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DNC 2016 in Philadelphia Vol. 67 No. 1

Oct. 18, 2016

See Page 7

Conestoga High School Berwyn, PA




Pioneers on the campaign trail

n my 58 years on this Earth, I have never seen lower rhetoric (in a presidential election) and it’s worrisome. I worry we’ve lowered the bar for what people can say to each other in an election,” said social studies teacher and Young Democrats adviser Debra Ciamacca. As the 2016 presidential candidates race to the finish line, Conestoga students find themselves caught up in the political frenzy as well. Scrambling to choose a side, a mélange of backpack buttons, sweatshirts and bumper stickers paint the student body red and blue. Most pressingly, Ciamacca worries that the same angry rhetoric seen

among the presidential candidates will filter into student conversations. “Some of the things said by the candidates I wouldn’t allow a student to say in my classroom,” Ciamacca said. “I really am worried about the future of discourse and how we resurrect ourselves from that.” To start, Ciamacca believes researching and focusing on policy is more important than making “an emotional pick for president” or selecting “who shouts the loudest.” Young Republicans advisers Rebecca Aichele and Wendy DiRico also emphasize respect as a crucial element of student discussion.

See Pages 6 and 7



Michael Starner reveals creative process

“(People) sometimes think it’s just another sport...”

See Page 8

See Page 24

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


The Spoke is published seven times per year at Bartash Printing. It consistently receives a Gold rating from PSPA and CSPA, and it is a National Scholastic Press Association Pacemaker award-winning publication. The Spoke serves as a public forum for student expression.

Camille Kurtz, Meagan O’Rourke

Editors-in-Chief Betty Ben Dor

Managing Editor Eric Xue

News Editor Ian Ong, Matt Paolizzi

Student Life Editors Lyvia Yan

Center Spread Editor Matt Soderberg

Opinion Editor Elizabeth Billman, Neil Goldenthal

Sports Editors Cissy Ming

Copy Editor Adam Lockett

Head Designer Pallavi Aakarapu

Cartoonist Avery Maslowsky

Business Manager Caleigh Sturgeon

Managing Editor Justin Huang, Jordan Liu Editors Kaitlyn Chen, Henry Danon, Brooke Deasy, Marko Djurdjevic, Lauren Gow, Claire Guo, Audrey Kim, Maddie Lamonica, Jahnavi Rao, Madison Red, Sanjana Sanghani, Warren Zhao

Staff Reporters Susan Gregory, Cyndi Crothers-Hyatt

Faculty Advisers Submissions: Letters to the editor may be submitted to Camille Kurtz or Meagan O’Rourke, or advisers Susan Gregory or Cyndi Crothers-Hyatt. Unsigned editorials represent the views of The Spoke editorial board, 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. The Spoke accepts paid advertisements.

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2 The Spoke

Counselor volunteers at Rio Olympics

By Betty Ben Dor Managing Editor

Leaning back in her chair, guidance counselor Christina Baumann’s eyes lit up as she reflected back on memories from this year’s Summer Olympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Growing up watching the Olympics on television, she had always hoped to be able to see the Games in person; this year, as a volunteer, she finally became a part of them. “I had probably the biggest dream of my life come true,” Baumann said. “It was just such an incredible experience.” Baumann volunteered at the pool deck, and was assigned to varying roles ranging from setting up the backstroke poles and flags to handing out towels to the swimmers after the competitions. Every day for the first week of the Games, she worked the evening shift, meeting star swimmers from all over the world such as Michael Phelps, Nathan Adrian and Katie Ledecky. “Every day was pretty much living a dream,” Baumann said. “The swimmers from all other parts of the world, too, were just so friendly and it was great to be with them.” To apply for the volunteer role, Baumann had to first fill out a basic application then complete a series of tests, which examined her capabilities in various fields such as customer service and languages. The final

step was a group Skype interview. She found out that she had been accepted into the volunteer program last winter and she was assigned her role in early spring. Baumann says that she was lucky in that she got her firstchoice option. She was one of about 50,000 applicants selected out of a pool of over 300,000. The program then entailed several sessions of virtual training. “A lot of people don’t realize that you can volunteer at the Olympics and can get involved in these kinds of ways,” Baumann said. “It may take some time, but you can get there.” On a local level, Baumann has been involved with swimming since childhood. She is currently a lifeguard and teaches swim lessons. Aside from just volunteering, Baumann was also given

many opportunities to see other sporting events and explore the city of Rio de Janeiro. She was given tickets to see events such as boxing, beach volleyball and men’s gymnastics. Being a huge women’s gymnastics fan, she made sure to buy tickets for the team event in advance, and was able to see the American team win the gold medal. Baumann also got to attend a taping of the “Today Show” and see a The Band Perry concert. She was able to experience Brazilian culture through a three-day stay with a host family. Along with some of her fellow volunteers and host family, Baumann was also able to visit some of Rio’s more classically touristy sites, such as the Christ the Redeemer statue and Sugar Loaf Mountain.

“I love to travel and I always try and find ways that when I’m traveling, I’m not just being a tourist but being involved in different capacities,” Baumann said. “I would encourage anyone to just get out there and explore what opportunities are available for you in any country to do something that is meaningful to you and others in a different place.” Baumann says she is now “hooked” on the Games. She hopes to be able to go to the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games in four years as well as the upcoming Winter Games. “I think that (being a volunteer) is something that I will never forget and I feel incredibly grateful and honored that I was able to be a part of such a big opportunity,” Baumann said. “I’ll never take that for granted.”

Photos courtesy Christina Baumann

Gold Medalist: Counselor Christina Baumann poses on the gold medalists' platform and looks forward to volunteering at future Olympic Games. She was one of 30 to 40 pool deck volunteers each night.

Alumnus runs for state house

By Betty Ben Dor Managing Editor

Conestoga Class of 2007 alumnus and Democrat Hans van Mol is running for the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives for the 157th District, which encompasses half of Tredyffrin/Easttown School District. Having graduated from West Chester University with a music degree, he now teaches music part-time at Penn Wood High School and works at J.W. Pepper & Son, Inc. Van Mol is currently the youngest candidate in Pennsylvania. He got involved in politics because he felt a need to influence the political discourse. “My involvement was sparked because I was a

person who voted every single trying to do now. Education is High school "was very diffiyear in every single election,” a cornerstone of what I’m run- cult, but I will say that it prevan Mol said. ning on.” pared me in life to know that His political background Van Mol also remembered if you want to achieve someextends back to his days at some of the challenges he thing, you have to put your all Conestoga where he was an faced as a student. into it,” van Mol said. He said that his exactive member of the periences at Conestoga Young Democrats club. helped him learn how to He fondly looks back listen to both sides of an at his ’Stoga memories argument, a crucial part as having been a “realof politics. ly great experience.” He He described the goal starred in all of the plays and musicals and played of his campaign. “I wanted to show in the marching band, in people that the younger which he became a drum generation is ready to major his senior year. step up and lead and is “The thing I always ready to make a differremember from (Conesence in people’s lives,” toga) is the connections Betty Ben Dor/The SPOKE van Mol said. I made with people and Van Mol will face off the friends that I formed Mol-ing over the Election: 'Stoga alumalong the way,” van Mol nus Hans van Mol is running for the Penn- against Republican insaid. “I’ve morphed that sylvania State House of Representatives. He cumbent opponent Warinto a lot of what I’m will face off against Warren Kampf on Nov. 8. ren Kampf on Nov. 8.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Technological advances bring changes to ’Stoga

By Maddie Lamonica Staff Reporter

This year, Conestoga classrooms have caught up with today’s technology-dependent society. As part of the new 1:1 Initiative, all freshmen and sophomores received district laptops. In addition, all students and staff began using Schoology, a new learning management system. To accommodate these changes, one of the library aide’s desks has been converted into a place for laptop support. The district introduced the 1:1 Initiative in February 2016. According to Dr. Michael Szymendera, the Director of Instructional Technology, one of the district’s goals was to reevaluate student and staff access to technology. “I started talking to teachers, students and parents, and there was pretty overwhelming consistency from all the groups saying we really feel like we should have devices all the time,” Szymendera said. With over 1,000 new laptops in the school, complications are bound to arise. This issue called for a place where

Maddie Lamonica/The SPOKE

Asking for Help: Sophomore Shray Mehrotra requests assistance with his laptop. The district launched its new 1:1 Initiative and began using of Schoology this year. students and teachers could “There have been some receive tech help during the problems with the laptops, day. A desk in the library was especially in the beginning of created, where a librarian is the year, but we just need to always stationed to help stu- be patient with the new techdents with technical difficul- nology, like anything there is ties. Similar to the Genius Bar a learning curve,” Hauer said. in Apple stores, the new “Tech Upwards of 15 students Deck” aims to help with issues and staff visit the Tech Deck concerning the new laptops. each day, one of them being According to Brooke Hauer, a sophomore Shray Mehrotra. librarian, the Tech Deck has “My laptop wouldn’t been a hub of activity during turn on during Spanish, so I the first few weeks of school. brought it to the Tech Deck.

Narcan promises safer school

By Sanjana Sanghani Staff Reporter

With an increase of heroin-related deaths in Pennsylvania, the Conestoga nurse’s office is now supplying the life-saving anti-opioid Narcan, otherwise known as Naloxone. Prompted by the signing of Pennsylvania Senate bill 1164 in September 2014, first responders such as law enforcement or school officials, are now permitted to administer the anti-opioid to an overdosed victim. According to the 2015 Pennsylvania Youth Survey, 0.9 percent of Tredyffrin/Easttown School District students reported having used heroin in their lifetime as opposed to the 0.5 percent in the state. There have also been instances of Conestoga alumni overdosing in the past. The installation of the anti-opioid in the nurse’s office is meant to mitigate the effects of an overdose. Narcan helps to revive patients by reducing the sensitivity of opioid receptors in

the brain, and causing the person to breathe more normally. Superintendent of Police Anthony Giamo said that the Narcan program will benefit the community by “providing protection to students.” According to nurse Gail Hamman, Narcan can be given in two ways: either via injection or nasal spray. “In order for the drug to be effective there must be some kind of respiration in the victim,” Giamo said. “Once Narcan is administered in the nose, the mist immediately travels in the blood system and reverses the effect.” Naloxone allows victims of drug overdose to breathe more normally. When taking Narcan, students will not be harmed by the anti-opioid and will instead have a greater chance of survival. “Since I instituted our Narcan program, I pushed as hard as I could to get Narcan in Chester County and to date we’ve only lost one (person),” Giamo said. “Having the nurses as a backup is a perfect partnership. We have been very successful with the Narcan program.”

Giamo added that it takes responders about four to six minutes to arrive at the scene of a drug overdose. Narcan’s simple nature allows for a reversal of the immediate effects of opioids. Hamman added that program has helped the administration “focus better on the safety of students.” “Safety is our number one priority,” Hamman said. “Any abusive drug is an important issue — it doesn’t matter which one it is. It’s all important to be aware of.”

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Life-Saver: The Conestoga nurse’s office is now supplying Narcan, an anti-opioid meant to reverse the effects of a heroin overdose.

The librarians were super helpful; they gave me a spare computer to use, and when I picked mine up later that day, it was working just fine,” Mehrotra said. The implementation of the 1:1 Initiative went hand in hand with the installation of the new learning management system, Schoology. Unlike the implementation of 1:1, the transition to Schoology affects all students. In addition to showing grades, Schoology provides an outlet over which students can communicate with staff, submit assignments and receive class materials. “Schoology has helped to streamline the learning of Conestoga students. In previous years the teachers have all had different websites, this way everything is in one place which makes accessing materials online simpler,” Hauer said. Students are not the only people around school utilizing Schoology, teachers, administrators and district staff

all use their accounts as a method of communication. “There are a lot of teacher groups that exist, there is one for each department, as well as district wide groups. In the 1:1 implementation group, teachers post questions asking how to do certain tasks on Schoology and other staff members can reply and help solve the problem,” Szymendera said. Szymendera hopes the school board passes the second phase of the 1:1 Initiative, which would provide laptops to the seniors and incoming freshmen for the 2017-2018 school year; however, nothing is certain. “Some of the best lessons at the high school don’t involve any technology, and that will always be the case,” Szymendera said. “We are doing great transformative things because of the laptops now, but we never want to give the impression that you will be staring at a screen from the minute you arrive at school to the minute you go home. It is important that we find a balance.”




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The Spoke 3


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

‘Booked’ for the week: Kwame Alexander kicks off Teen Read Week

By Jordan Liu

Co-Convergence Editor Author and Newbery Medal winner Kwame Alexander came to Conestoga on Monday, Oct. 10, kicking off this year’s Teen Read Week. Alexander was one of 45 Newbery Award winners in 2016 and was recognized for “The Crossover,” a novel written in free verse poetry. Along with “Booked,” “The Crossover” was an option on Conestoga’s ninth grade summer reading list. At ’Stoga, Alexander spoke to students about his experiences in high school and how they fostered his passion for poetry. “When I go to a high school, it’s just electric,” Alexander said. “We can show that words can be fun. That poetry can be cool. That literature can be exciting and engaging.” Alexander believes that good speakers can motivate students into reading and writing. “Anytime you leave an assembly and you feel like ‘wow, that was phenomenal, that was wonderful, that was poetry?’

that may encourage you to read a poem, to write a poem or to pick up a book,” Alexander said. “If I can offer that to students, then I’m happy.” Junior Christin Ealer enjoyed Alexander’s talk and believes that it helped unify the school. “I thought he was a really engaging speaker. When he walked out, I was really surprised by how energetic he was and how he got the crowd really riled up,” Ealer said. “Students were united because we were all so energized and engaged in what Mr. Alexander was saying.” English Department head Tricia Ebarvia and librarian Brooke Hauer appreciated the opportunity to have Alexander speak at Conestoga. “It’s an incredible opportunity to have someone of his caliber to come to the school to talk to kids about reading and writing,” Ebarvia said. Ebarvia and Hauer planned Alexander’s visit through Delta, a regional organization for the cultural arts that works with schools. Coincidentally, the planned date was also the first day of Teen Read Week. Seizing

Jordan Liu/The SPOKE

Father-Daughter Moment: Kwame Alexander calls up his daughter to the stage during the assembly. She recited “Hope is the Thing with Feathers” by Emily Dickinson.

10% OF w/ C ones F tog Stud ent I a D

4 The Spoke

this opportunity, the teachers decided to have Alexander kick off Teen Read Week. “When Mr. Alexander was coming, we realized what a great opportunity this was to kick off Teen Read Week,” Hauer said. “Students are reading by themselves, and we wanted to support that and continue with the students’ enthusiasm.” According to Ebarvia, students struggle to find time to read, but Teen Read Week helps foster a passion for reading. “There are a lot of kids that want to read but don’t have time. Students don’t necessarily identify themselves as readers, or maybe it’s something that they used to like when they were younger, but they don’t have the time to do now,” Ebarvia said. “Teen Read Week is a way to make reading visible to students and put it at the forefront.” Teen Read Week was founded by the American Library Association and celebrates independent reading for teenagers nationwide. An annual effort coordinated by the English Department and library, ’Stoga’s Teen Read Week included literary activities each day, including Tuesday’s “lit lockers,” in which students decorated their lockers to imitate the book spines of their favorite books. Later that week, students and teachers dressed up as their favorite literary characters, and faculty in all departments discussed what they are reading. Hauer enjoyed Teen Read Week and the celebration of independent reading as a whole. “As one of the librarians, I’m excited that we’re celebrating reading for the fun of it, and the joy of reading and encouraging students to become lifelong readers,” Hauer said. “Not just reading for the schoolwork, but also reading based on your interests.” Patrick Gately, District Curriculum Supervisor for Language Arts, believes independent reading can help students perform better in school. “The research shows that reading helps, whether that’s really practical things for students, like your performance on the SAT,” Gately said. “Sometimes, it’s just getting the right book. And if a student hasn’t found that right book yet, the celebration of independent

Jordan Liu/The SPOKE

Reciting Poetry: Kwame Alexander recites the poem he read to a high school class of prisoners. He noted that poetry can change lives. reading may help that happen. That’s the goal.” According to Alexander, reading and writing are closely intertwined. “If you’re interested in writing, I think you’ve got to read,” Alexander said. “We become good writers by reading other authors to see what works and what doesn’t.”

Gately thinks that Teen Read Week will help build a reading community at Conestoga. “I think it’s really valuable that we’re celebrating Mr. Alexander’s books,” Gately said. “I see it as a unifying experience, that the whole school is going to celebrate reading and their love of reading and finding the right book.”

Jordan Liu/The SPOKE

Kicking it off Together: English teacher Tricia Ebarvia and librarian Brooke Hauer kick off Teen Read Week with Kwame Alexander. The two ’Stoga faculty members organized his visit to Conestoga.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Class of 2020 sets record for largest class since 1992 By Eric Xue News Editor In all the years ninth grade Assistant Principal Misty Whelan has been at Conestoga, the hallways have always been crowded, but this year, they seem tighter than usual. The reason for this increase is the unprecedentedly large freshman class. The Class of 2020 is the largest class since Conestoga became a high school with grades nine through 12 in 1992 with 564 students, and class sizes are projected to increase with each school year. “The trends are similar to the trends that colleges talk about in terms of populations of students. I do think that we’re in an increase right now at the high school,” Whelan said. “There is a bubble that has been talked about at the school board level that is currently entering the middle school.” According to a demographic study conducted last year by Sundance Associates, the largest class since 1992 was previously the Class of 2018, numbering 550 students in 2015. That year, the student body

consisted of 2,066 students. By 2023, the student body in the high school is expected to peak at 2,318 students, with the largest class projected to consist of 625 students. Chair of Student Services Jennifer Kratsa attributes this increase in student body size partly to Conestoga’s high national and state rankings. “I do think that people look to send their students to Tredyffrin/Easttown schools because we are such a high achieving and nationally ranked school,” Kratsa said. “I do think that when people are looking to move into a district that ours is on the top of their list, so that certainly does contribute to more students coming in. There must be a correlation there.” In August of this year, Newsweek magazine’s America’s Top High Schools 2016 ranked Conestoga the best high school in Pennsylvania as well as the 36th best high school in the nation. While rankings play some part in attracting students into the school district, Whelan believes that they are not the deciding factor for families. “My feeling is that we will be considered because of

our rankings by many people moving into this area. Whether they decide on us or not is maybe not going to be so much about the rankings. It’s going to be more about their visit, housing, their needs, all of that. That’s going to be where the final decision is going to lie,” Whelan said. According to Superintendent Dr. Richard Gusick, while district administration and the school board are not looking into renovation and expansion projects to accommodate the large number of students, they are constantly monitoring enrollment and its impact on district facilities. In addition, they are not looking to expand the district’s transportation infrastructure. According to District Business Manager Arthur McDonnell, the ridership numbers do not indicate the need for additional buses. However, students feel that the hallways are getting overcrowded. Sophomore Alex Renon describes a common situation students experience going from class to class. “The worst is when there are two minutes until class and you’re walking really slowly in the middle of the

Daggett attempted to switch her Spanish teacher after seeing the same name listed on her schedule for the second year in a row. “Same class, same teacher. It’d just be nice for a change,” Daggett said. Daggett’s counselor would not allow her to make the switch. Her primary motivation for “teacher shopping” was to experience the unique teaching techniques offered by every teacher at the school. “It’s nice to have a variety of teachers because every teacher teaches differently,” Daggett said. “It’d be beneficial to have different people.” Daggett disagreed with teacher shopping solely for the purpose of getting a more experienced or popular teacher. “You’re always going to have a teacher that you don’t necessarily like all the time,” Daggett said. “You kind of just have to deal with it. Although, I think you should be allowed to change teachers if you already had them because students need diversity.”

Students such as senior Shannon Bailey are not afraid to express their pride in the school’s teachers. In the past, Bailey was pressured by her friends to switch one of her teachers on the basis that another was better and gave easier assignments. But Bailey chose to ignore the requests, disagreeing with her friends’ ideas. “The entirety of our staff is well educated and are very good in their areas of expertise so everyone should simply be happy with the teachers they receive,” Bailey said. “Students should really just stick to their original teachers instead of maneuvering their schedules around the idea of receiving a new and better teacher.” The staff is very familiar with the topic of teacher shopping. They get to know students quite well and overhear their conversations before, during and after classes. “Most teachers are aware of the shifting that happens at the beginning of the year,” English and TV teacher Caitlin Wilson said. “Most of the time, those

Eric Xue/The SPOKE

Overcrowded: The freshman class is the largest in Conestoga history with 564 students. District administration and the school board will continue monitoring enrollment and its impact on district facilities. hallway. There are people behind you that are trying to go to class and you’re just clogging them up. The hallway is for everyone, not just you,” Renon said. Nonetheless, as new families move into the area, Kratsa believes parents will look toward Conestoga and the Tredyffrin Easttown School District as places to send their children to school. She attributes a large

part of Conestoga’s appeal to its unique “culture.” “It’s a culture that can’t be taught,” Kratsa said. “It’s a culture of people wanting to help each other, people listening to each other, people encouraging each other. While it’s a competitive place to be, it’s also a very collaborative place, and that’s what makes this culture special. I truly believe that this is a special place.”

shifts occur because of a schedule conflict or some other issue in a student’s schedule. I think there is an awareness (among teachers), though, that the shifts might be grounded in a desire to have a particular teacher.” Some students have contradicting viewpoints on

their abilities to teacher shop, seeking to attain a more experienced teacher. However, counselors firmly refuse to make class changes based on teacher preference because according to Kratsa, Conestoga is “a school with many wonderful teachers.”

Teacher shopping: students seek alternate teachers

By Brooke Deasy Staff Reporter From the first day of school, guidance is busy with phone calls, emails and visits from students requesting alterations to their schedules. It is common for students to want to change their schedules throughout the year, and for the right circumstances, it is recommended. Jennifer Kratsa, the chair of Student Services, confirms that there are strict guidelines regarding student schedule changes, especially involving student requests to receive different teachers. “We believe that students should have the ability to have options and access to the classes that they want to take,” Kratsa said. School administrators have stated that this freedom of choice is limited and does not extend to student rights to select teachers of their choosing. However, some students have differing viewpoints on their rights. Sophomore Amelia

Courtesy Conestoga Student Services

Searching for a Match: Students attempt to alter their schedules to receive preferred teachers every year. Guidance has indicated that such actions are not permissible.

The Spoke 5

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


By Camille Kurtz, Meagan O’Rourke and Caleigh Sturgeon Co-Editors-in-Chief and Managing Web Editor Design by Adam Lockett Head Designer Continued from Page 1 “We told (the Young Republicans), ‘We want you to express your opinions, but we want you to do it in a respectful way,’” DiRico said. “We want to make sure that people that are on opposite sides of the issue can communicate without demeaning each other and (that students communicate by) sticking to the issues.” For the students who do not �ind themselves identifying solely red or blue, seniors Amelia Quazi, Zack Kathol and Matt Moran have created the Young Republi-crats club. Like Ciamacca and DiRico, the Young Republi-crats club presidents seek respectful and collaborative political discourse. “The idea of the club is to create a less polarized political environment in the Conestoga community and encourage conversations on all sides of the aisle about all topics,” Kathol said. “The basic tenet of the club would be that all ideas are respected. It wouldn’t be a place for screaming matches.” While each club may have different beliefs, members across the political groups are excited

to impact and participate in the election. “People in our area probably have more in�luence than others because, honestly, Pennsylvania will probably decide the election. So, just calling people to get them out to vote, canvassing—that can have some effect on who wins our county and our state,” said Young Democrats President and senior Declan Kahley. Young Republicans and Young Democrats have held after school meetings to discuss the presidential debates, organize support for local phone banking events and plan trips to rallies for both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. At the end of the 2015-16 school year, Young Democrats invited Democratic Pennsylvania State Representative candidate and 2007 Conestoga alumnus Hans van Mol to speak to the club members. Young Republicans members are hoping to speak with Republican Pennsylvania State Representative Warren Kampf. Young Democrats and Young Republicans also plan to hold a joint debate, in which members can discuss meaningful issues to young voters. Young Republicans President and senior Aidan Hough looks forward to the debate because the timeliness of the election year will make the debate “a lot more interesting.” “We’ll be able to bring up talking points, like Hillary and Trump’s talking points, so we’ll be able to incorporate their future plans into the debate, which I think will be really interesting,” Hough said. Like Kahley, Hough also believes Pennsylvania’s voters will

have an impact on the election and that the Philadelphia suburbs, especially, “are going to have a huge role.” “I think it’s de�initely important that people get out and vote this year because we do have some pretty low turnout rates. I think it’s also important that people get involved with local politics because it really controls our area and how it is going to be developed,” said Hough, who plans to vote entirely Republican on the 2016 ticket.

“Honestly, Pennsylvania will probably decide the election.” -Declan Kahley Kahley similarly emphasizes the importance of voting, locally and nationally. “I think (voting) is very important because it’s our future and it may not seem important now, but in 20 years who leads the country, not just as president, but at state level and in Congress, is going to affect our lives for a while,” Kahley said. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, voters aged 18 to 29

Early Polling polling Are you eligible to vote on Nov. 8?

accounted for 21.2 percent of eligible voters, but only 15.4 percent of the actual voting population in the 2012 presidential election. While traditionally younger voters have been labeled as apathetic and disinclined to vote, the education Conestoga students receive may be helping to break that trend. “I do feel like, because of the classes that a lot of students take at Conestoga, they are interested (in politics). I think the social studies department does a good job of creating excitement around political issues,” DiRico said. “They do a good job of making people care about stuff like that.” Senior Ben Tatsuoka, an organizer with the Pennsylvania Democratic Party of Chester County, spends 15 hours a week organizing phone banks and voter canvassing. Tatsuoka believes the impact of young voters are often underestimated and actually play an integral role in in�luencing the election and tactics of the candidates. “You see both parties trying to appeal to the youth vote, whether they’re doing a good job of it or not,” Tatsuoka said. “I think they recognize how important the youth vote is, and while this generation may not have the best youth participation, I still think it plays a very important role.” Hough sees voting as an important way for students to get involved in important governmental decisions. “I think people should care because, ultimately, the government dictates how our lives are run,” Hough said. “Politicians

On a scale of 1 to 5, how closely have BARELY you been following this election? 6 The Spoke

Which type of policy matters the most to you?



All percentages expressed as whole numbers

Continued on Page 7

The Spoke surveyed 257 seniors from the Class of 2017 asking about their eligibility to vote, how close they are following the election, policies that matter to them the most and which candidate they support prior to the 2016 presidential election.

Which candidate do you support?


make the laws that we have to abide by. So, it’s important that we get involved and make the changes that we want to see made.” English teacher Kathryn Pokalo has voted in every local and presidential election since she was 19, right after the voting age was changed from 21 to 18. “I think it is imperative that we are informed about the issues and I think that it is important for us to vote. There is very little that we are required to do as Americans: pay taxes and obey the law,” Pokalo said. “And I think voting and serving on jury duty are the other two things that, as Americans, we should feel compelled to do.” In a poll of Conestoga seniors, 24 percent of the senior class will be eligible to vote by the Nov. 8 election date and almost 100 percent of those eligible plan on voting. While 61 percent of students, regardless of their ability to vote, would vote for Clinton and 19 percent for Trump, still 20 percent opted for a third party candidate. To the students unsure of whom to vote for or planning to stay home from the polls Election Day, Aichele appreciates that they have put thought into their decision, regardless of whether they choose to vote or not. “I like that people are thinking about it and that people are discussing. And if someone draws the conclusion that he or she is not going to vote for either candidate, at least the gears have been turning and they’ve been thinking about what’s been happening,” Aichele said.





Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Continued from Page 6 The Keystone of the election The DNC is not the only indicator of Pennsylvania’s significance in this election. In Pennsylvania, Trump and Hillary face hordes of issue-focused suburbanites. “These are your suburban moms, and your Main Line Democrats and Main Line Republicans who are usually pretty moderate, so somehow Trump needs to win over the moderates and we’re really important. Hillary needs to win the Philly suburbs by a significant margin to counteract that fact that the center of Pennsylvania and the western part of Pennsylvania is probably going to go for Trump,” Ciamacca said. Sen. Dinniman says Chester County has teetered on the issues of education, opportunity and equal pay for equal work — issues which both candidates have tried to address. Trump’s positioning has even crossed party lines, making proposals in his recent rallies that contradict Republican tradition, including subsidized daycare for working parents. “The vast majority of voters in Chester County are moderates. We know that from our polling. They are not extremists on either end of the political continuum,” Dinniman said.

Though generally considered a swing state, Pennsylvania has not voted for a Republican presidential candidate since the 1980s. Democrats hope Pennsylvania’s decisive potential could elect the �irst female president. “I’m a woman who is about to be 75 years old. I was blessed to see an African American become a president, and I would more than love to see a woman become president before I close my eyes, okay?” Jones said. Aside from the historical signi�icance of having a female candidate from a major party, the unconventional rhetoric of this election has distinguished it from elections past. “There needs to be a respectful discourse and I’m not sure how many models people (of young) age are seeing of respectful discourse,” Pokalo said. Whether bearing a positive in�luence on youth or not, Pokalo believes the election will stay with Americans for years to come. “I can’t remember anything like this. This has been one for the books, regardless of where one stands politically,” Pokalo said. “This election cycle has probably been the most bizarre, I think you would have to go back to the early 19th century to �ind something nearly as crazy.”

ill’ Yes SPEAKERS: Hillary Clinton & Tim Kaine DATE: Wednesday, July 27, 2016 LOCATION: Temple University, Philadelphia ’STOGA RALLY TALLY: 8 students

Photos by Meagan O’Rourke


Discord and unity at Democratic National Convention After a half-hour train ride, senior Jordan Bennett and junior Greg Shook arrived in Feel the Bern gear outside the Wells-Fargo Center, where they met a group of Bernie or Bust Bostonians protesting the Philadelphia Democratic National Convention. The convention spanned days this summer, from July 25 to 28. “I hadn’t gone with the idea of ‘hey let’s protest,’ but when we got there, there were people with signs everywhere and cops everywhere,” Bennett said. “There was a lot of animosity, and it felt like you had to pick a side.” After ex-DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s leaked emails conspiring against Sanders surfaced the day preceding the convention, Bernie or Bust supporters protested for more fairness and transparency in the election process. “I just wanted (the nomination) to be fair because the support that Bernie had behind him was really exciting and it was something really new,” Bennett said. “It just sort of hurt. It felt like a personal attack.”


Though she felt the tension, Bennett emphasized the peacefulness of the protests. “What I can tell you is this,” said Pennsylvania Clinton delegate and State Sen. Andrew Dinniman. “There are always protests at every convention I’ve ever been at and it’s one of the great things about being American, isn’t it? That everyone has the opportunity to state their opinion, state their view.” Delegates traveled to the DNC from all states and U.S. territories, bringing their own issues to caucuses held in the Philadelphia Convention Center and their patriotic pins and hats to the Wells Fargo Center, showing off pride for their candidates and their hometowns. For Dinniman, speaking with such a “cross-section” of people was “an opportunity to meet, to learn, to grow.”

Clinton delegate Clara Jones, age 74, �lew in from Texas for the DNC, and despite the heat (even hot for a Texan) and some transportation issues, she felt grateful to cross this off her bucket list after trying to become a delegate since 1984. Between watching the Obamas, Joe Biden and Bill Clinton speak and exploring the historic city, Jones beamed. “I think it’s so perfect. I’m having a ball,” Jones said. Even from the outside of the arena, feeling the sunBern, Bennett felt like part of the convention. “We felt like we had a privileged point to see history happening. Like, we were there for this moment and we didn’t have to try very hard (to get here). Half an hour on the train (ends up) the same as driving for 10 hours,” Bennett said.

Meagan O’Rourke/The SPOKE

Rally Tally Make Rallies

SPEAKER: Barack Obama DATE: Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016 LOCATION: Eakins Oval, Philadelphia ’STOGA RALLY TALLY: 16 students

SPEAKER: Donald Trump DATE: Monday, Aug. 1, 2016 LOCATION: Mechanicsburg, PA ’STOGA RALLY TALLY: 2 students

“Someone from the crowd yelled ‘I love you’ to him and he responded ‘I love you back’, which was funny and cool to hear because an instance like that usually occurs at events he attends.” -Junior Hadley Webster

SPEAKER: Donald Trump DATE: Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016 LOCATION: Aston, PA ’STOGA RALLY TALLY: 4 students

“The rallies are huge, especially for Trump. And the crowds are pretty long outside. There are like thousands of people that sometimes just don’t get in.” -Senior Aidan Hough

The Spoke 7

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

STUDENT LIFE Michael Starner finds peace in pottery By Audrey Kim and Madison Red Staff Reporters A construction site is an unlikely place to find a young artist, yet this is where Michael Starner first showed his creativity. During his childhood summers, he would use scrap metal from these sites to build forts in the woods. This imagination and curiosity later led him to attend Penn State, earning an art education degree. Today, Starner leads classes in Digital Photography, Studio Art and 2-D Design at Conestoga. He creates pots in his home studio and during meetings of Conestoga’s Mudders’ Club. His art style and ideas on ceramics were heavily influenced by his college professor and mentor, Dr. Kenneth Beittel. “I didn’t understand that art is not about the product, but about the process until I met Dr. Beittel,” Starner said. Starner recalled his first day of class, when Beittel asked each student to create 10 of their best pots. After everyone had finished, Beittel destroyed the pots one by one, mercilessly cutting them in half with a metal string. With their hard work in ruins, the shocked class stared at their professor in horror. “Don’t get attached to them,” Beittel told the students. “It’s just dirt.”

All of Starner’s pots underwent this destruction in the following months. After the professor cut apart his 50th bowl, Starner started to recognize the value in the process, not in the product. He began to adopt his mentor’s philosophies and create his own. The lasting impression the professor had on Starner is evident today in the unglazed rims of his pottery. “The lip is the finish, the foot is the beginning,” Starner explained. “Each piece you make is the foundation of the next.” Using what he learned from his last piece to create the next one, Starner generates a continuous cycle of growth and

evolution in his work. Beittel’s influence from East Asian ceramics is reflected in Starner’s own work, with smooth curves and a simplicity not found in Western pottery. The shelves of his studio are lined with pots which reflect this aesthetic. My studio “is a really nice place to retreat to,” Starner said. “It’s where I go on vacation.” This summer, Starner created over 100 pots in his studio. He often spends entire nights there finishing pieces, without realizing that several hours have passed. “There’s a calm that comes,” Starner said. “Like when you finish playing a song.”

Madison Red/The SPOKE

Demonstrating the process: Michael Starner shows a pottery technique during Mudder’s Club to a group of observers. Choosing to work at Conestoga gave him a chance to work on his art for his own enjoyment rather than to sell.

Courtesy Michael Starner

Where the magic happens: A panorama of Michael Starner’s home studio shows the vastness of his production space. Last summer he spent entire nights finishing pieces and losing himself in his art. He hopes to convey this emphasis on creativity to his students.

8 The Spoke

Courtesy Michael Starner

Fruits of his labor: Michael Starner has many shelves of pottery in his studio, these shown all happen to be unfired. Over the summer, he created over 100 of them. The silence after the final Starner, who was fascinated note is played, or the last detail by the program, started explorpainted, is often said to cause ing Paint to produce digital art. a deep peace and satisfaction Only a year later, he was asked within the artist. Starner has ex- to teach a graphic design class perienced this tranquility after at a high school in Pennsylvafinishing a pot. nia. It was there that he met for“Throwing pots helped me mer Conestoga teacher Dr. Gary understand what focusing was,” Kershner, who asked him to join Starner said. Conestoga’s art department. Pottery, unlike other medi“We were the only two ums, forces the potter to focus (schools) in the state of Pennentirely on the clay because be- sylvania that were really trying ing distracted can cause the pot to incorporate digital media into to collapse. Starner applies this an art program,” Starner said. technique to life, throwing 100 They established a lasting percent of his effort into the task digital art program in Conestoat hand. His passion for ceram- ga’s curriculum. Today, the high ics stems from this aspect of pot- school offers classes in 2-D and tery, which focuses and calms 3-D animation, web page design, his mind. This love for working and digital photography. These with clay pushed Starner to pur- new classes would not have sue art as a career and later be- been possible without Starner come a teacher. and Kershner’s involvement. “It freed me as an artist,” Starner has also made a lastStarner said of teaching. ing impression on the school’s By working in schools, he is stage crew. He used his invenable to experiment and focus tive solutions to solve many of on improving his pottery for his the difficulties they faced over own satisfaction, rather than the years. being limited to making pottery “Working on stage crew,” to sell. It was at Cedar Cliff and Starner said. “It’s one of the Redland High Schools that he most authentic forms of creativdiscovered graphic design. ity you can do.” In 1986, Starner was introIt’s this emphasis on creatividuced to digital media when a ty that Starner hopes to convey brand new Mac computer was to his current students. The exrolled into the faculty room. It periences that have shaped his sat untouched for months until, pottery have served as cornerout of boredom, Starner brought stones in forming both his lifeit into his art classroom. His stu- style and ideas on art. dents mentioned the art pro“Visual artists, they somegrams the computer had to offer. times get caught up in that “I’m learning from all these residual thing, the thing that’s eighth graders,” Starner said. left over and that we call art. “We started doing (designs) But art is a verb, not a noun,” with (Paint) and we started Starner said. “And creativity is printing things out.” the goal.”

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


The Spoke 9

Student Life

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Stone Eye: musicians expand horizons

By Ian Ong Co-Student Life Editor

it for five or six years. I got back into it around fifth and sixth grade and that’s when I really started to practice and take lessons,” Bertin said. Bertin met up with Burdick What started out three years ago as a musical experiment during his freshmen year, when between friends is now per- Burdick had been producing forming gigs and churning out music as a guitarist under the singles. Its name? The Stone name Cycle. As Cycle, Burdick performed live at local bars Eye. Senior Jeremiah Bertin and such as the Voltage Lounge in 2015 Conestoga alumnus Ste- Philadelphia and had released phen Burdick are the sole cre- an alternative rock album, ators and musicians behind “Tempus Nostrum,” on his The Stone Eye, a band that spe- Bandcamp page. It was only afcializes, according to Bertin, ter Bertin joined that the group in a mix of “alternative, grun- decided they wanted to take ge and doom metal.” In recent their band in a new direction months, the band has released and renamed it The Stone Eye. Drawing inspiration from numerous singles on the web as well as an album, “Virtues of ‘90s grunge rock and bands Oblivion,” featuring 14 original such as Kyuss, Sleep, Electracks in the band’s fuzz-filled tric Wizard and Queens of the style. The band’s latest album, Stone Age, The Stone Eye took “Poison Apple,” was released on a heavier, fuzzier tone compared to its predecessor, Cycle. on Bandcamp on Oct. 14. Only two men strong, Bertin Bertin began his musical career in percussion and joined and Burdick maintain a relaxed the School of Rock, a choice atmosphere for practices and that would eventually lead to gigs. Practices and jam sessions him becoming the drummer of occur in Burdick’s basement at frequencies ranging from daiThe Stone Eye. “I got my first kit when I was ly to monthly, depending on (10.312doing x 5.843).3_Layout 5:42 PM up. Page 1 whether1 a5/17/16 gig is coming 42016_HS_Newspapers years old, but I stopped

Ian Ong/The SPOKE

Noodling: Senior Jeremiah Bertin and Conestoga alumnus Stephen Burdick host a jam session to foster new song ideas. The Stone Eye released their latest album on Oct. 14. “We get really good at writing songs together, and it’s easier to practice and organize because it’s only two people,” Bertin said. Producing songs is a multistep process, starting from drafting riffs and noodling on the guitar to mixing and sequencing audio in workstation software. Afterwards, the band uses Facebook, Spotify, YouTube, SoundCloud and Bandcamp as platforms to release

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and promote their work. Senior and guitarist Mike Pacca, who follows the band’s page on Facebook, is a fan of The Stone Eye and enjoys their avant-garde compositions. “The guitar riffs are unlike a lot of other bands, and the drum beats are obscure, for lack of a better term,” Pacca said. “They’re very underground-ish.” Although drafting and recording only takes a couple of

days, the most time consuming part of the process is mixing audio, which Burdick manages. Due to mixing, it can take up to five months before an album is sequenced, mastered and ready for release. “I’m sort of a control freak, but on top of that, mixing in general just takes a long time because when you think about it, every single one of those mics is a certain channel,” Burdick said. “On our last track, ‘King Joy,’ I had seven mics and a drum kit alone.” Being part of The Stone Eye has served to widen Bertin’s horizons in terms of listening to new genres of music and furthering his musical career in drumming. “For School of Rock, we don’t really do original stuff, so I think having an original band is a really good opportunity to write my own stuff and do what I want and not have any boundaries,” Bertin said. “Instead of playing what other people play, I play what I want to play.” The Stone Eye will perform live at Temple University on Oct. 21 and at Harper’s Pub in New Jersey on Oct. 29.

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10 The Spoke

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

By Matt Paolizzi Co-Student Life Editor Where did you grow up? I grew up behind the Strafford (now Tredyffrin) Library, a walking distance from Wayne and the Strafford Train Station.

Where does your passion for education come from? It comes from my belief that the world can be a better place. And I’d like to play a part in that. It comes from a family that valued learning and valued community. It came from other people (I met) along my travels who inspired me that were teachers in the professional sense and others who were just great teachers. Have you always been interested in the field of philosophy? No. The first time I ever took a philosophy class was when I was a freshman in college. It was an 8 a.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday class and I think I might have stayed a week and a half in that class before I ended up dropping it. It was my first college class and the professor who was teaching it was way over my head and I didn’t understand what he was doing. He didn’t make it accessible and I wasn’t ready for what he was delivering. That said, he was one of the smartest people that I met in my college years and I would later take two other classes and an independent study with him. (The process of discovery) didn’t start there. It started when I was hired (at Conestoga) and I was given a class and I had to figure out what it was. Over the course of the next few years, I began to really enjoy teaching it.

How do you like to spend your time when you’re not teaching? I don’t believe in the concept of boredom and I have way too many projects to count. I am an avid music listener. I play the mandolin and the guitar. I have a dumbec, djembe, African drums. I’m interested in graphic design, but not good at it. I have an emerging interest in growing food and flowers. I love cooking. I’ve developed a keen interest in pens, the technology that allows us to write so easily without

Neil Goldenthal/The SPOKE

Teacher Feature: John Koenig

Student Life

Philosophy and AP Seminar teacher John Koenig tells the Spoke about his personal relationship with education, his work with a school in Ghana, his passions and hobbies and why he is the luckiest man in the world. thinking. I’m interested in audio design and podcast production as well as general musical recording. I’m interested in web design and educational technology, technology in general. I’ve got a lot of coals in the fire.

Do you travel much? If so, where to? I used to travel a decent amount, until I had a baby. I studied in England for a summer abroad and then a full year abroad to get one of my master’s degrees. I’ve traveled through Europe. I’ve done Ghana. Most of my recent travel has been due to my deep seated interest (in) working at the school I support (in Ghana) as a member of a foundation and as a teacher. I get to go to this school and work with these really wonderful students and teachers. It’s been a while since I’ve been back because we brought a youngster back from that village over to the United States and shepherded him through high school and then college. The priority for us during breaks and such was working with him and mentoring him. Now I have a 1-yearold, so I’m not going to Ghana with a 1-year-old.

How do you stay neutral during class discussions, especially during philosophy class? Philosophy class is easy because the spirit of philosophy requires a sense of wonder, intellectual humility, fun and an interest in understanding multiple perspectives. It also demands that we commit and that we have an answer, or at least try and commit and in the moment come to a conclusion. But I don’t pretend to look like a finished product who has all the answers, especially with some of the larger questions that we deal with. I like that about teaching philosophy because it allows me to get involved in the mix too. It allows me to be in conversation authentically because every day I’m hearing different arguments and learning new things that I personally benefit from. I, of course, have my views and opinions on certain things. I’ve got my arguments and such. But the nature of philosophy is an

attempt, in many ways, to uncover the possibilities and to try and figure which of these possibilities makes the most sense for you. I certainly don’t believe that it’s my place to dictate opinion or explain how something is correct or wrong. That’s not always the goal in a discipline that really values the uncovering of principals through the dialectic and questioning. It’s about the students of course, correct? If you make baseball bats, you’re only as good as your baseball bats. If you make pens, you’re only as good as your pens. I don’t make widgets, I do something that I think is perhaps more important. Don’t get me wrong, I love pens and I love baseball. But, it’s not about me. It doesn’t matter how much I get out of it. My joy is that it’s not about me, but I get a lot out of it. It’s like a two for one, right? I get to work with really wonderful students in trying to help them develop their own ideas for their own sake and with moving forward in life. At the same time, the nature of the work that I get to do is something that I love and it gives back tremendously. It’s just a winwin. I think I’m one of the luckiest people in the world.

Favorites Band: Grateful Dead Food: Peach ice cream from Handel’s Movie: “Field of Dreams” Sports Team: Boston Red Sox Actress: Laura Linney Actor: Patrick Stewart Book: “The Alchemist” Olympic Sport to Watch: Pole Vault The Spoke 11

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Student Life

Freshman blacksmith forges his own way

By Claire Guo Staff Reporter

Superheroes have really cool swords. At least, that’s what a young Aaron Li thought while he watched his afternoon cartoons. But about a year and a half ago, Li upped the ante and started making his own blades. YouTube sword reviews turned to YouTube knifemaking tutorials and the garage became one of Li’s favorite places. Now a freshman at Conestoga and a self-taught metalsmith, Li spends Fridays after school forging knives and other novelties in his home workshop. “When people �irst hear that, they back up,” Li said. “Like, ‘Whoa. You make knives?’ I’m like, no-no-no, not like that.” Li’s metalworking encompasses a broader range, including amulets, jewelry, and experimentation with metallurgy (the science of metal properties and mixtures). He specializes in blades because their particular aesthetic and functionality appeals to him. “Knives are pretty practical,” Li said. “If you make a good, functioning tool it feels better than just making something that looks good. They

are dangerous and sharp, but they’re just tools, ones you need to be careful with.” Along with its practical purposes, metalsmithing, which has been an art for millennia, �ills a niche in Li’s life. “After I’m done, I’m like, ‘Oh, man. I made something.’ I’m tired, but I’ve made something. In sports, I’m tired, but I didn’t make anything,” Li said. Li also enjoys the control he has over his work during his sessions. “If I get frustrated, I can just swing the hammer harder. I can’t draw harder. It’s a good balance between art and movement for me,” Li said. But like every activity, metalsmithing takes time and commitment to master. “Starting out, I made a lot of mistakes. I’d mess up when I didn’t expect to, and I actually felt really bad about it,” Li said. “And then I realized everybody messes up a lot.” Originally comprised of only a few small tools, Li’s workshop grew gradually. His parents were hard to convince, and the forging process itself demanded constant vigilance. The metals Li works with are heated to hundreds of degrees Celsius

and he molds them with power tools. Since familiarized with being on edge, Li recognizes that the dangers of metalworking are actually part of what makes it his refuge. “I just get lost in it,” Li said. “It distracts me if I have stuff on my mind. ‘Cause if I don’t concentrate, I’ll get burned, I’ll get injured. So I have to focus. For other things, I can do it and I’ll still have stuff on my mind, but this, it’s one of the best escapes I have.” This focus is clear to anyone who watches Li work. He never takes his eyes off the machines, his tools, his metal. There are few breaks in an assembly line of forge, hammer, anvil, forge, sander, forge, anvil, quench, forge, grinder. Li’s mother always reminds him to “make sure to mention that you sell your work.” He has sold kitchen knives to classmates’ parents and received requests for gardening sickles. Li’s mom expresses her first reaction to learning of his hobby. “I thought he’d burn the house down,” Mrs. Li said. Li’s earned most of his experience through trial, error, and the internet. He paid for all

studio album on Aug. 20. Called “Blond,” it is a record that proves to be both incredibly esoteric while serving as the most perfect R&B album of the decade. On �irst listen, it is clear that this is not the same Ocean who blessed us back in 2012. His sound is more mature, the production wispy and experimental, the lyrics cryptic and poetic. The album starts off with an excellent opener in “Nikes.” A tight drum beat is the focus with a light, spiritual synthesizer providing background. The instrumentation on this album is sparse and is not overused. The vocals are highly processed, but it is not overblown. The vocals prove to be beautiful and sound wonderful, unlike many terrible excuses for autotune. Ocean’s lyrics are great as always, pairing Shakespeare with basketball in one instance, “Said she need a ring like Carmelo/Must be on that white like Othello.” The beat becomes slightly more complex as a different drum soon takes over and various other synthesizer elements

come in, but it is not overly dominant. The song still maintains its chill atmosphere, merely deepening itself. “Nikes” then turns into one of the best tracks on the album, “Ivy.” The vocals once again take the prize, as Ocean tells a heartening tale of realizing one’s past mistakes, often referring to things in the past tense, the phase “back then” becomes a character on its own, representing Ocean’s past self. The instrumentation remains calm and relaxing; this is a perfect album for quiet, dark nights. Times when you just need to relax and think. The best song on the record is “Solo.” Here is when Ocean’s mastery over production takes over. The song sounds fantastic. The organ that goes throughout the track is the backbone, with everything else coming out of it. Ocean give us such emotional lines as “Now stay away from highways/My eyes like them red lights/Right now I prefer yellow/Red bone, so mellow” and the beautiful, almost ethereal chorus: “It’s hell on Earth and the city’s on fire/

Claire Guo/The SPOKE

Nose to the grindstone: Freshman Aaron Li continues work on a knife using the equipment in his home workshop. He began metalworking after being inspired by his favorite cartoons. his equipment himself (usual- pretty happy about it. I don’t ly with the money made from think people can take that metalwork sales), and he takes away,” Li said. care of his own workshop, Li finds comfort in knowchoosing hardware, cleaning ing that there’s so much soot and restocking supplies more to be done. The future excites him. such as coal and metals. “And I’ll never run out of Li’s accomplishments are completely his own, and his things to do. There’s different progress so far is only the start styles of knives, there’s differto what he sees as a probable ent techniques, and there’s so much to improve,” Li said. “It’ll lifetime hobby. “It’s something that I’ve al- never be �inished. And I won’t ways wanted to do, and now be satis�ied until it’s �inished. that I can actually do it, I’m That’s gonna keep me going.”

Worth the wait: Frank Ocean delivers a masterpiece

By Matt Paolizzi Co-Student Life Editor It started with a bang. Frank Ocean arrived on the music scene a stranger, only the very indie of indie pop lovers had heard of him. But those who knew of Ocean prior to the release of his instant classic, “Channel ORANGE,“ in 2012 knew him from a fairly recent work that got a large amount of attention on indie blogs across the internet. He had come out with a mixtape back in 2011, “Nostalgia, Ultra,” headed by his �irst hit, “Novacane,” that earned the budding star immense amounts of attention. His name was out there; it just took a �inal push, and that’s when “Channel ORANGE” came in. But after the immediate fallout from the release of “Channel ORANGE,” Ocean disappeared. Only the occasional post on social media kept fans informed, those four years were ones of anxious anticipation. Finally, after multiple teases, Ocean dropped his second

12 The Spoke

Boys Don’t Cry Records

Inhale, inhale there’s heaven/ There’s a bull and a matador dueling in the sky/Inhale, in hell there’s heaven.” The second half of the album lacks any distinct standouts, but the tracks are all beautiful nonetheless. A short track called “Solo (Reprise)” sees the legendary Andre 3000 of OutKast take his one spin on the themes expressed by “Solo.” He does it his own, artful Andre way, laying down bars all the way through. It’s entertaining, but only one minute and 19 seconds long. Various other tracks such as “White Ferrari” and “Godspeed”

continue the sparse, vocally dominating instrumentation that continues to add to the chill vibes throughout. While it’s not as poppy or as objectively entertaining as “Channel ORANGE,” Ocean proves to be a talented artist in his own right. We should appreciate this album for what it is, a snapshot of summer at it’s haziest, but with a glimmer of light shining throughout. A masterwork through and through.


In our May Issue story “Underdogs: pets fetch hero status,” the Spoke stated that search and rescue operated under the sole direction of the �ire department. However, the Search & Rescue Dogs of PA have been doing over 100 rescue missions for the past 25 years. The Spoke regrets any misinformation about the impact of Search & Rescue Dogs of PA’s service and commitment to the community.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Student Life

[NEW|exchange|STUDENTS] As the new school year brings in fresh faces and sharp pencils, six exchange students begin their adventure through Conestoga’s hallways. Story and Photos by Justin Huang and Lyvia Yan Co-Convergence Editor and Center Spread Editor Jaime de Lorenzo Herrera

For junior Jaime de Lorenzo Herrera, coming to the United States from Spain was a culture shock. “In Spain, you can go walking if you want, wherever you want: to your house to eat, to friends. Here, you have a lot of variety (of classes) to choose and you can choose levels. In Spain, you only have one level and the classes are obligatory,” de Lorenzo said. Aside from the academic differences, de Lorenzo notices how Spanish food is healthier than American food and offers more variety.

“I chose the U.S.A. because my aunt and uncle are both teachers here. When I was younger, they gave me a lot of insight as to what an American school was like, so I decided that if I decided to study abroad, I’d pick here,” Wooster said. For Wooster, the hardest part about coming to the United States was leaving her friends. “I think I miss my friends a lot more than I do my family because I’ve been away from my parents before. Right now, I don’t find it too hard especially because my host family is so kind and I feel so loved and I feel so comfortable being in their homes,” Wooster said. Despite leaving Australia, Wooster quickly befriended her host sister, senior Dylan Rein. “I feel because Dylan studied abroad, she understands what it’s like more than somebody else who hasn’t studied abroad. And I feel like we have a good friendship, so that also makes it really nice that we can talk to each other about anything,” Wooster said. Looking toward the future, Wooster hopes to study in a European country to see another part of the world.

the remaining two years of her internship in Switzerland. “Every six months, I change my department (at the office where I intern). Sometimes, I am in Finance and Human Recruiting, so we have many different departments,” Pollinger said. Aside from gaining experience in the office, Pollinger learns new languages in Swiss school, and is fluent in Dutch, German, French and now English. Pollinger uses her language skills to communicate with tourists from the Netherlands who come to Switzerland.

Niamh Wooster

Since she was young, junior Niamh Wooster knew she wanted to leave Australia and come to the United States to study.

“I would totally recommend (studying abroad). I think that it’s going to change me a lot as a person. When you’re thrown into a situation like this, it’s going to be like when you go into the workforce and there’s going to be a completely new surrounding around you,” Wooster said.

Janika Pollinger

One thing that remained the same between Switzerland and America for senior Janika Pollinger was the weather. “We have many mountains, but it’s not very cold. Most people think it’s cold all the time, but we have four seasons and in the summer it’s really hot. Sometimes we have 90 degrees or higher than 90. In the winter, it’s really cold,” Pollinger said. After her exchange program, Pollinger plans on completing

“You don’t fry vegetables, because when we make dishes, whatever it is, vegetable or meat, we put oil and fry it, but you don’t do that here. There’s a lot of bread here, too,” Wang said. When everything’s said and done, Wang hopes to accomplish the goals he set for himself. “I would say (I hope) to make more friends, especially American friends, and to do well and study,” Wang said.

Juan Victor Villegas

“I’ve been here in the United States three times, and I’m just in love with this country. I didn’t think of any place else to go for the exchange program,” senior Juan Victor Villegas said.

Steven Wang

Despite some difficulties adjusting to a new country and a new school, Pollinger reminds herself to always stay positive. “At the end, you’ll think the time was so fast, so you have to enjoy it and always do your best in school, even if you can’t talk or understand. Don’t think ‘Maybe I shouldn’t say it’ because you don’t know how the grammar is (or) because people won’t understand it,” Pollinger said.

Max Hausmann

“We have cocido (stew), tortilla, patata (potatoes in a spicy sauce), aperitivos (appetizers) before lunch. American food is always — you eat something like hamburgers, or pasta or pizza,” de Lorenzo said. The United States not only offers new food and a variety of classes, but also has clubs and team sports not available in Spain. “The difference is that our school (in Spain) has very bad sports. You need to go to clubs, and here there are a lot of team sports,” de Lorenzo said. De Lorenzo hopes to join spring track and field, learn more about American culture and improve his English. “It’s hard, but if you practice and read the (English) books, it’s not crazy difficult,” de Lorenzo said.

Later on, he found a way to become better integrated in the school environment by donning his jersey and going to football practice. “There’s another team mentality — you’re (with) friends and everyone and you’re staying close to them because you’re with them all the time at school,” Hausmann said. “In Germany, sports aren’t a school thing. It’s always a club thing.” If his friends wanted to study abroad, he’d support their decision and offer them his own advice. “Be very nice to people — greet them, and you have to be nice to them, you have to talk to the people so they are very interested in what you are interested in, too,” Hausmann said.

For freshman Max Hausmann, choosing to spend a year in the United States came with the hope of meeting new people. “I hope I will get to meet new people, nice people — people I can stay in contact with after I’m back in Germany. That’s my biggest expectation,” Hausmann said. Staring at the huge doors that greeted him on his first day at ’Stoga, Hausmann summarized his impression of the school in two words.

“Very big. It’s around five times bigger than my school in Germany. Everything’s new, (while) my school in Germany was built after the Second World War and was never renovated again,” Hausmann said.

With the future in mind, sophomore Steven Wang approached his time in the United States with a huge goal.

“I am hoping that I can enter a college or university in the U.S.,” Wang said. My family “thought that going to high school in China and then applying for college in the U.S. would be hard, so I became an exchange student to know how things work here — how your education system works and how American school works.” Putting aside the size of ’Stoga, America’s high school system has its unique traits in contrast to the Chinese system. In his eyes, the most obvious example is the diversity of class options. “You have different levels of classes, and everyone’s taking different classes. In China we all take the same class, but here, you have academic courses that are easier, and AP and Honors classes that are not easier,” Wang said. “You switch class(rooms) here, but we don’t do that in China.” Besides the high school environment, Wang’s experience with American culture has been marked with change after change, starting with the most important one: food.

Even though he only arrived from Bolivia on Sept. 9, Villegas has no problems with his foreign surroundings. “It was 2013 when I first came. I was incredibly excited because (the United States) is actually my favorite country, and it was just how I imagined it,” Villegas said. Of course, Bolivia and the United States have their fair share of differences. Student life in ’Stoga and Villegas’s old school have almost opposite environments. Conestoga is “quite huge – the school in my country has four, five hundred people and then I realized that in my school we get to know each other and in here, I’m seeing new faces every second,” Villegas said. According to Villegas’s observations, the differences don’t end with the eighth period bell. “Talking about people my age, the main difference is you can hang out with your friends all day. You can go to hang out, go to eat – when I was in Bolivia, I was with my friends every day, doesn’t matter for what,” Villegas said. Despite these differences, Villegas is still fascinated with the United States and, more importantly, the school he attends. “I like Conestoga, people who want to exchange schools should come here — you’ll be very lucky to be here,” Villegas said.

The Spoke 13

Center Spread

Monday, October 17, 2016


Don’t fret: This year the Spook has you covered on all things Halloween from costume ideas to ’Stoga frights to the best haunted houses on the Main Line.

Story, design and photos by Lyvia Yan, Center Spread Editor

Costume Ideas Harley Quinn

Chipotle Burrito

Political Candidate

This “Suicide Squad” character is quirky and hip.

Not only edible, but also wearable.

Get in the election spirit by dressing up as a future president.

Red and black clothing Pigtails Red and blue makeup

Tin foil Felt or fabric (tan, green, black, yellow, red)

Trump: Black suit, white dress shirt, red tie, wig, spray tan Hillary: Pantsuit, wig

U.S. Olympian Show your athletic pride with this simple, but creative costume. Gold Medal Patriotic clothing American flag

Harambe Pay tribute to a fallen hero. Gorilla mask Banana Red felt Black clothing

Hot Sauce From Tabasco to Sriracha, the possibilities are on fire. Red shirt Green hat White felt

Alexandra Solove’s Spooky Story

14 The Spoke

English teacher Alexandra Solove shares her chilling paranormal experience: (There) was a theater that I used to act at in Allentown; it’s called Civic Theater. It’s a very old theater. The one play we did every year was “The Christmas Carol,” and the set was very big — it was built into the stage. The way it worked is there was a tunnel as part of the set, so actors could walk back and forth without having to go outside and go around the building. There’s the set and there’s the tunnel and then there’s just the back wall. I was walking through — I was a kid, like probably around 11 — I was walking through and I felt someone tap my shoulder. I, of course, turned around to whisper hello because it was during a show. That was it, so I go on my way and whatever. The next time I go through the tunnel and I get to the middle. I feel the same thing, and I’m like, “Okay, I’m not making this up. This is real.” I get an older kid, who is probably 16, who at the time I thought, “Of course he’s brilliant,” and I told him to go through and I waited at one end. When he gets to the center, I see him just jump and freak out and he’s running over to me and he’s like, “What are you doing?” I said, “I’m not doing anything. What happened?” He felt someone tap him on his shoulders and it obviously freaked him out. It was enough to make him really go nuts. Anyways, that happens and we get an adult to go through because no one is going to believe us. So we get an adult to go through, and he, same thing, gets to the center and pulls open the curtain, looking to see what’s going on. He said he felt someone grab his ankles to the point where he almost tripped. There’s a lot of stories about the theater being haunted and all these kinds of other things, but we never really got an answer. What we did hear was that a bunch of girls upstairs behind the stage in the dressing room had been playing with the Ouija Board while that was happening. Everyone seems to have the opinion that we summoned some spirits.

Center Spread

HAUNTED HOUSES Eastern State Penitentiary Terror Behind the Walls is a massive haunted house located within the towering castle walls of a real abandoned prison. Eastern State Penitentiary offers six terrifying attractions: Break Out, Detritus, Infirmary, Lockdown: The Uprising, Quarantine: 4D and the Machine Shop. All six attractions are included in the general admissions ticket; however, visitors can opt to buy a quick pass and avoid the long lines. Pricing varies from $19 to $45, and is cheaper when bought online rather than at the gate. Terror Behind the Walls is open now through Nov. 5, with hours ranging from 7-11:00 p.m., 12:00 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. As Halloween enthusiasts and thrill seekers alike enter the complex, they are greeted with a pressing question: do they want to sacrifice themselves to the creatures lurking in the shadows, or do they want to observe the action from afar? Terror Behind the Walls is an exhilarating experience with realistic actors ranging from terrifying clowns to towering eight-foot-tall monsters haunting every crevice.

A former patient, who spent her entire life in the hospital after being abandoned as a child, left behind some personal objects on her dresser.

An abandoned classroom at Pennhurst Asylum combines the frightening thrill of Halloween with the hospital’s history.

Pennhurst Asylum Situated in the suburbs of Pennsylvania, Pennhurst Asylum is a historic institution for the feeble-minded and epileptic turned haunted attraction. Pennhurst opened in 1908, and was quickly filled to capacity with immigrants, orphans and criminals. Preserving the rich history, Pennhurst currently includes a hospital themed walk-through attraction with artifacts from the original state school, along with an asylum, a Dungeon of Lost Souls, the Tunnel of Terror and a Ghost Hunt. Pennhurst Asylum is open now through Oct. 30, with box office hours open 6:30-10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and open 6:30-9:30 p.m. on Sunday and Thursday. Visitors can opt for separate tickets to individual attractions, combo passes or a VIP upgrade, with prices ranging from $16 to $78.

Bates Motel Bates Motel at Arasapha Farms features three attractions: a Haunted Hayride, the Bates Motel and the Haunted Corn Maze. The Haunted Hayride is a 25-minute ride through a dark forest with over 75 actors and realistic decorations. Following the hayride, visitors are invited to the Bates Motel, which is a towering haunted house with frightening interactions and live actors. Those who have not been scared away must brave a terrifying walk through a pitch-black corn maze. While navigating the labyrinth, actors with bloodshot eyes, clown masks and pitchforks will pop up around every corner. Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride are open now through Oct. 31, Sunday to Wednesday from 6:30-9:30 p.m., and Thursday to Saturday 6:30-10:30 p.m. Tickets range from $15 to $100, depending on whether visitors prefer a combo special for admission to all attractions, separate attractions or a VIP upgrade. Bates Motel has been offering scary haunts for 25 years and guarantees to leave you screaming, yet thirsting for more exhilaration.

The Spoke 15

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

OPINION Dirty words soil democracy When students take U.S. History in sophomore year, they learn about the election of 1800 and the birth of negative campaigning. Prior to the race between Jefferson and Adams, bringing anything personal into politics was taboo. Since then, candidates for public of�ice, especially president, have been held accountable for their personal actions in addition to their political records. Politicians need not only defend their votes, but also their character. With the arrival of the social media age, this requirement has only increased, and the level of personal involvement and attack has followed suit. However, in the 2016 presidential election, the editorial board notes the unprecedented toxicity of the political climate, and disavows the divisive political rhetoric put forth by both candidates, their parties and their supporters. Mudslinging between candidates is nothing new for Americans, but at present we �ind ourselves in a malicious mudslide of angry and personal politics, being ambushed by both sides of the aisle with negative campaigning. When supporters of either side take comments made by politicians and use

them to demonize those of opposite views, we use our democratic rights as an excuse for bad behavior. This outlook affects not only the candidates and their political world but plays a role in the attitude of our culture overall. Angry political rhetoric — on both sides — is damaging. What do you do when political leaders and public �igures do not serve as good role models for today’s youth? When watching the debates leaves viewers heated and disgusted instead of civically engaged? When this injurious behavior and conversation becomes the norm, it can be easy to slip into a similar cynical world view. It can also be easy to forget the effect such actions and dialogue have on those who hear them. According to a 2014 Pew Research study, the political socialization process — how someone gains his or her political attitudes — occurs mostly in the younger years through what children hear from their friends and family. What happens now will have a lasting effect on the views of American democracy that the youth of the country hold. In the news-saturated country we live in, it’s important to remember that regardless

of who is elected, children are hearing each attack ad and offhand comment. This shift in demeanor has in�luenced attitudes toward the presidency and the weight the of�ice holds. The president should not only be a leader of the free world, but of the children. Nobody is completely moral. However, if we vote based on accountability to make decisions regarding war and the economy, candidates should be accountable for their words, as well. Although we cannot control our politicians, we can determine the effect their dirty words have on our future generations. Instead of calling Trump supporters “deplorables” or threatening Hillary supporters, we need to break the trend of negativity. While speaking critically of the opposing side is a tempting diversion from talking about the issues, resorting to bullying simply is not tasteful or productive. In the conversations we have about politics, whether in the classroom after a debate or at your dinner table right before poll day, let’s reject this trend. We should focus on the issues that affect us as teenagers and as students, not the divisive words of candidates.

Kaitlyn Chen/The SPOKE

16 The Spoke

From the editor: pushing up a cause

Meagan O’Rourke Co-Editor-in-Chief Fifteen, 16, 17...I dipped my nose down to the floor, trying to keep my back straight in the envelope aisle of Staples. I popped up after pushup number 22 and saw the confused back-to-school shoppers disperse. Day 9 of the 22 pushup challenge complete. The veteran empowerment foundation, 22KILL, started the 22pushup challenge in response to the 2012 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Suicide Data Report’s statistic that 22 veterans a day commit suicide because of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The challenge brings PTSD’s concerning effects on veterans into the public eye, as it emphasizes the sting of the number, 22 lives lost each day. Celebrities from Dwayne The Rock Johnson to Chris Pratt and entire police forces have taken up the challenge. The challenge works like this: each day for 22 days, post a video of yourself doing 22 pushups and nominate a new person each day. Explain the cause, do your best and don’t be afraid to get creative with where or how you do your pushups. My Facebook-loving relative nominated me to do the challenge, and I was hesitant to accept. As a safeguarded, suburban student who had never stepped foot in a war zone, I had no direct connection to veterans’ struggles with PTSD. It almost felt disrespectful to receive attention for my little exercise “challenge” while veterans were facing actual alienating challenges back home each day.

However, I realized that staying quiet was part of the problem. PTSD experienced by veterans becomes a societal issue if there is no bridge of support between the veterans and the public, letting them know that there are outlets for help. Although I could not equate my participation in the campaign with the sacrifices made by servicemen and women, doing the pushups each day kept me thinking about an issue that would otherwise be separate from my life, and I shared it with my peers. I received flattering compliments (yes, I do have excellent form), but I stressed that the point was not showing off my good deeds or exemplary pushup form — it was personal reflection and education. However, I was worried about this challenge becoming more about spicing up my feed rather than championing for those who have served. Even though PTSD is a serious topic, I realized that raising awareness does not have to be a solemn task. Yes, it is important to be respectful, but I learned to see compliments and likes as a sign of interest, not as a sign of disrespect on my part. But around Day 9, I received the compliment that made this all worth it. I got a call from my Uncle Richard, a disabled Vietnam War Navy veteran. He was ecstatic to see young people getting involved and interested in veterans’ affairs over “the Facebook.” To him, this was more than a publicity stunt; it was a genuine connection between veterans and the world they helped defend. Even though I did not reach thousands, I reached one very happy Uncle Richard. With social media campaigns, we cannot pretend to save souls with hashtags, but we cannot discount the impact of speaking up. Because when we internalize and externalize the meaning of such a cause or a jarring statistic, we can put our thoughts into action — and that is what truly puts the muscle behind the message.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

with Matthew Soderberg Not serious ;―)

Matthew Soderberg Opinion Editor

Seniors are over a month into their �inal year at Conestoga. There are caps and gowns being ordered, skip days being hauntingly planned, assignments being wholeheartedly ignored, but no one — no one — has brought up college. It’s peculiar. Not one person has turned to me in class and listed their entire college plan. They never say, “Who knows, anything can happen!” and follow it with a giggle that says they know exactly what can happen. Why hasn’t anyone asked the question, “So what are you thinking about college?” Why hasn’t anyone asked it over and over? Why haven’t I had nightmares about it? Why haven’t I come up with a response that means absolutely nothing? Why?! I don’t think one person has talked about their essay. No one writes about their mission trips, when they just fell in love with the kids. When hearing about someone’s genuine tragic story, I never think: hey, that would make a great college essay, though. My parents haven’t brought up how a few hundred words I write might determine my whole future and success.

I’ve never, upon hearing about someone else applying to a college I’m really interested in, either a) classi�ied them as stupid, irrelevant and not a competitor or b) plotted how to kill them. I’ve never heard people write off state schools as worthless backups that are far beneath them, even though they would cost their parents so much less. What a shame that we’re all so conscious of the �inancial side of higher education. I’ve yet to hear a ’Stoga student ignore the fact that their parents will have to pay 60 grand a year when they talk about how college is going to be one long party. Why haven’t the most elite students in the grade made a spreadsheet to claim which of the top schools to apply to? It seems like a really healthy thing to do. And to the (multiple) people who have told me they got a perfect SAT score, thank you. I care so much. The emotion I feel for you is happiness, not utter hatred, and I don’t regularly imagine responding with physical violence. I’m yet to hear anyone complain about �illing out their Common App, grossly exaggerating the hours they’ve put in. I believe you spent 10 hours on your applications. You didn’t spend one on apps and nine contemplating impending doom with your friend, Net�lix. We need to open the dialogue. Telling everyone you possibly know as much as you possibly can about as many colleges you can possibly �it in your brain is proven to guarantee acceptance. I’m just glad we haven’t turned on each other. For a second there, I worried that college might bring out the worst in us.

Choose compromise: police and Black Lives Matter

Jahnavi Rao Columnist A lot of questions are “or” questions. Do you face toward or away from the shower head? Do you like Taylor Swift or Kim Kardashian? Do you eat white pizza or are you a decent person? “Or” questions can be answered with one of the two options given: to resonate with both would be contradictory and logically impossible. But, then there are “AND” questions, in which both answers offered may apply. If I were to ask you about supporting Black Lives Matter and the police, would you classify it as an “and” or an “or” question? Popular opinion says that the two are mutually exclusive, that only one answer can be possible for each person. If you support the Black Lives Matter movement, a lot of people would assume that you did not support the police, and vice versa. For many allies of either side, this appears to hold true. The important thing to realize is that it does not have to be the case. The Black Lives Matter movement campaigns against systemic racism and violence toward black people. Studies show that people of color are

disproportionately targeted by law enforcement and the police. Sixty percent of prisoners are people of color, while minorities only make up 30 percent of the population. One out of every 15 black men is imprisoned as opposed to one out of 106 white men. Black men are nine times more likely to be killed by police than other Americans. However, acknowledging these injustices and advocating for ending this discriminatory treatment does not have to equate to despising the police. In Chicago, in response to the recent epidemic of police shootings, three West Side gangs have declared they will kill any police of�icer they see. These gangs are black. This is clearly not re�lective of the entire black community, as the actions of a small group advocating violence and hate do not de�ine the whole. Similarly, the actions of the police of�icers who abuse their power and act out of prejudice do not represent the police force. Instead of stereotyping the police, people of a certain skin color or people who support one or the other, we need to realize that life requires “ands.” As a high school student, I have taken many objective tests, in which the answer is either True or False, A, B or C. Life is not a multiple choice test. Life is not composed of “or’s.” Life is not black or white. Everyone has a choice in life to consider questions not as mutually exclusive, but as a chance to help people in need. Everyone has a choice, and we should choose compromise.

You can support the black lives being lost in Chicago and stand up to the gang’s threats. You can campaign against the unfair imprisonment of black children as adults and be concerned about suicide being the largest killer in the police force. You can take measures to pre-

Pallavi Aakarapu/The SPOKE

vent terrorist acts in the country and simultaneously �ight to preserve the rights of Muslims. You can support the abolition of injustices against two groups at the same time. I will always ask “and” questions in life; even if I do not end up picking both answers, at least I would have considered that option. I refuse to box myself into choosing between two absolutes. I will choose compromise and deliberation, and I will choose to support both Black Lives Matter and the police. And there’s no “or” about it.

“You should be able to support everyone at the same time because it’s not like all police are hurting everyone who’s African American and vice versa.” - Ankita Kalasabail “I support Black Lives Matter but I also support the police because they’re trying to protect us.” - Abby Pacca “You can support Black Lives Matter and the police because pro-black is not anti-white, and Black Lives Matter’s purpose is not to discredit the police.” - Heather Gray-Vause

Pallavi Aakarapu/The SPOKE

“Your body is like 75 percent water, right? So that means I can be 50/50 on Black Lives Matter and police.” - Nick Yelesin

The Spoke 17

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Blow the whistle on crying dogwhistle

Cissy Ming Copy Editor The fable of the boy who cried wolf needs a 21st century update. Given how much politicians and pundits exaggerate, the boy who cried dogwhistle makes a more appropriate title. Dogwhistles are coded messages of support to fringe groups such as racists or violent radicals. Someone might say, “Barack Hussein Obama really is a strange name for an American president.” They exist and deserve condemnation, but the term’s use has become an easy attack more than an expression of concern. Just like the shepherd boy, people who make claims of dogwhistling often avoid considering evidence or negative consequences. When tragedy strikes, the other party’s rhetoric becomes a de�ining factor in the violence. During political con�licts,

perceived hints of closeted racism, sexism, homophobia and other prejudices turn into excuses to discredit opponents over otherwise insigni�icant offenses. Whether on CNN or Facebook, seemingly non-bigoted acts become evidence that opponents are hopeless bigots, too entrenched in their hateful ways to engage in honest conversation. When conservative commentators questioned Hillary Clinton’s competence and described her tone as shrill, major news stations ran packages investigating the sexist implications for female leaders. Sure, Clinton’s critics made no references to her gender, but male chauvinists would (supposedly) understand that the GOP wanted to put women back in their place. Despite the real debate over policy taking place, some Democrats preferred tarring their opposition to addressing facts. Whatever the commentators’ original intentions, the precise details mattered less than the ultimate message behind the accusations: stand with us if you’re not a reactionary sexist. Today’s 24-hour news cycle combined with the unlimited platform the internet provides partially account for the attention these complaints receive or

their popularity. However, the sheer number of dogwhistle allegations speaks to the side of human nature that wants to repress rivals rather than engage them. Ultimately, many are based on the assumption that only silence from opponents and banning opposing views from polite discussions can purge hate from society. For voters at either extreme of the spectrum, studies show that news clips of pundits expressing the other party’s position triggers areas of the brain most associated with a �ight or �light response. In a situation ruled by strong emotions, logic understandably takes a backseat to defeating the other side even through questionable means. Emotional blackmail might energize a party’s strong supporters or compel some voters to stay home, but our society loses. Crying “dogwhistle” makes bipartisanship considerably more dif�icult, to put it gently. A snowball effect occurs over time, each comment about how Republicans are driven by hate for women and minorities or Democrats encourage anti-American nuts creates more hostility between the parties. If the public believes those with political disagreements have fundamentally different values, cooperation

across political divides is nearly impossible. Voters generally regard endorsements of prejudice or violence as immediate disquali�iers for their leaders. The desire to

diverse ideas, too many want fewer voices repeating just their assumptions about the world. The legal protections the Constitution guarantees mean little if Americans stigmatize ordinary free ex-

support good moral values at the ballot explains why claims of dogwhistling are taken so seriously. Not only do accusations that we are enabling deplorable behavior with our votes weigh heavily on our consciences, they impact our standing with friends and neighbors of different viewpoints. Politicians concerned about reelection or average people unwilling to upset their relatives over Thanksgiving dinner keep their controversial opinions private to maintain good reputations. Though the Founding Fathers meant for the First Amendment to foster more voices promoting

pression. A successful democracy relies on the contributions of a population unafraid to speak honestly, allowing the best solutions to prevail, not whatever the loudest group prefers. Ideas should fall into disrepute because evidence or moral arguments prove them wrong, not as a result of their detractors deploying the dogwhistle attack. The boy who cried wolf learned too late that the cost of too many false alarms outweighed the temporary attention. Fortunately, Americans still have time to come to a similar realization, that no victory is worth the cost.

to write an article for his or her publication. I could ramble on about the incredible people we met: Mike McCurry, Chuck Todd and Chris Berman. Or I could delve into the places we visited: NBC Studios, USA Today and the

year’s presidential election, and my work as a student journalist. Freedom: The press’ freedom to report on what it sees �it creates an important “fourth branch” of government and a vital force of civil soci-

White House press quarters. But more important than the unforgettable experiences at the conference are the values I gained and how I’ve been able to apply my experiences. The Jefferson Memorial exhibits four of Thomas Jefferson’s quotes engraved on the inside of a columned rotunda. Each excerpt espouses the importance of freedom, independence, progress and morality. These sentiments �ind modern applications in this

ety. At the conference, we learned and practiced our freedoms in a U.S. courtroom alongside Student Press Law Center attorney Adam Goldstein. In covering the Democratic National Convention and various political rallies in the last months, I have used the legal and civil freedoms discussed to speak with delegates and politicians, reporting their voices. Independence: With the excessive political mudslinging in this year’s

election, it is vital for the press to act independently. Amidst claims of candidates conspiring with the press, I think of my Free Spirit sessions on election reporting. We interacted with journalists from the Washington Post, VICE News and CNN, learning the best ways to localize politics while reporting on candidates fairly and thoroughly. With the advice I garnered from these leaders, I was able to use professional press credentials at the DNC and presidential rallies to report on history in the making. Progress: The goal of any journalist, including myself, should be to further progress in any community he or she reports on. Progress can only be achieved through deeper and fuller understanding of issues, as is borne from a free and independent press. Informing our community of student participation in politics was a key focus of “Keystone Election.” We sought to gage students opinions and cover the breadth students engagement in politics through attending rallies, canvassing and debating issues.

Morality: With all of the current criticisms of the press, and reproaches of journalists from politicians, it may be difficult to actualize the moral role of journalism, but ethics is deeply intertwined in journalism. Aside from the countless ethical decisions journalists must make before publishing a story, reporters have the ability to further morality. Journalists don’t just stir scandals by “exposing” society’s flaws; they prime society for moral improvement. Likewise, when producing “Keystone Election,” we needed to report in an unbiased manner by presenting sources accurately and representing all sides. While the press might not always live up to the ideals Thomas Jefferson set for our country, the Free Spirit Conference gave me faith in the next generation of journalists. I know that my fellow Free Spirits will work to further these core values as much as I will. Freedom, independence, progress and morality are not just ideals to be gawked at, but elements for us to consider and investigate as we decide the impact each of us will leave at Conestoga and in our community.

Pallavi Aakarapu/The SPOKE

Reporting on an election: Free Spirit reflection

Caleigh Sturgeon

Managing Web Editor As I climbed the dimly lit steps of the Jefferson Memorial at the conclusion of my third day as a Free Spirit, the importance of my work as a journalist resonated. Gazing up at Jefferson’s prominent bronze statue, America’s freedoms seemed tangible. This summer I attended the Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. with fellow student journalists from each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. For �ive days, we met leaders in the �ield of journalism, and created a network of rising journalists. As a culminating activity for the conference, each attendee is required

18 The Spoke

Pallavi Aakarapu/The SPOKE


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

EpiPen price gouges are sickening, but no surprise

Camille Kurtz Co-Editor-in-Chief Life-threatening, as in: minutes to live. Hives, as in: angry, red, itchy. Lungs, as in: heaving, closing. Consciousness, as in: fading. There’s one thing that can help me. An EpiPen, a shot of epinephrine or adrenaline, jammed into the top of my outer thigh, will speed up my heart rate. It will slow the in�lammation of my skin, open my airways. It will save my life. But it’s going to cost me over $600. I will be forced to choose between �inancial security and lifesaving medicine. Mylan, the pharmaceutical company responsible for producing EpiPens, has raised the price of the drug by over 400 percent since 2007. Originally $57, the price tag soared scandalously past the $600 mark in the late spring. Mylan has declined to comment on the motives for the increase, but popular speculation points a �inger at the drug industry strategy of hiking prices before a generic competitor reaches the market. In a legal settlement in 2015, Mylan agreed to allow such a generic product to join the market and, thus, increased prices quickly in a last attempt to bring in pro�its during the intervening period. The

Connie Stoga

results have been disastrous for health insurance providers and consumers alike, especially for lower-income families on Medicaid or without health insurance. As a 2-year-old, I was diagnosed with food allergies to tree nuts, peanuts, soy, wheat and eggs and additional sensitivities to common substances like grass and cat fur. After two years of the rashes, hair loss and stomach upset that left my �irst-time parents in a tizzy, the doctors �inally provided an answer: I would need an EpiPen. Fifteen years later, I’ve outgrown most of the food allergies, but still must carry an EpiPen everywhere I go: I must at least have one at school and at home. As someone who understands the natural dif�iculties of allergies, it is exasperating to face further �inancial complications. Allergies do not discriminate based on socioeconomic status: you can be severely allergic to milk whether you earn minimum wage and live without health insurance or whether you’re a trust fund baby with shiny, gilded future. In other words, for people who cannot afford expensive co-pays or insurance in general (forcing full payment), living with unused and expired EpiPens becomes the only option, a dangerous one. In a study by the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Dr. Robert Wood reports that, at a minimum, one in 50 people has experienced anaphylaxis, whose lethal symptoms are abated by EpiPens. This only includes those who have actually experienced an allergic reaction; the proportion of people prone to the attack and prescribed EpiPens is much higher.

Unlike other medical conditions, allergic reactions are unpredictable and, to an extent, uncontrollable. Reactions begin suddenly and are treated more curatively than preventively. Allergies triggered by exposure rather than ingestion, are dif�icult to avoid. Consequently, emergency medication, like EpiPens, must always be available. If the shot is expired or out of reach, the allergic reaction could be fatal. Financial concersn of allergy sufferers and unpredictable reactions cast the new EpiPen prices

The issue extends beyond just Mylan and EpiPens. Large pharmaceutical companies are slowly exerting more control over our legislative system and bank accounts. As smaller companies consolidate into larger and larger pharma businesses, the power of the medicine industry grows : power which is often used to in�luence politics outside of the medical sphere. So quickly, we’ve forgotten Martin Shkreli of Turing Pharmaceuticals, who in�lated the cost of AIDS medication 5,456

Report Card Kwame Alexander + Oh, snap! - Nothing.

Clowns + Stephen King warned us. - Honest clowns out of work.

Presidential Debates +Ken Bone, national hero. - Well, pretty much everything else.

Pallavi Aakarapu/The SPOKE

in an appalling light. The injustice in allowing wealthy pharmaceutical companies like Mylan to have the power to put so many people’s lives at risk is disheartening. How can we continue to let highly paid executives, removed from the frightening world of allergies that I and so many others live in, gouge our wallets for the sake of their bank accounts? Risk our lives for market competitions? Pro�it from our pain to fuel lobbying funds.

percent overnight. Mylan isn’t the �irst villain, and it de�initely isn’t the last. We must consider our needs as humans, not as callous companies. We must remember the one in 50 people who could have died from anaphylactic shock without their EpiPens. We shouldn’t have to make tough choices anymore: we can demand �inancial security and access to medical prescriptions. We must.

’Stoga Memes

+Edgy and relatable.

- Release the forbidden meme.


+Facebook, with teachers and grades! - R.I.P. Pinnacle.

Bottle Flipping

+ Landing it.

- The resulting detention.


Pallavi Aakarapu/The SPOKE

+Clown costumes are really in!

-Celebrate on a Monday?

The Spoke 19

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Girls’ soccer team kicks off a new era By Henry Danon Staff Reporter For 18 years, Meghan Brogan lead the girls’ soccer team to state championships and numerous titles. Now Ben Wilson, a former player and coach, is getting the chance to coach a team with a profound past. “He never gives up on us, and he’s super humble,” said senior Katelyn Perz of Wilson, who still has a close relationship with Brogan. Wilson played from four years old, continuing throughout high school and at Susquehanna University with a great passion for the game. He then coached at Susquehanna as the women’s coach and as a strength and conditioning coach. From there he was a coach at Moravian College and most recently the head coach at Episcopal Academy. “After college you’re at your peak athletically, but you’re

By Kyle Kennedy Guest Reporter

Wilson talked in the beginning of the season to the team about its decorated past and its legacy at Conestoga. Wilson then spoke about the talent of Conestoga’s sports teams and praised past teams for their success. After last year’s disappointing losing season, there were worries from players. However, Wilson is not worried about how they will perform. “I really think (last year) was one fluke year, with the talent we have,” Wilson said. He believed a new coach would be good for the team, to help rebound from last year’s disappointing season. He tries his hardest to be positive and not yell, to maintain a good relationship with his players on and off the field. With the head coaching job, Wilson was permitted to hire coaches of his choice, an opportunity that he was glad to have and would use to his advantage. Wilson chose Alex Stone, an alumni of Stoga who played goalkeeper and won a state championship with the team. He also

coach came to the field hockey team and piqued Dunleavy’s interest in the sport. “I had been an athlete my whole life, but I didn’t even know what field hockey was. The new coach was known as very demanding, very enthusiastic and liked to train. And that excited me. I’ve always loved to

train and focus,” Dunleavy said. Those first steps onto the field as a sophomore soon led to great success in the sport. Dunleavy attended West Chester University for field hockey, soon becoming the star left forward on the squad. As a junior, Dunleavy was named to both the

chose Brittany Nicoline, a player whom he previously coached and knew he could trust. “I feel like I have a dream team assembled here,” Wilson said. With the coaches of his choice and the players who have a profound past, he said he was elated to start coaching. Wilson does not believe that he has to coach the way Brogan

did, as he follows his own methods and training. He assigns fewer laps during practice, and he put a recovery time in place after every game to prevent injuries. His coaching so far has led the girls to a winning record. “Our players are stepping up with him as a coach,” Perz said. “He puts his time into us and we’ve improved.”

Neil Goldenthal/The SPOKE

Pep Talks: Coach Ben Wilson talks to the varsity team about their game against Pencrest High School at practice on Oct. 10. The team is currently tied with Strathaven for the Central League title.

Dunleavy scores into hall of fame

When Dr. Christine Dunleavy first stepped onto the field hockey field, she had no idea how much of an impact it would have on her life. Now, years after her experiences on the field all the way from high school to the U.S. National Team, Dunleavy is being further honored for her accomplishments in the sport with an induction into the West Chester University Hall of Fame. Now the mental health specialist at Conestoga, Dunleavy was enthusiastic about athletics from a young age. “When I was little I had wanted to be in the Olympics for running, and I actually played boys’ soccer,” Dunleavy said. Dunleavy started her field hockey career abnormally late, as a sophomore in high school, when a new

20 The Spoke

kinda just instantly retired,” Wilson said. But he wanted to stay in the game he loves one way or another. Replacing a coach of 18 years who was loved by many students and had great success in the past is a tall order. The girls did not adjust right away to the change of someone major in their lives. “We were really close, we could talk about anything even not soccer related. I still text her and ask her for advice about soccer or whatever,” Perz said. She was stunned after she found out her coach of three years would be leaving her and the team. However, Perz knew it was a personal matter and respected that. “Everyone was a little nervous at first,” Perz said. “We didn’t know what to expect of him.” After a short time to adjust, the girls were comfortable and playing well. They opened up the season with little problems, going 4-0-1 to start the season. “I didn’t feel a lot of pressure, partly because of the past,” Wilson said.

Betty Ben Dor/The SPOKE

Sporting a Smile: Dr. Chirstine Dunleavy reflects on her lifelong relationship with athletics. Dunleavy was inducted into the West Chester University Hall of Fame.

“I always say sports can open doors for people.” -Dr. Christine Dunleavy U.S. Under 21 Team and the U.S. National Team. As a senior, she was named captain of the West Chester team while simultaneously playing for the two U.S. teams. Dunleavy played on the U.S. National Team for four years, and had the opportunity to travel the world representing the United States in the sport. “Standing on the field, and having the U.S. national anthem play, while

you’re in a U.S. jersey, bar none is just such an amazing experience. Being in another country and having the national anthem play while you’re standing on the field and knowing that other countries just respect the United States is a really powerful memory.” Dunleavy said. Now, Dunleavy is being further recognized for her accomplishments in the sport by West Chester University: she was inducted into the West Chester University Hall of Fame. “It was an amazing feeling; it was a very emotional feeling. I had three tables of people there that really meant a lot to me and it really gave me an opportunity to thank them,” Dunleavy said. “I always say sports can open doors for people, and it can change people’s lives, and it was that for me. And so I’m lucky, and I feel very lucky for the people field hockey brought into my life.”


Tuesday , October 18, 2016

Athletic department throws change-ups

By Neil Goldenthal Co-Sports Editor

If you attended Hillside Elementary School, you will see a familiar face at Conestoga this year. Over the summer, longtime Athletic Director Dr. Patrick Boyle became the 12th grade Assistant Principal, leaving administration to fill his old position. After an application and interview process, they selected Kevin Pechin to be Conestoga's new Athletic Director. Pechin has been a physical education teacher at Hillside Elementary School for over 25 years, and has also coached and assisted with several sports teams throughout the district. Principal Dr. Amy Meisinger, a member of the search committee, explained why Pechin was chosen. "We interviewed a good number of candidates and Mr. Pechin came out as the unanimous decision of the committee. He brings a great background, with his health and Phys. Ed. background, he's coached a number of sports here, he's coached football,

baseball and golf. He's been in that varsity coach role. He is T/E proud; he loves the district, he loves Conestoga, he's a parent as well in the district. He's a wonderful addition," Meisinger said. Pechin grew up locally, attending Penncrest High School in Media and earning an undergraduate degree from West Chester University and a graduate degree from Cabrini College. Ever since he began working in the district , the promotion has been in his sights. "Never in a million years did I think the stars would align. This was something that when I was dating my wife, back in the early ’90s, I was dreaming about. To have it fall in place has been a real dream come true," Pechin said. Pechin looks forward to the large variety of responsibilities he will have as Athletic Director. "It's a million different things. We're dealing with buses, schedules, eligibility, purchase orders, coaches and officials. That variety, I really like because I like a lot of change. It doesn’t get old

for me at all. And I don't get overwhelmed by the variety, it actually energizes me. I really like that change," Pechin said. They wanted “someone that has a passion for sports, loves going to games, loves being involved with athletics and kids. I think if you talk to Mr. Pechin, you can tell right away that he loves kids and he loves sports, so he's going to do a great job," Meisinger said. Pechin is clearly passionate about his work with the district

Neil Goldenthal/The SPOKE

All smiles: Kevin Pechin takes on his role as Athletic Director. He has taught in the district for over 20 years.

and students and it shows in his attitude. "I view this district and the kids who participate in these sports as unicorns, because you don't see (athletes like them) very often, you don’t see the academic success matched with the athletic success put out year after year after year," Pechin said. “You can look at any other high school in the country and you would be hard pressed to find one that puts out the results athletically and academically that we do. I'm proud to be part of it."

Pechin's long career in the district has lead to continuing relationships with his students. Junior Ryan Tall was a student of Pechin's at Hillside and remains in touch with him after almost seven years. "Mr. Pechin and I have had a relationship all the way back to elementary school when he was my gym teacher. He was and is the most reliable and sincere person I have ever met, and I consider him not just a teacher, but a friend as well," Tall said.

Elizabeth Billman/The SPOKE

Pioneer pride: Athletic Director Kevin Pechin cheers on the football team at Teamer Field. Pechin has always had a passion for Conestoga athletics, and often attends games with his family.

The Spoke 21

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Pioneering a new team By Neil Goldenthal Co-Sports Editor Design by Marko Djurdjevic and Adam Lockett It has been a rough year for Conestoga’s football team, but now the dust has settled, and the team is back in action. With head coach Marquis Weeks at the helm, the team has been fighting through the challenges of having new coaches, a young team and a developing group dynamic. Coach Tre Hadrick, who works with the running backs and linebackers, shared his thoughts about the season so far. “I wouldn’t say it’s been a rocky start; we’ve been trying to overcome some challenges. New system, new staff, we have to gel and build. We’ve been together off and on throughout the summer, when we met the kids, so it takes a little time to build all of that cohesiveness. (We’ve been) learning how to get through adversity together

22 The Spoke

as a staff and as a team,” Hadrick said. The Pioneers have an entirely new coaching staff this season: head coach Weeks and assistant coaches Hadrick, Tom Brown, Matt Diamond, Justin Giles, Brian Kennedy and Matt Kaminskas. The change in staff has come with its fair share of

“We’ve been learning how to get through adversity together as a staff and as a team.” -Coach Tre Hadrick

challenges. Quarterback and defensive coach Matt Diamond expressed his appreciation for the team’s improvement throughout the season. “I’m very proud of their resiliency and their attitude of never giving up. I think with a new coaching staff, you implement a lot of new terminology, a lot of difference styles of what to do, and I think that the kids have adjusted and they’re getting better every single day. So we are seeing improvement. And I think that slowly, but surely we’ll get the kids to where we want them to be,” Diamond said. The team has been working hard on developing a cohesive dynamic since the summer. Coach Giles feels that the experience has been very positive for everyone. “The players have been very welcoming and understanding of a new coaching staff. I couldn’t have asked for anything better from the players. The staff as a whole has been one of the best staffs I’ve ever worked with in

my coaching career,” Giles said. “They’ve been not just welcoming, but they teach me things and I teach them things and we all listen to each other.” The school community continues to support the team through their adversity. John McClintock, a father of one of the players, is optimistic about the team’s future. “All things being new presents interesting challenges in and of itself. In spite of a slow start against some pretty good teams, Conestoga is showing signs of emerging growth. If the squad will stick together, keep working, and believe in themselves and each other, they will slay giants,” McClintock said. Even though the team works hard to win games, their goals expand off the field. Coach Hadrick hopes that the players have a lot to take away from their time as Pioneers. “My biggest hope (for the team) as individuals is to be successful men in life. Football is one aspect of your life, it teaches


“I’m very proud of (the team’s) resiliency and attitude of never giving up.” -Coach Matt Diamond great tools for life. We have four games left, so hopefully we can send (the seniors) out with a good “bang” and thank them for the time they put in as Pioneers,” Hadrick said. The Pioneers are 4-2 for the season and eighth in the Central League. While it might not be the best record, this seaon has been about more than just the scoreboard.

Courtesy Julia Braendel


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

New to the coaching staff

Matt Kaminskas • • • • •

Defensive Coordinator Conestoga Football (’08) Kutztown Football (’12) Previosuly coached at VF Military Academy Local business owner

• • •

Matt Diamond • • • • •

Marquis Weeks

Tom Brown Wide receivers and defensive backs coach Conestoga Football (’97) T/E district security

• • • • •

• • •

• •

Offensive and Defensive Lines Previously coached at VFMS Boyertown Football (’07) Kutztown Football (’11) Learning support teacher at ’Stoga

Head Coach Conestoga Football (’00) University of Virgina (’04) NFL Running back Teacher at TEMS since 2014

• • •

Running backs and linebackers coach Norristown HS Football (’00) North Carolina A&T Football (’04) Counselor at Eisenhower Middle School

Brian Kennedy

Justin Giles

Quarterback/Defensive Back Coach Conestoga Football (’98) Gettysburg College (’02) Head freshman football coach for the last seven seasons Has worked at VFES for 13 years

Tre Hadrick

• • • • •

Offensive Line/Linebackers Football coach for 29 years, both offensive and defensive Norristown High School (’82) West Chester University (’86) Teaches in Norristown Area School District Photos courtesy of Julia Braendell/Conestoga Gridiron Club

New to the roster

Nick Cost (’18)

Sean Bailey (’18)

Tate Kienzle (’18)

James Reilly (’18)

Sam Williams (’18)

“After last year, I wanted to help out the team, help out Coach Vogan and the Jeans. I played freshman and I missed it, so I was excited to come back.”

“Overall we’re a pretty young team, not many seniors and a lot of underclassmen. So we’ll be good next year.”

“(Our goal) is to just stay together and not give up because of our record. There’s more to the team than the record.”

“I had never played before, but I wanted to try it, just to have another sport and a lot of my friends play. And I thought I could help out the team at least a little bit.”

“(Joining the team) has been great. I showed up the �irst day at camp and the environment was already great. Everyone was really friendly and made me feel welcome on the team.”

Photos by Neil Goldenthal/ The SPOKE

The Spoke 23

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Jack Genovese races to moto-cross the finish line

By Warren Zhao Staff Reporter

Shattered ribs. Fractured wrists. Broken ankles. Punctured lungs. Broken collarbones. The list goes on and on. At first glance, one would guess that these injuries were sustained by a player of a contact sport like football or hockey. This resume of pain belongs not to a member of those sports teams, however, but to senior Jack Genovese. Genovese participates in a little-known sport called motocross, in which many bikers jostle for a position on a dirt racecourse for a set of laps. The sport heavily taxes participants’ entire bodies, relying on both upper and lower body strength and control. Motocross also improves heart and lung function. Often, Genovese’s heart rate exceeds 160 beats per minute during races. In order to improve his personal fitness, Genovese engages in CrossFit regularly. Motocross “is arguably the most physically demanding sport due to all the training you need to do. You need to be not only physically strong but mentally strong,” Genovese said. Since he travels long distances to practice with a bike, at least

40 minutes to a track in Reading, Pa. much of the week is spent building his fitness. Twenty five to 30 weekends a year, Genovese and his father load his equipment into their family RV and travel around the the eastern United States to tracks as close as Delaware or New Jersey and as far away as Georgia and Tennessee for practice with his bike and races. The races that Genovese participates in include 46 laps around a dirt track packed with sharp turns, jumps and steep hills. The registration process for competition is quite simple, according to Genovese. All a racer has to do in order to compete is obtain an American Motorists Association membership card and register for the race that matches his class. “Classes are dependent on two things: your age and the size of your bike. I am in 250B and 450B. There are three letter categories — A, B and C. A is professional, B is amateur and C is novice. 250 (is) the size of my bike, which I ride in both 250B and 450B,” Genovese said. According to him, his bike is a bit of a disadvantage in the 450B category, since most of his competitors have larger and more powerful bikes. As a result, Genovese must make turns and jumps

Courtesy Jack Genovese

Family time: Senior Jack Genovese‘s father helps him practice. His father introduced him to the sport and bought him his first bike.

24 The Spoke

Courtesy Jack Genovese

Rounding the corner: Motorcross is a taxing sport on senior Jack Genovese and other participants. His injuries have included shattered ribs, broken ankles and punctured lungs. without a flaw in order to stay youth and his sister is a national- lung, Genovese is still glad that he competitive. ly ranked equestrian. got the opportunity to race. After almost 14 years of prac“I don’t (dislike) doing (poorGenovese does not plan on ticing motocross, Genovese has ly), because it just pushes me racing motocross professionally become adept at executing turns that much harder to concentrate in the future and plans on tranperfectly. and do as well as I can. If I have a sitioning into racing cars by the He was first introduced to the bad race that I know I could have end of this year. He has received sport at age four, when his father won, then it motivates me to do offers to join several car racing and uncle took him to a track in better,” Genovese said. teams, and beyond hopping on a North Carolina to watch a race. As a result of his tireless ef- bike again here and there, this is “I saw all these kids my age forts, Genovese qualified for the his last year of motocross. doing these jumps and racing, Amateur National Motocross “Ever since elementary and and said to my dad that I real- Championships in Tennessee. middle school, most people ly wanted to do this. He told me The top 42 racers in each class have known that I do motocross. once I could ride a two-wheeled worldwide are invited, so in People don’t really understand bicycle, then he’d get me a dirt bike,” Genovese said. “I went home, learned how to ride a bike within a week and one day came home to a Yamaha PW50”. Genovese’s first bike, the Yamaha PW50, was designed for young children. As he grew over the years, so did the size of each successive bike he got until he finally bought the 250 size bike he uses today. While he rode motocross bikes recreationally at first, Genovese did not truly begin to commit to the sport until four or five years ago with encouragement from his father. He cites his father as his main role model. “He’s always been my best friend, I’ve always been able to Courtesy Jack Genovese talk to him about everything. He A lifelong passion: Genovese sits on his 250B buys me all my bikes, bought the bike, ready for a race. He began riding at the age of RV, bought the trailer. He pays four and has been competing for four to five years. for all my races. I can’t thank him enough for all he’s done for me,” order to qualify, Genovese had what it is though, what it takes. to pass two other stages of rac- They sometimes think that it’s Genovese said. Genovese believes that his ing and finish with top placings. just another sport, that it’s not competitive spirit runs in his While he did not place in the hard, and they can just pick it blood. Both his mother and fa- championships and came away up, which really isn’t the truth,” ther raced Porsches in their with broken ribs and a bruised Genovese said.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


This tense


The Spoke 25

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


The Olympics continue beyond two weeks in Rio

By Elizabeth Billman Co-Sports Editor Watching the Olympic Games is an American pastime that brings our country together in American pride. We enjoy cheering on our star athletes and witnessing them win bronze, silver and gold. Then, after two weeks of excitement, people go back to their busy summers or start preparing for school. What they do not realize is that the Olympics do not end after two weeks of competition, but that our country’s athletes continue to compete and share their inspiring Olympic journeys with us. The only difference between the first wave of athletes and the second is the difficulties they deal with every day. This second wave of Olympians has life-altering disabilities and it competes in

By Neil Goldenthal Co-Sports Editor I photograph a lot of sports for the Spoke. And if I’ve learned one thing from watching games from the sidelines, it’s that girls hit hard. I’ve seen girls hit and deck each other or make painful blocks with their body, then get back up and keep playing like nothing happened. So then why is it a bad thing to “hit like a girl”? Gender stereotypes would have us believe that girls aren’t as tough and strong as boys, and therefore that girls’ sports would be less interesting to watch. But why do girls’

26 The Spoke

the Paralympics. The games strive for equal participation of all athletes in the Olympic games and they originated after World War II with the veterans of the war. The athletes compete in different events based on several categories of disability including impaired muscle power, impaired passive range of movement, limb deficiency, leg length difference, short stature, hypertonia, ataxia, athetosis, vision impairment and intellectual impairment. In the 2016 Paralympics, 159 countries and their Olympic Committees competed. Though the “main” Olympic athletes have inspiring stories leading them to the Olympics, the Paralympians have their own stories of overcoming disabilities. Take Paralympic sprinter Tatyana McFadden as an example. She was an orphan from the Soviet Union diagnosed with spina bifida and predicted to survive only a few years to live. She only walked on her hands for the first few years of her life and was adopted by her two mothers. She now competes in seven Olympic events including the 100 yard sprint and the Paramarathon. McFadden trains to the extreme

by wheeling over 100 miles in the course of a week. Another inspiring Paralympian is Brad Snyder. He is a Paralympian swimmer who lost his vision while serving overseas in Afghanistan. Snyder stepped on an explosive four months after his father passed away. He competed in his first Paralympics in London 2012 on the first anniversary of his accident. In addition to training for his swimming event, Synyder continues to train his muscles and adapt to his impaired vision, regaining his self- confidence and independence.

sports get so much less attention than boys’ sports? It seems that boys’ sports are always thought of as more aggressive and powerful, while girls’ sports are written off as not as interesting or action-packed. However, the girls’ teams play at the same level as the boys’ teams, and the boys should see it as compliment that our girls’ teams consist of just as many skilled athletes as theirs. Our society has a problem with not treating female athletes the same way it treats male athletes. This problem is rooted in the fact that it’s only been about 60 years since American society started accepting that women could leave the kitchen. A great example is football, considered by many to be an American tradition. It’s been around since the turn of the 20th century, when women’s role was merely cheering on the bruting men. And it’s stayed that way. Professional football players are treated like warriors. And what role does

the NFL give women? They’re scantily clad cheerleaders with no purpose other than to serve as eye candy for the men, both players and viewers. The same is true of cheerleaders in the NBA or with the ball girls in the MLB. This direct degradation only adds to the indirect disrespect of paying women’s sports little attention. The popularity of male sports over female sports is an issue at ’Stoga too. As is the case at most American high schools, Friday night football games are community events. Boys’ lacrosse is handled with similar fanfare in the spring. No girls’ sports get even close to that degree of community support and consistent turnout at games. But the most damning example is double-headers. Why are the girls always the opening act and the boys the main event? It’s not just support and attention that we fail to give our female athletes, but respect as well. Back in early September, I was photographing a girls

Kaitlyn Chen/THE SPOKE

Just the incredible courage to overcome a life-altering disability and then train to compete in a world wide competition is amazing. Because of the Paralympians’ disabilities, the events are altered from regular Olympic sports to fit their needs. These events include visually impaired soccer, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball. These athletes also serve as role models for children suffering from their same disabilities, showing that their disabilities do not define them and hold them back.

Hit like a girl

soccer game when I started talking to two men standing at the edge of the field. I’m fairly certain they were fathers

Pallavi Aakarapu/The SPOKE

The main reason that more people do not watch the Paralympics is because they just do not know enough about it. Commercials aired on NBC showed Michael Phelps diving and the gymnastics team flipping but few featured a Paralympians in wheelchairs. The Paralympics received 66 hours of NBC television coverage while the Olympics received 6,755 hours of coverage, according to paralympic. org. In addition, on the NBC Facebook would post up to 26 times a day when covering the Olympics but there were only 13 posts in total for the Paralympics. When it comes time for the 2018 Winter Games, there should be a more equal coverage of Paralympic and Olympic events because they both show our nation’s best and most inspiring athletes. The media needs to give more coverage to the Paralympics and show the event to a wider audience. Then, the Paralympics can get support equal to that of the Olympics. The athletes deserve more coverage for overcoming their disabilities and having the confidence to show the world their talents.

of team members. They asked me about my work for the paper, and I said that I had just come from the volleyball game. The one father made a comment, essentially saying I was lucky to be photographing the volleyball team because of the uniforms (the shorts in particular). The two men snickered at the comment and looked at me to join in the laughter, as if I was “one of the guys.” I said I had to get back to the game and walked away. It’s bad enough to turn on the news and hear Donald Trump’s misogynistic “locker room” comments, but it’s appalling to hear that kind of language from fathers in our district. There are things we can do to combat this. We need to recognize our female athletes for the excellent players that they are. Let’s start going to more girls’ games and make the boys play first in some double headers. And maybe one day, the girls can take a Friday night on Teamer with the community behind them.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Committment Corner BLAISE MILANEK

Grade: 12 School: Michigan State University Sport: Field Hockey Position: Forward

Why Lehigh University? “I love the coaches and the college for the academics and the sports.”

Why Michigan State University? “I wanted a big sports school and also a big school in general.”

What did ’Stoga soccer teach you? “It taught me how to win 50-50’s in the mid-field. It also taught me all about a will to battle for balls.”

What did ’Stoga field hockey teach you? “It taught me how special a team is and I didn’t want to lose that going into college.”

Favorite memory? “Beating Henderson 2-1 in senior year in the last two minutes of the game, because we beat them all four years.”

# By Avery Maslowsky Staff Reporter Boys Soccer The boys’ soccer team was ranked the number one high school team nationally on Oct. 5, 2016 because of its undefeated season. With 16 wins under their belt, the team has two games left to play. The team is also �irst in the Central League, with a total of ten wins within the League, or 30 points. The soccer team has been the Central League champion for the past two years, and in 2011 won the state championship against Upper St. Clair. This year’s season has been extremely successful so far, except for one scrimmage played on Aug. 30 against West Chester Rustin in which the boys lost 2-1. But besides the one loss, their wins have put them in a good position to take the Central League once again and give them a top seeding for districts. Numerous incredible plays have been made by Gabe Harms in the defensive end and with


Grade: 12 School: Lehigh University Sport: Soccer Position: Defensive Center Mid


Favorite memory? “In general, I loved each year because we went further and got better and that was cool.”


2I Neil Goldenthal/The SPOKE

Catching moments: On the left, sophomore Luke Smith saves a goal for ’Stoga in the varsity game against Cumberland Valley High School. The boys won the game 2-1. On the right, captain senior Laryssa Terleckyj serves the ball across the court at the varsity girls’ volleyball game against Avon Grove High School. senior Mason Miller in the mid- soccer in college. The soccer pulled out nine wins and seven �ield. They beat arch rival Rad- team’s season is coming to an losses. At the beginning of the seanor on Sept. 15 on their home end ans with its national rank�ield, with a solid 2-0 win. They ing, they are overquali�ied for son, the girls suffered three are looing to take another win district playoffs, which begin on losses in a row against Henderson, Great Valley and Avon against Lower Merion, which is Tuesday, Oct. 25. Grove. But with determination, second in the Central League, Volleyball on Oct. 18 on Teamer Field at After a rough start at in the the girls crushed Spring�ield 7 p.m. The date coincides with beginning of the season, the High School 3-0 on Sept. 7, the team’s Senior Night and TE- girls’ volleyball team has made leading them to win their next SYA Night. a strong comeback. After play- �ive games. Fortunately for the This year, there are eight se- ing a total of 18 matches within volleyball team, only one of niors, many committed to play the 2016 season, the team has their six losses was within the

Central League, making their Central League record 7-1-0. They are ranked second within the league under Garnet Valley, which they lost to 3-1 on Sept. 28. Impressive saves have been made by junior Freya Woodrow and great serves by senior Lauren Harris this season. The girls still have two matches left in this year’s season, including one against Notre dame Acadamy on Monday October 17. And on Oct. 7, the team played Penncrest, whom is ranked third in the Central League and sadly took home a 1-3 loss. Also, on Oct. 7, the team hosted a Dig Pink night where they raf�led off prizes to the crowd. In the 2016 season, there are �ive seniors and the volleyball senior night was held on Oct. 13 during their game against the Baldwin School. The volleyball season has been rough, but the girls are determined to not only win their next two games and �inish out the season strong, but to also win their spot in the district playoffs.

The Spoke 27


Athletic Director page 21 Football Team page 22

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Keeping their drive Junior Emma McGillis drives a shot past Garnet Valley’s goalie during a game on Oct. 6. The field hockey team is 12-1 for the season, only losing to Unionville. The girls hope to continue their winning season and head to Districts.

Neil Goldenthal/The SPOKE

The Spoke October 2016