’s greatest improvement as “how [they] have come together to learn the game and to learn to skate.” In sum, this year’s girls’ ice hockey team has built a strong foundation of fundamentals that will prove essential as they move into next year’s season.

Class of 2012 The demolition of two out of the three LM gyms due to the construction of the new school building has affected PE schedules and classes , forcing both teachers and students to adjust to the new setup. Coming into this school year, only the Downes Gym remained in use. During the warmer fall classes, fewer problems arose, but in the colder second and third quarters, problems with available space have been evident. With not enough room in the lone gym for the multiple classes taking place during each set, entire gym classes have to gather and participate in activities in the new cardiac, weight, or spin rooms. Also, due to the setup of Powerschool, the school’s scheduling program, the elective program which had allowed students to choose a gym activity from a variety of options offered by the gym teachers in their particular set, was eliminated. This decision has forced students to remain with their assigned teacher for the entire year. Although there is less freedom than before, students are getting accustomed—some more reluctantly than others—to the changes. The freshmen class, as can be expected, does not mind the lack of electives as much

Photo by Esther Hoffman/ Staff

Students exercising in the new spin room, an added room to alleviate the lack of available space for gym classes.


“Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”

Playing Wii, watching House

Pajamas inside out

Sports: Goal: To win the Central League Playing sports and hanging Hobbies: out with friends Favorite Favorite Superstition Superstition for a snow for a snow day: day: Don’t have one. Quote: Quote: “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”- Michael Jordan Sports: Goal: Hobbies:

Varsity Basketball

The best athletes that LM has to offer



Alon Seltzer


Tennis Varsity Swimming To make districts

Matt McKenna


Simone Ziss

Faces of the Aces

Sports: Goal: Hobbies: Favorite Superstition for a snow day:

since electives were not available in middle school. For upperclassmen, however, the reactions have been mixed. “I am extremely opposed to [the changes],” said junior Ben Zielonka. “Students are forced to take activities that they don’t like. Since I’m a runner, I don’t think I need to spend 45 minutes in the cardio room on a treadmill.” Others don’t mind as much: “Personally, I don’t mind the change at all,” explained sophomore Itai Doron. Physical education teachers recognize the problems, but are confident that students can still have fun in gym. “The problem is, indoors we are limited,” said PE teacher Sandra Hoopes, “However, I think we have still come up with some very good activities: spinning, treadmills, elipticals, and weight training.” On an optimistic note, despite the different reactions to the alterations, all of the gym teachers and students have adjusted. But, of course, all of the problems and gripes will become irrelevant once the new school building is up and running. “Be patient,” said gym teacher John Fadely. “The new school will be awesome!”

Gabby Mezochow

Emily Eisner

PE changes force students and teachers to adjust

Sports: Varsity Basketball To win the Central League, and to go far in Districts and Goal: States. Madden 2k9, baketball, Hobbies: going out Favorite Superstition for a snow Don’t have one. day: “One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one Quote: man cannot make a team.” - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Varsity Cross Country Varsity Indoor Track Varsity Crew Medal at Nationals Running, playing in the snow, baking...a lot

Pajamas inside out and backwards “Pressure is nothing more than the shadow of great opportunity.”


Volume 80, Issue 5

The Merionite Boys’ Track

Girls’ Track

Strong camaraderie helps Senior Cara Piccoli and relay team team travel into postseason qualify for States, capping track season. See B. Track, page 18 See Ice Hockey, page 19

February 12, 2008


Girls’ Ice Hockey

An inexperienced team has high hopes for years to come. See G. Track, page 18

Overcoming cold start, Boys’ basketball heats up for the postseason J. Ochroch/E. Peltz

Class of ‘12/’09 LM boys’ varsity basketball maintains a rich history filled with success and memorable victories. Since 1921, LM basketball has amassed 1218 wins, a .634 winning percentage, and six state titles. But after an astounding win against Penn Wood on January 24, the members of the boys’ varsity basketball team had another reason to hold their heads up high. The Aces had just put themselves back on the map as one of the top teams in the area with a nail biter win over the regional powerhouse. The surprise victory was obtained after sophomore Matt McKenna sank a 23-foot buzzer -beater to put the Aces on top of Penn Wood 47-44. Led by coach Gregg Downer, who later said that the Penn Wood game “was one of the ten best wins of my coaching career,” and senior captains Greg Robbins, Harley Williamson, and the injured Eric Stahler, the Aces have again overcome doubters in their attempt to reach

the postseason one more time. But the whole season has not been fun and games for the team. After losing three of their first four games, Aces fans began to question if the boys’ varsity team had what it took to reach their expectation of a Central League Championship and another postseason berth. But then they bounced back, winning 18 of their next 19 games including the Penn Wood win, storming back into the spotlight. They currently hold a 20-4 record. Prior to its upset victory over undefeated league rival Conestoga, the team had already been named to The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Southeastern Pennsylvania high school basketball rankings at ninth, ahead of tenth ranked Penn Wood. They are currently sixth. “We don’t worry too much about the rankings, we just play basketball,” said Downer when asked about the new ranking. And as far as the Aces were concerned, the ultimate test of their come-

back would be a rematch on February 3 with Conestoga, trying to avenge a 33-29 loss from earlier in the season. Conestoga, with 6’11’’ Davidsonrecruit Jake Cohen, entered the game undefeated and a victory would ensure a league title for the Pioneers. But the Aces were not fazed by the implications of gamed, two cancellations, or controversial refereeing and in front of a packed gymnasium pulled out a 46-44 win, forcing a four-team league playoff. Robbins and Williamson kept Cohen, who finished with nine points, in check while junior Oliver Cohen hit a big three pointer with two minutes remaining to put the team ahead by two. And with the capturing of the Central League title with two wins in the playoff, incuding another over Conestoga, the Aces placed a final seal on their remarkable season comeback and announced to Pennsylvania high school Photo by Noah Zuares/ Staff basketball that they are primed to make a Senior Harley Williamson blasts past a destatement this postseason. fender, helpingLM beat Conestoga 46-44.

Girls’ basketball soars into the playoffs with perfect record in league play Drew Goldberg

Class of 2010

Rounding out the regular season with a 20-2 record and undefeated in the Central League, the girls’ varsity basketball team with league title in hand begins the district tournament with hopes of returning to States and making its mark.

During the regular season the girls beat opponents continually by double digits. Their only two losses came in out-of-season games versus Archbishop Carrol, who is currently ranked thirtieth in the nation and fourth in the state, and Academy of Notre Dame de Namur, who is ranked sixteenth in the

Photo by Esther Hoffman/ Staff

Senior Molly Hanlon defends during a recent game. The Lady Aces went undefeated in their league, capturing the Central League title.

state (Rankings by “The team meshes well on and off the court which has to happen especially with such a small team,” explains senior Amy Woods. One of the key recent games was against Upper Darby on January 21. A loss would have necessitated a final championship game to determine the league title. But a 52-41 win handed the Lady Aces the championship and a greater chance to secure a top seed at Districts. Despite capturing the league title, the girls have maintained their humility, looking forward excitedly to another opportunity to go far at Districts and States. “Each game in the post season is so crucial so it becomes imperative that we take one game at a time, don’t look past anyone and focus on preparation for the game in front of us. Every game is a big game in the District tournament,” said coach Lauren Pellicane. The team anticipates more competition than what it faced during the Central League schedule with District 1 teams, such as Downingtown East, providing difficult matchups. Although the team lost to Downingtown East last year at Districts, the girls beat them in a scrimmage earlier in the season, so expectations are higher this season not only to defeat their rivals but also to advance deeper into the playoffs. “Our team doesn’t get a lot of credit because we play girls’ basketball but I think we’re going to hopefully surprise a lot of people during the postseason,” says senior Amy Woods.

The team will try to tap into its experienced squad that has been led this season by seniors Woods, who recently committed to play at the University of Rochester, Lil Carney, Molly Hanlon and Erin Knox. “They are great kids on and off the court and are hardworking, dedicated players who have represented themselves, our team and their school with the utmost dignity and pride,” says Pellicane, “It has been a pleasure for me to watch them grow and develop as players and individuals over the last four years and they will be sorely missed next season.” The team has also benefited from talented underclassmen including current junior Dana Albalancy, who can always be counted on for the shot from behind the arc, junior Kiki Worku, who is a big contribution to the team’s offensive game, and sophomore Sheba Hall, who handles the point guard position with skill and leadership. Other players include sophmore Lila Jones, a quick guard on the team, and freshmen Gwen and Jessie Porter. “I think we have a nice core group of players who are dedicated to improving and continuing the Lower Merion tradition,” said Pellicane. Clearly, the team has the potential to advance this postseason. And who can forget their exciting and unexpected run that ended in the state tournament last year. With such a successful regular season, the girls are prepared for a big postseason and all of LM is watching with anticipation.

The Merionite  

Febuary 2009