Page 1

Texting in class? Language classes test new methods of learning See p. 6


Sp ke Teacher Feature: Derrick Wood See p. 17



DECEMBER 21, 2011



Students with international backgrounds experience the benefits and challenges of gaining American citizenship and embracing their diverse cultures. Noah Levine & Jenna Spoont

Staff Reporters Senior Maria Alvarez says that becoming an American citizen is about the combination of her past and her future. She still longs for aspects of her life in her hometown of Cali, Colombia: the hikes in the mountains, learning to dance with her cousins and the family and friends of her first home. But America is her home now too, she says, and she sees a future for herself here, a place where she feels like a permanent part of its society—another place where she belongs. After 12 years of United States residency, Alvarez is now in the process of taking the next step by gaining U.S. citizenship. Alvarez plans to become a dual citizen, meaning that she will retain citizenship status in both the U.S. and Colombia. She is now 18 years old and will be applying for citizenship on her own, rather

than gaining citizenship through her parents’ application. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the advantages of becoming a citizen include the right to vote, travel, collect benefits and become a Federal employee or elected official. “I value being able to completely participate in this country because I’ve lived here for so long,” Alvarez said. “As an 18-year-old, I would like to be able to vote and to participate in politics, and to be able to just live here because it’s a part of my life.” Alvarez left Colombia when she was six and her father was offered a job in Ohio. Increasing violence also threatened her family’s safety, though the political strife has since improved. “The political situation was difficult,” Alvarez said. “In the late ’90s, when we moved, there was a peak of the drug cartel movement

and terrorist groups. There were limitations to our freedoms because we couldn’t do everything we wanted to, out of fear.” Alvarez chose to take the path of naturalization go gain citizenship. It is the next step for foreigners who already have a green card, a document that establishes permanent residency in the U.S. As part of the application, Alvarez must interview with an immigration official and take a civics and English exam. “Why does the American flag have 13 stripes?” and “What did the Emancipation Proclamation do?” are examples of questions that could appear on the test, among many others. “It’s a complicated process. There’s a lot of paperwork to fill out, a lot of documents to present. I think getting all of that together is difficult,” Alvarez said. See CITIZENSHIP, p. 4


stoganews .com

“It’s one of those moments where, as an actor, you have to celebrate the situation that you’re in because having two such different [and] exciting jobs to juggle at the same time is a blessing and something every actor is very grateful for.”



Go online to see TE/TV interview students about the holiday gifts they want to get over winter break.

Actor Daniel Radcliffe, on working on a Broadway musical while preparing for his upcoming film“The Woman in Black;” full story on

Take a snapshot of this QR code with your smart phone camera to link to view our holiday package, called the “Twelve Days of ’Stoga,” giving you fun options for your winter break. Check out photographs of Cornucopia, the winter concert, Drama Club’s Comedy Night and more.

Find us on Twitter (@thespoke) and Facebook for exclusive online content.

Pioneer posts: Upcoming in community On Jan. 4, Tri-M conducts its winter recital at Conestoga High School at 5 p.m. Members of the prestigious musical organization will give vocal and instrumental performances. Science Olympiad hosts the annual Battle at Valley Forge Invitational on Jan. 14. Students will compete in several science-based events. The competition begins at 9 a.m. Conestoga will host this year’s Pennsylvania Music Educators’ Association District 12 Band Fest from Jan. 1214. Students from area high schools will spend over 10 hours rehearsing for the performance on Jan. 14 at 2 p.m. Midterms will be held from Jan. 18-20. The Social Studies and English exams will be held on Jan. 18, Science and Math are on Jan. 19 and World Language is on Jan. 20.

Karolis Panavas/The SPOKE

Juniors Linda Goldberg and Fritz Fischer and freshman Sarah Whelan perform at Drama Club’s annual Comedy Night, called “Laughtershock,” on Dec. 9. Students wrote and performed skits.




Censored: Congress members propose new Internet bill

Patrick Nicholson & Suproteem Sarkar Staff Reporters

It is quick, convenient and illegal. And for some students at Conestoga, online piracy is a routine. But one new Congressional bill aims to stop piracy in its tracks. In October, Republican Representative Lamar Smith of Texas introducted the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) to the U.S. House of Representatives. If SOPA is passed, any international website committing or facilitating piracy will be subject to “technically feasible and reasonable measures designed to prevent access.” The U.S. Department of Justice would be able to prevent such sites from receiving American advertising, search engine links and web traffic upon receiving a complaint from a copyright holder. Some Americans are concerned that this law means the government will have too much control over the Internet.

SOPA “is too broad,” said T/E Director of Technology and Services Robin McConnell. “Copyrighted material needs to be protected, but the way that [lawmakers] are going about it raises questions. The restrictions that they put up are high hurdles in the place of small technology companies.” If Congress passes the act, websites based on user-submitted content would also be legally responsible for copyright-infringing material posted by users. Fighting infringement “is a noble goal,” sophomore Caroline Mak said. “But there’s so much online that [the bill] might overstep itself and block sites that are never meant to be about piracy. If someone commented [illicit] links on an honest website, the site [would be] taken down.” Social media websites such as Tumblr and Reddit protested SOPA when it was first debated, encouraging visitors to call their representatives. Mak said that she first learned about the act on Tumblr, a social blogging site,

after the website mock-censored all of their content in an attempt to protest against SOPA. “If that happened permanently, I would be mad. [SOPA] might end up blocking things that don’t harm anyone,” Mak said. Some students, such as freshman Collin Jenkins* believe that even if the bill was passed, it would not be effective to fight piracy. Jenkins, who pirates music several times a month, said that his piracy habits would not change if the act passed. Piracy is “bad, but it’s really hard not to do,” Jenkins said. “Even if [Congress passes] SOPA, I’ll find a way around it. The Internet is a giant network that is not managed by one group. Piracy sites should live on because the government should not have the right to censor the web.” Senior Joe Plastino agrees that such a bill would not be strong enough to fight piracy. “We would basically inflate a non-issue into a huge issue, and

it would be a detriment to the whole Internet. [SOPA] seems like a waste of time to me,” Plastino said. Jenkins also argues that SOPA may infringe on the privacy of ordinary citizens. To expose websites that are hosting pirated content, SOPA may require that Internet service providers monitor data sent from a user’s computer. “I don’t want people looking at my web traffic,” Jenkins said. “That’s for me and me only.” Unlike Jenkins and Plastino, freshman Fiona Copeland believes that SOPA is a step in the right direction. As an aspiring author, she said that she might lose income to piracy and supports measures to curb it. “I love writing–it’s my passion,” Copeland said. “It’s just sad that others can steal my work. [Piracy] needs to be stopped because people are not getting the credit they deserve.” Because of such concerns over students stealing content off of the Internet, McConnell

said that the district tries its best to educate students about the pitfalls of piracy. Media center teachers explain intellectual property rights to students beginning in the elementary schools. “We respect copyright at all levels,” McConnell said. “Intellectual property rights need to be valued and respected—not taken by others and passed off as original work.” As the debate about the antipiracy bills continues among both ordinary citizens and members of the government, students have a variety of viewpionts on the subject and some are still unsure. But Copeland knows where she stands on SOPA. “It is a loss of privacy, but it still needs to be done,” Copeland said. *To protect the privacy of the student interviewed, his name has been changed. Patrick Nicholson can be reached at

Potential Consequences of the Stop Online Piracy Act:

On Dec. 15, the House Judiciary committee debated a modified version of the bill. Domestic sites would no longer be targeted and U.S. Internet users would not be blocked from accessing accused sites. “SOPA takes the view that websites are either basically good or basically bad, and of course, the reality is that these sort of landmark Internet destinationas are populated by people with mixed motivations,” said Student Press Law Center attorney advocate Adam Goldstein. Below, The Spoke details how SOPA may affect popular websites.

The Pirate Bay, a Swedish company, is built around torrenting, a decentralized method of sharing content across the Internet. Though this may encourage the distribution of copyThe Pirate Bay righted works, not all material on the website is infringing.


Maggie Fields

Send Friend Request

Anne Thomas

Send Friend Request

Write on her wall Write on his wall Write on her wall

tumblr. Facorites Comments Posts Followers Messages Drafts Queue Customize

The original SOPA bill would have caused Tumblr to face sanctions if any user posted copyright infringing material. The site protested the bill by temporarily selfcensoring all uploaded content.

Home TheTourSignUp

SoundCloud, based in Berlin, is built upon user-submitted music. The bill’s supporters are concerned that unfiltered uploading of music files may prompt illegal distribution of copyrighted material.

Graphic: Anisa Tavangar/The SPOKE





Students apply for citizenship in ‘land of opportunity’ Continued from p. 1

to the U.S. from Mexico when she was three years old, but her family is of British decent. The green card “didn’t make much of a difference for me because I didn’t work,” Todd said. “But my brothers and sisters had trouble getting jobs and working in places because they weren’t citizens.” According to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, current green cards are valid for ten years and must be renewed before they expire. After possessing a green card for five years, an immigrant can then apply for citizenship. Sophomore Emer Ryle, who was born in Ireland, is currently obtaining her citizenship with her parents. “I think the interview process was more important [for my parents] than the test,” Ryle said. The interview involved “talking to someone from the state. They asked questions about where they were from, where

Immigration process

For many immigrants, receiving a green card is a key step toward living in America and possibly eventual citizenship. A green card permits an immigrant to legally work and reside in the U.S. on a permanent basis. Immigrants can work and live in the U.S. with a visa, but it only authorizes temporary privileges for a certain time. Junior Ignacio Magaña came to the U.S. in 2005 from Mexico City because his father was offered a job in America. “My dad was really worried that if he didn’t get the job, we would have to leave in 30 days,” Magaña said. “If he had been laid off, and he didn’t have the green card yet, we would have to go back to Mexico. It was very stressful.” The next phase of the citizenship process involves applying for a green card. Sophomore Phoebe Todd was able obtain her green card after living in the U.S. for five years. She moved

they grew up and why they were not citizens already.” Ryle’s parents completed the naturalization process so that their children could easily attain their own citizenship. For Ryle, this means that she will only have to fill out some easy forms to become a U.S. citizen, since her parents got citizenship while she was a legal minor in their custody. French teacher Josée Brouard has considered citizenship since she moved to the U.S. from Quebec, Canada 15 years ago. “At this point, it wouldn’t be necessary [to become a U.S. citizen] because of the green card,” Brouard said. “I stand up for the pledge of allegiance, I watch the political debates, I am very into the American culture [and] I feel very much like [I am] part of the country.”

On campus

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Green Card A Permanent Resident Card or “green card” authorizes a person to live and work permanently in the U.S. It must be renewed every ten years.

Germany in 2000. Both siblings retain German citizenship and say that they may get U.S. citizenship with their family at some point. With college fast approaching, they are looking at universities in both Germany and America, which is a choice that will significantly affect their futures. “The tough part is [that] some [college] majors don’t transfer internationally, which means I’d have to pick the U.S. or Germany [to live in],” Annika Ritz said. It is “a tough decision. The good part is that throughout my life, I’ll always have both countries and cultures open because I’m fluent in both languages. It would be a challenge though because I’ve never had German classroom instruction, besides for kindergarten.” If Annika Ritz chooses to study medicine in Germany, for example, the degree would not easily allow her to practice in the U.S., meaning that where she studies might be where she chooses to live. Sebastian Ritz will be attending the Munich Business School in Munich, Germany next year, but he plans to use his degree to work in America when he is older. “I talked to my parents and researched online. [I] looked to see where good business schools are. With my German background I decided to go to Germany,” Sebastian Ritz said. “It was kind of tough. I kind of grew up here from first grade to now so it’ll be a big change next year.” Junior Orla Rea, who was born in London and moved to the U.S. in 2009, has chosen to attend college in the U.S. because of the opportunities in the American system. “I feel like there’s a lot more variety of what you can do here,” Rea said. “In England, since it’s a smaller country, it’s more limited to what colleges you can to go to, or what kind of job you’re going to go into. I feel like in the U.S., anything can happen in terms of career and college.”

Dual citizenship

Though some countries allow their citizens only exclusive citizenship, a defining feature of the United States is that it allows its citizens to retain or gain citizenship from other countries. Rea has had dual citizenship for most of her life, meaning that she can be a citizen of two countries, since her mother is an American citizen. Dual citizenship comes with challenges, however. One difficulty Rea encoun-

ters is keeping track of the expiration dates of both of her passports. “When [the passports] were out of date and we had to renew them, we had to go to the U.S. Embassy in London,” Rea said. “It’s a really long process. You have to go through all of these security measures and wait in line for about three hours to get your passport renewed. I guess it’s easier than applying for a visa when you’re here [in the U.S.].” Junior Julianna Bradley has been an American citizen for her entire life, but she recently obtained her second citizenship in Italy. Bradley got the citizenship along with her mother and sister, senior Chrissy Bradley. “My one great grandpa, whom my mother never met, moved to America and then moved back to Italy so we weren’t sure whether he got his citizenship again when he went back to Italy,” Julianna Bradley said. When she was younger, her mother decided to try to regain Italian citizenship. After finding a draft card proving that Julianna Bradley’s great grandfather was a citizen and verifying that her mother is fluent in Italian, her mother was awarded citizenship. Julianna Bradley also gained Italian citizenship through her mother. Because of my citizenship, “I can play for the Italian national team for soccer. That’s something that I’ve really looked into,” Julianna Bradley said. “It’s still a cool option if I ever wanted to play in the Olympics.” Julianna Bradley could be an athlete, own property or vote in Italy thanks to her Italian citizenship. The possibility of dual citizenship made the decision to apply for citizenship easier for Alvarez. Dual citizenship “is really important to me because I wouldn’t want to give up my Colombian citizenship, but at the same time I do want to become an American citizen,” she said. “So it’s nice that I still get to be a part of Colombia, which is where I came from, and I get to be a part of the Untied States, which is where I’ve grown up.” A defining factor of American citizenship is that it allows citizens to retain the cultures and heritage of where they come from or keep a link with the history of their families. “Being American is who you are, not where you’re from,” Julianna Bradley said. Noah Levine can be reached at

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Teachers call on cell phones to connect in classroom James Redmond Staff Reporter “Raus mit dem Handy!” This German command, which translates to “Take out your cell phone,” surprised some students anticipating another lecture on classroom rules in room 108 early this September. Since the start of the school year, German teacher Kevin Nerz has been using cell phones in the classroom. Students answer questions via text messages or leaving voicemails in German on Nerz’s Google Voice account to have their speech critiqued. Some Chinese and Spanish language classes have also been using cell phones in the classroom. Initially, sophomore Emily Farrow had mixed feelings about the use of cell phones in German class. “At first I was kind of [freaked] out by it. I always have to have my phone with me in case we have to call in or something,” Farrow said. “I’m kind of used to it now. As it goes on, you get more comfortable with calling in, and you’re not really nervous anymore because everyone’s in the same boat.” While the idea of using a phone

in class took some getting used to, Nerz said that the boost in classroom efficiency that followed justified the learning curve of the practice. “The fundamental thing is more effective instruction,” Nerz said. “For example, with the use of Google Voice, I’m asking the class a question instead of just asking one student. They all take part.” Farrow agreed that the technology has its advantages. “I think it is beneficial because

we can look at our mistakes and see what we did,” Farrow said. “When we go over them, it’s easy to point them out and correct them, which is helpful.” Senior Jeannie Kwan, a student in both German and Chinese classes, also sees the benefit in using cell phones in class. “It really [helps] with your pronunciation of things,” Kwan said. “The texting can also check your grammar and you can see other people’s mistakes [on the computer and projector] too.” Other teachers have implemented Nerz’s methods for innovative use of technology, using it in some Chinese and Spanish classes. Chinese teacher Judy Lee recalled that the language teachers’ reactions to Nerz’s ideas were mostly positive. “I think [the teachers] all agreed that this was another technique that we can use to help student learning, whether in speaking or in writing, which is very convenient,” Lee said. Since the usage is teacher-approved, there is no conflict with ’Stoga’s cell phone policy. In fact, district-wide initiatives encourage this sort of learning. Lisa Lukens, who is a teacher on special assignment for technology, detailed one possible future initiative, known as “bring your own technology.” “It is a movement that is happening across the nation, with students being able to bring their own devices to school in order to compute, process or to access things on their device rather than a school-owned computer,” Lukens said. “We were given the charge to investigate best practices on that.” Robin McConnell, Director of Technology and Services, explained

Above: Sophomore Will Coggins texts in an answer to a German question. Some Chinese and Spanish teachers have also started using phones in class. Below: German teacher Kevin Nerz instructs a group of students to call him on their cell phones. Nerz’s students leave him voicemails in German on Google Voice so that he can critique their grammar and pronunciation.

that these initiatives are not unique to our district. “There are a lot of districts that are looking and saying, ‘Kids have technology, and they know how to use it. So why don’t we take advantage of this?’ Those are the questions we want to answer,” McConnell said. Nerz is optimistic about the future of such technologies, including cell phones, and the advantages they could provide teachers and students. “I think it can be applied to other

Karolis Panavas photos/The SPOKE

subjects, too,” Nerz said. “With the texting function, you can get more kids involved—you can just say, ‘Hey, do you agree with President Obama’s handling of a particular situation?’ The kids text their answers in and that prompts greater response, so you don’t have the usual four or five kids who always have their hands up dominating the discourse.” James Redmond can be reached at




Honor society membership increases, standards constant

Shwetha Sudhakar Staff Reporter The ’Stoga chapters of both the National Honor Society (NHS) and the Tri-M Music Honor Society inducted an increased number of members this year. NHS accepted 128 students this year, the largest number of inductees ever for the ’Stoga chapter. One hundred and eleven of the inductees were juniors while 17 were seniors. The overall number of students inducted into NHS is 54 students more than it was last year. NHS adviser Lydia Hallman said that students are taking more AP classes than in previous years, explaining the increase in the amount of higher weighted grade point averages (GPAs) among students. She said the national scholarship standard for NHS is 85 percent of the highest possible GPA a student can obtain. At Conestoga, getting into NHS requires a 4.70 GPA and a clean disciplinary record. “Each chapter is allowed to maintain their own requirements,”

Hallman said. “It’s a tribute to the kids.” Hallman said that the standards have not changed in the seven years she has lead the organization, and that any changes would have to be made by the faculty board. Senior Ling Zhou, vice president of NHS, said she feels that all of this year’s inductees deserved to be in NHS. “I think it just goes to show how determined and how much stronger academically this grade level is,” Zhou said. “It’s based on the same standards and it’s not like they have an unfair advantage.” Senior Emily Shertzer, a member of NHS, has mixed feelings about the high membership rates of the honor society. “It’s always good when you see how well our students are doing,” Shertzer said. “At the same time, I feel it is too large and it’s not as much of an honor, so I am sort of split on it.” Shertzer is also a member of Tri-M, which inducted all 40

students who applied this year. Last year, only 18 applicants were inducted. Requirements for Tri-M include an overall 80 percent average, at least a 95 percent grade in all music classes, good character and a recital displaying musical ability. Students apply in the spring of their sophomore or junior year, and perform their audition in the fall before being accepted. Tri-M adviser Suzanne Dickinger said that if students’ auditions are not up to standards, they are not allowed to join. She explained that all students displayed talent this year, so they were all accepted. “They were all deemed musically acceptable,” Dickinger said. “Last year that was not the case.” Senior Logan Whelan, who was inducted into Tri-M after applying for the first time this year, said that he agrees everyone who was accepted into Tri-M earned their spot in the organization. “You can’t just automatically say, ‘There had to be some people

National Honor Society Inductees NHS 2010: Seventy-four juniors inducted from a class of 489 students.

NHS 2011: One hundred and eleven juniors inducted from a class of 517 students.

who weren’t good enough to get into the society,’” Whelan said. “It’s a fair audition and you have to be musically talented to even be considered.” Although there are far more inductees into Tri-M, Whelan said he does not feel that the honor of participating in Tri-M is reduced because of the increased member-

ship. He said that the lack of exclusivity does not detract prestige. Tri-M “is still a much respected group and it’s definitely not degrading in the least just because there are more people participating,” Whelan said.

Graphic: Mary Turocy/The SPOKE

Shwetha Sudhakar can be reached at

PSU apps unaffected by scandal

YingYing Shang Staff Reporter

Despite the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal in November and the student riots in response to the firing of head football coach Joe Paterno, the number of applications recevied by Penn State University has remained the same as last year. Deborah Erie, the local director of enrollment management at Penn State Brandywine, does not believe applications have decreased from local areas. “We have been on the news a lot lately,” Erie said. “But overall, all the good things we have done and all the good things we will do are still on the minds of students. Locally, I have not seen any indication [of a drop in enrollment].” At Conestoga, guidance counselor Misty Whelan reports that while students are taking the abuse scandal into consideration, application numbers from Conestoga have not changed this year, which is consistent with national statistics.

Whelan attributes some of the consistency in numbers to applications sent in before the Sandusky news broke. Since Penn State offers rolling admissions beginning Sept. 1, many students may have applied before the upheaval. “We can’t see it in the applications yet because it’s the enrollment rates that will show the difference,”

events that they could have been active instead about, such as genocide or war,” Zahn said. In contrast, some students are steadfast in their applications, believing the uproar over Sandusky and Paterno to be insufficient grounds for withdrawal. Senior Kelly Murphy, whose parents are both PSU alumni, was recently admitted to Penn State University Park and said that there is still a strong chance she will enroll. “ I t ’s a t r a g edy, don’t get me wrong,” Murphy said. “But there are a lot of things that happened that don’t necessarily have to with the college. Just because one man was [perverted, it] doesn’t affect the whole school, and I still love it no matter what.” The ultimate result on the university’s freshman class will not be known until May 1, which is the deadline for accepted students to inform PSU if the will enroll.

“Just because one man was [perverted, it] doesn’t affect the whole school.” -Senior Kelly Murphy Whelan said. “There is the potential for impact on Penn State admissions, but right now it’s just wait-and-see and speculation.” Senior Billy Zahn said that he does perceive Penn State differently. Zahn said his decision not to apply to Penn State was affected by the scandal. The scandal “taught me a little about the students—that this is what got them active, instead of larger

YingYing Shang can be reached at

Luke Rafferty/The SPOKE




Sophomore trip takes new direction, comes closer to home Emily Klein Staff Reporter As spring approaches, sophomores prepare to load onto buses for the annual sophomore class trip. This year, however, the destination for the trip will probably be a more familiar location. Unlike previous years, the sophomore class trip will no longer be an overnight event, and will most likely be composed of two separate events taking place closer to the Tredyffrin/ Easttown area. “We wanted to create something that was more inclusive and we felt like the cost and the length of the trip, especially during the spring sports season, was prohibitive for a lot of students,” said sophomore class adviser Keith MacConnell. “The label for this [was] ‘the sophomore class trip’ but in reality it was no longer an activity for the entire class.” In recent years, the number of sophomore students attending the trip declined, with roughly 16 percent of sophomores attending last year’s trip. MacConnell and the sophomore student council members decided it

was time to make changes to the trip in order to increase participation. “We decided to do just two smaller trips instead of a big one to lessen the price [and to] make attendance better,” sophomore class senator Grace Gosnear said. A day trip to New York was originally offered as an alternative option. After further research, the trip was rejected because of the cost. Two day trips to Dorney Park and a Philadelphia Flyers game are the most likely destinations. “I understand that because the economy is in a bad state right now, the school needs to make necessary cuts [to accommodate students], but [I feel] cutting both an overnight and a city trip for us was over the top because every class before us had that opportunity,” sophomore Amy Casey said. Sophomore Aliza Abezis is also disappointed by the changes. “It’s not fair because if everyone last year got a chance to do the overnight trip and go on their first choice [of trips], I think we should as well.” Abezis said. Junior Stephane Hardinger, who

went to Boston last year, agrees with Abezis. “It's not fair to the sophomores, ” Hardinger said. “But I understand why it's necessary because of the budget problems.” Sophomore Davey Dudrear says that the change will not persuade him to attend the trip. “I wasn’t planning to go before, just because it was too expensive and I didn’t want to waste a whole weekend just going up to Boston,” Dudrear said. “The changes won’t really influence whether I go or not.” Despite the changes to the trip, the purpose of creating a sense of community within the class remains the same, according to MacConnell. “What we hope is to create something where this is an opportunity for everybody in the entire class to feel like they can and want to participate, to have a chance to de-stress a little bit, to really have some fun together, and at best, learn together also,” MacConnell said.


Philadelphia 2011-2012


320 miles away

23 miles away

$550 total

about $40 for tickets, not including travel

Fenway Park Laser Tag Aquarium Boat Ride

Dorney Park and/or Flyers Game

Emily Klein can be reached at

Graphic: Anisa Tavangar/The SPOKE

Honor society membership skyrockets, standards stay same Becker Kratsa Lieber Monaghan Rahr Ryan Samson Smith Whelan



Gough (Smith) Kratsa Lieber McGloin Mullen Rahr Ryan Samson Whelan


Number of Grades For Each Counselor “All counselors have all four grades, which means that we will have families,” Whelan said. "In other words, all of your siblings will have the same guidance counselors, and your parents can always count on the same counselors regardless of

This Year 5


Last Year -12 0



Subtraction, addition, division, and multiplication—while these terms might be at home in a math discussion, they are also representative of the staff changes and restructuring in the Student Services Department here at ’Stoga. This year, Andy Mullen and Laureen McGloin have joined the Student Services Department. The timing of the change could potentially to cause difficulty for some students who were assigned to a new counselor. Senior Ruth Wellin said that this transition might be particularly difficult for the senior class. “For kids who have been building up relationships with their guidance counselors since freshman year, it probably is not the best timing, specifically because it is our senior year,” Wellin said. “But then again, if the student does take the initiative to go and meet their counselor, they’ll get a general idea of what they’re like.” According to Misty Whelan, the Student Services Department Chair, the switch will not cause major problems. The department has guidelines

in place to smooth the transitional period. For seniors, the previous counselor and current counselor will work together, making sure that letters of recommendation for college applications are a complete reflection of the student. Both new counselors hail from Valley Forge Middle school. As guidance counselors at Conestoga, they are now encountering a few familiar faces. Senior Laura-Grace Ailor remembers having McGloin as a middle school counselor. “Mrs. McGloin is great; she’s really nice,” Ailor said. “I think that because it’s [McGloin and Mullen’s] first year, they’ll be learning stuff from us, but I’m open to that.” The new counselors share similar enthusiasm for their new positions at Conestoga. “Twelve years [of schooling] is leading up to [senior's futures], and in where they are going, in what is going to happen, I have a say,” Mullen said. Along with the addtion of new counselors, the pattern for counselor assignment has also changed. According to Whelan, these modifications will boost the department’s efficiency and accessibility.


Shwetha Sudakar Staff Reporter

Students per Grade For Each Counselor

what grade you’re in.” According to Whelan, the changes should not distress students who have formed close relationships with their former counselors. “The former counselor is still available as somebody to check in with,

Graphic:Anisa Tavangar/The SPOKE

to talk, if the senior would like that. We’re not going anywhere, we’re still here, still happy to talk with them,” Whelan said. James Redmond can be reached at

The Spoke is published seven times per year at Bartash Printing. It consistently receives the Gold Award from the Pennsylvania School Press Association and is a National School Press Association Pacemaker awardwinning publication. The Spoke serves as a public forum for student expression. Editors-in-chief: Mary Turocy, Laura Weiss Managing Editor: Luke Rafferty News Editor: K.C. McConnell Op-Ed Editor: Haley Xue Features Editor: Natalie West Sports Editors: Maddie Amsterdam, Abby Pioch Copy Editor: Allison Kozeracki Community Relations Editor: Brittany Roker Convergence Editor: Lavi Ben-Dor Business Manager: Heather Ward Photo Editor: Karolis Panavas Cartoonists: Charlotte Clifford, Yuki Hamada Graphic Design: Margot Field, Anisa Tavangar, Sam Winfield Staff: Kelly Benning, Tracy Cook, Isha Damle, Conor Fitzpatrick, Courtney Kennedy, Emily Klein, David Kramer, Noah Levine, Aly Mingione, Claire Moran, Patrick Nicholson, Emily Omrod, Sophia Ponte, James Redmond, Suproteem Sarkar, YingYing Shang, Jenna Spoont, Shwetha Sudhakar Faculty Advisers: Susan Houseman, Cynthia Crothers-Hyatt


The Spoke will print letters of general interest to the student body and community. Signed letters under 200 words may be submitted to Susan Houseman, Cynthia Hyatt, Mary Turocy or Laura Weiss. Unsigned editorials represent the views of The Spoke editorial board, and not necessarily those of the administration, student body, community or advertisers. The opinions expressed in signed columns are those of the writer and not necessarily the opinion of The Spoke.


Access denied


Blocking websites hinders expression and media literacy “This website is not available to users on the T/E network.” These words are all too familiar to Conestoga students, who are no strangers to being denied access to various websites. Still, we can take solace in knowing that we can probably access the same website later at home. However, with the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), even the websites that we’re used to having access to at home may be shut down. SOPA aims to fight piracy and copyright infringement. Even though the bill was proposed with good intentions, and although it may deter piracy and infringement, there may be serious collateral damage to Internet expression, creativity and privacy. The proposed bill will limit user-dependent websites like Facebook, Tumblr and YouTube, since websites will be liable for copyright violations committed by users. The same sites are already blocked at school. Although the school district is legally required to restrict access to inappropriate content, many mainstream websites with only the potential for hosting such content are completely blocked at school. However, the important function of these websites in today’s digital world and their significant educational value outweighs the potential threat they pose. The school district should use more advanced blocking systems, which restrict access to certain portions of a site containing inappropriate material, while still allowing students to access to the majority of the site’s content. Teachers currently use YouTube to help students understand all types of classroom material. However, students are prohibited from using You-

Tube to assist them in memorizing the presidents for U.S. History class. Though the upgraded student email system is a significant improvement, many students still use Gmail and other online email services for important tasks like accessing college application information. By limiting students’ access to mainstream websites, the school district is overstepping its role in promoting student safety. The district’s policies widen the gap between high school, where there is excessive supervision, and college, where there is virtually none. Many students are already legal adults and hold driver’s licenses, yet they cannot be trusted to access Twitter within the classroom. Although the school may attempt to encourage a more productive learning atmosphere by limiting distractions, students can and have already found ways to waste time without the help of blocked websites. Though social media websites are primarily used for entertainment, they are a fundamental part of modern communication. Organizations such as colleges, companies and news stations frequently use Facebook pages and Twitter accounts to communicate with their audiences. Therefore schools should teach us how to use social media and other websites appropriately and responsibly, because we’ll need to use them in college and in the real world. Although the school district has incorporated the goal of encouraging media literacy, how are students supposed to learn about social media without access to social media sites? With more flexible filtering systems, we can encourage media literacy and promote student responsibility in an increasingly online world.

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Email: Phone: 610-240-1046 The Spoke accepts paid advertisements. Email Visit The Spoke online at News Director: Lavi Ben-Dor

Yuki Hamada/The SPOKE

From the Editor:

Humor hides in holiday letters

Mary Turocy Co-editor-in-chief

In my family, sending out the annual holiday card and letter is a prolonged exercise in good, old-fashioned family bickering. First, we have to stage a photo shoot, with my parents cajoling all four of us into standing peacefully within six inches of one another, while wearing acceptable outfits and falsely cheerful expressions. Then my mom has to pick the least-awful photo to put on the card, while we all crowd around her laptop, lobbying for the one where each of us looks the best, especially in comparison to our siblings. Once the cards are ordered from the online retailer offering the best deal—in-store pick up beats shipping fees every time—we watch my mom’s frustration levels rise as my dad demonstrates his first-rate procrastination skills when tasked with writing the annual parody of a Christmas letter. Even though our family and friends have to wait a little longer to read the letter, their enthusiastic feedback shows that they don’t mind the delay. No matter how much my siblings and I cringe as my dad relentlessly pokes fun at our achievements—and worse, our personalities—everyone else seems to enjoy his humorous departure from the self-congratulatory norm. For example, when my dad wrote about coaching my brothers’ first grade basketball team, he didn’t even attempt to disguise his occasional frustrations with the experience, comparing it to “herding cats.” However, when I sat down to read the collection of letters my mom gathered over the years, I realized that these letters are more than just an opportunity for my dad to make wisecracks about my overloaded schedule and lack of a driver’s license. For family and friends, the exchange of holiday letters and cards is a unique and meaningful way to stay in touch, bridging any physical distance, no matter if that distance is best measured in yards, miles or time zones. True to the spirit of the holidays, my dad’s Christmas letters spread joy by making people laugh. Who am I to dispute such a noble goal, even if it means enduring a few jokes at my expense? Mary Turocy can be






Blizzards of ‘special snowflakes’ create narcissism

K. C. McConnell News Editor If your childhood was anything like mine, you probably remember being told to repeat one self-affirming mantra over and over again: “I am special.” You may remember being told how you are absolutely wonderful in everything that makes you different and how eventually people are going to love you for who you are. As it turns out, that non-stop repetition of praise may have done more harm than good. While there is nothing wrong with boosting the self-confidence of six-year-olds, what is damaging is the increasing pervasiveness of Special Snowflake Syndrome (SSS) in our society. SSS can be summed up in a single

sentence: “Every snowflake is special, but I am the most special of them all!” Basically, it’s the tendency for nurtured egos to expect entitlement because of their extreme “uniqueness.” They have to be treated differently because, after all, they are the most beautiful and different snowflake among the bunch. Think of the teen that devotes his or her Facebook statuses to venting, and in doing so practically publishes his or her entire diary. Think of the student who must relate every conversational point back to his own life. Yes, all of these people are special snowflakes. The triumph of ego over all other reality makes SSS so dangerous. Nobody wants to have a one-sided conversation with someone who thinks he is the center of the universe. Worst of all, many snowflakes don’t even realize that they have a problem, or that they are missing a vital part of the human experience by striving to be different. That’s why it’s important to keep your ego in check. Connect with somebody else other than yourself.

Don’t use social media sites to serve as billboards for the goings-on in your personal life (chances are, whoever reads them won’t think nice things about you). Be interested in the lives of others and be happy to be part of the community. Don’t believe that all of the wonderful things you think about yourself are as apparent to other people. Make an effort to show them what you can contribute. True, it is incredibly hard to view the world as something outside of ourselves when all we have is the lens of our own two eyes. But it is essential to remember that we are ordinary people just like everybody else, no matter how insanely awesome we secretly believe ourselves to be in the privacy of our own thoughts. Though you may be an individual, you are made of the same skin, blood and bones as everybody else. Again, when everybody is “special,” nobody is truly unique. Yet, that doesn’t mean that being a “Joe Schmoe” or “plain Jane” is anything to be ashamed of. This disregard of individualism does not mean one should lack confidence in his own worth. Being ordi-

nary does not mean being unworthy. It is in fact a blessing to be one member among an incredible community of billions. If we weren’t all alike in some ways, then that beautiful thing we call the human experience would be rendered obsolete. Though forgoing our individualism directly contrasts with our culture, we must try to remember that our goal in life should not be different from the masses. To be involved with the community and to be connect with others is the greatest thing we can achieve. The extraordinary part of being alive is not being different from everyone else, but being in tandem with the rest of the world. Try to enjoy the importance of being part of a community, instead of asking for entitlement for being “unique.” Even those people who stick to their egotistical ways still need to wait to receive that differential treatment. There are already a lot of wonderfully special snowflakes in the sky. K.C. McConnell can be reached at

Report Card Christmas Lights + Sparkly way to compete with the neighbors - Energy usage is more red than green

Stocking Drive + Brings holiday cheer to children who might otherwise not be able to get gifts - Some students neglect to fill the stockings they take

Holiday Songs + Help people get into the holiday spirit - The same ones are played every year, and getting them stuck in your head is even worse

ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas + Includes an original movie in the countdown every year - Many movies are repeated year after year

Winter Break + Students can finally take a break from schoolwork - …or not, since midterms are less than a month away

Candy Canes + A convenient gift to give to friends and acquaintances

Charlotte Clifford/The SPOKE

- There’s nothing sadder than a broken candy cane




Early holiday prep tops celebration

Haley Xue Op-Ed Editor

As Dec. 25 quickly approaches, I find myself feeling a little sad that Christmas is so near. It’s bittersweet knowing that it’s already Dec. 21, because it means that the holiday season is soon coming to an end. Perhaps I’m looking too far ahead, but my love for the holidays is mainly because of the month-long anticipation beforehand. It’s the red bows and festive lights that are set up a month in advance that make the holiday season all the more enjoyable. While many people complain about Christmas music in November, I think that there’s nothing wrong with starting preparations for Christmas, and the holiday season in general, a little early. It’s the waiting for something special while going to work and school that makes us feel like little kids again.

So instead of groaning about old holidays songs, consider taking the time to enjoy the festive mood. The build-up before the holidays allows people to take time to savor the cheerful atmosphere and have a more positive attitude. The happier sentiments surrounding the holiday season is what makes it all the more special. In fact, results from a recent Gallup poll showed that 65 percent of Americans were the happiest and least stressed in the days prior to and on Christmas Day out of all 365 days of the year. Baking gingerbread houses and sugar cookies, singing holiday carols and telling holiday stories in front of a cozy fire allows us to feel that childlike excitement. Besides being able to watch more holiday plays and hang more garlands and snowflakes, earlier preparations help people to embrace the holiday spirit, something that might not be accomplished by cramming the holiday season into two short weeks. During the build-up of anticipation for the holidays, family traditions encourage togetherness and give us that warm-fuzzy feeling. Perhaps it’s setting up a Christmas tree together for Christmas, making potato latkes

for Hanukkah or lighting a kinara for Kwanzaa. Even at Conestoga, we have our own holiday traditions that help spread the holiday spirit. The winter concert usually includes a holiday song or two, and music students parade through the hallways, serenading the school with holiday carols right before winter break. It’s the annual holiday traditions that remind us that the best gifts aren’t always wrapped in wrapping paper under the Christmas tree and help build up the excitement before the celebrations begin. While some may grow weary of the extended celebration of the holidays, it’s an important time for people to get into the holiday spirit and enjoy the festive mood. No matter what religion we practice or where we’re from, we all can spread the holiday cheer and enjoy the smiles and excitement of the season. Without the build-up of anticipation for the holidays, it just wouldn’t be the same, so as the last bows are put on top of the presents, I plan to savor the joy of the holidays for as long as I can.

they will continually fail to meet the achievement targets. Fortunately, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin is determined to overhaul the current legislation. Harkin, the head of the Senate education committee, compiled a new 865-page bill that is intended to return power to the individual states and create a partnership between the states and the federal government. This revised bill will provide benefits to Conestoga and other schools across the country.

Harkin’s bill would abolish the current system of accountability that burdens schools with the task of raising the percentage of students who attain “proficiency” on annual stateadministered standardized tests, thus alleviating the pressure on teachers to teach classes solely based on material expected to be on the tests. This change in procedure would provide relief for Conestoga and similarly ranked schools, where an increase in percentage of students

Haley Xue can be reached at

“What is the meaning of the holidays?”

“To sleep until school usually ends.” -Freshman Michael Tao

“God, family and good food.” -Sophomore Bridget Maturano

“ To recognize the aversion to selfless giving in everyday life.” -Junior Forrest Montgomery

“To spread joy.” -Senior Grace Guo

‘No Child Left Behind’ fails to make the grade

Tracy Cook Senior Staff Reporter

PSSAs are never fun. The week of testing is usually filled with groans of boredom and hand cramps from writing too many essays. Yet the PSSAs are used to measure our acheivement through the No Child Left Behind Act passed in 2002. Ten years later, the act has fallen short of its original goals. While NCLB has led to increased funding for some school districts, the legislation as a whole remains fundamentally flawed. The law treats funding as a reward for improved performance. Yet No Child Left Behind fails to consider that significant improvement is difficult to attain when the schools do not have enough financial resources to begin with. Under NCLB, schools will not be able to overcome their financial disadvantage, and thus

Charlotte Clifford/The SPOKE

achieving “proficiency” is difficult to reach because the schools already start out with a large percent of highscoring students. Harkin’s proposition addresses many of the flaws and loopholes in NCLB’s original legislation. One of the deeply rooted debates regarding No Child Left Behind is the issue of local versus federal control. Since our teachers know us better than the federal government, they should have the freedom to teach within the district’s curriculum and not conform to the tailored lessons of test preparation. Harkin’s bill would allow states to make their own decisions and design their own educational accountability systems. Another negative aspect of NCLB that Sen. Harkin’s bill addresses is the tying of funding to a uniform standard within individual schools. Frankly, it is unrealistic to expect all students to conform to a one-size-fitsall academic standard. At Conestoga, we may take this expectation for granted since we pride ourselves on our scholastic achievements. However, some students may never reach these benchmarks, despite the teachers’ efforts or even the students’ own efforts to

pass, so why should the entire school population be held accountable for these outliers? Harkin’s focused solution aimed at eliminating the “one-size-fits-all” polices can more closely meet the needs of those with different learning capabilities, and thus would be a fairer and more productive approach, since the funding penalty of NCLB does not provide an optimal education result for students. While the intentions of No Child Left Behind sought to reward schools for achievement, the law has not fulfilled its promise of widespread educational reform because the reality is that these standards of “proficiency” are not realistically attainable for 100 percent of students. Punishing the schools that fail to meet the “adequate yearly progress,” will only hurt the students in those schools. By creating vague standards of achievement, NCLB has not promoted educational reform, but instead, educational conformity. Hopefully Sen. Harkin’s new bill will change that, but for now, No Child Left Behind gets a failing grade. Tracy Cook can be reached at




Soulless ‘ginger’ jokes create prejudice

Lavi Ben-Dor Convergence Editor

Yuki Hamada/The SPOKE

To t h e Ed i to r Dear Editor,

Letters Policy

What are you agitated about? Do you have an opinion about something we’ve published? The Spoke will print letters of general interest to the student body and community. Signed letters under 200 words may be submitted to the editorial board. Email us at



Go online to comment on our articles

I read your article on the cons of the Occupy Wall Street movement (“Con: Protests lack clearly defined goals,” pg. 9), and I was surprised to see how much was incorrect. First, the movement has a clearly defined goal, and it received media coverage. They want the people responsible for the economic collapse at the end of Bush’s presidency to be accountable for what they did, and to reduce deficits by taxing the rich instead of the poor. But above all, they want change in a broken political system. Granted, some of the points you miss require some reading between the lines. For example, the article says that 47 percent of the country isn’t paying taxes, and we should tax them instead of the top 2 percent. The column leaves out the increasing economic disparity. The top 1 percent holds more than 25 percent of the country’s income, and it has been getting worse. If we want a more fair tax system, maybe we should be closing the loopholes that the wealthy have been exploiting to avoid their taxes. It’s more than a conflicting opinion about this article; much of what was said was wrong. I hope, in the future, less biased sources will be used. Aaron Walker Sophomore Dear Editor, In the Op-Ed section of The Spoke, I read a particularly intriguing article titled “Grammar saves lives, comma by comma” on page 11 of the November issue. The column centered the importance of grammar around college admittance, but I believe that grammar is important in the real world as well. The reason behind the existence of grammar is to create specifications and clarity in language. I appreciated this article for its subtle humor and meaningful examples, which bring across the point very clearly. I fully agree with the thesis and wish that awareness for this problem could be spread across our school. I also want to take this opportunity to also congratulate the Spoke on its achievements. The Spoke is something Conestoga is very proud to have! Keep up the great work! Neha Nataraj Junior

I am a ginger. Yes, that means I have red hair, pale skin and freckles. It does not, however, mean I lack a soul. And no, I will not infect you with “gingervitis,” a disease that will turn you into a redhead. As a person with red hair, commonly referred to as a “ginger,” I have suffered many jokes and taunts from people who find it amusing to poke fun at a group of people different from everyone else only because of the orangered pigmentation of their hair. An episode on the popular television show “South Park” called “All about Gingers,” which aired in 2005, perpetuated stereotypes against gingers. In it, the character Eric Cartman delivers a hate speech against gingers in class but is then transformed into a ginger using hair dye. He eventually rallies the other redheaded people of his town to exterminate all non-gingers. In the episode, Cartman makes a single statement that set off a cultural phenomenon, proclaiming, “Gingers have no souls.” So thanks to “South Park,” the assertion that redheads lack souls has spread faster than a wildfire. Here at ’Stoga, many friends find opportunities to poke fun at my alleged lack of a soul in regular conversations and casually make witty remarks about my hair color, saying that it “burns like fire.” At first, I observed the stereotypes from afar: should I get offended and treat it as hate speech? Or is the whole situation not worth getting into a red-hot furor, as redheads are stereotypically prone to doing? Perhaps it isn’t something worth getting into a heated argument over, but it’s important for people to be aware that jokes can be hurtful when they go too far. Although humor is important and necessary, in the case of redheads, it has a tendency to go too

far. As with other casual jokes about religion or race, when it goes from laughter to hurt, the value of the joke fizzles out. Ginger critics fail to realize that even a stereotype with a positive intention can go too far and become an insult—claiming that redheads are soulless and have no emotions is more harmful than amusing. One individual that defies the stereotypes associated with gingers is actor Rupert Grint, who portrays the character Ron Weasley in the “Harry Potter” films. Ron grows up with six redhaired siblings and proves himself to be a character who definitely has a soul. Grint has consistently portrayed Weasley’s courageous, if occasionally flawed, humanity over the past ten years, offering inspiration to “gingers” everywhere. People adore the character and the actor, yet Grint still demonstrated the persistent stereotyping of redheads when he thanked author J.K. Rowling at the final movie’s premiere for “all you’ve done for gingers.” And he’s right—Rowling created a character that debunks the traditional stereotypes and proves to readers that redheads are a force to be reckoned with. But more importantly, Grint inspires his fans to realize that being a redhead is something that they should be proud of. Although the “South Park” episode perpetuated misconceptions about redheads, its conclusion still had a positive message. At the end, Cartman discovers that he is not actually a redhead and encourages the gingers to accept everyone. Even though Cartman acts out of selfishness, the lesson of consideration is spot-on. We should all make a conscious effort to ensure that our humor does not unintentionally go beyond just friendly jesting and become degrading towards others. When it comes to “ginger” jokes and jokes about other stereotypes, understand that they can go too far and resist the temptation to make a snide remark. Before you call another redhead soulless, remember—they might just steal your soul away. Or not. Lavi Ben-Dor can be reached at

Features WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2011


out with my friends ” “ I likeandgoing they have good pizza.




Seniors find themselves sandwiched for time while eating lunch on the go.



309 E Lancaster Ave Wayne

With the opening of a new store in Wayne last February, Chipotle’s burritos have become the favorite of many students. A 15-minute drive from school, seniors without a free period struggle to make it back to school in time for their class to begin. “I don’t always make it back in time,” senior Sam Sablosky said. “Sometimes I have someone else go get my burrito.”

I don't have a free period 7th so there's never any time for me to go out. - SENIOR MIKE DILUCCA


802 Lancaster Ave Berwyn

For seniors who don’t have a free period, Bravo Pizza is nearby and has plenty of options including pizza, pasta and salads. “It’s really close and there’s no traffic,” senior Erika Vogt said. “We sit down to eat and still make it back in time.” Vogt and her friends go once each week during B lunch.


It's not cheap but it's not expensive. - SENIOR MARLENA LIM


424 W Swedesford Rd Berwyn Seniors need to have fifth or sixth free to visit Cosi in Valley Forge as the drive takes about ten minutes. Senior Marlena Lim likes to order the S’mores Platter when she goes after Allied Health with a group of friends. “They bring out this plate with graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate, and then they light a little fire and you can roast marshmallows right there on the spot.”

Many seniors who don’t have free periods in the middle of the day are unable to use their lunch privileges, eating in the same cafeteria they have for the past three years. “ I t ’s t h e s a m e e v e r y d a y which gets boring,” senior Mike DiLucca said. DiLucca thought the cafeteria was better before they removed items such as PopTarts and Snapple in an initiative to serve healthier foods.



52 E Lancaster Ave Paoli With locations in Strafford and in Paoli, Wawa is a convenient and popular lunch destination for seniors. The convenience stores, beloved by local residents, feature made-to-order sandwiches. Senior Clare Farrow and her friends go two to three times per week. “They have good sandwiches and they sell Monster. And it’s quick,” Farrow said.




Students and athletes shimmy into shape with Zumba

Allison Kozeracki Copy Editor The world’s most popular dancefitness program, Zumba, is urging athletes and non-athletes alike to “ditch the workout, join the party.” Zumba, which has continued to grow in popularity since its creation in the mid-’90s, is a Latin-inspired dance-fitness program designed to build muscle while burning calories. It combines cardio with strength training while focusing on the core. This year, the girls’ volleyball and soccer teams made Zumba a part of their training. “Cardio on its own doesn’t do as much as combining cardio with strength. You get it all done in one hour, and you’re killing a million calories,” said Cindy Brauer, a certified Zumba instructor who led the teams’ sessions. The girls’ volleyball teams participated in Zumba classes during the summer and again during the season as part of their training. “At first I thought it was silly,” said junior Megan Moyer, who plays on the varsity volleyball team. “But once everyone started getting into it, it was a lot of fun.”

Sophomore varsity volleyball player Nicole Lindsay said she liked combining exercise with dance. “It was a great workout,” Lindsay said. “By the end, we were covered with sweat.” The girls’ varsity soccer team also did Zumba twice as part of their preseason training. “It was so much fun to see all of my teammates dancing around,” junior Meghan McGillis said. The girls discussed continuing to do Zumba together on a regular basis. Sophomore Jessie Kerns is one student who incorporates Zumba into her week. She takes classes after school at the YMCA every Wednesday. “Unlike the other exercise classes, this one involves fun dance moves with songs that are great for dancing,” Kerns said. For her classes, Brauer likes to use “current music with an ethnic twist.” She develops choreography to songs by artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Shakira and Shaggy. “I also try to do songs that you’ve never heard that you just start liking,” Brauer said. “And then you don’t even know [that] you’re exercising; you’re just moving.”

Karolis Panavas/The SPOKE

Juniors Julianne McCue and Audrey Lexow enjoy a lesson in the dance-fitness sensation, Zumba, at the Upper Main Line YMCA. Zumba is a Latin-inspired dance-fitness program designed to build muscle while burning calories. Junior Audrey Lexow, who also does Zumba at the YMCA on Wednesdays, appreciates that the workouts favor variety over monotonous repetition. “It’s a fun way to work out, and it’s less boring than being on a tredmill or in the gym,” Lexow said.

Although Zumba has become popular among athletes, Brauer said that it creates a relaxed setting instead of a competitive one. Unlike traditional dance classes, Zumba does not separate participants by skill level, making it an accessible activity for everyone.

“Everyone thinks, in order to stay fit, they have to be competitive,” Brauer said. “But Zumba is just taking music and effective movement and just having fun with it.” Allison Kozeracki can be reached at

Librarians assist students from cover to cover Aly Mingione Staff Reporter

Library department chair Cathy Bond manages all of the library’s resources, including...

Margot Field/The SPOKE

Sophomore Richard Stone visits the library regularly, but most of his interactions with the librarians involve just one syllable: “shhh.” In reality, however, the ’Stoga library staff does much more than just tell students to be quiet. Most students become quite familiar with the library over the course of their four years at ’Stoga. But few understand all the work that the librarians, library secretary and library aides do to keep the library running smoothly. Cathy Bond, the library department chair, originally had no interest in being a librarian. “My mother mentioned to me about being a librarian and I looked at her like she had two heads,” Bond said. Then “I met

a librarian who was the fi rst to show me that librarians were not the stereotypical bun and glasses and shushing everybody.” After attending graduate school, Bond realized just how exciting being a librarian really was. In fact, a librarian’s job goes far beyond putting books on a shelf. “We collaborate with teachers about projects they’re working on or things they want to do in their classes,” librarian Lydia Lieb said. But working with teachers is just a small part of the job. Like the teachers at ’Stoga, the librarians and support staff are experts in their field who are driven by a desire to help students reach their potential. “There’s one reason for us to be here: to help students be successful,” Bond said. “That’s what drives us every single day.” Many students ask the librarians for book recommendations, both for school-related and independent reading. However, according to Lieb, libraries are about much more than just books; they’re about information in any format.

“We always have been the leaders in technology in the building,” Bond said. “We were one of the first places in the building to get computers back in the ’80s.” The librarians’ job is heavily dependent on technology. Every time students visit the Conestoga library website, they can thank Bond, who created it in the ’90s. Recently the librarians have been trying to further the use of technology to make students’ lives easier. “Our big thing was, ‘How do we remove the walls of the library so that [students] could access resources from home?’” Bond said. “We’re not about closing in and holding on to resources.” To accomplish this goal, the librarians compiled the online research databases, which students can use at school and at home. Also, the VPN enables students to access their school accounts and files outside of school. The librarians manage the technological aspects of the library, but they are not the only ones who help the library run smoothly.

Janice Gottesfeld, the media secretary, is the newest member of the library team. A large part of her responsibilities involve keeping the library organized. “I do anything that the librarians need me to do—putting the books away, checking the orders in, helping the students [and] helping the teachers,” Gottesfeld said. The final members of the library staff are the two library aides, who can often be seen behind the front library desk. Library aide Kathy Polites said that among other things, they ensure that the library is a quiet workplace for students. They check books in and out, attend to everybody’s needs in the library and decorate the themed display cases surrounding the library. Although hectic at times, overall, the librarians find their jobs to be very rewarding. “I can’t say enough about what a fun, wonderful job this has been,” Bond said. “I have loved every minute of it for many years.” Aly Mingione can be reached at




Local performers shoot for Hollywood fame Laura Weiss Co-editor-in-chief



For the past three years, senior Zach Fox has looked at the same words before he goes to sleep every night. Written on a poster on the ceiling above his bed are the words, “I will be a famous comedian. I will be on ‘Saturday Night Live.’” Before falling asleep, Fox spends five minutes envisioning the fulfillment of his goals, which are some of the most ambitious in the world of comedy. Fox is one of a number of local students who strive for fame as actors and comedians. He has attended comedy programs, produced Conestoga TE/TV shows and entered competitions to pursue his dream. Fox said that he has used comedy to help him deal with difficult aspects of his life, like his parents’ divorce and his brother’s autism. “I basically hit a point when I was in eighth grade when I was like, ‘Alright, I can either cry or I can laugh about it,’” Fox said. “And I started noticing the comedy in things and through that I started writing jokes and I started drawing [on] my own experiences.” After entering an acting contest this summer, Fox won five out of the six awards for his age bracket, catching the eye of a talent manager, who signed him and brought him to Los Angeles, Ca. this summer to meet with an acting agency. The trip was supposed to last three days, but on the last night of the planned trip, Fox got a break. “That night my mom and I were in our hotel rooms packing up our bags

and we [got] a call from my agent and she called to tell us that all these TV networks really wanted to meet me, so throughout the next three weeks I was out there meeting with top executives at CBS, ABC, Disney, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network [and] Nick Cannon,” Fox said. After meeting with the agencies, Fox signed a holding contract with Disney. Fox said that he has had a stressful fall, staying up late to promote his comedy career, while balancing school work and college applications. But Fox sticks to a philosophy of positive thinking, maintaining the belief that he will achieve his goals instead of wondering if he will. “If you want to be famous, you’re literally saying to the world, ‘I’m awesome and I want everybody else to see how awesome I am,’” Fox said. “You’ve really got to drive yourself.” Actor Charlie McDermott, who plays Axl Heck on ABC’s “The Middle,” and grew up in West Chester, Pa., has found success in Hollywood. McDermott moved to Los Angeles when he was 16, where he worked hard and learned to face plenty of rejection on his way to stardom. “Don’t let the rejection get to you. Basically, don’t think about it—you can’t think about it because then it’ll drive you crazy,” McDermott said. “The worst part about this business is [that] all the rejection isn’t even rejection. It’s [that] they don’t call you, [and] you’re ignored, so if you’re not able to drop it you’ll just go crazy.” 2007 Conestoga alumnus Blake Wexler shares a similar passion with Fox and McDermott. He moved to

Los Angeles this summer after graduating from Emerson College to work as a comedian. Wexler’s dream is to work as a stand-up comedian, touring the country. “Make sure you’re ready before you move out to Los Angeles because there’s definitely such a thing as being discovered too early,” Wexler said. “First impressions are so big in this business. You just need to make sure that when you do come out here this is the state that you want people to see you in.” Wexler, who has performed at local comedy clubs since he was a sophomore at ’Stoga, said that there is no replacement for going out and pursuing a passion. He also cautioned against some of the pitfalls in L.A., like falling into the trap of working in a lesser job and losing track of your real goals. “Whatever your art is and whatever your goal is, just put the blinders on and if you have to make money, you have to make money, but just know what you want and always work toward that. Don’t stray too far off that path,” Wexler said. Fox also has advice for students who are seeking fame as Hollywood stars. Above all, he believes that confidence is the key to success. “If you are funny, be really confident about the fact that you are funny,’” Fox said. “It’s really important for people to gear their minds to the fact that if you’re good at something you can’t let other people tell you [that you’re not].” Laura Weiss can be reached at

Actor Charlie McDermott finds fame in Los Angeles Everyone at Channel 6 ABC News wants a photo with actor and “The Middle” star Charlie McDermott, a West Chester, Pa. native. But McDermott is calm, with his entourage consisting of just his mom and dad and a casual smile for the camera. McDermott came to the 6 ABC studios on Nov. 23 to do a live chat room and appear on the 4 p.m. news, talking about working on “The Middle” and playing Axl Heck. “It’s awesome. I’ve done a lot of projects now and sometimes the people can be not great to work with,” McDermott said in

an interview. “It’s a seven month shoot and 12 hour days, five days a week, so luckily it’s people [who] we all like and everyone gets along.” Charlie’s mother, Barbara McDermott, said that Charlie has had a camera in his hand and has been making scripts and acting things out since he was little. She would make him costumes, and as he became older, she and Charlie’s father supported his dream. “I would drive him to auditions and I would watch 17 other boys who looked just like him,” Barbara McDermott said. “You just think, ‘How in the world are

you going to get picked? It’s just [about] support in every definition of that meaning.” Charlie McDermott had his first role as an extra who spoke a few lines in “The Village,” which was casted and filmed locally. He was chosen out of thousands who attended an open casting call. Using “The Village” as a catalyst to his career in acting, McDermott began to pursue his dream. Charlie McDermott said that his first love is directing, but he also has a passion for both writing and acting. “I just like stories in general,” he said.

Laura Weiss/The SPOKE

The Channel 6 ABC 4 p.m. Action News team, consisting of (from left) Brian Taff, Shirleen Allicot, Alicia Vitarelli and Adam Joseph meet actor Charlie McDermott, who plays Axl Heck on “The Middle,” before the news on Nov. 23. McDermott appeared on the 4 p.m. news to answer fan questions.




d o o W k c i r r De E OLYMPIAD


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FAVORITES Book - the Bible Band - Skillet Song - “Awake and Alive” by Skillet Quote - “Genius is One percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” – Thomas Edison Movie - “The Outlaw Josey Wales” Celebrity - Clint Eastwood




College-bound students respond to call of duty

David Kramer Staff Reporter Uncle Sam wants them: Juniors Mackenzie Orr and Tim Langerhans and senior Peter Guo have been recruited for sports scholarships to different military academies. Orr has verbally committed to the Naval Academy for lacrosse along with Guo for squash, and Langerhans has committed to West Point for lacrosse. These academies offer four years of college in return for five years of active duty, followed by three years in the reserves. There is no tuition aside from the commitment to serving in the military. Although Orr and Langerhans have verbally committed, they still need to focus on the SATs and their regular classes to meet the high standards which these academies require. If all goes according to plan, Langerhans hopes to join either the Army’s infantry or aviation divisions. “I’ve been looking to go military pretty much all my life,” Langerhans said. “I was looking to join ROTC if I was going to commit somewhere else, but then the Army [lacrosse] coach called.” The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) programs offer an elective curriculum that is taken along with required college classes at civilian colleges or universities. Depending on the branch of the military, the ROTC programs prepare the student for military service and pay college tuition in return for various types of military service upon graduation. Orr will know by September 2012 if she has been accepted to the Naval Academy, but has already started thinking about potential majors. Despite an interest in Arabic, Orr has reservations about majoring in it due to the possibility of being placed in a war zone as a translator. “I don’t know how my attitudes are going to change,” Orr said. “Right now, I’d rather be more behind the scenes with foreign relations.” Unlike Orr, Langerhans hopes to serve his country on the battlefield. “I want to fight, that’s why I went to Army,” Langerhans said. “I was looking at Navy but I decided I wanted to see more combat.” Guo has been playing squash since his sophomore year. With an interest in the military lifestyle, Guo worked hard to improve at squash, knowing that he needed more than

Senior Peter Guo has been chosen for a squash scholarship to the Naval Academy. He said that he feels the controlled environment will ultimately help him achieve more with his life and build his leadership skills.

just academics to make it into such a competitive school. “Persistence—it gets you places,” Guo said. “I just kept working at it because this is where I wanted to go.” Guo has seen the benefits of military training through his father and both grandfathers who all served in the Army in Taiwan. Guo feels that the controlled environment of the Naval Academy will ultimately help him achieve more. He said that the military training will provide him with skills that other colleges cannot, while emphasizing leadership. “Everything you learn at the academy teaches you how to become a leader and how to lead your country,” Guo said. As a Naval Academy requirement, Orr will have to wear her long hair two inches above her collar, and is only allowed one hair clip. Although the Naval Academy is a normal four-year college program, it works differently than other colleges. The freshman class, known as the Plebes, is required to sit on the first three inches of chairs, chew food seven times per bite and run looking straight ahead in the dormitory hallways, squaring the corners. “You gain your privileges and earn everything,” Orr said. “You have to earn your free time, and you have to earn your freedom.” West Point and the Naval Academy challenge their students both mentally and physically to prepare them for the possibility of war.

“What some colleges do in a week, you could do in a day at the Naval Academy,” Orr said. “You have to plan ahead and you can’t procrastinate—there’s none of that.” To be accepted, students must pass a rigorous physical examination. The students train all year round, balancing academics with their fitness training. The freshman summer, or the Plebe Summer, entails a huge amount of physical training. From the start of junior year, students are not allowed to transfer to any other colleges, and are committed to serving in the military. Aside from physical training and regimentation, military colleges offer an outstanding education with significant benefits, including leadership skills and networks. “Don’t overlook it,” Langerhans said. “It’s got a lot more to offer than you would think.” Despite her apprehensions, Orr is confident that the difficult military lifestyle will be well worth it in the long run. Orr feels that the first-rate education, coupled with not having to decide what to wear each day, will provide her with a great experience and many skills that she will be able to use for the rest of her life. “I’m nervous for everything that’s going to come,” Orr said. “But I know it will just make me stronger.” David Kramer can be reached at

Karolis Panavas photos/The SPOKE

Juniors Mackenzie Orr and Tim Langerhans have been recruited for lacrosse scholarships to the Naval Academy and West Point, respectively.



Emily’s holiday

Emily Omrod Staff Reporter


Emily Omrod Senior Staff Reporter Stuck at home this holiday season? Not spending the holiday skiing or in the company of extended family? Here’s a CD, a movie and an activity to help you beat cabin fever.

What to listen to

Coldplay certainly isn’t lowering the temperature this holiday season. In fact, the band fronted by star-studded Chris Martin is back and red hot. After a successful release of “Viva La Vida” in 2008, the band sat back and decided to write a more uplifting album “Mylo Xyloto.” Martin says the new album is about “love, addiction, OCD, escape and working for someone you don’t like.” The album has garnered three Grammys, including Best Pop Duo/Group for the song “Paradise” as well as Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance for the song “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall.”

The new album’s most popular singles include “Paradise,” “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” and “Princess of China,” all of which are heard frequently on a variety of radio stations. Compared to the heavy chordal changes and intellectually enticing lyrics of “Viva La Vida,” these three new songs show a different side of Coldplay. The best of the three is “Paradise,” which has a beautiful violin introduction and uplifting lyrics that hit home for anyone who’s ever wanted to escape an unwanted situation. A surprise favorite on this album is the song “Charlie Brown.” Its lyrics and playful mood remind you of the childhood classic while still demonstrating strong musical qualities.

What to watch

“New Year’s Eve” is an enchant-

ing movie. Similar to its predecessor “Valentine’s Day,” it revolves around the stories of different New Yorkers as they prepare for new beginnings on the biggest night of the year. One family is hoping to win $25,000 by having the first baby in the new year, one girl want to kiss her crush in Times Square at midnight and everyone is looking for love. The movie has appearances from many big names in Hollywood, including the beloved Sofia Vergara, who is as bubbly and fun on the big screen as she is in “Modern Family.” Strong performances come from Abigail Breslin, who isn’t America’s innocent little girl anymore and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, who plays a strong New York City cop with a big heart. This movie is worth seeing this holiday season. Sure, there’s more famous people in it than at the Oscars, and yes, Ryan Seacrest somehow makes an appearance. But it’s cute and sweet, and a perfect movie for those with cabin fever or a love of Hollywood’s finest.


Spoke Sudoku

What to do

As a person with so-so balance, endorsing ice-skating as a holiday activity is definitely a stretch for me. Still, ice skating is a holiday tradition, and one that is well worth the bruises and numb fingers and toes. There are several places to lace up your skates this holiday season. Penn’s Class of 1923 Arena is home to local college hockey teams and is a fun place to test your skating abilities. You can spend a day heading down to the city, seeing the light show at Macy’s and then skating at the rink. If you’re not interested in going into Center City, IceLine in West Chester is only 20 minutes away from Conestoga. It has weekend open skate hours from 8:30-10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 1-2:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Plus, admission is only $7. You’ll probably eat some Christmas cookies this holiday season. You might receive a gift that you truly love, and one that will be heading back to the King of Prussia Mall on December 26. But, if you’re looking to escape the ordinary holiday traditions, try chilling with some Coldplay or kicking it back with Hollywood’s newest hit, “New Year’s Eve.” If you’re really brave, you might even head down to Penn’s Class of 1923 Arena and discover a new passion for ice-skating. Emily Omrod can be reached at

Stumped? Find the solutions at



Rugby, a sport formerly dominant in Europe, has begun to take root in American soil. However, many Americans are still unfamiliar with the basics of the game. Along with the rules, ’Stoga’s rugby players explain their passion for the game they love. Page Design by Mary Turocy and Sam Winfield | Photos courtesy Phil Earley Junior Mike Wellstein waits before putting the ball into the scrum.

The scrum

The positions

A team has 15 positions. Each player wears a specific number and has individual responsibilities.

The scrum is an organized way of putting the ball back into play after an accidental infringement. The opposing teams bind together in three rows, lock shoulders, and push to gain control of the ball, which is put in by the scrumhalf.

’Stog Rug a by U nion

The lineout

The lineout takes place when the ball has left the field of play. The two teams face off and one team then throws the ball down the middle of the “tunnel”—the area between the two teams.

The ruck

The uniform

A ruck is formed when two opposing players close around the ball on the ground. Once a ruck has been formed, players cannot use their hands to get the ball, only their feet.

The field

Senior Zach Archibald prepares to jump in the lineout. He will be lifted into the air to receive the ball from the hooker, senior Avi Sosa.

A Conestoga rugby player scores a try. A try is worth five points and is similar to a touchdown in football.

22m line 10m line

Each rugby player wears a jersey, spandex, rugby shorts, high socks, a mouthguard and rugby boots (cleats). No pads are worn, except for the optional scrum cap.

5m lines

68m wide


Halfway line Try Lines (100m apart)

Points can be scored in three different ways: 1. Try (5 points): The equivalent of a toruchdown in football. A player must touch the ball to the groud in the opponent’s “try zone,” which is similar to an end zone. Doring so also earns that team the right to attempt a conversion kick. 2. Conversion kick (2 points): The conversion kick is taken from anywhere on the line where the try was scored. 3. Kick for points (3 points): The player must kick the ball into the uprights by dropping the ball and punting it. This can be done as a penalty kick or during the course of play.

Boys’ and girls’ rugby teams prepare for upcoming season Claire Moran Staff Reporter Junior Alex Robertson said that he has a life-altering addiction. It’s not to drugs or alcohol, however. It’s to the sport he loves, his passion—rugby. Rugby is a variation of American football. In rugby, however, players have continuous possession of the ball, no pads, few substitutions and 15 players on the field for each team. Conestoga has a boys’ and girls’ rugby club who both play rugby union, one of the two different types of rugby played. The other version is called rugby league. Unlike rugby union, rugby league does not include several laws in which chances for

possession of the ball can be questioned. Another difference is that in rugby league, only 13 players from each team are on the field at one time. Robertson, who has been playing with the Conestoga Rugby Club since he was in seventh grade, said that he loves the camaraderie he feels with other players on the team. “Rugby is all about being a team. You [and your teammates] tend to bond together,” Robertson said. “It is really a brotherhood.” Sophomore Margaret Nelsen started playing on the girls’ rugby team last year and said she hopes to continue playing this year. She said that she feels the same closeness with her teammates as Robertson feels with his. “Everyone gets along really well; you meet

people that you wouldn’t normally be friends with because they are outside your circle or outside of your grade,” Nelsen said. The season has not started yet for either of the Conestoga teams, but both played scrimmages in the fall. The girls played modified games with seven instead of 15 players, and the boys played touch rugby. Nelsen said that the girls have many goals that they want to accomplish during the 2012 season. “We don’t have as many seniors or people that have been playing for a while, so I think we just want to advance together and do a lot better than we did last year,” Nelsen said. Boys rugby coach Alex Johnson says that what he likes most about the sport is opportunities it affords its players.

“Everyone gets an opportunity to carry the ball, no matter if you are small, big, fast or slow,” Johnson said. “Also everybody plays each week.” Robertson said he appreciates the fact that rugby is a sport he can continue to play, not just after high school but for the rest of his life. “The thing I love the most about [rugby] is that you can play it the rest of your life and that you love it the rest of your life,” Johnson said. “No matter how much it hurts, no matter how much running you have to do, you really don’t complain about it because it’s the most fun you will ever have.”

C l a i re M o r a n c a n b e re a c h e d a t




Student to train with Chinese Olympic ice dancing team

Sophia Ponte Staff Reporter Right after school ends on most days, junior Amy Wang is riding the train on her way to the Philadelphia Skating Club, where she spends at least eight hours a week jumping, twirling and dancing on the ice. Wang’s hard work and commitment have certainly paid off. She was invited to spend winter break in China, practicing ice dancing with the Chinese Olympic team, where she will be working alongside some of the most renowned skaters in the world. In addition to being nervous about skating with the professionals, Wang said she is also worried about the language barrier. “I’m really excited,” Wang said. “But I’m also kind of nervous because [although] I can speak Chinese, I can’t really read too many things, but it will be a great opportunity to be out there.” Wang first got involved with the Chinese Olympic team at IceWorks Skating Club in Aston, where both Wang and the Olympians spend their summer months training. Later, she received an invitation to go and

practice with the team for one week over winter break. Wang will be doing the same routines and practices as the team, basically following their schedule. Wang’s mother, who will also be going to China with her over break, said she believes that skating with the Olympic ice dancing team will be a valuable opportunity, but since Amy will only be there for one week, time may restrict how much Amy and the team actually are able to accomplish together. “It is really a great opportunity,” Wang’s mother said. “She will have one week to be with the China National team, so we will have to see [how much she improves].” Wang’s coach, Michelle Marvin, agrees that visiting China will be beneficial to Wang’s skating career. Marvin specializes in choreography and has been coaching Wang for ten years. Marvin believes that Wang’s invitation to skate with the Chinese Olympic team is an opportunity that arose through hard work, time management and an ideal background. “It’s an opportunity that came about because Wang is a high level

skater, and they do see potential for her,” Marvin said. “They’re also really appreciative of having a ChineseAmerican liaison when they are here training.” Among other things, Wang will be practicing technique and style, which are the two main things that judges tend to watch for in competitions. “Ice dancing is difficult because there’s a lot that factors into it—it combines artistry and athleticism,” Wang said. “You have to do all these things, but you also have to be able to look good doing them.” Marvin said that she sees a lot of potential in Wang as a national or international competitive skater. Marvin said that she has previously coached skaters who compete at elite levels. “Wang is probably one of the most disciplined skaters that I’ve taught,” Marvin said. “Her work ethic is one that could take her to an elite level. In an individual sport, you have to maintain a lot of practices on your own and have the discipline to do so—and she meets that challenge and exceeds it. A lot of things have to be right to skate, or to compete in any sport at an elite level, and she has all

Luke Rafferty/The SPOKE

Junior Amy Wang practices her ice dancing routine at the Philadelphia Skating Club, where she spends up to eight hours per week. Wang is spending her winter break training with the Chinese Olympic team. of the components that make up one of those skaters.” Wang has been skating since she was ten years old. Last year, she coached ice skating for young children competing in the Special Olympics. “Skating is important to me because I’ve devoted a lot of time to it,

and I really like doing it. It keeps me out of trouble,” Wang said. “I used to coach Tuesdays and Thursdays last year, and I liked that because it’s nice to give back to the rink and to teach other kids.” Sophia Ponte can be reached at

Wrestlers work to focus on maintaining healthy weight Courtney Kennedy Staff Reporter Many students are used to dropping by the cafeteria to pick up a muffin or a bag of chips without much thought. However, for members of the wrestling team, snack time comes along with thoughts of weight management and careful consideration of each food choice. “A lot of people will try to lose weight so that they will have an advantage [over other wrestlers],” senior Jim Stowell said. The idea is that “you will be bigger and stronger than your opponent.” In addition to the constant pressure to maintain or lose weight, wrestlers will now have to adjust to new rules and regulations. The National Federation of State High School Association (NFHSA) recently approved changes that will affect timeouts, holds and weight classes. The rules are set to go into effect for the 2011-12 season. Ten out of the 14 weight classes changed from previous years due to the 103 pound class moving up to 106 pounds.

Luke Rafferty/The SPOKE

Junior Logan Kerin wrestles against Upper Darby during a match on Dec. 14. The team is adjusting to some rule changes for the 2012 season, including changes to the parameters for ten out of 14 weight classes.

The weight classes “are a little more spread out,” junior Logan Kerin said. “They [altered] other weight classes, which helps the larger classes out more.” The weight classes a wrestler is allowed to compete in are determined through a series of certification tests at the beginning of each season. These tests usually

consist of a hydration test, body mass index test and an accurate weight measurement. All of this information is stored in a computer program and used to ensure that wrestlers are staying on a healthy weight track. “A wrestler is only allowed to lose 1.5 percent of their body weight a week,” senior Todd Chris-

ty said. “Over the course of a season, this ends up to be about five to 15 pounds depending on your [original] weight.” ’Stoga wrestlers understand that these tests are crucial to keeping everyone healthy and ready to compete. “Smart wrestlers know not to spend the entire week losing

weight,” head coach Steve Harner said. Wrestlers try to stay a few pounds above their weight class, leaving any significant weight loss until the day of the match. “On match days and the day before, people who have to lose more weight do not eat or drink anything at all,” Christy said. This fasting can allow wrestlers to lose as many as one to four or five pounds in a single day. Additionally, the team tries to sweat off extra pounds at practice the night before a match. “Instead of starving all week, our wrestlers try to get a high motion workout to lose weight the night before a match. It’s a healthier method,” Harner said. “We try to sweat it out through running, drills and fun games like dodgeball.” With their certification completed and weight limit set, ’Stoga wrestling is looking forward to setting their sights high and advancing as many wrestlers as possible to states. Courtney Kennedy can be reached at




The Fitz Factor: Closing the book on Andy Reid

Conor Fitzpatrick Staff Reporter

When backup quarterback Vince Young labeled the 2011-12 Eagles the “Dream Team” and team president Joe Banner said the Eagles were “all in” during training camp, many believed that this season was a do or die year for head coach Andy Reid. As the season has progressed, it has become apparent that the Eagles’ season has been lost. With a playoff berth virtually impossible, fans began chanting “Fire Andy” during games and suggested that the Eagles will soon part ways with their coach of 13 years. Despite all the disappointment

and frustration of this season, fans should not lose sight of the success Reid helped bring to the Philadelphia Eagles franchise over the years. Reid is the best coach the Eagles have ever had. He has a .609 winning percentage with the Eagles and led them to five NFC championship games and one Super Bowl appearance in 2004. Critics cannot dispute that Reid always kept his team competitive. Philadelphia fans always had hope that any given year could be the year the Eagles would win the Super Bowl. If Reid leaves the Eagles at the end of the season, it will be a welcome sight to fans. While it is obviously his time to go, there should be no ill will toward Reid. He helped to transform the Eagles from a perennial losing team into a powerhouse of the NFL and a billion-dollar franchise. Reid’s reputation as a “players’ coach” transformed the Eagles by ensuring that his players always wanted to play hard for him. He

never threw any of them under the bus but instead put the blame on himself in his famously tightlipped press conferences. Although Philadelphia should not be bitter toward Reid, he should not be considered a great coach. A great coach wins Super Bowls— so far, Reid has not been able to do that. If Reid goes somewhere else, such as San Diego, and wins, it will not mean that Philadelphia fans were mistaken. Firing Reid would have still been the right move even if Reid wins five Super Bowls with another team, because his tenure with the Eagles has run its course. What will overshadow Reid’s success, just like what overshadowed Donovan McNabb’s success, is the fact that Reid could never bring Philadelphia a Super Bowl title. It doesn’t help that he seemed to coach his worst in the most crucial games. Leading a team to the playoffs nine times and going to five NFC championship games looks great

on paper, but losing in four of the NFC championship games and losing once in the Super Bowl is what people will concentrate on when Reid leaves town. Someday, when Reid comes back to Lincoln Financial Field as a visiting coach, he should be given a standing ovation by the

Gabriela Epstien for The SPOKE

fans as recognition of his 13 years with Phildelphia. Reid has helped reinvigorate the Eagles and if he departs soon, any disappointment should not overshadow our appreciation for his legacy.

Ice Hockey


Ice Hockey









Losses Wins


Conor Fitzpatrick can be reached

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7 6 10 114

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3 0 4 52






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*All updates as of Dec. 16.




Player Profiles


I have always been very competitive, so swimming seemed like a good fit for me. Both of my sisters started swimming at a young age and they seemed to like it, so I decided to give it a shot.


I have been running track and field since seventh grade in middle school, so this is my sixth year.

Six things you didn’t know about...


I got involved in the sport because my mom is a track runner, and she really wanted me to go out for track, so I did.


Typically I compete in the shorter events like the 50-yard backstroke, 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard freestyle. I also like the 200-yard backstroke and 200-yard freestyle.


I typically compete in the long jump, triple jump and some of the sprinting events, generally the 200-meter and 400-meter races.


I decided to sign with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I was looking for a larger school with a good swim program and good academics. UNC has all of that.

4 5

My favorite part about running track is my teammates and coaches. I’m really close to them, and so it makes track fun.

4 5

My favorite snack before a meet is a smoothie with whey protein.

The best thing about the Conestoga swim team would be hanging out with Mr. Tirone.


My favorite swimming memory is breaking the national record in the 400-meter medley relay at the 2009 YMCA Long Course Nationals.

Other than running track and field, I also play soccer in the fall.

Katie McCoubrie Varsity Indoor Track and Field

Nic Graesser Varsity Swimming



My favorite moment from track was when [our sprint medley relay] came in seventh place at the 2011 New Balance Indoor Nationals.


Inquirer names goalie ‘Player of the Year’ Abby Pioch Co-sports Editor

Before preseason began his freshman year, senior Clarke Fox had no idea whether he wanted to try out for the ’Stoga soccer team as a striker or as a goalie. “Growing up I would play one half in goal and one half up at striker,” Fox said. “Coming into high school I was weighing which option to go with, and I’m glad I went with goalie.” Fox has good reason to be happy that he chose to play goalie four years ago, because this year he was named The Inquirer’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Player of the Year for the 2011 high school soccer season. “It’s a nice honor, and it’s humbling,” Fox said. “It’s something I definitely couldn’t have done without the whole team. I was kind of surprised when I got it, and it hasn’t really sunk in either, but it’s nice.” Fox allowed in eight goals the entire season, which gave him an average of 0.32 goals-against and ties the state’s fourth-best single-season record, as recorded by the Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association. Fox also recorded 17 shutouts, which ties

him for fifth most in a season. Fellow goalie and junior Brody Schofield said he thinks that Fox is definitely the right person to receive the Inquirer’s award. “I think it’s great for him,” Schofield said. “He has done a lot for the team, and he put a lot of work into it. He really deserves [the award].”

Fox, however, said that he attributes the award to the entire team, and more specifically the players in the backline. The award is a “reflection of the defense especially, and I like to include them in the award,” Fox said. “I don’t think people understand how amazing the backline is, and so with-

out them I definitely think I wouldn’t have gotten [the award].” Assistant varsity soccer coach Blake Stabert said that the award is not only a great honor for Fox, but a tribute to the entire team. Stabert also mentioned how qualified Fox was to win the award, based on the results of the 2011 season.

“As a player, you need to stand out, have some eye-opening numbers and some ‘Wow’ moments,” Stabert said. “With Fox’s place in goals-against average in state history and his unbelievable performance in the pressurepacked penalty kick situations in the playoffs, he had more than enough in both. And throw in an undefeated state championship season.” Fox is still unsure of where he will play in college, but he said that playing ’Stoga soccer for four years has had a positive effect on his development as a player. The team “made me, and all the players, much better team players as a whole,” Fox said. “Conestoga soccer stresses team values and having one team, not just 11 players. I think when everyone bought into that system, that is what took us so far [into the postseason]. Our coaches also influence us, and all my teammates are striving to have one team, one family.”

Abby Pioch can be reached at Luke Rafferty/The SPOKE

Senior Clarke Fox reaches out to save a penalty kick during a varsity soccer game. Fox was recently named The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Player of the Year.

Visit to see a video interview and read a question and answer session with Clarke Fox.

Volume 62, No. 3


Ice skater trains with Chinese Olympians See p. 21


Goalie recognized by The Inquirer See p. 23

Pin it to win it Wrestlers tackle new rules and regulations See p. 20

Junior Nick Johnson faces an opponent from Upper Darby during a match on Dec. 14. The Pioneers lost the match, but the team is looking forward to a competitive 2012 season.

Luke Rafferty/The SPOKE

The Spoke December 2011  

The Spoke's December 2011 issue.

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