Page 1





By Lavi Ben-Dor, Allison Kozeracki & Simran Singh Co-Editors-in-Chief & Managing Editor Contributing Reporters: Suproteem Sarkar, Yuge Xiao, Mary Mei, Paula Miller, Meagan O’Rourke & Jerry Zhu

Simran Singh/The SPOKE


he worst winter storm in PECO’s history swept through the five-county area in the early-morning hours of Feb. 5 and shut down Tredyffrin-Easttown schools from Feb. 5-7—during a winter season that added four school days to the end of the year and cancelled the Presidents Day holiday. This year, T/E students will only attend school for 179 of the 180 days required by the state. At a special school board meeting on Feb. 10, the school board approved measures to maintain students’ original spring break after discussions with Harrisburg officials. By state law, school districts can seek exceptions to the 180 day school year requirement through what are known as Act 80 days, which include activities such as parent-teacher meetings, curriculum planning and teacher inservices, and count those days toward the 180 day requirement even if students are not present during those days. At the meeting, the school board ap-

proved the plan to not reschedule the days missed as a result of Nika and instead add three Act 80 inservices for teachers on April 14 and June 27 and 30, thus keeping the number of teacher days for the year at 191 while decreasing the number of student days to 179. In addition, since the original school calendar had two school days more than the required amount, up to two more snow days could take place afterward without needing to be made up. According to deputy director of emergency management for Chester County Robert Kagel, the timing of the storm and the amount of ice it brought contributed to the great number of school closings. “This season has been fairly average, with around 30-36 inches of snowfall. The problem with this snowfall was the ice,” Kagel said. “The impact on school districts was more drastic because of the timing.” Winter storm Nika left hundreds of thousands of homes without power, downed power lines all across the area and closed 600 roads in the region.


Continued on p. 4

Berwyn, PA

Courtesy Jonathan Yu

(Above) Berwyn Fire Company lieutenant Evan Brazunas and firefighter Josh Lichman set up cots inside Valley Forge Middle School. The middle school served as a local shelter last Wednesday night.




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 Staff: 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


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.

Contact Us

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


New 3D printer adds dimension to design classes

Yuge Xiao Convergence Editor

A black, rectangular machine sits in a corner of Room 203, a blue glow emanating from a light under the plastic top cover. Inside, a nozzle moves rapidly around and leaves behind a thin sheet of material. Layer by layer, an object finally emerges: a trumpet mouthpiece. This black box is the MakerBot Replicator 2X, a threedimensional (3D) printer that melts plastic and pushes it through a 1.75 millimeter wide nozzle, much like a hot glue gun. The device is controlled by an internal computer that reads a 3D design file and creates a product based on the programming. Technology Education teacher Noah Austin ordered the printer at the beginning of the school year for his Computer Aided Drafting and Design classes (CAD), and received it Jan. 2. He hopes to use the printer for his Engineering Technology course as well. “My CAD class next semester will do an activity at the end of our mechanical CAD section and design a product,” Austin said. “We might even do a conjunction project where the Engineering class comes up with the idea, marketing and packaging for it, then the CAD class will draw it up, print it and bring it to life.” Junior Jack Zabinski, who took CAD last semester and worked intensively on the printer with Austin, enjoys the

Yuge Xiao/The SPOKE

Simple objects such as nuts and bolts were printed from Conestoga’s new 3D printer. Technology Education teacher Noah Austin received the printer Jan. 2, and hopes to use it for Computer Aided Drafting and Design and Engineering Technology classes. machine’s ability to transform a file to a tangible item. “It’s cool to be able to design something on the computer and then see it come out as an actual, physical thing,” Zabinski said. “You can create and put pieces together and make [the final product] a working thing that it isn’t on the computer.” For Austin, the printer has been manageable, and aside from what one may think, not complicated to use. “The printer has been fairly easy to use. Out of the box, it basically sets itself up,” Austin said. “As far as printing what you have already drawn, it’s extremely easy. They have a free software that comes with it that can be downloaded onto any machine, Mac or PC.” The software converts the

Save the date: upcoming events in community FEB

14 FEB

AASU Culture Day





Stay updated with


1000 Cranes Project’s coffee house event, Paperhearts, will be held at Tredyffrin Library on Feb. 14 at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $4.


3D design file into a format that the printer can read. The MakerBot can run with a computer hooked up to it or print from an inserted SD card. Although using the printer is straightforward, Austin said he had encountered design problems with the end products. “We made a pencil clip to go on a three ring binder, and the first run of it we went with a too tight of a tolerance around the pencil, so it was actually breaking the pencils before they would clip in,” Austin said. “We realized that we needed the [diameter of the holder] to be bigger, and that was as easy as going back to the file, changing that file, re-exporting it with the software and printing it back out again.”

Zabinski also noticed issues such as warping and the difficulty in removing the bottom of the object from the platform it was created on. As a result, the past few weeks have been a cycle of doing and redoing. While the printer at ’Stoga has only been used to print simple objects such as nuts and bolts, Lego bricks and cookie cutters, other printers in the industry print anything from car parts and shoes to steak and heart valves. Austin believes that this new 3D technology will revolutionize the processes of manufacturing and consuming. “What’s nice about MakerBot is [the company’s] goal is to get 3D printers into everyone’s homes. So in the future, instead of going into the store to buy a case for your iPhone, you download the file, you print out the case. You own the file, you own the case, and if the case breaks? Just print another one,” Austin said. He adds, “It’s all kind of futuristic at this point, we don’t know what we can or cannot print out from this thing, but I think this is totally going to change the way we consume goods.” Zabinski also said that 3D printer technology will allow goods to be more easily accessed. “I think it’s going to make things much more accessible to everyone,” Zabinski said. “If the printer prices keep coming down, more and more people are going to get it and you’ll just be able to see something and then print it at your house instead of going out or buying

The African-American Student Union hosts its Culture Day on Feb. 28. The event features food and activities of African-American origin.

Spring Musical

’Stoga Theatre presents “Thoroughly Modern Millie” from March 5-8. Tickets sales and show times are online at

Career Week

From March 11-13, local professionals will visit ’Stoga to speak about their professions. Students should sign-up for sessions the week before.

Sophie Bodek/The SPOKE

Junior Martin Dorsey takes a shot at the varsity boys basketball game v. Garnet Valley on Jan. 31. The Pioneers won 47-36. More: Top 5 Winter Olympic events to watch Satisfaction Guaranteed: Facebook Etiquette

o , f y s . z o r

n y t s d . t e s r n t e ”

h d r s s

d d s y r -

s s

s I , , ”




Alumna finds success as show debuts on Comedy Central Lavi Ben-Dor Co-Editor-in-Chief 2002 Conestoga alumna Abbi Jacobson had been working on acting in, writing and shooting a YouTube web series called “Broad City” with her friend Ilana Glazer for more than a year when their manager suggested in 2011 that they consider transforming the web series into a TV show. The two wrote a 30-minute pilot episode, reached out to actress and “Parks and Recreation” star Amy Poehler and invited her to star in the finale of the web series’s second season. Afterward, they pitched the idea of making the series a show to her and asked her to be an executive producer. To their delight, she said yes—and Jacobson and Glazer began the process of turning their web series into a show. Jacobson now stars in and serves as an executive producer for “Broad City,” which began airing on Jan. 22 and runs every Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. on Comedy Central. The ten-episode show features two women in their twenties, Abbi and Ilana, and follows their adventures in New York City. Jacobson said that seeing her show air on television has been a “surreal” experience. “It’s pretty crazy and awesome. I think it’s still this unbelievable thing to me where I’m constantly, like, ‘Is this really happening?’ I was watching it on TV and I keep feeling like I put it on a DVD on my TV but it’s not,” Jacobson said. “It’s probably exactly how you would imagine it to be—it’s just constant disbelief that it’s actually happening.”

count as an English elective, and I think that the more creative the class, the more I enjoyed it,” Jacobson said. “I managed to have a really fun time but also start to figure out where my interests were, which is awesome.” Jacobson’s passion for art led her to attend the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, where she majored in general fine arts and minored in video. Although she mainly focused on art, her experiences making videos pushed her toward an interest in acting. When she was a senior there, she decided to move to New York City after graduation and pursue acting, so she decided to attend the Atlantic Acting Conservatory. From there, she joined the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, where she befriended Glazer, the only other girl in the independent improvisation team the two participated in. “We were just really good friends—we just had this friendship that was just different than with a lot of my friends,” Jacobson said. “We kind of agreed to disagree, and we argued, but it wouldn’t be a big deal, and it was just this funny dynamic. In the fall of 2009, we both came to a place where we wanted to be creating material for ourselves, and we were just sitting someplace one day and were like, ‘Why don’t we just do it about us? Why don’t we make it about this dynamic in our friendship, and we can exaggerate ourselves and we can have fun with stuff we think is funny in New York City.’” The two started writing the show in late 2009 and aired the first season of the web series

Acting “lets you live out your craziest sides of yourselves and maybe also explore a vulnerable side of yourself that maybe you don’t show all the time.” -Alumna Abbi Jacobson Jacobson’s road to success in the acting business wasn’t straightforward. At Conestoga, she was heavily involved in the studio art program; the most experience she had with acting was serving as a host of Junior Cabaret. She said that her time at ’Stoga was very enjoyable. “I had a really good high school experience. I had a really great group of friends, and I felt like there was enough classes that I was really interested in—there were starting to be some cool, offbeat English classes that would

through the first half of 2010. The two produced a second season in the first half of 2011, and both seasons received positive feedback from Jacobson’s and Glazer’s viewers and colleagues. “In the beginning, it was just one foot in front of the other, and as it progressed, we got really serious about it, and we had tons

Promotional photos for “Broad City”

2002 ’Stoga graduate Abbi Jacobson and co-star Ilana Glazer pose for a promotional photo for their Comedy Central show “Broad City.” Jacobson and Glazer started the show as a webseries, which was picked up as a series co-produced by “Parks & Recreation” star Amy Poehler. of people in the New York comedy community help us, people directed it, edited it, did sound for us, people obviously acted in it. We would post it and then we would get such a good reaction from our community, which is like maybe a couple hundred people in New York, that we really valued their comedic taste,” Jacobson said. “We would share it, and it was just getting some traction. If you get a little taste of people liking what you’re doing, I think that that’s enough to [motivate] you to keep doing it.” Jacobson said that her favorite part of acting is getting to explore herself while experiencing things she wouldn’t normally do. “It’s one of the most fun things you can do, in terms of when you’re doing comedic roles, you get to live out anything that you really can’t do in real life,” she said. “I think that’s something we do a lot on ‘Broad City’: we react in ways we might not because we have to temper ourselves, or we get to go on adventures that we’re too afraid to do in real life. It lets you live out your craziest sides of yourselves and maybe also explore a vulnerable side of yourself that maybe you don’t show all the time.” Although Jacobson enjoys getting to play roles with personalities different from her own, her character on “Broad City,” Abbi, serves as an “exaggerated version” of Jacobson, and the two share many traits, such as a Main Line upbringing. “Everything we write about is

based on basically our lives, so every situation I draw from, it’s from how I grew up,” Jacobson said. “One of the jokes that we do is that Abbi is really into Bed Bath & Beyond, since my mom used to work at the Bed Bath & Beyond in town. In [Abbi’s] room, it’s got photos of me in high school with all my high school friends.” Jacobson said her experiences have made her appreciate the importance of utilizing the resources her community offered her. “It’s never too early to start doing what you really want to do. Yeah, there’s lots of

homework and stuff, but if you’re really interested in something that might not be in school, there’s ways to incorporate that into your work that takes place at ’Stoga. If you want to be a writer, I’m sure your English teacher would love to know that and maybe could gear your work in a little bit of a better direction into what you want to do,” Jacobson said. “I think we’re really lucky we went to a school like this—a really great school [where] they give you a lot of opportunity to find what you’re interested in, and my advice would be take advantage of it.”

Broad City Lavi Ben-Dor and Sophie Bodek/ The SPOKE

Stars 2002 ’Stoga alumna Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer Started out as a web series, aired in 2010-2011 Picked up by Comedy Central, runs Wednesdays at 10:30 Features exaggerated versions of Jacobson and Glazer having adventures in NYC “We were having so much fun doing it, and [when] you find yourself in this productive role, and it’s actually fun, and it’s like, ‘Why would you stop doing it?’”




Widespread power outages hit Tredyffrin, drive many to leave homes Continued from p. 1 On Wednesday morning, more than 90 percent of Tredyffrin residents were out of power, according to PECO. District schools also lost power, extending the school cancellations for several days after the storm had passed. An announcement from PECO said that “schools are not considered critical care facilities unless they are used as emergency shelters.” Valley Forge Middle School, although its power had not been fully restored, was converted into an emergency shelter Feb. 5 after the storm. Michael Baskin, EMS Captain at Berwyn Fire Company and a video production contractor for T/E, said that the fire company worked with district administrators to create the impromptu shelter. “Once we knew there was not going to be school in session the following day, the school district was able to provide somebody to let people into VFMS. So we did go down there and we provided about 20 cots, blankets, things like that,” Baskin said. “The power was actually out at that school—it was out at all of the schools—but it was still warm. They still had heat; they still had some backup power. It was a pretty temporary solution, because we couldn’t get people to some of the county shelters that were set up.”

Fleeing the Freeze

Some families who lost power took refuge by finding other lodgings, either flooding hotels in the region, staying with friends, or heading out of the area altogether. On Friday, hotel staff at the Desmond Hotel in Malvern said that around 70 to 80 families, the majority of guests, had checked in because of power outages. The hotel had been booked for the last three days, and all of the hotels in Malvern were full as well. The Embassy Suites Philadelphia-Valley Forge in Wayne, who were sold out during the outages, estimated that 120 families checked in because of the outages. About another 50 families checked into the Courtyard Philadelphia Valley Forge/ King of Prussia in Wayne, and another 40 stayed at the Homewood Suites in Malvern leaving them at full occupancy. Senior Richard Bell stayed at the Renaissance Philadelphia Hotel, and took advantage of its indoor pool, after his home lost power. “I was relieved when I found

out we didn’t have school Friday, because we would have had to travel 30 to 45 minutes just to get to school,” Bell said. “Going four days without power was a horrible situation and I’m glad to have my power restored. This storm gave me headaches.” Others decided to leave the region. After losing power and struggling to find a hotel room, senior Brian Greco and his family headed down to Maryland to escape the aftermath of the storm. “With no heat, lights or WiFi and all places booked in a 30mile radius, we figured, let’s head south,” Greco said. “We headed for a favorite destination in Maryland and enjoyed a mini getaway and change of scenery.” Senior Nicole Lindsay returned home to an unpleasant surprise in her 75-gallon aquarium. “We went to New Jersey for the week because we had no heat, and when we came back, all our fish were dead,” Lindsay said. “It was awful.” Senior George Stern had better luck with his cold-blooded pet lizard. “When we lost power, the lizard’s body got extremely cold, and I thought she had passed

“This season has been fairly average, with around 30-36 inches of snowfall. The problem with this snowfall was the ice.” -Chester County Deputy Director of Emergency Management, Robert Kagel

on to lizard heaven,” Stern said. “When power returned she was miraculously resurrected with the aid of a heat lamp and hot water bottle.” Some managed to stay with friends or family who had not lost power, such as senior Evan Rubenstein, who stayed at his father’s house. His mother’s house was still out of power at press time. “I went back to my mom’s house on Sunday, the power came back for three hours, and then went out again,” Rubenstein said. Senior Annie Xu hosted several of her neighbors at her house. “We helped about four families—we had them all come to our house. We have a bunch of spare rooms; we were fortunate enough to have power, so we just decided to help others out,” Xu said.

Sophie Bodek/The SPOKE

(Top) The Van Leer cabin is surrounded by some of the many branches that came down around the school. Six hundred roads were closed across the five-county area. (Right) Senior Luke Turanski grabs two handfuls of snow during a snowball fight in the courtyard on Feb. 4. The fight was later broken up by administrators. (Bottom) A Tredyffrin-Easttown snow plow clears snow in front of Conestoga. One third of PECO’s customer’s lost power, marking the worst winter storm in the company’s history. Sophie Bodek/The SPOKE

Simran Singh/The SPOKE




Winter storm Nika wreaks havoc, cuts into calendar Continued from p. 4

Compensating for Cuts

This year’s snow days are the most since the 1993-94 school year, when students had 14 school closings. That year, midterms and spring break were cancelled, the governor of Pennsylvania forgave two days and teachers were forced to come in on two Saturdays and ended the year on June 30, when they stayed until 5 p.m. The process behind closing schools proves to be a complex and lengthy one. District administrators must examine a variety of factors including weather forecasts, road conditions and possible delays that may jeopardize the delicately balanced district schedule. Tredyffrin-Easttown School District Superintendent Daniel Waters and business manager Arthur McDonnell are mainly responsible for deciding whether or not to bring students to school. The decision is “typically based upon the information given by the township; we get the best resources we can from the [Tredyffrin township] Road Master and police to determine where roads are closed which may impede bus

routes. The safety of the students is our primary goal,” Waters said. The eight snow days students in the district have had so far this year have taken their toll, as teachers have lost class time, some of which can only be made up at the end of the year. AP Physics I and II teacher Robert DeSipio said that the snow days have hurt his ability to prepare students for the AP exams, which are taken simultaneously across the country and therefore cannot be postponed.

“Students are going to have to learn the material in a shorter amount of time ... so it puts all of us under more stress—both teachers and students.” -AP Physics teacher Robert Desipio

“When [snow days back] us up, we have no choice but to adjust what we’re doing, so basically I’m going to have to do things like not quiz and test in certain units, [and give] work packets instead. Students are going to have to learn the material in a shorter

Peer Mediation prepares for Unity Week Maggie Chen Staff Reporter Walking through the hallways at ’Stoga next week, students may notice posters dangling from the ceiling and bright banners posted across walls. These additions to the school building were made by Peer Mediation to bolster a week of spirit; Unity Week. Unity Week will run from Feb. 17-21. The event will include spirit days such as Peace Leader Day Monday, Twin Tuesday, Win it Wednesday, Thunderous Thursday and Fun Friday, all organized by Peer Mediation. Peer Mediator Laura Zhang, who was a part of the preparation team for Unity Week, explained the goal behind the event. “Peer Mediation’s main goal is to promote a positive school climate. We do that by unity events, and this is one of them,” Zhang said. “We usually focus on a certain idea each time; this time it’s peace and unity.” Peer Mediator Megan Wilson,

who also worked on preparing for the event, discussed the improvements to Unity Week, such as brightening the peace leader posters in the halls. “We’re going through all of the posters and adding more color and better pictures to really make the posters pop in the hallway. We’re also adding [more than] 100 new peace leaders to the regular mix,” Wilson said. “We’re hoping to see more interest in the true meaning behind Unity Week and respect the peace leaders who helped make the world what it is today.” In an effort to increase participation in Unity Week, Peer Mediation also planned an event to involve all grades. With all the hard work put into Unity Week, Wilson expects the event to be successful. “The improvements we’re making this year will really make this year’s Unity Week stand from those of years past. Although it’s a lot of work, it really pays off with the end result,” Wilson said. “I think that with all of the preparations we are making for the big event, we will

amount of time with less repetition and practice, which is never as ideal as teachers would like to have, so it puts all of us under more stress—both teachers and students,” DeSipio said. However, the school closures have impacted more than just academics. Preparations for this year’s musical, “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” which runs March 5-8, have been set back due to the cancelled practices. Stage crew members came in on Sunday, Feb. 9 to make up for lost time. Stage crew member junior Jacob Borislow said he did not feel burdened by the Sunday practice. “It helped us get the work done and also we had full energy because we didn’t have school that day. I actually preferred it that way, since I could get a lot more done,” Borislow said. Junior Juliann Susas said that while she is concerned about AP exam preparation, she is relieved to have spring break back. “I know that everyone’s going to have to squeeze in the curriculum, and I just feel really stressed out and unprepared for all my AP exams,” Susas said. “I actually had some college [visit] plans. I think I’m going to the West Coast, so it actually helps out.”

Yuge Xiao/The SPOKE

A fallen tree blocks Berwyn-Paoli Rd. near the Upper Main Line YMCA. Six hundred roads in the five-county area were closed.

Community celebrates MLK Day

Nour Elkassabany & Camille Kurtz Staff Reporters

SAFE honors “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (MLK Day), originally recognizing the efforts of Dr. King to create a free environment for all Americans, has evolved to become a day of giving back. Individuals across the country are able to sustain Dr. King’s legacy through service projects benefiting their fellow community members. Members of Student Art for Everyone (SAFE) were among those who showed their support for the community on MLK Day. The students visited the Eastern State Penitentiary on Jan. 19 and 20 to aid a project organized by The Art Sanctuary, a Philadelphia group devoted to bringing the community together through black art. The event focused on Dr.

King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” a setting paralleled by the Penitentiary. Children and parents heard readings of the letter and the club members later helped the children construct art projects inspired by the letter. The activities included drawing problems in the world along with possible solutions, as well as examples of civil disobedience. “Obviously, [he] did some amazing things and I think that it’s important for us to remember that we can do the small things, compared to him, that are important to our community,” SAFE president senior Sam Sedor said.

T/E Middle School donates casseroles to Bethesda project At Tredyffrin-Easttown Middle School, students banded together to make casseroles over their break, and then brought them in to school the morning of Thursday, Jan. 23. Parent and student volunteers then collected and distributed the casseroles to The Bernadine Center, Bethesda Project, servicing those in need in Philadelphia, Wayne Presbyte-

rian Church, St. David’s Church, and Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church. The drive was originally started in the 2004-05 school year as part of the “Lives well Lived” project, in which members of the program wanted to participate in a service project for MLK Day. Since then, students have made and contributed more than 2,000 casseroles. “There’s a lot of support for us,” Ryle said. “The seventh and the eighth grade basketball teams get together as a team to do it, as a service project, which is really good. We’d love if more teams would do that.” Eileen Ryle, a parent volunteer in charge of organizing the drive, is excited by the positive way in which the drives allow students and parents to celebrate the holiday. “The TEMS casserole drive reflects [MLK day] as it gives students and their families the opportunity to work together on a service project that will provide a warm meal to people in need in our community,” Ryle said.“MLK Day has become a day of service; it is a way to honor Dr. King and to continue his life’s work through community service.”




Trashing bad habits: students encouraged to be eco-conscious Emma Purinton Staff Reporter

stances under which students may see recyclables being thrown out by the janitors stead of recycled. After eating lunch in the large “Generally, if there’s too courtyard and walking to the much trash in the recycling bin trash cans, students’ attention it just gets thrown in the trash. will now be drawn to new, larger And a lot of students say, ‘We recycling bins, or so members don’t recycle anyway,’ because of Greening ’Stoga Task Force they might have seen a cushope. todian throw recycling in the Prior to purchasing the new trash, but that would be if it’s recycling bins, the club tried to contaminated with trash,” said make their own signs to clearly Greening ’Stoga adviser and distinguish the old recycling environmental science teacher bins from trash cans and to draw Kevin Strogen. students’ attention to the bins, Strogen noted that trash conwith little success. tamination can be prevented if Although serving the same students are aware of what can function as the old bins, the and cannot be recycled at school three new bins are larger and and at home. Papers, including more identifiable than the old newspapers and magazines, ones, and have a spot to stack aluminum and tin cans and lunch trays. glass are all recyclable. Plastics These new recycling bins one through seven, commonly were the club’s initiative and in the form of soda and water were paid for by the school in a bottles, milk jugs, food storage continuing effort to encourage containers, plastic utensils and Conestoga students to make use “clam shell” containers like the of the various recycling oppor- ones at the salad bar are also tunities throughout the school. recyclable. However, there are “We aren’t involved in the exceptions to these guidelines. actual process [of recycling], Plastic seven in the form of Styso we’re just trying rofoam and polystyrene, to raise awareness such as the disposable and make it easier trays that are available for students to do in the cafeteria, are not it right. That’s our recyclable. The glass in goal,” Greening light bulbs and metal ’Stoga member and scraps such as paper senior Eric Marclips also cannot be golis said. recycled. At the center Sophomore of the effort to Sara Tohamy said “I think organizations make recycling that she often witand clubs at the school nesses confusion more common at Conestoga regarding recymake an effort to be is clearing up cling in the cafmore conscious and to eteria. misconcepmake the student body tions that many “A lot of times students have I think people more conscious, but I about the recyaren’t really aware think just overall recy- of what they’re cling process at cling doesn’t come school. throwing away so “What I hear I’ll see, like milk naturally.” from people is bottles and water -Sophomore Sara Tohamy that we don’t bottles and other really recycle, things that should but we do,” asbe recycled in the sistant principal normal trash can,” Patrick Boyle said. Tohamy said. “I think that people see someHowever these students may times that the cans are lined be onto something. According with trash bags, so they see to Strogen normal recycling [custodians] wrapping the trash patterns should be altered when bags up and putting them in the food is involved. bin with others they’re throw“Really the rule of thumb is if ing out. Actually what they do it has any food waste on it, it’s is keep it separate. They just not recyclable. So a pizza box is, keep it in [trash bags] because but if it’s a pizza box with cheese sometimes people put bottles and grease on it, it’s not. The of liquid in and it comes loose.” recycling companies generally However, there are circum- say, at home especially, if you

Victoria Stern/The SPOKE

Custodian Katrina Hall empties recycling seperately from the regular garbage. The recycling will be disposed of and sorted seperately from regular trash. have something, like a jar of something that you’re willing Strogen said that although pasta sauce, you should rinse it to do on your own. And I’m very recycling is a start towards ecoout first, before putting it in the proud of what our students have friendliness, further steps must recycling bin,” Strogen said. been able to do to educate each be taken to make Conestoga Although it may seem like a other about that.” truly green. lot of rules to follow, Boyle said Concerning the students’ ef“People think that recycling that recycling at Conestoga has forts towards recycling, Tohamy is the best thing that you can do. actually gotten simpler over said that it may be difficult to People say, ‘I’m green because time. make improvements in eco- I recycle my water bottle every “It has become less difficult to consciousness for the future. day.’ Well, recycling is good, but collect recyclables. For example, “As a student body I don’t it’s far better to not use a bottle there was a time when you had think we are as conscious as we in the first place, so reusing a to put cans in one thing, plastic should or can be. I think organi- bottle is good. Recycling is the in another and all that, now our zations and clubs at the school very bottom. It’s better to recyrecycling system allows us to put make an effort to be more con- cle than to throw it in the trash, it all into one container,” Boyle scious and to make the student but there are so many other said. “we call that ‘comingling.’” body more conscious, but I think things that you could’ve done In addition to encouraging just overall recycling doesn’t that are better than recycling,” general recycling by students, come naturally,” Tohamy said. Strogen said. the school takes part in the recycling effort by recycling ink toners used for the printers. Greening ’Stoga will also host an electronics drive, for items including computers, cell phones, digital cameras and iPods this year. However, recycling must also extend outside of the Conestoga Do Recycle Don’t Recycle setting. Boyle said that there is only so much that the school and clubs can do for the recycling effort. Paper Styrofoam “I think this is a situation Newspapers Polystyrene where students have to educate Magazines Disposable Trays themselves and each other, because if I said to a student, Aluminum Cans, Tin & Glass Light Bulb Glass ‘Recycle that can!’ it doesn’t hold Most Plastics Labelled 1-7 Scrap Metals anything,” Boyle said. “But if Soda and Water Bottles Paper clips you’re sitting next to your friend Milk Jugs saying, ‘Make sure you put that in the recycling bin,’ it carries Food Containers (Clamshells) more weight. It’s not something Plastic Utensils Graphics: Michael Zhang/The SPOKE being demanded of you, it’s

Recycling Do’s and Don’ts




‘Chess fever’ hits ‘Stoga

Team expands outside of club setting Suproteem Sarkar & Michael Hong News Editor & Staff Reporter A long-term and always- popular after school activity on Mondays and Thursdays, the Chess team has expanded to new levels across Conestoga this school year. One hundred and six players comprise the chess team’s competitive ladder this year—many more people than can fit in room 207 during a regular chess meeting— and students have compensated by playing during their free periods, starting new after-school meetings and competing online. “What I really think is great about [the] chess season this year is how much the group has grown since the time that I was a freshman,” junior Narahari Bharadwaj said. “I remember back then it was not nearly as big. Now, the organization is much bigger, and a lot of people are playing chess. It’s like chess fever has taken over the school.” Bharadwaj, Conestoga’s topranked chess player for the past two years, and the winner of the last two annual intramural February Madness chess tournaments, said he started Friday practices for highly competitive players so they could compete in a less crowded environment. “This year we have an extremely strong team—we have a team that’s extremely deep compared to the other teams that we’ve faced in the Main Line Chess League,” Bharadwaj said. “We’ve got really really solid players up at the top.” Bharadwaj and the rest of the top five compete against other schools in the Main Line Chess League, and the team is currently 3-0, with victories over Devon Prep, Harriton and Marple Newtown. Bharadwaj said he is looking to capitalize on the team’s talent at the Pennsylvania State Scholastic Chess Championships March 8 and will try to achieve Conestoga’s first Nationals berth since 2006. The team has also started a Facebook group this year that organizes online tournaments on Junior Dan Xu, ranked seventh on the ladder, plays online with Bharadwaj and most of the top 10 players. He said that the ability to practice online and during free periods helps him improve his game, and he is aiming to move up the ladder to be one of the top five students that competes against other schools. “For me [playing online] is a lot about trying different things,

catching people off guard,” Xu said. “It’s always good to have practice, so I find it fun to play chess. I don’t know if everybody’s like that, but practicing outside [of regular practices], during free period or something like that is fun, relaxing.” The youngest player in the top 10 is freshman David Chen, who is ranked third on the ladder. Chen also plays online to enjoy a different experience and practice against different styles and skill levels. Online chess has “taught me a lot, just being able to constantly play online, learn the openings and just play,” Chen said. Although the team boasts several competitive members this year, Bharadwaj encourages any interested students, even those with no chess experience, to attend a meeting.

“The organization is much bigger and a lot of people are playing chess. It’s like chess fever has taken over the school.”

-Junior Narahari Bharadwaj

“I would say by all means, definitely join the club,” Bhardwaj said. “You don’t need to know anything, really, to be in the club. A lot of the people are new to chess, and they learn the game really quickly, and we welcome everyone to the club.” The chess team sponsor, social studies teacher David Zimmerman, said he attracts members by creating a lax and enjoyable atmosphere during chess team meetings, playing music and serving candy and other snacks during practices. “There’s some sugar involved,” Zimmerman said. “Like bees to honey, [students] come wherever there’s sugar involved.” Zimmerman said that trump card for getting new members, however, is the appeal of chess to the student body. “The game itself is the best salesperson,” Zimmerman said. “People play and they like the game. If people are competitive, they want to win. They want to play more and get better.” Xu said he contributes his enthusiasm for the game to its competitive nature. “Chess is a sport,” Xu said. “There’s a lot of subtle things you have to pay attention to, just like in professional sports, actual sports. It’s fun to watch. It has you on the edge whenever both you and your opponent are trying to find that one little move that could win you game.”

Suproteem Sarkar/ The SPOKE

Seniors David Zipkin and Justin Niu contemplate their next moves in an impromptu bughouse game during free period. Because 106 students registered for the competitive ladder this year, students have started playing outside of chess team practices.

Sent to the ‘bughouse’ Bughouse chess, a fourplayer, two-on-two chess variant that allows teammates to swap captured pieces, has also taken ‘Stoga by storm. Students play during Monday and Thursday practices, but also play the game during free periods and lunchtime. “I enjoy it. Not saying I’m that good at it, but it’s pretty fun,” Xu said. “There’s a lot of thinking involved because you have four [sets of] pieces to worry about and you have to rely on your partner.” Chen said that although he enjoys bughouse, he has not played it frequently. “It just throws away all the theory in normal chess because you just randomly plop down pieces, but it’s fun,” Chen said. What you need: -Four spirited players -Two chess boards -Two sets of pieces -Two five-minute chess clocks The rules: -Teammates sit next to each other, facing their opponents -The games begin as regular chess matches -When a player takes a piece, he passes it to his teammate -The teammate can drop the piece anywhere on the board -The game ends when a player takes the opponent’s king, or when time runs out




THE SPOKE Interview by Michael Li, photo and design by Victoria Stern Longtime teacher Trevor Drake certainly knows what is going on in the English department. Along with teaching accelerated American Literature and AP Literature and Composition, Mr. Drake is also the English Department Chair. In this interview, Mr. Drake shares a little about himself, including his experience as a seasoned English teacher, his biggest pet peeve while grading papers, his favorite word, his long-time involvement in theater and a memorable Halloween experience. The Spoke: How long have you been teaching at Conestoga? Trevor Drake: This is my 19th year. TS: In those 19 years, what has been the best about teaching, in general? TD: The best thing is always seeing students learn and grow academically. The other great thing is that every day is different. TS: In grading English papers, what is your biggest pet peeve? TD: Incorrect apostrophe use. Use of an apostrophe to form a plural. TS: As the English Department Chair, do you see any upcoming changes to the curriculum? TD: We always are open to changes in the curriculum; almost every year we drop a book, add a book, change the way we do something. In the past few years, we’ve revised three courses pretty much from top to bottom. In the next couple of years, it will depend on what’s coming up. It will depend on what books are successful and what books we think need to be replaced. TS: Was there a time in your life when you decided to become a teacher? TD: Actually, yes. I think I decided in high school. I did other things along the way, but when I came back to teaching I realized that I actually knew [that I would become a teacher] in ninth grade. TS: So was there some-

thing that pushed you toward being a teacher? TD: I had an English teacher I really liked, and he seemed to be really enjoying his work, and I thought to myself, that that would be a great thing to do for a living. TS: Did you always enjoy English, even as a kid? TD: I did, yes. I’ve always loved stories, I’ve always loved reading them and I’ve always loved taking part in presenting stories on stage. TS: Could you tell us a little about your experiences in theater? TD: I have a master’s in directing, from Carnegie M e l l o n U n i v e rsity, for the stage, and I spent about three years doing professional theater in Pittsburgh and New York, after college and before returning to teaching. My first teaching job was teaching drama and directing plays, and I did that for six years before becoming a full-time English teacher. TS: Could you tell us about your childhood experiences with drama? TD: My high

“Twelfth Night,” so that whetted my interest. I had a terrific English teacher who directed the plays, and interestingly enough was the varsity hockey coach. So he was one

it’s his summary of what life has become for him. He’s at the end of his rope, he’s

e k a r D r o v e Tr

TS: Out of the whole world, where would your dream vacation spot be? TD: Well I’ve never been to Hawaii so I guess I’d have to put Hawaii up there. TS: What was your most memorable experience here at Conestoga? TD: About three years ago on Halloween, all the English teachers dressed in costumes representing me, including a mustache, glasses on a string and a V-neck sweater, which I found hilarious. I treasure “Some days you get the bear, the memory. TS: Can you tell us an inand some days the bear gets you.” teresting fact about yourself that people might not know? “The Wire” TD: I have skydived, with “The Godfather,” parts I & II my son who was 19 years old at the time, in the Poconos. Green TS: Was it your first time? TD: First and last!

of those guys who had an influence on a lot of people in the school, and he was very inspirational. TS: If you weren’t an English teacher, what would you want to do as a job? TD: I would want to be a casting director. TS: Off the top of your h e a d , w h a t ’s t h e m o s t

just about to die himself, and he’s reviewing the importance of life and trying to describe it. This is what he comes up with. TS: If you could talk to any author, living or dead, who would it be? TD: It would have to be Shakespeare. I think he had more important observations about life, expressed more beautifully, than any author I can think of.


Novel: “Beloved” by Toni Morrison Food: Roast Chicken Band: The Beatles Song: “Louise” written by Paul Siebel,

recorded by Leo Kottke and Bonnie Raitt school had a vibrant drama program, and I had the opportunity to take part in several full-length Shakespearian productions as well as other shows. We did things that most high schools don’t do, like “Othello” and



TV Show: Movie: Color:

memorable quote from a book that you’ve read? TD: “[Life] is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” It’s from Macbeth. It’s a speech that Macbeth says over the body of his wife who has just died, and

TS: Is there anything else you like to do in your free time? TD: I like to hike, I like to cycle, I like to ski, I’ve done some building for Habitat for Humanity in various foreign countries, I go to plays, I go to concerts.




‘It feels like a perfect time to dress up like hipsters’ Reporting by Meagan O’Rourke, Staff Reporter Design by Sam Sedor

When the term was coined in the 1940s, “hipsters,” or “hep cats” as they were more commonly called back then, were white jazz fans that followed the emerging African American jazz scene. Since the ’40s, hipsters have established a distinct counter-culture and have continuously challenged mainstream fashion over the years. Today, when someone uses the word hipster, they probably are not referring to a jazz fanatic. Now, society commonly labels hipsters as a stereotypical group of people overly aware of unique fashion, trends and music. In regards to music, hipsters are known to appreciate nonmainstream bands and to steer clear of the pop-music genre. Many people identify hipsters wearing oversized glasses, skinny jeans and vintage inspired clothes. “There is a certain kind of style associated with hipster. Hipster style would be considered sort of grungy or edgy,” said Melissa Lopez, sophomore and co-president of ’Stoga Style, a club celebrating fashion and trends in the community.

Stores like Urban Outfitters and Free People are targeted as hipster style shopping destinations because they sell “big ironic sweaters, crazy shoes, record albums and Polaroid cameras,” according to junior Paulina Freed, who has noticed an increase in hipster fashion at ’Stoga. “I think people just really like the [hipster] clothes especially because Urban Outfitters endorses it,” Freed said, “It’s a really cool style that brings back the seventies and eighties.” Sophomore Adrian Gutierrez-Sanchez’s peers labeled him as a hipster mostly because of his unusual clothing choices, which he describes as “odd, diverse and colorful.” Gutierrez- Sanchez did not know or care about the stereotypical term, hipster, although he has embraced the term after some recent research. Hipster culture “is a movement against the mainstream music and clothing taste. It is set on individuality and looking back on the past, which are both things I enjoy,” Gutierrez-Sanchez said.

In addition to distinct fashion choices, hipsters stereotypically refuse to conform to popular interests or “the mainstream.” Hipsters are thought to live an overall alternative lifestyle, listening to underground music, usually on vinyl and noticing rising bands before they are popular.

“[Hipster culture] is a movement against the mainstream music and clothing taste. It is set on individuality and looking back on the past, which are both things I enjoy.” -Sophomore Adrian Gutierrez-Sanchez

“It is not as much that I have a particular taste in music that one would consider ‘hipster’ because I have the same taste in music as other people. I’m just interested in the bands before [they become popular],

which is why people say they listen to bands before they were cool,” Gutierrez-Sanchez said. Even though others perceive his interests as “hipster,” Gutierrez-Sanchez shakes off the label as many other hipsters do. A reluctance to be labeled may be in part because of an increasingly negative view of hipsters. “Hipster has a bad connotation. It’s someone who’s trying too hard. The original version of it is being yourself,” sophomore and ’Stoga Style copresident Maddie Prachar said. English teacher Ben Smith also theorizes why people would disparage the trend. “Once [people] started using hipster as a term, I suppose they were commenting on the fact that there is something disingenuous about a trend blowing up. Any time it becomes popular, people get snarky about it,” Smith said. However, labeled hipsters are not “upset now, they never called themselves hipsters. [‘Hipster’] is what other people editorialize other folks as,” Smith said. Because no concrete definition for a hipster exists and so

few actual “hipsters” conform to the term, people have developed their own perceptions of the hipster lifestyle. “When I think hipster, I think a 20 something [yearold] kid who lives in Brooklyn and who goes to a lot of shows,” Smith said. On the other hand, Prachar sees the hipster trend as a mindset, rather than a specific lifestyle. “[Being a hipster] is thinking outside the box, with anything, not necessarily just fashion,” Prachar said. “[It’s] waking up and saying, ‘I’m going to try something different today.’” Because of ever-changing styles and trends, the world may never know the true definition of the enigmatic hipster. However, hipsters have evolved into a distinct culture despite the criticism of others, and many have chosen to take pride in their uniqueness. “We should move away from the bad connotation [of hipster] and just celebrate individual style. Hipster fashion doesn’t have to be the big glasses and being edgy; it’s something to be proud of: being yourself,” Prachar said.




’Stoga families serve up traditions at local restaurants Rose Kantorczyk Staff Reporter Junior Ivette Jimenez stands behind a tall, ornately decorated counter at the entrance of Plaza Azteca in King of Prussia. As Latin music plays in the background, she directs customers to tables and jokes around with her co-workers. The atmosphere is easy and comfortable—which makes sense, given Ivette’s family ties to her workplace: Ivette’s father, Jose Jimenez, co-owns and manages Plaza Azteca. Ivette, who currently works at Plaza Azteca as a hostess, finds that one of the best parts of her family’s involvement with the restaurant is her employment. “I’ve always got a job if I need one,” she said. However, both father and daughter agree that being a part of the restaurant business takes an extensive amount of time away from family. Jose often works long hours, spending 12 or 14 hours a day at the restaurant site. “We don’t really spend a lot of time together,” Ivette said.

My family is “asking me if I can work part-time, but if you’re part of the business you can’t be working part-time, you know? You have to be there all the time, checking that things are running good at the restaurant,” Jose said. Freshman Sydney Donaldson and her family are also familiar with the dynamics of the restaurant business. Sydney’s father, Rob Donaldson, is a general partner at 333 Belrose Bar & Grill in Berwyn. While Sydney notes that the long hours can be hard on her family, there are also benefits to the flexible schedule of a business owner. “If we don’t have school one day, my dad is able to drive my brother and I if we need a ride somewhere—he can kind of come and go as he pleases,” Sydney said. Rob takes pride in the fact that he is identified with 333 Belrose. “It’s very gratifying when people come in and have a nice experience, because that’s what it’s about […] I feel very proud of what we’ve done here,” he said. Freshman Hui-yi Kuo’s family is also involved in the restaurant business; her father is a

Rose Kantorczyk/ The SPOKE

Jose Jimenez and his daughter, junior Ivette Jimenez, work together at their familyowned restaurant, Plaza Azteca. manager of Chinese/Japanese restaurant Margaret Kuo’s. Kuo enjoys the benefits of the restaurant business such as constant access to delicious food. “We used to [order] takeout a lot,” Kuo said. “It’s really convenient because my dad can just bring home some food.”

Kuo also has the opportunity to occasionally give feedback on Margaret Kuo’s menu offerings. “Sometimes the chef will have some new dishes, and my dad will have me come in and just try it out,” Kuo said. Similarly, Sydney has also had an impact on the menu of her family’s restaurant. “I’m a very picky eater, so every time I go to Belrose I order chicken fingers,” Sydney Donaldson said. “So recently on the bar menu the chef changed ‘chicken fingers’ and made them ‘Sydney’s Chicken Fingers.’” After experiencing both the good and the bad of the restaurant business, families have mixed opinions on whether or not they would encourage their children to enter the restaurant business. For Jose, the answer is yes. “I want them to be a part of the business maybe someday in the future,” he said. Ivette agrees that she would consider a career in the restaurant field when she is older. “If not a restaurant, then some kind of business, for sure,” she said.

Logos courtesy respective websites

Kuo’s family takes the opposite viewpoint. “My dad doesn’t really want us to [go into the restaurant business] because it’s really hard,” she said. “But I think I’ll work there as a teenager.” Rob believes that his children should keep their options open. “If it’s something they want to do, then they’re welcome to it,” he said. “I’d just like my kids to do what they would like to do.”

New Year, New Seasons: 2014 brings back anticipated TV Emily Klein Features Editor

As we begin 2014, one big question remains: can this season’s TV compare with last year’s? While many shows are starting up again early this year, a few of the most anticipated (in my opinion) are “Downton Abbey” on PBS, “New Girl” on FOX and “Nashville” on ABC. Seasons past left viewers with high expectations, so how will 2014 stack up?

“Downton Abbey” (Spoiler): Following the tragic close of season three, fans begin season four prepared mourn with the Crawley

family after the death of one of their most beloved members. Since the season four premier skips forward six months, viewers bypass the immediate aftermath of Matthew’s death, yet Mary’s all-black wardrobe and lifeless demeanor let viewers know that her healing has barely begun. As Mary’s life is falling apart, Edith’s forges a new relationship with Michael Gregson, a newspaper-man with a secret lunatic wife (Jane Eyre, anyone?). However as the season progresses, serious questions involving estate ownership, continued grief and a horrendous crime at Downton leave viewers searching for any hint of happiness at the Abbey. Matthew’s absence leaves viewers longing for the days before his accident, and despite a few shortlived love interests for Mary, both fans and the widow herself will not be getting over Matthew’s death anytime soon. Why you should watch: Aside from fabulous British accents and glamorous 1920’s fashion, “Downton Abbey” offers viewers a drama more enticing and unexpected than the latest prime time sitcom, with well-developed and lovable characters and romances. Bursts of wit balance out the frequent troubles at Downton, and a peek into the lives of both the landed nobility and their servants never fails to entertain.

“New Girl”: After a November mid-season finale spent testing the strength of the roommates’ relationships, season three starts up again with a monumental choice for Jess to make: to keep teaching or to take a new job at a museum. As her roommates tell their own life stories to help her make her decision, viewers are left laughing up a storm, mostly at the outrageous young versions of Nick, Schmidt and Winston in flashback form. While the majority of the first episode is spent bellied up at the bar where Nick works, the New Girl cast did not disappoint with their humor, and no worries here, Schmidt is just as ridiculous and hysterical as ever. As the season moves forward, many more laughs seem to be in the cards as Coach (the guys’ old roommate)

has moved back to town, bringing with him more laughs and situations. Why you should watch: Although main character Jess is charmingly quirky in her own right, her hilarious roommates make the show. Whether it is Nick acting extra “manly” to prove his relationship with Jess didn’t change him, Winston and Jess bonding over the girliest of hobbies or Schmidt’s never-ending and always-incorrect life advice, the laughs from the baffling situations that the three get themselves into justify the half hour you spent watching.

“Nashville” (Spoiler): A gun shot, a fast-approaching train and two characters lives on the line left viewers on edge after the season

two mid-season finale, and the 2014 premier gave “Nashville” fans the answers they eagerly awaited. After finding out that Will did not actually kill himself, the “Nashville” crew is still wondering why someone tried to kill Teddy, while mourning Peggy’s death at the same time. Backlash from Juliet’s sharp tongue, tension between Scarlett and Gunnar and an almost-relapse of Deacon’s alcoholism provide the expected but intriguing drama that viewers eagerly awaited. And as the trauma from earlier in the season simmers down, downward spirals seem inevitable for both Juliet and Scarlet in upcoming episodes. While most of the first episode was spent answering questions as opposed to creating more drama, Nashville fans know how quickly scandal can boil in Music City, so the 2014 season is not a lost cause yet. Why you should watch: In the cold and snowy winter months, why not take a trip down south to Music City? Aside from the nailbiting drama and steamy romances among the top names of country music, guest appearances from real-life country stars like Kelly Clarkson and Brad Paisley add to the allure of the series. With surprisingly good original music and an impressive cast, “Nashville” is an addictive series.



Garnet, gray and green Students and teachers should strive to be environmentally friendly Contrary to what a certain Muppet would have you believe, it is easy being green. Now, compared to other schools, Conestoga displays an above average level of environmental consciousness. There are recycling bins galore, a number of clubs dedicated to environmental causes and even a greenhouse with a compost bin. But environmental efforts are for naught if people don’t take advantage of them. While there are a number of committed individuals, the majority of people are either unaware or apathetic about the environmental consequences of their actions. Fortunately, there are a number of very simple, easy changes that students and teachers can make to set good examples for their peers and make Conestoga a greener place. Yes, we recognize the irony of a newspaper advocating saving paper. But due to some printer problems earlier this year, even we were forced to digitize certain steps in the publication process and reduce our paper consumption. According to the EPA, paper makes up 40.4 percent of America’s trash, or 71.6 million tons. Once more for emphasis, that’s 71.6 million tons of paper. As a high school, we are woefully dependent on paper. Our

worksheets, tests, quizzes, notebooks and posters all came from trees. Fortunately, with recycling bins in every classroom, double-sided printing and those handy-dandy teacher websites, it’s easier than ever to make a dent in our colossal paper consumption. It should go without saying that papers should be doublesided, when possible. Fortunately, the default printer in the library has been switched to Main 2, which prints double-sided. There’s no excuse not to. Teachers should keep in mind that not every activity needs its own slew of handouts. Many of these papers end up getting shoved into a binder, never again to see the light of day. Some handouts would serve better being posted online, where students can access them anywhere at any time. This also saves the hassle of making and distributing hundreds of copies. If a physical handout is necessary, you can always make a class set to be reused. On a test, if there is a separate answer sheet, test packets can be reused for multiple classes. When it comes to disposing of paper, recycling could not be any easier. Every classroom in Conestoga has one: those big, green, rectangular bins with arrows on them. No, they’re not spare trash cans.

Maggie Chen/The SPOKE

They’re recycling bins, though you’d never be able to tell by looking at their contents— papers, water bottles, tissues and an assortment of trash all thrown together. This may be a result of carelessness, or just well-intentioned attempts at recycling. Either way, if there’s too much other material in a bin, the recyclable material will likely go to waste. Recycling plastic bottles is just as easy as recycling paper. There are plenty of brightly colored recycling bins throughout the cafeteria and courtyard for your convenience. Placing something in a recycling bin is approximately as easy as placing it in the trash can, so be conscious of what’s going where. Ultimately, often the best thing you can do is set a good example. Being told to “reduce, reuse and recycle” simply doesn’t carry the same weight as seeing a friend or someone you admire putting those words into action. When it comes to being green, peer pressure is a powerful tool and the more people that get involved, the more people benefit. While changes like these may seem insignificant in and of themselves, no individual raindrop ever considers itself responsible for the flood. In the larger scheme of things, small actions can have a big impact.

From the Editor:

Political polarization drives out progress

Allison Kozeracki Co-Editor-in-Chief It seems that Democrats and Republicans can agree on one thing: nobody likes Congress. Not even the people in Congress like Congress. Jim Gerlach, the Republican who has served as the U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania’s 6th District since 2003, recently announced that he would not seek reelection. “We’re really not seeing much change in the legislative process down here in Washington and we’re not getting a lot achieved with all the tussle and gridlock, we’re really in kind of a holding pattern,” Gerlach said. “Realistically, I don’t see much movement on either side any time soon and I began to wonder whether it was worth not seeing my family, all the traveling and the permanent campaigning, when we’re not really getting a lot done.” When I hear things like that, it makes me wonder what kind of person would want to be in Congress. And then I see the problem. The problem is that Jim Gerlach is exactly the kind of person that we need in Congress: a moderate. Unfortunately, political polarization has created a vicious cycle in which moderates get fed up with partisan gridlock, retire, and are replaced by more extreme candidates, which leads to more gridlock. The public is more polarized, too. Pew Research Center reported that self-described conservatives made up a greater share of Republicans in 2012 (68 percent) than they did in 2000 (59 percent), while self-described liberals accounted for a greater share

of Democrats (27 percent in 2000, 39 percent in 2012). One source of polarization in Congress is the manipulation of district boundaries to make elections less competitive. As a result, representatives are being elected from districts that are dominated by a single party whose members have become more extreme. This problem could be helped if the district lines were drawn by an outside source rather than state legislators, but this seems unlikely to change any time soon. Increasing income inequality has fueled political polarization as government entitlements like Medicare, food stamps and Social Security come to the forefront of debate. This poses another problem with no clear solution. But all hope is not lost. Like the bald eagles once were, moderates are an endangered species, not extinct. For example, Michael Parrish of Malvern recently announced his intent to fill Gerlach’s seat. Parrish was a Republican up until December but is running as a Democrat. He didn’t just reach across the aisle; he crossed it. “I’m very much a centrist moderate, and I realize the Republican Party is going farther to the right,” he said. “It’s no longer reflecting my values.” While it’s easy to put most of the blame for gridlock on Congress, we have to remember that it was the voters who elected all of these people into office. Of course, there are other factors that are, for the most part, out of our control, but if we can elect moderates into office, then we stand a chance of electing people who are actually willing to work with the other side. And, more importantly, we can foster a culture that praises moderation, not one that encourages Republicans and Democrats to out-Republican and outDemocrat each other. It’s gotten so bad that New Hampshire is considering a bill to make “none of the above” an option on ballots. But I’m not that cynical (yet). I think we can save the moderates, just like we saved the bald eagles.




‘Early to bed, early to rise’ impossible for many early? A major reason is that sports teams require time after school to practice. However, sports revolve around school— not the other way around. The purpose of school is to educate, not to produce ornaments for trophy cabinets. Sports supposedly make us healthier by encouraging us to exercise, but those benefits disappear if we’re

Robert Tang Guest Columnist MALVERN, 05:49—The clock goes off, blaring the first in a series of alarms that grows more obnoxious as darkness burns—the bus arrives in 26 minutes precisely. Its agonizingly long route winds through miles of suburban sprawl. Back in bed, the dread accumulates as the seconds elapse, the blissful moments of sleep counting down. Resistance is futile; the clock advances relentlessly. An hour before dawn, the drudgery begins anew. What’s the big deal? Why can’t we just go to sleep earlier? The catch-22 is that it’s impossible to maintain a healthy sleep schedule if we must get up an hour or more before sunrise. Teenagers need nine hours of sleep, but it is natural to not be able to fall asleep before 11:00, according to the National Sleep Foundation. We sleep and wake later during adolescence, but school starts earlier. Why does school start so


of homework, perhaps 10-15 hours per week. We volunteer to pad our applications: three hours per week. We play the aforementioned sports, practicing every day after school: 12 hours per week. Various extracurricular activities may consume five or more hours per week. We waste three to eight hours per week on the

Emmi Dolph for The SPOKE

always sleep-deprived. Why should sports take precedence over our well-being? We go to school for 35 hours per week: a full-time job in itself. We have a crushing load


school bus. We stage plays for an extra 10 hours per week. We have jobs—employers can and do schedule students for up to 25 hours per week, with grueling five-hour shifts on school

nights. And we put in countless hours of unpaid overtime, cramming for test after test. Add it all up and you could get a grueling workweek of 60 hours or more. Sometimes it’s impossible to get everything done without working 16-hour marathon days. What do we gain from the overuse injuries and the interminable busy work, assigned for its own sake? There’s too much on our plates. Our insane schedule not only multiplies our stress, exhaustion and anger, but also encourages concerned parents, teachers and students themselves to heap on even more. We’re pushing the limit. A casual glance around in the morning reveals dark circles under too many eyes. Short on sleep, we act as if we were constantly intoxicated. We tackle fatigue rather than schoolwork, nap during lectures and live on caffeine. We need more sleep. There is no other solution. An extra hour, or even 30 minutes in the morning would work wonders. The benefits of shifting the schedule an hour later would far outweigh the costs— although elementary school would end at 4:30, students would get home when parents usually return. For Conestoga, an end time of 3:20 would leave adequate time for almost all extracurriculars, and for sports teams, an hour of lost practice is a small price to pay for sanity.

“Should school start later than it does, or could it?”

I know in South Korea they start at eight o’clock for every grade and it works out perfectly, so I don’t see why we can’t do it.”

-Junior RJ Farber

Precipitation persists + January: all fun and games; whole month was a big two hour delay - February: got old when my house hit 40 degrees

Road Salt + All our cars match each other. And the road! - ...but only if you think “sandpaper mishap” is an aesthetic style

Super Bowl XLVIII + No one died - Gotta feel bad for Peyton Manning

2nd Annual Kitten Bowl + Less shameless product placement than “puppy bowl” - Cute for a few minutes, maybe not for three hours

Valentines Day

Yeah; it’s easier to process everything that happens if we’ve had a better night’s sleep.”

+ Great excuse to eat chocolate - ...alone... *sob*

-Sophomore Sophia Russo

-Senior Diana Lee

I don’t know if it could, but if it did it would boost productivity for just about everyone.”

Report Card

Flappy Bird

I think students need to be able to sleep to at least seven, so it could be an hour later.”

-Freshman AJ Nadel

+ Infuriating, addictive, and a great source of bragging rights - Whiney fools done gone and killed it




Columnist to title piece when he gets around to it

James Redmond Opinion Editor Allow me to preface this by admitting that I just watched a seven-minute video of a teenaged guy in a green cap enthusiastically demonstrating the making of balloon animals. Procrastination is a word that rhymes with “oh, fascination” and “go faster, nation,” and means wasting your time rhyming words and being a wise guy when you know very well that you should be making a thesis statement or something. Unfortunately, if every one of us spent our time being wise guys and putting off important things, society would cease to function. That’s why we’ve learned from an early age that procrastination is for foolish

people. In particular, I recall a certain “SpongeBob” episode in which the titular porifera engages in a long string of fantastical diversions that leave him waking at his desk with only minutes to crank out his dreaded boating paper. I remember that I didn’t find this episode funny at all. This was scary stuff. I was never going to end up like that foolish sea sponge, who… gee, porifera… was that really the right phylum?… …scroll scroll scroll… 11:53 p.m.: learning about sponges on Wikipedia. 11:54 p.m.: unsaved copy of this document disappears due to computer crash. Love you too, Windows. You may be thinking that this is the part of the story where I brag, humbly, about how I still had this thing ready in time, proving my powers as some kind of last-minute miracle-working deadline hero and saving the day. And that kind of thinking is exactly why I am writing this. Every day, anywhere you go at ’Stoga, you can hear the semi-confidential murmurs: “I just did this last period,” a friend might whisper, all sly grins and high fives. Honorable mention goes to

the guy who “started this at midnight, finished by 2 a.m.” I think, Conestoga, that we’ve begun to forget the teachings of our pineapple-dwelling friend.

work? I think it’s safe to assume that folks don’t do it out of the goodness of their hearts. I think we do it because it stinks having that cloud hang

In order to beat procrastination, we need to understand why it exists. Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” makes the case that our motivation to do things is strongly tied to the relationship between effort and reward, which makes sense. So what about home-

over your head. After resigning yourself to a few hours of repetition or synthesis, you are rewarded by the feeling of accomplishment, or at least of good riddance, in having it all done. There’s nothing quite like that sublime moment when the weight on your

Victoria Stern/The SPOKE

conscience finally lifts, all the clouds clear and the only thing you absolutely need to do is breathe. But what happens when you work as long and hard as you can, and there’s still stuff hanging over your head? We’ve all got different things going on in our lives, like snails to feed or star-shaped friends who can’t live without us, and as school gets tougher and assignments pile up you can reach a point where, no matter what you do, you can’t get it all done. That’s when apathy sets in. That’s how I contracted senioritis by the end of sophomore year, and that’s why we whisper to our friends that we threw our paper together last period—to safeguard our pride with what could be a very legitimate excuse. This is no way to live. New Year’s is a long time gone, but there’s still time to make a post-midterms, secondsemester resolution. Don’t bite off more than you can possibly chew. You’ll only destroy the very passions you are trying to cultivate. Take some advice from a good-for-nothing second-semester senior and re-evaluate your priorities.

Teaching of new historical perspectives must continue

Shivani Sanghani Staff Reporter We may be young, but the world has changed as we’ve grown up. As our Tredyffrin-Easttown educations have progressed, we Conestoga students have been made increasingly aware of certain issues and controversies surrounding our American flag. In our lifetimes we’ve gone from singing of Columbus and his sailing of the blue in 1492 to almost full disclosure of his flaws and failings. Progress is being made in the acknowledgement of alternative perspectives in history, and we need to continue that trend. Years ago, much of what America learned about Columbus was in line with Samuel Eliot Morison’s “Christopher Columbus, Mariner,” a rather

Euro-centric presentation of our friend the explorer that appears to glaze over the bloodshed that resulted in the extermination of nearly 90 percent of the indigenous population in the New World. As Howard Zinn, quintessential revisionist historian, argues in his “A People’s History of the United States,” there was more to this story. “Was all this bloodshed and deceit—from Columbus to Cortés, Pizarro, the Puritans—a necessity for the human race to progress from savagery to civilization?” Zinn asks. Certainly not. Morrison was no more right to bury the story of genocide inside a “more important story of human progress” than Stalin was in overlooking the killing of innocent peasants for “industrial progress” in the Soviet Union, or than Churchill and Truman were in rationalizing the bombings in Dresden and Hamburg and in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Zinn raises another valid question: “how can the judgments be made if the benefits and losses cannot be balanced because the losses are either unmentioned or mentioned quickly?”

For members of the middle and upper classes of the conquering and developed countries, these losses are far off and hypothetical, whereas they are constant realities for the poor of Africa, Latin America and Asia, “or to the prisoners in Soviet labor camps, or the blacks in urban ghettos, or the Indians on reservations—to the victims of that progress which benefits a privileged minority in the world.” Therefore it is vital that we

continue our efforts to understand these controversies if we wish to have a truly complete education. The Tredyffrin-Easttown school district has done a good job of introducing us to these perspectives. Starting in elementary school, students experience parts of a variety of different cultures through both assignments and special activities. In fact, curriculum guidelines divide this process into regions of focus. In first

Sophie Bodek/The SPOKE

grade, students learn about Africa. In second, they switch to China and Japan, and in third students begin to focus on indigenous American populations. New textbooks increasingly bring more modern perspectives to the table as well. Of course, while new textbooks and curriculum guidelines have a role to play, teaching is really up to the teachers. Therefore, our cultural education, especially early on, is receptive to community feedback. For instance, parents and kindergarteners at Valley Forge Elementary School look forward to Bear Hunt Day, an activity and now tradition that inspires interest in Native American culture. So if we wish to continue to educate global citizens, we must encourage our teachers, at all levels of schooling, to continue their efforts to bring new perspectives into history lessons. I once read, “the cry of the poor is not always just, but if you don’t listen to it, you will never know what justice is.” The world is changing, and if we want that change to be for the better then we must strive to attain an unbiased view of the world.




Copyright alert system barks at students; will it bite?

Dhanvin Manoo Staff Reporter Torrenting. It’s no secret that very few teens actually pay for music. Many of us either partake in this illegal yet convenient method of downloading music and files for free or know someone who does. As storage capacities of devices increase, so does the demand for massive music libraries. However, with the implementation of the Copyright Alert System (CAS) as of February 2013 under the Obama Administration and the subsequent mass distribution of copyright infringement warning emails, all this may change. Well, the convenient part of it anyway. For those of you who didn’t previously hear about this, the government aims to employ the services of the independent corporation MarkMonitor in

collaboration with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to monitor peer-to-peer traffic for potential distribution of copyrighted materials utilizing the CAS. So basically, it’s like a much less motivated NSA trying to find all the illegal stuff on your computer instead of tapping your calls. How it works is every time the alert system finds evidence of your copyright infringement, your local Comcast, Verizon, or other network provider is notified and promptly sends you a warning email. This is known as the “Six-Strike System,” and after the fifth instance of infringement, the network provider must begin to utilize “mitigation measures.” These measures include throttling of Internet bandwidth to reduce download speeds and mandatory web lessons on piracy if it persists. From firsthand experience I can tell you that these email alerts aren’t very friendly and neither are the conversations with parents that follow. Luckily for many, however, the government has shown its deep interest in copyright infringement by leaving ISPs, which are user-paid services,

in charge of enforcing the law. After exceeding the sixth strike, it is entirely possible to, say, switch from Comcast to Verizon with a fresh start, eliminating previous strikes and the need for further arguments with parents. Regardless of whether or not this was even necessary or well-intentioned, the entire crackdown on piracy was horribly implemented. If the government really cared about all the money Justin Bieber’s

actually punishing paying customers is that they now have an excuse to slash households’ bandwidth. Although, there is a small upside to this. The alternative is direct government prosecution for violators of copyright infringement and no one really wants to see that happen. But more recently, the CAS has started to target social media for alleged copyright infringement. Jan. 14 marked the end of Net Neutrality as a

latest album lost as a result of piracy, the enforcement of the law would be left to something a little more intimidating than your local ISP. The only incentive the ISPs have for

result of a Supreme Court ruling stating that Internet traffic doesn’t have to be treated equally any longer. Service providers may now legally discriminate against traffic to cer-

Callum Backstrom/The SPOKE

tain websites and slow down connections to those specific sites such as YouTube and the Pirate Bay unless additional fees are paid. Many teens have noticed that YouTube videos themselves are also beginning to be flagged and taken down for copyright infringement. Additionally, under the TransPacific Partnership Treaty, the “jailbreaking” or unlocking of phones has now been deemed a crime internationally as it supposedly leads to piracy. Clearly, these are both the result of corporate urges to prevent “theft” of their products. The question of whether copyright infringement can even be considered theft has been posed often. I don’t believe that copying a file without depriving the owner of the original can really be categorized as such. But in the end, the answer depends solely on the interpretation of the word “stealing.” What I do know for certain however, is that with these new laws and regulations we definitely shouldn’t attempt to utilize a VPN or countless other methods of remaining undetected while file sharing. After all, it would be a shame to see all that effort go to waste.

Federal government at a loss, states to gain

Simran Singh Managing Editor Gridlock is an ugly word to describe an ugly situation. While both parties are clearly and equally to blame for the stagnation in Washington, conservatives continue to lament that we live in an era of big government, and that Barack is everywhere. The idea of a government being big is based on the premise that the national government is actually operating. However, in a time where bipartisanship is hard to come by, and little if any legislation is being passed, one must wonder where exactly this “big government” is sticking its hands. In the polarizing issues of same sex marriage, legalization of marijuana and abortion, we see the impact that our elected officials can have. But wait! Which elected officials are responsible for legislation related to such topics?

The often overlooked, seemingly unimportant state legislators whose elections do not witness even close to the same turnout as a presidential election. In a time where Congress’ productivity and subsequently its approval rating is historically low, the federal government’s power and influence has waned, and thus we have begun to see a slow yet significant transfer of power from the federal government to the states. Why is this a good thing? It empowers you, the voter, the citizen and the concerned member of the electorate. Consolidating power in the hands of the states permits each individual to have a louder voice directed at a more receptive audience. Our culture is so divided by state and regional lines on these issues that no president would stand a chance of being re-elected if they were to push through legislation that is opposed by half of

the country. What is the best solution for the federal government in order to ensure change and a preservation of democratic ideals? Giving this power right back to the states. By allowing states

Relating to the issue of same sex marriage, while 18 states now permit same sex marriage, states such as Utah have passed a statewide ban on same sex marriages. On the federal level, the government recognizes same sex couples as legal marriages for the purpose of filing taxes. While the federal government has not called for sweeping, nationwide change, this popular sovereignty style approach may be a more democratic method to ensure that the people’s will is being carried out to the best possible extent. The recreational use of marijuana has recently been legalized in the states of to legislate on such Washcontroversial isington sues, the electorate and Colois better served berado. Last cause no one-sizesummer, fits-all solution the Deis being applied. partment Rather, regions Maggie Chen/The SPOKE of Jusare able to choose the policy that best suits them, and tice and Attorney General Eric since local representatives can be Holder stated that they would held more accountable, these poli- allow these states to legalize cies are likely to be more in line marijuana, and only regulate or with the interests of the people intervene in cases where state laws were being violated. Aborthese officials represent.

tion, an issue that has long been controversial, most recently surfaced when Texas State Senator Wendy Davis filibustered a bill that would put severe limitations on a woman’s right to get an abortion within the state. As far back as Roe v. Wade, abortion has caught the public and the media’s attention alike, but the inaction in regards to policy on the behalf of the federal government calls into question just how big our government really is. Same sex-marriage, the legalization of marijuana and abortion rights are the three main social policies that divide our electorate the most. The federal government has chosen not to implement a blanket-policy across the nation, and instead allow states to make these critical decisions based on the consensus among the voters of that region. Your job, as an informed citizen and concerned member of our electorate, is to reach out to your state representatives and senators and tell them what you want to see. The empowerment of states is also an empowerment of the individual. With elected officials who are more concerned about you and not the general American populace, your voice can truly be heard.



RUSSIAN FOR GOLD By Court n ey Kenn edy, Co -Sports Editor Desi gn by Sophi e Bodek, Co -Desi gn Editor Photos courtesy respective athletes With the start of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, winter sports have taken over the sports world. No Conestoga alumnus has ever competed in the Winter Olympics, but many student athletes participate and compete in winter Olympic sports like ice dancing, curling and snowboarding at a high level outside of school.

Curli ng: Cody Clouser

Olympi c Glory

Medal Tally

Every four years, the world’s best winter athletes come together to compete in the world’s biggest sporting event—the Olympics. This year, the Winter Olympic Games run Feb. 7-23 in Sochi, Russia and feature more than 2500 athletes competing in 98 different events. The United States is trying to follow up a strong 2010 Vancouver Games, where they won a record 37 total medals, passing the previous record of most medals won by a single country set by Germany’s 36 medals in 2002.





U.S. A.

2 4



Nor way


*As of Feb. 12









Snowboardi ng: A nni e Berg Senior Annie Berg spends her free time hitting the slopes as a competitive snowboarder. “I started skiing when I was young with my parents, and then I switched over to snowboarding [later on],” Berg said. Berg, whose favorite Olympic snowboarder is Gretchen Bleiler, said that she enjoys competitive snowboarding because of the lifestyle the sport promotes and has many good memories from her time in the sport. “My best memory would be landing my first 360 on a jump. I was super happy,” Berg said. “The sport can be a really cool lifestyle.”

Ice Danci ng: Sammi Wren Sophomore Sammi Wren began ice skating when she was eight years old. In sixth grade, her coach asked if she wanted to try ice dance since he had found someone else who was looking for a partner. She’s been ice dancing ever since. On January 5-12, Wren and her partner, Alexey Shchepetov, competed in the 2014 U.S. National Championship competition in Boston, MA, finishing 9th in the junior dance category. “It was our first year competing at the junior level so the competition was really tough,” Wren said. “We didn’t place great but it was such an amazing experience. We got to skate in the TD Garden where the Boston Bruins play. The stadium was huge.” For Wren, who practices six days a week, the best part about skating is going to competitions and feeling a sense of accomplishment. She plans to watch ice dancing in the Olympics, especially after seeing the senior competition in Boston. “At the US Nationals, I got to sit and watch all the senior ice dance events. It was really cool to see some of the teams that are going to be competing in Sochi,” Wren said. “Meryl Davis and Charlie White are probably my favorite ice dancers, and I think they have a really good chance of winning the gold this year.”


Senior Cody Clouser followed in his family’s footsteps by starting curling at the age of three, and recently competed in Seattle, Wash. in the U.S. Junior Curling Nationals. Clouser said that he enjoys the camaraderie of the curling world despite the competitive atmosphere. “The best part of curling is that although it is a competitive sport, curlers are very nice,” Clouser said. “A large part of the game is good sportsmanship and sitting down after a game with the team you just played is very common, even at some competitive levels.” Clouser plans to watch and root for the United States curling team in the curling competitions in the Winter Olympics. “I watch the Olympics for curling every Winter Olympics. Canada usually wins, but this year John Shuster is representing the United States and I believe he has a pretty good chance of medaling,” Clouser said. “I want Shuster to win. He is a very good curler and has a very strong team.”

Friday, Feb 14

Saturday, Feb 15

Sunday, Feb 16

Men’s Super Combined Slalom

Women’s Super-G

Men’s Super-G

Men’s Figure Skating: Free Skate

Women’s 1500 m Short Track Final

Ice Dance Short Dance

Womens’ Aerials Freestyle Skiing

Men’s Ski Jumping Large Hill

Ladies’ Snowboard Cross Final

Women’s Skeleton

Men’s 1500 m Speed Skating

Ladies’ 1500 m Speed Skating




Coaching change: Upperclassmen coach VF League

Navin Zachariah Co-Sports Editor Junior coach Matt Prestipino yells from the sideline, urging his team to move the ball around the perimeter. The ball movement leads to an opening for sophomore Ben Bierstaker who takes it hard to basket and scores. Valley Forge Basketball League has been in existence for nine years. However, it is not like other leagues. In this league the coaching is not done by the typical overbearing parent. Instead, the Valley Forge Basketball League has ’Stoga upperclassmen do the coaching for each of the 10 teams. Bruce Fadem, the coordinator of the league, says that having the high school upperclassmen do the coaching is what makes the league unique. “What I think makes this league different from most leagues is that rather than having adults as coaches, we have high school juniors and seniors who have played in the league as the coaches,” said Fadem. “Sometimes adult coaches are the worst part about younger local basketball leagues. They lose perspective on what it’s about. It’s not always about winning.

Navin Zachariah/The SPOKE

Junior Matt Prestipino explains a play to his team in a timeout during the Valley Forge League quarterfinals. Team Prestipino beat Team Ashton to reach the semifinals. The finals will take place on Feb. 22. It’s about the kids having fun and I coach the league. It’s all for the being competitive at the same kids. I just want them to have a time. These younger coaches un- good time,” Prestipino said. derstand the kids more and allow Bierstaker says that he enjoys for a more interesting league.” having a high school student as Coach Prestipino says that he his coach since it is an easier really enjoys helping the younger environment for all the players. kids in the league have a fun time “I really think that it benefits playing basketball. the players because we can relate “I love bringing energy onto more to these coaches since we the court for the kids. That’s go to the same school as them what makes it fun. It’s the reason and know them,” Bierstaker said.

Junior Max Ruhlman has a lot of fun coaching his team. He says that coaching the league was something he wanted to do since he enjoyed playing in the league before. “I love coaching. I enjoy it since I enjoyed playing. The kids are always fun since they try so hard and it’s great watching them play hard,” Ruhlman said. Freshman Scott Lambert believes that one of the best aspects of high school upperclassmen coaching the league is that the players look up to the high school coaches. “I think that having high school coaches is the coolest part about this league. You know these kids who are coaching you, you’ve watched them play in this league before and you’ve always kind of looked up to them,” Lambert said. “So having them mentor you as your coach is a lot of fun for me.” Senior Connor Ashton says that coaching the league is interesting because the upperclassmen get very passionate and invested in their teams. “All the coaches know each other and are good friends, which makes the games more exciting and allows for a little bit of smack talk after the game,” Ashton said.

Prestipino believes that coaching the kids in the league needs to be done in a certain way. “Yell a lot. Not in a mean way or anything, just in an encouraging and energetic way. My assistant coaches help me bring that energy,” Prestipino said. “Encouragement is the key to coaching these kids. Having that energy to tell them even if they miss a shot, that they can make the next one is what helps them grow as basketball players.” Fadem says that Valley Forge Basketball League is the best environment for kids to play competitive basketball and have fun at the same time. “One of the best indications of how well this league runs is that in those rare instances where a team’s coach and assistant coach are not here because they have conflicts or other reasons, one of the opposing team’s coaches will take the team and coach them to win,” Fadem said. “It’s great to know that we can foster an environment where there is so much fun, competitiveness and sportsmanship involved, but just the perfect amount of each. That’s what makes this league so successful and why everyone enjoys doing it so much.”





Winter track runs in the cold; not all run for gold

Andy Backstrom Staff Reporter In some of the coldest days the area has seen since 1988, the Conestoga Winter Track/Field team has run consistently for the virtues of the sport itself. Whatever the weather, these runners take the long view, whether or not they compete for the school. For Conestoga’s track athletes, winter track and field is about much more than simply fulfilling a curriculum physical education requirement. The team is composed of four groups. Group one, the most competitive group, is considered Varsity and competes for ’Stoga in league meets and invitational. Groups two, three and four are less physically demanding but still require commitment and persistence from the runners, even though they don’t compete. The sport accommodates several levels of intensity. Running is something that can be used as a complement to a student’s daily schedule rather than being their primary focus. Senior Nathaniel Rome finds Winter Track to be an ideal way to sustain fitness while not de-

Matt Soderberg Staff Reporter

tracting from his commitment to academics. “I am perfectly content with the level I am in, because frankly, as a senior, I am primarily concerned with exercise, not being competitive. The low-key and social aspects are important to me,” Rome said. Despite not representing Conestoga in league meets, runners of the lower groups still value the sport because is a social opportunity. “I chose to do winter track mainly because a lot of my friends were doing it,” sophomore Ellie Utter said. “It seemed like an easy way to do an active thing and see my friends at the same time.” Sophomore Dillon Shi believes that the culture of the runners in the lower groups emphasizes fitness over competition. “I was not really aiming for group one. I don’t want to be that serious because they are a lot faster from what I have seen. They get in a lot more mileage,” Shi said. “My objective simply is to maintain my fitness.” The runners on the team see advantages no matter what their skill level. “I think it’s is really beneficial aside from the running,” Utter

Winter track athletes warm up in the hallway. The team consists of four different groups, and runners in each group participate at different levels of intensity. Rome sees running as a sport peratures do not stop the runsaid. “We do a lot of abs workouts and other exercises.” that has multiple purposes and ners, even from groups two, With their effort and encour- expects running to be useful three and four. But the chill is agement from the coaches, the both now and in the coming thought-provoking. runners are in a comfortable years, because it is an activity “It can be really cold, and I ofposition to improve. Improve- that promotes a healthy lifestyle. ten question, ‘Why am I out here ment serves as a staple for both “You don’t really have to running when it is so cold?’ But the runners and the coaches dedicate so much time to it, and, you get through it,” Rome said. to measure their individual if you want to do any other sport, What makes an athlete purprogress. you need to have good cardio, sue a sport in hostile elements “It’s important enough for me be able to run and have some where neither rewards nor serito stay in shape, but the coaches endurance, so you get a baseline ous competition is the objective? definitely are a motivating fac- for the future,” Rome said. “We have no competitive tor, especially Coach [Katie] Although the cold weather intentions. It’s all for fun,” UtDutch,” Shi said. can be brutal, the frigid tem- ter said.

straight Central League titleshungry for more success. Coach Rob Kirkby, has led the team to 13 Central League championships in his 25 years as head coach and attributes the success to the talent of the ’Stoga athletes. “We just have a lot of outstanding talent on the team,” Kirkby said. Freshman Janashree Jonnalagadda has felt the legacy in her first season on the ’Stoga team. “There’s a lot of pressure because the girls haven’t lost the title

in 14 years so [we know] that we have to put all of our effort in each swim,” Jonnalagadda said. Senior Kiera Crenny is hoping to earn her fourth Central League title, but says she hopes for more than simply that. “It’s more than just going for the win. It’s also about being part of the team,” Crenny said. Senior captain Abigail Mack believes that much of their success is due to Kirkby’s coaching. “Coach Kirkby is a really nice coach and he’s easy to talk and

Kelly Miller for The SPOKE

Unsinkable: Girls aiming for 14th straight title Thirteen straight Central League titles. That incredible feat displays the type of commitment ’Stoga girls have shown on the swim team over the course of the past decade. However, at 5:30 a.m. at the Upper Main Line YMCA, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the girls are not celebrating those past accomplishments. Instead they are working for 14


Noah Levine/The SPOKE

The ’Stoga girls swimming team competes at a meet against Radnor High School on Jan. 3. The team is hoping to win its 14th consecutive Central League title this season.

relate to,” Mack said. “He understands high schoolers and the pressures we face at school.” The team has dealt with the issues of not having their own pool over the years, but still continues to succeed. “From a practice point of view, it’s sometimes sort of difficult, but when we get to meets...the girls know each other, respect each other, and depend on each other,” Kirkby said. While the team has succeeded for the past decade, their coach still has ideas about how the team can improve for the future in the years to come. “We’ve lost to Villa Maria the last few years. Villa Maria is not in the Central League, but has proven to be a formidable foe to ‘Stoga over the previous seasons,” Kirkby said. “We had an 88-win streak broken about four years ago by Villa and that was kind of a bummer.

Although the team has experienced so much success in recent years, Mack believes that the job is not finished. “I think this year is really important for the team because we have a solid group of seniors and we feel like we need to leave something for the underclassmen to build off of next year,” Mack said. “We hope that the momentum we create this year will carry into next year.” Kirkby echoed the same ideas as he wants to build more momentum with each meet the team wins. Kirkby is looking forward to the rest of the season and the possibilities that come with it, including winning the Central League title and returning to district championships. “I kind of see the season as a build,” he said. “It just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger. It seems like a crescendo. You’re just moving right along.”




Villanova hoops nets wins, merits fan support

Patrick Nicholson Sports Columnist Let’s face it: currently, Philly sports are a bit short on “hype.” Neither the Flyers nor the Sixers look like true contenders, the Phillies aren’t playing and the Eagles’ Super Bowl hopes fluttered hopelessly away. So guess what, sports fans; it’s time to hop on board the ’Nova nation train. The Villanova men’s basketball team currently sits at 21-2, with big wins over hoops powerhouses Kansas and Iowa. And while Villanova certainly has a tradition of high basketball success, this current squad is different; after starting off the year unranked, the Wildcats have been as high as number four in the AP Men’s Basketball Rankings.

So for an area in need of a regional team to back, I would say the Wildcats are as good as they come. This is no Kentucky or Kansas, chock full of one-and-done freshmen with their eyes on NBA millions. Almost the entire Villanova roster is from the Mid-Atlantic, and all will likely play through their senior years. And once they’re on the court, this team just oozes with traditional, Big East-style basketball. The play is rough, fouls are hard and there seems to be a guy diving after a loose ball every three seconds—now that’s entertaining basketball. Granted, this team cannot stay upon the national stage using grit and grind alone. The Wildcats have had their fair share of hiccups this season. There was the loss at No. 2 Syracuse, where after taking a quick 25-7 lead the Wildcats’ attack came to a halt, thwarted by the Orange’s zone defense. Then there was the Creighton loss, where the Bluejays dropped three after three en route to a 96-68 blowout. And amid all of this, the Wildcats have continued their ridiculously inconsistent performances from

deep; one night they shoot 50 percent from three, the next they shoot 20 percent. While the Creighton loss may have been a fluke fueled by E t h a n Wragge’s career n i g h t f r o m downtown, the Syracuse one revealed some major flaws. If your team cannot hold a 25-7 lead, how can you expect to go far in the tournament? To solve the problem, for the Wildcats, it

all starts on the inside. See, Coach Jay Wright’s teams have always had impressive guards. Do you remember the four-guard offense Wright implemented with Randy Foye, Allan Ray, Kyle Lowry and Mike Nardi? Or how about the Scottie Reynolds-led Final Four squad in 2009? Well this current team is no different, with sharpshooters James Bell and Darrun Hilliard and floor general Ryan Arcidiacono leading the way. But when Villanova has been truly elite in recent years, they have needed an inside presence. Although a Reynolds drive may have punched their ticket to the Final Four in 2009, it was the play of forward Dante Cunningham which led the way for that remarkable team. Of course, the Wildcats today may Maggie Chen/The SPOKE

not have another Cunningham. However, some consistent play from the frontcourt duo of Daniel Ochefu and JayVaughn Pinkston would certainly go a long way. One of the reasons the Wildcats crumbled against Syracuse was their inability to penetrate the zone, and once their shooters went cold, their whole team followed suit. To avoid such streaky play, the ’Cats need to establish an inside presence early; sure, they won’t be overpowering anyone with their forwards, but such an attack can at least open up shots for the guards. Perhaps there is no ‘fix-all’ solution for the team, but in order to contend at the top, their first step should be into the paint. As March approaches, the college basketball madness will inevitably increase. Brackets will be made, bets will be placed, and we will all end up looking like idiots come April. But for all you Philly sports fans, why wait until March? There’s already a stud squad in the Philly area that merits your attention. So ’Stoga students, it’s time for us all to join Nova Nation.

Dear AI: You will always be “Philly’s Answer”

Navin Zachariah Co-Sports Editor Dear Allen Iverson, I still vividly remember one of the first times I watched you play at the Wachovia Center. Nov. 16, 2005. Sixers vs. Wizards. 114-114. 3.5 seconds left. Wizards about to inbound the ball. On the inbounds pass you came out of nowhere, stole the ball, beat Gilbert Arenas down the court and converted a layup to win the game. My reaction: WOW! Incredible. Clutch. Your career, AI, has been an inspiration to all those who have had the opportunity to watch you play basketball as you have become an all-time great and a cultural icon. The way you started the hip-hop culture of the NBA-the cornrows, the do-rags, all the tattoos on players’ bodies, the shooting sleeve— that was all you, AI. The way you affected the game of basketball with your lethal scoring abilities,

has caused the NBA to become a statistics but instead because of point guard-oriented game now. I your heart and fearlessness. Let’s mean, you are the second-fastest be honest, you were barely 6 feet player to score 19,000 points tall and 165 pounds worth. Yet you only behind the greatest to ever still competed with the best of the do it- Michael Jordan. Your 26.7 best. You consistently beat 7-foot scoring average per game is good big men on your drives to the for sixth in NBA history. All the basket and got punished for it too. statistics speak for themselves. You took so many hard hits on the They show me just how much you floor that you had us deserve all the accolades you fans cringing received-2001 NBA MVP, 11each time All-Star, two-time AllStar MVP, four-time scoring champion just to name a few. In my mind you are one of the top 10 players of all time and a surefire first ballot Hall of Famer. Just ask night. fellow NBA playYou put on ers like LeBron a show for us James who called every time you you the greatstepped onto the est pound-forfloor, breaking pound player in people’s ankles NBA history or with easily the Dwayne Wade best crossover of and Chris Paul all time, making who wear the us yearn for more number “3” beIverson. For your cause of you. The 10 years here, it most important was the “Allen reason for you beIverson Show” in ing in such high Philly. regard in mine and The truth is, so many others’ Maggie Chen/The SPOKE minds is not because of your prolific

you were exactly what the city of Philadelphia needed. At the time of your arrival in the 1996 NBA Draft, the Sixers were in a severe winning drought. Philly fans wanted to see something they had never seen before. That is exactly what you provided and more with your first overall selection in the draft. Nobody would have thought that a 6-foot point guard would go on to become the Sixers second all-time leading scorer. We Philly fans knew we had a gem right from the start. You fully entrenched yourself into all of our hearts eternally when you put the Sixers on your aching back and drove your team through the 2001-2002 season playoffs all the way to the NBA Finals scoring 31.4 points per game. Throughout your career, you had so many critics, whether it was because of your controversial clothing style, your rumored legal issues or your infamous “practice” rant. Yet, I and so many other Philly fans loved you regardless of what anyone else said about you. I don’t care that Kobe Bryant was picked 13th in the same draft that you were picked first. You were the perfect pick for Philly’s first overall selection that year and I would pick you over Kobe every time. You were Philadelphia’s perfect match, as you changed the culture and became the face of this

city forever. You truly were and always will be “The Answer” for the city of Philadelphia. As your iconic number “3” jersey is being retired by the Sixers on March 1, memories of your illustrious career will fill the air. Philadelphia fans will forever remember all the excitement you brought us during the course of your 10-year career here, like the step over Tyronn Lue in the NBA Finals, the put-back dunk on Marcus Camby or the crossover of Michael Jordan. The way you left everything on the court, every night, is why Philly respected you so much and held you so close to our hearts-probably as the most beloved athlete in Philadelphia history. When you step onto the court on March 1, all the Philadelphia fans, including myself, who have been enamored by you from the start will be cheering as loud as we ever have. I know that as we are thanking you for all the memories you have provided us with you are going to put your hand up, cup it to your ear and enjoy the sound of what you call your favorite songthe loud cheers of your people-the people of Philadelphia. Love, your biggest fan, Navin P.S. Teach me how to do that crossover!




Sports Line: ’Stoga athletes race past competition

Wrestling coach Last Skate: Hockey earns 300th win has Senior Night

After 29 years of coaching, Conestoga wrestling coach Steve Harner achieved his milestone 300th win after Conestoga’s 3225 victory over Haverford High School on Jan. 14. Before joining the ’Stoga wrestling staff, Harner coached high school teams at Bishop Kendrick, Clarion and Norristown. He has been the head coach of Conestoga’s team since the 2008 season. Senior Kit Schofield believes that Harner has influenced him beyond just wrestling. “Harner has constantly pushed us to be our best and taught the importance of never giving up and personal responsibility, both on and off the wrestling mats,” Schofield said. “It’s a tough job to coach developing wrestlers and he has committed so many years into it—to finally achieve the 300-mark is an incredible accomplishment.” However, Harner did not dwell on his historic achievment. A win’s a win,” Harner said, “Three hundred’s a number and you can’t have three hundred without number one or number two.” -Convergence Editor Yuge Xiao

It was a bitter night for the ’Stoga hockey seniors as they competed at Iceline, their home rink, for one final time. It was an exciting game as ’Stoga jumped out to a 2-0 lead within the first two minutes against the Radnor Red Raiders. However, Radnor scored four goals in the next two periods to defeat the Pioneers, pushing them out of the playoffs. Senior co-captain Andrew Turner believes the season was not a failure even though the team did not reach the playoffs. “The year was definitely not a failure in the big picture. It may sound cliché, but we grew closer as teammates and friends and learned a lot from each other,” Turner said. Senior co-captain Michael Switucha says that he will forever cherish his days in a ’Stoga hockey uniform. “I’ll bring many lessons from ’Stoga hockey when I head to college, especially never giving up and always keeping your head up,” Switucha said. “I’m absolutely going to miss playing for ’Stoga hockey with my team. Best four years of my life.” -Co-Sports Editor Navin Zachariah

Best Buddy takes the court

On Jan. 31, freshman Kyle Chamovitz donned a basketball uniform and was featured as a starter in the freshman boys’ basketball game against Garnet Valley. A member of Best Buddies, Chamovitz usually makes his appearance as basketball manager; however, he was the star of the game as friends and supporters filled the stands to cheer Chamovitz on. This special day became even more memorable when the game ended in a lopsided victory for the ’Stoga freshmen with a final score of 48-26.

-Co-Design Editor Sophie Bodek

Track records shattered

Boys varsity teams dominate

Basketball: The boys’ basketball team has the best record in the district with a record of 19-4. Although the team lost the Central League Championship to Lower Merion this past Tuesday, the team owns the first seed in the district playoff tournament. Junior captain Martin Dorsey attributes the success to added experience. “No doubt the difference this year is that we have experience that we didn’t have before. We are so close as a team. We are willing to do everything for each other and that translates to our game on the court,” Dorsey said. Swimming: The boys swimming team has come out on top of the Central League, emerging with a 12-0 record this season. Senior captain Chase Ciotti offered some reasoning for the team’s total dominance this season. “This team is the strongest I’ve ever swam with, but what really sets us apart is the team unity and camaraderie. Everyone is on the pool deck cheering for their teammates, which helps during the meets,” Ciotti said. “That is the key to our success and will serve the team well going into the future.” -Co-Sports Editor Navin Zachariah

In this season alone, ’Stoga winter track athletes have already shattered three school records in indoor track and field. On Jan. 25, junior Andrew Marston set a school record at the Kevin Dare Invitational at Pennsylvania State University with a time of 8:57.58 minutes in the 3000 meters, beating Myles Lund’s time of 9:17:66 from the 2006 season. Marston finished fourth in the invitational meet. On Jan. 13, senior Eric Cook broke the school record in the 55 meter dash at the Chester County Indoor Championships, held at Ursinus College. Cook finished first in the meet with a time of 6.61 seconds, breaking the previous record of 6.67 seconds held by Blair Brooks from 2011. Senior Maggie Friel broke the school record in the 300 meter dash at the Bishop Loughin Games at the NY Armory on Dec. 21. She finished the race with a time of 43.29 seconds, passing Marta Klebe’s 2010 time of 43.37 seconds. -Co-Sports Editor Courtney Kennedy


School: Harvard College Sport: Basketball Position: Center Grade: 12 Why Harvard? “On my official visit I had an immediate connection with the campus, team and coaches. In addition to having an exceptional reputation, the team and coaches are like a family and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”

Andrew and Stephen Born Sport: Baseball

School: Davidson College Why Davidson? “Davidson was a really impressive college. I wanted to major in political science so they offered that and for baseball the coaching staff was great there so I really liked it.”

Positions: Outfield

Grade: 12

School: U.S. Naval Academy Why Navy? “I think it could be a great opportunity later in life, after college and everything. I get to serve for my country afterwards so that was really important to me.”


Olympics preview p. 18 VF Basketball League p. 19

RULING THE POOL Senior Raju Kolluru and fellow swimmers sit in the pool waiting for their next event. The ’Stoga boys’ swim team won the Central League this season.


















Noah Levine/The SPOKE



See an extended photo gallery at































The Spoke February 2014  

The February 2014 issue of The Spoke. Cover: Snow Daze.