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Get to know the exchange students See p. 14


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OCTOBER 11, 2011

A���� in the crowd

See p. 10


Students cope with depression

K.C. McConnell & Laura Weiss

News Editor & Co-editor-in-chief It’s a weekend and sophomore Kate Hughes* could be out with her friends, as she would have been a few months earlier. But tonight she can’t bring herself to be there—laughing and smiling like before. Hughes’s reason for wanting to be alone lies in the fatigue and mediocrity she feels from a disease that affects about 11.2 percent of teens before they reach adulthood, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. “Have you ever tried to swim with sneakers on?” Hughes says, describing the symptoms of her disease. “You feel like you can do it, but it’s a million times harder, and it weighs you down. Then, after a while, you’re like, ‘I cannot do this.’”

Amidst the stress of their teenage years, students face DEPRESSION, find a helping hand at Conestoga and embrace HOPE for the future.

Defining depression

Hughes was diagnosed with clinical depression in March. Clinical depression results from a lack of a neurotransmitter in the brain called serotonin. The warning signs and symptoms present differently from case to case, but there are some that are generally more noticeable, especially in a high school setting, according to school psychologist Kathleen Quinlisk. “It’s not the kind of sadness that you have related to a particular circumstance or waking up one morning feeling kind of blue about something; it’s that persistence,” Quinlisk says. Quinlisk also says that increased fatigue, decreased energy, changes in appetite, interrupted sleep patterns and lack of participation in a student’s usual activities are some common symptoms of depression in teenagers and adolescents, among others. “Sometimes in students—children and teenagers—there can be an irritability that can be a hallmark of depression and that is unlike adults,” Quinlisk says.

Graphic: and Sam Winfield/The SPOKE Graphic:Luke LukeRafferty Raffertyand

See DEPRESSION, p. 4 *To protect the privacy of the student interviewed, her name has been changed.


stoganews .com

“Talking to [NHS alumni] really helped put things into perspective, especially as a senior who is stressing about my future. It was interesting to see what they did after high school.” Senior Nina Gurak on National Honor Society’s Alumni Meet and Greet; full story on



Go online for TETV’s report on the interesting new healthy breakfast options in the cafeteria

Take a snapshot of this QR code with your smart phone camera to link to audio recordings of Conestoga students performing piano pieces. See full story on page 15.

Check out photographs of the boys’ and girls’ soccer teams, the football team and the tenth anniversary of 9/11 online.

Pioneer posts: Upcoming in community The Varsity football team will play its annual homecoming game at Teamer Field against Marple Newtown at 7 p.m. on Fri, Oct. 14. The annual homecoming dance will be on Sat, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. Conestoga’s seventh annual Hall of Fame 5K Run/Walk will take place at Wilson Park on Sat, Oct. 15 at 9 a.m. Registration forms are avilable online. On Tues, Nov. 1, the National Honor Society induction will take place at 8 p.m. in the auditorium. Sophomores and juniors are invited to attend the guidance department’s College Admissions Evening on Wed, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium. On Sat, Nov. 5, more than 12 high school marching bands will come to Teamer Field to compete in Conestoga’s second cavalcade of bands, the ’Stoga Showcase of Sound.

Zach Lowry for The SPOKE

Sophomore George Stern and senior Gabrielle Niggeman rehearse for the upcoming fall drama, “Twelfth Night.”




Military uses cold calls to get head start on recruitment Percent of CHS student names...

it happens to be a military school, we’ll say ‘Hey we have a scholarship for that.’” Though Earley had expressed interest in the military on Naviance, guidance counselor and military liaison for Conestoga Leashia Rahr said the military does not base calls on students’ Naviance profiles. She also added that different branches of the military have different recruiting methods. “The Marines and Army tend to be more assertive and more aggressive in their recruitment than the Navy or the Air Force,” Rahr said. Rahr also explained that the military is allowed to visit ’Stoga just as any college can. She arranges for the military to come to Conestoga twice a year: once in the fall and once in the spring for Military Day. “We allow them to come at very specific times. Typically they just show up and come to Student Services or to the principal’s office but they have to ask to have an appointment with us,” Rahr said. “We will allow them to Graphic: Anisa Tavangar/The SPOKE run a session as we would all colin general,” Seedor said of her straightforward,” Shupe said. “He leges.” was not at all pushy. In fact, he Students of all genders are conversation with Like Seedor, senior Austin was very understanding.” open to attending these sessions Shupe attracted the Marine and receiving calls from recruit- Shupe also had his heart set on ers. However, though the military going to West Point. He too con- Corp’s attention after expressing is open to recruiting all students, tacted a liaison for the military to them his interest in joining. However, after Trader said that considering the the military genrecruiter’s offer, erally will not Shupe decided that recruit females or at that time, he was be as persuasive not willing to join with them as they the Marines. are with males. “I had sent in “Females tend documents showto have more ing my interest and problems with getting my name parents when we out there, but come call. They tend time that the reto have a more -Guidance counselor Leashia Rahr cruiter called me, I protective vibe,” had decided to not Trader said. go forth with enlist“They’re also a little more scheduled and meticu- academy, though the resulting ing,” Shupe said. Currently, Shupe has not gone lous. They know their plans and conversation was disappointing. further in contacting more recruitif they want to join the military, “After a lengthy conversation they’ll contact us first.” with the liaison officer, we had ers. Seedor, however, is determined Some students, such as junior decided that unfortunately, West to enlist in the military regardless Lauren Seedor, have already con- Point would not be the best choice of whether recruiters call her. “I feel like I want to give back tacted military officials and ex- for me,” Shupe said. pressed interest in their program. However, Shupe later received to my country and I feel like the Seedor has spoken to officials at another call from the military that best way I could possibly do this is West Point Military Academy. piqued his interest. This time, the by serving,” Seedor said. The recruiter for West Point call was from the Marine Corps. “was very informative about the “The call from the Marine re- Shwetha Sudhakar can be reached academy and just knowledgeable cruiter was very polite, but very at

sent to recruiters

not sent to recruiters


As college applications season approaches, 82.93% are in the hands of military recruiters who are just as interested in enrolling students in their institution. Senior Phil Earley received a phone call from a marine recruiter at the beginning of the school year. He said that he was caught off-guard by the call because he was not 18, the age when males are required to register with the Selective Services, at the time of the call. “I was surprised because I thought it was a little bit random,” Earley said. “I didn’t know they could call me.” Under a minor clause in the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act, high schools that receive federal funding are required to provide the military with the names and phone numbers of high school seniors to the military. In addition, schools with government funding are required to provide equal high school campus access to both col-

leges and the military. Students have the option of withholding their contact information from the military’s database by signing a form. “What we have access to is names, phone numbers and addresses of high school students— pretty much the same information that goes to a college,” said Marine military recruiter Gunnery Sergeant Jason Trader. Trader said that he and other recruiters employ a method known as cold calling, where recruiters receive contact information and call students to inform them about the military’s financial benefits, such as covering education costs. If they don’t express interest in the military’s offer, the students will not be called again. However, students may be called twice if they could benefit from military financial aid. “We call the seniors so that at the beginning of the year when they’re applying for colleges we can help them with financial aid,” Trader said. “If [the seniors] say they’re applying to a school and


Shwetha Sudhakar Staff Reporter

“The Marines and Army tend to be more assertive and more aggressive in their recruitment than the Navy or the Air Force.”




’Stoga gives support to students struggling with depression Depression statistics

3.3% of teens are severely depressed

11.2% of teens are depressed

The TeenScreen program screened 426,000 students in 2010

Two times as many teenage from depression as males Statistics from the Wall Stret Journal and the National Institute for Mental Health. Graphic:Margot Field and Sam Winfield

Continued from p. 1

In Hughes’s case, depression can get in the way of her everyday life. “It definitely affects my outlook toward things and what I want to do and what I don’t want to do,” Hughes says. “It also sits there and affects how much enjoyment I get out of things and how I perceive certain things.” Though the term “depression” is often used to describe a mood, clinical depression and occasional periods of sadness are entirely different. “In my opinion, the word ‘depression’ is often overused to describe typical periods of low mood or sadness. Clinical depression is marked by a significant impairment in functioning, which should be evaluated by a mental health professional,” Christine Dunleavy, school mental health specialist, says. Depression may prevent students from performing well in school or hanging out with friends. For Hughes, the most difficult part of being depressed was remembering how happy she used to be. She also recalls feeling weighed down by the fatigue that depression put on her and feeling alone and like she had to hide her true feelings. Though Hughes’s condition has been improving with therapy and treatment, she still struggles with depression. Hughes found support at ’Stoga but it was decided that she needed a more therapy-intensive environment to heal. Now, she tries to concentrate on doing what makes her happy, rather than wallowing in sadness. “I try to distract myself with different coping techniques,” Hughes says. “I’ll do a lot of things I get enjoyment out of just to try to get it out of my mind.” If a student were to go to a friend to talk about their negative feelings, Quinlisk says the best way to be a friend is by listening. “I know that sounds very, very basic but so often we don’t listen to one another,” Quinlisk says. “We’re in such a hurry to get to the next class to do the next thing that we have to do, so listen to what your friend has to say and let them know that you understand what they’re trying to say and give them some suggestions of other things that might be helpful,

for instance talking to an adult [or] a professional.”

Support at ’Stoga

At ’Stoga there are multiple routes of help for a student with depression. The first and foremost point of contact is a student’s guidance counselor, who can connect the student to different kinds of services available. Guidance department chair Misty Whelan says that counselors will meet with students to talk if they suspect something might be wrong. She says that students who are depressed often begin to do badly in school, stop wanting to go to school and extra-curricular activities or often feel sick, which are warning signs of depression. Whelan says that there tend to be some warning signs of depression

mandatory meeting with her before determining if the positive was false or if they need further help. ’Stoga provides a variety of methods to help students that are dealing with depression. “Our hope is that [students with depression are] able to access supports and get them back on a path that they’re feeling themselves again and that they’re feeling healthy and feeling supported,” Principal Amy Meisinger says.

Club cancellation

During the 2009-10 school year, senior Mariah Ketterman and ’Stoga graduate Matt Goldenthal started a club to provide help and hope to students suffering from sadness. They modeled their club after the national organization To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA), a nonprofit movement established for the sake of helping those suffering from depression, self-harming tendencies, addiction and suicide. The two club leaders became inspired to bring the movement to their school after learning about its encouraging and powerful message. “It’s a big issue and even though there are resources at school, they are not as available and as easy to find as the school thinks they are,” Ketterman says. After the TWLOHA club was approved by the administration, Ketterman and Goldenthal began holding official meetings in 2009. Despite sharing the same name, the Conestoga club and the official organization of TWLOHA were not affiliated. Among the club’s goals were to raise awareness for teenage depression and other mood disorders, as well as provide a safe place where students could express themselves, regardless of whether or notthey had been diagnosed with clinical depression. Typical meetings would run like group discussions. Members were allowed to share their feelings about what was going on in their lives. “We would go around and talk a little bit, but you didn’t have to talk if you [didn’t] want to. It was a safe place,” Goldenthal says. The club ran for about five months, continuing meetings into the spring

“I’ll do a lot of things I get enjoyment out of just to get it out of my mind.” -Sophomore Kate Hughes that guidance counselors are trained to listen to and identify, but not to make assumptions that these signs “automatically mean that they are depressed but maybe to point these things out.” The job of a student’s guidance counselor is to let the student talk and help them realize that there is help available. Guidance counselors then make a referral to the Student Support Committee, a group of counselors that meets weekly with administrators to assist students facing difficulties. Students might then be referred to the CARE Team, a group of teachers that assists and connects students to outside help through a confidential process. A student and his parent might instead meet with his guidance counselor to find a solution. Most situations would be referred to Dunleavy for an initial assessment before diagnosis. Another mode to reach out to students is the TeenScreen, a Columbia University online program that is offered for freshmen during school, though it is optional. Parents were informed of the survey at the annual Parent-Teacher Night. Students who tested positive would have a

of 2010. That spring, Ketterman and Goldenthal got a call from the administration. The students were told that the club needed a professional advisor to continue the club but the school had difficulty finding those resources. Often times “for kids who are experiencing anxiety or depression to talk to other kids who are experiencing the same thing is very helpful,” Quinlisk says. But “you have to have a trained facilitator to make sure that students don’t just pick up bad feelings from others.” Quinlisk says that most counselors take training on how to manage group therapy so that they can move the discussion in a positive direction. “It wouldn’t help a kid just to sit and talk and talk and talk about feeling bad if there wasn’t a sense of relief or understanding. Sometimes they might be dragged down even further,” Quinlisk says. Meisinger says that the school was lacking someone to facilitate the correct professional atmosphere for the club, which was a key reason in requesting that the club discontinue. “We felt as though we weren’t in a position to support [club members] in the way that they might need to be supported so we thought it would probably be best not to continue the club moving forward,” Meisinger says. “That being said, we shared with them ways that they could access support here moving forward if they felt that they needed it.” Though Ketterman says she understood the administration’s concerns, she still wishes the club could have remained open for students who suffer silently from depression. “The whole topic in general needs to be less stigmatized,” Ketterman says. “There’s so many people that really do suffer from [depression]. Even if it’s not depression, everyone has their own issues. We should be more willing to share [ourselves] and show our more human side.”

Non-suicidal self injury

Sometimes, the symptoms of depression become so clear that their effects become physically damaging. Coping with depression can cause some to resort to non-suicidal self injury (NSSI), such as cutting, burning or self-beating. Approximately four percent of the population has a problem with NSSI. Contrary to misconceptions, NSSI is not exclusive to teenagers, females or any one social group.




Students recover from depression, find hope in future

Continued from p. 4

“The doctors say [that teens selfharm] because it’s a release, and you’re able to control something,” Hughes says. “But also, especially for kids with anger issues, you want to destroy something, and you can get in trouble for destroying actual things. So if you have low self-esteem, you can start to destroy yourself.” Junior Katelynn Taylor, who has acted as a friend to her peers that selfharm, believes that some teenager will use their injuries as a cry for help. “Some people can do it just for the attention, while others are more secretive about it,” Taylor says. “They’ll cover it with long sleeves and long pants and act like everything is okay.” NSSI seems to be on the rise among young adults. According to a 2010 study presented at the American Psychological Association Meeting, incidents of NSSI at one Northeastern University campus doubled between 1997 and 2007. “More people are noticing it and more people are speaking up about it, and it’s not as taboo,” Hughes says.

“A lot more kids are doing it. Maybe it’s because it’s portrayed in a lot of movies and TV shows.” After extensive and continuing therapy, Hughes says that she is beginning to recover from her former addiction to self-harm. Hughes urges those who are contemplating self-injury never to start, and those who have started selfharming to try to stop. “Stop now before you can’t,” Hughes says. “Definitely get help because it can lead to scars for the rest of your life.”

student is by encouraging them to speak up. “The most important aspect of helping my friends is having them

Need to talk? Call the national Depression Support hotline 24/7


Moving forward

While talking to an adult is necessary for serious cases of depression, talking to a friend can provide a depressed student with the strength they need to find some light in the darkness. Senior Cameron Miller, who has acted as a friend to some students with depression, thinks that the best way to help a depressed

talk out their problems. It’s harmful to keep emotions bottled up inside,” Miller says. “By talking it out, they open up, which is most definitely needed.”

Miller also thinks that helping a depressed student means providing them with someone that they can always trust and rely on—a helping hand to pull them out of the sadness that they are feeling. “I want my friends to feel secure when discussing their feelings,” Miller says “I always assure them that I am, and will always be there for them.” Whelan says that depression is a medical condition in which there is hope for recovery as long as students get medical attention. “It’s relatively common for students and folks in general to experience symptoms of depression so it shouldn’t be anything students are scared of or afraid to deal with,” Whelan says. Students “need to just make sure an adult knows. I think that’s the biggest thing. That’s what our message is—just to tell an adult and someone

that you feel you can trust to help you down the right path.” When it comes to depression, Quinlisk says that a student who feels constant sadness is not alone. “You don’t need to take care of these things on your own,” she says. “There are plenty of adults who are willing to help.” Hughes also encourages those with depression to reach out to someone they trust. According to Hughes, a student that is open about their feelings can encourage other students facing similar issues to start seeking help as well—at least, that was the turning point in Hughes’s story. “People need to speak up because I know that I was afraid to speak up because I was afraid that people would look at me like I was crazy,” Hughes says. “But when my friend spoke up, I decided to speak up about it.” Thanks to this chain reaction of hope, Hughes is now working to overcome her disease. K.C. McConnell can be reached at




Radical graffitti rocks the Main Line, surprises community

Claire Moran Staff Reporter Senior Juliet Damasco hops on her bus to school, just as she does almost every weekday. She passes stores, pedestrians, and other common sights of suburbia. However, she also passes something rather uncommon for a suburban town: graffiti that reads “The revolution is coming. Where will you stand?” Messages of this nature are spray painted in various locations around the Main Line. Another message on the barrier where West Swedesford Road splits and becomes Route 202 reads “Bomb the Suburbs.” “It just seems bizarre. Is it someone playing a fake joke or are these actual people who are trying to have a revolution or something? It’s weird because it’s the Main Line. You wouldn’t expect something like this in this area,” Damasco said. Sophomore Annie McCarthy shared Damasco’s concern about the graffiti’s violent message and also thought that the style of the graffiti was unusual.

“Usually when you’re writing graffiti, sometimes it’s really rushed, especially in a public area like that, but it’s really perfectly laid out. It’s not messed up at all, it’s perfect handwriting,” McCarthy said. Detective Sergeant John R. Bailey of the Tredyffrin Township police said he could not comment on specific instances of graffiti. He noted, however, that graffiti in this area is usually a form of expression for the artist. “A lot of the graffiti that we’ve seen in Tredyffrin Township has been for the most part works of art and of the taggers who have been arrested for it, we found out they are art students somewhere,” Bailey said.. Marta Matheny, mother of junior Deborah Matheny and freshman Sarah Matheny, disapproves of the graffiti and its message. She is concerned that more graffiti of this nature could appear in the community. “Visually it is unappealing and if it’s not stopped or the people are not caught that have done that, I think it leaves it open for other people to continue doing that,” Matheny said. Bailey said that if the graffiti artist is

Luke Rafferty/The SPOKE

Revolutionary graffiti from an unknown source was found a short distance from ’Stoga. The graffiti is located at the intersection of Central Avenue and Route 30 in Berwyn. Similar graffiti has been seen throughout the Main Line. convicted, part of his or her sentence is usually to repay the owner for the cost of cleaning up the property. “In the past with Tredyffrin Township whenever we’ve done our investigations we’ve been pretty successful in making arrests,” Bailey said. Senior Benji Rolotti, copresident of the Young Socialists club and a self-identified socialist with a Marxist

Freshmen lose privileges to library

Emily Klein Staff Reporter Many sophomores remember waiting in line to receive a library pass to escape their freshman study halls. This traditional underclassmen experience will no longer be a rite of passage. Implemented this September, freshmen are not permitted to visit the library during study hall. Also, sophomores who earned honor roll status during the fourth marking period in the 2010-11 school year automatically gained free periods at the beginning of this school year. In addition, room 268, commonly known as the “Million Dollar Room,” is now occupied by sophomore study halls. Some freshmen, including Chris MacKenzie, expect to be inconvenienced by the changes, especially in regards to completing homework on computers. The change “hasn’t really affected me as of now. But I know that for a fact in the future it will as the workload increases,” Mac-Kenzie said.

Others, such as freshman Nick Boccella, agree that the new policy is unfair to freshmen. “I believe everybody should be treated on an equal playing field,” said freshman Nick Boccella, whose sister was a freshman last year. “All these people before me got the chance, and now I don’t.” Other students express a happy at-

perspective, thinks that the various examples of graffiti convey very different messages related to socialism. “I think the ‘Bomb the Suburbs’ one is kind of just raw violence without any real belief behind it, which I think is kind of disturbing, whereas the ‘Start the revolution’ one, as a Marxist, I believe that,” Rolotti said. Unlike Rolotti, Matheny believes

that graffiti of this nature is detrimental to the community. “Unless it’s artistic graffiti that there’s a designated wall or area where artists are invited to paint something, I don’t like it—I detest it,“ Matheny said. Claire Moran can be reached at

Assistant principal Michele Capuano said there were multiple reasons for moving the sophomore study hall into room 268. “We wanted to ensure that students who need to use library resources would have access to them for schoolwork,” Capuano said. Freshmen in study hall may use the computers in their study hall classrooms or in room 130, the freshman office. For sophomore study hall students, a laptop cart is available in the “Million Dollar Room” for student use. The administration said they are keeping an open mind to whatever may arise in the future. “No decisions have been made about the future with regard to these changes,” Capuano said, “The administration will work closely with the teachers and students to get feedback throughout the year, and we will base a decision on what is best for all.”

“I believe everybody should be treated on an equal playing field.” -Freshman Nick Boccella titude towards the new procedures. Sophomore Callum Backstrom enjoys his newfound free periods. However, he acknowledges the fact that it is harder to get work done. “My problem with free periods is that there isn’t exactly the best management of places to go to find quiet studying,” Backstrom said. The library is frequently “too crowded or it’s too noisy still.” Not all sophomores have free periods. Instead, some attend study hall in room 268.

Emily Klein can be reached at

Luke Rafferty/The SPOKE




Students bunched in busloads, face full ride to school

Patrick Nicholson Staff Reporter For some Conestoga students, the daily commute to school has become an early morning game of sardines. Many of the ’Stoga buses have been filled to capacity through the first few weeks of school. Freshman Katherine Kahley, who rides bus 5, noticed a significant increase in the number of students riding her bus. “It started out insanely crowded this year,” Kahley said Kahley noted that initially, having three students per seat was common on her bus. She said that the number of students has decreased since then, but is still greater than last year. Freshman Hanan Zisling, who also rides Bus 5, has also noticed the large number of people that have Karolis Panavas/The SPOKE only recently started to ride his bus. Junior Linda Goldberg, sophomore David Jeong and junior Srihith Bhamidipati ride Bus 5 home from school. Two According to Zisling, as many as five students sit on the floor, since all of the seats on their bus are filled to capacity. students have been forced to stand “Crowding on buses is not too overcrowded bus will be dealt with in the aisle during his bus rides. He However, according to assistant said that it is not only inconvenient, principal Andy Phillips, the increase uncommon in the beginning of the before it becomes a safety hazard. “If the situation occurs where there but has also caused safety issues. in passengers is a normal part of the year. Last year we had a couple of “The bus safety is probably not beginning of the school year. As buses in that situation, and this year are not enough seats on the bus, the driver is to contact dispatch and anvery good because when we stop, the safety coordinator, he helps deter- we have two,” Phillips said. According to Business Manager other bus will be sent out,” McDonbus lurches forward and can cause mine which buses are too full, a comArt McDonnell, any reports of an nell said. "In the first week of school people to fall over,” Zisling said. mon experience in September.

we had a few reports of full buses. After those reports, we transferred some bus stops to other bus routes to alleviate the situation.” However, some students believe that the crowding has not decreased with time. Junior Keith Peterson, who rides Bus 21, said that crowding on the bus has led to problems such as book bags obstructing the center aisle. He also said that the noise level from such a crowded bus is a nuisance. “It is pretty loud because there are so many people. It’s hard to think,” Peterson said. For those students who search for answers as to why their bus is suddenly packed, Phillips offered a simple explanation. “With the economy having some hard times, we see more students riding the bus as juniors and seniors because it costs money to drive and get gas,” Phillips said. Phillips felt that, as route adjustments are completed, bus capacities should be back to normal in no time. Patrick Nicholson can be reached at

Change in guidance department brings new faces to 'Stoga Becker Kratsa Lieber Monaghan Rahr Ryan Samson Smith Whelan



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


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

This Year 5


Last Year -12 0



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

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


James Redmond Staff Reporter

Students per Grade For Each Counselor

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

Graphic:Anisa Tavangar/The SPOKE

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

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


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

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Fighting depression

The Spoke encourages students to be supportive and aware When we’re feeling overwhelmed by the daily stresses of high school, many of us find solace in the fact that there is light at the end of the tunnel, whether it be the weekend, summer break or the freedoms of college. However, for some students, that light at the end of the tunnel seems impossibly far away. These are the students who have depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 11.2 percent of teenagers suffer from the disease. While it’s normal to be sad or upset over a bad day, there’s a distinction between being sad and suffering from depression. As a community we should be aware of the differences between the two so that we can reach out to those whose sadness may be a result of depression and try to steer them toward help. However, in order to extend help to someone with depression, it is key to understand the difference between normal ups and downs and the long-term despair of depression. Depression comes in two main forms with the warning signs and feelings differing from person to person. One form of depression is known as situational depression, which results after a loss of a loved one or other specific situations. The other is known as clinical depression, which is long lasting and associated with a chemical imbalance of serotonin in the brain. When a friend is suffering from situational depression, we need to reach out and listen to let them know that we understand and support them. If the depression is more serious, be-

ing a friend means making sure that they get help and supporting them through the process without judgment. The same type of listening and support is something we should also extend to students who aren’t depressed. We all know what stress and sadness feel like. Even if a peer is just having one off-day, being there to talk can make all the difference. Even if he or she is not your closest friend, you can still be supportive and understanding to a peer who is having a bad day. But when someone has clinical depression, the sadness doesn’t just “go away,” since depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Therefore, seeking therapy and treatment is essential in the path toward resolving the symptoms of the illness. There’s no reason to be afraid to talk about your depression if you happen to have the condition or to tell a friend that you’re worried they might be depressed. If a student you know is suffering from the condition, it’s important to be a good listener and help them seek guidance from an adult. It is also important to understand that they aren’t a sad person, but that they have a medical condition and should not be judged for what they’re feeling. Whether it’s us or a friend who has depression, we should also always kindle and encourage hope. We should let those with the condition know that we are there to help and to listen. At Conestoga, we should strive to be a supportive community that provides help and hope to those in need. And remember: although it’s perfectly normal to feel upset occasionally, it’s important to smile too.

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Tina Pan/ Pan/The SPOKE

From the Editor:

The secret side of technology

Mary Turocy Co-editor-in-chief What do YouTube, your cafeteria account and my college applications all have in common? They exist primarily inside computers, as millions or trillions of ones and zeros, stored as tiny electrical impulses in the billions of transistors on the surface of an integrated circuit. At least I think I have that right. In any case, the concepts behind the electronic machines that permeate our daily lives are fascinating, yet incredibly difficult to comprehend. As a teenager who uses technology constantly, it bothers me that, until recently, I really had no idea what the Internet is. I could write for hours about what it does, but as a user, I only see the façade that the tech geeks construct for the rest of us while they do goodness-knows-what behind the scenes. I’m a self-directed person. I figure things out for myself, and when I can’t, I like to think I know exactly where to go for help. But when it comes to understanding the inner workings of technology, I’m baffled. Google searches give me tutorials for senior citizens—“Point, then click”—or some sort of alien technology language. So I turned to the antithesis of electronics, my human social network, for answers to my questions. They generally sorted themselves into three groups: people who don’t know squat and don’t care, people who don’t know squat but sympathize with me anyway and people who do know their way around technology. I discovered that the common stereotype of technology knowit-alls gleefully holding their power over the ignorant masses doesn’t really hold up. Whether the technology nerd is my dad, my AP Statistics classmate or the lovingly awkward narrator in the “Everything you need to know about computers in less than 20 minutes” YouTube video, the initiated all seem to be willing and able to teach the rest of us. We all should make an effort to leave the ranks of the technologically ignorant, even if we never major in computer engineering or make a living in Silicon Valley. After all, if we live in the Internet Age, shouldn’t we be able to explain what the Internet is? Mary Turocy can be






Helping students find a home at Conestoga

Ying Ying Shang Staff Reporter Here’s a secret about me: I am absolutely terrified of cafeterias. Specifically, I am afraid of crowded cafeterias where I don’t know anyone—the cafeteria I faced my first day of school at Conestoga two years ago. I will never forget my dread at the prospect of eating lunch alone, among masses of unfamiliar faces as a transfer student from another school district. The next few months of transition were no easier. Although there was a certain freedom in my nonexistent reputation, for the most part, I felt out of place and lost. I longed for my comfortable niche at my old school

in West Chester. After such an emotionally trying experience, two years later, I still reserve special empathy for Conestoga’s transfer students. This year, Conestoga has 91 new students dispersed through all four grades: 43 freshmen, 21 sophomores, 16 juniors and 12 seniors. That makes 91 students coping with an unfamiliar environment and social scene, 91 students whom we should help in the transition process. The most difficult part of transferring schools is facing a new environment absolutely alone. While parents can complete registration forms, meet guidance counselors and give well-intentioned but meaningless social advice, they cannot come to school and experience the chilling isolation. Looking back on my own first days, it was extremely challenging to find my place when the rest of the student body was already comfortably settled in their social routine. My isolation wasn’t limited to lunchtime. It surfaced in count-

less situations throughout the day. I felt it when other students laughed loudly in the library and I couldn’t quite find a table to do my homework, when a cluster of friends gossiped on the way to class while I kept my eyes turned to the floor or when the teacher announced “Partner up!” and everyone else scanned the room and smiled knowingly at a friend while I studied the patterns on my desk. In each situation, transfer students can feel out of place all too keenly. While Peer Mediation assigns Links to new students to guide them around the school, orchestrated attempts by teachers, organizations or administrators to ease the transition only simulate the natural process of fitting in. Links can give a hand in the right direction, but the ultimate guidance comes from the community. Unfortunately, even as returning ’Stoga students, we are frequently intimidated by the prospect of forging a connection

with someone new—whether it’s a new student or an unfamiliar classmate. We usually sit with the same group at lunch, talk to the same friends in class each day and dismiss the semi-strangers about whom we know next to nothing. All too often, our own comfort zones inhibit us from reaching out to welcome potential friends. It’s never too late to change. Go ahead and befriend the transfer students who are new this year. Leave your usual lunch group to go sit with someone new. Consider introducing yourself to a classmate you have never spoken to. Transfer students once belonged somewhere else, but let’s make sure they belong here too. Two years since I first set foot at Conestoga, I’m glad to say that I have found a home here, in the crowded cafeteria where I once saw only strangers. With our collective effort, every new student will be able to say the same. Ying Ying Shang can be reached at

Report Card Counselor Changes + Less confusion over counselor assignments - Some students have had their counselors changed

Twelfth Night + Beach theme puts a new twist on a Shakespeare classic - Smaller cast means fewer students can participate

New Facebook + Makes stalking people much easier - Yet another update to confuse and frustrate users

Bus Crowding + Rerouting of buses is financially prudent - More full buses cause a squished morning ride

Study Hall Policy + Less crowded in library without study hall students - Freshmen don’t have access to library during study halls

New Email System + Looks more professional and neat - Difficulty finding the “compose mail” button at first Tina Pan/The SPOKE




Treat yourself to more childhood

K.C. McConnell News Editor

This year, on the exact eve that October fades away into November, I will become someone else. It’s a chance to roam the streets in costume, to slink off into the darkness in the pursuit of witches, ghosts and goblins. Most importantly, I engage in the greatest pursuit of them all: the pursuit of candy. Even at 18 years old, I still cherish a childish fondness for Halloween. Yes, you heard me right. I am an adult (at least according to the government) and I am still going trickor-treating this Halloween night. It’s not because I plan to throw eggs at the small children whom I meet along the way, or because nobody invited me to their Halloween party. It’s because this one October night is a special part of my childhood that I will cling to for as long as I can.

I grew up far too fast. I have so much work to be done and barely enough time to do it. Suddenly in high school, we have all been thrust into a downward spiral of stress. And don’t get me started on college applications. It didn’t used to be this way. We used to have recess on the playground and naptime during school. There we used to spend oodles of hours getting more sleep instead of completing last-minute homework assignments. We used to be able to spend our weekends outside instead of glued to the computer screen. Wouldn’t you like to go back to a time when all of these things were there for you, and life was so simple? Well guess what? You can. You can turn off the TV and go sit on that lonely little swing-set in the park. You can disconnect yourself from the computer and spend some time curled up with that Dr. Seuss book you used to love so much. You can put down the flashcards, break out the crayons and get to working on that coloring book—don’t worry about staying inside the lines. You can, and you should, embrace childhood.

Wanting to remain a child at 18 doesn’t mean you have to have some kind of Peter Pan complex. No matter what the government may say about your transition from minor to major, we are still kids. We have the freedom to eat sugary cereals, believe in fairytales and unicorns and even wear footie pajamas. However, being a child is not an excuse to shrug off all responsibility. Yes, we are kids, but we are kids in high school and we still have a lot of work to do. Just remember to balance work with play—and no, I don’t mean “play” as in “play World of Warcraft for 12 hours straight.” Play outside, play like a kid again. Play while you can. Soon enough, the freedoms of the adult world will become available to us. But in the meantime, why rush through our youth? Focus on the here and now, not on the stress that is to come. Enjoy being a kid now, face adulthood later. That’s why this Halloween, I won’t be afraid to prance around the neighborhood as a fairy princess. Who knows, maybe I’ll even end up on your doorstep.

Yet not everyone fully understood the joke. The real Rick Perry’s popularity surged after the straw poll. Though Iowa didn’t release the voting outcomes, some political pundits speculate that the satire may have unwillingly benefitted Perry’s campaign.

This instance serves as only one example of how political satirists are able to manipulate the uneducated members of the electorate into believing the parodies as opposed to the realities of politics. And thus, we can conclude that politics are at least partially drive by satirists.

K.C. McConnell can be reached at

“What age is too old for trick-or-treating?”

“ Sixteen, since you can get your permit and go places.”

-Freshman Kaylee Yan

“don’t The age when you want free candy.” -Sophomore Jesse Rong

“ Fourteen, but I think it’s acceptable for college students.” -Junior Grace Severance

“You’re too old only on occas-

sions when you can go to a party instead.” -Senior Andrew Metz

Joke’s on you: Political satirists fool viewers

Tracy Cook Senior Staff Reporter

Rick Parry has recently become a popular Republican candidate. Yes, check that. Rick Parry. With an “A.” As in “A for IowA, A for PresidAnt and A for America.” Political satirist Stephen Colbert single-handedly propelled this imaginary candidate onto the ballot at the recent Iowa straw poll in one of his notorious satirical pieces, attempting to influence Republican straw poll voters into supporting this made up character instead of the actual candidate, Rick Perry. Colbert endorsed Parry in his Colbert Super PAC television ads, facetiously encouraging Iowan voters to write in “Rick Parry with an A” on the ballot, thus diluting the vote. Colbert’s satirical commercial instantly became a YouTube hit.

Charlotte Clifford for The SPOKE

After following September’s Republican primary campaigning, it became clear how much of a candidate’s success can be derived from easily persuaded and politically unaware voters. A certain bandwagon appeal exists in politics that allows the opinions of both celebrities and satirists to impact the public’s preferences and ultimately sway the vote. Enter “Saturday Night Live,” a show noted for its prominent use of political satire. When comedian Tina Fey first impersonated Sarah Palin, the pair’s common physical appearance, mannerisms and voices were enough to confuse people. But some of the things Palin would become most infamous for initially occurred on “SNL.” “I can see Russia from my house,” was a satirical impersonation poking fun at her. Although the quote originated from “SNL,” it became closely associated with Sarah Palin herself, leading people to believe that Palin actually was an inexperienced candidate. Since political satire has multiple potential outcomes and a variety of interpretations, it’s important for us as an audience to be

an educated electorate and be aware of the effects that satire has on our opinions. When a candidate is satirized, the jokes can be funny and entertaining, but also dangerous, since those who aren’t politically savvy can be influenced into believing that the jokes are actually facts. At Conestoga, we can avoid becoming overly influenced by satire and ignorant of political matters by being able to differentiate satire from actual occurrences. We should aim to learn about satire and its effects in Government or United States History class so that we can become educated voters in the future. Without proper political knowledge, we won’t be able to make pragmatic decisions about who is to represent and voice our opinions as a country. Frankly, ignorance and flat-out indifference too often allows for voters to be easily misled. While political satire pokes fun at politicians, it also influences the audience—just don’t let the joke be on you. Tracy Cook can be reached at




Defining ourselves through being quirky

Haley Xue Op-Ed Editor

Tina Pan/The SPOKE

To t h e Ed i to r Dear Editor,

Letters Policy

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



Go online to comment on our articles

I really enjoyed reading the article about females losing leadership roles outside the school campus (“Falling behind: Females lose top leadership spots after ’Stoga,” p. 4). It opened my eyes about female leadership in the working fields versus in the school environment. I agree that the reason females have a higher number of leadership positions in the school campus is because during that age the female gender is more responsible than the opposite gender. In the working world, however, they may lose their leadership positions because at that age the male gender is as responsible and mature as the female gender. I wasn’t surprised with the data that showed how the female leadership role in school is above 50 percent and the one in the working world is below 50 percent. However, I think that the increase in female leadership in school nowadays will foreshadow an increase in their leadership roles in all job fields, may it be a job in Congress or as a CEO of a company. I think this article was very informative and I hope that the female leadership roles increase in the future. Pallavi Sindhu Junior Dear Editor, I was very intrigued by your article on the civics exam (“Civically disengaged: Students score low on national exam,” p. 6). It was surprising to hear that so many students did not perform well on a test about the country they are living in. It is a bit uncomfortable knowing that so many students do not understand the government system in which they live. They are the future of this country. If they do not fully understand our government system, how can we rely on them to make the right decisions when voting at the polls and take an active role in our government in the future? I am very thankful that Conestoga offers many courses like U.S. Government and U.S. History, as well as other electives that thoroughly teach us in politics and in civics. We can take these opportunities to start learning about the country we live in, how it was run and how it started. These classes can help us make informed decisions in the future so that we can make a difference in our society. Felicity Gong Sophomore

She was named Artist of the Year by Billboard. She’s won five Grammy Awards. She’s defined by her eccentric sense of fashion—she once wore a dress made out of raw meat to the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards. She’s sold an estimated 13 million albums and 51 million singles, deeming her as one of the best-selling music artists worldwide. But Lady Gaga wasn’t “born this way.” Before she became a widely recognized singer, she was once a high school student. Although she’s enjoying life in the spotlight now, Stefani Germanotta was bullied in high school because she possessed an unconventional fashion sense and an unusual style of makeup. She was bullied simply because she was quirky. We can learn three important lessons from Lady Gaga. One: walking in ten-inch platform shoes is probably not the best idea for the average person. Two: it’s important for us to preserve our quirks, and three: as a society, we should honor individual differences and foster diversity. Quirks can be anything from an unusual interest in taxidermy to a passion for making clothes out of vegetables. Perhaps you’re really interested in filming YouTube vlogs, or you have a penchant for dying your hair neon orange. Maybe it’s a love for writing limericks and haikus or you just really like making earrings out of radishes like Luna Lovegood from “Harry Potter.” Whatever it is, a quirk makes you different and establishes a trait that defines who you are as a person. They keep us grounded from drifting too far from who we truly are. Quirks make us different from everyone else and translate into success later in life, planting the seedlings of who we will become. They’re a vital component in establishing and understanding our

identity. Though their value might not be obvious right now, they help us keep in touch with who we are and what we want to do. We have to understand ourselves in order to better understand others. Unfortunately, in high school many students are too preoccupied with conforming to the accepted standards in order to fit in. Some fear that being different from everyone else will cause them to be labeled as a “freak,” or simply “weird.” Those that are different from everyone else in high school are often shunned and labeled outcasts. They may be called “outcasts” for four years, but as for their lives after high school, they may be called “CEO” or “Mr. President.” Barack Obama may have been bullied in high school because of how different his name sounded, but now he’s enjoying life in the White House. Countless other celebrities were also bullied in high school for being “quirky.” Michael Phelps was teased because he wanted to be a swimmer, not a football player. Megan Fox was made fun of because she wanted to be an actress. Bill Gates was bullied because he was a computer nerd. Clearly, they didn’t let others stand in the way of their embracing and taking advantage of their differences. After winning eight gold medals, starring in “Transformers” and becoming CEO of Microsoft respectively, I’d say life turned out pretty well for all of them. At Conestoga, we should work towards demolishing the misconception that it’s better to fit in, because in actuality, it’s best to emphasize what makes us different. Our time in high school is an opportunity to explore our interests and find our quirks. We should try to eliminate the fear of being stereotyped because of our differences by developing an appreciative attitude. At the same time, we shouldn’t let others hurt our individuality. Different, after all, is what makes the ordinary extraordinary. So go ahead, embrace your quirks, dorkiness, geekiness and the qualities that make you, well, you. After all, it worked out pretty well for Stefani Germanotta, or should I say, Lady Gaga. Haley Xue can be reached at

Features TUESDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2011

Ali Ozgur R ; y a w r o vies, N a D n Laure ; y n rma e G , te r t t ö ie G l u J

odoplu, Turkey; Lourenço Silva, Por tugal; M asha Phi l

i p p o va

, Russ

ia; G uilla ume R ivi er, F ra n ce

Conestoga debunks American stereotypes for international students. Story by Allison Kozeracki and Aly Mingione Design by Margot Field

At Conestoga, six foreign exchange students were surprised to find that Americans are not exactly what they expected. These foreign exchange students have joined the Class of 2012 through the American Field Service program and are staying with various host families in the district. They have encountered many surprises as they learn more about the reality of American culture. “I wasn’t expecting [Conestoga students] to be so nice,” Portuguese exchange student Lourenço Silva

said. “They’re always asking me how I am and making conversation. It was a good surprise.” Both Silva and Norwegian student Lauren Davies were surprised to find that common impressions in their countries were far from the truth. “Everyone was saying that [Americans] only eat loads of fatty foods and everyone was really big, but it’s not like that at all,”Davies said. Silva also found that Americans are not quite as unhealthy as popular misconceptions suggest. At home “we always think that one in two Americans are obese, but I haven’t seen that many of those people here,” Silva said. “It’s a stereotype that’s not exactly true.” Turkish student Ali Ozgur Rodoplu also appreciates the warm reception from American students, whom he

said are friendlier than his classmates in Turkey. “The biggest difference is people,” Rodoplu said. “They feel more comfortable and they are more friendly [than at home].” Most of the students agree that the greatest challenge of being an exchange student in the U.S. is adjusting to a new language. Although they studied English in their native countries, becoming fully immersed in a foreign language has proved to be a challenging experience. “At first it was very difficult to understand, but every day I understand much more,” Russian exchange student Masha Philippova said. French exchange student Guillaume Rivier said that he is having a similar experience overcoming the language barrier.

It is difficult to understand “when the people have big accents or speak really fast,” Rivier said. Another difference Rodoplu found between Turkey and the U.S. is a confusing new school schedule that revolves around 43-minute classes. “I have a problem with school times. For example, in Turkey, [class] starts at 9 a.m. [and ends at] 9:40 a.m.,” Rodoplu said. “But here it’s so confusing.” Davies said that she has also encountered some striking cultural differences in school. “At home you would stay in the same classroom the whole day and call [teachers] by their first name,” she said. “There [are] a lot of small adjustments.” Despite the occasional struggles of cultural differences and a language

barrier, the students are generally excited to see the truth about American culture through their own eyes. Being members of the senior class will allow the students to experience momentous events like senior prom and graduation. But sometimes it is the little things about America that make the biggest impressions. I like “the school buses,” Philippova said with a chuckle. “They are so yellow and so funny.” Allison Kozeracki can be reached at



Student finds enlightenment in Thai meditation

Kelly Benning Staff Reporter While many students spent part of their summers lounging on the beach or planted in front of a television screen, sophomore Jessie Ackerman was more than 9,000 miles away from home participating in the most difficult form of inactivity she had ever experienced. Meditating in a monastery in Thailand without moving or speaking proved to be quite a challenge for the talkative student. Ackerman embarked on a six week adventure in Thailand with a program called “Where There Be Dragons,” dedicated to immersing students into the cultures of developing nations. Members of the group spent five days in a monastery following a rigorous schedule. Ackerman and the group woke up at 3:30 a.m. each morning and had prayer with the monks for an hour, and then spent an hour cleaning the monastery, followed by breakfast and two hours of meditation. “It was really difficult just to sit there and do nothing,” Ackerman said. “The first two days I didn’t really get anything out of it because I was kind of miserable and didn’t want to be there.”

Monks do not eat in the afternoon as a way of practicing moderation. The group would eat an early lunch and then meditate for six or seven hours without any more meals. The prospect of six hours of meditation was daunting at first, but Ackerman was able to improve her meditation ability after some initial frustration. She appreciated being able to practice methods of meditation different from the traditional method of seated meditation. The group practiced for 20 minutes followed by walking meditation while focusing on clearing their minds. “Toward the end I started liking it more. You notice things you’ve never noticed before,” she said. “It made me think how in our everyday life we never sit down to think about what’s around us and be grateful for what we have.” The group was also not supposed to talk either, though Ackerman admitted that they did not follow that rule consistently. Part of the immersion process of “Where There Be Dragons” was spending a week living with a family in an extremely remote village. Most of the village was without electricity, so the group had no access to technol-

Courtesy Jessie Ackerman

Sophomore Jessie Ackerman (fourth from right) traveled to a monastery in Thailand this summer. Ackerman and her fellow group members woke at 3:30 a.m. each morning and meditated for six to seven hours per day. ogy and it was common for families to use buckets for showers. “It was a big culture shock,” Ackerman said. “It was hard to imagine staying there but after two or three days, it wasn’t really a problem. The people that lived in the village were really nice and understanding. They knew it was hard for us at first but they were really comforting.” Almost no one spoke English

Piano keys bring students success

Jenna Spoont Staff Reporter

After practicing the piano for four hours every day this summer, sophomore Dorsin Chang has finally reached her ultimate goal. On Oct. 29, she will perform in New York City’s most prestigious auditorium, Carnegie Hall. However, Chang is accustomed to the spotlight since this is the second time she will be performing at the venue. Freshman Suproteem Sarkar has also been invited to attend Carnegie Hall, and he will be performing there for the first time in October. For Chang and Sarkar, their six minutes on stage will bring pressure and excitement. “It’s nerve-racking to play in front of a lot of people, but at the same time it feels satisfying that you did it and that it was a big accomplishment,” Chang said. In order to earn themselves a spot on the Carnegie Hall stage, Chang and Sarkar participated in the World Piano Competition in Cincinnati from June 27 through July 17, with sophomore Helen Wang and junior Robin Luo. Both Sarkar and Chang won first place for their solo pieces.

Lavi Ben-Dor/The SPOKE

Sophomore Dorsin Chang practices piano in the music wing. Chang qualified to perform at Carnegie Hall this October. “Naturally, I was really nervous, but I did practice for a long time [because] it was a goal that I wanted to achieve,” Chang said. Although Luo and Wang will not be performing in October, they have played at the American Fine Arts Festival hosted at Carnegie Hall in the past. Luo considers the festival as an opportunity to showcase his talent. Carnegie Hall “is a really grand and golden place,” Luo said. All of the students are taught by piano teacher Joy Kiszely.


Kiszely “caters her teaching to your specific needs, so you always feel as if you’re doing the right thing,” Sarkar said. The preparation process takes one to two years, and finding the right balance between piano and schoolwork is always difficult. However, Sarkar has a positive attitude. “If you really have the passion to play, then you’ll find a way,” Sarkar said. Jenna Spoont can be reached at

in the village. Instead they spoke a language called Karen, of which Ackerman knew three words. They managed to communicate through body language. Ackerman found that her six weeks traveling the country and meeting new people was not enough and longs to return to Thailand someday. Her experiences in the monastery especially impacted her. She has not

meditated since she was in Thailand but she said she still notices the world around her with greater clarity, especially the things in her life she values the most. “A trip like this makes you really grateful for all you have,” Ackerman said. Kelly Benning can be reached at





Student joins two-wheeled excursion across America David Kramer Staff Reporter Four weeks into his cross-country bicycle trip, junior Brian Kane heard a crash behind him. He glanced back and saw his friend and fellow bicyclist Harriet Fischer on the ground having a seizure. As the leader that day, Kane hopped off his bicycle and ran into the road to flag down cars for help. Fischer was taken away in an ambulance but rejoined the group several days later. The unsettling episode was just one of many hardships that Kane and his group of 13 bicyclists confronted during their six-week ride across the United States. As part of a program called Overland, Kane and the other bicyclists were led by two college-age riders and completed The American Challenge, one of the most difficult cross-country biking trips that the program offers. The group started in Savannah, Ga. and pedaled through the Ozarks, the Great Plains, the Rockies, the Grand Canyon and the desert before reaching their final destination at Santa Monica Pier, Calif. They averaged 85 miles each

day and stopped every 20 miles for a break. In a car, “you don’t actually notice the scenery,” Kane said. “Biking goes at a slower pace so you can see all the emptiness around you.” Kane packed only some clothing and toiletries for his grueling expedition. The group woke at 4 a.m. to cover as many miles as it could before the scorching heat arrived in the afternoon, and it biked until it was dark. Although each leg of the trip was extremely strenuous, Kane was determined to reach the final milestone. “Even though everyday you bike for miles and miles and barely get anywhere on the map of the United States, you just learn to keep at it and trust that you’ll eventually get across the country,” Kane said. He and his companions camped in sleeping bags and tents, and were relieved to have a much-appreciated night or two in a motel. One night, coyotes circled their campsite and the group was forced to sleep in a public bathroom up the road. Kane’s mother, Jean Kane, was nervous about her son’s daring excursion, but she felt confident that

Brian’s Journey

Brian Kane would have a good experience. “This is a really rigorous trip,” Jean Kane said. “The kids who do it and the leaders who lead it are considered top-notch.” Having no contact was Approx. 3000 miles in 6 wee difficult for his parents, ks Santa Monica Pier, Calif. although they were able to check his location, status and stories from the previous week every Saturday morning Savannah, Ga. on Overland’s website. Although many drivers honked in support or paid no attention, some stopped to offer Kane and Despite the the other riders Gatorade and water. harsh physical conMargot Field/The SPOKE Throughout the trip, six members ditions, Kane was able to of the group had to be admitted to look past his handlebars and rode more than 3,000 miles in just hospitals because of dehydration. let the scenery around him sink in. six weeks and made close friends After hitting a heat wave in Kansas, Some of the sights were surprising along the way. Kane already has the temperature soared to approxi- and eye-opening. ideas of taking a gap year before mately 115 degrees. Kane had to eat “We saw a lot of poverty along college to make another bicycle trip salt packets to replenish his sodium the way. It makes you realize that with one of his friends. levels after sweating so much. the whole world isn’t like this Main “I just wanted to break out of “There was a point where I was Line bubble,” Kane said. “There’s this bubble and feel like I was acdehydrated and delirious. You could so much more poverty out there than complishing something significant,” tell where the next town was by see- we think there is.” Kane said. ing the water tower in the distance,” Upon reaching the West Coast, Kane said. “Sometimes that water Kane felt exhausted but thrilled that David Kramer can be reached at tower seemed so far away.” he had accomplished his goal. He

Photo courtesy Brian Kane




Tim Ligget AP Environmental Science and Microbiology The Spoke: I understand you volunteered as a Valley Forge Park ranger this summer. Why did you decide to do this? Tim Ligget: I wanted to learn more about the natural resources that the park has to offer, especially as a place to bring my students. Although I know a lot about the theory of how some of these [science] activities work, I didn’t have much practical experience in it. I thought VF would be a great opportunity for me just to have some practical education. T.S.: What do you like about teaching Microbiology and Environmental Science? T.L.: One of the things I like the best is that they are very current courses. Every day in the news you find out or you read about information about some new bacteria disease. If it’s not politics, it’s talking about new regulations or a disaster that happened. These are things that impact my student’s lives on a daily basis. T.S.: Why did you decide to wear bowties instead of ties? T.L.: Bowties are very practical- a bowtie doesn’t fall into your soup. At Haverford—where I used to teach—we would do

cat and pig dissections, and it was easier to wear a bowtie. When we’re working with chemicals in the lab, I don’t want to get stains. And they’re fun. T.S.: What does your favorite bowtie look like, and what is your favorite place to buy them? T.L.: My favorite bowtie has little penguins on it. Usually I buy them from Brooks Brothers or Franklin Mills. T.S.: What would your dream vacation be? T.L.: Scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef. There is amazing diversity. I am a certified scuba diver and I go two or three times a year in New Hampshire. T.S.: If you could have dinner with any three people, who would they be? T.L.: Charles Darwin, Louis Pastor and my college microbiology professor Ralph Calivarie. T.S.: If you could be any superhero, who would you be? T.L.: Captain Planet, who else? T.S.: What do you think is the best way for students to make a positive impact on the environment?

T.L.: Clearly the best way would be to volunteer. They can work in their local community to bring about change—it can be volunteering for a clean-up or helping to recycle materials. The most important thing I believe is to act locally. If you buy things that are produced locally and eat locally, that influence then will influence others and it will maintain and help promote the local companies and local farmers. T.S.: If you weren’t a teacher, what could you see yourself doing? T.L.: I would be working in environmental remediation or a forest ranger. T.S.: What made you realize that you wanted to be a high school teacher? T.L.: I really like working with high school age students. Part of it is that I want to give to students the tools that they need to be successful parents and members of society in the future. T.S.: What is something that most people don’t know about you? T.L.: I just bought a kayak. Interview by Natalie West Features Editor

Ligget’s Favorites

Song: “Hejira” by Joni Mitchell Band: Steely Dan, Infected Mushroom Movie: “Casablanca” Book: The “Foundation” series by Arthur C. Clarke Candy: Mr. Goodbar Quote: “The solution to pollution is dilution.” Celebrity: Humphrey Bogart




All fired up: Students respond to local disasters

Noah Levine & Suproteem Sarkar Staff Reporters

As local residents of the district headed home to avoid the major flooding and widespread power outages that were anticipated as a result of Hurricane Irene, a select group of students prepared to step outside and bear the brunt of the storm. These students are members of the Conestoga Firefighters/Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) club. Although Irene had been downgraded to a Category One hurricane when it hit the T/E area on Aug. 28, it still caused considerable property damage and resulted in several emergencies. “We responded to 35 fire calls and 20 Emergency Medical Service (EMS) calls in a 24 hour period. The fire calls consisted of electrical fires, fire alarms, downed wires, building fires and water rescues,” said 2010 ’Stoga graduate and former club president David Shank. On the night of the hurricane, senior Brian Kotzer volunteered for the Paoli Fire Company and found that the members demonstrated incredible initiative and dedication. “Normally, the fire company has two payed staff members [on duty] at all times,” Kotzer said. On the night of the hurricane, “we had about 10 people spending the night there. We got three calls during that time.”

Local emergency services participated in the hurricane relief effort only two days after student volunteers helped to put out the blaze that destroyed Wayne’s Chili’s Grill and Bar restaurant on Aug. 26. Senior Carl Weisbecker and the other firefighters put time and commitment into helping extinguish the fire. “We were at the Chili’s fire for seven hours. Around 100 firefighters responded and the fire reached four alarms,” Weisbecker said. “One hundred sixty six thousand gallons of water were used to put out the fire.” The Firefighter/EMT club, sponsored by Berwyn Fire Company’s Fire Police Chief and Conestoga’s TV club adviser Michael Baskin, allows students to discuss their involvement with fire companies and their future plans. The club is open to all students, but most members volunteer at the Berwyn, Paoli and Radnor fire departments, or intend to join a firehouse in the future. The club “promotes local volunteerism in the emergency services to the student body, endorses fire prevention and organizes the Mock DUI Presentation,” Shank said. All students who take emergency calls carry pagers that go off every time the fire department is notified of a disaster. If a pager goes off during class, the student must decide whether to stay in class or assist with the emergency.

Luke Rafferty photos/The SPOKE

Chili’s Grill and Bar restaurant in Wayne goes up in flames on Aug. 26. Members of Conestoga’s Firefighters/EMT club rushed to the rescue and used 166,000 gallons of water to put out the fire. The students “have to weigh whether or not it is okay for them to miss a class and fall behind,” said anatomy and physiology teacher Marcia Mariani, who has taught many student volunteer firefighters and EMTs. “I think that our students are very good at weighing that balance.” Students who volunteer at fire departments may perform different tasks during emergencies, depending on their age.

Senior Carl Weisbecker has been a member of the Firefighters/EMT club for four years. He helped extinguish the fire at Chili’s Grill and Bar on Aug. 26 in addition to helping with Hurricane Irene relief efforts.

“In the state of Pennsylvania, anyone under the age of 18 has a lot of limitations. They are not permitted to enter a burning building, but they can pull hose lines,” Baskin said. “When they are over the age of 18, they can go into the burning building; they can operate all the tools.” Through loyalty and hard work, aspiring firefighters will eventually be able to enjoy thebenefits and freedoms of becom-

ing a full-fledged firefighter at a local fire company. “It’s a really important community service,” Baskin said. “There’s a massive amount of training and committment. It’s not like playing a sport where you go to practice for an hour and a half in the afternoons. These are real emergencies.” Noah Levine can be reached at




Emily Omrod Staff Reporter


both high and low. His rendition of “Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane is gorgeous. This CD is well worth a purchase off iTunes or at any local retailer.


Spoke Sudoku

Emily Omrod Senior Staff Reporter Lately, music without instruments is all the rage. There are thousands of college a cappella groups across the country which hold competitions and award trophies that are coveted in the a cappella world. And now, with the popularity of “Glee” and the third season of “The Sing-off,” it seems like everyone is running out to buy a pitch pipe and form their own group. Here are some groups that will have you humming in harmony. The Warblers “Glee: The Music presents The Warblers” This CD is not just for Gleeks. Not everything on this CD is straight vocals, but some of the most noteworthy songs are a capella. Darren Criss (“A Very Potter Musical” star), is in his sec-

ond season as a Gleek. He leads on the majority of the tunes, including the cover of “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry. Listeners might not know that the singers behind Criss are the Tufts Beelzebubs, the world-renowned group previously featured on the “The Sing-off.” With the powerful Beelzebubs behind him, Criss is effortlessly able to sing scales

SoCal Vocals “Get in. Rock. Get Out” The SoCal Vocals, founded in 1995 to combat the hundreds of well-established East Coast schools with a cappella groups, are a singing force to be reckoned with. They were featured on the first season of “The Sing-off,” and have a strong, robust sound while tackling challenging music. “Get in. Rock. Get Out.” came out in 2006, but has songs that are relevant and enjoyable today. Classics such as “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey and “When I Get You Alone” by Robin Thicke are strong, though they don’t quite match the power of the Glee renditions.

Tufts Beelzebubs “Pandemonium” In his book Pitch Perfect, writer Mickey Rapkin followed the Beezelbubs on their quest to make an all-vocal CD so perfect that listeners wouldn’t know it was just voices. In my opinion, the Beelzebubs were successful. They are a group known by millions and held in high acclaim by just as many. The Beelzebubs are comical, adorable and sweet, which shows through in their music. On Pandemonium, their rendition of “City of Blinding Lights” by U2 is simple and pure, making you believe you are listening to the real thing.

Stumped? Find the solutions at

’Stoga spirit:

Sports TUESDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2011

FANtastic following

Senior Ricky Lanzilotti and his fellow Pioneers cheer on the girls’ soccer team during their game on Sept. 17 against Downingtown West.

Maddie Amsterdam & Abby Pioch Co-sports Editors

Whether they are roaring with the excitement of a victory or shouting at a referee over a bad call, ’Stoga soccer fans have one common goal: to make a lot of noise. In past years, these soccer fanatics have come to games with cowbells, air horns and costumes. This season, the dedicated fans plan to be louder and rowdier than ever. “All of us love going to the games and screaming our lungs out for both the boys and girls,” senior Ricky Lanzilotti said. “Having both teams stacked with seniors makes it all the more fun to go crazy for the games, get intense and get behind the teams so they can do their best.” Senior Matt Cowell joins Lanzilotti at every home game to support the boys’ and girls’ teams. As a Conestoga athlete himself, Cowell believes that it is necessary to cheer on his fellow Pioneers. “I like for everybody to be happy,” Cowell said. “I know from experience in other sports that it’s easier and more fun to play when you

know you have fans watching and cheering you on.” This year, Cowell said that he and the other soccer fans call themselves “The Fox Pack.” The title was inspired by senior captain and goal keeper of the boys’ team Clarke Fox. Fox said that he appreciates the dedication of the fans and believes that they help contribute to the overall success of the team. “When the fans show up and we see the student section full, it always gets us pumped up,” Fox said. “We play a lot harder, and it’s nice to know that we have the support.” When Fox is not playing soccer at Teamer Field, he is a dedicated fan himself. He and other members of the boys’ team attend the girls’ soccer games to support their fellow Pioneers. Senior girls captain Chrissy Bradley is looking forward to attending boys’ games this season. She said that she hopes that the teams will continue to support each other throughout the season. “We both play the same sport,” she said. “They can give us advice and we can give them advice on how to be successful.” Bradley said she is grateful for the other fans who cheer them on as well. Cowell also said that

fans at the girls’ soccer games are becoming more conspicuous. “This year there have been more fans at the girls’ games than there have ever been,” Cowell said. “I think the team really appreciates that.” Girls varsity soccer head coach Meghan Brogan said she thinks it is essential that both soccer teams encourage each other. “I do think it’s important to support [the boys’ team] as we are both promoting the great game of soccer,” Brogan said. Brogan also said that although the teams are very close, it is often difficult to support each other because of game scheduling conflicts. “We do feel familial ties with the boys as we are both trying to have successful seasons, but it’s difficult to get to support them physically since we generally play on the same days,” Brogan said. Senior Kimberly Winters, who has attended every girls game this season, began going to the games to support her friends on the team. She said she enjoys the exciting atmosphere of the game. “Ever since I saw the spirit of the crowd and how much fun [the games] were, I decided to keep going back,” Winters said.

Karolis Panavas/The SPOKE

Junior Maggie MacDonald said that she enjoys cheering on her fellow Pioneers and supporting ’Stoga athletics. “I hope [both teams] make it all the way to states,” MacDonald said. “I like being associated with a school well established in sports.” With several returning varsity players on both teams, ’Stoga soccer is looking ahead to a promising year, hopefully lasting deep into the postseason for both teams. “I think we’re going to do really well this year because we’re an old team, and we have really good chemistry,” Bradley said. Winters said that she plans to keep attending both boys and girls soccer games all season. She said that she hopes both teams can make an appearance in playoffs and the state championship game. Both teams are “doing really well already this season. I’m hoping that they can go all the way to states,” Winters said. “It would be a really exciting game, especially for seniors because this is our last year cheering on the teams. It would be really great to see them go far.” Maddie Amsterdam can be reached at

The will




’Stoga claims ‘Triple Crown’ of victories in spring season

Lavi Ben-Dor Convergence Editor Conestoga fans are thrilled by one state trophy in a season. Two are even more special. Three state championship victories—such as the boys tennis, boys lacrosse and baseball titles last spring—is an unprecedented accomplishment for ’Stoga athletics. ’Stoga became the first high school in Pennsylvania ever to capture three state titles in one season, crowning three teams “champions.” The tennis team seized its title 3-0 on May 21 against Unionville High School while lacrosse earned its second title in a row defeating St. Joe’s Preparatory School by a score of 13-4 on June 11. Baseball concluded its season against Spring-Ford High School 4-3 in a teninning game on June 17. Vice principal and athletic director Patrick Boyle said that he thinks the victories were beneficial for not only the players, but the school and district as well. “I think it brought a lot of attention to our students, school and community and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience for some people,” Boyle said. “The team spirit that came out of that was phenomenal.”

Tennis perseverence

Co-head boys tennis coach Blake Stabert said that he was happy to see the players’ hard work rewarded with the team’s first-ever state title. The players “work hard on their games, both at school and during their own time,” Stabert said. “We have players that are serious about being great, so we were happy for all of their hard work to pay off.” Sophomore third singles player Brian Grodecki said that being a part of a championship team was the final cap to a challenging season. “It was a long season and we played a lot of tennis, so it was pretty big to get that win,” Grodecki said. Stabert also said that each of the team members contributed equally to the championship win. “We knew that we would play well and it was great to see every player on our team contribute to that team championship,” Stabert said.“Throughout the state championship weekend, each one of our players had matches that helped us win it all–so it was good to see that it was a team effort.”

Lacrosse repeat

Head varsity lacrosse coach Brian Samson said that he was over-

whelmed with pride by the way the boys played throughout the season and feels honored to have been able to work with them. It has been a “really meaningful career to work at Conestoga with great kids and to be able to coach a state championship team,” Samson said. “It really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and a privilege.” Senior lacrosse attacker Connor Frisina said that the team’s emphasis on each individual game helped focus the boys throughout the season to reach their ultimate goal of defending the state title. “We just took it one game at a time and kept focusing on our one goal, which was to win the state championship,” Frisina said. “It seems like it all came together at the end because we practiced really hard the whole season, and so it felt like [winning] was a great feat.”

Baseball surprise

The baseball team made a statement when they beat Spring-Ford, the team that defeated them for the district title earlier in the season, in their first-ever trip to the state championship game. “It felt pretty awesome [to win], because no one really believed us that we’d go that far and win the state championship, and to top it all off, we won and surprised everyone, so it’s a great feeling,” said sophomore second baseman Tommy Richter. The baseball team was honored at a Philadelphia Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 5 for their victory, along with other local high schools and minor league teams. Richter said that he was honored to be recognized at such a prestigious location. “It feels pretty amazing—to be recognized in such a great atmosphere was really cool,” he said. Boyle said that the amount of support he saw from ’Stoga students was pleasantly surprising. While many students came out to cheer on the team in Hershey, others showed virtual support through texts and by watching the game on television.

Three teams, one school

Frisina said that he consistently saw students’ support for each of the teams throughout the season and that all the teams cheered for each other as much as possible. He said that it was a neat expereince cheering the teams on. “I felt like everyone was trying to support each other as equally as possible, even though we were all playing at the same time,” Frisina said. “I felt everyone had a pretty close bond, and

Photo courtesy Chelsea McCoubrie

The 2011 boys varsity baseball team celebrates their ten-inning win over Spring-Ford High School. The squad won the PIAA State Championship game in State College, Pa. 4-3 on June 17. we’re all pretty happy about what we to the Pennsylvania State Congress had as a community [was] the way [the athletes] behaved and acted [this praising the teams’ victories. have done.” “In sports you don’t want to say season] and showed how they really All three teams were recognized for their accomplishments at the June and it’s about winning,” Boyle said. are good young men and women.” September school board meetings. “Winning is important, but it’s not Local politicians, including state sena- the most important thing. One of the Lavi Ben-Dor can be reached at tor Andrew Dinniman, sent citations most proud moments I think we’ve

Young offense leads football squad Courtney Kennedy Staff Reporter

The ball is snapped to junior quarterback Joe Viviano on fourth-and-22. Viviano scans the field for an open receiver. He connects on a perfect pass to junior Andrew DeStefano in the end zone for the first touchdown during the game against Penncrest on Sept. 23. As this year’s starting quarterback, Viviano stands at the forefront of ’Stoga football’s offensive squad. After losing 22 players to graduation last spring, the team was left with only seven returning seniors on the offensive squad. The Pioneers are hoping for Viviano and the rest of the younger offense to move the ball while relying on the older defense to make big stops on third down. “I’ve learned to take my time more and really look at what the defense is doing,” Viviano said. “I’ve learned to think more.” Although Viviano is new to starting in the Central League, his coaches said that he has succeeded and improved with every game. Head coach John Vogan and other members of the coaching staff have worked with Viviano to help him adjust to the

Karolis Panavas/The SPOKE

Junior Joe Viviano looks for an open pass during the game on Sept. 30 against Springfield. Viviano is leading the offense this year. increased intensity that comes with with it, and the running backs have playing on the varsity team. been doing well, too.” Viviano “is a student of the game,” Vogan said that he is proud of the Vogan said. “He and my quarterback way his team is playing this season coach have bonded together and Joe and that he will be proud of them listens to him. That’s the thing about regardless of their final record. Joe. He really listens.” “They’re working hard in practice, The team’s offense has been able playing hard in the games. That’s to hold its own so far against tough all I ask of them,” Vogan said. “I opponents. The young lineup has love all of them. We’re all about made key plays that have propelled being together and playing together. ’Stoga to victory. Individuality is something we don’t “The offensive line has been great. talk about.” They’ve blocked really well for me,” Viviano said. “The receivers have Courtney Kennedy can be reached at caught the ball and made good plays




Phillies playoff loss forces fans to refocus on future

Laura Weiss Co-editor-in-chief

On Oct. 7 the Phillies ended a record-breaking 102-win season with slugger Ryan Howard crumpled on the ground in pain as the St. Louis Cardinals celebrated their win. This postseason was the most disappointing one in years for us Phillies fans. The Phillies lost in the divisional round of the Major League Baseball (MLB) playoffs to the Cardinals. The Phillies seemed to be a World Series shoo-in as they started the season with an offense that had proven itself in the past and four ace starting pitchers in the rotation. But the team used the playoffs to showcase their weaknesses. In the divisional series, the pitching that had carried the team through the regular

season wasn’t as sharp and the offense failed to compensate. Whereas first baseman Ryan Howard’s batting average was .253 for the regular season, it dropped to .105 in the postseason, lower than pitcher Roy Halladay’s .167 average. Though some players came through, the offense as a whole showed just how far it had fallen from the strong offense of the 2008 World Series team. Despite this devastating loss, the Phillies are now in a position to completely change the identity of the team and the way they play the game. For the past three years, the Phillies have been defined by one thing—their 2008 World Series win. In attitude and fan expectations, they are still that same World Series team. The win is reason to have Philly pride, despite that the Eagles try to destroy that pride every Sunday, and it does deserve to define a team. But with many contracts expiring and players aging or injured, the team is at a crucial point when it must redefine itself and fill in the many question marks that are left after the bad taste of this season’s end fades away.

It will do the team well not to be defined by a past win but to look toward hoping for future wins. It will give their offense fight and help them propel prospects forward to fill empty spots and rise to the occasion. Raul Ibanez, Placido Polanco, Jimmy Rollins, Roy Oswalt and Ryan Madson all have contracts that are expiring. Howard will need surgery to repair the achilles tendon that he tore in the final game of the playoffs that could keep him out for about six months, according to the Phillies. The Phillies should let more of these free agents go because they could use the salary money that they’re paying them. They don’t need to keep Ibanez, Polanco or Rollins, who are nearing the twilights of their careers, but would get high salaries. This would leave a large number of holes in the current Phillies lineup that would be filled by younger hopefuls like John Mayberry Jr. and Freddy Galvis, who could be bases for the offense for years to come. In short, they need to find, train and give a shot to the stars of tomorrow. By allowing this turnover in the

lineup, the offense wouldn’t resemble the World Series team for the first time since. With Howard possibly out for part of the season, the team can rebuild a more consistent offense. Thus with the dramatic Oct. 7 loss, an era of Phillies baseball ended. But this will be a strength for the team now if they use the chance to cultivate a team that develops its own strengths regardless of the strengths of the past. They have to rise to the challenge of shedding the definition of 2008 World Series team and embrace the new definition of “World Series hopeful” team of the future. But in the mean time, with the Phillies out, how sick it makes me to watch the Eagles play “football” and the 76ers in a lockout, I guess we’re

Charlotte Clifford for The SPOKE

left with the Flyers to put our high Philadelphia hopes and dreams into. And lucky for us, they’re on track for a record-breaking season. After all, they’re undefeated. Laura Weiss can be reached at




























*All updates as of Oct. 7.




Player Profiles


The community of the cross country team is what first brought me to the sport.

Six things you didn’t know about...


My drive and determination to achieve new heights is what separates me as a runner.

I’m a captain this year and I feel like I have a responsibility to do my best and I think that has made me a better volleyball player.


As a volleyball player I have been [improving] a lot faster than other people have and that is from playing all year round, playing club and teaching volleyball. It’s my life.


I want to run a 100-mile race in Colorado up and down the mountains. It’d be awesome.

3 4

I’m a middle hitter because I’m tall. The tallest one goes in the middle.


I would love to see the first guy who broke four minutes in the mile, Roger Bannister. My best mile time is around 4:50.

If I could change anything about volleyball, I would eliminate serving because it is the only thing where if you mess up, it’s completely on you.


During the winter I play intramural soccer and during the spring I play basketball with my friends, but it’s mostly just running. Even when I’m not on the team I still run all year round.



5 6

I’ve seen Penn State play, in person. They played Temple and won 25-0.

My best cross country time [for a 5000 meter race] is 16:35.

Ben Allen Varsity Cross Country


Sarah Alexander Varsity Volleyball

I look up to Carly Steffes. She was the captain with me my junior year when she was a senior. She would go for absolutely everything, and I wanted to be like her.


Breaking barriers: Boy joins field hockey team Sophia Ponte Staff Reporter

Stepping out onto the field, opposing teams may be surprised to see the diversity among players on the Conestoga field hockey team. Not only are the starting eight girls clad in maroon skirts and goggles, but freshman Olivier Everts joins the team as the second boy to ever play field hockey at Conestoga. Everts, who has been playing field hockey since age six, was one of only two freshmen to make the varsity squad this fall. Everts grew up in the Netherlands, where field hockey is mainly a men’s sport. “I just really love playing field hockey,” Everts said. “I wanted to continue to play, and I really didn’t care that it was just girls. I think the team is really fun, and the girls are really nice.” Assistant varsity coach, Meaghan McDugall said that Evert’s playing style is a bit unlike the rest of the team because there are some rule differences between European and American field hockey. McDugall added that Everts adjusted quickly and is truly a member of the squad.

“He is on our team so we make every effort to include him as we would any other girl,” McDugall said. “He seems to have adjusted very well, and he’s an easygoing kid so the girls get along with him really well.” However, Everts said that he is having a difficult time becoming accustomed to the new attire he is

required wear while playing field hockey. “I have to wear a skirt which I don’t like at all,” Everts said. “It’s the worst. It’s in the rules that I have to wear it. I also have to wear goggles which I don’t like, but I just do it.” Fellow teammate and varsity captain senior Britta Hjelm said

that she was pleasantly surprised by Everts’ positive contribution to the team, who currently holds a record of 13-1-1.Hjelm also said that Everts is respectful to the all the girls playing, both on the ’Stoga squad and on the opposing team. “He is actually really not too aggressive to the girls,” Hjelm said. “He

Karolis Panavas/The SPOKE

Freshman Olivier Everts is the second boy in ’Stoga history to play field hockey. Everts grew up in the Netherlands where field hockey is a popular mens’ sport. The team currently holds a record 13-1-1.

just uses his stick skills to play well and doesn’t push girls or anything.” Coaching a boy is no new feat for head coach, Karen Gately who previously coached 2006 ’Stoga grad, Jon Geerts who, like Everts, is also of European origin. Geerdes continued to play field hockey while he attended college that the University of Maryland. “For Jon it was difficult because [at first], he was not allowed to play,” Gately said. “We had a lot of issues because he was a boy playing on a girls’ team.” After being excluded from the team his freshman and sophomore years, Geerts was finally given the chance to play during his final two years of high school. Geerts’ difficulties paved the path for Everts’ ’Stoga field hockey career as Everts faced no issues playing the sport he loves. “I felt bad for [Geerts] because other teams were really mean to him,” Gately said. “Everts doesn’t have this problem. There are now more teams with boys on them, and it is becoming more acceptable.”

Sophia Ponte can be reached at

Volume 62, No. 1


Soccer fans make noise at games See p. 20


Freshman boy plays field hockey See p. 23

Looking for success Young offense leads football team See p. 21

Junior Joe Viviano, the starting quarterback for the varsity football team, looks for an open pass during the game on Sept. 30 against Springfiield. The team currently has a record of 4-2.

Karolis Panavas/The SPOKE

The Spoke October 2011  

The Spoke's October 2011 issue