The Spectator The Stuyvesant High School Newspaper
October 17, 2013
Conference Days Continue
Newsbeat • Social studies teacher Berta Feldman has retired for personal reasons. • Biology teacher Jerry Citron took his AP Environmental Science class on an all-day canoeing trip to the Delaware River Water Gap. • Six seniors participated in the School Construction Authority’s summer architecture Student Internship Program. One was honored as a winner of the SCA’s Juana Rosillo Memorial Scholarship Award and received a $600 stipend. • David Carr, a Union Theological Seminary scholar and Stuyvesant parent, spoke to social studies teacher Robert Sandler’s Jewish History Class. • Social studies teacher Ellen Schweitzer received the prestigious Yale Educator Recognition Award. • Stuyvesant alumnus and Alumni Association Treasurer Soo Kim (’93) spoke to social studies teacher George Kennedy’s Wall Street class.
By Tina Jiang and Jerry Xia
For the first few weeks of the school year, hallways were abuzz with questions of “Where did conference days go?”, as students noticed that the usual biweekly schedule for conference days was not in effect. In the past, every other Monday had run on a conference schedule. The beginning of the school year, however, saw only regular schedules on Mondays. According to Principal Jie Zhang, the administration raised the possibility of removing conference days to ensure that the school abided by Department of Education (DOE) rules. When a school day is shortened, the DOE must be notified in order to approve the change, as teachers are required to teach at least five hours and thirty minutes every day. Approval of conference schedules by the DOE is still pending, but
according to Zhang, receiving it will not be a problem, as the conference day schedule has been implemented for many years in the past. The proposal for a shortened day must also be approved by parents, so that they may change appointments scheduled for the shortened days. In an e-mail, parents were asked to vote through the Parents’ Association for the continuation of conference days. The results of the votes have indicated high support for conference day schedules. On Friday, October 4, student announcer and senior Clay Walsh announced that the next conference day would occur the following Monday, October 7. As of now, conference days are regularly scheduled, as they were in the past. On conference days, each class is shortened from 41 mincontinued on page 2
Victoria Zhao / The Spectator
Pedrick Awarded Rising Star Award for Stellar College Counseling
College counselor Casey Pedrick won the NACA Rising Star Award for college counseling.
By TINA JIANG and DORIT REIN This year, in recognition of all that she has accomplished in the college-counseling field, Director of College Counseling Casey Pedrick received the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) Rising Star Award. Previously, Pedrick had also received a Rising Star Award from the New York State Association for College Admission Counseling (NYSACAC). By winning the state award, Pedrick was automatically nominated for the national award. There were 23 nominations in total for the NACAC Rising Star Award, one for each of the association’s chapters. On Monday, August 19, Pedrick received an e-mail from the NACAC informing her that she had been “selected as an individual
recipient of a 2013 NACA Rising Star Award.” The national Rising Star Award, according to the NACAC website, “honors individuals and programs that exemplify excellence and dedication to serving the needs of students in the transition from high school to college.” The State and Regional Presidents’ Council and the Board of Directors are responsible for selecting those they believe meet these qualifications. The purpose of this award is to further motivate “NACAC affiliates to look within their association and identify and support emerging leaders.” In NYSACAC’s quarterly newsletter, Timothy Lee, director of undergraduate admissions at the University of Albany, commended Pedrick for her “impressive” and “quick” ascent in her professional career. Pedrick graduated from the NYSACAC’s Summer Institute Program in 2007, and soon after became the Director of College Counseling at Stuyvesant. In her relatively brief period of time at the NYSACAC, Pedrick has served as a camp college director, publicity director for the Summer Institute, high school delegate, member of the Finance, Marketing, and Steering Committees of the NYSACAC executive board, repeat presenter at NYSCAC’s annual conference, and repeat contributor to the NYSACAC newsletter. In addition to receiving a plethora of praise from the NYSACAC and NACAC, Pedrick has received positive com-
Article on page 4.
So You Think You Know Your Teachers? How close are you with your favorite teacher? Do you know his/her favorite book, movie, song, or artist?
ments from students she has worked with. When it was time for senior Frances Shapiro to attend her college meeting, she felt unprepared and nervous about the whole college process. Talking with Pedrick, however, made her feel much better. In fact, Shapiro says that Pedrick made her feel better about getting into “schools that were way out of [her] league,” Shapiro said. The close connection that Shapiro shared with Pedrick made her feel like they were “BFFs,” Shapiro said, even though they’d only known each other for a few months. Pedrick views winning the Rising Star Award as an honor, because she was picked by leaders in the college-counseling field whom she “holds in the highest esteem,” she said. “The award is also a tangible recognition of all the passion and all of the hours I invest in helping students and parents navigate the college process.” To Pedrick, working at Stuyvesant is beneficial to both her and the students with whom she works. “I am aware of the amazing professional opportunities my work at Stuyvesant has provided,” Pedrick said. “I cannot believe that I have the honor and privilege of working for such an amazing group of hardworking students. I know that the moment that little eighth graders open their acceptance letter from Stuyvesant, they and their parents start immediately thinking about college. I keep that in mind with every student and family I work with.”
Fire Safety Violations Resolved
The fire marshals made an unscheduled visit to Stuyvesant, pointing out safety hazards caused by benches and other objects in the hallways and classrooms.
By TINA JIANG and ARIEL LEVY Two fire marshals entered art teacher Jane Karp’s 10th floor classroom on Thursday, September 19 during her first period class. They informed her that the dry rack she kept by the door was a fire hazard and had to be removed immediately, as it was blocking one of two doors in the room. Karp complied, temporarily storing the dry rack in a closet in an effort to continue teaching her class. Several other teachers in the school experienced similar encounters on the same day, as part of a larger investigation into Stuyvesant’s compliance with fire safety regulations. New York Fire Marshals are a division of the Fire Department City of New York (FDNY). Their responsibilities, according to the National Association of State Fire Marshals, are “fire safety code adoption and enforcement, fire and arson investigation, fire incident data reporting and analysis, and advising Governors and State Legislatures on fire protection.”
As one of their duties includes the enforcement of fire safety code in New York City public schools, marshals periodically examine high schools in the area for fires safety code violations. They last visited Stuyvesant in October of 2012. Principal Jie Zhang, while aware of upcoming inspections, did not know that the marshals would be present on Thursday. “The inspections are random and we had no advanced notice,” Zhang said. She was occupied during the day, so the fire marshals surveyed the school independently. There are two categories of code violations: building structure and internal arrangement. Structural-based violations include malfunctioning fire extinguishers, fire alarms, and air vents. These violations are the responsibility that school custodians resolve; if these issues remain unresolved, the fault lies with the custodians and the Office of School Facilities. On the other hand, responsibility for internal arrangement continued on page 2
Roving Reporter: Grading the Teachers? By Ariella Kahan William Arthur Ward once said, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” Maybe the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) or Bloomberg administration could have benefitted from a lesson from Ward, because they have been having a difficult time coming up with a method to differentiate between mediocre, good, and superior teachers. In fact, New York City lost $250 million because the UFT and the Bloomberg administration
Article on page 18.
Anne Duncan/ The Spectator
Volume CIV No. 3
“The Pulse of the Student Body”
failed to reach a deadline by which they were supposed to come up with a new teacher evaluation system to replace the previous “outdated” one. After the failure to compromise, commissioner John B. King Jr. came up with a new “advanced” teacher evaluation system, which will be implemented this year for teachers across New York City. The new teacher evaluation system is similar to a report card; it assesses teachers based on a variety of criteria and gives them a final numerical grade. A teacher’s grade continued on page 7
United States Government Shut Down Bird-watchers and old profile pictures are among the losers in the aftermath of the recent government shutdown.
The Spectator ● October 17, 2013
News With New Section, AP CS Acceptance Rate Rises to 58 Percent
By ANTHONY CHAN
Last spring, then-sophomore Wilson Luo checked his Student Tools account to find that Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science was nowhere on his tentative schedule. Luo talked to computer science coordinator Michael Zamansky and found out that he had been put on a waitlist. “I was pretty angry at the system, since there was a really low chance of getting [into AP Computer Science],” Luo said. “I talked to [Zamansky] the next morning, but he told me there was simply no more space and I had to wait on the waitlist.” Like Luo, many prospective students were waitlisted last year until more space, if any, was available. Two weeks into the fall term of the 2013-2014 school year, Luo was called down to the Program Office. He was surprised to be notified that he had been accepted into the new section of the class. To Luo, AP Computer Science was worth changing his whole schedule for. A new section of AP Computer Science was added due to oversubscription in the last school year. Principal Jie Zhang agreed to open this new section
as a 10th period class, which started officially on Thursday, September 19, ten days after the semester’s inception. Mathematics and computer science teacher Samuel Konstanti-
Two weeks into the fall term of the 2013-2014 school year, a new section of AP Computer Science was added due to oversubscription. novich was assigned to teach this class. Consequently, his sixth section of the Introduction to Computer Science (MKS21) course was handed over to computer science teacher David Holmes. According to Zamansky, there’s a history of oversubscription for this class. “Around 350 to 450 students apply every
Conference Days Continue continued from page 1
utes to 37 minutes, causing the school day to end at 2:46 p.m. Classes are shortened to allow the principal and assistant principals to meet with teachers and cabinet members to discuss ongoing school affairs and academic policies. Teachers remain in school until 3:30 p.m. on these days. English teacher Kim Manning believes that conference schedules are important because teachers operate on two different schedules: they either teach during periods one through nine or periods two through ten. “The conference schedules allow the entire staff to meet together despite these different schedules. If we did not have the conference schedule, teachers who start earlier, at 8:00 a.m., would have to hang around until after 10th [period]
“Conference days gave students something to look forward to, and having no more conference days would take that away.” —Rahul Debnath, sophomore
“Not only would [a lack of conference days] be inconvenient, [...] but it becomes a contractual issue as well.” —Kim Manning, English teacher
in order to attend meetings with their colleagues who have a later start time,” Manning said. “Not only would this be inconvenient, particularly for teachers who have afterschool obligations such as picking up their children from school or daycare, but it becomes a contractual issue as well.” Students are deeply against the possibility of eliminating conference days. Sophomore Rahul Debnath believes that eliminating conference days may have a detrimental effect on extracurricular activities, as many students appreciate the opportunity to attend an afterschool club and leave earlier than usual. He added, “Conference days gave students something to look forward to, and having no more conference days would take that away.” Sophomore William Yang agreed. “The fact that Stuyvesant has canceled most of its conference days deeply troubles me,” he said.
year,” Zamansky said. But the number of spots available is much smaller. This year, there are eight total sections of AP Computer Science, including the new one. Zamansky says that there were only five sections last year and seven the year before. Last spring, 440 students applied for the AP class last spring, according to the Programming Office. Of those 440 students, 375 met the requirements, having completed MKS21 with at least a 90 average; the rest were waitlisted. However, there was only enough room for seven sections of 32 students each, totaling 224 students. Now, with the eight sections, the projected acceptance rate into the class is 58.1 percent. To fill the new section, the Program Office went down the waitlist and selected 32 students. Since this class is held during 10th period, students with conflicts such as an Intel class, which takes up the tenthperiod slot, were not matched. Each student who was deemed to be a possible match was called down personally by Programming Chairperson Sophia Liang to the Program Office. Adding a new class two weeks into the school year re-
sulted in major scheduling changes. “A lot of my classes got rearranged once I got into AP Computer Science,” Luo said. “I’m quite satisfied with the changes.”
Despite offering AP Computer Science slots to more students, the new class section appears to have difficulty catching up with the other seven sections. Despite offering AP Computer Science slots to more students, the new class section appears to have difficulty catching up with the other seven sections. As a result, Kon-
stantinovich is in the process of rearranging and speeding up his lesson plans to help his students catch up. “It’s hard to arrange the course material in a way so that the newly added students could catch up with two weeks of missed instruction,” Konstantinovich said. Students have voiced similar complaints. “The class is much more difficult than freshman computer science, especially since Konstantinovich is speeding through most of the lessons to get us caught up,” Luo said. “I have to do a lot of reading and studying on my own time, instead of learning it all in class.” In response, Konstantinovich has held afterschool sessions targeted to help students in the new section. They were held on Mondays and Tuesdays of the third and fourth weeks of school. Despite the difficulty in tackling the coursework, students in the new section are optimistic. “I think if they put kids into already-existing classes two weeks into the semester, it would be really hard to catch up,” junior Maggie Gutmann said. “But since the entire class is new, we’re all on the same page.”
Fire Safety Violations Resolved continued from page 1
violations concerning furniture placement, narrow hallways, unblocked exits, and open paint cans rests with Zhang. The school received violations in both categories during the inspection. Most arrangement violations were focused on clearing space in common public areas. Issues included the number of benches in the lobby and tables in front of the theater, some of which were subsequently removed. In addition, the workshop behind the theater used for Stuyvesant Theater Community (STC) projects contained open paint containers and scattered lumber, which had to be cleaned up immediately and removed. Chairs and pianos in the narrow hallways of the music department had to be placed in rooms or on the stage. The plants on the eighth and ninth floor were also found to be hazardous, as they were at the bottom of the escalators and blocking exits. The mass cleaning and removal of furniture or equipment for various school activities have left some students concerned with how they will manage their allotted spaces for upcoming events, such as STC productions and SING!. Following the day of the inspection, Zhang was given 48 work hours to make the necessary changes to the building layout. Custodians were also given a few weeks to make structural corrections. Fire marshals warned Zhang that if the expected changes were not made by the time they revisited the school, she would be summoned to criminal court. Fire marshals postponed their revisit to the school to Wednesday, September 25. At that time, the school was commended for following all instructions of the fire marshals and eliminating any safety violations. Zhang assures the student body that the incident
does not mean “tables can’t ever be put up momentarily for special occasions,” she said. In addition to maintaining spaces within the building that are in line with FDNY regulations, the administration has been concerned with the way in which fire drills have been carried out. The first fire drill of the year was particularly ineffective. The student body was unable to evacuate the school building under seven minutes—the time in which the FDNY has deemed the school
The administration has also been concerned with the way in which fire drills have been carried out. faculty and students should be safely away from the building. According to Assistant Principal of Security, Safety, and Student Affairs Brian Moran, who is responsible for fire drills this year, “the first drill took ten minutes, the second took eight minutes, and the third took seven minutes,” he said. Each drill moved the school closer to its goal of meeting FDNY standards. Zhang cited that the reason for the prolonged drill was confusion over which supervisor was in charge of communicating clearance once all students had evacuated the exits. To resolve this issue, changes were made regarding which exits were used, after observing that some became more crowded than others. The large number of drills
that have occurred this year is the administration’s attempt to meet the standard of initiating eight drills by December. Zhang wishes to complete these drills around this time because the weather is not as cold. “Fire drills are very important; they’re a necessary procedure and drill. All students should take it seriously, walk quietly, and follow directions of teachers and staff,” Moran said. Sophomore Sam Shneyder agrees with Moran. “Fire drills are something we have to do just like all the other schools. Knowing how to handle an emergency is important,” Shneyder said. On the contrary, junior Daniel Goynatsky believes that “fire drills are a ridiculous waste of time,” he said. “Everyone knows that if a real fire was to happen chaos would ensue.” Some teachers feel that many students do not follow or value these safety procedures. “Students don’t take the drills seriously. I’ve seen students completing homework while walking down the stairs, roughhousing, and even committing acts of horseplay. They need to recognize the importance of the drill instead of viewing it as just some waste of time in their day. We excel at academics and yet our school isn’t smart enough to recognize the importance of these drills,” an anonymous teacher said. Zhang said that the administration is in the process of revisiting fire drill procedures to ensure that the drills can be conducted as efficiently as possible. Teachers will be given a new set of written guidelines to follow during drills to clarify any questions that may arise. Zhang said that though she “cannot promise that every room will be in compliance” to safety procedures, she is trying her best to follow the guidelines set by the fire department to keep Stuyvesant a safe place for both students and staff.
The Spectator ● October 17, 2013
The Spectator ● October 17, 2013
Features Victor Greez, History Teacher Favorite Book: “The Magus” by John Fowles. The 685-page book was “so, so compelling” when he read it during his travels in Europe. Greez says that the book is a mystery and fantasy story surrounding a young man who’s drawn into a world of “Greek Gods, torrid love and former Nazis,” and what could get better than that? But the page amount, he says, might deter Stuyvesant students from reading it. He also recommends “Middlesex” by Jeffrey Eugenides to students.
Michelle Lin/ The Spectator
Favorite Movie: “The Graduate.” “It is the heydey of film before the big blockbusters. It’s got a killer soundtrack (Simon and Garfunkel),” Greez said. “It’s the classic story of coming of age, of not-fitting-in with a twist.” Greez also enjoys modern films like “Into the Wild.” Favorite Song: “Positively 4th Street” by Bob Dylan. “[Bob Dylan] can’t sing too well,” Greez said. “[But] when I first heard it, it spoke to me. Dylan is such a poet.” His favorite line is “I wish for one moment you could step in my shoes so you would know what a drag it is to see you.” Though the music is “pretty basic, [...] it’s got a message.”
Samuel Konstantinovich, Computer Science Teacher Favorite Book: “The Hogfather” by Terry Pratchett, a book that focuses on an assassin assigned to kill the Hogfather. “[The Hogfather is] a fat jolly porcine fellow in a red suit, who gives presents to children on Hogswatch eve. Pratchett made clear an overarching theme that resulted in some profound epiphany near the end of every book,” he said. Konstantinovich thinks “The Hogfather” is good for “anyone that would appreciate a witty fantasy satire, with strong character development.”
Laura Eng / The Spectator
Favorite Movie: “The 5th Element.” “[It is a] great mix of action/comedy/sci-fi…[It’s a “starstudded movie with prominent cast members including Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, Gary Oldman, and Chris Tucker.” Konstantinovich’s favorite part would be when the aria ‘Lucia di Lammermoor’ is sung by a blue alien, who then starts singing a more modern song that is “humanly impossible to sing.” Favorite Artist: Danny Elfman. Having first heard Elfman’s compositions as the Beetlejuice theme back in 1990, Konstantinovich instantly became a fan. Elfman has composed for plenty of movies, including Tim Burton movies. “When you listen to a movie soundtrack, the music is enhanced by the emotions your memories of the movies evoke,” Konstantinovich said.
So You Think You Know Your Teachers? By Laureen Chan and Erica Chio
Emily Moore, English Teacher Favorite Writers: English teacher Emily Moore couldn’t decide on a favorite book, so she offered a whole list of authors—Toni Morrison, Jane Austen, Louise Erdrich, Junot Diaz, Sherman Alexie, Virginia Woolf, Amy Tan, and Jumpah Lahiri—and poets—Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, and Mojah Kahf. “I’ve taught many of [them],” she said. “But there are actually some books that are so close to my heart that I think I’d have trouble teaching them.” Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” happens to be one of her favorite books to teach, “especially the proposal scene (of course),” Dr. Moore said. Favorite Movie: “I love movies inspired by Jane Austen,” Dr. Moore said. “In high school, my friends and I must have watched ‘When Harry Met Sally’ a hundred times,” adding that the hilarious interviews about marriage with real couples were her favorite parts. Favorite Song: “The Grass is Blue” by Dolly Parton. This was the first song that came to mind when asked, but Dr. Moore “loves anything by Dolly Parton.” In addition, Parton’s songs provide the inspiration for the songs Moore writes for her own band, “Ménage À Twang.”
Michelle Lin/ The Spectator
Michele Lin/ The Spectator
Sure, we spend an overwhelming amount of time with our teachers at Stuyvesant—that’s around 40 minutes a day and five days a week, not even counting the times we see them outside of class. With all this time, we’d think we know them pretty well. But do we really? Do we even know what their favorite books, movies, or songs are?
Emilio Nieves, English Teacher Favorite Book: “Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger. “It’s about society, values, and what people value,” Nieves said. “I teach it every year, so saying I read it more than 30 times—that wouldn’t be a lie.” His favorite part: “The 1950s slang,” he said. “I really get into that part of the book.” Favorite Movie(s): “The Breakfast Club.” “I think it does a good job of showing the problems students have socially in high school and growing up,” Nieves said. “All the President’s Men.” “[All the President’s Men] teaches you all you need to know about the Watergate [scandal] and it is also a great movie to learn all the aspects of journalism, such as how to write stories and interview people,” he said. Favorite Artist: REM. “There was a song called ‘Stand.’ I don’t know if it was a number one song, but it was a hit at the time,” Nieves said. “Some of [REM’s lyrics are] poetic, but [they’re] cryptic too, so I think it would be interesting if you’re into words and lyrics.”
The Spectator ●October 17, 2013
Premier College Admissions Essays superb editor
"Daniel is a . He is also a gifted writing teacher. He uses his gift for teaching to guide the writer through the process it takes to achieve masterful work. His procedure for editing includes strategic brainstorming. I was amazed at how he patiently led our son towards excellence, never once changing the essay's intent or personal voice. In the end, the work was honest and true, but pithy, polished and precise. He pushed our son until he reached deeper and found his best writing. Sometimes that meant challenging him out of his comfort zones. I would highly recommend Daniel's editing services for essays, applications and scholarships."
Mother of Jake C., Harvard '17
Transformative. Reliable. Cost-efficient.
" Rest assured that Daniel will, quite simply, exceed your expectations. With his help, I’ve seen petty ideas transform into elegant and sophisticated pieces. He is timely and efficient, quick to respond to emails, sending edits and detailed insight back within a day’s time at most. With the increased competitiveness of college applications, Pithy Edits provided that extra edge to my application, that looking back I am extremely grateful to have had done."
Samuel L., Harvard '17
instrumental in helping me perfect my college
essays. He was able to take any piece of writing I submitted, and condense it so it met the word limit
while retaining substance. Daniel helped structure all my essays, without removing my own voice from the piece. His turnaround time was extremely fast, and I was never worried about deadlines. I appreciate his help through the stressful time of college applications."
Kevin M., UChicago '17
"I sent Daniel my essays expecting edits on grammar and structure, and was surprised to get feedback and analysis on every aspect of my essays. His guidance and intuitive scrutiny helped me develop my essays to a level I had never anticipated. I am
extremely grateful for Daniel’s honesty
and punctuality in editing since they pushed me to work even harder."
Japjot B., Wesleyan '17
"Daniel's ability to write and edit is undisputed. He is able to quickly and effectively transform ideas and drafts into well-developed writings. Also, Daniel's very responsible and conscious of project deadlines so clients never have to worry about lateness. Overall, he's you!"
one of the best in this industry. Thank David Z., UPenn '17
Meticulous and dedicated
" , Daniel is a professional editor who has transformed each of my essays into an influential and polished piece. Experienced in the application process, he went beyond marking simple spelling and grammatical errors and made my essay sell who I was as a person. Daniel is extremely committed, having gone through countless drafts on every short answer and essay with incredible response time. Thanks for all your help man!"
Kevin Z., UChicago '17
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit: www.pithyedits.com
The Spectator â—? October 17, 2013
By the Art Department
The Spectator ●October 17, 2013
Laura Eng/ The Spectator
Roving Reporter: Grading the Teachers?
continued from page 1
is based on two sections: Measures of Teacher Practice (MOTP), which makes up 60 percent of the evaluation, and Measures of Student Learning (MOSL), which makes up the remaining 40 percent. MOTP is further divided into three components: observation, feedback, and teaching artifacts. The observation section is a combination of announced and unannounced observations by the assistant principal and principal. During the observation, the observer fills out a form with 22 sections, ranging from “showing professionalism” to “engaging students in learning” or “demonstrating knowledge of content and pedagogy.” In each section, the observer gives a rating from one to four. Following the obser-
vation, the observer and teacher are expected to discuss the lesson. The feedback component of MOTP is a student survey administered to third graders through twelfth graders, but will only begin in the 2014-2015 school year because the survey has not been written up yet. The last component of MOTP, teaching artifacts, is anything that a teacher uses during class and can range from a lesson plan to feedback on a student’s work. Teachers can submit up to eight different artifacts to the assistant principal, which will be factored into their grade. Finally, MOSL is a combination of students’ scores on state assessments and local assessments. The local assessment to be used in most classes at Stuyvesant will be the Regents exam. After all of the different sections of the evaluation have been
completed, the teachers’ scores in each category are added up to create a final score from one to one hundred. Each teacher is then sorted into one of four different classifications based on their numerical score: ineffective, developing, effective, and highly effective. In contrast, the previous system’s satisfactory or unsatisfactory ranking was only based on observations by the assistant principal or principal, which were written out rather than scored on a form. The new setup has been met with various opinions, ranging from ardent support of the change to vehement disapproval. There are multiple positive aspects to the new evaluation system that have been acknowledged by teachers. First, some teachers believe the new system is more objective than the previous one because the assistant principals have specific guidelines to follow, and because the entirety of a grade is not determined by one person. Similarly, some teachers believe that the shift from the binary satisfactory or unsatisfactory is a positive adjustment. Additionally, numerous teachers appreciate the added components of teaching artifacts and students’ scores to the evaluations because it gives another perspective onto the classroom. “I like how many outside factors are included instead of just our performance on one day. If we did not include one element during class the day we got evaluated, that affected our evaluation, but now there are more factors,” social studies teacher Brenda Garcia said. Others teachers, however, do not think that the added components are as all encompassing as they may seem. “The new system quantifies everything besides how long it takes a teacher to do work outside of the classroom,” social studies teacher Muriel Olivi said. Like Olivi, many teachers do
not appreciate the new system despite the huge effort put into it. Assistant Principal of English Eric Grossman doesn’t believe that the new advanced teacher assessment system will be effective. “The shifting focus towards numbers rather than narrative isn’t something that I think is helpful to the teachers,” Grossman said. “A lot of complex things happen in a classroom, and just writing a two or a three doesn’t feel like it gets anywhere.” Spanish and German teacher Gabriele Dehn Knight agrees that the new form filled out by assistant principals is less effective than written evaluations. “I think it is crazy, and they will probably do away with it in two years,” she said. “I would teach better and more naturally if I wasn’t thinking about all the little points. It makes me feel very boxed in.” English teacher Katherine Fletcher is not a fan, mostly because she resents how complicated the new evaluation system is. “The new teacher evaluation system is so convoluted and complicated that it is virtually impossible for anyone to understand,” Fletcher said. “I don’t understand what perceived problem the new teacher evaluation system is intended to solve, though presumably it is intended to solve some problem… I just think that it’s bureaucratic and needlessly complicated.” In addition, the new system creates more dilemmas for assistant principals who evaluate their departments. The problem arises out of the option to either not fill in anything in a certain category or to give the teacher a two or three in the same category. Because filling in the two or three would result in a lower score for the teacher than not filling in anything, the supervisor is forced to compromise between giving a teacher the best grade possible
and making as many suggestions as possible. Grossman elaborated on this issue. “My sense is that the goal of the observation is to make suggestions for a teacher: to identify what they did well but also areas for improvement. But the more that any supervisor focuses on areas of improvement, the lower a teacher’s grade is going to be,” he said. “Knowing that each time you identify something a teacher could do better you are lowering their grade feels poorly thought out.” Teachers are also concerned about a shifted focus towards test scores. Under the new system, Regents scores have a significant impact on teachers’ grades, even though the teacher may not be teaching a Regents class. “I would be of the mindset that a teacher should be evaluated strictly on their own classes’ performance. I understand that … Regents exams are recorded and looked at, but if you are not teaching a Regents class, those scores should not affect your rating,” an anonymous teacher said. “I did not mind the system where it was strictly conversational observations. I think that would more valuable as far as feedback and help[ing] you progress.” The focus on Regents exams leads to additional problems in the social studies and science departments, where the curriculum is divided between two teachers. “There is a problem because students have different teachers each semester and the Regents are only taken once a year,” Olivi said. Despite the well-meaning attempts by the UFT, Bloomberg’s administration, and King to improve the teacher evaluation system, Stuyvesant teachers don’t rate it highly, and think it will create more problems than it will solve. Only time will tell if the new, “advanced” system is really an improvement.
By Sanam Bhatia Every day during the summer, junior Ioana Solomon would wake up at 10:30 a.m. and take the Manhattanbound N train to 34th Street, where she would run upstairs to Reshma Saujani’s office. She would then sit down to either work on a spreadsheet or make some phone calls. Then, Solomon would go out on the city streets and knock door-todoor to provide information about Saujani’s platform, a technique known as canvassing. While this may sound tedious, Solomon explained that it was worthwhile. Even though Reshma Saujani, former running candidate for Public Advocate and founder of Girls Who Code, lost the September 10 primary, the interns learned a lot about how politics and communication work. “The truth I’ve learned about politics is that those in public office are only perceived to be empowered and responsible for change, but in reality, change is brought on by genuinely amazing people, whose actions aren’t tied to a campaign poster or a political title,” Solomon said. For Solomon, the political rallies and the day of the primary were the highlights of her campaign internship. The
high school interns made posters emblazoned with “Reshma Saujani for Public Advocate” so that they could cheer on Saujani. Junior Nashia Choudhury had similar experiences on the campaign. “We would also go cheer for [Saujani] before [she came, and] it was really fun,” she said. Choudhury was also able to meet actor Kal Penn from “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle” and “The Namesake.” Penn held a preshow event and “talked about [Saujani] and why he supports her,” Choudhury said. Senior Hansa Sharma, who also worked on Saujani’s campaign, felt an emotional connection that motivated her to work with the candidate. “As a young Indian-American girl, I wanted to see her succeed and I believed in her message of using technology to bridge the gap between the genders,” Sharma said. Other Stuyvesant students worked on mayoral campaigns as well. Junior Jacky Wang worked on John Liu’s campaign. “The Youth Action Team was the manpower of the campaign. A group of high school and college interns, our goal was simple—to get people to know John Liu’s name, to understand his policies, and to pull in the votes,” Wang said. He also mentioned that
he first joined the campaign so that he could add to his college applications, but soon realized that “politics plays a role in every part of our lives. There is politics in groups of friends, schools, in the YAT team itself,” he said. However, some aspects of the campaign were more interesting than the basics of canvassing and making phone calls. Junior Gabriel Rosen, who worked on mayoral candidate Christine Quinn’s campaign, recalls a specific day while he was in Bayside, Queens. While canvassing, he was invited to a barbeque by a voter. “There are
like 10 people there, all eating hot dogs […] and they like say, ‘come on, sit down, have some food,’ talking to [my partner and me] like we are their kids,” Rosen said. “And I had wieners with [Anthony] Weiner supporters,” which was definitely entertaining for them. Rosen mentioned that sometimes teenagers did not have partners to canvass, which could be a problem if someone ended up in a dangerous situation. “I got to see a lot of parts of the city I normally would not, I got to hear a lot of stories,” he said. “Unfortunately, Quinn lost, but
that does not take away from the fact that a lot of people saw how important it is to be active, [they learned] a lot of lessons about politics.” Despite the fact that some of these campaigns were unsuccessful, they exposed students to the world of politics. They taught students about the values of hard work and civic engagement. This coming summer, Democrats and Republicans will launch their Congressional campaigns for mid-term elections, giving our students yet another chance to learn about the political process.
Michelle Lin / The Spectator
Tell Me More (About Your Political Internship)
The Spectator ● October 17, 2013
Courtesy of Mike Oreskes
Michael Oreskes: Track Champs to Pulitzer Prize Winners
Alumnus Mike Oreskes’s (‘71) career as the Senior Managing Editor of the Associated Press began and was furthered by Shakespeare and the lasting advice of Oreskes’s track coach.
By Alexia Bacigalupi The desks are small and nailed solidly to the ground with curling, cast-iron legs. The sunlight streaming in catches on the chalk dust floating around the room, creating a subtle backlight. The classroom is filled with a hushed excitement that is almost tangible. The teacher paces back and forth as he reads the opening lines of “Henry IV”: “So shaken as we are, so wan with care/Find we a time for frighted peace to pant…” A Shakespeare class in his senior year at Stuyvesant led alumnus Michael Oreskes (’71), Senior Managing Editor of the Associated Press (AP), to consider a literary career—one that would eventually span more than 40 years across two continents with more than four different publications. Oreskes’s fascination for words began in his senior year. “Shakespeare is an exceptionally powerful writer who was able to take a whole world of emotion and ideas and break it down into just a few words: ‘now is the winter of our discontent’ or ‘to be or not to be,’” Oreskes said. “Hamlet” had an especially profound impact on him. “[It’s] an extraordinary work of
genius; you actually feel this one person’s struggles, the psychological dilemmas he’s wrestling with. To understand that that was entirely created, he made that out of words—it really opened my eyes up to what was possible through writing,” he said. Oreskes graduated from Stuyvesant in the last all-boys’ class (a female student was accepted that year but declined to attend), when the school was still located on E 15th St. Even 40 years ago, the school attracted the brightest and most ambitious kids in the city. “It was a community of boys […] who really wanted to better themselves and achieve. And this was their way up,” Oreskes said. This sense of community extended after school, when Oreskes was captain of the track team in his senior year. Every day in the winter, the boys ran laps on a small wooden track suspended above the gym floor, eleven laps to a mile. “I have a feeling my right leg is longer than my left from running around th[at] curved track,” Oreskes said. The track coach at the time, Moses “Moe” David, inspired his team to work hard and play hard. Winning was important, but winning the right way was key. “He
used to say ‘Good better best/I will never rest/Until my good is better/And my better best.’ It really stuck with me because of that phrase, ‘I will never rest,’” Oreskes said. The hard work paid off when the team won the borough championships in 1971, a moment Oreskes cites as his proudest moment in high school. In high school, Oreskes did not consider what career he wanted to pursue, much less think about going into journalism. “All I wanted to be was a high school graduate!” he said. Applying this passion for words and language would come later, in college, where Oreskes joined the City College paper after being urged by a friend. “[Journalism] is where I could combine my interest in writing and my interest in being part of the world,” Oreskes said. What attracted Oreskes to journalism the most was its unique perspective. “The great gift that journalism gives to the journalist is [having] a front-row seat on everything,” he said. “I got to be part of the community, part of the world. And I got to be engaged in issues, and ideas, and people.” The intellectual challenge of learning new things, understanding them, and explaining them to other people was an aspect of the job that he relished. In his opinion, a great part of journalism involves addressing the “why it matters” question. In an age when there is an overabundance of news and people are inundated with information, “the real service that journalism does is not just [bringing] you the information, but [helping] you sort it out,” Oreskes said. His coach’s phrase is a good summary of Oreskes’s career, since he has never rested on his success. Still in college, Oreskes got a job at the New York Daily News, which launched his ca-
reer as a full-time professional journalist. He began as a General Assignments Reporter, covering the New York City transit strikes of the ’70s. “You have to talk to people, you have to go look up the records,” Oreskes said. “You need to go at it and use shoe leather.” Following a five-year stint at the Daily News, he joined The New York Times in 1981, eventually rising to the position of Washington bureau chief. As such, he managed the bureau and oversaw the Times’s coverage of national politics, business, and foreign policy. The whole world was watching the capital during the Monica Lewinsky scandal and subsequent impeachment trials of President Clinton, and there was a great deal of pressure to deliver fair, accurate, and unbiased news. The sense of accountability increased when, in 2001, Oreskes went on to serve as Executive Editor of the International Herald Tribune (IHT), based in Paris. “It felt like a big responsibility,” he said. “I knew there were readers all over the world looking to the IHT to get their portrait of the world.” In 2007, he teamed up with law professor and friend Eric Lane to co-author a novel on the founding of America and the importance of our Constitution. Titled “The Genius of America: Why the Constitution Saved Our Country—And Why It Can Again,” the book reviewed the actions of the framers in the context of the crisis the country was going through and offered insight into how the “brilliant act of compromise” that is our Constitution is still very much relevant in our lives today. A year later, Oreskes moved to his current position as Senior Managing Editor at the AP, the largest global news provider in the world. Most days are spent working with colleagues to create the AP report, deciding
which are the most important stories of the day and assembling the written and visual coverage to deliver them to audiences. For all of Oreskes’s success, journalism proved a difficult but ultimately rewarding career. Journalism requires the writer to toe the line between being fair to his subjects and presenting his view of what has transpired. “If you’re doing your job right, there are going to be people who are angry at you,” Oreskes said. “You just have to accept that that’s part of the job.” But the difficulties associated with his job also come with many wonderful memories. The best one yet? “The day our reporters [from the AP] won the Pulitzer Prize  for their path-breaking work on the NYPD surveillance of Muslim neighborhoods,” Oreskes said. Every boy of Stuyvesant’s community “in effect inspired each of the rest us to be a little better,” and the camaraderie left a deep impression on Oreskes, he said. He even biked to Canada with his friends on the track team. This sense of community and teamwork would prove to be useful even after he left Stuyvesant. “Journalism is a team sport,” he said. “You have to work with people all the time; you have to find people who will work with you.” With his long and illustrious career in the tough world of newspapers, Oreskes has a few words to say to aspiring journalists: “The most important skill that anyone who wants to go into the business has to have is the ability to change,” he said. “So if you’re curious, which is the essential skill that you have to have, and you don’t mind if people refuse to talk to you, if you’re tenacious, then you might be a good journalist.”
The Coding Girls By Alvin Wei “How does breakfast travel around the galaxy?” “On the Universal Cereal Bus,” said junior Madina Radjabova, referencing the connector between computers and electronic devices. A burst of oohs and aahs and giggles fill the air, eclipsing the buzzing fans of the dormant laptops lying nearby. It’s lunchtime, and a group of twenty girls take a break from hours of coding Myro robots in C. Welcome to Girls Who Code. For eight weeks, from July 8 to August 30, Radjabova, junior Farzana Haque, and senior Lily Yuan spent their weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. two blocks from Stuyvesant in a room at Goldman Sachs. There, they received hands-on experience in computing and programming fundamentals—all part of the one-year-old Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program. Twenty high school girls accepted by the program attended lectures and workshops based on the program’s specialized curriculum, offering extensive instruction on computer
girls learned about mobile app development this summer, they formed groups to create browser-based apps. “The group I was in began to create a free SAT-preparatory application,” Radjabova said. “We were able to pitch it to some professionals and received valuable feedback as to what we did great as well as what we needed to improve.” Learning through projects rather than exams alleviated anxiety for the Stuyvesant coders. “The focus on projects without grades gives students more freedom and less fear of failure,” Haque said. Yuan agreed. “[Stuyvesant’s] curriculum is more test-oriented, and while I understand why that’s necessary, it also feels more limiting, because I ended up memorizing code in order to do well on the tests. Computer science learning shouldn’t be about memorizing. It should be about being creative,” she said. Throughout the program, the girls also explored future possible career goals. Numerous professionals, including executives and professors, visited daily to present and discuss their field of work. In addition, the girls went on weekly field trips, visiting technologically-
invested companies like J.P. Morgan & Chase, News Corp, Gilt Groupe, Google, and Palantir. These trips exposed the girls to the diverse career options in tech industries. Yuan said, “I’ve always been told to be a doctor, and for a really long time that’s all I thought about doing. This program made me realize that I really want to create things and that there are so many places I can work with a computer science degree. So now I’m thinking more of an engineering or computer science future.” The trips also cleared misconceptions about fields in technology, demonstrating that technological backgrounds can easily be integrated into other dream careers. “During a field trip to HarperCollins, I figured out that I could combine my interests in technology and books into [working to develop] enhanced e-books,” Haque said. “I like to keep my options open, but I definitely want to explore my interest in computer science. There are a lot of jobs available in the tech space, not just in coding and engineering, which I did not know prior to this program. Tech companies need marketers, project managers, and designers, and having a technology background
will definitely give you a leg up.” Though the program is only in its second year, Girls Who Code is well on its way to expanding its mission of educating, inspiring, and equipping women with the skills necessary to pursue opportunities in computing fields. Last year, one program in New York City attracted 20 participants. This past summer, a total of 160 girls participated in eight programs in NYC, San Jose, San Francisco, Davis, and Detroit. “We’ve learned what the internet really is, back end versus front end, which languages are better for each, diversified job opportunities, the value of personal projects, and to have a lot more confidence, because honestly, we all rock,” Haque said. As the chatter dies down, silence ensues, bringing the hums of the laptops back to life. Looking around, one girl speaks up. “Knock, knock.” “Who’s there?” Long pause. “Java.” Laughter roared.
The Spectator â—?October 17, 2013
Ready for the January SAT? January 24, 2014 SAT Test Date Saturday & Sunday/ 9:00 am to 2:00 pm November 16, 2013 - January 19, 2014 10 weekends/2 days a week/20 classes 100 hours 10% discount for Stuyvesant Students Includes Books, Materials, Practice Exams, Test Taking Strategies
Queens 104-40 Queens Blvd Suite 1c Forest Hills NY 11375 (Queens Blvd & 69 Avenue) !
Call Today! 1 (800) 631-1757
KwellerPrep is a learning incubator !
The Spectator ● October 17, 2013
Editorials Staff Editorial
When See-Through is a Right
When it comes to money, Stuyvesant is deficient. It doesn’t seem like we’re underfunded, what with our newly renovated,million-dollar library, our financially independent robotics team, and our staff size. We’re lacking in a
The school budget is a black hole. Money goes out, but no one knows where.
whole other area: transparency. The school budget is a black hole. Money goes out, but no one knows where, or how much is allocated to different organizations. The Spectator decided to find exactly how the budget of the school, and the budget of the Student Union (SU) specifically, is broken down. To our surprise, we were denied access to any information regarding either budget. The Zhang administration went as far as to tell us to file a request under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). We have done before and can do it again, but it is ultimately a runaround. The last time we filed a FOIL request was September of 2012. We’re still waiting for a response. Meanwhile, the Zilberbrand administration, despite campaigning on a
platform of increased transparency, told us we’d have to wait for a vote by all of the clubs. We’re severely disappointed in the Zhang administration and in our Student Union. The benefits of transparent budgets seem obvious: first, they inspire confidence from
students, parents, the faculty, and alumni. And for commercial sponsors like Kweller Prep, which last year donated around $10,000 to the SU, this confidence is crucial in determining whether to proceed with future investments. If the SU hopes to pursue future donations, then it must reconsider its current budgetary practices, which seem vague and unclear. For example, there still exists some uncertainty as to where the $10,000 from Kweller Prep was spent last year, and, until records can be obtained from the SU, we will not know. Furthermore, a transparent budget prevents false accusations and rumors that clubs are unfairly funded. The current budget meeting process involves a handful of clubs applying for around eight spots, and what remains unclear is exactly how the clubs that will
effective Student Union. The SU will be forced to justify its actions, and that will, in turn, increase its activity. People will be held accountable for missing money or fundraisers gone wrong, and perhaps there will be a fairer allotment of funding across clubs. We believe that making records public will completely change the dynamics of the SU Budget Department and set a precedent for the accountability of the department in the future. And finally, in terms of the SU budget, we believe it is egregious to even consider classifying it as private information. The budget affects each and every one of us, not only the Club-Pub Presidents and Vice Presidents. Why should the budgetary information be limited to them? We are in a public institution, and the SU is a public union. The power
Ph o t o g r a p h y E di to rs
Danny Kim Sam Kim* Justin Strauss
The Stuyvesant High School Newspaper
“The Pulse of the Student Body” E DITOR S
F e atures
E di to rs
Teresa Chen Robert He* Alvin Wei O pi ni o ns
L ayo ut
E di to rs
Mark Perelmuter Da-Ye Shin Anne Tan Co py
E di to rs
Thomas Bajko Stephanie Yan
E di to rs
Benjamin Attal Risham Dhillon* Severyn Kozak
B u s i ne s s
Andrew Fischer Deanna Taylor*
E di to rs
Lev Akabas Timothy Diep Luke Morales h u mo r
D i r ec t o r s
Laura Eng Michele Lin Michelle Lin
E di to rs
Lindsay Bu* Noah Rosenberg Eugenia Sanchez
S p orts
Jane Argodale Joyce Koltisko Emre Tetik
David Cahn* Edric Huang* N ews
Arts & E n t e r t a i nmen t E di to rs
E di to rs
Jeremy Karson Robert Melamed Please address all letters to: 345 Chambers Street New York, NY 10282 (212) 312-4800 ext. 2601 email@example.com
E di to rs
Waqarul Islam Youbin Kim Eugene Lee Fac u lt y
Ad v i s o r
Kerry Garfinkel We reserve the right to edit letters for clarity and length. © 2013 The Spectator All rights reserved by the creators. *Managing Board
The Spectator receive funding are chosen. Furthermore, there is a sentiment among clubs that the more acquainted you are with the board of the SU, the more likely you are to be funded. And some question why the SU seems willing to throw money at big clubs like Speech and De-
bate but unwilling to give proportionate amounts to smaller clubs. It is impossible to prove these claims to be valid or invalid, considering the lack of available records. We can only hope for the best. Furthermore, with transparent records also comes a more
of budget transparency should not rest within the hands of the club presidents, but should be an inherent right of the student body. We are not as surprised that the Zhang administration has refused to declassify its spending information. Though some information is publicly available through the Galaxy program (see pie chart below), the details of internal spending are not. Teachers, students, parents, and alumni should be able to find out where this school is allocating its money. We are important stakeholders in this process, and transparency not only is fair, but also will drive more responsible decisionmaking. The best Stuyvesant is an honest Stuyvesant. An honest Stuyvesant is a transparent Stuyvesant. And right now, this power lies in the hands of Principal Jie Zhang and SU President Edward Zilberbrand. The ball is in your court. But we really don’t have to play this back-and-forth game.
We are compiling an archive of past issues. We are looking for issues published before 1995. Please send any newspapers to:
The Stuyvesant Spectator 345 Chambers Street New York, NY 10282 If you have any questions, e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com.
Do you want to reflect on an article? Or speak your mind? Write a letter to the editor and e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org or drop it in The Spectator box in the second-floor mail room.
F o r t he
Rec o r d
• In “Tabone Takes on APO Responsibilities,” it was incorrectly stated that Assistant Principal of Safety, Security, and Student Affairs Brian Moran previously worked at Forest Hills High School. He had worked at the Queens High School of Sciences at York College. • As indicated by the article on the front page, Director of College Counseling Casey Pedrick won the Rising Star Award, not the Shining Star Award. • The season preview for Girls’ Swimming titled “Swimming for the Sixth” was written by Jason Lee and Jeffrey Zheng, not Jason Lee and Jason Zheng.
The Spectator ● October 17, 2013
By MICHAEL ZAMANSKY “I’ve got 10 periods of class and no lunch.” “I’ve got four APs.” “Can I also take Great Books, Multivariate, Physics C, and Software Development?” The goal of a Stuyvesant student: take as many electives and AP classes as possible. Is that good? Is that smart? Probably not. I’m just a teacher, yes, but I’m also a Stuyvesant graduate and parent, so I’ve wrestled with this issue from all sides. Let’s talk about AP classes, student schedules, and the big picture. When I was a Stuyvesant student in the mid-’80s, we had AP classes, but they weren’t really a big deal. I took two, Calculus and Computer Science. My wife, then a classmate, didn’t take any. Some kids took a third, and four was a rarity. You took AP English if you were really into English, AP Chemistry if that was your thing. The school day consisted of eight periods, starting at 9:00 and ending at 3:00. Fast-forward to the early- to mid-’90s, when I was a young teacher. The Stuyvesant day was still eight periods. Students wanted more AP classes, but it wasn’t out of control. Soon after, we adopted what is known as a split schedule. Students
were either in classes from periods one to eight, or from two through nine—but that didn’t last. Like empty space in a closet, students looked at that additional period as an extra slot to fill, and we were more than happy to oblige. This ultimately led to today. To get into a top college, students feel the need to take a full schedule with as many AP classes as possible. It’s important to recognize the hypocrisy that we’re getting from colleges: “Take more AP classes, though we’re giving you less credit for them.” The more “selective” schools want a transcript filled with APs, but good luck getting college credit from them. You’ll be lucky to get placement. It’s also important to recognize the lack of value offered by AP classes. We teach AP Computer Science at Stuyvesant, and I can tell you that the AP syllabus, as defined by the College Board, is weak at best. What’s more, the College Board is starting a new AP Computer Science class that I wouldn’t even consider college-level. Now, we teach rigorous, college-level computer science, a superset of the AP class— but we end up fighting to get around the limitations of the AP curriculum. Fifteen years ago, when
graphing calculators first became commonplace, I decided to work my way through a released AP Calculus A exam. The rules were that I could only use common sense, the calculator, and precalculus techniques— that is, I had to pretend I knew no calculus. When all was said and done, this technique earned a 3, a passing grade. How strong is the College Board standard when one can “pass” with no knowledge of the subject? We can also look at our English classes at Stuyvesant. It’s also well known that classes such as Great Books and Creative Nonfiction are as rigorous as or more rigorous than classes following the College Board AP syllabus. So, Advanced Placement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be; it’s a brand name, and we buy into it. But we shouldn’t. Buying into the hype has led countless students to sign up for a course “to get another AP.” That’s the worst reason to take a course. Take AP Computer Science if you are interested in the subject or if you think it will give you a skill set for the future. Same with the others. Don’t take advanced courses to fill a schedule. You won’t enjoy it, you won’t be happy, and you won’t get a lot out of it. Part of the beauty of the high school experience is that you get a taste of each subject before you have to select AP classes. By the time you get there, you should have some idea of your interests. Don’t take APs for the sake of taking APs. If you have room and aren’t passionate about the available AP choices, take another elective and try something new. The 10-period day is another part of the AP madness. Now, a 10-period day isn’t necessarily bad. My daughter Batya did it and my son is doing it now. A key point, though, is that two of their classes were
and are chorus and band, respecitvely—classes with little out-of-class workload, which, in fact, provide a break of sorts during the day. While our music classes require focus and effort, it’s not the same as, say, a math class. Think of it as crosstraining. Their only elective on top of these was AP Computer Science. but since they both enjoy the subject, it wasn’t
Let’s reexamine not only AP classes, but all our classes. What does it mean to be a Stuyvesant student? work for them. For my kids, the electives that made a 10-period day are what made the day fun and worthwhile. Now, that’s a little bit of an overstatement, as both Batya and Natan really enjoyed some of their required classes, but I think you all know what I mean. The problem comes when you add classes because you feel you need an additional workload. We take more classes but end up learning less. Even with an eight-period day: take out one for lunch and one for gym, that’s six. If each teacher gives forty minutes of homework a day, that’s four hours. Add two classes and you’re over five, and we know that many teachers give more than forty minutes a night. I believe that if Stuyvesant students take less classes, they’d actually learn more, because they wouldn’t be cramming day after day, trying to meet unrealistic deadlines.
Rather, they could really explore fewer subjects in a more meaningful way. Don’t take a course just to take a course, but what about the AP designation? To start, I see two types of AP courses. Those that are a drop-in replacement for a regular course, such as the history and English courses, and those that are extras, such as AP Computer Science, Physics, etc. I can’t really speak to the drop-in classes, but I can for the extras: I’d just love to teach “rigorous, college-level” classes. Let’s drop the AP designation. For computer science, we could create study guides for those who want to take the test, but we could dump the nonsense from our curriculum and make it even stronger. I know this flies in the face of our test-taking mentality, but we’re Stuyvesant. Colleges know our courses and our teachers. If anyone can do it, we can. Let’s be leaders and not buy into the nonsense that the College Board is selling us. The Ethical Culture Fieldston School did this a few years ago, and it doesn’t seem to have hurt them. The AP class-crunch culture didn’t happen over night. It developed like a prisoner’s dilemma out of control: “They’re taking more AP classes, so I have to.” Let’s re-examine not only AP classes, but all our classes. What does it mean to be a Stuyvesant student? Should we have a semester of this and a year of that or three years of something else? Am I right that less is more, or is the current system working? Let’s get some people together to look at this question. Let’s evaluate all our requirements and how we do things. Let’s talk to students, teachers, parents, and, maybe most importantly, alums who have the perspective of time.
Brandon Ngai / The Spectator
Tong Wan / The Spectator
Teacher’s Take: The College Board Smorgasbord – Don’t Overfill Your Plate
The Spectator ● October 17, 2013
Opinions By DANIEL KODSI
Michelle Lin / The Spectator
Ever heard of rape culture? It’s when acts of sexual violence are normalized and excused by society. It’s when the victim is blamed for being attacked, because she incited male lust. It’s when a woman can be brutally raped by six men, beaten and penetrated with a metal rod, and left to die on the city streets, and one of the proposed solutions will be banning the display of lingerie in storefronts. Because of course, when a woman’s raped, it’s her fault. Last February in The Spectator, Neeta D’Souza (’13) wrote “Democracy for Men, Fear for Women,” a persuasive (and award-winning) piece on the subjugation of women in India. In it, she called for women in India to stand up and change the very ethos of their society. I’d like to expand on this idea by highlighting the key issues women in India face, in light of recent events, but reinforcing the same message—that India must change. The scenario I just described happened to a teenage girl in New Delhi and was just the first of many cases that have swept international headlines. Recently, a British tourist had to
jump out of her hotel window to avoid assault in Agra (the home of the Taj Mahal), an American was gang-raped in Northern India, and a photography student was sodomized by five men in Mumbai. According to the Trust Law, India has the fourth-worst rate of crimes against women in the world (behind Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Congo), with a rape reported every 20 minutes, one death an hour due to dowry-related crimes, and unparalleled rates of slavery and exploitation. 95 percent of women report feeling unsafe in public, and a whopping 75 percent of men say that “women provoke men by the way they dress.” Luckily, the New Delhi case did manage to raise a public outcry and prompt demands for justice as protests swept the nation from Mumbai to Bangalore to Delhi. The government even acted on the message—it has criminalized voyeurism, made brutal rapes a capital offense, and begun to push for a fast track for rape cases. And when the men themselves were sentenced to execution, India rose up in joy at the sign that there was justice in its courts. But none of that is enough. This is a country where policemen use a “two-finger test” to
check if the victim is a virgin (or, in the case of a 14-year-old girl in Kushinagar, demand that she strip naked to prove her al-
95 percent of women report feeling unsafe in public, and a whopping 75 percent of men say that “women provoke men by the way they dress.”
legation) and force women to pay $500 to register their complaints. Worst of all, even as the country is in an uproar over the high-profile cases, incidents like the gang rape of a teenage dalit, or “untouchable,” still go largely unnoticed. The first problem is the police. In “It’s Your Fault,” a satire of Indian culture, two Indian women tell their audience, “If you’re tired of being humiliated by rape, you can always go to the cops and be humiliated by them instead!” And they’re right in saying that—the police’s attitude towards rape is despicable. Here is one of the most striking
answers that reporters from the Indian Broadcast Network received from senior policemen: “98 percent of rapes are with consent; only one to two percent are rapes.” One more time: policemen believe that 98 percent of rape is consensual. Officers need to be trained in sensitivity to rape and not allowed on the streets until they’re ready to defend women’s rights. They need to be taught about the real statistics of rape, and that it is never the woman’s fault. Furthermore, new procedure in the case of rape needs to be implemented. For example, instead of a probe to check for sexual history, policemen have to recognize that sexual history is utterly irrelevant. Whether a raped woman was a virgin makes no difference to the sickening brutality of the crime. Finally, if policemen let a rapist go home scot-free, then they themselves must be held accountable. But what happens after the police file a case? It goes to the court, which is renowned for an abhorrent conviction rate and abysmal treatment of rape cases. According to Supreme Court Justices R.M. Lodha and Madan B. Lokur, nearly 90 percent of rape cases end in acquittal. Most cases aren’t heard for months, if not years, and when they are, the consequences for men’s actions are minimal at best. Part of the reason that many don’t expect the death sentence of the six men to effect change is because they are allowed to appeal, and, as of September 13, there were already 477 people on death row. We can’t have a Kafkaesque system in which trials take forever to be heard. India needs to create a fast track for rape cases and increase oversight of the courts so that judges are fair in their decisions. It needs to set punishments that fit the severity of the crime and ensure that those punishments are dealt to
Hayoung Ahn / The Spectator
Wake Up India, It’s Not Her Fault
every criminal. All of this is only a small proportion of the sexual violence that plagues India. Not only is marital rape not considered a crime, but women who come forward are utterly ostracized. (For example, in the case of the untouchable, she was banned from setting foot in school.) One of the most remarkable effects of the Delhi protests is that more women are coming forward with reports—according to Time Magazine, rape accusations more than doubled from last year (from 143 to 359) in January-March 2013. The government can make it even safer to report rapes by promising anonymity in hearings and during prosecution. And the other steps will help, too; if women are respected by the police and feel sure that their accusations will result in concrete action, then more will come forward. India needs a great cultural shift away from masochism and rape. That goal is achievable through better policing and enforcement methods, though a change in the court system, through education, and through a determination to create an image of women as equivalent to men. If it takes a year, a decade, or even a generation, we must help India ensure equality for men and women alike.
By brian dong Thanks, America. Your politicians talk left and right about helping the middle class, but so far, they haven’t done much to stick to their word. We bear the brunt of high taxes but don’t receive the government benefits we deserve. This is a problem that is painfully apparent at Stuyvesant. On September 30, the NYCDOE made a change regarding the price of school lunch. Reduced-lunch students, who, along with free-lunch students, constituted around 80 percent of the city’s public school system in the 2009-2010 school year, were no longer required to pay for school lunch. Rather, the DOE tacked on the quarter to the price of lunch for regular students. Of course, an extra $45 fee per year is by no means a substantial amount of money, but this course of action is part of a grave trend. Low-income citizens receive government benefits and financial aid, but the government does not seem to acknowledge that there are people outside this class who struggle financially as well. Many middle-class Americans make a small amount over what qualifies them for financial aid, so they don’t receive assistance. Instead, they are left to foot the bill for benefits that help those whose families make only slightly less.
College-affiliated wallet-killer diseases primarily plague the middle class. Low-income families often take standardized tests for free, and these fees hardly affect the rich. Middle-class families do not qualify for government benefits and financial aid, yet after paying off mortgages and notoriously expensive college tuition, how many of them are financially secure? I can assure you that there aren’t too many. Politicians are always talking about helping out the middle class, yet they don’t do much to aid America’s majority when it needs them the most. With so many middle-class Americans struggling to keep up with their bills, the government needs to stop talking and start distributing substantial financial aid to the middle class. College is one of the biggest threats to the average middleclass family’s financial stability. For the 2013-2014 school year, Columbia College will charge $46,846 for tuition itself. Tack on the other expenses such as dormitories and textbooks, and the bill increases to $64,444. Multiply that by four years and families will have to cough up around $260,000. And that’s just undergraduate school. Add on graduate school and interest on student loans, and chances are that many wallets will be sent to Valhalla. And as horrible the situation is for middle-class families with one child, imagine
the magnitude of the issue for families with multiple children in college. Local news channels constantly bring up stories of students who are admitted to Ivy Leagues and turn down these once-in-a-lifetime offers purely because of financial constraints. Can you truthfully say that it’s fair for a kid who has worked tremendously hard to get into Harvard to find out that he can’t go, just because his parents earn a bit over $65,000? I had a friend last year who was admitted to Harvard but almost turned down her offer because she couldn’t afford it. Families like these suffer the most. We must remember that college is not the only thing that plagues middle-class families. The countless everyday costs, which actually add up to a sizable sum, exacerbate their financial situations. According to a 2011 study by LendingTree.com, the average New Yorker pays a total of $340,124.50 in mortgages that often take 30 years to be fully repaid. Furthermore, the US Energy Information Administration reports that the average retail price of electricity for the residential sector in New York state increased eight percent from July 2012 to July 2013. Gas currently averages $3.82 in the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island area and is only becoming more expensive. With such huge financial
burdens, the middle class desperately needs government funding. Not only to send its children to college, but also for activities on the high school level. Take the Speech and Debate team, for example. Competitive debaters often pay around $1,000 in annual fees unless they qualify for free/reduced lunch, which is often a barrier of entry for middle-class students. Other popular extracurricular activities, such as sports teams, are also becoming increasingly expensive. Many sports teams require their members to pay dues, and sporting goods retailers often charge exorbitant prices for equipment (many baseball bats costs more than $100). And don’t forget travel fees. With so many expenses, competitive families can spend thousands of dollars per year. And yet the plague continues to spread, namely in the form of standardized testing. These exams are very costly, especially when taken in large quantities. Advanced Placement (AP) tests cost $89, ACTs are either $36 or $52, depending on the version, SATs $51, and SAT Subject Tests $25 each. Many colleges require that applicants take these exams multiple times—Columbia College mandates that applicants take two SAT Subject Tests and one SAT or ACT. Low-income families are exempt from these outrageous fees, which is extremely unfair, considering that
Justin Kong / The Spectator
Goodbye, My Sweet Wallet
there are many families who don’t make much money but are stuck footing the bill. Personally, I plan on taking two SATs, seven APs, and three SAT Subject Tests. Well, there goes another $700. With such huge financial burdens, the middle class desperately needs government funding. Politicians are always talking about the middle class. It’s time they start to take action and finally give these people an edge up in society with muchneeded funding. James Truslow Adams defined the American dream as “a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone... regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.” Have our founding fathers created the American dream, only to serve two castes but neglect the middle child?
The Spectator ● October 17, 2013
Opinions Point-Counterpoint: Field Trips Time to Take a Peek Outside
The Delusion of Field Trips
By Krzysztof Hochlewicz and Justin Weltz Think back to the blissful days of elementary and middle school. Odds are, you went on at least one field trip during your time in either. You might have observed plants and insects in a local park, listened to an orchestra in one of New York’s many concert halls, or walked through an art museum, appreciating the wonders that hung on every wall. Once you entered Stuyvesant,
While remaining educational, field trips provide a necessary break from a stressful school environment.
however, you may have been saddened to find that school-organized field trips are quite a rare occurrence. Granted, you can always visit museums in your own time and certain clubs go on trips after school and on weekends, but at Stuyvesant, school-organized field trips are a thing of the past. This is a mistake. Field trips provide invaluable real-life experience that classrooms and textbooks don’t. Stuyvesant’s lack of school-organized field trips has to change, as does the way that many people perceive them. Though they’re often dismissed as mere fun and entertainment, field trips have been shown to significantly boost students’ critical thinking skills. One study in particular, which focused on the newly constructed Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Northwest Arkansas, assessed 10,912 students from 123 different schools, grades K-12, on how field trips to that museum affected them. Days after the study, upwards of 70 percent of the students could still recall details about specific paintings—what they depicted and what time period they were relevant to. No tests were mentioned, nobody forced the students to memorize and study the subject matter, but they remembered it nonetheless. That same study also found the students who went to the field trip to have higher levels of tolerance, historical empathy, and interest in art museums than the control group—all from a single trip. While remaining educational, field trips provide a necessary break from a stressful school environment. They show students the relevance and importance of the subjects at hand without forcing them to bear hours of (often monotonous) classroom lectures. Field trips can also offer students the chance to talk with people who are experts in their specific fields, as op-
posed to their teachers, who have a general mastery of a broader subject. A brief face-to-face conversation with a scientist, artist, or writer can inspire students greatly. A lack of field trips not only deprives students of these opportunities, but also has a strongly adverse effect: students who are forced to endure months of lessons without any relevant entertainment can grow to hate the very subjects they’re taught. One might think that only one field trip every four to six weeks won’t do much to solve this problem, but when students look back to their time in school, these trips will be the memories they’ll cherish. Field trips also allow for a contemporary grasp of misunderstood and underappreciated subjects. Museums and their exhibits often contain the most innovative and relevant research in a given field of study. Exposure to such a plethora of knowledge can not only renew or inspire interest in certain topics, but also encourage further research and a better understanding of future career opportunities. Without personal experience, ideas like the arts or modern applications of science or artifacts from historical time periods will remain bolded words in fivepound textbooks. Depth in many subjects is a goal seldom achieved at Stuyvesant. Students as well as teachers constantly complain about the time limits, which make memorization a defining feature of our high-school curriculum. In a recent Facebook survey of Stuyvesant juniors asking what they believed was most emphasized in our school’s curriculum, 74 students voted for “memorization,” 39 for “critical thinking based on memorization,” three for “critical thinking,” and two for “intensive understanding.” Enriching a subject with group discussions is a hassle, which, if accomplished, is often made inefficient and unproductive by the spatial limits of a room and the 30 kids packed inside. Activities that require moving and interacting, such as salons and simulations, are rendered ineffective for the same reasons. Museums that are a short 30 to 40 minutes away provide the space, the subject material, and the active, hands-on framework that is integral to most successful lessons. Even though costs are sometimes cited as a field trip deterrent, schools can always apply for grants, obtain free public transportation, and find low-cost opportunities. Although the organizational demands of transporting 30 kids out of their classes and to a destination seem to be more of a problem than a solution, trips are worth it. A poor experience with a subject in school, characterized by a monotonous teacher and tedious homework, can forever end a student’s interest in a subject. Our school needs to embrace the inherent superiority of showing knowledge rather than dictating it, experiencing information rather than skimming a textbook, and interacting with an object rather than glancing at a photo of it. As we continuously weigh down students’ backs with pounds upon pounds of paper, we are slowly diminishing the subject material’s power to speak for itself.
The purpose of a high school in a country suffering from a lack of competitive education has never been clearer: to substantiate and hone academic capabilities and produce wellrounded students who can process information and apply it in productive ways. This purpose defines the legacy of our school and has been transfixed in our classrooms and teachers since its inception in 1904. It has transformed our school into an educational powerhouse that houses the brightest in the state. Quite arguably, our success is accredited to our focus on student informatory intake, which is then reinforced through methods such as testing and teacher elaboration of basic textbook instruction. I then fail to see how field trips are incorporated into this purpose. Field trips tantalize the wishful student and caress notions of fanciful escapades from the austere tedium of school life, but they offer
Field trips tantalize the wishful student and caress notions of fanciful escapades from the austere tedium of school life.
no purpose, no excuse for existence. Almost any other context of scholarship and learning is at least as direct and often more useful than field trips. Field trips, therefore, fail to merit incorporation into the purpose that has set our school’s academia apart from those of other schools. One might argue that clubs, school teams, and other organizations are also in the same category as field trips, and would therefore be as important to our education as trips are. However, this is not true. Playing football holds great value to the student. It introduces concepts of uniformity, cooperation, and competitive play that add to the student’s well-rounded state of being. Clubs are much the same. They allow students to gain greater knowledge of their environments and force students to manage the clubs themselves and work together with their peers—something rarefied in the traditional classroom model. In essence, clubs and sports teams furnish wellrounded instruction and application of knowledge in unique contexts otherwise unobtainable in the general teacher-led instruction. Not so the occasional field trip. The field trip fails to offer a unique context that would justify its replacing the regular classroom instruction. It does not offer more learning than in the classroom, nor a special context that would help students become more well-rounded and capable. For example my Latin class last year took a field trip to see “Julius Caesar” enacted in an African-American backdrop in the Brooklyn Academy of Music. It was immensely enjoyable; the actors were good-humored, the stage effects
Carol Deng / The Spectator
Jessica Wu / The Spectator
Philip Shin / The Spectator
By DANIEL KIM
magical, and the costumes resplendent with breathtaking hues. However, when we look past the mirage, the fact remains that our instruction in “Julius Caesar” would have been more adequately furnished had we stayed in class and objectively analyzed its contents with our teacher’s guidance. Fun as the trip was, the goal of education was narrowly achieved, and at the expense of losing other periods like math, science, and history. That’s another issue. How can mere entertainment justify our missing other classes? Can we, as a successful academic institution, justifiably deny our students other facets of academia in order to introduce them to a watery version of the educational standards of another area of instruction? Fun as they may be, field trips are best left to the weekends, in privatized groups, within the comfort of family or friends. To detract from our purpose and our academia to add to this nonsense seems to do more harm than good. We now turn to another argument: Students need breaks from school life because they are too stressed. The problem with this argument is that I see too many bulwarks supporting the other argument. We have free periods, do we not? We allow students to fill up or relieve those periods at their discretion, do we not? The students who consciously made the choice to be tasked with no free periods and Advanced Placement courses took upon themselves a heavy mantle of responsibility. We have lunch periods, free periods, and even fun periods. I
The field trip fails to offer a unique context that would justify its replacing the regular classroom instruction.
enjoy my English and history classes immensely. To me, they function as extensions of free periods, such is my enjoyment. For those otherwise inclined, math or science work the same. There are simply no excuses to stage field trips. To those who enjoy field trips, I sympathize. But in the interests of school, we must transcend our limited worldviews and extend our dreams into a future where students do not waste precious classroom instruction driving towards a couple of hours that are unproductive and detractive.
The Spectator â—? October 17, 2013
By the Photo Department
The Spectator ● October 17, 2013
Arts and Entertainment Video Games
Jonathan Tom / The Spectator
Psychos vs. Pork: A Gaming Review
By Caroline Bredthauer It seems that September, not October, is now the month of the spooks, with two highlyanticipated survival horror game releases: “Outlast” and “Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs.” Coming out within several days of each other, the two will inevitably inspire countless comparisons. Here are my own two cents on
the advantages and disadvantages of each game in certain areas. I’ll compare the good and the bad and throw in the ugly as well. Level Design/Graphics In “Outlast,” players explore Mount Massive Asylum—a large map that lives up to its name, deviating from the standard “explore the cells and corridors” spiel. The game will lead players
into sewers, the Great Outdoors, and a scientific laboratory hidden underneath the asylum, in addition to the more standard levels. The graphics here are fantastic: everything looks real, from the disembodied hands stuffed in the sinks to the mysterious, ghost-like entities lurking behind closed doors. “Amnesia” is somewhat lacking in this department. The majority of the game takes place underground, in machinery-choked corridors that all look alike. The color palette is boring, mostly greys and darker greys, and at times the levels are designed solely to force the player forward rather than give them time to explore the area. Gameplay Both games are lacking here. In each game, players are not given weapons and instead forced to run and hide from enemies. In “Amnesia,” after a long stretch devoid of any foes, encounters are disappointingly brief, and the adversaries are slow and easily
evaded. The main enemy in this game is a pig-human hybrid, but after playing through an hour or so of pig imagery and symbolism, the enemy reveal is not particularly surprising or frightening. “Outlast” hurls hostiles at you from the very beginning but, as you can immediately run from danger, it barely penalizes you for taking a hit. In addition, once you learn enemy patterns of movement (which does not take very long), encounters become less tense and more tedious. Enemies in “Outlast” are the tortured inmates of Mount Massive Asylum, many of which have their own disturbing personalities. They don’t look particularly frightening, but their muttered or shrieked threats add eerie touches to the gameplay. Music/Voice Acting Music can be unsettling or soothing—and in each game, the music does both. The score of “Amnesia,” composed by Jessica Curry, is filled with brutal dis-
sonances for the tense moments and simple but touching melodies to accompany the beautifully crafted lines of dialogue. The dialogue itself drives the story of the game forward as players uncover the protagonist’s backstory by listening to phonographs and conversations between him and the denizens of the city. The flowery speech reflects the time period of 1899 London. Characters will threaten to “rain excrement into your very soul,” or to “rise to bleach the sky and still the water.” “Outlast” has a decent score, but what stands out in this game is the voice acting. Most speaking characters have memorable lines. From the crazy doctor who cuts out inmate’s tongues because “I was tired of licking my own stamps” to the twin inmates who debate softly over how slowly they will to kill you, the characters’ personalities are superb, adding yet another frightening dynamic to the game.
Television By Frances Dodin Saturday nights just got a little more exciting with the start of the latest season of “Saturday Night Live,” but viewers have been left to wonder how well the show can keep up its genuine and widelyloved humor with an almost entirely brand new cast. During last season’s finale, the show bid its final farewell to three of its most honored and admired cast members: Fred Armisen, Jason Sudeikis, and Bill Hader. This was a huge shocker; just a year earlier, Andy Samberg and Kristen Wiig decided to take their leaves. These huge changes left creator and producer Lorne Michaels to promote the show’s most featured players (the cast
members-in-training) to the regular cast and take on a whole new set of featured players. This meant hiring six new, inexperienced members, who now make up almost half of the entire cast. With the departure of several major cast members, many of the recurring characters and skits that kept viewers tuning in for years have come to a halt. Watching the series premiere with low expectations, I was happily surprised by the new style the reconstructed cast brought to the show and how it preserved the show’s authenticity. The host, former cast member and head writer Tina Fey, kicked the show off to a great start by hazing the new cast members. Breaking Bad actor Aaron Paul was featured
in several sketches, garnering rounds of applause from the audience members, many of whom were likely anticipating the show’s dramatic end the following night. Paul appeared in the cold open, a fake commercial advertising “eMeth,” and played Drunk Uncle’s nephew, Meth Nephew, on the mock news program “Weekend Update.” Though “Weekend Update” lost its beloved character Stefon with Bill Hader’s leave, it has been pulling as many ideas as possible out of its seemingly bottomless hat of tricks to try to keep the long-running sketch at its peak. Cecily Strong, only a featured player last year, has become Seth Meyer’s co-host on Weekend Update, and will most likely replace him when he leaves
for his new show “Late Night with Seth Meyers.” Strong didn’t present herself as a potential “Weekend Update” host candidate last year, what with her tendency to play silly characters. Only time will tell if she can come close to the legacy left by Meyers. Meyers’s departure gives way to another change for this season of SNL: a shuffled writing staff. Meyers has been the head writer since 2005, and was joined at his post by Colin Jost last year. But with his upcoming leave, the writers have been in for some changes. The head writing position was granted to Rob Klein, a writer who has not made himself as prominent as he should have been. Furthermore, several other writers are coming and going,
Irene Elias / The Spectator
The New Side of Saturday Night Live
leading to probable changes in this season’s material. The “rebuilding year of SNL,” as Tina Fey put it, has commenced with a jolt of excitement, but with new cast members and writers and little of its own authentic humor, how will this season change the show for years to come?
It’s Not Weird, It’s Fusion Cuisine
Justin Kong / The Spectator
By Angela Sun
Stowed away on St. Marks Place, Japadog instantly prepares quality hot dogs topped with an arsenal of Japanese delicacies and snacks.
For most hot dog connoisseurs, the name Japadog should ring a bell. Transforming the traditional wiener and bun we all know well, Japadog incorporates a variety of Japanese-style sauces, vegetables, and meats into its hot dogs. Located in the East Village on 30 St. Marks Place, Japadog attracts hungry revelers every day to try its innovative hot dog breeds. Customers can choose from a selection of meats that includes the conventional all-beef dog, as well as veggie, chicken, three cheese smoky, and Kurobuta (its signature dog). The Kurobuta rightfully deserves its name as Japadog’s best-selling frank with an unparalleled juiciness and a distinctive rich, buttery flavor. Even the typical all-beef hot dog goes beyond the norm, as all of Japadog’s wieners are cut lengthwise to make room for the bountiful toppings offered. At Japadog, the standard ketchup and mustard condiments are replaced by concoctions such as the Okonomi— which consists of okonomiyaki sauce, wasabi mayo, bonito flakes, and fried cabbage—and the Ya-
kisoba, which includes yakisoba (fried noodle), red ginger, and seaweed. Japadog’s best seller, the Kurobuta Terimayo ($4.14), is a
Japadog’s best seller, the Kurobuta Terimayo, is a sweet and salty affair. sweet and salty affair: a smoky pork wiener dressed in teriyaki sauce, Japanese mayo, and sweet caramelized onions, topped with a generous serving of thinly-cut dried seaweed, all between a freshly-baked sesame bun. The Kurobuta Croquette ($4.89) is yet another popular choice that consists of a silky Kurobuta sausage garnished with fried cabbage and two large, piping-hot potato frit-
ters—hearty enough to fill two. Though the hot dogs definitely take center stage at Japadog, the crispy shaked skinny fries are just as much of an adventure. The fries are sealed inside a bag with an array of dry spices such as aonori (dried ground seaweed), wasabi, and curry. Japadog’s butter and shoyu (soy sauce) fries are simply addicting. Dipping these fries in any condiment would be blasphemous, as the butter’s richness blends seamlessly with the distinctly savory taste of the soy sauce. And for those with a sweet tooth, Japadog offers deep fried buns ($3.24) coated with sugar and filled with black sesame or matcha green tea ice cream. This Asian-inspired hot dog joint’s radiantly colored orange tables are often packed with hotdog enthusiasts and newcomers alike. The service is upbeat and the cashiers are patient, even when customers struggle to decide what combination of sausage and topping to choose. While the Japanese-style franks found in Japadog may sound foreign to most New Yorkers, the flavor risks taken ultimately pay off and show the potential of fusion cuisine.
The Spectator ● October 17, 2013
Arts and Entertainment Broadway
Sara Seonmin Chung / The Spectator
Broken Glass and Broken People
By Emma McIntosh Oftentimes, beauty often only becomes visible once something is broken. Tennessee Williams’s “The Glass Menagerie,” like many of his other works, examines the lives of ordinary but damaged people. Just shy of 70 years after its first ever production, “The Glass Menagerie” is revived in a novel manner at the Booth Theater, complete with awe-inspiring set and staging that draw out the play’s poetic dialogue. Director John Tiffany took full advantage of the talent in the cast, which includes Zachary Quinto, best known for his
role as Spock in the “Star Trek” reboots, and two-time Tony winner Cherry Jones. These celebrities, along with Tony Award nominee Celia Keenan-Bolger and “Stargate Universe” lead Brian J. Smith, comprise the small but powerful cast whose interior characters are externalized via Tiffany’s finesse. Movement director Steven Hoggett’s staging is also breathtaking, for it seems as if actors are dancing through each scene and scene change. They glide gracefully, often miming actions using invisible objects. When flashbacks occur, Quinto stumbles backwards, as though into the past itself.
The play focuses on a family of three: Amanda (the mother), Laura (the sister), and Tom (the brother). Tom (Quinto) narrates and often breaks the fourth wall by talking directly to the audience, describing how he is torn between his desire to escape from his family and his obligation to help his sister. Laura (Keenan-Bolger), a cripple, is constantly pressured by her mother (Jones) to be less shy to attract “gentleman callers,” but is in love with Jim (Smith), a boy from her high school who playfully calls her “Blue Roses” but fails to recognize her beyond the context of school. Quinto and Smith have perfected the faux-strength of their characters, putting on selfassured airs but later revealing just how broken they (and everyone else) are. Tom tries to stay strong to keep himself sane and take care of his family, but he actually wants to escape and be a writer, living without restraint. Jim was idolized in high school, so it became difficult for him to adjust to the real world, where everything is based on skill and not popularity. Both characters find emotional refuge in Laura. Laura’s job isn’t too difficult, but her
overwhelming awkwardness and refusal to be social is both thrilling and a way we can look into our own selves. Laura’s restraint when she has to open the door to let her brother and the “gentleman caller” inside her home is physically painful to watch, because the audience knows how truly terrified she is of interacting with anyone, particularly Jim. And it’s also painful for her to experience, as Keenan-Bolger illuminates. Thus, Laura is always at home, mesmerized by her “glass menagerie,” a collection of glass animal figurines, and the way the light hits them. Her personal favorite, a tiny unicorn, is broken when her high school crush drops by under the pretense of being a gentleman caller. Its horn breaks off, rendering it almost identical to the other figurines. The menagerie is Williams’ primary avenue of symbolism in the play, creating a feeling of fragility. Williams lets us zoom in on the lives of this fractured family, and as he never lets us forget how imperfect and damaged each character is, we find ourselves not only adoring them, but also empathizing with them.
Look just beyond the characters, and at first glance the set seems highly minimalistic. There’s a living room and a kitchen wrapped in darkness, accompanied by a lone fire escape winding up until it’s out of sight. But as the play progresses, it becomes clear that the stage surrounding the set, thought to be painted pitchblack, is actually a pool of dark, inky water, occasionally given away by specks of light dancing off of Laura’s “glass menagerie” and onto the water’s surface. This unnerving choice in set design only furthers Williams’s theme of abandonment and entrapment in an unrelenting world. It cannot be overstated how much a show—no matter how good it is in its own right—can be transformed by the aesthetic details embellishing it. This includes the performance itself, the staging, the set, and the costumes. In “The Glass Menagerie,” every minute feature further expresses the delicacy of life itself. Like Laura’s glass figurines, be reminded of both the world and of the individual: “how beautiful it is and how easily it can be broken.”
Amidst the Laughter, A Human Touch By Matthew Dalton Have you ever wondered what would happen if you got into a bidding war to play your friend’s Wii? Or if your imaginary friend Toodle decided your life decisions to the age of 21? Or if your mom filmed a game show using her iPod to find her next husband? These kinds of scenarios are acted out daily at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater (UCBT), a comedy club on the corner of 26th Street and Eighth Avenue. In its intimate basement theater, the club offers comedy that is as ludicrous as it is hilarious, and is wildly entertaining for anyone whose only prior exposure to comedy
is Comedy Central. The theater was founded by SNL legend Amy Poehler, who wanted to create “an all ages venue [that] offers big names for small change.” The UCBT provides a full range of live comedy from a variety of local groups who specialize in improv, sketch, and standup seven days a week. Unique to the shows at UCBT is the warmth, the comedians’ joy for making people laugh. Successful groups establish a personal connection with the audience, allowing them to explore the absurdities of the bit together. Charlie Todd, of Improv Everywhere fame, is particularly adept at this:
through the course of one show he plays a kid with three dads, a crack junkie, and a tree, and yet he always just feels like a good friend. One of the better shows at UCBT is Grandma’s Ashes, a troupe that performs two 45minute improvs based on secrets that the audience anonymously provides them with at the beginning of the show. They have terrific chemistry, with shows as seamless as pre-written comedy sketches. Though the audience gives them the material only five minutes beforehand, the improvs lack the long hesitations and dropped jokes of lesser groups. In one show, one player establishes
the setting of a Thai restaurant by getting tangled in a beaded curtain at the entrance, while the rest of the troupe, as the waiters, greet him en masse. The troupe then turns this into a running joke throughout the show whenever the character enters a new Thai restaurant. Perhaps more remarkable than the comedy itself is their ability to communicate their comedic ideas to each other instantaneously while performing, as if by telepathy. At only 10 dollars a show, the UCBT is an ideal Saturday night experience for any high school student on a budget. With a minimum age limit of 16, it allows high school stu-
dents to enjoy the sophisticated comedy they’re mature enough for, but are usually denied access to by higher age limits at other clubs. What really makes the UCBT unique, however, is its emphasis on audience participation. Groups ask for a random word from the audience, and then proceed to do a 30 minute show on “dungeon” or “carrot.” Watching this, you feel a human connection to the entertainment, one that is often lost in our digital age—and one that the UCB hopes to reclaim, one show at a time.
The Spectator ● October 17, 2013
Arts and Entertainment Looking Forward: October SUNDAY
Album release Avett Brothers’s “Magpie and the Dandelion” Genre: Indie rock, folk rock
Concert The Savages Terminal 5 7 p.m.
Concert The Neighbourhood Terminal 5 7 p.m.
Concert Eric Prydz Hammerstein Ballroom 8 p.m.
Amateur Night at the Apollo Apollo Theater 253 W 125th St 7:30 p.m.
Concert Over the Rhine Highline Ballroom 8 p.m.
Movie release “12 Years a Slave” Genre: Biography, drama, history Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Lupita Nyong’o, Brad Pitt
Album release Morgan Taylor Reid’s “A Minor Heartbeat” Genre: Alternative rock, indie rock
Album release Katy Perry’s “Prism” Genre: Pop, rock, dance
Museum exhibition “T.J. Wilcox: In the Air” Whitney Museum of American Art Available through February 9, 2014
22nd Annual Broadway Fall Festival Broadway, between 86th-96th St 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Concert Fiona Apple & Blake Mills Beacon Theatre 8 p.m.
Album release Fifth Harmony’s “Better Together” Genre: Pop
Concert Delorean Webster Hall 7 p.m.
Concert Austin Mahone Hammerstein Ballroom 7 p.m.
Album release Kelly Clarkson’s “Wrapped in Red” Genre: Christmas, pop
Museum exhibition “Kandinsky in Paris, 1934-1944” Guggenheim Museum Available through April 23, 2014
Concert 3OH!3 Irving Plaza 6 p.m.
Album release Emphatic’s “Another Life” Genre: Rock
Concert Jonas Brothers Hammerstein Ballroom 7 p.m.
Concert Frightened Rabbit Webster Hall 6:30 p.m.
Movie release “Ender’s Game” Genre: Action, adventure, sci-fi Cast: Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Viola Davis
39th Annual Americana Jazz Festival 52nd Street, between 5th-7th Aves 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Concert Idian Raichel Project Beacon Theatre 7 p.m.
Album release Gabriella Cilmi’s “The Sting” Genre: Pop rock, vocal jazz
Last day of “Kiku: The Art of the Japanese Garden” New York Botanical Garden Featuring a special bonsai display and a poetry reading with Jane Hirschfield 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Album release Juana Molina’s “Wed 21” Genre: Ambient, singer-songwriter
Concert The Wanted Roseland Ballroom 8 p.m.
The Spectator ● October 17, 2013
Humor These articles are works of fiction. All quotes are libel and slander.
Newsbeat • Multiple studies have confirmed that volunteering in physical education class does not make you more athletic. • Moderately obese senior Corey Brown is worried about his PACER test next week. • According to eyewitnesses, senior Jiten Patel asked Miss America winner Nina Davuluri to prom during her visit to Stuyvesant in early October. • Statistics indicate that serious booty was grinded up on by the Big Sibs at the dance several weeks ago. The atrocious acts left the freshman body confused and disgusted.
Big Sib/Little Sib Dance Presses for “Jumping Up and Down” to Be Recognized as Dance Style By Winton Yee
Beginning by fist pumping to “Can’t Hold Us” and culminating with raucous screaming along to “We Can’t Stop,” that the attendees of the Big Sib/Little Sib Dance on Friday, September 27 presented a moving argument for “jumping up and down” to be recognized as a formal dance style, sources confirmed. “This was a tightly organized plea to the international dancing community,” senior and Big Sib Chair Sweyn Venderbush said. “It’s time that jumping up and down was given the recognition it deserves.” The performance, which began at 5:30 p.m. on the first floor and ended at 9:30 a.m. the next morning in a shady motel, involved hundreds of upperclassmen and freshmen students
jumping up and down to the beat of contemporary classics. According to accounts of the event, staff supervisors began sobbing at the vicarious beauty of seeing sweaty teenagers badly singing “Blurred Lines” and forming vaguely phallus-like conga lines. “I believe...” health teacher Lisa Weinwurm reportedly whispered to herself as she witnessed dozens of students awkwardly grunt, yell, and step on each other’s toes to the tune of “Wrecking Ball.” “...that thousands of years of human evolution and refinement have led to this.” A video posted on Facebook is the only documentation of the night. At 47 seconds long, it provides a glimpse into what we can only hope dance may someday become. NASA scientists have already begun to transmit the video through short-wave radio broad-
casts to extraterrestrial planets in an attempt to contact intelligent life. “Is the camerawork shaky? Yes. Does the audio sound like two bears making out? Yes,” renowned ballet dancer Alexander Volchkov said. “But you can just feel the beauty of the human form radiating from the video. It basically eliminates the need for LSD.” Though skeptics have doubted the importance of jumping up and down, there is little doubt in the minds of many that the art form has revolutionized the world as we know it. “This performance was so ahead of its time,” New York Times dance critic Brian Seibert said. “It rivals the avant-garde of Nayeem Ahsan’s ingenious poem, created solely from words on the Spanish Regents.”
Jumping up and down has already begun having far-reaching consequences in Stuyvesant. “I don’t know how we couldn’t incorporate jumping up and down into StuySquad now,” said senior Phillip Lan. “It’s going to take hours of grueling practice, but hopefully we can pull it off.” Carnegie Hall will be presenting a retrospective on the dance form (Jumping Up And Down: The Effects of Parallel Movement on Human Society and Consciousness), and modern dancer Martha Graham was reported to have come back to life, fed by the life energies of those who are embracing jumping up and down. “I feel like we’ve finally made an impact on the world,” said Venderbush. “I feel like Martin Luther King, Jr.”
Revisions to Pledge of Allegiance Catch Students by Surprise By William Chang and Spencer Weiss In what was thought to be the worst thing to happen to America since the extinction of the Twinkie, mass kerfuffle occurred when the United States Pledge of Allegiance was changed entirely on Tuesday, September 17. This new Pledge was read in a strange fashion, with words and noises, perhaps mating calls, unheard of before. The student body, however, neglected to review the government-issued Pledge Fun Packets and didn’t realize that
these revisions to the Pledge were indeed called for. Last week, the White House decided that, in light of recent government shortcomings, the Pledge needed to be amended to increase public support, rally American pride, and, most importantly, engage younger citizens. “I feel that the generation gap between ourselves and our children has taken a toll on the sentiments upon which this country was founded,” President Barack Obama said. “This might be our best shot at getting those kids to ditch their walkmans and
Tamagotchis and get a real taste of democracy.” Along with the textual changes to the Pledge came numerous new rules and guidelines for its recitation. For example, after the words “the United States of America,” citizens are now expected to wop. Student opinion was mixed. Many were considerably irked: “I, like most of my peers, was none too happy about the changes. I can’t bring myself to change from ‘justice for all’ to ‘justice for some and extreme racial discrimination for others,’” junior Wenhao Du said.
Others thought it was a nice change: “Hi, this is your student announcer Clay Walsh expressing his support of the new changes to the Pledge,” said student announcer Clay Walsh before he “dropped a couple of bars” of the Pledge along with senior and coannouncer Marie Frolich. “Am I, like, the only one who ever reads The Onion?” said senior Miranda Halle, showing her support. “The changes were totally there on the front page. The student announcer rocks! Totally nailed it.” Though the revisions have
caused much controversy, it seems like they’re here to stay. It may, however, be hard to win over everyone affected by the changes. According to a Spectator poll from last April, a staggering 2.4% of the Stuyvesant population actively recites the Pledge. The rest of the student body may have a hard time adapting as well. “We have to get up for that?” asked senior Egor Chernishov. “I just thought it was a neat little rap and dance that kids did in homeroom to relieve stress.”
United States Government Shuts Down By Jeremy Karson As the clock struck midnight on Tuesday, October 1, democracy as we know it ceased to exist. The United States federal government shut down with the help of the tyrannical policies of socialist Emperor Barack Obama. And the biggest culprit of all? Obamacare. This unconstitutional bill, which forces rich people to get poor medical coverage such that the poor can take advantage of our nation’s underprivileged doctors, was the evil force behind the denigration of American democracy. House conservatives at-
tempted to preserve our nation’s Americanism, but ultimately fell short. “We tried to be reasonable. We tried not to play politics. But Obama and the Senate were just unwilling to listen,” congressman Ted Cruz said through a Darth Vader mask. House Majority Leader John Boehner agreed, asserting that it was his job as a public servant to act in the best interests of the nation’s people. “I really just want to keep my job,” he said. The Republicans had to fight to preserve the American values espoused in the preamble of the
Emancipation Proclamation. But as a result of hippie, gay liberal stubbornness, America as we know it will never be the same. Many of our nation’s horses were furloughed, causing major economic damage at Off Track Betting sites around the nation. Tourists and nature-lovers who want to visit our national parks will be forced to wait—possibly for multiple days. What will the bird-watchers do? And as if that wasn’t enough, all NASA scientists not currently on the moon will be forced to stop doing research and spend some time at home relaxing with their families.
A U.S. government shutdown is unprecedented. It has never before happened in American history since 1996, and has only occurred 17 times since 1977. “I just hope that our government doesn’t shut down,” Student Union Vice President Keiran Carpen said. “I don’t want to deprive the student body of the liberties we provide on a daily basis.” But just when you think it can’t get worse, there’s more. It turns out that a government shutdown might not even be the worst thing our country will have to endure. On Thursday, October 17, if the Democrats refuse to re-
peal the lecherous “Affordable” Care Act, our government could be at risk of defaulting, or making its bankruptcy its new profile picture. This would trigger a global economic meltdown, potentially causing many other nations to change their profile pictures as well. “I can’t say the prospect doesn’t excite me,” history teacher Kerry Trainor said. “I mean, talk about a teachable moment!”
The Spectator â—? October 17, 2013
Senior Pajama Day
By the Photo Department
The Spectator ● October 17, 2013
NBA Which team will win the NBA Championship? The Chicago Bulls. When Bulls pointguard Derrick Rose tore his ACL back in April 2012, Chicago had the best record in the NBA and was the favorite to win the championship. Now that Rose, a formerMVP, has finally recovered from injury (and from what we’ve seen in the preseason, looks just as quick as ever), I expect similar results from this team. They’ve also since since added Jimmy Butler, whose athleticism and defense have turned him into a valuable asset to any team. —Lev Akabas
The Miami Heat, of course. LeBron James is getting better each and every year; he averaged a career-high 8.0 rebounds per game and shot a historic 56.5 percent from the field last year. Dwyane Wade had knee treatment for the deep bone bruise he has suffered, so he will likely be back better than he was last season, when the Heat won the championship. Taking into account that last year’s runner-up, the San Antonio Spurs, has many declining players in their late 30s, such as Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, Miami should be able to take the trophy back to South Beach for the third straight year. —Rayyan Jokhai
The Indiana Pacers. Last year, the Heat needed a buzzerbeater from LeBron and the full seven games in order to beat the Pacers in the playoffs. This was without all-star Danny Granger, arguably their best player, who was injured last year. This season, Granger is back, center Roy Hibbert is more confident after his terrific stretch in the playoffs, averaging 17 points per game and 10 rebounds per game, and Paul George will continue his path towards superstardom, after averaging 19 points, eight rebounds, and five assists per game in the playoffs last year. —Jeffrey Zheng
The Indiana Pacers. With the return of former all-star Danny Granger from injury and addition of Chris Copeland and C.J. Watson, the Pacers will have everything, from an excellent starting five to a deep and varied bench. They have the explosiveness provided by Lance Stephenson, the three-point specialty of Copeland, Watson, Granger, and an inside presence in the 7’2’’ Roy Hibbert. Also, the Pacers’ defense is stellar, as due to his combination of length and speed, Paul George is one of the few players who can adequately defend virtually any player in the league. They came within one game of the NBA Finals last season, so with the help of some new faces this season, they should show significant improvements. —Omar Siddique
Who will win the NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP)? LeBron James. It’s his to lose. In the past, especially with Michael Jordan, voters tired of choosing the same guy every single year to win the award, instead voting for a less worthy player. But with so many other potential candidates, none of whom stand out, I think the odds are in LeBron’s favor once again. With teammate Dwyane Wade now on the decline, James must carry much more of the load, as he did successfully in the playoffs last season. —Lev Akabas
LeBron James. Nobody in the league can defend this guy. He is too strong, too fast, too big, and just too talented to be covered. LeBron is coming off arguably his best season yet, and has shown that he can not only produce impressive statistics during the regular season, but also lead his team to championships. —Rayyan Jokhai
LeBron James. He is simply the best player in all of basketball right now. His main rival Kevin Durant may score more frequently, but LeBron is better in every other aspect of the game, including passing, rebounding, and defending. He does everything for his team, and leading them to a top record once again this season will only bolster his case for MVP. —Jeffrey Zheng
LeBron James. Averaging 26.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game last season, there is no reason for LeBron to drop in any of these statistics. He has consistently put up those numbers during the past five seasons, in which he has won four MVPs. James is also noted for making his teammates better, which is an MVP-type trait. —Omar Siddique
Which team will exceed expectations, and why? The San Antonio Spurs. We doubt them every single season, and every single season they end up near the front of the pack. (Each of the last four years, the Spurs have won more games than projected for them by the Las Vegas odds.) Tim Duncan just keeps turning in all-star season after all-star season, and, after playing some of the best basketball of his career at age 38 last year, he can certainly keep defying odds again this year. Though Duncan’s aging is a detriment to the team, Kawhi Leonard is only 22yearsold, and the way he defended LeBron James and knocked down clutch threes in last year’s NBA Finals show that he has superstar potential to tap into this season. —Lev Akabas
The Cleveland Cavaliers. With Kyrie Irving getting more experienced each year, I don’t see why the Cavs can’t make a strong push for the playoffs. The 21-year-old guard scored over 22 points and six assists per game in only his second season, showing improvements from his rookie to sophomore season. In addition, the Boston Celtics, who reached the playoff last year, will likely be left out of the conversation this year, as three of their stars— Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry—were traded, leaving an opening for Cleveland. —Rayyan Jokhai
The Washington Wizards. The Wizards have been absolutely horrible in the past decade, but this year, they will make the playoffs. Among their roster is a healthy John Wall, whose athleticism, defense, and ability to score the ball make him an all-around pointguard. He will be receiving help from rookie Otto Porter Jr., likely to help fill the Wizards’ desperate need of a small forward, a position that they lacked talent last year. Porter was regarded by scouts as the most NBA-ready out of all the rookies, and has an immediate impact on both ends of the court. —Jeffrey Zheng
The Minnesota Timberwolves. They are one of the more underrated teams in the league. With up-and-coming stars Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love returning from injury, the T-Wolves can finally play to their full potential. With the addition of Kevin Martin through free-agency and the return of Love, the T-Wolves, who were last in the league last year in three-point-percentage, now two elite outside shooters. —Omar Siddique
One bold prediction for the season J.R. Smith and Metta World Peace will be involved in some sort of brawl for the New York Knicks. There’s an old theory that having one head-case on an NBA team is okay. But once he has another head-case to hang out with, that’s when it becomes a problem. Don’t get me wrong; I think the Knicks will be a top-three team in the East this season with a healthier version of last year’s roster, which was seeded second in the conference despite being plagued by injury. But putting on the same team two players who have been suspended from multiple playoff games for elbowing opponents is probably not the best idea. —Lev Akabas
The Nets will dethrone the Knicks as kings of New York. They have acquired veterans Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry. Pierce and Terry will add much-needed shooting, which will lead to better floor spacing, and, ultimately, better looks for center Brook Lopez in the paint.They will join forces with Deron Williams, an all-star point guard who will be coached by arguably one of the top five greatest point guards in the history of the game: first-year coach Jason Kidd. The improvements that Brooklyn has made are significant enough to overtake the Knicks, who, conversely, had a quiet off-season. —Rayyan Jokhai
Greg Oden will stay healthy and will be a big contributor for the Heat. Greg Oden has played a total of only 82 games in his five-year career. However, the Heat will be able to keep him healthy by playing him sparingly and saving him for the playoffs, as they did with fragile Mike Miller last year. Oden will help fill the Heat’s only weakness—a strong inside presence. At 7’0’’, he will be a major factor against tall, big teams like the Pacers, Bulls, Grizzlies, and Rockets. —Jeffrey Zheng
The Washington Wizards will make the playoffs. This is something that hasn’t happened in quite some time and is virtually unfamiliar to even the most avid NBA followers. Though the Wizards posted a horrendous 5-28 while point guard John Wall was injured, the team won 24 of 43 once he returned to the lineup. At that rate, the Wizards will be a playoff contender in the weaker Eastern Conference, in which a winning percentage of at least 50 will nearly guarantee a playoff spot. —Omar Siddique
The Spectator ● October 17, 2013
Sports Girls’ Soccer
Despite Struggles, Mimbas in Playoff Hunt Gators Chomp on the Mimbas By Eric Morgenstern What’s a Mimba gotta do to get a win on the soccer field? Clearly, they haven’t figured that out yet. Once again, the girls’ soccer team’s efforts to procure a victory were thwarted by what most would consider a mediocre team. They lost to the Lab Museum United Gators by a score of 3-1 on September 27. The Mimbas have dropped to 3-5 on the season, with their only wins coming against teams in their division with worse overall records. Despite this disappointing loss, the Mimbas have identified some key aspects of the game, both mental and physical, that they will be working on to assure their success in the future. During the match with the Gators, the Mimbas played without their star defensive player, senior Rosalie Campbell, who was sidelined with an ankle injury. “[Campbell] plays sweeper, so we had to readjust the back line, and a bunch of people were playing out of position, which threw us off a bit,” junior Madison Truemner said. Since the players are used to being in certain field positions, moving them around may have made them feel uneasy. The Gators took advantage of the gap in the defense, dribbling right around the Mimbas for easy shots on goal. The only goal for the team in this otherwise disappointing game was sophomore Sarah Joseph’s second-half goal, set up by fellow sophomore Alexis Kushner’s assist. Other than that, the Gators’ defense successfully kept the Mimbas from getting many offensive opportunities, and their offense was dominant. “They had a couple of really strong, fast strikers who dribbled past our back line. And we had trouble controlling the ball in their half [of the field],” Truemner said. The team thinks that it has diagnosed some major problems that it will need to work on in order to salvage its losing season. One problem that was evident throughout the game was the offense’s inability to move the ball successfully toward the goal. “Most of the time, a forward had the ball in the corner and was stranded with no outlets,” Truemner said. The Gators’ defenders were pinning the Mimbas against the sideline, preventing them from getting close enough to their goal to take many shots. In addition, a lack of passing lanes led to changes of possession. The Mimbas’ offense will have to improve its field position and create those lanes if it wants to maintain possession of the ball and score more goals in its future games. Another common problem was that the players could not reach balls quickly enough in the open field. “We were not sprinting to the ball, and there was a lot of watching going on. We also could’ve anticipated more of their offensive moves and organized accordingly on defense,” senior and co-captain Raquel Brau-Diaz said. Brau-Diaz believes the team needs to practice more in some areas moving forward into the season. “I think we need to work on making efficient passes and moving for our teammates into open space. We also need to work on aggression and being first to the ball,” she said. She also thinks that the team “[needs] better concentration and motivation,” she said. It will be up to the whole team to improve on the mental aspects of the games by staying focused and being ready for whatever the opposing teams bring to the field. Coach Hugh Francis also no-
ticed some things that the team needs to improve on, including “[having] more counterattacks and [taking] more shots,” he said. The team will be sure to work on those things during future practices. Though their record doesn’t show it, the Gators are a tough team with a strong will to win, and they proved it in their win against the Mimbas. Francis offered his insights as to why the Gators came away with the victory. “Lab Museum [was the] B League Champion last season. Their play was confident and aggressive, and after the first goal, we were always playing from behind,” he said. Perhaps the Mimbas will learn from this difficult loss and incorporate some of the Gators’ assertive and determined playing styles into their own game. They have eight more games to try to turn their season around, including a rematch against the Lab Museum on October 20. Hopefully, by then they will have developed a more aggressive approach and will be able to successfully avenge this loss. Mimbas’ Marathon Ends in a Draw By Grace Lu The Hunter Hawks have always come out one step ahead of the Mimbas, ranking directly above them year after year. Earlier this season, however, the Mimbas defeated the Hawks 1-0 for the first time. Going into their second matchup of the season against Hunter, the Mimbas expected an-
“They had a couple of really strong, fast strikers who dribbled past our back line. And we had trouble controlling the ball in their half [of the field].” —Madison Truemner, junior other close game and were neither surprised nor disappointed by the outcome. After 100 intense minutes on Thursday, October 3, the Mimbas tied with their longtime rivals with a score of 2-2. The first half revealed the teams’ similar skill levels. Both teams started off strong, each scoring one goal within the first twenty minutes of the game. Ten minutes before halftime, one Hunter player tripped while dribbling the ball in the 18-yard box on the Mimbas’ side of the turf. She was awarded a penalty kick, which, at such a close distance, was all but impossible for Stuyvesant goalie junior Sophia Gershon to block. Down 2-1, the Mimbas answered with a goal by sophomore Alexis Kushner. “We started off really strong. We were definitely a little less tired, which helped with the running,” Kushner said. Though no more goals were scored, the second half soared in intensity, as the Mimbas looked
to surge ahead of the Hawks with another goal. The main focus for the Mimbas was the offense. “We have a couple of strong players up front. If we can get them the ball, they can get a chance at scoring,” coach Hugh Francis said. Key offensive players, sophomores Kushner and Sarah Joseph, demonstrated adept footwork as they navigated balls passed up from the middle. However, their skills were not enough to navigate around Hunter’s defense, forcing them into overtime. The second half and the overtime game solicited many frustrated reactions onlookers. The overtime tiebreaker was sudden death, but ended in 10 minutes when neither team scored. “There were a lot of emotions. We kept coming so close, but it wasn’t so much frustrating as it was intense,” Kushner said. Though the match did not end in a win, as most of the Mimbas had hoped for, “I still think that the team played well,” Francis said. Most of the game was played on Hunter’s half of the field, with the Mimbas playing more aggressively than the Hawks. “We definitely had the ball on the offensive side, which was good, and we were getting many shots,” senior Radha Sathanayagam said. The Mimbas took a total of 18 shots on goal throughout the entire game, whereas Hunter had a significantly lower number, at 3. “We can communicate a little bit more and cover a little bit better, but we still have a lot to look forward to the rest of the season,” Francis said. Mimbas Weather the Storm By Tahmid Khandaker and Omar Siddique Drenched in rain from an ongoing storm, the Stuyvesant Mimbas were just two minutes away from redemption over the Laguardia Athletics, who shut them out 6-0 in their last encounter. With the game winding down, the Athletics launched a last-minute push, their forward aiming for one last shot. Junior and goalie Sophia Gershon steadied herself for the attempt, but with a quick cross from one end of the goal post to the other, the Athletics connected with the back of the net, and the two teams tied. “Overall I was very happy with the game,” said sophomore Alexis Kushner, who scored both of the Mimbas’ goals in the first half. “I liked our mindset coming into the game.” Kushner and fellow sophomore and forward Sarah Joseph were everywhere, as they were active on both sides of the game. In fact, Kushner attributed her success to Joseph, saying that she “was definitely the main reason that I scored.” Joseph assisted Kushner in the latter’s first goal of the game, pushing the ball from midfield past four defenders before passing it to Kushner, who scored her 11th goal this season. Though the Athletics dominated the first 10 minutes of the game with series of short passes, their lack of communication resulted in several turnovers. Two offsides penalties in the first 15 minutes broke down the Athletics’ momentum and allowed the Mimbas to spread the defense and control the rest of the first half. In addition, communication enabled the team to “play more as a unit,” which was “something we did really well today that contributed to our success,” Kushner said. Stuyvesant’s aggressive attitude provided a solid 2-0 lead, but the defense suffered some setbacks as a result. Thirty min-
utes into the game, the Athletics surged, forcing the keeper and the defense to be on their heels for an attack into the goalie’s box. In the ensuing three minutes, the Athletics took three shots, one of them resulting in a goal. While the game started off with the Mimbas focusing on offense, the second half began on the opposite foot. The Mimbas played with a new mindset, focusing more on defense than offense, with their priority on keeping the lead alive. This strategy was effective for the majority of the rest of the game, often restricting the Athletics to their half and prevent-
“We were not sprinting to the ball, and there was a lot of watching going on. We also could’ve anticipated more of their offensive moves and organized accordingly on defense.” —Raquel Brau-Diaz, senior and co-captain ing any scoring opportunities. Gershon said, “The defense held together and prevented the offensive players from getting into the box.” Led by junior and centermidfielder Madison Truemner, the defense controlled the center of the field against any attacking Athletics. However, this defensive approach did not last the Mimbas through the entire game. The Athletics managed to weave through the defense and score a pivotal goal late in the game to force overtime. “I did a good job holding the center, but both centers may need to get back more,” Truemner said. This may have been exactly what the Mimbas needed to prevent the last-minute goal. The closest the Mimbas came to avenging their last game against Laguardia came when Joseph dinged a shot off the goal post, just missing the net. In overtime, the Athletics’ offense and Mimbas’ defense, which was anchored by Gershon’s strong efforts, met at a stalemate. Though they could have won the game, the Mimbas readily showcased their balanced offense, solid defense, and effective communication, showing sparks of potential on a rather dark and gloomy day. Blue Devils Make Mimbas Feel Blue By Tahmid Khandaker Staged as a David vs. Goliath matchup, the Wednesday, October 9 game between the Stuyvesant Mimbas and the Beacon Blue Devils had an expected ending. “We were expecting to lose,” junior center-midfielder Madison Truemner said. “They were just stronger than us.” In their last encounter, the Mimbas faced a 7-1
pummeling; this time, the Mimbas even failed to score a goal, falling 4-0. With four prior injuries and three more after the dismal game with the Blue Devils, the bruised and battered Mimbas have slipped to fifth in their division, with just one win over Riverdale/ Kingsbridge Academy (RKA) in their six-game season thus far. Senior and sweeper/center back of the Mimbas Rosalie Campbell was unavailable due to a sprained ankle from a prior game. Then, minutes into the first half, Truemner, who played with a strained right quadricep muscle in the last game against LaGuardia, was pulled out. “I tried to play on it for the first half, but it didn’t work out,” she said. Freshman Leigh Cordisco then ran into a Blue Demon player and felt a sharp pop in her ankle, causing her to leave the game as well. By the middle of the second half, the Mimbas had exhausted all their substitutions. Sophomore and forward Alexis Kushner was also not present. The lack of an experienced captain, a key defensive midfielder, and the top goal scorer led to a discombobulated defense and lackluster offensive game. In fact, no shot attempts were made by the Stuyvesant girls’ soccer team. Even though sophomore and second leading scorer Sarah Joseph was available, Kushner’s absence exposed a glaring hole in the offense, as Joseph had no one to assist and complete the potent tandem that she perfected with Kushner. The rare times the Mimbas did have possession, they “had trouble settling the ball,” Truemner said. “It seemed like a ping-pong match. We would clear it out but not keep possession.” The Mimbas were at times playing hot potato, just trying to clear the ball out so the hounding Blue Demon’s could not intercept. But the Blue Demons ultimately pressed onward, ever present on the Mimba side of the field. With a more balanced and spread offense, the Blue Demons exploited a weak Mimba defense, easily eluding defenders to move into the goalie’s box. At times, junior goalie Sophie Gershon was left to fend for the team, attempting to save a frenzy of Blue Demon shot attempts. “At times I was frustrated with the defense and also the midfield, because the Blue Devils were able to get the ball up the sidelines and we weren’t there as often as we should have been,” Gershon said. If there is something positive to be noted, it is that a 4-0 loss can be seen as an improvement from 7-1. “Considering that they didn’t score in the second half, we did pretty well,” Gershon said, highlighting a more stable defense in the second half. “We were just trying to play our hardest and keep the score as low as possible.” With four games left in the season, the Mimbas face a variety of competition. Next, they face the winless Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy in a convenient rematch. “It’s important that we maintain our focus and keep working hard in the final games if we want to make the playoffs, and our game against RKA should help us with that goal,” Gershon said. But between their games against Bard and Lab Museum, the Mimbas also meet powerhouse Bronx Science, who won the PSAL championship last year. Bard and Lab Museum are tied, both leading the Mimbas by only a point. If the Mimbas step up, they can finish the season 7-7 and end the somewhat disappointing journey on a high note by making playoffs.
The Spectator ● October 17, 2013
Sports Boys’ Soccer
Mehak Ijaz / The Spectator
Centaurs’ Season Turns Sour
Junior Meril Takizawa clears the ball on defense.
Centaurs Lose a Stinger To Beacon By Ari Hatzimemos The Centaurs were expected to have a great season coming into this school year, but after a rocky start, they haven’t rebounded well. On Wednesday, September 25, the Centaurs’ struggles continued in a 1-2 loss to the Beacon Blue Demons. The first half was a game of defense in which neither team gained momentum. The Centaurs’ defense was as good as usual, shutting out Beacon. In the previous two games, their defense had been equally stellar, holding opponents to only three goals combined. Much of this can be attributed to their goalie, junior Demos Sfakianakis, who saved 12 shots and only gave up two goals in the game. On one play, Beacon had a breakaway, a two-on-one opportunity, but Sfakianiakis moved up in the box and saved a shot going for the upper corner. The game was scoreless going into halftime, but the Centaurs couldn’t rely on the defense for the entire game. The Centaurs lost because their offense was unable to score. They only had four shots on goal the entire game, down from the 24 scoring opportunities they had in the lone game they won this season. “Going forward, we will work on communicating on the field and making better passes,” coach Vincent Miller said. “By doing so, we will create better opportunities to score.” The Centaurs had a lot of turnovers and didn’t make smart passes, two reasons for their offensive woes.
In the second half, the Blue Demons struck first as the Centaurs’ defense weakened with fatigue. “Beacon is a great team, and they were just in better shape than us,” Sfakianakis said. However, on one exciting play, the Centaurs were in the middle of a huge, three-on-one breakaway, and the lone Beacon defender decided it was best to foul and place their bets on the ensuing freekick from junior Sean Fitzgerald. But Fitzgerald scored, tying the game at one goal apiece. The late goal by Fitzgerald proved to be futile, however. Beacon’s stamina gave them a distinct advantage. In the closing minutes of the game, the Centaurs’ defenders moved up to give their offense support, leaving huge gaps in the defense. Beacon intercepted a bad pass, dribbled down the field, and scored a goal that was the nail in the coffin. “Beacon is a very good team, and they maintained possession long enough to find holes in our defense and score,” senior and cocaptain Zane Birenbaum said. Though the Centaurs’ defense couldn’t hold Beacon scoreless the whole game, they kept Beacon within striking distance long enough. The offense simply could not capitalize, a common theme this season—the team has scored a paltry four goals in five games. The Centaurs’ offense has to find a way to generate points, or the team’s already dim playoff hopes will fade completely. MLK Brings out the Worst in the Centaurs By Louis Susser
“Everything [went wrong],” coach Vincent Miller, senior and co-captain Zane Birenbaum, and junior Sean Fitzgerald said. The Centaurs were anything but prepared for their game against Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK), the top team of the Manhattan A division. Collapsing 0-9, the Centaurs ultimately played like an uncommitted soccer team. Though this game was most definitely a blowout, the Centaurs played an MLK team that has not lost a single game in the past few years, and is ranked first among the city’s boys’ soccer teams. The Centaurs were not expecting to win the game, but intended to put up a good fight. In their first match against MLK this season, the Centaurs held MLK to only four goals. However, by the time they were down by eight goals in the second half, the Centaurs realized that their hopes were unrealistic. The Centaurs could not accomplish anything offensively or defensively. MLK’s stellar offense created holes in the Centaurs’ once-impenetrable defensive barrier from earlier this season. The Centaurs’ offense was never on the same page, totaling just two shots on goal while MLK had 25 shots. This was partially due to the absence of Centaurs forward Stanislav Banartzev. Though not a top goal scorer, his presence on offense and passing had allowed for many scoring opportunities in the past. Fitzgerald blamed the Centaurs’ embarrassing performance on lack of dedication. “Half the team shows up to practice and everyone fools around. We didn’t even treat this game like we could have won it—it’s really just irritating at this point,” Fitzgerald said. Senior and co-captain Zane Birenbaum, in agreement with his teammate, stated that improvement starts with practice. “[My teammates] gave up on the team,” sophomore Pranav Lowe said about practice attendance. Miller is doing his best to keep team spirits high, as the team has lost much of its motivaton. “[Coach Miller] is strict on the players that skip practices. He doesn’t yell at them, but he shows it in their playing time the next game,” Lowe said. Miller believed that the loss could also be blamed on “[The Centaurs’] bad passes” and that
“there was no communication,” he said. With this loss, the Centaurs are 1-4-1 and not looking good for playoff contention. They need to pull off an upset against one of their last two matches, which are against Beacon and MLK, to earn a spot in the playoffs. However, Coach Miller believes the team “will need better teamwork and effort” to win any game, he said.
“Half the team shows up to practice and everyone fools around. We didn’t even treat this game like we could have won it—it’s really just irritating at this point.” —Sean Fitzgerald, junior
As they say, practice makes perfect, and the Centaurs are looking imperfect due to imperfect practice. Centaurs Find Themselves in a Bottomless Pit By Eric Morgenstern The Centaurs have gone from bad to worse. Not only have they lost their fourth consecutive game, but they have also dropped to 1-6-1, ahead of only the winless Lab Museum United Gators. After making the playoffs for the last two seasons, this year can only be considered an embar-
rassment for the team. On Wednesday, October 4, the Centaurs lost to the Bard High School Raptors by 0-2. The Raptors, who have a 5-2-1 record, scored twice early in the first half, both on lapses in which the Stuyvesant defender let a pass squeak by him for a relatively easy score. “The two goals were in the first 10 minutes, and it was because we made two mistakes,” junior Meril Takizawa said. “After those goals, we stepped up and didn’t let them score.” After the opening minutes of the game, however, the two teams went back and forth down the field, but neither was able to get a quality shot on goal. Coach Vincent Miller had his share of critiques of his team’s plays. “We did not move the ball well. We had plenty of opportunities to score but we could not finish,” he said. On the other hand, since the Centaurs only had five shots on goal compared to the Raptors’ 19, it could be argued that Stuyvesant’s problem was not finishing, but rather creating, opportunities in the first place. Multiple players were concerned with their team’s poor effort to start the game. “We just need to have more intensity from the start of the game and not after they score two goals, because [this] happens every game,” Takizawa said. Senior and co-captain Zane Birenbaum agreed. “We didn’t start the game with enough intensity and quickly went behind by two goals. The rest of the game was spent trying to battle back, but with a lack of finishing, we couldn’t,” he said. Miller hopes to see much improvement in his team before the next game, and not just mentally. “Over the next couple practices, we will work on passing the ball more efficiently,” he said. “We will also work on off-ball movement to help set up better shots and opportunities when we are on offense.” The Centaurs have four games left in the season, two of which are against Martin Luther King High School and Beacon High School. Though they have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, the Centaurs will still play for pride, to prove that Stuyvesant soccer will come back strong next year.
The Spectator ● October 17, 2013
Alice Li / The Spectator
Popeye? More like Poppy
Senior Andrew Puopolo strives for nothing less than the best, for he is an internationally ranked radial sailor, a great asset to the Stuyvesant track team, and a stellar math student.
By Annique Wong with additional reporting from Samantha Lau Meet Stuyvesant senior Andrew Puopolo, known to close friends as “Poppy.” Unlike Popeye the cartoon sailor, however, Puopolo hates spinach, doesn’t have a girlfriend named Olive Oyl, and actually sails. Puopolo was introduced to sailing when he was eight by his older brother, who was a member of the Ocean City Yacht Club. Puopolo only competed in the South Jersey area for the first few years of his sailing career, but he later expanded his horizons to include all of New Jersey. With sailing, Puopulo is able to experience the freedom of going out on the water in a boat by himself and the strong tactical
sense the sport incorporates. Nine years later, Puopolo is sailing internationally and has qualified for the World Championships four times as a radial sailor, meaning that he sails as an individual. The first time he participated was during the summer of 2011 in Largs, Scotland. “At my first Worlds, I wasn’t quite prepared to handle the pressure of an international event and finished poorly,” Puopolo said. Two years later, Puopolo has learned to rein in that pressure and gain recognition as a top international sailor. From September 2 to September 7 of this year, Puopolo participated in his fourth and most recent Worlds, which took place at Dun Laoghire, Ireland, and finished 29th out of 90 as the top American. “I now have more experience with handling the pressure that comes with an international regatta and the differences that comes with sailing at the highest levels of competition [as opposed to competing in America],” he said. Some of these differences include the people he competes with. A mistake while competing in the U.S. could cost Puopolo one or two places. In Worlds, the same mistake could cost him 12 places. In comparison with other student athletes, who practice every day, Puopolo does not practice as much, but he is still probably one of the most successful athletes at Stuyvesant. During the school year, he trains during school holidays. For the past couple of years, he has trained in Brant Beach, NJ, which is the site of numerous regattas leading up to the High School Nationals. During the winter and midwinter breaks, Puopolo also trains in Florida and Clearwa-
ter, sites of the Orange Bowl (the largest youth competition in the States) and Midwinters East (an event many Olympic sailors attend), respectively. Due to the lack of breaks in the spring, he infrequently practices in Eastern Long Island with childhood friend Gary Prieto, another top youth radial sailor who placed sixth at the U.S. Youth Sailing Championship this past August. Puopolo’s success at Worlds is a testament to his productivity during these training periods. Depending on where he is and whom he is with, Puopolo said that “the scope of my training varies.” When he is alone, he works on start tactics, such as putting himself in a position closer to the upwind side, which allows him to use the wind to his fullest advantage and begin with maximum speed. But when training with a large group of other sailors, he emphasizes the racing aspect of sailing, figuring out how to put himself in the lead. When he isn’t sailing, Puopolo stays in shape as a member of the boys’ cross country and track teams. Also a successful runner, he ran the 800-meter leg in the Distance Medley and placed 18th in the New Balance Indoor Nationals during the last school year. He is also part of the 4X800 team, which holds the school record time of 8:10:35, and the Indoor Borough Championship for the 1000 meters. During the summer, Puopolo has much more time to train. This past summer, in fact, he spent most of July and August travelling internationally for training blocks in Canada and Ireland. Though spending hours cooped up in planes is not his ideal definition
RESULTS US Nationals 2010 - 6th place US Youth Championships 2011 - 9th place Canadian Olympic Classes Regatta 2011 - 7th place US Youth Championships 2012 - 7th place Orange Bowl Regatta 2012 - 12th place Mid Atlantic High School Championships 2012 - 2nd place North American Championships 2012 - 7th place High School Nationals 2012 - 3rd place Mid Atlantic High School Championship 2013 - 1st place Pacific Coast Championships 2013 - 2nd place US Nationals 2013 - 5th place Us Youth Championships 2013 - 5th place of fun, he does enjoy his destinations. Besides sailing, his favorite part of travelling is “really immersing [himself ] in the culture,” he said. While staying in Ireland, he visited Kinsale (a “small, cute coastal town”) and the Titanic Exhibit and spent time indulging in a favorite pastime: watching soccer. He was able to spectate the World Cup qualifier between Ireland and Sweden. Beyond his own diligence, Puopolo attributes his success to Isabella Bertold (his training partner and coach) and his mother. His mother has been to every single sailing event he has participated in, so he thanks her for her unwavering faith in his abilities. Bertold, whom Puopolo met at a competition when he was thirteen, became the youngest individual to qualify for both junior and senior national teams. As of today, she is also ranked third internationally and is striving to win Olympic gold at the 2016 Olympics. In addition to being his coach, Bertold does more than give him sailing tips. “She’s been a really great role model and has been able to show me what it’s like to get to the next level, both on
the water and off, and how the best people in the world are able to get to where they are,” Puopolo said. Off the water, Puopolo puts academics before athletics, which is why he decided to attend Stuyvesant instead of a more laid-back school. Though Stuyvesant doesn’t acknowledge his success as sailor nearly as much as it should, Puopolo doesn’t mind, because Stuyvesant’s math team has allowed Puopolo to excel in the American Mathematic Competition (AMC) and qualify for the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME) three times. At the moment, Puopolo is talking to college recruiters and plans on sailing in the future. While there have been no acceptances yet, Bertold has high hopes for Puopolo. “[Puopolo] is one of few sailors I have crossed paths with that understands the true nature of the sport, and that combined with his relentless pursuit of excellence in the boat makes him, in my opinion, a name to watch for in the future,” she said in an e-mail interview. Puopolo looks to sail well at the November High School Nationals in Rhode Island.
What do the Vixens Say? continued from page 24
helping the girls’ volleyball team secure a win against the Lab Lady Gators on Monday, October 7. Both teams entered the game undefeated, which made the victory for the Vixens all the more sweet. In spite of winning in straight sets, the Vixens had a tense and close first set. The first set started with just a few people in the bleachers and the Vixens’ desire to prove themselves to the Gators. But the pressure only led to careless mistakes on the Vixens’ court. “We were making too many unforced errors. We gave
[the Gators] a lot of the points. They didn’t really earn a lot of the points,” coach Vasken Choubaralian said. Those points gave the Gators a lead that fueled the Vixens’ frustrations. “We were catching up the whole game, and when we finally got the lead, I think we relaxed too much,” junior Julia Gokhberg said. But as the first set drew to a close, the Vixens were able to pull ahead to two points to win 25-23. In between the sets, the bleachers began to fill up with other athletes and students. When someone retrieved thunder clappers from the Student
Union, the gym became much more alive. Even non-Stuyvesant students were armed with the ‘Go Stuy!’ thunder clappers and enthusiastically clapped. All this energy helped change the Vixens’ outlook. “They came in the second game with a good attitude, they weren’t down on themselves,” Choubaralian said. “[The Vixens] expected much more of themselves so, in the second game, they regrouped and said, ‘Let’s play the way we normally play, which is much better than this.” Notable players were Gokhberg and Kulyk, who worked together to score points. “The hits
start with a good set,” Choubaralian said. “[Kulyk] was hitting very well, but then again, [Gokhberg] was doing a great job as a setter.” The Vixens were able to close out the second set 25-14. This win has helped the Vixens not only gain confidence for upcoming games, but also demonstrate that even with senior and captain Alice Li out for the season due to a fractured fibula, they are adjusting well. They had to change positions to cover Li’s position. The responsibility of captain also fell on senior Abigail Baltazar, who has done her best to keep team spirits high. “I think the girls are kinda getting used
to the fact that she’s not here,” Choubaralian said. But Li is never far from the Vixens’ minds. “We dedicate all of our games to [Li],” Kulyk said. In spite of the victory, the closeness of the first game demonstrates how the Vixens are still adjusting to the loss of Li; she was the one whom setter Gokhberg could rely on to get the ball over the net no matter what. “We still have to understand that there’s more work to be done and we can still be better,” Choubaralian said.
Peglegs Enter Final Homestand, Eye Playoffs continued from page 24
average today. We out powered the other team, but we should have out powered them,” he said. The Peglegs will have to improve on many things such as communication on defense, as a small mistake cost them a big touchdown. Their offense must also work on communication; a few missed blocks gave Weaver no room to run and resulted in lost yardage. Many receivers also dropped catchable passes that may prove costly in crucial games. “There were a couple of plays on offense where we ran the ball and got stuck behind the line of scrimmage,” Quinn said. “We were not perfect at all.”
Trojan Horse Exposes Peglegs’ Hubris By Junpei Taguchi The Peglegs had great momentum, going into their fifth game of the season undefeated. But was this momentum a precursor to overconfidence? That may have been the case, as the George Washington Trojans prevailed over the Peglegs 24-6 on Sunday, October 6. “They were hungry for the win,” sophomore Tahji Lyons said. “They just had a lot more aggression than we did [because] we expected to beat them. We underestimated them, and that’s basically why we lost.” The Peglegs started the game off on their own five-yard line. They quickly found themselves
in the red zone, as senior quarterback Solomon Quinn threw a 30-yard pass to senior Michael Mazzeo, which was followed by a quarterback run and aggressive drives by junior Cooper Weaver. However, the Peglegs were unable to finish strong within the red zone. This pattern was ubiquitous throughout the game, as the Peglegs only converted once (late in the fourth quarter), out of the five opportunities they had in the red zone. “We need to improve on scoring in the red zone,” Quinn said. “We just didn’t score.” “Washington looks like they’re losing,” one bystander said, after witnessing Stuyvesant’s effective passing and running game against the Trojan defense. However, though Stuyvesant pos-
sessed the ball for the majority of the game, the Trojan’s had “a lot of big plays, and that’s what saved them,” Lyons said. With the height mismatch, the first touchdown was scored in the second quarter with a long pass to the end zone. Later on, two over-50 -yard runs in the third quarter resulted in a 20-0 score. Washington’s run did not end there. In the fourth quarter, Stuyvesant’s offensive line was overpowered by the Trjoan defensive line, resulting in a safety. It was only at the end of the fourth quarter that the Peglegs were able to find the end zone. Hubris is excessive pride or self-confidence—something the Peglegs had Sunday afternoon. Emerging victorious every game this season by more than double
digits, the Peglegs seemed to be blinded by glory. “We came in with too much confidence, thinking that we were [going to] win,” Mazzeo said. The Peglegs kept their heads up high, however, and are looking forward to their next game against Evanders Child Campus. “Now we’re 4-1, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make the playoffs. We can still be the number one seed. We have to come out and win all our games at home,” Mazzeo said. The Peglegs hope to improve upon this loss and “take it as a learning experience,” Quinn said. “It’s a good thing it happened in the regular season and not in the playoffs. So if we could just learn from it, I know we’ll bounce back next week.”
October 17, 2013
The Spectator SpoRts Girls’ Volleyball
Taekyung Kong / The Spectator
What do the Vixens Say?
Senior Abigail Baltazar hits a right-side set against the Lab Museum United Lady Gators on Monday, October 7.
Vixens Start Season On BitterSweet Note By Samantha Lau “1,2,3, ACE!” were the only words heard throughout the gymnasium in the Vixens’ season opener against Washington Irving High School on Thursday, September 26. The Vixens entered the game with a different lineup than planned and expected, due to an injury suffered by senior and captain Alice Li. In the scrimmage against Richmond Hill High School on Tuesday, September 24, Li was coming down from a spike when she landed on
the side of her foot, resulting in a season-ending ankle fracture. “It is harder to play, since [Li] is a very consistent player. Without her, we have to fill in some gaps, since there are more open spots on the court,” senior and interim captain Abigail Baltazar said. “[Li] is a very big presence on the court, and I look forward to stepping up and taking her place for the time being.” The Vixens’ first win, in a nutshell, was due to Baltazar’s 25-service-point streak, the majority of which were aces. “I told [Baltazar] at one point to miss it on purpose so we could get a ball coming to us and actually play
offense and defense. I preferred that to just serving and not doing anything,” coach Vasken Choubaralian said. “We don’t get much out of serves, even though we do win the game.” Due to their swift win in the first set, the Vixens became complacent and let their guard down in the second set, resulting in lethargic movement on the court. “We were slow on transitions and ran some weird plays,” senior Paula Camcro said. Still, the Vixens finished off the second set 25-9. Following an expected victory over the Washington Irving Lady Bulldogs, the Vixens will now have to work on transitioning from defense to offense. “I tell the team to be careful, because many times the ball will come over when they don’t expect it,” Choubaralian said. “Sometimes you are caught off guard, and we can’t allow this to happen.” With a long road left until the postseason, the team has a lot to work on before it faces more difficult competition later in the season. Vixens Sprint Past Mistakes and Pressure to Defeat Lady Gators By Erica Chio Armed with thunder clappers, the crowd infected the Vixens with its positive attitude, continued on page 23
The New York Daily News wrote an article on the winning streak of Stuyvesant’s football team, the Peglegs, after four consecutive double-digit victories to start the year. In the following game, the Peglegs were blown out by George Washington, but they bounced back on Friday, October 11, with an overtime win against Evander Childs Campus. Junior tight-end Kyler Chase had a monster game of 10 catches for 206 yards and two touchdowns, providing a target for senior quarterback Solomon Quinn, who had over 300 yards passing. Junior running-back Cooper Weaver also contributed his third 100-yard rushing game of the year in the Peglegs’ offensive outburst. Stuyvesant’s girls’ soccer team, the Mimbas, have been inconsistent throughout the season, but still have a 5-6-2 record and may finish over .500 for the first time in several years. Despite having made playoffs for the past three seasons, Stuyvesant’s boys’ soccer team, the Centaurs, currently stand with a 1-7-1 record, failing to meet the expectations that the team had going into the season. Stuyvesant’s girls’ swimming team, the Penguins, came into this season with 55 consecutive wins in both the regular season and postseason. They have lived up to that reputation so far this year. At 5-0, their PSAL title defense is in full force. Stuyvesant’s girls’ volleyball team, the Vixens, won their first five games of the season, including a nail-biter against Seward Park Campus (26-24, 23-25, 25-23) on Thursday, October 10. They have put themselves in prime position for a playoff run. Stuyvesant’s bowling team, the Pinheads, have continued their hot start to the season. The boys’ and girls’ teams have lost just one game each. Stuyvesant’s girls’ golf team, the Birdies, finished the regular season with a 7-2 record and will play their first playoff match this Thursday, Octobor 17. Stuyvesant’s boys’ cross country team, the Greyducks, finished in second place among PSAL teams and sixth overall at the Mayor’s Cup. Juniors Eric Chen and Eamon Woods, who finished in third and eighth place respectively, were the team’s two top performers.
Peglegs Enter Final Even Without Diving Blocks, Penguins Homestand, Eye Playoffs Jump Off Strong in Opener
In 2007, the Peglegs were really living up to their name, finishing off another miserable season with zero wins and 10 losses. Abject and hopeless, Stuyvesant’s entire football program was in jeopardy of being removed. Nobody would have thought that six years later, the Peglegs would be at the top of their division. On Saturday, September 28, the Stuyvesant Peglegs improved to 4-0 by dominating the William C. Bryant Owls by a score of 30-8. Though the offense really flourished, scoring the most it has all season, the Peglegs relied heavily on their defense to secure the win. “This defense is a new crew; we only have two returners from last year,” coach Mark Strasser said. “But I really think we’re starting to come together as a defense, and the more games they get under their belt, the more experienced they will be.” The Owls were suffocated by the Peglegs’ fierce defense and thus had minimal gains in both their air and ground games. Owls quarterback Justin Delacruz was constantly pressured by the Peglegs’ strong defensive line; he was sacked five times. The constant pressure led to Delacruz completing zero passes and getting picked off by Peglegs senior Michael Mazzeo. The Peglegs also halted the Owls’ running game, constantly stopping them in the backfield and bringing them down for negative yardage. However, the Peglegs gave up one big run that ended up being the Owls’ only conversion of the
whole game. During the middle of the second quarter, the Owls offense was ready while the Peglegs defense seemed confused, as some of the players were out of position. Owls senior John Mihalopolous completely broke down the entire Peglegs defense and scored on a long touchdown run. The Owls then converted on a two-point conversion to bring the score to 14-8. “We had one player who didn’t realize he was supposed to be on the field,” junior Brian Guo said. While the Owls struggled on offense, the Peglegs moved the ball fluidly against the Owls’ weak defense. Senior Solomon Quinn threw for 160 yards, including two touchdowns, one to senior Michael Mazzeo and the other to junior Kyler Chase. Junior Cooper Weaver led the Peglegs’ ground attack as he ran for 85 yards and two touchdowns. “Our offensive line was great. They created holes for our running game, gave me time to throw the ball. Our receivers were running good routes and our running backs were running hard,” Quinn said. “Everything came together offensively today.” The Peglegs’ biggest improvement was their kicking. Stuyvesant had a lot of trouble kicking the ball prior to this game. However, senior Shin Kim was perfect on three extra point conversions and also successful on a 32-yard field goal. Despite their fourth win, the Peglegs have yet to play the best teams in their division. The Owls are one of the weakest teams, and Strasser believes that “we played continued on page 23
By Jeffrey Zheng After winning their fifth championship last year, Stuyvesant’s girls’ swimming team, the Penguins, experienced roster adjustments and a new coach, leading to speculations on how the Penguins would fare in the upcoming season. The team cast all doubts aside in its season opener against the Hunter High School Duckies, a formidable opponent. Stuyvesant has had much success against Hunter as of late, and the Penguins’ success continued, as they handled the Duckies 56-37 in their season opener on Wednesday, September 25. Though it occurred incredibly early in the season, the meet was a must-win for the Penguins and coach Peter Bologna. “It was very important to win this meet,” Bologna said. “This is probably the best team in our division other than us.” The high level of energy in both teams created an electric atmosphere, matched by the intensity of the first few races. The 200-yard medley was an entertaining one: Stuyvesant junior Sifan Lu and Hunter sophomore Cathy Tan were neck and neck at the start as they matched each other stroke for stroke. However, the tie did not last for long, as Tan began to pull away, leaving Lu to trail behind. It looked as though Tan would have an easy win, but Lu propelled herself off the wall and quickly overtook Tan in the final 50 meters. The close start and Tan’s early lead ended in an unexpected comeback win by Lu as she cruised to the finish with a time of 2:25.26. Tan finished behind her with a time of 2:30.31, while Stuyvesant sophomore Sabrina Huang finished with a respectable
Alice Chy / The Spectator
Pegleg’s Stifling Defense Paves Way for Fourth Win By Jeffrey Zheng
The Stuyvesant Penguins and Hunter Hawks dive into the pool to begin yet another race during the intense season opener on Wednesday, September 25.
time of 2:45.20. Stuyvesant finished first in eight of eleven events, and numerous swimmers set new personal records. “We had about five or six best times already in our first meet, so we’re meeting our goals,” Bologna said. With her own personal best of 5:42.18, sophomore Gabriela Almeida finished first in the 500-yard freestyle and more than 20 seconds faster than Hunter’s second-place time. In the 100yard freestyle, sophomore Krystal Lara easily finished first with a time of 55.26, also breaking her personal record. Both swimmers, though only sophomores, look to serve crucial roles for the team this year. The Penguins also showed their usual dominance in the 200-yard freestyle relay, an event that they never lost in the previous year. Many swimmers from last year swam this year as well, and Stuyvesant finished first and second. The first team, consisting of Huang, senior and co-captain
Felicia How, senior Grace Sun, and junior Alice Chy, finished with an overall time of 1:56.73. The second team—senior and cocaptain Arisa Chan, sophomore Audrey Lee, and juniors Sappha O’Meara and Cynthia Lao—finished just over a second behind. The Penguins gave the Duckies no chance in this event, as both the Stuyvesant teams had considerable leads over the Hunter teams throughout the entire race. The first-place finish featured Chy, the junior anchor whose split time for the 200-yard relay has improved every year. Her personal best of 28.17 was the fastest time in that event. The Penguins are not at their best yet; new members of the team are just starting to get comfortable and lineups are still being tweaked. The Penguins’ victory over Hunter was a statement win, showing that even with the loss of veterans, they can still swim with the best.