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The Merionite November 16, 2007

Volume 79, Issue 3

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

New LM to open in 2011 Seven

District students contract MRSA Sivahn Barsade

Although contracts will not be awarded until this coming Tuesday, the current timeline projects that the new LM will open in 2011. In Winter or Spring 2008, construction will begin with the installation of a temporary parking lot on Arnold Field and work beginning on Pennypacker Field. Over Summer 2008, contractors will tear down the Ardmore Annex, losing seven classrooms, two gyms and the pool. The loss of classrooms will not have a major impact on student life, as administrators have already found space to accommodate those teachers. The physical education programs, however, will undergo significant alterations due to loss of gym space. The current Dawg Den, in the cafeteria, will become a weight room and gym programs will incorporate more contained activities like aerobics in place of current activities that require large spaces, like badminton and floor hockey. Many sports practices will be held off site on various township fields and basketball games will be held off site. Tennis courts and football turf will still be available for gym class and sports practice use. With the loss of a significant portion of the building, space will limited until redistricting occurs in 2010 and enrollment drops to 1,250. Top graphic: KCBA Architects’ graphic image of an aerical view of the new LM building from the Northwest. Bottom graphic: KCBA Architects’ image of the future site plan. Graphics Courtesy of James Lill

Democrats maintain School Board majority David Faich

Class of 2008 On Tuesday, November 6, the five Democratic LMSD School Board candidates won all five seats. This victory will maintain the 6-3 School Board Democratic majority for another two years. Of the nine seats on the LMSD School Board, five were up for election this year. Incumbents Diane DiBonaventuro and Lisa Fair Pliskin both won their reelection with 12.51% and 12.38% of the votes respectively. The three other Democratic candidates, Susan Guthrie, David Ebby, and Linda Doucette-Ashman, each garnered 12.20%, 12.07%, and 11.97% respectively. The five Republican candidates, Phil Zuzelo, William Duffy, Shelley Marine, Sheryl Bartos, and Larry Hollin,

See News, page 4

each received between 7.64% and 7.83% of the votes, with Zuzelo leading. High school construction proved to be the most heated issue between the candidates. Both parties advocated an “on time and on budget” construction plan. “For me, I think it is extremely important that we start work on Lower Merion High School without any further delay,” said DiBonaventuro. “We are so close. To delay would cost millions of dollars. The community is ready for us to move on to other things.” The Republican candidates’ main criticism of the Democrats’ stance on construction is that the current board has voted to continue the projects although they have come in over budget. “I would have to say that a do-not-exceed budget means

See School Board, page 3

Class of 2010 Last month, five Harriton students and two LM students were infected with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). This staph infection presents itself as a skin infection such as pus-filled pimples or boils. Although these infected LMSD students are currently responding well to treatment, the District has sought the help of the Montgomery County Health Department and the District’s medical consultant, Dr. Marilyn Howarth of the University of Pennsylvania, to educate the community about the possible risks and prevention of MRSA. MRSA is a type of staph bacterium infection that is resistant to treatment with usual antibiotics. MRSA is spread through skin to skin contact or via contact with an item contaminated by the staph infection. Items such as clothing or sports equipment can become contaminated by staph when in close contact with the bacteria. The bacteria can be lethal, but the majority of the 19,000 Americans who died from the virus within a single year of infection contracted it from hospitals, where the opportunistic bacteria could easily enter the bloodstream and organs through open wounds. Approximately 30% of all people are already colonized with staph bacteria, meaning that bacteria are present but do not cause an infection. Within this population of colonized people, however, an increasing percentage of bacteria are moving from the colonization stage to active infection. In the past, MRSA has primarily affected patients with weakened immune systems, usually in hospital or other type of health care settings; however, MRSA has now become more common among healthy people in communities as well. Athletes, especially football players, wrestlers, and fencers are at a greater risk of contracting MRSA because of shared sports equipment. “If you have MRSA it doesn’t mean it won’t respond to drugs; it’s not a super infection. It just means it is resistant to broad spectrum antibiotics like penicillin,” said LMSD Coordinator of Health Services Terry Quinlan. The cluster of MRSA infections found among Harriton students was spread through contact with a contaminated item. One student on the Harriton football team, who was unaware that he had MRSA, loaned an item of clothing to another student on the team, infecting him as well. They both continued to interact with other teammates and eventually the infection spread to a total of five students. Quinlan recommends that every skin infection be tested for MRSA before prescribing penicillin or other antibiotics. Doing this initial culture for MRSA (and not just automatically prescribing penicillin) can both help prevent misdiagnoses as

See MRSA, page 2

LM Players preforms “Cabaret”

Gobble gobble!

See A&E, page 12

See Features, page 9

Check out some Thanksgiving traditions.


November 16, 2007


The Merionite

Radnorites vandalize LM football turf Carolyn Chou

Class of 2009

On Friday November 2, LM adminstrators were called in early in response to vandalism by Radnor students. The students toliet papered the turf field. They also stuck “Beat LM” signs in the turf and spray painted the field with field spray paint. Because of this, while clean up took 8 hours, there were no major issues, although the insurance claim is yet to be determined. “On behalf of Radnor High School I would like offer my sincere apology to the Lower Merion High School community. The actions of these few misguided people, under the guise of ‘spirit’, is simply not acceptable,” said Radnor High School Principal Mark Schellenger. “I hope this event will not mar the mutual respect that Lower Merion High School and Radnor High School share for one another.” One of the students was caught and arrested, and he will be charged. The LM administration was in contact with the Radnor administration, and the other students involved received punishment in school. “It is unfortunate that some individuals chose to display their school spirit in a destructive manner,” said Activities Director Scott Eveslage. “While we are glad that the perpetrators were apprehended and charged, we are also very pleased that our students chose more positive means to demonstrate our spirit.”

Foreign language iPods on hiatus during legality check Liz Jacobs

Class of 2009

Foreign Language Department Chair Maryeileen Kirchner recently recollected the approximately 50 iPods distributed this year to Spanish 4H students. She and AP French teacher Lisa Allen, who will also receive iPods for her class upon their return, worried about the legality of distributing a single copy of a purchased song to multiple iPods. The two language teachers discussed the issue with the Technology Department and realized that the way in which they used the iPods violated copyright laws. They are now waiting for a central administrative decision about what they can and can’t put on the iPods, a decision that could possibly affect all teachers who post content on their eBoards or integrate different media into their course curriculum. “We want to make sure that what we are doing is legal, appropriate and useful, so we are waiting for a decision from the District before redistributing the iPods,” said Kirchner. This copyright issue is a growing problem in the country- Kirchner first questioned the legality of LMSD’s use of iPods when she heard a news story about a mother who was sued by Prince for playing one of his songs in the background of a YouTube movie of her baby dancing. Another ongoing battle in the music industry is over illegally downloading music on programs like Limewire – a 15 year old was recently fined $20,000 for illegally downloading songs. LM has 95 district-issued iPods that will be distributed between Spanish 4H classes and AP French classes after the District makes a final decision. Approximately 50 more are

Photo by Dot Goldberger/Staff

Kirchner recollected all of her Spanish 4H students’ iPods while Central District administrators review the legality of iPods used in foreign language classes. Their decision could affect all teacher’s use of content. housed at Harriton. When the mp3 players were initially distributed last year, there was no way to get music from iPod to computer. But new technology allows students to “rip” music from the iPod onto their own computer, bringing up questions about indirectly distributing music for free. Because of the iPod’s relative newness, there are no laws dictating specific appropriate use. But District Director of Technology Virginia DiMedio says that age-old copyright laws still apply. “Technology changes things,” said DiMedio. “The laws are the same, but people’s

interpretations have changed.” She says that anytime a teacher shows a movie in class, they are violating copyright laws. It is legal, however, for teachers to play 30-second music clips in class. At the beginning of every new academic year, the Technology Department briefs new teachers in copyright laws. “[Violating copyright laws] happens all the time – people don’t think about it. It’s like crossing the crosswalk. There are no copyright police, but you have to be very careful [when showing information in class]. If a teacher

See iPods, page 4

MRSA infects seven District students

MRSA prevention

• Wash your hands- scrub hands thoroughlyfor 15 seconds, or carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer.

• Keep personal items personal- Avoid sharing personal items such as towels, sheets, razors, clothing and athletic equipment.

• Keep wounds covered- Keep cuts and abrasions clean and covered with sterile, dry bandages until they heal to help prevent the bacteria from spreading.

• Shower after athletic games or practices- Shower immediately after each game or practice.

• Get tested- Testing specifically for MRSA avoids the risk of a misdiagnosis and helps get the specific antibiotic needed for effective treatment.

• Use antibiotics appropriately- Finish all doses of prescribed antibiotics.

Information courtesy of The Mayo Clinic

From MRSA, page 1

well as prevent the possibility of new strains of antibiotic-resistant infections due to over-subscription of unnecessary antibiotics. The increase of MRSA in normally healthy populations has been attributed to a combination of a decrease in good hygiene and an increase in inappropriate antibiotic use. According to Quinlan, some doctors have recently been under pressure to treat a variety of symptoms with prescription medication even if it is unnecessary. This regularity of prescriptions for antibiotics has increased the prevalence of antibiotic resistant infections. “MRSA will be around for a while. It is a health problem we are going to see more of,” said Quinlan, “MRSA is getting bigger, but it doesn’t have to be scary.” Some schools have closed for a period of time due to MRSA infection. After a preschool teacher at Port Townsend School District in Washington tested positive for MRSA, the preschool was shut down for two days so that the classroom could be disinfected. The Atherton Community Schools in Michigan were also closed down for a day after a student was diagnosed with MRSA. “I just decided we had to shut

the whole place down,” said Atherton Superintendent to ABC Local News. “I decided if I let kids come to school and then a parent come in today and says, ‘By the way, my kid has this virus,’ then I just knowingly exposed all these people.” Despite these precautionary measures, LMSD insists that there is no need for extracurricular activities or the school to be shut down on account of MRSA. “Federal, state and local recommendation for control of MRSA do NOT include the cancellation of practices or games,” wrote LMSD Superintendent Jamie Savedoff in a letter to the community. “In general it is not necessary to close schools to ‘disinfect’ them when MRSA infections occur,” said the Center for Disease Control. On October 31, the US Congress introduced the Brown/Hatch Antibiotics Bill to better monitor drug-resistant infection cases and encourage drug companies to develop new antibiotics. The bill also proposes the Office of Antimicrobial Resistance that would coordinate activities of different health agencies such as the CDC, Federal Drug Administration National Institutes of Health, Department of Agriculture and Department of Defense.


November 16, 2007


The Merionite

Dems. sweep School Board NEWS IN BRIEF

From School Board, page 1

Library makes large book purchase

do not exceed,” said Bartos in an October 24 debate held at Welsh Valley Middle School. It was one of two debates held, the other on October 16 at Bala Cynwyd Middle School. Other important issues involved township tax rates, property values , and updated education programming. This School Board will be responsible for hiring district personnel, including the next superintendent, administering finances, and creating district policies. “I am encouraged by the recent election. The LMEA believes strongly in collaborating with the School Board maintaining all the things that make LM great,” said LMEA building representative Russ Loue. “We hope to continue that relationship. We are proud of the professional and support staff and their ability to work in challenging conditions, providing the students of LM with a safe and enriching environment. Dr. Rosenwald and those board members leaving this year were advocates for the students and teachers of LM. It looks like the incoming Board will continue with that vision.” The new LMSD School Board will hold a Reorganization Meeting on Monday, December 3 at 8 pm in the LM library.

Photo by Dot Goldberger/Staff

“My vision for LMSD in five years is two completed high schools done on time and on budget,” said Ebby at the October 24 debate. “I hope that in five years, we move away from the massive doses of standardized testing that has been imposed upon us. I would like to see the entire community happy and proud of the LMSD.” “I have been on School Board for four years and worked tirelessly with the board I was elected with in 2003,” said Fair Pliskin at the October 24 debate. “We are so close, and it would fiscally irresponsible and a shame for our kids if we did not cross the finish line. At this point, we simply need to move forward.”

Harriton bomb threats concern community H. Goldberg-Morse/ S. Barsade

Class of 2010

On October 16, a Harriton High School student found a bomb threat scrawled on the wall of a bathroom. The threat alleged that a bomb would be set off on November 9, the last day of the quarter. With the aid of new video cameras, the school is trying to narrow down the time frame in which the threat could have been written. In a letter to the Harriton community distributed on October 17, the day after the threat was discovered, Principal Steven Kline stated that Lower Merion Police had responded immediately, and did not believe that there was an imminent threat to students or faculty. “This is a serious matter and I

want to reaffirm that the health and safety of your child is our foremost priority. . . We continue to work with the police to investigate specific leads and are moving forward in bringing resolution to the situation,” wrote Kline in the letter. Just a few days after the first threat was found, a second threat was discovered at Harriton. This second threat, so soon after the first, raised more concern among Harriton students. Some students did not go to school on November 9, fearing their safety. Others, however, feel that their peers were overreacting and took advantage of this threat to miss school. “I think people were just using it as an excuse to skip school on the last day of the quarter, as soon as I heard about it I thought it was fake. [The administration] handled it very adequately,” said Harriton senior Ethan Goldberg. “I think this whole thing connects to

s o m e t h i n g l a rg e r a t b o t h h i g h schools, it goes back to the vandalism. It is a symptom of the lack of respect at both of the high schools. People don’t respect our schools enough to realize that any type of vandalism is wrong, especially racist [like last year’s vandalism at LM] and other hate filled vandalism. It is an issue that we as an entire community need to address together.” Some, like Harriton Student Government President Ben Goldberg, even feel that they must stand up to the threats. “There are a handful of people who are legitimately nervous,” said Goldberg. “But a lot of people also feel they need to stand up and say we will not allow ourselves to be terrorized and insist that we need to go to school. This is just a prank and we can not allow ourselves to be terrorized.” He does, however, see the need for this threat to be taken seriously, and for preventive action to be taken. “The administration is acting very cautiously, there is definitely a full investigation involving police. They asked twice if anyone had any evidence or information to reconstruct the day,” said Goldberg.

The LM library recently purchased 1,500 new books in an attempt to increase student use of the facility. The library staff hopes that with the installation of two security cameras and the banning of iPods, theft will decrease. “We ordered 1,500 new books using the library budget,” said Head Librarian Pam McGlone. “What can I say? They’ve been flying out the door. People are checking out three, four, five books at a time. They’re current books and bestsellers.” They also cleared out older books to make space for the new titles. The older books were cleared out according to District policy and taken to book depositories in Philly. “I’m excited to finally be able to use the library!” said junior Jean Brown. “It will be really helpful to be check books out at school, rather than having to go to my local library.” In the past, many students saw the library mainly as a computer lab, which quickly filled up because of the limited number of computers. Last year, the library saw an increase in theft of computer mice, so sometimes there were even fewer computers available for use. --Leah Sutton, ‘10

Education Foundation hosts first annual gala On Saturday, November 3, the Education Foundation of Lower Merion hosted its first annual fundraising gala at Ardmore Toyota. The gala, called Taking it on the Road, included silent and live auctions to raise money for district spending. The Foundation is non-profit organization independent of LMSD but accepts donations from District alumni and community members to raise money for the District. In 2006, a group of community members founded the Foundation in response to PA legislators’ passing of the property tax known as Act 1. “[The gala] was an unqualified success, attracting over 200 people and generating about $35,000 to support the Foundation,” said Education Foundation President Richard Wells. “Those funds will be used by the Foundation to support the educational excellence of the Lower Merion School District. While we do not have specific uses in mind yet, the money will go towards grants to fund special programs or capital needs. The Foundation is grateful for hard work of all our volunteers on the gala committee, and we especially appreciated the many student volunteers who worked at the gala itself. We intend to hold another gala next year and planning for that event will begin in a few months.” --Liz Jacobs, ‘09

CARE launches new integration initiative

At a September 17 event at the Merionite Tribute House, the Committee to Address Race in Education (CARE) celebrated its tenth anniversary and launched its new initiative, CARE Partners. At the event, four CARE members were honored after working with the committee for ten years. In addition, LM Reading Specialist Saleema Smith presented the committee’s new initiative, which will pair veteran black teachers with new teachers in a mentor/support role to help new teachers transition to LMSD and aid retention and recruitment efforts. “A partnership program for the African American professionals has begun this year,” said Smith. “CARE sub- committee is matching seasoned African American professionals with those who are new to the District in order to provide support in any area but specifically, in learning how to successfully navigate Lower Merion’s unique culture.” CARE began in 1997 after Superintendent David Magill put together a meeting about the achievement gap and race in conjunction with the Concerned Black Parents and a study group of black professionals. CARE’s main goal is to promote discussion about race in education between the community and LMSD staff. They discuss strategies for understanding and addressing the causes of the achievement gap. These discussions and recommendations have been the cause of many programs and strategies aimed at improving the achievement of all students. --Carolyn Chou, ‘09


November 16, 2007

The Merionite

District blocks Facebook to combat slow server Conor Ferguson

Class of 2011

On October 29, the popular “social utility site” Facebook, and several other high-bandwidth sites were blocked from Lower Merion School District servers to combat a slowing internet connection. The District’s blocking was independent of the sites’ content. “The reason was simple. We are having a problem with Internet speed and the number one use of bandwidth was Facebook. Plus, with Facebook being on the server, there is a greater risk of catching an internet virus. The decision had nothing to do with the content. We are blocking sites that are using the most bandwidth and are not associated with any curricular content,” said District Director of Technology and Information Virginia DiMedio. “There is a federal law, CIPA (Children’s Internet Protection Act) which requires every district in the state to block sites that contain graphic adult content. However that was not the reason why Facebook was blocked. It was all about bandwidth.”

Regardless of the reason, many students are upset by the restricted access to certain sites. “The administration doesn’t give us enough free time. Why can’t we just have fun when we are on the computers,” said sophomore Kara Wertheimer. Others, like sophomore Kira Goldner, also feel that the District does not have the right to block certain sites. “By blocking Facebook and other websites, the district is partaking in censorship and limiting our rights telling us what we have the right to look at on the web,” said Goldner. Others feel that students will find an alternative to Facebook, just as Facebook became more widely used by LM students than MySpace when the latter was blocked. “In about a week, there’ll be another site just like Facebook and everyone will be clogging up the server with it,” said senior Bill Chinburg. “At Lower Merion, I don’t believe that you teach by blocking,” said DiMedio. “The job of teachers and students is to use the technology we have for the purpose it is here. . . education.”

Graphic by Sam Blum/Staff

The District blocked Facebook and other high-bandwith sites because they slowed down the server, not because of their content.


iPod legality questioned From iPods, page 2

decides to show a video in class spur of the moment, that’s fair use,” said DiMedio. “We have to find more ways to legally have access to Spanish speakers with pertinent, interesting and age-appropriate material,” said Kirchner. “The purpose of the iPod program is to extend the learning outside of the classroom.” But because of the iPods’ educational potential, some laws may exempt their use from such copyright laws. Central administrators are currently reviewing permitted iPod content and a general sharing of information by District teachers. This includes teachers who post content on their eBoards, show an educational film in class, and play music. Some think that they may be allowed to show trademarked information if the content will be taken away at a welldefined endpoint in time, an interpretation that would enable the iPods to be used in the same way they are now, as long as language teachers recollect them at the end of the year. One way to combat this potential copyright violation would be to increase student-created content on the devices. But Kircher feels that this input would lose part of the iPod’s initial intent: for students to listen to and begin to develop an understanding of heritage speakers from different countries. “Student input on the iPods can be used for assessment, but not necessarily to create materials for other students to listen to. In addition, student-created materials require a lot of class time that we do not have in the 4H class. If we spend 2 weeks creating materials in class, it counteracts what we are trying to do with the use of time regarding the iPods,” said Kirchner. “These iPods have a lot of potential for student learning, but you have to be careful,” said DiMedio. “People want black and white, but it’s a grey area. The best thing to do is go on the side of being conservative and get permission to distribute. I thought it was a neat idea to use new and different technology, but there are management issues involved that make it logistically difficult. Kirchner’s taken on a great risk, but with one step back I’m sure she will leap forward with a creative solution.”

No grading policy changes planned for ‘07-‘08 year Rachel Cohen

Class of 2010

Contrary to many rumors circulating through LM, no grading policy changes will go into effect this academic year. The Lower Merion Student/ Parent Handbook incorrectly stated that the final letter grade of the year would be the cumulative average of the number percent that was received for the quarter grade. Any potential future changes must be approved by either the School Board or the Superintendent. There are, however, different procedures students must take to appeal contested grades, which are outlined in the Handbook for the 2007-2008 school year. “The grading policy remains the

same until the School Board or the Superintendent changes it. Two years ago, a committee made a recommendation to the superintendent to make changes in the policy; to my knowledge, that recommendation was never acted upon. So nothing has changed. It could be reviewed this year but that will be up to the new school board and the new superintendent. I wouldn’t worry about it right now,” said tenth grade Assistant Principal Doug Arnold. Another false rumor going around is that if a new grading system were implemented, it would be introduced solely to incoming freshmen. “If there was a grading system, it would be for the entire student body,” said Interim Principal Nort Seaman.

Confusion arose after the Handbook accidentally omitted a section about the methods used to determine yearly final grades. The Handbook left out “quality point conversions,” which are used to calculate final grades. “Publishing these Student Handbooks has been a huge problem this year. They inadvertently left out quality grading for the final grades. Nobody should be worried,” said Arnold. The current numerical scale will remain to determine quarter grades, and final grades will still be a weighted combination of quarter and exam grades. Each quarter grade is worth 20% of the final grade, with the midterm exam counting as nine percent and the final exam, 11%. These percentages

are then multiplied by the letter grade’s assigned value- “A’s” are worth four points, “B’s” are worth three, “C’s” are worth two, “D’s” are worth one, and “F’s” are worth zero. The summation of these calculated values is then the final grade: any sums that fall in between 3.5 and 4 is an “A,” any between 2.5 and 3.49 is a “B,” etc. Although the grading policy will not change this year, the procedure students must follow to appeal grades has changed. If a student or a student’s parent/guardian believes the calculated grade for the marking period has been applied incorrectly, they can discuss it directly with their teacher. If the issue is not resolved it can then be taken to the administration.


November 16, 2007

The Merionite

EDITORIAL Lower Merion’s well-groomed jungle Our school is a paradigm in educational circles, a nationally recognized institution that garners top honors again and again. We have an experienced and talented staff; we have a diverse and fully fleshed curriculum; we have a highly motivated studentbody; we had Kobe. But the morsel of this school we must recognize and savor is the institutional engine that drives the very body and mind of the school: the Lower Merion Cafeteria. Now offering much more than your average school-steamed hamburger, or boiled hotdogs, the Lower Merion cafeteria is a lunchtime paradise. With a warm and loving staff and a bold choice of new gourmet foods, our cafeteria plays a more essential part in the educational mechanisms of our school more now than ever before. The standard cafeteria food options are here, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, pizzas, fries, and the like. But the cafeteria prepares even the most mundane of foods in wonderful ways. Cheese steaks, shrimp poppers, mozzarella sticks are simmered to perfection. And in addition to the conventional repertoire, the cafeteria offers many fresh food choices like hand-made hoagies and wraps, savory BLT pizzas with Florentine tomato sauce, hearty steak strombolies, and delicious Transylvanian goulashes. That usual stale, processed, soulless feeling that comes from eating cafeteria food has been minimized, even eliminated, in our cafeteria. If you need any more convincing, sink your teeth into a round pizza from Savi’s hut. Nothing on earth matches the sweet sensation of savoring its tangy tomato against the roof of your mouth. But there is more to commend than just the food choices. The cafeteria staff has ’50’s warmth, an approachable and optimistic demeanor that is rarely seen these days. A smile with a hoagie, a helping hand to get a pizza, these little motions mellow the relentless, demanding pace of the school day. There are few havens in this school to escape from pressures of academia. The accepting atmosphere of the cafeteria lunch line is one place to take a much-needed breath. All this said, however, the cafeteria has started to take advantage of its new success. Where the round pizzas sold for a dollar only a few years ago, their price has skyrocketed to $1.75. Not even the most liberal estimations of inflation or Cost of Living Adjustments can justify this steep price increase. And Savi’s delectable cookies have shrunk to a stingy size that cannot please or fulfill anyone’s sweet tooth. The evils of capitalism must not now destroy the last great pillar of our school. It has become obvious that the cafeteria, like so many institutions in the past, has fallen prey to the plague of monopoly. The school facilities have no competition: how can anyone’s mother out-do those delectable Monte Cristo sandwiches? And as invariably happens with such situations, prices become unfair and quality drops. The cafeteria offers tea, great! But at $1.25 and with all the quality of airplane tea, the prospect of sipping a nice cup of Earl Gray in the morning doesn’t seem so appealing. Seeing as the cafeteria serves vital victuals to hundreds of LMers every day, it is imperative that it holds up to LM’s lofty standing. It would be fitting if such an esteemed school kept a cafeteria that was in equal standing. Despite the diversification that has recently swept through LM’s menu, the steep prices and declining quality sully this otherwise immaculate food service. Our school cafeteria should be a tamed jungle— a palate of unique flavors that caters to, rather than takes advantage of, the students. Unsigned editorial on this page reflect the general opinion of student editors, not the views of individuals.

The Merionite Published since 1929

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

Arts & Entertainment Editors

Sophia Hirsch, ‘09 Jenny Smolen, ‘09

Managing Editor Samantha Rosen, ‘08

Layout Editor Sam Blum, ‘09

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

Business Manager Marissa Presser, ‘09

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

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

Editorials/Letters Letters to the Editor

From a seasoned perspective... Dear Connie, I’d just like to point out that you reminded me of how I felt last year as a sophomore, knowing only of junior year by its reputation. My junior friends were all telling me of the hell that is junior year, and I witnessed their angst firsthand when they rushed home from dance class to complete a rhetorical analysis or complained about a looming WebAssign that they hadn’t started. You pose an interesting argument in your article “Preemptive Planning; Advanced student placement”. While I am all for challenging gifted students and can understand your reasons for wanting to implement AP classes for freshmen and sophomores, I believe you need to examine more closely the possible effects of such a decision. I admire your thirst for knowledge and your ambition; however, I don’t think giving freshmen and sophomores the choice to take AP classes is the “logical” solution to the problem of a burdensome and arduous junior year. I completely agree that there is “unspoken competition” among LM students about AP classes. At the beginning of this year, even among friends, a current of tension and competition always underlay the conversation when the question arose of “so how many AP’s are you taking?” But do you think that giving underclassmen the opportunity to take AP classes will somehow make this competition disappear? I doubt it. In fact, I think the competition will just increase. Besides the battle for who can take on the most AP classes junior year, there will emerge a new competition over who was one of those sophomores who took AP’s freshman and sophomore year. You say that come junior year, students “wouldn’t feel the need to pile on as many AP courses to buff up their transcripts,” but with other students also taking college courses as underclassmen, as juniors they will feel just as much need to distinguish themselves from their peers through an impeccable and ambitious transcript. This

new availability of AP courses would just raise the bar for all ambitious students, making not only junior year, but freshman and sophomore years, more stressful than they need to be. Underclassmen do have the opportunity to take AP classes right now; I know of several people who did as sophomores. They took history or chemistry in summer school, and achieved the necessary prerequisites. By making summer school the vehicle through which underclassmen can take AP classes, the opportunity is existent for those who want it badly enough to take summer school for it, but also exclusive enough so that not all underclassmen feel pressured to do it. I fear that if AP classes were made available to all underclassmen when choosing their courses, even those students who were recommended for it or who could, theoretically, take the class, would be pressured into taking AP’s even if they felt they weren’t really ready for it yet. While I encourage you to pursue all the academic rigor you seek, and applaud you for wanting to be challenged, I wonder if it is really necessary to make everyone feel as though they should prematurely seek that extra challenge, and sincerely doubt that early availability of AP classes will make school less stressful. I say, Connie, enjoy sophomore year as it is! Enjoy excelling in your classes, and realize that you have your whole life to be challenged academically. Savor all the fun and relaxation of youth that is available to you now- that isn’t to say that sophomore is all fun and games, but you know what I mean. If you feel it necessary, ask your teacher for some extra challenge. I’m sure any of your teachers will be happy to help you, and will give you the resources to supplement your understanding and knowledge. And one more thing: I suggest reading back over this article next year and seeing how your feelings match up, just for kicks. Sincerely, Nina Bar-Giora Class of 2009

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November 16, 2007

OP-ED Promulgation I s a a c L i n d y : Nuclear A proposal of modest proportions “Preggers again?” The Merionite

“Britney Spears Gone Crazy... ties’ problems is that it helps Leaves Kids in Bathtub Unat- people to get their minds off of tended!”; “Nicole Richie Preg- their own issues. Not that being nant... completely absorbed in Angelina with and Brad’s tumultuous relationParis ship is a waste of time, or that Hilton’s closely following the fight for child?”; custody of Anna Nicole’s baby “Lind- is trivial, it’s just that we then say Lo- refuse to face our own probhan Out lems. Owen Wilson may have of Re- attempted suicide, but why focus hab after on his personal qualms when we 30 Min- could be devoting time to solvutes!” ing social problems like global Isaac Lindy Do warming or genocide in Darfur? Class of 2010 these The answer lies in the new head- wave of escapism sweeping the lines seem familiar? Unfortu- country. Enjoying a healthy servnately, they should. Sensational ing of Star Magazine is not the journalism documenting the only way in which people escape lives of the rich and famous reality. Playing video games or has invaded our country, firmly watching T.V. does the job just as planting its roots in every Ameri- well. I am not condemning those can household. Why do we care who sit down and ogle the hotties about Lindsay’s latest arrest, on Grey’s Anatomy, or who love Britney’s drug and alcohol prob- playing Halo on Xbox 360, but lems, and Nicole’s eating disor- these activities should not be enders? There are a variety of rea- joyed if they are used as a methsons, all of which are downright od to shirk your own problems. frightening. Finally, by having the personal One of the major reasons we lives and private problems of cecare is because magazines like lebrities publicized, we feel betPeople and US Weekly tell us ter about our own faults. This is a to care. By plastering shocking scary notion: that we need to see headlines on the cover of every other people fail in order for us to issue, and placing their maga- feel okay with our own failures. zines in locations where sheer This trend stems mostly from the boredom drowns customers, fact that high status celebrities, these publications have surrep- who now occupy our society, titiously entered the minds of are revered and essentially worunsuspecting Americans, replac- shipped. Consequently, many ing daydreams with juicy gossip people believe that if the mighty and wandercelebrities can ing thoughts mess up, it’s with shockacceptable for ing “facts”. them to make The stratemistakes. gic placeThe probment of their lem with this magazines mindset is in supermarnot that we ket checknow believe out lines, it’s acceptand thus in able to make the human mistakes; the psyche, has issue is that ensured these we almost publicaneed permistions boomsion from ing sales. the celebriThe ties. Having blame, howfaults is okay, ever, should everyArt by Will Laren and not solely go body messto the magazines. We as con- es up once in awhile, but the sumers have swallowed the bait way in which we justify our whole, blindly subscribing to flaws by comparing them to these magazines that have little to those of the famous is immoral. no journalistic value. The trend We need to stop focusing on of more and more gossip rags celebrities so much, and start fopopping up everywhere demon- cusing on problems that really strates how successful this busi- matter. If the gossip magazines ness is, and how lazy Americans continue to publish sensational are. Instead of muscling through news, and we continue to read a hearty New York Times Maga- it at a voracious pace, then we zine article, or attempting to will keep ignoring the real iscrack a Wall Street Journal piece, sues in our world. We should we opt for the easy, quick reads stop feeling inferior to celebrithat provide instant gratification. ties, and start taking initiative A second frightening rea- in our own life without permisson for reading about celebri- sion from these gods-on-earth.

The United States seems to be focused on keeping small scary countries from getting nuclear power. We big and mighty countries want to ensure that they can’t build nuclear Jeff Nelson bombs. Class of 2009 We powerful countries believe that by keeping these small countries from getting the bomb it will somehow stabilize world politics. I, however, do not think that keeping nuclear bombs from them is the best way to stabilize the world. My modest proposal, as it were, is simple enough. The more people there are that have the bomb, the less people there will be who will use it, from fear of getting their pants bombed off by everyone else. In fact, I don’t see why we shouldn’t just issue a nuclear bomb to every citizen. There are quite a few reasons that everyone should have their own personal bomb. They are as follows: 1. It would stimulate the economy. 2. It would increase growth in the vital landscaping community. 3. It would lower crime.

The proliferation of nuclear weapons would solve one issue that has plagued America for ages, the economy. If there is one thing that is constant in this world it’s the power of accessorizing. The potential for accessorizing your bomb is endless. It would be like the whole iPod industry. Say you buy a launcher for your nuclear bomb, next year they release a launcher with extra missile bays, or a space based targeting system. Or perhaps you could buy the bomb model with the touch screen, or the smaller, sleeker silver edition. Maybe you could even buy one of those squishy rubber things, so your bomb doesn’t get smudged. Entire industries would develop for servicing your bombs.

The only economic problem I foresee with the proliferation of nuclear weapons would be the creation of poorly made knock off merchandise from Asia. Outsourcing would remain a problem, and the tech support for your bombs would be terrible, I never can understand those thick accents. Oh well, that’s the problem with the global economy. If you invest in the bomb industry as it starts, you can use all the money you make to buy even more bombs. The proliferation of nuclear weapons is economic expansion. Everyone knows that close to the heart of every American is a love of landscaping. We can’t get enough of it. Alarmingly the nations landscaping community has been dropping in recent years. A look at the facts and figures quickly establishes why. Gardening is just not as exciting as it used to be. Back in the day we had to fight dinosaurs and Native Americans just to plant some daisies in our own front lawn. This, however, is no longer the case. If citizens were issued large scale nuclear weapons, options for landscaping would skyrocket. Think of all the geographic alteration we could do. Imagine, you come home late, you’ve been at work and it was a tough day. You just want to sit back and relax, maybe dig around in the dirt and do a little gardening. With nuclear weapons you could idly move

mountain ranges, perhaps dig a few more oceans, and level a few hills. Maybe you just have a lot of leaves you want to incinerate. If you are still not convinced, I will elaborate with a personal story of my own. My neighbor, a well-known jerk, kept out doing me by having the greenest lawn in on the block. I blew his whole property to the moon. Coincidently the fallout that landed on my lawn has made all my grass glow with a nice, rich green color. Finally, and most importantly, issuing bombs to every citizen is the first and only step needed to stop crime. The concept has been shown to work on a small scale as originally proposed by the NRA, or the National Rifle Association. They believe that if everyone had handguns crime would drop because everyone could defend themselves against wouldbe criminals. This is a great idea and shows the sage wisdom of lobbyists and private interest groups. If we applied this idea to a larger scale it supports the distribution of nuclear arms. Crime would stop entirely. Say someone tries to jack your car. No problem, one click of a button and BAM! He’s a cloud of gas. Plus the whole concept is just plain American. It combines the use of our second amendment right, with our love of fireworks. It would be like the fourth of July everyday. For the above reasons I think it is clear that the distribution, not control, of nuclear weapons is key to making a more perfect society. It would make America a shimmering example; a city on a hill, for what the world should be like. The three benefits I cited are just the beginning of how our society would change for the better if everyone were given nuclear weapons. The complete proliferation of nuclear weapons is the initial step towards a better society. No longer concerned with protecting mankind from these weapons, I’m sure that legislation will be in full sway for fully automated battle robots, or intelligent super space planes. The future looks bright indeed, and nuclear proliferation will lead us there.


November 16, 2007

The Merionite

Checking the growth of a giant

Every four years Americans gather around their TVs to watch the world’s top athletes compete for international glory. The Olympics are where miracles happen and where you can truly take pride in your Jon Blistein country. Class of 2008 But this coming summer, the Olympics will hold a much greater importance, which is why there must be a boycott. This summer’s Olympic Games are being held in Beijing, the capital of the world’s fastest growing nation. Over the past 20 years, China has developed substantially and is on the verge of becoming the next great global superpower. Their economy is booming, their population is enormous, and their military is the largest in the entire world. But they are also producing cheap products, made with cheaper labor to make their fortunes in the global market. At the rate they are going now, China will be one of the most dominant nations in the world within the next few decades, and a successful Olympics will solidify their position on the global stage. Behind this façade of success, however, lies a dangerous coun-

try that poses many threats to the rest of the world. To start, as mentioned previously, they have the single largest military in the world with over seven million total troops, and more than two million active troops. They are more than prepared to use their massive military, and have said several times they will if Taiwan chooses to declare its independence. Along with their massive military, China has been repeatedly accused of violating human rights, with reports of torture, religious repression, and illegal imprisonment. They have been suppressing movements advocating the independence of Tibet and Taiwan; they are intolerant of groups who oppose the government, going as far as to imprison members without trials. Lastly, as many of you probably know, China has been producing a large portion of the products sold throughout the United States. To make these products, China uses cheap labor and cheap materials, making enormous profits across nationwide Wal-Marts. This cheap labor, however, has resulted in massive recalls of poisoned toys and dog food. But as the most recent recall of Aquadots toys shows, it appears that China is not intent on stopping any time soon. Essentially, China is more than capable of becoming an incredibly dominant force in our world, which in turn could pose a grave threat to other countries. They are more than ready, and this year’s Olympics

could give them that final push. A boycott of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, however, would send the message that the rest of the world is no longer willing to let China continue to grow unchecked. And while a boycott may not be as detrimental as sanctions (which the government can’t even impose in the first place considering our massive debt and dependence on the Chinese), it could have a substantial impact on China’s role on the global stage. China is incredibly intent on putting themselves in a positive light, and they are doing whatever they can to make sure that the Olympics are flawless. Recently, China’s Ministry of Public Security banned organizations the government considers might threaten the Olympics and, more importantly, China’s image. But for us on the other hand, the Olympics provide an ample opportunity to protest China’s horrendous track record, and bring light to the potential threat they pose. All in all, I’m not saying that China should be denied the right to become a world superpower, only that they are held responsible for their actions. A safe and trustworthy China could be a great ally on a global scale and could be incredibly helpful in fighting terrorism, disease, and hunger. So this summer, instead of watching NBC and listening to Bob Costas, go outside, spend time with your family, read a book, and get something to eat at Peace of Pizza instead of China King.

Technophilia leads to mismanaged funds

Another year, another technology grant. It would seem that LM has a seemingly endless supply of capital reserved for acquiring the odd Macintosh laptop, projector, SmartBoard, or iPod. Niklas Thompson Class of 2009 But are these funds being directed intelligently? In theory, the expenditure on the various pieces of equipment that litter each and every classroom seems to be judicious. Every room has a projector, every teacher a laptop, and every corridor wireless Internet. In an ideal world, all the technology that we spend our well-earned capital upon would be put to good use. And if every teacher were techsavvy, these systems would work marvelously. A teacher would be able to lecture on their SmartBoards, save all slides, and put them on their eBoards for future reference. Students could follow along with their iBooks, and submit their work over the net. Sadly, this is not the case, as any student could tell you.

In most cases, the inspired purchases of the district sit gathering dust in the corners of rooms. SmartBoards, for instance, are abound in this school, yet are seldom used. This occurs, not because teachers are necessarily unable to use the boards, but because they are simply unwieldy. The boards need to be recalibrated every time the projectors are moved even the merest inch. And because the boards are projected upon, it’s nearly impossible for teachers to write and stay out of the way of the projector at the same time. (Also, explain to me why the art department needs a SmartBoard). Laptops are potentially useful, but their distribution is thoughtless. For the most part, laptops have been distributed to math and English rooms, rather than to science rooms where the lack of laptops is frequently felt. Furthermore, with the influx of laptops to areas where they are simply not needed, teachers feel pressured to put them to use. This almost inevitably results in classes browsing the Internet rather than actually performing work. While the district has been given a large amount of money to spend solely on technology, this does not mean that they can spend it frivolously. It has become increasingly apparent that the purchases made by the district are poorly planned. Simply look at the situation with the language department’s iPods. No amount

of schoolwork necessitates a 60gigabyte iPod. But apart from that, this school program has become engulfed in the issue that has ravaged the entertainment industry—distribution. Recently, all of the Spanish iPods have been revoked due to the fact that the district foresaw no issue with distributing several gigabytes of copyrighted content to students - the RIAA, of course, did. In light of this haphazard allocation of technology, here are some suggestions for the district. Research. Don’t just look at the company and product; ask the teachers what they need. Throw all caution to the winds and ask the students. Instead of hastily buying superfluous technology for every teacher, make purchases for only those who want and need it. There are areas of this school that actually need new technology. The computers in the library and science labs are unforgivably outdated when compared to those in math rooms. After purchases are made, actually observe how they are being used. If the district had seen how SmartBoards and laptops were being used, perhaps the technology would have been diverted to more purposeful ends. We must not take for granted the miraculous funds we have at hand. If this trend continues I wouldn’t be surprised to see electronic toilets purchased to solve our bathroom problems.


The Comedy Quaterpage Will Laren presents:

“The Il-est”

Heart of Lower Merion I sat in class the other day, studying the inner workings of the American Government, and reading about days of the past, of a different, darker time. Next to me was JB, crosslegged and Matt Taylor reading Class of 2008 Sartre. Suddenly, darkness flowed into the room, taking the words of my book from me, leaving me completely blind. “These are dark times,” JB said to me. He spoke in a ponderous, absent manner that had a touch of reminiscence behind it. “I can’t help but think back to ancient history, when the men of this place were larger. You remember I once had a class in the Annex – Humanities.” This comment sent a shudder down my spine, as my imagination went dark, and evil swiftly ran through my heart. “I remember it very well. I walked to my bus stop in the morning, and the sun still slept beyond the edge of the world. I sipped my coffee and waited for the bus. It came to get me, only to break down before we reached the school. Yet I arrived still in time to see the crowds of students in the halls. “Many of them seemed withered to the bone, from lack of sleep, I suppose, as they all seemed to work constantly day and night. Did they eat either? I could not

say. Their faces were empty, yet not. I could sense their despair, and they looked like no more than shadows of another image. “As I passed down the hallway to class, they would harass me. Always blocking my way, hurling trash onto the ground in front of me as I tried to get through. Only the sound of camaraderie as I called out to a friend kept them back. The lights flickered under the strain of the snow outside, as I was immersed in darkness during fleeting, eternal moments without that fluorescent heaven. “I walked with my friends to class, yet even among them students lashed out at us. One of us ran into a crowd of seniors, and got left behind. I didn’t realize his worth to our group, our completeness because of him, until he was hit. Yet we had to continue, to reach that classroom where He was. Everyone always talked about Him as some hero of learning, yet also some creature of darkness. What did I think of Him? I could not know. “I entered the Annex, feeling as if there were signs telling me to go back, but I felt drawn to it, dark as it was. He was calling out to me, and my emotions gripped my conscience and told me to move forward. One of the students in His class passed me on his way out. He told me that this Man was an amazing teacher. He told me this man had the key to life, the key to learning and good grades, if only I would listen to him, and so I moved onward, pressing to meet this hero.” As I listened to JB talk, I could not help but feel darkness in my heart. Oh, those days! A time I tried to move past, into a better future, but could not escape.


November 16, 2007

The Merionite


Guten Tag from Germany

Dear Lower Merion Faculty and Students, From what I remember, the typical morning of an LM student went something like this: wake up, get dressed, go out and get the New York Times for your parents, turn on SportsCenter and see the scores from last night, hop on the school bus (or drive because you just got your permit) and stroll in to school past the friendly jovial campus aides to see your friends. For me, things have...changed. I wake up, get dressed, take a look at the Stars and Stripes, turn on the TV only to be welcomed by American Forces Network cable, get on the school bus using my bus pass that proves I am a legitimate military dependent, then go through the gates to our school (which are guarded by armed soldiers), and arrive at school for yet another day of high school. For those of you who do know me, I miss you immensely! For those of you that don’t, my name is Kaitlyn Martin. I lived in Narberth my whole life, and went to Lower Merion High School until December 22, 2006 when I moved to Ramstein, Germany. My family moved here because my mother is now the Trauma Director at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, which is an American Military hospital here in Germany. There are quite a few US Military bases in our area, but I go to school and do most of my activities on Ramstein Air Force Base. We live about 20 minutes from the base in a small village called Landstuhl-Melkerei. Since I have been here, many have asked about how I have dealt with moving to Europe. Just like moving within the US, it took a little time to adapt. The most difficult problem I had was moving into the military. LMers face daily threats like getting an iPod stolen, while students here must consciously accept that where we go to school is a terrorist target. I go to Ramstein American High School, which is your regular old high school. The only difference is that it is on an Air Force base in Germany. But don’t let me scare you—the people here are mostly military personnel and their families. Since there are so many Americans, most of the time we function like a normal American town. On base we have everything you need, it’s just all cramped together. The high school is next to the grocery store, which is next to the mall, which is close to the golf course and the

Emma Saltzberg

gym, which is right next to the bowling alley. There are some other small highlights like the youth center, Chili’s, library, new pool, and movie store. As you can see, everything is close, including the people. If you have never met someone in the military, they may seem intimidating at first. But this is only because they want to become friends with you as soon as possible: they don’t know if they’ll be moving in a few years, or if you’ll

however, were some of the closest I have ever had. After the tournament, though, I discovered one of the harshest disappointments about the military world. People move—a lot. My best friend Kristan, who was on the team, had to move to California a few days after the tournament. This is probably the hardest aspect of living here; people come and go so often, and there isn’t much you can do but bite the bullet. We went on a few trips over the summer to Switzerland, Austria, and Holland, which were all beautiful. School started soon after that. The beginning of this school year has been a lot better compared to this time last year. I have made some really great friends who are all amazing people. The stories my friends tell me— about how they have lived in eight different places, or gone to four high

schools in three years, or what life was like for the six years they lived in Japan—are amazing. We recently had homecoming, which is a really big deal here. There was a massive football game (which, incidentally, we won...) and an amazing formal dance that night. I had a date and we went with a big group, just like normal kids. Every day, I am amazed more and more at our ability to lead semi-normal lives even though we’re out in the middle of Germany. Now let me try and think of some new things... At the request of a few of my friends, I’ve started going to a youth group at our church. I was never extremely religious when I lived in LM, but here most people are, so I took the offer as a great way to learn something new. I have also become a huge Guitar Hero dork, to the point where my friend and I have beaten GH1, GH2, and GH Encore all on expert level. I’ve gotten to drive on the Autobahn (but don’t tell the cops, or in German polizei). Speaking of German, I have learned to count to 10, say “the book is on the table”, “what’s up”, “I love you”, and order hot chocolate. And if you’ve never heard German, you aren’t missing much. It only sounds like an illiterate drunk person. The most important thing that I want to get across to all of you is that I miss you terribly. I also think it is important, however, (that was for you Mrs. Mastriano – the correct use of “however”) to tell you some of the “life lessons” I’ve learned. The biggest one is that you should all move at least once in your life. It will truly test your character and your ability to create a life for yourself out on your own. The next is that you will meet amazing people in your life. Do not waste a minute you have with them, because chances are they will not be around forever. And the last is that wherever you go, you will find friends. No matter how alone you feel, there are always people there to love you, it just takes time to find them. With that, I need to be going...even I have to do AP Physics homework. I hope to see you all soon, but until then it would be great to hear from you. Feel free to email, instant message, or Facebook me; I’d love to hear what’s going on in LM. With love, Kaitlyn Martin

I would, but it’s not as bad as you might think.” Another major fundraiser in which Walsh was involved is “Children’s Hope for a Cure”. “It’s a mosaic that some other kids and I did with a local art therapist named Mary Ellen Photo courtesy of Matt Walsh Goetz,” Walsh in the next year. I met with the president says. “We each came up with a little idea of Wawa to get them to sell sneakers,” of life without diabetes and made a sketch. explains Walsh. The paper sneakers are a This famous mosaic artist, Jonathan Manfundraiser for JDRF. Walsh also spoke at a dell, brought it together and made it into Halloween Adventure corporate meeting; one big piece. We [the kids] glued it down Halloween Adventure stores in the area and everything.” will be selling the sneakers in friendly The kids who made the mosaic auccompetition with Wawa. tioned it off at the annual JDRF Fundraiser Does he get nervous speaking in front Gala. “A local Philadelphia schoolteacher of so many people? “Oddly not. I thought bought it for $12,000. She was going to

hang it in the hall of the school [where she taught],” says Walsh. Walsh’s part of the mosaic is the car on the road. “I did it when I got my [driver’s] license, so it’s kind of a landmark,” he says. “It represents going into the future.” According to Walsh, driving is much more challenging for people with diabetes. “People who don’t have diabetes just get in the car and go. I have to make sure my blood sugar is in a good range or I have to wait until it is. Diabetes is a lot of work and a challenge every day.” Concerning his role as an activist, Walsh is modest: “I like to help other people. I don’t like many people helping me,” he says. “I’d rather be letting people know what you can do to overcome obstacles.” Walsh’s advice to anyone who wants to get involved in advocacy is this: “If you believe in something, then you have to go after it and fight for what’s right. And if there are millions of people living with the same disease that you got, then that’s millions of people that you’re helping.”

Germany and playing softball. Looking back, it was definitely one of the best choices I’ve ever made. The team was an All-Star team, and we were chosen to represent Germany. We did everything together, and soon I had a group of friends that were like sisters. Suddenly, living here wasn’t looking so bad. At the end of the summer we had our tournament—we got to the championships, but unfortunately lost. The friends I made,

Photo courtesy Kaitlyn Martin

Kaitlyn Martin and her mother, Kathy, in Salzburg, Austria. Kathy is the Trauma Director at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, an American military hospital. be leaving in a few months. The people here are so welcoming that at times it seems like I know everyone. If you have never had a real experience with the military, you should not judge them. I have met some of the best and brightest people I’ve ever known, and I have learned so much about a culture that seemed irrelevant to me before. But now the real question...what has Kaitlyn been doing for a year? The truth is that for the first few months I was miserable. It was freezing, but it didn’t snow. It rained every day, and all I wanted was to come back to LM. Then softball came and I finally made some friends. One of those best and brightest people I met was a coach, Steve Burns. Up until the end of May, I had been planning to come back to LM all summer, but Coach Burns talked me into staying in

A valiant volunteer Class of 2009

November has been designated American Diabetes Month by the American Diabetes Association, but one LMer works to raise awareness of the disease all year long. Senior Matt Walsh is the co-chair of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s (JDRF) Walk For A Cure event. “I started getting involved by doing the [JDRF] Walk every year in Philadelphia. I first did the Walk in 2001 and was diagnosed with diabetes in 2004,” Walsh says. Now, instead of arriving when the walk starts-- at 10 AM-- he arrives at six or seven in the morning to help set up tents and registration tables. He’s also worked as a counselor at Camp Possibilities, a summer camp for underprivileged children with diabetes, since the summer of 2004. Since he’d advocated for JDRF, the organization asked him to help out by serving as co-chair for this year. “I’m kind of the ‘Face of JDRF’ for a year. It’s a chance to promote yourself, do some self-advocacy,” says Walsh. “As co-chair, I have to do 150 speeches

Volume 79, Issue 3


November 16, 2007

The Merionite


Faculty find friends and forums on Facebook

Celeste Lavin

Class of 2009

Are you sure you want to friend Robert Schanne? What about Jessica Caine? Cancel or Continue? These questions are facing many of us here at LM. Last spring,, the popular Internet networking site, opened its registration capabilities to everyone rather than just college affiliates and high school students. Since then, many adults have created Facebook accounts, including some of LM’s own. Some say it’s awkward to have teachers on Facebook. People put their lives in their pages, and don’t necessarily want their teachers to be seeing that information. Some students do not want to have to “censor” their Facebooks just so a teacher won’t judge them. There are many “red cup,” hookah, and hook-up photos on the Internet for teachers with Facebooks to see. Some see this as a good thing. “It’ll teach kids to be smarter about what we put on Facebook,” said junior Lauren Cohen. Robert Schanne, a physics teacher with a Facebook, said, “Future employers are going to see that, so [students] should think twice about what they put on Facebook.” Even still, some say that teachers on Facebook make student-teacher relationships too personal.

“It’s a violation of my privacy,” said junior Katrin Weitzmann. But US History teacher Jeffrey Cahill said, “It’s a public forum. And it’s a public forum for everyone.” There is no violation of privacy if there is no privacy to begin with. “They just don’t have to be our [Facebook] friends. And why are we different from anybody else

who might be on Facebook looking at what they’re putting on there?” Schanne added. Some students are concerned that teachers are using Facebook as a way to catch students doing illegal things and get them in trouble. “If you really care that much about what students are doing outside of school, you should be a psychiatrist, not a teacher, because it’s really none of your business what anybody is doing outside of school,” said junior Albert Eisenberg. “What matters is what they’re doing in your class.” But teachers say they are not on Facebook to see your party pictures and get you into

Remember, Remember: Strange Holidays in November Bina Peltz

Dance is traditionally held on the first Saturday of November. The month of November typically brings Another odd but important November holiday about thoughts of turkey, pumpkin pie, Election is National Sandwich Day. In 1762, John MonDay, and the end of the first quarter. But Novem- tague, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, created the ber is bursting with bizarre holidays and obscure great invention that is now a staple in the lunchevents that also deserve recognition. box of children across the world: the sandwich. The day after Thanksgiving, in addition to Montague, an infamous gambler, refused to leave being Black Friday, is National Flossing Day. the table during an all-night game. When he got According to the National hungry, his servants put meat Flossing Council: between two slices of bread, “During that day each and allowing him to play cards every person is encouraged to with one hand and eat with consider the role flossing has the other hand. This creation played in his or her life during was named a sandwich after the previous year, and make the Earl’s home. National plans to help spread ‘Peace Sandwich Day, celebrated of Mouth’ in their own lives on Montague’s birthday, and the lives of others around November 3, recognizes his them, in ways with and withgreat ingenuity. out floss.” November is also known Purposefully placed after as the “month of the mousthe day of national eating, tache.” This title is shortened Photo courtesy: Google Images to Movember. Movember National Flossing Day raises awareness about the extreme and urgent impor- is a charity event that originated in Australia tance of flossing. and New Zealand and involves the growing On November 15, 1937, Al Capp, the creator of moustaches. At the beginning of the month, of the Lil’ Abner comic strip invented Sadie participating men, also known as Mo Bros, start Hawkins Day. Sadie Hawkins, a character in Lil’ clean shaven. Throughout November, they grow Abner, and her father, Hekzebiah Hawkins, were and groom their moustaches. There are specific sick of waiting for men to approach her. Hekze- rules that must be followed: for example, no hair biah decreed the first annual Sadie Hawkins Day, is allowed to grow in the “goatee zone” during the celebrated with a race where girls literally pursued month. Movember raises money for the Prostate the town’s bachelors. Since 1930, Sadie Hawkins Cancer Foundation ofAustralia and was created to Day has been a day where girls invite boys on a raise community awareness of men’s health issues. date or to a Sadie Hawkins Dance, a ritual that This November, Canada will begin observing empowered women before the modern feminist Movember, raising funds for the Prostate Cancer movement became influential. A Sadie Hawkins Research Foundation of Canada. Class of 2010

trouble. “While we all care about kids, we also have our own lives, and we do not think about you 24/7,” said Cahill. Though Cahill himself does not have a Facebook account, he says he understands that his colleagues have accounts for their own reasons or to communicate with students, not to see what students are up to. Physics teachers Schanne and Nora

it does seem helpful.” Personal relationships between teachers and students at LM are generally frowned upon. But the administration does not seem to mind teachers’ presence on Facebook. “The administrators trust the staff. They hired professionals,” said English teacher Jessica Caine. “As long as they can keep it that way, as long as it’s not affecting their relationship with students, then it shouldn’t be a problem.” Most teacher-to-student interaction on Facebook is relevant to school, and most teachers at LM with Facebook accounts do not use them to talk to students at all. English teachers Photo courtesy: Caine and JB Christman have both created groups for their Haglund, as well as music teachers Josh classes where students are encouraged to ask Hunnex and Aaron Datsko, have personal questions about physics-related things like policies about being Facebook friends with Webassign and test reviews. These groups students. can provide an easy forum for help. “It’s a Caine said she would only be Facebook great way to communicate with students. For friends with students “if I know the students clubs, it’s really advantageous. It’s a good for five years after they’ve graduated, and way for club sponsors to communicate with they keep in constant contact with me.” Haglund said, “Right now, there are far students they wouldn’t normally see,” said too many negatives or at least the possibility senior Amanda Robins. This is in fact the reason Schanne joined for negative perceptions and connotations Facebook. “I created it as a tool for com- so I don’t plan on friending any students munication with the LM yearbook. Once or anytime soon. Sorry guys, I know you are twice, the editors-in-chief have told me that all heartbroken...”


Samantha Rosen

“On Thanksgiving Day even more family members come with pie—we end up having We all know that Thanksgiving began with 21-plus pies!” said junior Sabrina Tabby. the Pilgrims, the Indians, the Mayflower, and Occasionally, not having Thanksgiving Plymouth Rock. But since those momentous traditions is a good thing. Sophomore Stephen three days in 1621, families all over America Kent had a Thanksgiving experience not worth have developed new traditions to make Thanks- making into a tradition. giving their own. “Two years ago, my uncle decided to cook Junior Anna McCarthy some longstanding a Turducken instead of a turkey,” said Kent. traditions, including a “turkey dance.” “A Turducken is basically a turkey stuffed “Ever since I was little, before with a chicken stuffed with a duck. He was cooking the turkey, my mom has really excited about it, but the rest of our famdone the turkey dance,” said ily was dreading the day. When we finally McCarthy. “She picks the turkey ate it, we had a general consensus. It up and makes it ‘dance’ was edible, but that’s just around the kitchabout it.” en while she says Senior Sarah Braverman ‘turkey, turkey and her family have a tradidance’ over and tion that reflects the heart over. It’s definitely of Thanksgiving—giving weird, especially thanks and giving back. since this is the kind “Thanksgiving Day my of thing she did to dad, sister, cousins and mymake my siblings and self all volunteer to help out at me laugh when we were Inglis House with their Thanksgiving kids...but we still think it’s dinner, which happens around lunch Art by: Sam Votto really funny.” time,” said Braverman. Senior Anna Tarshish also enjoys a rather “We tried doing a Kennedy-type football eccentric tradition. She and her cousins belly game instead one year, but that ended up in race down the stairs after Thanksgiving dinner. tears—just goes to show you the theatre family “It’s a tradition that started three generations should not try sports. We quickly went back to ago,” said Tarshish. our volunteering tradition.” Some traditions, such as that of the Tabby Since that gathering at Plymouth Rock, family’s, involve getting together family mem- Thanksgiving has evolved tremendously. bers from all over. Although the meaning of the holiday has “Every night before Thanksgiving we have changed along with the times, individual family Chinese food with almost all of the extended traditions have lent Thanksgiving a new meanfamily,” said junior Genevieve Tabby. ing—giving thanks for family. Class of 2008


November 16, 2007


Chipotle’s burritos Krakauer classic hits silver screen are muy bueno! An A&E Movie Review Ethan Cohen

Class of 2009

Sean Salazar

Class of 2009

Movie adaptations usually disappoint a book’s die-hard Cheap Mexican food: every high school student fans, but Into the Wild was something of an exception. needs it. I first picked up the book over the summer, and when I Unluckily for us, Taco Bells are far and few and tend to serve food infested with E. coli. Santa Fe found out that my English class would be studying it, I was Burrito is a little too expensive and doesn’t have quite excited. The movie’s convenient release added to the quite enough grease and sodium. Qdoba is cheaper, sentiment. The story is an account of the events leading up to a young and its food is above par, but now there is a new man’s 1992 death in the Alaskan wilderness (no spoilers here, Mexican food place on the block—Chipotle. “It’s the exact same thing as Qdoba.” said soph- it’s on the cover). Christopher McCandless, better known by omore Jacob Avershal, and for the most part he is his pseudonym, Alexander Supertramp, came from wealth, correct. There are, however, some nuances that give excelled academically and athletically, maintained a 4.0 GPA in high school, and studied African politics at Emory UniverChipotle a slight boost ahead of its rival. First, cleanliness. Fast food restaurants are not sity. After graduating, however, he did not continue his educameant to be clean. The tables are supposed to be tion at Harvard Law as he had led his parents to believe. He stained and the floors are supposed to be sticky. donated the $24,000 in his trust fund to charity, burned his Maybe Chipotle is just so new that it hasn’t received cash, cut up his ID and social security card, and left home, its blotches of honor quite yet, but it may very well never telling anyone where he was going. The book focuses on the following two years of his life, remain clean for years to come. From the recycling bins in place of trash cans, to the systematic order- vividly describing his exploration of the West and all it had ing process, to the guy who comes to your table ask- to offer. His experiences were fascinating, his approach to life ing “do you need me to throw this out for you?”, radical, and his admiration for the works of Tolstoy and ThoChipotle far outshines any other food chain in the reau reflected in his rebellion to society. He had no money, phone, or watch, and he kept only what he could carry on his area. Second, style. Chipotle could be in the dining hall back. He touched many lives and struck many people as a of a space station. Its booths are sleek combinations highly intelligent individual, one who needed to embark on of wood and metal, rather than the tacky embroi- a journey of self-discovery. Aided by Chris’ diary, Krakauer dered cloth or plastic cushions usually covering fast thoroughly researched his life and experiences before and food seats. The other tables are disks about five feet during Chris’ solo trek into the wild. The movie version greatly exceeded my expectations. in the air, surrounded by stools just tall enough to notice. Krakauer’s personal insight was complemented by Sean Since it is located in Penn’s screenplay and direction. Like Krakauer, who admires the brand new chic and respects McCandless, Penn portrayed him as a likeable, and modern Tar- funny, and often sociable person. Penn picked the perfect acget shopping tor to portray Chris: Emile Hirsch (The Girl Next Door, Lords center, it is of Dogtown). Also, truly remarkable performances by Hal hard not Holbrook (The Firm, Men of Honor,) and Katherine Keener to be (Trish in The 40-year old Virgin), and the goofy demeanor of styl- Vince Vaughn (Wedding Crashers, Dodgeball) added to the ish. stellar cast. The stylistic elements of the film reflect Krakauer’s writIf the Ap- ing, particularly the chapter divisions and occasional narraPhoto by jupiterimages. ple store tion. Flashbacks provide the movie with an overall dynamic started selling feel; however, many people who have not read the book said that they found the order of events confusing. burritos, it would look a lot like Chipotle. Although Penn did a fairly good job sticking to the book, Third, efficiency. The ordering process takes about one minute. It is easy to decide what to eat because there are only 3 options; taco, burrito, or burrito bowl. If you order the taco, you choose your meat, salsa, cheese, sour cream and lettuce. If you order the burrito or the burrito bowl, you choose Jake Wellens your meat, pinto or black beans, cheese, sour cream Class of 2011 and salsa. “It is one of the quickest restaurants I’ve ever been to,” said junior Ari Stern. A highly contagious infection is spreading throughout Fourth, the employees. Other than the one cashier the halls of LM. It has affected the minds and bodies of who mumbled, the staff worked with a vibrancy that countless comrades. No, it’s not MRSA; it’s the musical seemed out of place in a fast food restaurant. They creations of Soulja Boy! were eager to assist customers in ordering, since it DeAndre Way, better known as Soulja Boy, released his was a new experience for most. fi rst album “” on October 2 of this Last, it has caught on with the hippest trend in year, although many of his songs became popular through America: eco-friendliness. One fourth of ChipotInternet downloads before the album release. His wellle’s beans are organically grown, which means the known anthem “Crank Dat” and videos of the dance that farmers growing them are not exposed to harmful goes with it have made their way onto the music libraries chemicals. Although it seems like a peculiar number, organic ingredients are expensive, and to serve of a multitude of people from a variety of backgrounds. all organic beans, Chipotle would have to raise Not since the days of Eminem has there been a rapper prices. While it would be best to use all organic whose songs appealed to such a vast, diverse audience as ingredients, this is a step in the right direction. Soulja Boy. Soulja Boy’s success They also serve sour cream that does not contain started way back in 2004 the Bovine Somatotropin growth hormone, which when he uploaded a few means better conditions for the cows that make the of his songs to the Internet milk. Every single trash can in the restaurant is a and established his own recycling bin, which is unheard of in most fast food record label, called Stacks restaurants. On Deck Entertainment. If you are partial to Santa Fe, Qdoba or Taco His music falls into the Bell, you have a right to your opinion. I just recsubgenre of hip-hop know ommend that you try Chipotle once. You won’t be Photo Courtesy of as “Snap music”, and it let down. 17-year-old Soulja Boy is is equally popular among ready to “Crank Dat.” audiences of all races. Un-

Photo Courtesy of

Emile Hirsch plays adventurous Chris McCandless in the film adaptation of Into the Wild.

the fact that the movie is only “based” on the book gave him more freedom. One big difference lies in the reveal of the ending. While Krakauer tells you from the get-go that Chris dies, Penn saves this detail for the end, which, in my opinion, improved the overall effect. In this ending lies the saddest part of the movie and I do admit, I almost cried. This mood was cleverly reversed with a final song, part of the powerful soundtrack by Pearl Jam’s Eddie Veder, leaving me refreshed and satisfied. Penn’s message comes through, although not explicitly: Chris finally found himself and learned along the way. He satisfied his need to rebel against society and it seemed he always knew it would end this way. Visually, the film was exquisite. Some of the scenes looked like they jumped right out of a National Geographic documentary. The movie was shot entirely on location, creating the authenticity and beauty in each scene and encounter. New York Times columnist, A.O. Scott exclaimed, “I can’t really think of another feature film I’ve seen in a very long time that embraces the American landscape with such ardor and enthusiasm.” I had the benefit of reading the book by Jon Krakauer first, and I think seeing the movie with our English class was an excellent educational complement to our study of the book. It provided our curriculum with a more modern and in-depth element that helped our comprehension of this very important story. “I liked the book better, because the movie wasn’t able to go into the kind of analysis that Krakauer engaged in. The movie was too one-dimensional,” said English teacher Dr. McWilliams, who brought her classes to the film. “But, it was beautifully photographed and well casted.” Although film and literature are two very different media, in the case of Into The Wild they work together to tell a story that brings out the free spirit in all of us.

Soulja Boy on deck

like most modern-day rap and hip-hop music, Soulja A Soulja Boy vocab Boy’s lyrics are often the steps to a new catchy dance lesson for our readers: he invented; his lyrical conCrank Dat (v.): tent rarely touches on drugs To do a specific dance or violence. I had the wonderful Doo Doo Head (n.): experience of witnessing A person with bad breath over 20,000 people simultaneously “cranking” the Joccin’ (v.): Soulja Boy at the Power 99 To joke around FM Powerhouse concert on Friday, October 19. Soulja On Deck (adj.): Boy also performed some To be the next big thing his lesser-known songs such as “I Got Me Some Bathin’ Apes” and “Watch Me Do It” (pronounced Wa Me Do). He and his partner Arab whipped out some new, equally infectious dances to go with these catchy beats, and the crowd went wild with every choreographed step. Soulja Boy has clearly established a place for himself as an upcoming artist with a lot to offer. For those of you who find his lingo a little confusing, put down your SAT Vocabulary Practice Books and take a look at the above Soulja Boy vocabulary lesson. Now that you can understand what he’s saying, it’s time to pick up his album, and learn to crank his dance, because Soulja Boy’s on deck, and I’m not joccin’ around here.


November 16, 2007

The Merionite

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT WolfPAC teaches All that jazz at Milkboy Han Tran

Itai Doron

Class of 2011

A jazz jam session—the rhythmic swinging of the drums mixing with the creaks of the upright bass and the plink of the piano while a saxophonist pours his heart out improvising. Every Monday night at Milkboy Coffee in Ardmore from 7 pm to 10 pm musicians of all ages are invited to sit in and play jazz with the house band. There is no cost to listen or play. Every one is welcome; any musician can sign up and then play with other jazz musicians. Often, the musicians do not know each other, but still manage to create some great music. Some are regulars, like saxophonist Matthew Schwartz, an alumnus of Temple University; pianist Jason Shattil, LM alumnus from the class of 1989; drummer Matt Altman, a seventh grader at Welsh Valley; and drummer Billy Ricci, a sophomore at Haverford Senior High School. Several musicians from the LM Jazz Band have attended and enjoyed the atmosphere of the Milkboy Community Jazz Night. These include Jason Bookman, who graduated LM last year, on saxophone, and sophomore Nash Tomey on upright bass. “As an up and coming musician, it’s important to get your name out there and start to get to know the scene,” said Tomey. “With Milkboy so close by, it makes this easy: just walk in on open mic Mondays, sign up, and jam. And for those who don’t play the music, well it’s just a really chill place to hang out and listen to some great tunes,” . The house band consists of pianist Mike Frank, guitarist Mike Kennedy, upright bassist Josh Machiz, and drummer Frank


Class of 2011

Freshman Kasie Patlove and sophomore Emily Sorenson are also cast members. So far, this play has been going well for Bobbi Wolf, co-director of “Mother Hicks”, founder of Wolf PAC, and former Bala Cynwyd Middle School teacher. “This play gives students and adults the chance to work together,” said Wolf, but it also gives people the chance to work with disabled kids—the actor who plays Tuc, Dylan Panarra, is deaf. He comes from Jackson, New Jersey, a one and a half hour drive, to practice for this play. Although Panarra cannot hear or speak, he is able to understand people through an interpreter. He also spends time with other people who speak sign language for practice.” Wolf PAC has already reached out to students from over 20 schools in our district and others, and “Mother Hicks” itself has a cast of students from at least twelve different schools such as Harriton High School, Agnes Irwin Upper School, Haverford Middle School, Radnor Middle School, Bala Cynwyd Middle School, and Episcopal Academy. Not only has Wolf been able to get many student actors, but she has also found many adult actors, such as Brooks. “Every play has made an impact on me,” said Wolf, but there is one main impact she wants to get across to the audience. “This play teaches a lesson of acceptance and friendship, and anyone who knows me knows that these concepts mean a lot to me.” “Mother Hicks” can teach many lessons to kids at LM about the value of friendship, acceptance, and the importance of improving relationships.

Gattis. They are all courteous and welcoming to new musicians. “Everyone is welcome to play and to support fine art in the community,” said Frank, a professor at Temple University. Kennedy, a teacher at La Salle College High School and a prominent player in the Philadelphia jazz scene, said, “One of the best parts of the Milkboy jazz session is when the younger guys come and improve over time...and the milkshakes.” The songs played at the jam sessions are jazz standards. Those frequently played on Monday night include “Invitation,” “All The Things You Are,” “Billie’s Bounce,” “Blue Bossa,” “All Blues,” and “Oleo.” The melody, or head, of the song is played first. Then, every melodic instrument improvises on the chord changes of the song. Next, each musician takes turns improvising for four measures with the drummer, called “trading fours.” Sometimes the drummer will have a full solo rather than trade fours, depending on the music. Finally, the head is played again. This process occurs in every song. “All are welcome to come to Milkboy to enjoy themselves,” said Paul Lichtman, one of the three owners of Milkboy. So when the mood strikes, come to listen or bring your instrument to the Milkboy jazz night!

On December 7 and 8 at 7:30 pm, and 8 and 9 at 2:00 pm, Wolf Performing Arts Center (Wolf PAC) will be performing the play “Mother Hicks” by Suzan Zeder at the Narberth Community Theater. “Mother Hicks” takes place in rural Chicago during the Great Depression. It tells the story of two outcasts of society, one a little girl who has no name. “Girl”, as she is called, is an orphan who is passed on from family to family in the town until she meets Mother Hicks, another town outcast. The townspeople call Mother Hicks a witch, and blame all of their problems on her. “I think that LM kids should come see the show because it’s a good show and it delivers a good message- you can’t always look for someone else to blame when things go wrong. Sometimes things just go wrong,” said chemistry teacher and cast member Glenn Brooks. This tale is told by Tuc, who is deaf and narrates through sign language. A chorus translates his words to the audience. There are many LM connections in this play. The co-director, Gabriel Nathan, is an LM graduate; the choreographer, Betsy Wolf, is an LM graduate; the make-up designer is senior Sarah Braverman; and her father, Joel Braverman, is in the cast. Juniors Aaron Glickman and Joe Kozak are the technicians, while sophomore Talia Gottesman is the dramaturg and her mother Susan Gottesman is the sign language interpreter. Sally Foster Chang, who plays Mother Hicks, and set designer Londa Salomon, are both parents of LM students.

ing something new and hard, like engineering, would prove to everyone and to myself that I can do anything I put my mind to! And I did!” The transformation was not as glamourous as Cirillo had expected. The task required long hours of filming, with camera crews following her everywhere, documenting her journey. “I thought it was going to be an hour or two a day of filming, and that I would have some days off without the camera following me. Was I wrong!” Cirillo faced one-onone filming 24/7, with no down time. They filmed her before school, during school, after school, and sometimes even late at night. She said that she understands now why there are always breakdowns on the show—there is only so much one can handle of up-closeand-personal filming. “Having the MTV camera in my face every second, catching every word I said and every emotion I felt, was really hard!” Cirillo went through this with not one, but two coaches. The first, named Rob, helped her with robotics and engineering. Her second, speech coach Lorrina, was “much more strict than my robotics coach,” said Cirillo. Lorrina helped her prepare the speech she gave at the robotics competition, and helped her make herself more presentable and an overall more serious person. Cirillo got along with her two coaches, but admitted that it was not always easy because they were both such polar opposites of her own bubbly personality. As a party girl, Cirillo’s social life was

affected by this experience. “I had to make ing time with them, Cirillo learned that they sacrifices and prioritize what was impor- were not so different from her. tant,” said Cirillo. “While my friends were “Overall this was an amazing and very out having fun on the weekends, I was home memorable experience. I met new friends doing my robot!” in the engineering club, I She said her friends met amazing people from were bummed that MTV, and really learned she didn’t hang out a lot about myself. This with them as much, whole experience really and the feeling was shaped me into a more mutual. Cirillo enworldly, well rounded, joyed hanging out better person, and I am with the robotics very fortunate that I was team, but she said chosen,” said Cirillo. “it was weird bareShe hasn’t turned ly seeing my girls. into a huge nerd, and I really missed she won’t spend every them!” weekend with robots, Photo Courtesy of but everyone can look Her parents felt differently than Still frame from MADE of Steph forward to seeing a her friends, as exnew and improved Cirillo working on her robot. pected. They were Steph Cirillo. “shocked but impressed” when they heard of Even now that filming is over, Cirillo her plans. At first they thought she would get thinks she will continue going to engineerfed up with it and quit, so they were pleas- ing club. “It’s really fun and interesting. antly surprised when she stuck to her goal. You would never realize how fun making They were completely supportive, and often a robot is. When my robot first drove—I astonished to see her staying home on Friday can’t describe the feeling—it was just so and Saturday nights to work on her robot. amazing, knowing that I built this compliCirillo’s episode of MADE premiered cated device and it actually worked!” November 18 at 11 p.m. on MTV. The lesson here? Take risks. Try someIn the end, this experience really changed thing new. Do something you never thought her. Aside from learning about robotics and you could. Steph Cirillo did, and it made engineering, she learned many important life her a better person. “I don’t think people lessons. Upon entering the engineering club, should limit themselves to being one way,” she assumed that she had nothing in com- she said. “Everyone should challenge mon with any of the members. After spend- themselves and try something new!”

Art by Sam Blum

MADE comes to Harriton

Hannah Weilbacher

Class of 2010

Have you ever wanted to change something about yourself? No wait—scratch that. Have you ever wanted to change your ENTIRE self? Ever wanted to completely reinvent yourself, to become something that you never thought you could be? Everyone has these thoughts, but people rarely act on them. However, there are the brave and few who decide to go through with it, to take the plunge and change their life. That’s where MADE comes in. MADE is a reality show on MTV where teenagers receive a coach and go through intense training to create their new identity. There are transformations like no other: dorks becoming prom queens, tri-athletes springing from fat kids, and now from party girl to respected member of the Harriton Engineering Club. That’s right, our own Main Line will be profiled in an upcoming episode of MADE, featuring Steph Cirillo, a senior at Harriton. Cirillo recently decided to retire her party girl reputation and show her intellectual side by joining Harriton’s esteemed engineering club. When she found out that MTV was coming to Harriton to hold auditions for MADE, she jumped at the opportunity. She had always wanted to change herself, to show her friends and peers that there was more to her than meets the eye. This, she thought, was her chance. “People never got to see my serious intellectual side,” said Cirillo. “So I thought try-


November 16, 2007

The MerioniteARTS & ENTERTAINMENT C. Hua/J. Smolen

Come to the Cabaret!

Cliff, but they don’t see the dark undertones,” said director, junior Mia Vallet. You don’t have to clean out your wallet or drive all The props mistress, senior Elissa Cohen, agreed. the way to New York to see good theater. Why bother “The show is a very thought-provoking satire about when Joe Masteroff, Fred Ebb, and John Kander’s Tony the changes going on in Berlin,” she said. Award winning musical “Cabaret” is currently being The contrasts in the show opened up great creative performed by our own LM Players? opportunities for the various crews. “Cabaret” tells the sto“Cabaret is unique bery of an American writer, cause, unlike a lot of the Clifford Bradshaw (senior musicals we have done in George David), who comes the past, it is very dark,” to Berlin in the 1930’s seeksaid the production managing inspiration for his next er, senior Skye Landgraf. novel. There, he frequents The scenery crew built a seedy local cabaret, the a dynamic set that takes Kit Kat Klub, and falls in up the entire stage, both love with the club’s alluring lengthwise and heightwise. singer, Sally Bowles (senior It has two separate levels Chesney Polis). The story which represent the two also focuses on the relationdifferent worlds shown in ship between the German the play; underneath lies Fräulein Schneider (senior Photo Courtesy of Tom Simon “the dark, curvy, sexy, cabEleanor Huber), Cliff’s aret” while the upper level The Cabaret Emcee (Junior Nadav Hirsch) and Kit landlady, and Herr Schultz shows “the rigid, angular Kat Girls light up the stage in Cabaret (sophomore Stephen Kent), layer that is Germany,” dea Jewish fruit seller. During this time, Nazi power gradu- scribed set designer, senior Tim Luo. ally begins to strengthen, complicating the relationship The costumes also illustrate this difference. Sophobetween Herr Schultz and Fräulein Schneider as well as more and assistant costume designer Hannah Weilbacher darkening the overall mood of Berlin and shaking Cliff’s explained, “The cabaret’s colors are much brighter than world. Throughout all this, the Kit Kat Klub’s Emcee the outside world because the cabaret satirizes the po(junior Nadav Hirsh) appears, subtly showing the shift litical situation outside. Also, Sally is the only character in Berlin’s society as time goes on. in the show who wears bright colors, to show the con“The most vital aspect of this musical was always trast between Sally’s personality and the dreary reality change. There are all these sinister forces lurking be- of Nazi Germany.” neath the surface, but you don’t see then at first. The auThe lighting works with these elements, creating an dience is drawn into this glittery wonderful world with “alluring feel inside the cabaret, and a very decrepit feel Class of 2010/2009

Stylin’ Out

Maddie Bailis

With Maddie Bailis Class of 2009

It’s October of junior year, and many of us are beginning to look at colleges. But traveling to upstate New York or flying south to Florida for weekend-long trips isn’t exactly fun when you spend the whole time listening to dull tour guides and sales pitches. On a rainy October day, I too visited a university- a fashion one. No, I didn’t take a gander at F.I.T. or Parsons; I attended the second annual Teen Vogue Fashion University. The fashion infused weekend gave 550 selected teens the chance to attend seminars given by their favorite designers (think Vera Wang and Tommy Hilfiger), magazine editors, and the Project Runway’s Tim Gunn. The weekend started out with a fashion show, and concert. “I loved Friday night! The Target GO fashion show was really high energy and professional, and the concert was well suited to the event,” said atendee Cody Fontana. I have to take her word for it because unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to the Friday night affair. Saturday morning at 7:30, pairs of mothers (and the occasional father) and their teens lined up to register. Not every attendee aspires to become the next Marc Jacobs, but each has a true “passion for fashion” and want to work in the industry. I met teens with all sorts of future aspirations, ranging from wardrobe stylist to fashion director. After registration I received my free Dooney and Bourke technicolor vinyl tote filled with gift cards and beauty products, then headed to my first class, a Q&A session with 5 editors from the magazine. Each of the editors (Editorin-Chief, Fashion Editor, Entertainment Editor, Features Editor, and Health and Beauty Editor) shared their stories of breaking Photo Courtesy of into the industry, Bailis with fashion icon Tommy advice for getting Hilfiger at Teen Vogue Fashion your foot in the


door, and explained what their coveted jobs entail. They all recommended receiving a full education, not just fashion school. The next seminar was with Doo Ri Chung, a talented upand-coming designer. She spoke about how she had a show room in the basement of her parent’s dry cleaning business in New Jersey, but eventually went on to receive a nomination for a Council of Fashion Designers of America award (CFDA award). Vera Wang, a CFDA member, spoke at the next seminar. She was charismatic and excited to be at the event. There is more to her than her absolutely gorgeous clothes; she is a smart business woman who really knows her stuff. Her Simply Vera line at Kohl’s has received immense amounts of publicity and success. My last seminar for the day, was given by Timothy M. Gunn, a true fashion idol. He appeared on the stage with a 100-watt smile and elicited screams from the audience. He gave his thoughts on spring/summer 08’ fashion week, and also excellent advice about college seeking. At the end of the day my camera was filled with about 30 pictures of the man. Yes, I did receive many gifts this weekend, including a Tiffany necklace, pictures with Tommy Hilfinger, and plenty of business cards-- but the true gift was not just the fashion experience, but the lessons I learned. I found out it helps to get a liberal-arts education and not ship off to Parsons straight out of high school, because fashion is not just what comes down the runway, it is a business and a lifestyle. I recommend this stylish weekend to anyone who has a love for fashion, or wants to test out the water. You don’t need a resume chock full of fashion experience is not needed! All that’s required are some snapshots of you, a paragraph about your personal style, and your basic information. If you do choose to attend next year, be prepared to dress to impress and have a great time learning about the industry. The university I visited might not have been Vassar or Emory, but it was just as educational. My visit to Teen Vogue, a fashion powerhouse, was also incredibly fun. When I do pay a visit to real colleges, I will keep in mind what I learned at Fashion U.

outside,” said Bill Stonehouse, the new lighting coach. Clearly, the show has some adult themes. As this musical is set in Germany during Hitler’s rise to power, there are several very sensitive topics, such as antiSemitism, embedded inside “Cabaret.” Some believe that Players should not be performing this musical, but Luo disagreed. “We wanted to get a message out to the school,” he said. “And the social tensions in ‘Cabaret’ and its complex nature really illustrates the message best. It’s very mature. Because ‘Cabaret’ does take place in a nightclub, there are some themes that are inappropriate for children.” Vallet reinforced this thought, saying, “this is a very mature show for a high school, but there is merit to it. We’re not just putting sexy costumes and swastikas onstage; there is educational and historical value to it.” Players has declared the show PG-13. Nonetheless, everyone is upbeat about the show. “It’s great,” said Kent. “The cast is great and everyone’s performing very well. Come and see the show!”

No sleep for teen filmmakers Richie Stark

Class of 2008

On Saturday morning, October 13, thousands of high school and college students sat at their computers eagerly staring at the screen. As soon as the clock hit 9:00, Apple posted a hitherto unknown list of required elements for its Insomnia Film Festival. This list included special props, dialogue, and settings, to be included in movies that the students would shoot over the next 24 hours. The key requirement was that the films had to be less than three minutes long. They also had to include at least three special elements such as these: a bird cage, the name Robin Darjeeling, radio static, a dutch angle as the special camera angle, and the line “Don’t tempt me.” “We prepared for days before; we made sure we understood all the rules and we were ready to start filming the minute that the elements were listed online,” said senior Joel Rosen. Rosen gave a step by step of how the film was put together. His group started at his house, thinking of an idea. Then, they called up various locations to see where they could film, and ended up using the Narberth Wawa and LM. When they finished filming around 5:00 pm, they immediately went back to Rosen’s house and started uploading— they spent the night racing against the clock, the adrenaline rush keeping them up as they edited the movie down to the three minute mark. They finished editing at 5:00 in the morning; 20 hours after the contest had started, they all crashed and finally got some sleep. However, their process was not over yet—they checked the computer at 8:00 am to make sure it had uploaded, and received a message that said, “Please change the quality of the file and re-upload.” After moments of panic, they remedied the problem and uploaded the video. “I’m so glad I woke up and checked because we would’ve been disqualified and all our hard work would’ve been wasted,” said Rosen. “but it ended up working out nicely, and [the film] is currently up for voting.” Seniors Taylor Walker and Evan Ostrow made a film which they edited down to three minutes, but they ran into a different snag—music royalty issues. The site from which Walker got music claimed it had royalty free music, when in fact they provided licensing for a fee because they were submitting it to a competition that has rewards. “Considering our chances of winning, I just wasn’t willing to pay a $50 fee for music that was pretty bad in the first place.” said Walker. Now that he has cleared up the issues, Walker has posted the video on Apple’s site. Voting began on October 19, and the top 25 rated teams’ videos are being reviewed by celebrity judges, including Fred Armisen of Saturday Night Live. The top two teams will be given five free MacBook Pro notebook computers as well as other Apple hardware and software.


November 16, 2007


The Merionite

An Olympian among us

Ellie Peltz

Class of 2009

Since its inception, LM has had an impressive athletic record. An NBA superstar, a lacrosse maven, and a slew of other talented athletes have walked its halls. But now in a recent update, add to the list a former Olympian. Yes, that’s right. New 11th grade assistant principal Wagner Marseille participated in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, representing his native country, Haiti. Marseille, a track star at Fairleigh Dickinson University during his collegiate days, ran in the 110 meter hurdles at the games. The Merionite had a chance to sit down with Marseille and discover what it was like to compete in the pinnacle of all sporting events. The Merionite: Did you always aspire to be a major track star, or even to make it to the Olympics? Mr. Marseille: When I was 9 years old, I saw a race on TV. I knew then that I wanted to participate in track and run the hurdles. The Merionite: Were you a talented runner at the high

school and collegiate levels? Marseille: Athletics for me was a way to connect with my school. The great thing about track was that it made me feel part of a team. I went out for the team; it was a great experience, but I was horrible. Freshman year I came in dead last in every single event. It was a learning experience and an uphill battle. And then I took to it, and I got better sophomore year and from there on it was a snowball effect, in terms of how quickly things happened. I got very focused when I started separating myself from students from the state and across the country and getting recruited. I ended up competing at Fairlegih Dickinson, where I had some really great coaches. I really blossomed there and I got to compete against some of the top athletes in the country. Merionite: What was the process you had to go through to qualify for the games? Marseille: In sophomore year of college, I was contacted by the Haitian embassy, who told me that they were interested in me competing for them. That began my first experience running internationally. I traveled a lot for Haiti in my junior

year, qualifying for international meets, while getting the opportunity to meet different people and experience different cultures. Merionite: How did it feel to be a part of such a momentous occasion and to represent your country of origin? Marseille: The Olympic Games is the pinnacle of track and field. I was used to the pressure from participating in events in Europe, where there would be 40,000 people in the stands. But nothing compared to an Olympic venue. It was the most exciting time of my life but

accomplish anything? Marseille: I was definitely scared even though I competed against some of these players throughout the year. The Olympics was more intimidating because you knew that all of the hard work and sacrifices from your career all boiled down to the those few days. And getting there was just not enough. I wanted to put an exclamation mark on all of my training and hard work. But it didn’t work out that way. Merionite: So how did you fare at the games? Marseille: I did horribly at

also the scariest time. Merionite: Were you intimidated by the high quality of competition or any of the players you were going to compete against? Or did you go in with a positive mindset thinking that you could

the games. I came in fifth place in my heat and only the top four qualified for the second round. It was disappointing. I was depressed for a while since I knew that this was what I had been training for. I expected to do a lot better. I ran a bad race at the worst time. Merionite: Is there any chance you’ll be shooting for a spot in Beijing? Marseille: That’s funny; I wish. I’m twenty pounds overweight, and I don’t even know if I can get over a hurdle. I live vicariously now. No, ‘08 will be left for the superstars in Beijing.

From Girls Soccer, page 15

Michelle Lockhart. All of these girls have played together for years in the Lower Merion Soccer Club. This year’s lady aces had great potential to go farther in the district playoffs than previous team, as Ileana had predicted. She said at the beginning of the season that in order to win, many of the younger players had to step up and work hard when they’re on the field. And those younger players did just that. Freshmen Julia Miller and Sarah Specter proved that they not only belonged on Varsity, but they produced like any upper classman. “[They] helped answer the questions of who was going to step up,” said Coach Ries. Meanwhile, junior Hana Chamoun and the Betancourt twins consistently supported the team with goals and leadership. Michele Lockhart showed her flexibility this year by playing midfield and forward and using her speed to either score or assist in scoring. Goalie Greulich had an incredibly consistent year in goal. While the final loss of the season was not the storybook ending this team had hoped for, it was not the disappointment many would expect. The girls worked hard and made sure they were in condition to compete with some of most challenging teams in the Central League. Next year will come soon enough. A younger team this time takes the baton.

Photo by Dot Goldberger/ Staff

A brief look at the LM sport stories you may have missed Tw o B . C ro s s C o u n t r y players finish in top 50 at states In a noteworthy accomplishment for the boys cross country program, juniors Neal Berman and Ben Furcht competed in the state individual championship, finishing 43 and 49 respectively. It is quite an accomplishment for a school to have two representatives, let alone two juniors, at states.Running on a slow damp course, Furcht and Berman ran well, overcoming these obstacles, to qualify for states. The following week at Hershey, both finished in the top fifty from among 283 runners: Berman with a 16: 51 time and Furcht with a 16:53 time. Berman overcame a shoe malfunction to have one of his best races of the season. Picolli qualifies for states With a time of 19:16 at the District 1 Championship race at Lehigh University, junior Cara Piccoli qualified for the State Championship meet at Hershey. Throughout the season Piccoli was consistently the team’s number one runner so it was fitting that she finished her season at the state meet. On a chilly November morning, Piccoli stood on the starting line of the Hershey Parkview course with 283 other girls as the lone representative from the LM girls squad. She battled through the pack and the difficult terrain of the course to finish 105th with a time of 20:36. Friday Night Lights In an effort to increase fan turnout and football appreciation, the first night football game at Arnold Field since 1951 was played under the lights on November 9. Players, coaches, and students celebrated the announcement that temporary lights would be installed for the game against Harriton, as LM is the lone Central League member without a lighted turf. The decision resulted from numerous meetings between school administrators, township officials, and community members. Unfortunately, the Aces failed to pick up their first win of the season, losing by a score of 7-0.

--Compiled by the Sports Staff

Merionite’s Monthly Health Tip: Mr. Pavia True or False questions from your friendly gym teacher Mr. Pavia Do some of the statements on this list sound familiar? Are they possibly things that your mom may have said to you? Test your medical knowledge and compare your answers to Mom’s. For brief but detailed explanations go to the following WebMD webpage: 1. T or F Chewing gum takes seven years to pass through your digestive system. 2. T or F Cutting salt intake can help your high blood pressure. Courtsey of Google images

3. T or F Cracking your knuckles will cause arthritis in later life.

4. T or F Staying out in the cold and wind will give you a cold. 5. T or F Drinking warm milk puts you to sleep. 6. T or F You can catch a sexually transmitted disease (STD) from a toilet seat.

Quiz Answers

1. False 2. True 3. False 4. False 5. True 6. False


November 16, 2007


The Merionite

Early rankings gives boost for boys basketball season

Xinran Wang

Class of 2010

Despite losing a considerable part of their team, last year’s varsity boys basketball squad still fought its way to six postseason wins and a top eight ranking in the state. Now, a year later, the team has set its goals on the ultimate prize: a state title. After its successful rebuilding campaign, the team returns this year having lost only two seniors, Eric Barefield and Adam Ellison, and with most of the team intact. And with a good deal of experience under their belts, the players already have camaraderie in a sport that requires a lot of communication. “Chemistry will be determined by the players sharing the ball, and only they can decide if they want to get along on and off the court,” said coach Greg Downer. “If they decide to get along we can have a lot of success.” Ball sharing will definitely be an important aspect of the team’s success. Downer also emphasizes the importance of defense and rebounding as important factors to any successful team.

“Key ingredients will be a devotion to defense and rebounding,” said Downer. “Those are the corner stones of all good teams.” And indeed, these strategies have proven to be a successful formula for Downer. LM boys basketball has consistently produced fantastic results under him, winning over 67% of the games during his tenure and an incredible 77% in the last three years Over the summer, the team played in numerous tournaments to help improve the players’ individual skills and team chemistry. “The team went to many camps to work on our skills and play, including going down to Richmond University and playing some of the best teams from Virginia and West Virginia, and made it to the championship game,” said junior Greg Robbins Robbins is currently one of the best players in the state, and has already received numerous college offers. He hopes to step up his game and lead the Aces back to the state playoffs. “I expect big things of myself and my team. We are one of the best teams

in the state and have a lot to accomplish. I expect to be a leader on and off the court,” said Robbins. Right now, the team is ranked in the top 3% high school basketball teams in the nation and 18th in the state. After the surprising results from last year’s rebuilding season, another state title for LM is not out of the question When asked about the rankings, Downer responded, “Rankings mean nothing; I pay no attention to them. The only ranking that counts is what the scoreboard says after 32 minutes of play.” With 14 players returning, including six seniors and four juniors, the team has yet again set its goals on a league title and a playoff run. However, the team’s schedule this year is filled with some brutal match-ups against nonleague teams including perennial state powers such as Harrisburg, Prep Charter, Pennsbury, and Hazelton. League play will also include challenging match-ups against four returning state playoff teams. “I think the team is capable of winning every non-league game including

Harrisburg, Prep Charter, Pennsbury and Hazelton. The team has the ability to win a state championship. It all depends on the hard work that the guys give day in and day out,” said Robbins. Even with the high expectations, Downer insists that the team will not alter its outlook. “Our expectations for each year are always the same: compete for the league title and make some noise in districts and states. To do that, all the players will need to step up, in particular juniors Greg Robbins and Eric Stahler, and senior Carl Johnson,” said Downer. While he plans on taking the season one game at a time, the LM community and the Dawg Pound cannot help but look towards February and March for another one of LM’s trademark postseason runs. And this year there will be something extra to play for. The 2007-2008 season will mark the 100th anniversary of LM basketball and the final games in the Main Gym, a place forever engraved into LM history.

Girls tennis nets wins; doubles makes states Drew Goldberg

Class of 2010

Finishing the regular season as Central League champions for the ninth year in a row, the varsity girls tennis team ambitiously entered the post season with hopes to advance far in districts and states. The team ended the season with only one loss to Harriton and looked to advance in districts. In accordance with district format, the team entered the tournament with three singles players and two doubles teams. Senior Kristen Roth played first singles, followed

by sophomore Devi Jadeja and junior Yuxin Liu. The doubles teams consisted of freshman Helen Braustein and sophomore Lauren Zakheim, and juniors Becky Wahrman and Kara Silberthau. In the quarterfinals the girls easily beat Kennett High School, 5-0. Sadly in the semi-finals, they were upset by Pennsbury High School, 2-3. They finished in fourth place but qualified for the PIAA AAA State Tournament Despite their loss at districts, the players remained confident that their previous success during the season would bolster another impressive output at states.

“The team really bonded as the season progressed and we were excited to make it to states this year,” said Silberthau. Yet the loss to Pennsbury placed a lot of pressure on the Aces to perform well. In the opening round, the girls fought hard and nearly won, but were defeated by Hempfield High School in a heartbreaker. With one match left, the score was tied, 2-2, but Liu lost the last match, officially ending the season for the team. “Everyone was optimistic about how far we would go and the loss was a big disappointment,” said Silberthau. On a much brighter note, the doubles duo of Roth and Jadeja continued to play excellently together through the postseason. After winning the Central League title, they went on to win the district championship by beating their semifinal opponents from Kennett, 6-0, 7-5, and then defeating the doubles team from Wissahickon, 6-1 6-4, in the finals, qualifying for the state doubles tournament. Going into the State tournament both Jadeja and Roth were eager to play. “I am very excited to see

how Devi and I do, because so far we’ve played very well together,” said Roth. “I think that if we focus and play as we have in the past month or so, we’ll do well. I think that with our match play experience we’ll be able to communicate well on court, and hopefully win some key matches. The two girls confidently charged through previous matches and hoped to do the same at the Hershey Racquet Club on November 2. Although Roth and Jadeja beat the representatives of Manheim Central 6-4, 6-1, in the first round and then the tandem from Taylor Aliderice 6-1, 6-0, in the quarterfinals, their unbeaten streak ended in the semifinals. The duo lost to eventual champions Emily Palko and Julie Stroyne from Peters Township , 6-3, 6-2, finishing the tournament in third place. For all the members of the team, so accustomed to advancing farther into the post-season, it was hard to end a season of tennis so prematurely. But as they say, there is always next year, and there is a good chance that next year the girls will perform as well as this one. “There is no doubt in my mind that the girls will keep the LM tennis legacy going. I know that the girls will be successful. They’re determined and they know how to motivate each other,” said Roth.


November 16, 2007


The Merionite

Girls soccer ends season in first round of districts They will have to wait until next year. Again. The LM Girls Soccer team lost their PIAA Class AAA District One playoff opener to Owen J. Roberts 3-1, the second consecutive year that girls soccer did not make it beyond the second round. It was not how this closely knit team thought their dream season would end. With a 14-4 record, the girls team, which bonded during early-morning practices and intense workouts at an indoor facility, had great hopes to advance through the playoffs. “I’m happy we made it to playoffs,” said junior Hannah Newman, one of the key players on the team. “The last playoff game was a hard fought match and overall I’m proud of our season. We made it to playoffs.” The match versus Owen J. Roberts (OJR), who finished last year’s season 20-2 and lost in the semifinals of states, was as exciting as these soccer playoff games can get. In the

first half, after Roberts scored, the Aces came back within 10 seconds to put one in the net, thanks to a great cross by freshman Patricia Neckowicz, followed by a beautiful volley by senior Isa Betancourt. The Aces were able to keep the game a tie through half time. OJR’s winning goals both came in the second half. Coach Kevin Ries said the team knew it was going to be a hard fought game. “If you look at it objectively, it was a 5 seed versus a 12 seed. We knew it was going to be an uphill battle,” said Ries. For senior co-captain Ileana Betancourt, who played her last game of high school soccer, the season was a success because of the strong relationships among the players. “We’ve already had a few get-togethers,” she said. “Now that the season is over, we don’t know what to do with ourselves.” This was a team that felt that not all of its successes were displayed in the win column. A loss to Radnor was an extremely hard fought match. “We knew we were in it the whole time,” added Newman. In addition, a tie against a very good Haverford High School team was

considered one of the team’s better matches especially because Haverford’s goalie kept the Fords in the game. Memorable wins for the Aces included a 4-0 win against a strong Shipley team as well as an easy win against Agnes Irwin during Maroon and White day. Even the parents of the girls on this team seemed to have a bond that mirrored the girls. This team managed a number of wins despite mounting injuries as the season went on. Ileana’s twin sister, s0enior Isa Betancourt, sprained both her ankles, Ileana developed a hip problem, another player broke her wrist, another player sprained her ankle. Spectators would not have been surprised to see an ambulance at each game. The core of the team includes at least five seniors, three juniors and three sophomores. Isa Betancourt led the Aces in goals scored last fall (14 goals in 19 games), followed by

a 28-0 loss. Yet Cubbage continues to keep the team motivated by not focusing on their record, but by emphasizing improvement. The team has had some bright spots throughout the season and has benefited from a strong younger crop of players. Although the Aces will be losing two key linemen next year, seniors Joe DeCleene and Dan Rubin, the team seems to be in good hands as the underclassmen have gained much experience from this season. Proof of this is that two of the Aces offensive weapons include sophomore quarterback Conor Foote and star halfback, junior Sam Golden. Cubbage credits the seniors for playing such a key role in getting the underclassmen involved in helping the team: “[The sophomores and juniors] have really come a log way. I owe a lot of that to the seniors, who have showed them the right way to practice and the right way to carry themselves, and the right way to play in the games. That has been the real positive, to see the younger kids develop

and to see the older kids lead.” Through out the season the team had to deal with injuries to key players, namely captain Kahlil Smith. “I think that Kahlil’s injury is a big reason as to why we struggled. He was an important part of our team on both sides of the ball and definitely would have made a big difference,” said senior captain Danny Rubin. Part of the team’s struggles is a result of its small roster. With a limited amount of players, most of the team members have positions on the offense and the defense, leading to fatigue and inconsistent play. In order to combat this issue, the coaching staff tried to increase the size of the program with twenty-two freshmen playing on the freshman or JV teams. Although not bringing immediate results, the influx of players will hopefully benefit the team in coming years. “The goal is to show everyone in the league that we are getting better and [other teams better] keep an eye out for us down the road,” said Cubbage.

“The football program is now on the upswing. The freshman won a few games this year, which shows a lot of promise for the future. They have the ability to turn the program around if they keep working at it,” said Rubin.

Jodie Eichel

Photo by Jodie Eichel/ Staff

Aces finished the season with a record of 14-4

Class of 2008

See Girls Soccer, page 13

Despite lack of success, football stays positive

Given a 0-11 start and continued poundings by opponents, you wouldn’t expect first year coach Ed Cubbage to be too optimistic about the football team. On the contrary, Cubbage is proud of the effort that his squad has given this year. “What I’m most proud about this year is that every game, we fight to the bitter end. I think we are a very tough team physically and mentally,” the coach said. The team, though, has endured defeat after defeat. Despite a strong pre-season, they have not been able to successfully contend in the competitive Central League. In a game against Ridley, the top ranked team in the area, the Aces fought hard but still lost by a score of 35-6. Against Radnor, in the much anticipated rivalry game, the team came in looking to pick up its first win but the offense failed to produce, resulting in

Varsity Soccer Basketball Lacrosse


Stuffing or Mashed Poatoes: Mashed potatoes Running in the back, sleeping Hobbies: at the far post, and aces races What are you thankful What are for?: you thankful for?: My diary Quote: Quote: “On point like an arrow” -Safeer Stuffing or Mashed potatoes: Hobbies:

Varsity Soccer Indoor Track JV Track Mashed potatoes Friends and soccer Friends, family, and the soccer team “If you’re not first you’re last”



Sam Golden



Julia Miller

Julian Ayoama

Faces of the Aces Sports:

Photo by Jodie Eichel/ Staff

Asuo Thompson sacks the Radnor quarterback.

The best athletes that LM has to offer

Varsity Football Varsity Indoor Track Varsity Track

Stuffing or Mashed Potatoes: Stuffing Hobbies: Eating, sports, Lavin’s house What are you thankful for?: Family, friends, football Quote:

“Pressure is the shadow of great opportunity” -Michael Johnson


Class of 2011/2009

Natalie Gay

Elliot Elbaum/Elie Peltz


Stuffing or Mashed Potatoes: Hobbies:

Varsity Volleyball Varisty Softball Mashed potatoes Painting pottery, listening to Taylor Swift

What are you thankful for?: Family and my dog Quote:

“Play like a champion”

16 20

See Ice Hockey,

Volume 79, Issue 3

November 16, 2007


The Merionite

Soccer captures district title; stumbles at states

Lex Carlin

Class of 2008

After an incredible campaign, which included capturing both the Central League and District 1 titles, the boy’s soccer team’s season has come to a bitter end. The team was dealt an early exit from the state tournament at the hands of Central Dauphin in a 2-1 loss. The last time the Aces were crowned District champs was in 1988. With the opportunity at hand, the team looked to end the nineteen-year drought. Given their high level of play throughout the entire season, the team felt confident going into the championship match against Abington High School. “I felt really confident going into every game with our team this year, I felt that we could have played with anyone if we played our game and our type of soccer,” said junior captain Eric Stahler. The Abington Ghosts wasted no time and netted the first goal of the match just forty-six seconds into the game. The Aces struggled to score a goal of their own but finally, in the sixtysecond minute of play, the team answered back with a goal from junior captain Eric Stahler. The score remained the same throughout the rest of regulation, forcing the game to go into overtime. Then in the eighty-seventh minute, junior Nick Bibbs scored the game-winning goal, sealing the win and the District crown. “I thought this was truly an extraordinary accomplishment for the team and the preseason odds

Photo by Jodie Eichel/ Staff

Members of the boys’ soccer team solemnly walk off the field after their 2-1 loss against Central Dauphin. The boys capture their first district title since 1988.

were set way against us as the PIAA District 1 AAA Champions,” said head coach Jon Fadely. “I thought we had a great chance at winning the district championship, as I thought all season long that when we played our best. [I knew] it would be very difficult for any team in the state to stay on the field with us,” said senior captain Kevin Escott. Hot off the heels of Photo by Jodie Eichel/ Staff their dramatic 2-1 overEric Stahler being agressive in the first round of states. time win against Abing-

ton, the boys turned their sights onto the state tournament. Entering the game as the top seed from District 1, the boys took on the District 3 thirdplace seed, Central Dauphin. The boys struck first with a goal by Stahler early in the first half. Central Dauphin, though, fired back at the end of the first half tying the score at 1-1. The mood was tense, as the score remained

tied through the second half. Then with less than two minutes left to play in regulation the breath was knocked out of the LM crowd as a Central Dauphin player went on a breakaway down field and shot the ball just out of the reach of junior goalie Justin Corrado. With this late gamewinning goal, the team’s season and dreams for a state title were crushed. One possible reason for the team’s early exit could be attributed to the fact that they only had two days in between the district championship and the state match. “Having only forty-eight hours for our team to mentally prepare for the state playoffs after winning the district championship is unbelievably challenging. Out of the seven first round stateplayoff games played that night, all seven district champions lost,” said Fadely. Without a doubt the team will take this heartbreaking loss and turn it into a learning experience and a stepping-stone for next year. One promising fact is that the team is still relatively young and come next fall will be ready to pick up where they left off this year. “I’m incredibly proud and happy of our team, I was a little disappointed that we didn’t go further in states, but we had a really great year. I think we really came together as a team and we accomplished a lot of our goals, the only bright part is that we were really young and we’ll be returning a lot of guys so hopefully we can do even better next year,” said Stahler.

Photos by Jodie Eichel/ Staff Graphics by Sam Blum

Playoff highlights from the field

The Merionite November Issue  

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School