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DECEMBER 18, 2013

fter recent controversy in Neshaminy High School over the message and sensitivity of the school’s mascot, the “Redskin,” The Spoke decided to look into the role of mascots in high schools, colleges and professional sports.


What’s in a Name?

researched mascots from local and national teams and conducted on-the-scene reporting at Neshaminy. The following report describes the developments at Neshaminy, examines the mascot change at Radnor and looks into the role of the Pioneer at Conestoga. It also explores reactions and changes to American Indian mascots at the local and national levels. Continued on p. 4

Simran Singh & Suproteem Sarkar Andy Backstrom, Camille Kurtz, Meagan O’Rourke & Shivani Sanghani Top: The Pioneer faces the crowd at the 2010 Homecoming pep rally. Bottom Left: The scorekeeper table at Conestoga. Bottom Right: Students show their support for the Redskins at a Neshaminy football game. Photos: Karolis Panavas, Yuge Xiao and courtesy Corey Laquay


PAGE 2 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 Scholastic Press Association Pacemaker award-winning publication. The Spoke serves as a public forum for student expression. Editors-in-chief: Lavi Ben-Dor, Allison Kozeracki Managing Editor: Simran Singh News Editor: Suproteem Sarkar Opinion Editor: James Redmond Features Editor: Emily Klein Sports Editors: Courtney Kennedy, Navin Zachariah Design Editors: Sophie Bodek, Noah Levine Centerspread Editor: Callum Backstrom Convergence Editor: Yuge Xiao Business Manager: Mary Mei Zoe Au, Andy Backstrom, Maggie Chen, Nour Elkassabany, Michael Hong, Rose Kantorczyk, Gabrielle Kerbel, Camille Kurtz, Liz Lawton, Michael Li, Dhanvin Manoo, Paula Miller, Patrick Nicholson, Meagan O’Rourke, Emma Purinton, Rachit Sabharwal, Shivani Sanghani, Sam Sedor, Matt Soderberg, Victoria Stern, Michael Zhang, Jerry Zhu Faculty Advisers: Susan Houseman, Cynthia CrothersHyatt

Submissions Letters to the editor may be submitted to Susan Houseman, Cynthia Hyatt, Lavi Ben-Dor or Allison Kozeracki. 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.

Local, school organizations give food to those in need Mary Mei & Nour Elkassabany Business Manager & Staff Reporter Recent declines in supplies at local food banks have increased the stress on Delaware Valley families struggling to get enough to eat. Fortunately, this call for help has not gone unanswered. Stogabundance, the Conestoga branch of the organization Philabundance, which provides food to hungry families in the Delaware Valley, as well as student council and Peer Mediation, have been helping provide food. Student council ran the canned food drive as part of the ’Stoga Big Give. Their drive was completed on Nov. 15 and benefited the Great Valley Food Bank. They also teamed up with Peer Mediation in the schoolwide “Red Day” Nov. 15 extending local help to those suffering from typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Stogabundance has been helping out during the holiday season as part of the Big Give. “We are planning a holiday canned food drive followed by a visit to the Philabundance warehouse in Philly to help

out,” Stogabundance president sophomore Abbey Maynard said. “It’s a good time to help out because of the holidays.” Sophomore class treasurer Linda Ashmead said the student council food drive was more successful than expected. “At first we were skeptical about how many students would donate and how many cans we would receive,” Ashmead said. “However, we were extremely surprised about the large amount of people participating and how enthusiastic they were to help.” Philabundance said it has experienced a 26 percent increase in the number of people coming to them for food compared to last year. While this increase has not resulted in any emergency shortages, its effects are still felt combined with the decline in food donations. Philabundance relies on a variety of sources for donation, specifically through farms, manufacturers, retail stores and community food drives. However, the sources have recently been donating less and less, according to Lindsey Bues, PR coordinator of Philabundance. “We are finding that grocery stores, distributors and manufacturers of food are tightening up their processes

Save the date: upcoming events in community College Admissions Evening JAN


College Admissions Evening will be held on Jan. 8 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium. Students and parents should attend to learn the steps of applying to college.

2011 2012 22% increase in need from 2011 to 2012

2012 2013 26% increase in need from 2012 to 2013

1 in 6 Americans struggles with hunger Graphic: Liz Lawton/The SPOKE

to save money and reduce waste,” Bues said. “Food is also going to discount markets like Dollar Stores instead of being donated.” As for the need, the state of the economy and new government regulations have increased the number of individuals and families needing help. Food stamp “benefits were cut [by new regulations] for every family who benefits from them,” Bues said. “A family of four will have to get by with 21 less meals each month. For families who are struggling to make ends meet, these factors

can easily put them over the edge.” Student Council collected around 4,500 cans from all school homerooms which was “significantly greater” than last year’s total, according to executive treasurer senior Zoe Au. Ashmead said that helping at such a scale requires collaborative contributions. “It really takes a schoolwide effort in something like a canned food drive and it makes all the difference when it succeeds,” Ashmead said. Convergence Editor Yuge Xiao contributed to this report.

Stay updated with Visit Conestoga’s convergence website to view photo galleries, watch video packages and read up-to-date articles about news events throughout the school year.

Recently covered:

Battle of Valley Forge JAN


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Email: Phone: 610-240-1046 The Spoke accepts paid advertisements. Email Visit The Spoke online at Web News Director: Yuge Xiao


Science Olympiad hosts its third annual invitational at ’Stoga on Jan. 11. Thirty-six teams are expected to compete.

Comedy Night JAN


Feeling the winter blues? Come out to Drama Club’s Comedy Night on Jan. 16 at 7 p.m. for a night filled with skits and laughs.

Course Selection Night JAN


Course Selection Night is scheduled for Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. at Conestoga. Students and parents should attend to learn about new courses.

Sophie Bodek/The SPOKE

Stoganews’ third annual holiday Days of ’Stoga focuses on ways loved ones and the community. Be ery day leading up to winter break

package Twelve to give back to sure to check evfor a new entry!

More: Movie reviews of “Catching Fire” and “Frozen” “First and Last” series: the fall drama and marching band

V n la


THE SPOKE Maggie Chen & Michael Zhang Staff Reporters Opening the doors to the Flip-Flop Shop, it’s another day of work for junior Fiona Kibblewhite. She changes into her work clothes, clocks in and gets ready to sell merchandise. But it’s not just an ordinary work day for Kibblewhite; it’s 4 a.m. as she awaits the crowds of Black Friday shoppers. The King of Prussia Mall was a particularly hot spot for students during Brown Thursday, on Nov. 28, and Black Friday, on Nov. 29, featuring more than 400 popular stores including Forever 21, American Eagle Outfitters, Apple, Urban Outfitters and Starbucks. Discounts and deals taking 50 percent off prices attracted buyers, resulting in winding lines outside crowded stores. Nationally, 141 million people participated in Black Friday, a 2.8 percent increase over the participation last year. Expecting masses of consumers to swarm into shops, student employees found themselves working during the early hours of Black Friday. Kibblewhite worked for 15 hours, from 10 p.m. Brown Thursday to 4 a.m. Black Friday morning at Aeropostale and from 4:45 a.m. to 12:45

good,” Maslowsky said. “We were pretty dead on Thanksgiving, but after that, there would just be long lines constantly.” Despite the crowded stores and busy shifts, Maslowsky said that she enjoys Black Friday, feeling that the shopping day is a good experience. “I think [Black Friday]’s fun,” Maslowsky said. “After I got off my shift, I went shopping.” The amount of holiday shoppers increased from 139 million shoppers in 2012 to 141 million in 2013. Junior Lindsay Hurwitz went Black Friday shopping for the first time this year. She went to the King of Prussia Mall at 12:30 a.m. “Black Friday was really hectic. There were people everywhere, so it was crazy—the lines to buy things,” Hurwitz said. “But I just thought it was cool that the mall was open so early.” Freshman Saahil Yechuri witnessed the busy stores of Walmart and Best Buy. “It was pretty crowded. There were lots of crazy deals which were pretty great, but there was a lot of shoving [to buy things],” Yechuri said. “Some people actually camped outside the early hours of the day. Thankfully [my family] didn’t have to do that.” Although overall holiday traffic was up, Black Friday

With new deals and incentives on Thanksgiving Day, or “Brown Thursday,” end-of-November shopping has reached new levels. p.m. at the Flip-Flop Shop. “Both stores were just really, really busy,” Kibblewhite said. “I thought maybe at three in the morning there wouldn’t be as many people as at 10 p.m. or 9 a.m. in the morning, but people just kept flooding in. It never stopped.” Kibblewhite also noticed that shoppers were in a hurry to buy goods. “All the customers seemed a little bit rushed, so none of them were as patient,” Kibblewhite said. “If they were looking for something, they wanted to know exactly where it was, the second they asked you. It was very demanding.” Senior Maddie Maslowsky also worked two shifts at Aerie, from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Black Friday. “The conditions were pretty

sales revenue actually decreased from $59.1 billion to $57.4 billion according to the National Retail Federation. Most of the increase in traffic was on Brown Thursday. This year, with big name retailers like Walmart, ToysR-Us, Best Buy and Macy’s all choosing to open their doors by 8 p.m., 33 million Americans chose to end their Thanksgiving celebrations early for the earliest of holiday savings. Junior Nelson Zhang said he disliked how the shopping frenzy disrupted a holiday meant to be spent with family. “The early store openings are detrimental to the family atmosphere of Thanksgiving,” Zhang said. “Imagine kids growing up and going with their parents to shop instead of having family over. That has a tendency to carry over gen-


ON BLACK FRIDAY... Revenue was...

with total sales...

$$$$$ $59.1 billion




$57.4 billion

Down 1.7% from last year,

Down 13.2%

OVER THE WEEKEND... with in-store foot traffic...

Total sales were...


Up 2.8% from last year, 2013

Up 2.3% from last year, reaching a record breaking... erations. Over time, this might lead to the eventual downfall of [the spirit of] Thanksgiving.” Kibblewhite also said she was concerned about the waning Thanksgiving participation. “I think it’s a nice idea to have sales and everything before Christmas, but I think that people really get a little bit too into it, a little bit too enthusiastic,” Kibblewhite said. “I think it’s wrong that every year it keeps getting earlier and earlier, so that now some places opened at 7 p.m. on Thanksgiving night.” According to sales analytics provider ShopperTrak, Brown Thursday actually caused Black Friday sales to fall 13.2 percent from last year. Despite foot traffic dropping 11.4 percent on Friday, total sales and store traffic over the weekend were still up 2.3 percent and 2.8 percent respectively, rising to a record-breaking 1.07 billion brick-and-mortar visits. Even with the packed stores and strenuous hours of her shift, Kibblewhite said that working on Black Friday was worth the time. “I was there for 15 hours straight, which I probably won’t be doing again next year,” Kibblewhite said. “But you know, it was an experience to work all throughout the night and I’m glad I did it.”

2012 2013

1.07 billion

brick-and-mortar visits Graphic: Michael Zhang/The SPOKE

Maggie Chen/The SPOKE



Local high school paper faces backlash over decision not to publish ‘Redskin’ mascot

the word “Redskins.” Research conducted by the Capital News com found that nationwide, the word “Redskin” is currently used by 62 high schools from 22 states. According to Mar“Indians” or “Redskins.” Radnor High School’s mascot, the Radnor Red Raider,

paper decided to omit the word from future issues. McGoldrick said the scale of the student and community backlash was unexpected. She added that the primary reason for the student outcry was a misunderstanding

people were ripping up the newspapers, and saying we were going to burn them. And yeah, it got pretty heated at Neshaminy,” McGoldrick said. “They didn’t know how to separate the two issues. We were just saying why we’re taking [the word ‘Redskin’] out, and they thought we were trying to change the name [of the school mascot]. but nobody really listened.”

ber said that the editorial board decided to look into the issue after a Neshaminy parent spoke out against the mascot name. “It just was a hot topic in the community, and then became a

although the school’s sports logo still contains two feath-

Suproteem Sarkar/The SPOKE

Back, left to right: Playwickain editors Jackson Haines, Emily Scott, Corey Laquay, Eishna Ranganathan. Front, left to right: Tim Cho, Gillian McGoldrick. Haines wrote the editorial supporting the “Redskin” ban, while Ranganathan penned the dissenting view. “I think ‘Redskin’ is like a warrior and we’re kind of like the warriors so I think [we’re trying to] uphold the pride and integrity of the name,” Ranganathan said. “The mascot represents our sports team, our other Neshaminy is.” The principal of Neshaminy High School, Dr. Rob McGee, disagreed with The Playwickian’s decision to stop using the word “Redskin” because he felt that the policy is a restriction of free speech. “I can’t limit what a kid writes

newspaper addressed it time and time again, but they just wanted to their position, by saying this is what we think and this is how we are going to handle it.” Sophomore Eishna Ranganathan, The Playwickian’s News Editor, penned the dissenting editorial in support of keeping the word Redskin in the publication. portant to the Neshaminy culture.

in that journalism class. Yet, somehow the paper can, and it’s the same kid, the same class,” McGee said. “So I pause and say wait a minute. Are a group of well-meaning student editors allowed to then restrict these same students in the same class from doing the same thing that I can’t restrict them from doing? I’m ad-

not being able to use the word.” On Oct. 28, McGee sent an that said that until the editors held a hearing with the admin-

cans,” according to Radnor spokesperson Michael Petitti in a statement sent to the Main Line Times.

Radnor senior Nick Brady said he feels that the change has not been acknowledged by many students because although the mascot has changed, the team is still called the Raiders. “I guess the closest thing across in front of our stands we make a touchdown. He’s talked to anybody who is upset. spirit, and are enjoying ourEspecially if you talked to some of the underclassmen, they’d be like, ‘We changed our mascot?’ I don’t think much of us are paying that much attention to it.” Brady said that while the mascot has been graduated, the

istration, the paper would not ments or articles that contained 21 hearing, the administration ruled that the paper did not an editorial policy or attempt to enforce it. When an alumnus purchased ebrated Neshaminy’s “Redskins” tradition, the editorial board School Press Association, Journalism Education Association and the Student Press Law Cen-

Editors of The Playwickian at Neshaminy High School decided to ban the name of the school mascot, the “Redskin,” from future issues. The school administration has made an effort to void the policy. hot topic nationally once Obama weighed in on the Redskin issue, and the kids wanted to approach the issue in a new way,” Huber

Radnor ‘Red Raider’ mascot draws controversy According to high school mascot databases, Neshaminy High School and Sayre High School are the only two Penn-

When Gillian McGoldrick, Editor-in-Chief of The Playwickian, the student newspaper of Neshaminy High School in Bucks County, Pa., found shreds of her newspaper lining the hallways and heard people threaten to burn the most recent issue, she knew that something had gone wrong. In an editorial published Oct. 23, 14 out of 21 Playwickian editors agreed that the word Redskin, the school’s mascot and a term used to refer to American Indians, was

change. “There were Twitter wars between students, and it continued on until our next newspaper which


ated and purchased an ad that would lie on the following page retracted his ad before the issue was released. The Playwickian board is to protest the administration’s ruling. that’s something that has been forgotten a lot,” McGoldrick said. “We are going to continue on

After community protest, Radnor decided to retire its ‘Red Raider’ mascot. However, the team is still called the ‘Radnor Raiders.’ The decision to retire the mascot was made in response Radnor parent Rick Eckstein, who spoke to the district’s policy committee in February, and also spoke to the students about why such a mascot may Eckstein said that most of the opposition to changing the Radnor mascot came from alumni. “There is some debate as to the origins of this term, but there is little doubt that its tury was disparaging and deniEckstein said. “While presentday decision makers must be alums, they must also act in the best interests of current students and future students rather than former students.”

Raiders team name that students identify with has not been tation of the Raiders, facing the Nation” underneath, has not spirit wear that students sport around the school still features the mascot. “It seems a little bit strange

representation of an Indian,” Brady said. “The name still is Raiders, so you can drop the of the reason that more of the students aren’t more annoyed or more bothered by it, is that at the games there’s no guy dressed up as an Indian. But all the logos are the same, all the names are the same. I don’t know if we really changed.”

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’Stoga reflects on role of Pioneer The Pioneer has been associated with Conestoga ever since the 1956 yearbook decided to make its theme “Pioneering.” It’s present in the main lobby, on school materials and during football games and pep rallies. However, according to students who play on sports teams or go to games, the Pioneer’s presence is limited. Varsity track member junior Will Sharpe said that during meets, he thinks of himself as someone from Conestoga, not a Pioneer. “It doesn’t play a role in track,” Sharpe said. “It doesn’t say it on our uniform—no one talks about it. When they announce us they announce Conestoga, not the Conestoga Pioneers.” Senior Raju Kolluru, a member of the swim team, said that although the mascot is not an integral part of the school identity, it still plays an important role. “On the swim team, honestly, I think it doesn’t serve as much as value as it does on other sports teams,” Kolluru said. “We don’t really call ourselves the Pioneers, we just call ourselves the ’Stoga swim team. But we all look up to it, we all respect it, we all realize it’s the emblem of our school.” However, principal Dr. Amy Meisinger said that the mascot plays an important role in representing Conestoga. “Mascots are a rich part of any school—high school, college—tradition because they are intended to embody what the school is about, and also

Victoria Stern/The SPOKE

A bronze Pioneer statue stands guard in the main lobby. The rifle has been removed from the Pioneer in the pep rally and on school materials. represent in an iconic way what the school represents,” Meisinger said. “I think it’s very much a part of the tradition and allure that goes along with a high school and it’s an important part in terms of school history.” Part of that tradition involves firearms. The bronze Pioneer statue in the main used during the 1800s when Pioneers settled the West. were removed from the pioneer a few years ago on school materials including the Program

“We disarmed the pioneer several years back as an effort to not portray the mascot as having any connection with violence or guns,” Meisinger said. However, the statue in the main lobby still stands guard with a rifle. Junior Noah Berkowitz said that he does not mind that the Pioneer statue holds a gun. “I think it’s accurate for the time period and I think it makes sense,” Berkowitz said. “I don’t see a problem with it. I think it would be worse to not put the gun and risk being historically inaccurate in an establishment of learning.” A live Pioneer mascot is also used during the Homecoming pep rally, select football games and alumni events. The Pioneer made an appearance during the Homecoming pep rally Oct. 4. Assistant Principal Mi chelle Staves, who runs the activities office, said that the mascot is not frequently used, but can be requested by alumni for events. Meisinger said that the Pioneer, the phrase “The Big C” and the name Conestoga are all part of ’Stoga’s heritage and tradition. “I think it’s a very apt choice when you’re looking at mascots, in the sense that it represents those folks that were on the forefront of our nation and pioneers in regards to leading the way,” Meisinger said. “I see Conestoga very much as a school that embodies that.”


National implications In 2010 Wisconsin legislators passed a law that prohibits schools from using race-based mascots unless local Native American tribes allow the nickname. A bill has passed the Wisconsin State Assembly and Senate, however, that would make the restrictions less severe and require a petition with the same number of signatures as one tenth of a school’s student body. The bill is awaiting Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s signature and will become law Wednesday if he does not address it. Oregon’s State Board of Education ruled May 17 that Oregon schools have until July 1, 2017 to remove Native American names and images from their mascots. President Barack Obama made headlines Oct. 5 when he said he would consider changing the name of the Washington Redskins if he were the team owner. Redskins owner Daniel Snyder told USA Today May 10 the team would “never change the name,” citing a long-standing tradition with the name. The word “mascot” finds its origins in the French word, “mascotte,” meaning lucky charm. Sports organizations first introduced real animals as mascots for teams in order to entertain the spectators and intimidate the opposing team. Many high school, college and professional sports teams use American Indian images and nicknames to represent their teams. Some argue that and ridicule Native Americans racially, leading to a misunderstanding of the culture.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association evaluated 31 colleges in 2005 that were suspected of using potential “hostile or abusive” mascots or nicknames to represent their schools. Nineteen of the 31 were required to change their name. In 1989, the Kansas City Chiefs replaced Warpaint, a Pinto horse ridden by a man in a headdress. The Chicago Blackhawks use a hawk as their mascot, despite having a Native American head on their jerseys. Major League baseball teams including the Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians have been accused of having while the Braves have taken little action and fans still are seen doing a tomahawk chop, the Indians have replaced mascot Chief Wahoo on hats and batting helmets with a letter “C.” One of the most questionable mascot and nickname combinations in professional sports is the Washington Redskins. The city council of the District of Columbia passed a resolution in November urging the team to change its nickname, the second such resolution to pass regarding the team. Dr. Ann Dapice, chair of the UPenn Association of Native Alumni, said that the American Indians. “Only those with a defensive denial of the past and present can continue to use mascots that treat Indians in inhuman ways,” Dapice said.

American Indian mascots cause controversy Area High Schools

Radnor “Red Raiders” In June, Radnor students and Principal Mark Shellenger negotiated with the school board to remove the physical “Raider” mascot. However, the team is still called the “Raiders.”

Unionville “Indians” Unionville’s school colors are gold and navy. The “Home of the Indians” was established in 1985.

Ridley “Green Raiders” Ridley still refers to its team as the “Green Raiders,” but has changed the logo to an “R” to remove Native American imagery.

Neshaminy “Redskins” Neshaminy parent Donna Boyle filed a complaint against the team, and the school newspaper decided to ban the name, but the mascot hasn’t changed.


Florida State University “Seminoles” The Seminoles’ mascot is Cimmaron, an anthropomorphic horse. The school also employs Osceola and Renegade, the historic leader of the Seminole tribe and his horse.

Professional Teams

Atlanta (MLB) “Braves” The Braves featured Chief Noc-aHoma as their mascot until the 1980’s, depicted as a “screaming Indian.” The Braves are now represented by Homer, who has a baseball shaped head.

Kansas City (NFL) “Chiefs” In 1989, the Kansas City Chiefs replaced Warpaint, a Pinto horse ridden by a man in a feathered headdress, with K.C. Wolf. Warpaint was brought back in 2009.

Cleveland (MLB) “Indians” The Indians replaced Chief Wahoo on hats and batting helmets with a block letter “C.” Wahoo is still prominently displayed on players’ left sleeves.

Washington (NFL) “Redskins” Responding to complaints, the city council of the District of Columbia passed a resolution in November urging the team to change its nickname.


Utah “Utes” The Utes are represented by Swoop, a red-tailed hawk. In 1996, the university obtained consent from the local Ute tribe

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Liz Lawton & Shivani Sanghani Staff Reporters The Math Competition Team ranking in Pennsylvania. After seven perfect scores on written Pa. Math League tests on Dec. 3, the team stands as the only school in the state with a perfect record, with 90 overall points. The Varsity team also defeated Marple Newtown High School at an away match on Dec. 5 with a score of 54-6, while the Junior Varsity team achieved its victory with a 43-3 score. The team now place in the local league. President senior Crystal Wang attributes the team’s success to the recent enthusiasm on behalf of the team members and interest in the subject of math itself. “Now that we have a lot more fresh blood, the increased participation has greatly increased our chances for success,” Wang said. “For me, actually these last few years, I’ve been motivated by the subject itself, rather than external factors.” With the team performing exceptionally well both this year and last year, math teacher and club adviser Vincent Russo said the

the past two years has greatly impacted the team’s performance this year. The large amount of skilled students who participated in middle school math clubs have helped the team grow. Team members “are very interested in doing math problems on their own and trying to make sure their skills are sharp,” Russo said. “When we have practices from time to time after school, I’m here to guide them and keep them on track, but the junior and senior members run the practice sessions.” Math competitions typically last an hour, consisting of three consist of eighteen questions, and teams buzz in to answer. In the second round, each team is asked a series of nine questions in a span of two minutes.

The game, “Set” encompasses three cards, each of which is either a squiggle, an oval, or a diamond, which must be combined to form The cards may be also either shaded, filled in completely or empty as well as either red, green, or purple, in which all characteristics must be matched accordingly. According to Russo, Wang is an asset to the team with both her creative thinking and leadership skills. “She’s been a strong and active member of the team all four years both during our after school events as well as other events that take place on the weekends,” Russo said. Sophomore member Alex Wang said that the interactive learning from “Set” enables the team to prepare better for the competitions.

Ranked first in the local league and the state, the Math Competition Team is having its best season yet, thanks to new talent in the freshman and sophomore classes. This year, the team introduced a new series of lectures taught by members of the team. Wang gave math lesson using the game “Set.”


“It expands our creativity, and further provokes more thoughts in our minds, also helping with our competitions,” Alex Wang said.

Suproteem Sarkar/The SPOKE

Sophomores Michael Hong, Alex Wang and Michael Li play in the second round of a varsity match at Marple Newtown. The sophomores correctly answered every question except for one during the round. Sophomore member Michelle Xu said that additional preparation for the competitions depends on team members themselves. “Most of the time we’re preparing at home, just doing more and more problems as well as taking practice tests,” Xu said. “It’s kind of a self-motivated preparation, which greatly correlates to individual preparation.” Sophomore Arun Balaji said team members collaborate with one another during matches

between the team members. “We all know each other’s strengths,” Balaji said. “[During the matches] we also split up parts of the problem so that we can solve them as quickly and accurate as possible.” According to Xu, math is a great inspiration to all members of the team, which always motivates the team “to work towards their best.” “We come to matches, pumped, and like we’re a team,” Xu said. “There’s something that just makes us click.”




Public policy

The Spoke’s responsibilities to the school and community:

The Spoke reflects on its mission and goals for this school year In deciding to omit a single word from their paper, the editors of Neshaminy High School’s The Playwickian have brought a debate about the rights of student journalists to the national stage. Their school’s principal demanded that they print the word “Redskin,” their school’s mascot and a derogatory term for Native Americans, and thus infringed on their freedom of speech. In light of the controversy in Neshaminy, we, the editorial board of The Spoke and, would like to take this opportunity to present to our readers our mission for this year, as well as our publication’s policy, because we know all too well that deciding what content to include in a student newspaper is no easy feat. As a public forum for student expression, the student editors have the authority to make their own content decisions. The editorial board determines the extent and nature of coverage based upon timeliness and relevance to Conestoga’s school life and its students. Determining the extent and breadth of coverage is very much a balancing act—informing without being boring and entertaining without being frivolous. In general, we will strive to cover as many different types of stories as we can, so that readers can find multiple stories in each issue that appeal to them. We will also work to avoid covering stories similar to or identical to those we have covered previously, in the interest of reporting on something our audiences have not seen before and serving the entire student body. The Spoke strives to keep track of what sources are quoted and featured in its stories. If a source has already recently been included in a story, reporters are encouraged to seek out another equally relevant source so that

The Spoke can include as many students, teachers and community members as possible over the course of the year. In addition, editors and reporters will strive to include a diversity of perspectives in their stories to ensure balance and objectivity and represent as many sides of the issue as possible. In choosing what stories we will cover, we will also work to strike a balance between what our readers care about and what we believe our audience needs to hear about—issues

Sophie Bodek/The SPOKE

that maybe students aren’t talking about, but that are still important and that we think deserve greater attention. In addition, when covering news events, we will strive to cover not only the planned, but incidents that occur unexpectedly which we consider relevant. We will avoid turning a blind eye to issues deemed “controversial,” and will explore stories that we see as newsworthy and relevant to readers within

the parameters of our policy and practice, regardless of their “controversial” status. We anticipate and acknowledge objections, complaints and disagreements with our decisions and highly encourage feedback from our readers. We offer a guest column in the issue, as well as opportunities to submit letters to the editor, as a way to include a variety of voices in the paper. When we have made a mistake, we will strive to quickly and honestly admit that we have and publish a correction in the next issue. However, when we believe an action we have taken is in accordance with good journalistic practice and our policy and goals, we will defend it as needed. Furthermore, since we, not teachers or the administration, make all of the decisions regarding The Spoke and, we ask that anyone with a complaint or objection speaks with us directly, whether by phone or via email (we can be reached at; we will be more than happy to address any and all concerns our readers may have. Overall, as a public forum, both in policy and in practice, we operate under the framework of and reserve the rights granted to us by the First and Fourteenth Amendments, the Pennsylvania School Code Title 22, the Conestoga High School Code of Conduct and U.S. Supreme Court rulings pursuant to School Press Law, and we seek to provide a forum for learning and expression at Conestoga. We, along with the Journalism Education Association’s guidelines on prior review and restraint, oppose any efforts to limit our ability to serve as a public forum and benefit the Conestoga community.

1. The Spoke serves as a public forum for student expression.


report news of interest to the Conestoga High interest.

3. Quotations should be made accurately, fairly and in context.

4. Photography and artwork should reflect the content of the accompanying stories and be appropriately credited.

5. Reporters should not include personal opinions in news, features or sports stories.

6. Unsigned editorials represent the views of the editorial board and are written by editorial board members.

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Pennsylvania Public School Code Title 22, Section 12.9 States in part: (a) The right of public school students to freedom of speech is guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the Commonwealth. (b) Students shall have the right to express themselves unless the expression materially and substantially interferes with the educational process, threatens serious harm to the school or community, encourages unlawful activity or interferes with another individual’s rights.



and face-to-face conversation has rapidly declined. For example, in Shakespeare’s time, wordplay and wit in conversations symbolized a person’s worth. Juliet probably would not have married Romeo if he shouted to her balcony, “Hey Juliet, I like think you are really cool. Let’s like get hitched or something.” Well, maybe they would have been better

Meagan O’Rourke

“um”) are common jargon. Shockingly, linguists approve porating fillers into everyday vernacular, according to the New York Times. Linguists argue that “like” serves a purpose as a functional word, cuing listeners into a conversation. However, I think overusing “like” exhausts the listener. So I don’t, like, know what to say about this, but, um, it is literally like the most annoying thing ever. I just can’t, like, stop, you know? I know it makes me sound kind of stupid, but whatever. We all do it; we all have the “like disease.” My mother diailment when I was in fourth grade, and I am still recovering. Symptoms include excessive use of the words “like” and “um,” and occasionally being as articulate as Honey Boo Boo. If not caught in the early stages, the “like disease” may inflict serious consequences such as leaving bad impressions on people and degrading your intelligence with every “like” that leaves your lips. In order to cure this disease (however, based on the number of victims, the “like disease” should be called an epidemic), people must understand the cause of Overall, the value of speech

Emmi Dolph for The SPOKE

off unmarried, but consider Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. The speech would not be as well received if Lincoln told the nation, “Four score and like (pauses and counts on his pended ‘ummm’) seven years ago, our fathers literally brought forth a new like nation.” Lincoln resembling a valley girl would have appalled America 150 years ago, but

When someone like cannot like articulate like what like they like want like to say it makes me like want to do a neurosurgical procedure on them to see what they are thinking because anything would be faster than listening to them speak. Despite the linguists’ opinteriorate your reliability as a speaker and will sneakily ruin your future.


No matter how prominent technology becomes, pesky inperson encounters will happen, and we must have real conversations (shudder). During presentations, people will judge you based on how eloquently you speak. I doubt future employers will be impressed that you “like, went to college” or “did an, um, internship.” According to the Department of Psychology at the University of North Carolina, job applicants who use “like” incorrectly and excessively are less likely to be hired. Thus, curing the “like disease” is particularly urgent for those of us who wish to be employed. Of course, the “like disease” cannot be instantly cured; there ever, some supportive and picky friends and family can ease the symptoms. I know because it worked for me. I asked that people stop me every time I said “like.” After a while, my aggravation developed into an acute consciousness of my word choice. Of course, I do not speak like a robot; I have my occasional valley girl moments, but I am more aware of my “like” disease. In addition to my awareness of saying “like,” I am more aware of other people’s “like” habit. Really, it is a curse. You just like start to notice it literally every time, you know? I wish people would just like stop; it’s, like, getting old.

Report Card It Snowed! + Um, snow??? - Stinks if your heat goes out or you have to drive

Keystones + Won’t be seeing them again... - ...until May if you’re a freshman

’Stoga Winter Concerts + Great music, exciting for performers - It’s an exhausting time. Also no more DiLella! Nooo!!!

Eagles 1st in NFC East + Thank you, Green Bay


- Banking on the Eagles has never been a safe investment



“It’s universal in the English

language... people use it as they’re trying to think of a comparison to convey their point.” -Senior Grace Gosnear

some function. I don’t see it as a problem.”

+ Latest buzz: operatives



-Sophomore Sedona LaMarre

“‘Like’ is supposed to let you you need a pause to come up with other words to say.” -Freshman Shreyas Ravishanker

Warcraft - Things’ve been boring since they stopped creeping on Merkel

Nelson Mandela + Great man, great life - Some people should just never die




True meaning of Christmas remains elusive as ever

James Redmond Opinion Editor ‘Tis the season? Bah, humbug. For nearly a month, the airwaves have hummed, laden with winter hints and yuletide jingles, as holiday enthusiasts squeeze in their preparations between daily demands. As folks make ready to celebrate their unlikely hybrid of Christian values and pagan rituals (Tree? Log? Whatever pleaseth Odin), companies proclaim that there’s still time to prove your love with your pocketbook. Okay, that was grouchy. Truthfully, I’ve always loved of materialistic activity it invokes, because in the end, you sit down with your fam-

ily, or whomever, and share the warmth in your heart. But this year, something about the season hasn’t felt quite right. I suppose it’s because of the way it began, earlier this November. And so, like Scrooge, I journey into the past… In Back Bay Boston, Christmas decorations were appearing in little pockets. After dinner and a stroll through the city’s energetic streets, some friends and I were making our way back to our hotel

we were in better spirits. We found whatever it was we were looking for and headed for the door. But as we made our way out, my gut wrenched again. I exited and proceeded down the sidewalk, eyes to the ground.

nately, I can’t claim that my poor culinary planning had any bearing on my actions. I caved. My guilt-stricken eyes decided that it would be too painful to come into that guy’s world for even a second, even if it meant he’d go hungry that night. I sulked for the rest of my time in Boston, defeated by ever, as I sat in the train station, a new plan began to

a convention, when we encountered a homeless man outin over the threshold, he rattled a can of change and mumbled, “…on your way out.” It became clear after several attempts to break the ensuing silence that no one knew quite what to do. In a few minutes, however, I had a plan. I wasn’t going to ignore this guy. I just so happened to have a handy-dandy slice of leftover pizza, and I was going to whip it out, look him. Once I told everyone,

Maggie Chen/The SPOKE

the season. In retrospect, as I told myself and others, it may have spiced that pizza to kingdom come, and for a man with limited access to water, it could have been all but deadly. Unfortu-

curve the corners of my mouth in a more productive direction. When you get down to it, the presence of a few bucks or a slice of pizza wasn’t going to guy. His tragedy was that, every night, hundreds of people walked by him and failed to ac-

knowledge his existence; even those who stopped to make a donation were just passing through. Generosity isn’t just giving people things that fill them up for a while. Generosity is when you realize that, as warm-blooded creatures in an often-cold world, the truest expression of grace is to get close enough to someone that they can feel your warmth. So I decided that, one day, when I meet a homeless guy, I’m going to introduce myself and take him out to eat. We’ll go to some restaurant and share life stories—I’ll look him in the eye and treat him with the respect he deserves as a fellow human being, and I won’t leave until I see our heat waves rippling the air. Ironically, in the hectic weeks of wrapping up assignments and preparing for this Christmas vacation, I’ve been too busy to carry out my plan. In sharing my soul’s warmth with my family, I’ve neglected others that need it. And that’s why this holiday season has me playing Scrooge. Perhaps, Conestoga, as warm-blooded creatures with love to give, it’s time we all shifted our priorities in this time of generosity.

Tech market buries students to the wrist

Rachit Sabharwal Columnist It’s not you. It’s your smartphone. Really it is. Or maybe your Google Glass. Or maybe it’s your smart-watch. Or maybe it’s your “insert next big thing here.” Have you seen those commercials, the ones where the narrator proclaims the next big thing? The ones aired by Samsung, Google, Apple, Microsoft, HTC, Blackberry et al? It’s usually the same commercial selling the same product with similar technology under a different brand. If so, then you have been introduced to a multitude of next big things. And based on the number of smartphones kicking around

at Conestoga, their efforts have been validated. Intel co-founder Gordon Moore postulated that “the numbers of transistors incorporated in a chip will approximately double every 24 months.” Generalizing Moore’s statement leads to the conclusion that the next version of any given technology will take approximately a year to be released. And that generalization has been proven true. Apple launches at least one newer, slimmer product per year. Many platforms for Android OS are also released on an annual basis. But as of press time, the latest fashion to hit Silicon Valley is the smartwatch. The gadget watch is not a new concept, but sadly it is not one that the annals of history recognize as a success. In fact, the battle for wrist dominance marks a specific stage in every technological epoch in which it arises: doom. It started in 1977 with the advent of the Pulsar Pulse Time Computer: a calculator watch. In 1982, Seiko introduced the TV watch. By the end of the 1980s, several watches now sported pagers; and in 1993 Casio launched the Zapping, a wristwatch that was

also a TV remote control. As it turned out, not many people wanted to wear miniature calculators, televisions, pagers or remote controls. Then, with the smart-tech revolution, came the revi-

nies begin to assume that “next big thing” consumers will buy any kind of innovation, practical or not—including a new wave of tacky wrist-gadgets. But if history is any teacher, then repetition is a surefire

Callum Backstrom/The SPOKE

talization of the wrist wars, waged at present by Pebble, Sony and Samsung. But the problem with creating an information hub on the wrist today is that we simply do not need it—not with smartphones in our pockets. After years of validation via the success of iPhone after iPhone, compa-

way for these companies to eliminate product lines. Because every time a company rehashes something and slaps it on the wrist, that product rolls over and plummets to its death (in sales). However, the desire to do business with the “next big thing” model remains quite

strong. Companies like Apple and Samsung have a vested interest in cultivating generations of hyper-connected customers because they can extract more from us in the time that we are connected. In order to attain this goal they regularly showcase repackaged, slightly-better products. But is every new product worth buying? Would you strap an iPhone to your wrist? The ordeal of the average consumer must thus become one of vetting. In a market that is flooded with supply the consumer cannot blindly wade in. We have to embrace the maxim of quality, not quantity, and look beyond the magic of technology to the logic of common sense. Yes, it is understandable that for most this process will be difficult but if we do not undertake this then we will be subject to a barrage of redundancy from the “next big thing.” Modern technology has seen its meteoric rise; it is now time that our sensibility does the same. We need to let companies know that we will not buy just anything because it’s new. And no, Samsung: If I can put it in my pocket, I don’t need it on my wrist.




Gift guide: make the best of the last days to be generous

Caroline Hartshorn Guest Columnist As the holiday season rolls around and all the Pier 1 Imports commercials consume our TVs, it becomes increasingly difficult for us high schoolers to find the time to finish that English essay, let alone gift shop for those incredibly picky people on our lists. Every year I go through the same routine: Spend the month of December visiting the mall every weekend, writing my thoughts down, and getting good ideas from everyone I know; all talk, no action. Now flash forward to the day before Christmas. Yes, Christmas Eve. My section of the tree is still bare, the new glitter wrapping paper and red bow, unused, lie still under my bed, and there’s no plan. As some would be relaxed on this winter day, I’m frantic, driving around town

looking for that gray scarf with the polka dots my mom has been talking about since summer. It’s the same old game. That’s why, this year, I’ve made a last minute 2013 resolution: get gifts BEFORE New Year’s. So I’ve created a gift guide—A How-I-am-goingto-get-everyone-on-my-lista-kick-butt-present-beforethe-clock-strikes-midnight guide. It’s basic, really; just a few simple steps. Begin by planning about three weeks ago. Chances are you are in the same boat as me and happen to be one or two weeks behind. That’s okay, too. Step one: Write down the names of the special people you want to get gifts for. If you have all the names in writing it will serve as a constant reminder and you won’t accidentally forget a present for your Great Aunt Betty. Step two: Think about each person individually. Go with the homemade gift for your mom or grandma because your best friend doesn’t want your pasta necklace. Think about what your best friend really loves. Is she edgy, or preppy? Would you give your brother killer heels? Would you give your sister a monster truck?

Maybe, but most likely not. Write down one or two words to describe that person and their personality. Shopping will be much more quick and efficient when you can just walk into the sock

Victoria Stern/The SPOKE

department and pick up the Phillies print sock for your Philly Phanatic dad. Also, give yourself a few gift options that you can get that person. Plan accordingly just in case the super specific color tie you wanted for your grandfather isn’t in stock. Step three: Make a plan. Add to your list a place where you can most likely find the gift or at least a place you know that person likes. When you are trying to beat the holiday traffic and crowds you don’t want to be back-tracking all around town. Map out a route through town so you aren’t entering and exiting the mall five times in one day. Step four: Make sure you give yourself enough time to get all the gifts. Mark a day on your calendar when you have time to hit every store that is on your list. Remember to be thoughtful in everything you do this holiday season. Smile, share, be merry. ‘Tis the season of peace and joy. And if all else fails, a gift card can surely get you a mistletoe kiss. Even just a candy cane is a nice treat. Good luck, procrastinators, happy shopping and, of course, happy holidays.

Breaking assumptions: martial arts are more than ‘hyah’

Yuge Xiao Convergence Editor There are 30 seconds left on the clock and when she takes a step towards me, I pivot on my front foot and throw out a back kick. It connects with her chest gear and as I spin around into my fighting stance, I see her stagger back a few feet. Taking advantage of her state of confusion, I move in with my arms up and ready. Right, left, right and into her ribs! As the seconds tick away, I throw every possible combination and technique I can think of until… The timer hits zero and the judges call for us to stop. We take off our helmets, bow and shake hands, smiling at the experience of a good match. I began practicing taekwondo when I was five and lived off the thrill of sparring.

Naturally when I moved to America a few months after that glorious face-off, I brought my passion with me. And on the first day of school, as I faced the obligatory and painful self-introductions on the first day of school and made up adjectives and animals that started with the same letter as my name, I casually threw my taekwondo experience into the mix. “Wait, you know kungfu?” were t h e first words I heard from a boy sitting in the front r o w . He continued, “Does that make you [gasp] a NINJA?” Then his buddy decided to join in, saying “Do you think you can beat me up? Let’s fight!” He then lifted his right knee up, crouched over, raised both arms and yelled, “Hyah!” Up till that moment, I took great pride in my ability to take down any person my age. But hearing my peers’ questions was like taking a direct hit to my solar plexus—is this

what people think martial arts is about? Hollywood movies do a p r e t t y g o o d j o b o f b r a i nwashing us into thinking all martial artists know is a thousand and one

Maggie Chen/The SPOKE

ways to kill a person and how to make funny noises before making a move. They spotlight the acrobatics and physical power of martial artists with flashy combina-

tions. These movies captivated me for the first eight years of my life, filling me with images of ruthless fighting machines. However, what goes over the movie watchers’ heads is the philosophy and mentality behind the flying kicks. Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and even the producers of “Kung Fu Panda” always tried to instill lessons of perseverance, self-control and humility into their films—Po and Shi Fu’s wise and patient master, Wu Gui, comes to mind—but the audiences glaze over it. Who cares about inner peace when they can watch a chubby panda bounce his way to victory? Martial arts, like other sports, yoga or even dance, are a balance between mental and physical power. It’s easy to throw out a wild haymaker swing; it’s hard to stop the swing centimeters from the target’s head. Anyone can squat in a horseback stance, but few have the indomitable spirit to hold the stance for ten minutes. After practicing taekwondo for 11 years, I am proud of the

martial artist I am today—not only of the kicks and punches I can execute, but of the selfconfidence and control I have. Yet when people learn that I hold a black belt in taekwondo, they glaze over my character and see me jumping around and making noises. Most of them would see the same thing whether I said taekwondo, kungfu, karate, jiu jitsu or judo. Maybe some people do taekwondo because they yearn for a career as a professional ninja (who, despite popular belief, wore civilian clothing more often than an all black attire). But for those of us who don’t, these assumptions, while not intentionally mean-spirited, get old. Next time you learn that someone practices a form of martial arts, treat this interesting tidbit of information with deeper thought than jabbing at thin air (imagine if every time you told people you played football, they squatted down and stuck their tushes out). Treat martial artists like any other sport players. And for once, listen to what Master Wu Gui has to say. He’s pretty wise for a turtle.



99 Shades of Play



Shades of Grey” trilogy. While smash hit and a movie is in the

and this gift might just land you on the

Local Cook Deemed Incredibly Kissable apron





your money on a joke that quickly turned stale. The


By Emily Photos b Klein, Features Design b y Noah Levine, Editor y Spohie P Bodek, C hotography Edit o o-Design Editor r

Oreck vacuum cleaner

you can avoid the devastation of a giftneedles from your tree after the holiday


Solar_ powered walkway lights outdoor, eco-friendly lights are not an adequate holiday gift. Like one should not

Snuggie for Dogs


“Snuggie for Dogs,” a cozy gift for your favorite furry friend. The creators of the Snuggie seem to have forgotten that dogs already have a coat that has recently gotten shaved and needs alternative




Student-run book club hits the shelves of Conestoga Emma Purinton Staff Reporter

them, but I loved hearing everybody else’s ideas and the connec-

Junior Christian Miller learned about the club through conversations with Mabilais. Miller said that he joined the club with no idea of how he would feel about it, but he has enjoyed being part of the group. “A lot of times when I’m reading I read pretty fast and I’ll miss a little

Most students could never imagine discussing their favorite English class, but Conestoga’s new that experience just outside of their classroom. Cecilia Mabilais started the new

everyone because other people miss it too,” Miller said. “It helps everyone understand the underly-

and the group became active in Ocmeet once a month to discuss the

Sophie Bodek

Juniors Maddie Omrod, Hope Kelly, Christian Miller and Cecilia Mabilais discuss their most recent read, “House of Leaves,” at the book club’s December meeting.

Mabilais said. Mabilais was inspired to creexperience that left her longing for

about it, but they would just say, ‘Yeah, it was good,’ and that was it. So I said that I might as well start a

experience. “Once at lunch my friend and I ones you read about,” Mabilais said. “So it was that one conversaabout it.” the summer and discussed the -

Kazuo Ishiguro in October and “I discuss the novel in an upcoming January meeting.

of people in the grade below me would be joining, so it would be

author’s point was.” Mabilais believes that no matclub has a common appeal among students. worry about being right or wrong.

and it would be a way to learn about particularly enjoyed the discussion that goes on in meetings.

they chose to read,” Mabilais said. “I guess it’s just to get opinions of has a big impact on you, it’s hard

something new.

Cafeteria serves up cool new frozen treat with Froyo offerings Jerry Zhu Staff Reporter It’s lunch time and a riot of students encircle a rectangular box, not more than two feet wide and four feet long. One by one, students lift a clear lid shielding the contents of the container and dip their hand into the frigid box in search of a lunchtime treat. During all lunches, students new chilled dessert at Conestoga. in previous years, the Conestoga cafeteria is now offering frozen yogurt is provided daily from an outside contractor in Shillington, Pa. Reintroducing the dessert came as an attempt to diversify the menu, Supervisor Michael McKinney. product that is better nutritionally for the students,” McKinney said. and sugar compared to traditional ice cream. With 120 calories and 17 grams of sugar, the food corresponds with the administration’s goal of introducing healthier alternatives in the cafeteria. Because the including salted caramel, birthday -

health-conscious decisions without compromising on taste. “Yogurt is primarily not dairybased, so yogurts are a better nutritional product than regular ice creams,” McKinney said. While frozen yogurt does still contain calories and sugar, students appreciate the decision to implement a healthier dessert option. newly introduced frozen yogurt has same ice cream taste that everybody loves but it doesn’t have as much fat as a large tub of ice cream would. Since it tastes pretty much the same or better than ice cream, I would buy it instead of the other ice cream vaSince its introduction, the dessert has proved popular among students, as can be seen by lines at the freezer each day during lunch. While this may be due to the taste, hype or a combination of both, McKinney believes that the treat Conestoga eater. “We did some taste testing with

school has been very, very positive,” McKinney said.

Junior Lily Shu believes that the popularity of the dessert can treat. “We haven’t had any new ice cream in a while, so it’s really fun to see the cafeteria give us something

small containers with all those to be a popular choice during ’Stoga lunches, some students hold the belief that there are differences between store bought frozen yogurt and the type provided in the cafeteria. frozen yogurt from the cafeteria is a welcomed departure from the regular menu, but the taste is subpar compared to yogurt purchased in stores. drier and more bland,” Dong said. While some students may have adverse feelings towards the actual taste of the frozen treat, many vow to purchase it in the future. also a social experience, as your

Kelly Miller

Seniors Anna Andrews and Tony Bae search the cafeteria

more in the future,” sophomore

frozen yogurt, the administration plans to introduce frozen yogurts to middle schools in the near future

Because of the high demand for

to the upcoming holidays. McKin-

cordance with increased demand.




Coffee Culture: students spill the beans about caffeine Paula Miller & Michael Hong Staff Reporters An energy boost, a tasty drink secret that Conestoga students love can easily spot dozens of students tine, while others crave the taste to start their day. While the caffeinated beverage used to be thought of as an adult drink, it has invaded Conestoga’s bake sales, cafeteria and

coffee, and one was a birthday surprise for a friend. “She always gets really jealous when I get Starbucks, so I got her one,” Hoppe said. Senior Elizabeth Torpey also present. “I know a lot of people who have say that is the best gift they’ve ever gotten,” Torpey said. especially the seasonal drinks at kin spice latte, have devoted ers out of ’Stoga students. Weber agrees that

as an energy source and trendy drink, and its popularity is evident. According to a -

with Starbucks cups, especially -

juggled two Starbucks cups on

appeals to sugar-craving high school students, Torpey thinks

Sophie Bodek

Seniors and Student Council members Jake Scott and Lindsey Snyder await customers at

for another reason. “I think it’s partially because other people go there. And it’s kind of convenient because [Starbucks where,” Torpey said. Wawa and Dunkin’ Donuts are also popular spots for stufore class. However, senior Liana Weishaar isn’t concerned about


takenly thought they were having a panic attack and then went to the

senior class kept up the sale, but shifted their schedule to Friday “We decided to do it on Friday

Scott said. “Especially on Friday,

four cups a day, relying on the

Senior and Student Council ported that about 30 students of all grades typically buy cof-

fatigue. proud,” Weishaar said. Although not all stu-

sale each week. “We try and publicize that the fundraising goes to senior

to get through the day. Whether they have been up late studying or have

I guess everyone wants to support it, and everyone likes

high-schoolers resort to coffee to enhance their focus.

Conestoga’s love of coffee. The -

said. is not a foolproof way of getting of energy,” Weber said.

clude increased heart rate,

Ellie Mack decides to steer clear

not good for your health to have a lot of caffeine, for adults or

“As an athlete, I think that cof-

However, as far as the health

it doesn’t sustain you very long,” Mack said.

“I know people do say [cof-

drinking routine, on days without

already short anyway,” Milberg said. estoga’s Student Council has -

they brew a 100 cup pot to last the day. Even Conestoga’s library has

“It was great, we had lots of teachers and students. It was Lydia Lieb said. the school library or Starbucks, they can’t get enough of it. “I know it’s not the healthiaddicted now,” Weishaar said. “I



Heather Bailey Interview by Rose Kantorczyk, design and photo by Victoria Stern After eleven years of teaching at ’Stoga, math teacher Heather Bailey has developed a reputation for her bubbly personality and constant energy. But outside the classroom, Mrs. Bailey is enthusiastic about more than just derivatives

younger years so I just loved really feeling like I was really a part of a school. Oh, and I loved the night games for lacrosse. Those were always so spirited and amazing to be a part of.


identities. The Spoke: Why did you choose to become a math teacher? Heather Bailey: Well, I started out in civil engineering, and about halfway through the requirements to graduate I realized that the thing I was enjoying the most was teaching other students how to do the problems instead of just sitting there and doing it myself. I liked the interaction. So I ended up switching to math as a major and then education as a minor! TS: What is the best part of teaching math? HB: The “ah-ha” moments. I love it when students get something that they thought they couldn’t get before and it all comes together. That excitement, like “Oh my gosh, I just did it!”, it’s the best thing. TS: Where did you grow up, and what was it like growing up there? HB: I moved a lot when I was younger. I’ve lived in New York, some places in North Carolina, Texas, Kansas and then here. I lived here the most. TS: Why did you move around so much? HB: My dad started out in the military and then went into cable, so the majority of mine were cable moves. TS: What was your favorite place where you lived? HB: I actually like here the most. We lived in West Chester, so I went to West Chester East, and I just really liked it. TS: What did you like about living and going to school there? HB: It is such a cute town! A great hybrid between small town and city life. When I lived downtown it was so fun to be able to walk to shops and restaurants. As for West Chester East, the best part was really being in the same school for so long. I went to

be that hard, because you would be training in that temperature in the winter anyway. And I also want to see the penguins, they’re four feet tall and really cute. TS: What’s been the most memorable experience of your teaching career? HB: Well, the most positive memorable experience was when I had a student come back really excited. He had had a tough time in the class but he had worked really hard and his grades had been climbing all year long. He came back all excited and told me he had just gotten a perfect score on the Math 2 [SAT]. He had worked

Food: French fries Song: “Forever” by Ben Harper TV Show: “Survivor” Book: “Sphere” by Michael Crichton Game: KenKen (A math-based puzzle game, like Sudoku using multiplication, division, etc.) TS: Did you continue to play lacrosse in college? HB: Yes, I did. I was the goalie at Bucknell. TS: How would you say that it impacted you? HB: It was amazing. It was a great way to kind of get to know a group within the university. It also forces you to learn really good time management skills when you’re playing at a university, the work world. And of course it was just so nice to have both sides of the college, you know, you get the athletics as well as the brain. TS: I’ve heard that you run marathons? HB: Yes, I’ve run 8 of them so far. TS: What motivated you to start doing that? HB: I love running. It was one of the things that our coach would try to tell us was a punishment, and it got comical, because I enjoyed it, so everyone else would be complaining and I would be like “This is great, guys! Let’s keep going!” I’ve always enjoyed just that TS: Who would you say is your hero? HB: Probably my mom. She was a math teacher herself when she was younger, and she’s always motivated us all to be our best no matter what. TS: If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you want to go? HB: Antarctica. I want to run the Antarctic marathon. TS: What’s the Antarctic marathon? HB: It’s a marathon actually in Antarctica, and they run it only in their summer, which is in February. The highs are around 43 degrees, so it actually wouldn’t

really closely with me and the other students and he was just so focused. It was just so cool to see his face. He was so excited that he had gotten that perfect score. TS: What is one thing that you think every student should take away from your math classes? HB: Never to give up. That even if that

PAGE 17 problem is really hard, if you stay calm and persevere, you’re going to be able to make it through. TS: What would you say that you’re passionate about? HB: Being well-rounded. I’ve never been one to be fully focused on just one thing, but being wellrounded, being able to do something athletic and then also build your mind and making sure that you’re not just a one-hit wonder is an important thing for people. TS: What is one object that you can’t live without? HB: My running shoes. TS: If you weren’t a math teacher what career do you think you’d have? HB: I think I’d be a wedding planner. I really enjoyed planning mine. TS:I heard you got married over the summerWhat was your wedding like? H B : Well, I would s a y m y wedding was awesome! But I suppose I’m biased. It was at the Ridley

Creek State Park and I sewed all my own runners and made oodles of decorations. There was lots of burlap, mason jars and antique silver pitchers. We used our racing bibs from marathons and Tough Mudders we ran together as our table numbers, we both wore homemade huaraches [sandals] at the reception (my husband runs in them) and we had a sparkle exit where we rode It was just so much fun to incorporate so many things that made us “us.” I think that’s what I loved so much about planning it. TS: What has it been like coming name? HB: It’s actually kind of comical. I’ll have times when I see two students in the hall, and I’ll get “Hi Miss Hall” and “Hi Mrs. Bailey” in unison. I’ve even had other teachers think I was a new teacher when they emailed or called my best though was when I had a his hand and say, “I think I know the answer to this, but is it Miss Hall or Mrs. Bailey?” It turned out I had been accidentally referring to myself as Miss Hall. Even I had trouble with my name






Christmas Comedies: ’Tis the season to be laughing Emily Klein & Michael Li Features Editor & Staff Reporter,

“Christmas Vacation”

“How The Grinch Stole Christmas”

“A Christmas Story”


“Home Alone” -




narration as he relives that -














Christmas movie that stands -

In one of the movie’s most


Posters courtesy respective movie websites



As the ’Stoga boys’ basketb all team begins its season, th e Spoke highlig hts six playe rs who will be key to the team‘s su ccess this season. T he team has begun the season w ith a 3-0 sta rt. Continue to fo llow the team ’s success on st or on twitter (@Sto gaBall).


Andrew Diehl #4

Forward @DJ_MartyMart

Dan Vila #3

James VanDeventer #0 Point Guard

Forward @VIL_in_it

Nickname: Chilva Nickname: Captain Yonda NBA Role Model: Stephen Curry NBA Role Blake Griffin Favorite PairModel: of Sneakers: Favorite Pair of Sneakers: Favorite Move: Breaking People’s AnklesJordan XXVIII Why I Play Basketball: “I love It’s going to help me get into a collFavorite Move: The Spinit. Move/Double Crossover ege, it’s a great way to meet people, you get to be with your teammates. Why I Play Basketball: “It’s become such a big part It’s a great sport and a great way to stay active.” of my life now, that I can’t imagine a life without basketball. It’s just what I do.”


Zack Yonda #2

Nickname: Clankmole

Daryl Caldwell #1

Point Guard @I_DARyl_you

Nickname: Baby Stacks Nickname: Captain Yonda NBA Role Model: Stephen Curry NBA Role Allen Iverson Favorite PairModel: of Sneakers: Favorite Pair of Sneakers: Favorite Move: Breaking People’s AnklesNike Kobe VIII Why I Play Basketball: “I love It’s going to help me get into a collFavorite Move: The Freeit. Throw ege, it’s a great way to meet people, you get to be with your teammates. Why I Play Basketball: “I do it because it’s basketIt’s a great sport and a great way to stay active.” ball. It’s just what I love to do.”

ege, it’s Ia Play great way to meet people,“Iyou get playing to be withfor yourmy teammates. Why Basketball: love teamIt’s a great sport and a great way to stay active.”

Design by Sam Sedor Photos by Noah Levine

Nickname: Reverend Stacks Nickname: Captain Yonda NBA Role Model: Stephen Curry NBA Role Michael Jordan/LeBron James Favorite PairModel: of Sneakers: Favorite Pair of Sneakers: Jordan XI Favorite Move: Breaking People’s Ankles Why I Play Basketball: “I love it. It’s going to help me get into a collFavorite Move: The Put-Back Dunk ege, it’s a great way to meet people, you get to be with your teammates. Why I Play Basketball: “I play basketball because of It’s a great sport and a great way to stay active.” the camaraderie of it. I think it’s a sport that brings boys together and turns them into men.”

Guard @yonds_

Nickname: Captain Yonda NBA Role Model: Stephen Curry NBA Role Model: Chris Paul Favorite Pair of Sneakers: Favorite Pair of Sneakers: Favorite Move: Breaking People’s AnklesNike Lunar Hyperdunk Why I Play Basketball: “I love it. It’s going to help me get into a collFavorite Move: The No-Look Dimer

mates. Nothing would be the same without the game of basketball and them on my team. It’s just my lifestyle.”

ior) Tyler Knight (senior) Chris Pollard (senior) Chris Novak (sen ior) Jack Lambert (junophomore) Andrew Larkin (s omore) MJ Lezanic (soph

Martin Dorsey #21

Guard/Forward @No_Big_DIEHL_

Nickname: Mr. Potato Head Nickname: Captain Yonda NBA Role Model: Stephen Curry NBA Role Larry Bird Favorite PairModel: of Sneakers: Favorite Move: Breaking People’s Ankles Favorite Pair of Sneakers: Nike Hyperdunk Why I Play Basketball: “I love it. It’s“J” going to help me get into a collFavorite Move: The Pull-Up ege, it’s a great way to meet people, you get to be with your teammates. Why I Play play to be together with It’s a great sport Basketball: and a great way to“Istay active.” my teammates and because of how great the competition is for me.”

Y E RS : OT H E R P L A(s enior) Andrew Utter

Nickname: Captain Yonda Nickname: Captain Yonda NBA Role Model: Stephen Curry NBA Role Stephen Curry Favorite PairModel: of Sneakers: Favorite Pair of Sneakers: Under Armour Anatomix Favorite Move: Breaking People’s Ankles Why I Play Basketball: “I love it. People’s It’s going toAnkles help me get into a collFavorite Move: Breaking ege, it’s a great way to meet people, you get to be with your teammates. Why I Play Basketball: “It’s a nice way to meet It’s a great sport and a great way to stay active.” people, you get to be with your teammates. It’s a great sport and a great way to stay active.”

Interviews by Navin Zachariah




Patrick Nicholson With the single cut of a sabre, Bridget Marturano fenced her way

to qualifying was having the right ber of the national veteran team reaching the level of fencing re

Yet while her tournament focus

turano said she was able to come through thanks to her coaches and “I had been really stressed out

Fencers Club, Marturano works fencing coach and the Bryn Mawr “I take what I learn in lessons with my coaches, or in drills, and see how it can be used in a real

“You have to really love the for the amount of time it takes to and leave, even though they love ness and the tolerance for risk that Having made it this far, Mar down her fencing career anytime

talking to my coach and team mates, all of the stress went away,” ultimate goal is to make it to the

tournaments such as the North with my coaches and teammates:

“I want to fence a lot this year, fence as many large tournaments

50 and over) fencers in the na

Senior Bridget Marturano


Dhanvin Manoo Matt Soderberg as much merit, and is as much a

as we could be, because of our of the swim team, but is unable athletes strive to be the best they consisting of only two remaining times the entire season?

also been talks of using Haverford Bernick, who has been diving

diving team, consisting of only senior Lee Bernick and fresh man Leah Bernstein, faces this

the team has faced this season,

Bernstein, who dives year round outside of Conestoga, says

as a result of the lack of diving had been with the team for two Courtesy Leah Bernstein

Leah Bernstein

“It is an outrage that a Cones




You better watch out, you better not cry

the naughty and nice professional sports athletes. At the top of the list are some who might be expecting coal in their lockers this holiday season from both ol’ Saint Nick and their respective leagues. First we have Aaron Hernandez, a young man who just could past summer, the New England Patriots’ tight end was charged with murder of Oden Lloyd, a neighbor in Massachusetts. At the same time, Hernandez is

have surged back into contention in the Eastern Conference with a (13-14-3) record as of Dec. 13. This success can be largely credited to Giroux who has contributed to the team 13 points in his last 15 games. The captain has given fans something to hope for, as the “Broad Street postseason this spring. The list would not be complete without mentioning Charlie Manuel, the former manager of the Philadelphia Phillies. Manuel had every opportunity to complain about the way he ing its conclusion, but he did not. Surely Santa will remember a modest man who gave Philadelphia fans the thrill of a World since 1980. Remember the timeless saying, “It is not whether you win or lose, it is how you play the game.” What separates the “nice” players from the talented players is the ability to give back, be a team player and never complain despite the challenges encountered. And that is the real meaning of the holidays.

Girls Hockey



























Boys Hockey



Girls Squash









Boys Squash

*All updates as of Dec.12

Andy Backstrom/The SPOKE

Flyers from a dismal start to the season is captain, Claude Giroux. When most thought that the Flyers were already out


This is the time of the year when kids begin to create their own Christmas lists and Santa starts to weigh the worthy against the questionable. Likewise, athletes in the sports world can be judged as either naughty or nice based on their actions and performance. In this holiday

recently Richie Incognito has come out in the open as a professional bully. The Miami Dolphins offensive lineman was alleged by his teammate, Jonathan Martin, to have engaged in racial and physical hazing. Incognito did not know when to quit. Rookie hazing is common in professional sports, but Santa is not likely to overlook it this year. The players that have embodied the holiday spirit while giving back to others are numerous, but a few stand out from the crowd. As Philadelphia natives, we have all noticed the unbelievable consistency and talent that Nick Foles has brought to the Eagles this season. He had thrown 19 touchdown passes without a single interception. Foles has rejuvenated the city, and has given Eagles fans what they have been looking for since Donovan McNabb was in his prime. Even a city whose fans are known to throw snowballs at Santa recognizes a nice guy. Another Philadelphian that has brought back the


Biogenesis of America clinic, Anthony Bosch. Major League Baseball has assessed a 65-game suspension to Braun and a 211game suspension to Rodriguez. Braun has already served his suspension and is remorseful for his unprofessional conduct. Santa m a y cut him some slack. Rodriguez, on the other hand, appealed his suspension and is now facing the reality of sitting on the bench for the next two New Years. It appears that he will have some major resolutions to make if he is to play the game again. Finally, m o s t


Andy Backstrom Sports Columnist

also facing a civil lawsuit that claims that he shot another man in the face outside of a Miami strip club, while attending the University of Florida. After coming so close to winning a Super Bowl with Tom Brady and company in 2012, H e r nandez appears to have thrown his career and life away in record time. In baseball action, Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers and Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees have been suspended for their use of performanceenhancing drugs this past season. They were part of a Biogenesis program that was founded and led by the owner of the




Turner brothers share the net for ’Stoga ice hockey

Courtney Kennedy Co-Sports Editor While the typical athlete relies on their coach and friends on the team for encouragement and motivation, senior Andrew Turner and freshman Luke Turner have an additional source of inspiration on the ’Stoga boys’ ice hockey team— each other. For Andrew and Luke Turnthe starting and backup goalies on the ’Stoga varsity ice hockey team, the brothers have used their sibling relationship to help ice this season. Although both have played hockey for years, ever played on the same team. After seeing a Philadelphia Flyers game when Andrew was in kindergarten, the family became hooked on ice hockey. Although no one else in the family had played the sport, Andrew was signed up for ice hockey only days after seeing little kids playing on the ice during intermission. A few years later, younger brother Luke was inspired to start playing because of his brother’s experiences in the sport.

“I’ve just always looked up to my brother and I wanted to do everything he did,” Luke said. “It’s been really fun [being his backup goalie] because every practice he makes me a better goalie. He gives me tips and it has been really helpful.” Stepping into his job as the older brother, Andrew has tried to become a role model and leader for his younger sibling, especially on the ice this season, making himself more aware of his leadership role on the team in the process. “Being a senior in general and especially having him on the team, you just have to watch yourself a little more, because you know that he looks up to everything that you do,” Andrew said. “You just have to make sure that you set the leadership role at all times and you have to be careful of your actions a lot more.” As a senior member of the team, Andrew has tried to become a leader for his younger pointers and motivation in games and practices. I’ll get on his butt a little bit. I give him pointers and I try to teach him things,” Andrew said.

Courtesy Brenda Carpenter Photography

Brothers senior Andrew Turner and freshman Luke Turner are goalies for the ’Stoga boys’ ice hockey team. Andrew is the starting goalie while Luke is his older brother’s backup goalie. “There are some downsides. We same position allows them to me. We kind of teach each other, do butt heads sometimes [...] if share advice and pointers with give each other pointers and he’s playing badly and I give him each other, and it is easier for motivate each other to work a pointer, he might not take it them to support and encourage harder.” that well, but if he’s playing re- each other as family members Overall, both brothers have ally well, then it will go better.” both on the ice and at home. enjoyed the experience of sharHowever, the learning re“Since he’s a goalie, he thinks ing a team with their sibling. lationship goes both ways. An- like a goalie and he can give me drew says that having a fellow pointers on the way home from been a cool experience. I like games,” Andrew said. “In games, having him on the team,” Luke brothers, because playing the he supports me and motivates said. “It’s a great time.”

COMMITMENT CORNER Lauren Banner School: Tufts University Sport: Squash Grade: 12 Why Tufts University? “It has all of the programs I want, and it has a really awesome squash team. All of the girls on it are really nice.”

Sam Friedman and Chris Brady

School: Lafayette College Sport: Lacrosse Position: Midfielders Grade: 11 Why Lafayette? “It’s a really good school academically and the coaching staff is really good with the team. They really embrace the team aspect over there and that’s the type of atmosphere that I can’t wait to be a part of.”

Why Lafayette? “The kids there right now were really welcoming, and are just a bunch of great guys. They have a great team over there and I can’t wait to be a part of the squad. I’m really excited to start having some fun over there.”


INSIDE: Senior fencer

In Attack Mode

See an extended photo gallery at

Junior Richard Fitzgerald (left) and senior Will Klinger (right) scrimmage during squash practice on Dec. 6th.

Noah Levine/The SPOKE

The Spoke December 2013  

The December 2013 issue of The Spoke. Cover: What's in a name?