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The Spectator The Stuyvesant High School Newspaper Humor


“The Privilege of Peeing” Arts and Entertainment editor Eliana Kavouriadis reviews the STC’s most recent show, “Urinetown,” exploring its strong cast and props, as well as the characters’ occasional lack of overall cohesiveness.

“2016-2017 Year in Review” From Trump’s election to male rompers, Humor editor Michael Xu reviews the train wreck of events that culminated into a memorable 2016-2017 school year.

see pages 14

Volume 107  No. 16


“The Pulse of the Student Body”

see page 18

June 9, 2017

A Clean Break For the 2017-2018 ARISTA EC By ANNE GEORGE

Junior Benny He won the An-

nual Law Day Essay Contest with his piece, “The 14th

Amendment: Transforming American Democracy.”

Andrew Lee and Lung Fu of the Origami Club Juniors

Two Stuyvesant Computer Science teams tied for first place at the PClassic computer

Programming Competition at the University of Pennsylvania.

Junior Matteo Wong was one of the winners of the New York

Times Editorial Contest and had his piece “The Asian Misnomer: What the Affirmative Action Debate Misses” published online.

Vivian Lin / The Spectator

received certifications for origami from Origami-USA.

“In the long run, we want ARISTA to serve the purpose of adding to and building up your character,” ARISTA President Nicholas Lee said. “That’s one of the things we want to focus ARISTA into becoming: not just an organization for your college applications, but an organization that holds actual meaning.” The 2017-2018 ARISTA Executive Council (EC) is comprised of juniors Nicholas Lee, Sophie Feng, Luola Chen, Ryan Sui, and Selina Zou. They will serve as ARISTA’s President, Executive Vice President, and Vice Presidents of Tutoring, Web Development, and Events, respectively. Previously, ARISTA was a chapter of the National Honors Society (NHS), a nationwide organization of high school students who exemplify the four pillars of scholarship, character, leadership, and service. However, seniors Evelyn Gotlieb, Julia Ingram, Rodda John, Giselle Garcia, and Sharon Chao, the former EC, determined that they would not renew Stuyvesant’s membership with the NHS, and went on to ratify ARISTA’s Bylaws on Thursday, June 1, in conjunction with Principal Eric Contreras and Faculty Advisor Jo Mahoney. The EC had been unknowingly adhering to ARISTA Guidelines, which were created by an organization much like the NHS that was located in New York City during the 1980s until it went bankrupt. “I brought to the attention of the EC back in January or February that we were not in compliance with the NHS Constitution, and I started writing our Bylaws at that point in time with the

From left to right: Ryan Siu, Selina Zou, Nicholas Li, Sophie Feng, Luola Chen.

goal that we would break away at some point in the future,” John said. “The way I had originally written [the Bylaws] was that we would stay in the NHS, but would purposefully ignore the specific tenets that did not apply to us. [This] wasn’t necessarily the most legal thing to do under the NHS [Constitution], but it was what we had decided was best.” “Most of the high schools in the city do not [follow the NHS Constitution], but due to a complicated situation, we are not renewing our membership to the NHS,” Feng said. “Contreras was supposed to read all of the applications, but you can’t really expect him to read 300 plus applications in a school of this size. It’s almost impossible.” Though the EC declined to

comment on the context surrounding this “complicated situation,” Lee asserted that this turn of events is a welcome change. “Stuy[vesant] is one of the most unique schools in New York City and nationwide, so I feel like it wouldn’t be the best for students to be subject to [the NHS’s] general laws. Instead, we want to create a Stuyvesant Honors Society in which our programs and our Bylaws reflect more of our community,” he said. Changing the dynamic within ARISTA is the EC’s primary goal.“We are all trying to take this approach to becoming more [relatable] and less separated from the normal members of ARISTA,” Chen said. “Many of us have proposed bonding events so ARISTA members feel like they

are a part of this overarching organization. [The former EC had] awards to recognize the most dedicated members of ARISTA.” To highlight the pillar of service, the EC plans to restructure the events requirements in order to encourage members to volunteer for a spectrum of events. “This year, members will hopefully work with a diverse set of organizations. While changes are not set in stone, we’re hoping that somehow we’ll be able to work [toward] this goal and foster a stronger spirit of volunteerism in ARISTA,” Zou said in an e-mail interview.

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Stuyvesant Goes National in National History Day Competition

By Chloe Doumar, Mai Rachlevsky, and George Shey

Stuyvesant participated in the National History Day (NHD) competition for the second year in a row. In the New York State division, junior Shameek Rakshit placed second in the individual website category with his project “B.R. Ambedkar: Framing an Egalitarian India.” In the group website category, juniors Kristin Lin, Samantha Ngo, and Jenny Gao placed third with their project “Love Canal’s Toxic Relationship: Citizens Fight for Their Health Against an Apathetic Government.” Rakshit, Ngo, Lin, and Gao all qualified for the national level competition and will be travelling to Maryland on June 13. The NHD competition is an annual history competition available to students throughout the U.S. Participants research a topic related to a theme. This year students were asked to frame their projects around the theme “Taking A Stand in History.” Participants were able

to present the topic as either a website, exhibit board, theatrical performance, film, or original documentary. History teachers Eric Wisotzky and Robert Sandler were in charge of mentoring the teams. “I helped the kids pick the topics. I helped them research those topics and recommended good historians, I helped them get interviews with historians actually in the field. I helped them with the aesthetics of their websites or the aesthetics of their poster boards,” Sandler said. Every student in Wisotzky’s U.S. History and Sandler’s AP U.S. History classes were required to submit a project, while it was optional for other U.S. History classes. “I like the idea of students working together and improving to solve a problem, and the problem is to create some really cool, visually impressive, but also academically rich, analysis of a historical moment,” Sandler said. Stuyvesant held a school level competition that determined who would go to the city and state level competitions. “If you

[did] well at the city competition at the Museum of the City of New York, you [would] go to the state competition at Cooperstown, and if you [did] well [there], you [would] go to nationals at Maryland,” Sandler said. Rakshit chose to create a website for his project. It focused on Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, an Indian historical figure born in the late 19th century. Due to his socioeconomic state, Dr. Ambedkar was treated as an untouchable, but he went on to lead the first successful movement toward dismantling India caste system, and was also one of the founding fathers of India. “He wrote India’s constitution and through it he embodied all of the principles of justice and equality that he had always advocated for,” Rakshit said. “I wanted to find out what [Dr.] Ambedkar’s policies did for the people they were supposed to empower. I wanted to understand this from the lower caste point of view.” Like many others throughout the globe, Rakshit is awed by Dr. Ambedkar’s work. “I am still blown aback [by] the impact he

had in shaping India [and] his struggle against not only British colonists, but also his fellow Indians. It is a really powerful message in our modern time when more and more people are getting involved in activism around empowering minorities and underprivileged people,” Rakshit said. Unlike most Stuyvesant NHD participants, Rakshit entered the competition as an independent, or without a teacher. Instead, he heard of the competition from his friend and junior Michael Xu, president of the History Club. “I am thankful that he convinced me to do it,” Rakshit said. “I personally didn’t expect to get this far.” Ngo, Lin, and Gao’s project focused on Love Canal, a town in upstate New York where residents demanded the U.S. government clean up a toxic waste dump created by the Hooker Chemical Company. This led to the creation of the Superfund Law, which forced the government to allocate a portion of its budget toward cleaning up toxic waste sites. “Before Love Canal

there were 30,000 other toxic waste dumps in the country and the federal government wasn’t doing anything about it. After Love Canal and the creation of Superfund, the federal government started taking responsibility for cleaning up these toxic waste dumps and that is why it is a turning point in environmental history,” Ngo said. The group decided to choose Love Canal as their topic due to its STEM prevalence. “I first learned about Love Canal through another class at Stuy[vesant]: Urban Ecology. [Though] we weren’t able to discuss the topic in depth, this project allowed me to go in-depth and explore all of the connections between Love Canal and environmental history,” Lin said. Rakshit, Ngo, Lin, and Gao are now looking forward to the National NHD competition in Maryland. “I have enjoyed the entire process. [Going to Nationals] is just a bonus I feel. I am excited to see what I can do at Nationals because the level of competition is pretty different there,” Rakshit said.

The Spectator ● June 9, 2017

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News Stuyvesant Amnesty International Hosts “Behind Bars: A Look at the American Prison System” Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and NASA

WORLDBEAT A suicide bomber killed seven people at a high-profile funeral in Kabul in Afghanistan on Saturday, June 3. The same day, in an unrelated incident, three men drove a van into pedestrians on

the London Bridge and went on a stabbing spree in a nearby neighborhood. Seven people were killed and 48 people were injured in the attack which comes close on the heels of a terror Ting Ting Chen / The Spectator

attack in Manchester.

President Donald Trump

announced the United States’ intention to withdraw from the Paris Climate Pact on Friday, June 2. The Paris Pact, a historic international agreement to lower carbon emissions, was negotiated by former President

Barack Obama. The Trump administration faced sharp criticism from across the world over an apparent lack of concern for the environment. The investigation into the Trump administration’s ties with Russia revealed the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner as “a person of interest”. Kushner reportedly recommended opening secret channels of communication between the American and Russian governments. The Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an earlier ruling which blocked the Trump administration from implementing a travel ban. The ban was widely criticized for unfairly targeting Muslims and faced widespread resistance.

President Trump met with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies in Brussels and During his first foreign trip,

rebuked them for failing to commit enough resources and money to the organization. Trump has had a contentious relation-

ship with NATO, an organization he once called “obsolete”.


dictator of Panama Manuel Noriega died in Panama City on Tuesday, May 30. Noriega’s involvement in the drug trafficking industry and authoritarian rule prompted the US to invade Panama in 1989 and overthrow his government.

By Greg Huang and Grace Tang Motivational speaker and personal Trainer Carlos Bernal visited Stuyvesant on May 26, 2017, at the request of Stuyvesant Amnesty International to speak about his experience with and opinions on America’s criminal justice system. The visit, titled “Behind Bars: A Look at the American Prison System,” aligned with Stuyvesant Amnesty International’s goals to educate students on human rights and encourage student action. Bernal began by describing his experience living in crimeinfested Hudson County, New Jersey. He went on to describe his move to the largely upper class Bergen County, as his parents believed the Hudson County environment was having a negative effect on him. However, moving to Bergen County did not stop Bernal from stealing bicycles and vandalizing walls. Bernal was eventually arrested after getting into a fight with

a group of teens who harassed him. He was later told that as a result of the fight, two people were dead and two were injured. Bernal was presumed to have caused the deaths and injuries, and was charged with provocation manslaughter. He was tried as an adult, and sentenced to 25 years in prison. He went through multiple pleas for parole and was eventually released on October 18, 2004, after serving 12 years. In his speech, Bernal emphasized the ineffectiveness of the prison system and tried to spread awareness. “Nothing’s [going to] change in the prison system, nothing’s [going to] change in the world if people don’t care,” Bernal said. “I want to help anyone who is on the wrong path get back on the right path.” Co-presidents and juniors Selina Zou and Nowshin Islam met Bernal at an Amnesty International workshop at Columbia University in March where he spoke about solitary confinement. “Sometimes we can get stuck in our own little bubbles at

Stuyvesant, which is completely understandable, but we brought Carlos to remind people that there is a lot going on outside of these school walls and that we should care,” junior and co-vice president Joyce Wu said. The visit had an effect on many of the students in the audience. “[I] never really heard a story like his before. I was in awe of how he constantly stayed hopeful in all his time in prison, with his main motivation being his mother. I was glad to hear that after prison he still did not give up on life and was able to start his own business and family. And then started going around to different schools to share his story.” junior Levi Olevsky said. Bernal ended by challenging conceptions of the prison experience. “[Prison is] not like the movies, not like candyland, something in between. You just have to find and navigate through it. [...] My biggest takeaway is that you can be the good change,” Bernal said.

Student Wins Best Paper Award at CNERT Workshop By Clive Johnston and Jessica Wu

in his workshop, which focused on computer and networking experimental research. Many of Smith-Salzberg’s competitors were graduate students and possessed more experience in the field of research. “I was very prepared for the presentation at the conference because at that point I had been pitching my project for around nine months. Making a presentation for a more professional audience was not very difficult,” he said. “I did not think I was going to win, and was super excited when it was announced.” Smith-Salzberg is eager to see people using and developing his tool. “All the code is open source, so anyone can suggest edits or built on it, “ he said. “I [learned] a great deal about the importance of reproducibility in research, and taking note of everything done.” He is excited about the future of the program and encourages more students to take advantage of the computer science program at Stuyvesant. “After spending the summer with many graduate students who major or minor in computer science, I can say Stuyvesant prepares you extraordinarily well for the field,” SmithSalzberg said.

Mika Simoncelli / The Spectator

Junior Caleb Smith-Salzberg won the Best Paper Award for his entry, “Bridging the Digital Divide Between Research and Home Networks,” at the IEEE International Conference on Computer Communications (INFOCOM) in Atlanta on May 1. He had previously presented his paper on April 21 at the New York University (NYU) Research Expo held at the Tandon School of Engineering. Smith-Salzberg’s project aims to narrow the gap between the top-notch internet connections that researchers usually have with the much poorer quality connections that average Americans have. “I created a tool that makes it easy for researchers to exactly mimic the internet speeds and connections of an actual U.S. household that is sampled from a dataset of over 10 thousand households,” Smith-Salzberg said in an e-mail interview. Last year, Smith-Salzberg was admitted into NYU’s ARISE program, which gives high school students an opportunity to conduct search over the summer with researchers. Here, he began

his project that would eventually lead to his paper. “I wanted to challenge myself with different coding problems and expand my knowledge of graphing and using libraries of code. I also wanted to work with huge amounts of data,” he said. His mentor in the program was Fraida Fund of the Center for Advanced Technology in Telecommunications lab at NYU. Smith-Salzberg collaborated with Fund to finalize his research project during the summer. By the end of the program, he had programmed a successfully functioning script, and had completed his main goal. However, Smith-Salzberg and Fund continued to work extensively on the project after the program and the two worked together on Smith-Salzberg’s final paper. Smith-Salzberg was able to first present his findings to field professionals and professors at the NYU Research Expo in late April. “It was extremely useful in preparation for the [IEEE INFOCOM],” he said. A week later, Smith-Salzberg went to the IEEE INFOCOM conference to present his work. Out of the hundreds of participants, Smith-Salzberg competed directly against seven other presenters

The Spectator ● June 9, 2017

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News StuyHacks Hosts Its Fourth Hackathon By GEORGE SHEY and Grace Tang

attendees different computer science skills and languages. For example, junior Shakil Rafi led the Android Development workshop, which taught participants how to code apps for the Android operating system. At the end of StuyHacks IV, a panel of judges evaluated the group projects and gave out multiple awards based off of them. Seniors Nicholas Ng, Anya Keller, Mikhail Kotlik, and Daniel Monteagudo came in third place for the best overall project award for their work on Politalk, a website inspired by the 2016 election that connects people with opposing political ideologies through a chat app. For future hackathons, StuyHacks organizers hope to increase funding to expand the event by reserving a larger venue

Courtesy of Anton Goretsky

StuyHacks held its fourth hackathon, StuyHacks IV, on Saturday, May 27, and Sunday, May 28. The event provided an opportunity for 175 high-school students from the U.S. and Canada to learn about and to immerse themselves in computer science. A hackathon is an event where programmers can collaborate on a range of computer science projects. The hackathon organizers secured the sponsorship of a number of technology companies, including Facebook, MakeSchool, RedSeal, and ThoughtWorks, to subsidize the event. The event was held in the Midtown office of ThoughtWorks. StuyHacks worked together with the computer science de-

partment and the Dojo, which is an afterschool community for computer science enthusiasts, to recruit mentors to help teach at the hackathon. “Mentors [were] generally college students who are majoring in Computer Science or Computer Engineering. Some mentors [were] also students from Stuyvesant who are currently taking post-AP level courses,” senior and StuyHacks logistics director Prangon Ghose said. During the hackathon, attendees were organized into groups of two to four for a team-building session. These teams competed against one another as they worked on a variety of programming projects, from developing a mobile app to building a robot. Alongside the competitions, multiple workshops were held throughout the event to teach

and adding more workshops. Despite this, StuyHacks IV was well received by many of its attendees. “Having been to past StuyHacks, it is amazing to see

all the improvements done over the years to benefit programmers,” senior Kevin Zhang said.

A Clean Break For the 2017-2018 ARISTA EC continued from page 1

“We want to get new events into ARISTA that not only are more fun for the volunteers, but will also hopefully create a more meaningful experience on both ends: our volunteers and the people that receive the work that they do,” Lee said. In fact, when asked to describe their most meaningful experience in ARISTA thus far, each member of the EC spoke of a time that accentuated the collaborative nature of the organization.“One of the best things about ARISTA is that you can create these long lasting con-

nections with people inside and outside of school and from all different walks of life,” Chen said. Chen is working to bolster the effectiveness of the Tutoring Committee and better encompass these values. She also recognized that historically, peer tutoring has been a requirement that members struggle with successfully completing, and in order to remedy this, she hopes to find more effective alternatives to one-on-one peer tutoring. Her primary goal, however, is to implement a system within the already pre-existing anonymous pairing system on their website that assigns tutees to

tutors based on the teacher. “It resolves a few issues that I have encountered this year while tutoring,” she said. “Many teachers often teach at different paces and emphasize different aspects of the curriculum, so it’s really hard to find a meeting ground where the tutor is able to offer the tutee what they need in a tutor. It also helps the tutor go into teaching at ease. They aren’t just trying their best, but are prepared.” With this growing dependence on the ARISTA’s online presence, the Communications Committee was absolved this year and replaced with the Web Development Committee. “The


roles of the Communications Committee tended to be [making] Facebook posts, [advertising] events, occasionally [making] posters, and [making] a promotional video,” John said. “We’ve been shifting toward using the websites to manage the organization, not only for ARISTA, but for the [Student Union’s] ID website, application website for Big Sibs, and the Parent Teacher Conference website. All of those functions were managed by me in conjunction with the Web Development Committee.” Sui plans to build on the efforts of John by making their online interface more user-friend-

ly. ”We want to change the fact that you have to make separate accounts for all of these different websites, so it’s easier to access,” he said. “Right now, we want to speed up the process of checking AIS sheets and essays.” The EC hopes that their efforts will positively color the experiences of ARISTA members and emphasize the importance of the four pillars. “By making all these changes, we can give ARISTA the actual depth to become this meaningful high school experience that isn’t a chore for people, but a life changing experience that people can take something away from,” Lee said.

The Spectator ● June 9, 2017

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Features The Rooftop Garden: What Does Urban Growth Really Mean? By Paulina Klubok

of the unique chance they get to practice gardening. “You can live in the city, and yet, you can do all these things that are garden-y and leisurely,” sophomore Sophia Atlas said. Being on the roof is also a big selling point. “I mostly wanted to see what the roof looked like,” sophomore Louise Wagenseil admitted with a laugh. Her interest, though, stems from prior school efforts to help the environment. “[In elementary school], we actually grew our own vegetables for the cafeteria, and they were actually good vegetables, so I was kind of interested to see how Stuy[vesant] would do the same thing.” It’s a lot of fun for members, plainly visible in the stories members recall with a laugh. “At one point, someone was holding the hose, and the hose has to go all the way from the wall of the woodworking room all the way outside, and the hose wasn’t really that long, and so a bunch of people were pulling the hose, and it exploded,” Wagenseil reminisced. Whether students realize it or not, the rooftop garden has a heavy impact on all Stuyvesant students—it’s their lunch. Food harvested from the rooftop garden goes back into the salad bar in the cafeteria. On a wider level, rooftop gardens not only provide fresh food, but they also improve air quality and lower increased temperatures in urban areas, known as

Lillian Xiao / The Spectator

Through the balcony doors in the woodshop class on the 10th floor lies the rooftop garden. A small, bright space with quaint wooden crates and a mishmash of colorful planting supplies, Stuyvesant’s rooftop garden delivers fresh veggies and a dose of relaxation that is inevitable when sunshine, plants, and a gorgeous view are involved. When I went up to the rooftop garden, I was struck by what a welcome change the airy, carefree space was from the stress of Stuyvesant. Guided by biology teacher Marissa Maggio, my friends and I helped water the recently sprouted herbs and vegetables, soaking them with the long hose that we tugged around the garden and learning firsthand the importance of the rooftop garden in our urban landscape. The rooftop garden was created by the Environmental Club, inspired by Battery Urban Farm, an education farm in Battery Park that aims to teach students about sustainable farming and get them involved in growing their own food. The rooftop garden was created to expand those values to Stuyvesant by using the space available in our school to compensate for the limited room on the Battery Urban Farm plot. Though the rooftop garden has been around for awhile, explored by different clubs and different grades, this year, the Environmental Club focused

on revamping the garden. Maggio reached out to senior Livia Kunins-Berkowitz, who had spent her spring semester of junior year living and working at the Mountain School, a farmschool in Vermont. Kunins-Berkowitz, guided by her passion for gardening and agriculture, threw herself into the project. “I’m really into environmentalism, and as a city person, we’re so removed from food production,” she said. “If we’re going to be sustainable, we need to learn how to grow in urban spaces because our country is so urban now. I want there to be opportunities for kids get involved and find a passion and learn about something they would never have the opportunity to learn otherwise.” Careful planning gave way to two planting sessions, with students eager to get involved. “I’m excited by how many people are interested in [the rooftop garden] and like different friend groups and all that kind of stuff. It always makes me really happy when different people come together,” Kunins-Berkowitz said. Now, as the plants are growing, Maggio contacts KuninsBerkowitz with her free periods, and members sign up to water during those periods on the rooftop garden’s Facebook page and show up when they can. “It’s this nice, casual thing,” KuninsBerkowitz said. Club members were drawn to the rooftop garden because

urban heat island effect control. “The sustainable future of America is in learning how to grow in urban spaces,” Kunins-Benowitz said. A huge chunk of America’s failing relationship with the environment is waste-related, and the hard work put into the garden helps members gain a deeper perception of this issue. The Guardian estimated roughly 50 percent of all produce in the United States is thrown away; this happens because it’s so easy for us to get everything that we take the availability of produce for granted. By making the rooftop garden environment so personal, it offers a solution to this problem. “When you spend months taking care of

this garden, you don’t wanna be throwing that out,” sophomore Secretary of the Environmental Club Kenny Wong said. Along with the tomatoes and kale, the rooftop garden delivers an empowering sense of independence and awareness. “We have so little power over what we eat, especially as kids, and it’s so cool to take control of your life in this way,” Kunins-Berkowitz said. As New Yorkers and students, we are isolated from the origins and processes that go into the food we mindlessly consume, most of our knowledge coming from the inspiring stories on the back of cereal boxes. The rooftop garden is a rare opportunity to learn, and it is one that should be seized.

Kinet-X: Three Juniors’ Mission to Teach STEM to Younger Minds By SOFIYA TSENTER Stuyvesant serves as an intellectual incubator; students are given the opportunity to learn and grow alongside professionals in various fields. Renowned in particular for its computer science department, Stuyvesant allows students to hone in on their engineering interests through a multitude of courses and extracurriculars, both inside and outside of the school. Unfortunately, this sea of opportunity is relatively exclusive to Stuyvesant and other specialized high schools. For example, out of over 42,000 high schools in the United States, only about 2,100 are certified to teach computer science. In schools that do offer the course, teachers often aren’t required to hold a degree with a concentration in the field. Computer science and engineering courses are even more scarce in elementary and secondary schools. Juniors Adam Abbas, Chauncey Lau, and Allan Wang quickly identified and tried to reconcile this gap in education. When the trio joined Stuyvesant’s Robotics team, they were shocked to discover how little the incoming members of the team actually knew. In January of 2016, Abbas, Lau, and Wang originally came up with the idea to run a small Robotics training camp for incoming Stuyvesant freshmen. However, upon further research and the discovery that lack of STEM education was a trend countrywide, they decided to do what they could to change that. “We realized that the issue, [ a lack of STEM education], applied to everyone, not just people interested in robotics. So, we expanded our idea to teach basic STEM concepts,” explains Lau. Months of planning, hours of email drafting, advertising, marketing, meetings with tech companies,

and late nights culminated into the group’s initiative: Kinet-X.The idea for a small training camp for Stuyvesant newcomers evolved into a four-week summer immersion program. “I remember thinking that we had to have snacks set up. Before we started teaching on our first day, we ran everyone through a brainstorming workshop. We wanted to see the level of our students and also to get them to start thinking in the less traditional, memorization based way,” Abbas said. “I was really scared that when I started teaching they just really wouldn’t enjoy it. A lot of people just don’t like CS, and being responsible for trying to inspire a room of kids is tough. There really wasn’t anything I could do other than follow my lesson plan and just make sure everyone was having the best time possible.” “One big problem was finding a place to host our program. We thought about using a co-working space, but that would bump up the price [of the program] significantly,” explained Lau. “We reached out to a couple of places and found that people were willing to help us out. We worked with Beam Center, an amazing place with all of the materials and space we could ever need.” That summer, Abbas taught web development and JavaScript to a group of five students, Lau introduced soldering and circuitry, and Wang continued to work on marketing of the program. The three friends had all been exposed to basic engineering and computer science education: Abbas took computer science courses in middle school, Lau learned from his father, an electrical engineer, and Wang taught himself code at the age of eleven. “When I was younger, my father was pretty busy with work. When he did get home, he’d always be tinkering with some-

thing, so my interactions with him always involved teaching me something related to technology,” Lau recalled. “He once yelled at me for creating a short circuit, which is basically when you connect a battery to itself. I didn’t understand why, so I did it again by myself, and the battery got really hot and burned me.” The trio’s own hands-on experiences with STEM in childhood is reflected in how teaching is approached at Kinet-X: all lessons revolve around project based learning, as opposed to the typical lecture based classroom setting. “We’ve made solar powered cars from parts from old computers, which was pretty cool because they had to find things that can act as wheels, chassis and other things from scrap. I want them to realize that not only is this really fun, but also super useful,” Lau said. “I like showing my students what happens when you mess up, so they don’t get too curious and hurt themselves on their own. That’s the only way to teach kids without them getting bored and hating the topic.” Now, Kinet-X offers twelve weekend sessions of the same curriculum to a group of ten 1013 year-olds. Kinet-X’s program targets all middle schoolers, regardless of socioeconomic background. The program gets no outside funding and covers costs of equipment and other expenses through tuition rates: $1350 for the summer. However, financialaid is offered for those who cannot afford to pay full price. The Kinet-X day is split up into two parts—engineering and programming. Students spend three hours in the beginning of the day going over engineering concepts such as soldering, circuitry, and electricity. They are then given an hour lunch break that they can use to relax, socialize, or work on their projects.

Post-break, students finish the day with a three-hour programming session, where they spend their time learning programming concepts and applying them to projects and other activities. “When I am teaching off of a PowerPoint, I try to make it as engaging as possible, with puzzles and thought-provoking questions woven between the bullet points and factoids,” Abbas explained. “In the engineering portion, entire lessons can be spent soldering a circuit together or building a project.” “The best part is when you see how focused the kids are and how much they want to solve the issues they’ve come across,” Lau said. “The worst part is when they start getting a bit too rowdy and become safety hazards; but, that doesn’t happen too often, and it’s easy to calm them down.” What makes Kinet-X unique is its teachers—the closeness in age between teacher and student, obvious aptitude of the instructors in their subject areas, as well as the passion those instructors hold––evident when Abbas’s eyes lit up whilst describing their mission. “We focus more on inspiring our students, rather than just passing on knowledge and information for them to spit back out at us,” Adam said. “We want them to fall in love with STEM and pursue it outside of our classes. We want our students to come back to us and ask to helpout, or for more resources, or for assistance on a code that all of us wrote together. Personally, I want to see my students a year from now and feel like my class stuck with them.” For their 2017 summer immersion program, Kinet-X has expanded to include an intermediate level to their curriculum. “Our students kept telling us they wished they had an opportunity to take our classes again and learn more,” Abbas explained.

The intermediate course introduces Python and Arduino to students. The trio plan to continue to expand their program to include a greater variety of classes and grow their following to include more students. Publicity from various publications, including foreign language newspapers and the Wall Street Journal, help Kinet-X attract an even greater following. As a result of the program’s rapid growth, Abbas, Lau, and Wang all plan to remain in New York City post-high school to further expand and develop their vision. “It’s a big part of our lives, and we’d really like to continue it when we’re in college, if we get in,” Lau said. “That being said, if we’re not able to work on it personally, we’ve taken precautions to make sure it continues with other people in charge.” Though juggling a new startup and other responsibilities, like school-work, seems daunting, staying conscious of Kinet-X’s impact helps its founders stay grounded. “When I was on the robotics team, I was helping myself and my team, and learning new things. But it wasn’t fulfilling work or knowledge for me. Kinet-X lets me actually make a difference. I learn so much through teaching, and seeing a kid’s eyes light up when their code works is a feeling that you really can’t match,” Abbas said. Their advice to anyone looking to start their own business is to start with a passion, and see what ways it can be utilized to make a difference. “What problems are there? What do people wish was changed?” Abbas said. “You might end up only working on a project on a small scale, but if you keep trying to solve issues and follow what you already know and do, you’ll eventually find what works for you and be able to continue on with it.”

The Spectator ● March 31, 2017


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The Spectator ● June 8, 2017

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Editorials Staff Editorial

How We Experience Stuyvesant: Perceptions vs. Reality

Freshman Year Walking across the bridge on the first day of school, freshmen often have a set idea of what a Stuyvesant student looks like: hard-working, good at math, and socially reserved. Or perhaps the Big Sibs stand out in their minds, and they picture a warm and bubbly environment. Many freshmen are therefore surprised to discover that most Stuyvesant students do not fit either of these molds. Just like at any other high school, your first year at Stuyvesant means getting to know fellow classmates. Every freshman class is different, but in general, you will not have to contend with the exclusive cliques that often form at other high schools. Instead, loose divisions are drawn along the larger spectrum of sociability: introversion and extroversion. Also, many freshmen will be creating and becoming more active on Facebook. While there is a certain amount of insightful advice and communication on Facebook, it is also a great source of procrastination, and sometimes, hostility— Stuyvesant, despite its glamorous online rankings, is not immune to cyber-bullying. Facebook is also how you will acquaint yourself with all 800 of your classmates. For those coming from smaller schools, adjusting to such a large school is a daunting prospect, which means they would need to be able to find several dependable friends and fight for attention in classrooms and social outings. Furthermore, not all Stuyvesant students are STEM-oriented. While they tend to be good at math, the vast amount of humanities-focused extracurriculars shows that Stuyvesant students also thrive in non-STEM subjects. You will find many of your favorite teachers in the humanities. Many Stuyvesant students probably picked Stuyvesant without a second thought simply because it is considered the “#1 public high school in NYC.” Supposedly proof of the benefits of a meritocratic system when it comes to high school admissions and, likewise, academic success, many freshmen come into Stuyvesant braced to face hard work. But many are also under the impression that a good work ethic and a desire to do well will inevitably translate into academic success—in The Spectator’s survey for incoming freshmen, the vast majority of freshmen predict they will be in the top 50 percent of their class. They soon will find that a portion of academic success at Stuyvesant is far more arbitrary, such as getting the luck of the draw with teachers. Hard work and showing you care about the subject no longer guarantee high grades. Many students find that they have to totally change the way they study: they cannot cut corners anymore, especially since many freshman subjects are heavily memorizationbased, such as biology. Many incoming freshmen often see an unrealistic side of Stuyvesant at Open House and other publicity events. Much like any other institution, Stuyvesant attempts to put its best foot forward, but at times this clashes with presenting a balanced image of the school. Not everyone who attends our school fits the cheery and vivacious personae adopted by the Big Sib and ARISTA tour guides, and not everyone loves

school. Nearly everyone, however, has felt overworked, overwhelmed, and near a breaking point during their four years. Freshmen should realize this sooner than later, and be open to constructive adversity. Sophomore Year Supposedly the breather year between the shock that comes with being thrown into high school and the worst year of your life, sophomore year comes with its own challenges. You find yourself in that awkward position of looking down on the freshmen, but at the same time, not actually being an upperclassman yourself. With one year of Stuyvesant under your belt, you enjoy some of your newfound privileges. You begin to realize that your freshman attitude of choosing to pursue either sleep, social life, or grades is naive. Instead, the triangle becomes more intricate, allowing each student to choose his or her own balance between the three. One of your friends may focus primarily on grades while attending a few out of school events and getting an average amount of sleep each night. Others may chose to place emphasis on their social lives while still getting decent grades and some sleep. Social groups start to crystallize this year as people with similar extracurriculars and academic interests begin to band together into small cliques. These social groups aren’t arranged into the typical high school popularity hierarchy and play a relatively small role in everyday Stuyvesant life. Most people don’t seem to care what social group you’re a part of, but rather focus on your accomplishments and academic achievements. Many students jump around in different peer groups and even find themselves belonging to a few different ones. In a high school that is perceived to not have a “social scene,” you’ll begin to discover a party culture. This, too, correlates to popularity; depending on your friend group, you may find yourself either unexposed to party culture or completely submerged in it. Either way, rumors about FAP and SAP are hard to miss. Around the same time many students discover party culture, they also find out about drug use. Seeing their peers pursue illicit substances comes as a shock to many sophomores, most of whom came to Stuyvesant with the perception that students do not do drugs, an image the administration works hard to maintain. When it comes to grades, students are much more accustomed to the workload and develop an understanding for which classes are easy to slack off in. They start to see that one can get by with spending less time on assignments, or even not doing homework for classes in which the teacher doesn’t care. Time management becomes exponentially better as you do your homework during frees and lunch, or even during your easier class periods just to get an extra 30 minutes of sleep. Junior Year It’s often said that junior year is the hardest. As the college application process draws near, everyone around you is pressured to raise their averages and to succeed in extracurricular activities. Junior year, defined by difficult courses, full schedules, and sleep deprivation,

is perhaps was what you imagined Stuyvesant to be like: however, the reality is far more nuanced. Junior year serves as a period of transition. This will be your first time taking multiple APs. It’s also when your teachers begin to demand and expect more. Though there is more GPA-comparing and grudge-holding than should exist, you will begin to experience a communal spirit. Many of your peers will be more than willing to help you out with coursework and homework, and your classes center around group discussions. Perhaps this is best proved when more of your acquaintances use the contemptible colloquialism “snake”: students who take advantage of their peers in classes. Within the pressure cooker that junior year is often described as, you will grow closer to your peers and distance yourself from “snakes.” Early into Stuyvesant, you have probably realized that the immense amount of work assigned by teachers is simply too much to complete. By junior year, unique sleep patterns have developed, and the Stuyvesant social life-sleepstudy triangle proves truer every sleepless night. You will often find it necessary to make sacrifices in order to maximize sleep: choosing between homework that is simply “busywork” and homework that is meaningful for your education. Though you adapt to the increasing workload, some of your peers have more trouble. Many students joke about their teachers giving them anxiety and sleep deprivation, or laugh and say “I’d rather kill myself” in moments of desperation — but one of your closest friends is actually suffering from panic attacks, and you sometimes notice her disappear from school. Though her social circle knows about her situation, there is a general silence, stretching from administration to children, around mental health struggles. A common coping mechanism is illicit drug use. What began as curiosity in sophomore year turns into a culture, whether it be marijuana to relax or Adderall to study. At first, seeing your once wholesome and innocent friends high is a little troublesome, but by the end of the first semester it is common, and even a source of laughter. There is peer pressure—it seems the popular crowd uses drugs most heavily—but you do not become involved. You find your friends trying to sell you tickets to parties, even convincing you to give the culture a try. You hear stories of classmates hooking up and getting drunk and even feel compelled to witness the spectacle yourself. If you’re part of a more popular clique, you start seeing yourself at a lot of these parties, and that side of Stuyvesant slowly begins to seep into your identity. Attempt to make small talk with anyone, and invariably the conversation will shift to college. This, above all, is regretfully the frame of junior year social life. Stuyvesant is a self-selected, higher-achieving student body, and thus it is only reasonable that you are concerned about college. However, you will soon discover that discussing college is distracting and tangential. Instead, choose to focus on improving grades and succeeding in extracurriculars: junior year is a journey, and college is not the only endpoint.

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A Note to Our Readers: The Spectator will now accept unsolicited Op-Ed pieces written by outside students, faculty, and alumni. These columns, if selected, will be published in The Spectator’s Opinions section. Recommended length is 700 words. Articles should address school related topics or items of student interest. Columns can be e-mailed to

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• An article in Issue 15 on the Concerned Stuyvesant Alumni reported that there are 350,000 Stuyvesant alumni. There are approximately 35,000.

The Spectator ● June 8, 2017

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Jessica Wu / The Spectator

Uncontested; Unelected?

By Matteo Wong

An unopposed candidacy might signify incredible popularity, and a margin of victory of 100 percent. It could also signify a lack of opposition, and of civic engagement. In the worst case, the election may be coerced. James Monroe was elected President of the United States by a margin of 228-1 in 1820; Kim Jong-un was elected President of North Korea by a margin of 687-0 in 2014. From overwhelming approval to coercion, the most recent Student Union (SU) elections fall somewhere in between. Bitter liberals like to whine about the low democratic

turnout in America’s presidential election, but Stuyvesant is much worse, routinely seeing only a minority of the student body vote. This year, the SU and Senior Caucus elections stooped to a new level of apathy, each featuring a single candidacy. Junior Kevin Boodram, who ran for caucus three times in the past, said, “ I don’t think people understand what the Student Union does. I think that discourages a lot people from running in the first place, even voting.” His older brother’s friends told him the SU was only good for planning parties. Yet the SU organizes perhaps the biggest display of school spirit each year, SING!. The SU’s impressive budget of over $100,000 is what makes clubs and publications possible. And the President and Vice President routinely meet with school administration as the ones advocating for the student body. Perhaps it is time to pay more attention to election season. If presented with the opportunity to cast a ballot, I surely would have voted for Tahseen Chowdhury and Alexa Valentino for Student Union President and Vice President, as well as for Pallab Saha and Abie Rohrig for Senior Caucus; the problem, however, is that not

a single ballot was cast. With the student body’s interests at stake, it is dangerous to have an uncontested—and therefore unelected—official in power (see North Korea).

It is hard enough to break into the SU—incumbents have the advantage of knowing the organization’s inner-workings, evidenced by a five-year chain of SU Vice Presidents becom-

to run again,” he said, nodding vigorously when asked if he was bullied. Stuyvesant students are quick to transgress the boundary from debating policies to personal attacks.

It is hard enough to break into the SU—incumbents have the advantage of knowing the organization’s inner-workings, evidenced by a five-year chain of SU Vice Presidents becoming President. Bullying is not only degrading, but makes the task impossible.

A more troubling trend, however, seems to be damaging SU elections: the toxic environment surrounding challenges to the incumbent. Most recently, sophomore Abner Kahan faced personal attacks over Facebook for trying to run for positions in the Student Union. “Most people laughed at me and didn’t take me seriously. Some were even slightly hostile,” Kahan said. Hostility directly discourages students from running.

ing President. Bullying is not only degrading, but makes the task impossible; Kahan gave up on running for Student Union, and eventually pulled out of the Junior Caucus race—his ideas were effectively silenced. Boodram added that it is very difficult for candidates to run after suffering a loss. “If you lose a campaign, and you try to do anything after that, people are always going to flame you and say you’re salty or whatever and criticize you for trying

SU elections have always been meaningful; now it is time for the student body to treat them professionally. Innovation and competition are crucial to testing ideas and ensuring our Student Union provides us with the best experience they can, but this is only possible if we are open to new ideas and have the confidence that, when we choose to speak out, others will respect our voices.

Seven Years of Ruins At Stake The image of a deceased 3-year-old, Alan Kurdni, made headlines around the world on September 25, 2015. Kurdni washed up dead on the shores of a beach after his overcrowded lifeboat, filled with hundreds of refugees, sank in the Mediterranean Sea. Kurdi and the refugees were attempting to travel to Europe to escape the Syrian civil war. The conflict in Syria has spanned seven years and is responsible for over 465,000 deaths. After so many casualties, it is important for the international community to bring safety and closure to the Syrian people through long-term treaties, economic sanctions, and humanitarian aid.

that failed, they resorted to military intervention. This only escalated the conflict, making it into a proxy war: the militias found support from countries like Iran, who sent large quantities of weapons to the rebel groups in hopes that they would empower Sunni Muslims. In addition to being a proxy war, the Syrian civil war has direct, dangerous implications for the U.S. in the form of radicalizing terrorist groups. When the conflict began in 2011, militias rebelling against the Assad regime asked for the support of the United States. The United States never responded, which radicalized rebel groups, making them see the United States as the enemy. These groups would eventually became terrorist groups, one of which is

This specific conflict is complicated because the victims of oppression often become the aggressors.

Tensions rose between President Bashar al Assad and the Syrian people in 2011 because of Assad’s intolerance of peaceful anti-regime protests. Assad killed protesters and then began bombing cities, killing innocent civilians. Assad used chemical weapons in August of 2013 to attack Syrians in the suburbs of the capital city, Damascus. At this point, international leaders realized that the conflict was only going to get more brutal if they did not intervene. Diplomats initially attempted to a establish a ceasefire. When

ISIS. To find out how the international community can solve this complex issue, I interviewed David Phillips, the Director of the Program on Peace-building and Rights at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights. Phillips has also worked as the Senior Adviser to the U.S. Department of State. In our interview, Phillips noted that this specific conflict is complicated because the victims of oppression often become the aggressors. So, to have a peace deal, Phillips explained,

“Everyone who is involved in hostility needs to have their views taken on board and there

ter of Transitional Justice, which would hold Assad accountable through amnesty hearings. The

al community must care about the future of families halfway across the world. We cannot

The international community must decide whether it will end seven years of warfare as saviors or destroyers.

needs to be an agreement that satisfies all of those different parties.” Peace treaties in Syria should be settled in two ways: long-term treaties and shortterm sanctions. The first type of peace treaty is permanent and would end the war once and for all. However, it would take years to settle. This type of peace treaty occurs when involved parties call a ceasefire and insist on a long-term “white peace,” which requires formal authorization from the UN Security Council, affected parties, and the Syrian government. The alternative is imposing sanctions from the UN or some external power. The militias can negotiate the terms of the sanctions with the third party. If militias don’t follow the terms of the sanctions, the international community can sanction what is called “All Necessary Measures” under the UN Charter, which means using military force to make the militias cooperate. Even if these methods of dividing power are effective, just ending the Syrian civil war doesn’t ensure the safety of the Syrian civilians. To ensure a smooth transition to the new political systems, the international community should collaborate with organizations such as The International Cen-

International Rescue Committee would also participate by providing humanitarian relief for Syrian refugees settling in camps. Ultimately, the internation-

continue to have more children dying like Kurdni. The international community must decide whether it will end seven years of warfare as saviors or destroyers.

Christine Jegarl/ The Spectator

By Tashfia Hasan

The Spectator ● June 8, 2017

Page 8

Opinions In Our Minds and a World Away: Students’ Views on the French Election After a year of massive shifts in the political order from Europe to the United States, all eyes turned to the French elections to see whether even more political upheaval was coming. Emmanuel Macron ran and won on a pro-European Union (EU), pro-globalization platform against Marine Le Pen, an isolationist and populist candidate. These two starkly different politicians provided a clear window into the stratification and polarization of French society, and a window into the increasing division within global affairs. Here, a series of Opinions writers attempt to tackle the vast implications of the French election: its impact on France, the U.S., and global politics, and the lessons we can take away from such an critical political moment.

The Future of France? By Artem Ilyanok The results of the French election, a contest between the centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron and the far-right Marine le Pen, highlight an important political shift taking place in the Western world. Political establishments in Europe and America were left reeling after shocking victories for Brexit and Trump. In Austria, the anti-immigration freedom party nearly won the presidency, claiming 47 percent of the vote. And in the famously liberal Netherlands, the party of the notorious Geert Wilders came in second place, winning 20 seats in Parliament. All eyes turned to France, whose election results would not only determine​ the policies

of one of Europe’s most powerful countries, but would likely determine the fate of the EU. Many people around the word expressed relief when Macron handily won the election with a large majority of the vote. However, Macron’s victory should not come as a surprise. Throughout the campaign, Marine Le Pen was dogged by the the reputation of her party, the National Front. Despite spending years softening her party’s racist and anti-Semitic image, a poll conducted in March showed that 58 percent of French people still believed the party was “a danger to democracy.” Le Pen was eventually forced to step down as leader of the party in order to become “the president of all the French.” Apart from the reputation

of her party, Le Pen’s own policies were unpopular or improbable. One of her main campaign promises was to make the franc the primary French currency, leaving the euro in the process. Only 28 percent of French voters were found to support this currency change. She promised to prioritize French Nationals over immigrants when determining the distribution of government benefits, a policy many experts declared unconstitutional. In order to restore the rule of law, she advocated for the return of the death penalty, also only finding support among 28 percent of voters. To combat Islamism, Le Pen called for the banning of “all religious symbols” in public, a policy even she branded a “sacrifice.” Considering her support for such extremist policies, a Le

Pen victory was nearly impossible. Emmanuel Macron couldn’t have been more different. A youthful, likable candidate who now enjoys a 62 percent approval rating, he was never at serious risk of losing the presidency once he had made it into the second round of voting. His largely centrist politics, along with the unpopularity of Marine Le Pen, enabled him to comfortably win the presidency. However, celebrations of the end of populism and the rightwards shift in Europe are premature. It has to be noted that the election of Macron still represents a rejection of establishment politics, as he had never held elected office prior to his election victory. He also supports conservative policies such as the reduction of the corporate

tax rate, cutting of public sector jobs, and the decreasing of government spending. Macron is no progressive, and a large portion of his election victory can be attributed to the public’s aversion toward Marine Le Pen, who still managed to record the largest vote percentage ever received by her party. His election highlights the increasing power of conservatism in Europe​. In the U.K., the next election is expected to provide a stronger mandate for the pro-Brexit conservative Theresa May. Germany will hold another pivotal election this September. While France has made the right choice concerning its leadership, it remains to be seen if the rest of Europe will do the same.

She was similarly snubbed on election night by another key demographic: women. Le Pen’s campaign branded her a “capable woman.” A twice-divorced single mother, Le Pen attempted to establish relatability to France’s female population. In ads, she described herself as a woman, mother, and lawyer before fortifying her patriotism to France. The crux of her platform, an undeniably French-first attitude, was often boasted in coherence with these other aspects of her livelihood to perhaps emphasize the compatibility of womanhood and far-right stances. Despite these efforts in allowing gender to be an advantage in the election cycle, she only received the support of about 24 percent of the female vote, with the major-

ity opting to support a relatively centrist agenda. America’s 2016 election, in contrast, left an enormity of the vote grasping for political wild card Donald Trump, who triumphed after a grueling campaign season. The two cycles show many noticeable parallels, with extremist candidates feeding to a far-right populist platform and leaving many to wonder why exactly Le Pen fell flat while Trump emerged victorious. France’s decision to deny her the title of president only emphasizes a growing intolerance for divisive rhetoric, as well as a more progressive view for the future of France. Only time will tell if the Macron presidency actually achieves these ideals.

Le Pen… Loses? By Mia Gindis Months after the conclusion of one of America’s most heated elections, Europe stirred with a particularly fierce one of its own. Populist candidates emerging at the forefront of prominent election cycles appears to have become a recent global phenomena. Two political outsiders—centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen—took French politics by storm. Le Pen strongly advocated for “Frexit,” wanted to drastically lower France’s immigration quota, and was a self-pronounced champion of France’s blue-collar workers. With her father first gaining notoriety as head of the chauvinistic National Front Par-

ty, Le Pen has worked tirelessly to rid the stigma which hinders its national recognition. However, her newest label will undoubtedly be just as difficult to forsake: loser. Despite running an ambitious campaign, Le Pen’s bid flopped on election day by decisive margins (she received 33 percent of the national vote versus Macron’s 64 percent). This landslide victory came as a shock to many, being that France’s dwindling employment rates, as well as impending terror threats causing significant anti-immigration backlash, seemed to be motivating factors that would support a political outsider. As seen in America, an idle administration was enough to push a nation into backing a radical

candidate. Yet, it was Le Pen’s affiliation to the National Front Party which lent the biggest blow to her voter backing. A history of anti-Semitic and even out-right racist remarks made humanizing her affiliation with the party a close to impossible task. Jean-Marie Le Pen, Marine’s father, made infamous allegations denying the Holocaust in 2000, claiming it was but a “detail” in history. This comment dragged the National Front into the fringes of political discussion, and in turn, Le Pen with it. Her elusiveness in mainstream politics until just before the election made reviving a demographic that had already lost much respect for a disgraced party (which she continued to back) an impossible task.

An Outlook on France’s Bleak Future By Aidan Griffin The recent election in France magnified the contrast between politics on the European continent and politics in the U.K. and the U.S. Macron was largely elected due to his lack of the partisanship that has largely divided France for a long time. He has, to a large degree, followed through on this. His decisions to appoint Edouard Philippe, a member a center-right party in France, as his Prime Minister, and JeanYves Le Drian, a former Socialist defense minister as his Foreign Policy Minister, show that he is trying to heal the divide between center-right and center-left. This willingness to put partisan politics aside and choose members of both parties in his cabinet de-

serves some praise. But despite the overwhelming majority of his victory, winning 66 percent of the vote to Le Pen’s 34 percent, he still has the lowest public confidence levels of an incoming French president in the last 20 years at just 45 percent. Macron enters the presidency with arguably the greatest challenges of any leader in French history. He has to deal with a country gripped by terrorism, low economic growth (0.8 percent GDP per capita from this point last year), and high unemployment. Along with the sluggish growth, nearly one in four youth are unemployed, much higher than Germany and many other European neighbors. His pro-business platform will likely boost France’s sluggish economy. He plans on reducing

corporate income tax from 33.3 percent to 25 percent, which will probably help the economy grow at a substantially faster rate. Another positive aspect of Macron’s platform is his willingness to increase defense spending. While France arguably doesn’t need a strong military with the U.S. at its back, it is still important that they are meeting NATO’s requirement of spending two percent of GDP on defense. Macron plans to meet that requirement in 10 years, which will be a slight increase from the 1.8 percent of GDP on defense that was spent last year. However, this is not to say that Macron is perfect. His appointment to Nicolas Hulot, a leftist firebrand who supported Melenchon, to environment chief is concerning in my eyes.

continued on page 9

I understand the importance of cutting carbon emissions. However, economic freedom is even more important. Also, many climate deals and policies, like the one signed in Paris that Macron supports, have target emission cuts that are difficult to enforce and, even if enforced, may have has a negligible impact on the environment. His pro-EU stance is also questionable. I personally believe that the idea of European project has merits, but it should not be too controlling over the parliamentary systems across Europe. One major reason Britain left the EU was because a Brussels institution, made up of unelected bureaucrats, has the right to overrule an elected parliamentary body. This is a fundamental rejection of the concept

of sovereignty, a concept that has helped promote peace throughout the world. Macron showed that he wanted an even more controlling EU when he threatened sanctions on Poland on the campaign trail if it didn’t accept refugees. The matter of accepting or rejecting refugees should be a matter up to each individual country and should not be forced upon any member country. I wish Macron a successful presidency and I hope that he can successfully unify the country and improve the economy. However, I am skeptical that his presidency will be successful because he represents too much of the status quo and wants to be too controlling over other people’s lives.

The Spectator ● June 8, 2017

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Opinions In Our Minds and a World Away: Students’ Views on the French Election continued from page 8

The Stagnation of Socialism By Ben Platt Imagine if the Democratic Party suddenly became irrelevant in American politics. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren would become minor politicians and attract little to no attention from the news media. The whole party that had produced Barack Obama, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy would simply not be a viable group anymore. That is essentially what has been happening to the French Socialist Party since the extremely unpopular presidency of the previous President Francois Hollande. In the first round of voting in the French Presidential election, the Socialist candidate Benoit Hamon received a paltry 6.4 percent of the vote. This is

coming from a former giant in French politics that produced one of the greatest politicians in recent French history, former President Francois Mitterrand. This decline for the Socialist Party was not unforeseen, considering the lack of support of Hamon by the French left, and the 11.4 percent approval rating for former President Francois Hollande. Hamon was associated with Hollande because he worked in his administration, which left him vulnerable to attacks by far-left candidate JeanLuc Melenchon and centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron. In addition, the Socialist Party took heavy losses in 2014, where they lost over 150 towns to the far-right National Front and the center-right Republican Party. The French Left has split be-

tween extremes, which leaves no room for the Socialist Party as it tries to unify all of those on the left in France. Instead, voters will become increasingly enchanted by both the Bernie Sanders-esque policies of JeanLuc Melenchon on the far left or be drawn to the startling new power of Emmanuel Macron and his party, En Marche!. While both Macron and Melenchon are enchanting candidates, they risk defeating their own policy by splitting the votes of the French left in the upcoming Parliamentary elections, thus giving more of an advantage to the National Front and the Republican Party. The main draw of the Socialist Party is that it drew together the disparate strands of the French left and wove them into a cohesive party. How will

the Socialist Party survive such a pincer movement against its main base? Unwittingly, the French left has gotten itself into an even tougher situation than before the presidential election because the rapid ascent of Macron and Melenchon was so unforeseen. Potential leaders of the Socialist Party have abandoned it when it needs strong leadership the most. Previous Prime Minister Manuel Valls all but disowned the Socialist Party even though he campaigned to run on its ticket just one year ago. The Socialist Party is leaderless, and has no real direction of where it wants to go politically. What lies ahead then is chaos. The former leading political party of the French left is now insignificant to the electorate

and no candidate or party has convincingly stepped forward to take the reins of this growing rupture in French politics. However, it must be noted that the French left was facing these same convulsions in 1969, where the then-leading SFIO party was in disarray and competing with French communists for sway over left side of the political spectrum. No clear winner appeared poised to emerge until Francois Mitterand united these factions to form the Socialist Party. Perhaps, so long as they are in line with their political prognosticators, things are not as dire as they seem; history, after all, has repeated itself before.

Europe: Besieged, France: Victorious By Joshua Weiner Emmanuel Macron is lauded as a general returning from a victorious struggle, as people rejoice in his defeat of the far-right in the recent French election. The youngest French president in the country’s history was able to run a grassroots campaign, uniting the diaspora of French political parties against Marine Le Pen and her National Front. Yet, we cannot afford to rejoice too long in Macron’s victory. Many European nations are facing elections similar to the one that just ended in France, and with each comes a threat towards the stability and prosperity of Europe. One of the key components

of Macron’s platform was his pro-EU stance. Since the 2008 global financial crisis and the subsequent 2012 European crisis, the EU’s effectiveness has been called into question by those wishing to seize upon the dormant streaks of nationalism that reside within their fellow countrymen. It is critical to understand specifically what about the European Union causes this resentment in its member nations, and how that resentment is spun into justification for isolationist and nationalist political platforms. As a member of the European Union, a country loses a tangible amount of its ability to make policy, most importantly monetary policy. In times of crisis, it

is easy for ambitious politicians of wounded nations to play off of the resentment caused by EU monetary policy, and in doing so disregard the years of stability and prosperity the EU has brought. The critical component that has made the EU so effective for so many decades has been its requirement that all members hold the future of the continent as a whole at heart. EU policy is meant to reflect collective interest, which is critical to maintaining European growth across the board and to the benefit of all rather than the benefit of some. A prime example of this collective interest area is the EU’s collective defense treaties, which use member nation funds and troops to protect European in-

terests and security. And yet, the responsibilities associated with being a member of this kind of organization pose significant challenges towards membership. The most glaring example of this is the European migrant crisis, in which the massive influx of millions of refugees has triggered a surge in xenophobia and isolationism. Even in Germany, the heart of the EU, positive views of the EU have fallen to an all-time low of 29 percent because of their shouldering of the migrant crisis. Because of these issues, we witnessed the rise of the Brexit movement, Le Pen’s brush with victory, and now similar challenges in countries such as Germany, Austria, Sweden, and the Netherlands.

All of these contests individually pose a threat to European stability, which only heightens the perceived notions of impending doom. This is why Macron’s victory is a huge win for the people of France, of Europe, and the world; without it, the European Union would be shattered, and with it, global stability. To preserve their peace, prosperity, and integrity, Europeans must rise to counter the challenge and rhetoric of those who want to divide their continent and sow the seeds of inequality. France may be the catalyst of this heroic stand, but it is how the other elections across Europe play out which will decide the future for decades to come.

On Both Sides of an Ocean, E-mails By Raniyan Zaman As Senator Bernie Sanders so aptly phrased it, at one point, Americans were “sick and tired of hearing about [Hillary Clinton’s] damn e-mails.” Was there ever an election so heavily focused on, of all things, e-mails? The controversy over presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server shadowed her campaign since its beginning. They were a glaring weakness, a chink in her armor; ultimately, they might even have decided the outcome of the election after former FBI director James Comey reopened an investigation into her e-mails a week before the election, albeit eventually coming up with nothing.

But a presidential candidate’s hacked e-mails, while being front and center of the 2016 U.S. election, had absolutely no impact on the French presidential election. Granted, this might have been because Emmanuel Macron’s e-mails were hacked and released online barely two days before voting day, while the American public had known about Clinton’s e-mails for several months before casting their ballots. But there are glaring similarities between Clinton’s and Macron’s e-mails. There is speculation that both leaks were caused by Russian hackers seeking to influence the elections. Both had e-mails that, when read, proved to be utterly mundane and, frankly, boring—this

is especially the case for Clinton’s e-mails, which were much less interesting and important than the media made them out to be with their constant coverage and focus on Clinton’s e-mails and apparent trustworthiness, rather than her policies. Why, then, did the French know so little about Macron’s emails before they voted? Aside from the obvious discrepancy between the timing of the leaks, the French press is required to observe a “blackout” 44 hours before the start of voting for a presidential election: they can’t report on anything related to the candidates. This rule is designed so that last-minute information and media coverage cannot sway an election, especially before any issues are investigated

thoroughly and all the facts are verified. Such a rule would have been incredibly useful in America last November, when a last-minute decision by Comey to reopen the e-mail investigation led to lower voter turnout for Clinton than there would have been otherwise and could have caused a substantial amount of voters who were on the fence to change their minds about who they would cast their ballots for. FiveThirtyEight notes how Clinton led Trump by 5.9 percentage points the day before Comey’s announced the reopening of the e-mail investigation. A week later, Clinton’s lead had declined by three percentage points. This decrease was even more pronounced in swing states, many

of which Clinton eventually lost by only three to four percentage points. Let’s hand it to the French— they aren’t letting their elections being decided by anything as inconsequential as e-mails, and the French press certainly isn’t guilty of exaggerating the importance of Macron’s e-mails. American media would do well to behave in a similar style in upcoming elections, so that our presidents are chosen based off their own merits, and our elections aren’t determined by random and insignificant controversies surrounding certain presidential candidates.

The Spectator ● June 8, 2017

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Opinions The Refugee Deflux By Hristo Karastoyanov

The immediate question on everyone’s lips in the aftermath of Emmanuel Macron’s election is whether it signifies the beginning of the end for the dark wave of populism that has ravaged Europe over the past several years. There’s no way to be sure whether this is simply a short respite or whether this beast has finally been caged for good. Pessimists might point out the fact that there seems to be no reprieve from the constant barrage of terrorist attacks facing Europe, with the recent attacks in Man-

chester taking 22 victims. The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of such terror incidents were committed by second- and third-generation immigrants, like the one who was responsible for the attack in Manchester, whose parents were born in Libya, as opposed to recent ones, whose arrival right-wing politicians and supporters alike are opposed to. Predictably, however, this will do nothing to stop the fearmongering and Islamophobic, anti-immigration sentiments that allowed right-wing demagoguery to fester and proliferate in the first place. However, there is a cause

for optimism: the fact that the Syrian War seems to be nearing an end, with Assad’s forces having taken Aleppo and close to winning the war, despite the recent American response. The decreasing amounts of violence will cause people to stop fleeing the country at such a high rate and will lead the already decreasing number of refugees to drop even more, especially compared to their levels during the peak of the refugee crisis in 2015. The lowering refugee influx is sure to alleviate some of the fears caused by ignorance and Islamophobia and hopefully reduce some of the major populist parties in Europe back

to irrelevance. While in some countries, such as Poland and Hungary, that ship has already sailed, there is still hope that most of Western Europe will escape the tightening clutches of populism. However, there is a cause for minor consolation: one must take into consideration the fact that Poland has fallen to the sinister, primitive force of theo-fascism in that it is ruled by a religious extremist party which has already banned abortion and taken major strides towards limiting press freedom, and the fact that Hungary is well known for its high rates of xenophobia.

Those two elements are less present in Western Europe. Тhat will perhaps prevent Western Europe from succumbing to this dangerous political movement. But as the right has repeatedly shown, human ignorance can never be underestimated and no matter how unfavourable the conditions look for the survival of populism, it always somehow manages to escape through the cracks, namely in the case of Brexit and Trump. Macron’s election, however, delivers a tinge of hope for a future without a right wing based on human folly and ignorance.

Battle Against Nationalism By Adam Oubaita Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the French presidential election symbolizes hope for the EU and, moreso, globalism. Macron’s opposition, Marine Le Pen, advocated for isolationism and the removal of France from the EU. She was able to gain significant traction because of the widespread discontent of the French people with their government. Macron will have to unify

the French people in believing in modern French values, mainly globalism and secularism, in order to ensure that the French people remain satisfied under the EU. As Macron said in his acceptance speech, “My responsibility will be to bring every woman and man together, ready to confront the immense challenges awaiting us, and to act.” A large challenge he must face is the disgruntled citizens who call for radical change. Le Pen intended on return-

ing to an era of nationalism and isolationism, and in doing so, thwarting the success of the EU. Le Pen had plans on replacing their use of the Euro with the nouveau franc. In addition, she wanted to cut the tax rate for impoverished people while lowering the retirement age, which appealed to the working class who felt forgotten by their government. According to a French news network The Local, nearly nine million French people live in poverty. Poverty has been

steadily rising in France for some time. This is no doubt a serious issue that Macron will have to resolve if he plans on unifying France and stunting the growth of public dissidents. Another major aspect of Marine Le Pen’s campaign was the shutting down of France’s borders. This pro-right movement brings a larger issue to light: the migrant and refugee crisis. Most people in Europe are afraid of terrorism, and in turn, afraid of the refugees coming into Europe.

Macron must contain the movement of this reactionary group against accepting refugees. Although Emmanuel Macron has won the presidency and has won the battle against nationalism and isolationism, this nationalistic movement is here to stay. Macron must unite the French people in order to preserve the EU, the progress made in globalization, and the secularism of the populace.

What We Should Learn From Last Year in Politics By Shameek Rakshit and Michael Xu As the last polling stations closed on Tuesday, November 8, The New York Times forecast that Hillary Clinton had an 85 percent chance of winning the White House, FiveThirtyEight gave Clinton a 71 percent chance of victory, and Reuters topped it off at 90 percent. It seemed as though Democrats were poised for victories in both chambers of Congress. The 2016 election was meant to be a watershed victory for progressivism and the beginning of a new liberal future for America. Instead, Donald Trump rode into power on a wave of discontent as the leader of a conservative resurgence. The election marked the pinnacle of a trend of increasing partisanship and a disturbing aversion to compromise. Since then, every day has been a pitched battle between ideological extremes that has brought our government to a standstill and threatens the stability of our country. While it may be tempting to take your gloves off, it is imperative that we begin the process of reconciliation to forge a bipartisan future for America.

How did we get here? Most of us—regardless of where we stand on the political spectrum—can agree that the last election was complete chaos. Tensions brewed: Clinton ignorantly described Trump’s base as “basket of deplorables,” and Trump called on the “Second Amendment people” to assassinate a potential President Hillary Clinton. This kind of slander should come without surprise, however. Insolence has become the defining character of this era’s political atmosphere. The American public has been caught between partisanship’s superficial

entanglements. Both Clinton and Trump were the most unpopular nominations of their respective parties in the modern era, and both parties have shunned the slightest diversity of thought, the slightest divergence from their agendas. The entrenched partisanship belies the reality that independents constitute nearly half of Americans. As Democrats have grown increasingly liberal, and Republicans have grown increasingly conservative, independents have become increasingly ostracized from political participation. The party bloc has become the default interface of American politics, where legislation is hammered out in party chambers rather than on the floors of Congress. Discussions no longer involve the actual effects of policy, but rather fixate around vote numbers and the interests of party leaders. With the recent passing of the American Healthcare Act, for example, there was no final score of the bill on the floor of the House; Republicans were nonetheless rallied to vote for it along party lines by House Speaker Paul Ryan. Gerrymandering—the redrawing of district boundaries along partisan lines—has, in part, made political extremism expedient. Gerrymandering limits competition by cramming as many opposition voters into small districts as possible. Congressional districts. like North Carolina’s 12th and Maryland’s 3rd, often snake across hundreds of miles in a desperate bid to pack like-minded people together. This safeguards the position of the majority party and artificially polarizes voters by ideology. By isolating the populace into two distinct halves, parties are free to pander to their base and force people to vote for their increasingly extremist and narrowminded agendas. While it is easy

to balk at the policies of the other party, platforms that were sure political suicide a few years ago are now the mainstream. Our detachment from one another is exacerbated by the cycle of fear and distrust peddled by politicians and media outlets. While pundits were quick to attack the divisive and incendiary coverage put forth by fringe organizations, like Breitbart, during the election cycle, many mainstream media outlets have also become troublingly political and biased. A Pew Research poll indicates that 74 percent of Americans believe news organizations favor one side of the political spectrum. The clickbait headlines mocking liberals and bashing conservatives have made politics dangerously entertaining and addictive. By spewing information with a partisan slant, the modern media forces us to live in our pre-existing biases. While external factors have tainted our political climate, new ideological rifts have shaken up internal party politics as well. The stunning Democratic loss can be attributed to the exclusionary splintering within the party. Bernie Sanders’ campaign electrified young and progressive-minded Democrats and found large support amongst white Rust Belters and independents. Clinton’s nomination disillusioned many of Sanders’ supporters, likely costing the Democrats the critical states of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Post-election, the Democratic party has failed to learn from its failure, choosing instead to abandon its status as the “big-tent party,” the evolved descendent of Roosevelt’s New Deal coalition. The new Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair Tom Perez has claimed that all Democrats have to be pro-choice, alienating roughly 20 percent of Democrats that are pro-life. Fur-

thermore, the far left has become more and more outspoken, alienating Democrats who do not believe in identity politics. The political infighting that led to Trump’s election has also severely hurt Republicans. Recent polls have shown severe dissatisfaction even in the states Trump carried: President Trump polls at 41 approve/51 disapprove in North Carolina, 44 approve/47 disapprove in Wisconsin, 41 approve/47 disapprove in Florida, and—shockingly—42 approve/54 disapprove in the consistently Republican Texas. The “Never Trump” movement never picked up steam as a result of the seventeen candidates running for the nomination. Trump managed to stand out from the carbon-copy playing field, directly demonstrating the power of extremism in swaying voters.

So, what can we learn? Polarization has led to dissension, as near-majorities of Americans find discussing politics with those with opposing political views to be “stressful and frustrating” (Pew Internet Research). Clashing with our ideological foes over Twitter can be exhausting and the thought of retreating to our favorite InfoWars or DailyKos story may seem appealing. It is critical, however, that we take the initiative to step out of our political echo chambers and reach out to one another in order to better understand other opinions and the very causes that we claim to be fighting for. To truly advance an agenda and realistically implement our vision for the world, Americans must accept bipartisanship. By distancing ourselves from ideological extremes and embracing centrism—a tolerance of ideas we may not openly support—we can communicate with each other and expand the reach of our

goals and outlook. At the same time, moderates cannot be marginalized and coerced into acceding to the whims of an extremist minority. Rather, it is important for moderates to stand steadfastly by the principles of political centrism and by the belief in the superiority of compromise over partisan bickering. That being said, the twoparty political system has been a longstanding part of American politics since 1789 for good reason—it’s often the simplest way to broadcast opinions and effectuate broad changes. In this way, the two-party system has been working very well in convincing Americans to accept widesweeping agendas. The Trump presidency serves as a wake-up call to understand these failures of partisanship, however. From this point on, it is important for Democrats and Republicans to truly comprehend the basis of their beliefs in order to form a bipartisan compromise. Staunch Democrats should be questioning their beliefs not to become Trump apologists, but to understand their position to be able to better argue and support it. Staunch Republicans should do the same to be able to offer objective defenses of the Trump administration. In effect, many partisan voters will end up abandoning the longstanding hardset party lines, better reflecting the reality that political identification is on a wide spectrum and not in two camps. Indeed, a multitude of similarities do exist: most Americans support infrastructure developments, education investments, responsible economics, amongst other tenets. Most importantly, Americans share an interest in the betterment of the nation. As President Obama famously quipped, “there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s the United States of America.”

The Spectator ● June 8, 2017

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Opinions Passing Up PC By Mia Gindis and Artem Ilyanok

“Political correctness” (PC) played a key role in the recent presidential election, with many people flocking in support of Donald Trump because he “says it as it is.” Others expressed revulsion toward what they viewed as comments out of place in American politics. On the other side of the political spectrum, many voters abandoned the “liberal elite” represented by Hillary Clinton after her grouping of Trump supporters into a “basket of deplorables.” With this comment, Clinton drew the ire of many Trump supporters and strengthened their belief that their concerns toward issues such as illegal immigration were not being heard. The poor communication between voters in this past election is a side effect of the influence of political correctness on civil rhetoric in our society. Political correctness is the deliberate avoidance of language that could offend political sensibilities. While the goal of political correctness was to protect people from hateful speech, it has created an environment adverse to the unregulated exchange of ideas and had a profound effect on freedom of speech across the U.S. Offense is a subjective emotion, with individuals experiencing it as a result of a unique set of stimuli. What somebody is offended by depends on their beliefs, morals, and tolerance towards variance from them-

selves. Because there is such discrepancy in feelings of offense, it is unreasonable to restrict all potentially offensive content. Of course, being unwilling to cede control over what ideas can be expressed is not an endorsement of discriminatory rhetoric. It is counterproductive to suppress such rhetoric, especially considering its poor outreach and unconvincing claims. The best method of defeating hateful belief systems is to allow them be expressed in the open, where their lack of productive ideas will become apparent, resulting in an almost certain public rejection. Recently, students at Columbia University demanded the removal of a statue of Thomas Jefferson from campus because they took offense to it as a “symbol of violence against black and brown bodies.” These students’ determination to protect the feelings of marginalized groups has caused them to protest for the removal of a statue of a founding father, a symbol of our nation. These protests constitute an act of censorship. Similarly, the job of policing speech often falls into society’s hands. Forbes details some methods used to enforce political correctness, ranging from UK colleges banning clapping because it could “trigger anxiety” to a safe-space room founded in Brown University for attendees who “might find debate upsetting.” In today’s heated political environment, the unrestricted exchange of ideas has become

more important than ever. Open discussion allows both ends of the political spectrum a voice, resulting in more inclusive solutions to issues. When the free marketplace of ideas is shut down as it is on college campuses, this mutually ben-

culture into our society, however, is not a valid solution for eradicating hate speech. Throwing around labels such as “racist” or “sexist” without merit only serves to discredits instances in which their usage would be appropriate--accu-

attribute of our student body. Heated arguments can be heard in the hallways or followed intently on lengthy Facebook comment chains. If a statement is made with malicious intent, it is discredited through intellectual discussion. If an un-

The best method of defeating hateful belief systems is to allow them be expressed in the open, where their lack of productive ideas will become apparent, resulting in an almost certain public rejection.

eficial exchange of ideas does not occur. Instead, the political climate becomes more polarized as individuals are drawn to political echo chambers where their beliefs are not only unchallenged, but confirmed. The complexity of this notion deepens with subjectivity. Some may claim that without the presence of PC culture, the abstract concept of “freedom” is granted to some but taken away from those aggrieved by so-called hate speech. An openletter written by a protester furthered that “people talk a lot about ‘freedom of speech’ and I think this fetish of speech misses the larger point. It is about… who has it, and who is denied it.” The implementation of PC

sations alone could effectively ruin a career. Crying wolf in the name of political correctness has made it impossible for anyone, in fear of being labelled a “bigot,” to speak out, causing careful tiptoeing around the topic of diversity, or even an avoidance all together. A further constriction on “offensive” speech would not be conducive to a socially just society: rather, it would make it even harder to fight for these causes. Stuyvesant, in contrast, boasts a room where profound discourse bounces off trophylined walls. With a variety of extracurriculars like debate teams, Young Democrats, the Intellectual Conservative Society, and The Spectator, a diversity of opinion remains a crucial

popular opinion resonates with a minority, it is heeded—if not fiercely debated—by the rest as a legitimate stance on an issue. This attitude is one that needs to be encouraged within youth. PC culture is the barrier between the American people and the freedom of expression. It is unacceptable for it to be fostered in a society, especially one which predicates itself on the latter. As Frederick Douglas once noted, “To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.” This philosophy, while a rather old one, grounds the existence of civil discourse. It’s certainly not time to forsake it.

The Paris Climate Accord By Artem Ilyanok

Christine Jegarl / The Spectator

President Donald Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Climate Deal is undoubtedly the most pivotal of his short presidency. In the long term, it could become a defining moment of not only Trump’s presidency, but American history. Trump’s controversial decision to withdraw from this international agreement will define American and global politics, economics, and the fight against climate change for years to come.

One of the most immediate repercussions of leaving the climate deal is the diplomatic penalty that comes with leaving an agreement of this magnitude. In leaving, the U.S. joins Nicaragua and Syria as one of the only countries not participating in the international agreement. Nearly every major world leader has expressed disappointment at this decision, with German chancellor Angela Merkel describing Trump’s decision as “extremely regrettable” and the leader of the European council

branding it a “big mistake.” In addition to worsening​ America’s international relationships, this decision will also hamper Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and American diplomatic efforts around the world. In fact, Tillerson had pressured Trump to remain in the climate deal, likely due to his knowledge of the international fallout leaving would cause. Further confounding Tillerson is the reduced role the U.S. is now taking in the fight against climate change, leaving China and other competitors as the primary powers determining global climate policy. In leaving the climate deal, Trump has ceded a portion of America’s leadership of the globe and, in the words of former Secretary of State John Kerry, created a “global stain on our credibility.” The reaction among Americans hasn’t been much different. A poll conducted by Politico found that 62 percent of Americans “wanted the U.S. to remain part of the accord.” Many American businesses, cities, and politicians have already condemned the president’s decision and pledged to commit themselves to fighting climate change. In fact, a group of businesses, mayors, and governors is attempting to negotiate membership to the agreement with the UN, although they are unlikely to be accepted. The main justification used by Trump to defend his decision is economic. There are legitimate economic consequences to abiding by the climate deal, with the Heritage Foundation estimating that it would elimi-

nate 300,000 jobs by 2035, increase household electricity expenditures by 13 to 20 percent, and create a total loss of over 2.5 trillion dollars in GDP. Under the agreement, America had pledged to give three billion dollars to a climate fund, more than double the contribution of the second largest donor. It is understandable that Trump and many of his voters expressed grievances about these economic costs. However, leaving the accord is somewhat economically shortsighted. Top American business leaders, including the CEOs of Apple, Google, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, and ExxonMobil, had expressed support for the accord, arguing that remaining would encourage new investment and create jobs. In leaving the climate deal, Trump moves farther away from an economy​ powered by, and leading the world in, clean energy. The clean energy industry is growing faster than any other energy industry, currently employing over 2.5 million Americans and projected to create many more jobs as it grows. While leaving the Paris Climate Accord will present short term economic benefits, its long term effects on the development of America’s clean energy industry are more conspicuous. Of course, the entire purpose of the Paris Climate Accord was to limit the increase of global temperatures to two degrees Celsius in the next century. The two degree threshold is considered by many scientists to be the “point of no return,” or the point at which climate

change will become irreversible or even catastrophic. Even with the presence​of the climate deal,

While leaving the Paris Climate Accord will present short term economic benefits, its long term effects on the development of America’s clean energy industry are more conspicuous. many experts had predicted that the world was still on track for over three degrees of warming over the next century. The Paris Climate Accord has only reduced the increase in temperature by an estimated 0.2 degrees Celsius more than what had been previously projected. It lacks an enforcement mechanism in the event that a country fails to abide by its pledges. It hopes that over time countries will adopt more ambitious goals and thus further reduce global warming. Without the U.S., the world’s largest carbon emitter, the success of the climate deal seems more implausible than ever.

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The Spectator ● June 9, 2017

Arts and Entertainment Harry Styles: A New Era

Music By Victoria Huang

Television By Winnie Kong and Crystal Ku Now that “Riverdale” is officially on Netflix, it is the perfect television show to binge-watch, whether you’re procrastinating or just browsing. Adapted from the “Archie Comics,” “Riverdale” takes a dark, offbeat reimagining of the popular series. The new teen drama immerses itself in the eerie mystery of Jason Blossom’s (Trevor Stines) murder. It has all of the desirable elements of a teenage drama—a striking cast, high school stereotypes, (scandalous) romantic relations, social pressure, and popular trends— without being too corny. The heart of “Riverdale” lies within the cast: Archie (KJ Apa), Betty (Lili Reinhart), Jughead (Cole Sprouse), and Veronica (Camila Mendes). “Riverdale” spins the classic whodunit mystery into a compelling comingof-age narrative. These quippy teenagers confront the somber calling of the adult world. Entangled in the adults’ thick web of lies, they unravel the truth thread by thread. The television series chucks away the comic’s old cliches for a noir Breakfast Clubtin “Riverdale” ambience. Older readers of the “Archie Comics” would blush at this radical reimagining of their beloved classic. This new Archiverse is filled with not only shadings of incest and inappropriate student-teacher relationships, but a web of corruption from embezzlement to drug dealings. As the comic book title suggests, “Archie Comics” centers around the typical all-American boy Archibald “Archie” Andrews. The comic’s main plot line consists of Archie chasing after Betty and Veronica. The love triangle is present in almost every digest and double digest. There are sometimes additional love interests, like Cheryl Blossom and Valerie Smith. The comics focus on Archie grabbing lunch, going to the

from the album is Styles’s debut single “Sign of the Times,” which is commonly described as a bold choice. It’s unusual for a fiveminute rock song about dying and the end of a life to debut at number one on the iTunes charts. The song starts off with slow and mellow piano chords, but sharply changes when there is a dramatic drumming to a full-on rock reverie. Styles doesn’t disappoint with his vocals either. In the last minute of the song, he holds out long notes and hits the high notes with ease as he repeats, “We got to get away, we got to get away,” and “We got to, we got to run” various times. He also uses a falsetto in the pre-chorus, which he sings effortlessly. “Sign of the Times” definitely has a David Bowie feel to it, made clear with the choir, the guitar sound, the space theme, and the cabaret atmosphere. Bowie is known for his galactic, science fantasy feel to his music; one of his most famous albums, “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars,” actually centers around an alien who is also a rock-n-roll superstar. Styles mimics this quality with the use of guitars and drums to set the atmosphere for a space-y rock ballad. In fact, most of Styles’s album seems to be inspired by the British rock star. His song “Only Angel” begins with a soft and instrumental tune that lasts for a minute until the atmosphere rockets to rock with Styles screaming “HEY!

Riverdale: The New Breakfast Club beach, ogling at other girls, and other typical teenage outings. “Riverdale” transformed the Archiverse’s plot beyond the gang’s innocent small-town shenanigans. They took the comic’s famous landmark, Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe and turned it into a more sinister-looking diner where the teens not only bond together, but discover the town’s grim secrets. In both “Riverdale” and the comics, Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe serves as a center of civic life for the teens to foster their friendships. The meaningful friendships give the audience the impression that the cast members are real and dynamic characters. For instance, in the show, Archie and Jughead’s brotherhood creates a heartfelt response. Impressively, “Riverdale” creates another unexpected dynamic duo. In the comics, Betty and Veronica were eternal rivals for Archie’s love. Fortunately, “Riverdale” steps away from this stereotypical trope, and instead makes Betty the sugar to Veronica’s spice. This notion is revealed through several different scenes, in which they work together to achieve common goals. Their feminist approach is conveyed as they attack the controversial issue of victimblaming; in one episode, they led a group of victimized girls to expose the football team who objectified hem. No worries if you didn’t read the comics though, because the plot is simply too good to pass up. From the same network that produced “Gossip Girl” and “Vampire Diaries,” you’re bound to fall in love with the characters and their dilemmas. Much like with “Gossip Girl” and “Vampire Diaries,” there are also major similarities between “Riverdale” and “Twin Peaks” as well as “Pretty Little Liars”; the pilot episode starts off with the popular kid being missing and the whole town being shaken by it. Not only that, but it is filled with redheads, which is pretty rare in the showbiz.

The cast is pretty dreamy, from nostalgic ‘90s stars to rising actors and actresses. These ‘90s stars include Luke Perry, Mädchen Amick, Casey Cott, and Molly Ringwald, all of which are parents to the main characters. Rising actresses include Camila Mendes, Lili Reinhart, Madelaine Petsch, Shannon Purser, and Ross Butler. Cole Sprouse is also reintroduced to the showbiz, as he debuts as Jughead in this series. Some of the rising actors and actresses are relatively underrated and use this chance to introduce themselves to the media. Nonetheless, there is great chemistry between all of the actors and actresses on stage. Like Cole Sprouse said, “We all showed up on set and it was magic. As a cast, we get along like peas in pods.” As the comics were written in the late ‘30s, CW made changes to create an adaptation that diversified the cast. Josie and the Pussycats was an all-girl rock band featured in “Archie Comics”; two-thirds of them were white in the comics, but all of them are black in the television show. Reggie Mantle was a sarcastic womanizing jock, who was also white in the comics, but with Ross Butler casted as this character, he is breaking Asian stereotypes and giving Asians the representation they deserve. The LGBTQ+ community is also represented as well—in the comics and in the TV show—with Kevin Keller as the first openly gay character. Though Kevin is seen as the “gay best friend” archetype throughout the TV show, he also plays a critical role in the development of the plot. Like the other straight main characters, his romances are caught in the adults’ lies, thus normalizing his gay sexuality. Though there have been many changes made to “Archie Comics,” “Riverdale” is definitely more inclusive of underrepresented groups, forming connections between its characters and audience.

Minseo Kim / The Spectator

“Just stop your crying, it’s a sign of the times / Welcome to the final show / Hope you’re wearing your best clothes.” These are the first lines that Harry Styles sings in his solo debut single, “Sign of the Times,” which was released on April 7, 2017. These lyrics hold powerful and passionate emotions—things that the general public may not have expected a member of One Direction to be capable of. One Direction members Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, and Harry Styles decided to take a hiatus over a year ago. With promises to come back soon, they have been working on solo projects, and Styles is no exception, having decided to take a different approach to music. In One Direction, Styles was known as the frontman, singing most of the solos and carrying the chorus. However, he did not write many of the songs and did not have a lot of control over the types of songs he was allowed to sing. One Direction’s style in their earlier years fits more of a stereotypical boy band, with most of their songs about young love and relationships. Their music style became more mature beginning with their third album, “Midnight Memories,” which contains some rock elements, but was still predominantly pop. However, Styles’s new type of music has no traces of pop music. He released his solo debut album

“Harry Styles,” which features 10 songs, including soft ballads like “Two Ghosts” and hard rock anthems like “Kiwi,” on May 19, 2017. As entertainment journal “Variety” describes his album: “[It’s] rock and it’s roll, but it’s also soft and sensitive.” When asked about the versatility of his tracks, Styles replied, “I was very much working out what I wanted the album to be up until picking the tracklisting, and I wanted people to go through that instead of picking a sound and writing 10 of the same things.” The self-titled album may have very different songs, but they all have one thing in common: they include Styles pouring out all his feelings. In one of his slower songs “Meet Me in the Hallway,” he sings, “Just let me know, I’ll be at the door, at the door / Hoping you’ll come around / Just let me know I’ll be on the floor, on the floor / Maybe we’ll work it out / I gotta get better, gotta get better.” Styles croons about still wanting someone to return, even when he has been hurt by the person before. It has a very pretty and light tone and sounds perfect for a choir to sing. This song has a Pink Floyd vibe to it, especially when compared to the song, “Breathe (In the Air).” Both songs are very sweet-sounding, and both David Gilmour and Harry Styles stretch out the lyrics to make the words sound like echoes. Another song that stands out

HEY!” This is quite similar to one of Bowie’s most famous songs, “Life On Mars?” with the dramatic change of mood in the song and the use of background singers. Not all of Styles’s songs on this album are packed full with emotions and poignancy though. In “Kiwi,” he shows that he can have a fun time and let loose when he screams, “Oh, I think she said ‘I’m having your baby, it’s none of your business,’” multiple times. This song is surely a song to blast out from your speakers on a weekend


night to displease your parents. It’s very upbeat and energetic, stocked with guitar riffs and intense drumming that will make you want to scream along to Styles. In Styles’s debut solo album, he breaks out of his shell, both lyrically and musically. The boyband superstar has matured and is now playing with his limits and exploring new types of music with the help of inspirations like Pink Floyd and David Bowie.

S() Z() A()

By Cheyanne Lawrence “Am I warm enough for you?” SZA demands on “Drew Barrymore,” the first single off her debut album “CTRL.” SZA’s debut isn’t really a debut. SZA (pronounced “sizuh”) is the stage-name of New Jersey singersongwriter Solana Rowe, who is the first female artist to sign with Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE). Since acquiring her deal in 2013, SZA has released “Z,” an EP, in 2014, has performed at a variety of festivals (the most recent being Coachella), and has appeared on albums by Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Ferg, and Rihanna. She even wrote and performed on Rihanna’s “Anti” single “Consideration” and helped to write Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé’s “Feelin’ Myself” in 2014. When it comes to her own work, SZA has kept fans in the dark for almost three years since the release of her mixtape in 2014. “Z” blended R&B, gospel, jazz, hip-hop and classic soul music into an ethereal experience. Ominous choruses were delivered over mystical background sounds, creating a sound that was dreamy, SZA’s trademark. This sound was hard to categorize because it was warm and soulful yet dreamy with heavy pop and hip-hop influences. Her distinct sound initially set SZA apart from her musical peers. Features from Chance the Rapper and Kendrick Lamar contrasted with SZA’s light vocals and allowed her to straddle soul and hip-hop. Despite the success of “Z,” “CTRL” has had little pre-album-based releases, and there are still no available links to any streaming services for the album, which was supposed to drop on October 3, 2016. Links to her singles can be found on her Youtube page: SZAVevo. The blame for the album delay fell on her record label and SZA even called out label founder Anthony Tiffith on Twitter, saying, “I actually quit. @iamstillpunch can release my album if he ever feels like it. Y’all be blessed.” Despite the controversy surrounding its release, “CTRL” is a colorful album. SZA’s hard hitting lyrics (“Do you really love me or just want to let me down?”) contrast with her soothing vocals, effortlessly weaving between strong

beats. The distinctive warmth in her voice manifests in crisp falsettos and rich low tones but remains fresh and perky. The choruses are harmonious and catchy, resembling soundtracks from ‘90s films. Her new sound straddles the line between R&B and pop but is strongly rooted in hip-hop, with hard beats and features from rappers like Travis Scott as well as SZA’s own bars. Since her last album, she has honed her vocal range and demonstrates her virtuosity in her ballads like “TwoAM,” a sensual but pessimistic cover of PARTYNEXTDOOR’s “Come and See Me,” where SZA sings “From this point on trust nobody outside my body.” SZA underwent more than just a vocal evolution in the making of “CTRL.” “I’ve been working on me,” SZA says in an interview with Vogue. “[This] subsequently affects the album. Music, or the type of music that I’m writing, is very personal. Music is my form of cleansing and introspection, so I have to grow in order to accomplish it.” Littered with ‘90s references she grew up on, “CTRL” offers a glimpse into SZA herself. The first track “Drew Barrymore,” named after the actress Drew Barrymore, reflects her more mainstream pop sound while also delving into her own insecurities and romantic failings, with lyrics like “I get so lonely, I forget what I’m worth.” Her lyrics touch on more raw, usually romantic themes, but are more polished while remaining gangsta. Her track “Love Galore” is driven by a strong beat and features a dope verse from Travis Scott, with SZA telling all her romantics interests to “skrt” because she doesn’t need them. “Love Galore” best displays SZA’s ability to be creative with hip-hop by making a love song a fresh, slang-filled club tune. SZA’s not-really-debut debut album is complicated in the best way. It reflects SZA herself, raw and vulnerable and and versatile, not to mention immensely talented. Her music appeals to almost all audiences while never compromising her musical integrity. In the era of New Rap where hip hop fans value creativity more than anything, she stands out by creating a new sound for herself that isn’t quite pop or hip hop, it’s SZA.

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Arts and Entertainment

Christine Jegarl/ The Spectator


By Jacqueline Thom “I can’t believe it.” These are a few of only several dozen words that our protagonist, later to be known as Buster (Rami Malek), utters, and they perfectly summarize the despair the movie summons as a backdrop for its audience. In the first few moments of the 2017 film, “Buster’s Mal Heart,” we see the identical silhouettes of two men sitting in a small boat with a backdrop of the sun and a glimmering sea. At this time, the identities of both are a mystery and they look more like small toys than actual people. The scene cuts to the roar of a gunshot and a panicked

Books By Eliana Kavouriadis Every so often, the narration of a book comes to life in the form of a person—a well-fleshed character springing from its pages to look you in the eye to share a sincere moment. In her 2017 book, “How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life,” Lilly Singh’s witty, heartfelt words of wisdom take the form of the cool aunt you wish you had. Singh’s aptly named book is an extensive how-to guide on absolutely winning at life. When giving life and career advice, she draws from personal experience as her primary source material. The integration of personal anecdotes in her unadulterated advice gives “How to Be a Bawse” its sense of intimacy. She establishes the informal nature of her book in the introduction, stating “I’m not an expert and I’m not claiming to be one…I’m writing this…because I want to be a positive light in this world.” In this statement, the book’s purpose is made clear: Singh, as a wildly successful entertainer, entrepreneur, and all-around bawse, has reached out to the public in bookform to share her secrets and help us all achieve total bawsedom. However, bits and pieces of Lilly Singh existed in the public sphere long before she published her book. Her loud, confident, and refreshingly honest voice has graced the computer screens of millions since 2010, when she started her YouTube channel, “IISuperwomanII.” On this channel, she primarily posts a variety of comedic skits relating to certain aspects of her life, the most notable of which are videos impersonating her Punjabi parents, Manjeet and Paramjeet Singh, reacting to pop culture and the modern world. When she first created her channel, she was a recent college graduate who filmed videos as a

A Movie As Confusing and Glorious As Its Name

Buster running for his life in what appears to be a remote, mountainous region. “Buster’s Mal Heart” follows the growing illusions of Jonah (Rami Malek), a family man who works as a night shift hotel concierge. We see him going through the cycles of someone who can barely keep himself together. He struggles to make money in his “dead-end job,” but constantly reminds his wife of their—or rather his—dream to get a farm and live off the land. He is quiet, resolute, and harbors the need of a wild spirit trying to break free of the traditional boundaries given to him. The movie switches between

this and the endeavors of Buster, also played by Rami Malek, to avoid a crew of considerably simpleminded, watered-down versions of state troopers while trying to spread the word about the oncoming Y2K, the prophesied end of the world. Buster is the exact opposite of Jonah. He is boisterous and leaves reminders of his presence in the way that an animal would. He randomly calls radio talk shows and live psychic readings, trying to convince people that “the Inversion is coming.” For the second time in five minutes, the title of the movie is shown with its inverted text. The reflection of the title is not a random choice of fun text effects. It’s a revelation to the fact that the movie will constantly be presenting viewers with two dark and different realities. At first, the film is confusing. We aren’t presented with much information to start with, and at the end of it all, there still isn’t a lot of extra context. There is instead a strong preference to “show” and not “tell,” forcing viewers to play a psychological mind game to piece together the various gaps in the storyline, such as, “Who is Buster? What does he want? Why does he always look like a deer in the headlights? And what’s with his obsession with adult onesies?” A profound set of events that changes Jonah’s life and possibly turns him into Buster the mountain man is scattered in bits and pieces throughout the film. During early scenes of Jonah in his night shift as a hotel concierge, we see him watching a sketchy, pixelated

screen of an aging scientist yelling that “the Inversion is coming!” This alludes to the aforementioned Y2K, or Year 2000 bug. At the crack of dawn, a tall stranger comes into the hotel asking for a room. Jonah is suspicious as he has no existing I.D. at all and carries a bag full of a questionable white substance. Jonah asks for a name but never gets one. The only reference to this tall stranger is “the Last Free Man” (DJ Qualls). The LFM is already irritating Jonah with his shady appearance and lack of clarity, but insists on telling Jonah about his quest as an “exterminator of glitches.” He fixes them and makes them go away. The appearance of the LFM marks the beginning of Jonah’s deterioration as the life-altering events that follow drive him to insanity. The movie is not afraid to delve into the most violent recesses of the conscious mind. It addresses the dark side of human nature in the way Buster immerses himself in his quest to escape the end of the world. Jonah emphasizes what it means to carry out thoughts that many wouldn’t think to perform, such as the accidental murder of his wife and child. The film portrays the concept of darkness as a mentally changeable substance that allows for activities such as locking people in their basements and pretending to be someone who is long dead to become daily occurrences. However, this movie tries to be unbiased when it comes to giving the audience members free reign over what they want to think. We

see Jonah talking to his daughter affectionately and Buster gently feeding an elderly couple, who are held hostage, in their mountain home. We receive seemingly intertwined events occurring in the lives of Jonah and Buster, convincing us that they are one and the same, but suddenly, we are not so sure when confronting Buster’s rebellious and sometimes rude attitude, which contrasts with Jonah’s well-meaning and comforting tones. Everything from Jonah’s encounter with “the Last Free Man” to Buster’s uncanny patience, control, and transformation of self in his search for the meaning of his beliefs gives the audience thinking space. We are allowed to conceive an appropriate identity for two men, or perhaps only one, that goes against the will of a perceived god and universe. We learn that Buster’s journey is not about him running away from what he did, but rather his quest for the meaning of his life. We are forced to ask questions that can help us define the Buster we know in this movie. Jonah thinks it’s fine for his daughter to watch slightly age-inappropriate cartoons, so we must ask more questions to understand what contributes to such odd fatherly moments as this and what led to his eventual collapse. With a movie that favors dark, overpowering tones and a sweeping narrative to carry almost unrelated details of its main characters to light, this film makes for a strange but exhilarating ride.

How to Be a 2017 New York Times Bestseller: An Ode to a Bawse A$$ Book means of alleviating her crippling depression. “IISuperwomanII” has acquired 11 million subscribers and 1.8 billion views in the six and a half years following, making Singh one of the most successful YouTube celebrities of all time. She nods to her former battle with depression many times throughout the book. Many of the life lessons covered in “How to Be a Bawse” are ones she has learned in her long, grueling path to recovery. In her introduction, she establishes that she is writing from the perspective of someone who has overcome depression. Her book is divided into four sections, titled “Master Your Mind,” “Hustle Harder,” “Make Heads Turn,” and “Be a Unicorn.” Each section consists of nine to 17 chapters of mini-lessons and pieces of advice and ends with a feature called “Out of the Blue,” where she looks back on a moment in her life when she was depressed and contrasts it with her life after recovery. Singh’s second installation of “Out of the Blue” recalls her state of mind in 2010 and 2015. She felt unimportant and invisible in 2010—the temple being her only sanctuary. “I go there every day and sit in the back, as far away from everyone else as possible. But I still feel as if every-

one is looking at me.” She notes that in 2015, having people look at her has become a positive aspect of her life: “I see a huge sign with flashing lights outside the venue that reads ‘Lilly Singh’s “A Trip to Unicorn Island”—SOLD OUT.’” The optimistic side-by-side comparison of the before and

Christine Jegarl / The Spectator

after is especially uplifting and refreshing, particularly to those struggling with depression themselves. It reinforces and cements

all of the ideas conveyed in the book by reminding readers that life can—and does—get better. Excluding the recurring feature “Out of the Blue,” “How to Be a Bawse” has 50 chapters in total. Each chapter conveys a new life lesson in around three to five pages. Some chapters have cliché titles like “Don’t Overthink” and “Commit to Your Decisions,” while others have titles that are distinctly Lilly Singh, such as “Send the GPS Deep,” where she tells you to be introspective and address your inner issues. Each chapter achieves the perfect balance between hilarity and seriousness, articulating genuine, sincere pieces of advice with “Game of Thrones” references and funny poems about vodka and soda. Singh’s success as a YouTuber is evident in her writing style, from the quippy, anecdotal intros to every chapter to the colloquialisms she uses to convey her ideas. In her opening paragraph to “Let Go of FOMO,” she draws her reader in with an interesting, relatable concept: “If I had a dollar for every time I was tempted to hang out with friends instead of doing work, I’d have a yacht made of gold.” She closes off the paragraph with the hashtag “#YachtGoals,” a model example of the humorous language that has won over her young fanbase in her book and videos alike. While Singh’s writing style is very resemblant of her vlogging style, many YouTubers who have written books have chosen to di-

vert from their vlogging style, writing long, detailed sections of prose in the style of a traditional novel. Though exploring every lesson in depth would have added a wonderful new dimension to “How to Be a Bawse” and the public’s perception of Lilly Singh, the concise, unconventional style the book is written in conveys Singh’s messages just as well. Through her writing, Singh brings an extra touch of heart to her already stellar advice. There is no better person to tell you to get some exercise than the person who prefaces the “Be Active” chapter of her book with, “I am literally LOLing as I write this chapter because I am the least qualified person to do so.” The layout of the book’s hardcover copy is similarly bright— before every chapter, a bold, stunning professional photo of Singh takes up a full page. Almost every page is touched with neon colors, and most chapters have at least one outquote in a bright color and a bolded, stylish font. The lively color scheme and uplifting, bolded outquotes reinforce the book’s positive message and the importance of self-betterment. The way “How to Be a Bawse” exhibits Lilly Singh’s trademark boldness has garnered an overwhelmingly positive reaction from Singh’s long-time fans and has also won the hearts of new fans. As of May 2017, the book has become a #1 New York Times bestseller, and it currently has a whopping 4.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon. There are many reasons why this book could have achieved these impressive feats, but above all, its success can be attributed to the fact that it is a true anomaly. It is simultaneously sentimental and practical, silly and sincere, and a gold mine of wisdom. Without a doubt, “How to Be a Bawse” is a must-have for every human being struggling through life on this cold, lonely planet, aka every human, period.

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Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment The Privilege of Peeing


Joseph Lee/ The Spectator

Tiffany Yu/ The Spectator

Joseph Lee/ The Spectator

Elena Sapelyuk/ The Spectator

By Eliana Kavouriadis The curtains of the Murray Kahn Theater opened to a grim color scheme of yellow and black, topped with a garbage green brick wall that read “Public Amenity #9,” the most disgusting urinal in town. The arrangement of set pieces was intentionally messy, setting a backdrop for the varying levels of chaos that would ensue for the duration of the show. The Stuyvesant Theater Community (STC)’s 2017 spring musical comedy, “Urinetown,” can only be described as a brilliantly orchestrated disaster. From atrocious, mismatched outfits to the use of toilet paper as twirling ribbons, impeccable choices were made in all departments to capture the crooked, chaotic universe of “Urinetown.” The show, directed by seniors Enver Ramadani and Dennis Ronel and sophomore Kareena Singh, ran on May 31 and June 2-3, and made for one of the most impressive STC shows in a while. “Urinetown” is set in a fictional town that has suffered from a 20-year drought, which has led to the privatization of all of the toilets in town. The toilets, or filthy public amenities, are controlled by the Urine Good Company (UGC), led by the villainous Caldwell B. Cladwell (sophomore Adam Elsayed). People do their

business on a pay-to-pee basis, and if they don’t comply, they get exiled to a penal colony called Urinetown. The cast is split between a ragtag team of poor, angry townspeople and the people in charge. The juxtaposition between the poor protagonists and the pow-

ated ensemble reactions. The intimidating, rule-enforcing Officer Lockstock (senior Leith Conybeare) opened the show with a spine-chilling monologue detailing the town’s unfortunate situation. Lockstock was soon joined by adorable, doe-eyed Little Sally (senior Na-

the many complex layers of Lockstock’s character. In “Too Much Exposition,” her gorgeous voice rang through the auditorium. Likewise, Filanovsky thoughtfully portrayed Little Sally’s character arc, leading up to a breathtaking performance for her grand solo in “Tell Her I Love Her,” where

The lighting and costume choices and the insanely talented band were also artful and professional, contributing to the unparalleled immaculacy of this production. erful antagonists is written as an extreme cliché, and the STC cast successfully conveyed the “heroes vs. villains” trope. However, as a show that routinely breaks the fourth wall and interacts with the audience in a sketch comedic manner, “Urinetown” is far from a mere cliché. Throughout the show, the lines between hero and villain are blurred through heartwarming and heart-wrenching plot twists followed by exagger-

dia Filanovsky), who routinely made quips about hydraulics and remarks that broke the fourth wall, such as, “This isn’t a happy musical.” Little Sally was able to bring out the softer side of Officer Lockstock, and the heartwarming rapport between Coneybeare and Filanovsky was one of the highlights of the show. The two shined onstage individually, as well. Coneybeare hit every comedic beat and nailed

her powerful Broadway belt truly packed a punch. Another standout performance was senior Jessica Sparacio’s Penelope Pennywise, the rigid, unforgiving woman who runs Public Amenity #9. Sparacio captured both the rough edges and the raw emotion of Pennywise with a mind-blowing attention to detail, from her aggressive physicality to the way she spat on every “p” in “It’s a Privilege to

Pee.” Alongside Sparacio’s stellar acting were her unbelievable vocals. A bona fide mezzo belter, Sparacio hit the song’s high notes with ease. However, these three were only several of the great performances in “Urinetown.” Elsayed’s portrayal of the malevolent Mr. Cladwell was hilarious and entertaining, and junior Travis Tyson’s rendition of Pennywise’s loveable, fresh-faced assistant Bobby Strong carried some of the show’s most emotional moments. Even the smaller characters, who spent most of their time in the ensemble, stole the show for their small moments in the spotlight. Freshman Victoria Wong, as the poor, pregnant Little Becky Two-Shoes, hobbled around stage with an amazing presence. Senior Jenna Bawer was also a natural onstage as Hot Blades Harry, and her energy was a joy to watch. While “Urinetown” boasted countless spectacular individual performances, the characters lacked cohesiveness as an ensemble. It often felt as if the actors were basking in the spotlight when they should have been reacting to each other, especially during moments of dialogue. As such, certain relationships that continued on page 15

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Arts and Entertainment The Privilege of Peeing

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are pivotal to the “Urinetown” plot were underdeveloped, a particular example being the romantic relationship between Bobby Strong and Hope Cladwell (senior Lillian Carver). While both Tyson and Carver were evidently talented actors, they lacked chemistry as a couple. For the most part, the show’s

ensemble didn’t have this problem. However, some of the smaller characters singing alongside the ensemble were mic’d while the rest of the ensemble wasn’t, and this ruined the sound balance in several songs. “Urinetown,” like many musical comedies, is somewhat of an ensemble-driven show, and the wealth of energy and talent in the ensemble’s songs and dances is a large part of what made this such

a successful production. Another particularly impressive element of the show was the creativity and attention to detail in the use of props. From toilet plungers to toilet paper, many common household items were used for things other than their intended purposes. The layout of papers and cashfilled suitcases on Mr. Cladwell’s desk perfectly brought about the atmosphere of a corporate office,

and during the big protest at the end of Act One, the large, messily constructed picket sign reading “FREE THE PEEPL” encapsulated the unique humor of the show. The lighting, costume choices, and the insanely talented band were also artful and professional, contributing to the unparalleled immaculacy of this production. The show closed with an uplifting, bluesy performance of “I See A River,” where Carver’s fluid

vocals and warm timbre shined. The beautiful music was paired with a classic, corny epilogue narration of what happened to the characters after the story ended. The epilogue was delivered in a wonderfully cringy manner, reminding the audience that “Urinetown” is an emotional rollercoaster of pure satire—a difficult musical to nail, but one that, for the most part, STC successfully did.

Joseph Lee/ The Spectator

Elena Sapelyuk/ The Spectator


Art on the Streets

By Kelli Hu

Janice Tjan/ The Spectator

A biannual outdoor art show, the Washington Square Art Exhibit, has been around for more than 80 years. It all started in 1931, during the Great Depression, when a few local artists decided to showcase and hopefully sell some of their work. The founder, Jackson Pollock, desperately in need of funds to pay the rent for a studio in Greenwich Village, took a few of his paintings and set them up on the sidewalks near Washington Square Park. He was soon joined by fellow village artists in the same financial situation. After a while, the crowd of artists grew, attracting more and more passersby to stop and look. Many of their works were purchased, and the event was even noted by luminaries of the art world such as Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, founder of the Whitney Museum of Art, and Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Director of the Museum of Modern Art. As the years went by, what began as a small fair evolved into a massive exhibit featuring artists from all over the world. Artists from New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C, and even China gathered to put together an impressive show. As of today, the exhibit takes place every Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend, on the sidewalks of University Place from East 13th Street south to Waverly Place. It is now a showcase of art from diverse backgrounds, where people can be exposed to the diversity of art forms and where artists can be rewarded for their outstanding pieces. The exhibit didn’t lose its original purpose either, since artists whose works have been selected by judges can still receive cash prizes, donated by individuals, in support of their work. The most recent exhibit this past Memorial day started at around noon. The sidewalks around Washington Square Park were encompassed in a casual, lighthearted atmosphere. The seven to eight blocks were filled with small, white booths displaying works of the exhibitor, some of which even played music. Being open to the public, the exhibit attracted a wide range of audiences, varying from students to parents and children to the elderly. As the viewers walked down

the neatly decorated blocks, they could admire the artworks, purchase souvenirs, and even chat with the artists about their work. Regardless of whether the viewers have been exposed to much art, many of them appreciated this opportunity to see and experience such a diverse range of pieces. The artworks showcased came from a variety of cultures and backgrounds, as the artists themselves come from around the world. There were realist, impressionist, and cubist paintings, depicting scenes from nature and scenery to skyscrapers and city life. One piece showed the Brooklyn Bridge with the rough strokes on the water resembling Claude Monet’s “Sunrise.” And while paintings of New York City were the most common, each represented a different style, a different way of viewing the city. Some portrayed the place as a busy commercial center while others emphasized its beauty and harmony. Other paintings expressed abstract ideas, which the artists further developed as they explained their work to the viewers. Unlike traditional museums, the artists stayed by their artworks to discuss their inspirations, life experiences, and what pushed them to create their art pieces. Many viewers found it was interesting how what could have seemed like patches of color could mean something so much more after considering the artist’s perspective. Aside from paintings, the exhibit also incorporated photography and handcrafts into the already diverse art forms, adding variety to the event. Photographs featured landscape and environment as well as people and urban settings, while handcrafts included sculptures, jewelry, clocks, and handkerchiefs. With its unique charm, the Washington Square Art Exhibit stands out even in a busy city like New York. The diversity of the art it incorporates helps it appeal to a wide range of people. The event promotes art as a facet of the city’s culture and allows city dwellers to become more aware of the art around them. It wins the applause of many citizens, which continues to drive the event as it progresses with each passing year.


“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” Puts Family First

By Lily Yan “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” directed by James Gunn, is the 15th movie of the Marvel franchise. It had high expectations to live up to, thanks to the popularity of its prequel and the two Marvel movies that preceded it, “Captain America: Civil War” and “Doctor Strange.” With stunning visuals of the intergalactic world, witty banter, and the unforgettable soundtrack known as “Awesome Mix Vol. 2,” the film will definitely be ranked along with the others as a success. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is about the Guardians, StarLord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Baby Groot, continuing their journey throughout the cosmos. Along the way, they run into Ego, a god who claims to be the father of Star-Lord, or Peter Quill (Chris Pratt). When Ego is revealed to be their true enemy, the team manages to work out disputes and grow closer in order to take him down. Though its thrilling space battles and futuristic technology make it the ideal action or science fiction movie, what really makes the film stand out is its focus on family. The movie shows perhaps the most interesting relationship between two female siblings in a Marvel movie. Sisters Gamora and Nebula were nemeses, to the point where neither one would hesitate to kill the other if needed. The circumstances of their rivalry (with their father replacing a part of Nebula with machinery every time she lost in combat to Gamora) make it a situation many can relate to. At its core, the problem boils down to Nebula feeling outshined by her older sister and unappreciated by her father. Those

with older siblings would definitely be able to form some sort of emotional connection to this, giving a powerful emotional payoff. As an act of vengeance, Nebula vows to kill Gamora and her father for the pain she went through. She steals a ship in order to hunt Gamora down and they engage in an almost deadly fight once she finds her. After their battle ends in a draw, Nebula says one of the most powerful lines of the movie: “You always wanted to win. I just wanted a sister.” Through this line, Nebula changes from an enemy to a victim in both Gamora’s and the viewer’s eyes. Gamora’s understanding of Nebula’s true feelings allows the two to finally reach an armistice and work together as an unshakable team, with each one willing to save the other’s life without hesitation. Their sweet hug toward the end of the movie represents the union of a family, in which Nebula finally gets the sister she had always wanted. The conflict between the Guardians themselves is a bit cliché; Marvel already used the “unable to work as a team” plot tool in both of their “Avengers” movies. The argument between Peter and Rocket about who is the best pilot fails to stir any sort of emotion within the viewer, instead looking more like a typical bout over dominance between two males. Drax’s obnoxious personality, Rocket’s refusal of letting anyone get close to him and the team’s general inability to understand one another cause an amount of feuds that is borderline tiresome. Even the revelation of Ego’s sinister nature, which is the main plot line of the film, feels overplayed. Dozens of movies, a notable example being “Star Wars” regarding Darth Vader, have

used the “character’s long lost relative is actually evil” theme. It’s the growth of each Guardian that makes the movie special and allows them to become more of a family rather than a simple team. Rocket finds it within himself to admit he cares for his teammates. Drax is the one who declares them a family. During the final battle, each Guardian is unwilling to leave any member behind, even if it means death. Their character developments weave together to create a beautiful story of a family that refuses to leave anyone behind. The driving force of the entire movie is Yondu. Despite being a former enemy and almost maniacal when it comes to using his trademark red arrow to murder his own traitorous crew members, who tried to stop him from reaching the Guardians, he ends up being the most significant hero of all. Yondu is the one who looks out for Peter the most. His true intentions of raising Peter himself instead of returning him to Ego turn out to be honest and noble, and he ends up being the one to teach StarLord how to master his newfound celestial power. Yondu’s character arc of him growing from a hated villain to a valiant father figure and Guardian results in one of the most riveting villain-turned-hero stories in The Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is unable to recreate the original fun and greatness of the first. However, by choosing to make it a tale of family, it strengthens the emotional impact on the viewer and proves itself to be a worthy cinematic piece without needing to use the fame behind its prequel or the Marvel brand.

The Spectator ● June 9, 2017

Page 16

Arts and Entertainment Film By Tiffany chen Imagine never leaving your house for 17 years, never being able to go outside, never seeing the ocean, despite it only being three miles away from your house, and never having much physical contact with others, with only the Internet and books to base real life on. That is the life doe-eyed protagonist Maddy Whittier (Amandla Stenberg) has to live. Diagnosed with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), she is trapped in her house, as she would get sick if she walked outside. Spoiler alert: she does not die. Instead, she is saved by her undying love for Olly Bright (Nick Robinson), the boy next door who is a gentleman that desperately needs a haircut. Directed by Stella Meghie, “Everything, Everything,” is a riveting love story about an intelligent girl who is drawn outdoors once she starts texting a boy who just became her neighbor. As based on the book by Nicola Yoon, Maddy only starts asking questions about her illness and her monotonous life as she falls more in love with Olly and begins to feel trapped. Stenberg and Robinson are able to sell Maddy and Olly’s love with their undeniable chemistry. They have everything down, from the way they lovingly look at each other in the car to the way Olly’s face lights up with concern and fear as soon as he sees Maddy outside. The duo allows their flirty banter to seem genuine and emotional rather than cheesy and cliché, building off of each other’s thoughts seamlessly without overdoing the laughter and the blushes. The flawless acting makes many root for the star-crossed lovers, especially when they throw caution into the wind and kiss for the first time, which can end Maddy’s life. Maddy and Olly’s love is only amplified with Meghie’s stylistic choices. Instead of showing two people texting, which is what this couple is forced to do the majority of the time, Meghie decides to use Maddy’s architecture class to her advantage. For assignments, Maddy is forced to build diners, libraries, and houses. Maddy then imagines all of her and Olly’s texts to be said face-to-face in these architectural models. Whenever she picks up her phone and smiles, the camera fades into her imagination, emitting a whimsical, dreamy aura as they share their true feelings. This only enhances Maddy and Olly’s love story; having the audience see Stenberg and Robinson say the texts out loud with passion illustrates the true emotions they feel when they text each other. Their love, figuratively and literally, comes off the screen. The movie, however, has obvi-

Food By Cosmo Coen If you’re anything like me, one of the things that you cherish about New York City is the variety of little, family-run shops that practically dominate—or at least used to dominate—the city. Sometimes we forget that these shops have real, hardworking people and a rich history behind them. One of my favorite places in the entire city lies in the heart of one of the most historic parts of the city: the Lower East Side. At 108 Rivington Street stands the

Everything, Everything About This Love Story ous discontinuities. For example, Maddy states at the beginning of the film that she has 100 white tshirts, but she is only seen in one in the starting scene and wears blue crop tops for the rest of the movie. In addition, Olly comments that Maddy is too close to him the third time they are five feet apart from each other. While many die-hard romance fans will shrug off these moments, those who aren’t as keen on romance will have problems with this. In fact, some who are not as inclined to romance movies might be disgusted by the unrealistic fantasy that “Everything, Everything” describes. Skeptics would notice the sheer impossibility of things such as Maddy and Olly’s trip to Hawaii occurring. How did Maddy get on the airplane without a photo I.D., which is something she would be unlikely to get if she’s been trapped in her house for 17 years? How is she going to afford the trip once her credit card bill arrives in the mail? While some may only pay attention to the adorable couple, others will note the absurdity of the plot.

Sally Chen/ The Spectator

Those who have read the book, however, will expect this impractical romance, as the movie surprisingly sticks firmly to the plot of the book. The minor details left out of the movie, such as Olly knowing how to do a handstand or having a rooftop hideout, are easily forgotten. Some changes are even beneficial to the plot, such as Carla’s, Maddy’s nurse, daughter (Danube R. Hermosillo) playing a bigger role in Maddy’s life, visiting her to talk about Maddy’s budding social life. However, one missed addition from the novel was Olly making sure Maddy had a condom before they had sex. The sex scene was refreshingly tame, but this one detail from the book would have gone a long way had it been included in the film. The film would have taught its audience about the reality of contraceptives, something historically not touched on in TV shows and movies and especially important with the teenage audience this movie targets. The movie has been praised for its diverse cast, as Amandla Stenberg, a black girl, plays the lead in a love story. A major upside with

this story is how it allows a girl of color to fall in love with a white boy on the big screen without race playing a large factor in the plot, normalizing the concept of interracial couples. Additionally, Meghie, the director of the film, is the only black female director thus far in 2017 to come out with a widerelease movie. Yoon, the author of the book “Everything, Everything” is based on, is an immigrant from Jamaica, and she has spoken about how important it is for all races to be represented in media. Her novel and its movie adaptation is a step in the right direction. The movie, however, has been criticized for misrepresenting SCID, the disease Maddy has. The Immune Deficiency Foundation released a press statement this week condemning the inaccuracies the movie presented, such as when Maddy describes it as “being allergic to everything.” These inaccuracies are intentional, as the audience is not taught about the destructiveness of SCID. Instead, they learn about the horrors of Munchausen by proxy, a mental disorder where a caretaker makes their child believe that they have some sort of terminal illness. The film accurately depicts symptoms for Munchausen by proxy, with the mother being highly interested in medical affairs. Because of this, the SCID symptoms Maddy exhibits should not be taken seriously. Instead, they should be used to combat stereotypes about people with SCID, such as having to live in highly quarantined areas. “Everything, Everything” originally sounds like a similar story to “The Fault In Our Stars,” with the illnesses and the impromptu magical vacation. However, the themes that “Everything, Everything” touch on are completely different, focusing on the nuances and contradictions that love and family bring instead of constantly reminding the audience of life and death, like “The Fault In Our Stars” does. While “The Fault in Our Stars” emphasizes the importance of living life to the fullest, “Everything, Everything” stresses forming relationships with others and understanding others’ motives. And, of course, no one dies at the end of “Everything, Everything.” The thing about both of these films is that despite all the horrible things Maddy and Hazel, the protagonist of “The Fault In Our Stars,” go through, their spirits are not crushed. They can still live with their head held high. While Maddy and Hazel are both terminally ill and have amazing romances, they do not allow these things to define them. Each of them are still her own person. “Everything, Everything” is powerful for this reason and sends the message to viewers that no matter what, you can power through anything.


Cheap Ass Food:

Yun Nan Flavour Garden By Nusheen Ghaemi

5121 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11220

The Yun Nan province in the southwest of China is one of the most ethnically diverse and because of this, there is a very broad definition of “Yunnan cuisine.” However, Yun Nan Flavour Garden in Sunset Park, or Brooklyn’s Chinatown, specializes in the spicy noodle-centric aspects of Yunnan cuisine. A small hole-in-the-wall take out place with room for 10 people to squeeze is still a restaurant in its own right, and Yun Nan Flavour Garden serves up bowls of delicious noodles and other Yunnan cuisine for both great quality and quantity at a low price ($5.00-$10.00).

“Crossing the Bridge” Noodles $9.50-$11.50

Yun Nan Flavour Garden is one of the few places in the city where you can find this dish made up of quail egg, rice noodles, thinly sliced meat, tofu, and bean sprouts. For just $8.75, this dish combines rich Yunnan history and flavor into one large, hot bowl of soup. Supposedly, a woman used to cross a bridge everyday in the Yunnan province to bring her husband this dish, and she found that the soup stayed warm when covered in a layer of chicken fat and that it tasted best when all the toppings and noodles were added last, so that is exactly how the dish is served today.

Rice Noodles $5.75-$6.75

The restaurant is famous for its housemade rice noodles, and any of its rice noodle dishes are a must-try. The thick, slimy white noodles combined with salty beef or pork stew and toppings from coconut skin to crispy meat sauce make for a filling meal. You can customize the spiciness with the chili oil, which includes hot peppercorns and red chili flakes.

Cold Sliced Cucumber Salad $5.00

Under the “Garden” heading on the menu, you can find an assortment of tasty sides, one of the best being the Cold Sliced Cucumber Salad (or pickled cucumbers). The $5.00 dish mixes crunchy, fresh cucumber with a tangy sauce made up of soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, and sugar.


Cheap Ass Food: Bibble and Sip

By Emily Xu

253 W 51st Street, New York, New York, NY 10019

Bibble and Sip opened only a few years ago, and it has already made a name for itself because of its flavorful and affordable delicacies. The atmosphere of the cafe is very casual and welcoming, with several cozy tables and wooden benches to sit on. Bibble and Sip is perfect for small get-togethers and on-the-go runs alike.

Giant Cream Puffs $3.50

Bibble and Sip is famous for its huge cream puffs, setting them out at noon every day and attracting long lines of customers. The pastry itself is buttery and has a crunchy top, and the filling is very rich and smooth. They come in four flavors: black sesame, matcha green tea, Earl Grey, and dark chocolate, though they almost always run out of the chocolate flavor. At less than $4.00 for a cream puff almost as big as your entire hand, it is both a good treat and a good investment.

Chocolate Black-Out Cake $5.25

In this dessert, layers of creamy chocolate mousse alternate with layers of cake. For the final touch, three squares of dark chocolate are placed at an angle upon swirls of chocolate icing. There are few things in life that are more luxurious than a good chocolate cake, and Bibble and Sip does this saying justice, proving that just chocolate can be a great meal.

Orange Cranberry Scone $2.95

Orange and cranberry is not a flavor combination you would find in most things, but it works well in this baked good. The flour in the scone is balanced by the natural tanginess and sweetness of the fruits as well as the Earl Grey glaze that is drizzled on top.



Unlike most drinks offered at cafes, the teas served here are not overwhelmingly sweet. The Japan Green Apple and Earl Grey flavors are my favorites.

From a ‘30s Shoe Store to a Warm Candy Haven: The Legacy of Economy Candy now 80-year-old candy store, Economy Candy. Packed to the ceiling with virtually every type of sugary treat from the classic chocolate bars to the myriad of jelly bean machines at the back of the shop, it delivers a bit of a sensory overload when walking in. The atmosphere is an immediate time warp. It’s nothing like many candy stores of today, which have neon walls, bright colors everywhere, and glass cases (like Dylan’s Candy Bar or Itsugar). Rather, entering Economy Candy is like walking into a small

mom-and-pop shop crowded with candies in boxes hastily put on tables and shelves. These boxes are everywhere, packed up to the ceiling and all the way to the very back of the store, making it seem as if the entire store itself is made of candy. I knew that this little gem of a place must have a rich history as I had heard that it had been around for a while. After a quick chat with the friendly owner Mitchell Cohen, the original owner’s grandson, I found that the store has been around since 1937 and was originally a shoe store. He

recounts, “Well, we used to be on the corner [of] Essex Street, and it was a shoe store. During the war, we used to get candy and sell it; it oversold the shoes and we decided, ‘Why not make this a candy store?’” Like any store that has been around for a substantial length of time, the store has evolved with the area. Cohen recalled, “You know, in the ‘60s and ‘70s, it was really bad down here. The Lower East Side was a drug haven [with] bars; we’d close shop and look both ways to make sure we wouldn’t get mugged, you know?

[There was a lot] of thievery; it wasn’t a good neighborhood.” He smiled and said, “But we held out and it got better, and look where we are now. We were at a low point and now we’re at the high [point].” Economy Candy is the cornerstone of a cute family business. From its vast collection of familiar and rare candies to its bubbly ambiance, it has everything a kid (or an adult) could possibly dream of. It’s a historic landmark that everyone can enjoy.

The Spectator ● June 9, 2017

Page 17

Arts and Entertainment Insights: Video Games By Ben shapiro It was pouring rain—the kind of day where you just want to pull the covers over your head and play video games. So I was surprised to see hundreds of people actually leave their console to show up at the first ever Tribeca video games festival. Billed as a “festival within a festival,” the legendary Tribeca Film Festival launched a games fest for the first time ever. Some may consider video games the most fun thing in his or her repetitive, mundane life, while others may think they are an addictive waste of time. Either way, the intellectuals and artists who run the Tribeca Film Festival think that video games are the latest and greatest art form. While the term “video game festival” evokes a bunch of nerds gawking at new games and consoles, this video games festival was far from what you may have envisioned. Just one hour was devoted to the actual playing of video games, and many were unknown titles that have yet to be released. The lines were so long that most people didn’t even get a chance to play. The focus of the festival, rather, is the process of creating games from an intellectual standpoint— an opportunity to see into the brain of game creators, game writers, and game directors—and find out what inspired them. The giant conference room was actually a large sound stage used for filming movies and commercials in Soho. They put a thousand folding chairs in and a portable stage with some indoor palm trees, converting into a functional space for an eager video game audience. They were not too many teens. It was mostly people in their 20s

The Video Game Changer and 30s who must have been very, very serious about video games as a new emerging kind of interactive film. After all, they gave up a perfectly good Saturday to see the legends of game creation lecture. There was a cappuccino bar with free nutella crepes where everybody, especially people dressed in hip, black film director outfits, could opine about videos. You could tell I was the only high school student because I was the only one stuffing the free nutella candy bars into my pockets. One fellow named Michael Swayner of Brooklyn and his posse of two guys were dressed as if they were attending a networking event for artsy professionals. I asked them why they made time in their schedule to purchase some pricey tickets for the event, and they told me that they thought it was time that video games got the respect they deserved. I asked Michael what his favorite game was and he said that it was family time around Super Mario when he was a kid. His siblings were very competitive and the fun they had trying to outdo each other is the gaming adventure that mattered the most. This wasn’t a response that reflected the supposed serious nature of video game creation that he had come to the festival to experience. However, it was a response that I could relate to. Another guy named Juan, from Queens and in his early college years, told us that video games were most important for their magic stress-reducing properties. He said you should start playing because you forget your troubles for a while. He also felt it was a world he could control when he was younger—the only thing he felt he had some control over back then. We all rushed into the stage area to take our seats for the big-

gest draw of the festival. Hideo Kojima is the creator of “Metal Gear” and “Silent Hill,” games that changed the industry since they were the first to use live actors instead of 3D models. This gave all games a much more realistic feel. When he took the stage, the audience members leapt to their feet with a standing ovation. I was excited to see him in person. He talked to the crowd through an interpreter about how his childhood was marked by the mandatory viewing of films: his parents refused to let him go to bed until he had screened several a day. Kojima also told us that he was allowed to take a bus from his village to the city when he was only three years old to see a movie while his parents were at work. That fueled a lifelong obsession with films. By his teen years, Kojima said he was binging on films like “Taxi Driver,” watching them seven times each, for a different creative focus each time. It soon became clear that he would do whatever it takes to become a film director. And he told the crowd that he was particularly obsessed with Robert DeNiro. Deniro founded the Tribeca Film Festival, which is why Kojima agreed to fly in all the way from Tokyo. We have the high cost of film production to thank for Kojima’s transformation into video game design. He couldn’t afford to make a two-hour film, so he used his ideas, complete with film actors, to create games. That made him the very first game designer to use actors as the models for game characters. As he gained more success, he started using famous actors in the games. Kojima also had the vision to turn the industry from games like “pong” to games with powerful and


complex storylines, Metal Gear being an early example. The audience asked a lot of questions about this, particularly about why he spent big money on actor Kiefer Sutherland instead of using 3D models. Kojima said that actors bring their own interpretation to a role, thereby adding an extra layer of creativity and realism—something he just couldn’t get from a 3D model. The audience was heavily into the corporate politics of game creation, and the huge news in this world was Kojima’s acrimonious split after 30 years with game company Konami, after much turmoil between him and the organization. This became a big deal around the world because Kojima kept winning awards but was not allowed to go up to the podium and accept them—Konami was portrayed as a group of corporate bad guys. Fans and gaming companies joined in the protest against Konami. Some members of the audience told me that they were annoyed to see that this was not addressed on the podium—I learned later that the legal resolution required Kojima to keep his mouth shut regarding those events. Kojima finally broke away from that oppressive work situation and he will be releasing his first ever game created by his new indie gaming design group. He toyed with us by saying that he will now reveal something about the new game. But all he’d say was: it will have characters and a plot. The audience laughed at the ongoing secrecy. We are all rooting for him and hope the game smashes records and crushes Konami. The second big panel, which drove the crowd back from the free snack area and into their seats, featured Ken Levine, writer and di-

rector of BioShock, a first-person shooter series set in an underwater dystopia. He was paired with action movie director Doug Limon for a compare-and-contrast discussion of movie-making with game creation. Limon is the producer and director of “Edge of Tomorrow” and the “Bourne Identity” franchise. It was exciting to see giants of their perspective industries paired together to talk about the differences in game creation and movie-making. Levine told the crowd that the main difference between game creation and movie-making is the lack of glamour. Levine said that after a starstudded premiere, everyone kisses up to the director. But for a game writer, the end of the production process is only heralded by a bunch of bloggers going online and making fun of your new game. Limon countered that screening a film at a premiere with an unhappy star is no picnic. Angelina Jolie, he said, was so unhappy with footage from a scene of “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” that she burst into tears while sitting next to him. As we left the festival, Michael Swayner felt that “it’s time that gaming got more respect as an art form.” He followed up by saying this should be so “because everyone who plays video games is part of the creation process.” Our ability to participate and manipulate the storyline of a video game is, indeed, a game changer for the industry that our generation has shaped. And if it really morphs into an enhanced art form of interactive films, we will all have had a hand—not to mention a thumb— in that transformation.

The Spectator ● June 8, 2017

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Humor These articles are works of fiction. All quotes are libel and slander.

Mystery Solved: The Printing Station Chain of Fiascos By Benedict Ho and Laura Ilioaei Attempting to print several hundreds of pages of the Global History textbook succeeded in creating a fiasco that would go down in history. This desperate freshman’s antics would only be the first in a chain of abuses surrounding the printing station, ultimately leading to its closure. Before this shutdown, students would often clash violently on the long line to use the printing station. Seniors would regularly claim senior privilege and shove away underclassmen who had been waiting on line since 7:30 a.m. “I couldn’t print my 40page essay!” complained senior Ely Sandine, before realizing that he was a second-term senior. During AP week, the printing station was plastered with “Not In Service” posters, leading many students to question whether or not they were still in the subway station. The printing station was shut down because a few mischievous students decided to print a mere meter-long peanut butter pun meme, adhering it to the roof of the printer. To top it off, the printer was found to be running for five hours straight, causing Smartboard

outages throughout the building. “I couldn’t even show students the fancy transitions I had in my Powerpoint,” social studies teacher Josina Dunkel lamented. “Without Powerpoint transitions, how can I possibly cram in all of the 7829303 Henrys of the French Wars of Religion?” It turns out that this was a conspiracy concocted by students to save their hands from the agony involved with copying down 100 slides every day. However, the students failed to foresee the unintended consequence of causing blackouts through the school. The math department could no longer print out worksheets, and when they reverted to using the plain ol’ chalk and blackboard, the entire school was left vibrating in high frequency screeches. This would serve as the accompaniment to the chorus’s latest hit: “Lamentations sataniques.” The administration finally had enough, shutting down the printing station for good. Students now contend with doubly long lines at the library. More creative students, however, have mastered their handwriting to exactly mimic Times New Roman, font size 12.

Student Surprised by Angery Reaccs on Post of Exact Grades By Daniel Knopf

When AP course selections came out, junior Max Lobel was shocked to see that he was not accepted into AP Whining, his dream class. After complaining for a solid 17 minutes, during which any onlooker would have immediately suggested that AP Whining was the perfect class for Lobel, he ran to his computer and began to type out a request for help in the form of a Facebook post. “I have a 97.785 science average, a 98 overall average, a 96 English average, I got all A’s in third grade, and my mommy says I’m her ‘widdle smartie pants’; why didn’t I get into AP Whining?” read the post in the “Dear Incoming Class of 2018…We Have Advice but Only at Useless Times and Not When You Actually Need It” Facebook group. To Max’s surprise, instead of helpful comments, his post received hundreds of angery reaccs and responses. “I didn’t understand why people were attacking me. I didn’t do anything wrong. It’s not like I tried to create a StuyJoust event or anything,” Lobel said. These angry responses, which ranged from “Whom’st’ve’d’th

man’s,” to “Welcome to your tape,” sparked a series of Facebook posts from different Stuyvesant students attacking Lobel, supporting Lobel, attacking the Lobel supporters, supporting the Lobel attackers, attacking the Lobel attacker’s attackers, and asking for people to stop posting by making their own unnecessary posts. Somehow surprised by the reaction to his post, Lobel tried to defend his decision to share his exact grades. “Why would I make this post to brag? So what if I have a 99.39397 in math, a 97.666 in history, and a 100 in physics? This post was definitely NOT an attempt for me to make up for my lack of social skills by getting people to like me for my 99 average!” said

Lobel, while also “accidentally” changing his profile picture to a screenshot of his average with the caption, “Oops, wrong photo!” In the end, the program office saw Lobel’s Facebook posts and his extraordinary talent to complain, which fulfills all prereqs, and accepted him into his dream class of AP Whining.

Daniel Tam / The Spectator

2016-2017 Year in Review By Michael Xu

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. We came into Stuyvesant last September, saved from the derelict mindlessness and reckless idleness of the dreaded summer. Now in June, we are forced to once again contend with the onerous summer, but with a new collection of SAT prep books to accompany us. Back in the beginning of the year, Harambe was still a thing, and Pokémon Go made us actually exercise for once. Over the summer, two swanky nominating conventions were held to nominate two insanely popular candidates: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Everyone who actually came to the Republican National Committee was pleased, and the entire convention was notably undisturbed. Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake insisted that “mowing his lawn” would take precedence over a political caucus that happens once every four years, and the Kasichand Cruz-friendly delegations were more than happy to take their seats in the back corners of the convention hall. Similarly, at the Democratic National Convention, the talk of the town was former DNC chair Debbie WassermanSchultz’s positive remarks on Bernie

Sanders. These remarks were so enthusiastic that Schultz stepped down as DNC chair to lead the #Bernie2020 movement. Enough about summer—let’s go relive some good memories with the first day of school. Coming into school the first time in two months, students were seen kissing the scanning machines, kneeling in front of the portrait of Peter Stuyvesant, and rolling around with glee on the pristine half-floor. Freshmen were more than delighted to be at Stuyvesant— the school that many have drooled over for 14 years (actually, 15 years counting the time in the womb). Many of them patted themselves on the back while they failed their biology tests and pulled their first all-nighters— just simply proud of the privilege of travelling

two hours to and from school. Meanwhile, upperclassmen put college on the back of their minds as they began their immersive academic engagement. They signed up for APs, got screwed over by programming, worked for leadership credentials in extracurriculars, and went sleepless for nights on end for self-enrichment. “Yes, the ‘I Created This Club To Look Good For College’ is completely legit,” senior Laszlo Sandler claimed. Speaking of Sandler, the U.S. got its very own joke-of-a-president on Election Day—imagine…the entire country was jealous of us! With Trump’s election, many of us were left more shellshocked than when the MTA decided to

Tiffany Zhong / The Spectator

cease all service to Manhattan. There was some solace in Clinton’s popular vote count, but just like how everyone on the packed platform is fumingly angry at the MTA, there was no strength in numbers. We could go on about Trump, but it’s probably better to lie low before he roots us out. If The Spectator maintained a Twitter presence, we would probably get lambasted by the president, a position that formerly entailed being the leader of the free world. That battle probably wouldn’t end well for us. Sometimes, we actually do let Alternative Facts pass through as News, such as when we announced that programming would be streamlined last semester—of course not! Though, we don’t think we’ve published any covfefe just yet. Some under-

classmen might have called our SING! coverage covfefe. There’s a lot to commend Soph-Frosh on, such as their brilliant job on the poop-inspired costumes and their innovative plot that in no way resembled 53929 other teenage trilogies. The only criticism from our end was the annoying Jolly Rancher—she sounded nearly as bad as senior Michael Espinosa’s announcements. The Foreign Language department planned some terrific events over the last year: they were so engaging that some attendees even forgot that they had originally come to nab extra credit. Now, if only more departments would host extra credit events… Springtime meant that there was a student to tissue box ratio of 1:2 and that there was a student to AP prep book ratio of 1:17. In effect, no one had the energy to put up a fight against incumbent Student Union tickets. Given that we live in the age of Laszlo Sandler, however, any inexperienced candidate would’ve won. Fidget spinners soon swept the whole school as students began minting them on 3D printers. Before long, there’ll be physics test questions asking about calculating the momentum of a fidget spinner and maybe even a club…

The Spectator ● June 8, 2017

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Humor Bill Wurtz’s “history of the entire world, Spectator/Disrespectator i guess” Causes Record-High AP Scores By Stiven peter

By Omar Ali

A sophomore lay around in a dimly lit room the very night before the AP World History exam. He was panicking because there were less than six hours before the exam, and he had not so much as set his eyes on the first page of the Barron’s book. His palms were sweaty, his knees were weak, and his arms were heavy. He was gorging on a pint of chocolate ice cream and silently weeping. Throughout this ordeal, he took the time to ponder whether attending college was even necessary. Even in his over-the-top emotional state, he was able to multitask like the classic Stuyvesant student: simultaneously looking through his Facebook feed and wiping the endless stream of snot on his face. After a bit of scrolling, he saw a new video on the trending tab. Not having anything else to do, besides a bit of online shopping to add to his fidget spinner and male romper collection, he decided to click on the link. In an instant, he was directed to a video by Bill Wurtz titled “history of the entire world, i guess.” He felt a flush of relief; Wurtz must have made this video just for the AP World exam.

Immediately, he played the video. Sitting through roughly 19 minutes of world history, the video filled his puny mind with enough knowledge for the test. He was sure of it. During the exam the next day, he walked in calm and ready. As he quickly advanced through the test, he came upon

Klaire Geller / The Spectator

a tough question: “What came to Buddha’s mind after sitting under a tree for a week?” A lightbulb literally formed above his head to the dismay of many students around him. The answer was obvious: “you could make a religion out of this.”

He violently bubbled in that choice, almost ripping the paper and creating a hole as big as the one in his soul. He came out of the test feeling confident that he did well. Weeks went by, and soon enough, school was out. As he returned to his dark bedroom to sign up for his 15th AP, he received a notification on his phone saying that AP scores came out. He rushed to check his score, as this would decide whether or not his parents would disown him. To his great delight, he “copped” a five. The news that evening reported amazing AP World History exam scores across the country: the highest scores that the College Board had seen in years. It was announced that Wurtz’s video was the source of this success. He had helped write the test and took it upon himself to enlighten the desperate sophomores who needed a last-minute overview of the curriculum. The College Board has expressed great delight in Wurtz’s teaching abilities, deeming him the “Less-of-a-dub Khan Academy.” Wurtz has even recently announced that he will be working on a separate video, exclusively for AP United States History. This announcement was received with a great deal of support and encouragement, yet many complain that they wish Wurtz decided to make it sooner.

The Opinions department, suffering from a severe lack of conservative writers, is looking for a replacement for Stiven as he leaves for the University of Chicago in the fall. [We get it!] Preferably, the new writer would take inspiration from Stiven’s eloquent manifestos, but also write a little less manifesto-y and a little more like a decentsounding and actually-coherent journalist. Applications for the Resident Conservative Writer position can be submitted to opinionz@ Stiven is offering three one-on-one sessions with this new apprentice to bestow his knowledge of theology, hermeneutics, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, economics, political science, literary theory, and feline digestive systems.

y=7.3x ²-7.5x+559

Article = x

Word Count = y

The Stress Overload Caused by In-Class Finals


An Endless Supply of Distractions


El Problema Con Desnudas


A Government For the People


An Inconvenient Truth


Rethinking Race Politics


Retrieving Morality


Retrieving Liberty


Twilight of American Politics


Renewing America


Renewing America Part 2


The Good Life


A Beautiful Thing: Sex and Sexual Ethics


Programming Office: Why? By Marie Ivantechenko

and Alexandra Wen

With AP and elective selections finalized, it has become clear that the programming office has prioritized freshmen this year in assigning APs. Feeling cheated, many upperclassmen have begun congregating outside the programming office in protest, forming longer lines than those outside the library after the warning bell rings. “I don’t even understand why the juniors are being so annoying!” freshman Sudat Khan exclaimed. “They’re pretty much going to die from senioritis anyway. They’re obviously not vying for these AP courses to quench their intellectual curiosity nor test the limits of human knowledge.” Khan proceeded to flip through his AP Honors Advanced Multivariable Calc BCD textbook, which he plans to take next year alongside AP Physics Z and AP Physical Education. Orig-

inally, programming used a nine-digit number generator— the OSIS closest to the generated

number gets into the AP until all the spots are filled up. However, if the student’s OSIS contains the “unlucky number of the year,” that student is taken off the list. Moreover, if the student

could not remember and recite his or her OSIS number on-thespot in under five seconds, she would be removed. Now, students will be assigned APs based on the number of AP prep books that they bought from the student store. Even if the student hasn’t taken the course yet, not buying that extra prep book might be the one thing stopping him or her from getting into that AP course he or she has wanted to take for three years. Just to spice things up, programming has a different process for elec-

Daniel Tam / The Spectator

tives. First, programming office members filter out all of

subscribed electives such as Forensics. “Winning the lottery

Now, students will be assigned APs based on the number of AP prep books that they bought from the student store.

the grades of the students who applied. Each semester, they choose a different range. Last semester, only students with an 80.37287.661 average in second term freshman biology could have applied for genetics with Dr. Nedwidek-Moore. Besides that, it’s a firstcome, first-served basis, starting at precisely 12:23:41 a.m. on the night of JProm. If one student submitted his or her form a millisecond before another student, then he or she would get the class. With these restrictions, u p p e rc l a s s men have found that they have a higher chance of winning the lottery than getting into over-

was my safety if I didn’t get into Orgo,” junior Ved Patel mourned. However, some juniors weren’t fortunate enough to even win the lottery. “What will I possibly do with a lunch period?” junior Daniel Ju grumbled. “My guy, I’m going to get so bored of being able to sleep for more than three hours.” Now, starting fall semester of next year, there will be new APs and electives exclusively for juniors. Among a few of them are: “How to Get Into College,” “I Created This Elective to Look Good For College,” and “I Have Not Yet Succumbed to Senioritis.” Some of these courses will be taught by former Principal Jie Zheng, who is coming back to Stuyvesant to help students apply for her for-profit military academy upstate. There, they’ll finally be able to take that one AP that Stuyvesant does not offer: AP Poaching.

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The Spectator ● June 9, 2017


The Spectator ● June 9, 2017

Page 21

Sports Boys’ Track

Greyducks Win 18th Consecutive Borough’s Championship By SAM STAMLER

eye. With all of these positives leading to their success, Stuyvesant has overcome a few setbacks this season in order to once again be champions of the borough. Numerous events have been rained out this season. This has given Stuyvesant’s runners less practice in competitive situations. In addition, the Greyducks added Coach Mankit Wong to the team, who has less experience than their previous coach, Coach Jeffrey Teta. However, Wong quickly became adjusted to the new sport and was a very effective coach. To help with this process, Teta still volunteered his time to help the runners during practices and games. Together, the two coaches proved to be an effective duo this season and led the team to victory. At the end of the year, the Greyducks will lose their seniors, many of whom are vital members and act as leaders of the team. However, for the remaining members, Fichter said, “They certainly have the potential to take the team further than we have gone in past years, but they’re going to have to make adjustments.” When asked about who the team will rely on for

David Liu / The Spectator

When the Greyducks, Stuyvesant’s boys’ track team, set out on this year’s outdoor track season, they were aiming for another Borough Championship. After a long and arduous season, the team succeeded, winning for the 18th consecutive year. It was not easy, as recently, Stuyvesant has faced fierce opposition from schools such as Hunter and the High School of Math Science and Engineering. However, the team was able to dominate once again. Sprinters Sam Jung, Eric Cao, and Alex Schevshenko each placed first in their respective events. Schevshenko also set a school record in his first place 100-meter run with a time of 11.11 seconds. The team also came in first in two of its relays, the 4x100-meter relay and the 4x400-meter relay. The distance runners also triumphed with seniors and co-captains Greg Dudick and Kiyan Tavangar finishing first in the 3200-meter run and the 800-meter run respectively. One reason for this major victory was the team’s physical preparation. Throughout the year, the team held indoor and outdoor

workouts designed to challenge everyone’s physical and mental limits. It was here the Greyducks learned how to succeed. Senior and co-captain Noah Fichter said, “I think ultimately it comes down to the fact that our workouts are incredibly difficult, but everyone does them, and everyone does them with 100 percent of their energy.” In addition, Tavangar said, “Barely anyone has been missing practices, and everyone has been setting personal bests.” This combination of attendance and effort fueled yet another championship. Besides preparation throughout the year, much of their success can be attributed to game day planning and strategy. “We spent hours planning out who to put in each event to score as many points as possible and block as many points as possible,” Fichter said. Similarly, Tavangar said, “Preparation always starts the night before, making sure we eat well and get a solid amount of sleep.” While many observers may think that the Greyducks only succeed because they happen to have the most athletic team, much more mental preparation goes on before each meet than meets the

next year, Tavangar acknowledged juniors Matt Fairbanks, Minhein Htet, Jesse Sit, Alex Schevchenko and Thomas Thread will need to step up. If the Greyducks continue their thorough preparation

for their events and can execute on gameday, it is only a matter of time before we see them back on the podium at the Manhattan Borough Championships.

Girls’ Lacrosse

Huskies Grab Impressive Victory By JEREMY RUBIN As the game came to a close, the ninth-seeded Huskies, Stuyvesant’s girls’ lacrosse team, realized what they had just accomplished. After going winless in the playoffs for the past five years and making the playoffs for the first time last year, the team managed to upset 8-seed Forest Hills High School 5-3. Even though they lost to the number one overall team and eventual runner up Curtis High School 15-6 the next round, the team did something that hadn’t been done in recent memory. No one saw their win coming, not even the team. “If you asked me in March if we’d win our first playoff game, I’d probably say no,” senior and co-captain Lucy Wang said. The team faced adversity from

the start, as their former coach, Jenna Gilbert, was replaced by coach Manuel Simon. While Simon stepped up and coached the team, he was not too familiar with the sport. His coaching responsibility fell on the captains. “Through time, we learned how to run practices and manage game logistics (subs, plays,!etc.) by ourselves,” Wang said. Another senior and co-captain, Lauren Moy, had a similar sentiment, saying, “We had to do a lot of the teaching and giving criticism during games, which was hard, since we’re also trying to be regular players.” Luckily, they were able to figure things out and keep their season going. After a rough start to the season that included four straight rain-outs, the team rebounded

and finished third in their division, Division 3, with a 10-4 record. Only Bronx High School of Science (12-2) and Hunter High School (14-0) finished ahead of them in the standings. This was the first year of Division 3, as previous years broke up teams by borough. Last year, the team finished 6-10 before losing to Tottenville in the first round of the playoffs 17-6. The year before that they did not qualify for a playoff berth. A number of upperclassmen became major forces in the PSAL, but none improved as much as Wang. As an attacker/ midfielder, Wang doubled the number of goals she scored from last season to this one, from 49 to 100. Her 100 goals scored led the PSAL, with the next closest


person 23 goals behind her, at 77. Her leadership and goal-scoring was much needed, and her three goals in the playoff game against Forest Hills High School proved to be the deciding factors. H o w ever, the win was more than just Wang. It was a team effort, especially by the seniors. “All the seniors in general are starters and have really shaped this team into something,” junior and co-captain Inbar Pe’er said. “When they were freshmen, it was no cuts, and they worked so hard to create a real team and a work ethic.” These seniors worked and bided their time, and after four years, they finally found success. The team will suffer next year, with eight seniors leaving, including top goal-scorer Wang and goalie and co-captain Maddie

Ostergaard. “A lot of the starting lineup consisted of seniors, so it’ll probably be a tough adjustment,” Wang said. “But I think they can succeed.” They held many key positions on the field, and finding capable replacements will not be easy. Many underclassmen will have to improve and work hard to fill the spots on the roster vacated by the graduating class. The team recently voted captains for next year, and decided on juniors Pe’er, Leila Storkamp, and Sara Ng. It could be a tough year, but if the team was able to weather a loss of a coach and a difficult beginning and still win a playoff game, getting back to this point next season is not out of the question. A young and athletic team, these Huskies could be just beginning to reach their peak.

The Spectator ● June 9, 2017

Page 22

Sports Baseball

Promising Season Falls Short for Peglegs By Tahsin Ali and Ariel Melendez Down three runs to none with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, with junior Michael Gillow at the plate, the Peglegs, Stuyvesant’s baseball team, watched their season hang by a thread. Gillow worked up a full count and fought off some pitches, clearly determined to keep the game alive. Finally, after a formidable battle at the plate, Gillow made contact and hit a line drive to center field. As the ball entered the glove of the running McKee/ Staten Island tech Seagulls’ center fielder, the Peglegs watched the most promising season in their recent history slip away. Final score, 3-0 Seagulls. The Peglegs struggled with hitting throughout the entire game. It seemed as if they were making contact but simply couldn’t find the holes in the opposing defense. As a result, the team only managed five hits in the game. Unfortunately, senior and co-captain Tobias Lange’s solid performance, in which he allowed just three runs in six innings and struck out five batters, was trumped by the absence of

production on the offensive side of the ball for the Peglegs. When asked about the game, head coach John Carlesi said, “Everything went well but our hitting. Pitching was excellent, and we didn’t make an error in the field. Unfortunately, their pitching held us to no runs, and I’ve never heard a team win while scoring zero runs.” The Seagulls scored one run in the first, third, and sixth innings, and that was enough to advance to the next round of the playoffs. “The last game was tough, knowing what most if these guys put into the team, the time, sacrifice and hard work; there wasn’t a dry eye after that last out, including myself,” Carlesi said. Despite the disappointing ending to the season, where the Peglegs expected to go deep in the playoffs, the team has quite a bit to be proud of. This was the best season under head coach John Carlesi, and the team won more games this year (12) than they won in the previous two seasons combined (10). “I am disappointed in the early loss, but I am really proud of the way our team competed this year. Being the number 10 team in the city

Renegade’s Playoff Bid Cut Short to End Successful Season The Renegades, Stuyvesant’s girls’ softball team, finished off their season with a 10-0 loss to High School for Construction in the second round of the playoffs. In the first round, the Renegades defeated Curtis High School, despite having lost to them in last year’s postseason. Though off to a hot start at beginning of the year, the team struggled towards the end of the season and was unable to maintain its energy in the playoffs. This lack of energy was apparent in the their loss to Construction; the team failed to ignite its offense which had been so explosive earlier in the season. Over the span of three games from late April to May, the team scored 56 runs. However, in the last four games of the season, the Renegades only put up nine runs, indicative of a decline in the offense. Junior and co-captain Frankie Michielli attributed the lack of offensive productivity to the increase in tough competition. “[At] the end of the season, we definitely faced some tougher teams that gave us more competition than before,” she said. The last two games of the Renegades’ regular season were losses against the top two teams in their league, and after beating Stuyvesant, Construction advanced to the championship against Port Richmond High School. During these games, the Renegades struggled against some of the top pitchers in the city, and their inability to perform well against fast pitching was capitalized on by their opponents. Junior and fellow co-captain Charlotte Ruhl agreed that for next year, the team will need to work on hitting against more skilled pitchers—the pitchers who not only throw hard, but work in three or four different pitch types. One of the major issues the

are like brothers. We have fed off of each other all year, and it has contributed to our success,” Archer said. The strength of the pitching

“ The baseball guys are like brothers. We have fed off of each other all year, and it has contributed to our success.” —Jack Archer, senior and co-captain

ficult rivals—a victory against a Bayside team that was fresh off a championship victory, and a walk-off by senior Joseph Halim to defeat rival Beacon High School. “I would say beating Beacon on a walk off was the highpoint of our season. But to me, getting to spend all my time with this team has been the most rewarding part of the season. The baseball guys

staff was a primary reason why the Peglegs fought their way to a successful season. Archer and senior and co-captain Tobias Lange had serious expectations of leading the team to success through their arms—and they did just that. The two were not only the best pitchers on the team, but they were two of the best in the AAA Western division. They each

had five wins, tied for first in the division. Lange finished the season with 56 strikeouts and an earned run average (ERA) of 1.22. Archer was right behind him, finishing the year with 43 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.03. These statistics put these seniors among the best arms in the division. However, the offense and defensive contributions from many players on the team is what helped the Peglegs make a good season into a great one. Most importantly, “it was the team’s dynamics that really help during the season. The different personalities fed off one another in good times and bad. You couldn’t ask for a better chemistry in a team,” Carlesi said. Ultimately, as the peglegs reflect on the success and fun they had this season, they also look toward the next one in hopes that they can continue the unprecedented progress they made over the past four years. As Carlesi said and Archer seconded, “I’m hoping that Max Onderdonk, Jeremy Rubin and Malcolm Hubbell can lead this team next year. I can only hope they are up to the task.”

Boys’ Ultimate



and the best team in Stuy history is nothing to be ashamed of,” senior and co-captain Jack Archer said. The season featured many memorable victories against dif-

Renegades faced throughout the entire season was their defense. In the team’s 12-2 loss to Manhattan Center, six of the 12 runs scored against the Renegades were on errors. “It was contagious; one error led to another and then another,” coach Vincent Miller said. Though they struggled early in the season, the Renegades worked to fix this and saw improvements. “Our defense got so so much stronger towards the end of the season,” Ruhl said. The Peglegs were able to excel in their division this year because of their stacked lineup. Ruhl was one of the greatest contributors, leading the division in RBIs (34), standing second in runs (27), and fourth in home runs (5). Sophomore Talia Kirshenbaum brought a charge to the offense, hitting six home runs throughout the season despite an injury that limited her at the end of the season. In games where other aspects of play fell short, the offense saved the Renegades. “We had a bunch of come-from-behind wins because of our offense, ” Miller said. In games where offense struggled for the Renegades, their pitching limited other teams and helped secure victories. In the Renegades’ first-round victory over the Curtis High School Warriors, Stuyvesant only managed to score three runs but Michielli held the Warriors to two runs. Michielli was dominant on the mound throughout the season, standing in third place in the division in wins (9) and fourth in strikeouts (76). The Renegades will look to improve more upon their gameplay, but feel confident for next year. “It’s the same group of girls because nobody is graduating, and we already have a great team dynamic,” Ruhl said. Having no players leaving the team will allow the Renegades to focus on their few weaknesses and progress further into the playoffs next year.

States Semifinals Prove Ultimate By sam merrick “We never really believed that we could lose, and then we did,” senior Ely Sandine said. As cocaptain of Stuyvesant’s boys’ ultimate frisbee team, the Sticky Fingers, Sandine was as devastated as anyone after the team’s semifinals exit in the State Championship. After winning four games, Stuyvesant faced Ethical Culture Fieldston School and played intensely in its last chance of making it to the finals. After a rocky season and a postseason battle, the loss did not come easily to the team, which is used to repeated success. “We were coming off of three consecutive state championships, and as a result, we were expected to win this year,” Sandine said. The bar was set high for the Sticky Fingers, and as Sandine expressed, the boys simply could not perform under this pressure. The year started off with the Youth Ultimate League of Arlington (YULA) tournament, which gathered the top teams from around the East Coast. Stuyvesant only managed to tally one win during the entire weekend, which, though disappointing, did not come as a complete surprise given the seriously tough competition. In Stuyvesant’s first match, it faced Yorktown High School— which was recently ranked 24th in the nation by the reputable High School Power Rankings— and ended the first half ahead of Yorktown 7-6. The Sticky Fingers ended up losing that match, but held their own against an elite squad. A week later, Stuyvesant was set to play The Brooklyn Latin School. Despite the defeats in the YULA outing, the Sticky Fingers were confident, and perhaps unwisely played as if the game was a guaranteed victory. “We expected to win the game easily, and as a result played carelessly,” Sandine said. The team lacked sound fundamentals, turning over the disc on short passes and letting these small mistakes get to their heads. This first upset set the tone for the rest of the season, and it

seemed the Sticky Fingers had lost the dominance that previously defined them. After more ups and downs, Stuyvesant prepared for the City Championship that was on the near horizon. In a close semifinals showdown, the Sticky Fingers crawled to a one point victory over Fieldston. The win seemed to come as a surprise, but it earned them a shot at the City title nonetheless. “[We had] a lot of lucky plays, and we did not play our best,” senior

be a turning point in the tournament. “That’s when everything went south,” Zhang said. Fieldston took the first half 7-0, shutting down any signs of Stuyvesant offense. Additionally, the Sticky Fingers’ defense relented, allowing the opposition to score. “We weren’t putting enough pressure on them after we gave up the disc,” Sandine said. In the second half, the Sticky Fingers were clinging to any hope of staying in the game.

“We never really believed that we could lose, and then we did.” —Ely Sandine, senior and co-captain

Benjamin Zhang said. Due to play Bard High School in the finals, Stuyvesant came mentally prepared and brought the intensity up a notch. The stronger gameplay was met with Bard’s strong lineup, and though the Sticky Fingers were able to keep it close, once Bard got ahead of them, they simply could not catch up. This loss was Stuyvesant’s third against Bard, after playing them twice during the season and falling short by one point both times. By the time the State Championship arrived, the Sticky Fingers were motivated to continue the legacy that had been left by three graduating classes and take the title. Stuyvesant cruised by the first four games, beating Mamaroneck High School 13-1, New Rochelle High School 13-1, Brooklyn Latin 13-5, and Bronx High School of Science 13-5. After their quarterfinals victory over Bronx Science, the Sticky Fingers had less than an hour until they played Fieldston in the semifinals. Despite a strong first four games, semifinals proved to

In their desperation, they scored five points before eventually succumbing to Fieldston. Though the season’s end was crushing, some looked back on the year with satisfaction. Senior Jacob Grunebaum highlighted the great pressure that is put on the frisbee team. He explained that the expectation to win is a burden that affects the team’s game and takes away from focusing on the basics. Grunebaum was content with the team’s performance, and believes it should be proud of what it accomplished. “I think we achieved a very high level of playing and proved that we are a very good team, just that consistency ultimately was our greatest problem,” he said. Though the Sticky Fingers will lose many strong players next year, they will continue to work hard for the title, learning from the mistakes made this year and keeping their heads up. This loss could humble Stuyvesant and change the dynamic next season. “It has been a while since we played as the underdogs,” Sandine said.

The Spectator ● June 9, 2017

Page 23

Sports Girls’ Track

Another Victorious Season for the Greyducks

Sharon Zou / The Spectator

By nikki daniels With summer around the corner, the girls’ outdoor track team finished another stellar season. The Greyducks started the season with two goals: to become backto-back Manhattan borough champions, and to finish on the podium at the City Championships. With a strong performance in the field events, the girls accomplished their first goal, coming in first place in the Manhattan Borough Championship on May 21. But despite stellar individual performances at City Championships a week later on May 28, the Greyducks came in seventh place and could not reach the podium. While it is true that the Greyducks didn’t come in the top three, it is also important to note that the difference in points between places is minimal. For example, a seventh place and a fourth place finish are less than ten points apart, as Dr. Markova, the coach of the girls’ team pointed out. “The difference between fourth and seventh places were very small. The competition was very close and we could have been fourth or seventh.” Starting from their first meet on March 25, the girls’ track team had a very successful season. Though it started out slow,

it quickly picked up: they dominated the 1500-meter racewalk at the Bob Zifchak Classic Meet on April 30, and the Spring Series meets on March 29, April 19, and May 2, largely due to sophomores Kayla Lew, Bernice Chen, and Jeanette Cheung, freshman Tina Zheng, and junior Joyce Wu. With such a strong team, even without the graduating seniors, next year is looking bright. At the Mayor’s Cup on April 8, senior and star athlete Zovinar Khrimian came in first place in the 1500 meter race (5:06.81). The sophomore 4x800-meter relay team, composed of Clara Mohri, Tiffany Zhong, Jocelyn Tang, and Vivian Cribb placed an outstanding second place in the sophomore division. In addition, the freshman 4x800-meter relay team, which consisted of Doris Chen, Tiffany Cao, Jing Su, and Ester Suleymanov, placed fourth in the freshman division. At the Manhattan Borough Championship on May 21, the Greyducks dominated the field events. At the start of the season, senior and co-captain Lucia Liu had hoped to strengthen the Greyducks’ performance in field events—which ended up being one of the reasons that the team performed so well. For example, junior Daria Shifrina came in first

in both the high jump and triple jump, with a height of four feet, six inches and a distance of 32-01.50, respectively. Shifrina also came in third in the long jump, with a distance of 14 feet and seven inches. The Greyducks also dominated the pole vault with outstanding individual performances, with Liu taking first place, junior Venus Nnadi coming in second, and freshman Zoe Zakrzewska coming in fourth. Senior Zovinar Khrimian and sophomore Clara Mohri also did extremely well in the track events. Mohri came in first in the 3000-meter race and third in the 1500-meter race. Khrimian came in second in both the 3000-meter race and the 1500-meter race. All of this led up to the City Championships event at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island on Sunday, May 28. In the field events, Nnadi and Liu tied for 7th place in the pole vault with seven and a half feet. In the relay events, the 4x800 team, consisting of senior Catriona Breen, Khrimian, Mohri, and Cribb, came in third place just behind the Staten Island Tech team—an incredible accomplishment for the Greyducks. Khrimian said, “Everyone was in good spirits, especially at the end when the 4x800 [meter relay team] came in third in the

city.” The Greyducks also did well in the individual running events at the City Championships. Mohri came in fourth in the 3000 meter run with an impressive time of 10 minutes and 47.49 seconds, (10:47.49), and Khrimian also came in fourth in the 1500 meter run with a time of four minutes and 58.09 seconds (4:58.09). Racewalking has always been a strong event for the Greyducks, and it was no different at the City Championships, where the Greyducks dominated the 1500 meter walk. Juniors Ziqi Guo and Joyce Wu also came in first and second places, respectively, with times of seven minutes and 31.41 seconds (7:31.41) and seven minutes and 35.28 seconds (7:35.28), respectively. Guo will be attending Nationals for a second time. As Dr. Markova said, “Our racewalk is always a strong event and we got as many points as we could.” The highlight of the City Championships on May 28, however, was the fact that Stuyvesant’s own senior and co-captain Sharon Hu was honored as the winner of the PSAL 2017 Track & Field Scholar-Athlete Scholarship Award, which honors students’ outstanding achievements in the classroom, in the community and on the field. Hu was nominated

by Dr. Markova as an athlete who demonstrated a commitment to excel in these areas. As the winner, Hu received an incredible $2,500 scholarship award for college. The Greyducks’ accomplishments are no small feat. Unlike many other sports, most members of them team not only run on the outdoor track team, but also run cross country and indoor track, along with having to juggle the rigors of Stuyvesant with the demands of their daily practice throughout the school year. Even so, the Greyducks have again emerged as a force, and they have much to celebrate. As co-captain Liu aptly said, “With Stuy having such a rigorous curriculum, I have to admit it gets difficult at times balancing a demanding sport like track, where we are in season for the whole year. I am impressed with how far this talented group of girls has come.” Dr. Markova echoed these sentiments, emphasizing that “the captains were very supportive of their teammates,” and that “throughout the whole season, the girls performed really well and were striving for their personal best,” she said. “I am hopeful that the Greyducks will place on the podium in all three seasons [next year].”


Breaking Down the Eagles’ Postseason By Dimitriy Leksanov, Ronin Berzins, and Perry Wang Losing does not come easily to a champion; a team that establishes a dominant, winning tradition has a hard time breaking it. Such was the case for Stuyvesant’s varsity golf team, the Eagles. “The team was pretty devastated,” coach Emilio Nieves said of the Eagles’ semifinals loss. After consecutive city championships and two consecutive seasons without a single loss, the team faced a tough end to the season. With matchups against powerhouses in Hunter College High School and Eleanor Roosevelt High School, chances for Stuyvesant to regain the top slot were bleak. Though the Eagles took the match against Roosevelt, they were forced to forfeit the Hunter match, leaving them at a 5-2 record and in fourth place in the Manhattan League. With their first non-undefeated season in three years, the Eagles would no longer have the luxury of the top playoff seed and an easy matchup. Last year, the Eagles faced Leon M. Goldstein High School (5-4), and were able to eliminate them, winning 4-1. This year, Stuyvesant faced Goldstein again, but in much different circumstances. As the 10th seed, and with an impressive 8-1 record, Gold-

stein was due to pose a challenge for the Eagles. However, like in the win over Roosevelt, the Eagles set the tone right off the bat with a hot start. Through the first three holes, nobody on Stuyvesant’s starting five posted a single total of over six strokes. Additionally, the back end was dominant once again, particularly in the cases of senior and No. 3 golfer Kevin Zheng and freshman and No. 4 golfer Alexander Camaev. Neither of those two matches was particularly close; over the course of the match, Camaev and Zheng combined for just one hole of over six strokes. For contrast, Goldstein’s No. 3 and No. 4 golfers put up just one hole of under six strokes. From the beginning, the Goldstein match mimicked the previous victory against Roosevelt. Though it ended up slightly closer, the Eagles still finished with a comfortable 3-1 win. With that, the Eagles were set to face their toughest challenge yet. Playing as the lower seed for the first time in four years, Stuyvesant faced the second-seeded Tottenville High School, who finished the season 10-1, first in the Staten Island division. In Stuyvesant’s past two victories, the team was able to coast on the dominance of its back end over unbalanced starting lineups. Tottenville, however, boasted a deep lineup—a threat to the Eagles’ usual dominance. If

their first round matchup was any indication, Tottenville’s bottom golfers would be just as strong as those at the top of the lineup. In a 5-0 shellacking of Midwood, Tottenville’s No. 5 golfer, Blossom Yu, did not have a single hole that took more that five strokes. Though Stuyvesant’s two stars, junior Christopher Chan and senior Nicholas Ng, were able to lose matches against Roosevelt and Goldstein and still see the team win, the Eagles simply could not afford for this to happen against a team like Tottenville. For Stuyvesant to advance, the team needed to get off to a similarly fast start, and to see similar dominance from Camaev and the rest of the back end once again. On top of that, Chan and Ng needed to go toe-to-toe with Thomas Sclafani and Nicholas Khoury of Tottenville. This was possible, as Chan’s regular-season nine-hole total of 34 is less than Sclafani’s of 35, meaning that a head-to-head victory was not out of the question. Yet, even with the tall odds, the team still had confidence going into the match. “It will probably be tough, but I have faith in our team,” Ng said before the match. Though the previous victories over Roosevelt and Goldstein can be attributed to the dominance of the back end, the Eagles’ match against Tottenville was defined by the success of Chan, Ng, and

Zheng, who came through in the clutch. Chan was as strong as he has ever been, and with all six of his holes ending up at under six strokes, he made quick work of Sclafani. Zheng was even more impressive, posting a full nine-hole match with eight of the nine holes under six strokes. Though the match went down to the wire, and despite being beaten in the nine-hole total, 44-45, Zheng’s consistency earned him a victory in the end. With a similarly spectacular performance from senior and No. 5 starter Neil Yang, the Eagles managed an improbable upset against the No. 2 seed in the city, winning 3-1. In the semifinals, the Eagles were set for a rematch against Roosevelt. Chan seemed to have an inkling that this would happen after the first Roosevelt match: “Just beating a division rival was great for team morale, especially because we could face them in the playoffs,” he said after the regular season victory. Yet, even with team morale being as high as it was, the Eagles could not put it together in the semifinals. While the match against Tottenville was the epitome of consistency, the showdown with Roosevelt quickly turned into the opposite. Though Yang had himself a day once again, the rest of the starting five underperformed, as each member posted multiple

holes of six strokes or higher. Though the matches of Chan and Ng went down to the wire, with Ng’s in particular going into a tiebreak, the Eagles could not pull out a win and fell, losing 2-3. Despite having been eliminated, Ng remains hopeful for the future. “A bunch of the younger players are really stepping up and I think that we’ll all keep improving,” he said. However, with hope, there also comes apprehension. Ng, Zheng, and Yang comprise three-fifths of the Eagles’ starting lineup, and are all graduating seniors. Knowing the effects of the loss of star Niel Vyas a year prior, the effect of this should once again be profound, as it is never easy to replace more than half of a starting lineup. Though the team still has a solid core of Chan and Camaev to build around, Nieves understands the need for young talent. “A few new good freshmen would also help continue the success we have had over the last five years,” he said, showing optimism in the possibility of new prospects. Seeing that the non-starters combined for exactly one match played this season, it is apparent that inexperience is rife on this team. Ultimately, next year’s Eagles will either sink or swim depending on the ability of members to step up and on the talent of next year’s freshman crop.

June 9, 2017

Page 24

The Spectator SpoRts Boys’ Tennis

The Hitmen End the Season With New Memories By CELINA LIU The Stuyvesant Hitmen’s second doubles team lobbed the ball over their Bronx Science opponents, who proceeded to smash an overhead at the Hitmen. Senior and co-captain Julian Neuman reacted quickly, hitting a tweener, a between-thelegs shot, for a winner past his opponents. The substitutes and spectators cheered for Stuyvesant as Neuman and senior and co-captain Zachary Wakefield high-fived to celebrate the point. They would go on to lose the match 8-2, but still managed to

to the Hitmen this year, bringing with him a 4-2 regular season record in doubles. The Hitmen went 7-3 this season, losing only to the schools ranked higher than them in the Bronx/Manhattan A3 League: Beacon and Bronx Science. Their strong finish in the regular season helped them earn the seventh seed in the playoffs. In their first playoff match, they played against New Dorp, and they were able to defeat the school in a swift 5-0 win. The victory propelled the team into quarterfinals. The quarterfinals match for

maintain a high level of energy throughout. Tweener winners were not uncommon in Neuman’s matches this season. “[Neuman’s] nickname on the team is J-Tweener due to his prodigious skill for hitting tweeners,” Wakefield said. Neuman was an important asset

the Hitmen was on Friday, May 26th against Bronx Science. Though the rivalry between the two schools had been fierce during the regular season, the Wolverines prevailed easily over the Hitmen, winning with a score of 5-0. At their first meeting this year, the Hitmen had defeated

Stefan Engquist / The Spectator

“Being a part of Stuy tennis for four years has been a great experience. In particular, our coach, Marv Autry, is a real inspiration to everyone on the team.” —Julian Neuman, senior and co-captain.

the Wolverines, and the early win had boosted the confidence level of the team. During the playoff game, some of the Hitmen had been expecting a result similar to their first encounter with the Wolverines. “[The] match was very disappointing; we all went in very optimistically,” Wakefield said. However, the Hitmen did not go down without a fight, as every match had an air of tension around it. The first singles match between junior Nicholas Pustilnik and Bronx Science’s Jonah Jurick was particularly competitive. Pustilnik had a 7-2 record from the regular season, while Jurick was just 4-2. Each player held his own service game until Jurick was up 5-4, and managed to break Pustilnik’s serve and rhythm to win the match at 8-4. Though the early loss in playoffs was disappointing, the season was very successful for the Hitmen, both against previous rivals and as a team. Many of the seniors held a deep sense of gratitude toward both their coaches and teammates. “I love my team and coach to death and feel very sad that I have to leave this year,” Wakefield said. Moving forward, the graduation of seniors on the team this year will be detrimental to the Hitmen’s starting lineup. In order to fill these voids, more of the sophomores and freshmen must step up. “Albert Wan, Robin Han, and Nick Chan were key components of the team and will continue to be for the foreseeable future,” Neuman said. With the potential of these upand-coming Hitmen, the team will be more successful in the

Senior Brandon Huang tosses a serve up against High School of American Studies.

future seasons and playoffs. “I’m hopeful next year the team could compete for championships,” Neuman said. “Being a part of Stuy tennis for four years has been a great experience, in particular, our coach, Marv Autry, is a real inspiration to everyone on the team,”

said Neuman when asked about the highlights of this season. Overall, the Hitmen are more than satisfied with their performance this year, as players focused more on enjoying the teamwork of the game alongside its competitiveness.

Boys’ Volleyball

By Susan Lin and Allison Eng

playoffs. After beating Lane two sets to none, the Beasts faced Richmond Hill, who’d beaten them last year in playoffs, as well as a few times in scrimmages during the season. “The boys were really hungry for revenge,” Choubaralian said. “We won and moved onto the quarterfinals for the first time in my career with the boy’s team. It was a pivotal moment.” While it’d been uncertain at first whether or not the team would be able to perform well under pressure, after the Richmond game, there was no doubt the Beasts were a serious contender, moving on to the quarterfinals. Unfortunately, not all good things are meant to last, and the Beasts lost to Fort Hamilton after two close sets. For junior and outside hitter Shun Bitar, it was the season low. “We played so well, it really didn’t look as though we were the lower seed coming into the match…[but] being on the quarterfinals stage for the first time in years as the Beasts, we choked and were unable to do simple things such as serving,” Bitar said. “They beat us to 25, and our season was over.” Still, the team managed to record 17 kills and 21 assists, a large number of them coming from Bitar, which shows how far the team has come since the start of their season. The match marked the end of their long season, but Choubaralian and the Beasts plan to

Courtesy of Tomas Engquist

Aptly named, the Stuyvesant Beasts ended their season strong, placing first in the Manhattan A West Division and earning the sixth overall seed. In their league games, Stuyvesant went 10-0, an impressive and spotless record. After losing key players like former captains Sam Kotlyar and Tae Kyung Kong, the newly appointed starters had to step up their game, and they succeeded. “Overall this season was one of the best, if not the best season, even with statistics aside. The team had a core group that was immensely dedicated,” coach Vasken Choubaralian said. The starting team played with conviction and had great chemistry both on and off the court. Earlier in the season, the Beasts had played in the Tottenville tourney, where they’d defeated Flushing High School and then proceeded to play MSIT in the semifinals. “We played MSIT, the eventual tournament winner and city champs. We continued to play at staggering level with super high intensity and great execution. Even though we lost both sets, the team felt extremely proud of their performance,” Choubaralian said. The Beasts, guided by senior captains Isfar Patwary and Jackson Deysine, dominated their league games, but they started to meet stiffer competition in the

A Beauty of a Season for the Beasts

Junior Justin Chan sets the ball in non-league loss to Benjamin M. Cardozo High School on March 29.

come back next year to take on and take down their opponents. This time, they’ll lose three starters, but the Beasts have rising seniors ready to fill in the big shoes of those left behind by the

departing members. “A majority of the team will be returning as seniors next year, so there won’t be too many changes in the line up. That is one thing that keeps me very hopeful for next season;

I am anticipating an even higher seed and a stronger and longer presence in the playoffs. You can quote me on that,” Choubaralian said.

Issue 16, Volume CVII  
Issue 16, Volume CVII