EDITORIAL A Thin Line
FEATURES Unstable Structure A Year Without a Leader Natalie Hampton The Forbidden Fruit Dismediation Living What We Stand For Fluent Language Learning
A School Divided Teacher Student Bonds Life is Plastic: Itâ€™s Fantastic
OP-EDS Community Day Trying Vegan A Meshuggah Calendar New Campus, Who Dis?
REVIEWS Music and Meaning by CHLOE
ARTS AND LETTERS Sylvia Plath and Snapchat Misery Loves Company
The Chronicles of Detention
HUMOR An Honest Response Horoscopes Headliners Crossword
Cover by Brandon Bunt
Editor-in-Chief ................................................................................ Isabella Simonetti Senior Managing Editor..................................................................... Lucas Horsnby Managing Editors.............................................................................. Jackson Ehrenworth .......................................................................................................... Sabrina Sternberg .......................................................................................................... Sophia Koock
Junior Editors..................................................................................... Eva Hwang .......................................................................................................... Grace Franco Creative Directors............................................................................... Clare Maleeny Section Editors.................................................................................... Caroline Yu .......................................................................................................... Noah Shamu
Staff Writers and Artists
Sydney Judge..................................Roxana Gosfield..................................Sam Boyce Edwin Shen.............................Jaden Schapiro.............................Elizabeth Acevedo Brandon Bunt..............Oren Schweitzer..............Jean Li Spencer..............Kavin Chada
A Thin Line Between Love and Hate By ISABELLA SIMONETTI EDITORIAL
Photo by Elizabeth Acevedo
AS STUDENTS NEAR the end of their time in high school, they will often “play with fire.” It is common for students to test one or more of their teachers’ limits, as they ask themselves: “why should I continue to do work for you if our time is all too soon coming to an end?” After all, it can feel useless to carry on spending hours studying grueling material, composing essays, and even conducting science projects when college decisions have come out and the importance of grades declines. Some students choose to answer these questions by casually strolling into class late – if they even show up at all – taking buzzfeed quizzes and going on Facebook when they should be working, and handing in assignments at their earliest convenience rather than when they are due. Others continue to slog through their work even though it feels meaningless. Many feel that they owe it to those teachers that have been supportive of them, or they are simply too particular, perfectionistic, or paranoid about their transcripts. Regardless, the phenomenon widely referred to as “senioritis,” hit the 2017 seniors with a blow. Numerous teachers of the class of 2017 have reported a recent drop in work ethic. “I’ve seen less energy and motivation in class, more missing homeworks, more missing papers and late papers and less engagement in discussion,” said Avenues history and senior seminar teacher, Ron Widelec. The tension exists most between students who want to enjoy the ends of their high school careers, and teachers who want to continue challenging students in their classroom. Spanish teacher Carrie Meatto said, “You know, I have a sense that some students are shocked that their teachers have given them real meaningful, substantial, senior level assignments in these last few weeks.” Yet, while many teachers feel that the work they are assigning is important, students remain frustrated by its volume and substance. “I think a lot of students are stressed out about the workload, and feel that teachers don’t understand. I don’t share that experience as much, but I know a lot of students are struggling right now,” said senior Christina Kopecka. In a survey sent out to the upper grades, it was reported that on average, students have 4.05 projects to complete during the final two weeks of term four, most of which are related closely to the wrapping up each class’s respective curriculum. However, many students want to pursue a different type of work. “I was hoping that we would be able to do more of that mastery type of work or like internships and things like that….I just thought it would be more time to work on personal things and not the same things we’ve been doing for the last four years,” said senior Clara Leverenz. It is difficult for students to be motivated by assignments that are not of much interest to them, particularly in the final
stretch of high school. Although the work assigned in most classes is not reflective of this, teachers agree that the work assigned to seniors could have more flexibility. In 12th grade English, students have been able to find meaning in their final assignment, the senior memoir, which has afforded them the creative space and agency them to reflect on meaningful events in their lives. “[Students have been] more engaged with like personal things going on….in English [we are] writing personal memoirs…. most have been really engaged with it because it matters and it’s not sort of extra work,” said 11th and 12th grade English teacher Kristen Highland. Work like the senior memoir offers an opportunity for students to do something that matters to them. Perhaps the answer for seniors is not to lower the expectations, but instead engage in a different kind of work than 9-11th graders. “I think you could make an argument for some sort of internship program, but I don’t think it should be any less rigorous. I think that when students are allowed to fall into patterns where a school lower the rigor because students aren’t willing to work, that sets them up for failure in college,” said Mr. Widelec. Although senioritis is a contentious topic within the Avenues community, it is clear that teachers and students can agree that seniors should have taken part in more meaningful work in all subjects. Senior year is centered around the future. College applications and decisions consume most of the year, and the only time students have to enjoy the end of their high school experience is the spring. However, the class of 2017 at Avenues spent much of their time frustrated by the type of and quantity of work that was being assigned, while their teachers remained upset by their lack of enthusiasm and initiative. In retrospect, it was wrong for students to treat teachers and their classes with such explicit disrespect. Teachers have been some of the biggest allies of students throughout their time at Avenues. Many even wrote recommendations that helped seniors gain acceptance into colleges of their choice. While the disappointment that teachers felt towards their senior students may have felt like hatred, it was rooted in the love and passion they devoted to the class of 2017. Ultimately, they deserve the attention and compassion they put into their students. What is more, learning should not have stopped when students were admitted to schools; the sole objective of an Avenues is not college admission. Sure, the end of the year could be used to hone some of the practical skills Avenues values through internship or job opportunities. But we are educated to be respectful, model citizens, and students who really care about their education will keep on learning even when their may not be a tangible reward. •
UNSTABLE STRUCTURE By Jackson Ehrenworth
WHEN ENGINEERS FIND cracks in the foundations of bridges or buildings, they worry. They picture in their minds the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, its initial tremble only visible in minor cracks, until it began to vibrate and pieces broke off. They know to pay attention to small breakages. Sometimes they’ll even x-ray foundations, to make hairline fractures visible. It’s the same way that avalanche scientists dig snow pits to see what’s under the surface. Everyone wants to avoid calamity. ¶ In “The Real Data Revolution,” Brandon Busteed, an executive director at Gallup, analyzes the classic economic indicators nations have used to measure health, such as GDP. Busteed shows that in the years leading up to the Arab Spring, GDP was rising in Egypt and Tunisia. 6
The percentage of time felt per feeling on a scale of 0-1. E.g. 0.52 = 52% of the time that feeling is felt in school. Error bars represent 90% confidence intervals. These statistics were collected in a survey given to upper school students in March, 2017. This survey was a project created for a statistics class. It bears expanding upon as its sample size was 72 students. Hypothesis testing yielded small p values, however, suggesting signficance.
Yet multiple Gallup polls of well-being showed that wellbeing was decreasing in these countries. The Gallup polls also separated engagement at work from simply employment. Gallup found that people who are emotionally connected to their workplace are more productive and healthier. Wellbeing matters. Yet we tend to measure our teens not by their well-being but by their test scores, acceptances, and grades. Tired, stressed. When asked about the emotions they feel most often at Avenues, upper school students say that their most common emotion is tired. The second most common emotion is stressed. Students say they feel tired 74% of the time. Students say they feel stressed 60% of the time (see bottom figure). This isn’t a healthy emotional climate. If you think that the adolescent condition is inevitably one of being tired and stressed, then these statistics won’t give you pause. It’s true that the emotional climate at Avenues isn’t markedly different than that at other U.S. high schools. Marc Brackett, of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, found that the top three emotions felt by high school students across the U.S. were tired (90% of the time), stressed (80% of the time), and bored (75% of the time). So you could say, “Well, this is just about being a teenager. All teens are unhappy.” The thing is, when Brackett surveyed public schools
in Mexico, the most common emotions that students reported feeling in their schools were connected, and hopeful. It’s not inevitable for teens to feel exhausted and overwhelmed at school. It is our particular, local, dominant condition. We put a lot of emphasis at Avenues on leadership, and achievement. It’s time for us to put more emphasis on empathy and integrity and kindness. Of the negative emotions that Avenues students reported, the one felt the least was depression. But kids reported feeling depressed 32% of the time. If this were a preschool class, we would be horrified. The problem is, that at a metalevel, we are conditioned to expect that teens will be volatile and unhappy. Brackett warns against this conditioning, which he notes is a peculiarly American acceptance of teen unhappiness. These cracks in Avenues’ culture might be related. You can be tired from physical activity and not enough sleep. But you also feel tired when you are anxious, or isolated, or intimidated. Vulnerability is exhausting. It’s worse for the women at our school. In the last issue of The Highliner, Isabella Simonetti wrote about what it feels like being “interrupted” as a woman at Avenues. She included anecdotes, stories of perceived micro-oppressions
and humiliations. In the many conversations since that peers and faculty have had about her article, one thing was said often. “Well, those were just her feeling.” False. To be female at Avenues is to feel markedly different than to feel male. Look at the data on how upper grade students report their most common emotions (see top figure), and
you’ll notice that males and females at Avenues live in vastly different emotional landscapes in our school. When you look across the range of positive and negative feelings that students report, almost every single time (“bored” is the only exception), a negative emotion is reported more often by females than male. Female students at Avenues feel
more tired, more stressed, less respected, less supported, more anxious, less confident, less joyful, less hopeful, and more depressed than their male counterparts. It’s sobering. Female students feel thirty percent more anxious than male students. They feel thirty percent less confident. This is in no way acceptable. What’s the strongest predictor of a student experiencing positive or nega-
Figure top: Percentage feelings felt broken up by gender. There were only male and female respondents, though other options were given. Figure below: A look at the percentages of respondents who feel more negative feelings than positive feelings. E.g. The blue male bar means that 73% of males feel more positive feelings than negative feelings.
An ad taken out in The New York Times on May 10th, 2016. Universities in bold are ones into which Avenues students were accepted. Prices vary, but it is estimated it cost $150,000-$100,000 for a full page spread in the times.
tive emotions in our upper school? Their gender. When you look at whether each student feels more negative or positive emotions when at school, the frequency is dominated by gender. It’s not all about gender, though. Overall, the emotional climate at Avenues needs our attention. And the truth is, there are teachers who care. There are administrators who care. Yet overall, or officially, the school seems remarkably insensitive to the emotional life of its high school students. A year ago, Yase Smallens, then a graduating senior, wrote an article for The Highliner in which she accused the school of using the seniors’ acceptances as capital. The school, she asserted, essentialized the seniors, turning their achievements into admissions capital. She was right. When Avenues put an ad in the New York Times, it didn’t celebrate the community activism, the social conscience, or the connectivity of Avenues students. It listed the schools they got into. That kind of ad didn’t just affect admissions, it affected the climate within the school. Every student who read that list thought: how will I contribute to that list? What will my placement be? They also learned what
the school values most. “Trying to build a community is probably the hardest work we’ll ever do in school. In some respects, focusing on academic success is easier,” notes Mr. Drew Cortese, a dean at Avenues. It’s not clear what to do about the fact that in terms of emotional lives, the school is failing its female students, or that a small subset of kids have racist feelings, or that a large set of kids expresses feeling depressed, or that virtually all students’ dominant emotions are tired and stressed. Perhaps we should stop focusing on making good students and focus more on making good people. Good people will be good students. They will be engaged, connected, caring people, which means they will be engaged, connected, and caring with their work. The reverse, on the hand, is not necessarily true. What is clear is that it’s not televison series that threaten our well-being, it’s not the outside world, some world of parties or concerts, or if those things, or the college application process, do threaten us, then our emotional climate inside the school needs to be more of a haven. • 9
A YEAR WITHOUT A LEADER By SYDNEY JUDGE
EVER SINCE SEPTEMBER, the members of senior class at Avenues have felt grateful to be completing their journeys, although graduating would seem incomplete without a nod to Ms. Saybel Núñez. Ms. Núñez announced in August of 2016 that she would be leaving Avenues to start a new job at Saint David’s School. Ms. Núñez taught at Avenues since the very first year, beginning as a Spanish teacher and adding the role of Head of Grade for the current senior class when they first entered high school in 2013. She now works at Saint David’s School, a Catholic school for boys in grades Pre-K through 8. “I went back into teaching full-time. It is very similar to what I did in the first year at Avenues, where I was a foreign 10
language teacher for the lower grades,” said Ms. Núñez. She teaches third grade, fourth grade, seventh grade, and eighth grade and has a total of 89 students. Ms. Núñez added, “I am not doing the administrative part anymore, which was the Head of Grade side of my job that I was doing at Avenues, so the workload feels significantly less to me.” Being able to primarily focus on teaching Spanish has been very rewarding for her: “It has felt very refreshing, going back to just the classroom, and I can become a better teacher, I can plan my classes better, I can think about strategies. I have time to go through conferences, and in the three years that I spent being the Head of Grade at Avenues I think I
only had time to go to a conference once. Now I’ve already been to two.” There are many things Ms. Núñez enjoys about teaching at Saint David’s. “One of my favorite things is actually being able to leave at four o’clock. I hate to compare, but at Avenues, that was the time I was beginning to work. I would get to my emails and deal with stuff.” Dealing with less stress has also had an impact on her. Ms. Núñez said, “Last year, I was sick every month. I’m going to end the school year, and knock on wood, I didn’t get sick, not even once.” The religious aspect of teaching in a Catholic school has been important to Ms. Núñez: “When I was at Avenues, I didn’t feel like it was proper for me to talk about God or pray, and now I just have that freedom.” One of the highlights has also been going to the chapel at Saint David’s. “Because it’s a catholic school, we have chapel. Students actually go to chapel every day. I don’t have to go to chapel every day, but as a teacher, I do have to be at chapel once a week, every Thursday. Once a month, I get to lead the chapel. It doesn’t have to be in religion, I can just address the students and speak about any topic that I want to. I really like that because it is a platform that I have to address other things that perhaps I am not free to address to the language room.” Although Ms. Núñez had spent the previous years as the Head of Grade to an incoming senior class, the opportunity to teach at Saint David’s was something that had greatly appealed to her. “[Saint David’s] never has openings, and it was like, either I take it now or never. In fact, I asked around, teachers in my school have been teaching there for 20 years, 25 years, 30 years, and they actually never leave. It’s a good place to work— it’s very stable, nice and quiet, and stressfree.”
Seniors at Avenues have felt the impact of not seeing Ms. Núñez each day, but understand that she needed to leave.“Prof Nunz was literally like my second mother. She gave me a space to be myself. She was always there for me and I wish she would have stayed, but it was the best thing for her and you have to respect that, but I think Avenues needs someone like that for every student,” Yvette Lopez said. Tallulah Bonay ’17 said, “I miss Ms. Núñez. She’s the person who introduced me to the rest of the grade when I was new, and that helped me a lot. She knew everyone so personally.” Junho Kim ’17 had Ms. Núñez as his Spanish teacher each year from eighth grade through eleventh grade. “I think that she was the one person who was understanding my situation as an immigrant the most, because she was also an immigrant. She helped me a lot.” He added, “In the United States there are certain hidden rules that exist, and she was also helping me adjust.” “She always tried to consider the students’ perspective,” Kim said. The absence of Ms. Núñez can be seen on many levels at Avenues. “Her desk was the private spot where all of the people gathered.” He added, “[Ms. Núñez] made a little theme park where all the little people could heal themselves somehow from the tired mind and body from the ACTs, and it is unfortunate that the juniors cannot really have that this time, because it was very very helpful when I was a junior and I was stressed by the powerful ACT, at least her desk was there, and at least I was able to find one other person crying there.” Ms. Núñez misses the seniors as well: “My heart aches. I miss you guys. I’ve been teaching for 21 years now, and I don’t think I have ever become this close with any other group of students. And I’ve taught all over the world. There was something very special about the class of 2017.” •
Natalie Hampton: teenage app designer, activist, entrepreneur
Interviewed by Roxana Gosfield, 6th Grade IN MIDDLE SCHOOL, Natalie Hampton used to wander her cafeteria every day at lunch, anxiously looking for a place to sit. She was bullied and felt ostracized by her classmates, so she usually ended up sitting alone. Then, at sixteen, decided that no student deserved to sit alone. So Natalie created an app called Sit With Us, which helps students to find tables to sit at lunch. The app is now in hundreds of schools and has made a huge impact in the global issue of bullying. Natalie has been named a global teen leader, and no longer feels like she is a victim of bullying. Natalie lives in Los Angeles, and recently transferred schools. INTERVIEWER How did you come up with the idea? NATALIE HAMPTON I was pretty badly bullied at my old school. On top of being bullied I had to eat lunch on my own every day. I know how awful that feels. When I transferred to a better school, I would always ask people to come sit at my table. Some of those people are my very best friends, so I wanted to bring that to other kids. I created an app to make it possible for them. INTERVIEWER What’s been the most unexpected outcome of the app?
HAMPTON I guess the growth of it. I thought it’d only be used at my school and maybe a couple of others. But it’s being used all the way around the world in tons of different countries: Australia, New Zealand, and other places and across this country as well. We did not expect how big it would become. It’s amazing to us that’s it’s gone this far. INTERVIEWER How long has it the app been out for? HAMPTON We released it in the fall in September, 2016.
INTERVIEWER How is Natalie before Sit With Us different from Natalie after Sit With Us? HAMPTON Definitely after creating Sit With Us I’ve been able to talk to so many cool people like you. And kids in other schools who are going through the same thing. So I guess the post-Sit With Us Natalie, now knows that there are so many kids like her in the world who are going through the same things. So I guess now I know that I wasn’t alone in what I was going through. And I’ve been able to help a lot of kids and prevent that from happening to other people INTERVIEWER What would you say is the main goal of Sit With Us? HAMPTON Even if you don’t use the app, you know that there are kids at your school to help you and be your friend no matter what. So the main goal is to provide kids with a sense of comfort in their schools. To let them know that whatever they’re going through they’re not alone. INTERVIEWER Can you describe the app in one word? HAMPTON Inclusion. That’s its goal. INTERVIEWER How would you describe lunch before Sit With Us and after it came out? HAMPTON I was always afraid of lunchtime because I never knew where to sit or who to sit with or if anyone would talk to me. It was always a really scary place for me in the lunchroom. Now that I’ve transferred schools and I have a group of friends, I feel a lot safer. But I know a lot of kids don’t. So I want to make lunch a little less scary for kids. INTERVIEWER If you had never come up with the idea for the app, what would you have done? HAMPTON I would have tried to create some club at my new school to help kids. Because definitely bringing kids together at lunchtime has been on my mind for a while. If I hadn’t thought of the app, I would have probably created something at my school where kids have open tables. I’m glad that I’ve been
able to expand it to other schools as well. INTERVIEWER Was it scary to come up with this idea and make your idea known? HAMPTON Yeah, it was definitely scary because I had to bring it up at my all-school meeting. Everyone in my entire school was there and I had to go up in front of them with a microphone and tell them what I was doing. I was so scared to do that. People have been really nice about it so I’m happy about that. INTERVIEWER Was there ever a time when you wanted to give up on the club? HAMPTON Definitely this year has been really hard because I have two AP classes, three honors classes and I have to take the SAT’s this year, so I definitely have a lot of work. It’s been hard to do all this stuff for school and then all this work on the app. But once I started getting these messages-I’ve been hearing from kids saying that they’ve met new friends through the app and that it’s really helping them, and that’s what keeps me really focused on making this app the best that it can be. INTERVIEWER Right, so knowing that this app can change people’s lives is the fuel that keeps you going? HAMPTON Yes! Definitely! INTERVIEWER Did you know all things that the app would do for you? HAMPTON No. I thought it’d be a small thing or that people wouldn’t really like it. All of this has been a big surprise. INTERVIEWER What would the post-Natalie Sit With Us give the before-Natalie Sit With Us? HAMPTON I’d love to tell my former self to prepare for how much good is going to come out of this. I’ve been meet so many cool people through this and see so many cool things. And help a lot of people that I never thought I’d be able to connect with. So I would tell myself that so much good is going to come out of this bad experience, you’ll never even believe it! •
THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT
By SOPHIE WAZLOWSKI
WHENEVER I GO to Whole Foods, I never purchase Driscoll’s berries. The first time that I heard about Driscoll’s was during a history class tangent in freshman year. History teachers have a tendency to go on tangents. One moment the teacher can be discussing why President Reagan had such an influence on American politics, and the next, the class is arguing about whether or not the Bee Gees were a good band. The teacher was lecturing about Enlightenment thinkers or Russian czars, exactly what the topic was I can’t remember, but somehow we ended up talking about strawberries. And from strawberries we started talking about Driscoll’s. The teacher asked if we were familiar with Driscoll’s berries, and if we knew that they did bad things. It was a small comment, but it had a large impact on my life. From then on, whenever we went to the store, I refused to buy anything from Driscoll’s. If my parents put Driscoll’s products in our shopping cart, I would keep taking them out until my parents gave up. When they asked why I was so determined to avoid Driscoll’s, I simply replied “Because Mrs. Immediata said they do bad things.” Which I eventually decided wasn’t a good enough reason, so I began researching Driscoll’s and learning more about their berries. Driscoll’s buys its berries from multiple different farms. One of the farms is Sakuma Bros., a company with farms in Washington and California. Sakuma Bros. had been facing worker strikes and protests due to alleged ‘wage theft’ since 2013. It was now 2016, so around three years had passed. The workers claimed that they were paid only $6 for around 12 to 15 hours of work; the minimum wage in California is $10.50 an hour and $11.00 in Washington. Part of the problem was the productivity-based system; workers were paid depending on how many berries they harvested, so some workers would earn more than minimum wage, and some much less. Besides the claims of unfair payment, some workers also reported that the housing situations on the farms were unfit and that child-labor laws were violated. One worker, José Ramírez, said in a Democracy Now! interview that the houses had bugs, leaky roofs, exposed nails, and some uninsulated walls. Despite the ongoing protests against Driscoll’s and its suppliers, corporations such as Whole Foods and Costco continued to stock their berries even as protesting continued. I underestimated how difficult boycotting Driscoll’s would be. I was accustomed to buying fruit whenever I wanted, whether it was in season where I lived or not. During the winter, Driscoll’s was commonly the only type of strawberry, raspberry, or blueberry that Whole Foods carried. Because of this, for the first time I couldn’t have the fruit that I wanted when I wanted it. Many people in the Avenues community and I had a similar food shopping culture. By far, the majority of people
interviewed said that they did most, or all of their shopping at Whole Foods, while a few, like Freshman Jaden Schapiro, said that they try to practice more sustainable shopping habits. When asked if a brand name affected his decision when purchasing fruit, he replied, “It depends what it is, honestly, I mean I try to buy everything non- GMO and organic, and if I don’t find a brand or label that says that, I probably won’t buy it. I try to buy locally as much as possible.” Other students, such as senior Maddalena Rona weren’t as concerned with buying fruit that was locally grown or in season. When asked how often she bought fruit that was out of season, she replied “I have no idea. You can quote that.” Johann Khoder, the Vice President of Support Services at Flik, the company in charge of the lunch menu at Avenues, said that Flik was aware of the allegations against Driscoll’s: “There’s been discussions around it but there is nothing to put out yet.” She also spoke about a partnership the company entered with Immokalee farm workers in Florida in 2009. She said, “the workers were being paid unfair wages, [had] poor living conditions, [reported] abuse and other things and we... gave them as much as a 64% hike in wages, [with a] code of conduct put in there for wages to eliminate any abuse, and so on.” Avenues, it seems, is doing a fairly good job of practicing sustainable food shopping. The appearance of fruit is a factor that had a large sway on people’s decisions when buying fruit. When asked what her choice would be between two different cartons of strawberries, one with red, ripe berries that was more expensive, and the other with less colorful berries, but with a lower price, sophomore Tallulah Brown said, “I mean, I’d probably buy the more expensive ones then.” Driscoll’s berries usually look full of color and ripe even when they are shipped thousands of miles and are not in season in the area where they are purchased. However, there is more to the berries than their convenience and how they look. The decisions that everyday consumers make affect the lives of farmworkers drastically. It is vital that shoppers make conscientious decisions about brand choices when buying produce, and all types of food. Take Driscoll’s, for instance. All of the protesting and boycotting began to pay off. In September 2016, Washington farm workers voted to have Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ), a farmworker union, represent the workers in talks for a union contract. Sakuma Bros. agreed to negotiate, which means improved wages and living conditions for the farmworkers. The story of the Driscoll’s berry workers is a testament to the effect that awareness when purchasing food can have on immediate community, and communities that are as far away as the other side of the country. When buying fruit or any food in general, students and faculty should be conscious of who their choices are affecting, and what the consequences of those choices may be. •
Dismediation and the Media By JACKSON EHRENWORTH
PEOPLE DON’T KNOW what media to trust anymore. CNN and The New York Times are increasingly viewed as partisan and untrustworthy. There have always been problems with the ethics of reporting, with partisanship, with conflicting perspectives. Yet the issues of distortion and distrust that currently undermine any trust in media seem to reflect a more recent timeline. This timeline started with distortion. What George Orwell called “Political Language.” (More on this in a minute.) The next stage might be called submissiveness. The best example of this kind of submissiveness, according to Michael Massing, a writer for The New York Review Of Books, was The New York Time’s reporting of weapons of mass destruction that prefigured the Iraq War. The next stage we can name dismediation, what Maria Bustillo, a columnist for The Awl, calls a deliberate attempt to misinform and mislead the public – and even more, to make the public distrust any news source, so that all information becomes suspect. The Trump campaign demonstrated how startlingly effective dismediation can be. These stages and uses of language are all connected. In 2012, in Harpers, Ben Lerner wrote how, “the shell of a communicative form is used to foreclose communication.” What Lerner is describing is a form of pseudo communication that exists because words are being said or written, but it’s not actual communication as it stops the travel of information and-even more importantly-it stops thinking. Long before Lerner, in the shadow of the end of World War II, George Orwell described a related problem, or perhaps an earlier form of problem - what he called, political language, or language being used as “the defense of the indefensible.” Orwell’s examples included things like “the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan.” As Orwell put it, these acts “can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties.” Out of this masking of brutality comes 17
“political language.” Both Lerner and Orwell reveal a deliberate use of language to do the opposite of clarify and reveal: the purpose of this kind of language is to shroud and distort. “Defenceless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements,” is how Orwell illuminates this use of language. One purpose of this kind of political language, according to Orwell, is to refer to or name events, while deliberately avoiding any language that would aid in the mental picturing of these events. Since Orwell wrote his manifesto in 1946, news media has suffered other stages of distortion. Massing is most concerned with passivity. In the months leading up to the Iraq War, Massing argues, “US journalists were far too reliant on sources sympathetic to the administration. Those with dissenting views—and there were more than a few—were shut out. Reflecting this, the coverage was highly deferential to the White House.” Massing shows that articles despicting how high level intelligence was being questioned by internal sources in the intelligence community, were displaced to back pages, because they went against the grain. The predominant thinking was in support of a popular war, and thus reporting like that by Judith Miller, that supported it by revealing sources of nuclear weapon capacity went on the front page – even though it turns out to have been ill supported, and in fact, wrong. What’s so dangerous about Miller’s precedent is how she defended her lack of verification of her sources. “My job isn’t to assess the government’s information and be an independent intelli18
gence analyst myself,” Miller claimed. According to Miller, her job was “to tell readers of The New York Times what the government thought.” Miller seemingly saw herself as a mouthpiece for the administration, not an investigative reporter. What’s so dangerous about this incident is that The New York Times
The shell of a communicative form is used to foreclose communication.
was, then, in fact considered to be factual. Cheney, Bush, Powell, they all quoted Miller in a kind of vicious circle of inept and unqualified passing of misinformation that helped get us into a war, ultimately based on false intelligence, that radicalized the Middle East. That The New York Times could so misreport, and so clearly have aligned themselves with a wrong and damaging viewpoint, marks the beginning of what Bustillo calls dismediation, where the public begins to not trust any information. Bustillo looks back at the campaign against Kerry, a war hero with multiple medals, and how pseudo-forms of media came into being as dismediation projects. “Dismediation isn’t discourse,” says Bustillo. “It doesn’t disinform, and it’s not quite propaganda, as that term has long been understood. Instead, dismediation seeks to break the systems of trust without which civilized society hasn’t got a chance. Disinformation, once it’s done telling its lie, is finished with you. Dismediation is looking to make you never really trust or believe a news story, ever again. Not on Fox, and not on NPR. It’s not that we can’t agree on what the facts are. It’s that we cannot agree on what counts as fact.” Bustillo ends her article on dismediation with an optimistic under estimation of the public’s resistance to overt dismediation. Writing shortly before the election itself, when, by the way, virtually all the media projected Clinton’s victory (they were wrong), Bustillo suggested that “the Trump campaign is a would-be dismediation project almost certain to fail, simply because it was
bound to hit the adamantine wall of his dishonesty and stupidity.” It turned out that loud and long projection of dismediation could, in fact, prevail. The answer isn’t to ever read reporting or to abandon journalism. In the midst of these years, after all, also were Woodward and Bernstein. They tumbled a corrupt administration. One suggestion: read more than the front page. Look for the hidden dissenting stories. And maybe, be suspicious when any story seems too perfectly aligned with current administration or would support an epic, populist, and dangerous event. Another suggestion is to abandon neutrality as a goal. The tension between fact and narrative is central to this tension of relevancy and transparency. We have more and more access to facts. What we need are writers who can do two things: provide discernment, and create stories. The responsibility of journalists needs to become an ability to weave facts into a narrative that makes us understand and care about why those facts matter and what they mean. You can see the obsession with factuality in the banners for news agencies. CNN’s logo is “bringing you the facts.” BBC’s “the most reliable source of facts.” These logos represent an ethos that at its heart, feels like a misapprehension of journalism, or at its worst, is dismediation. Journalists are always choosing which facts to share and which to either ignore or bury in a wealth of detail. It’s a misunderstanding to think of journalism as objective and its dismediation to present it as neutral. It’s neither possible, nor is it admirable. Alain de Botton, an award winning philosopher and writer, tackles the idealism of expecting facts to change anything, when he writes: “The idealistic line on news runs as follows: evil, passivity and racism are chiefly the result of ignorance.” If that were true, then all the news organizations would do, to cure ignorance, is provide a stream of facts. It’s not ignorance, though, that causes passivity and racism and evil, it’s a dearth of caring. Narrative gets you to empathize. Narrative makes you care. •
LIVING WHAT WE STAND FOR AVENUES IS A wonderful place. I know I am not wrong in saying that many students, including myself, consider our school to be a second home. Avenues is a safe haven, a place of refuge, a welcoming and vibrant community of teachers, students, and support staff, without which the ecosystem of Avenues would fall apart. Each individual body of people that congeals to help form the larger community of over fifteen hundred people living in just two buildings relies on the support and the existence of the others. And, though these bodies reside, on paper, in a large and detailed hierarchy, the lines between the groups of people often become blurred as teachers take a moment to crack a quick joke in order to liven up the class, or as students share brotherly greetings with FOOD staff while grabbing lunch, chatting naturally. However, the Avenues community is made up of people, and people aren’t perfect beings. Many of us try to do the right thing, but we make mistakes. The reality is that we all have our own biases, which sometimes clash with the views of others – and these biases can make everything we do more complicated. While I wouldn’t want to be anywhere other than Avenues, our community still suffers from a lack of self-control, and more importantly, a deficiency of respect for one another. I like to think that any instances of callous discourtesy towards the people of the community, from spitting gum into a water fountain to stealing someone’s personal belongings to sending racially- or sexually-offensive hate messages, are isolated incidents. The reality is that these kinds of thoughtless acts are more prevalent than they should be, both in the real world and online. And, not surprisingly, the internet is often the place where the greatest breaches of moral code occur. Why? Because of the anonymity one is granted, and the apparent lack of repercussions for posting something hurtful without thinking twice. Oftentimes, we can say that these incidents occur simply because teenagers are teenagers, and it isn’t fair to assign the same responsibilities to an adult and a teen whose frontal lobe is not fully developed. At the same time, not everything can be forgiven under the umbrella of “Well, I’m just a teenager, after all.” Some things, I believe, are simply inexcusable. Aside from the fact that I am generally out of the loop on recent instances of student misconduct, however, the things that usually annoy me the most are the smaller, quotidien breaches of school code, such as a group of popular kids shoving themselves violently into an already-packed elevator or a middle schooler being appallingly dismissive to a lunch staff member. Unlike the incidents that have been addressed at student-wide assemblies, these everyday annoyances are actually becoming a problem, and the fact that they keep
by Sam Boyce
happening is a sign that there is something inherently wrong within our community. Is this really how we want others to view us? More importantly, is this really how we want to view ourselves? When I look at Avenues, I see past the majority of affluent, privileged white bodies and recognize that our community is made up of people with a wide variety of opinions and civilities. But sometimes these differences can conflict with each other, a fact that frequently presents itself as both a blessing and – let’s say – a challenge. But is it a weakness? I sometimes consider the double-edged sword that is a community diverse in thought and beliefs. On one hand, a wide difference in opinion on certain political and social matters can lead to strong polarization, which can then lead to tension throughout the community. On the other hand, a diversity of opinion allows a community to address problems with a multifaceted perspective, and to approach issues and topics much more objectively with the careful consideration of multiple viewpoints. Homogeneous communities, where everyone shares the same opinions, do not have to deal with a heated school political climate; but they also lack the ability to analyze issues from multiple angles. The crucial bit that we forget sometimes is that, regardless of the type of community we live in, and regardless of one’s own personal beliefs, there needs to be a display of self-discipline, of courtesy, and of civility. This is what we stand for, and – just like Welcome, Safety, and Respect – they aren’t just words: they’re a code to live by. Everyone has their own qualms and quirks. Everyone adopts their own worldview and outlook on society, politics, economics, or whatever else interests them. But respect and careful thought, regardless of the identities or views of others, definitely needs to be more present in our community. Just as one can’t simply throw themselves into a crowded elevator, there are certain lines that cannot be crossed. But sometimes all it takes to realize that maybe something isn’t such a good idea after all is a simple second thought. If you see a piece of trash lying on the floor, pick it up. If you see your friend about to post something hurtful online, remind them that it will last forever. And if you see someone about to do something they might regret, speak up. It might be hard in the moment, but you’ll be helping your friend in the long run. We all have a collective responsibility to help maintain our home and stand for the very values we looked at however many years ago and said, “I want to go there.” Don’t just do it for your peers, and don’t just do it for your teachers – do it for yourself. This community is yours as much as it is mine, and it’s you who makes it worth living. • 19
FLUENT LANGUAGE LEARNING
BY EDWIN SHEN
MANY PUBLIC AND private schools high schools in New York City offer a variety of languages like French, Italian, German, Hebrew, Japanese and more. So why does Avenues only offer Chinese and Spanish and how does it teach language differently? Yongling Lu, the curriculum specialist for Mandarin, said “the primary concern is that if you offer five different languages, a student can say ‘okay, I tried Chinese and now I’m going to switch because now it’s getting hard.’ Then they move around all these languages but they ended up not being able to say a word of any.” If students constantly jump around languages, once it gets too difficult, they will be unlikely to achieve true fluency in a foreign language. The school would then be undermining its own mission statement, which states: “We will graduate students who are accomplished in the academic skills... at ease beyond their borders; truly fluent in a second language... ” Even though the school could prevent students from switching languages, there are many practical advantages for only offering Chinese and Spanish. These two languages are the two of the most used languages in the world. According to the CIA, there are 1.2 billion Chinese native speakers and 400 million Spanish ones. The school simply chose to teach the most used languages besides English. Furthermore, if the school offered more languages, they would need more classrooms, teachers, and resources. This means scheduling all these classes would be a burden. This is why the school only offers two languages. However, the school teaches it in a completely different way: immersion. Ms. Lu said “In lower grades [Kindergarten to 5th grade], we do immersion. In all the NY private schools, Avenues is the only one that does this. This means you don’t teach language for language sake, but you use the language to teach different subjects.” In the lower school, language teachers do not speak in English to their students every other day. They teach other subjects in Chinese or Spanish, and through this immersive environment, the students learn another language in the process. Compared to other schools in New York, most teach language to kids as a “second language.” This by essence, means not teaching it through immersive environment but through a regular class environment. Of course, immersion is much more difficult for students in high school. After all, the subjects are much more complicated to teach in one language, and the ability to acquire language diminishes as people get older. However, this does not stop Avenues from focusing on its mission of fluency. In high school, students are compared to a national standard. They have to take the Assessment of Performance
toward Proficiency in Languages (AAPPL), an online language test, and are placed into one of three categories for each language skill: novice, intermediate, and advanced. By using the AAPPL test to evaluate students based on external, rather than internal, standards, the language department is measuring actual fluency rather than “good student habits.” Based on the test results, teachers can see whether a student needs work in speaking, listening, and writing. Then, they can give more practice for those areas and create a more effective curriculum. An “A language student” at Avenues is one who can use language in a proficient manner, not only “because they just do their homework and because they participate and come to class on time.” as Ms. Lu said. The school’s value of fluency can be seen in how the language classes are run. Senior Junho Kim said: “In Korea, language class was more about memorizing grammar and vocab. Even the speaking was about memorizing the responses for each question.” However, he noted a significant change when he took language at Avenues. He said “in Spanish class, it was more about conversation and fluency. Instead of learning only new grammar and vocab, it was more about how I could use the language confidently.” Although he disliked taking the AAPPL test, he acknowledges that it is helpful for teachers to improve the curriculum and measure their students’ success. Similarly, a 9th grader said that “language class here is much more natural and fun. I can focus on truly becoming fluent rather than just tests on grammar or Chinese characters. Even though we do have to take the AAPPL test, it is a good measurement of where I am and what I need to improve on.” Although Avenues is keeping its word on teaching with a heavy emphasis on fluency, it is important to realize that learning language should not stop at school. Ivan Cestero, a design thinking teacher at Avenues, said: “Avenues is still just a bubble and it’s important to realize that.” This means that students shouldn’t just pursue learning language in school, but should, as Mr. Cestero said, “go out and see how the other half lives.” In this way, students can be in a truly immersive environment that the classroom does not offer. Even though Mr. Cestero is not a language teacher, he learned Spanish through a study abroad program and highly encourages similar experiences, like Global Journeys at Avenues. In short, Avenues teaches language different because of its core value of fluency. In lower school, students are put in an immersive environment, while in high school students are compared to a national standard. •
A SCHOOL DIVIDED by Jaden Schapiro
FRESHMEN YEAR MARKS one of the largest transitions, socially and physically, in a teenager’s life, and it requires more social interaction than one may think. Here at Avenues, the schedule does not enable upperclassmen to interact with grades nine and ten. This leaves the majority of new students in a weaker position to transition to the high school. The largest shift in this year’s schedule was not the new use of an alternating-day program but the addition of the 515 building on West 26th street. The 515 building is just big enough to hold two grades at a time, so that all grades will not be on the floor at one time. One-hour lunch is one of only times during school hours the four grades have a chance to engage. When asked how she interacts with upperclassmen, freshman Sydney McCarter said, “I definitely feel separated from them because we have no classes, so the only time we can be with them is during sports or clubs.” She further explained that “this isn’t okay” because there are not many strong relationships across the school that create an opportunity for communication other than extracurricular activities. Clubs and sports teams are the long-term methods of communicating across grades, but as McCarter said, “I don’t have any time for clubs because of our schedules.” The school day ends at 3:45 for most students, while ones who participate in sports have their day end at 5:30 on Tuesday, Wednesday, and occasionally Fridays. Clubs also must take place after school ends, which means some athletes must sacrifice their time on the team at least once a week to participate in clubs. Most freshmen echoed a similar sentiment to McCarter’s on lack of time after school. So when do students have time to talk to Avenues’ juniors and seniors in school without committing to clubs or sports? Students need a bond across grades not just because of opportunities for guidance and mentorship. There have been many attempts to bridge the lack of communication across the school. The first was Awareness Day, where all students chose a topic and each room held an assortment of students from all grades while everyone discussed issues of economic privilege, however, most discussions were led by upperclassmen and teachers, which left the a lot of 22
younger students sitting awkwardly around the tables. “Unless you socialize with them [upperclassmen] outside of school… They assume you are stupid,” says one freshmen. This shows two ideas: The silence experienced in discussions is then due to the feelings of being unwelcome in participation from some lowerclassmen. In addition, the only time interactions between grades are made is in school, but not outside of school. The next was the Hunger Banquet. The random selection of a card that determines your wealth and determines your lunch of anything from a bowl of beans and rice to a small table including full service. The discussions following the banquet were more productive because students had to talk about the same subject and hunger issues among all classrooms. The most impactful was Peer Leadership, which connected the oldest and the youngest students in the high school to talk about each other’s experiences at Avenues. This provided time every in the schedule in order to speak to leaders about school situations and policies that recently have been implemented. This dramatically increased the familiarity between freshmen and seniors, thus diminishing the communication gap. For some freshmen it was what they needed because someone that had gone through similar experiences could help them with challenges in school such as struggling with homework or talking to their teachers. One must realize not all peer leaders are the same person and not all are as understanding as a freshmen intended. Moreover, peer leadership only lasted until the week before spring break. This means freshmen will not even see seniors at school this term, let alone during fifth term. With no peer leaders in fourth term, the only chance a freshmen will interact with seniors in school again is if they happen to go on the same Global Journeys trip fifth term selection. Is it okay to say that a freshmen, by the last terms, knows the high school inside and out? “With peer leadership, seniors got more interaction with freshmen this year, but not at all with juniors,” said junior Luc Cea-Sanson. He believes that this year’s junior class was also disregarded in terms of interaction with freshmen. “I signed up
for it next year; I think it makes a difference for them. I didn’t have the program, so I want to make it matter to the new freshmen.” He continued explaining the importance of this program: “The only bridge between the two [freshmen and seniors] is peer leadership,” Cea-Sanson reiterated. From a junior’s perspective the concept of no communication is still apparent in their world, similar to freshmen. There is not just a want of interaction from the younger grades, but the upperclassmen too. Connecting with older students is not always easy for freshmen, but can be difficult for juniors and seniors as well. Between limited scheduling and social stigmas between
the grades, communication from class to class may be one of the most challenging obstacles to overcome in the next few years. It can be easy to overcome, but only if the high school creates and more solid and social community for all grades. Breakthroughs socially across the grades need to appear more often in a schedule that allows for this flexibility, but students have to show that they want more attention from upperclassmen. This year it seems as if it was the assortment of alternating days, a larger campus, and busy high schoolers. Students should take the opportunity to communicate their ideas this year in 9-12 assemblies or other school events like Awareness Day. We cannot move forward and do nothing at the same time, it takes more than effort to connect all of us. •
23 Photo by Elizabeth Acevedo
NEW CAMPUS, WHO DIS? by Lucas Hornsby
IN SEPTEMBER 2012, Avenues unveiled its first campus in a former turkey slaughterhouse in West Chelsea. Since then, the school has graduated its first class, and now, it prepares to graduate its second. While we celebrate the rapid growth of our New York campus, Avenues is reaching new milestones, almost five thousand miles away. In August of 2018, São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, will welcome Avenues’ second campus. An expansive, sleek white building is quickly materializing along the shore of São Paulo’s Pinheiros River to house the 600 students that the school expects to welcome in about 14 months. This time, the 300,000 square foot campus (about 40% larger than the New York campus) is adapted not from a slaughterhouse but from the former offices of an insurance company. Behind the building’s impressive architecture, led by the firm Aflalo & Gasperini, and the repeated Avenues-blue ads in São Paulo’s largest daily newspaper sits a team of Americans and Brazilians alike who have, for years,
worked to bring the campus to fruition. One such key figure has been Hamilton Clark. Mr. Clark joined Avenues in 2016 as head of school and will be assuming the first such role in the São Paulo campus come 2018. Before coming to Avenues, Mr. Clark was the headmaster of Episcopal Academy, an independent K-12 school in Philadelphia. There, he oversaw Episcopal’s transition to a new campus. More recently, he has also served as head of school at American schools in Lebanon and Switzerland. Clark is moving to São Paulo right after the graduation ceremony for the class of 2017, and he will be overseeing the final year of construction of the campus before opening its doors next August. But before Mr. Clark came John Ciallelo, who joined Avenues in 2013 specifically to spearhead the establishment of the São Paulo campus. Due to delays in the construction of the campus, Mr. Ciallelo settled in New York temporarily to help with accreditation and recruitment, and to tour Brazil-
A rendering of the Avenues Sao Paulo Campus from Avenues’ website
ian families and visitors. Mr. Ciallelo brought with him more than two decades of experience in Brazilian education. He began as a teacher at the Chapel School, an IB American school in São Paulo, in 1987 and eventually became the head of school, a position he held for 10 years. Though Mr. Ciallelo has taken great pleasure in this endeavor, his regular trips to Brazil have not been devoid of challenges. His biggest frustration, he said, has been navigating the government bureaucracy in Brazil: “I knew from living in Brazil that it would be a problem, but didn’t have to deal with it before since I worked at an established school. Yet with Avenues, I have been involved in a lot of the hoops, meetings with lawyers, and such.” Mr. Ciallelo attributed the delayed opening of the campus (which was originally slated for several years ago) to this “government bureaucracy,” a fair justification in a country whose economy is plagued by hurdles big and small, especial-
ly in the education sector. Despite these difficulties, Mr. Ciallelo also spoke about his successes, his proudest being the response of families in São Paulo: “I already started talking to families and students, and I am very impressed with the students who are applying and their families…they are successful in their schools, yet the students were the ones who found out about the school [Avenues] and went home begging their parents… It’s hard to change schools as a teenager, but these are kids who are really excited about coming.” Students at the New York campus have displayed similar enthusiasm for the opening of Avenues São Paulo. In a survey sent to all Upper School students, 50% of the 56 respondents indicated that they would be interested in studying at the São Paulo campus, with about another quarter of respondents answering “not sure.” Students cited different reasons for their interest in the new campus. For instance, Student Council president and junior Brandon Bunt said that “São Paulo would be an opportunity to set standards at a new school. This is something we do at Avenues here all the time, and I feel it would be interesting to do this at a completely new school first. I feel the São Paulo campus could directly benefit from the culture of the city, and rather than making all Avenues campuses identical, I see a potential benefit in making each school have defining characteristics that exemplify the reason why the campus is located where it is.” Sophomore Harper van Doorn responded that “it would be a great opportunity to learn in a different country while studying the same material as at [Avenues New York], so I wouldn’t fall behind.” According to Mr. Clark, the new campus will meet the hopes and expectations expressed by Bunt and van Doorn, striking a balance between campus-specific individuality and Avenues-wide universality. Mr. Ciallelo explained that upon its founding, Avenues created GET, or the Global Education Team. This team is headed by Ty Tingley, Avenues’ Chief Academic Officer, and is composed of “education leaders” in the institution (Mr. Ciallelo, Gardner Dunnan, Isil Celimli, and several others). On its website, GET summarizes its mission as “One school, many countries” and aims to ensure the same quality across future campuses as well as curricula that are connected enough to allow a student from one campus to transition to another without any trouble. In alignment with GET’s mission, Avenues São Paulo’s curriculum will be as similar as possible to our campus’, with only a few modifications to meet Brazilian standards and accommodate cultural norms. Fortunately, according to Mr. Ciallelo, Brazilian educa
Photo by Lucas Hornsby
tion is “open” and free of censorship, allowing Avenues considerable freedom in its curriculum. Brazil does, however, have rigorous standards for Brazilian social studies and geography, which Mr. Ciallelo said “will be integrated into world course.” The student body, Mr. Clark predicted, will comprise of “about 70% Brazilian and 30% expats,” ensuring a mix of Brazilian and foreign influences in the campus’ day-to-day life. Similarly, students will be prepared to pursue higher education at Brazilian universities as well as American ones. At the start of eleventh grade, students at Avenues São Paulo will have to choose one of two “tracks.” The first will continue to develop their English and prepare them to apply to universities in the United States and in other places outside Brazil. Alternatively, students can choose to pursue a track that will qualify them for the “vestibular,” the Brazilian university entrance exam, by focusing on Portuguese classes and targeted test preparation. Portuguese and English will both be taught, and students will be expected to be fluent in both by the time of graduation. Through first grade, students at the São Paulo campus will be immersed in English, and in second grade Portuguese will be introduced. From then on, students will have Portuguese grammar, writing, and literature classes, as well as social studies in Portuguese; math, science, and other subjects will be taught in English. Spanish will likely be offered eventually, with no concrete plans to offer Mandarin yet. Students entering above first grade will be required to write and speak comfortably in English. With this new campus, students from both New York and São Paulo will encounter new opportunities right away. As early as the 2018 school year, students from both campuses will be able to attend Global Journeys trips together during school breaks and 5th term. Students from New York interested in studying in São Paulo, like Bunt and van Doorn, could also pursue that option. If a student would like to move to São Paulo, Mr. Ciallelo said, they “logistically could move here for 6 months and do homestay with a family of an Avenues São Paulo student.” Though homestay would be the only option to start, Avenues is “always looking at dorm options, because the purpose is to have some sort of housing situation” to accommodate more students in the future, as cross-campus programs grow. Also,
An advertisement for Avenues São Paulo in “O Estado De São Paulo”, a Brazilian newspaper.
students at the New York campus whose families move to São Paulo will be able to seamlessly transfer to that campus, and vice versa. Mr. Ciallelo said that Avenues will implement systems to ensure a seamless transition and rewarding experience for students from New York studying in São Paulo. One of Ciallelo and his team’s biggest goals now is to establish a culture of “welcome, safety, and respect” as soon as the São Paulo campus opens, much like we have in New York, to provide a structure that would be receptive to Avenues São Paulo students as well as visiting students from New York. Additionally, Avenues will provide “buddy programs” to pair visiting students with local ones, as well as provide language and academic support throughout the students’ stay. Academically, Mr. Ciallelo said, Avenues São Paulo would not offer an “exact fit,” but its curriculum will be sufficiently aligned with that of Avenues New York to ensure that “the student can do well from the first day.” Such matters will be administered by GET. At Avenues New York, students are fortunate to have convenient access to invaluable institutions and landmarks to enrich their education. For instance, many art classes regularly visit galleries in Chelsea, and science teachers often lead trips to special exhibits and university labs. Avenues São Paulo will also avail itself of the resources of the surrounding city, though in different ways. Due to the city’s size, traffic, and safety concerns, students will not have as easy access to opportunities, like students at Avenues New York do. Avenues São Paulo will, however, follow in its sister campus’ suit and hire an ACE (Avenues Community Engagement) director to facilitate meaningful connections with communities neighboring the school and around São Paulo. The campus’ engagement with the community will extend to its financial aid program as well. The details of the program are still “under development,” Mr. Clark said. The state of São Paulo requires that private schools offer full scholarships to up to two of the children of each teacher they employ, which has added challenges to financial aid plans. At an event hosted in São Paulo in March to commemorate the imminent opening of the campus and to mark the start of the application process, many parents expressed curiosity over Avenues’ efforts to create an economically diverse
and culturally rich student body. In a city where elite, and especially bilingual, private schools tend to be economically homogenous, Avenues is faced with the challenge and responsibility to provide to its students a distinct experience. Mr. Ciallelo said that the administration is acutely aware of these concerns and of their importance. Lisa Peixoto, Avenues São Paulo’s director of admissions will likely take charge in these efforts. Ms. Peixoto is an energetic American whose accent in Portuguese just barely reveals her foreignness. She previously worked at Graded–The American School of São Paulo, where she ran what Mr. Ciallelo describes as “an incredible program.” With money from Lemann Foundation, a Brazilian nonprofit, Graded provides full scholarships to several students from nearby favelas, Brazilian slums. While at Graded, Ms. Peixoto visited favelas and met with families to recruit children to apply to the school. Those who were admitted through the program received not only a full tuition scholarship but also support in other areas essential to their success. For example, they were provided with appropriate school clothes, and two laptops -- one to be left at school, and one for home -- since carrying a laptop to and from school would render the students targets of robbery. Avenues São Paulo plans to institute a similar program in its second or third year, which, in Mr. Ciallelo’s words, will be “carefully designed… to really change lives.” Avenues São Paulo is faced with unparalleled resources, a cross-continental support network, a highly competent leadership team, and a pool of qualified and eager applicants, both Brazilian and from abroad. Yet it is also presented with unique challenges. The Avenues São Paulo team -- and the Avenues organization at large -- must balance concerns of cross-campus cultural and academic harmony, financial and logistical sustainability, and socioeconomic diversity in ways new to itself and to the educational world. Students, faculty, and administrators in New York have shaped a former turkey-slaughterhouse into a welcoming home, a cutting-edge academic institution, and a dynamic social environment. Now, it is our turn to cheer for and support those spearheading and populating our second campus. And just as importantly, it is our responsibility to hold Avenues São Paulo accountable for the success its potential promises, and to hope for good weather in August 2018. •
Teacher-Student Bonds By NOAH SHAMUS
IN MY DAILY EXPERIENCE at Avenues, I find myself talking and interacting with teachers in ways I did not at my previous school. At my old high school, a student would need to find time after school to meet with a teacher, not during lunch or throughout the day. I find it to be a real privilege to be able to eat in the same room with my teachers, let alone develop personal relationships. Last month, Mercer Pipa and I joined Mr. Ryan Martin, our former advisor and current mentor, for our weekly hour lunch on The Highline. In the reunion we filled Mr. Martin in on our lives. Many students and faculty members felt the same way about how lucky we are to have such great relationships with our teachers. when I sat down and discussed with them. Ms. Teixeira, a spanish teacher in the Upper School, said: “Compared to other schools I have worked at, Avenues encourages teacher student relationship on deeper level.” One of the ways the school does this, said Ms. Sager, a 9-10 English teacher, is by “giving students and teachers the free time to communicate with one another.” When the school gives students free time to meet with their teachers it allows for more open and longer dialogues to occur. One aspect that students found to be helpful from the teachers was their openness to engage in conversations with them. Tallulah Brown, a sophomore, said “[Mr. Cortese] tells us about his life and that makes us feel comfortable around him.” The comfort students feel around the teachers is one of 28
the main aspects they attribute to being able to share. Similarly, one aspect that helps build student-teacher relationships, is teachers reaching out to students. Freshman Jaden Shapiro shared that his “science teacher approached [him] about doing more advanced work. In other schools you have the drive to join an extracurricular club to explore.” Every teacher who I interviewed explained how they make themselves available. Ms. Sager said “I’ll drop everything if a student needs to meet with me. Unless I have a faculty meeting or class I will meet with you. And I’ll remind [my students] about that all of the time.” Other teachers try to foster communities where their students feel safe. Ms. Teixeira explained that she tries to “demonstrate and foster the idea that most certainly any student can reach out to [her] if they want to talk to [her].” This continuous reaching out to students by teachers in order to make sure they feel safe contributes to some of the great relations between students and teachers. Talking with more students throughout the school, there were some mixed emotions about student-teacher relationships. Freshman Rachel Hymes said that she “[does] not think that Avenues has a great relationship between teachers and students, at least compared to other schools.” She couldn’t expand on this feeling, but knew that she “sensed it.” When she said this, two thoughts came to my mind: what are student teacher relations like at other schools, and how does age
Junior Antonio Rivoli poses for a selfie with Ms. Teixeira
play a factor? I used to go to a public school in the suburbs of New Jersey. After I moved to the city, I kept in contact with many of my old friends. My best friend, Matt, and I would talk every month or so. He was telling me about how he had a large essay due in three days and he hasn’t met with his teacher yet. He explained to me that the teacher’s after school hours were booked with meetings with other students and faculty meetings so he would be able to meet with him. After hearing that, I casually responded: “Why don’t you just meet during lunch?” Matt resisted— the idea was foreign to him. He clarified that at his school the teachers ate in a separate room and no one would meet with their teachers during lunch. I was in awe. The concept of lunch meetings or just sitting with a teacher during lunch was so familiar to me, yet so distant to Matt. Ms. Sager expanded on this idea. At her old school she would teach six classes a day, everyday, with no study periods, so meetings would need to happen after school. This capability for students and teachers to even sit together, let alone meet during lunch may also contribute to our community of close teachers and students. The other idea I thought of when Hymes was speaking was that she was a freshman, new to the highschool, and deep relationships take time to form. But this sentiment was not shared by other freshmen. Freshman Madison Wright said
that she turns to her dean when she needs help: “I’ve known her since avenues started, she’s been my teacher before; I’m familiar with her and she’s familiar with me so she is up to speed on where I am.” Brown accounted for her closeness with Mr. Cortese as a factor of their time together, as well: “I’ve known him since sixth grade. A lot of people in our grade feel comfortable around him because he has known us for a while.” While many students and teachers in their interviews pushed for a smaller advisory system, time and relationships with advisors were issues. Many students were not fond of their advisors, and some faculty members felt overwhelmed with the program as well. With the deans system, you are placed with a dean and they stick with you for highschool (this did not hold true for advisory); they are your go to person for your highschool experience. One of the issues, that was reiterated by many, was that the deans groups are too big, as opposed to advisory. It may be tough for students to build close relationships with their deans if the average dean group contains twenty people. Overall, both students and teachers seem to be happy and impressed with the deep bonds that have developed between teachers and students. The main factors for this seem to be the openness of teachers to talk and share, having spaces to interact with faculty outside of classes, and the amount of time students spend with a faculty advisor. • 29
Photos by Clare Maleeny
LIFE IS PLASTIC, IT'S FANTASTIC! BY SOPHIA KOOCK
ONE STUDY HALL, freshman Madison Wright extended her hand and felt the greenery. Her hand, however, did not brush a plant as she thought it would; she had touched plastic. “I was disappointed to see [that the plants were fake],” Wright said. As Wright found out, the living wall is no longer quite so alive. The living wall project began as a fifth term class in 2015. Students in the class from grades nine through eleven were tasked with building a vertical garden from a gray tiled wall on the ninth floor studio. “We were divided into three teams. There was the structural team, which I was a member of,” said junior Matt Levine. “There was a team that was in charge of the design of the plants and the actual ordering of the plants, and then there was a team that worked on the sensors, and the code that would allow this living wall to be self sufficient and to feed and to water itself.” Though the wall was completed by the fifth term showcase, during which students present their projects, the students working on the wall encountered some challenges along the way. “During the project we had a major snag with getting the plants that we were ordering to New York in time to actually install them. I mean, looking back on it, it was a mess, a little bit,” said associate division head and living wall teacher Steven Carpenter. “We didn’t know that it was going to take three weeks to get plants in, but the team that was in charge of that made all of the calls, did what they could do to get expedited shipping, talk to the trucking company, talk to the shipping company, orchestrated everything.” However, that was not the only issue the living wall team encountered. Senior Yvette Lopez had to do most of the coding herself. “Coding the arduino was a lot of work,” Lopez said. “I was the only one who ‘knew how to code’ on the team, so it ended up being kind of stressful.” To code the arduino, Lopez had to learn a new coding language, java script, in addition to her email responsibilities for the plant sponsoring program. Plant sponsorship was a program put into place when the $5,500 budget for the wall had been exceeded. Students could pay a fee of a few dollars to name a plant and receive regular
humorous updates about it. Junior and plant sponsor Kyla Windley remembers only getting one email from the living wall team: “I only got one email update about [my plant] Gilgamesh, which is upsetting [...]. " Lopez said that she was the only person sending out email updates. “[The emails stopped] because I was creating a story for each plant,” said Lopez. “It was fun but I ended up having to keep up these plant storylines for 60+ people. It got to be too much work, especially with the college process approaching.” **** On the day of the showcase, there was an opening ceremony to celebrate the completion of the wall. Gardner Dunnan, head of school in 2015, even cut a ceremonial ribbon to inaugurate the wall into the ninth floor studio. The most memorable part of the ceremony, however, was not the unveiling of the wall. For her, it was the ribbon cutting. “I’m pretty sure that Mr. Dunnan cut a leaf along with the ribbon during the opening ceremony. That’s about all I remember [from the ceremony],” said Windley. At its opening, the living wall was a sprawling vertical garden, filled with boisterous green ferns and healthy purple tinged leaves. However, that health was short lived. A few months later, the leaves began to dry and droop. “It was a brown wall, at one point...and it wasn’t lush in any way,” said junior Luc Cea-Sanson. He added that as a member of the Avenues community, he was disappointed to see the wall in disrepair. There is disagreement about the cause of the wall’s demise. Mr. Carpenter said that the plants died because students had unplugged the arduino, a small computer which controlled the watering of the plants, to presumably charge their computer. This, he said, effectively lead to a drought for the plants, and the death of many of their numbers. Senior Edward Shen, who was a part of the living wall fifth term, cited a different reason for the drought. He attributed the death of the wall to a different student kicking the arduino, which deprived the plants from water. However, Lopez said that the arduino never functioned in the first place: “Honestly, the watering system never worked...
We got the arduino to detect how much water was available in the soil but we never connected it to the actual watering system.” Currently, the living wall is a mix of new real, leafy, green plants (some of which, however, are potted plants that are stuck in the pockets designed for the hydroponic plants), and fake plants. “It’s a little silly that it’s just fabricated now with fake green plants, and not real green plants,” said science teacher Michelle Muldowney. According to Mr. Carpenter, the fake plants were installed by the maintenance team at Avenues. “I’m thankful that the maintenance people were willing to pick it up and take care of it[…]I think they are primarily interested in making sure that aesthetically, when you walk by that place, it looks like there aren’t a bunch of dead plants. And if that means that they need to make some fake plants in there, because they can’t keep up with the maintenance, then that’s just how it's going to have to be,” said Mr. Carpenter. However, maintenance has only been involved with the wall when it has malfunctioned and flooded the 9th floor studio. Floreal, a gardening company, takes care of the wall and manually waters it once a week. The founder of Floreal, Marie Weilman, said that she began maintaining the wall after it withered last year. She introduced artificial plants to the wall because, “it’s just too difficult and expensive to keep it all living.” Mr. Carpenter wished that students would have stayed involved, and perhaps had started a club to maintain the
wall and add new features to it, so that others did not have to assume responsibility for its survival. Ms. Muldowney echoed similar sentiments: “I definitely think students, and or teachers- it would be nice if they’d taken that on to keep it alive. Especially the students, probably, who were originally in that project. They spent a lot of time getting that up and going […] it would be nice if somebody could take charge of that,” she said. However, after the ceremonial ribbon cutting, students or other teachers were not involved in the upkeep of the wall. The living wall, though still installed in the ninth floor, Student council vice president and senior Nikaila Saunders was not surprised that students did not participate in supporting the wall’s life. “They created the living wall and it just happened. There wasn’t a second living wall fifth term or a club ‘Let’s keep the living wall up’. That’s why it died in like the couple months after,” said Saunders. “So I just think the idea of maintaining stuff-- Avenues is big on change. You know, we change stuff every year...They like changing stuff up, so I’m not surprised that student involvement did not stay around.” Avenues students are used to change. They have witnessed the appearance and disappearance of things like the CCC, community service requirements, and student council elevator policies. The addition of fake plants was just another change. Windley, however, only had one request. “I just kinda wish that they let me know when Gilgamesh died and was replaced with a piece of plastic." •
Community Day By BRANDON BUNT
ONE OF OUR primary objectives in Student Council this year, to do meaningful work beyond organizing a few small, in-school events throughout the year, culminated in the idea of the council organizing Community Day. We began by having each member of the council do research into organizations or opportunities they were personally passionate about. Then, we contacted these organizations in order to figure out the logistics around how many students could participate, and what the activity would be. Unfortunately, due to lack of cohesion in our efforts to plan the day, we were not prepared in time for the event. While many activities were planned and scheduled, we were not able to account for every student adequately ahead of Community Day. As a result, the administration and Student Council decided to cancel the day this year. There were numerous factors that led to the disorganization and lack of preparation for Community Day, but ultimately, as President, and leader of Student Council, I am accountable first for the outcome. I am responsible for ensuring that the planning and execution of the day are in line with the vision and goes smoothly. This is something I did not do with Community Day and it is my first priority in terms of improvement next year. Ultimately, rather than identifying individual logistical issues, I would rather reexamine our approach and identify changes and improvements to make to ensure this does not happen again. Following the cancellation of Community Day, it was time to ask ourselves what Community Day would have meant, and why we have ACE. ACE, as everyone knows, is Avenues Community Engagement. The naming of the program, community “engagement” reflects our intentions; we are not interested in “serving” people. Our goals align with engaging with the people and larger communities around us; treating people like humans. ACE directly correlates with the issue of Avenues’ perception. It is ironic because while we want our community engagement work to be free of underlying motives such as improving our image in the community, at the same time, we are very aware of how the work we do outside of our building can positively affect our image. We could easily approach community service from a traditional lens. We could simply all go to whatever soup kitchen will take a certain number of students at a time that is convenient for
us, and convince ourselves that we are amazing stewards of the community. Avenues could create required community service hours. We can continue the mentality of “going out of our way to serve” those who need our help. This does not seem to align with the standard we hold ourselves to with any other extracurricular endeavor. If we feel that community engagement is another item on a long checklist of things to get done for high school, we are approaching this from the wrong angle. What do all our successful community-related activities and events have in common? Each time, the students involved in organizing the event were passionate about what they were doing. The Salsa Party’s success depended upon students of Spanish who enjoyed conversing with the folks at Hudson Guild. Our relationship with Holy Apostles really began with a few students heavily invested in musical performance. The social work D4i has done has always stemmed from some aspect of students’ passions— our Refugee Design Challenge only happened because the team had found organizations they were personally interested in. The group of students who built a bookshelf at St. Clement’s love the iLab and woodworking. When Avenues does Community Engagement, we start from what we are passionate about. So what can we do? Let us begin by doing what we love. Bring your talents to the table. Community engagement is not about seeing how many students are willing to bag food on a Saturday morning for credit. It is about how many students can find a way to make their passion fit into the larger community’s goal. If you love photography, find a way to document the work we are doing in a way that is not solely focused around showcasing Avenues students. If you love playing a sport, find a way to play with students in our neighborhood. Before the end of this year, there will be numerous opportunities to engage. However, I invite everyone to first reflect on what they enjoy doing, where their passions lie— perhaps what you do on a Saturday morning. Let us come back in September with a super clear vision of what we want to do, and unify around that in our efforts to engage with the community. Student Council is merely a way for us to organize ourselves and get the logistics out of the way so as a student body, we can focus on what interests us the most, and where our passions intersect with meaningful work. • 33
34 Art by Clare Maleeny
TRYING VEGAN: ABSURDISM BY SABRINA STERNBERG
A COUPLE OF years ago, the Upper School announced it would be taking part in Meatless Mondays, a common practice at schools and workplaces in which cafeterias serve meals that have no meat-based products on Mondays. What followed can only be described as Avenues’s first mass hysteria: a 14 email long chain in protest was sent out, whispers flowed throughout the school, and the event still comes up as one of the funniest and most divisive moments of our time at Avenues. I too remember being angry—I loved eating meat, and I didn’t find it fair that I should be forced to eat a meatless meal. Although my opinions on the right of students to eat what they want has not changed, my opinions on meat certainly have. I never thought veganism would be an ideology I would consider, let alone practice. Most of my favorite foods involve copious amounts of animal-based products; I genuinely wanted to be a cheese connoisseur as a child. However, through all the stress of college admissions and extra-curriculars, I began to notice that what I ate directly affected my mood. On the days where I drank four plus cups of coffee, I felt as if I was suffering from an ulcer. Once everything began to calm down and I did not have as much to focus on, what I ate emerged as the root of much of my stress and pain. Out of nowhere, the vlog of a vegan YouTuber popped up as a recommended video on YouTube, and I decided to watch for fun. Now that high school has almost come to an end, I had the time and inspiration to try something new, so I thought ‘Why not try being vegan’? To begin with, I decided I would only go vegan for two weeks. Leading up to my first day, I was positive that I would fail— there was no way I could go even a day without meatbased products. However, almost immediately, it became relatively natural. This helped me to come to my first conclusion about veganism: I am very lucky to not only live in New York, but specifically in Chelsea. Within a one block radius of my house, there are three separate vegan restaurants. It was easy to stop at Blossom or By Chloe and pick up a sandwich to take with me for lunch. Had I lived in a different neighborhood, let alone in a suburban area, I cannot imagine how much more difficult being vegan would have been. I also realized that I was not alone. Avenues has a small
but passionate community of vegans, most noticeably senior Parker Jay-Pachirat. “I decided to become vegan when I was 14 after visiting Farm Sanctuary,” said Pachirat. “Farm Sanctuary is in upstate NY, where rescued slaughterhouse animals live out their lives in natural conditions. Interacting with farm animals that have suffered from human-induced trauma was an experience completely different from seeing these animals at petting zoos.” Since that moment, Pachirat has become an outspoken proponent of adopting a plant-based diet and giving a voice to animals. Whether it be in the classroom or on social media, veganism has become a part of her life beyond food: “My happiness, confidence, drive, integrity, message, and relationships have all benefited greatly. In working every day for something I’m passionate about, I’ve learned to give my energy to the right places in my life, rather than listening and looking to others for what to believe in.” The first great challenge of my two weeks as a vegan came during The Highliner’s trip to Washington DC. Traveling to an unknown place can be a difficult roadblock for a vegan. However, I was fortunate enough to have well-seasoned vegan Lucas Hornsby on the trip with me. The first evening, several of us got together to decide on a restaurant for dinner. Someone else happened to mention Busboys and Poets, a restaurant well-known for having amazing vegan options. I practically demanded we go there. This was my first experience with ‘vegan’ versions of normal foods: a cobb salad, coconut fried bites, cheesecake, and a brownie. Although I expected there would be a decrease in quality, the food was spectacular. The next day, when we went to Pi Pizzeria, I was shocked to eat one of the best pizzas I have ever eaten. Overall, the trip was a success and I stayed completely vegan, easily. Throughout the two weeks, I did much research into the online vegan community. I found it to be a very supportive and positive place, especially in comparison to the vast majority of internet communities. Most vegans don’t have the advantage of knowing others who are also following a plantbased diet, so friendships and relationships have blossomed through Instagram and YouTube, making veganism a new social media trend. 35
"ULTIMATELY, VEGANISM, TO ME, WAS A PRIVILEGE. TO HAVE THE RESOURCES TO BE ABLE TO SUSTAIN A PLANTBASED DIET WITH ANY SORT OF VARIETY IS A PRIVILEGE."
“I’m all for it.” remarked Pachirat. “Some people don’t like it because they think people aren’t in it for ‘the right reasons,’ but I think it’s a great way to expose people to the diet without all the stigmatization. A lot of my friends hopped on the vegan trend and ended up loving it so much that they’re vegan now!” Videos of people from across the globe connecting over their veganism have been both inspiring and comforting. It made me feel like I was never alone in this journey. Conversely, in my real life, I felt very alone. The majority of my friends both in and out of school don’t follow anything close to a vegan diet, so going out to eat became nearly impossible. Additionally, I was so nervous that I would follow a craving for meat or dairy that I would ruin the whole experiment, I stopped going out with people. I have not stepped foot in Food in the past two weeks, other than to walk downstairs to the lobby. I found it impossible to eat as a newbie vegan. I know many vegans at Avenues feel comfortable in Food, but as I was learning the ropes of veganism, Food was not an inclusive place for me. I ate lunch alone every day. Pachirat reflected this idea, stating “I feel that there could be more accommodation for vegans, but generally Avenues is respectful and accepting of them.” If I ever went out with my friends, it was difficult to not feel tempted to try their food, and it ultimately made me moody. However, as the two weeks went on and I became more confident, I felt better about going out with friends and eating what I could. My fear of eating animal-based food subsided, and I felt more at ease with my decisions. The last challenge of my two weeks vegan was Easter. Although my family is not religious, it has become a tradition to have a large meal with my grandmother to celebrate. When I told
my parents that I wanted to try being vegan, they were completely on board, which leads me to my second conclusion about veganism: you need your family’s support. My mom immediately helped me to learn how to cook vegan recipes, buy vegan snacks, and learn more about what it means to be vegan. We got up early Easter Sunday and put together one of our most decadent Easter dinners yet—it just happened to be completely vegan. Without the support of my parents, it would have been nearly impossible to commit to the vegan diet. Pachirat echoed this sentiment, saying she was so lucky that “My dad and younger sister were already vegan, and my mom is not vegan but happy to cook for vegans.” There was one final verdict I came to throughout my time as a vegan: it is expensive. Now, before vegans jump on me, let me clarify. Sure, many cheap things can be vegan. Eating a diet of rice, beans, and frozen vegetables is totally vegan and easy to do. However, if you want to eat a more varied diet that includes ‘vegan’ versions of normal foods, it is going to be expensive. Restaurants such as By Chloe or Cinnamon Snail are significantly more expensive than their non-vegan counterparts, plantbased milk is an extra at Starbucks, and buying fresh produce constantly gets expensive fast. Ultimately, veganism, to me, was a privilege. To have the resources to be able to sustain a plant-based diet with any sort of variety is a privilege. Although I am not totally committed to remaining vegan, the benefits that I have experienced over these two weeks are too good to let go. In order to have time to make breakfast in the morning, I am waking up earlier. In general, I am eating more whole foods and my energy levels have risen dramatically. Maybe once in awhile I will have some yogurt or cheese, but why would I give up all these rewards for a type of food? •
A Meshuggah Calendar By OREN SCHWEITZER
MONDAY, APRIL 10TH was the first night and Tuesday, April 11th was the first day of Passover, the founding Jewish holiday celebrating the Exodus from Egypt and the Hebrew liberation from slavery. On this holiday, friends and family gather together for a large Seder (a huge meal), in which the story of Passover is told and, different aspects of the story are represented by different foods. Usually we would have either the first or second (or both) day off to allow students to participate in and help prepare these Seders. But for some reason, school wasn’t given off this year. According to a poll of 58 Avenues students, about 38% self identified as Jewish. In comparison, Jews comprise 12% of the New York City population, and only 1.8% of the United States’. It makes sense for a school in South Dakota, where Jews account for a negli38
gible proportion of the population, to not give Passover off. Lacking exposure to Judaism, most people there likely don’t even realize the significance of that day. But for a school like Avenues, where nearly 40% of students are Jewish (though this poll cannot be considered truly representative of the larger student body due to the sample size, it gives an indication of the large Jewish population), it makes no sense to not give students Passover off. Coupled with the fact that Good Friday, a Christian holiday, was given off, it seems like Jewish students were overlooked or seen as unimportant in this scenario. This was either an issue of ignorance, or unintentional disdain. When asked why Passover was not given off, Judy Fox, head of the Upper Division, said, “We try to align our calendar with that of the Guild of Inde-
pendent Schools of New York City insofar as reasonable with some variations, of course. In the past, the first two days of Passover aligned with other calendars and we were able to give them off and still retain the number of instructional days we wanted” she said. Mr. Hamilton Clark, the head of the New York City branch of Avenues confirmed Avenues’ use of the Guild of Independent Schools of NYC’s schedule. There are two issues with this. First, Trinity, Horace Mann, and Dalton were all given the Tuesday of Passover off (all schools Mr. Clark cited as being part of this guild), as well as almost all New York City non-parochial independent schools. This indicates that either the Student Leadership Team didn’t find it “reasonable” to oblige with the Guild of Independent Schools of New York City’s calendar, or it wasn’t on the
Figure Left: Percentage Jewish Population by State
calendar, but most other schools found it “reasonable” to diverge from the calendar in this instance. Second, Good Friday was a holiday, meaning it was factored into the academic calendar, but Passover was not. Christians were prioritized in this situation. One other explanation for how certain scheduling decisions were made was given by Mr. Clark. “One thing we look at is what’s the likelihood we are going to lose many kids that day in anycase,” said Mr. Clark. That is a completely legitimate argument as Seders occur at night and do not necessarily interfere with the school day. But many Jewish students the next morning complained of exhaustion and one anonymous 10th grader explained, “I had to leave early on Monday to help prepare my Seder.” So although most Jewish students did come to school that day, it still affected them. But is this a one time occurrence or a recurring theme? My father, Rabbi Peter Schweitzer, receives the annual academic calendar before other families in order to plan his congressional calendar around it. He was even sent one months prior to the first academic year, since I have been at Avenues since the beginning. “I was shocked to see that the school was not closed on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur when all New York City schools, public and private, give those days off,” he recalls.
For reference, most Jews are in services for much of the day for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, with Yom Kippur being the most important and sacred Jewish Holiday for which many Jews fast. “I sent an email to Chris Whittle and copied a bunch of people and told them that unless they changed the dates before the school year started they would not believe the response they would receive from Jewish families.” Luckily they immediately changed this and in the first year of Avenues, the Jewish New Year was given off. Rabbi Schweitzer attributes this issue that first year to the fact that the people designing the schedule had come from other states and were unaware of the New York City dynamic. A lack of understanding of the New York City private school demographics is a perfectly reasonable answer, but did they not study other school’s schedules and see this fairly obvious recurring theme of giving Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur off ? Maybe it slipped their mind to check. In any case, it seems there was no purposeful and conscious decision to not give these holidays off. Speaking of which, back to Passover. About one and a half weeks before Passover, it was brought to Dr. Fox’s attention that there maybe should not be any homework for the Upper School on those days, which she saw as a reasonable request. Did this pan through
though? According to the same poll of 58 students, 58.6% were assigned homework and 81% had a test planned for Wednesday or Thursday. Luckily, due to student complaints, many of those tests were moved to the next week. “Before class, myself and some other Jewish students spoke to our teacher to explain we had no time to study for the test and he moved the test to the next week,” said 12th grader Bowen Walder. Despite the change in many tests, overall, most students were assigned homework, which they weren’t supposed to do. Did this have a negative effect? According to that same poll, 95% of all Jews who responded (this means all, but one) attended or hosted Seders, with 50% hosting or attending Seders on both Monday and Tuesday night, meaning that if these students were assigned any homework it would have been very difficult to complete. According to an anonymous 9th grader, “we had Spanish homework over Passover when I was trying to spend quality time with my family.” Obviously having school over Passover affected Jewish students negatively. This issue is clear proof that in future, the Avenues administration has to have an awareness of the needs of large swaths of the Avenues population when making important calendar decisions. • 39
Music and Meaning Suicide, death, and loss underline the music on Thirteen Reasons Why By JACKSON EHRENWORTH
THE NOVEL THIRTEEN Reasons Why tells the tale of a teen, Hannah, who commits suicide, arranging for cassette tapes of her reasons to be delivered to each of the students she wants to know her story. The show has generated a lot of controversy about whether or not it glorifies suicide. This article isn’t about that controversy. It’s about the sub-texts of alternative music, tragedy, and the outsider that operate through the score of the show. There are musical references throughout the novel. The narrator, Clay, is interested in music, in a way that sets him apart from other characters. But it’s in the Netflix series that music emerges as a force in the narrative, weaving thematic parallels, symbolic allusions, and a sub-text of the outsider. In episode one, Clay gets into a car with his friend Tony. Tony, who isn’t featured on Hannah’s tapes, has been left the tapes by Hannah – he is the distributor of her words. Tony offers to play Clay a cassette tape. It’s not Hannah. It has a penciled name on it. Joy Division. As Clay and Tony pull into the street, the sounds of “Love Will Tear Us Apart” fills the car. At first, it seems like the choice of the late seventies band Joy Division signals that Clay and Tony are different. They’re nostalgic, they’re into sub-culture. But the music is playing an entirely other role. It has a sub-text to it. Joy Division was a band in the late seventies. They were headed by Ian Curtis, a fantastically talented songwriter and singer. He was also a tortured figure who killed himself when he was twenty-three. Curtis suffered from depression, from epilepsy at concerts, from a sense that his life was fragmenting around him. He poured that into his music. People loved to say that Joy Division were ‘moody,’ and
they would say that as if Curtiss’s lyrics shouldn’t be taken seriously. Yet later it turned out that he was pouring out his soul. He really meant it when he wrote that love would tear him apart. This song was one of the last songs Ian Curtis sang when he was alive. Joy Division only really released two albums. This song is at the end of the second album. In fact, it’s not even on the original album, it was added as a live version to the collectors’ edition after Curtis killed himself. Hannah, it turns out, was moody, and no one took her words seriously, no one was even able to listen to her words, until after she died. In episode eight, we see Hannah learning to value her words from Ryan. Ryan is gay, he’s into poetry, and he runs the school newspaper. In the scene, Ryan is introducing Hannah to poetry. Hannah is kind of resisting it, afraid of what people will say if they see what she writes. Ryan talks about how you have to tell the truth when you write, and that it will be terrifying and embarrassing. That’s what Ian Curtis did, and people mocked him, and he killed himself. You’d never know about Ian Curtis from the overt storyline of Thirteen Reasons Why. Yet his story is woven through the beginning, and it weaves a dark foreshadowing into the narrative. The narrative in this show operates at a lot of different levels, and at the symbolic level, it is often carried by music. Another character marked as an outsider by allusions to Joy Division is Alex, with his dyed hair, his interest in music, his alternative fashion, his poster of the cover of Joy Division’s first album, Disorder. In episode three, Alex drops into a pool. The Chromatics’ cover of Neil Young’s “Into the Black” plays while Alex falls
Sheet music for Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division
into the water. Only it’s not actually “Into the Black,” whose lyrics were: Hey hey, my my Rock and roll can never die There’s more to the picture Than meets the eye. Hey hey, my my. Instead, the version of Young’s song that the Chromatics cover is the acoustic version, “My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue),” whose lyrics begin: My my, hey hey Rock and roll is here to stay It’s better to burn out Than to fade away My my, hey hey The important line substitute here is ‘It’s better to burn out than to fade away.” That line plays behind Alex as he floats upside down in the pool. Alex comes up for air, but others who knew that line haven’t. Kurt Cobain quoted “It’s better to burn out than to fade away,” in his suicide note. There’s something else important. Critics of the show fear that it will inspire teen suicide – glamorize it, romanticize it. Neil Young himself was haunted by Cobain’s use of his lyric in his suicide note. He wrote and dedicated his 1994 album, Sleeps with Angels to Cobain, and inspired a generation of new punk bands, perhaps in the way that Hannah’s tapes inspire her listeners. Farther into the show, in episode five, we see Clay in the shower, crying, tears streaming down his already wet face. It’s another scene, like the one with Alex, at the end of the episode, and there is no dialogue, only a song. It’s a cover of Big Star’s “Thirteen.” “Thirteen” is a teenage lament. It begins: Won’t you let me walk you home from school Won’t you let me meet you at the pool Maybe Friday I can Get tickets for the dance And I’ll take you Won’t you tell your dad, get off my back Tell him what we said ‘bout ‘Paint It Black’ Rock ‘n Roll is here to stay Come inside where it’s okay And I’ll shake you “Thirteen” fits thematically because we just saw a flashback of Clay at a dance, from which Han-
nah ran off, after trying to get her friend away from a creep. It also plays a role in creating another layer of young suicide. Elliott Smith, who committed suicide, plays the cover. There’s yet another level. Big Star originally wrote “Thirteen”. Big Star was an unbelievably talented seventies band that never quite made it. They released their first album and Rolling Stone raved about it. Later, REM’s lead singer, Micheal Stipe, would say, “we’re just trying to make an album as good as Big Star’s first album.” But Big Star’s record label didn’t promote their first album, then wasn’t able to distribute their first album, and when they sold it to another label, they not only decided to not pursue a marketing campaign, but also took the records off the shelves of stores. Big Star almost got going again, but somehow, they didn’t quite get the commercial traction they needed to make it. Then they fell apart. Just like Hannah. Not given the support they need, almost making it anyway, almost being heard and seen, but then…not. Then having enormous influence after death. Big Star wrote the line “Rock and Roll is hear to stay” that Neil Young later quotes in “Out of the Blue,” the song that Kurt Cobain references in his suicide note. There’s more. In episode ten, Sheri hits a stop sign, knocking it down, leaving only a wooden spar on the corner. While Hannah runs to a drug store and tries to call the police, Jeff, the athlete, the popular kid, and, unusually, a genuinely nice guy, who has been drinking only Coca-Cola, goes on a beer run and is killed by someone who runs through the missing stop sign. Everyone thinks Jeff must have been drunk because the car was full of beer. The thing is, it wasn’t Jeff ’s fault. The stop sign was already down. Chris Bell, one of the lead singers and songwriters of Big Star, died in a car crash at twentyseven. He struck a wooden light pole on the side of the road. At first everyone thought he must have been drunk, too. He wasn’t drunk. Layers upon layers. The score is almost always not the original artist, but is a cover, continuing the theme of layers – layers of protection, of subterfuge, of near truths, that run through the novel and the show. Always, you are imbued with the sense that there is more, and that if you listened hard enough, you might hear a secret. •
by CHLOE Vegan with a twist
$$ / vegan, fast food / ✳✳✳✳ by Lucas Hornsby
BORN IN THE summer of 2015, by CHLOE is a colorful eatery bringing universally appealing, convenient, and filling vegan food to New York City. In only a year and a half, it has launched veganism into the mainstream like no other restaurant in town. Beyond the charming black and white awning that surrounds this corner shop on Bleecker Street, wood, exposed brick, and patterned tiles cover most surfaces at the restaurant. As you enter, leave any prejudice about vegan food at the door and prepare for explosive taste. The menu, found on the wall and on white paper brochures, boasts a handful of salads, sandwiches and burgers, pastas, brunch delicacies, sides, beverages, and desserts. If you’re feeling particularly hungry, pair the simultaneously creamy and crunchy mac and cheese with the pesto meatball sub. Alternatively, accompany either of the two with a kale caesar salad, an unforgiving twist on an unforgettable classic. The dressing does well for itself without the mayonnaise and anchovies that the traditional recipe calls for. The mac and cheese sauce achieves its texture through a well-seasoned sweet potato and cashew concoction, topped with crispy shiitake “bacon.” The faux cheese and bacon won’t leave you wishing for their conventional counterparts. Similarly, the juicy meatballs are born from a mix of vegetables, starring portobello, and satisfy with confidence and without shortcuts. For dessert, you can’t go wrong with the old-fashioned chocolate chip cookie or the dairy-free kale cookies + cream ice cream, an unlikely combination that’ll satiate your sweet tooth. These creations successfully cater to omnivorous palettes while swaying them to venture into veganism. By CHLOE, however, is not alone; it is yet another addition to New York City’s vast network of vegan restaurants, which range from high-end sit-ins to grungy diners. As meat consumption declines and plant-based diets gain popularity — with an estimated 5% of Americans being vegetarian 42
(and a projected increase) — it is likely that such restaurants will multiply, not only in vegan hubs like New York and San Francisco, but across the country. The chain has found a pocket within the growing vegan restaurant community that is largely underexplored. Whereas many vegan restaurants distinguish themselves by linking their mission to a “hippie,” environmentally conscious, and even left-of-center political image, by CHLOE serves comfort food in locations with a clean, modern atmosphere. That’s not to say that the restaurant distances itself from the movement entirely: its mission statement speaks of purpose, mindfulness, and environmental-consciousness without overselling these tenets, making the restaurant’s image — and consequently its food — more digestible for all crowds while quietly promoting a plant-based diet. By CHLOE sprouted out of chef Chloe Coscarelli’s new year’s resolution to open a restaurant several years ago. Coscarelli, a native of Los Angeles, has received training from The Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City and Cornell’s nutrition program and has years of experience working at the nation’s top vegan restaurants. Her commitment to bringing vegan food to a diverse audience precedes the founding of by CHLOE. As an undergraduate student at Berkeley, she snuck baked goods into the library for her friends, and, in 2010, she became the first vegan chef to win a culinary competition on national television, the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars.” After deciding to pursue her resolution, Coscarelli connected with Samantha Wasser, Creative-Director at ESquared Hospitality, which includes restaurants such as the BLT group, the Wayfarer, and Horchata. Wasser created a design and brand to match Coscarelli’s food, and brought with her the influence, managerial expertise, and financial support of ESquared. Together, the two have flourished. Coscarelli and Wasser’s enterprise does not take reservations and only offers counter service. The West Village location, the chain’s first, is home to a long communal table, a
Photos by Lucas Hornsby
dozen or so small square and round tables, and two hanging wicker chairs that look more comfortable than they feel. For the most part, however, by CHLOE’s environmentally-conscious (recycled timber tabletops) and cruelty-free (hemp in lieu of wool) decor is sunny and comfortable, despite the inevitable limited room afforded by New York City real estate. In addition to the vast options on the menu, a hanging blackboard advertises seasonal offerings like eggless eggnog and a thick hot chocolate so rich you’ll have to split it. The meatball sub goes for $8.95 and a bottle of pressed juice for almost $10 — within the range for the neighborhood and not exorbitant if a customer resists the temptation to order more than one item. Regardless, the prices don’t keep the customers away. Lines of equal parts flashy tourists, NYU students, and executives in suits often reach the door during peak lunch and dinner hours. The West Village restaurant feels especially cramped during these hours, with the entrance to the bathroom stall, the food pickup counter, and the station with water, condiments (delicious house-made chipotle aioli and beet ketchup!), and cutlery occupying the same corner of the restaurant. Still, the tight fit is worth it, and the Flatiron and recently inaugurated SoHo locations feature more spacious layouts
(and, so far, thinner crowds). Additionally, the West Village outpost has as its next-door neighbor a pink dessert shop (by CHLOE Sweets) and a counterpart in Los Angeles’ Silver Lake neighborhood, not to mention two forthcoming locations in Boston and New York. Though some of the staff appears bored or impatient in the tight space behind the counter, most are friendly and helpful, and the perpetually long lines move with gratifying speed. Several months ago, on a visit there that coincided with a rare ebb in the crowd, I overheard a young woman, who appeared to be the manager, training two employees. She patiently reviewed each item on the menu and instructed the pair of recent hires on how to answer questions about dietary restrictions and offer options for customers who reported allergies when ordering. This interaction underscored the restaurant’s combined character of professionalism and friendliness. By CHLOE invites diners anywhere on the dietary spectrum to give vegan food a try in a space devoid of judgement and abundant in taste and convenience. By diluting the political nature of veganism and by serving food that is friendly to photos and omnivores, by CHLOE is carving for veganism a promising spot in the mainstream, and it’s only multiplying. •
NYC Locations West Village 185 Bleecker Street New York, NY 10012
Flatiron 60 West 22nd Street New York, NY 10010
Sweets 185 B Bleecker Street New York, NY, 10012
SoHo 240 Lafayette Street New York, NY 10012
Sylvia Plath & SNAPCHAT By CLARE MALEENY
U.S. CITIZENS SENT one billion tweets relating to the presidential election since the start of the debates, most of which were “crafted” in a matter of seconds. On average, a total of six thousand tweets are published on twitter per second. Any writing enthusiast reading this, please take a minute to think about this statistic. When you finish reading this sentence, more than six thousand tweets will have been published. This instant form of expression has been adopted by so many that it’s almost overwhelming. By contrast, as a platform, poetry is responsible for great societal change. Revolutionaries like Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson, William Wordsworth, and E.E. Cummings have shaped countless hearts and minds. As we have seen over centuries, poetry not only influences the literary world but all aspects of our world. During the 19th and 20th centuries, the spread of information was different from how it is today, and poetry played a major role in the expression of ideas. Romanticism, the prominent English poetry movement during the Industrial Revolution, contributed to the public’s perspective on the consequences of industrialization. Activists uncertain about the trajectory of their country spoke out through poetry. Of course, Facebook messages, snapchats, tweets, and YouTube comments weren’t at the disposal of Industrial age thinkers, so their ideas were conveyed through alternate mediums. These alternate forms of writing and expression arguably contain more precise language than most epithets blasted in a tweet. With the age of social media came an impulsive need to post constantly. As if after every experience there is an irresistible need to write about it, yet most posts are purely reactionary and often aren’t well thought out. Poetry requires 44
a level of development and drafting that just isn’t required in social media. When talking to Mr. Jernigan on the matter, he said, “what distinguishes poetry from most other forms of communication is the poet’s deliberate and careful attention to the choice and organization of words.” He went on to discuss how poetry and poets can be found everywhere and in every profession. He described how William Carlos Williams spoke of the vitality of poetry in his poem Asphodel, That Greeny Flower: “It is difficult to get the news from poems yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.” Mr. Jernigan responded, “Here, Williams suggests that while the ‘news’ serves the purpose of conveying information, poetry serves a range of more intimate and vitalizing purposes. Poetry contributes to our lives by sharpening our attentions, enlivening our senses, and helping us live more deeply and fully. What could be more important? Williams makes poetry sound like a vital necessity on par with clean air, fresh water, and enlivening company. What would we be without it?” We have become so used to broadcasting our opinions to the world that we rarely take the time to formulate our ideas completely. Because of this, a lack of tolerance has rooted itself in our society. Put down this magazine and pull up the twitter hashtag: politics. Scrolling through, you will be bombarded by hateful speech from all political stances. As a community we have become desensitized to casual cruelty. This angry speech often triggers chain reactions. As an example, let’s say John Doe is upset by a political decision or idea. In his fury he immediately posts his opinion. Like thousands of others, his post was formulated in a matter of seconds and involves very harsh language. The post is now
Photo by Elizabeth Acevedo
Arts + Letters
public to a community of around one hundred million users. More often than not, posts like this trigger intense responses from other users. We are bound together in a perpetual cycle of social media rage. This is not to say that disagreements are wrong—debates are necessary for the improvement of any society. However, disagreeing with something is not an excuse for the hostile behavior intrinsic to social media sites today. Additionally, these negative expressions haven’t contributed anything positive to our culture, our structure of government, and so on. Throughout history, writing has inspired change only with precision in language and actionable ideas. A few years ago, Alain de Botton, the Swiss-born author and philosopher, participated in a project to create an alternate version of The Daily Mail called The Philosopher’s Mail. The publication’s goal was to take topics that magazines like Daily Mail would choose (celebrities, etc.) and write about them in a more productive, philosophical light. The editorial team of The Philosopher’s Mail argues: “Good media is crucial to a good society. Yet, in modern society, the media often plays a hugely detrimental role by stoking anger and fear. It generates false and unhelpful pictures of the lives of others and of the world we inhabit. It distorts our sense of what is normal.” To prevent their publication from morphing into but another outlet for negative media, the heads of The Philosopher’s Mail also banned comments from their site. We’ve all seen, lurking below karaoke videos and cat fails on Youtube, the unnecessary, rude, and sometimes threatening comments. The Philosopher’s Mail states, “The ability to post comments at the end of online news stories has revealed something un-
usual about our fellow citizens. Even though most of them seem really quite nice and very polite when we meet them, to judge by the comments, other people are in fact, when it comes down to it, in privacy, something very different: jealous, furious, vindictive, heartless, obsessive, unforgiving — in a word, little short of insane.” This alternate, online persona that so many have been quick to adopt when posting on social media is eroding our humanity. This is why, especially now, poetry is such a significant art form. It allows for the profound expression of strong opinions and feelings without the impulsive immediacy, but with consideration, deliberation, and conscience. Avenues continually strives to create a positive school environment with community activities and emphasizes the importance of respectful communication by utilizing the Harkness method. The mission statement states that students should be “…aware that their behavior makes a difference in our ecosystem…” And yet today a lack of awareness has become rooted in communities everywhere. As Avenues students, reflecting and realizing that a post, message, or comment could be harmful and unnecessary is a step we need to take in order to strengthen our community. Avenues students should look to poetry as a guide for better communication with one another. Social media provokes a less conscious, less thoughtful, and less honest part of ourselves. It is a space to misbehave or let out base anxieties or desires. Poetry forces us to sit with an emotion or problem and find the perfect words to express our feelings. It asks us to examine ourselves deeply whereas social media asks us to merely judge. Poetry asks us to learn more about ourselves and in doing learn more about each other.• 45
MISERY LOVES COMPANY: LESSONS FROM THE ROAD By JEAN LI SPENCER
Art by Maddalena Rona
Have you ever sat in the driver’s seat of a car, sweaty-palmed and desperate, as a middle-aged man impatiently tells you to put the car in reverse? Did you screw up and shift the gear to park instead? No? Well, don’t worry, your time will come. The Highliner asked fellow Upperclassmen for their most embarrassing and outrageous driving stories, from screw-ups to road rage and everything in between. The lesson here is, if you’re going to be bad driver, you might as well do it with style! 46
WHEN I WAS in driver’s ed. on my first day, I had this older guy, and it was snowing as I was going around a corner. I thought my wheels had gotten stuck so I pushed on the accelerator, and my instructor was saying, “You’re not listening to me, you’re not listening to me.” And I was like, it’s because I’m stuck! So I kept pushing my foot on the accelerator, and my car was just standing there blocking traffic, but it turns out he had his foot on the break the entire time! I sat at this intersection for two lights cutting off a lot of people, and it was simply because he had his foot on the break, and I thought I was trapped in ice. - Eliana Ben-Dov, 12th grade I was driving around, there were three of us in the car, we didn’t know where we were going, and somehow I hit something. There was a metal piece at the bottom of the car, and it started to drag on the road. My instructor got out of the car, and literally went underneath to see what was going on. Then he said, “Okay you’re done driving,” and climbed into the driver’s seat. I guess he thought the way to get rid of the piece was to drive super fast, so we started going 50 mph on West 23rd street, but nobody knew what was going on, and nobody was wearing seatbelts. Little did we know, there was a speed bump, and so we flew up into the air super fast, everybody was clinging to the seats, and the metal piece was still stuck. Meanwhile, this guy had a sandwich in one hand! - Tunji Williams, 12th grade We thought our instructor was a drug dealer. You think I’m joking, but I’m so serious. We had driving once a week, and without fail, our instructor would always ask us to drop him off at the same place at the same time, and he would leave for exactly ten minutes. And every time he would come back with a brown paper bag and a wad of cash. Finally, on our last day, we asked him about it and he revealed...he likes bathing oils. Wow. - Antonio Rivoli, 11th grade So I got in the driver’s seat (I was tak-
ing turns with three other kids) and started to drive, I was doing good and everything was fine. And my instructor tells me to turn right, so I do. Then from the back we hear: “Um. Isn’t this the Lincoln tunnel?”And we all go into panicked-laughing mode as we’re driving down this ramp, and my instructor is going: “Oh crap oh crap oh crap. No wait! There’s the exit to get back, just turn right here.” The exit was not to the right. So we drove to the mouth of the Lincoln tunnel and my instructor gets me to pull into the thin blocked off area in the middle by the cones, and she’s about to try and switch with me when the cop parked in the shoulder honks and says we have to move. Keep in mind is it illegal for me to practice driving on any toll roads. So my instructor says: “Okay, Isabelle, you’re just going to have to do this.” And we waited for a good moment to pull out, but of course there wasn’t one because it was the freaking entrance to the Lincoln tunnel. So then we hear the cop’s sirens going and we think she’s going to pull us over, but instead she blocks the traffic and let’s me go through. After which I spent my first driving lesson going 75 in the Lincoln tunnel. - Isabelle D’Arcy, 12th grade It was the first time I had ever gone racing on a track. It was for something called a “track day.” Now, as a novice, they said to me, “Hey, we’re gonna take things easy for you.” It was early in the morning and we were just warming up. All of a sudden, I see this motorcycle next to me go off into a ditch, and I’m noticing as I’m riding along that people - people plural - are spinning off the track. It was crazy! We kept losing them one by one. After the whole experience, my instructor gathers our entire group together, and the only thing he can say to us in a kind of stunned way is, “That was highly unusual.” - Mr. Gutkowski, Teacher Lanes are just suggestions. - Kavin Chada, 11th grade •
The Chronicles of Detention By EVA HWANG & GRACE FRANCO
IT CAME WITHOUT notice. One day, there existed peace; the next, chaos. Students who had once roamed freely among the halls were suddenly arriving more than punctually. Weary high schoolers grew more tired and arrived more early, an inherently disastrous combination. In other words, Avenues had fallen victim to ‘the man.’ As we watched our comrades fall left and right, we exercised our First Amendment rights to investigate this mysterious plague. An email. It was simply an email which unveiled the true faceless nature of our adversary. We self-motivated yet naive journalists requested a front row seat to the punitive show, as we went undercover despite our limited interviewing experience: we wanted to sit in on a detention. None were sure just what to expect, nor if we would prevail through the passing minutes, yet we saw this as a necessary, rational sacrifice. Our request was promptly denied. Another email. Our prospective interview would gather dire, previously undisclosed information about punitive decisions and the method behind the madness of the Avenues administration. These truths would unearth the imperative elements of detention’s mysterious mask. Once again, our needs were left unmet, our request waitlisted. A third email. We were forgotten. One final email. Are you noticing a pattern? Yes, everyone has things going on but no one really wanted to talk about detention. Okay, maybe there were a couple more emails. Yet we were able to gather no substantial information from the administration about the school’s policies. Therefore, we turned to the students--the only people we could get hold of--and have wholly based the perception of detention and such systems upon case-by-case experience. Yvette Lopez, a senior, was sentenced with detention for not finishing an English paper. Although the gravity seemed worrisome, she discovered a revolutionary insight: that detention was just another study hall where students could delight in whatever pastime they saw fit. In this way, it was a choice whether to be productive or roam the internet. As Lopez concluded, “You get what you put into it.” Perhaps the punitive measure should be specifically suited to the offense and the time could have been spent specifically completing said paper. Nonetheless, Lopez found that receiving the bad grade was punishment enough and acted as the main motivation to avoid a recurrence. Detention itself, it seems, provided no further incentive to change. Sophomore Sasha Aries received a detention due to so-
cial tensions with peers. He was forced to spend one period in an isolated space, monitored by a proctor. Although this time was effective in punishing Aries, he found no benefit to that specific space. Instead, he was able to reflect in a period of independent solitude to learn from his actions. However, he suggested, “a better punishment would be to have a conversation with the student in question.” As such, it appears he too did not learn the intended lesson and would have prefered a better-suited penalty. Freshman Ivan Plokhikh was subject to a new system of tardy punishment that Avenues implemented this school year. This system involves the offender having to arrive early by an amount equivalent to the time they missed the previous day. Furthermore, the minutes would accumulate with subsequent late arrivals. Plokhikh is readily aware of his frequent lateness and has a large estimate for the quantity, but regularly arrived late to school because of prior breakfast and sleep commitments. As the tardiness piled up, he was approached by his dean with the punitive verdict: Early Arrival. This new method requires late students to attend the next day 15 minutes earlier. The punishment increases, depending on how many days they offend. Polkhikh reflects, “All it did was give us a consequence for being late. It’s not effective nor applies change, but is a pure punishment, not setting up students for improvement.” After 3 repetitive missings, the offender must arrive at 7:30, with their parents. Not only does this take 30 extra minutes from the student, but is also detrimental to the relationship and dynamic between parent and student. The guilty part is both responsible for losing sleep and making their parent late for work, which is unacceptable. For Finn Droga, another sophomore, this method seems relatively effective. Droga attended school late multiple times and was given a detention. This forced him to come to school 15 minutes earlier the following day to atone. However Droga shrugged that the experience was, “Not that bad.” In fact, he saw the punishment as fitting to his action and graciously completed his assignment. The 15 extra minutes taught him to not repeat the offense and become more punctual. He has since regularly arrived in a timely manner during third term. Detention appears more as a concept than a true teaching measure. From seniors relaxing in yet another free period, to adapting freshmen increasingly losing sleep to meet fabricated startimes, the cases vary even as policies vary between grades. Perhaps detention is another expression of Avenues’ corporate roots or maybe its outcome is as elusive as Narnia. •
SPECIAL FEATURE: STUDENT GIVES HONEST FEEDBACK On a recent survey sent out by CollegeBoard, a student shocked the customer service rep who read his feedback. By KAVIN CHADA
GEMINI MAY 21 – JUNE 20
CANCER JUNE 21 – JULY 22
LEO JULY 23 – AUGUST 22
This month, will make a longterm commitment. Make sure to weigh your options, and ask your trusted friends and loved ones to give you advice. You will also be looking for substantial source of curiosity, take risks!
This month, is a time for you to be close to your family. You might feel as if you have strong emotional connections that have gone long overlooked. Be confident in your abilities, relationships, and environment this month.
This month, take time to do some self-reflection. As a natural leader, you are often generous to the point where you forget about your own well being. Make sure that you take care of yourself and balance your time devoted to others.
Famous Gemini: Tupac, Carmelo Anthony, Naomi Campbell, Johnny Depp, Lucy Hale, Mary-Kate Olsen.
Famous Cancers: Cheryl Cole, Diane Kruger, Tom Hanks, Tobey Maguire, Olivia Munn, Tom Cruise.
Famous Leos: Daniel Radcliffe, Amy Adams, Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Lopez, Matt LeBlanc, Joe Jonas.
VIRGO AUGUST 23 – SEPTEMBER 22
LIBRA SEPTEMBER 22 – OCTOBER 22
SCORPIO OCTOBER 23 – NOVEMBER 21
This month, take your time and slow down. You are always rushing around due to the different tasks in your life. Be sure that you put in the extra effort and time to do your work to the quality that you expect.
This month, will open opportunities that will let you and your passions soar. Have confidence in the decisions you make, and be sure to lean on your support system throughout this month.
This month, you should let your curiosity take you on new adventures. Embrace this time and it will open new opportunities for your future. Engage in open conversations with your mentors and family.
Famous Virgos: Pippa Middleton, Liam Payne, Cameron Diaz, Keanu Reeves, Adam Sandler, Pink, Tim Burton
Famous Libras: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Zach Galifianakis, Hugh Jackman, Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Naomi Watts.
Famous Scorpios: Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, Matthew McConaughey, Scarlett Johansson, Gerard Butler, Emma Stone.
HOROSCOPES By CAROLINE YU
SAGITTARIUS NOVEMBER 22 – DECEMBER 21
CAPRICORN DECEMBER 22 – JANUARY 19
AQUARIUS JANUARY 12 – FEBRURARY 18
This month, make sure to let your family and friends know how much you appreciate them. Keep yourself grounded in your support system and let your curiosity and adventurous spirit open a new page in your book.
This month, allow your desire to take over. You should take this month to dive into your passions and explore potential that has been buried deep inside of you. Your deepest fears will be tested this month, stay strong and do not let go of your goals.
This month, believe in yourself and your abilities to take you to the next levels in your life. Do not be scared of taking risks, they will pay off and benefit others as well.
Famous Sagittariuses: Vanessa Hudgens, Amanda Seyfried, Nicki Minaj, Jake Gyllenhaal, Brad Pitt, Ben Stiller.
Famous Capricorns: Louis Tomlinson, Liam Hemsworth, Bradley Cooper, Zooey Deschanel, Kate Bosworth.
Famous Aquarii: Alicia Keys, Michael Jordan, Chris Rock, Ed Sheeran,
PISCES FEBRUARY 19 – MARCH 20
ARIES MARCH 21 – APRIL19
TAURUS APRIL 20 – MAY 20
This month, plan carefully for the future and prepare yourself for big changes in your life. Be confident in your control of your life, and do not be deterred by small missteps.
This month, important opportunities will be revealed. Embrace these new experiences. You will be able to reconcile with some of the mistakes you have made in the past, and your character will shine brightly this month.
This month, take care of yourself, and your health. Make sure to allow yourself to embrace new opportunities, and be confident in your abilities. Remember the people who have helped you in the past, and take a moment to appreciate them.
Famous Pisces: Jessica Biel, Adam Levine, Daniel Craig, Bruce Willis, Drew Barrymore, Eva Longoria
Famous Aries: Seth Rogen, Mandy Moore, Leona Lewis, Quentin Tarantino, Tommy Hilfiger, Celine Dion.
Famous Tauruses: Robert Pattinson, George Clooney, Bono, Megan Fox, Cate Blanchett, Jessica Alba.
After doing God-knows-what since September, Student Council finally to “begin work.” BON APPÉTIT: “3 new varieties” of brown-mush-in-a-cup dessert coming this spring. Advanced Chemistry students discover new element causing their downfall. Its symbol: C+ “Concerns with Recommendations” to be renamed “Let me tell you my political views.” Waffle truck arrives, students now have way to legally bring waffles to school. Student takes “wrong turn” between buildings, arrives late with sushi platter. Mr. Lu: “Triangles are circles, and circles are triangles.” Class: (ʘ_ʘ) Volunteers needed to begin planning for next year’s highly anticipated “Minute of Code!” “Avenues Students for Trump” Facebook group adds new member, roster now up to 6. Famous musician dies, Mr. Misler cancels class curriculum for the rest of the week. Freshmen: New summer program announced, called “Learn how to speak at assembly.” Sophomores: Honey, you'ev got a big storm comin'. Juniors: Renew gym memberships for EC sheets. Seniors: Finally figure out how to speak at assembly, forget how to pass classes. Alumni: Enjoy second “six month reunion” this June. Teachers: There’s a homework policy? Deans: There’s an attendance policy? Parents: It’s a new school of thought! Waffle Truck: Mmmhm. After doMoment of Irony: Dean admonishes people ing God-knows-what since September, Student Counwho skip assembly at assembly. cil finally to “begin work.” BON APPÉTIT: “3 new varieties” of brown-mushin-a-cup dessert coming this spring. Advanced Chemistry students disBreaking: Assembly still exists cover new element causing their downfall. Its symbol: C+ “Concerns with Recommendations” to be renamed “Let me tell you my political views.” Waffle New prom accessory: spoon truck arrives, students now have way to legally bring waffles to school. Student takes “wrong turn” between buildings, arrives Senior skips 5th term: floods college laundry late with sushi platter. Mr. Lu: “Triangles are circles, and circles are triangles.” room Class: (ʘ_ʘ) Volunteers needed to begin planning for next year’s highly anticipated “Minute of Code!” “Avenues Students for Trump” Facebook group Tear slides down teacher’s cheek as student adds new member, roster now up to 6. Famous walks by wearing all denim musician dies, Mr. Misler cancels class curriculum for the rest of the week. Freshmen: New summer program announced, called “Learn how to speak Freshmen to begin filling out Common App at assembly.” Sophomores: Honey, you'ev got a big this June storm comin'. Juniors: Renew gym memberships for EC sheets. Seniors: Finally figure out how to speak at assembly, forget how to pass classes. Alumni: Record time! 52 days of seniors accomplished reunion” this June. TeachEnjoy second “six month ers: There’s a homework policy? Deans: There’s an in 20 days attendance policy? Parents: It’s a new school of thought! Waffle Truck: Mmmhm. After doing Godknows-what since Sep- Senior FAQ: WHERE’S OUR BOUNCY CASTLE? tember, Student Council finally to “begin work.” BON APPÉTIT: “3 new varieties” of brown-mush-indessert coming this Juniors officially remove “free time” from their a-cup spring. Advanced Chemistry students discover vocabulary due to low usage. new element causing their downfall. Its symbol: C+ “Concerns with Recommendations” to be renamed “Let me tell you my political views.” Waffle Homework policy vs. Chemistry lab report. It have way to legally bring truck arrives, students now waffles to school. Stuwasn’t even close, and we all know who won. dent takes “wrong turn” between buildings, arrives late with sushi platter. Mr. Lu: “Triangles are circles, and circles are triangles.” Class: (ʘ_ʘ) Volunteers Students that cut HIP Math complain about not needed to begin planning for next year’s highly anticipated “Minute of Code!” having enough exposure to math. “Avenues Students for Trump” Facebook group adds new member, roster now up to 6. Famous musician dies, Mr. Misler Deans: “We will now begin our unit on sex ed.” cancels class curriculum for the rest of the week. Freshmen: New summer Students: “What about college?” program announced, called “Learn how to speak at assembly.” Sophomores: Honey, you'ev got a big storm comin'. Juniors: Renew gym memberships for EC sheets. Seniors: Finally figure out how to speak at assembly, forget how to pass classes. Alumni: Enjoy second “six month reunion” this June. Teachers: There’s a homework policy? Deans: There’s an attendance policy? Parents: It’s a new school of thought! Waffle Truck: Mmmhm. and circles are triangles.” Class: (ʘ_ʘ) Volunteers needed to begin planning for next year’s highly anticipated “Minute of Code!” “Avenues Students for Trump” Facebook group adds new member, roster now up to 6. Famous musician dies, Mr. Misler cancels class curriculum for the rest of the week. Freshmen: New summer program announced, called “Learn how to speak at assembly.” Sophomores: They still go to school here? Juniors: Renew gym memberships for EC sheets. Seniors: Finally figure out how to speak at assembly, forget how to pass classes. Alumni: Enjoy second “six month reunion” this June. Teachers: There’s a homework policy? Deans: There’s an attendance policy? Parents: It’s a new school of thought! Waffle Truck: Mmmhm.
Tributes to the Seniors
The School was so quiet on this day
Avenues and Grace Church collaboration
Queen of Design Challenges
Rice and Beans
You thought you would fail her class. You were right
The one club you’ve heard about,
May 3rd from 5:30-8:00 PM Become a mentor, be vetted extensively School within a library librarian NO MORE CLASSES Who LOVES maps? Junior Prom Locale Wikipedia, nuff said Our very own Tiger Woods Senior Prom Locale
1 2 3 7 8 10 12 13 16
but still don’t really know what it does 15
Mr. Hudson’s favorite Netflix show
Created a Global Journeys Trip 55
Published on Oct 25, 2017