ISSUE 06 – MMXXII
In This Issue 06 Euphoria 14 Wordle 18 Masks
Skirts & Pants 20
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 06 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 06 and previous issues of The Tower are available digitally on issuu.com. 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.
DETAILS | ISSUE 06
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 Sydney Chan Leila Feldman Bella Gallus Lily Gover Summer Hu Lucy Marek Spencer Ralph Graham Walker Kayden Wang Joyce Wu Shirley Xu
Cover by Sariah Hossain (‘22)
As the English department changes their Honors English class application to prioritize a timed-writing portion, concerns have arisen and students have responded. Crystal Li (‘23) explores the new change and the reasoning behind it.
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Faculty Advisor Ms. Laine Remignanti
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Twitter: @thebishopstower All members of the Bishop’s community are invited to submit letters to the Editors-in-Chief by visiting our website, www.thebishopstower.com, and clicking on the ‘Submit Letter’ tab.
I write this to you on a Sunday afternoon, sitting criss-cross on my bed with the most beautiful view of my sun-soaked backyard out my window. My shelf of my favorite books to my right, my record player spinning folklore to my left. This is my favorite time of day to be in my room because the lighting is so pretty—just golden enough. I love it here. And then I remember I’m moving away in 5 months. The staff can attest to this—I’ve been stupidly sentimental lately, about things as innocuous as my last midterm comment from Ms. Rem or my last Issue 05 last month. I spent my morning scrolling through four years’ worth of Camera Roll photos, picking out my prettiest and most treasured memories to put in my Dot Dot for the yearbook, and I couldn’t help but get even more mopey and nostalgic because of it. It’s a strange feeling, nostalgia, and one that I think most of us seniors have been living in for a while now. I think I’ve been struggling with it because it feels like it’s something that just happens to me, not something I can have any agency in controlling. It’s easy to feel helpless in the face of all this bittersweet change. The Tower has talked a lot this year about journalism being the first draft of history. I think about that a lot. I find solace in the fact that this publication lets me do something with those messy feelings of nostalgia: with these articles, we’re able to capture the goings-on and conversations in our community, and with the ink on these pages, we’re able to write them into our history. Years from now, we can look back on Issue 06 of the 202122 school year and remember this time as the days when the mask mandate was lifted in California schools, Sundays were spent watching Euphoria season two, and Wordle was all the rage. Our cover story by Crystal Li (‘23) will remind us of when the Honors English application changed, as well as the thought process behind it and the student reactions because of it. This, right here, is the first draft of our history. Being a journalist is so cool. I’ll admit, I’ve started feeling a little sappy as I wrap up writing this letter (it’s my second-to-last one!!!), but this is what I keep reminding myself: everything is going to change, but everything is going to be good. I’m so proud of the staff ’s work to capture the present in the Bishop’s community. As always, thank you for reading.
PC: Sariah Hossain (‘22)
The School removes the mask mandate
08 Success in the Saddle 10 Almost Losing a Legend
The Bishop’s equestrian team isn’t horsing around Graham Walker
Tom Brady retired from the NFL, then he came back
12 Virtual Village 14 All For Us? 16 The Great Sizing Dilemma 18 Around the World-le
How Olympic TikTok offered an inside look into athletes’ time in Beijing Spencer Ralph
Should we be watching Euphoria?
A dive into the growing problem of vanity sizing Shirley Xu
Wordle’s ascent to stardom
20 22 No Skirt, No Problem Skirting the Issue
Stop policing girls’ clothing choices Tate Vaccaro
Just throw on a pair of pants
PC: Kyle Berlage (‘22)
24 Ready, Set, Write
Applying to Honors English classes has taken a new form
26 No One Asked, Kyle 27 Top Ten Rejected Top Tens
M A S K
O F F
The School removes the mask mandate
ask mandates across the United States have been dropping like flies. From Republican bastions to blue states across the country, an unprecedented bipartisan unity has arisen in favour of removing indoor face covering requirements in most settings. However, in many states like California, K-12 school environments have lagged behind in lawmakers’ race to drop the mask. This all changed when the California Department of Public Health announced on February 28 that the statewide K-12 school masking requirement would be eliminated after Friday, March 11. That same day, Bishop’s followed suit, announcing through an all-school email that campus rules would follow the guid-
However, most Democratic-held states have repeatedly made changes in their mask mandates. Most recently, California reinstated its universal mask mandate from December 15 through February 15 due to the surge in cases from the omicron variant. Additionally in California, masks have been required indoors in K-12 schools since October 2020, when schools were permitted to return to in-person instruction. This is the first time in over one and a half years that schools will be given the choice to require masks or not. The decision was made due to declining case rate and very high vaccination rates in the state of California, as well as San Diego County specifically. On February
Tower conducted an Instagram story poll of our followers, finding that of 117 respondents, 49 percent said they would continue wearing masks on campus after the requirement is lifted while 51 percent said they would not. Eli Browne (‘23) feels split on the issue as well. “On the one hand I think that the return to ‘normalcy’ has to come at some point, but on the other hand I do imagine there are some people—for example older teachers—who may not be as pleased as some students are,” he said. “I love having the mask off because I get to see the faces of my classmates and peers. I remember the connection I used to have in the classroom and I feel like a small
I remember the connection I used to have in the classroom and I feel like a small bit of that is back. - Eva Levy (‘22)
ance from California authorities. Beginning on the week of Monday, March 14, Bishop’s will no longer require face coverings to be worn indoors. However, both California and Bishop’s will continue to “recommend” mask-wearing indoors. Assistant Head of School Mr. Michael Beamer said in the allschool email, “At Bishop’s, we will align our policies with this new approach.” This new approach has fallen in line with similar directives from political leaders across the country. Despite no change in official CDC guidance in K-12 schools, which recommends universal masking despite vaccination status, the vast majority of states and local governments have made the decision to move past masking. In most Republican-held states, they either had no mask mandate or one which expired in 2021.
CAMPUS | ISSUE 04
28, the day of the announcement, the San Diego County case rate was 37.3 cases per 100k—nearly ten times less than the peak of the omicron surge in January, according to CovidActNow. Additionally, the infection rate—the number of people an infected person transmits the virus to—has crashed since the surge, at around 0.84 people on February 28. Additionally, Mr. Beamer said in the email, “While we know that members of our community have a wide range of feelings on masks, we are confident that this is a safe approach given the high vaccination rate and declining cases in our community, along with improved ventilation and air purification in indoor spaces.” Despite the mandate dropping, many people are making the personal choice to continue mask-wearing on-campus. The
bit of that is back,” said Eva Levy (‘22). “It’s like 2019 again and I’m all for it. The rec room is so much more alive too now that masks are off.” Mr. Beamer acknowledged that there would be a wide range of reactions to this new policy. In the email, he said, “As we transition from mandatory masks, we ask that you respect the choices of others in our community even if they differ from yours.” However, the email left some ambiguity. The removal of the mask mandate from the statewide authorities still allows for individual schools or districts to enforce local mask mandates past the requirement set out by the state. For example, San Diego Unified School District, which includes nearby La Jolla High School, announced that they will keep their mask mandate enforced
until after their own spring break, which ends on April 4. Sweetwater Union High School District, managing high schools in the South Bay, announced that their mask mandate would continue indefinitely. Bishop’s is no outlier in immediately allowing mask choice. Most North County school districts, like Carlsbad Unified, San Marcos Unified, and Poway Unified, have announced that they will no longer require masks indoors. Rancho Santa Fe Elementary School District, which controls only R. Roger Rowe School, has acted in defiance of the state mandate since February 21 by removing the requirement for masks indoors.
Hunter Kates (‘22), Nikhil Raisinghani (‘22), Paul Madany (‘22), and Flavia Valente (‘22)
Students across Bishop’s have been taking their masks off in classrooms and indoor spaces. Some, though, have been keeping them on.
Natalia Sierra-Vargas (‘22), Renee Chong (‘22), and Eva Levy (‘22)
PC: Kyle Berlage (‘22)
Scott Dyvig (‘22), Russell Cleary (‘22), and Connor Schneider (‘22)
SUCCESS in the
ll athletes know that the way teammates work together is one of the most important factors for success. For one Bishop’s sports program, that teammate is your horse. Since horseback riding is an individual sport, the success of a rider greatly depends on their horse. Co-Captain Paige Walker (‘22) explained, “The major difference is that we’re dealing with somebody who doesn’t speak our language but has an incredibly pivotal role in what we’re doing.” This means that riders must listen to their horses in ways aside from speaking. “It is a team sport with your horse but it’s not like other sports because you aren’t able to communicate in a human way.” The presence of horses can also affect the team overall, because their well-
own. However, the captains made it one of their goals this year to create an inclusive team environment. Co-Captain Emma Marshall (‘22) said, “It’s important to get to know one another and do things outside of school and outside of the barn.” The bonding activities that the captains organize for the team include cleaning their tack, putting up their team tent, doing volunteer work, and driving up to Orange County for shows. Emma continued, “We definitely try and make it a point throughout the season—especially last year since we didn’t get to have a season at all—to meet
Juan Capistrano High School. The Bishop’s team has achieved quite a bit of success in this league. The team’s Instagram bio declares that they are the “2020 3rd Place Varsity School.” Their most recent post shows Paige winning Reserve Champion in the Varsity Jumpers category. Standouts riders on the team include Paige and Peyten Seltzer (‘24). Following these successes, the team organized senior night. This isn’t the typical posters and speeches ceremony that other sports have; the Equestrian Team makes a reservation at a restaurant for a fun team
“You can’t do it without your horse.” - Emma Marshall (‘22) being must come first. Paige remembered a time when one member of the team was going to go to a show, but was not able to since their horse had been behaving abnormally. “That kind of close relationship between the rider and their horses is definitely important in our sport.” Team member Reese Newlin (‘26) observed that the relationships between each rider and their horse bring the team closer, maybe closer than those of other sports teams. She explained, “You’re really putting your safety in the hands of this animal, and it’s something you can all relate to, which really brings people together.” Since it is not necessary for the team to be together to practice and is logistically difficult, each rider practices on their
SPORTS | ISSUE 04
up and just kind of hangout, talk, clean our tack, and do the very horse-girly things.” The captains believe it is important to include these bonding activities since competing is very individualistic. Horse shows are the game equivalent for horseback riders, and in order to attend shows, the Bishop’s Equestrian Team participates in the Orange County Interscholastic Equestrian League (OCIEL). The only San Diego high schools that Bishop’s competes against are Cathedral Catholic High School and Canyon Crest Academy. According to Emma, many schools from Orange County participate, including St. Margaret’s School and San
dinner, where they celebrate their seniors and sometimes organize a gift exchange. The inclusivity that Emma described includes trying to make the Equestrian Team open to more Bishop’s students. That is difficult, since there are not that many students that ride horses, but the small team environment helps to bring the team closer. Additionally, this team is more independent than other Bishop’s sports teams since they have a sponsor, English teacher Ms. Elly Smith, rather than a coach. One of the two middle schoolers on the team, Reese Newlin, highlighted the supportive culture that the Equestrian Team has. She remembered a show where she
PC: Emma Marshall (‘22)
The Bishop’s equestrian team isn’t horsing around could not compete due to injury, but was still there to support the other members of the team who were competing. The team isn’t necessarily close, but as Emma acknowledged, Bishop’s is a tight community, so they do all know and talk to each other. Paige mentioned that one struggle for them is the gap in their ages. There are four seniors: Paige Walker, Emma Marshall, Charlie Johnson, and Cate Freundt, one sophomore: Peyten Seltzer, and two eighth graders: Reese Newlin and Ella Kaminsky. The seniors still manage to find ways to mentor the younger members of the team, regardless of the age gap. From the perspective of the middle schoolers, this mentorship is really special. At Reese’s first team meeting, she remembered walking in almost starstruck. “[The team] was all so
confusing to me: what it was all about, how it works. Paige really helped explain that to me and it was just nice to feel that.” Reese went on to explain, “They’re all super supportive, and they all want you to do your best.” Since seniors have more experience than younger team members, they take special care to pass their knowledge down. This is how the team continues to be successful as the years go on. In the end, however, it is down to each horse and rider. As Emma Marshall put it, “You can’t do it without your horse.”
Paige Walker (‘22) and her horse, Cheese compete for Bishop’s at a show in San Juan Capistrano. Horse-rider pairs include Paige and Cheese, Emma Marshall (‘22) and Diamond, and Peyten Seltzer (‘24) and Barnette.
L E G E N D
SPORTS | ISSUE 04
reer, and now it is time to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention.” He looked to the future saying he’s excited to have co-founded multiple brands like Tb12sports, Bradybrand and Autograph.io, and that he wants to continue his philanthropic work. When Brady “retired,” he thanked all of his coaches and staff throughout the years, his Bucs fans, his agent and his family. However, he neglected to acknowledge his Patriots fans, spurring controversy among the fanbase he won six Super Bowl rings for. Fans across the country certainly felt wronged by this. Kosi Eguchi (‘23) explained, “There was definitely an extra
another year. “I hope the news is shortlived,” he said. “And I hope that he doesn’t retire just yet, and comes back to play for his hometown 49ers for a year. But, if this is it, then it will have been very bittersweet to have watched his last game,” Hunter said. Well, Hunter predicted what many of us didn’t see coming, and lo and behold, Brady is in the process of signing with Tampa Bay for the 2022 season for an estimated 10.4 million dollars. Brady announced on Sunday, March 13th that he would be coming out of retirement for his 23rd season in September. “I’ve realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands,” Brady wrote in his decision on Twitter. “That time will come.
“To me, Brady coming out of retirement shows how passionate he is about the game.” - Logan Johnson (‘22) sting with his lack of commentary and appreciation to the Patriots franchise. However, as a Patriots fan, I’m grateful to him. As a football fan, I’m in awe of him. His ability and consistency in New England and Tampa Bay is unparalleled and he’s not done yet.” There are many extreme fans of Brady out there but one of the bigger fans at Bishop’s has to be Hunter Kates (‘22). “He was always my favorite player growing up, and I remember going to freezing games in Foxboro during the playoffs which had an incredible atmosphere.” After Brady initially announced his retirement last month Hunter proposed that Brady might come back for
But it’s not now. … I’m coming back for my 23rd season in Tampa.” Brady unretiring brought a big smile to Hunter’s face. “As a Patriots fan I’m super excited that he’s decided to come out of retirement and I’ll continue to root for him. I was definitely very upset to put my Brady jerseys into storage and will happily bring them out for next season. I think with Brady, anything is possible and I don’t think it’s out of the question to say that he could win an eighth [super bowl] ring.” Undoubtedly, Brady will be looking to bring together his former teammates with whom he has had immense success with and, notably, the Photo courtesy of Wikimedia
om Brady was already set to be remembered as possibly the greatest quarterback of all time and his decision to retire seemed to come at the perfect time, leaving the game on top after winning the 2021 Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brady, who announced his retirement in February, is a seven-time Super Bowl champion, five-time Super Bowl MVP and three-time National Football League (NFL) MVP, and it appears he is not ready to hang up the cleats just yet. Brady’s dominance in the sport and road to winning seven Super Bowl rings started from humble beginnings. Before he was leading the New England Patriots, and later the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, to annual contention for the Super Bowl, the 199th overall pick in the 2000 NFL draft had to sit out in college. He played two years as the backup quarterback at the University of Michigan, until his final two years where he set records for most pass attempts and completions in a single season. He’s the quintessential underdog story. His 22 dominant years in the NFL will be tough to rival and we will see what the 23rd year has in store for him. Brady released an Instagram post with his statement announcing his retirement from the NFL on Tuesday, February 1. “I have always believed the sport of football is an all-in proposition,” he said. “If a 100% commitment isn’t there, you won’t succeed, and success is what I love about our game…There are no shortcuts to success on the field or in life.” Brady explained that as difficult as it was, he couldn’t make the competitive commitment anymore.“This is difficult for me to write, but here it goes: I am not going to make that competitive commitment anymore. I have loved my NFL ca-
Tom Brady retired from the NFL, then he came back
NFL’s free agency period begins March 16th. Several of the Bucs’ core players will become free agents, including Tight End Rob Gronkowski with whom Brady has been teammates with for the Rob’s entire career as well as center Ryan Jenson. Tampa Bay will be in a tight spot financially, as they are already $11 million over the salary cap. Logan Johnson (‘22) (who considers himself Brady’s number one fan) commented on Brady’s unretirement. “To me, Brady coming out of retirement shows how passionate he is about the game. Someone like him could have retired a long time ago and still held the status he holds today, yet he is still playing. If that’s not inspiring, I don’t know what is. As a Pats fan, I’ll still root for the Bucs just as much as I do for the Pats. Although Brady isn’t “officially” a Patriot anymore, he’ll always be in my heart, and in the hearts of all my family in Boston as well. Brady is an all time leader in passes and touchdowns. He’s one the greatest quarterbacks to ever play and his retirement statement made most people assume that after retiring from the game on top—in Michael Jordanesque fashion—he was going to spend his time and energies doing philanthropic work and being with his family. But, similar to Jordan in basketball, he’s unretiring to come back for a 23rd season with the Buccaneers; despite already leaving behind a hall of fame career. The upcoming season will be interesting to see if Brady, at the age of 44, can still be the franchise leading quarterback we know of him so well, proving his dominance in the areas of longevity and competitiveness.
Tom walks off the field after defeating the Miami Dolphins 27-24 and clinching the divisional playoff on 24 December 2011.
How Olympic TikTok offered an inside look into athletes’ time in Beijing Clare Malhotra
ast summer, Olympians appeared all over TikTok, documenting their experiences in the Tokyo Olympic village. Just six months later, Olympic TikTok has made a resurgence during the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. As of February 2022, the hashtag “olympictiktok” has 70 million views and the hashtag “olympics” has 11.9 billion. So, what makes this side of TikTok so popular, and what keeps viewers interested?
ple in the US downloaded TikTok. 1.1 million downloaded Instagram and 1 million downloaded YouTube. However, according to The Washington Post, fewer people tuned into the Opening Ceremonies than in previous years. This indicates a shift away from watching the Olympics on the big screen to instead watching shorter versions on TikTok or other media platforms. While social media platforms like Instagram rose to prominence in
essarily the same people splattered throughout the news articles. Sure, gold medalists like snowboarder Shaun White and gymnast Sunisa Lee boast 1.5 million and 1.6 million followers respectively, but smaller TikTokers also make up a large portion of what teenagers call Olympic TikTok. The type of content varies from YouTube-style vlogs to dances with teammates, which helps to humanize world class athletes into everyday people.
There’s a sense of awe around the Olympic Village; it’s a myth, a legend— something no ordinary person would ever get to experience, until now. It likely stems from the way the public perceives the Olympics. The first Games were in 1896 and, both then and now, have represented the best of the best, an elite club of athletic superstars. There’s a sense of awe around the Olympic Village; it’s a myth, a legend—something no ordinary person would ever get to experience, until now. The Olympics began on February 4, and, according to app analytics company Sensor Tower, during the week to follow, 1.7 million peo-
CULTURE | ISSUE 04
the late 2000s and early 2010s, the curated nature of ‘feeds’ doesn’t allow fans to really grasp the everyday nature or experience of a public figure. However, this changed in late 2018 as TikTok’s popularity skyrocketed. The shorter videos, which are generally under a minute in length (though sometimes up to three minutes) offered a candid, more relatable look into celebrities—and with them, athletes. What makes these TikToks interesting is that they aren’t nec-
Eighteen-year-old snowboarder Tessa Maud is a popular TikToker who has been vlogging and documenting her experience traveling to Beijing and competing in the Games. The topics of her videos— and others’—range from larger, more documented aspects like opening ceremonies to parts of the Olympics that people might never have considered. A common topic on Summer Olympic TikTok was the cardboard beds athletes had to sleep
Screenshots by Clare Malhotra (‘22)
On TikTok, athletes post day-in-the-life vlogs, food reviews, and Q&As to give viewers an inside look into the Beijing winter Olympics. (Pictured left to right: Tessa Maud and Piper Gilles) in. Some winter Olympians—such as Tessa Maud—continued the trend with a review of the beds in Beijing, which include a zero gravity mode feature. Many TikTokers also do days in the life to show what it’s like to spend time in Olympic Village, food reviews to allow viewers a glimpse at unseen parts of the day, and Question and Answer (Q and A) sessions to connect with fans. Another popular topic is the COVID regulations and policies set in place by the Olympics. American snowboarder Maddie Mastro garnered 678k views on a video of her daily COVID test. German snowboarder Leon Vockensperger posted a video of a robot disinfecting a hallway, and Shaun White
showed a facial recognition machine that could identify athletes with their masks on. Oftentimes, the aspect of the pandemic covered by NBC is positive tests and athletes sent home. TikTok documents many of the little steps taken to keep the athletes and population healthy. In the past, the only Olympians that the general public was aware of—particularly uninformed teenagers—were the gold medalists. However, people like Tessa, who is only eighteenyears-old, demonstrate the reality of the Olympics, which is that Olympians are young, social, and relatable. “The Olympics is so much more fun now that TikTok is a thing,” a user com-
mented on one of Ilona Maher’s videos. “I forget that they’re normal people sometimes and I love it,” another said. It’s not a situation that is unique to the Olympics; throughout the last couple of years, many public figures have turned to TikTok as a way to connect with fans in a more casual way. Through each new social media service, the physical barriers between celebrities or athletes and their fans are broken a bit more.
Should we be watching Euphoria? Spencer Ralph content warning: domestic violence, drug abuse, and alcoholism
ALL FOR US? 14
CULTURE | ISSUE 04
igh School Musical. Many of us imagined high school would be exactly like the stereotype Disney Channel implanted in us. From jocks in the lead musical to prissy brats like Sharpae, the movies and shows of our childhood created these classic, “perfect” storylines. However, the new HBO show Euphoria is breaking this cookie-cutter high school drama standard. Featuring storylines of drug abuse, sex, and violence, the show claims to be for 18+ viewers. However, it appeals to teens by casting actors we grew up with such as Zendaya (Shake it Up, K.C. Undercover, the Spider-Man movies) and Jacob Elordi (The Kissing Booth). The Instagram account for the show has racked up 6.6 million followers. The question left hanging above our heads is: should we be watching? Premiering in 2019 on the channel HBO, before HBO’s streaming service (HBO Max) had come out, Euphoria is a critically-acclaimed show that guided Zendaya to an Emmy for the most Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series award. By having actors familiar to teens nowadays, the show was bound for success. When the first episode of its second season aired on January 9 2022, it garnered a whopping 13.1 million viewers according to Variety. Euphoria meticulously covers a wide variety of topics that are very prevalent in the lives of students today. From drugs and alcohol to gender identity and sex, the show does not miss a beat. It even portrays physical and sexual abuse, topics that can be very heavy for even adults, let alone adolecents. What is Euphoria’s answer to the criticism of their adult content? Say that the show is mature, and recommend that viewers are 18 or older to watch. Although the producers of Euphoria may have thought that this
would prevent younger people from watching, HBO Max users are still able to watch it if they don’t have their profile set to ‘kids only’ In fact, this does not stop at shows like Euphoria. It allows users of all ages to watch shows like Game of Thrones, known for its violence and graphic sex scenes. For some, the age recommendation isn’t enough. The lead actress and executive producer, Zendaya, stated on an Instagram post, “this season, maybe even more so than the last, is deeply emotional and deals with subject matter that can be triggering and difficult to watch…Please only watch if you feel comfortable.” Many have taken Zendaya’s note into account. From adults to teenagers, many are speaking out on social media saying that they refuse to watch the show because of family or personal history. In Shivani Kadia’s (‘24) case, the show felt right to watch. “I feel it deals with a lot of serious issues in a way where it brings awareness yet also shows the dark side of drugs,” she said. In the show, the main character Rue Bennett, an addict, is constantly engaging in drug use. Shivani continued on, saying how the show does a “good job in showing how hard addiction is on someone and their family,” and how it scares a viewer. “It does a good job not glamorizing drugs,” she concluded. Psychology teacher Mrs. Emily Smith has only seen one episode of Euphoria, but that was enough for her to understand the gist. The seniors and juniors in her Honors Psychology classes continually reference the show, especially during their unit on sexual motivation. Mrs. Smith says that she thinks “explicit shows damage our ability to perceive what life and sex should be.” In season one of Euphoria, one of the main characters, Nate Jacobs, strangles his girlfriend, Maddy Perez, by the neck. Later on in season two, he puts a gun up to her head while threatening her. There becomes an added concern when domestic vio-
Photos courtesy of HBO
Character Rue Bennett, played by Zendaya, goes through the highs and lows of high school while battling a drug addiction.
lence and sexual assault are continously played for children who have yet to understand the severity of it. The show’s characters are not just engaging in inappropriate adult behavior. They also, as 20+ year olds, have adult bodies. “There is some damage being done because what they see as a normal body doesn’t match their own,” Mrs. Smith said. “There is a dissonance from how they think they should look.” On social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, users have found pictures of the actors when they were in High School showing the dramatic difference. “I have the same problem as I did when watching 13 Reasons Why: it does not seem like there is a trusted adult in the show,” said Director of Counseling Mrs. Megan Broderick. In
light of the recent events on our campus, Mrs. Broderick explained her general concerns about the lack of trust with adults among younger generations. During the emergency assembly to notify students of the racist and anti-Semetic attacks at Bishop’s, she spoke to the entire Upper School community letting them know that she was there for them. Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Broderick both agree on the need for kids to have conversations with their parents about behaviors like this. “If parents are talking to their kids openly and honestly about healthy sexual relationships, the show shouldn’t be a problem; but they’re not,” said Mrs. Smith. She and Mrs. Broderick both spoke to their belief that students’ “sex and social ed” being taught through technology is a dan-
gerous slope. However, Mrs. Smith does find the show to be more acceptable when young viewers have conversed about the explicit content with trusted adults. Adding on, Mrs. Broderick said that “it’s developmentally normal for young people to be attracted to danger and risks, but there comes a point where it is too risky.” If you watch Euphoria, no matter what age, please be advised that it is triggering to groups that suffer from addiction, abuse, and alcoholism. Will Keefe (‘23) believes that people his age “understand that it is more than drugs, sex, alchol, and the danger. It shows real characters who make real mistakes,” he said. “Something that we can relate to.”
It shows real characters who make real mistakes. [It’s] something that we can relate to. - Will Keefe (‘23)
arilyn Monroe, the American actress, model, and singer who was one of the biggest style icons of the 1950s, was a size 14. For some, this may come as a surprise. However, it is completely accurate by the sizing standards of that era. Today, Monroe would be around a size 6. Why? Vanity sizing, also known as size inflation, is the practice of labeling clothing items a smaller size than the measurements actually reflect in order to encourage sales. Over the past 50 years, it has become an unfortunately apparent is-
becoming angry at our bodies for not corresponding to the coverings instead of the other way around,” wrote journalist Tracy E. Robey for Vox. First of all, on a surface level, vanity sizing is a frustrating inconvenience for any woman shopping for clothes. For example, data analysis from True Fit taken from $40 billion worth of transactions across retailers shows that the waistband measurement of women’s high-rise jeans in a size 6 can vary by more than five inches. If a particular size is a different measure-
you look at the patterns that we use, I can guarantee it’s not the same size you wear if you go to the store.” Mrs. Moroney reflected that in her career, she has always had to deal with sensitivity surrounding sizes. “We’re very careful not to let people know their pattern size,” she said, “because they care.” Additionally, size inflation is impractical, as it will only accelerate as the years go on. Sizing data from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, presented in a study by the American Society of Testing and Materials, shows that in
“If you look at the patterns that we use, I can guarantee it’s not the same size you wear if you go to the store.” – Costume Design teacher Mrs. Moroney sue. If you’re a size medium and are occasionally perplexed when a shirt labeled a size small fits perfectly, you have likely experienced vanity sizing for yourself. On many different levels, vanity sizing is a problem that needs to come to an end. Simply put, clothes are meant to fit you—you are not meant to fit into clothes. “We purchase what we can, hoping for the best,
ment everywhere, there is no longer any point to sizing at all. “[This destandardization] makes shopping online harder, since you never know how something’s going to fit,” added Renee Wang (‘24). “It’s difficult for us,” said Costume Designer and Performing Arts faculty member Mrs. Jean Moroney, referring to the costume design department as a whole. “If
1958, a women’s size 8 was a measurement of 24 inches around the waist. Today, however, a size 8 is 30 inches. To compensate for this inflation of sizes, a size 4 had to be introduced around 2001, followed by 0 and 00 around 2011. If the trend continues, eventually, companies will have to either add more zeros or go into the negatives—which would be absurd.
dilemma A dive into the timeless problem that is vanity sizing Isadora Blatt
CULTURE | ISSUE 04
Art by Shirley Xu (‘23)
Most importantly, brands such as H&M, Forever 21, and Free People manipulating their customers in this deceitful manner is simply unethical. Size inflation is not a coincidence—clothing stores are fully aware of the effects sizing has on our minds. A new study from the Journal of Consumer Psychology (JCP) proved that larger sizes result in “negative evaluations of clothing,” driven by the consumers’ self-esteem. Not only are customers more likely to buy an item with a smaller label, they may also engage in compensatory consumption, purchasing more items to help repair their damaged self-esteem from requiring a larger size. This establishes the manipulative rela-
tionship between consumers and clothing sizes, in which the act of shopping can serve to subconsciously affect consumers’ mental health. Mrs. Moroney feels that it is much less of a problem in men’s clothing. “Men aren’t as afraid to go up in size as women are,” she said, explaining that she believes this discrepancy is based in psychology. Statistically, it remains unclear how clothing sizes impact men. However, as the JCP study (which focused on women’s clothing) postulated, “It is possible that rather than mirroring their female counterparts, male consumers are instead ambivalent to sizing labels, or perhaps even exhibit the opposite effect
and actually hope to be “bigger” in some sizing contexts.” At the end of the day, vanity sizing promotes toxic views on body image that women already have to deal with. There is no immediate end to this problem in sight, as Mrs. Moroney put it – “not unless women get a backbone about this.” Overall, vanity sizing is certainly a problem that is rooted deeper than just the numbers and measurements. “It makes women nervous and can encourage eating disorders,” said Mrs. Moroney. “I think it’s a much farther-reaching problem.”
t’s taken the world by storm, gray, yellow, and green boxes and all. The sudden hit game Wordle has gone viral, uniting people of all ages. What made Wordle popular, so much so that Bishop’s students and faculty alike can be heard discussing the newest puzzle amongst themselves during Milk Break or lunch? Wordle is a relatively simple word game. Each day, players have six tries to guess a randomly generated five letter word. Following each guess, players receive feedback in the form of colored boxes to guide their next attempt: a gray box means the letter is not in the word; a yellow box means the letter is in the word but in the incorrect position; a green box means the letter is in the word and the correct spot. Initially, software engineer and Wordle creator Josh Wardle, who named the game after his own last name, created the game to play with his partner, Palak Shah. Wardle told the New York Times that he “wanted to come up with a game that she would enjoy,” after playing the New York Times Spelling Bee
Wordle’s ascent to stardom Shirley Xu
and daily crossword puzzles with each other in 2020. Wardle debuted the game to members of his family via WhatsApp before it launched to the public in the fall of that year, and the rest is history. With just 90 players on November 1, 2020, Wordle now surpasses 3 million players, who tend to come back each day for their daily dose of the game. In mid-December, Wardle added a sharing feature, which provided a way for players to compare results without spoiling the solution to each day’s puzzle. This helped lead to the formation of a community around the game, especially in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and boosted its popularity on social media platforms such as Twitter and TikTok. For many, Wordle’s barebones nature is like a breath of fresh air, breaking conventions of many other modern internet games. Wardle told NPR that this choice was intentional, and that he “specifically rejected a bunch of the things you’re supposed to do for a mobile game.” Wardle mentioned, “The rejection of some of those things
“IT KIND OF BLEW UP.”
–SERENA ZHANG (‘24)
CULTURE | ISSUE 04
has actually attracted people to the game because it feels quite innocent and it just wants you to have fun with it.” Before it was purchased by the New York Times late January for an “undisclosed price in the low-seven figures,” Wordle was based solely on a minimalistic website: no ads or popups, no messages asking for subscriptions or paywalls blocking players from the full experience. While many other game developers hope to retain their users by fueling off addictive behavior, such as unlimited play or notification reminders, Wordle only has one puzzle a day. Wordle player Sienna Li (‘24) believes the imposed limit is what makes the game stand out. “Nothing about Wordle stands out much at first glance, but I think that same simplicity is also what makes it special,” she said. “The challenge factor of such a simple game just seems appealing to me, and playing it with other people gives it an edge of competitiveness which also gives me motivation to keep going.” Marina Khoury (‘24) agreed, mentioning that, “I wouldn’t say Wordle is addicting by virtue of its once-daily accessibility. Though I log in to Wordle every day, I don’t spend more than ten minutes on it, unlike other games or social media.” Serena Zhang (‘24) recalled watching Wordle’s rise to fame. She remembered starting her Wordle journey in mid-January. “I told a friend about it,” she said,
Art by Shirley Xu (‘23)
“And they were like, ‘Oh yeah, it’s don’t play the Wordle knock-off Since the New York Times blowing up all over TikTok!’” Since games because I feel like the original Company bought Wordle, there then, Serena saw Wordle more and Wordle satiates me. Also, one of the have been an outcrop of rumors and more across various apps, including main reasons I keep playing Wordle theories around players. “There’s YouTube videos discussing strategy is the social aspect; my friends don’t been a rumor that ever since the and starting words. “It kind of blew play the knock-offs, so I don’t feel Times purchased Wordle, the Wordup.” compelled to play them.” le words have been a lot harder to Wordle has also amassed A similar ideology holds guess. I partly agree with it; it’s kind a host of remakes and spinoffs. true for Sienna, who holds more of weird because they used to be Bhadra Rupesh (‘24) enjoys playing creative spin offs of Wordle in high- everyday words that you are sure Nerdle, a math variant of Wordle er regard. Sienna said that, “Pure you know the meaning of, but now in which players have six I have to look up the word attempts to determine a to see what it meant,” resum through an expresflected Serena. “Normally, sion using operations it would’ve been just a simsuch as addition, subtracple word, and that’s what tion, multiplication, and made Wordle so nice. It was division. “I think Nerdle easy, and you didn’t have to is fun, although a fair bit stress about it. Now, it’s a lot more difficult than Wordmore obscure.” le because it has a longer Although it is true character limit,” she said. that many New York Times “Hello Wordl,” another Wordle solutions have been Wordle-like game, “is also particularly challenging for fun to play because you many—standouts include can try unlimited words “ULTRA,” “AGORA,” and and can try words with up “ULCER”—the New York to eleven letters, which is a Times has not upped the nice challenge.” difficulty. In fact, the New Other popular York Times has been workvariants include Absuring towards condensing dle (a version of Wordle the original list of 5-letter that attempts to prolong a words to remove offensive game as long as possible by language and less frequentMany Wordle players have starting words that they use for the daily puzzle. Here are some common choosing a solution word ly used vocabulary. ones that Bishopians use, which they reported via as you play), Worldle (in The New York Instagram poll. which the objective is to Times purchasing Wordle guess the country or terhas also caused panic and ritory based on its silhouette), and knockoff Wordle games, such as fear among players that the game Wordle Unlimited (basically Wordle the ones that function exactly the may become locked behind a paythat allows players to have an un- same as the original game, just with wall or subscription in the future. limited number of plays each day). unlimited words aren’t my favorite For now, Wordle will remain free, Serena, an avid Taylor Swift fan, also to be completely honest. However, but a lot of uncertainty remains in mentioned enjoying Taylordle, a games like Nerdle, which takes the the eyes of Bishop’s Wordle players. Wordle variant created by the Holy functionality of Wordle and spins Swift podcast. it into an equation game is someSome Wordle players do thing I respect and find rather fun. not play variants that have stemmed Although I’m guilty of playing some from the original at all. This is the unlimited Wordle knockoffs, I still case for History teacher Ms. Abby find myself respecting the more crePerelman, who mentioned that,“I ative ones more.”
SKIRTING THE ISSUE Stop policing girls’ clothing choices Lily Gover
OPINION | ISSUE 04
PC: Lily Gover (‘24)
n May 21st, 2019, students uncomfortable.” If the short length should be able to walk around naked, with signs filled the sidewalk of skirts makes people so uncom- but we shouldn’t have to be restricted in front of Cathedral Catholic fortable, why do students continue to to options that we cannot feel confiHigh School. “My body, my choice,” shorten skirts? dent in. It is understandable to dress “I’m sorry, did my knees distract you I personally feel uncom- code someone if it appears that they from reading this poster?,” and “I’m fortable wearing my skirt longer; the aren’t wearing anything, but the genconfident with what I wear but my length and fit of longer skirts feel as eral standards of modern society school doesn’t want me to be!” were if I’m wearing a paper bag. I think I seem to be that if your clothes cover just three of the many messages of speak for most people when I say your private parts, they are acceptable. outrage on the signs directed towards that I wear my skirt shorter than four This becomes clear if you the school. simply walk around Many other San Diego; you will see schools, especially primany girls in short denvate schools, have been im shorts and cropped called out by their stutank tops. We have to dents on issues with the move on from the idea dress code—specificalthat a woman’s upper ly rules regarding girls’ thigh is inappropriate skirt length. At Bishop’s, and must be covered our skirt lengths are regup. Our legs should not ulated by a four-inchesbe distracting. above-the-knee policy. Bela Gowda (‘24) The quantity of short acknowledged that “In skirt violations becomes the world that we live in evident just by walking today, no girl wants to around campus. This is wear their skirt to their not a problem with the knees.” students, but with the She was called policy itself. out for the length of The rule in the her skirt by a teacher Bishop’s 2021-2022 Uniduring the service fair form Policy states that as she sat on the terrace “Skorts/skirts should along with many other The Bishop’s Land’s End skirts “should be be no shorter than four students. She recountno shorter than four inches above the top of inches above the top of ed that the teacher the knee,” according to the Uniform Policy. the knee.” Assistant to told her, “Your skirt is However, it seems that many students do not the Dean of Students way too short. Several follow this rule and that many teachers do Ms. Melissa Kirchberg teachers have brought not enforce it. has sent out a few emails this to my attention. It’s in response to the violations, such as inches above the knee because I feel embarrassing for you and frankly it’s the one sent on August 24, 2021 that more confident walking around cam- embarrassing for me too.” The incirestated this rule after sharing that she pus in a skirt that fits me how I want it dent left her upset and humiliated. “was asked to send out a few uniform to fit me, not how someone else thinks Joy Udinsky (‘24) had a simreminders.” She explained, “The skirts it should. I am not wearing a shorter ilar experience a few weeks later. She are too short…Seeing someone’s un- skirt for anyone but myself. was pulled aside from a conversation derwear while walking upstairs is I am not claiming that we with her friends by a teacher who in-
formed her that a male administrator had brought the short length of Joy’s skirt to their attention. The male administrator had felt too uncomfortable to approach Joy himself. She remembered, “It made me feel like I was doing something wrong, and it made me feel really uncomfortable, especially since there are many other girls wearing the same thing that I am.” This suggests a major flaw in the rule if the students and the enforcers feel uncomfortable in these conversations. The Bishop’s website writes in their vision statement that “Our vision is the pursuit of the question: How do our students learn and grow best? Everything we do must return to this fundamental question.” Everything, including students’ uniform, should support a productive learning environment for all students. An environment in which girls feeling humiliated and insecure does not support this vision. Overall, Bishop’s is not one of the worst schools for dress code. We aren’t given a uniform violation every time we wear a skirt that is shorter than four inches above the knee; we aren’t UVd every time we wear a shirt that is slightly cropped on free dress day, but the presence of the skirt rule evidently presents an issue. I understand that it is hard to find the balance between wearing what is inappropriate and wearing what you want to wear. However, something is clearly wrong with a
policy if it is not followed or enforced. We are taught to have pride and self-esteem all the time, but that means nothing if actions don’t support it. If my friend wants to wear her favorite tank top on free dress day and feels confident in it, let her wear it. What is wrong with showing her shoulders? Sometimes, telling a girl that she is revealing too much can come across as body shaming. Feeling confident with yourself and what you are wearing, then having someone tell you it’s inappropriate or embarrassing can be really degrading. Fashion icon and pop star Billie Eilish has been vocal about this subject since she has received attention—including much backlash— towards her clothing choices. In the June 2021 issue of British Vogue, Eilish shocked fans with a transformation from her regular loose-fitting clothes to being printed on the cover of the magazine in lingerie. This was a moment of power for Eilish and her fans, but not all who saw the cover were left in awe. The Daily Mail published an article on the Vogue cover with the headline, “‘Proof that money can make you change your values and ‘sell out’: Billie Eilish shocks fans by swapping baggy clothes for lingerie in Vogue — despite years of vowing to ‘hide her body.’” In response, Eilish told Vogue that “Showing your body and showing your skin—or not—should not take any respect away from you.” This double standard was brought
to light in the athletic world as well: during the beach handball Euro 2021 tournament. While at Bishop’s our skirts cannot be more than four inches above our knees, women’s handball players must wear bikini bottoms that cannot exceed more than four inches of side width. The Norwegian women’s team wore thigh-length elastic shorts during the bronze medal match against Spain to protest the bikini-bottom regulation, according to the National Broadcasting Company (NBC). The team was fined 1500 euros. In contrast, the Qatar Volleyball Association attempted to ban players from wearing bikinis at their international beach volleyball tournament. Women’s clothing choices have been regulated to the point that we do not have any options left that will not spark criticism or discipline. Bishop’s, please understand that being a teenage girl is hard enough, and creating more insecurities by telling girls they are embarrassing themselves and distracting others when they feel confident does not create the positive environment that our vision statement promised. I am tired of seeing my friends being called out for wearing what they want to wear, and I am tired of girls being slut-shamed for wearing clothes that make them feel confident and express who they are.
“Showing your body and showing your skin— or not— should not take any respect away from you.” – Billie Eilish
or the very first time in my five years being at Bishop’s, I wore pants to school this past semester. I decided to invest in a pair of flared, khaki pants from Goodwill before the school year started and was thrilled to discover that they fit me perfectly. As I prevailed against the gusts of sixty-degree winds that nipped at my face during passing periods, I asked myself, “Why haven’t I done this sooner?” Two inconveniences that serve as barriers to girls wearing pants are sizing and availability. Sancia Milton (‘22), who can be frequently spotted rocking khaki pants of her own,
stained because I wondered if I could ‘pull off ’ a pair gracefully. Then, I ended up buying a pair and I could not make it work, sadly.” Finding a pair of flattering pants of any kind is already a challenge. It’s no wonder that the two pairs of khaki-style pants that Land’s End offers aren’t cutting it. Another concern that prevented me from wearing pants sooner was how my classmates would react. Historically, khaki pants have been a part of the dress code since at least 2010, possibly earlier. However, if you flip through old Bishop’s yearbooks from the 2000s, very few female students are pictured wearing pants.
provement in the last few years,” she said. “That one time I wore shorts in 8th grade, it almost felt like a uniform violation! Barely anyone who identified as a girl at Bishop’s went that route then. Now, I think a lot more students feel comfortable enough to wear pants at school if that’s what they want.” Sancia elaborated on the reluctance to wear pants to school and how gender stereotypes play a role. “I can understand the hesitation to come to school in a less conventional outfit,” she said. “I, for one, thought maybe people would see me as less feminine, and that wasn’t true. Pants can be feminine too.” She continued, “I blame so-
Hopefully, we will get to a place where women can wear what makes them
c o n f i d e n t . noted sizing issues. “From a practical standpoint, khaki pants that fit women are hard to find…much harder than for guys,” she said. Land’s End offers two different styles of khaki pants, Chino and Pencil, in sizes zero to 16. Sizing inconsistencies across different brands make ordering pants a bit tricky. Tanvi Ghosh (‘22) experienced a similar difficulty finding a pair of pants that fit her properly. “I remember seeing the Land’s End khaki pants for the first time sophomore year, and wondered if I should get myself a pair,” she said. “Initially, I ab-
–Sancia Milton (‘22) Even now, the majority of female students at Bishop’s consistently wear skirts. According to a Tower Instagram survey, out of 82 total responses from female students, 62% responded that they have never worn pants to school. Deviating from the uniform “norm” and wearing a less conventionally feminine outfit can feel uncomfortable, maybe even scary, especially when wearing skirts has been the social norm for so long. When Ellie Hodges (‘22) wore shorts for the first time in 8th grade, she certainly felt out of place. “There’s definitely been a large im-
cial commentary for a lot of our perceptions on what outfits make women ‘look good,’ and what don’t. Hopefully, we will get to a place where women can wear what makes them confident, not just what larger conventions say ’should’ make them confident. On some level, wearing pants is my small contribution to that movement.” How does this social commentary play out here at Bishop’s? “I have never felt that there is a stigma around wearing pants at Bishop’s,” Macy Haro (‘23) said. “Plenty of my friends wear pants and shorts regardless of gender, so I have never felt any
NO SKIRT, NO PROBLEM Just throw on a pair of pants
OPINION | ISSUE 04
PC: Tate Vaccaro (‘22)
Reese Cohen (’24), pictured on the left, purchased her pair of khaki pants from Dickie’s rather than Land’s End. Anna Balsdon (‘24) and Mikayla Crowe (‘24) opted to wear skirts.
hesitation. Isabel Merced (‘23) elaborated further on the social pressure to wear skirts at Bishop’s, or the lack thereof. “The social stigma to wear skirts is very minimal,” she said. “I think it eludes me at times, as I value my own comfort and opinion far more than fashion or social influence. I will say, I think the norm of skirt wearing does have a major social component rather than a comfort or fashion one.” Isabel brings up a crucial point. When free dress days come around, most girls opt to wear pants rather than a skirt. “Evidently, skirts are not anyone’s first option, yet the khaki alternative is never the preferred uniform,” she added. Perhaps if the administration was a little looser on uniform rules for pants, more girls would opt in. Why do our pants have to be khaki and how strongly does this impact the standard of wearing skirts? Ellie touched on these questions further.
“There definitely is still a standard that leans towards skirts,” she explained. “I’m not sure if it’s because the majority feel more comfortable that way or feel pressure to do so. It might be that khaki pants just don’t work for some people.” According to Abby Beamer (‘22), it’s a mix of both. “I don’t wear pants because I think that people may make assumptions about my gender identity or sexual orientation,” she said. “The pants that we have to wear from Land’s End are really ugly and I don’t think that they look great on me.” While these stigmas may not influence Bishop’s on the same scale that they do other institutions, it’s important to recognize that they exist. “A friend was complaining about the cold and I suggested that they wear pants,” Tanvi explained. “Their response was that they didn’t want people to think that pants were, and I quote, ‘a thing.’ I didn’t really understand what she
was trying to imply, so I asked her to explain, and she basically said pants were for the LGBTQ+ girls and for girls who didn’t care for their appearance.” Now that I’m a senior, I’ve gotten to a place where I feel comfortable wearing pants. Granted, it wasn’t always like that. “When I was younger, I was always too scared to follow through,” Sancia said. “I needed a degree of self-confidence to wear pants without worrying about deviating from the traditional female clothing norms on campus, even though I knew we were a largely accepting campus anyway.” Wearing khaki pants is not “a thing,” it’s a matter of comfort. For those who may feel nervous about wearing pants and would like to do so, I’ll reiterate Sancia’s point, “Pants can be feminine too.” Norms are temporary.
Art by Crystal Li (‘23)
Ready, Set, Write
Applying to Honors English classes has taken a new form Crystal Li
think ‘new’ often feels scary,” said English Teacher and Department Chair Dr. Anna Clark. Though February and March are still considered early months of this year, for many Bishop’s students, this is the time when many departments roll out fixed requirements and procedures for honors applications. This year, there’s a notable change in the Honors English application process: a new timed writing assessment. This year’s selections are based on a handwritten, 45-minute timed essay for sophomores and juniors applying to the Honors Writing and Honors American Literature courses. For juniors applying to Advanced Honors English, they must also submit one creative writing piece and one analytical essay from a recent English course. Furthermore, a student’s perfor-
cases, difficult to compare them.” This was in reference to last year’s honors application process, based on prepared student pieces instead of the element of timed writing. However, years ago, timed writing was, in fact, a portion of the application. “We switched to processed papers in order to communicate our belief in the importance of revision, a belief we still dearly hold,” explained English teacher Mr. Adam Davis. “But this brought challenges of its own as it is sometimes the case that these papers have not only been processed by the student, but by peers, parents, and tutors.” Some students, having gone through a different version of the honors application process in previous years, noted their personal feelings about this change. “Personally, whenever I had timed writ-
contrasting experiences across grade levels, Stanley Wei (‘22) said, “If I were to apply again, and there was this change, I think as someone who had gone through a lot of timed writing experience outside of school, that’s something I would be alright with.” Renee Wang (‘24) noted that her English II class has had one timed writing experience in class, which was during quarter three. Looking at his Whipple Hill assignments, Kenan Begovic (‘24) counted more than ten timed writing assignments so far in this school year. These were some of the many varied experiences across different tenthgrade English classes. Other students found the change fair. “When I heard of the changes, I was immediately grateful that I was graduating—I haven’t met a student who genuinely loves
Among the choices available to us, it felt like the most accurate and equitable. -English Department Chair Dr. Anna Clark mance in past English classes also factors into the decision. In an email to the class of 2023 and 2024 on February 1, Dr. Clark outlined the specific changes to the application process accompanied by a section titled “Rationale and Other Useful Info.” In addition to establishing the role of timed writing, this informational announcement also became a space to preemptively answer certain questions. “This has been an ongoing discussion in the department… it’s something that we started talking about last spring,” Dr. Clark said. “We, in our decision-making process, found that the writing samples that formed the basis of our evaluations were pretty widely varied; it was, in some
COVER STORY | ISSUE 04
ing assignments in the past, those were my worst assessments, because I get anxious during them, and it really affects my performance,” Natasha Mar (‘23) described. “At least last year, I was pretty proud of the work that I submitted. But this year, I wouldn’t feel as confident [applying to the honors courses].” Elise Watson (‘22) said, “I don’t believe in applications for anything… but I completely understand why [these changes were implemented],” She paused. “Writing is one of those things that, of course, you still get better over time, but there are a few moments that your writing really might stand out two years before you submit this application, but it should really be about the work you are doing [currently] in class.” Recognizing that there may be
timed writing,” Tanvi Ghosh (‘22) remarked. “However, after Dr. Clark explained the reasoning behind the new application… I think this process, while we don’t love it, makes complete sense.” Besides the goal of ensuring fairness, Tanvi expressed that each course and teacher may have varying assignments. Looking back to her experience discussing English II with her friends, Tanvi added that some classes may not have written a formal creative writing piece, or some may not have written a full analytical paper—making an application with solely prepared works unproductive. The popularity of such discussions begs the question: what are the differences between English electives and honors courses, and what drives students to take either?
From a technical standpoint, though all of the English courses in junior and senior year offer a rigorous, writing-focused experience, the difference with honors class is the amount of time—an hour and a half to be exact—that teachers ask students to put into that work. “Because [honors courses] allow us to assign someone more homework, it allows us to read somewhat longer texts in addition to increasing the number of reading assignments that we typically offer,” Dr. Clark explained. Additionally, many juniors and seniors voiced that, for them, the honors program emulates the curricula of English I and II more than the sharpened focus of electives. “Honors classes seem much more ‘standard’ comparatively—it feels more straightforward to enroll in a yearlong course,” Eli Browne (‘23) said. “In electives, you’re allowed to go into a very niche understanding,” noted Elise , who took two electives in her junior year. However, the appeal of grade-wise advantages, especially in the academically-driven environment of Bishop’s, is indisputable, which many acknowledge. “[This phenomenon] is a shame as our electives are just as rigorous and far more unique—they offer Bishop’s students an opportunity typically reserved for college English majors,” Mr. Davis explained. Marianna Pecora (‘22), though understanding the ambition of adding more weighted classes to transcripts, argued that these classes allowed her to “dive deeper into specific genres,” referring to her experience in both the Creative Nonfiction and Epic Epics electives. Wanting to ensure that students did not feel any additional pressure, Dr. Clark reiterated that the department is not expecting timed writing pieces to look like fully polished pieces. “We went back and forth on options for a kind of
standardized assignment… because we wanted to make sure that students were writing under the same conditions and not receiving outside help,” she said. “[Timed writing] is not a perfect way to judge a student’s work, but among the choices available to us, it felt like the most accurate and equitable.” To prevent an over-reliance on parents, tutors, or online resources such as SparkNotes for these written submissions, the English department decided upon this element. “I do really feel for the English teachers who have to make these decisions about who to accept into honors English courses,” said Ashley Sottosanti (‘22). “Writing and performance in English classes, in general, is so subjective, it’s hard to create a system where every student can be judged equally.” Dr. Clark also noted that timed writing is something that many students already practice frequently in class, they just don’t necessarily see it as such. “So, anytime you’re in a class, and the teacher says, ‘write for 20 minutes,’ that’s a limited amount of time, right?” She wanted students to understand that this change is actually just reflective of something that is already happening in a
less formal way in our classes. Again, the English department emphasizes that perfection isn’t the goal for this portion of the application. “While style matters, what we’re really interested in is seeing how students think on the page,” Mr. Davis explained. “This should provide a valuable window into how students respond to literature in the moment.” Though the former requires an additional application procedure, both honors and elective English classes offer endless opportunities and support for our student body. “The best thing you could do is put your best foot forward,” Tanvi said. Dr. Clark added, “If they are doing their work in their current English class and reading attentively and practicing their writing skills, they’re doing everything they need to prepare.” Although the changes made to the Honors English applications for the 2022-2023 school year garnered much discussion, both students and faculty look forward to achieving goals laid out for extended fairness and passion for English.
no one asked,
K K YY L L E E Still here for that one pager?
Does Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop even work? I sure hope it does! They must have the answer to life, because all of their products are so innovative and definitely work 100% of the time. Of course, there are always haters in the consumer protection agency. Pseudoscience this, snake oil that. But they just can’t stand the truth, that Gwyneth is the modern day coming of Christ. She comes bearing the fountain of youth, and of course the fountain just flows with GoopGlow Cloudberry Exfoliating Jelly Cleanser (real product). You can even make a fountain of youth in your own bath using “The Martini” Emotional Detox Bath Soak, which definitely looks like a bath soak and in no way could ever be construed to look like expired crystal meth. Absolutely not! It’s just the Himalayan pink salt, and totally not crystal meth. That’s why it “helps take the edge off during turbulent times”—because Gwyneth says so.
Are there any furries at Bishop’s?
“The Martini” Emotional Detox Bath Soak (not meth)
Oh yes, they live among us. Some more overtly than others. One person in attendance at the Regional Student Diversity Summit (RSDS) at Bishop’s self-identified as a “Vampirekin.” We’ve got lynxes, foxes, the whole lot. Now I’ve always wondered whether they go the full mile and eat kibble. Because honestly, if you’re a furry and you’re out here eating cafeteria orange chicken with brown rice and stir fry vegetables that feels like cheating. Commitment is key!
What do you think of inflation? I honestly think inflation is such a blessing. I mean, I’m no expert. HOWEVER, I can visualise it now: a million dollars in my bank account from a minimum wage job. I mean in Zimbabwe, I would be a trillionaire! Would I be rich? No, but it’s really about the aura of being rich anyway. Just ask Anna Delvey! You should always stay on the brighter side of life; when I go to fill up the tank in 2030 at 18 dollar per gallon prices, I’ll be sure to sit back and remember that inflation made me fake rich.
THE BELL | ISSUE 04
My friends reading my dot-dot. They really got bamboozled. Isn’t that right, Sariah?
Photo courtesy of Goop, PC: Kyle Berlage (‘22)
R E JJ EE CC TT EE DD top tens 1. Bishop’s scandals 2. Teachers 3. Prayer garden moments 4. Angry Dean of Students talks 5. Worst DEIJ lessons 6. Worst student parking jobs 7. Weird things about milk 8. Worst Daily Urinal Editors 9. Controversial East Coast trip moments boys who definitely left 10. Freshman on their own accord THE