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break a leg: fall play takes on comedy page 2 Conestoga High School, Berwyn, PA 19312

Volume 70 No. 2

Thursday, November 21, 2019

star athlete with spirit: junior shines on the field

Teacher feature: Robert Desipio

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ACT enACTs changes Evan Lu

Staff Reporter

Claire Guo/The SPOKE

Consciously consuming: Seniors (from left to right) Benjamin Edstrom, Graham Bucko, Will Kling, Ariana Mendoza and Xavier Piccone eat lunch together in the cafeteria. A variety of factors, including social pressures, sports and personal health, affect what students choose to eat.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT Exploring student eating habits at Conestoga

By Claire Guo, Audrey Kim and Katherine Lee Co-Editors-in-Chief and Webmaster

The Spoke surveyed ten homerooms regarding their response to eating habits, separated by grade level and chosen randomly. In total, The Spoke collected 201 responses. Sophomore Ellie Reiner said that she was in the sixth grade when two female classmates she didn’t know stopped her in the hallway. “They pulled me over and started criticizing everything

I was wearing,” Reiner said. “I remember how they said, ‘Why are you wearing athletic shorts? You’re too fat to be athletic.’” Reiner, who has lifted weights since she was 10 years old and has competed in weightlifting since middle school, said that it was those kinds of comments, combined with societal expectations and beauty standards, that caused her to start dieting at an increasingly restrictive rate. Starting when she was 12 years old, Reiner cut out huge portions of her diet, including foods heavy in carbohydrates, processed sugars, and dairy. The results, she said, were terrible, because she was tired and emotional all the time. That behavior changed in the eighth grade, when Reiner recognized some of the risks

associated with what she was doing. According to Reiner, the possibility of her diet affecting her performance at weightlifting was what pushed her to stop. “I realized that I can’t destroy my body, and that I need to nourish and treat it respectfully if I want to see results,” Reiner said. “And I realized that I would rather be happy, eat bread and be able to press (something like) 400 pounds than try to be size 0 and depressed all the time.” Reiner isn’t the only one who feels or has felt pressure associated to eating in some way. According to a survey conducted by The Spoke, 76 percent of Conestoga students surveyed said that health, food pricing, sports, stress and/or social

pressures affected their diets. The ways in which we consume food are changing as well. In America, food items that are marketed as organic and natural are increasingly appealing to more Millennials and Gen Z-ers, according to Packaged Facts, an organization that studies market research. Combined with former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign and the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act implemented in 2014, school nutrition and lunches have gained public attention as well as more government funding. Health and Fitness teacher John Jones noted the importance of understanding nutrition and making good food choices on the part of students. “Students are starting to get

to an age where they’re becoming more independent. And if there’s a choice between a healthy food item and an unhealthy one, a lot of students might pick the unhealthier option,” Jones said. “And if you look at the leading causes of death in our society, some of the top causes of death are diet-related, so to be a healthier person, you really have to understand nutrition.” With the holiday season approaching, The Spoke decided to look at how student eating habits and diets have changed in recent years, as well as how Conestoga encourages students to make healthy meal choices.

Starting in the fall of 2020, students nationwide will take a different version of the ACT. Three major changes will come to the standardized exam: individual section retesting, superscoring and the option of online testing. The ACT is a four-section standardized test with an optional writing section. ACT scores are used by many colleges to determine an applicant’s academic proficiency. Currently, the scores of the English, mathematics, reading and science subsections are combined and averaged to calculate a test taker’s composite score. Individual section retesting, one of the new changes, will alter the way the ACT is taken by allowing students to retake an individual section or up to three sections per sitting. Senior Vivaan Mahtab, who has taken both the ACT and SAT, views the change with mixed feelings. “I don’t see how this is any different from the (SAT) Subject Tests then because you can honestly just focus on studying for one (ACT section test) at a time. It’s no longer a cumulative knowledge test,” Mahtab said. The second change, “superscoring,” will take a student’s top score from each section (if the student takes a section more than once) and use that for the final, composite score colleges see. The SAT already officially endorses this practice, but up until now, the ACT has stated that it is not meant to be superscored. The final change, the ability to take the ACT online, has not been offered by the ACT or SAT before. Online tests will be available at designated testing centers and will be administered using desktop computers or other provided devices. While students can still opt to take the ACT on paper, online testing will return their results within two business days as opposed to the longer wait times for the paper test results. Junior Tommy Parisi, who has taken the ACT and PSAT, appreciates the option to take the ACT online. “I would take it online, probably just because you’re getting scores back faster. I took (the

ACT on paper) last week, and now I have to wait like eight weeks,” Parisi said. On the other hand, some still prefer to test with paper and pencil. “I’m curious to see if the scores change at all with (online test taking). I think that if you compare (online scores and paper scores), I think scores with computers might be lower. Specifically, for reading, I would say people are much better at reading with paper than they are with computers. I would definitely opt for the paper one,” Mahtab said. These upcoming changes are accompanied by concerns. Some worry that the individual section retesting protocol may give unfair advantages to more privileged students since those who are more financially affluent can afford to take the test more times. Jennifer Kratsa, school counselor, ACT coordinator and department chair of Student Services, is not worried about the impending alterations. “Students that have financial need do get assistance with the ACT test. I would say that part of the downfall(s of) turning to a system like this is kids might overtest, but I do believe that overall, this is better for students and does create more access,” Kratsa said. Others are worried about the security of the online testing system, as hacking becomes more prevalent, and other possible negative consequences of the changes. Despite this unease, Kratsa remains unconcerned about the security of the test. “ACT and College Board work for years and years before they roll anything out like this,” Kratsa said. Instead, Kratsa reminds students to remember that their ACT scores will not define them in the eyes of admissions officers. Some schools are test optional and do not require students to submit a standardized test score, and all schools consider students’ GPA and extracurricular activities as well as their test scores. “Colleges are always looking for reasons to accept students,” Kratsa said, “so they always look to put the students’ best foot forward. And I think it is important for kids to hear that.”

Continued on page 3

Evan Lu/The SPOKE

Staying proACTive: Junior Tommy Parisi practices for the ACT. A series of changes to the standardized test will go into place in the fall of 2020.

Former college athlete discusses mental health with student body Emma Clarke Staff Reporter

Long hours studying, a calendar filled with upcoming assignments and time-consuming extracurricular activities can often lead to a lot of stress for the average high school student. Although many high-schoolers share this common experience, they often feel alone while going through it. Andrew Onimus, a former college athlete, spoke to students about this issue on Nov. 11 as a part of Minding Your Mind, an organization dedicated to ending the stigma around mental health. Entering his senior year at Muhlenberg College, Onimus was a starting defensive back for the football team, named captain of the track and field team, and already had a full-time position upon graduation with a large accounting firm in Philadelphia. However, an injury put a halt to Onimus’ athletic success and he fell into a deep depression, initially hiding his struggles from his friends and family. After a long journey to recovery,

Onimus heard about the work Minding Your Mind was doing and reached out to them. “My family and I thought I had a hopeful story of struggle and recovery and I wanted to see if I could help in anyway, even if it is only one student or person in an assembly. I feel like if I had an assembly or conversation like this when I was in middle school, high school or college, I would have learned a few things about mental health and told someone I was struggling way sooner,” Onimus said. Today, Onimus works fulltime for Minding Your Mind, speaking for schools and communities in the area. Onimus began his presentation on a light-hearted note, sharing some of his favorite coping skills — such as eating Frosted Mini Wheats — for when he is going through more difficult times in his life. He then went into recognizing the issues high schoolers may face today, followed by his own story about mental health. Like Onimus, Conestoga recognizes the challenges that high schoolers face today. The

assembly was originally introduced in 2015 to ’Stoga in order to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and offer students positive coping mechanisms. Senior Jane Castleman felt that the presentation had a positive effect on the students. “The assembly was important for destigmatizing mental health and creating a closer community. It reminds us that we can always offer and ask for help if anyone needs it,” Castleman said. While Onimus notes the mental health issues high schoolers may face today, he offers advice for those moving onto the next stage of their lives. “For students getting ready for college, jobs, trade schools, community college, or whatever might be next, I think the two most important things are to ask for help when you need it and to find things that make you happy,” Onimus said. “Do your best, keep your favorite things around, help others when you can, and ask for help when you need it. All will work out in the end.”

Claire Guo/The SPOKE

Minding Your Mind: Former college athlete Andrew Onimus speaks to upperclassmen on Nov. 11. Onimus’s presentation focused on coping with and reducing the stigma around mental health issues.




Thursday, November 21, 2019

Big changes come to annual Cornucopia event

The latest developments in T/E news.

Multicultural Club hosts Family Culture Night On Thursday, Nov. 14, theMulticultural Club hosted a Family Culture Night for the district’s ESL program. Families were encouraged to bring in food from their country and wear traditional cultural clothing.


cellist excels in honor orchestra

Senior Isaac Kim was named principal cellist of the National Association for Music Education’s All-National Orchestra. This honor orchestra took place on Nov. 9 and 10, and Kim was the top cellist who auditioned.

NAHS members Paint the Plow National Arts Honor Society members decorated a snow plow which will compete with student designs from other schools as a part of PennDOT’s annual Paint the Plow contest. The contest was created to promote safe winter driving in Pennsylvania.

Desi Club




Desi Club worked with students from other schools to help hold a food drive throughout the end of October and beginning of November, donating to a regional initiative called SewaDiwali through Philabundance. They also hosted a Diwali celebration at the Tredyffrin Library with events like dancing, henna and clothing decoration,

Marching Band hosts 10th annual Cavalcade The Pioneer Marching Band hosted the 10th annual ’Stoga Showcase of Sound on Nov. 2. Bands from around the region came to Teamer Field to compete and the night culminated with the Pioneer Marching Band’s “Phantom of the Opera” performance.

’Stoga donates blood ’Stoga students and teachers went to the large gym on Nov. 7 to donate blood to the American Red Cross. Student Council is responsible for hosting this annual blood drive, which has seen continued success in recent years. Read more at

Richard Li/The SPOKE

Big-time bowling: Junior peer mediator Charlie Sisian tests out an inflatable bowling set for Cornucopia. This year’s Cornucopia activities have expanded out of the gyms and will be hosted in various rooms throughout the entire school.

Richard Li News Editor

Instead of the usual classroom lessons, teachers will host chess, yoga, puzzle rooms and other recreational activities during Cornucopia on Nov. 26. For over ten years, Cornucopia

has taken place in the two gyms and has centered around clubs hosting activities for students to participate in throughout the day. This year, Peer Mediation is redesigning the format by expanding the event to take place throughout the entire school and having teachers host most of the activities. Senior and Peer Mediation

president Justin Lebeau hopes that the changes will help eliminate some of the space constraints from past years. “Cornucopia is a school unity event designed to bring the school community together before the Thanksgiving holiday,” Lebeau said. “One of the reasons we moved out of the gym is that we can’t fit all

of the students into the gym anymore, so we’re not going to have a central area, but there will be some bigger activities every period.” Among these bigger activities will be Faculty Family Feud, where departments will face off against each other in the auditorium, and ’Stoga Ninja Warrior, which will time students on

an obstacle course in the gym. Classroom teachers will also have the option to come up with their own activities for students to participate in. Peer Mediation adviser Marcia Mariani hopes that this year’s format will allow more students to find something they enjoy. “It’s more ‘something for everybody’ because there should be something for everyone to do that everyone enjoys,” Mariani said. World language teacher Ashley Strouse plans to host a board game area in the cafeteria. “It allows teachers to show kids what they’re passionate about, and I think it’s more exciting for students too, because not only are they left to one activity, but they have sort of a menu of options,” Strouse said. French teacher Jamie Cappelletti is planning to instruct yoga backstage in the auditorium and sees Cornucopia as a chance to encourage students to relax. “I think it’s a good opportunity to use the time to provide something to the students that maybe you wouldn’t get in a normal school day,” Cappelletti said.”I think that the students will maybe be able to identify an interest that they didn’t have in the past.” Science teacher Leah Roberts and the other second-floor science teachers will host a vari-

ety of activities including chess, indoor lawn games and “Mythbusters” screenings. “It also gives kids a chance to get to know teachers that they wouldn’t otherwise because even if they haven’t had them, they can go to the room and do an activity there,” Roberts said. With the increased teacher involvement, Lebeau hopes that more students will participate in Cornucopia’s festivities. “Because we’re involving the teachers in a lot more ways, hopefully, more teachers will allow (their students) to go to these activities. And that’s something with Family Feud, because it’s department versus department, so entire departments are going to come down and watch and that will draw more people,” Lebeau said. Mariani hopes that the school will embrace Cornucopia’s new format. “It’s not just about what Peer Mediation makes it. It’s about what the school makes it because it’s a truly school-driven event rather than just a Peer Mediation event,” Mariani said. “I’m hoping that the student body, the faculty, that everybody is going to unite behind this event. I’m hoping that people will embrace the change and that they’ll choose to be a part of it.”

Clubs face challenges finding faculty sponsors Zakiyah Gaziuddin and Trey Phillips Staff Reporters

Three of the most popular clubs at Conestoga faced challenges at the beginning of this year. Speech and Debate, Model UN, and DECA struggled to find faculty advisers and chaperones for their overnight trips but were able to eventually reach solutions. Social studies teacher Kathleen Walter advises DECA, which had difficulties finding faculty chaperones for the state and national competitions that are set to take place later in the school year. “A lot of these clubs have grown really big, so it’s become challenging to find enough chaperones to go on the overnight trips with students,” Walter said. “Being an adviser is a big time commitment, particularly when students do well in the competitions and make it to the next level.” Junior Bridget Xu, co-president of Speech and Debate, said the club struggled to find an adviser in the beginning of the year. “We’ve been asking around for the better part of September and into October, and everyone just said that (their schedules) were full. I think it’s because there’s a lot of other clubs, and the teachers only have so much time after school,” Xu said.

“Speech and Debate is a lot of commitment with after-school meets and stuff that can go later into the evening.” Due to a lack of faculty chaperones, Model UN’s four yearly overnight trips to conferences were in jeopardy at the start of

Model UN adviser David Zimmerman said. “(This) makes it very unappealing from a teacher’s perspective.” Although Model UN will not be going on all four trips this year, Zimmerman volunteered to take the students to

fill Speech and Debate’s adviser position. Davison advised the speech and debate club at his previous school and sees his sponsorship as a way of being more connected to the school and the students. “I thought that (Speech and

the club’s overnight trips, and the club resumed meetings on Nov. 7 with plans to attend the state and national competitions. Looking forward, the district’s teachers’ association, the Tredyffrin-Easttown Education Association (TEEA), has been

Trey Phillips/The SPOKE

Advising Speech and Debate: Social Studies teacher Corey Davison speaks during a Speech and Debate meeting. Davison, who is new to the district, volunteered to advise the club after it experienced difficulties finding an adviser in the beginning of the year. the school year. “Typically, you leave on a Thursday and get back on a Sunday, so you end up working Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and then the next week,” social studies teacher and former

the New York Model UN conference in spring. Speech and Debate and DECA have also found ways around their initial challenges. Corey Davison, a new social studies teacher, stepped in to

Debate) was something I could contribute to that I have some knowledge about, some passion about, and there was a need that was being unmet,” Davison said. DECA was able to find parents to volunteer to help oversee

working with administration to support teachers who sponsor overnight trips in the future. “The level of responsibility that (teachers) are being asked to take on when they take students away and assume all the

responsibility for a group of students, I think, it’s a lot for them and (can be) uncomfortable,” Principal Amy Meisinger said. Robert Desipio, Physics teacher and president of the TEEA, commented on the contrast between the support systems set in place at school compared to those of overnight trips. “Teachers are always concerned about having all the support they need to handle any situation that will occur with students” Desipio said. “Here at school thats never ever an issue. Depending on the field trip and the number of kids that go, you may have none of that (support system).” For the past few years, administration has given chaperones loaner phones, which allow students on field trips to contact them directly when they need assistance. The district is continuing to look into additional measures that may help teachers feel confident in chaperoning overnight trips. “I’m currently looking to see if there are additional things that we can do to come to a place where teachers are willing to (go on trips),” Meisinger said. “We were looking at the possibility of sending administrators on more trips and if that might help teachers be more willing to step into that overnight role. My hope is that we’re able to support students in the different activities that they want to participate in.”


School board implements literacy-focused changes Dinosaurs dominate the halls

Aishi Debroy and Kate Phillips Staff Reporters

At the school board and education committee meetings on Oct. 28 and Nov. 14, respectively, the school board discussed new changes that they will im-

training for reading teachers and specialists. “We’ve approved money to be able to revamp the (district reading) curriculum. We’ve approved funding for the additional teacher training. We’ve approved the funding for additional data collection and

students reading below the proficiency level. According to Kate Mayer, a parent of a T/E student and a member of the organization, the group wanted increased communication among the teachers, parents and administration. In particular, they hoped to imple-

in reading that is supported by this evidence-based (method), so our goal was to give access to that information to our teachers and to collaborate with our administration to do that,” Mayer said. In addition, board member Kate Murphy proposed a lit-

rate ideas proposed by Everyone Reads T/E by modifying the district’s Curriculum Council, a forum for discussing district educational programs that is made up of faculty, administrators, board members, parents, community members and students. According to Wendy

including updates on reading resources for kindergarten through second grade and literacy-related initiatives for kindergarten through 12th grade. The council intends to hear presentations on literacy from outside experts, discuss changes to the curriculum and address questions about the

Students help Light the Night T/E LIFE

YMCA celebrates Halloween OP/ED

Kate Phillips/The SPOKE

Making changes: Board members Scott Dorsey, Michelle Burger, Mary Itin, Tina Whitlow, Kyle Boyer and Roberta Hotinski and Director of Curriculum, Instruction, Staff Development and Planning Wendy Towle discuss meeting dates for the curriculum council. The board voted against the creation of a literacy council that was proposed by a parent organization but will implement changes to reading in the district through the curriculum council. A visit to HipCityVeg SPORTS

Sisters take the volleyball court

plement on reading in the district this school year. In order to identify issues early on in students’ reading development, these changes will include new screening mechanisms for students, parent access to their children’s reading data through PowerSchool starting in early November, and additional

benchmarks and the ability to be able to communicate that to parents,” board member Todd Kantorczyk said. These changes were propelled in part by the parent organization Everyone Reads T/E, which formed two years ago to address parent concerns regarding the curriculum for

ment the “science of reading” method, which prioritizes evidence-based reading, phonemic awareness and phonics and emphasizes the importance of explicit reading instruction, into the district curriculum. “About 60% of kids do not learn to read effortlessly without specific instruction

eracy council after Everyone Reads T/E suggested the idea, which was intended to promote increased communication between parents and teachers about the current reading curriculum, but the policy committee voted against the proposal on Oct. 1. Instead of creating a new council, the board will incorpo-

Towle, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, Staff Development and Planning, the council plans to meet three to four times starting this year. As stated by Towle in a presentation addressing the school board on Nov. 14, the Curriculum Council will focus on literacy during the 2019-2020 school year,

curriculum from the public. “I am hopeful that this (council) that will have a focus on literacy will not be just for a certain group, but for all of the community to invest (in) and also be educated about literacy moving forward,” board president Scott Dorsey said at the school board meeting on Oct. 28.


Thursday, November 21, 2019


Exploring student eating habits at Conestoga Continued from page 1 Students’ Diets Sophomore Annie Sun started cooking for herself in February in the interest of taking better care of her body. She focuses on nutritious meals that fit her set daily caloric intake, with an emphasis on protein. “When I cook, I think about how many calories are going in it and what food groups are being represented. Every meal, you’re supposed to have a balance of all the food groups, so I make sure that I have everything,” Sun said. Sun, who also grocery shops for herself, believes that pressures from social media play a role in influencing how people think they should eat. “I think the pressure to eat and look a certain way is all part of living in the 21st century, where every time you go on any type of social media, all you see is the perfect body or like the perfect dinner that helps you lose weight,” Sun said. “And all of those add pressure to how we see ourselves, and I feel like that’s the reason why everyone wants to get skinnier and wants to lose weight.” Eating is also associated with the competitive atmosphere of high school. Sophomore Chanelle Ongagna recalls excessively snacking on cheese crackers following her freshman biology midterms. “If you take a test, for example, and you come back afterwards and in your head you’re thinking ‘Oh I should have answered it like this’ and that feeling weighs on you and you want instant gratification, so you start grabbing unhealthy things to eat,” Ongagna said. Student athletes also consider their food when preparing for the season. For student athletes com-

peting in wrestling and rugby, weight makes a difference. After two years in the 182-lb weight class, wrestler and senior Joey Zhou decided to drop down a weight class. By running, lifting, and eating only one sandwich a day, Zhou lost 9 pounds this past September during preseason. “If you’re trying to cut weight for wrestling in such a short amount of time, you need to (have a similar restrictive diet). But I wouldn’t recommend it if you want to be ‘healthy,’” Zhou said. “I bought so many packs of gum so that I could chew on it and not think about being hungry.” However, other students, such as junior Ava Collin, believe that healthy eating does not necessarily require dietary restrictions. As a swimmer, Collin said that she has tried previously to eat “excessively healthy,” she said that she would rather eat what makes her happy even if not necessarily healthy. “I think it’s very important to eat healthy. I do tend to eat on the healthy side, but I also don’t pay attention to it. So I try not to restrict myself. Like if I want to get a pizza, I will get a pizza,” Collin said. General health is another factor students consider when eating. After considering the health benefits and watching a video of pigs getting killed to make pork, senior Simone Skinner cut red meat out of her diet in late August. “I used to eat red meat a lot, like every day, and it kind of changed my mood. So once I cut out red meat, I noticed that I started to become happier and more focused and all that, and I also lost a lot of weight,” Simone said. “I need to weigh myself to see how much, but I noticed that my stomach has gotten way smaller.”

Incorporating Nutrition at School When Dave Preston became TESD’s Director of Food and Nutrition Services in 2004, fryers lined the cafeteria kitchen at Conestoga. About five years later, the district replaced all the fryers with ovens. Now foods that used to be fried, like chicken and fries, are baked. During his 13 years with the district, Preston has overseen changes to TESD food services aimed to improve the nutrition of students’ diets. He decides the school menu each year, adhering to detailed national and state regulations. The National School Lunch Program’s (NSLP) nutrition standards, for example, require that ½ cup of dark green vegetables and 1½ red/orange vegetables be offered in the meal pattern every day at the high school level. When writing meal plans, Preston also considers healthiness and what students have liked in the past. Will this menu item ultimately sell? “If everybody took what was on that menu, it would be a piece of cake (to improve student nutrition). But when we do our nutrition analysis, it’s actually based on what’s taken,” Preston said. “The biggest thing I look at is last time this was on the menu, how many did we sell?” He’s noticed that student preferences have grown “more sophisticated” over his 13 years, and believes that kids are generally eating healthier, too. The hummus plates and salad platters that initially sold poorly at the elementary schools are now much more popular. Sometimes a financial incentive can help encourage that healthy preference. On your way out of the cafeteria, have you noticed the bins of carrots

Claire Guo/The SPOKE

Cost-effective carrots: Junior AJ Luthra checks his lunch out at the register with Chef Jim Delecce. Cafeteria staffers often remind students to buy fruits and vegetables to lessen the cost of the meal, as the government only reimburses the school for meals containing at least three of five food components including at least 1/2 cup of fruits or vegetables.


48% 46% 38%

11% social pressures 10% none of the above 24% food pricing

* the 201 students surveyed were asked to select all choices that affected their diet

and apples by the registers? Two years ago, Preston decided to put those bins by cafeteria registers throughout the district. That way, cafeteria staffers manning the registers can ask students if they’d like to add fruits or vegetables to their lunch and even remind students that buying them may make their meal cheaper. Since the district is only reimbursed by the government for meals containing three of five food components, including at least ½ cup of fruits or vegetables, an addition of carrots or apples often makes for a cheaper lunch. “What’s In A Meal?” posters throughout the cafeteria also remind kids that eating healthier—or at least buying fruits or vegetables—can lower the cost of their meal. “We’re trying to help. So when a student comes up and they have a sandwich and a milk (which is not a reimbursable meal) we say do you want to add an apple or carrots or both? You can take them,” Preston said. Under the TESD Wellness Policy, nutrition and healthful eating is also incorporated into the curriculum across the district. According to Health and Fitness teacher John Jones, nutrition has always been incorporated into the health curriculum, but is being pushed more to the forefront in recent years. “With obesity rates climbing and childhood obesity climbing and diabetes in children rates increasing, health

professionals have sort of made it a point that we need to get this education out to children at younger ages,” Jones said. Similarly, health teacher Marcia Mariani said that it is important for students to realize the long term effects of

Looking to the future Problems such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and other diet-related chronic diseases are not issues that many students have to worry about in their everyday lives. But eating healthy is still paramount to their health, as students start

add as much color and nutrients to your diet.” The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that Americans include foods from all food groups, decrease calories from added sugars and sodium intake, and choose nutrient-dense foods over unhealthier options. They also note, however, that every individual has cultural and personal preferences, and they should adjust to those preferences to easily maintain healthy eating patterns. For Sun, diet is in the small things. When she heats the stove in her kitchen, she greases the pan with olive oil instead of butter as a healthier option. She buys whole grain instead of white bread at the grocery store and bakes her pancakes using quinoa instead of flour. At restaurants, she opts for a salad rather than a greasy hamburger with a side of Health teacher fries. Sun said that students who want to make a shift to determine their eating hab- toward healthier eating tend to its for their future, according to lack the motivation to do so, but dietician Monique Dowd, who once they get onto the path toteaches nutrition classes at the ward a healthy lifestyle, it is not University of Pennsylvania. that difficult to maintain. “We’ve seen this shift where “You have to focus on bethe main problem (in nutrition) ing healthier because if you’re in the early 20th century was the healthier, all the stuff that you lack of food and nutrients avail- want to be will come naturally, able, and now people are dying even though it will take time,” due to an overabundance of Sun said. “Eating healthy honfood, with diseases such as obe- estly boosts my self confidence sity and diabetes,” Dowd said. because I know what I’m doing “So, if possible, students should is making myself better and it strive for five (daily servings of shows through how I go through vegetables and fruits), as well as my everyday life.”

I really wish kids would just (think about) 10, 20 years down the road. Do you want to be able to run around in the yard with your kids, be able to go on trips and travel? If so, your health means everything. Marcia Mariani

what they eat. “I think kids get so focused on the here and now, and I really wish kids would just remember to stretch to ten, twenty, years down the road,” Mariani said. “What do you want your life to be? Do you want to be able to run around in the yard with your kids, do you want to be able to go on trips and travel? If so, your health means everything. And that starts with what you’re putting into your body and how you’re treating your body.”

The Spoke surveyed 10 homerooms, separated by grade level and chosen randomly, regarding student eating habits. In total, The Spoke collected 201 responses. As part of the National School Lunch Program, Conestoga’s weekly cafeteria menu follows national nutritional standards:

* health

Audrey Kim/The SPOKE

Lunch date: Senior Yunge Xiao and junior Daksh Stanislaus eat lunch in the courtyard. According to a survey of students taken by The Spoke, 41 percent of respondents said that they usually bring lunch to school, instead of buying or going out.

At school, do you usually buy, bring or leave school for lunch?


A Requirement-fulfilling meal




Leave school



Food components Requirements amount of food per 5-day week


5 cups


5 cups


10-12 oz.

Meats/Meat Alternates

10-12 oz.


5 cups

Min-Max calories

750-850 kcal

Democrats sweep 2019 school elections Evan Lu

Staff Reporter

Unofficial returns for the 2020 statewide elections on Nov. 5 have been announced. The Chester County government is controlled by the Democratic Party for the first time since the county’s founding in 1682. TESD school board members Roberta Hotinski, Michele Burger, Todd Kantorcyzk, and Mary Garrett Itin were reelected. However, incumbent Republican Katharine Murphy was replaced by Democrat Sue Tiede, while incumbent Republican Edward Sweeney was replaced by Democrat Stacy V Stone.



7/13– 8/26/20 (20 days)

8/3/20 – 10/31/20 (20 days)

Course 1:

Photo illustration by Audrey Kim/The SPOKE

Additionally, Deb Ryan and Fredda Maddox became the first Democratic women to be elected District Attorney and Sheriff for Chester Coun-

ty, respectively. Democrats also secured the township supervisor positions in both the Tredyffrin and Easttown Townships.


Course 2:

T/E LIFE Tiffany He

Co-Managing Editor From teen climate activist Greta Thunberg to the thousands of students who took part in the Global Climate Strike in Philadelpia this September, students around the globe are raising awareness about the health of the planet and ongoing climate change. Spurred by the work of students their age, seniors Anisa Williams and Jenny Li decided to take action. On Nov. 16, the pair hosted the Youth Against Climate Change Panel at the Ludington Library in Bryn Mawr to bring this movement to the Main Line. “We felt like the Main Line wasn’t very active in this department,” Williams said. “Climate change isn’t something that is really tangible on the Main Line; other than the temperature rising a couple degrees, you don’t really notice it. There isn’t an outlet for it, so we wanted to provide that outlet through the panel.” According to Li, one of the main purposes of the panel was to inspire students. In addition to students from ’Stoga, students from the Shipley School, Haverford High School, Garnet Valley High School and the Haverford School also attended, totaling 30 participants. “I think a lot of people — including me, before — thought that since we’re not eighteen yet, we can’t vote or anything, but one of the purposes of this panel and walk is to empower the youth and have them realize that they can make a difference,” Li said.

Local sustainability expert Jen Anderson moderated the event, speaking alongside four other panelists. Before beginning the panel, Anderson emphasized the urgency of the issue and the important role that students play to preserve the environment for future generations. “You may have heard the phrase ‘the window of opportunity is closing’ on making change that will dramatically affect climate change,” Anderson said. “When we say that it’s closing, it’s really about a millimeter away from being closed. We are really at the point where it is dire to act.” Panelist Hayden Remick, a graduate student in sustainable design at Thomas Jefferson University, explained the severity of even the smallest changes in the climate. “If you think of the earth as an organism, as a child who has a fever that increased four degrees, that child is in the hospital. It seems like a small number, but it is actually much more significant,” Remick said. Next, Daniel Fernandez, a freshman at Swarthmore College, spoke about the importance of recognizing climate change as a pressing issue in local communities. “In history, all the events of great social progress for our society have only come when a lot of people have stood and recognized crises as crises,” Fernandez said. “Things like slavery weren’t a crisis until abolitionists called it a crisis, things like sexism and discrimination weren’t a crisis until feminists called it a cri-

Thursday, November 21, 2019 sis, and things like segregation weren’t a crisis until the civil rights movement called it a crisis. The climate movement will not be a crisis unless we call it a crisis.” To provide student input, Williams and Li invited a member of the Greening ’Stoga Task Force, senior Eleanor VanRheenen, to speak at the panel. One of the major focuses in Greening ’Stoga Task Force this year has been instituting greener practices in the cafeteria. “This has been a long process, so it is a big victory for us. We hope to eventually have reusable plates and trays in the cafeteria and are working on that now,” VanRheenen said. Panelist Jess Cadorette, the Chester County Director for Conservation Voters of PA, pushed students to reach out to their local governments by signing petitions, writing letters, scheduling meetings and voting for sustainability-conscious candidates. “In Pennsylvania, we are lucky enough that our state constitution has a line that protects our right to free air and clean water and the preservation of our open spaces, so we need to make sure we are protecting that,” Cadorette said. Members from the Conestoga New Voters club also attended to register eligible voters participating in the event and encourage them to vote for candidates that put the environment at the forefront of their agendas. “With climate change becoming more of a pertinent and urgent issue today, the youth are recognizing that the issues discussed on the ballot today will impact their future,” club president, senior Vidya Patel, said.

seniors host climate change panel Tiffany He/The SPOKE

Trailblazing the way for change: Alongside students from the Shipley School, Haverford High School, Garnet Valley High School and the Haverford School, 'Stoga Pioneers advocate for a greener future on the streets of Bryn Mawr. After the panel, attendees participated in a walk through the streets of Bryn Mawr. With handdrawn signs reading “The future is in our hands” and “There is no Planet B,” students advocated for

a greener future, waving at drivers who honked in agreement as they drove past. Williams is excited to see the changes that are taking place at ’Stoga.

“What’s happening with ’Stoga right now is amazing, but that needs to be continually happening,” Williams said. “Students in high school and college need to (be) observant of how much

plastic intake there is, how much meat you’re eating, how much styrofoam you’re using. It’s kind of the smaller things, but when those things add up, it makes a huge difference.”

Hacking and online safety sparks concern with cybersecurity Abby Carella and Elena Schmidt Staff Reporters

With the rising use of technology and social media, the risk of being hacked is greater than ever. Recently, the district has started launching cybersecurity attack tests. In one instance, an email was sent to a group of staff members at the high school asking them to change their passwords immediately. Luckily, for the faculty members who clicked the link, it was only a test. But, had it

been real, they could have been hacked. Health and gym teacher Marcia Mariani was one of the faculty members who fell victim to this test. “I just got caught on the last one. They send fake ones out all of the time,” Mariani said. This example of hacking is known as phishing. CCRES (Chester County Regional Education Services) paraprofessional Alex Magnanini explained exactly what that means. “You're sent these unsolicited emails with links, and if you click on them, you might be taken to a website that looks

On her 16th birthday, junior Izzy Thornberg opened up a Clay’s Bakery cake box to find seven baby chicks. To some, the lack of dessert might be a disappointment, but Thornberg couldn’t disagree more. “It was like the best birthday gift ever,” Thornberg said. Not many suburban teenage girls

Abby Carella/The SPOKE

Typing away: Chester County Regional Education Services paraprofessional Alex Magnanini explains how the district has sent out cybersecutiry attack tests. Faculty members fell victim to the link sent in the test.

real and legitimate, but it's not. Anything you type in on that website might be recorded, like a password or username, and then stolen,” Magnanini said. The motivations vary between hackers: some might do it as a personal challenge to see how far they get, while others might do it to steal vital information. Teenagers and young adults may think hacking is a good way to get their crush’s attention. “Maybe sometimes with students, you know, they might be targeted because someone likes them and thinks that hacking into the account might impress them, but that is never the case,'' Magnanini said. Even if hacking can seem harmless, it remains a crime, falling under identity theft. Email addresses are easy targets due to insecure passwords and can serve as gateways to stealing credit card information and Social Security cards. The risk of being hacked is also prevalent in social media users.

Sophomore Cookie Jones has had firsthand experience with Instagram direct message hacking. A few months ago, Jones received a direct message from a person she knew. Thinking nothing of it, she clicked the link and was taken to a page that looked identical to the Instagram log in page. Jones entered her username and password, assuming that she had been logged out. It turned out that the direct message was actually a hacked message. The hackers now had all of her login information and used it to send a message to many of her followers. The advice Jones has for others is, “Don’t click on the link.” People frequently ask how they can keep themselves safe from hackers. It is important not to underestimate the necessity of a unique password, which will make it difficult for hackers to easily access information. “Protect yourself. Think defensively in pretty much everything you do,” Mariani said.

Break a leg: Fall play cast takes on comedy Emma Galef, Umar Samdani and Aimee Buttenbaum Staff Reporters, Co-T/E Life Editor The atmosphere in the auditorium is light-hearted with the comedy "The Man Who Came to Dinner," opening Nov. 21 on Wagner Stage. “The Man Who Came to Dinner,” a 1930s comedy, is different from the dramas from the past two years. The main character, Sheridan Whiteside, played by senior J.P. Infortuna, is an egotistical radio celebrity who goes to dinner at the estate of a wealthy factory owner. While there, Whiteside breaks his hip and must stay at the house in a wheelchair for the remainder of the play. Infortuna enjoys the humor in this year’s play in comparison to the serious feel of past productions.

have a lot of fun now, but the difference is, now the audience can laugh along with us,” Infortuna said. Sophomore Becca Erwin, who plays the female lead, Maggie Cutler, also enjoys the light-hearted nature of rehearsals. “We tend to laugh at the jokes, but it’s still taken seriously,” Erwin said. “I love working with the cast. Everyone is so nice and supportive, and we are all close.” While Infortuna finds the entire play to be humorous, he believes that when senior Will Dusinberre comes on stage, the comedy really kicks in. “I love being on stage with Will; there is no greater joy in my life. He doesn't come on until the end, so I’m a little tired, but when he comes on I get a second wind,” Infortuna said. One challenge that the comedy has brought to the

Hansen Yi for The SPOKE

Stepping onstage: Senior J.P. Infortuna sits in a wheelchair during rehearsal while playing the main character of "The Man Who Came to Dinner," Sheridan Whiteside, alongside his fellow cast member, junior Claire Jenkins. “Ethan Overton plays a character named Bert Jefferson, and he has a drunk scene that took me about a week to get through w it hout l a u g h i n g ,” Infortuna said. “On Monday, we ran the show, and Ethan did something different in that scene, and I lost it. I couldn’t keep it together.”

The difference is, now the audience can laugh along with us. “In looking at ‘The Miracle Worker’ and ‘The Crucible,’ we had a lot of fun, and we

cast is trying not to laugh at their own jokes or other characters’ lines while performing.

Fellow actor and sophomore Parth Patel appreciates working with the talented cast and has adapted well to the comedic theme. “We have to try to not laugh at certain parts now that it’s a comedy,” Patel said. “My favorite scene involves one of the main characters getting drunk and stumbling around the stage.” Not only has the actual acting been different for a comedy, but Infortuna thinks learning his lines has been a different experience as well. “I would say ‘Crucible’ was the hardest because it was the

most flowery language, but ‘Miracle Worker’ and (‘The Man Who Came to Dinner’) have the same difficulty of the lines, I would say, because with certain jokes you need to make sure you have the exact wording,” Infortuna said. While Infortuna is proud of the play itself, he also commends the young cast of underclassmen for all of their hard work and talent. “It's a really young cast. A lot of people haven't even done the play before,” Infortuna said. “It’s an exceptional group of young people. The future of ’Stoga theater is very bright."

T/E Life

Thursday, November 21, 2019


Seniors with passion for pottery launch businesses

Teacher Feature: Robert Desipio

Sanjana Sanghani Staff Reporter

Youtuber JonthePotter has managed to combine his two interests—coffee and pottery, a seemingly unorthodox combination—into a coffee shop called Mocha Monkey that sells his handmade pottery. Inspired by this business venture, seniors Myles Pittman and Chase Wurth decided to turn their pottery creations into a business of their own. Since last year, Pittman and Wurth have started selling their pottery online through social media. According to Wurth, prospective customers usually contact him through Instagram and choose pieces — that he has already posted on his account — for him to recreate. Wurth also explains that the price varies from piece to piece because throwing large amounts of clay is difficult. A mug or cup may cost $10 or $15, but a six to 10 pound vase may cost $40. “Because throwing about 10 pounds of clay is harder to center, the piece takes more time and the price is adjusted,” Wurth said. “You have to put time and effort in order to do this and if you get distracted for a second, it’s hard to come back from that.”

Wurth also says that he has sold four pieces so far — three bottles and one vase that was displayed in the lobby during National Art Honor Society induction night. “I feel a sense of accomplishment that people are actually willing to spend money on something I made,” Wurth said. Pittman said he was primarily inspired to take a ceramics class during his freshman year because he enjoyed making pottery with his brother. Similarly, senior Chase Wurth also enrolled in a ceramics class to “further his knowledge” of the art form. “When I first got started, ceramics was really popular. But I really continued taking these classes to push myself. I would see these advanced students and it made me want to be the best I could be,” Wurth said. According to Pittman, throwing keeps him “challenged.” For Wurth, creating pottery provides him an “outlet” to channel his creativity. “Ceramics has definitely taught me not to be afraid of what you’re passionate about. Now that I’m so open about this hobby [because I was so hesitant before], I feel I have more freedom,” Wurth said.

Mira Harris/The SPOKE

Teaching potential: Physics teacher Robert Desipio stands in his classroom. Desipio has taught at Conestoga for 24 years and finds teaching to be a very rewarding experience.

Mira Harris Staff Reporter

In front of the entrance to the track is science teacher Robert Desipio’s favorite tree. To most, it doesn’t look like much, but Desipio describes it as a “large version of the very scraggly Charlie Brown Christmas tree.” He is relieved that no one has decided to cut it down yet. “ That tree, to me, is a metaphor for teaching and what I want my students to do. When I look at that tree, it simply says I’m trying, it’s not doing real well, but it’s trying. It’s not dead,” Desipio said. Growing up in Bucks County, just outside of Philadelphia, Desipio’s love for the

classroom fueled his passion for teaching. “I always enjoyed school as a student, so school was a very comfortable place for me to be,” Desipio said. Desipio started at Conestoga during the 1996-97 school year. He has spent the

such as freshman Mechanics, Electricity and Magnetism, and Thermodynamics. As one of the teachers with the most seniority at Conestoga, Desipio has been president of the Tredyffrin Easttown Teachers Association (TEEA) for the past seven

grievance chair for Conestoga teachers. “A lot of people picture the union administration as a body that just sits around butting heads, but we strive to work together as much as we can all the time,” Desipio said. As many of his students

“Students create these stories that we were roommates in college, and now we’re still roommates, and we do everything together, which is not true; we carpool together,” Desipio said. In his 24th year of teaching at Conestoga, Desipio says he has no plans of g o i n g any where else anyt i m e soon. For Desipio, the most rewarding part of teaching is developing a connection with his students. He takes pride in the atmosphere the school provides and the growth that he sees from students. “Any time I feel like I’m positively impacting anybody, it makes me really proud of what I do,” Desipio said.

Any time I feel like I’m positively impacting anybody, it makes me really proud of what I do.” majority of his time at ‘Stoga in Room 283, where he has taught everything from 9thgrade Physical Science to AP Physics. Desipio’s first experiences with teaching were at Lehigh University, where he earned a master’s and doctorate in physics. There, he was a teaching assistant for courses

years. The association strives to provide a public voice for T/E teachers and to prepare every T/E student for success. Desipio has been involved in TEEA for the past twenty years.. Before becoming the president, he started as a building representative and also spent some time as a

know, Desipio has been carpooling with math teacher Paul Poiesz for the past fifteen years. As Desipio’s students have a lot of misconceptions about their relationship, he wants to clarify that this arrangement is purely for “environmental and economic reasons,” Desipio said.

Sanjana Sanghani/The SPOKE

At the wheel: Senior Myles Pittman sits at the pottery wheel in the ceramics room. After beginning ceramics classes, Pittman has been able to unleash his creativity with pottery.

Working the catwalk: student models hit the runway Aditi Dahagam & Julia Harris Staff Reporters

Courtesy Ellena Hocevar

On the runway: Senior Ellena Hocevar walks down the runway at a Lord and Taylor fashion show. Modeling has helped Hocevar become more confident about herself.

With butterflies in her stomach and adrenaline rushing through her veins, senior Ellena Hocevar strutted down the runway at the Lord and Taylor Fashion Show held in Philadelphia this past March. This event helped her realize how much she loved modeling, making it one of her most valuable memories. Hocevar began modeling when she was 15 years old and currently models with W Talent Management in New York City. “I sort of fell in love with (modeling) as I went because I’ve always enjoyed being behind the camera and on camera and getting to test out new fashions and styles,” Hocevar said. Although Hocevar has a difficult school load and plays varsity soccer on top of modeling, she continues to model. “I would never want to quit. I would just find ways to manage my time around that (modeling). I feel like modeling is how I express myself and a way that I can be bold and stand out,” Hocevar said. Hocevar began with shoots on the smaller side but hopes to branch out and work with bigger companies such as American Eagle. Modeling has also helped Hocevar grow as a person. “I’ve matured a lot. I like learning new things, and I branched out a lot more. I’ve also become more confident with myself,” Hocevar said. Like Hocevar, sophomore Kaitlin Campbell started modeling after she began taking acting classes. She currently models for I.T.S. Mod-

els and Talent in Lancaster and MMG Model, Talent and Celebrity Management in New York. Campbell mentioned that working with the photographers is one of her favorite parts of modeling. The photographers are always ener-

getic and get her excited for the photo shoots. “The photographers in print especially like to dance, actually,” Campbell said. “It sounds weird, but they like to have fun, and if that means embarrass themselves a little, they will.”

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

Courtesy Kaitlin Campbell

Modeling star: Sophomore Kaitlin Campbell poses for a photo. Campbell’s favorite part of modeling is working with the photographers.

T/E Life


Thursday, November 21, 2019




Story by Aimee Buttenbaum, Co-T/E Life Editor Design by Reese Wang, Design Editor This summer, Mariah Carey’s song “Obsessed” was reinvented from its 2009 debut as the background song to a viral dance on the newest booming social media app — TikTok. Launched on the market in September of 2017, TikTok gained popularity this past year, becoming the third most downloaded app in the first quarter of 2019. 188 million new users flooded the app. TikTok entered sophomore Hailey Leon’s life in the summer of 2018 as she was starting ninth grade. “I saw an ad for it on Snapchat and thought I’d give it a

try. At first, I thought it was like, and I didn’t want to download it, but I tried it out and got addicted,” Leon said. Starting out as, the app is a social media platform for users to post videos with some form of audio playing over top. The company ByteDance rebranded the app to become TikTok in order to expand the content from solely lip-syncing-based videos to dance and comedy videos. “I make both funny and dancing (TikToks), but I do more dancing ones with friends as jokes,” Leon said.

These “dancing videos” are an iconic trademark of the app. Normally lasting about 15 seconds, choreographed dances to specific songs go viral across the TikTok community. Making TikToks with friends is just one of the things junior Megan Alexander likes about the app. “There is a really big social side to the app. You and your friends can get together to film the dance videos and other TikToks, and I always see people making them in public,” Alexander said. One of Leon’s videos shows her with three cheer teammates before a game, performing a cho-

Hailey Leon

reographed dance they saw on TikTok and remade to a 2019 “Dance Mashup”. Besides dance videos, Leon uses the app to pursue her passion in makeup. “It’s a really simple social media app that you can use to express yourself,” Leon said. “I’m really into makeup and TikTok has opened another platform that I can use to grow my followers. I also find a lot of makeup inspiration on there.” Lately, people have been trying to become “TikTok famous” by making funny videos in hopes that they receive a lot of views. TikTok also

has an element called the “For You” page, where popular videos show up. Getting a video on this page would be considered going somewhat “viral.” Many of senior Ryan Coghlan’s TikToks have gotten thousands, and some millions, of views. Making mostly comedy videos, Coghlan has racked up 1.9 million views on one of his videos. “I was making (TikToks) as a joke to prove to girls that were trying to become famous that I could do it first,” Coghlan said. Not only do people enjoy making videos, they enjoy

watching the videos for hours on end. “It can be easy to get carried away on the app,” Alexander said. “Sometimes you can end up watching them for too long, and it can interfere with homework.” While many other social media apps have come and gone, Alexander believes TikTok will remain popular. “I think, personally, (TikTok) is going to last a few more years because people are really into getting famous from it, and it has really funny content,” Alexander said.

Ryan Coghlan

How to create a TikTok

Step 1: Look up a sound or dance trend.

Step 2: Create your video.

Step 3: Write a caption and upload.

Step 4: Watch your video and explore!

T/E Life

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Devin Bradley


Thanksgiving, as America now knows it, originated from the harvest feast of the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag Indians. Nowadays, Thanksgiving has evolved to be a celebration of a good year as well as a day for spending time with family. Sophomore Devin Bradley celebrates Thanksgiving with his mom, his one-year-old sister, his sister in college, his aunt and her family. “We usually wake up early to get a head start on food since most of the food takes hours of prep time,” Bradley said. They make food such as jerk chicken, baked macaroni and cheese, cranberry sauce, corn bread, greens and pumpkin pie. “During all of (the cooking), we turn on football and listen to old R&B,” Bradley said. “(Thanksgiving) means family time because everyone in my family works so Thanksgiving is the time of the year when we can all catch up with each other and relax,” Bradley said.

Pongal, a harvest festival, is often celebrated by Hindus in South India. Sophomore Shreeya Gomattam and her family celebrate Pongal instead of Thanksgiving. “My parents never celebrated (Thanksgiving) when they grew up, so we just never started,” Gomattam said. Gomattam and her family often clean their house and wear new clothing on Pongal. “Since we are in America, there isn’t really a feast, but there’s a special rice pudding made with unrefined sugar called jaggery,” Gomattam said. Houses usually have a shrine with pictures of the main Hindu gods. The pudding is placed in front, along with a string with leaves, as an offering. “Pongal represents the new harvest. Although we don’t really have a harvest here, it’s still an important holiday that we celebrate,” Gomattam said.

Oriana Riley

Shreeya Gomattam

On Thanksgiving Day, junior Oriana Riley celebrates with her mother and her mother’s Slavic friends at a potluck meal. “My mom is from Ukraine, so she didn’t really celebrate Thanksgiving here, but it definitely affected the way we do Thanksgiving now,” Riley said. The potluck includes traditional American dishes like turkey, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole as well as Eastern European and Slavic dishes like pierogis, cabbage salad and beet salad. “We have a bunch of food from around different parts of Eastern Europe, and (the potluck) is really fun,” Riley said. While Riley does not celebrate the traditional American Thanksgiving, the day is still meaningful to her. “Thanksgiving, to me, means unity and being family with people who are unrelated to you for the night,” Riley said.

around the world Design, photos and story by Hyunjin Lee, Co-T/E Life Editor

Senior Karen Xu celebrates the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival with her family and friends. “It’s a day for families and couples to celebrate family and life, and there is usually cake and a party, and we all enjoy the full moon,” Xu said. A key component of the Mid-Autumn Festival is mooncakes, Chinese pastries that are shared with friends and family in celebration of the full moon. According to Xu, the mooncake originates from a Chinese traditional fairy tale where a young wife flies to the moon. “The full moon represents the presence of the young woman, and she’s looking down upon her husband,” Xu said. The festival is a day for families to get together and reflect on the past year. “To me, the holiday means family because my parents will go out of their way to not schedule business on that day. We all sit down together and talk about things that are bothering us,” Xu said. Aside from the Mid-Autumn Festival, Xu also celebrates Thanksgiving. Karen Xu

Adyan Chowdhury

On Thanksgiving, freshman Adyan Chowdhury goes to his parents’ friend’s house for a get-together. According to Chowdhury, a lot of the people who come are Bengali, so the Thanksgiving meal has a mix of both American and Bengali food like samosas; rice; Bengali-style chicken; and dahl, a stew made from lentils. Although Chowdhury practices Islam, religion is not the main focus on Thanksgiving. “It is more of a get-together rather than a religious day. However, the parents do acknowledge Islam before we eat,” Chowdhury said. He and his family have maghrib (afternoon prayer) and isha (night prayer) once they arrive at the house. During Thanksgiving, Chowdhury has a chance to socialize with friends he normally only sees in religious settings. “The community aspect of Islam really shows during Thanksgiving. It's a time to chill and calm down, especially since most of us are busy because of school and/or work,” Chowdhury said.

Chuseok, which roughly translates to “Autumn Eve,” is a harvest festival celebrated in South Korea on the 15th day of the eighth month on the lunar calendar. This year, Chuseok fell on Sept. 13. Families traditionally gather together to give thanks to their ancestors and the plentiful harvest. “(Chuseok) means a lot to me because of the custom where we pay our respects to our elders,” senior Jihee Lee said. Lee and her family honor her grandfather by bowing to a photo of him and offering him food and alcohol. On Chuseok, Lee’s family prepares different dishes, such as soup with meat and green onions, fried tofu, kimchi, seasoned cucumbers, and rice cakes. “My family and I go simple with the celebration because we are in America,” Lee said. Lee and her family celebrate Thanksgiving as well. “(Thanksgiving) is a time we get to spend with our relatives,” Lee said.

Jihee Lee

While a typical American Thanksgiving may include a huge feast, turkey and family reunions, junior Gregory Lahr and his family celebrate the American Thanksgiving on a smaller scale. “I usually just celebrate with my immediate family. We don’t watch the football game or the Macy’s Parade,” Lahr said. During Thanksgiving break, Lahr usually visits a family member or a vacation spot, and his family celebrates with either a Thanksgiving lunch or dinner. According to Lahr, the meal typically consists of mashed potatoes, chicken and bread, and for dessert, pumpkin pie. “Even though most people eat turkey, my family likes chicken more,” Lahr said. Thanksgiving day is special for him because he gets valuable family time. “For me, Thanksgiving is spending time with my family and eating good food,” Lahr said. Gregory Lahr


Thursday, November 21, 2019

Healthy eating should not be as stressful as it is Intermittent fasting, keto diet, Mediterranean diet, Paleo diet. The year of 2019 is a time of extreme attention to what we eat, especially at Conestoga. And that is not a bad thing. It is important that we eat healthy, but with all of the constant calorie counting and excessive belief in the universal “right� diet, one begins to question if this is the best thing to do. One begins to wonder why everyone feels like they need to eat a certain way when it would be better for them to follow a general plan of healthy eating. Dieting is often about limiting consumption, but in reality, there are many other factors that determine whether diets work. Lifestyle and genes are just two of them. For example, a study performed at Texas A&M University revealed that people of a certain genetic type who were accustomed to an American-style diet

became heavier upon switching to a Japanese-style diet and an Atkins-like diet. A particular diet’s effectiveness truly depends on the person. According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, there has been success in diets that focus on high-quality foods (i.e. minimally processed food) as well as low-carbohydrate, high-protein and highfat diets. One popular dieting pattern that has made its way into ’Stoga is intermittent fasting, in which adherers skip certain meals. The rationale is that brief periods of fasting will decrease overall calorie consumption. However, it is not all about the calories. A prominent risk is nutritional deficiency. According to the Cleveland Clinic, people who fast intermittently can have low levels of calcium, vitamin B12 and iron, which are important for growth.

If someone’s goal is weight loss and they are able to maintain their nutritional health, intermittent fasting may be a viable option for them. But even if a particular diet works for someone else, it will not 100% work for you. Feeling pressured to eating a certain way can contribute to the development of eating disorders, per Mayo Clinic. There is no one-size-fits-all diet. Instead, everyone should eat healthy proportions of each food group. The National Institutes of Health makes it simple: half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables; eat whole grains and protein-rich foods; consume dairy, but limit saturated and trans fats as well as added sugars. Add on portion-control, 60-minutes of exercise per day and no skipped meals and that is all high school students need. We all already have enough stress in our lives with home-

work, tests and extracurriculars. Over-worrying about what we eat is superfluous, something we can’t afford to have on our plate. So go

ahead and eat that meal of McNuggets and fries once in a while. Buy that milkshake you have been craving. Treat yourself. You deserve it.

Coco Kambayashi/The SPOKE

From the Editors: It’s time to get cooking Charity Xu/The SPOKE

The Spoke Editorial Board voted unanimously 15-0 in favor of this editorial.

Girls in Boy Scouts makes sense to me now

Matthew Fan

Co-Opinion Editor But it’s Boy Scouts. In May of 2018, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) announced that it would begin to include girls in a newly-named Scouts BSA program (originally called Boy Scouts). I was uncomfortable. After all, for me — a scout since I was six years old — it only made sense to have the Boy Scouts program be for boys and the Girl Scouts program be for girls. However, more than nine months removed from implementation, I have realized the reasonableness of this new policy. BSA conducted its own survey and found that 87 percent of parents not involved with scouting were interested in a program like Scouts BSA for their daughters. Families are busier than ever; there are more single-parent families today; and many underserved communities, including those of Hispanic and Asian ethnicities, prefer to do activities as a family. Brothers and sisters participating in scouting together would help these families.

The inclusion of girls in the BSA is not new. Venturing, Sea Scouts and Exploring, which are similar to Scouts BSA, have been open to girls since 1998, 1972 and 1971, respectively. These three programs have functioned successfully for multiple decades, so it was not an unfounded decision on the BSA’s part to incorporate girls into Scouts BSA. Moreover, boys and girls have separate troops in Scouts BSA. Therefore, the single-gender model (with transgender children being able to join a troop based on what gender is listed on their application), which enabled the original Boy Scouts program to gain its reputation, is untampered. Moreover, most activities are kept separate, so both boys and girls have the opportunity to take on leadership roles. I have seen the effectiveness when this model is applied to girls. My troop, Devon 50, established its own girls troop soon after BSA allowed it. In early October, I was working at Camp Jarvis, Devon 50’s campsite, and members of both troops attended. I worked alongside some of the founding members of the girls troop, and it was amazing to see how far they had come in a short period of time. They were following the same organization of leadership, earning the same ranks and completing the same merit badges. I realized that the BSA’s main

principles, as outlined by the Scout Oath and Law, were now being taught to everyone who wanted to learn them. Despite the progress the BSA has made in opening its programs up to all youth of eligible age, the organization has faced backlash, especially from the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. The Girl Scouts sued the BSA over the trademark issue of using “Scouts� in its name (Scouts BSA), claiming that it was making it seem that the Girl Scouts had merged with the BSA. As a result, the Girl Scouts believed that the BSA was taking away some of its potential membership. The problem with this sentiment is freedom of choice. These two storied programs are not the same, and rightfully so. Girls now have the option to choose the path they want to follow: for example, if they want more emphasis on rank advancements (i.e. Scout rank to Eagle Scout rank), they can join Scouts BSA, and if they wish to gradually develop proficiency in a badge area (e.g. Environmental Stewardship), they can join Girl Scouts. By allowing girls to choose, the BSA creates a group of more passionate scouts who will work diligently to achieve success.

There is a common purpose in both Scouts BSA and the Girl Scouts — to prepare young boys and girls for life by teaching them skills and values. Why should gender restrict someone from learning these lessons? Perhaps one day, the Girls Scouts will afford boys the same opportunity to choose the scouting organization of their choice. But, more importantly, I have learned that there is nothing wrong with Scouts BSA cur-

rently being for both boys and girls. There are now more options than ever before in scouting. It is important that girls take advantage of this new opportunity. The inclusion of girls in Scouts BSA is not a hindrance to what boys learn in their troops. Instead, now the skills, values and lessons of scouting can be spread to a wider population. There is no need to be uneasy. Change is normal. So embrace it, and scout on.

Drew Ge

Guest Columnist With colder weather just around the corner, one would expect the general public to look a little paler; sometimes, the snow and ice make it harder to get that good vitamin D. Turns out, though, you don’t really need sunlight these days to get that perfect golden tan. You can get it in a can year-round. Walking into your nearest pharmacy, you might discover aisles upon aisles of tanning options, varying from lotions to sprays to foams. Driving in

have stepped into a tanning bed even just once develop a 75% increased risk of developing life-threatening melanoma be-



Editors-in-Chief: Claire Guo, Audrey Kim Managing Editors: Tiffany He, Melinda Xu News Editor: Richard Li T/E Life Editors: Aimee Buttenbaum, Hyunjin Lee Opinion Editors: Andrew Bucko, Matthew Fan Sports Editor: Ananya Kulkarni Design Editor: Reese Wang Copy Editor: Sophia Pan Multimedia Editor: Alex Gurski

Business Managers: Andrew Fessick Cartoonists: Coco Kambayashi, Trey Phillips, Elena Schmidt, Charity Xu Staff Reporters: Emma Clarke, Abigail Carella, Alexis Costas, Aditi Dahagam, Aishi Debroy, Emma Galef, Julia Harris, Mira Harris, Akshita Joshi, Evan Lu, Gavin Merschel, Kate Phillips, Trey Phillips, Devon Rocke, Hiba Samdani, Umar Samdani, Sanjana Sanghani, Elena Schmidt, Zakiyah Gaziuddin Webmaster: Katherine Lee Faculty Advisers: Cyndi Crothers-Hyatt, Susan Gregory

Burnt pancakes. Too much salt in those boiled vegetables. A sink filled with dirty dishes. Those are common scenes for some of us, but they also illustrate a lesson that personally, we both have been putting off for far too long. Seniors, it’s time we learn how to cook. No longer should we rely on Mom to make her classic lasagna or on the reliable kebab place down the street. We’ll be heading off to college next year, eager to explore what the world has to offer. But that also comes with independence and the ability to make good choices. While some can survive on instant ramen and bottled water for four years, it’d be infinitely more valuable and nutritious if we learned how to cook our favorite dishes ourselves, starting now. Away from home, many of us will start facing financial independence, imposed by allowances or by our money-conscious selves. (Knock knock. Who’s there? It’s student debt.) At college, dining halls and often pricey local restaurants will be our only options. Unless‌ we create a third, cheaper option, one we have complete control over.

Charity Xu/The SPOKE

concentrated UVA rays, the things in sunlight that literally give you cancer. UVB rays are the ones that provide vitamin D, and unfortunately, those are exclusive to the sun. By tanning, you’re taking an obscene number of risks, including but not limited to potential skin cancer, early aging and a countless stream of Cheeto jokes. Before you say “ok boomer� and go back to rubbing Sephora self-tanner on your face, just know that these new lotions and sprays could be just as risky. The main active ingredient is DHA Charity Xu/The SPOKE (dihydroxyacetone), which was discovfore the age of 35. Think about ered accidentally in the 1960s it; you’re blasting your skin with when a medicine containing it

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


Stand-alone cartoon

Beware: the darker side of spray tanning your local shopping centers, you’ll find that there are parlors dedicated to the art of artificial browning; but can a man-made melanin booster really do the same for you as some time under the sun? The short answer is no. Countless studies show the inevitable damage that results from indoor tanning. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit global organization devoted to educating the public about skin cancer, those who

Claire Guo and Audrey Kim

Imagine the power you could wield over your hungry, tiredof-dining-halls roommates. Sure, Janet can have some of your famous buffalo chicken wings. As soon as she unclogs the shower drain. Learning how to cook will save us money in the long run, too. In 2011, New York Times writer Mark Bittman compared a meal for a family of four at McDonald’s to a homecooked meal of roast chicken, potatoes and a salad. Based on prices in a Brooklyn grocery store, the McDonald’s meal was $14 more than the homecooked meal. And there are far worse things to be doing in your free time. Not only is cooking a good way to relieve stress after a long day of school, but it also allows us to learn how to cook our own favorite foods and build healthy habits. No longer will we have to rely on our parents to make fried chicken and mashed potatoes. And unlike instant ramen and frozen Swedish meatballs, we have the benefit of knowing what exactly is in our food when we cook. And cooking is, let’s be real, the best way to impress a date in college. And you know that one kid who brought homemade brownies to class on a whim? The kid everybody thanked with mouths full of chocolatey goodness? You could be that kid. Why anguish over college app decisions when you could be chopping onions instead? Wherever you go, the food you cook will still be cheaper, healthier and if you work at it enough, tastier. So let’s get cooking.

was found to stain skin brown. While DHA is approved for external use, it has been untested in regards to inhalation or application to mucous membranes, including most of the facial area. In fact, there are a lot of tanners and bronzers that are untested; there aren’t any FDA regulations in regard to these types of cosmetics and many of these products are so new to the market that we just don’t know what the effects will be in the future. If the statistics haven’t been enough to convince you to stop abusing your skin, then hopefully this will: it straight up doesn’t look good. It’s already strange enough to see that iconic borderline-orange skin tone during the holiday season; having your hands be a completely different shade only makes things worse. In the Victorian era, tans meant “poor people.� In the 21st century, spray tans mean “poor judgment.�

Non-staff contributions: Non-staff contributions from students, the community, graduates or other interested parties are welcome. Editors will decide which contributions are published based on space and relevance to the community. All contributions must conform to journalistic practices, including accuracy, timeliness, purpose and writing conventions. The Spoke reserves the right to work with the contributor to meet these standards. All outside contributions are bylined. Editorials: 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. Paid advertisements: The Spoke accepts paid advertisements. Email

Coco Kambayashi/The SPOKE @thespoke @thespoke /thespoke the_spoke


Thursday, November 21, 2019


Cruel vs crueler: faux fur not as ecofriendly as it seems

Andrew Bucko

Co-Opinion Editor Fur’s role in the fashion industry is on a swift decline. Michael Kors, Gucci and Versace’s commitments to phase out the fabric are just ripples in the outgoing tide of fur usage. Once the premier fabric of the world’s elite, the driving force behind American exploration and the down jacket before the down jacket, the crusade against fur is more active than ever before. Finally, it seems, PETA’s infamous “flour bombings” of celebrities like Kim Kardashian have resonated with consumers and brands alike. Cue the rise of faux fur, a seemingly innocent alternative. This synthetic twin is cheaper to produce and is widely available to the masses. No animals were harmed in the making of your H&M coat.

But brace for the environment’s suffering for centuries to come. Faux fur contains a cocktail of petrochemicals, plastics and polymers; all of which can take 1,000 years to return to the earth. Real fur can biodegrade in six months. Sure, purchasing a faux product today will spare the life of a mink or fox. Meanwhile, 8.7 million species of animals will live beside that product for a millennium. Just why is faux fur so bad? Beyond decomposing at a snail’s pace, production of bootleg pelts leaves a huge carbon footprint. Between the mining of raw materials, emissions produced from molten plastic, and runoff from dye, faux fur is more problematic for mother nature. Not to mention that faux fur forms plastic microbeads, which accumulate to toxic levels in saltwater fish. Sushi, anyone? While fur is demonized for its role in animal killing, most furs available to consumers come from creatures that face no risk of dwindling populations. Farmed minks and robust (and often invasive) populations of foxes, rabbits and coyotes are the primary sources of global fur

consumption. Minks are the most polluting of the pack, as they rely on an all meat diet that produces greenhouse gas emissions. Rabbits, on the other hand, are herbivores and don’t need to be raised in captivity. Australia alone has 200 million invasive rabbits with a 17:1 ratio of rabbits to Aussies. As for foxes and coyotes, they are primarily harvested from the wild (meaning a neutral carbon footprint). Still disturbed by the thought of killing an adorable creature for frivolous protection from the cold? Used furs are widely available in consignment stores. Second-hand fur promotes a cruelty- and pollution-free alternative to synthetic fibers, all while maintaining a timeless look. Luckily, faux fur is slowly evolving to be sustainable. Designer Stella McCartney recently introduced a fur dupe made with 37 percent plant matter and recyclable polyester. How much do these eco-friendly furs cost, you may wonder? An entry-level coat of hers will run you $1000+, and it’s a coat still containing plastic polymers. Baby steps, baby steps.

Report Card


Call of Duty Mobile

+ Maps, characters and nostalgia - Clunky controls

Airpods Pro + Noise cancelling, better Bluetooth range - Ridiculously expensive

Library Stink Bomb

Coco Kambayashi/The SPOKE

No more fruit and mint Juul flavors

“I mean, it’s bad for animals, but like, I feel like when you buy it, it's pretty expensive. Not a lot of people can afford it already, but it should still be lowered. I think it’s ok to use when an animal has already died.”

-John Nielson, freshman


+ Hopefully fewer teens vape

- Lorenzo


Vargas-Clarke, sophomore

- Sorry to those adults who do vape

Q: How do you feel about the use of fur as a garment? KSI vs Logan Paul

“It doesn’t bother me as much as it does other people because I guess I don’t pay really close attention. I have heard that fake fur is made from plastic, but so are things like polyester. Real fur is bad, but so are other things we wear.”

“I think that fur usage is bad because it requires animal cruelty. I encourage second-hand fur because it makes use of something that has already been killed and creates no waste.”

-Phoebe Hutton,



Melinda Xu

Co-Managing Editor Starting this year, College Board has implemented a new AP registration policy. Rather than registering and paying for their exams in March, students now have to register by November. The company claims that this change to earlier registration will help students, that “commitment translates into more students taking the exam and earning college credit” and that the new policies had “the strongest effect for students who are traditionally underrepresented in AP.” They back their claims with data drawn from their 2018 pilot program that tested the new fall registration on 40,000 students. I, however, am skeptical. First of all, forcing students to make a decision only two months into learning the curriculum is very rushed. With the old policy, students would have taken most of the course by March and would be able to properly evaluate how ready they are for the exam. Now, we no longer have that time to figure out if we’re willing to invest in an AP exam. At $94 a test, committing to an examination is no casual affair, and College Board doesn’t make it any easier for us with a $40 cancellation fee and a $40 late fee. This puts undue pressure on students to commit towards their exams, particularly for low-income students. College Board claims this pressure is good and that it encourages students to study and pass the exams in the spring. But of course College Board would like it when more

students take the test: each test registered is $94 in their pocket. In fact, according to IRS forms, in 2017 when they first increased AP exam prices to $94 per test, the company experienced a profit growth of $102 million, earning a total profit of $139 million. Maybe the exorbitant price tags and early commitment would be worth it if it actually helped students. But surprise! It doesn’t. According to an analysis of College Board’s published data on their pilot program done by Total Registration, a company that helps school districts register for various standardized tests including AP exams, out of 3,141 low-income students at the pilot schools who decided to take the exam, only 742 passed their exams. That’s a 23.6 percent passing rate, 12.1 percent lower than the overall passing rate for low-income students at those schools and 36.1 percent lower than the national average. This poor passing rate for low-income students is 4 percent lower than

in the previous year, a decrease that’s two times more than in the two years prior to the implemention of fall registration. It’s clear to see, then, that the new registration policy actually harms students, particularly those that College Board claims to help the most with this new schedule: the underrepresented and low-income. We have to face it. College Board isn’t thinking with us students in mind. They’re thinking about the money they can earn. So next time you go to sign up for your exams, really consider how worth it the exam is. Obviously, there are benefits to AP exams and AP credit, but don’t allow the pressure of college and the need to always “be the best” force you to waste $94 on a test you don’t want to take. Instead, take the exams in topics that you are truly passionate about or that you know you can pass. That way, you can still benefit from the AP program without falling victim to College Board’s greed.

Elena Schmidt/The SPOKE


-Uh oh, Stinky...

“It’s pretty gross of people to wear fur. wearing a little bit isn’t terrible, but a coat that takes like 12 dead animals is terrible.”

New AP registration harms, not helps



+ Someone won this time - Mediocre fighting; controversial calls

Alexys Padilla, senior

Stanmail: the evolution from fan to absolute stan

Sophia Pan Copy Editor

stan (n.) - overzealous, overly devoted fan or stalker; originating from Eminem’s 2000 song “Stan” Dear Conner Stoga, I discovered your channel today while browsing the deep recesses of YouTube. Your killer voice and million dollar smile won me over immediately, and soon enough, I found myself binging all of your videos. You’ve got yourself a new fan! I also followed all of your other social media accounts. Your life is really interesting, and you take the coolest pictures. #notificationsquad! I’m SO excited for you to go on tour next month. Yours truly, Stanfanie Conner Stoga, I saw you on tour today — you looked SO cool on stage! I’m so proud to be a Stoganator! I totally stan you, and you have all my support. I might have lost my hearing, but it’s okay because I got to see you! But… I seriously can’t believe I missed your meet and greet! My chance to meet you, gone like the wind! Woe is me… I’ll drown my sorrows by watching your videos, and hopefully seeing your gorgeous face and brilliant personality will brighten my pathetic life. I won’t miss your meet and greet next time. Yours, Stanfanie

Coco Kambayashi/The SPOKE

Conner, OMG. You are even more incredible in person than you are on camera! Best. Day. Of. My. Life! You were so kind, even when you shoved that girl and dropped that baby (all of which was an accident, I’m sure — my Conner Stoga being mean? Nonsense). I just can’t believe I shook hands with you, THE Conner Stoga! SCREAM! You’re the best YouTuber ever, and it blows my mind that there exist people who dare to speak ill of your enlightened name! I came across one such pathetic, lying lowlife from the anti-Stoga crowd earlier today. That wretch dared to claim that your videos are unoriginal and bland, that you’re some kind of sellout! Unbelievable, isn’t it? Don’t worry, I informed her. Your holy name has been protected from the uneducated masses once again. Yours, Stanfanie

Conner~ I can’t wait to see you again! I noticed that spark of recognition in your eyes at the meet and greet yesterday. Could it be? Are you beginning to recognize me, your biggest fan, after I’ve gone to every single fan meetup you’ve held for over half a year? Love, Stanfanie Conner~ Why did you look so pale when I saw you at the mall yesterday? You didn’t even want to talk to me — you just kept turning around and walking away. Is something the matter? Your complexion isn’t usually that pale. Even your breathing seemed uneven, and you kept averting your eyes! What’s wrong with casually running into my favorite YouTuber at a public place? It’s not like what I’m doing is illegal. I just want to spend time with you! We’ve met so many times

(138, to be exact), it feels like I already know you so well. I bet I know you better than your own mother does. You’re everything to me. Love, Stanfanie Sweet Conner~ You keep peering out of your bedroom curtains and checking to see if the doors are locked. The bags under your eyes have darkened over the past few weeks. Are you afraid of something? I’ll get rid of it. I’ve been keeping a careful eye on you and your house to make sure that nothing hurts my precious angel. Just say the word. Love, Stanfanie My darling Conner~ I noticed that your kitchen window was loose today. You look so peaceful when you’re asleep. Love, your biggest fan stan <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Charity Xu/The SPOKE



Thursday, November 21, 2019

On the run: Distance track coach steps up to head coach Devon Rocke Staff Reporter

The track and field season is off and running, and Mark Carberry is making his debut as the new winter and spring head track coach, replacing Pat Williams. For the past few seasons, Carberry worked as a distance coach, but this year he is stepping up to lead the team. Carberry competed in track through high school and into college, when he attended Villanova University. During his time there, Carberry recalls being influenced by his coach Marcus O’Sullivan. “He was a guy who kind of stepped right into that dad role right when I really needed it,” Carberry said. “He ended up being just this incredible influence on me, but more so, he became a much greater influence on my coaching world.” After college, Carberry ran professionally for a few years before coming back to work as an assistant coach alongside O’Sullivan at Villanova for about three years. One of Carberry’s first changes as a head coach this

year is allowing team members to experiment with different events. The new coach favors letting kids dabble in events they would like to compete in rather than limiting them to one. For example, if someone who runs the mile is interested in pole vaulting, they can try both and see which they like best. “I think that’s a good thing,” senior Noah Lanouette said, “because track is just about finding what you’re good at.” Carberry is also known for bringing his 17-month-old daughter, Pepper, to practice, where he balances being a coach with his role as a stayat-home dad. He feels it is important for her to socialize with others, but with an hourlong commute and a child in the back seat, he knows what it means to be a man of patience. “Parents come to me and say, ‘It’s great for these kids to see a responsible parent taking care of their child and still being able to work while they’re doing it,’” Carberry said. “(It’s good) just seeing that you can do those things, and that’s okay.” Along with the changes that come with a new head coach,

another challenge presents itself: the new building addition planned for Conestoga. Recently, the administration announced that another wing is being added to the high school to accommodate for its influx of students. Depending on approvals, the expansion is expected to start around spring 2020 and be completed at the start of fall 2021. The wing will cut into the field used for certain track events, meaning that the facilities will have to be reconfigured. “We are fortunate enough to where we can move the pole vault into the track,” said athletic director Kevin Pechin. “We have some room behind the practice football field where we can put the discus and the shot put area, and what we’re going to have to do for the javelin is basically hold it at the end of the meet (and) clear the track.” Carberry is determined to tackle challenges head on, and although “every season comes with its own unique challenges,” he believes in the team’s talent and thinks that they will transition into the winter season smoothly.

Courtesy Mark Carberry

Sprinting into a new season: Coach Mark Carberry (left) talks with fellow coaches at a track meet. Carberry is the new head coach and is looking forward to making changes as the team transitions into the upcoming winter season.

Senior sets bar high with gymnastic achievement Hiba Samdani Staff Reporter

Hiba Samdani/The SPOKE

Gym-tastic: Senior Justin Magrowski performs a cartwheel at the John Pancott Gymnastics Center in Malvern. Magrowski trains at the gymnastics center five times a week.

With a small leap into the air, senior Justin Magrowski performs a perfect back flip, adding a twist to dazzle his teammates. Magrowski has won many awards and medals and trained rigorously to achieve them. Magrowski has won the all-around award, an award given to the overall best player in the meet, ten times in gymnastics at various competitions. As the season progresses, winning medals gets harder. Not only do the gymnasts get better, but they also know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. However, Magrowski still manages to come away one or two medals each meet. The first time he won the all-around award, he was 10 years old, competing in the John Pancott Invitational, his first home meet. He was amazed and proud to be awarded for his hard work. “I was blown away (the first time I won). It was kind of a shocking feeling because you don’t know everyone

else’s scores — you only know yours. It’s kind of a nail-biter when they’re calling up the scores,” Magrowski said. At 9 years old, Magrowski saw his karate teacher do a back flip and was inspired to start tumbling, a type of gymnastics performed without much equipment. Even when he was young, tumbling practice was an intense three hours that he had to balance with his school work and social activities. He continued tumbling until a coach recruited him at the John Pancott Gymnastics Center. “I was thrilled by the thought of learning how to do flips. I loved the rush I got whenever I did a skill or (mastered) a new skill,” Magrowski said. Every week, Magrowski endures a tough training schedule with long hours of practice. As a part of his gymnastics team at the John Pancott Gymnastics Center, he is required to train 50 weeks of the year, only receiving two weeks of break. He trains five days a week, practicing three to four hours each day. Aside from practic-

es, he participates in meets, competing against about 10 other gyms each time. Although many of Magrowski’s meets are held in Pennsylvania, he has traveled to several other locations in order to compete, such as the ESPN sports center in Florida and gyms around Virginia Beach. Balancing his school work with his gymnastics training schedule can be challenging. Magrowski manages to get his work done by using every free chance to focus on his school work. He studies during free periods, starts his homework right after he comes home from school, stays up late at night and sometimes even sneaks some in between breaks at practice. This schedule required some adjusting, but Magrowski didn’t have many options. “In freshman year, I had a really tough time trying to balance my schedule with school work and gymnastics. I had to push myself to figure out how to study and how to complete my homework on time. If that means giving up friend time (or) leisure

time, it’s what you got to do,” Magrowski said. Gymnastics is mainly an individualized sport, but there is a team aspect. Practicing with his teammates and traveling with them to meets has given Magrowski a chance to build new relationships and foster old ones. “Some people drop out, but you see the same people at every meet. You build a relationship with them, and it really becomes this big family,” Magrowski said. Even with the large time commitment, doing gymnastics has taught Magrowski valuable skills. He has learned how to manage his time, persevere through tough situations and perform in front of large crowds. He now appreciates his free time and knows how to achieve goals he sets his mind to. He has found that gymnastics is his true passion. “I tried baseball, basketball, soccer and all of that,” Magrowski said, “but I never had the love and connection with other sports as I have with gymnastics.”

TEMS student qualifies for British Junior Open

We don’t just teaCh the tests.

We take them too! At Main Line Test Prep and Tutoring, we have been tutoring students in various subjects and standardized test prep for over 20 years. Our tutors are patient and make learning fun. Most importantly, we instill confidence in our students by making tough concepts easy to understand and apply.

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Akshita Joshi/The SPOKE

Boast in show: Eighth-grader Rishi Srivastava returns the ball. Srivastava recently qualified for the Junior British Open which will be held in Birmingham, England.

Akshita Joshi Staff Reporter

Thump! The ball bounces off the wall, hitting the two opposing players’ rackets in a fierce, rhythmic battle for the point. One player, dressed in a bright orange shirt and green Nike shoes, swings his racket back and hits the ball

with all of his might, causing it to rocket off the wall where his opponent can’t reach. The point goes to Rishi Srivastava. Srivastava, an eighth-grader at TEMS, recently qualified for the British Junior Open, becoming the first in the T/E School District to ever compete. The British Junior Open,

one of the most prestigious junior squash tournaments in the world, will be held in Birmingham, England from Jan. 6-9, 2020. To qualify, each player must be one of the top five players in his or her respective age category. Srivastava is within the national top five in the Boys Under 15 (BU15) category. He will represent Team USA, competing against squash players in his age group from around the world. Srivastava was introduced to squash by his parents when he was 9 years old. Although he loves the sport now, Srivastava dreaded going to practices at first and wanted to quit. “My parents would have to drag me to clinics and practices almost every time just for me to try it out,” Srivastava said. In order to prepare himself

for upcoming competitions, Srivastava trains on a regular basis. When he has a match the next day he makes sure to incorporate a cool-down into his workout in order to get mentally prepared and stay relaxed. Qualifying for the British Junior Open required a lot of intense effort. Srivastava trains for 14 hours a week, working with a structured and challenging regimen. He has been preparing to qualify for this tournament since the summer, pushing himself harder every day. “I need to have a positive and solid mindset walking into every practice with the intent and purpose to maximize performance,” Srivastava said. Josh Simon, his coach of two years, said that overall, he is making Srivastava improve

his technique and form to ensure a successful tournament. “I always tell Rishi, in order to be great, he has to work hard, be attentive, be a student of the game, have heart and to have fun,” Simon said. Srivastava maintains his drive and motivation for squash by keeping one ultimate goal in mind — to be a national champion and play squash professionally one day. He draws inspiration from professional players like Mark Talbott and older peers, who have valuable experience he can learn from. “I want to do everything in my power to be the best version of myself so that I will not regret putting in the maximum amount of work into the sport,” Srivastava said. “I love everything about the sport, whether it’s the technical, physical or mental aspect.”

Commitment Corner Corner Commitment Megan Marengo UNITED STATES NAVAL ACADEMY SPORT: LACROSSE GRADE: 11 Why Navy: “The coaches are amazing and the team is like a family. The campus is gorgeous and it's also an amazing opportunity. It's a really good education. And it is something that I know would challenge me.”


Thursday, November 21, 2019


Behind the franchise: Eagles suffer due to multiple injured athletes Gavin Merschel Staff Reporter

This season, the Philadelphia Eagles have had some major ups and downs as far as winning and losing games. Looking at their high ranking in the beginning of the season (sixth), it may seem confusing to most why the season is going the way it has been. How could they beat the 7-1 Packers but then lose to the Cowboys, who were beaten by the 1-6 Jets? Although there are several viable reasons for the inconsistency, one explanation could be the injuries. Currently, eleven players on the team are injured, six of whom are key players. This injury list includes many recognizable stars like Desean Jackson, Miles Sanders and team captain Jason Peters. Yet in previous weeks, that list included even more key players, such as Alshon Jeffery and captains Kamu Grugier-Hill and Fletcher Cox. So, why the Eagles? Why have the Eagles had such significant injuries compared to other organizations? One reason is the new medical staff. After the Super Bowl win two years ago, the Eagles fired head physician and

orthopedist Peter Deluca. Additionally, Chris Peduzzi, the team’s trainer, retired after being with the team for 19 years. This left the Eagles with a qualified but inexperienced group of doctors. Injuries are inevitable in football. Torn ligaments, broken bones and concussions are all a part of the game, but the steps taken afterward make the biggest impact. Take Jason Peters for example. Peters tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) against the Redskins back in 2017, ending his season. Although steps were taken to treat Peters and allow a full recovery, he is still on and off with the same injury from two years ago. Like Jason Peters, Darren Sproles suffered a hamstring-related issue connecting to a previous injury that had not been properly taken care of, forcing him to miss 11 weeks last year. The connection? Instead of letting the players fully heal, the trainers have allowed them to play early, making the problem worse and putting the organization in a difficult position in the long term. The same goes for any player with a soft tissue injury. Play-

ers such as Dallas Goedert and Alshon Jeffrey have soft tissue injuries which can flare up at any moment. Although they are cleared to play, is it worth the risk of inflicting greater damage for a game or two in which the players do not even play to their highest potential? So, how does all of this affect the team and the community? When starters go down, the backups that go in for them are expected to step up and play their role. But however good the backup may be, there is not much that can prepare them for a real NFL game. If a rookie or somebody who has gotten limited game snaps before goes in, it can be difficult for them to adjust to the high-speed pace and physicality that NFL games are run at. The NFL is very different from college football, so anybody not used to the big leagues is bound to struggle. That said, if an all-pro player goes down, fans expect the player who steps up to be just as good, but this is a rare occurrence. If the second-string player does end up doing a great job, it is usually after experience is built after a couple weeks.

HIGHLIGHT REEL The latest developments in Sports. skates

The boys’ varsity ice hockey team beat Central league team Springfield High School on Nov. 8. lobs

Paddle tennis season begins as students from all grades participate at the Waynesborough Country Club. boasts

Squash tryouts are officially underway as students strive to make the varsity club team. spooks

It is extremely important to consider the fact that the NFL is a business with profit in mind. In order to earn money, franchises need to please the fans by doing two key things: win games and make them entertaining. For both components to happen, a team needs to have its best players on the field making big plays every week. The NFL’s current

“no time to waste on injuries” attitude only puts players at risk and hurts profit in the long run. It is understandable why the Eagles have had inconsistent success and why some fantasy football players are not very happy. Not knowing who will be healthy and when/who will and can fill the role leads to difficulties for the birds. Once the

Cartoon by John Phillips, colored by Charity Xu

Eagles have established a solid team that will last for the remainder of the season, things will start rolling and the team will live up to its high expectations. But the Eagles must first put their players’ needs over money and allow them to recover to create a stable team with fewer injuries for the next several seasons.

The boys’ and girls’ lacrosse teams hosted a haunted trail event on Oct. 26 in Devon in order to raise money for the Fighting Back scholarship program’s Peter Kienzle Fund. selects

Junior Rachel Clark was chosen for the USA select U17 2019 lacrosse team. She is committed to the University of Virginia.

Turkeys and Treasures

Design by Reese Wang, Design Editor Story by Ananya Kulkarni and Reese Wang, Sports Editor and Design Editor

For this Thanksgiving season, we wanted to know why the athletes at ‘Stoga are grateful for their sports and what makes all the time, commitment and effort worth it. Below are some of their most treasurable moments and some of their turkeys where life didn’t exactly go as planned.

Julia Bennett

Freshman cross-country runner Julia Bennett first tried long-distance running during seventh and eighth grade at TEMS, where she participated in the running club. Her mom, an avid runner during her time in high school and college, encouraged Bennett to continue long-distance running by joining the cross country team at Conestoga. Bennett is thankful that she and her mom share a passion for the same sport. “She gives me a lot of great tips and pointers, which are really helpful because she’s run some of the invitationals we’ve ran,” Bennett said. Bennett’s favorite cross country moment comes from the Council Rock Invitational, where she placed second in the JV race. She also has a lot of fun moments before practice, playing hacky sack at Wilson Farm Park while waiting for practice to begin. During practice, Bennett does self-talk to keep running. “I’m thinking ‘Okay, is this pace good? Am I going fast enough?’ If we’re doing a hill workout: ‘You can keep going, keep going, get up the hill.’ I think it’s been helpful to give me a better mindset,” Bennett said.

“We let one of the guys play with the hacky sack. He threw the hacky sack into the tree above Wilson Farm Park, so it was stuck up there, and we were so scared because we didn't know how to get it back. But we went and we were shaking the tree and looking for it, and then we came back on the run the next day, (and) it was there at the bottom.”

Savanna Jacovini

Junior Savanna Jacovini, a third year rower on the crew team, enjoys both competing and the environment at races. Jacovini first tried the sport at a “Learn to Row” camp the summer after eighth grade. Her positive experience at the camp drove her to try out for the crew team the following January of her freshman year. Once Jacovini made the team, she never looked back. Racing is one element of Jacovini’s appreciation for the sport, but she is also grateful for its role in her life is the opportunity it affords her to destress on a daily basis. She appreciates how it takes her mind off of school, finding the familiar hum of water underneath the boat and the rhythmic clicking of oars calming. “Having those few hours (of ) practice a day surrounded by my teammates allows me to take my mind off the stresses of school. All I need to do is focus on making my boat faster,” Jacovini said.

“My best memory (of crew) is the result of a delay at the starting line. There were hundreds of boats just sitting, waiting to be sent off. Everyone started messing around, and the energy was so fun and chaotic.”

Sophomore Leena Kwak is thankful for the experience of playing on the tennis team. “It just brings so much joy to win with your team and win for something other than yourself,” Kwak said. Kwak began playing tennis at age 7, when her parents signed her up for lessons at a local tennis club. Her first coach there made tennis exciting by introducing her to a variety of games and drills. Kwak said her parents always encourage her to have fun playing and not worry about the score. While Kwak does strive to stay above the pressures of competing, she is also thankful for how tennis taught her to be stronger mentally. “(Tennis) is not just physical, it’s very mental. If your head’s not in it or if you’re having a bad day mentally or if you can’t stay mentally strong, you’re going to lose,” Kwak said. Although Kwak recognizes the value of individual focus in tennis, she credits over half of her wins to her teammates’ support and encouragement. Over the course of the season, Kwak grew extremely close to all of her teammates, bonding during post-practice Chick-fil-A runs and carpooling to tennis tournaments. Since her teammates have had an immeasurable impact on her experience playing the sport at ’Stoga, Kwak plans on showing her appreciation at the end of season banquet in November. “I’m planning to just tell them how thankful I am for all of them, especially the seniors,” Kwak said.

Leena Kwak

“The most embarrassing moment is when you play someone ,and you think you(’ve) won so you go up to shake their hand thinking the match is over, but in reality, you just got the score wrong, and you haven't won yet. And it's so awkward because you(‘re) like, ‘Oh, nice match,’ or something like that, and they're like, ‘wait, that's not game. It's like 30-40.’” Senior golfer Ben Lee’s favorite memory comes from playing golf with his dad when he was 7. His dad dropped the ball on the side of the green, and Lee hit his first hole-in-one. Lee started playing golf when he was 5 and started competing at the age of 10. He made the varsity team his freshman year and played varsity all four years of high school. Playing golf has influenced his mindset. “(Golf has) taught me a lot about life,” Lee said. “Golf is really a mental game. You just want to keep on trying. When you’re not having a good day — and it’s inevitable — you’re going to have bad shots. You just have to learn to keep on fighting and grinding. Try to play well even though it’s not going your way.” Lee had a difficult time adjusting to Conestoga as a freshman, and he is thankful that his teammates made the transition easier. He remembers looking up to the team captains his freshman year and hopes he can pass down what he has learned to current underclassmen. “You learn from the people who you looked up to, and now you’re the one who’s looked up upon, teaching that wisdom,” Lee said.

Ben Lee “In my sophomore year, we played Germantown Academy and I shot 54, which is probably one of the worst scores ever by varsity player in Conestoga history and might be the worst. And that was pretty embarrassing. But I think I learned a lot from it.”


The SPOKE Commitment Corner Page 10

Turkeys and Treasures Page 11

Track team welcomes new head coach Page 10

Thursday, November 21, 2019 TEMS student qualifies for junior British Open Page 10

Alex Gurski/The SPOKE

Kicking the way to victory: Senior Caitlin Donovan prepares for a throw-in during the girls soccer team’s game against Pennridge in the state semi-finals on Nov. 12. After an exciting game, the Pioneers won with a score of 1-0 and secured their spot in state finals. The team hopes to win the state championship on Nov. 15.

Girls’ soccer team advances to championship Alex Gurski

Multimedia Editor The sound of pump-up music and a special cheer fills the locker room as the Conestoga girls’ soccer team prepares for a game on Teamer Field. The team had one of its best seasons so far this year, including earning national and regional rankings from the USA Today High School Sports page. Despite the unfortunate ending to their season with a loss in the state championship Friday, Nov. 15, the team has become a strong unit, and appreciates their time spent together, bonding and creating memories. Much of the squad’s success from this year’s season is attributed

to the friendships that they formed with one another. “I think the biggest contributor to our success this season has been our friendships off the field. We are all good friends with each other and spend a lot of time together away from soccer,” said senior captain Caitlin Donovan. Junior Kristi DiRico also values their time spent away from the sport, like getting together over meals. “We do team dinners and breakfasts a lot, and they’re always really fun because everyone on the team is so fun to hang out with,” DiRico said. The connectivity off the field brought improvements to the gameplay on the field. McKenzie Coleman, a new student and

a first-time member of the team, said that their hard work and perseverance allowed them to find success this season. “I think we had a really talented group to begin with, and then to add to it, we all get along really well. We have had to learn to give it our all every game and that no one was going to just hand us a win,” Coleman said. While maintaining positive attitudes and bonding well with one another, the team always puts in the time to practice. Almost every day after school from August until last Thursday, the players have worked on developing their skills and expanding their knowledge on the game through practice sessions. The team worked on switching the ball from both sides of the

field and using their speed to help them offensively. “During practice, we have been working on implementing different offensive patterns in our attack. We want our movement to become more fluid and have our midfielders freely interchange with our strikers,” Donovan said. “We like to get the ball out wide and use our speed on the wings to attack. This has helped us a lot offensively this season.” The underclassmen on the team note the inclusivity of older players on the team and how these bonds have led to major success. “From day one, every single upperclassmen went out of their way to make sure all of us new players felt welcome. They bonded our team so instantly, which I believe is where we

have found our success,” sophomore Elli Mayock said. All of this teamwork had prepared the team for tough upcoming games in the state tournament, but led to an outcome they were not hoping for. In double overtime, the team lost 1-0 to Boyertown High School on a free kick. “Since the beginning of the season, our goal had always been to win the state championship, and so it was really exciting to see everything come together after beating Pennridge in the semi-finals,” said senior Jane Castleman. “When Boyertown scored the free kick in the final, I think everyone was in shock since we had battled so hard for over one hundred minutes. Even though we ended up losing, it was great to end the season with one last game together.”

Star athlete with spirit: Junior shines with field hockey Alexis Costas Staff Reporter

Courtesy Megan Tidmore

Dribbling Daredevil: Junior Carly Hynd passes the ball at a match against the Great Valley Patriots. Last year, Hynd received an honorable mention for Pennsylvania’s all-state field hockey selection team, and scored her 100th point against Cardinal O’Hara High School.

“It just makes me happy to be there, to play the sport and be with my friends. I don’t know what I’d do without it.” This is what field hockey means to junior Carly Hynd. The sport has been a part of Hynd’s life since she was 6 years old, but during her time at Conestoga, the game has grown from a fun hobby into much more. Last year, she received an honorable mention for Pennsylvania’s all-state field hockey selection team for her performance, and this season, she scored her 100th point against Cardinal O’Hara. Hynd has always loved sports and played soccer through sixth grade. In seventh grade, though, as she began to think about college and high school athletics, she realized that her true ambitions lay elsewhere. “I was just getting better at field hockey and making more friends, so I thought it was time to pursue that,” Hynd said.

The switch proved to be a great choice for Hynd, and in her freshman year, she not only made the varsity field hockey team but also received an offer to commit to the University of Maryland as a field hockey player, which she accepted. “It was such a huge accomplishment, and I just felt over the moon,” Hynd said. “There’s really nothing like it. Everything I’d done, everything I’d had to miss because of (practices) had paid off.” However, juggling field hockey, academics and other activities wasn’t always easy for Hynd. In middle school, there were days where finding the motivation to attend the frequent practices was hard. Now, though, Hynd attributes her continued devotion to the sport to the support of her teammates and friends. “Lauren D’Emilio always keeps me in good spirits, and she was my first friend on the team, and the other seniors, Annie Hirshman, Chloe Ziegler and McHalea Beck, were sophomores on varsity when I joined as a freshman. They really made me

feel like I was one of them,” Hynd said. “I’ve made some of my absolute best friends on the team. I love those girls so much.” Hynd believes her endurance and teamwork are two of her strongest skills as an athlete, and her teammates agree. “One of Carly’s greatest strengths is that she’s relentless on the field. She never gives up and plays her toughest game, and she motivates the rest of us,” D’Emilio said. Hynd’s “field hockey family” love having her on the team, and the girls make a point to encourage and support one another. According to her fellow players, Hynd goes the extra mile when it comes to making the game a positive experience for everyone. “The greatest strength an athlete can possess is being able to pick up a team when they’re down. Carly is a leader, and she motivates me and the other players to never give up,” Beck said. “One of my favorite things about playing on the team this year was being with such amazing people, and each season

I fall in love with the game all over again.” Hynd is also grateful for the constant support of her coaches, Regan Marscher and Karen Gately. The two have helped her throughout her field hockey career at Conestoga. “Carly knows when it’s time to focus and when to have fun. She is super tough and can bounce back when a team is being rough. She is an outstanding role model for the younger girls, and they all look up to her,” Marscher said. Marscher also echoed her players’ feelings on the supportive and loving vibes among the team this season, and attributes their success to hard work and strong bonds between the girls and coaches. To other athletes who are passionate about their sport and are looking to get commited, Hynd offers her encouragement. “Even if you feel like you’re not being paid enough attention or you aren’t a ‘favorite,’ keep doing what you like, and don’t let other people bring you down because the hard work will pay off, and things will work out in the end,” Hynd said.


Scores as of 11/12


B Soccer

G Soccer

G Tennis





Field Hockey































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