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The Pine Needle St. Christopher’s School ● Richmond, Virginia ● Volume C ● Issue 2 The Pine Needle is the magazine of St. Christopher’s School. It is run, written, edited and designed by students in grades nine through twelve.

Cover art by Grant Mistr ’17

Table of Contents News 1 2 3 5

Investment Club Trout Unlimited No Shave November Soccer Wins State Final Kung Fu Barden Mouse in the Library

11 13 15 17 19 20

Basketball Player Q&As Seussical the Musical Faculty Kids Frank Kiefer Then & Now Student Council Sports Information



6 Culture of the Senior Porch 7 Robotics 8 Hilda Ampy 9 Teachers from New Jersey 10 Anderson Goes Pro

21 Ask Alex 22 Trump Humor 23

The Oak Needle

The Pine Needle Staff Editors-in-Chief Gunther Abbot ’17

Neil Dwivedi ’17

Senior Editor Ricky Stockel ’17

Staff Grant Mistr ’17 Henry Rodriguez ’18 Tabb Gardner ’19 Hunter Gardner ’19 Neal Dhar ’20

Faculty Advisor Mrs. Kathleen Thomas

Photo/Art Credits Grant Mistr ’17 Dylan Gibbs ’17

Masthead by Grant Mistr ’17

Contributors Shelton Moss ’17 Trent Levy ’17 Garrett Levy ’17 Alex Rowe ’17 Drake Wielar ’17 Zane Buono ’17 Durk Steed ’17 William Rodriguez ’18 Jack Franko ’18 Connor Maloney ’20


The Pine Needle

Trout Unlimited Fishes and Conserves By Drake Wielar

Senior Contributor


t. Christopher’s Trout Unlimited, more commonly known as Fishing Club, made its debut this year under the leadership of J.P. Shannon ’18. The club has already garnered great popularity amongst students and has proved to be a positive addition to the numerous service clubs within our community.

Contrary to their simple name, the club does quite a bit more than just go fishing on the weekends. According to one of the club’s upperclassmen, Harrison Bones ‘18, the group’s “main goal is conservation.” Recent efforts include stocking local waters with new fish, making filters out of PVC piping and collecting/recycling old fishing line. With 400 chapters operating throughout

the country, Trout Unlimited is a wellknown organization. The club is currently working towards gaining sponsorship in hopes of becoming the only chapter in the greater Richmond area. With a sponsorship, the club will open up to grants for projects and contests that would allow it to grow outside the boundaries of the St. Christopher’s community. ■

Investment Club Crafts Risky Venture By Tabb Gardner


Sophomore Staff Writer

his year, St. Christopher’s Upper School students have heard mysterious rumors and brief chapel announcements about an Investment Club. Further investigations suggested that the club received a donation of $5,000 for investing. Alex Johnson ’19 and Huntley Davenport ’19 run the group, with math teacher Ross Gitomer acting as a faculty sponsor. “We were really into stocks out of school, and many of our parents were stockbrokers, so we thought it would be cool to start a school club,” said Johnson. The club has 20 to 30 members, which shows that many students have an interest in this nontraditional organization. Adding to its scale, Huntley’s father gave a significant donation of money for investing. Some may believe that such a large sum of money shouldn’t be given to a high school investment club, but Davenport claims that this money will let the members experience the “real world situations” of the stock market.

Mr. Gibson Davenport described his donation as his “gift to the school that will make the education of investing more meaningful and real.” He also said that when he was at St. Christopher’s, Mrs. Leigh Camp’s economics class inspired him to invest. Mr. Davenport emphasized the importance of investing early in life, which he said can increase an investor’s overall profit by a significant amount. Mr. Gitomer, who is also interested in stocks, agrees that this money will be key to giving the club the hands-on experience the members need to truly learn about the stock market. Even though Investment Club is in its early stages, Mr. Gitomer describes it as “almost better than I thought it would be.” According to Davenport and Johnson, the club has only invested in three companies so far: Pepsico, Gilead Sciences Inc. and The American Express Co. Both coheads say they haven’t lost any money yet and have gained about $20. The future of the Investment Club seems bright, and time will tell if these ventures pay off. ■



Battle of the Beards

Students raise money for prostate cancer research in hair-raising contest By William Rodriguez


Junior Contributor

tudents in math teacher Jon Waite’s advisory harnessed boys’ competitive spirits and confidence in their ability to grow facial hair by organizing a monthlong No-Shave November fundraiser to support prostate cancer research. Students from the ninth through twelfth grades paid $10 to enter the competition to grow the longest and/or well-maintained beard and mustache. The contestants were required to go the whole month without shaving, though they could trim if neces-

sary. About 10 students and several teachers chose to enter the contest, to varying degrees of success. By the end of the month some students sported fancy facial hair worthy of a nineteenth century gentleman, others grew unruly Duck Dynastyesque manes, and a few had barely a hair on their chin. Once the month ended, glass jars bearing the participants’ names and a photo of their faces were set out in Ryan Dining Hall, and students were allowed to vote on the best facial hair, putting in coins to add to their score and putting in dollar bills to

subtract from it. In the end, Neil Dwivedi ’17 was declared the owner of the most glorious beard for students with over $30, while Disciplinarian Greg Tune had over $50, though both had raised much more counting the dollar bills that subtracted from their total. Ruslan Thomas ‘17, whose jar was stuffed with wads of bills, was declared the cultivator of the most “beat” beard. By the time the dust (or hair) settled, the contest was a rousing success, raising over $700. ■


The Pine Needle

By Trent Levy and Garrett Levy

The Road to S

Senior Contributors


The Levy brothers share their experiences

t all started with contract soccer in the spring. Although some consider futsal and indoor soccer to be starting points, the rigorous contract schedule was the first real emphasis put on gathering prospective varsity guys for the upcoming 2016 season. After losing 10 senior players from last year, replacements needed to be made. Last year Graham Mauck ‘17 routinely caravanned roughly 15 guys to and from the University of Richmond. During these disorganized days of pick up on U of R’s turf, free-kicks, penalties and crossbar challenges set the tone for the team’s early preparation. Miller Farley ’18 recounts these days as, “the spark for our success this season. [Contract soccer] helped us improve our skills as well as bond as a team before preseason even started.” ■


Trent Levy

lthough we began training roughly three weeks before school, with a shuttle run the morning before the first day, we still were not championship material. What made us into champions was our chemistry and heart. I have never been on a team so connected and good-spirited as this one. This connectedness between teammates was what made our team great in pressured situations. There were many times where our team was tested and achieved our goals. Yet all of the season can be summed up in the Cape Henry Collegiate Game in the quarterfinals of the state tournament. We were a confident team and were ready for a fight, yet none of us were prepared to go down 3-0 in the first 30 minutes, and it began to seem like this was going to be my last game. Our team had

come back from a two-goal deficit but had never encountered quite a challenge of three goals. I looked at my teammates, and for the first time it seemed as if we were not confident with our ability to win this game. With five minutes left in the first half, we finally opened them up with our first goal. The team came rushing in excited and hopeful that we could bring it back. We changed our formation and huddled together, all believing that this would be the ultimate test of our season. A team that loses in the quarterfinals of the state tournament is nothing compared to a team that won the state championship. We had to score two more goals within 40 minutes. The half started out with ridiculous pressure from us on the other team, yet we couldn’t seem to score. When the second

goal came, our confidence fully was recovered and we knew that we would soon score to tie. The third goal came and our mindset completely changed; we now had to try to win the game and not only risk it in overtime or penalty kicks. However, at this point, we had completely gained the momentum, and the mentality of the opposition faded into despair as the last goal was chipped over the goalie from a long distance. The goals that we scored came from unselfish play working towards a common purpose. Every single member of the team was fully invested in our desire to win, and the attitude that we helped to instill in each other allowed us to win that game. Had we lost that game, our season would have ended and we would have never reached our ultimate goal: Sports Backers Stadium. ■


to Sports Backers


iences on the road to the soccer state finals


Garrett Levy

rriving at Sports Backers was always a goal for me and for our team. Stepping off the bus, Beats on, listening the “Jungle” hood up, I never felt so cool. Knowing that we were No. 1 in the state it was always an expectation to play there, but the feeling of satisfaction was unreal. I had the chance to play there before when two years ago, St. Christopher’s No. 1 ranked varsity team played Paul VI Catholic High School, which ranked No. 4 in the semis. This year, we were playing yet another fourth-seeded ranked Paul VI team. However, this year was all new for me. Senior year means so much more than sophomore year. Having beat Paul VI in the semis comfortably, we were scheduled to play the Potomac School, the No. 10 seed, in the finals. Interestingly, two years ago we also played the tenth seed in the finals. At Sport Backers. I had

looked forward to this day since freshman year. The big “championship game of my senior year.” In these situations, it’s key to stay cool and calm and to treat the game as any other game. Focus on the present was important, but it is always impossible to ignore the atmosphere. Head Coach Jay Wood would tell us to take a second at some point to enjoy the moment; I caught myself enjoying it a few times too many. Fast forward to around the 36th minute where we went up 1-0. We were that much closer to achieving what seemed too far months ago. Unfortunately, we ended up conceding a goal allowing for regular time to end with both teams tied. Extra time followed, a period of two fiveminute halves where whoever scores first wins. What became of this all came down to the 87th minute. Luke Parry ’17 wins the

tackle, Frost Wood ’17 plays the ball to Alexander Levengood ’19, Levengood to Graham Mauck ’17, deflection to Levy. And crossbar. And Levengood to goal. This is probably the saddest— yet happiest— I’ve felt in my life so far. We had finally won it all. Lifting the trophy and getting our medals is something we will never forget. Yet, hitting the crossbar from outside the box is something I look back on and regret. If only I kept my head down. What if I took touch and then shot? Martin Tyler’s “Oh and it’s off the bar!” haunts me still. However, I’m happy to say we won it anyway. I’m happy to have finished my high school soccer career as a champion. Instead of knowing that my last touch of the ball almost won the game for us, I choose to think that I brilliantly placed the ball off the crossbar to Alexander’s feet, a pass of pure genius, but unfortunately they forgot to give me the assist. ■


The Pine Needle

Kung-Fu Barden

Barden learns Jiu-Jitsu to practice follow through and commitment By Ricky Stockel

Senior Editor


magine squaring up to fight somebody. Your opponent is bigger and stronger than you, and you realize that you have to come up with a smart strategy to emerge victorious. Sophomore Henry Barden ’19 knows exactly how to handle this type of situation because he has been taking Jiu Jitsu classes for over a year now. Jiu Jitsu is a Brazilian fighting style influenced by Judo, a Japanese martial art. It is a form of ground fighting based on the idea that a smaller, physically weaker opponent can defeat a more powerful opponent by using the bigger fighter’s power against him. Barden was born with a mild form of cerebral palsy which causes a delay between thinking of and carrying out the action. Barden remembers how he struggled with being active in Lower School because of how slowly he ran and how difficult it was for him to compete in athletics.

“Imagine somebody telling you to do something, and for some reason or other your best effort is not quite there,” he said. Barden has worked to overcome his disability with physical therapy and working out. He has even attempted playing a few sports such as baseball, but he could never commit to them. Last year, Barden began exploring martial arts. He had taken Tae Kwon Do as a child, but it was difficult for him. “I had a lot of trouble doing the higher kicks,” he said. In the fall of 2015, Barden began taking private, hour-long lessons on Sundays at Bushin Martial Arts Academy in Lakeside. Barden said that he immediately felt comfortable with his instructor, and over time he began to enjoy the sport. “I realized how smart Jiu Jitsu really is,” Barden said. “I want to call it an intelligent martial art.” He loved how a person could be successful not just through physical

strength, but by being able to use others’ strengths against them. Barden found that taking Jiu Jitsu has improved his flexibility, especially in his hips and lower back, where he has always had flexibility problems. At the end of last summer, Barden decided to start taking group lessons. He said that he was nervous at first but soon found that he easily fit in with everybody else. Barden is currently a one-stripe white belt. He wants to continue taking Jiu Jitsu and hopes that one day he can participate in competitions. Barden wants people to know that Jiu Jitsu is a serious martial art that takes a lot of skill and years of practice. “When people imagine martial arts, Jiu Jitsu isn’t something that comes to mind,” he said, “Jiu Jitsu is a bit more abstract… people need to realize that it’s an actual discipline.” ■

Herbivore Harvests Havoc in Hawkins’ Haven By Tabb Gardner


Sophomore Staff Writer

t was a typical winter day in the library with students quietly studying as usual, until a frightened yell rattled through the third floor of Chamberlayne Hall. At 9 a.m. in the morning, librarian Marsha Hawkins had spotted a common house mouse (Mus Musculus) near her desk. The sudden commotion drew the attention of most scholars in earshot. Mrs. Hawkins said that “the mouse continued to harass me” until a brave student came to her aid. As the other students stood by and watched, Seth Burman ’18 bravely jumped to her rescue. The librarian claimed that the mouse even tried to escape through

the silent section as the duo engaged in pursuit. Students watched with a mixture of awe and confusion as Burman and Mrs. Hawkins eventually caught the beast using a cardboard box and broom. Burman claims that capturing the mouse was “a good break from studying.” The mouse, named Jim by its captors, was released as far away as possible outside and has yet to trespass again. Burman mentioned that other students should not fear small rodents spotted in school. It is a possibility that there could be more wild animals nesting within Chamberlayne Hall, and some students seem concerned about this. “First it’s mice, then

it’s lions, and then the Magnapinna Squid,” said Grant Mistr ’17. Meanwhile, the mad mouse capturer is still vigilant on his watch for any other animals trespassing on St. Christopher’s campus. ■


By Ricky Stockel


Senior Editor

he Senior Porch– coveted by underclassmen and adored by seniors at St. Christopher’s and St. Catherine’s. On an average day, seniors swarm the Senior Porch (Sporch for short), even now as the weather gets colder. At almost all times of the day, seniors are hanging out on the Sporch, which is located on the LLC facing the historic corridor. Maybe they’re blasting music through a speaker, or maybe they’re getting some homework done. Maybe Kannon Noble ’17 and Ruslan Thomas ’17 are having a jam session with their guitars (much to dismay of others also relaxing there). One

of the unique qualities of the Sporch is that it has such a casual, laid-back atmosphere despite being surrounded by the bustle of school life. What is it about the Sporch that makes it so popular, even with dropping temperatures? “I like that it’s outside,” said Noble. “I get to enjoy the weather. And I like that it’s ‘seniors only’ because it’s just a place where my friends and I can chill.” Noble said that he finds himself on the porch every time he is free. Christian Longood ’17 said that he hangs out on the Sporch every day and that it’s a “chill place.” Zane Buono ’17 said that he sits there


for about an hour every day, and he likes how “it’s a designated place for seniors to relax and get fresh air and do work.” There has been a small amount of controversy this year because there have been some anonymous reports of seniors making inappropriate remarks about St. Catherine’s students as they walk past the porch. However, most seniors deny knowing about any misconduct. Noble, Longood, Buono and many other seniors all agree that they have not heard inappropriate comments from anybody on the Senior Porch this year. ■

A Reflection on the Senior Porch

“We be aught”

Photo by Dylan Gibbs ’17

By Gunther Abbot



fter our first successful test of the robot and four hours sleep, we piled onto a school bus and headed to our first competition. Our robot’s goal was simple: launch whiffle balls into a hoop and drive around to push buttons on a 10- by 10-foot field. It has to do this controlled by a driver and entirely by itself. This robot is the culmination of months of blood, sweat, tears of a group of dedicated students. Meeting from 8 to 10 p.m. once a week, our circa-15 builders assembled the machine from scratch while our three programmers worked on bringing it to life. However, nothing we did came without a derailing challenge. Ever-present problems, frustrations and miraculous solutions defined the Robotics team’s adventures this year. With problems within and out of our control, everything broke at least once. Most meetings ended in a worse state than they were started with either less of a robot or less functionality than we had before While the building team diligently

Despite Challenges, Robotics Team Forges On worked on a ball launcher and button presser, the programmers faced constant problems. Struggling through constant connection and stability problems with the remote control, unexplained code problems and issues with wire connections on the robot, actual programming made up a very small part of the programmers’ jobs. Troubleshooting took up most of our time. But, despite tribulations, we successfully tested our robot’s self-controlling mode for the first time at midnight the Friday night before the competition. The work didn’t stop there, however. Between our six matches spread throughout the day, the builders repaired and improved the robot’s components on the fly while the programmers loaded code updates.

At one point in between matches, the robot burst into a panic, crashing into the team’s captain DT Badley ’17. While the builders claimed a programming error, the programmers denied this, claiming that an update they had loaded provided the robot with sentience, and it proceeded to select Badley as its first target. Nevertheless, the team managed to place fourth out of 28, narrowly missing a chance to advance to the state competition. The robotics team has one last competition on the schedule, which is its last chance to advance to the state competition. In keeping with its mantra of ending in a worse place than it began, the team disassembled the robot completely and planned to build an entirely new one for the next competition. ■

Photo by Tyler Hutchison ’19



A One-Woman Transit Company

They Have an Army, We Have a Hilda By Connor Maloney Freshman Contributor


er name is Hilda Ampy: a jovial woman who has worked here for 15 years and been a bus driver for about twice that long. Her positive attitude affects everybody around her. Just as she enjoys the company of the people she drives and works with, everyone who knows her considers her a joy to be around. Mrs. Ampy has become a major social presence here and a fixture at our school, the only driver employed by STC. I’m a person that likes to move around, I don’t like to stay doing one thing. I like to move around and do different things. Even when I’m at home, I’m constantly doing stuff. While she loves the people and the atmosphere at our school, Mrs. Ampy’s favorite part of her job is something that few people know about: she is the person who maintains the buses. She loves being active, busy and organized, and, as a result, hates the rare moment when she happens to fall behind. Though it may not be a surprise to many, Mrs. Ampy has found garbage in the buses ranging from candy wrappers,

crumbs and spitballs to gym clothes. Despite the more off-putting aspects of her job, she loves what she does. She maintains an upbeat attitude learned from her mother, a working woman who raised 16 kids. I grew up in church, and when I grew up as a little girl all I knew was church and work. If my mom wasn’t at church, she was at work... my mom was a happy-go-lucky person, I don’t care what happened in my mom’s life, [if she] lost a job or anything, couldn’t nobody get my mom down. Her late father was often called a great driver, and she says it’s probably what gave her the idea to become one. Even if I’m sick, you better believe [I’m] going to do something, even if I feel bad, I just go… I’m not a person who’s upset easily, and to get me in a bad mood, someone would have to really, really do something bad. Mrs. Ampy is an incredibly productive person, who puts effort into all aspects of her life, something she, again, attributes to

her mother. She especially enjoys entertaining people, often single handedly setting up complete parties, with reportedly fantastic food. Mrs. Ampy is very involved with her family, and they all frequently have gatherings that would fill a neighborhood. She married another bus driver, and they both enjoy bowling in their free time. (Mrs. Ampy can score around 285 on her best days.) They have had two daughters, who, as of now, each have a child themselves. Impressively, Mrs. Ampy only had one accident over all her years, though it was a particularly humiliating one that involved rear-ending her mother’s boss. Mrs. Ampy has had a lengthy career as a bus driver, something that she has always been willing to do for our school. Loving driving so much, she plans on frequently traveling when she finally retires from her lengthy career. What you see is what you get, even with my husband, we’re just happy-go-lucky people... I want to live my life being happy, going home happy, waking up happy. ■


The Pine Needle Photos by Tyler Hutchison ’19 Layout by Grant Mistr ’17

The New New Jersey By Henry Rodriguez


Junior Staff Writer

or many here in Virginia, New Jersey is a place to be driven through, not understood. Yet a surprisingly large number of Upper School faculty hail from the Garden State, including English Department Head Jay Wood, math teacher Ross Gitomer, U.S. history teacher Scott Van Arsdale and English teacher Chris Whalen. When asked for details about their place of birth, all jumped at the opportunity to define and defend their much-maligned home state. When many of us in Richmond think of New Jersey we mostly conjure up images of highways and urban sprawl. However, according to Mr. Wood, “If you see New Jersey [only] from the turnpike, that’s the impression you deserve to have.” In reality, moving away from the typical beach and city reveals a completely different land. These suburbs and small towns are the roots of our New Jerseyan faculty. Mr. Whalen and Mr. Van Arsdale both grew up in smaller cities with character of their own: the former in Basking Ridge and the latter in Brick Township. Basking Ridge is an old community near New York City dating from colonial times, which was “historically relevant in the Revolution” and featured, until recently, a tree that George Washington dined under. Further down the East Coast lies the homeland of Mr. Van Arsdale, the town known to denizens as “Brick” or “Bricktown.” Dotted with small stores and containing a boardwalk next to the quiet ocean, Mr. Van Arsdale described it as “about as far from the ‘Jersey’ stereotype as you get... but only 20 minutes from Seaside Heights.” Mr. Wood’s experience may seem a little more familiar: a wealthy suburb near Newark containing professionals working mostly in Manhattan. Although

he attended a private school similar to St. Christopher’s, he recalled that most students seemed more “uptight” and focused intently on their standing in the class and the college process. Further west in the state, Mr. Gitomer grew up in the tiny town of Flemington. He described it only as “beautiful” and “smell[ing] awesome.” Despite their diverse backgrounds, all four defined New Jerseyans in similar terms: as Mr. Gitomer put it, “[they’re] real. Most get it.” Mr. Van Arsdale said that people were “very task oriented, always in a hurry,” which Mr. Wood agreed with, elaborating that, “there is a sort of intensity that is not present in Richmond.” All also expressed a strong patriotism stemming from the multitude of attacks directed at their home, with Mr. Whalen saying, “New Jerseyans are defined by their love of New Jersey and general disdain for all other states, particularly Pennsylvania and Delaware... and California.” Why, then, do we have so many teachers from the Garden State? Actually, according to Mr. Wood, it’s not just a Jersey thing. From the 1980s onward under former Headmaster George McVey, St. Christopher’s began to hire many teachers from places all across the country. While there’s no way to know for sure that the effort was to get rid of the stereotype of St. Chris inwardness, Mr. Wood said, “It struck me as too big of a coincidence.” He believes that the aim was to bridge the North/South divide and bring new experience; “people whose perspectives are greater.” ■

Anderson’s Big Break: Biking with the Big Boys By Jack Franko


Junior Contributor

ast spring Edward Anderson ’17 won a highly contested race at Forest Hill Park as a part of the Virginia High School Mountain Bike Series. Little did Anderson know at the time, but that race would dramatically change the course of his cycling career. “He turned a lot of heads that day,” said Andrea Dvorak, whose husband organizes the high school races. Dvorak, a former professional cyclist, was in attendance and was so impressed that she invited Anderson to go on a grueling five-hour ride. He rode with road cyclists from The Miller School in Charlottesville where Dvorak works with some members of its prestigious cycling team. Dvorak admitted that she didn’t expect a whole lot from Anderson that day because he was mainly a mountain bike rider at the time and had little experience on the road, but she was very surprised with the results. “He dropped everyone,” said Dvorak. “Our jaws dropped.” Since then Dvorak has been training Anderson using TrainingPeaks, an online program that allows Dvorak to send Anderson training plans from her home in Charlottesville. Dvorak was also instrumental in getting Anderson signed with

Axeon Hagens Berman, as she knows team owner Axel Merckx, son of legendary cyclist Eddy Merckx. Setting up Anderson with Axeon was a no brainer for Dvorak. “The sky is the limit with him. That’s why I’ve put him in front of the right people,” said Dvorak. “It’s the best Under-23 team in the world.” As for school, Anderson’s life will certainly change. He will still graduate in the spring but will miss a significant number of days to attend team camp. Anderson still wants to go to college, and the University of Virginia is his top choice. “The motivating factor is that it wouldn’t be as hard to balance cycling and school,” said Anderson about UVA. But no matter where Anderson decides to go, he’s already made a huge impact on St. Christopher’s biking community. “I think it’s gonna get more people interested,” said Craig Foster, head coach of the varsity mountain biking team. “We’re always looking for people who have the desire and the will to ride.” Coach Foster has always been impressed by Anderson’s ability but was still amazed by this step. “I never dreamed that anybody would go to that level, especially this early,” said Foster.

Going pro has many benefits for Anderson, chiefly a salary, which is not something every high school-aged athlete can boast. “Obviously the cash is a huge benefit,” said Anderson, although he said he’s not sure how he’ll use the money. Another benefit of signing with Axeon is that the team will financially support Anderson and his teammate Chris Blevins in mountain bike races even though Axeon is a road cycling team. “Mountain biking is a really good background to go into road cycling,” said Anderson, who has been making the transition to road cycling over the past year and competed in road races in the spring and summer. “A lot of successful guys have gone from mountain to road.” While Anderson did struggle initially in road races, he improved quickly. “I had to learn the different strategies,” said Anderson, who emphasized the fact that mountain biking and road cycling are very different sports.v This might only be the start of Anderson’s career as a cyclist, but his coaches see immense potential in the young rider. “He has that mental edge that it takes to be a superstar athlete,” said Dvorak. “He has the potential to be one of the next great U.S. mountain bikers.”. ■


The Pine Needle

Q&As with Basketball Standouts By Neal Dhar and Jack Franko

Freshman Staff Writer Junior Contributor

Bamisile said. Basketball coaches Hamill Jones and Stephen Lewis believe that the sky’s the limit for Joe, providing a realistic hope that Bamisile could be a regionally or even nationally renowned basketball player. How do you feel playing with teammates and opponents older than you? I like the challenge because one thing about me when I play, I try to embarrass everybody that I’m playing against. So I like the challenge of trying to do it to older people. And then playing with [older teammates], it’s like having somebody my age. I don’t feel it’s different.

Joseph Bamisile ’20 6’3” guard

At age 4, Joe Bamisile played on an Upward Sports church basketball team composed mainly of 8 year olds. Not much has changed. Now, the only freshman on the varsity team, Bamisile often faces opponents three years older than he. Bamisile has a natural advantage with a 6-foot-6 wingspan and a height of 6 feet 3 inches. But not only does he have the natural tendency to excel on the court, he also has an exceptional work ethic. Bamisile begins every day at 5:30 a.m. with a workout at the gym until about 7:15 a.m. (explaining his tardiness, dearest Mr. Tune) and ends with varsity practice and, at home, a 30- to 45-minute yoga session. “Yoga helps me focus and be stress-free during school,”

another thing is that not everything is about you, obviously. I think that basketball has really helped me understand that more and more as I get older. In basketball sometimes, especially growing up, even if there [were] a bunch of people on me I just tried to shoot, or sometimes defensively I wouldn’t do my part. Even though it didn’t hurt me specifically, it hurt the good of the team, which could either result in us losing a game or the other team scoring or it being a tighter game than it should be.

You used to be considered the best player on most of your teams, so how does it feel now transitioning to the varsity level with older teammates? It was kind of tough to start out at because you know when you go from doing one thing to doing something else, it’s kind of different. The way you react to it is the biggest thing. At first I’d say I probably didn’t react the best, I was a little frustrated, but as time went on I just kind of accepted that sometimes you can’t always be the best on the team, or at least you can’t be regarded as the best or the go-to option. How have Coach Jones and Coach Lewis impacted your gameplay on the court? “This year especially they have developed me mentally. I think in previous years I didn’t really think about the game that much, and now as the year goes on, I’m thinking about things besides just scoring... having a better defensive intensity, going to rebound more, whenever two people are on me, just kicking to the open person, building relationships with teammates, stuff like that. What lessons have you learned from being a part of this team or from basketball in general? You definitely can’t be frustrated when things don’t go your way. That’s a big thing, and

Justin Jasper ’18

Captain, 6’3” guard/forward Jasper is a tall, athletic guard who was voted as the team’s only junior captain. He plays with a chip on his shoulder and is at his best on fast breaks in the open court. Jasper is also a reliable mid-range shooter. What is your leadership focus as the only junior captain? I try to focus on leading by example and encouraging the guys who are new to playing on varsity or having major roles since I was in their position not long ago.


What’s your most memorable moment as a varsity player? The most memorable moment of my varsity career so far was my first start my freshman year against Benedictine at home. We ended up winning by 1, and it was one of the most exciting games I’ve played in.

What is your role on the team this year? My role on the team is to be a ball handler and facilitator. We have a lot of guys that can score this year, and it is my job to make their shots easier by delivering them the ball at the right times.

What lessons have you learned from being part of this team? I’ve learned the importance of team chemistry. This team is very close and we’re all good friends, and I think that translates onto the court.

What lessons have you learned from being a part of this team? A lesson I’ve learned from being a part of this team is how to work with other people as a team to complete a goal. Being on this team has taught me how to learn to work with others and figure out what the group needs to be successful. Another lesson I’ve learned is how to put other people before myself. If I’m not playing as well as I would like to, or things aren’t completely going my way, I’ve learned to be a team first guy and support my teammates and not let my bad moments impact the team in a negative way.

Ameer Bennett ’17,

Captain, 6’8” center

Eric Thompson ’17 Captain, 5’7” guard

Thompson is a short but feisty guard known for his superb on-ball defense. On the offensive half he works mainly as a facilitator but is a very reliable shooter when he gets an open look. This guard is an unselfish team player who’s not concerned about his own stats. What is your leadership focus as captain? The leadership focus for this year is using previous varsity experience to help the younger guys. We have a very young team this year with not a lot of varsity experience. So we have to use our past experiences and lessons to help the younger guys.


Next Issue... Alexander Petrie

Bennett has emerged as a well-rounded big man after improving his jump shot and his free throw shooting in the offseason and has gradually become one of the team’s go-to offensive players. Bennett is also a physical defender known for his shot-blocking ability. What is your leadership focus as a captain this year? I’ve been focusing on trying to be more vocal and become a better leader because I know the guys look up to me as a senior captain. To what do you attribute to the tremendous growth you’ve had this season? Just all the hard work I have put in over the off season. How has it been stepping into a bigger role on the team this season? I feel like there is more pressure on me to bring my A-game every night because I know the team depends on me, but I enjoy being in that role.

Seussical The Musical

By Connor Maloney Freshman Contributor


cVey is overflowing with visitors, the theatre’s doors are open and the stage is decked out in vivid colors and cotton candy truffula trees. “Seussical the Musical” opens with a familiar red hat on stage and a young boy (Hannah Jennison ’20) speculating on where it came from. The following story is an homage to all of Dr. Seuss’ most iconic works. The storyline follows both Horton the Elephant (Charlie Whitlock ’19) and Jojo the Who (Hannah Jennison) in their respective worlds, with allusions and cameo appearances by The Grinch (St. Catherine’s French teacher Derek Kannemeyer) and at least seven other Seussian characters. All is overseen by

The Cat in the Hat (Cameron Lovings ’19), who spontaneously appears as a Willy Wonka-esque mentor figure, with a rampant disregard for the fourth wall. The Cat, the cast and the play convey a message of thoughtfulness, earnestness and creativity. Musical numbers come with a consistently upbeat tone, often dominated by an Aretha Franklin styled Sour Kangaroo (Sarah Wells ’17), as well as a considerable ensemble cast. Musical ability, however, was complemented by acting ability, an effective portrayal of a variety of characters. The shy and reserved Gertrude McFuzz (Emily McDermott ’18), a bird pining for Horton’s affection, General Genghis Khan Schmitz (Darren Badley ’19) a bombastic military commander and the surpris-



ingly nice Grinch, among others, embrace the whimsy of Seuss and seem to enjoy every second of their performances. All this occurs on an amazingly constructed stage composed of multiple tiers of trees, homes and towers. The tech crew, while largely unseen, accomplished an incredible construction feat that perfectly captures Seuss’ colorful, oblong art style. (Special mention goes to the news copter.) Costumes often are surprisingly human, effectively relying on aesthetic and color scheme to communicate who the characters are. The actors and musicians inhabit and embrace this world that has been laid out, and succeed in bringing Dr. Seuss to the physical world, if only for a while. ■

Layout by Grant Mistr ’17


The Pine Needle

The Pros and Cons of Being a Faculty Kid

By William Rodriguez Junior Contributor and Tabb Gardner Sophomore Staff Writer


hey walk the halls of every building from Luck to Chamberlayne. They eat and work and play sports with the rest of us. But what is life really like for the children of St. Christopher’s faculty? Do they sit on a mountain of privileges afforded to them by their school-employed parents? Are they social pariahs, shunned by classmates for fear of them relaying rumors to their mother or father? The Pine Needle interviewed some faculty kids, and found that the truth is more complicated than one might think. Riley Varner ’16, the son of Spanish Department Head Suzanne Varner, described having a faculty parent as “beneficial to my life in general” and described how he could use his mom’s room as a break or study room. He mentioned that while it was at first strange being in a class taught by his own mother, he soon began to appreciate joking and being sarcastic with her in class. According to Varner, the only annoyance

was hearing other students complain to him about the difficulty of his mom’s AP curriculum. Durk Steed Jr. ’17, the son of Middle School Bible teacher and Chaplain the Rev. Durk Steed, credits his life as a faculty kid with giving him the chance to bond with his dad in ways many kids never could. Steed enjoys being able to see his dad everyday during school, and says he can always approach his father if he has questions about his faith. Still, Steed said, “Teachers are probably going to know you before you even have them and expect you to be very well behaved.” English Department Head and Varsity Soccer Coach Jay Wood’s son Frost Wood ’17 explains that his father has “very high expectations for all of my classes,” though

he is willing to give his son extra help in subjects like English. Wood remarks that his dad’s familiarity with teachers has led them to share his grades with his father sometimes before even he knows them. However, Wood recognizes his position isn’t completely without upsides, as he can get as much food from the cafeteria as he wants without paying. Sophomore Max Macek believes his mother’s position as an AP Physics teacher and science enthusiast has heavily influ-

enced her involvement in his life. “She got me involved in the Physics Olympics, Battle of the Brains and Science Bowl,” he said and admitted that he spends a lot of time with his mom, often doing homework or other-school related activities in her office. Because he has to hang around the Gottwald Science Center a lot, he lends an ear to students grumbling

about difficult science classes. “They talk to me because I’m unfazed by any comment, kind of like my mom,” he said. Although their worlds seemed quite different, one common theme tied together all of the faculty kids’ experiences: having a mom or dad as a teacher strongly bonded together school and daily life. ■

Layout by Grant Mistr ’17


The Pine Needle

By Hunter Gardner


Sophomore Staff Writer

ath teacher and wrestling coach Frank Kiefer has quite the backround unknown to the St. Christopher’s community. Mr. Kiefer has been robbed while working in a bookmobile, wrestled a Soviet gold medalist and is the son of a war hero. Occupations include working construction, selling magazines door-to-door and working as a bouncer. His best deadlift and squat weights were both around 600 pounds with his best bench press at 445 pounds. His passions of lifting, wrestling and teaching led him through life. After wrestling for Old Dominion University he worked several years for the Borden Chemical Company. He had a company car, was making good money and was given a lot of responsibility at a young age. Mr. Kiefer spent a lot of time playing golf to entertain clients, but he found this “real” job unfulfilling. He started coaching youth wrestling at the Indianapolis YMCA and found himself drawn to teaching and working with young people. During his career, Mr. Kiefer has coached and taught at nine schools. He tried to write a book on the evolution of wrestling technique that was supposed to be a guide for young coaches, but became frustrated with his

The Amazing Life o inability to do proper research. While working at a weightlifting championship, he was offered advice on his book from a record setting Belgian heavyweight lifter named Serge Redding. Redding said the answer is simple: “become a librarian.” Mr. Kiefer later found out that Redding was a librarian himself. He took the advice, going to Rutgers University, where he got his master’s of information technology and had a run-in with the Soviets. Mr. Kiefer was asked to fill in to wrestle against the Soviet national team during their American tour when some American wrestlers backed out. The Soviet he wrestled was a five-time world champion and twotime Olympic gold medalist. At first glance the Soviet appeared too fat for the wrestling scene and raised Mr. Kiefer’s hopes that he wouldn’t get smeared. He said that the Soviet showed a completely different side in the ring, however. “It’s more of an art with him,” he said. “It wasn’t like step one, step two, step three. It was like a flow with him.” The Soviet won by mercy rule and offered him a swig of vodka after the match. After earning his master’s of library science he decided to use his new degree, taking a job in a bookmobile in New Jersey. He went back to his old line of work after being robbed of overdue book fees. The reason Mr. Kiefer kept going back to coaching was

because of the relationships. “All of the records and stuff that I set are secondary to these relationships.” There is an award at Collegiate School that goes to the wrestler showing the most courage in the name of Mr. Kiefer’s father. When teaching at Collegiate, he established an award in his father’s name. When his father passed away he was left a 1954 Packard. Collaborating with Collegiate, he sold the vintage car to endow the award, forever honoring his father who earned a Silver Star serving in World War II. In recent years Mr. Kiefer has moved to part-time teaching but stays connected to St. Christopher’s, now through helping with wrestling, which he describes as “physical chess” and outdoor track. He stays busy playing chess against the computer and volunteering for Houlagan’s Rest, a rescue group for abandoned dogs. When asked what he wants to be remembered for, he said, “The influence I had on kids.” ■




e of Mr. Kiefer




By Jack Franko


Junior Contributor

xpectations are high for the varsity wrestling team this season, as the team boasts one of its deepest lineups in recent memory, a lineup that includes five former state champions. But among all of this young talent is an older face that fans of prep wrestling haven’t seen in awhile. Coach Frank Kiefer is returning to the wrestling room this year after taking a break from a 30-plus year career of coaching that includes over 400 wins and 12 state championships. But this year Mr. Kiefer, who was previously a head coach for St. Christopher’s and the Westminster School in Georgia, is bringing something much different to the Saints’ training regimen this season. After practices, Coach Kiefer puts the team through “Black Ops” strength training that was developed overseas and lasts less than 10 minutes, but that Kiefer said “is the most efficient way to get stronger.” According to Mr. Kiefer, the “Black Ops” training exercise is specifically for grappling sports. The wrestlers seem to really appreciate

the workouts, too. “They’re a good change of pace from lifting weights in the weight room,” said William Tappen ’18, who wrestles in the 195-pound weight class for the Saints. The wrestlers are also very aware of Coach Kiefer’s previous success as a coach. “It’s great to have him back in the room. All the guys respect him because of all the state championships his teams have won in the past,” said Tappen. Unfortunately, Kiefer had to leave coaching due to health reasons and may not have coached again if not for some persuasion from Ross Gitomer, who is entering his third year as the head varsity wrestling head coach. “[Gitomer] is a slick con man and convinced me that I could be of some value to the program,” Mr. Kiefer. “I hope he is right.”. But Coach Kiefer admits that getting “conned” into coaching again has meant a great deal to him. “It means a lot to be part of a special program with special guys...I am very grateful for the opportunity and will do my best to use my knowledge and experience to help make every wrestler the best wrestler and person they can be.” ■



The Pine Needle

What’s up with Student Council? By Henry Rodriguez


Junior Staff Writer

t’s quite possibly the most important branch of student government, and yet most know surprisingly little about what exactly the Student Council does. This is despite the fact that, out of the three branches of elected representatives (the others being the Honor Council and the Missionary Society), the council is the only one that requires candidates to write speeches detailing what they hope to accomplish. Still, most at St. Christopher’s remain ignorant of the scope of our representatives’ abilities. How much power does the Student Council wield? According to senior member Ricky Stockel, that’s asking the wrong question. “I wouldn’t really say it’s a matter of power,” he said explaining that the council acts more like a “voice for the students.” Generally, its guiding principle is to “make fun events... and overall make student life better.” Spirit Week is its biggest accomplishment so far. The weeklong costume-fest takes a surprising amount of time to organize, and this year members split up into three- to four-person groups to separately tackle issues like planning the pep rally and bonfire. The creed of improving student life, however, is nowhere close to being complete. Throughout the school year the council has planned

for a number of events, including the recent surprise “Student Council Christmas.” A rescheduled Wingfest and Career Day will take place later in the spring. The Student Council plans for its crowning achievement this year to be the Class Cup. As some may remember, last year’s event included memorable events like the Bubble Soccer competition but fizzled out towards the end of school. This year the council plans to include several similar competitions, some possibly to be held in chapel, but keep them smaller in scale— though Student Council President Gunther Abbot ’17 acknowledges that “it’s still all very much in planning.”

Council members operate with a large amount of independence. While they do have a faculty advisor, English teacher Sherman Horner, who did not respond to requests for an interview, decisions usually rest with the representatives at the end of the day. Abbot’s experience is that “it’s ours to fail, and it’s ours to take and make something of.” Since classes elect their own delegates to fill its ranks, the quality of Student Council’s actions is dependent on those chosen to run it, especially the seniors. Whoever fills the boots of the president, vice president and secretary can “make the difference between a good year... and an uneventful year.” Overall, the Student Council operates with a good deal of autonomy, along with a budget that, while undisclosed, is enough to fund all its events. Though often shrouded in secrecy, the council continues to wield its power, according to junior representative William Rodriguez, to “create and maintain student culture and strengthen feelings of community.” ■



A Look Inside Sports Information By Shelton Moss


Senior Contributor

ne summer night shortly before the start of my sophomore year, I was at home browsing the sign-up list for the fall sports season. I had played soccer and baseball my freshman year, but I wanted something new to participate in. As I weighed my options, one new activity caught my eye: Sports Information. Without hesitation, I checked the box and signed up. Little did I know how that decision would impact me for years to come. The Sports Information Department (SID for short), now in its third year, was started by Assistant Athletic Director Stephen Lewis, who saw a need for increased participation by the student in sports coverage. “[The administration] loved the videos, pictures and articles I was writing,” said Coach Lewis. “But they wanted more student interaction with Sports Information content.” Look towards the Knowles Field press box on gameday or the broadcasting platform in Scott Gym during a basketball game and you will see the product of that interaction. The SID team broadcasts an array of varsity sporting events live on The Cube, a free internet broadcasting service, complete with on-screen graphics and a

commentating duo. But just putting on the mic every so often and calling a game doesn’t capture the full extent of what the program does. Whether it’s writing articles for games, filling out the seasonal sports brochures, doing public addresses, operating scoreboards or taking photos for both varsity and sub-varsity events, SID covers nearly every aspect of STC athletics. I was quite nervous the first time I put on the headset my sophomore year, when hundreds of fans online heard my voice. I did color commentary for a soccer game, and two weeks later, I was tasked with doing play-by-play for a varsity football game at Norfolk. After a poised performance, my commentating skills only improved each time out, and the rest is history. The SID group has come a long way since its inception. The quality of the broadcasts has improved, along with increased participation and a higher workload. In fact, if you go anywhere on

campus you can see how the SID team manifests itself. “You can be at a seventh grade football game calling P.A. or hear starting lineups for a Middle School basketball game,” said Coach Lewis. “It never gets old hearing from alumni and parents how cool it is to see a game, and how great a job the students do broadcasting.” Personally, joining Sports Information was one of the best decisions I have made. It has given me an opportunity to kindle a passion in sportscasting that I never knew I had. More than that, it allowed me to come out of my shell and excel in something that the whole STC community can enjoy. Of course, we are always looking to improve. Coach Lewis noted that additional camera angles and an on-field microphone during broadcasts would greatly enhance the product, along with periodic live sports shows to interview players and summarize how the season is going. My passion for Sports Information is something I want to continue in college and in my career. Hopefully years down the road, when I am calling college basketball games for ESPN, I can look back at my time here and know that my journey started with a check of a box sophomore year. ■ Moss landed a paid position doing public address for the University of Richmond women’s lacrosse team this spring.

Shelton Moss ’17 (middle) commentates on a gripping game.


The Pine Needle

Ask Alex By Alex Rowe

Senior Contributor

Q: What is your new year’s resolution? My new year’s resolution is to focus on the small things and have a greater appreciation for everything I am blessed with. Recently, I have learned to achieve happiness by focusing on what I have rather than worrying about what is not there. It is easy to always be running towards a goal, but that will only lead you to feeling unfulfilled and unhappy. Sometimes we get so caught up with stuff we want to happen that we forget to actually live in the moment and be happy. By appreciating the small things and being grateful, you can become truly happy and live a fulfilling life. Q: What’s up with all the changes in the weight room? We hear there’s no music and no updating the boards? I have heard rumors about this but I cannot verify whether or not they are true. The rumor going around is that updating the boards, putting record weights up on the board, and playing loud music are promoting too masculine of an environment and intimidating others. Now, I have no idea whether or not this is actually true, but if it actually is true then I, along with many others, will be upset. Personally, I believe that the boards and music are essential parts of the culture inside the St. Christopher’s weight room. The music allows student athletes to get hype before big lifts. It also promotes an exciting environment in which people will be more motivated to work hard and lift bigger weights. I personally believe the record boards allow students to be recognized for the hard work they put in during SAC. I remember being younger and looking up and being amazed, yet motivated by the crazy weights lifted by older students. If the boards get taken down, where will the line be drawn? Why should the weightlifting boards be taken down while other forms of acknowledgement/records remain standing? (The track records in the field house, banners in the basketball gym, being recognized for honor roll/merit list). If this rumor turns out to be true I know that I, as well as many other lifters, will be disappointed that we will not be able to receive acknowledgement for the hard work we put in during SAC after school. Q: How do you deal with college-induced stress? Now that the college application process is over, it is nice to be able to sit back and relax. During the process I was not very stressed; I thought it was going to be much harder than it actually was. I decided to work on the applications a little at a time and really spaced them out so I did not get slammed with work. I also realized that I should not stress over this process too much because where you end up does not

matter as much as what you do while you are there. Q: How will make you make the most of your last four months at STC? As a senior who has been here since junior kindergarten, it is bittersweet to know that my time at STC is coming to an end. After 14 years here, it is nice to know I will be moving on to a different environment in college, but it is also sad to have to leave a place that I am so comfortable in. I hope to really appreciate every single day and not take anything during these last four months for granted. I also hope to make the most of my last couple of months by continuing to do well in school and not falling into the “senior slide” trap. I want to continue to interact within the community with teachers and students and make sure I leave STC on a positive note. Q: Do you have any tips on executing a successful senior slide? I believe that there is no such thing as a true “senior slide.” As a junior, I was under the impression that once junior year was over, senior year would be easy and I could just relax and “slide”. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I think that first semester senior year is the hardest academically out of all years in high school. Not only do you have a challenging academic load, but you also have to balance that on top of athletics and college applications. Personally, I had to balance academics, football and college apps first semester which proved difficult, yet manageable. I recommend managing your time wisely so you do not get so behind that it becomes too late. Second semester you are still finishing up applications, participating in sports and trying to maintain good grades in case colleges ask to see a mid-year grade report from second semester. My advice to younger students is do not fall into the “senior slide” mentality; continue to work hard, make good grades and end your career at STC on a positive note. It is important to finish doing the best you can. Also, if you have a severe decline in grades, a college will sometimes rescind their admission decision (don’t be one of those guys).

The Trump Train: Tried & True

President’s winning strategy pays off “big-league”

Nov. 8, with a resounding Electoral College people of 1948 refrained from rioting. The polling error also highlights Trump’s Senior Contributors lead, the United States ushered in its 45th president. Several factors attest to Trump’s appeal to undecided voters. Leading up to s 1 a.m. arrived on election night, sweeping victory: the “silent majority” vot- the final tally, most polls had Trump up CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Jake Tapper ing block backed him on election day, the several percentage points among these votstared into the cameras, glistening with undecided voted moreso against Clinton ers. This lead grew even larger on election profuse sweat. It was happening. On Nov. than for Trump and the night. In key states such 9 they joined the rest of the world to watch Rust Belt turned red, in Was President-elect Trump’s as Michigan, WisconDonald Trump achieve what most had election night victory really sin and Pennsylvania, some states for the first previously declared an impossible victory. time in decades. that inconceivable? Trump won indepenBy early morning, it was clear that Trump Much like the silent dents by 16 percent, won the presidency with an electoral colmajority that elected President Richard 13 percent and seven percent respectively. lege lead surmounting 290-228, even with Nixon in the 1968 election, there existed a Trump would never have been able to reach some states still left to count. Mainstream non-vocal group of voters that went unacthe 270 electoral college threshold without and social media devolved into madness. counted for in the polls. Many of these flipping several swing states. Trump did not Many could not comprehend what they voters never admitted that they were going just flip a state or two, he flipped an entire had dismissed as the absolute impossibility to vote for Trump for fear of being bulgeographical region: Wisconsin, Michigan, of a Trump presidency. But, was President lied and accused of racism, xenophobia or Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania all voted for Trump’s election night victory really that misogyny that could ruin their careers, reTrump after voting for President Obama inconceivable? lationships and lives. Many of these voters in the 2008 and 2012 elections. These five Just before voting began, about every were simply never contacted by large media states alone represent 70 electoral votes; major national poll covering the election sources operating mostly in Democratic if they had gone the other way, Clinton’s had Hillary Clinton leading by six percent cities. This hidden voting block had no victory would have been assured. Trump in the popular vote. Some sources even impact on the pre-election won these Midwestern and Rust Belt states boasted that Clinton’s Many of these voters never polls but gave Trump a by campaigning in most of them regularly winning percentage huge surge on election admitted that they were in the final months of the election and would be ahead by night. promising to improve their economy by going to vote for Donald double digits. Electoral Although the polls were emphasizing the importance of American Trump for fear of becollege predictions held mostly incorrect, they did job creation and the repeal of Obamacare. a similar narrative. The ing bullied and accused reveal how out of touch Regardless of political opinion, PresiUniversity of Virginia’s of racism, xenophobia or the media is with its viewer dent Donald Trump will be our president Larry Sabato predicted for the next four years. In every election, misogyny that could ruin base. A mishap of such a 325-213 win for Clinsize had not occurred there are winners and there are losers. The their careers, relationships ton, FiveThirtyEight’s since the Truman-Dewey privilege and majesty of our democratic and lives. Nate Silver predicted election of 1948, in which system reside in our unbroken tradition of 303-235 and NBC’s Dewey’s victory had been peaceful transfers of power, a feature pracBattleground Map had 274-170 in her so sure that it had already been printed on tically unique to America in this millenfavor not including swing states. It seemed 150,000 newspaper copies. Trump’s elecnium. Trump’s election demonstrates the certain to anyone watching the news that tion mirrors such an upset. However, such people’s ability to determine the direction Trump would see a predictable defeat. is how our electoral process goes, and the of their country. ■ However, as the world bore witness on By Durk Steed and Zane Buono


The Oak Needle St. Christopher’s Finest News Source

Ms. Pohanka bans electricity on fears of VPN usage

Mr. Johns needs to see this fairly long list

Page 3

Page Outside The Center Door

Lecky Brings Beats Board Scrambles for Plan B Following Loss with Newly Planned Music Festival of Lecky By Henry Rodriguez

Junior Staff Writer

After the untimely demise of Head of School Mason Lecky due to esophageal obstruction from a particularly large piece of office chocolate, one major question fixed itself in the mind of the St. Christopher’s community: who’s next in the line of succession? Due to a mix of archaic protocols, contradictory laws and the simple improbability of death in office occurring, school officials found themselves confounded by their search. “We should have had a better contingency plan for this,” remarked Upper School Head Tony Szymendera, “but following school policy should eventually give us an answer.” After several weeks of confusion, the madness has ended. Our next leader will be accomplished mathematics teacher and wrestling coach Ross Gitomer. “Apparently, the reason this happened was a spelling error [former St. Christopher’s headmaster] Dr. Bugg made on the code in 1949,” said Archivist Alice Flowers, who assisted in deciphering some of the clues. When asked about possible decisions he would make, Mr. Gitomer would only smile and nod. Rumors surfaced that the wrestling gym is planned to expand into the rest of the field house. Fortunately for the rest of us, St. Chris administrators have already decoded the next selection should Mr. Gitomer also meet an unfortunate accident. His successor would be Upper School Academic Technologist Carey Pohanka, who was reportedly quite excited for the role. ■

By Tabb Gardner

Sophomore Staff Writer

To boost student morale during his first year in office, Headmaster Mason Lecky intends to hold the inaugural “On My Honor” music festival on the Knowles football field. Kodak Black, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and the legendary Oberon Quartet were announced to be headlining the three-day long festival. Along with the headliners, many famous bands like Flume, Widespread Panic and the Lower School Handbell Choir will also take the stage over the weekend. Mr. Lecky is most looking forward to the joint act between the Handbell Choir and Kodak Black. Many students and faculty are also excited for this event. Unsurprisingly, English teacher John Burke is most excited for Marilyn Manson’s show along with an exclusive performance by fellow English teacher Sherman Horner. Students plan to use the roof of the LLC as a camping site to get the most out of the weekend. The most enthusiastic faculty member, Ross Gitomer, was seen blasting the music of hard rock band Breaking Benjamin during class after he found that they too were performing during the festival. Mr. Gitomer has already planned to bring his own booster platform to see over the crowds. Mr. Lecky, who was the main organizer of the event, claims that “the festival will make Woodstock look like a mere backyard jam sesh” and is overjoyed that he gets the chance to bring those fresh bumping beats to the scholars of St. Christopher’s. ■

Abbott Apprehends Abbot; Atrocious Email Artist Arrested Page

Disgruntled DT Dethrones Despot Donald, Develops Dream-fueled Dictatorship Page Ω

Investment Club Confirmed as Money Laundering Front Page Federal Prison

Meme Club Confirmed as Money Laundering Front Page 0_0

Fish Tank Contaminated Technology Integrated STC Abbreviated Use of Headphones Terminated Johns’ Sophisticated Misunderestimated Calculus Program Computer-generated Undifferentiated Seniors “Motivated” The Center-for-the-Study-ofBoys Hyphenated Pine Needle Belated


Lecky Loses Lunch Litigation, Cafeteria Chicken Coup Completed Page 4

Tune Talks Timeouts in Trendy TED Talk


Page 20

Page Dew

Composed in the traditional pastoral form of a villanelle, the epigram “Do not make me regret this very bite” pays homage to the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. Protesting the overall decline of food beginning during the early reign of Lecky the Good1, the poem was published anonymously to spare the author from his tyrant’s wrath.

Do not make me regret this very bite2 Do not make me regret this very bite, Old Chicken burned the noon of every day Sage,3 Sage against my dying appetite. Although “wise men” claim the food is alright, They wonder why none ruminate to pay.4 Do not make me regret this very bite.


Good men and women serve us with polite, Their frail unspoken deeds gone far astray. Sage, Sage against my dying appetite. Wild lines drifting and moving out of sight, To learn only that no food drifts their way. Do not make me regret this very bite. Brave men do drop your pasta and unite For with the masses they will not delay Sage, Sage against our dying appetites. And you, the great Lecky, we do invite Our fears and stomachs please don’t disobey Do not make me regret this very bite. Sage, Sage, against your dying5 appetite.




The epitaph “good” has been followed in several texts (Hieroglyphic and The Pine Needle mainly) with the word “morning” either as a sign of the glorious period that Lecky ushered in or as cheeky play on the ruler’s insistence of formal greetings. However, after the Senior Class Revolt of ‘18, a begrudging head nod replaced the antiquated lexicon. 2 Also known by traditional Welsh title “Peidiwch â gwneud difaru i mi brathu hwn iawn,” or, alternatively, “Nid yw yn gwneud imi frathu iawn hwn yn gresynu.” 3 An overzealous dosage of the plant. 4 St. Christopher’s suffered a plague of students refusing to sign in for seconds on the grounds of their parents already paying a tremendous tuition. Although operating under a code of honor, the students vehemently protested the notion of seconds much to the chagrin of the Honor Council. 5 This “death threat” caused much trouble for the publishers, yet the author wrote a second piece where he states he was worried that Lecky could not afford to turn his head to a meal without the threat of starvation. 6 Composed sometime between early 2016 to early 2018, according to the latest academic research. See Extended Note 118. 7 Poem by Austin Cashwell ’17 1


Seussical p. 13

Kiefer p. 17

State Champs p. 3

Beards p. 2

February 2017 | The Pine Needle  

St. Christopher's School Student Newspaper

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