Voice November 2011 Vol 15 â€˘ No 1
Stuff Twin Face-Off
• Harrison J. Bacon & Max Cabaj
Shweta’s answers (about Shruti)
Sarah Reynolds photo
The Kumars vs. The Rattis Jake
Shruti’s answers (about herself )
Dylan’s answers (about Jake)
Jake’s answers (about himself )
If your twin could pick a superpower to have, what do you think it would be?
Alvin and the Chipmunks
Alvin and the Chipmunks
What is your twin’s favorite movie?
Green Disney sweater
Green Disney sweater
What is your twin’s favorite article of clothing?
Who is your twin’s favorite rapper?
What is your twin’s dream vacation?
Golfing in North Carolina
Golfing in Ireland
How to Dougie
How to Dougie
What is your twin’s hidden talent?
Can we skip this one?
We’d better skip this one.
Random number between 1 and 50, excluding birthdays and other significant numbers.
Chicken Tenders and French Fries
Chicken Tenders and French Fries
What is your twin’s favorite food?
What is your twin’s favorite sport?
Harrison J. Bacon photo
When you see just one of these sets of twins in the halls, you probably speak to them only in pronouns in order to avoid embarrassment by using the wrong name. They seem to be able to finish each other’s sentences and thoughts, but have you ever wondered how strong the connection between them really is? In order to test how well they know each other, and even their twin telepathy, we asked one twin to answer the following questions about him or herself, and then asked the other twin to answer what they think his or her twin would say. Does the connection grow stronger with age? Does the link between telepathic brainwaves depend on gender? Read below to see whose twin connection is better...
Separated at Birth
• Lexi Smith
Chris Ribaudo & Justin Lloyd
Dimitri Antoniou & Pedro Puelles
Christine Gill & Emily Matthews
Chandler Nemetz & Sam Martin
Pat Lizza & Richard Rosa
Tom Grogan & Derek Keough
Erica Limont & Carly Alperin
Emily Dolphin & Meg Bayliss
Sarah Reynolds & Michaela Scanzillo photos
We all like to think we’re unique – but these look-alikes prove that you don’t have to be twins to be identical.
Surviving a New Millenium Childhood
• Franny Saunders
Savannah Maroney art
If you survived a turn of the millennium childhood you were born in the 90s and chances are, although you see the evidence of terrible plastic pants and oversized glasses in your childhood pictures, you deny ever having anything to do with that fashion faux pas. If you survived a turn of the millennium childhood, you most likely got a cell phone by the time you were thirteen, but judge the “new generation” for getting mobiles in the first grade. You use babysitting as an excuse to check out what’s new on Disney channel and Nickelodeon and can’t help but be appalled by the quality of shows. What happened to Lizzie McGuire, That’s So Raven, Zoey 101, and The Amanda Show? And why in God’s name are Zack and Cody still on TV and living on a boat? I thought they lived in a hotel... If you survived a turn of the millennium childhood you hopefully remember a world where A Baby Story on TLC and Survivor were the only reality shows. Where Paris Hilton was the only person famous for having no talent and the name Kardashian was known only because it was the name of OJ Simpson’s lawyer. And speaking of OJ, if you survived a turn of the millennium childhood you’re not sure if Casey Anthony is the OJ of your generation or if OJ himself is. If you survived a turn of the millennium childhood, you are part of the true social networking generation. You lived for a while without IM, email, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, laptops, and cell phones but you probably don’t remember that time. You most likely had a MySpace for about two minutes but look down on it now as Facebook’s cheap, slutty, younger sibling and you still refer to mirror-selfies as MySpace pixxx. You speak emoticon and leet speak but still remember when “LOL“ stood for lots of love, not laugh out loud. If you survived a turn of the millennium childhood you grew up alongside Harry, Ron, and Hermione and although you were only old enough to go to the midnight releases of the last half of the series you act like you went to them all. You’re not ashamed that you cried when Dumbledore died and sobbed during the last movie. You unfortunately may have read Twilight but only to say that it’s not as good as Harry Potter. And, thankfully, you knew a time before sparkling vampires were the only important mythical creatures in the media. If you survived a turn of the millennium childhood you had the terrible misfortune of knowing what gaucho pants are. You remember the original panel of judges on American Idol and although Britney wasn’t your first concert, there’s a good chance it was your older sibling’s. You probably have been through several iPods but had an MP3 player or portable CD player first, and buried deep in some old dusty drawer, you most likely have a few Gwen Stefani and Hillary Duff CDs. You love the Backstreet Boys and N’Sync semi-ironically, semi-not. You might’ve even liked Aaron Carter at some point. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’d like to pretend that you’re so mature now. Let’s be real though, your official “childhood” only ended about three years ago, and in another three years you’re going to be looking back fondly on these times and realizing how endearing these interests were, unless you liked Jon and Kate Plus 8. In that case, you should be ashamed until the day you die.
Life Fresh Faces You’ve seen them around. In almost every corner of the campus, there’s a new addition to the TA community. Here’s a little bit more about each of them.
Numbers, shapes 1984, Mathletes, The Princess Bride, speaking sarcastically
CHEF DOUG FOSS
Pass as Clark Kent
A black belt in Aikido – in other words: can seriously hurt you
JENNY SCHNEIDER Teaches: Loves:
English, seniors how to get into college Sword in the Stone, Wegmans, exercise in general Write a song and run a marathon – at the same time. Started her school’s cross-country team
Culinary Magic Diver scallops, lamb stew with white beans, his amazing wife and two kids Make school lunch a fivestar, gourmet affair A “micro-farm” of chickens
ELIZABETH CARROLL Teaches:
A section of APES
The environment and her kids Can: Play tennis, hike Has: Gone to Windsor, UVM, and Yale, worked in the Whitehouse, lived in the rainforest, started her own environmental consulting firm, and married her Belmont Hill boyfriend
MARY BASHIR Teaches: Français Loves: Shawshank Redemption, food with lots of colors like ratatouille and rainbow sherbert Can: Cause serious pain as a certified personal trainer Has:
Taught for 11 years
DAVID IRONS Teaches: World History Loves: Bournedale, his time as a peer advisor, and Dead Poet’s Society Can: Now call his former teachers by their first names (’07 grad) Has:
Spent a total of 546 hours backstage
Compiled by Peter Fitzpatrick, Allison Hoffman, Sam Martin & Mike Pratt page 10
Sarah Reynolds & Michaela Scanzillo photos
Mr. Thompson Tells All
• Sam Martin
Highley Thompson, Thayer’s new Upper School Director, has been at Thayer for about three months now. Self-described as “not super extroverted, not super introverted,” he is someone Thayer students want to know more about. Here are some answers.
Where were you before Thayer? I grew up in Maryland, and then after college I went back to teach at my old high school, the Severn School. After that I taught and eventually was the director of an all-boys school in Philadelphia called Chestnut Hill Academy.
What brought you to Thayer? I think it had a lot to do with the strength of the community, and the pride the students have in the school. You can’t fake pride.
Has moving around been difficult for you and your family? Well, I’ve been married for ten years, and I have a nine year old son and a six year old daughter, so yeah, they’ve been really good sports. They’re enjoying this area so far, especially the beaches. What is your favorite band? I grew up loving REM. They were right in my era, just getting started when I was in high school. But they just broke up last month, officially.
I’m sorry. I’m sure that’s been tough. I mean, high school was, like, thirty years ago. I’m over it.
Speaking of high school, what was your most embarrassing experience? Once in high school I had to recite a poem in front of the class, and I just couldn’t do it. I tried three times, and each time I couldn’t get out more than two words. I’m proud of how far I’ve come.
Q: What was your favorite sport in high school? A: To play? Lacrosse. I played in high school and college. To coach, I’d say soccer. Q: We have to ask. What’s the “R” in “R. Highley” ? A: Randolph. I’m the third one in my family that has my name, Randolph Highley Thompson, and one went by Randolph, and one by Highley. My parents and everyone else have always called me Highley. Q: What did you want to be when you were younger? A: As a kid, I really wanted to be a doctor; I just really wanted to help people. And now I guess I’m still helping people, but just in a different way. Q: Any special talents? A: I’ve always enjoyed woodworking. Q: What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever made? A: I once made a toy chest for my kids. I was rookie enough that I made a really bad wood choice. It’s made out of red oak, so it’s just ridiculously heavy. But we still have it. Q: Greatest piece of wisdom? A: My college lacrosse coach never told me this, but it’s what he did. He took the blame when things went wrong, and passed the credit when things went right.
Michaela Scanzillo photo
Anna Kenyon photo
The Library: Quiet Area or Classier Lounge?
• Peter Fitzpatrick
The library opened its doors to us two weeks after the school year started, revealing new study rooms, a massive circulation desk, and tempting window seats. But what are these new improvements really for? While the window nook seats may have been built to help juniors through their tedious US history reading, they’re mostly used by students with laptops chasing their high score or reading El Prez’s latest rant on Barstoolsports.com. The lounge is the designated student hangout area, but most students consider its dungeon-like atmosphere to be uninviting, while the laptops, comfy furniture, and natural light of the library are extremely appealing. Should the library be a place where students can relax, surf the net, and chat with classmates? Or should it be the quiet study area it was built to be? Head Librarian Karen Starr describes the library as “the space on campus where students can come and study quietly.” While she doesn’t necessarily believe in a completely silent library, she believes that students should be relatively quiet and respectful while there. Library Assistant Sophie Browne says, “It should be both a study area and a hangout spot, but people should be quiet no matter why they’re in the library.” The librarians also often find that students are using computers in a way that conflicts with the “acceptable use policy” laid out by the IT department. However, students have been taking advantage of the “double-edged sword” that is YouTube. While educational material can be found on YouTube, it’s mostly used to watch such classics as “Charlie Bit My Finger” and “Bill O’Reilly Flip-out” for the millionth time. While both librarians think that the library should be a quiet environment, they realize the appeal of the library in comparison to the lounge. “I totally empathize with the students, but you have to be mindful that it’s a different kind of space. Come here, but change your behavior a little bit,” says Ms. Starr. While the library sees its fair share of distractors, the majority of students are there to study quietly or get their work done. “It can be annoying when you’re trying to study,” says one student, who finds the antics of loud students disturbing. The librarians also observed that most students who come to the library after school are members of the play trying to finish homework before late-night play rehearsal. “They’re there to get their work done,” says Ms. Starr. While most students use the library as a quiet study sanctuary, there are those who choose to use the library as a vehicle for their loud shenanigans. An anonymous student, whom we’ll call Latrick Pizza, believes that the library should serve both as a study area and as a place where students can, “play some cyclomaniacs on the computer, catch up on “the stool,” and “crush protein bars.” Mr. Pizza believes that the current library rules are far too strict, and that eating, liberal use of the Internet, and laughing should be allowed. “Upon entering the library this year, I was immediately reminded of the Spark Notes of our summer Student, “Latrick Pizza,” reading book, 1984. Especially when I was told that laughing perusing his Netflix instant queue during a free is not allowed in the library. What’s next to go, happiness?” While most students and librarians think Latrick is a distraction in the library, he believes that his constant giggling and general giddiness is library-appropriate activity. “I often find myself distracted in the library!” says Latrick. “Whenever I’m close to a high score in a game I’m playing, the librarians will come by, and I have to minimize my page, and pull up a Wikipedia page of George Washington to make it look like I’m doing work, causing me to lose my progress in the game. It’s super distracting!” He acknowledges that he could hang out in the lounge, but he prefers the warmth and comfort of the Bakker reading room. The infamous phrase “With great power comes great responsibility” can certainly be applied to Thayer’s librarians. With the millions of dollars spent on library renovations, the responsibility to manage the library for both the use of current students and as an attraction to prospective students lies solely on the library staff. So next time you’re kicked out of the library for watching the latest It’s Always Sunny episode on the computer or for causing a ruckus in the quiet section, know that perhaps it’s for the best.
• Franny Saunders
Judging by the turnout at the Benelli Writing Center dedication, former Thayer Academy headmaster and English teacher Peter Benelli was beloved. This year in his honor, Thayer Academy partnered with the English department to establish the Peter Benelli Writing Center, otherwise known as the BWC. It is staffed with 18 student fellows who had to apply for the positions, and three faculty: Sarah Donovan, Erica Archabal, and Karen Jersild. The staff of the BWC is there to provide writing help to any student on campus who seeks it out. Mr. Benelli served Thayer for 24 years from 1967-1991. English teacher Geoff Goodale actually had Mr. Benelli as a teacher and reflects fondly upon the experience. “Fifty years ago I was challenged and inspired by Mr. Benelli, the then youthful, dapper, and charismatic English teacher—and recent Yale graduate. His pithy yet certainly insightful comments on our essays led us to think critically about the art of writing. We would consider carefully what we were attempting to say, proofread scrupulously, and review thoughtfully each turn of phrase-- always keeping in mind that Mr. Benelli would be evaluating our writing.” For a man who inspired such effort from his students, the BWC seems the perfect way to honor his legacy. When considering the possibility of starting a writing center at Thayer, Ms. Donovan Peter & Carolyn Benelli went out to observe a variety of centers to see what would work best. She found many at the dedication of the successful writing centers at the college level and also saw how beneficial it would be to Writing Center her students. “Writing can actually be fun if the experience is designed in the right way,” she reflects, “and students can give extraordinary help to other students in ways teachers sometimes can’t. It’s inspiring to watch students help their peers produce something they’re proud of.” Turns out the fellows are really doing that. After a visit to the writing center, junior Josh Cote said that though he had never felt truly proud of work before, he did after a single meeting, which was a mandatory task for one of his assignments. Now he reflects, “Having gone, I know that it is the most helpful thing for an English paper.” Even though he wouldn’t have gone there of his own accord, he is happy in retrospect that he was asked to. “Now that I know about this tool, I will be going a lot more often. Though I'm an awful writer, my piece for Ms. King's English class came out surprisingly well.” The writing fellows, too, get something out of the one-on-one sessions. Observes junior writing fellow Nikki LeFort, “What's great about the writing center is it's set up to be a conversation between the fellows and their students. The BWC is a place where students not only learn technique, but are also challenged to question their writing on a fundamental level. As a fellow it can be nerve-wracking to work with someone from your own class. You question whether or not they're smarter than you, or will ask a question you don't know the answer to. I love being a fellow because I get the chance to learn about writing just as much as the students I’m working with do. It's a process that involves both parties digging deeper into a piece of writing, and taking away much more than just a few grammatical edits.” According to Ms. Donovan, that really is the true purpose of the BWC: “to reinvigorate and excite kids about writing in any field.” It aims to do just that not only through tutoring but also by hosting fun events relating to writing. Several such events are coming up. Bryan McGrory from the Boston Globe will be visiting and the BWC is hoping to host a book club. There has also been excitement surrounding a potential Annual Spelling Bee. There are rumors Brendon MacKeen may be the MC in which case the BWC could An historic quartet of TA leaders: turn into the coolest place on campus. Former Upper School Director Marshall Litchfield, If you just want to rock out to some eighties music (the fellows’ favorites) former Headmaster Peter Benelli, or see a lethal game of Words with Friends (which occurs only during downformer Business Manager Cornelius Bakker time, of course) or you actually want to get legit help with your writing (insert & former Athletic Director Arthur Valicenti shameless plug here), sign up online or just drop by. There are lollipops. page 13
Paul Kahn photos
The BWC: Changing the Way Thayer Writes
Sheiber family photos
• Sarah Reynolds
Many Thayer Academy students know Pam Sheiber as the “dance lady,” lurking around the CFA basement and teaching pointed toes and pas de bourrés to dance and theatre students. Stick around a while and you’ll discover she’s much more than that. Ms. Sheiber was born and raised the spunky, dance-loving spitfire we know her as today. Choreography is in her blood as her mom was also a choreographer and “a hell of a tapper.” She takes after her father as well, though in a more surprising way: they were both expelled from Hebrew school. She, for being a feminist and he, for lighting the rabbi’s toilet on fire. And yes, that’s a true story. She also attributes her love of dance and appreciation of the culture behind it to her upbringing. She recalls a time when, at a young age, she enjoyed Latin dancing in Red Sox pitcher Luis Tiant’s house. “There were people there from Cuba, Mexico…” she says. “And we would dance.” Her career as a choreographer began in high school when she was asked to choreograph Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel. And though she liked it, she felt that dance was a passion, not a career. “I wanted to go and be on stage, but I was one of those straight A with distinction kids,” she remembers. “So the smart side of me said I would go to a good school. “ And go to a good school she did. She attended Brown University as an undergrad and later received her Juris Doctor, a law degree, at Boston University School of Law. And, like most things she has done in her life, she enjoyed herself. It was at Brown where she again embraced diversity. She heard about a week before school started where minority students could come and get to know each other. Of course, she was not happy at being excluded, so she went too. She ended up joining an all black sorority and becoming a little sister to an all black fraternity. One of the perks? Being accompanied to calculus by eleven of the boys (above) Ms. Sheiber from the fraternity assigned to carry her books and with her father at her escort her from class to class. law school graduation After school she went on to a successful career as and (right) performing a lawyer. She notes that her favorite part was the actual as Reno Sweeney in arguing in court. She describes it as “like improvisaAnything Goes tional theatre, but with facts.” She nearly cut her career short, however, one cold winter’s day shortly after starting her first job at a law firm. Ms. Sheiber, whose job required her to walk six blocks in the snow and freezing cold, decided to wear pants to work at a time when that was just not acceptable for women. When scolded by her boss, she simply refused to change and asked him if he wanted to walk that far with the snow blowing up under his skirt. “I should’ve gotten fired,” she says, laughing. Instead, she got moved into a fancy corner office with windows. Her equal opportunity, no nonsense attitude had paid off. But, how does one go from being a lawyer to teaching dance in a high school? The answer is motherhood. Apparently the “my child has an ear infection” excuse for missing work gets old quickly. She took a year off from work to be a stay at home mom, at which, she says, “I totally sucked.” But she knew she liked being on stage, and the opportunities just poured in. She started teaching master classes in dance for musical theatre and it “blossomed into this.” “This” is the current Thayer Academy dance program, a truly unique dance experience. In a format she calls “structured unstructured” she strives to maintain a program 100% dedicated to the students: a place where dancers can “perform, feel beautiful, feel fierce.” She loves that the dance studio is a place where students feel comfortable dancing their hearts out or just sitting on the floor talking about their weekends. “It’s flattering,” she says. “I love being mom to all of these kids.” Ms. Sheiber has been described in many ways in her lifetime. The rabbi at Hebrew school called her “an impertinent Jewish girl.” Her first boss told her she had “the nerves of a cat burglar.” And in the courtroom she was known as the “red-headed pit bull with lipstick.” But, what matters to her in the long run is this: “Everything I ever did I always had passion for.” page 23
Arts You Play What?
• Dimitri Antoniou
Everyone’s seen a guitar, bass, or piano in action. But what on earth is a guzheng, and who besides Israel Kamakawiwo’ole actually plays ukulele? Mr. Formato… The answers rest in the hands of Thayer’s obscure musical talents.
Harry Bacon sings and plays guitar in Mr. Browne’s F period jazz combo. So let’s be real Harry, you don’t actually play the West African djembe drum.
Sarah Reynolds photos
Together, Ms. Neely & Mike Pratt form a formidable bluegrass duo of fiddle and banjo. But isn’t a fiddle just a violin? And how exactly does a New England prep school kid end up playing this icon of the backcountry?
The Chinese Guzheng is huge and ornately complicated. When Serena Pang sits down to play, it’s hard not to wonder how on earth she can keep track of her dancing fingers. But come on, Serena, you couldn’t just pick up a guitar?
You played keyboard in a rock band called “Newton & The Apples?” Nuff said.
Molly McGlynn & Victoria Graceffa proudly strum away on their tropical “lutes.” Apparently the ukulele is a real instrument and not just a fun souvenir to buy on your way home from vacation.
Sam Martin joined a rich history of romance, candle lit dinner-dates, and evening gondola rides when she learned to play the accordion. But Sam, don’t you have to be a middle-aged Italian man with a moustache to be an accordionist?
Overcoming Obstacles in Sports Christian Allard • Anna Kenyon • Giovanna Pickering
Thompson family photo
Teacher: Throughout his athletic career, Highley Thompson had always been on the shorter side. His lack of height proved to be one of the main factors when he got cut from JV lacrosse his freshman year in high school. Instead of being bitter about not making the grade, our current upper school head used it as a motivator: “During the off-season, I threw the ball against the wall about a thousand times a day. I knew that I had to have the best stick skills on the team to make up for a lack of height.” His hard work ended up paying off; not only did he make varsity his sophomore year, but he was a starter and key player. After that, Thompson went on to play varsity lacrosse at Princeton–a true example of how, with dedication and determination, it is possible to overcome many obstacles. Mr. Thompson in high school
Anna Kenyon photo
Student: In 8th grade Joe Ferrera suffered a series of concussions that proved to have a huge impact on his sports career. While getting off the ice in one middle school hockey game, he was clipped by another player--slamming his head to the ice, and causing him to miss school for three months after the fact. Such an incident was obviously a huge obstacle for him and it became apparent that contact sports would no longer be an option. An avid football and ice hockey player, Joe was forced to retire the sports and play only baseball. Although this was originally a very challenging setback, Joe has made the most of it. “Trying to think of the positive things, I just focused on what I could do to get better at baseball instead of not being able to play football or hockey.” He has pursued this baseball career with much drive, finding great success as a result of it. Joe Ferrera
Eric Welch photo
Team: For the past few years, Thayer varsity football has been characterized by loss after loss after loss. Although their great work ethic did result in some improvement, it was still devastating for the team and for Thayer as a whole. Now the team is emerging from these frustrating years, breaking out of their slump. “The re-building years are over,” says senior captain Brendan Lawler. “We have a solid group of juniors and seniors who know how to put wins together.” The team’s success started over the summer, when attendance to Captains’ practices was 100%. The excitement to play and the dedication they have put in has yielded positive results. The team in action this year vs. Lawrence