September 2016

Page 1

Extracurricular Fair Mini Issue

September 2016 T he

official newspaper of the

B oston L atin S chool


Rest in Peace, Walter

Walter and his volleyball team compete at the 2015 August Moon Tournament. By Ben Wu (II) News Editor

Walter Thom, a rising senior and dedicated member of the Boston Latin School volleyball team, passed away from lung cancer this past August, leaving behind younger sister Serena Thom (V) and many devoted and loving friends. A friendly and welcoming presence in the halls of BLS, Walter was always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone. “Walter lived for others,” comments Henry Qiu (I), “Seeing others happy made him happy.” Qiu and Thom bonded over volleyball and hanging out after school at Thom’s home. “Even when he was battling cancer, he would invite me and a few friends over to his house just to chill,”

recalls Qiu. Thom was also known for his sense of humor and knack for always staying positive. “Walter always knew the right things to say, even when things were tense,” says Tony Huang (I). Walter’s natural humor could be seen through the “ridiculous YouTube videos” that he and Qiu created. The videos ranged from quick comedic skits, filmed on the street outside his house, to Yu-Gi-Oh card unboxings, while wearing beanies and sunglasses with “Hotline Bling” playing in the background. Their videos can still be found on his YouTube channel, and it is guaranteed to, at the very least, make you crack a smile. Walter was diagnosed with lung cancer during the summer of 2015. Despite the hardships he faced, he always

managed to keep an upbeat and positive attitude. “Even though he was diagnosed with lung cancer, he still was able to smile and be happy. He didn’t really seem to change, he was just the same Walter that we all knew and loved.” says James Chen (II). Walter participated in the Boston Hurricanes, a Chinese-American volleyball and basketball athletics club. Although he was unable to play that summer, he always asked for updates on how the team did at tournaments and even came out to the annual August Moon Tournament in Chinatown to support his fellow teammates and friends; a testament to his loyalty and commitment to the club. At the most recent August Moon Tournament, a few days after he passed away, all of the Hurricanes members wore black ribbons on their uniforms as a tribute to Walter.

A Facebook post was made by the Hurricanes community urging each player to play their hearts out for Walter in honor of his words, “I’ll try my best!” That tournament, the Hurricanes A teams won gold. “I remember him telling me and our other friends that his dream was to make it to playoffs for volleyball,” says Bryan Tham (II). Walter joined the BLS volleyball team in the spring of 2013. A skilled passer and an essential defensive specialist, Walter not only used his skills in game but also passed his knowledge to fellow peers and teammates. “Even though I probably annoyed him with my constant begging for help, he still encouraged and helped me to be a better player,” chuckles Tham. Walter made it to varsity in his sophomore year; proving to everyone that he was one of the top volleyball players at BLS. But what truly set him apart from the other players was his dedication. “He would practice volleyball when it was cold, when it was hot or even when it was snowing,” says Qiu. “On and off the court, Walter showed heart[sic]” Dozens of BLS peers joined close friends and family of Walter at his wake and funeral in August. Walter’s parents, his cousin and close friend Calvin Lok (I) each spoke. His parents touched on how Walter kept their family closely knit because of his humor. Lok spoke about his friendship with Walter and how he would miss him very much. A loving older brother, talented volleyball player and true friend, Walter will be missed dearly by everyone that he has touched. As Huang puts it, “Walter’s humor, positivity and kind-heartedness will never be forgotten.”

Meet the Head Masters By Nathan Oalican (I) & Sophia Tang (I) Interim Head Master Michael Contompasis (‘57) and Associate Interim Head Master Jerry Howland (‘66), longtime leaders of education in Boston, have returned to Boston Latin School in order to guide the school through the transitionary search for a new, permanent Head Master. Upon graduation from BLS, Mr. Contompasis never expected to return. He studied biology at Boston University prior to being drafted into the army. It was during this time that he made the tough decision to not pursue army-funded tropical medicine research at Tulane University. Before long, he found himself back in Boston and began substitute teaching in the Boston Public Schools (BPS) for a thirteen dollar daily wage. After years in East Boston and Hyde Park, Mr. Contompasis was selected to teach at BLS by then-Head Master Dr. Wilfred L. O’Leary: “I ended up here, and you can imagine what that felt like when a lot of my teachers were still here. They must have turned over.” Ten years later, in 1977, Mr. Contompasis was appointed Head Master, a position he held until 1998, at which time he left BLS for City Hall as the BPS’ Chief Operating Officer.



Mr. Contompasis (left) and Mr. Howland (right) ready for the year. Mr. Howland has worked in the Boston Public Schools system for over 40 years. Like Mr. Contompasis, he had never expected to return to BLS as an educator. At first, Mr. Howland went into the district schools to teach legal studies and mathematics. Although he was recruited to teach at BLS multiple times, this year is his first time back as an administrator. In addition to smoothing out the transition between administrative cycles, Mr. Contompasis and Mr. Howland also seek to improve Boston Latin School’s academic and cultural atmosphere. One particularly pertinent issue the Head Masters seek to tackle is that of consistency in teaching. “We need to work on that depart-

ment by department [...]If you end up in the sequential courses like end up with a weak teacher in the middle [and] that can really set you back. And that’s a consistency issue.” Mr. Contompasis, however, notes there has been significant improvement in the support system for students, which developed from a single nurse to a network of trusted adults. Reflecting on his high school years, he emphasizes the importance of building a strong relationship with a mentor figure. Using this concept of trust as his fundamental building block, Mr. Contompasis wishes to extend the reaches of a teacherstudent relationship, “A lot of relationships

are built around trust, and that’s really what the purpose is behind the advisory [that] we’re going to pilot this year...It’s not that you’re going to pour your heart out to these people, it’s that there is somebody here who can say to somebody who can handle this, that so-and-so has a concern.” Mr. Howland also finds extensive growth in the social and academic community of this school: “My graduating class was 95 percent white male. That was it. We had five black students, no hispanics and maybe about ten asians in a class of 250, [...] plus the academic rigor you have now is so much more significant.” Both Head Masters, however, agree that there is still much to accomplish with regard to social interactions and racial equity. Mr. Contompasis says, “We also, as a result of last spring, have to spend an enormous amount of time looking at procedures [...] making sure that we don't have situations where students feel uncomfortable, that we tend to build values amongst students and suggest that you don’t treat people disrespectfully” Still, both Head Masters remain hopeful and dedicated to the cause of improving BLS. Mr. Howland says, “I knew that I wasn't coming into a school that was broken.” But, for Contompasis and Howland, “not broken” is not enough to maintain the excellence that has sustained the oldest public school in the nation.


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Boston Latin School Argo

Editors’ Note Salvete Omnes! In a completely unexpected twist of fate, one which is sure to take the entire Boston Latin School community by surprise, the Argo is back! Allow ourselves to introduce...ourselves. We are Sophia and Nathan, your new editors-in-chief, reporting live from the basement of BLS. It is currently 8:17PM. We would like to give you a weather report, but we haven’t seen the light of day since 7:45AM. We are joined here on this lovely Friday evening by our twenty-eight man editorial staff in order to bring you the lowdown on the happenings in between these purple hallways. But wait, there’s more! Now, for the second time in a row, we have decided to give you, our dear reader, four more pages, fresh from the press! Why, you may ask, would a newspaper double its extracurricular fair print length, if not for its obviously ardent and unwavering passion for bearing the standard of free press? Well, reader, we bring you four more pages to cover all the recent changes at our school, and get you up to speed on what is going down at BLS. Within these pages, remember our dear friend Walter, meet the new administration and teachers, contemplate the implications of leadened water and get a VIP-exclusive sneak peek into the upcoming fall play. If the thrill of bringing the news to all four corners of the BLS community, or ushering in a new age of democratic freedom as specified in the First Amendment moves you in any way whatsoever, stop by our booth at the extracurricular fair, or send an email to (don’t worry, we only bite in our biting prose and scathing exposés of societal injustice found in the Forum section). Also, we have food. So BLS, let us make this year a good year, filled with dreams of sleep, productivity and a contemporary classical education as preparation for successful college studies, responsible and engaged citizenship, and a rewarding life. This has been Judge(r) Noalican and S(ssoo)phia. To all our fellow seniors…January 27, 2017.

The Boston Latin School Association

has proudly supported and funded Boston Latin School’s sports, extracurriculars, music, academics and publications - including the Argo - for over 160 years.

Editorial Board

Nathan Oalican, I Sophia Tang, I Hayley Ye, I Ben Wu, II Theresa Macdonald, II Alicia Zou, II Emily Xie, I Carol Cao, III Reyna Han, III Kathleen Kim, III Eleanor Dennehy, II Leo Gearin, II John DiGiacomo, I Jeffrey Zhou, I Andreya Zvonar, I Jonathan Li, II Armen Youssoufian, III Irene Xu, I Nena Kotsalidis, II Jachen Liu, I Anh Hong, II Melisa Lee, I Joanna Masin-Buck, I Amanda Yuan, I Lienna Peng, IV Manan Pandey, I Christopher Estes, I

Editor-in-Chief Editor-in-Chief News Editor News Editor Assistant News Editor Assistant News Editor Forum Editor Forum Editor Assistant Forum Editor Assistant Forum Editor A&E Editor A&E Editor Assistant A&E Editor Sports Editor Sports Editor Assistant Sports Editor Assistant Sports Editor Copy Editor Copy Editor Assistant Copy Editor Assistant Copy Editor Layout Editor Layout Editor Assistant Layout Editor Assistant Layout Editor Photo Editor Photo Editor


Boston Latin School

Ad Petendum Veritatem The Argo strives, in accordance with the highest standards of journalism, to inform and inspire its readers, to provide a forum for constructive debate, and to foster understanding among all members of the Boston Latin School community.

By Theresa Macdonald (II) Assistant News Editor

The Topol Peace and Nonviolence Fellowship is a new fellowship established with an inaugural class of twelve fellows for the 2016-2017 school year. This fellowship takes place during the summer and school year and is led by Ms. Judi Freeman. As the Seevak Fellowship is rooted in human rights and social justice and the Ward Fellowship in public service, the Topol Fellowship is rooted in spreading peace and nonviolence among the student body through various school initiatives. “The Fellows are activists and advocates for peace and nonviolence through related initiatives both on a school level, [sic] a city, state, national and international level,” says Fellow Max Tamer-Mahoney (I). Meeting year-round, the Fellows form a team of like-minded students who collaborate to form a more united, inclusive and respectful school community, by spearheading projects, events and activities. Fellow Hazel Law (I) says, “We want to be able to create a peaceful environment, and be an example for students to turn to peace and nonviolent options

because they see that they can.” Rather than being selected through an application process, the Fellows were carefully chosen by Ms. Freeman at the end of the 2015-2016 school year. All Fellows are seniors who took Ms. Freeman’s class, Facing History and Ourselves, their junior year. She thought that these students would make exemplary ambassadors of the fellowship’s message of peace, especially because they have all studied issues of peace and nonviolence in a classroom setting. “The idea was to create a cohort of people who could reach out to different aspects of the school depending on their different interests and/or backgrounds, and hopefully rope them into some of these programs,” says Ms. Freeman. The fellowship is funded by Sidney Topol ‘41, who is interested philanthropically in peace and nonviolence, and has various Fellows in colleges and universities. He worked with Ms. Freeman to initiate this opportunity for students. When asked why she accepted the offer of the fellowship, Law said, “I’m really interested in social justice and nonviolence work. [I like how] there’s a lot of stuff we can do with it, and how much freedom we were given around it. [We were] given the opportunity to be role models around the school. And


Topol Peace and Nonviolence Fellowship Kicks Off

Topol Fellows with fellowship founder, Sidney Topol. it’s a really good group of people to work with.” The Fellows kicked off the year by painting the bathrooms. They also organized the school-wide project on September 21 in honor of International Peace Day. Fellows provided the supplies and instructions for students to make origami paper cranes, a symbol of peace and a worldwide tradition initiated by the wish of Sadako Sasaki, who died from leukemia due to the Hiroshima bomb. This year, the Fellows will be leading the club STAND (Amnesty International/Human Rights) and running Human Rights’ Day. The Fellows encourage

everyone to stay tuned for upcoming projects. “We have a lot of cool stuff that we’re thinking about,” says Fellow Ethan Loranger (I). “Both myself and a lot of the other Fellows are involved with art and music, so we’re looking to work that into some of the things we do.” No matter the project, the Fellows hope to make an impact. “We serve to do projects that help bring people together and encourage everybody to not necessarily all hold hands and start singing, but to be understanding of other people,” says Loranger. “We as a group serve to bring a bit of joy and friendliness to BLS.”


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Page 3 News Topol Fellows Paint the Bathrooms

Boston Latin School Argo

By Theresa Macdonald (II) Assistant News Editor

In their first project, twelve Topol fellows spent three weeks during August painting and removing graffiti from fourteen Boston Latin School bathrooms to spread a message of positivity, peacefulness and nonviolence. Aided by forty-two volunteers, they cleaned bathrooms, repainted bathroom doors and painstakingly removed graffiti from metal stalls and painted walls in seven different bright color schemes, with two colors per bathroom. Each bathroom also now sports a plant in a paint can and a framed message from the fellows. The fellows believe that removing and painting over hateful slurs fosters a more positive, happy atmosphere. “It’s something to brighten people’s day and takes away a lot of negative energy [sic]," says Fellow Jada Taylor (I). “Someone may have been

targeted or be part of a group that may have been targeted in racist, homophobic or sexist graffiti,” she adds. “They can feel safer, and that’s really the end goal.” Ms. Judi Freeman, faculty advisor of the Topol Fellowship, conferred with Boston Public Schools (BPS) and determined that the fellows could paint cinder block, cement, drywall and brick, but were not allowed to paint metal, tiles or marble. As a solution, BPS sent professionals to grind the marble to remove graffiti. “[This] showed enormous respect for the initiative of the students,” says Ms. Freeman. Head Master Michael Contompasis and Assistant Head Master Jerry Howland advocated on the behalf of and fully supported the project. BPS and the Boston Latin School Association funded the work. The Fellows believe that the project creates a personal connection to the renovation of the bathrooms, which in turn lessens the likelihood of more graffiti.

“Part of the reason we’re doing it ourselves is because if someone writes over that, they’re working against the work of their fellow students,” says Fellow Max TamerMahoney (I). Fellow Jenna Lang (I) agrees, saying, “If you helped or if your friends helped, it becomes more of a school effort. Instead of just the twelve Topol Fellows painted the bathrooms, it becomes, ‘we all painted the bathrooms’.” Those involved worked to ensure that the bathrooms were up to par when students returned. “We thought we were going to go in and paint and be done,” says Topol Fellow Hazel Law (I). “It turned out to be a lot more than that. It was about retaking the space, not only with the paint, but getting everything fixed and clean, and making sure everyone came back to a really nice space.“ “It was a really well-thought out project. There were guides in each bathroom saying what needed to be done,” says vol-

unteer Yinyu Ji (I). As for the upkeep of the bathrooms, Ms. Freeman says the Fellows will follow the example of the Red Roses of Sarajevo, where people tinted asphalt pink where a person was killed in the street during the Bosnian Genocide. At BLS, the Topol fellows will mark places where graffiti appears. “It will be marked, to say someone defaced this,” Ms. Freeman says. “There are people here who care enough to get rid of it, and mark the getting rid of it.” The Fellows saw the project as a public awareness opportunity. Topol Fellow Livia Kelly (I) says, “This was kind of inspired by Phillip’s portraits [former senior who drew 411 charcoal portraits of his senior class], because it’s stuff that everyone notices.” Their work certainly did not go unnoticed. Ammal Jama (III) says, “It looks great. I was never happy when I would go into the bathroom, but now I’m happy. It definitely brightens my mood.”


Diego Rao Studies Abroad in Germany

Diego Rao (back right) poses with fellow students. By Hayley Ye (I) News Editor

This summer, Diego Rao (II) spent over three weeks in Nuremberg and Berlin as part of a highly competitive German scholarship and study-abroad program. The program is a collaboration between the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG) and the German organization Pädogogischer Austauschdienst (PAD),

which promotes international exchange in education. Students who score in the 90th percentile or above on the National German Exam have the opportunity to apply for a full scholarship to spend three weeks in Germany with a host family. Rao initially did not think he would even have a chance, but when he scored in the 97th percentile on the National German Exam, he decided to apply for the AATG/ PAD Study Trip Award. The challenging application process involved not only writ-

ing a letter in German, but also having an interview entirely in German via Skype. For German teacher Ms. Jennifer Kuchta, Rao is the fourth student to win this award since she began teaching at Boston Latin School. She says, “I am so proud of Diego and this achievement. He has a natural talent for languages and I'm so excited that he was able to see first hand what he can do with German.” In Nuremberg, Germany, Rao went on trips with his host family to places like Walhalla, a hall of fame honoring distinguished people in German history and modeled after the Parthenon. During the week, he attended school with his host brother and had fun just like any other student living in Germany. “I think I like their school system better than ours: shorter days, longer breaks and ACTUAL P.E.,” Rao says. Rao also spent one week in Berlin, where he was able to connect with other students from around the United States who also won the Study Trip Award. There, they visited museums and historical sites and even went inside the Reichstag, which houses the German Parliament.

As someone incredibly interested in history and European cultures, Rao is extremely grateful for this travel experience. “Both Nuremberg and Berlin are beautiful cities rich with both [sic] ancient and modern history, and I loved it [sic]. Even more, I loved having the chance to meet new people, learn about new cultures and try new foods,” he says. Rao admits that full immersion in a foreign language can be daunting at first, as he had experienced for the first few days of the trip, but he also points out that it’s not as hard as it seems: “One really only needs to understand about 40 to 60 percent of what someone is saying, then context can be used to figure out the complete meaning. Once I realized this, I was a lot more confident.” After personally experiencing the ups and downs of learning and speaking a foreign language, Rao offers his take: “Here’s my advice to everyone learning a foreign language: dive on in. Worst case scenario, you get a few words mixed up and have to whip out a dictionary. But best case scenario, we learn. We adapt. We connect. We change the world.”

By Hayley Ye (I) News Editor

This past summer, the Boston Latin School National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) competed in the Global Space Balloon Challenge (GSBC) against 406 teams from 54 different countries, placing first for Most Charitable Team and third for Best Educational Outreach and Initiative. The GSBC is an international event in which each participating team launches a high-altitude balloon to the top of the earth’s atmosphere with a camera and payload box attached. Inside the box is a unique science project designed by the team. Teams choose a category to enter, ranging from Highest Altitude to Best Photograph to Best Science Experiment. For the actual balloon launch, the NSBE team drove to a grassy plain in Cheshire, Massachusetts, where they prepared their experiment in the box and launched the balloon. The balloon was tracked down afterwards using a GPS system in the payload box. Cedric St. Paul (I) says, “The event day was long and tedious but it paid off once we received the amazing pictures from space that our GoPro took. The most memorable part of this experiment was being able to see all our photos.” The BLS NSBE team chose to send multiple yeast samples up into the atmo-

sphere with the balloon and analyze how changes in altitude and oxygen levels would affect the growth of yeast. They had several containers of yeast in the payload box with different variables: one with the control group, one with warm water and a few with sugar and hand warmers for heat. The team initially planned to analyze the bacterial growth of E. coli, but decided that yeast would be safer and more affordable. “We even had the advice from a couple biology teachers that [sic] agreed to help us buy the bacteria and incubate it,” says St. Paul. “However, there were many uncertainties regarding the amount of care with the organism and thoughts of what would happen if the E. coli broke out of its container while being launched.” Although BLS NSBE ultimately decided on testing yeast growth, collectively deciding on a project was challenging and took over three months. On the team’s difficult brainstorming process, Winnie Zhang (II) says, “Communication was the hardest for us. We had different ideas of what we wanted to do, even choosing an experiment was hard for us.” BLS NSBE was awarded first place as Most Charitable Team for their fundraising work in the community. Andre Thomas (I) says, “I personally created a partnership for the event and raised money for a nonprofit in Cambridge called Science Club for


BLS NSBE Awarded in Global Space Balloon Challenge

Josue Soto Lora (I) and Wilkin Rivera (I) working on their project.

Girls.” The entire team helped to create a fundraiser for the club and to support women in the STEM field. The students of BLS NSBE partnered with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s NSBE through their Engineering Immersion Program. Janelle Wellons, a MIT undergraduate of Aerospace Engineering and software engineer at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Jet Propulsion Laboratory, organized the program to provide mentors for Boston Latin School students interested in engineering. Through this partnership, BLS NSBE was able to place third in Best Educational Outreach and Initiative. St. Paul agrees that although GSBC was challenging, he was able to learn a lot

and gain from the experience. He says, “I learned a lot of useful skills and gained more experience in project management. During this day and age, it is really crucial to learn how to work in a group, share your ideas, and also learn to listen to others’ ideas.” Teamwork was a critical part of BLS NSBE’s success at GSBC. The sense of community within NSBE strengthens and builds lasting relationships. “I am surprised about how much I was able to achieve with my teammates,” says St. Paul. Many students hope to compete in the event again next year and want to join NSBE in college. Thomas says, “[GSBC] is a very good opportunity for people to be exposed to working as a part of a group where you actually matter, and where you are needed.”

News BLS Welcomes New Teachers

Boston Latin School Argo

Page 4

By Hayley Ye (I) One of the new teachers at Boston Latin School this year, Mr. Andy Zou is joining the history department to teach Unites States History II and World HIstory I. As someone who specializes in history, he is very excited to be teaching in a place with such historical significance, the first public school in the United States. With respect to his stu-

dents, Mr. Zou says, “My expectations for BLS students are exactly the same as I've placed on all of my previous students. I expect my students to behave as respectful citizens inside and outside BLS. In the classroom, I expect students to build necessary skills to succeed such as persistence and giving full effort. I expect students to truly engage with the material, and understand why we're learning any certain content.” Mr. Zou has taught at Springfield Central High

School in Springfield, Massachusetts, and is glad that the students and faculty are equally wonderful here at BLS. So far, Mr. Zou’s experience at Boston Latin School has been an enjoyable one: “I've been impressed by the high level of respect, academic performance and friendliness BLS students possess. It's been an absolute pleasure to be here at BLS, and I look forward to an exciting year.” We look forward to seeing you around school, Mr. Zou!

ematics. Mr. Zhang, however, is not an unfamiliar face for many students, as he was a student teacher observing and working with Mr. Scott Balicki in the 2013-2014 and 2015-2016 school years. Mr. Zhang says that he discovered a passion for teaching while working alongside Mr. Balicki: “I found myself really enjoying teaching, because teaching makes me feel like what I do is contributive to society and I can finally use my knowledge to do something.” Under Mr. Balicki’s mentorship, Mr. Zhang not only learned from observing but also had the opportunity to experience what it was like to teach and be responsible for five classes. For a few months last semester, Mr. Zhang was tasked with teaching three sections of Chemistry I and two sections of Advanced Place-

ment Chemistry, along with making and grading assignments, lab reports and exams. Mr. Zhang compared the role of a teacher to a sailor guiding passengers through islands full of obstacles. “The teacher should know all the ways that can lead the students to the final destination. But I felt like at first, I had no control of the pedal, and it was really hard to take students to where I thought they should be at.” As time progressed, Mr. Zhang became more experienced at communicating with students and asking provoking questions in order to teach lessons in an inquiry-based manner more smoothly. This experience was a great help for Mr. Zhang as he transitioned to being an official teacher. Even now, teaching is not a task to be underestimated. “Teaching is both excit-

ing but also very exhausting at the same time,” says Mr. Zhang. “I go home and fall asleep for five hours before I wake up again and start doing work. But what excites me is that I can finally take my full responsibilities, and I feel like it’s both a burden and also a duty to make sure that I can be the one to change students’ lives.” Compared to other schools that Mr. Zhang has taught at, the students are what makes BLS special. “It’s really great—everyone is task-oriented, and when I first stepped into the classroom, students were challenging me in every form or fashion except discipline-wise,” says Mr. Zhang. For the upcoming school year, Mr. Zhang is eager to teach his new Chemistry I classes and looks forward to any scientific curveballs his students may throw at him.

As a member of the Boston Latin School class of 2010, Mr. Patrick Finnigan, a new Latin teacher, is no stranger to BLS. Prior to teaching at BLS, Mr. Finnigan taught sixth, seventh and eighth grade Latin at Marshall Simonds Middle School in Burlington and has experience teaching as a graduate student at University of Massachusetts Amherst. Understanding the differences of BLS compared to other schools, Mr. Finnigan says, “The biggest difference

is the level of academic rigor encouraged and expected here at BLS. Last year, the program in which I taught was “exploratory” in nature, meaning classes met less frequently for shorter periods, so the amount and depth of material covered were far less than they are in a given Latin course here. I must admit, however, I am excited to be back in such a demanding academic environment!” Expecting his students to work hard and “try to be the best people

they can be,” Mr. Finnigan hopes that his students accomplish more during their time at BLS by embracing the many opportunities the school offers. Returning back to his alma mater and seeing the hallways bustling with students, Mr. Finnigan says, “My first impression was that nothing has changed—and I mean that in the best way possible. BLS is a great environment with the greatest students in the city, and I cannot say enough how happy I am to be back in such a setting.”

News Editor

By Ben Wu (II) News Editor

Boston Latin School welcomes Mr. Qiming Zhang as an official teacher to the Department of Science and Math-

By Alicia Zou (II) Assistant News Editor

Richard Blanco Connects with the American Dream By Alicia Zou (II) After much preparation, the Boston Latin School auditorium welcomed Richard Blanco on September 13 to speak to the sophomores about his memoir and the themes in his work. Richard Blanco, who read his poem, “One Today,” at President Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony in 2013, is not only the youngest, but also the first Latino, immigrant and openly gay man to be invited to an inaugural ceremony. A respected poet with many awards, Blanco has also recited “Boston Strong,” a poem in response to the Boston Marathon bombings, at TD Garden and Fenway Park. Ms. Susan Harari, a librarian at BLS and a fan of Blanco’s works, suggested adding his memoir, The Prince of Los Cocuyos, to the required summer reading list after reading the book herself. The goal of the librarians, Ms. Harari and Ms. Deeth Ellis, and the head of the English department, Ms. Susan Moran, was to add a more diverse group of authors to the list with books that would capture students’ interest. “Mr. Blanco's story of a Cuban Miami childhood and his growing realization of his identity as a gay man seemed like a perfect fit,” says Ms. Harari. Before placing Blanco’s memoir onto the summer reading list, Ms. Harari,


Assistant News Editor

Richard Blanco speaks to a group of sophomores. Ms. Ellis and Ms. Moran met with groups of students, all of whom responded to the new addition with enthusiasm. Ms. Harari had also provided the tenth grade English teachers with resources on the first days of school to prepare the students for Blanco’s visit. Inviting Blanco to BLS not only allowed the sophomores to learn more about the author of The Prince of Los Cocuyos in person but also gave them a chance to view the American Dream through a different perspective than they would during the school year. “Here was an opportunity to look at that concept from the point of view of someone that's quite different from Jay Gatsby,” says Ms. Harari.

During his presentation, Blanco mentioned how the inspiration of his writing comes from his family and childhood memories, as well as personal experience. Describing himself as “made in Cuba, assembled in Spain and imported to the U.S.,” Blanco discussed his coming-ofage memoir and his search for identity throughout the novel. After hearing Blanco talk about his autobiography, Ashley Chung (III) says, “Hearing Mr. Blanco speak about his coming-of-age really deepened my appreciation for his memoir. It's definitely different hearing an author read his own work and conveying the emotions he wants us to feel. I really liked his point that instead of trying to pick a place or location to identify

with, you can be a global citizen and be accepting of all your different backgrounds.” The sophomores additionally received the opportunity of listening to two of Blanco’s original poems, one of which he had presented at President Obama’s inauguration. After attending the presentation with her students, Ms. Gallivan says, “I hoped that in him coming here that they would see writing as a living process and that they would have a deeper understanding of the American Dream.” One part of Blanco’s visit to BLS included a workshop for teachers on poetry, in which teachers from many different departments attended. Designated as the Academy of American Poets’ first Education Ambassador, Blanco gave a lesson on his poem, “Looking for the Gulf Motel,” to the teachers. Ms. Susan Moran, Program Director of the English Department, says, "[We] plan to include scientists, historians, artists, mathematicians...that is, to invite speakers who touch upon the many areas of interest represented by our students and faculty."In the future, the library hopes to bring in authors from different subject areas every year to BLS through funds from the Boston Latin School Association and the Keefe Family Fund. “I'm already looking for a good nonfiction writer for next year, maybe someone who writes about history or science,” says Ms. Harari.

Boston Latin School Argo

Forum Should We Promote Homeroom Unity?

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We Should Promote Homeroom Unity

We Should Not Promote Homeroom Unity

By Kathleen Kim (III)

By Reyna Han (III)

Assistant Forum Editor

Assistant Forum Editor

This year, the students of Boston Latin School were surprised when their homeroom teachers introduced the new, unexpected peer bonding activities for extended homerooms on the first day of school. Normally, the quiet twohour long period would be spent staring off into space out of boredom or possibly dreading the thought of the new classes ahead. These new activities, consisting of human bingo and drawing symbols describing your partner, pushed students to ask each other questions, giving everyone a chance to find similarities with with those of whom they normally would not converse with. In the future, the activities will allow us to engage with our classmates even more in team building activities, discussions on important topics, holding conversations in a safe environment, etc. As it may be difficult for some to make friends when they rarely get the chance to talk to their classmates during school, much less have the time to make new friends in their homeroom, this presents a wonderful opportunity. By holding peer bonding activities and icebreakers, it allows people to learn about one another and gives them a chance to converse with other students about topics unrelated to school. Despite the frivolous manner in which these activities are imposed, they are a good attempt to unite and strengthen the school into a closer community by giving students an opportunity to befriend one another. They allows classmates to not only make new friends, but also learn new things about the friends they already had. It never hurts to have too many friends in a stressful environment as we have at BLS. The two-hour period allowed students to relax and talk to others, which helped them to gently ease into the school atmosphere with a positive mindset, looking forward to what is to come for the rest of the year. Although these activities were not entirely perfect, it is a great step in the right direction. Last year’s #BlackatBLS controversy shed some light as to how divided the school community is, and these new activities may contribute to mending the rift in our school and creating a greater sense of care and compassion for everyone in our community. They will help spark important conversations that will help us grow and come together. The idea of allowing students to have more time to converse is a start. These types of peer bonding activities are beneficial to our currently fragile community and will strengthen this school in fostering a sense of safety and security among all.

This year, a new innovation is emerging in our school in response to the incidents that occurred last year. Two hour homerooms are taking place four to five times a year to achieve a “stronger school community.” While this may benefit the Boston Latin School community, it will also be detrimental to it. In addition to disrupting the teachers' schedules, the activities will not be taken seriously by many students, who will then gain nothing from the experience. Students will often not take the chance to make friends or bond with peers, instead they will seek out their friends. As the activities progress into more profound discussions, some can feel uncomfortable to speak out and say their opinion for fear of being ridiculed. And since these topics have been already discussed since last year, they could be labeled as being repetitive and boring. Created by the BLS faculty, these extended homerooms are meant to generate a better sense of community within the students and teachers in each homeroom. Activities varying from getting to know each other to team bonding to discussions on important events are set to appear. In the meantime, research for an advisory program will be done at other schools in order to find what makes sense for BLS so that the school can have its own program in the near future. Every time there is an assembly, many teachers are not given enough notice, which results in minimal time to plan out their lessons. According to Assistant Head Master Ms. Elizabeth McCoy, there will be no schedule changes; instead assemblies will be similar to the beginning of the year with a modified schedule and abbreviated classes. While this may not be as bad as completely missing periods, it is still hard for teachers to modify their schedules and plan a full lesson, as the time allotted to them is often insufficient. This results in certain lessons that may not be taught thoroughly and students not performing well on assessments. The administration wants students to connect with fellow classmates and create a more connected school community by staying in homerooms. There are only around 30 people in each homeroom, compared to the 2,400 in the school. In order for BLS to become a more united community, we must not segregate ourselves into small classrooms, where most students are tired, inattentive and unresponsive. Instead, the staff should all come up with a full day of activities for the entire school so that students of different grades can come together on a common issue. This forces students to come out of their comfort zones and interact with people they normally would not interact with. Even though this will still create a disturbance with the teachers’ schedule, it will foster a greater sense of community in the whole school.

I think the bingo activity was a really good idea and I enjoyed it because I learned more about new people and got to meet my friends again. I think we should do it every year.

Matthias Hoener (III)

Lisha O (II)

Richard Dang (I)

Alan Kuang (IV)

The thing is most of these people have known each other since 7th grade so they already know each other and it felt very forced.

If I were a sixie it would be cool, since I would learn people's names, but since I'm a junior I already know everyone.

Yes, but it could've been done better. The activity was supposed to build community but it felt forced.

It was good, the first few days are always awkward and it helps you have an icebreaker and learn about other people's views.

Yes because you get to know the other kids in your homeroom.

Osasenaga Idahor (V)

Charlotte Weeks (VI)

Water Issue Needs To Be Solved By Carol Cao (III) Forum Editor

When students entered the hallways of Boston Latin School on the first day of school, it was not long before they discovered the deactivation of all water fountains in the building, due to increased lead concentration in the water supply. This, however, is unsurprising, considering that lead has been a concern since testing conducted in April 2016. It is another unnecessary obstacle which students will have to deal with when adjusting back into the school year. Water bubblers are now scattered around the building as a temporary solution for this crisis. Though it is better than nothing at all, many students complain that the water easily runs out. Small paper cups are often found scattered on the floors around the bubblers and are a waste of money and material. According to WCVB-TV, Super-

intendent Tommy Chang wrote a letter saying summer testing showed that seven schools had at least one water fountain with elevated lead concentrations, and that was probably because the testing was in the summer, when students are on break. He ensures that the water problem will soon be fixed. “Our intent has been, and will continue to be, to take steps to ensure that all of our schools are online as soon as possible,” says Chang. “We expect that many offline schools will be turned online during the course of the coming school year.” No one in the Boston Public Schools (BPS) system, however, offered a solution or executed any immediate action for improving the pipe system or getting rid of the lead. They hold this situation as such a low priority, when in reality, the highest priority of a school system should be to make sure all facilities are in working condition so students can receive education comfortably and safely.

Some believe that water bubblers are are only the beginning of a remedy. Ashley Toy (II) says, “I think it’s a good solution for the short term but I don’t think it’s a sustainable solution for the long term.” If, however, this short term solution already has problems, who knows what would happen if this continues in the near future? Filling the bubblers with water and restoring the tubes with small cups is extra work for the custodians and student leaders. Money that should be spent on fixing the pipes or at least finding one type of resolution for the problem is now used to buy bubblers, water and cups. The sinks in the school, though still working, specify that the water is to be used for washing your hands only. As the school year progresses and students get more stressed and anxious, the least the school can do is to provide safe drinking water for all. According to, “During testing, the consulting firm hired by BPS

found at least one water fountain with lead concentrations exceeding 15 parts per billion, which is the state’s limit for lead levels in school drinking water. The seven schools had been previously tested this past spring.” Officials have been finding lead in many schools of the BPS district. BLS was one of these seven schools that had been previously tested, back during April vacation, but then, there were no traces or reports of lead in the water. Though the situation for BLS was not that severe and no students were drinking unsafe water in the school building, the BPS system needs to improve the way they handle crises, especially when dealing with the well-being and safety of their students. The inability to provide safe drinking water should be a top priority in the list of problems to fix. As a community, crises like these may occur in the near future and the school system needs to be able to handle them in an efficient, safe and secure way.

Boston Latin School Argo A&E Changes Implemented in Summer Reading


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Students relate summer reading to social justice. By John DiGiacomo (I) A&E Editor

After one of its most challenging years, Boston Latin School has decided to become proactive in its efforts to build a greater sense of community among its students. It has wasted no time in trying to do so, as the school year’s traditional two-hour homeroom period kicked off with festivities such as Bingo and psychological portrait drawings in an attempt to facilitate more personal interactions among its students. Besides these interactive approaches to community building, the school’s summer reading lists have also been changed to include works that deal more with problems of social justice and equity.

New titles are always being considered for possible addition to the summer reading lists, however, with all the conversations going on last year regarding cultural understanding and respect, some staff felt like it was an excellent opportunity to look into titles that specifically addressed these issues. A letter written by the program director of the BLS English Department, Ms. Susan Moran, describes the summer reading initiative as being “designed to bring our entire school community together for rich conversations about equity and social justice.” The initiative was led by Ms. Moran herself, and librarians Ms. Deeth Ellis and Ms. Susan Harari. The three spent many hours last school year reading through

an assortment of titles; there was such a wide array that many books didn’t even make the final selection. After they had compiled a preliminary list of their selections, the trio presented their ideas at one of the dialogues that were taking place during lunch between the Head Master and a group of student leaders who represented a variety of backgrounds. There they received helpful feedback that led to additional titles being selected for the final changes. In the end, each grade had two titles added to their list with a required reading of one of the two. A choice was given between two in each grade (with the exception of the tenth grade due to a scheduled Fall visit by poet Richard Blanco) so as to ensure that students could select a book that not only they were comfortable reading, but also one that their families felt comfortable with as well. The works added to the lists dealt with themes such as social isolation, internal conflict due to societal pressure, social transitions and finding success in the face of societal expectations. One science fiction book was also thrown into the mix. To go along with the reading of these texts, all students have been involved in a “Hands Across BLS” assignment that seeks to convey the les-

sons taught by these works on cut-outs of their hands throughout the school’s corridors. According to the assignment sheet, these hands will particularly serve as a “reminder of our unity and diversity as a school community.” Although these appear to be genuine attempts by the administration to improve the school’s social environment, one does have to be skeptical in how truly effective these changes are. One thing to consider is that there is a handful of students that don’t even bother to do their summer reading. With that in mind, does that mean further changes will have to be made in the English curriculums for the school year? Will some classics such as the works of Shakespeare, Dickens and Twain have to be pushed out in order to make room these new texts? What impact would this have on the preparedness of students entering top tier schools where knowledge of such literature is to be expected? There are many challenges to getting our students more intellectually engaged in these problems that afflict our school community. The key will be finding the right balance of incorporating works more relevant to the challenges of our society while also abiding by our school’s mission statement to provide a “contemporary classical education.”

By Eleanor Dennehy (II) Assistant A&E Editor

With the start of the new school year comes the start of the theater productions at Boston Latin School, Suite Surrender by Michael Mckeever is the forthcoming play of choice that will be opening the new year in the Black Box December 8, 9 and 10. The play is set in 1942 as two prima donnas disembark on a journey through Palm Beach Royale Hotel along with their respective entourages. They both get assigned to the same suite, which causes absolute mayhem! Directing a play is no easy task; dealing with complications and making sure everything runs smoothly is simply part of the job. One of the directors, Emma Canon (II), is simply a natural when it comes to the theater and has been participating in BLS theatre productions since the eighth grade at BLS, but outside of school she has been involved in the theatre for seven years. The audition process is one of her favorite parts of directing. She says, “to me

it's one of the most important parts as well. You have to see potential in kids and gauge how well they can do as a character. It's amazing to see different people and their talents; everyone is unique and creative in their own way.” Over a span of two days, there were over 70 students who auditioned for a role in the play, ranging from first-time seventh graders to experienced seniors! The directors love seeing diversity in acting styles and how the monologues are performed. Canon continues, “This play is a farce, so a great deal of it is highly exaggerated and because of that it makes for an amazing show.” This is Canon’s second time directing a play with codirector Delia Fleming (II), their first debut production being last year's One Acts. Canon talks about directing as an “amazing opportunity. I love working with students and help develop their abilities as actors [sic]. As a person who has had professional experience with acting and theatre, it's great to be able to teach others what I have learned. But it also works mu-


Sneak Peek: Suite Surrender

Director Canon reads through the script with the cast. tually, the people I direct teach me about myself and about leadership. We hope that you guys will be able to love this play as much as we do!” The production of the play isn’t easy, no less than auditioning for it. Imagine the nerves those who auditioned must have felt while preparing. Molly O’Halloran (II) auditioned for this upcoming play and explains her pre-audition preparation, saying, “I usually read all the audition

pieces and watch some of the play online, the directors usually pick out a couple of monologues [from the play] and then I see which one I think fits me better.” Out of her five years at BLS, Molly has been in eleven plays. The audience should look forward to a lot of door-slamming and great humor. Suite Surrender will be playing in the Black Box beginning December 8, 9 and 10! It will be a performance you won’t want to miss!

to do in the months of fall. Three of Boston’s major artistic institutions, the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (ISGM), are presenting new exhibitions. At the MFA, a mere stroll from the doors of Boston Latin School, one can find an exhibit entitled Della Robbia: Sculpting with Color in Renaissance Florence. This show details a comprehensive study of Luca della Robbia’s sculpture glazing technique. It remains on view through December 4, 2016. Frances Stark’s UH-OH also finds a home at the MFA this autumn until January 29, 2017. Stark, a resident of Los Angeles, focuses on digital art, video, social media and the Internet. Well-versed in the complex references of pop culture, Stark is sure to entice the teenager’s interest with her works. With a space that was designed

for teens to feel comfortable in and for frequent teen events, the ICA has been one of the most welcoming museums towards Boston’s youth for a long time. First Light: A Decade of Collecting at the ICA will be on view until January 16, 2017. As the title suggests, the exhibit showcases pieces from the collection that it has amassed after 10 years of being on Boston Harbor. Additionally, the ICA will be hosting one of its famous teen nights on November 18, 2016. While spring is typically the season of rebirth, the ISGM brings renaissance to the arts and culture scene as early as this fall. With the exhibition Beyond Words: Italian Renaissance Books, the ISGM presents literary and illustrative masterpieces by artists as highlyregarded as Sandro Botticelli. With so many museums, so many exhibitions and so much time, students’ fall ennui is sure to be satisfied by what the MFA, ICA and ISGM are offering.


Fall Museum Guide

The Della Robbia exhibit is now at the MFA. By Leo Gearin (II) A&E Editor

The commencement of autumn marks a new season of events in Boston. Gone are the outdoor festivals,

concerts and general happenings of the past summer. The indoor events are here, free from the scorching heat and muggy air. Museums always offer something


Boston Latin School Argo


Across 4. The failed colony setting of the newest season of American Horror Story 7. ______ is coming 8. New Disney Princess 9. New Patriots Quarterback 11. Emmy's host

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12. Makeup-renouncing addition to The Voice

1. Frank Ocean's haircolor album

16. Shonda Rhimes owns this day of the week

2. This year's Super Bowl halftime performer

17. Stress-free way to get to school 18. What Britain left

3. Fashion capitol of the world 5. Everyone's favorite scammer

6. She performed an album at the VMAs 8. New zodiac sign 13. Fall test seniors take 14. Rihanna's rumored boyfriend 10. Only time people watch Discovery Channel

Sports Freshman Soccer Comes to BLS

Boston Latin School Argo

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By Armen Youssoufian (III) Assistant Sports Editor

This year, a new team rolled out of Boston Latin School—the BLS freshman soccer team. This is the first year there has been a soccer team for boys and girls at BLS for Classes VI to IV. Spearheading the two teams are Coach Theresa Cojohn for the girls, and Coach Andrei Da Silva for the boys. Tryouts took place on September 12 and 13 with over 60 athletes trying out for just the boys’ team. Throughout the tryouts, athletes were tested on their ability to play soccer as a team, their fitness and their work ethic. These tests ranged from athletes being placed in competitive situations such as five-

versus-five games to dribbling and passing drills. The soccer team practices three times a week after school. For their first game of the season against Wayland, they only had one practice to prepare. Dominick Slesar (IV), a player on the boys’ freshman team, says, “Freshman soccer has been really fun so far, but you’ve got to try your hardest to get the chance to play.” The freshman teams, cut back on time, have put every second of practice to use. Having one day to prepare for a game proves how committed the freshman teams are to give it their all. Many of the junior varsity (JV) and varsity athletes have welcomed the new addition of the freshman team. Having a freshman team at BLS allows more

preparation for athletes planning on joining the higher level teams. JV captain Conrad Hock (IV) says, “The freshman team will better prepare kids for JV and varsity by allowing them to get accustomed to playing at a high-school level and with the coaches of the BLS soccer program. In this way, the freshman team will lead [sic] into JV and eventually into varsity. I believe this will lead to the success of the program.” Many others on the JV team agree. Sebastian Gangemi (IV) says, “It’ll help the freshman learn our play style early on so our chemistry will be good from day one on JV and varsity.” Making a community and building camaraderie around a team is hard and takes a long time, but freshman soccer has done it

quickly. By having this freshman team, BLS solves one of the major problems many athletes face—joining an outside team during seventh and eighth grade. For many BLS sports, athletes currently have to wait until eighth or ninth grade if they want to participate. This leads many students to join outside teams and by the time they’re eligible to come back, they choose to stick with their old team instead of the BLS team. Freshman soccer changes this, allowing incoming students to take part in soccer and preparing them for rigorous high-school games. Freshman soccer is a welcome addition to the BLS sports roster and everyone is excited to see what they can do.

seamless and easy transition. “It’s a change,” Baugh admits. “I’m coming from a school that’s K-8: four-year-olds up to eighth graders. Obviously I’m not teaching four-yearolds anymore.” He laughs at this, and then becomes serious when talking about his admiration for the students here. “I noticed here that children want to achieve at various degrees, and they’re striving to do the best they can. And I haven’t really seen that before, since my days in high school, and at the Baldwin. The Baldwin had a whole bunch of kids like that,” he reminisces. “I taught the fifth grade, but they were really focused. Some of the kids I taught became doctors and engineers, and things like that. Here, it pretty much reminds me of the Baldwin; students here are really going at it. And they’re all about business, and I enjoy that because I am too.” Baugh seems to have thought a lot about the long journey ahead of him, with plans that he is hoping to implement after he has given his transition

enough time. “I have a lot of ideas, but I want to learn how things work here first,” Baugh says. “I don’t want to be a bull in a china shop and just start putting my stamp on everything right away. I want the students to trust me and get to know me first. I’m hoping to enhance the community of the school and help students get to where they think they can go. That’s why I’m here. That’s my whole teaching philosophy.” With his easy-going personality, sense of humor and drive to bring good to the community, we are all looking forward to see how Mr. Baugh will make his own mark in the years to come. He is dedicated to bringing out the best in his students. “I want to teach students that they can be more than they think they can. And in the meantime, teach them character perseverance, honesty and all the virtues of being a good member of society.” We are excited that you will be joining our Wolfpack community, Mr. Baugh. Cheers to a successful year.

Say Hello to Mr. Baugh

By Jeffrey Zhou (I) Sports Editor

Boston Latin School is welcoming Mr. Michael Baugh, a new physical education teacher, to its staff this year. It’s definitely looking to be an exciting year with many newcomers, students and teachers alike. But for Mr. Baugh, this won’t be his first time teaching a physical education class.

“I’ve been a physical education teacher for 20 years,” he says. “My first job was at the Harriet Baldwin School, which was a Chinese bilingual school at the time, and I ended up at the Rafael Hernandez [sic], which is a two-way bilingual school for English and Spanish.” He started his teaching career in 1996 at 38 years old, when he finally accepted his calling in life that had been put aside for 16 years. He says he has always had a love for coaching. “I’ve always been a track coach and I’ve always been involved with some type of youth group. Ever since I got out of college, I’ve been dealing with track and youth development. The last school I taught at was for 10 years. When the job here opened up, I interviewed and got the job. That’s about it. I would not have left my school for any other school but here [sic].” His past experience in the physical education field certifies him as a seasoned veteran in the realm of teaching youth, but that does not mean that coming to BLS has proved to be a

A New Face to Lead Boston Latin Cross Country By Andreya Zvonar (I) The Boston Latin School cross country team has acquired a new coach for the 2016 season and beyond. Coach Christian Blondin will be heading the boys’ and girls’ varsity teams for all three running seasons. Coming from nearby Bedford, Blondin attended Bedford High School for his freshman, sophomore and junior years, during which he was a three-year and three-season varsity runner. During his time at Bedford High School, Blondin not only set goals but also reached them, a process he now seeks to bring to BLS. He was the third fastest 1000-meter and 800-meter runner in New England as well as the second fastest 800-meter runner in Massachusetts. Blondin finished high school in Blue Springs, Missouri, at Blue Springs High School because his father was in the Air Force. He continued running for all three seasons of his final year of high school and eventually went on to run at Northwest Missouri State University. Just as he did before, Blondin ran during all four years of college, specializing in the 800-meter and 1500-meter races. He set a personal best in the 800-meter at 1:56 minutes and a personal best in the 1000-meter at 2:15 minutes. Unfortunately, a change of


Sports Editor

Blondin is the new head of Cross Country. coaches during his senior year caused the majority of his teammates to leave, forcing him to run multiple races at each meet, which changed the dynamic for the worse. Blondin, nonetheless, does not see his new position in the Wolfpack as having the same effects, and with so many years of experience under his belt, the runners feel the same way. Cameron Russell (III) notes how Blondin ran in the Masters 1500-meter (40+ y/o) race at the 2016 United States Olympic Trials, saying that “having a

coach that is still dedicated to his own performance can only mean that the team’s performance will improve as well.” Similarly, Yuta Belmont (I), a 6-year veteran of Boston Latin’s track program, notes how the addition of Blondin to team has already improved dedication: “He [ Blondin] does our workouts with us, always pushing the pace and never allowing any member of the team to slack.” Belmont has a point. Blondin’s dedication to every practice makes for a team that does

not walk up the hills and that does not slack off on long runs—it unites them. Alongside longtime BLS coach, Coach Michael Meagher, Blondin is seeking to turn the program around. He is inheriting a large group of young runners, already providing the necessary ingredients for his future vision. He notes that BLS is in one of “the toughest conferences in the state”, yet he sees the team as being capable of winning a conference championship in the next three to four years, as well as aiding the top runners to reach the All-State meet and potentially the New England championships. When asked how he plans on doing this, Blondin simply responded by saying that “we are here to compete and be a respectable team.” While the team might struggle this year, this respect will lead them to believe in “changing one’s mindset to believe you [sic] can compete against everyone else.” This change in mindset will generate a dedication like none other. Earlier last week, Blondin began practice with a quote from one of America’s finest long distance runners, Steve Prefontaine: “To give less than your best is to sacrifice your gift.” This is the mindset he hopes BLS Cross Country will find a foundation on, knowing that each individual’s unique contribution is what makes a team great.

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