Issue 03 2021

Page 1

Tower THE



THERE? In This Issue 12 Open Gradebook 18 Squid Game 20 Transit 22 College Visits


PHILOSOPHY The Tower is a student-run publication at The Bishop’s School in La Jolla, CA. Writers and editors work together under the guidance of a faculty advisor to enhance the Bishop’s community and stimulate meaningful conversation through the collection and distribution of news. The Tower aims to educate the Bishop’s community about issues and events that pertain to the experience of young adults. Sections of The Tower include Campus, Arts, Sports, Culture, Local & Beyond, Opinion, and The Bell. The Tower prints multiple issues each academic year, in addition to continuous online content. POLICY The Tower refrains from prior review of its issues, and maintains the right to publish anonymous quotes when the privacy of the individual is a concern. All quotes are subject to editing for clarity and length. Opinions expressed in The Tower do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or of the Bishop’s School. COLOPHON The Tower is printed by Streeter Printing Company in Mira Mesa, CA. The Staff uses Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator to arrange photographs and graphics, and distributed 300 copies of Issue 03 to the Bishop’s community. Typefaces include Saonara for the cover; Public Sans for the headlines, bylines, and subtitles; Minion Pro for the body text. Issue 03 and previous issues of The Tower are available digitally on THE BELL The Bell is a section of The Tower that intends to serve as a relief from the depth of the magazine. Satire, puzzles, quizzes, and the like are frequent inside The Bell.



CONTRIBUTORS Editors-in-Chief Sariah Hossain Clare Malhotra

Graphics Editor-in-Chief Kyle Berlage Copy Editors Crystal Li Tate Vaccaro Staff Writers Mihir Bhagatwala Isadora Blatt Ben Brown Sydney Chan Leila Feldman Bella Gallus Lily Gover Shyla Gupta Summer Hu Lucy Marek Spencer Ralph Sofi Verma Graham Walker Kayden Wang Joyce Wu Shirley Xu

Faculty Advisor Ms. Laine Remignanti

Cover by Sofi Verma (‘24) and Kyle Berlage (‘22)

What lies beneath the campus? Our cover story this issue explores what truly exists underneath us. The so-called “catacombs” have evoked intrigue and mystery among the student body for years, and Sofi Verma (‘24) set out to find what’s really up with those tunnels.

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Instagram: @thebishopstower Website: CONTACT The Tower c/o The Bishop’s School 7607 La Jolla Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037 IG @thebishopstower TW @thebishopstower

Twitter: @thebishopstower All members of the Bishop’s community are invited to submit letters to the Editors-in-Chief by visiting our website,, and clicking on the ‘Submit Letter’ tab.

PC: Clare Malhotra (‘22)

I’ve been doing a lot of

introspection lately, trying to pour out seventeen years of my life into 250-word supplemental essays. My days, just like many seniors’, are full of large cups of coffee and half-asleep classes and late-night writing sessions. Never fear juniors, the time approaches when you too can use the phrase “I can’t; I have college apps” to escape commitments. This issue is an introspective one as well. As a staff, we explore some aspects of the School that might not wander into your mind on a daily basis. In our cover story, Sofi Verma (‘24) sheds light on the long-debated tale of the Bishop’s catacombs. She interviewed numerous teachers and alumni, all of whom had first and second and third-hand perspectives, crafting a formed picture of the tunnels that have long seemed abstractly distant. Senior Tate Vaccaro took the time to interview Director of Security Mr. Danny Newsom, who is both a member of the Bishop’s security team and a football coach. If you don’t play football, you may have never spoken to him—you may have never heard his name. All of the staff around campus play critical roles and embody critical places in our community, even those you don’t see in the classroom. Take a read through Tate’s profile, and get to know someone outside of your daily perspective. And in my own article (shameless plug), I explored a lesser-known opportunity for students: independent studies. Remember that not every class you take needs to embody the typical five-core-subjects-and-an-art Bishop’s student. You can take an extra elective. You can take an art class, even if you can’t even draw a line (like myself). All around you, there are places to explore yourself, your identity, your perspective. Note that I did not say the catacombs, as they are highly dangerous. If you’re looking for a different type of read, something to explore lanes outside of our Bishop’s Bubble, read Senior Kyle Berlage’s article on the new method of transportation cropping up around San Diego, or look at Isadora Blatt’s (‘24) analysis of Squid Game: its nuances and its appeals. Fun fact: Throughout all our rounds of editing, I still have not read Isadora’s article because I am stubbornly avoiding spoilers. For a lot of our new staff writers, this was their first publication in The Tower. I’d like to congratulate them on meeting our many rigorous deadlines and making adjustments on the fly. They’ve interviewed administrators, teachers, and scarily overworked seniors to help this issue come to fruition. It’s an overwhelming process, especially the first time around. We’ve worked hard to explore stories in, around, and outside of the Bishop’s community in this issue. Take some time to broaden your perspective, and enjoy.


Clare Malhotra Editor-in-Chief





PC: Christie Linnard (‘20)


06 Studying Solo 08 Read All About It! 10 New Compassion 12 One Click Away 14 Revealing Shadows 16 18 Your Current Grade Is...

Clare Malhotra

A look into the Independent Study program at Bishop’s Kayden Wang

The thinking behind Bishop’s new summer reading program Leila Feldman

What the new chapel theme means for us Crystal Li

How COVID-19 changed college visits at Bishop’s Summer Hu

How admissions has adapted to COVID-19’s challenges The Man, The Myth, The Legend: Mr. Danny Newsom Get to know our security director

Tate Vaccaro Graham Walker

Why some teachers close, and others open their gradebooks



Lost In Translation

What did you miss while watching Squid Game?

Isadora Blatt



Get Riding, PRONTO!

Kyle Berlage

The new trolley and fare system are here


24 Down Underground

Sofi Verma

A dive into the “catacombs” underneath campus


26 No One Asked, Kyle 27 Top Ten Homecoming/BishBowl Moments Kyle Berlage





ou might have heard of an art kid doing an independent study to work on their AP portfolio, or just to continue with art once they finished Drawing and Painting I and II. But in addition to this, numerous students, particularly seniors, have turned to independent studies to accommodate unique interests like directing, sewing, music theory, and science research. So how are these students enjoying their courses, and how do these one-on-one programs cater to a different style of learning? Independent Studies are course options that fall outside of the realm of the Bishop’s curriculum or the Global Online Academy. In order to apply for one, a student must identify the faculty with whom they wish to work and arrange a class period to meet at least two times a cycle. The idea of these specialized courses is for students to pursue unique interests—not, as the application notes, to fix scheduling conflicts by creating a one-on-one class section. Even if it meets these requirements, an independent study might be denied if the student does not provide a clear reason why it must appear on their transcript, instead of being simply an off-the-books or extracurricular session with a teacher. “In some cases, students may realize that not transcripting a class allows them to enjoy the activity more,” the Independent Study Application states, “as well as affording them the flexibility to hit pause as needed.” Around ten seniors have enrolled in the program this year. Sancia Milton and Ellie Hodges, while both in separate art independent studies, were able to adapt the focuses of their courses towards their interests. “It was really important to me that I could fit an art class into my senior year schedule, but I was unable to wedge AP art into my courses,” Sancia said. In her independent study, which involves photography, drawing, and painting, she says she’s “specifically using art as a way to explore the ideas of self-esteem and self-worth.” Ellie Hodges has been doing an art independent study since sophomore year. This year, in “Portfolio Building and Visual Arts Publicity,” she has had a chance to work on pieces individually, and “explore new mediums and styles.” Sometimes, she noted, she can work on other artistic projects aside from her pieces of visual artwork. “On occasion,” Ellie said, “[I] work on the Eye on Visual



A look into the Independent Study program at Bishop’s Clare Malhotra

Arts” publication. But many students have taken advantage of the independent study program to pursue some of their niche interests outside of the visual arts realm. Senior Joseph Aguilar is doing an independent study in directing because a number of scheduling conflicts meant that he couldn’t take either of his performing arts classes (Bishop’s Singers and Acting Workshop). “I decided to take my education another step further and put myself on the other side of the rehearsal process,” Joseph explained. He plans to co-direct the spring middle school musical with Performing Arts Faculty member Ms. Lara Korneychuk, as

Senior Cate Freundt was in a similar situation at the beginning of the year as she faced scheduling conflicts. “The sewing class I wanted to take was cut [due to low enrollment],” Cate explained. She was able to develop a curriculum with Performing Arts and Costume Design Teacher Ms. Jean Moroney. In the course, she focuses on sewing and designing bikinis with the intent of selling them, combining business and creativity in a unique passion project. “It’s fun to be able to… pursue your interests,” she said. Senior Maya Buckley is taking a music theory independent study, an unusual situation because music theory is typically a normal class. However, it was also cancelled

“[Independent studies] allow students to dive deep into a specific interest that might not be done justice [in the curriculum].” — Andrea Rix (‘22) well as putting on his own show around the end of the school year. While it might seem like the process of directing fully occurs on the stage, Joseph does significant amounts of preparatory work for his show. “Directing a show is a three-stage process: pre-production, production, and post-production,” Joseph explained. “I have been reading books on directing, writing documents that detail my vision for this show down to the smallest detail.” It’s about “making your directorial vision as refined as possible,” he explained. Joseph has acted in numerous Bishop’s productions, including “Chicago,” “Les Miserables,” “She Kills Monsters,” and many more. However, he is enjoying the opportunity to approach theatre through the lens of directing. “Everything before auditions never quite concerns the actor,” he explained. “But the pre-production stages of directing are as important, if not more important, than the next two stages. If your pre-production work isn’t thorough, your production stage may fall apart.”

this year due to low enrollment. “It’s also really fun because I have a pre-existing relationship with my independent study teacher [Director of Choral Music Dr. Christine Micu],” Maya said. “I feel like there’s a lot more flexibility than in a ‘regular’ classroom to ask questions or… apply lessons in a more interactive way.” Dr. Micu, who has guided prior independent study projects in choral conducting and musical theater, agreed with Maya’s statement that one-on-one projects allow for increased flexibility. “We can study [music theory] from a vocal standpoint, which is her area of interest and talent,” Dr. Micu explained. “If she were taking the class, it would be a much different experience; much more structured and aligned with a textbook.” Independent studies can also take on a college research style format. Senior Andrea Rix is working on a science research course entitled “Cellular Biology of Female Reproduction.” As co-president of the Period Poverty Project, she has a passion for fighting for menstrual equality and destigmatizing conversations around periods. She connected

Photos courtesy of La Jolla Bikini Co, PC: Sancia Milton (‘22)

Ariana Welsbie (’22) and Dolce Feenaghty (’22) participated in an interactive art project as part of Sancia Milton’s (’22) independent study.

Senior Cate Freundt’s independent study focuses her passion for sewing into an entrepreneurial project: a bikini business.

this with her passion for science research during her junior year. “I found that the two topics I naturally chose for our major research projects were both in the realm of reproductive biology,” she explained. “Feto-maternal immune tolerance in pregnancy and the evolution of menstruation.” It’s a niche interest: one that Andrea would not have been able to explore without a one-on-one program. “I am a huge fan of independent study courses,” she said. “They allow students to dive deep into a specific interest that might not be done justice in a class with such a huge breadth as just ‘Chemistry’ or ‘English.’” While these students tended to enjoy the individuality fostered by creating their own curriculum, several added that there were drawbacks to such a particular type of study. Dr. Micu, for example, pointed out that learning something alone takes away the community aspect. “I think it is definitely more fun to do musical theater with other performers—music… is more fun when it is a communal activity,” she explained. “I am not sure these drawbacks

outweigh the ability to study something you are passionate about, however, especially when there is not a class offered.” Other students explained that, due to the self-guided nature of the course, taking one requires a dedicated work ethic and a mindset free from procrastination. “Doc and I meet once a cycle to discuss what I’ve been researching and talk about future paths that might be interesting,” Andrea said, “But the course is pretty much entirely self-led. I just ask myself ‘where do I want to go next?’ [and go there].” Cate agreed with the idea of increased freedom, adding that the class involves a lot of “completing work on your own time.” In the middle of college application season for seniors, it’s “really difficult right now,” she said. Joseph similarly explained that directing was an extraordinarily self-driven course. He noted that he viewed it not as a one-student class, but as a student-led class. “YOU are the teacher, and your supervisor is simply a guiding force,” he said. It isn’t something that would

work for a student prone to procrastination, because he had to take responsibility for his own work and deadlines. “For you to gain something out of an independent study, you have to be passionate about what you’re learning,” he said. “Independent studies are giving passions an environment to grow and I think that’s great.” Academic Dean Ms. Janice Murabayashi explained, “If students need more structure, interaction, guidance, or simply don’t have the time to work on a project on their own, IS [Independent Study] isn’t a good option.”




Emmie Kao (‘25) looks at the 2020-2021 Summer Reading Guide, which the Student Library Committee put together with major changes to the summer reading material


The thinking behind Bishop’s new summer reading program


ummer reading. Most Bishop’s students remember the class discussions on the elusive meanings within frustrating lines of a book. It was an experience laced with sweet satisfaction whenever the theme or idea was painstakingly pieced together from dissected pieces of text. English teachers, however, have been surprisingly quiet about summer reading and emails popped up with offers to join discussions of the books instead. The new approach surely left many wondering, what happened? The biggest change to the program was an addition of nearly 40 pages of information and content. The list for required grade level readings ended at page six, resulting in 31 more pages of supplementary readings. For students alone, there were 66 book recommendations for middle school



and 81 recommendations for upper school. The list didn’t stop there and included 38 additional recommendations for adults and 68 faculty and staff recommendations. The end result was a summer reading list with more than 250 total books for the Bishop’s community to enjoy. Ms. Alisa Brandt, the Library Director as well as a member of the 2020-2021 Summer Reading Committee, described the new program as the “summer reading program plus.” The new additions also included changes to the old program. The English department transferred discussions to the library, hence explaining the emails from Ms. Brandt that popped up in student inboxes earlier in the year. Ms. Brandt explained how the “English department approached me and asked if I would be willing to take

over the summer reading program and still have the English department selection as the core of the program.” The library also aimed to change the purpose of reading over the summer. The supplementary material and discussions were aimed to “celebrate that sort of intellectual personal growth that comes from reading outside of school,” according to Ms. Brandt. This feeling is shared by English teacher Dr. Lydia Lundgren who described her own experiences with summer reading when she went to school. “I just absolutely loved summer reading,” she stated. This goal stemmed from the issue that many students viewed summer reading as an assignment rather than an opportunity to grow and enjoy reading in general. English Department Chair Dr. Anna Clark elabo-

PC: Kayden Wang (‘25)

rated, “We wanted to make summer reading more about students pursuing their own interests and cultivating reading habits rather than just an additional task that students read for class.” In response to students’ views of summer reading, the library and English teachers created the Student Library Committee. Originally formed in the 2020-2021 school year, this committee used to be called the Summer Reading Student Council consisting of 12 students from grades 6-12. The committee’s goal is to incorporate student opinions and introduce books that resonated with more of the student population. A member of the council, Zayd Aslam (‘23), recounted his own experience. “One of my English teachers, I’m not really sure who, recommended me for it,” he said. “Ms. Brandt sent out an email asking if I wanted to join.” Being recommended by an English teacher isn’t the only way to participate, however, since Ms. Brandt and the library put out Instagram and bulletin announcements last year, inviting students to join the committee. The invitation for students interested

in joining the Student Library Committee will be open this year as well. According to Zayd, the members of the 2020-2021 Student Library Committee gave their input on books that they might like, and then gave a short summary to compile for the supplementary reading list. After the members gave their recommendations, they started asking teachers for their input and then they mini-interviewed them. The recommendations and summaries were then added onto a Google Doc and sent out to students. The benefits of a summer reading program are undeniable. A Scholastic Biennial survey found that 95% of parents found summer reading in general to be beneficial for their children and 77% of students shared a similar sentiment. Despite the positive feelings around summer reading programs, students not reading books over summer has been on the rise. The same survey found that 32% of 15-17 year old students in 2017 didn’t read at all over summer. The number is surprising when compared to only 22% of students in 2016. Even the remaining

68% of students who did read over the summer only reported reading an average of two books. Some students like the new program, such as Chris Tao (‘26) who stated that “the new book list is really nice because if you can’t think of what book to read, you can go through the list and find a genre that you like.” There are still ongoing efforts to improve the program, however, as Dr. Clark mentioned.“It’s a big change and we’re still thinking of ways to refine it for the coming years,” she said. Students such as Maddy Lane (‘25) feel that the program isn’t personalized enough yet. She stated, “I have a certain genre of books I enjoy such as mystery and thriller. It is kind of hard for those types of books to show up on reading lists.” The main goal across the board was to involve more students in the program this year. Dr. Lundgren stated, “We want to hear from students and we will be sending out surveys to gather their thoughts,” so keep your eyes peeled for any opportunities to add to the summer reading list!

We want to hear from students, and we will be sending out surveys to gather their thoughts. — Dr. Lydia Lundgren

This year, students were given the choice of many books to fulfill their summer reading requirement.






What the new chapel theme means for us Leila Feldman


o justice, love kindness, and walk humbly.” The words we hear in chapel every time we depart were also the themes of recent years. However, this year’s chapel theme is compassion. What does that mean? How does that affect you? While last year’s theme of justice centered around what it means to be fair and equal, this year’s theme of compassion flows from it. Reverend Nicole Simopolous tied the two together by saying that before justice there has to be compassion: “it is standing with, suffering with, being witness to [others’] suffering. Out of that compassion, we are motivated and inspired to want to change the system that’s causing the suffering.” Head of School Mr. Ron Kim adds to that, saying, “justice strikes me as a manifestation of compassion. To right what is wrong and to improve the condition of those who suffer requires us to care about someone else.” In our DEIJ lessons, we’ve been defining compassion as empathy in action. If the first step in receiving justice is compassion, how do we understand compassion? The Latin root of compassion is to suffer with. It’s that ability to feel that pain and suffering as if it were your own but compassion is being able to act on it. Senior Chapel council member Saavi Banerjee (‘22) added on to that, claiming that it isn’t having pity, but it is an act where “you shouldn’t expect anything from it.” Juliette Levy (‘22) added onto the idea of selflessness by saying, “it is seeing vulnerability and not shying away. I think the most important part of compassion is to not always expect something in return. It comes from the heart, with no ulterior motives.”

This year, the idea of compassion is a looming idea for all discussion. For Saavi, this theme of compassion is leading her to give people “more second chances, and be more forgiving,” Saavi continued by saying, “I’m trying to give myself more grace and understanding that I’m going to make mistakes and that’s ok,” said Rev. Simopoulos when asked about how she shows compassion to herself. Juliette is trying to“ rebuild connection. I want to truly get to know people I haven’t been able to talk to, I hope others do the same. I want to take every chance I can to make each day worthwhile - for myself and for others.” Mr. Kim hopes that this year, he will be able to make it possible “for everyone to succeed to the best of their abilities, and for everyone to become their best selves.” For Adelaide Kessler (‘25), she hopes it “helps people nurture the supportive environment that Bishop’s is. When we show compassion for others we see the direct impact it has on all of our lives.” Compassion is an idea that we were taught when we were little—to share toys or help someone up if they fall. So, why is this core moral principle the one that we have chosen to highlight for the year? Mr. Kim said, “I knew that I wanted to focus on well-being this year and in future years: pairing that with compassion made a lot of sense. Perhaps the most important thing is that we are explicit about our values and what we expect of this community.” Rev. Simopoulos added, “we can’t be well if we don’t have compassion for ourselves; wellbeing begins with loving ourselves and others.” Once compassion was chosen as our theme, the process for planning

PC: Leila Feldman (‘24)

our enrichment blocks began. According to Rev. Simopoulos, enrichment blocks are planned around the idea that students have “more than one opportunity to explore and understand a topic.” First: Rev. Simopoulos made clear that students have three chances to explore an element of compassion (DEIJ, Health Lessons, and Chapel discussion). Each is planned by a select panel of teachers. Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Justice Mr. David Thompson, Rev. Simopoulos, Associate Director of College Counseling Mr. AJ Jezierski, Mathematics teacher Ms. Jennifer Seymour, Spanish teacher Profe Carlos Martell, and History and Social Science teacher Ms. Mary-Ellen Kohlman plan the DEIJ meetings. In these meetings, they begin to plan out discussions for the upcoming cycle. Rev. Simopoulos and the Chapel Councils plan chapel and discuss who is going to talk and about what. Director of Counseling Ms. Megan Broderick, English Teacher Ms. Jasmyn Tanner, Learning Resource Specialist Ms. Stephanie Ramos, and Dean of Students Ms. Michelle Shea plan our health lessons. Here they map out what they are going to focus on for the health lessons. Rev. Simopoulos said that through each of these three sections, they are “addressing the commitment to well-being and the core value of compassion.” Mr. Kim presents the chosen themes to the boards, the boards work on applying them to us and to our daily lives and conversations in enrichments, chapels, and DEI. Rev. Simopoulos listed out a few different ways she hopes it is incorporated into our daily lives including “be[ing] kinder to each other, think[ing] before we speak, giv[ing] each other more grace, and understand[ing] where someone is coming from.” She added onto that by claiming that these should be the “guiding principles for how we [can] be compassionate and how we [can] demonstrate compassion and listen with compassion.” Mr. Kim agreed, saying “if everyone on campus acted just a little more compassionately toward themselves and to others, we would all feel that we were part of a stronger community.” Saavi summed it all up by saying that “sometimes compassion is taking a break when you need it.”

Straying from traditional pastoral clothing, Reverend Simopoulos wears light garments and a sash with written values clearly defined.

“[Compassion] comes from the heart, with no ulterior motives.” — Juliette Levy (‘22)




one click away Y

ou pass the senior rec room. You feel the tension, excitement, and relief compete with one another. As many monumental deadlines speed-walk towards students in their last year of high school, the paper piles on the desks of college counselors also begin to climb. As with many tasks, the college application process was a victim of sweeping changes due to the pandemic. We all know the college application process is already nerve-wracking. Furthermore, this shift to online college recruiting, with virtual college fairs and Zoom visits to high schools, garnered mixed reactions. It was often the question of efficiency versus quality—during the pandemic, students could not travel to colleges for tours or information sessions, and even as the schools are beginning to open up to visitors, space and time slots for these tours are both highly limited. However, the Bishop’s college counseling faculty sought solutions in ways that encouraged unprecedented innovation. For many high schoolers, college visits are the most intriguing parts of the application process. When it comes to researching potential schools, there’s no better substitute for figuring out if a campus will feel like home. “To me personally, I can see and imagine myself on campus or living in the dorm,” explained Elise Watson (‘22). For her, learning about a school through a virtual presentation gives her the fundamental information without having to travel to a college campus physically. “But,” she continued, “knowing the kind of student I will become is more important to me and that is a huge thing that we lost the ability to explore this year.” Originally, college tours allow students to ask questions, meet other prospective students, and understand the school culture on a deeper level. How you feel about schools once you visit in person may affect the direction your college search and application process take. “Bishop’s is really, really lucky that this year we are 100% in-person,” said Ms. Wendy Chang, the Director of College Counseling. “However, that doesn’t mean everybody else is… so this season, we’ve been hosting a mix of in-person and virtual [visits].” Though novel, this digital option allowed connections for students and college representatives who might not otherwise have the opportunity to meet. “What is really nice is that colleges were able to adapt and shift so that they are able to of-



How COVID-19 changed college visits at Bishop’s Crystal Li

fer virtual opportunities for students to still learn about their college,” explained Ms. Noor Haddad, an Associate Director of College Counseling. The growing reliance on technology also offers the ability to track the number of participants as well as what they choose to attend and for how long. “It makes it so much easier for historical data collection,” said Ms. Marsha Setzer, an Associate Director of College Counseling. “We have a full view of the entire senior class.” One such technological outlet used for their efficiency is Scoir, a cloud-based software focused on connecting students and colleges for a unified admissions experience. According to Mr. AJ Jezierski, Associate Director of College Counseling, Bishop’s had moved from Naviance to Scoir a few years ago and has been happy with the transition. As Ms. Setzer best put it, Scoir is like “an umbrella” for all of your applications. While students are able to maintain their college lists and do extensive college research, the college counselors primarily use Scoir to maintain and send school-based documents like transcripts and letters of recommendation. Parents are also able to have their own respective accounts, which connect to the students’ accounts, but not all information is available to the other. Other than seniors, upper school students have not had many experiences with the platform particularly. “I honestly can’t say I have used Scoir that much,” said Abby Lin (‘23). “I have only really used the platform to look at details of colleges I am interested in.” The spring quarter of junior year is when a lot of the college counseling support starts to be more intense and individualized, explained the college counselors. During such a busy time, convenience is key. “Instead of us having to manage all those portals for students, Scoir is the one place where it keeps track of those applications and where students apply,” explained Ms. Setzer. For seniors and juniors, this platform is very user-friendly. When a student ‘follows’ a college, adding it to their list, they will be notified when that school schedules a visit. Then, the student would just need to click the button indicating they plan to attend. Juniors aren’t officially allowed to miss class for attending a visit, but seniors can miss up to five class periods. Another question students had prior to attending a session was about the agenda. All of the in-

The college noticeboard placed outside the senior rec room has constantly evolved over the years, but now has a limited amount of posters. With the convenience of Zoom, not as many colleges make the trek to San Diego to visit students in-person.

terviewed counselors explained that there is no single format for such a diverse range of colleges. “College visits via Zoom are largely the same as the ones held in person,” explained Mr. Jezierski. “The representative will usually give an informational presentation of 10 to 15 minutes outlining the basics of the college before opening the floor for questions from the students.” Often, the order of presentation will depend on how many students attend the meeting. “The admissions officer will likely have an ability to adapt, meaning that in front of a smaller group, they may start off with a Q&A session and make it a lot more informal,” explained Ms. Haddad. “This can be a great opportunity to get key information about the college and then to get more specific insight as to the respective topics of interest or curiosity the student has,” said Mr. Jezierski. “It is also a good chance to put a face to the name, as most of the representatives giving these presentations are the ones who will read Bishop’s applications.” Undoubtedly, there are still many uncertainties that shroud the foreseeable future. Deadlines are creeping up as the school year bypasses midterms and heads towards the end of the semester. “This is one of those things that is so much easier said than done.” Ms. Chang continued, “This is one step out of so many parts of your journey.” However, both our upperclassmen and college counselors remain hopeful as more creative solutions exceed preexisting limits.

PC: Kyle Berlage (‘22), Crystal Li (‘23)

While all college visits are coordinated through SCOIR, online ones have Zoom links distributed in the invite.




rience shadowing at Bishop’s. Sami Bitar (‘28), who did not have a shadow day experience, confirmed this. “If I had a shadow, I probably would have known the campus a bit better.” Un f o r t u n at e l y, this year Knight for a Day has been put on hold due to campus health and safety guidelines. “We hope to resume this program in some form in the spring for newly admitted students,” Director of Admissions Vivien Mallick said. Usually students would have to take the ISEE or SSAT, but this year, that has drastically changed. “Perhaps the biggest change [in the admissions procedure] is that we have moved to a Test Optional policy, meaning that students are not required to submit ISEE or SSAT test scores in order to apply to The Bishop’s School,” Director of Admissions Vivien Mallick continued. She stated that the admissions process has been simplified and made more accessible this year, with interviews being conducted through Zoom and a shorter initial writing application containing personal information, which is mandatory before an interview. Like his fellow classmates and other new students, Andrew Chen (‘28) had the option of not taking the ISEE or SSAT. He felt that the Test-Optional policy “made the admissions [process] easier.” Adelaide Kessler (‘25) took the ISEE in 5th grade and says she remembers the feeling of nervousness before taking it and

during her preparation for it. “I don’t think it really reflects a student’s intellect.” She explained her claim by saying that success in the ISEE often relies on tutors and when lower-income students don’t have access to those resources, they are at a disadvantage. James A. Kulik, a professor of psychology at the University of San Diego, headed a meta-analysis on 65 school tutoring programs. His research proved that tutored students outperform non-tutored students on exams. “I don’t know what the alternative is, but hopefully there is an alternative,” said Adelaide in response to the new test-optional policies. You may have seen tours around campus, led by administrators or even students. The tours have stayed relatively similar to before the pandemic. The main difference is that tours are not spending



Photo courtesy of The Bishop’s School


veryone remembers the first time they stepped on campus. The fresh La Jolla breeze blowing the nearby palm trees and the first look of the belltower all added to the beauty of Bishop’s. The admissions process is often the first time that people see this beauty. It begins with a first look at the school through open houses, tours, shadows, and student panels. From there, if a person decides to apply, they can submit ISEE (Independent School Entrance Examinations) or SSAT (Secondary School Admissions Test) scores and an interview. However, regulations and policies have constantly been in flux this past year as the pandemic became more and less prevalent. So how has the Bishop’s admissions process been altered due to COVID-19? The admissions team has had to make changes to the ways potential candidates were able to tour and apply to the school due to COVID-19 restrictions. Mask mandates were put in place, and for a while, all admissions events were held online. Now, as restrictions begin to relax, aspects of the application process are being changed with that, including entry testing requirements and the application process. Before COVID-19, potential applicants would get to experience the day-in-the-life of a Bishop’s student with the Knight for a Day program. Through this process, they can get a feel for what being a student would feel like by going from class to class with a student guide. “It enhanced my understanding of Bishop’s,” said Head Ambassador Alina Kureshi (‘22) when reflecting on her own expe-

In 2019, before the pandemic, sights like this were frequent for prospective students, where student-ambassadors would host information sessions without the need for social distancing. From left: Mr. Johnston, Dane Jorgensen (’24), Serena Zhang (’24), Kiran Dhupa (’25), Carmen Morera (’25), Sophie Arrowsmith (’26), Dominic Simopoulos Carlson (’26), Jake Shim (’26)

If I had a shadow, I probably would have known the campus a bit better. — Sami Bitar (‘28)

as much time in each individual classroom, and that mask protocols are enforced. Last year, Andrew Kao (‘28) did not get to have a normal admissions process when applying to Bishop’s, so he got to experience the virtual tour instead. “The virtual tour was good. It gave me a good idea of [Bishop’s],” he said when asked how he felt about the alternative to the in-person tours. In regards to this year’s in-person tours, Alina said “the tours are going to be more student-led and student-driven.” She feels that the admissions team now, compared to previous years, allows the students to more freely present Bishops’ ideals in a thoughtful and proper way to potential applicants. “There’s more trust in us as Head Ambassadors.” In addition to the changes made in student-led tours, admissions events are

slowly getting back to normal. “I’ve been on panels for admissions, [but] recently that’s been over Zoom,” Alina said, while reflecting on past events. Panels are ways for applicants and their families to ask open questions to students who attend Bishop’s. These can be in a large group setting like the open house or a smaller group through parent coffees. But this year, instead of all events being online, there will be a mix of Zoom and in-person events. “I had many questions about the sports [at Bishop’s] and [balancing it] with good academics,” Andrew said. These questions were answered by faculty and through informational interviews, like a one-on-one session with an admissions officer. On-campus events, like the open house (which is taking place in December), will be held outside and, of course, all COVID-19 rules apply. The open house is

How admissions has adapted to COVID-19’s challenges

an admissions event that is open to everyone who is interested in applying. Through the open house, potential applicants can get a feel for the school through student panels and student-led tours of the campus. The admissions team plans to hold two in-person open houses in December and hope to hold more events online. In the future, Director of Admissions Ms. Vivien Mallick hopes that “all interested families will feel warmly welcomed to our campus” and that “the application process itself is not too much of a burden” and that members of the Bishop’s community show that warmth through their actions.

Summer Hu THE



The Man, T H E The Myth, LEGEND: A

fter a stressful morning navigating the traffic-ridden streets of La Jolla on the way to school, your shoulders ease up as you walk through the garage and a familiar face greets you with a smile and a cheery welcome. “Have a great day!” says Director of Security Mr. Danny Newsom. Mr. Newsom has worked at Bishop’s since June of 2013 and has loved every moment. “Working at Bishop’s inspires me every day,” he said. “Every student here challenges me to be better at my job, to be a better person and a better example. The chance for me to be able to encourage how our world loves one another and leads one another is so special.” Mr. Newsom’s impact on students goes beyond his role as a security officer. As an assistant coach for the football team, he is a bottomless source of support and joy. From new freshman players to seniors who have been on the

team in previous years, Mr. Newsom’s impact is felt far and wide. “Danny is the heart and soul of our team,” explained senior Thomas Muniz. “Almost every practice he brings his own pair of pads and runs drills with us just so we can get better. No matter how loud the fans or the field may be at a game, Danny will make sure that he is the loudest one.” Another senior, Rhett LaRocca, added, “Danny Newsom is the most caring coach and he brings energy consistently every day.” Ian Browne (‘25) expressed something similar. “Coach Newsom always has great energy,” he said. “He’s super motivational and is just a nice guy in general.” Associate Dean of Students and Head Football Coach Mr. Shane Walton further elaborated on what Mr. Newsom brings to the table. “Danny is one of those guys that you need on any team,” he explained. “He believes that anyone around him can do anything they set their mind to. A lot of

the guys have confidence because of his mindset and we all love having him around. He’s the ‘MVP.’” “I love coaching and building meaningful things,” Newsom said. “All 50 players on the football team are like my own sons. I look forward to practicing with them every day.” Newsom has been coaching football for ten years—seven with Bishop’s and three with the San Diego Enforcers. In addition to his 50 “sons,” Newsom has two daughters of his own and a three-legged husky named Nola who he rescued from a shelter recently. “My daughters sing like angels,” he said. “They are kind-hearted, loving, and brilliant.” His love for Bishop’s students extends beyond the football team. “A water polo player recently took the time to thank me for staying a minute or two to watch his game,” Newsom explained. “He mentioned how grateful he was for investing my time to watch the team. It’s such a heartfelt memory.” Mr. Newsom



PC: Danny Newsom

Mr. Newsom started Chub Club in 2015 as a way to bond with his linemen. At least once a week, he eats breakfast with them at Harry’s Coffee Shop before school.


Danny Newsom

Get to know our security director Tate Vaccaro

Mr. Newson is a critical part of the Bishop’s security team. “Working at Bishop’s inspires me every day,” he said.

“I love everyone who calls Bishop’s home.”

— Mr. Danny Newsom

is also a big believer in the bridging of sports and academic teams. “Last Tuesday, our water polo team was facing one of the top ten teams in the country and I was so proud of the football team for cheering on. I can’t wait until we start mobbing Mock Trial or Academic Decathlon!” In reflecting on some of the traditions and memories that he has most cherished during his time at Bishop’s, “Chub Club” comes to mind. Mr. Newsom founded this tradition in 2015 and has kept it alive ever since. “Danny and a few other players started Chub Club a few years back,” elaborated Thomas. “Him and the linemen meet at least once a week at Harry’s Diner to sit down and eat breakfast together before school. It’s a real bonding experience.” A photograph of Chub Club from 2019 with a signed frame hangs on the wall inside of the iconic diner. “Offensive

and defensive linemen don’t usually get recognized as often as quarterbacks, running backs, or linebackers do,” Mr. Newsom explained. “But linemen are essential to the team. Whenever we go to Harry’s for Chub Club, everyone wears a shirt that says ‘Bishop’s Chub Club’ across their chest. I love those guys,” he exclaimed with appreciation. Mr. Newsom’s genuine demeanor, kindness, and passion are felt in everything he does. “I love everyone who calls Bishop’s home,” he said. “While I’ve gotten to know the football guys and some faculty and staff members better than others, know that if you drive into campus and I recognize you, wave to you, smile and welcome you, that you are family. There is nothing I would not be willing to do to protect each and every one of you.”




Your Current

Why some teachers close, and others open their gradebooks


he question of whether or not we should have an open gradebook policy at Bishop’s is an often one-sided debate amongst students, with many supporting the push for greater grade transparency. However, as everything, there are pros and cons to both sides of the debate. In terms of the administrative perspective, Head of Upper School Mr. Brian Ogden explained, “We trust department chairs and teachers, who are the experts in adolescent learning and their disciplines, to make important pedagogical decisions around specific feedback and assessment practices.” However, he detailed the School’s mandated midterm grades and comments are essential to giving feedback for improvement. While academic updates are usually sent out when things are going poorly, students might not necessarily receive an update demonstrating proficiency. The School does not mandate open gradebooks. Mr. Ogden continued, “Decisions departments and teachers make about open gradebooks will likely vary based on grade-level and discipline and when possible, based on what we know about adolescent learning. Not all educators agree on best pedagogical practices and while one practice may be best for one discipline or grade-level, that may not be the case for another.” Mr

Ogden explained, “The School does not mandate open grade books, but does expect teachers to communicate clearly to students how their grade is determined.” However, at Bishop’s, the question of an open gradebook persists as some students feel uncertain about their grades towards the end of the semester. Some say not having grade transparency increases grade anxiety. Seiji Sekiguchi (‘22) explained that in his experience, “students do not have enough idea of what their performance and hard work really equates to in the class.” The English department is often pointed to as an example of teachers that have a closed gradebook. “In English, we really grade with an eye towards progress,” said English Department Chair Dr. Anna Clark. “What a student’s grade is in the middle of the quarter won’t necessarily be what it is at the end because we weigh the later work more heavily than what comes earlier. We want to give students room to improve.” She continued on, detailing the driving principle of a growth-mindset for English classes: “An open gradebook wouldn’t offer information that would assuage students’ anxieties.” In fact, she believes it could exacerbate them by giving an incomplete picture. (It was clear that after many conversations she had given the same speech before.)

Dr. Clark affirmed that she was, “really sympathetic to the anxiety that grades produce.” However, she articulated, “leaning into the grade transparency isn’t necessarily the answer to that. If anything it just seems to center a letter grade in a student’s life even more.” “For a lot of independent schools of Bishop’s caliber, their English departments have the same policies that we do and push against the idea of open gradebooks and letter grades on essays. So it is a sort of larger philosophy within our discipline that we’re aligned with,” she added. Brown University, like these English departments, chose to discontinue calculating grade point averages for its students and instead, according to its website, “promote the use of criteria for assessment and evaluation that go beyond grades and GPA.” Brown’s educational policies evaluate a student based on their, “analytical ability, independence, creativity, communication, and leadership skills, qualities not necessarily reflected in a GPA.” Not only does Brown prioritize this style of assessment, but their grading system is structured to minimize student’s fixation on receiving a high grade point average above all else, potentially missing out on the value of learning. Brown also differentiates from

“Leaning into the grade transparency isn’t necessarily the answer to [grade anxiety].” — Dr. Anna Clark



Grade Is... Graham Walker

PC: Graham Walker (‘22)

Aiden Gutierrez’s (‘22) Honors Economics class offers an open gradebook, which gives him a better insight into his status in the class.

the standard by allowing a student to take an unlimited number of “S/NC” (Satisfactory/No Credit) courses and only recording full-letter grades of A, B, or C (without plusses and minuses). There is no D grade, and no failed grades are marked. ASBC President Hunter Kates (‘22) had greater grade transparency as a central tenet of his platform while running for the position. Hunter informed me that he sat down with the English department heads and proposed two times a semester English teachers should tell their students where they stand in the class, hopefully initiating conversations that will lead to improvement. Hunter said, “The no for me wasn’t the problem. I respect the teachers’ decision. But when we have a large portion of students who feel like greater grade transparency would heavily reduce grading stress, it leads me to think it would benefit the student body and the school as a whole if teachers more seriously considered student proposals.” Middle School courses are conducted similarly with mixed grading policies. Head of the Middle School

Math Department Mr. David Johnston explained how he grades the middle schoolers in math which takes a markedly different approach to grading than high school. “In years past, the main focus was on quizzes and tests,” Mr. Johnston said. “However, the Middle School has recently adopted new grading policies for the sixth and seventh grade that move away from letter grades and, instead, requires us to comment directly on a combination of behaviors: readiness for class, homework, note-taking, participation, and overall comfort with the material,” he added. This eliminated all of the negative baggage that letter grades carry which potentially inhibited the learning process for middle school students. Upper School Math teacher Mrs. Jennifer Seymour commented on her grading policy: “I have an open gradebook in all my classes. I know that students can check their grades for accuracy, I can alert them of missing assignments and leave visible comments in real-time, and students know their standing in the class,” she said. However, she recognized a deficit to such a policy: that students can often be exorbitant-

ly worried about the impact of a single exam after it’s published. Science teacher Dr. Anthony Pelletier explained his choice to keep his gradebook open for Honors Chemistry. “For the most part, it reduces the student’s anxiety.” He also emphasised the importance of allowing students to review any potential mistakes in the gradebook. “As I always tell students, nothing pleases me more than finding points they’ve earned that I missed the first time. But, sometimes I forget to change it in my gradebook and this way students are able to see that direct change to the gradebook made,” he delineated. Certainly, frustration may arise surrounding the differences of grade availability between disciplines. “Why ought my Science class be open, but not my English class?” said Cristian Casillas (‘22). However, the topic is assuredly never ignored in the faculty circles at Bishop’s.


Tower 19

e key details all English speakers missed when watching Squid Game

LOST IN TRANSLATION What did you miss while watching Squid Game?

Isadora Blatt


et’s talk about Squid Game. It’s the show that topped Netflix’s charts with 111 million views within the first month after its release, surpassing Bridgerton’s previous 82 million. And it’s entirely a Korean show, with English subtitles for Americans to follow along. Squid Game has captured an American audience, that, while binging the show, might not realize the many details they were missing out on due to the limits of subtitling. T h e show follows the story of Gi-hun, a divorced father with a gambling addiction and a hopeless amount of debt. It draws the audience in with a classic K-drama storyline, as you see the family conflict and tension playing out between Gi-hun, his daughter, and his ex-wife. However, by the end of the first episode it takes a dark turn, when Gi-hun along with 455 others are lured into a deadly tournament of children’s games with a large monetary prize promised for the final winner. Over the course of nine episodes, the players fight to the death while battling moral conflicts about it all. Squid Game is reminiscent

of The Hunger Games, with members of the lower classes participating in a deadly competition to determine one winner – all for the entertainment of the higher class. However, a major difference is that The Hunger Games is set in a dystopian society, while Squid Game is set in regular life in Korea today. In this manner, Squid Game makes an even more striking com-

is not accurate. Instead, the chant “mugunghwa kkoci pieot seumnida” actually means “the hibiscus flower is blooming,” referring to Korea’s national flower. As my own Korean grandmother who grew up in South Korea explained, the significance of the game is deeper than simply “red light, green light.” It pays tribute to the Japanese invasion, when Koreans were forced to stay in place and were not allowed to flee. “The hibiscus flower is blooming” represents pride for their nation, so when the phrase is being said, players are allowed to run forward. During the silence between, they must stay put, as they were once forced to do by the Japanese. Although the children’s game is played in the same fun and simple manner as Red Light, Green Light, the Korean historical background is lost in the translation. Another element that fails to carry over in subtitles is the character Sae-byeok’s North Korean accent. Hoyeon Jung, the actress who made her debut as Sae-byeok, is also a top South Korean fashion model. She gained over 13 million Instagram

It was my first time watching a K-drama.

— Aria Liu (‘23)



ment on economic inequality and society as a whole. Given the success of The Hunger Games, it’s clear that this theme is popular among Americans. Perhaps viewers can empathize with the characters, or at least feel sympathy for them, even if they can’t directly relate with the character’s situation. For the kickoff of the competition, the players participate in a game of Red Light, Green Light. Although the premise of the game is one that any American can recognize, the translation to “red light, green light”

followers after the release of Squid Game, making her the most followed Korean actress on the platform. “I think Sae-byeok is everyone’s favorite character,” said Aria Liu (‘23). “She’s pretty cool.” In an interview with W Korea, Jung spoke about her research in preparation for playing the role of a pickpocket who escaped North Korea with her younger brother. Speaking in Korean, she expressed that she watched a lot of documentaries about North Korean defectors, and studied with “a North Korean defector’s dialect teacher” to closely study the accent and understand their lives. In the show, Sae-byeok hides her accent around the other players in the game, and it only comes out when she talks to her brother. This detail was a key characterization, demonstrating Sae-byeok’s careful wariness. However, there is no way for English speakers to pick it up by simply reading the subtitles. In Korean, linguistic

changes are used differently than in English to indicate different statuses between people. These changes are prominent in the sixth episode, “Gganbu,” when a certain character is ultimately betrayed by the man he had grown to trust. Jennifer JungKim, a lecturer who specializes in Korean culture at the University of California, Los Angeles, explained to NBC Asian America that the most formal and polite level of speech adds “-mnida” or “-sumnida” to the endings of verbs. Leading up to the sixth episode, the character had consistently spoken in this form to another character, using titles similar to “boss” and “sir” in English. However, during the game in “Gganbu,” he switches to a less formal type of speech in which many of the verbs end in “-yo.” This shows how over time, the character had developed a trust in the other, which builds up to the shocking moment when the character is finally betrayed.

Despite the subtleties lost in translation from Korean to English, Squid Game has brought a wave of popularity for Korean culture in America. In recent weeks, games such as the honeycomb (“dalgona”) cookie cutting have gone viral across social media platforms. It’s the first Korean show to ever climb to the top of Netflix’s charts. “It was my first time watching a K-drama, and I really liked it,” said Aria, “which is not much of a surprise, since everyone did.”

Photos courtesy of Netflix

Released on September 17th, Squid Game was the first Korean show ever to hit No. 1 on Netflix in the U.S.


Tower 21

Mid-Coast Trolley Extension: The Mid-Coast Trolley Extension has been almost completely constructed, leaving just the finishing touches on the stations to do until the service is completely operational on November 21. The line will extend the Blue Line trolley past America Plaza station to Westfield UTC Shopping Center. From Downtown, it will travel on existing tracks up to Old Town Transit Center, where it will split from the Green Line and continue on a newly constructed route alongside the Interstate 5 corridor. At many of the newly constructed stops, new parking has been constructed for commuter-based Park and Ride programs, creating 1170 additional parking spaces according to the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG). The project started in response to figures which predicted a rise in employment and population in the MidCoast region by 12 and 19 percent respectively, also reported by SANDAG. And the new service translates to some real benefits for our community. “Having this trolley providing access to our South Bay [and] East County communities who can now get [to UTC] by rail rather than by car, it creates a whole level of opportunity that doesn’t currently exist,” said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. “That’s one of the reasons why I’ve been a strong supporter of this project for so many years,” he added. Given that the Blue Line in its current form travels in a North-South direction, the new line will allow commuters to and

from La Jolla to reach the South Bay on the same line, as well as East County areas like El Cajon, La Mesa, or Santee on the Orange and Green Lines with a free train transfer. In fact, since the Blue Line already travels to the international border, theoretically, a student would be able to travel from UTC to Mexico for $1.25. The trolley route travels through the I-5 corridor, therefore bypassing Downtown La Jolla where Bishop’s is located; though, the MTS has a solution. New bus route 140 will start service alongside the opening of the trolley, taking commuters directly from Downtown La Jolla to Balboa Avenue station on the new line, providing access to commuters who wish to travel southbound. Additionally, for commuters from North County who take the Coaster train, the new bus route 979 will open between Executive Drive trolley station and the Sorrento Valley Coaster station. Students can see the value in having a rail line going down the same roads they use to commute every day, bypassing the normal traffic and traveling at comparable speeds. Soyoon Park (‘22) is excited for the launch of the service because it’ll make getting around much easier. “It seems like the trolley will be an incredibly useful service for students with or without cars. People will be able to get to La Jolla much quicker on the trolley, and it will ease up traffic congestion on the freeways because less people will be using their cars in the area,” she said. And the connectivity benefits extend far beyond Bishop’s. For example, the Preuss School UCSD focused on allowing low-income students to be the first in their families to graduate from university, has a significant portion of its population in other areas of the city, already reachable by trolley. The stop at UCSD Health is right across from their campus, providing easy access. La Jolla Country Day School also stands to benefit, with their campus being just a short walk from the new Executive Drive station. The trolley extension is sure to be a welcome addition to the community, connecting the rapidly growing Mid-Coast to the rest of San Diego with high-speed transit. Students without cars will soon have access to a wide range of cost-effective options for transit, and a well-connected network making it feasible to go to La Jolla from either the North or the South.

People will be able to get to La Jolla much quicker on the trolley. — Soyoon Park (‘22) 22


The stations on the trolley extension are close to completion, with ticket machines, benches, and signage being placed in before the November 21 opening.

PC: Kyle Berlage (‘22)


tep onto a bus, trolley, tram, or train, and you’ll be greeted by an unfamiliar new purple box where the standard yellow Compass Card reader used to be. Walk down La Jolla Village Drive and you’ll be greeted by a massive overhead viaduct and rail stations along the crest of the Interstate 5 corridor. Welcome to the new world of transit here in San Diego. In La Jolla especially, recent transit changes will alter how we move around and commute in our city. The North County Transit District (NCTD) and Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) have been working on the new trolley and fare card projects for years and they are now being completed and rolled out to passengers across the city.

The old yellow Compass Cards are now obsolete, replaced by the PRONTO system which can be accessed from either a physical card or on the app.


PRONTO Fare System:

UTC Executive Drive UCSD Health UCSD Central VA Medical Center Nobel Drive Balboa Avenue Clairemont Drive Tecolote Road

The new PRONTO fare system is a complete overhaul over the previous Compass Card system. Released in May of 2009, the Compass Cards were created to reduce the use of the previous paper passes and to reduce the amount of in-person transactions at customer service centers. Stylized with a yellow background and colorful compass logo, the card was the transit pass of choice for over a decade. Just one simple tap would deduct a one-way fare from your balance or confirm an unlimited ridership pass. However, while the card was an innovative step forward at the time, some serious limitations arose. For example, the Compass Card stored any pass or cash value on the physical card itself, therefore making it completely card-based. When tapping the card at any station or bus, the card reader would authenticate the card, and then deduct the value of a one-way fare from the storage on the card, rather than a database in the cloud. This meant that it was impossible to buy passes or top up the cash value of the card without visiting a ticket machine or a customer service center and physically updating the card value. Additionally, the different types of cards, like adult, senior,

Old Town

and youth, were impossible to differentiate between without changing the actual card. So people entitled to reduced fares on transit services like youth (618), seniors (65+), disabled people, or Medicare recipients were required to go to a customer service center or participating store to purchase a separate card that matched their reduced fare. PRONTO, the new fare card and system, stylized with a purple background and big block letters, sets out to provide a more modern solution. Rather than the card-based system on Compass, PRONTO is account- or cloud-based. Cash value of cards are stored on the cloud, allowing someone to add value or a pass from anywhere online. With Compass, the card would transmit fare and balance information to the reader from the card itself, however, PRONTO cards simply transmit their card number to the reader, and the reader then updates the cloud database. Additionally, the transition to PRONTO means that riders are no longer restricted to using a physical card, which costs two dollars. Now, the PRONTO app is available for download on both iOS and Android, and allows anyone to create a free virtual card on their phone. “The system can be accessed via an app or a physical card with several different ticketing, loading, and account management options that work for everyone including our riders with disabilities or those without access to technology,” said MTS board chair

Nathan Fletcher. The card can be used by simply opening the app, and allowing the PRONTO reader to scan the QR code on the homepage. “Offering a month of free rides and issuing free PRONTO cards helped riders convert to PRONTO and learn about the new system. PRONTO’s features and functionality make riding transit more accessible than ever before,” explained Fletcher. New benefits for riders come with the use of the technology. Because the system is account-based, a card can be changed to one with discounted fares by simply requesting online or over the phone. Additionally, the new card operates on a “Best Fare” principle, which means that one-way fares will be deducted from the card balance until reaching the equivalent price of a day or month pass. After reaching the equivalent price, the card reaches its fare cap, and then all subsequent rides for the day or month have no charge. Also, the PRONTO card allows for unlimited transfers on all MTS and NCTD services, excluding the heavy rail Coaster, if transferring within two hours of the initial tap. But whether it’s the PRONTO cards or Blue Line trolley, there are new ways to get riding in San Diego. Every 15 minutes, a bus or trolley rolls by the stop, picking up passengers headed all around our city. Will you be one of them?

Riding, PRONTO! The new trolley and fare system are here

Kyle Berlage THE

Tower 23

DOWN “There are denitely ghosts in those tunnels. Mr.

UNDERGROUND A dive into the “catacombs” underneath campus


ou may have heard rumors of catacombs existing underneath our campus passed down from older students, or perhaps from Mr. Jeremy Shane Walton (98) Gercke’s ceramics class. While there are no underground cemeteries or passageways littered with decaying dead bodies under our campus, the “catacombs” do in fact exist. Although the truth about these tunnels may be underwhelming for the students that have their fantastical theories about them, the stories are an integral part of our campus’ history. From the moment the new sixth grade class steps into Mr. Gercke’s classroom, a mysterious door sparks their curiosity. ‘What lies behind the mystery door?’ they begin to think. “When I was in 6th grade in Mr. Gercke’s advisory, he told us that the door in the back of his classroom led to the catacombs,” William Cluskey (‘24) remembered. The speculation of tunnels under Bishop’s have been around for generations, and hasn’t always been rooted in Mr. Gercke’s stories. When alumna Andrea Marvin (‘93) was asked if she had heard about the tunnels when she was a student, she responded, “An alumni friend of mine said that there were underground crawl spaces, like little tunnels, that students would sneak into in the 80s.” Associate Dean of Students Mr. Shane Walton (‘98), one of the friendliest faces on campus, had quite a bit to say about his class’s theories when he was a student. With a serious expression, he recalled, “When I was in school here, people said there were ghosts in the tunnels…



I’ve actually had multiple paranormal experiences with ghosts here. After a dance, everyone had left and I was checking to see if everyone had gone. I was checking the hall across from the senior rec room and went inside and closed the door so no one else could come in. I walked down and I got to the end, near Mr. Assaf ’s classroom, and I just heard a SLAM. A door opened and slammed. It was 11:30 at night and there was nobody here. I ran out and––nobody.” Following his encounter, he checked the security footage too. “There was nobody, nothing….” Maybe there aren’t dead bodies, but according to Mr. Walton himself, “there are definitely ghosts in those tunnels.” Last year’s seniors took this curiosity to another level. Tara Samimi (‘21) said, “I remember hearing the rumor that there were catacombs under the school very early on, maybe even middle school. Some people claimed they had been in them so I always believed that they existed.” Tara and a few other seniors discovered an entrance outside of Gilman Hall to the tunnels on the night of their senior prank. Tara claimed she didn’t know who found the tunnel, but she did remember people surrounding the entrance that some students had already opened. Lucas Buu-Hoan (‘21) was also among the students in the crowd. Lucas said, “In the moment between the chaos of the senior prank, and the discovery of the catacombs, all those rumours and scary stories you hear throughout your Bishop’s career seem to come true, and you’re scared s***less.” Those who know Lucas know that he and his camera never leave each other’s sides, however, for the sake of documenting this moment, Tara stepped up and took Lucas’s camera down into the tunnel. “I did not go in very far at all because the crawl space was very small

and dusty, but it was long enough that I couldn’t film where the end of the space was or where it led to,” Tara mentioned. The footage depicts a long narrow passageway, lined with pipes. After the short video clip ended, Lucas added, “What I’ve heard from the students who went down there is that apparently, you go down and it’s a long tunnel, and at the end of the tunnel there’s a bright light, and if you go past that there’s a huge room and there’s a maze of rooms and entryways and secret passageways.” Tristan Lichter (‘21) admitted he went down there too. “It was just kind of creepy and dirty,” he said. Stories like these confirm the existence of these tunnels, but why do they

Sofi Verma exist in the first place? Director of Facilities Mr. Brian Williams (‘81) shed some light on the architectural history of the tunnels. In short, “They’re basically tunnels to run pipes: sewer lines, water lines, and steam pipes for the radiators,” Irving Gill was the very famous architect who designed Gilman, Bentham, and Scripps Halls. Mr. Williams commented, “[Gill] had some very interesting design requirements, such as that all of the buildings had sand in the concrete from La Jolla Shores.” Because the building was made out of concrete, “the only way to get the utilities to where they had to go was underground.” The tunnels run underneath Gilman, Bentham, and Scripps, and connect the basements beneath these older parts of

campus. While all the utility tunnels don’t expand further than our grounds, there is a storm drain that runs off campus. “There’s one storm drain entrance over by the pool and if you lift that up you’d have to go about 25 feet deep and it runs out into the ocean,” Mr. Williams added. History teacher Mr. John Nagler recalled seeing a mention of this storm drain in one of his copies of The Surfer’s Journal publication. He pulled up a twopage spread of a secluded surf spot captioned, “At La Jolla’s Bishop’s High School, you will find a manhole cover in the corner of the yard just beyond the swimming pool. If you lift the lid and scramble down the rungs, you’ll find yourself in a storm drain. Follow said drain 270 yards under Pearl

Street, and you’ll reemerge into the light at the precise paddle-out spot for this wave.” “We only go into the tunnels for maintenance reasons because it’s not safe,” Mr. Williams said. “If the steam pipes are on, they have scalding hot water in them and they are very fragile because they’re very old… and,” Mr. Williams added, “There’s a lot of rat poop.” He confirmed the tunnels are small crawl spaces and had never been in them personally, but mentioned he often goes down into the basements. “There was another story that Picasso’s granddaughter went here, and at one point he gave a painting to the school. There are stacks of old stuff in the basements, so every time I look at the stacks I wonder if I might find the Picasso.”

, oy u “ Apap rently go down and

it’s a long tunnel, and at the end of the tunnel there’s a bright light, and if oy u go ap st that there’s a huge room and there’s a am ez of rooms and entryways and secret ap ssage ways.

PC: Sofi Verma (‘24)

Lucas Buu-Hoan (‘21)

Above is an old diagram of the steam pipes that ran through the dormitories, dating back to when The Bishop’s School was an all-girls boarding school. The steam pipes still run through the same tunnels between the basements, connecting to the heating systems in each room.


Tower 25

When am I going to stop this segment?

Why were the ninth graders fighting at Homecoming? Adrenaline? I truly don’t know why they felt the need to be so reckless on the dance floor. When Nicki Minaj said “we’re higher than a motherfu…” she didn’t literally mean that you should throw your friends up so high that the weather report becomes “cloudy with a chance of freshmen.” Don’t even get me started on the pushing. Cyclone Freshmen certainly deserved the title of Category 2025. I’m quite insulted! I helped you ninth graders get dates (see Issue 02 page 42), and this is how you repay me? If it wasn’t for my gracious intellectual gift to your class, you wouldn’t have anything. You are NOTHING without me!

Should we have an open gradebook? Of course, and I’d take that one step further. We should make all grades completely public and then incorporate public shaming into our curriculum! We already compare each other by our grades in private, it would be much more efficient to shame others if our grades were catalogued in a neat little database. Is this toxic? Maybe, but I think we should lean in! Why not create a social credit system based on grades, where high GPA earners get free cookies, bus travel, and priority in the lunch line? Because, of course, grades are the only things which define our worth. For those with less than ideal grades, a Bishop’s version of Squid Game would be an ideal way to increase motivation! The first game would be tabbing your bible for Bib Lit. Make sure not to rip any pages!



PC: Kyle Berlage (‘22)

No One Asked, K Y L E Kyle Berlage

What’s your Starbucks order? I’m not a very frequent customer of Starbucks: if you asked me the difference between a Grande and a Venti, I’d probably ask which one’s named Ariana and then walk away. I can clarify now though: no, it isn’t Pink Drink. However, I won’t stray far from purple. The Strawberry Açai Lemonade was fine the last time I went there. But I don’t really have enough money in my account to consistently patronise a business which charges extra for the absence of ice, so this question isn’t one which applies to me well. I am breaking gay stereotypes today!

Me looking down at you! #HeyShawty No but literally y’all are so short.


top ten moments at HOCO/BISHBOWL 1. rushing to get pictures before the sunset at like 3pm

2. waiting in the huge line at homecoming 3. powering through the line after bestie ms. shea introduced innovative solutions


4. figuring out which gate to use at the football field

5. winning at football 👸 6. getting kicked in the head 😐 7. getting egged 🥚 8. driving sober 😁 #responsibleAF 9. leaving with foot blisters 10. homework due the next day


Tower 27

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