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See p. 16 for fall drama photos

THE TUESDAY October 19, 2010 Conestoga High School

Sp ke

Volume 61 No. 1

Students share their opinions on the behavior at school dances: grinding, freaking and why the rules don’t stop a thing. By Liz Bravacos and Laura Weiss

Graphic: Erin O’Neil, Luke Rafferty, Sam Winfield

Junior Claire Noone swiped on eye shadow and pinned up her hair as she prepared for the Homecoming Dance with her friends last year. Noone felt excited about the event, yet when she walked into the center of the dance floor, she was surprised by what she found. “It’s so dark in that gym and then there’s that huge mosh pit in the middle of the dance floor and the teachers can’t see what’s going on in the middle,” Noone said. “Nobody can walk through there because people are too buy [dancing provocatively].” Noone said that she will not be

attending Homecoming this year, which is scheduled for Oct. 23, because she does not want to feel pressured to dance a certain way. Students who have felt discomfort on the dance floor at local schools, such as Penncrest and Radnor High Schools, have encouraged the creation of “dance contracts” in recent years in an attempt to moderate inappropriate dancing. Though Conestoga is not currently considering this type of agreement, both students and faculty are raising questions about the way students act after the lights go down. See STUDENT, p. 4

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Inside this issue

Stoganews .com Go online for these exclusive stories, photos and videos

GSTF looks for more ways to go green Teachers change lives in Africa and back at home Photo gallery: current and archived fall sports teams




Read about TE/TV’s 25-year anniversary, from the first weatherman to graduates working in communications.


Learn about how creating a set of overarching goals can help fix pressing problems in the developed world.


Flip here to find out why we need to embrace all the things that make us normal, rather than just our “uniqueness.”


Check out this page to see The Spoke’s first full-page cartoon on how ’Stoga is hopping to go green.


Turn to learn how girls soccer has built a strong team, despite the loss of state championship coach Danielle Fagan.

Videofeed: Petanque club

Luke Rafferty/The SPOKE

News in Brief Herzlich defeats cancer and the opposing team

Boston College senior and ’Stoga alumnus Mark Herzlich won his first game back on the field on Sept. 4 after his victorious battle against cancer. The outside linebacker for the Eagles football team fought a battle versus a rare bone cancer, Ewing’s sarcoma, for about seven months last year, as The Spoke reported in Oct. 2009. During his first game back on the turf, Herzlich’s team beat Weber State by a score of 38-20. Despite spending much of the past year getting healthy and back in shape, Herzlich has still found time to acknowledge some of his young admirers in the T/E School District. T/E Middle School English teacher Mary Nagle started a letter exchange between students and Herzlich last year. This fall, Nagle and Valley Forge Middle School English teacher Gordon Davis showed their students a video about a nun who wrote Herzlich letters, along with photos of Herzlich’s first game back out on the field. Davis said that students were overwhelmed by Herzlich’s courage and were proud to have a such a tremendous spokesperson represent their district in the world. Last year, Davis said that Herzlich responded to the students with a letter and included a signed photograph. -Laura Weiss

Spotlight on new director for ’Stoga’s stage

Karolis Panavas/The SPOKE

Juniors Ben Sheppard and Julianna Quazi laugh while rehearsing for the fall drama, “Alice in Wonderland.” Students can travel “down the rabbit hole” during performances on Nov. 18, 19 and 20. See p. 17 for more photos.

The Conestoga Drama Department is welcoming a new director onto the stage. Nicole Gerenyi will direct both the fall drama, “Alice in Wonderland,” and the spring musical, “The Phantom of the Opera.” Gerenyi, who previously worked on musicals such as “The Sound of Music” and “Beauty and the Beast,” said she is ready to face the difficulties that directing a high school version of “Phantom” poses. Challenges range from complex sets to performing the musical in its Broadway version, as there is no specific version created for students. The rights to “Phantom” were released on June 3, so ’Stoga is one of the first schools to perform it. Producer Suzanne Dickinger said that the show is difficult, especially because of lead roles that require large vocal ranges. Both Gerenyi and Dickenger are optimistic, though, and said they feel that ’Stoga talent will rise to the challenge. -Patrick Nicholson





District teacher remembers being a true pioneer Shwetha Sudhakar Staff Reporter It was a hot day. She was six years old and busy packing for vacation. Julia Guerra Sponseller would later realize it was the last day she would ever spend in the place where she had lived throughout the early years of her life, where her family had lived for generations. Julia Guerra Sponseller, an ESL teacher at Hillside and New Eagle Elementary Schools, left Cuba in January, 1961 with her siblings as part of “Operation Pedro Pan.” The operation was a secret movement organized by the United States government and the Catholic Church to transport more than 14,000 Cuban children to America. During their journey, named as an allusion to the Lost Boys in “Peter Pan,” children would board planes bound for other countries with layovers in the United States. When the planes landed in American cities, they would get off, never reboarding the flights, then settle permanently in the United States with their parents. A fiftieth anniversary celebration for the Pedro Pan movement will be held next month in Miami and will include reunions for the children who were part of the operation. Though neither Sponseller nor her siblings will attend, the anniversary brings back many memories for the Guerra family. “[The anniversary] does have all of us speaking about [the Pedro Pan movement] and being more in the conversation of what happened,” Sponseller said. “We’ve never really talked to each other before about it and told our versions.” Sponseller, who, at six years old, was the youngest of her siblings to be a Pedro Pan, traveled

Photos courtesy Maria Josefa Fitzgerald

Luke Rafferty/The SPOKE

The Guerras pose for a photo in Cuba; they eventually immigrated to the United States. (From left) Tony Guerra, Maria Lourdes Guerra and Julia Guerra Sponseller (seated), along with Maria Josefa Fitzgerald (first row, far right). Right, Sponseller in her classroom at New Ealge Elementary School. mosphere of with her three panic. Famiolder siblings: lies were Tony, Maria leaving, but Josefa Fitzgerpeople like ald and Maria my parents Lourdes. The were naturally siblings got off reluctant to their flight to leave everyJamaica during thing,” Tony a layover in MiGuerra said. ami, then went After setto St. Vincent’s tling in, the orphanage in Guerras had to Philadelphia, adjust to life which their in America. mother thought Sponseller was a school. recalled the T h o u g h way her famthey knew that ily perceived it was necesAmericans sary, the fambefore they ily had a tough moved. time during the “I rememyearlong sepaber in Cuba, ration. Fitzgerwe used to ald, who now play games lives in Devon, where we’d recalls putting pretend we her mother’s were Ameripicture into her pillowcase and Maria Josefa (left) and Maria Lourdes (right) celebrate Christmas of 1951. cans,” Sponseller said. “The crying during The sisters left Cuba as Pedro Pans with two of their other siblings. only words we the first night of knew in English their journey. were ‘yes’ and ‘no.’” “What I remember most of the After living in the U.S. for trip is being in that glass room, decades, the Guerras now have waiting for the plane and seeing mixed feelings about Cuba. Tony my parents on the other side and Guerra went back to Cuba a few not being able to touch them,” months ago to scatter his sister Fitzgerald said. Lourdes’s ashes at the Baltimore Though the trip was difficult, Yacht Club, where the Guerras the children were able to escape had spent much of their childFidel Castro’s communist re- hood. He was devastated and gime. stunned by what he saw. “There was just a general at“[America] is my home and

I’m so happy that I didn’t have to grow up in that environment of poverty and oppression,” he said. “My impression seeing Havana again was comparable to seeing an older woman who was once beautiful, but whose looks have suffered due to abuse and neglect and who has subsequently maybe had some restorative cosmetic surgery, but inside, the infrastructure is completely deteriorated and rotten.” Sponseller, however, does not plan to take such a step in facing her past. She waited more than 15 years to go back to St. Vincent’s, and she does not desire to ever return to Cuba. “There’s sadness there because there’s a part of me that’s missing,” Sponseller said. “I’m grateful for everything I learned here. I do not wish to go back to Cuba. The memories I have of Cuba are good memories, and I don’t want to spoil them.” Being a Pedro Pan affected how the Guerra siblings see that country, as well as their outlook on the world as a whole. “At that time in my life I was secure and thought nothing could happen to me. My world was completely shattered and turned upside down,” Fitzgerald said. Though she does not consider herself to be American, but rather Cuban-American, Fitzgerald is glad that her life is here. “I am grateful for what this country gave me—the freedom to say and do whatever you want,” she said. Sponseller said that her journey helped to make her more resilient and led her to her current career. “I think there’s a compassion for children I have, and a sensitivity for children’s needs that has helped me,” she said. “My journey has inspired me to make a difference in children’s lives. Maybe I wouldn’t even be in this field if it weren’t for that.” Sponseller believes that the Pedro Pan movement helped to shape her future and changed her life forever. “I do think [about] how different I would have been had I not gone through this,” Sponseller said. “Our roads were forever changed.” Shwetha Sudhakar can be reached at





Student moves on dance floor grind local districts Continued from p. 1 However, the Homecoming Dance still attracts hundreds of attendees. Senior Danielle Sachs said that she feels a situation like Noone’s could have been easily avoided. “As long as they’re not hurting anyone, students should be allowed to dance however they want,” Sachs said. “Everyone knows where the dirtiest dancing is going to be; you have the option not to see it.” English teacher Michael Trainer, who has chaperoned student dances in the past, said he believes that students are the proponents behind changes in dance behavior. “I feel bad because kids will even come to me and say ‘I don’t go to the dances. I won’t go,’ and I think that’s a shame that you won’t go to a dance because you feel it’s that uncomfortable,” Trainer said. “If anything is going to change with the dances, it has to come from students wanting a change. The administration can’t handle it; teachers can’t handle it.” The major problem with students’ increasingly sexual behavior at dances, according to Trainer, is that it has become the norm on the dance floor. Throughout his 17 years of teaching at various districts, Trainer said that he has found student dancing to be progressively more inappropriate. He said that his perception of his students has been impacted by what he sees at dances.

From bad to worse Like Trainer, English teacher Kathryn Pokalo frequently chaperones student dances, specifically the senior prom. She said that seeing students in the different venue is enjoyable but that she stays outside in the reception area to avoid the loud music and inappropriate dancing. “Some students dance in ways that are not immodest, but I’ve also seen students through the years who in other circumstances might be raided by the police—by the vice squad—because the dancing is just totally inappropriate, very, very sexual and very embarrassing to witness,” Pokalo said. Though she feels that the major-

ity of students who attend dances make good decisions, Pokalo takes her job as a chaperone seriously and said that she notifies an administrator whenever she thinks that students are endangering themselves or others. “If I see something that’s suspicious, I’ll point it out,” Pokalo said. “If I see something that I think needs attention, I will point it out to an administrator.” While Pokalo said that she enjoys attending school dances, she does not personally enforce rules about dance movements from the ticket but rather leaves that job to faculty watching the dance floor.

Dance contracts

Penncrest may have been the first local school to adopt an official contract, however others schools in the region, like Radnor, have employed similar regulations on student behavior at dances. Still other schools have found different ways to limit behavior at school-sponsored dances. Doug Young, spokesman for the Lower Merion School District, said that dancing at the district’s schools has not been a major concern because dances, besides prom, are not commonly held. He said that the district created regulations regarding “inappropriate” behavior at schoolsponsored dances and students stopped organizing them around the same time.

sign saying that they agree to abide by the rules,” Meisinger said. Junior Emily Duffy has a different opinion about the rules on the ticket. In previous years when Duffy has attended Homecoming, she said that she has felt pressured to dance in a more suggestive way. “It’s kind of pointless to even put the rules on the ticket because no one follows them,” Duffy said. Senior James Ferguson, executive president of Student Council, said that he thinks that student behavior at dances has strayed from the

Faculty, administrators and parents at Penncrest High School in Hope for Homecoming Back at Conestoga, dances like Media were also watching the dance floor and were shocked by students’ Homecoming still have many supoverly sexy dance steps. As a result, porters and attendees. Principal Amy the administration created a “dance Meisinger said that she thought about contract” that was implemented in the fall of 2009, Dance rules: according to Penncrest • No lewd or sexually suggestive dancing principal Rick Gregg. • No movements that advocate violence or that Under the contract, threaten the safety of anyone at the dance “sexually suggestive • No freaking, dirty dancing, crotch-to-crotch, dancing” is prohibited grinding, moshing, slamming, sandwich dancand dancers are required ing, etc. to remain in a vertical position. The document also bans front-to-back touching, grind- 1,500 students take part in ’Stoga’s ing, freaking and any mimicking of dances each year. sexual acts. Gregg said the contract “I think that students enjoy the has been effective in decreasing the opportunities that we provide for amount of inappropriate dancing and them at dances,” Meisinger said. “In that students who were previously general, they make great decisions uncomfortable at dances are happier and they’re well behaved. The times with the guidelines in place. that we have to say things and cor“Students were mixed in their re- rect behaviors, we do that, and students respond to that and are appropriate.” Meisinger said that the rules printed on the Homecoming ticket have been there since before her appointment sponses -- some students supported as principal and that administrators the contract because they were un- developed the rules. She has been comfortable with the dancing the approached by other schools that way it was and there are others who have chosen to model Conestoga’s choose not to attend dances because process of printing rules on the ticket they want to dance however they and having students sign the tickets wish to dance,” Gregg said. “The upon purchasing. “My understanding is that when contract is a non-issue for PHS anystudents sign to buy the ticket, they more, as far as I can tell.” Graphic: Karolis Panavas

“It’s kind of pointless to even put the rules on the ticket because no one follows them.” - Junior Emily Duffy

original purpose of the dances. He said that Student Council hopes to host a winter dance this year, which will happen if enough students purchase tickets. “Dances are meant to be a social outlet for students at different points in the year,” Ferguson said. “The dance culture of today is so much different than [in the past]. Honestly, I would say dance have lost a little bit [of their purpose].” Liz Bravacos can be reached at


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Students’ summers consist of travels, teaching and turtles

Natalie West Staff Reporter One saved turtles in the British Virgin Islands. Two more taught blind children in Mumbai. Five others helped a village in the Dominican Republic. All of them gave up their days of summer to try to make a difference. Sophomore Kate Alexander has always had a passion for the ocean. When she saw the Sail Caribbean summer program in a corner of the Conestoga Camp Fair last year,, she could not refuse the opportunity and signed up for a three-week trip to the Carribean. “I’m interested in animals, and I wanted to learn more about marine biology. I went down there to have an experience where I was on my own in a new place, meeting new people, learning new things, and helping out,” Alexander said. Alexander traveled to 12 different islands, spending each day cleaning beaches, studying the health of sea turtles and teaching native children about the ocean. “We would take down data and

put it on the reef website, which gives results and information about the reef to actual marine biologists, who use it to figure out what they need to do to make the reef healthier,” Alexander said. New knowledge about the study of oceanic plants and animals was not the only thing Alexander took away from her experience. “I learned a lot about marine biology, from sea grass to sting rays to sea turtles, but mostly I got a lot of confidence and [the belief] that I could do things on my own,” Alexander said. On the nearby island of the Dominican Republic, juniors Laura McCauley and Leah Fein and sophomores Courtney McCauley, Rachel Fein and Paige Susskind contributed their time to help a poor village. The students spent a week with their church planting, building and painting houses and playing with children. After all their hard work, McCauley said the trip was well worth it. “I became a lot more thankful for all the things that we have here that they don’t have in the Domini-

can Republic,” Courtney McCauley said. “Most of [those things] are basics that we take for granted, like food, shelter and a roof that doesn’t leak and a safe place to live.” Despite the language barrier between the students and the people of the village, they were still able to communicate and bond during their week of service. The experience, as a whole, was rewarding for McCauley. “It felt good to help people and they were really thankful,” McCauley said. On the other side of the world, senior Sonali Mehta was extending a helping hand in a different way. She and her older sister, 2009 graduate Anika Mehta, traveled to Mumbai, India to help educate visually impaired girls in a vocational school for kindergarten through tenth grade. “My sister and I worked there together for about a month in their arts and crafts department as teachers. We also helped out a lot in their English department, so we would help out with teaching the girls how to communicate,” Mehta said.

Photo courtesy Courtney McCauley Sophomore Courtney McCauley (second from left) holds hands with children from the Dominican Republic. McCauley and other Conestoga students spent seven days helping to give the village better housing. Despite the challenges of teaching the girls English, Mehta found a greater sense of optimism and appreciation for everything she has. “Seeing the gratitude on their faces and how excited they were to learn all these new things about

America and English, and how happy they were despite the fact that they have such a huge disability, was really amazing,” Mehta said. Natalie West can be reached at

Cracking the code on studying Recently, cognitive scientists have discovered study techniques that contradict old advice. Here, The Spoke looks at suggestions from psychologists and students: •

“[Where you study] doesn’t have to be the same place all of the

time. It just has to be a routine,” school psychologist Kathleen

Quinlisk said. She also advises students take breaks while studying. •

“Cramming is often an effective way to do well on a test given the

next day,” said Douglas Rohrer, a psychology professor at the University

of South Florida. However, this technique does not help with

longer-term tests, such as midterms or AP exams.

Sophomore Soonsoo Park said that she sometimes studies for

European history tests by drawing a map of stick figures and other sketches that represent chapters of her notes.

“I put my flashcards on my iPhone, and then I quiz myself when- ever I can,” sophomore Jed Thompson said. Full story online at Graphic by Sam Winfield. Reporting by Lavi Ben Dor and Neel Thakur.





Sound of silence: ’Stoga removes eight-minute bell Brittany Roker Staff Reporter Junior Ben Levin was working quickly. He knew that the end of the period was coming soon, but he was confident that he could finish his exam. Then, without warning, the final bell rang and Levin realized that his calculus test had not gone so well after all. The Conestoga administration eliminated the eight-minute bell from the school bell schedule over the summer, causing numerous reactions from students. For students like Levin, the change was difficult to adjust to, but Principal Amy Meisinger said that such reliance on the bell was not its original intent. “The bell came into existence primarily for the special area classes like physical education where you had to clean up,” Meisinger said. After receiving some complaints from students, parents

and teachers, the administration reconsidered the eight-minute bell’s existence. Meisinger said that factors contributing to the decision included the bell’s potential to be a distraction to students’ learning environments and the fact that the schedule runs smoothly without it when there are twohour delays. “Our hope is that it will maintain student focus all the way through the end of the period,” Meisinger said. However, in The Spoke’s survey of 195 students, a majority of reported that the bell’s elimination has not been beneficial: 61 percent claimed that the bell’s absence does not help them focus to the end of class, while 23 percent said it makes no difference. In the same survey, 77 percent said that the bell was a helpful

“It seems like it’s not Conestoga without the eight-minute bell,” Levin said. Levin is in good company with 88 percent of students surveyed who said that they would like to have the eight-minute bell back. However, sophomore Linda Goldberg is one of the other 12 percent who does not feel that the change in the bell schedule has affected her, though she liked the eightminute last year. “I liked having it because it gave you a sense of time and how close you were to the end of the period,” Goldberg said. Graphic: Sam Winfield For English teacher hint that class was almost over, with only five percent Laurel Light, the new bell schedclaiming that it was a distraction ule is an entirely positive change. Light said she has felt the bell is and interruption.

TE/TV reaches 25 years of ‘Action!’ Abby Pioch Staff Reporter During his freshman year at Conestoga, Dan McKinney joined the TV program to pursue an interest sparked in seventh grade. His curiosity turned into a career, as he is now majoring in broadcast journalism at Temple University and interning at CBS-3 Studios. For the past 25 years, the TV program at ’Stoga has been churning out students like McKinney with strong communications backgrounds. The TE/TV program consists of in-school classes and an extracurricular organization, the TE/TV Production Club. McKinney, a 2008 ’Stoga grad, feels that TE/TV jump-started his future. After leaving TE/TV, he realized how lucky he was to have access to such a strong communications program in high school. “It’s a rare thing for a high school to have such awesome equipment and a facility for students to get real work and experience in. It’s just as good as any college,” McKinney said. “For other students in college to hear about all the equipment and the opportunities that we had at a

high school TV station, their jaws drop.” The TE/TV program has not always been as comprehensive as it was for McKinney. Recent advisers Susan Houseman, John Lynn and Anthony Profeta made changes to the program, which was founded by Don Smedley. However, advisers have always had the intention for students to learn about the real world of communications. “The students took the skills they learned [in the TE/TV Production Club] and built on them,” Smedley said. “This gave our students a tremendous advantage going out into the field and even in college.” Jason Handman, a 2003 ’Stoga

grad, experienced the benefits of this advantage. He had the original idea to add a weatherman to “Good Morning ’Stoga” and was the first student to fill the role. Currently, Handman works as a meteorologist for a CBS News station affiliate in Cleveland, Ohio. “Everything that I’ve done since my four years at the TV studio is exactly what I do now,” Handman said. “Everything I learned there I still use to this day.” Full story online at Stoganews. com. Abby Pioch can be reached at

unnecessary and has been hoping for its elimination since she began teaching at Conestoga. “It distracts students,” Light said. “[Eight minutes] is too early in a class period to check out.” Light said that she has seen a definite increase in the focus of her students up until the end of the period. She also pointed out that most teachers are aware of how much time is left in the period and plan wisely so they still have time to do a closing activity. Senior Esther Lin believes that the bell was not a distraction because students and teachers were used to it and worked it into their routines. But for students, she said that it was a necessary reminder that class was almost over. “The eight-minute bell was a preparation for anything so you didn’t lose track of time and were ready to go,” Lin said. Brittany Roker can be reached at

Opinion TUESDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2010

The Spoke is published seven times a year at Bartash Printing. It consistently receives the Gold Award from the Pennsylvania School Press Association and is a National School Press Association Pacemaker award-winning publication. The Spoke serves as a public forum for student expression.

Editors-in-Chief: Liz Bravacos, Meghan Morris Managing Editor: Reshma Gouravajhala Production Editor: Luke Rafferty News Editor: Laura Weiss Op/Ed Editor: Pooja Ghosh Features Editor: Mary Turocy Sports Editor: Erin O'Neil Centerspread Editor: K.C. McConnell Operations Director: Anjuli Patel Business Manager: Heather Ward Cartoonist: Gabriela Epstein Designers: Margot Field, Karolis Panavas, Brooke Weil, Sam Winfield Staff: Maddie Amsterdam, Kelly Benning, Lavi Ben-Dor, Dana Bronzino, Tracy Cook, Allison Kozeracki, David Kramer, Daniel McConnell, Stetson Miller, Claire Moran, Patrick Nicholson, Emily Omrod, Abby Pioch, Sophia Ponte, Dolly Prabhu, Brittany Roker, Emily Seeburger, Jenna Spoont, Shwetha Sudhakar, Neel Thakur, Julianne Vallotton, Natalie West, Haley Xue Faculty Advisers: Susan Houseman, Cynthia CrothersHyatt


Choosing sides The Spoke endorses midterm election candidates When the Framers of the Constitution created a political system that placed power in the hands of the people, they hoped the citizens of our country would rise to the occasion and become more civically engaged. Since that time, our country has devolved into an apathetic society, with a few exceptions, when it comes to politics. It is midterm election season, a time when local candidates discuss local issues, but our school community is not as actively involved as it should be. The Spoke editorial board believes that civic engagement is a right we must exercise and, perhaps more importantly, an obligation that we owe to ourselves and our community. In an effort to become more involved, we have become more informed. Of utmost importance to us is the future of education, especially with the rising costs of tuition and the state of the economy. Because we realize the importance and necessity of reform, we believe that the Democratic candidates for Senator and Governor, Joseph Sestak and Dan Onorato, are the best choices if we want a better future. As officials running on platforms for change, both Sestak and Onorato are champions of education reform and argue for development in all stages of schooling. Advocates for programs like Head Start and No Child Left Behind, they seek to promote the growth and skill of students. They are also supporters of programs that prepare students from an early

age for the increasingly-competitive global community. In addition, both want to make college more affordable and accessible. As a member of the House Education and Labor Committee, Sestak is dedicated to improving schools, especially considering the increased usage of innovative technology. Onorato supports the Legislative Costing Out Report, which relieves the burdens of local property taxes and is essential in increasing student achievement. Their visions for the future do not just include education reform but forward-thinking ideas regarding the environment and the economy. Both favor expansion of the green sector, realizing that such policies are necessary for the state and the country to fully emerge as leaders in the world. We believe that such leadership is both ideal and necessary in order to advance our community. If you disagree with our views, the best way to voice your opinion is to become involved. Write a letter to the editor explaining your disapproval. Research issues you care about and find a candidate that agrees with your views. Show your support for any candidate: visit a party's local headquarters and help hand out pamphlets or attend a rally. Become involved in the events that concern our lives and our future. Civic engagement is not a spectator sport. Take advantage of the current political climate and make your choice.

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

Contact Us E-mail: Phone: 610-240-1046 The Spoke accepts paid advertisements. E-mail

From the Editor

The Power of Ten

I phase. Frequently. And if the proximity of Halloween has you envisioning a hairy werewolf howling at the moon, guess again. Though I am often awake during those early morning hours when the full moon is brightest, my phasing is of a different kind. I phase during Phase Ten, a glorious, colorful card game similar to UNO. Odds are you’ve never heard of this superb pastime, but playing Phase Ten is one of those hobbies I rarely tire of. I play Phase Ten with friends, family and, occasionally, people I've just met. I'm not good at the game but I still can't get enough. It's just one of those things I do because I like to. I will never talk about Phase Ten in an essay or mention it in an interview, nor include it any any college or job application. Granted it's not an accomplishment or award that those forms of evaluation usually request, but it's also not something I do for recognition. Having an activity, interest or hobby that you enjoy, simply because you enjoy it, is crucial during the transition period that is high school. As we students fill our schedules with fastpaced AP courses and countless extracurriculars, we lose sight of things that truly matter to us. Even if you're not on the fast track to a 5.3 GPA, loading up your afternoons with activities like work, sports and clubs leaves less time for enjoying the hobbies or interests that actually speak to your values and beliefs. While some have the best of both worlds, the push to join causes and support groups merely to place those activities on a resume takes away from one's ability to enjoy youth. Phase Ten can take hours to play and often the winner changes late in the game. These possibilities are the reason for my obsession with playing. Those things that you do purely for your love of doing them are the ones you must maintain throughout the current competitive environment. Having some interest that you'd never tell anyone else is what makes you you. It's not about analyzing yourself from the viewpoint of an admissions officer or an employer; it's about doing that thing you love when nobody else is watching, for your own personal fulfillment. Keep your quirks and you keep your sanity during these stressful and challenging years of high school. If you're looking for a new hobby, find me for some Phase Ten. Liz Bravacos can be reached at

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New set of goals could aid developed nations

Reshma Gouravajhala Managing Editor “Since there’s always room for improvement in developed countries, goals would help.”

Freshman Ben Floyd

“We should have goals because it’d be a good way to plan ahead and figure out our own development.”

Sophomore Jordan Little

“Our country should set goals for ourselves before setting them for others.”

Junior Saher Khan

“A set of goals would help forward our nation’s progress.”

Senior Brigette Cheung

A Greening ’Stoga Task Force member sifts through recycling bins on a Thursday afternoon, thrilled that so many students are going green. Thousands of miles away, a Colombian man chops through the depleting forest, not knowing—or caring—what the phrase “global warming” means, simply wanting to put food on his family’s table. Unlike the GSTF member who has the luxury of time, this man, like billions of other povertystricken people, faces problems every day of his life in an attempt to avoid the far-reaching clutches of disease and death. In a noble effort to help these individuals, the United Nations has created the Millennium Development Goals, eight broad guidelines that tackle issues like extreme poverty, malnutrition and child mortality. With a deadline of 2015, these goals are expected to make significant progress regarding issues that have always plagued the poorest of the poor. While these problems are being tackled in the developing world, we in the developed world look on and applaud the efforts of the United Nations. But what about the problems we face ourselves? As members of a privileged community we have elevated standards of living, but are nevertheless affected by issues that transcend wealth and global position. Pressing problems like climate change and the rise of health-related deaths are far from being solely concentrated in the developing world. Though we face different issues than the poor, we must still tackle them by creating an overarching framework that is similar to the Millenium Development Goals. In the past, many of us have stood in the background, watching others as they struggled to effect

change. It is now time to stand at the forefront of our own battles, which we can do by using the Millennium Development Goals as a template to solve some of the issues that plague our own lives. Starting with the most obvious example of climate change, we can easily see that it is a prevailing problem here. According to the UN, the 300 million people United States emit about seven times more CO2 than the 1.3 billion people in China. To alleviate the negative effects of climate change, ’Stoga students have started going green at school, as evidenced by the increased number of recycle bins and the almost-ubiquitous presence of reusable water bottles. But this is only the first step. To

create even more of a significant change, we have to extend this practice to our houses. After all, if we don’t bother to recycle at home, how can we expect the rest of the community to follow our example? But climate change is only one problem that affects the richer parts of the world. Developed countries face issues like gender equality in the workplace and a rise in diseases like diabetes. By creating a set of overarching goals that explicitly state our aims for the future with regard to issues such as the environment and declining health, we will raise more awareness and thereby effect more change. As a school, we have proven that, given a goal, we can come together

The Opposition: - Overarching UN goals might conflict with existing individual legislation developed countries have to address individual issues. - The United Nations strives to help developing countries achieve self-sustaining capabilities by setting goals for them—a task not needed by developed, stable countries.

to help others. For example, during last year’s Help for Haiti campaign, students raised thousands of dollars. However, we must exert the same effort with other local projects. The ongoing Stogabundance project, The Great Food Fight, is attempting to relieve the effects of povety in nearby areas, but it is not being given the attention that it deserves. However, if we create a school-related list, we can then check each item (whether they’re food donations, book drives or car washes for lesser privileged members of the community) as we accomplish each goal. We might have once been able to confront these problems on an individual scale but we can no longer afford to choose that option. Each and every issue can be fixed only if we work together on setting goals and then collectively achieving them. We still have an obligation to work together as a community in order to create a better future for everyone, regardless of where in the world we live. All the problems that affect us can be fixed if we start a chain reaction of awareness; all it takes is for one person to be that first falling domino. Reshma Gouravajhala can be reached at

Kim Menapace for The SPOKE

r s


P age 9


The Spoke

The importance of being generic

Erin O’Neil Sports Editor Think about the last time somebody asked you, “If everyone jumped off a cliff would you jump too?” Go ahead, it was probably yesterday. If you’re like me, you rolled your eyes and said “NO, mom” and then immediately proceeded to forget that the question had been posed in the first place. But, in the modern year of 2010, the age-old question needs some rewording, so I’m going to ask it again: “If no one you knew—no one at all—jumped off a cliff, would you jump anyway?” No, you didn’t misread the question, that’s really what I meant. Sure, the example was a little extreme. I hardly expect anyone to jump off a cliff with the sole intent of being awarded a posthumous “most unique” senior superlative, but the issue still stands that recent society has become dangerously consumed with the

concept of individuality. Every day, people are going to greater and greater lengths in an effort to distinguish themselves, starting in kindergarten, when differences are emphasized as much as learning the letters of the alphabet. In his Back-to-School Address on Sept. 14, President Barack Obama told students all over the nation that “It’s the thing that makes us different that makes us who we are, that makes us unique.” Those of us who watched the speech have probably been asked, every year since that first day in kindergarten, to explain what makes ourselves different from everyone else. Therein lies the rub. At our youngest and most vulnerable, we are coerced into describing ourselves in contrast to others. Instead of having the privacy to figure out our own personal interests, we are required to make public declarations by teachers who seem to think that if someone else’s favorite color is yellow too, then they will have nothing short of a fully-fledged identity crisis on their hands. I fully understand the logic in asking for innovation, as no teacher wants a room full of kids who only like one color. But in an effort to encourage original thought, our curriculum seeks to foster original personality,

without stopping to consider if it’s genuine. Diversity can be great, but only when it’s real. Only when it happens randomly, naturally, as it should when generated by people whose self-images can stand on their own, not built for comparison with the world and what it thinks. We are feeding a vicious paradox of choice: our need to be different drives us to buy customized cell phone covers and bedazzle our belongings. As consumers, we have given ourselves so many options to choose from that our own personal preferences are buried deep under an overwhelming multitude of shapes and colors, bumpers stickers and tattoos. Fashions that sacrifice comfort, convenience and even attractiveness, fill our closets, all in the name of being one-of-a-kind. We are currently living in an era where “experimental” is now a popular music genre instead of a synonym for inexperienced, tone deaf and unable to book a gig. I admit that there are a handful of truly unique individuals still out there, impervious to outward judgments. But now, society’s internal pride has been transformed into a derivative of our modern, socially-aware concept of “different” that people spend most of high school trying to perfect, and most of middle school trying to understand.

In sixth grade, I learned quickly that trying to read a book and walk down the hallway at the same time, although an admirable attempt at multi-tasking, was in no way considered part of any socially-acceptable category. That doesn’t mean I should have stopped, nor does it mean that I did. When I was inevitably asked to share how I was unique, that never came to mind. It was something that I enjoyed, and not because it made me different. Five years later, I don’t read when I walk to class anymore, and I can’t say that all of my decisions are as socially-oblivious as they once were. Nevertheless, I entreat you to think back to a time when you were your most gawky, your least self-aware, a time when you did things just because they made you smile and not because it would make a cool profile picture. I challenge all of you to make your next decision, no matter how trivial, without thinking about how it makes you appear. Don’t freak out if it means drinking hot chocolate instead of a slim triple organic half-caf chai latte. You’re bound to be generic every once in a while, so add another marshmallow and maybe consider leaving the cliff diving to the professionals. Erin O’Neil can be reached at

Report Card Adirondack Chairs + Great way to stretch out in the courtyard - “Pull up a chair” is no longer applicable, as the chairs are firmly bolted to the concrete

Eight-minute Bell + Students don’t know when class will be over - Teachers don’t know when class will be over

Cafeteria Options + Smaller portions, new drinks and fresher choices are all a healthy upgrade - Still no cookies for unlucky D-lunchers

$100 Parking Pass + Seniors are helping to fix budget deficit - A 900 percent increase from one year to the next ($10 to $100) is just a bit ridiculous

One Book, One ’Stoga + Less summer homework in English classes than in past years - Mixed level discussion groups didn’t result in much discussion + Updated layout and multimedia definitely worth checking out - 2007’s smash hit “Ice cream in winter?” no longer displayed on homepage (but still searchable)

Gabriela Epstein/The SPOKE

P age 10

The Spoke



Competitive environment fuels negativity

Haley Xue Staff Reporter It’s time to get that test back and suddenly you feel anxious and jittery. A surge of doubt clouds your mind, leaving the echoes of a single thought: “What did I get?” Finding out your score could potentially make or break your day. As soon as that paper touches your desk, the students around you shoot covert glances, trying to get a peek at your grade. The question comes up soon enough—“Whad’ya get?” Conestoga is currently ranked

fifth among high schools in Pennsylvania and has more National Merit Semifinalists than any school in the state—clearly, academic reputation matters. However, with such a strong status, Conestoga students are overly competitive–behavior which leads to superfluous amounts of stress and pressure. Consider, for instance, the drive to pack our schedules with as many advanced placement courses as possible. Students feel that if they don’t take AP classes, they “won’t get in anywhere.” Students can assuage personal insecurities with the satisfying knowledge of having a more challenging course load. What some students don’t realize is that taking an excess of AP courses does not mean they will receive good grades in those classes. A bad performance in an AP class can have an unintended, damaging effect when in the admissions process. According to the Princeton Review, “An AP

class signals to admissions officers that you’re ready for college-level work. If you bomb the class, you’ll send the opposite message.” AP courses should serve as an enjoyable challenge, not as a way of showing off the ability to handle more stress than others. An overload of AP classes can cause excessive stress and pressure because the courses are by nature, highly demanding. Competition isn’t only limited to class levels; it’s a prevailing issue, widespread throughout the school. When a teacher hands back a test, it’s not surprising to hear the phrase, “I’ll tell you my grade if you tell me yours.” Inquiring about other grades allows students to guage where they stand among their peers. A better grade than someone else gives a sense of self-satisfaction or intellectual superiority—a feeling coined as the German word “schadenfreude.”

Healthy competition can help students achieve their best but it shouldn’t be taken too far. Excessive competition can be detrimental and result in discouragement and frustration, emotions that are psychologically unhealthy and undermine the purpose of learning. A poor performance on a test can be extremely disheartening and at times frustrating. Feelings like these negatively impact a student’s motivation and drive to work harder, thereby making it increasingly difficult for them to learn at full potential. Everyone has some kind of limit on their ability—the point where they have exhausted all of their potential and a perfect score is not possible. Competition often brings students to push themselves over this limit, leaving them struggling to cope with additional, and perhaps, unnecessary pressure. So before you stress over the test lying on your desk, remember: one

Kelly Walheim for The SPOKE

failing grade doesn’t mean the Earth has suddenly stopped turning. If your friend got a better score, good for them. If you studied, put in effort and tried your best, there’s absolutely nothing to regret. Haley Xue can be reached at hxue@

Gabriela’s Gallery: Saved by the bell

Gabriela Epstein/The SPOKE


P age 11

The Spoke


In pursuit of spirit

Margot Field Staff Reporter

Margot Field/The SPOKE

To t h e Ed i to r Dear Editor,

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



Go online to comment on our articles

Although almost every student can relate to “Dozing off: Students let sleep fall behind,” June 2010, few students will change their sleep habits. We are only two months into the school year, but venti Starbucks cups are frequently spotted in the hallways—a sight which confirms students either do not or cannot take professionals’ advice to go to sleep by 10 p.m. Our lack of sleep is not solely due to an inability to log off Facebook; it is compounded by our competitive academic atmosphere, one that includes teachers’ attitudes. Few teachers participate in the Manifest homework-free nights due to the demanding course track of AP classes. To achieve eight hours of sleep, students must leave schoolwork uncompleted or eliminate after-school activities—choices that should not be necessary. In order to solve this problem, we must analyze all sources that result in our lack of sleep, instead of simply telling teens to go to bed earlier Allison Henry Senior

Dear Editor, On the last day of summer, I read the “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” Initially, I was skeptical about reading it: how could a book that supposedly appeals to freshmen also interest me, a senior? After about three hours of reading, I admit, I was not disappointed in the novel. The book had many positive effects, the greatest of which is improved school unity. Since everyone read the book, awkwardness between grades was diminished in the first few days of school, giving the new freshmen something in common with returning students from other grades. The joint English classes were also successful. The seniors provided the freshmen with an example of what is expected in literary discussion, and in some cases, the freshmen’s commentary provided the seniors a few good laughs. “One Book, One School” should definitely be continued in following years. Max Frey Senior

After East High School triumphed over West High School, the Wildcats united in a show of support for their basketball team. A huge cheer arose as basketball fans and players launched into a choreographed dance number— all in it together, a massive demonstration of school spirit. Such a scene would never play out at Conestoga, not the dancing, but rather that kind of excitement. At last year’s Homecoming pep rally, I performed in the field show led by the marching band. But after I put my saxophone away and took a good look at the lackluster crowd, I couldn’t help but think that if I had been in the stands that afternoon, I too would’ve thrown paper airplanes. Our audience’s lack of interest was not because the pep rally was unexciting. Much like our school’s spirit days, low participation rates are not a direct result of the effort put in by the groups who organize them. There is also no one person or group to blame for the Homecoming Court ballots that pile up, uncast, in trashcans each year. The undeniable truth is, Conestoga High School doesn’t have school spirit. It’s not that we aren’t proud of our school—there certainly is no lack of “Big C” pride. The problem is the type of pride. Academic overconfidence has created the idea that Conestoga is a serious, driven school where dressing up in wacky clothes and making an effort at something that won’t show up on a transcript is childish. This reputation drives students’ stress over academics and grades and directly results in sleep-deprived adolescents

journeying from one challenging course to the next. If we had a little more school spirit we’d be able to relax and take a break from the vicious cycle of tests and homework. Spirit reminds us of a simpler time when concerns of SAT scores and college applications were a distant nightmare. Yes, maybe dressing up in an elaborate costume that reminds us of an elementary school Halloween parade is childish. But would putting on a clashing outfit of orange and black for one day really destroy your social credibility? An immediate response to a few more students dressing up for Homecoming spirit week is impossible. No one’s going to suddenly break out into song in the middle of the hallway to bring attention to the status quo and the difference between Mathletes and theater kids. Right away, participation in spirit days and school events may do nothing more than spark a few laughs among friends. Over time, however, a chain response will begin to take effect as more students realize the infectious quality spirit possesses. With more involvement, school spirit will no longer be regarded as an infantile nuisance. Don’t simply walk past signs in the hallways, advertising school events, without giving them a second thought. Don’t make plans to skip out on the Homecoming dance on Saturday simply because you consider it another lame school activity. Think about attending a sports game before play-offs. Any kind of participation to show support of our community is an easy way to make coming in at 7:20 a.m. every morning less of a bother. So in the next three days left of spirit week, consider sporting different kind of clothing to show your ’Stoga pride. In a school filled with stressed out kids who are constantly struggling to juggle work, school and extra curriculars, the truth is, we could all use a little spirit. Margot Field can be reached at

Electing to choose

Tom Corbett, Republican for Governor

Though not nearly as well followed as presidential elections, midterm elections play an integral part in shaping our government. During midterm election season, voters choose members of the United States Congress. Midterm elections have a large role in determining the success of the remainder of the presidentʼs term. Casting the first ballot Senior Caroline Sheep feels that voting is an obligation and a right of passage.

“I’ve always been waiting for this opportunity,” Sheep said. “It's a good way to give back; [it’s my] civic duty.” First-time voters are concerned with a variety of local and international issues.

Pat Toomey, Republican for Senate

2010 Senior Poll

-Served in House of Representatives from 1999-2005 -Longtime proponent of government fiscal responsibility -Strongly opposes taxpayer-funded bailouts -Campaign premise: "More jobs, less government"

Which party do you most identify with? Democrat 31% Republican 23% Independent 20% Unsure 14% Apathetic 7% Other 4%

How is the senior class voting? Eligible to vote 28% Intend to vote 14% Governor races: Voting for Corbett 30% Voting for Onorato 23% Senator race: Voting for Toomey 31% Voting for Sestak 38%

Dan Onorato, Democrat for Governor -Currently serves as the elected county executive of Allegheny County, where unemployment rate is below both the state and federal rate -Wants to create new jobs and bring down healthcare and education costs -Focus on "green" initiatives

Joe Sestak, Democrat for Senate

-Former Navy Vice Admiral -Received a 100% rating from PennEnvironment, PA's citizen-based environmental advocacy organization -Focus on reforming healthcare, improving education, helping the economy

Taking action Political activism is one way

Getting involved Though not yet eligible to vote, senior Bobby Chen is still involved in local politics. As an intern for Joe Sestak's senate campaign, Chen has spread the word about Sestak’s campaign. Elections for important local offices are few and far between. “It’s only once every six years when you get to choose your next Senator,” Chen said.

- A t t o r n e y G e n e r a l for Pennsylvania since 2004 -Wants to harness Pennsylvania’s natural resources in order to reduce dependence on foreign oil -Plans to revitalize Pennsylvania’s economy by reducing taxes and expanding the state's international reach

Choosing wisely When it comes to picking the right

students participate in the election process. As vice president of the Young Republicans Club, senior Rachel Burriss has been supporting her favorite candidates by working at phone banks and stuffing envelopes. "This is where government starts," Burris said. "This is important for Republicans because this is our opportunity to take back the House."

candidate, first-time voters need to think before making an informed decision. Senior Ted Weaver wants to elect honest candidates. He plans to look at both sides evenly, considering each candidate, before making a final decision. “I’ll look at them a few days before I [vote],” Weaver said.

Centerspread compiled by K.C. McConnell and Reshma Gouravajhala. Reporting by Stetson Miller. All candidate photos are from their respective campaign websites. Photos by Luke Rafferty.




P AGE 15



Students pursue passion for art during summer months Kelly Benning Staff Reporter After senior Lizzie Schew attended a summer art class at Tyler School of Art, a college of Temple University, her artwork took on an entirely new direction. “I was introduced to print making, which ended up being my passion,” Schew said. Schew took a print-making class during the summer of her freshman year and has returned to Tyler every summer since then. Schew believes that the out-of-school experience inspired her art. “As great as the art teachers are at ’Stoga, it’s nice to have variety,” Schew said. “You learn new techniques, you gain new perspectives. It just became an integral part of my summer.” Junior Kim Menapace also attended a class at Tyler this summer. She took a college-level portfolio preparation class that focused on charcoal still lifes and figure drawings.

“Since it was a college course, I was the youngest kid in the class. I got to learn from the older students, which was interesting. I definitely learned a lot because of that,” Menapace said. Schew and Menapace both enjoyed the experience of being in the city every day. “It was nice meeting different sorts of people in the city than we’re used to in this suburban environment,” Schew said.

nika Ritz was able to take classes at the Hussein School of Art in Philadelphia for free. She won two weeks of classes and workshops after entering her poster about the concept of victory in a contest sponsored by the Hussein School. Ritz said she appreciated the way the class focused on the concepts, rather than the mechanics, behind illustration and fantasy. “Rather than teaching us the ‘how,’ the introductory stuff, it was more the creative aspect… the doing. We all knew the basics already,” she said. Ritz explains that she devotes so much time and engery to her artwork because drawing and painting allow her to escape from the hustle of the everyday world. “I can sit down and draw and I only think about art,” Ritz said. “It allows you to stop time for a little while.”

“[Art] allows you to stop time for a little while.” - Annika Ritz, sophomore

Luke Rafferty/The SPOKE

Junior Kim Menapace draws in the art studio. She recently attended a summer class at the Tyler School of Art.


Although many art schools, such as Tyler, offer partial scholarships to Conestoga students, the classes can still be a significant financial commitment. A course consisting of ten Saturday classes can cost about $300, with extra fees for materials or registration. However, sophomore An-

Kelly Benning can be reached at

Sp ke Goes on Vacation

Spanish teacher Tim Husband poses with students and The Spoke while soaking up the culture in Toledo, Spain. Sophomore Ethan Winigrad flips through the paper while relaxing on a beach in Tel Aviv, Israel.

’Stoga students with American Music Abroad enjoy The Spoke while standing atop the Austrian Alps. Sophomore Abby Pioch shares The Spoke while visiting with school children in Accra, Ghana. (Left): According to school nurse Dawn Zrebiec, there are currently three confirmed cases and multiple suspected cases of the swine flu virus at Conestoga.

Graphic: Luke Rafferty

P age 16

The Spoke



AFS foreign exchange students arrive in America Lucie Becquart Home country: France Host family: Senior Layla Tavangar and freshman Anisa Tavangar Favorite American food: Peanut butter

Monica Desangles Home country: Dominican Republic Host family: Senior Phil Peracchia Favorite American band: Lifehouse

Lars Kuerzinger Home country: Germany Luke Rafferty photos/The SPOKE

Host family: Senior Jamie Campbell and junior Brian Campbell

Sophomore Dede Stockton is re-adjusting to life at ’Stoga. She spent the past year living in Germany as a foreign exchange student.

Favorite American movie: “Zoolander”

Forgetting English

Janina-Marika Sowig Home country: Germany Host family: Senior Andrew Stockton and sophomore Dede Stockton Favorite classes at ’Stoga: Italian and Criminal Justice

Fernanda Valenzuela Home country: Chile Host family: TEMS fifth grader Jessie Bennett Favorite American TV show: “Teen Mom”

Dana Bronzino Staff Reporter Sophomore Dede Stockton stood in the German airport terminal in Converse sneakers covered in signatures, clinging to a red flower in her hands and holding back tears welling in her eyes. Ready to board a flight back to the United States for the first time in almost a year, she was not ready to leave her German friends, family and lifestyle behind. Stockton, who studied in Germany last year with the American Field Service Program, recounts her experience in Germany with fondness and a sense of pride. She felt that adjusting to the language and cultural differences was no easy feat. Neither was returning home, because Stockton grew close to the new friends and host family she met while abroad.

“I’ll keep in touch with them for years, possibly my entire life,” she said. Before leaving for Germany, Stockton had little experience with the German language, as she took Latin at Conestoga after the German I class she enrolled in was discontinued because of insuffient interest. “I took a couple of courses and I had a tutor or two,” Stockton said. “Eventually I just had to say that I would do what I could, and go to Germany hoping that what I had was enough.” Other than the language barrier, Stockton faced a “culture shock” as she settled into the German way of life. “I think the best way to describe my host family is that they were German: very structured, scheduled and rule-centered,” Stockton said. “But they were also really nice once I got to know them.”

As Stockton began to bond with her host sister, she noticed another difference: the American use of sarcasm. “Germans don’t get sarcasm, Stockton said. “I don’t think they even have a word for sarcasm.” However, Stockton appreciated the independence she had in Germany. “I could tell my host parents I was going to another city for the day, and as long as they knew where I was going and when I was coming home, I could just go anywhere I wanted on the train,” Stockton said. “I really miss that, especially the simple transport.” Stockton also noticed that German schools were “very barebones” compared to Conestoga. Now, Stockton has a greater appreciation for all the clubs and activities at ’Stoga, as well as the help that teachers provide students. “Teachers were rarely there to offer after-school help,” Stockton said. “There were no guidance counselors, and no organization of schedules. You had no choice about the classes you took; you stayed with the same group of people all day and went to all the classes they had.” Though the changes were initially a challenge, Stockton adapted and became so used to speaking in German that she started to forget English words for objects. Now she recalls the past year with much joy, saying that it was the best year of her life. Stockton did not expect that studying abroad would be quite so challenging. Now her experience as an exchange student and her knowledge of German language and culture make it possible for her to act as a bridge between the new foreign exchange students and the students of Conestoga. For example, Stockton is hosting one of the German exchange students, Janina-Marika Sowig, this year. Stockton advises students considering studying abroad to commit to the program. “It’s a lot of hard work and there will be a lot of headaches as you get into the new culture, but in the end, it really is worth it,” Stockton said. Dana Bronzino can be reached at



P age 17

The Spoke Far left: Junior Ben Sheppard, who plays the White Knight, and junior Julianna Quazi, rehearse a scene. Left: Senior Ian Connelly reviews his lines on set.

Down the rabbit hole The actors and actresses of “Alice in Wonderland,” Conestoga’s 2010 fall drama, dedicate hours of their time after school to rehearse. There will be performances on Nov. 18, 19 and 20 in the Hobson C. Wagner Auditorium. The script is based on the original Lewis Carroll novel, giving the production an entirely different feel than the Disney movie familiar to most people. “It’s a little kookier—a little crazier [than the Disney version,]” said junior Julianna Quazi, who plays Alice.

Reporting by Sophia Ponte and Mary Turocy Photos by Karolis Panavas

Top Left: Parent volunteer Kruti Quazi prepares makeup for freshman cast member Macy Davis. Parent volunteers assist with many aspects of the show. Bottom Left: Junior Julianna Quazi practices dialogue with junior Laura McCauley and senior Robyn Weiner during rehearsal. Right: Director Nicole Gerenyi takes notes during rehearsal. Gerenyi is directing at ’Stoga for the first time this year.

P age 18



The Spoke

The Minds That Shape Minds By Mary Turocy, Features Editor

Bill Dewees

Mr. Dewees’ Favorites: Movie: A recent favorite is “Young@Heart”

Math Department

Book: “The Stand” by Stephen King

Algebra 2, Math Analysis, AP Computer Science

TV Shows: “Lost” and “The Brady Bunch” Food: Berwyn Pizza pizza steaks rank pretty high

The SPOKE: If you didn’t teach, what would you do? B.D.: Something art-related, maybe architecture. Luke Rafferty/The SPOKE

The SPOKE: What’s your biggest pet peeve outside of school?

The SPOKE: Do you have a favorite sports team? Did you B.D.: When a movie is just about play any sports in high school or to start, I don’t like hearing food as a kid? sounds in the theater. B.D.: One of my favorite memoThe SPOKE: If you could have ries is of my father taking me to dinner with any three people, Game 6 of the 1980 World Seliving or dead, who would you ries, so, yes: the Phillies. Growchoose and why? ing up, I played a lot of football, baseball and wiffle ball—if that B.D.: Amy, Gavin and Luke, my counts. family, to enjoy as much time as possible with them. The SPOKE: What kind of candy are you handing out for The SPOKE: What extracurHalloween? riculars were you involved in during high school? B.D.: We like to hand out Toblerone. The pyramidal shape lends B.D.: I was a mathlete; we never itself well to impromptu geomlost a match. etry discussions.

The SPOKE: What makes your classes unique? B.D.: Perhaps my classroom characters, like Mildred, Tippy and Sad Vampire Kid. The SPOKE: Can you tell me about Sad Vampire Kid? B.D.: Whenever a student is about to make a silly math mistake, like dividing by zero, Sad Vampire Kid is on the scene. The SPOKE: If you could take any class at Conestoga, which one would you take? B.D.: Probably one of the world languages courses.

Luke Rafferty/The SPOKE


P age 19


The Spoke

Fall entertainment reviews: options for everyone Reviews by Emily Omrod, Staff Reporter

“Raising Hope” not quite raising the bar These days almost every television show has some aspect of single parenthood or teenage pregnancy storyline. However, “Raising Hope” is unlike current show, as its eccentric Middle America roots and over-exaggerated plot set it apart from the rest. “Raising Hope” tells the story of single dad Jimmy Chance (Lucas Neff), whose one-night stand with a sexually-crazed serial killer leads to more than just an awkward morning after. The affair results in a new baby, Princess Beyonce, also known as Hope, and a whole host of new responsibilities for Jimmy. He finds these responsibilities difficult to fulfill, considering his maturity level is equivalent to that of a five year old, and the show portrays these

difficulties though Jimmy’s many humorous adventures. Clearly, this show is not your typical single parent, teenage pregnancy story. It embraces the tacky, uninspired mindset of Americans who refuse to take responsibility for their actions. The show is funny, and the casting of versatile and sarcastic Martha Plimpton and Garret Dillahunt as Jimmy’s mother and father add to the over-the-top ridiculous comedy that makes the show original. Though not incredibly witty or deep, “Raising Hope” portrays a colorful, eccentric lifestyle and encourages watchers to defy expectations. While it may not be TV’s next great comedy, “Raising Hope” is an easy way to relax and make fun of someone else’s ridiculous life.

“Never Let Me Go”—a novel to remember


Jimmy Chance (Lucas Neff) in “Raising Hope.”


Kazua Ishiguro’s novel “Never Let Me Go.”


Mark Zuckerburg (Jesse Eisenberg) in “The Social Network.”

In an alternate version of history, organ donation is a designated lifestyle, where children are specially created and sent into the world knowing that they will die before reaching adulthood. This reality, set in the late 1990s, is portrayed in Kazuo Ishiguro’s “Never Let Me Go,” a sentimental, honest and relatable novel, greatly unlike its many science ficition counterparts in local bookstores. “Never Let Me Go” follows the lives of three clone organ donors, Ruth, Tommy and Kathy, told through Kathy’s narration. Set in England, the three experience adolescence and adulthood together at school and abroad, until only Kathy remains. Ishiguro paints a fascinating picture, one that focuses

on the inherent humanity of his characters rather than their ultimate destination. As the main characters move from childhood worries of inclusion and affection to the adult concerns of sex and falling in love, they are honest and relatable. Readers feel sympathy for all the characters, even cold-hearted Ruth. This novel is one for people of any age. Though the concept of organ donations from clones may be foreign to many younger readers, Ishiguro’s style appeals to all. Overall, “Never Let Me the Go” is something special. It calls out to generations young and old to cherish their ability to choose the course of their lives and to appreciate people’s humanity, as life is too precious not to enjoy.

“The Social Network” overflows with friend requests (and fans) Facebook is more than just a way to connect with a friend from camp; it’s the the newest teenage community, where gossip, fights and breakups are broadcast for the world to see. This worldwide water cooler, however, had a rocky beginning, detailed in David Fincher’s latest movie, “The Social Network.” The movie follows Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg (Jesse Eisenberg), a Harvard University student who used his programming skills to create, a web-

site designed to enhance campus social life. Throughout 121 minutes, the movie portrays love and inclusion, as Zuckerburg primarily makes the website to impress a girl and to gain status with the university elites. The film also depicts thievery and betrayal as Zuckerburg deals with two lawsuits concerning the legal and financial status of Facebook and its founders. Eisenberg’s portrayal of Zuckerburg is spot on, as he embodies a brilliant, socially awkward teen who just wants to feel included. The dialogue in “The Social Network” is quick-witted, accurately portraying the tremendous intellectual capacity of many Harvard students. Viewers will leave theaters angry at Zuckerburg’s treatment of his friends, but awed by brutal honesty, great acting and an undeniable sympathy for Zuckerburg, who only wanted to impress a girl. Emily Omrod can be reached at

Sports TUESDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2010

Friday Night Lights The hype. The excitement. The rich green turf under the the lights.The energy that surrounds a Conestoga football game is awesome. But there’s more than just the fan’s view of the game. It’s the view from the camera lens, the football field, the top of the stunt pyramid and the sheets of music that make the game unique. Cheerleaders: Fans are encouraged to “Get off, get off, get off your seat!” from the cheerleaders, who hold up signs, do stunts and stick to clever choreography between plays. “Cheerleading is another entertainment factor just like the band,” senior cheer captain Jessica Harvey said. “We have dances to a lot of the songs they play.”

Marching Band: The marching band and visual ensemble step, play, twirl and dance their way into a diverse, nine-minute show. “It’s the feeling of being able to…show everyone what we’ve been working on that really fuels us,” senior color guard captain Brooke Ferreri said.

Sporting a record of three wins and three losses, the hard-hitting Pioneers are on their way to the playoffs again. Standout players include seniors Dexter Bridge, Blair Brooks, Mateo Portonova and Rasheed Williams. TE/TV Production: Conestoga’s TE/TV Production Club broadcasts every home game live on channel 14. “We get an overwhelming feeling after finishing a successful production,” club member Zach Lowery said.

Compiled by Erin O’Neil and Luke Rafferty Reporting by Emily Seeburger

The Fans: At any given home game, the stands are packed with over 2,000 fans, from friends to family members, cheering on their team. “When [Dexter] gets in the end zone, he always looks up at us,” said B.J. Bridge, brother of senior wide receiver Dexter Bridge. “It’s a good experience.”


P age 21


The Spoke

Girls soccer heads into playoffs after fresh start

Dolly Prabhu Staff Reporter The Conestoga girls’ soccer team usually begins the season with its essential ingredients for success, but this year the girls started from scratch. Or at least fairly close. The team had a shaky start to the season, winning only two of its first five games, hardly ideal for a back-to-back State Champion team. But it has been two years since the Pioneers’ last State Championship, and the team has seen many changes in the meantime. This year, the girls began the season on a fresh foot. An influential difference this year is the absence of former head coach Danielle Fagan, who led the team to two back-toback championships in 2007 and 2008. Fagan resigned to take a job with the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association as the Director of Youth Curriculum and Coaching, in the hopes of one day coaching a youth national team.

“People were pretty sad about [Danielle leaving],” junior captain Chrissy Bradley said. “We’ve had her for so long, but we’re really happy for her because she got a great opportunity.” Despite the loss, the team appears to be happy and moving forward with new coach Meghan Brogan, who has coached ’Stoga JV for the past ten years. “Meghan is funny and posi-

more unified feeling between the three teams, giving JV-A players a chance to practice with the varsity team. The team has only three seniors this year, and many injuries have also created new positions for younger players to fill. “We work a lot harder than we did in the beginning of the year,” Bradley said. “We don’t have any games anymore where we made little mistakes. We push through every game.” Regardless of the end result, the team has already shown improvement, transforming its shaky start into a 6-3-2 record. “I think everyone has adjusted pretty well,” senior captain Tamzin Ellerbeck said. “We’ve gotten better with every game. We just keep improving and we’ve really learned to work well together as a team.”

“We work a lot harder than we did at the beginning...we push through every game.” - Chrissy Bradley, junior tive and she gives some really good feedback,” Bradley said. “She just gives the team a different atmosphere, especially for younger players.” Unlike Fagan, who kept the varsity team separate from the JV teams, Brogan embraces a

Karolis Panavas/The SPOKE

Dolly Prabhu can be reached at

Junior Sarah Priem strikes the ball on Teamer field in a home game against Springfield. The girls won the game 6-0.

games before traveling to Germany for the final two and then to London for a chance to tour the city. Although the boys finished with a 5-0 record, they had to adjust quickly to a very different style of play. “[The European teams] played

a very open style, very team oriented, not as much one-on-one,” said P.E. teacher John Jones, who assisted Burke with the tour. “They used each other well to create shots, moved the ball very well and left the low post area open a lot.”

’Stoga alumnus takes high school team to Europe

Tracy Cook Staff Reporter Basketball courts usually aren’t at the top of the must-see list for tourists in Europe, but for 2002 Conestoga graduate Dewey Burke and his eight-player team, basketball courts were a common attraction during an international basketball expedition showcase this summer. Burke, who played basketball for University of North Carolina under Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams, has been training high school players from the Main Line since graduating from UNC in 2007. When presented with the opportunity to take a team on the Global Sports Academy’s Friendship Tour, he jumped at the chance to select internationally-worthy players, drawing from six local high schools: Conestoga, Radnor, Haverford, Devon Prep, Malvern and Bishop Shanahan. “It was kind of weird at first, playing with kids from different schools because usually we would play against them during the regu-

lar season,” junior Jared Seltzer said. “But then we got to know each other, and we started playing. We actually developed good chemistry.” The team left for Belgium on Aug. 9 and played its first three


The summer team (from left, back row): Cameron Dunson, Andrew Acker, Jared Seltzer, Peter Wallace. (From left, front row): Dewey Burke, Brendan Purcell, Soutiri Sapnes, Tim Mulqueen, JJ Kiely, John Jones.

The boys also had to adjust to officiating differences on the court. “If you were in the open court and caught the ball on a fast break and went to dribble, often we were called for traveling in that situation because they don’t allow a step and then a dribble,” Jones said. Initially, the team struggled on the defensive end, but eventually found its stride. “Sometimes it was difficult because any one mistake would lead to a lay-up,” Burke said. “But once we started to figure it out, we did a good job of pressuring the ball.” Not knowing what to expect when they left the states, the boys returned home on Aug. 18 not only undefeated, but with stamps in their passports and a newfound sense of cultural self-awareness. “I was so proud of the way we played, how we handled ourselves,” Burke said. “It’s as close as many will come to an Olympic experience.” Tracy Cook can be reached at

P age 22

The Spoke



108.8 Current passer rating of Michael Vick after two games as the Eagles starting quarterback

Rushing touchdowns scored by Eagles, led by running back LeSean McCoy Eagles current season record, tied for first place in the NFC East




Vick is the key to Eagles success

Maddie Amsterdam Staff Reporter Westbrook is gone, Dawkins is gone. And yes, McNabb is history, too. When they were here, these guys were the backbone of a successful Eagles team; whether we won or lost, they guided and ispired the rest of the team. But that was then and this is now. We have turned the page and started a whole new chapter with quite a bang. Just one week into what was anticipated to be the “Kevin Kolb era,” the Eagles were faced with a dilemma when Kolb was placed on the injured reserve list due to concussion. Michael Vick was given a chance to prove himself to Philadelphia, and after outperforming all expectations, he replaced Kolb as starting quarterback. The dispute over which quarterback was better split the Eagles’ fan base down the middle: one was either pro-Kolb or pro-Vick. Those in support of Vick believed that great things were to come of the lucky No. 7. While a quarterback controversy makes for good talk radio, this city is coming to accept that Michael Vick is our guy. If anyone is going to take this team to the playoffs, it will be Vick, not Kolb. Not to say there is anything specifi-

cally wrong with Kolb, but he’s no Vick and never will be. Kolb will never have the quickness or mobility to equal Vick. With Kolb at the helm, we see holding penalties and spotty blocking set our offense back even more. The Eagles’ offensive line hasn’t been giving Kolb the protection he needs to find his downfield receivers, forcing him to stick mostly to short passes for minimal yards. Vick, however, takes plays into his own hands, scrambling for yards or passing on the fly. Our five up front need a dynamic player like Vick who can offset their flaws. Say what you will, but this team cannot succeed without improvements at pass protection unless our signal caller is the fast-footed Michael Vick. When Vick first signed onto the Eagles, I never saw myself supporting him as starter. Not everyone was overly excited to welcome a man notorious for animal cruelty and bankrolled gambling as the face of our football team. But we have seen that with three years off from the NFL, Vick has really matured as a quarterback. At 30 years old, he has been

hitting his targets downfield, setting his feet, and making accurate passes—things we never saw him do when he played for Atlanta. Vick has proven to be the tipping point of many games; he’s not taking sacks or fumbling the ball, and has yet to throw a single interception. I’m as surprised at his proficiency as anyone, but I’m loving it. Vick currently has the No. 2 quarterback rating in the NFL, right behind Tom Brady, whereas Kolb weighs in at No. 19, just a few points ahead of Donovan McNabb. Assuming a healthy Vick is available as a starting quarterback, the Eagles stand a greater chance of going 10-6 or better and finishing atop what may be the least competitive division in the NFL. Only time will tell, but the Eagles are coming to realize that with Kolb on the field, this team will struggle to make the playoffs. With Vick at the helm, we stand a good chance of competing for the NFC East title. Maddie Amsterdam can be reached at

The Opposition: - As McNabb’s understudy for several years, Kolb is much more prepared to run the “West Coast offense” than Vick, who spent much of his career with an Atlanta team that was predominantly run-heavy. - Throughout his career, Vick has been criticized for inaccurate passing, which could pose problems when the Eagles face more formidable opponents, like the Falcons and the Giants.

Receiving touchdowns scored by Eagles, led by wide receivers Jackson and Maclin


Kevin Kolb’s current passer rating after two games as the Eagles starting quarterback

Gabriela Epstein for The SPOKE




Player Profile Michael Gonzalez, Midfield

A: My favorite aspect is playing alongside many of my best friends and my brothers.

Q: Where are you playing in college? A: Lehigh University.

Q: Who, in the sports world, do you admire most? A: The soccer player who I admire most is Xavi Hernandez because he reads the game and field better than anyone that I have ever seen play. Q: How long have you been playing soccer?

P AGE 23


Q: If you could play any other sport, what would it be and why?

Q: Why Lehigh? A: I chose Lehigh because it is a very good school academically and their soccer program is very strong as well. Q: What’s the worst injury you’ve ever gotten? A: The worst injury that I have ever gotten would probably be a mild concussion. Q: What is your fondest sports memory? A: My fondest sports memory is playing for the Philadelphia Union in the u17 SUM Cup.

A: I have been playing soccer since I was four years old.

A: It would have to be basketball because it is my second favorite sport and I think it is a really fun sport to play.

Q: What do you do to get ready for a game?

Q: If you could be in the stands at any game in history, what would it be?

Q: What, in your opinion, is your greatest sports accomplishment?

A: I normally listen to music to get me pumped up and ready.

A: If I could be in the stands at any soccer game in history it would probably be the 1986 World Cup Final match because I would have loved to have been able to watch Diego Maradona play.

A: My greatest sports accomplishment is probably winning the state championship with my club team.

Q: What has been your favorite aspect of playing for Conestoga?

Practice makes perfect: ’Stoga teams hard at work

Karolis Panavas and Luke Rafferty photos/The SPOKE

Volume 61, No. 1


Girls soccer en route to playoffs See p. 21


Michael Vick is the Eagles’ best bet See p. 22



What makes the magic happen every time the lights go on See p. 20

stoganews Go online for coverage and an extended

.com photo gallery from the football season.

Luke Rafferty/The SPOKE

October 2010 issue  

The Spoke's October 2010 issue

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