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Winter 2017


EDITORIAL Girl, Interrupted


AVENEWS Pay Attention to the People Album: The Women's March What Comes After Awareness Students Visit DemocracyNow! When Students Walk Out A Griot Comes to Avenues


OP-EDS Dear Republicans: Wake Up Unaligned Equating Effort with Ethnicity







Behind the Cover: Millions gathered in Washington D.C. on January 21st, 2017 to demonstrate their support of human rights and other issues in the Women’s March. This issue explores how Avenues upper school students grapple with human rights issues – specifically gender equality – at a personal and local level. As journalists and artists we are devoted to achieving the mission statement of our school and the founding principles of our country. Front Cover Photograph by Eliana Ben-Dov. Back Cover Art by Gianna Donovan. 12 Photos 54 Reviews 67 Poem 70 Recipe

72 73 76 79

Headliners Fake News Horoscopes Puzzles

Managing Board

Editor-in-Chief........................................................................................................ Isabella Simonetti Senior Managing Editor............................................................................................ Lucas Horsnby

Managing Editors..................................................................................................... Jackson Ehrenworth ............. .................................................................................................................... Sabrina Sternberg ................................................................................................................................. Sophia Koock Editors

Junior Editors............................................................................................................ Eva Hwang ................................................................................................................................. Grace Franco

Creative Directors..................................................................................................... Clare Maleeny ................................................................................................................................. Dylan Vaccaro

................................................................................................................................. Isabelle D'Arcy Section Editors.......................................................................................................... Caroline Yu

................................................................................................................................. Noah Shamus Layout Editor........................................................................................................... Luca Leung Copyeditor.................................................................................................................. Ryan Ng

Staff Writers and Artists

Sam Boyce ....... Hannah Ellis-Gibbs ....... Emmanuelle Cohen ....... Jean Li Spencer ....... Eleanor Davol ....... Zoe Pipa ....... Connor Wise ....... Xiao Lynn Rong ....... Edward Shen

....... Elizabeth Acevedo ....... Sophia D'Urso ....... Eliana Ben-Dov ....... Kyla Windley ....... Sydney Judge ....... Atlas Christianson ....... Ogden O'Reilly-Hyland ....... Praharsha Gurram

....... Gia Donovan ....... Dylan Levene ....... Maddalena Rona ....... Yvette Lopez ....... Amanda Redfern-Taube .............. Antonio Rivoli .............. Faculty Advisor: Mr. Mendel .......

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GIRL, INTERRUPTED What it means to be a woman at The World School By ISABELLA SIMONETTI

Photo by Creative Team

"TO ALL THE little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world…,” said Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton during her concession speech in November. I know that women are invaluable to our world, and as much as I want to believe that our opportunities are limitless — that we can be leaders in and out of school, that our voices are heard, and that our hopes and dreams are respected — I also know that our gender limits us. Everywhere we look, there are restrictions. We can be better liked if we defer to the opinions of men. We will be listened to if we are not too bossy or assertive. We can become successful in our careers if we are willing to delay having children or sacrifice 6


a family. It is tiring for women to be constantly interrupted by other people’s ideas of what they should be. There is often a precondition to each and every one of our successes – an “if ” – and we would be naive to think that such discrimination does not exist here at Avenues. “Sexism definitely still exists at Avenues,” said freshman Lila Kempler. “I don’t think there is anywhere right now where sexism doesn’t occur.” Yet while sexism is painstakingly obvious for some, it remains less obvious to others. In honor of the challenges that women face on a daily basis here at our school, consider the following interruptions:

INTERRUPTION ONE A humanities class is engaged in a Harkness discussion. There is a momentary pause, and a female student who has not yet spoken begins to talk. She is immediately cut off and disregarded by one of her male peers. This has happened countless times to senior Dominique Da Silva. “Sometimes I make comments that are important to the discussion, and a boy will interrupt and not even reply to what I said, or say the same thing rephrased,” she said. The feeling that women are ignored extends beyond the classroom as well. Numerous females have expressed their discomfort in social situations. “When I talk to some of my guy friends, I feel as though I’m not listened to as much. Even if I’m making a valid point, I feel like I’m brushed off more often,” said junior Alexia Nizhny. In addition to the frustration that comes with not having their voices heard, many female students feel that in order to be respected they must submit themselves to the opinions of their male counterparts. “ You can be ambitious if you are agreeable, but you can’t be ambitious in the way that [...] boys are,” said senior Clara Leverenz.





A female student is talking with a young man in the commons when a teacher approaches her. The teacher warns the student that she must conduct herself professionally so that she does not attract “attention” to herself. “I was sitting on the couch with a boy next to me, just sitting like normal people having a conversation, and a teacher came up to me and said, ‘ You have to be careful how you present yourself, you’re coming off as very provocative,’” said senior Eva Roso. Roso’s example taps into the idea of how appearances can dictate the way female students are treated in our community. “I have watched a teacher reach over a girl to pull the sleeve of her hoodie onto her shoulder because her bra strap was showing. My friend was told by a teacher to buy new skirts, because as she gets older she needs to cover up more,” said Kempler. What is also fascinating is that when girls are reprimanded for their clothing, it is usually by female teachers. “These kind of small things that make girls feel uncomfortable, they’re always perpetrated by other women and other female instructors or teachers or even just classmates or friends,” said senior Alice Giuffredi.



A male student does poorly on a test. He complains to his teacher, questioning her content knowledge and grading of the assessment. She feels she will be taken more seriously if she invites a male teacher to their next meeting. “I don’t feel that much disrespect [due to my gender] on a general basis, but if there was ever an instance of that, it would probably be from male students…. approaching teachers the way female students approach me is much different than [how] some male students have approached me,” said Upper School science teacher Michelle Muldowney. Ms. Muldowney also mentioned that when she needs to address an issue with a male student who does not seem to take her seriously, she might ask a male colleague to join the conversation. “I’ve even probably talked about [sexism] with some of my female, even my male colleagues,” she said. “Like maybe I should ask somebody else to be in this meeting with me…. not for safety reasons but for comfort.” For me, the most challenging part of being a female student is trying to be a leader. Last year, I attempted to run for class president, which resulted in a variety of comments about how I would be incapable because of my gender. I wondered if what people said about me was true, and how to go about combating such negative ideas about my abilities. If being a woman made me too weak, and asserting myself made me a “bitch,” what could I do? In trying to defend myself, I felt alone. But out of much pain and confusion, with so many of my peers intent on bringing me down, came some of my proudest moments. In forging ahead, I did not allow myself to get sidetracked. I continued to push to be a leader in the community in many different forms, especially through my work as an advocate for student voice through The Highliner. I take much pride in bringing the school together, in print, to voice their concerns about our community. In this particular issue, it is clear that we must continue to fight to ensure gender equality in our community and beyond. On my path to adulthood, I have encountered many interruptions that have made me question what it means to be a woman in ways that have been unproductive, disillusioning, and frankly, unpleasant. But what I have found, and what Avenues must consistently remind its students of, is that gender does not dictate competence. So long as she has earned them, a woman is deserving of all the opportunities she has the chance to take. • EDITORIAL 7

Photos by Eleanor Davol

Pay Attention to the People By Jean Li Spencer

ON JANUARY 21ST, the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration as the nation’s 45th president, an estimated three million people joined a series of rallies known collectively as The Women’s March. What started with one woman’s discontented Facebook post grew into an international movement, attracting a larger turnout than any other inauguration-related event in American history. The intention of those rallies has been interpreted in a multitude of ways and given various different labels (some critiques include “pro-choice,” “Trump bashing,” and “extremely liberal”), so that it is now hard to pinpoint one central motivator for the Women’s Marches. Perhaps such an effort to label the March is an attempt to

simplify something that is, by its very nature, complex and multifaceted. But in a post-election society, in which political alliances have fractured, it is important to consider: were the Women’s Marches successful in achieving their goals? The Women’s March on Washington had sister marches in every state, from New York to California, Alaska to Hawaii. In senior Connor Wise’s own words, “It was a successful kickoff to Trump resistance, specifically Trump resistance through protest.” Yongling Lu, of the Upper School Chinese Department, travelled to Washington, D.C. a day in advance to ensure her presence at the March, and remembered clearly the atmosNEWS 9

“It’s about upholding human rights, the law of the land, that at a basic level, we all need to respect each other”



phere of the Saturday: “It was full of positivity and spirit,” she said. “It was almost like a big party, and how many protests can you say in modern American history were that peaceful? We sent out a very strong message.” Senior Lola Williams, who attended the New York City sister march, believed that the rallies were concerned with something bigger than women’s issues: “It’s about upholding human rights, the law of the land, that at a basic level, we all need to respect each other.” Drama teacher Jordan Mahome took his mother to a march, recalling that the event “moved her and lifted her spirits.” He too believed that the Marches were “a global movement for women, by men women and children alike, in the face of oppressive regimes and small minded people everywhere.” Yet despite its ground-breaking historic and political significance, the Women’s March has slowly transitioned from a front-page, sensational story to one that is now being critiqued in the mainstream. So, why the sudden shift in attention? In mid-February, about a month after the Marches, a quick Google search for “women’s march” produced a link to an article from The New Yorker titled, “The Somehow Controversial Women’s March on Washington.” It was the sixth search result from the top. A second Google search, this time for “conservative response to women’s march,” pulled up an article from the National Review published on January 24, 2017, “A Conservative’s Experience of the Women’s March on Washington.” The author, David Adesnik, began the article by writing: “Saturday’s protest was peaceful and jubilant, but failed to include Republicans and Trump voters sympathetic to the cause.” Adesnik followed this statement by acknowledging the sense of community that many marchers felt, but was quick to write that for those who did not share the same feelings, the March “may have appeared vulgar and hostile.” Sophomore Graham Hirsch speculated about the success of the Washington March by measuring its abil-

ity to stimulate a proactive, bipartisan response. He said that the March did a good job of attracting people of different races, sexualities, socioeconomic classes, and identities, but wondered if the March was unable to elicit bipartisan support because it was less focused on one clear mission — such as the fight for civil rights or LGBTQ+ rights — and more focused on voicing emotion. “[For this reason] I found that the Women’s March was less successful in spurring change,” he said, “while it was extremely successful in unifying many different and diverse groups of people.” Hirsch was not the only person to raise this point. Connor Wise mirrored this observation by saying, “I think we could have heard more about women’s rights and how they are lacking, and I’m concerned that the forward-looking voices were drowned out by some of the more anti-Trump protesters, who instead of looking forward were pushing [us] back.” Sophomore Sarah Gold, who also participated in the local New York march, said that seeing support from around the world gives her hope for the future: “I watched some of the speeches from a restaurant while taking a break between the rally and the march and saw a lot of social media posts afterwards all in support of the march,” she recalled. If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that the Women’s Marches were a force to be reckoned with. And that for some, how they were presented and portrayed left something to be desired. Still, many of the marchers recall that the energy of the movement was that of love and compassion. And while there were some angry marchers who cried louder than the rest, stories of hate and exclusion played a smaller role. Ultimately, to really tap into what happened on that day, relying solely on stories circulating in the news is not enough. Talk to the people who went to the Marches, many of whom are a part of our community, and ask them about their experiences. Share your thoughts, and most of all, ask questions. A conversation is the perfect first step to bridging any divide. •

Album: The Women’s March A collection of photos from the Women’s March on Washington from the lenses of Avenues students

Photo by Eleanor Davol

Photos by Eleanor Davol







AVENUES hosts its third annual AWARENESS DAY, emboldening students to ask questions and take action on issues of socioeconomic diversity and privilege By SABRINA STERNBERG



tured greater student participation and engagement. In the debrief sessions after the workshops, students were asked to fill out a form answering statements such as “I feel” and “I am thinking about” for the Committee of Social Justice to read and evaluate. Though some students welcomed the needed reflection, others questioned the efficacy of these meetings. “I feel like we could’ve fit in a third workshop. We could've had a debrief session in HIP,” said freshman Ryan

Photo by Zoe Pipa

THE MORNING OF January 12, 2017 might have fallen on a Thursday, but it was not your typical school day. As students entered the ninth floor studio (usually abandoned in the early hours of the day), they found themselves immersed in live music, in a space overflowing with eager and curious minds. Our third annual Awareness Day was just getting started. Students, faculty, and administration filled each and every available seat, while the rest sat huddled together on the ground or remained standing. The entire studio space reached capacity. For the first time since the first day of the school year, grades 9-12 were gathered together. The day, specifically focused on economic privilege and socioeconomic diversity, was split into two parts: a multitude of workshops and a film screening. Each workshop, organized by the Committee for Social Justice, was focused on a different facet of socioeconomic issues, such as socioeconomic representation in television, gender intersectionality, and the justice system. Topics ranged from "Can Money Buy Justice?" to "Hospital Bill$: The Intersection of Class and Health." Each workshop consisted of students from every grade, in which leaders introduced the topics with a combination of videos and related articles, often culminating in a discussion. The leadership of the workshops varied; while half of the workshops were led by students, the other half were led by teachers. There seemed to be a stark difference between the two types of workshops, as those that were student-led fea-

Photo by Zoe Pipa

Students in a workshop during Awareness Day

Aotani. While the majority of students found the workshops insightful and engaging, some felt that there was no clear conclusion or closure given. Instead of using the debrief sessions to talk about making changes in our own community, students filled out worksheets. The film that was screened was The Home Stretch, a documentary featuring homeless youth in Chicago and the daily struggles they go through to get their feet on the ground. Afterwards, two students from the Committee for Social Justice conducted a brief question and answer period, putting students in groups made of all grades. “The movie was very good, but at the same time I would have liked to have more interactive things because those were the things that impacted me the most,” said senior Alice Giuffredi, adding that she “liked the fact that we had the entire community engaged.” Interestingly, the only part of the day that was not required, the student panel, had some of the clearest action steps. The six students who attended the People of Color Conference SDLC in Atlanta conducted a brief exercise from the conference in which students stepped into the middle of a circle if the question asked related to their life experience. Afterwards, the students hosted a helpful question and answer panel. The exercise helped students better understand how socioeconomic privilege affected their lives in ways they had not considered, and many felt moved. The subsequent panel

focused less on overarching issues of class, and more on questions specific to the conference and related to the Avenues community. When asked how to approach other members of the community without presuming things about them, Kyla Windley, one of the leaders of the Committee for Social Justice said “We [must] ask rather than assume.” It was a day full of thoughtful discussion, learning, and listening. And then it was over. When tackling a large social issue, the first advised step is often awareness. However, this begs the question, what is the next step? Mr. Wang, the teacher advisor to the Committee for Social Justice, pointed towards many expansions the committee is planning. This includes Middle School Awareness Day in late April, and Awareness Evening, which will be open to parents as well. However, to make awareness meaningful, we need direct steps to act on our awareness once we have it. “I think as we continue to grow, the work we do, that will create a different perception,” remarked Mr. Wang. “It takes time but it also takes intentionality.” Despite the many successes of Awareness Day, we must challenge both the Committee for Social Justice and ourselves to establish specific steps towards creating a more open community. This problem with raising awareness and then stopping isn't unique to Avenues, it is something that afflicts many popular social movements. In order to create specific change in our community, the discussion cannot end when Awareness Day comes to a close. • NEWS 15

Students visit Democracy Now! By SOPHIA KOOCK

The offic

ON FEBRUARY 8th, the Committee for Social Justice had the opportunity to tour the studios of Democracy Now!, a non profit news program, and watch that day’s episode being filmed live. Besides being completely donor and viewer funded, a rarity in the news industry, Democracy Now!’s episodes are also commercial free, and the majority of its hour run-time is dedicated to covering a select few stories in depth for dozens of minutes each. Afterward watching the program, the students had the opportunity to speak with the host and executive producer of the show, Amy Goodman, about her job as a journalist. “[Amy Goodman] talked at the end about her experience 16


at the DAPL (Dakota Access Pipeline) protests[...] and the idea of Democracy Now! being the only news organization that was there, that was the one that basically amplified the message that these protesters were there,” said English teacher Dr. Highland. “She spoke [...] about the students marching [against Betsy DeVos] in New York, and having engagement in young people involved in all of these issues, and all of these talks, and listening to them.” In total, Goodman spent over an hour and a half speaking to the members of the Committee for Social Justice. “I really liked how she took time out of her day, and [her aides] were kind of rushing her to do the promotions [for

Photo by Creative Team

ces of Democracy Now!

Democracy Now!] on the radio, but she took time to kind of explain to us why she does this, and who she does this for,” said sophomore Didlane Pierre. Democracy Now!’s studios are located in a large loft-like space in Chelsea, complete with charcoal painted concrete floors. Save for the studio and the control room, there isn’t a room in sight; there are no cubicles or dividers, only wooden desks and neatly packed bookcases surrounding the centrally located studio. Its office plan mirrors its philosophy. Democracy Now! advocates for transparency in government and in media, which is part of the reason they are donor and viewer funded. They pride themselves on covering a diverse range of issues, and they credit their ability to do so to the fact that they are not tied to the interests of a corporate owner. Corporate ownership of media is very common in the United States. According to a study by Harvard University entitled “Who Owns the News?”, the majority of newspapers and television stations in the United States are privately owned. Private ownership is a cause for concern for some. In August of 2016, the HBO show “Last Week Tonight” spent the majority of its half hour run time detailing potential problems of corporate media ownership. Corporate owners, the show explained, could lead to skewed reporting that favors the interests of the owner or the company. “Last Week Tonight” vocalized some issues that Americans find with the news. “I’m a lot more skeptical of anything [...] publically broadcasted, so like NBC, CBS, and that includes the news companies as well,” said senior Zachary Bilmen.“When there’s like this sort of corporate background to it, there’s always some sort of bottom line that you’re trying to reach. And I don’t only mean like money wise, which is probably a part of it, but also opinion wise, to a degree, because it’s not independently owned. It’s not always the person you’re listening to pulling the strings.” However, history teacher Mr. Widelec, an avid watcher of Democracy Now!, said that independently funded

media outlets still harbor some biases. Democracy Now!, he said, “has an agenda, and they’re quite open about it. It’s an activist network.” Mr. Widelec continued that all information is presented with a bias and stressed the importance of identifying it. “I think that [bias] falls into the category almost of propaganda, if you’re not aware of it,” said Mr. Widelec. “If you know it’s biased, then you’re watching it through that lens and it’s very different.” However, some are not taught to identify biases in news at a young age and intrinsically trust news sources. “I think when I was younger, I definitely just believed whatever was in front of me,” freshman Nina Cutler said. “I was like, ah [the newscasters] must be right, they’re wearing suits.” Being a critical consumer of news is a necessary skill in a time when there are thousands of online news websites available for consumption. The responsibility to determine the reliability of news increasingly falls on the reader. It has become the reader’s job to consider what biases a news source has by considering factors such as funding, and political leanings. . To combat bias, Mr. Shy says that he tries to consume news from a variety of sources. “What I try to do is to pay a little bit of attention to what I consider smart versions of as many different perspectives as I can [...] in order to not just get wrapped up in a single perspective.” said Mr. Shy. However, though news coverage is not impartial, it still hold a prominent role in our society, which is why we must learn how to consume it. As Shy said, “Human nature is relentlessly corruptible and relentlessly self interested and relentlessly fallible and relentlessly caught in contexts, and all of those things that are limiting to human experience. And because of that, we need people and we need a place in society [...] to check that impulse towards people in power pursuing things for the wrong reasons or the pursuing the wrong ends.” • NEWS 17





ON TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7 at 12 PM, students all over New York City walked out of their schools to gather in Foley Square, Manhattan. While the main goal of the walkout was to protest President Donald Trump’s travel ban, which targets 7 countries that predominantly practice Islam, the march also incorporated demonstrations against Betsy DeVos, who was confirmed as the Secretary of Education of the United States as the walk-out occurred. Betsy DeVos was confirmed as the United States Secretary of Education on February 7 as a result of an unprecedented tie-breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence. DeVos has a background in business as the chairwoman of Windquest Group, which she founded with her husband in 1989. She has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the political campaigns of George W. Bush, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, and Marco Rubio. Dominique Da Silva and Luca Leung, who are seniors at Avenues, both participated in the walkout. Da Silva said, “DeVos has no experience working in a school or in a classroom, she has never attended a public school, and she sent all of her children to private school.” Da Silva and Leung received detention for three afternoons following the walkout. In a survey with 37 respondents, 17 did not know the walkout was happening. Nina Cutler, a freshman at Avenues, did not know about the walkout, but wishes she had gone. “I wish I had gone because for me, personally, I think that education is something that is very important to the growth of people my age," said Cutler. Students are concerned that DeVos, who attended private schools throughout her life, will not be an effective advocate for public education in our country. Stephanie Cobas, a senior at Avenues, is worried about the fact that DeVos didn’t devote time in her adult life towards learning about public education. “She is not an independent person anymore,” said Cobas, “it doesn’t make much sense for her to be in charge of government-run education.” Many students worried about comments DeVos made during the Senate’s confirmation hearing. When asked whether or not guns should be kept from schools, she responded by referring back to the story of another senator about a school in Wyoming. DeVos said, “I think probably there, I would



imagine that there’s probably a gun in the school to protect from potential grizzlies.” At Avenues, students recognize that it is important for students in private schools to protest in solidarity with public school students. Eoin O’Byrne ‘19 said, "I really hate the idea of our Secretary of Education being a supporter of the private school industry, and who mixes private and public interests, which works in opposition to the public school system of ‘non-profit.’” Da Silva said, “She has advocated for plans that aim to privatize, de-fund and practically destroy public education." Although 87% of Avenues students surveyed believed that students who participated in the walkout should not have faced consequences from the school, there were safety concerns involved with leaving Avenues midday in order to attend the protest. Ms. Lisa Melore is the executive assistant to the head of the Upper Division, Ms. Fox, and handles attendance procedures at Avenues. “The safety of our kids is the most important thing in the world,” she said, “if a kid suddenly doesn’t come back from lunch, or walks out, we really get into a panic, we look all over the building, we use the security cameras to see if the student left the building, we’ll ask friends, and we’ll reach out to the student and say, where are you, because we’re really worried about your safety.” Mrs. Denise Reitz, who teaches biology at Avenues, believes that it is important for the voices of students to be heard. She said,“It kind of gives them a community-building sense.” If a student wanted to participate in a protest during a class period, Mrs. Reitz would say, “Bring me a note from your parents, if it’s okay with your parents, and it’s an excused absence, you’re excused.” Da Silva made sure to get her mother’s permission before participating in the walkout, but she also knew that she would have to be willing to face the consequences of leaving school. “That’s part of the protest,” said Da Silva. When Da Silva arrived at the protest, she could immediately sense that its impacts would be widely felt. It seemed as though, “Beacon’s entire high school was there.” She said, “When I got out of the subway car, people were chanting and it was exhilarating,” and added, “we hadn’t even gotten to the march yet.” Although there were no grizzlies in attendance, the strength of the students was undeniable. •

A Griot comes to Avenues By XIAO LYNN RONG

Photo by Creative Team

ON JANUARY 7th, freshman students got an extraordinary opportunity to witness the performance of the African djeli, Famoro Dioubate. The freshmen gathered around the 9th floor studio after lunch and the space was loud with the chattering of their voices. Before the performance started, few students shared with the djeli of their previous knowledge of the history of Africa. After that, the performance begin. The djeli, also called the griot, is a storyteller and a musician of West Africa. The history of Africa is verbally passed down through stories told aloud. They are also called the "keepers of history." Mr. Dioubate is from one of the most prominent djeli families from Guinea, a country that is closely connected with the history of Mali. He played the music he originally composed to the freshman students. Some of it pertained to his emotions, some of it pertained to the history of Africa. He talked to the freshman students about Sundiata, 22


Famoro Dioubate, the griot who performed at Avenues.

one of the important rulers of Mali. Between each piece of music, the freshman students enthusiastically asked questions about his life and his music. When a student asked him about how he composed his music, he responded that he wanted to spread happiness with his music. That is why he imbues positive emotions into the music, so these emotions can be shared with his audience. Mr. Dioubate came to the performance with a special instrument — an instrument called a balafon, which he created with his own hands. The balafon, the court instrument of Sundiata, was created in 1235 and is still in use. He started learning this instrument when he was very young, and he grew up with this instrument and the history of Africa. He is currently in a band called the Kakande, and performs at venues around New York City, including the performances at Lincoln Center. •


Photo by Creative Team

HI REPUBLICANS. NO, I am not talking to you, Steve Bannon. I am talking to real Republicans right now. Not the ones who see conservatism as a consequentialist means to white supremacy, rather the ones who voted for Trump because they wanted to see a smaller government, conservative courts, and the rebirth of constitutional originalism. The ones who loathe Presidential overreach, because they understand that our founders intended the executive to be checked by legislators. The ones who, in 2014, were horrified by Obama’s executive orders on illegal immigration. My question to you, my fellow Republicans, is ‘what’s good’? President Trump has been in office for less than a month, and, thus far, has achieved all his major policy goals through executive order. Why are you not freaking out!? I don’t have to tell you guys what James Madison wrote in Federalist Paper 46. We all know that “the accumulation of all power, legislative, executive, and judiciary in the same hands…may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” I certainly do not have to tell you that making legislative orders on healthcare, as Trump did in his “MINIMIZING THE ECONOMIC BURDEN OF THE PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT PENDING REPEAL” order, amounts to James Madison’s nightmare. You know these things. You know, as do I, what Trump is doing is scary and not in line with Madison’s view for our

country. You understand why legislative action through executive order is scary. Can you join me in recognizing it! Just over two years ago all us Republicans were laughing together at SNL spoofing Obama’s overuse of the executive order. Back then, since we disagreed with Obama’s action, we pointed out the laughable ignorance of the constitution when the executive order said “I pretty much just happen.” People are already pointing out the clear hypocrisy in letting Trump get away with executive overreach just because we agree. More than just politics and reaction, though, are the tangible effects of granting the executive branch so much power. If Obama was able to legislate though executive order (the way Trump is), he could have implemented socialized medicine or more taxes without the GOP House and Senate checking him on it! If we remain silent on this, we know very well lefties will call us out on critiquing executive orders the next time there is a Democrat in the White House. The cries of hypocrisy would drown out any serious conservative opposition. Slowly, and quietly, some Republicans, like those over at RedState, are pointing out these issues. However, one article does not make a difference. The conservative blogosphere should be running stories on Trump’s possible overreach daily. That is the only way to shut this down. So please, my fellow Republicans, join me. Join me in calling out Trump’s overuse of the executive order. The fate of our founders' vision and our party relies on it. • OP-ED 23

unaligned an analysis of President Trump’s beliefs and the Avenues mission statement OP-ED By PRAHARSHA GURRAM, 6TH GRADE

AVENUES WAS FOUNDED as a global school, one with plans to build campuses in many different parts of the world. For a school that is constantly trying to find new ways of learning, one that seeks to create a genuine global experience for its students, we now have a President with beliefs and behaviors at odds with our own. In many ways, Avenues seems like the complete opposite of President Trump: we are a global school; President Trump wants to get rid of globalism. But we also share some things in common. For example, both of us are new, and both of us do things differently compared to others in our fields. But the way in which we do things differently and our philosophies in doing so are what makes the two of us different. 24


Avenues’ mission statement reads: “We will graduate students who are at ease beyond their borders.” This does not fit with the image of the President. President Trump wants to conform to an old, seemingly "greater" America, hence the slogan: “Make America Great Again.” He won many of his voters by telling them that he will bring back manufacturing and coal jobs that were once staples of the Rust Belt. Ideologically, Avenues wants its students to be comfortable with the new, to embrace it. Avenues wants its students to understand that the steel and coal jobs of the past might not come back, and to work around this reality to create a more solid solution to our energy crisis. President Trump may not pursue renewable energy,

despite evidence that it could create jobs in states like California, as renewable energy does not fit into his old image of America. Avenues believes that we must embrace the change happening in the world now, and work to advantage from the change, rather than trying desperately to stop it. Our mission statement also states that “We will graduate students who are humble about their gifts.” Imagine if our President held himself to the same standard. Avenues also holds that it will graduate students who are aware of their impact on the world around them. President Trump, through his immigration ban, shows that he differs. President Trump’s ban contradicted Avenues’ philosophy in more ways than one, especially in terms of graduating students who are aware that their behavior makes a difference in the ecosystems around them. President Trump did not show that he understood how disrupting his executive order would be, and how it would change the international ecosystem. Avenues stands for more thoughtful actions. Avenues believes that you must understand what you do makes a difference on individuals you do not even know, and then create a law or an order, to project it at that level. Avenues wants to graduate good followers as well as strong leaders. In contrast, President Trump has rarely followed; he has almost always been his own boss. Therefore, he struggles to step down from the top role, and tends to defend the indefensible. In contrast, Avenues believes that when something is past defending, you let it go, and admit you made a mistake. When Richard Blumenthal, a senator of Connecticut, told everyone that President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, said that he saw President Trump’s attack on a

federal judge as “disheartening,” President Trump responded by questioning the senator’s credibility. Instead of doing the professional thing and taking the higher road, he tried to “be the boss” who always gets the final say. President Trump believes in ways of sharing prosperity that may contradict those that would be rooted in our mission statement; he believes that putting America first when it comes to prosperity, and not the rest of the world.We, on the other hand, believe in people participating together to make differences in communities. We believe in growing and sharing our prosperity. President Trump believes that the American people are missing out on the prosperity of the rest of the world. President Trump believes in raising tariffs and regulating free trade so American goods do not have as much competition, and that all Americans will benefit, as more American goods will be bought. Also, he believes that cutting taxes is good for everyone. Avenues believes that everyone deserves a chance, and the best way to create prosperity for all is by making positive change in our communities and beyond. Avenues believes that the work of a strong leader is to get everyone on the same page when it comes to helping our neighbors. President Trump, in his values and methods, is very different from us. He is brash, grand, inconsiderate, and unaware. His pride always gets the best of him and disables him as a leader. President Trump believes that “getting things done” is very important, even if what he gets done is imperfect. At Avenues, students learn to take their time, ask for help, and admit to themselves what they do not know. In the end, President Trump may be an innovator, but his philosophy is fundamentally different than ours.• OP-ED 25

Equating Effort with Ethnicity OP-ED By KYLA WINDLEY

Photo by Dylan Levene

IN SEVENTH GRADE, a white male classmate said to me, “Yeah Kyla, you’ll have a such an easy time getting into college because you are a black girl.” “Yeah, I guess so…” I hesitantly replied. I didn’t object because I didn’t feel like engaging in such an awkward conversation, especially on college admissions, a topic that I should not have started worrying about until a month or two ago. In my five years at Avenues, our school’s competitiveness has not changed. I am only in the beginning of my college process, and the hyper-competitiveness of my classmates has already taken a toll on how I move through my days at school. Test scores, Term 2 grades, ACT scores, SAT Subject Test plans, preliminary college lists from deans — all of these things that I view as very personal have hesitantly emerged from my lips after enough pressure and probing from others. More times than not, my classmates compare themselves to me not only in terms of academic and extracurricular merit, but also based on my social identifiers, which are things about 26


myself that I cannot control. One such identifier is my race. If you’ve ever heard a student of color talk about their experiences as a person of color at Avenues, one thing that you will not be able to find is a common theme in terms of experience. I asked a few upperclassmen that have either just started or are nearing the end of their college processes about race and how it has played a role in their decisions thus far. While there was not a common experience as it relates to their racial background, everyone mentioned something along the lines of their hard work being equated with their race. This has taken a toll on the high school experiences of many students of color, including myself. As junior Caroline Yu said, “I feel like I have to work that much harder to be considered as equal.” Whenever she gets a good grade on a math test, her success is attributed to the stereotype that “Asians are good at math” rather than to the effort she put into preparing, some-

times weeks in advance. As the only full Asian student in the class of 2018, Caroline mentioned that she has internalized comments that undermine her academic merit. “Things like that stick in the back of my mind and most definitely affect my college process,” she said. She has tried to cover her race by refusing to check the “Asian” box when taking standardized tests, but her last name, Yu, is something that is out of her control. Parents and family culture also have an influence on how a student views race in conjunction with college. Most of the pressure that I have in terms of education and college admissions does not come from my parents, but from my myself; my parents see my receiving of an Avenues education as a success in itself. Because I am the only African-American girl in my grade, I often feel as if I need to take advantage of this unique privilege and “out-do” everyone else in my grade. While this may not be true, I sometimes feel like my classmates expect less of me because of the negative stereotypes associated with my race, so I work as hard as I can to prove them wrong. Caroline explained, “In a lot of Asian History, the moral of the story is that you have to work hard. Stuff doesn’t just get handed to you. You need to work for it.” She added, “I think that for most people, the lessons that their parents try to teach them, they try to emulate that.” Caroline is correct. Olatunji “Tunji” Williams, a senior attending Babson next year, had a different perspective. When asked about if he ever thought about race when he went through the college process, he responded “No, I just went on the fast facts page--it was the same for me as looking at gender distribution.” This was surprising to me, as I wrongfully assumed that all people born with brown skin like mine would look at race as an important factor when searching for colleges. I then learned that Williams’ parents were immigrants from Africa, which is a drastically different experience from my parents’, the grandchildren of sharecroppers in the south. Being only five generations removed from my sharecropping ancestors, and six generations from enslavement, I understand why my parents simply say that “each generation needs to do better than the last” when I ask them about their expectations of me in terms of my education. Rather than working twice as hard to be equal to my white peers, they simply expect me to do better than they have. In speaking with other students, I learned that the hyphenated American in African-American means a lot more than I assumed in the past. That hyphen carries significant unfortunate family history in America, something that recent immigrants cannot identify with. The influence that Williams’ family had on the college that he chose had more to do with the quality of education itself rather than the racial makeup of the school. Both of his parents went to college in Massachusetts, so more than anything, they pushed for him to go to school there. Williams said, “for my whole life, I’ve gone to schools that are predominantly white.”

He also shared that he does not actively think about diversity, but he did mention that affirmative action “just instills this idea that black people can only succeed because of it, and a lot of people make assumptions because of it.” Being one of the few black people in his grade has stuck with him, much like how our races have stuck with Caroline and me. Williams added, “It’s a lot more surprising for me to be in a room with other black people than being the only black person in the room. I guess that this could be seen as a problem.” I then went on to interview someone who’s mixed race, which is far more common at Avenues than being a single race person of color. Kavin Chada, a junior with Indian and Italian heritage, wants to apply to highly competitive schools, and doesn’t see his race as anything that’ll “help” him in the college admissions process. When speaking about one of the schools that he wants to apply to, he said, “It’s really Asian and white, so, being both of those would not be something appealing to me. I hope that I can check ‘other,’ or ‘mixed,’ or something else.” However, when asked about his name, something that he cannot control about himself without taking legal action, Kavin said that his answer is dependent on the environment that he is in. “I either say that [my first name] is from India or Ireland. I rarely say that it’s from both [Ireland and India], because that is just confusing people... If I want to feel special or different,” he added, “I’ll tell people that it means ‘handsome’ or ‘poet’ in Hindi.” The usage of the words ‘special’ and ‘different’ could be replaced with non-white, as if it has been internalized that white is the norm. Here’s an example that Kavin felt emulated a lot of stories of people in the Avenues community: “There’s the typical story of ‘Oh, I met this guy at the bar, he was the head of a company, and he hired me.’ Maybe you wouldn’t have gotten that opportunity if you were mixed.” The same argument could be made with pursuing higher education: “Maybe he wouldn’t have been so friendly if you looked different,” Kavin said. For Kavin, he found that his Indian heritage is often discounted based on how he looks. “Sometimes, when I try to tell them I’m mixed, they try to tell me that I’m lying. That I’m claiming to be oppressed. That I look white.” He does, however, recognize that the privilege that he has in looking more white than Indian: “Once they believe me, though, they get sympathetic. It feels like they think, ‘Oh... you’re not one of us. No matter if you’re white, black/African-American, Hispanic, Latinx, Asian, Native American, Middle Eastern, North African, Native Hawaiian, other Pacific Islander, or a mix of any of the above, it appears that race affects how one thinks about their merit, moving into higher education, and on a broader scale, life. As Caroline roughly quoted from The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates: “Michelle Obama had to be twice as good to be considered as equal. And I was like yeah, I agree, and I love Michelle Obama. She’s the best.”• OP-ED 27

Ms. Fox golfing, one of the activities she is hoping to pursue after retirement.




NOT TOO LONG after Trump’s inauguration, former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama took a well-deserved two-week vacation. There’s no doubt that being president is a stressful job, and the Obamas finally got the chance to relax as they kite surfed on a private island with Richard Branson (founder of Virgin Group). While Obama embraces a laidback island style during his retirement, former Vice President Joe Biden gets a new job. Biden plans to lead the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania. He also has plans to work as the chairman of the University of Delaware’s Biden Institute. Just as Obama and Biden left the White House, it has been announced that our very own head of the upper division, Ms. Fox will too be retiring at the end of this school year. Ms. Fox is “just going to chill out for a while and see how it goes.” She is very much missed by her daughter, two granddaughters, husband, and four grandchildren on her husband’s side. “They miss me, because I really do work very long hours and at my stage of experience, which is a euphemism for age, I get tired at the end of the day," she said. She plans to spend time with family and catch up on all the things she’s missed out on due to work. Whether it’s finishing a newspaper, spending the day with her grandchildren or finally getting to read a book she’s been looking forward to, Ms. Fox will get the chance to rest and hopes “to continue to be a lifelong learner.” Ms. Fox feels that her favorite accomplishment as an administrator at Avenues is her work in facilitating the transition of our administrative structure to the current deans system. One thing that she would like to see Avenues improve upon over time after she leaves is building “more of a culture of respect.” “It’s always the people,” Ms. Fox says when asked what she will miss most from her time here. “I have come to know, first of all a faculty that is dedicated and competent and as effective as any faculty with which I ever worked in my 50 years of experience. This is an extraordinary faculty. I love our kids, because I think they’re interesting. They’re not all cut from the same cloth.” Before she leaves, Ms.Fox wants to let us know that, “there is a lot of love here and I hope that that love continues

to express itself as respect for self, respect for others, respect for the facility, and just keep — I think welcome, safety and respect is the best slogan I can think of to guide our paths forward.” Some other Avenues teachers are also looking forward to their retirement. I conducted an online survey and gathered responses from upper school faculty on what they would do with their free time if they did not have to work. Ms. Pollack wishes for an escape from the busy city life to a more natural environment upstate. “I would some how split my time between upstate NY in a cabin in the woods with a large studio to make my some kind of animal rescue work with dogs. I would spend my time walking, reading, cooking and making art, occasionally visiting the city.” Ideally, she’d want to be able to travel between LA and NY to visit her niece who “is growing up fast.” Ms. Teixeira, Mr.Wang and Ms. Curley, however, have aspirations to travel abroad. Mrs. Teixeira misses the time she spent working as a flight attendant, traveling to a different place everyday. She said, “I believe there is no better educational experience and acquisition of cultural understanding or tolerance than the one we can learn from seeing other places.” Ms.Curley is considering opening up a B&B in southern Spain. Interestingly enough, Hamilton Clark is eager to move “to Brazil and open a new school!” Whereas Mrs. Meatto is interested in doing several different things: “sailing, traveling, volunteering, baking, skiing, reading, swimming, tennis, hiking, writing, getting a dog, and tinkering with mildly broken things.” Mr. Mahome envisions himself in a more tranquil environment, “writing on an island with a view of a vast body of water.” Ms. Lu too would prefer to spend any extra time writing. Retirement serves most as an opportunity to indulge their passions and to be free of work related restrictions on their lives. As students, we have our seasonal breaks to look forward to. Retirement for us is a long ways from now. What we can do though, is give our farewells and best wishes to those getting ready to make their retreat. Ms. Fox will be greatly missed by the Avenues community for her leadership and dedication, so take the time to appreciate her before she departs. •


A DAY IN THE LIFE OF CESAR GARCIA Cesar L. Garcia – boxer, singer, playwright, and jack of all trades – knew that New York would be his home the minute he set foot off the plane… By SAM BOYCE

BORN IN THE METROPOLITAN area of Santurce, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Cesar Garcia lived a comfortable, carefree life – that is, until his parents lost many of the family’s assets – including their home – due to mismanagement, forcing them all into a life of constant migration around the country. Though they still had enough to get by, Cesar found himself lost at the age of nine, cutting classes frequently and lacking purpose and motivation. But one day, on the streets of Carolina – the town of tall palms and beautiful, vast beaches where Cesar had spent approximately eight months of his life (a long period of time when compared to the other places he lived) – a threatening young man cornered him. Cesar, often bullied as a boy, reasonably expected a fight, but found himself surprised by a gesture of kindness. “Hey, man. You need to learn how to fight,” the man said earnestly. Cesar examined the man, sensing a friendly tone but maintaining his guard. “Let me show you,” he continued, beckoning. Warily, Cesar followed him until they arrived at an unfamiliar building: the boxing gym. From that moment, Cesar's life changed. Boxing became his passion and his outlet, though he was careful to hide it from his parents, who would have likely disapproved of the fighting. During the day, Cesar would find time to go to the gym and train with his friends, and at night he would take on opponents in the ring, which was not illegal at the time. After some time, Cesar’s grades and scores in school had risen significantly, and, as a reward, his parents pooled together some money and asked him where he wanted to go. 30


Cesar smiled as he instantly knew. He had heard of the dreams and hopes associated with the place, and he had seen movies like Taxi Driver, which had given him a glimpse of what the big city looked like, making him more curious than ever. “Nueva York,” he replied.

• • •

Cesar L. Garcia – boxer, singer, playwright, and jack of all trades – knew that New York would be his home the minute he set foot off the plane. Beyond his two year stint as a boxer, he had not become any of these things yet, and even his boxing would improve during his time in this wonderful, vast city. Initially, his parents supplied him with enough money to stay in nice hotels and get around. However, once they realized he wasn’t coming back to Puerto Rico, they cut him off. "To be expected," thought Cesar, "I need to do this on my own." Enthralled by the captivating culture of New York, Cesar had fallen in love with it from the moment he saw it: “...New York was so full of energy and excitement. The graffiti, the music, the art it was all something I’ve never seen displayed with such a passion…” he said. He knew he couldn’t return to Puerto Rico when his life lay ahead of him in the United States, and – luckily for him – he was no longer dependent on his family’s financial support. So, at 11, Cesar enrolled himself in public school in Jersey City, passing an interview in English with flying colors. However, he quickly fell behind and was eventually transferred to another location on East 95th street, where he performed better academically. During his early years in the big city, he realized he

As Cesar puts it, “You always know you’re doing right when you put yourself in positions where there’s a lot of pressure… so I know I’m going on the right track. Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”

would need to find a source of income, trying out everything from supermarket jobs that required him to clean large meat-processing apparatuses (doubly horrifying for Cesar, a vegan who had chosen to reject animal products for various reasons, the main one being animal cruelty), to awkward, cheesy modeling gigs. Eventually, he found his place by complete accident with a nomadic group of old Puerto Rican men who sang a deep, rich salsa, and who, lacking the lyrics to certain songs, enlisted the help of Cesar to fill in their gaps. Despite the fact that Cesar had never regarded himself as a singer, the men enjoyed his voice and style, and they performed together in venues all around the city, such as Gonzales y Gonzales, a Mexican eatery on Mercer Street (off W. Houston) that remains active to this day. Cesar recalls those late nights of the mid-to-late 1980's with great pride and nostalgia.

Fastforward to 2012, and it is the beginning of Cesar's Avenues career. He shifts in his chair, his heart beating in his chest. Beads of sweat form on his forehead as he runs through his program in his head. Across the table from him sits a man, well-dressed and composed, with a friendly face. “Thank you for finding the time to meet,” says Cesar, forcing a nervous smile. The man smiles back. “Of course! Sorry it took me so long to find a few minutes to chat. I do have to run to lunch soon – what was it you wanted to show me?” After a brief pause, Cesar would go on to convey to the man – Avenues drama teacher Drew Cortese – his ideas for a stage play about bullying incidents in a school. The play would be mostly fiction, in part inspired by his own experiences, and would be completed by 2015. Cesar would go on to write a second play, a musical, which he would also workshop another Avenues drama teacher, Mr. Mahome. The experience of working at Avenues has been an amazing one for Cesar; in nearly five years of working here he has been presented with incredible opportunities, and he has created them for himself. He has spoken to several Avenues faculty members about getting his play(s) performed in the school, and he has started a boxing program with the Avenues athletics team. Cesar has also visited lower school classrooms to read books in Spanish to young ELC students, who adore him and call him by name, excitedly trying to get in a hug. He frequently joins lower school teachers in assisting with after school activities – such as the woodworking – and takes pleasure in watching teachers in action in their classrooms, which is something he does not get to see often enough. Cesar is an amazing storyteller with a vibrant, inviting, magnanimous personality, and these qualities are apparent in the way that he cares for the faculty, the students, and the building itself. It is clear that Cesar, a dedicated man with many talents and passions who possesses great resolve, will not only continue to bring insight and joy to the Avenues community, but will certainly continue to thrive beyond these school walls. As Cesar puts it, “You always know you’re doing right when you put yourself in positions where there’s a lot of pressure… so I know I’m going on the right track. Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” •

Photos by Sam Boyce

• • •


Hit the Road, Driver Not Included By LUCAS HORNSBY

THE ROADS WERE smooth, the sun was high, and clouds were scarce behind a light blue sky. The tires were one with the highway, and the car buzzed quietly, eclipsed by the gasps, laughter, and inquiries from the two passengers. It was a ride like any other, except there was no driver. Avenues junior Justin Levine was one of the two passengers on this ride, the other being a Google engineer. When Levine decided to accompany his father on a business trip to the verdant, sleek Google headquarters in Cupertino, California, he did not expect his day to lead him to a self-driving car. But after good conversation met with luck, and signing a few waivers, Levine found himself in one of what Google calls its “Waymo” cars. Levine’s trip lasted about 30 minutes, which included a pit stop at Jamba Juice. He said that it felt weird to be in a car without a human driver. “It did not feel the same. It was pretty wild,” he said. Levine, who has vast experience in computer science and artificial intelligence, admits to being scared at first. “But then, it was just very cool, totally unique.” This initial fear is not uncommon. In fact, every new technology brings with it great fear. Socrates warned against writing because it would "create forgetfulness in the learners”; upon the invention of telephones, skeptics feared that the devices would be used to communicate with the dead; in the 1990s, many spoke about the carcinogenic quality of personal computers and cell phones. When asked to share what first came to mind upon hearing “Artificial Intelligence,” senior Clara Leverenz said: “A lot of dystopian novels, to be honest. They’re always like ‘oh artificial intelligence takes over.’ And that’s one of those fear mongering things.” But what really is artificial intelligence, and what are self driving cars? Are our fears justified? Leverenz described artificial intelligence as a program or device that can “be autonomous, make choices on their own.” Similarly, Levine defined it as the capacity for a computer to create their own knowledge and to react without preexisting code. Biology and chemistry teacher Ms. Muldowney 34


thinks of “robots and computers coming close to human behavior.” When asked about self-driving cars, Ms. Muldowney said that “she really likes the idea.” She attributes this interest to the inefficiency she has identified in our current transportation system. “Traffic,” she said, “would be unnecessary with self-driving cars.” Patrick Leung, an Avenues parent and engineer at Google, agrees, but with a caveat. “The real benefits come in in world where most cars are self driving, in terms of traffic control and how cities are built, and so on. Many scientists and city planners have already begun to consider “what cities would be like if we were to design them from scratch with self driving cars. What are parking facilities like, what kind of experience is there if you can assume that all cars are self driving?” For one, Leung cites highly more efficient roads. On a highway, self-driving cars could ride much closer together, and and the ability of self-driving cars to “negotiate passage at intersections” would eliminate the need for traffic lights. But, again, this is in a city where every car is self-driving. “One human driver, unable to communicate with the other cars, would mess that whole system up,” said Leung. Freshman Diana Reiss expects that the “integration of self driving cars on the road seems really dangerous because the way they interact is very different.” Yet, if we just look at self-driving cars in isolation, Leung says that their advantages are clear when it comes to safety: “For the most part, machines can drive much better than a human. You look at reaction time, 360 degree awareness, the technology looks at all directions at all times, which a human cannot do... the physics of it means that machines are basically better.” Then why are we reluctant to adopt this technology? In Leung’s opinion,”the issue is judgement.” In tests, it has become clear that self-driving cars are very conservative. The priority to saving people’s lives makes the cars so sensitive that they might stop if a human puts their

Photo by Creative Team

foot onto the street, for which a human would not stop the car unless necessary. One option engineers have is to dial back this conservatism, making it more like a human driver, Leung said. Yet this begs the open ethical question of liability. Leung gave an example: “If a car can, by sacrificing the driver, save 4 people, should it do that? Consciously make that decision? When anybody dies, who bears responsibility...? Is it the driver, the software engineer, the factory, who bears the responsibility?” This, unlike other forms of artificial intelligence, presents us with “one of the first situations where machines are making big moral decisions in everyday life, where life and death are involved.” Levine, the junior who rode a Google Waymo car, characterized computer science and artificial intelligence as fields that require us to “ask questions bigger than ourselves.” We do not fully understand many of the human brain’s functions, yet we are trying to transfer them to computers. In developing self-driving cars and other such technologies, we are stumbling around in the dark, trying to find solutions and create mechanisms before we even understand exactly what we’re asking. Reiss said that she finds the imminent spread of selfdriving cars “disturbing.” She is scared that a “car would

control your fate,” and fears that “low- to mid-level jobs are gonna be replaced, and it’s sort of inevitable.” “It’s a little freaky that I’d be in a car without a human driver,” Tenley Smith, also a freshman, said. Though such fears are understandable and widespread, many are thrilled for the development of self driving cars. Freshman Jacob Cridland said he would “totally ride” a self driving car, but, for now, only in a controlled environment. However, Cridland fears that self driving cars will “get rid of a lot of jobs.” According to the American Trucking Association, there are roughly 3.5 million truck drivers in the United States and millions more involved in the industry at large, which employs one in every fifteen American workers. Leung also spoke about the possibility, speculating that truck driving will likely be the first occupation wiped out by self-driving cars, followed by taxi drivers. In fact, the on-demand ride company Uber has been at the forefront of the self-driving car industry. Uber started piloting its program in the fall of 2016 in Pittsburgh, which houses the company’s Advanced Technology Center, a hub of artificial intelligence development. For now, each self-driving car still comes with a “safety driver” in the front, in recognition of the limits of this still infant technology and the reluctance of customers to ride in a car without a human driver. • FEATURE 35



AT THE END of my sophomore year, I attended a party where there were several kids from my grade who were drinking alcohol. I was standing outside talking with one of the girls who was in my math class, when out of the corner of my eye I saw one of my friends, out of nowhere, go up to a girl in a skirt and grab her. I was in tremendous shock; I halted speaking mid-sentence and became paralyzed. Did I need to go up to my friend and confront him? I tried to convince myself that maybe it was just a mistake, an accident. I could not think of a valid reason why he would have done it. At that moment, I decided that I needed to stand up for my beliefs. I went up to the boy and asked him if what I saw was real. “Did you seriously just grab her?” I yelled as adrenaline rushed through my body. “Yea, c’mon we’re at a party, don’t worry about it,” he said. This was when I realized that our school had an issue: a consent issue. Lyndsey Fram, sex education teacher and self described “sexpert," explains events such as these in terms of sexual insecurity: “Students use alcohol as a form of plausible deniability. The next day, the students can say they were drunk as

an excuse for their actions, but in reality they wanted to do it. Alcohol can let you do what you want to do with later saying you didn’t want to do it.” A junior, who asked to remain anonymous when asked about sex culture at Avenues, also mentioned that “[alcohol] plays a really messed up and weird role in our culture. I think people don’t understand that drunk-consent is not consent. Alcohol is involved in a lot of hooking up at Avenues.” This student made a point that was reiterated by most students whom I interviewed, that alcohol plays a big role in our sex culture. Drinking, of course, is not unusual in a high school environment: The CDC reported in 2012 that roughly 40% of high school students have consumed alcohol within the past thirty days. But it should never interfere with the well-being and safety of students. One sophomore pointed to the significance of alcohol in our community: “If you’re drunk, you feel loose and don’t think clearly. It makes consent more complicated. You can’t remember if you were okay with it during the moment and you wouldn’t know if you gave consent. If in the moment it FEATURE 37

felt right, but the next morning you feel different, that can be an issue.” That same student was dismissive of Fram's teaching, referring to her ideas about consent as "boring stuff, because everyone has a clear idea about what consent is." This underscored the problem between alcohol, teenagers, and consent. To learn more, I sat in on Ms. Fram’s tenthgrade Wellness and Movement (WAM) class, the final of three classes in the unit. In the class, she covered topics ranging from orgasm, consent, hook-up culture, slut-shaming, and other sexuality-related topics. While Ms. Fram does not condone underage drinking and the experimentation of sexual activities and drugs, she acknowledges that these activities occur. However, she stressed that if teens want to experiment with substances or sex, such experimentations should never take place simultaneously. Most students see the class as necessary, informative, and enjoyable. However, this year, it only occurs for three sessions in WAM, and it did not run for seniors at all. The need for more sex education is apparent even among the teachers. One teacher said that she sees many students “trying to seek more knowledge” about sex and sexuality. Some students will go as far as asking teachers for more information on the subject, while others seek to expand community-based discussion outside of the classroom. At the same time, some students find the WAM program as it is effective. One such student said, “sex is not a thing teenagers have. We are focused on school. The other day, I heard newscasters talk about how some teens have sex at this age and ruin their own lives.” Despite varied understandings of sex culture at our school, getting students on the same page is important when it comes to their safety. One way to improve our knowledge of sex cul-



ture, as mentioned by many teachers and Ms. Fram, is to have more conversations about this topic. Ms. Young said she wanted Avenues to “be a safe space where students feel they can talk about it and ask questions and get guidance and answers.” Still, many students say we have a ways to go. One upperclassmen girl said, “Unless you are a minority in a certain group, you can’t talk about these issues. For example, people aren’t allowed to talk about sex unless they are gay.” To back up her point, she referenced a speech made last year by a gay male senior at a schoolwide assembly about having sex. When reached, the alum confirmed that he did not get in any trouble. He also stated his understanding that students felt comfortable talking about sex at Avenues. Another teacher said “at Avenues, it seems like there is a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy” when talking about sex. This is dangerous because if students do not feel comfortable talking about these issues, it creates a community that is not safe and accepting; contradicting the goal put forward by administrators.” When it comes to havnig more conversations about these topics, two obvious solutions present themselves: either more sex education classes or integrating more sex education into our core curriculum; after all, the two need not be independent. Backing up this point, Dr. Sharma said that issues of consent “need to be embedded [in classes].” Additionally, Ms. Shore spoke about how we have conversations about race, economics, and gender, but we don’t have these conversations about sexuality: “Equality in the bedroom is as important as in the boardroom.” But treating these issues as secondary topics in humanities or world courses is not, and should not be enough. A more rigorous sex education course is needed. Not just for the students who want to learn more, but especially for those who think they know enough.•

Art by Maddalena Rona


A Distressed Phone Call from Planet Earth By EDWARD SHEN

AROUND THE WORLD from Beijing to Poland, smog pollution is a pressing problem. Coupled with climate change and environmental degradation from pollution, it is becoming increasingly dangerous for people to go outside in certain cities around the globe. Smog is an example of how the Earth is calling us, pleading to us that it cannot handle the pollution caused by humanity any longer. Many countries such as Germany and China have recognized the risk of staying idle and thus have taken action to protect the environment. However in America, there have not been a lot of government policies that have been implemented recently to combat climate change. America is one of the world’s top emitters of carbondioxide (CO2), producing 16.5 tons of CO2 percapitain 2014 according to the World Bank. In addition, there is often a politicization of environmental issues in the United States that causes progress to be halted. Incorrect information is also being spread and there has been a huge debate on whether or not climate change is even happening or if it is just a hoax. When asked about this problem about misinformation and the politicization of environmental issues, Ms. Isil Celimli expressed her dismay: “I feel that it is very unfortunate that such an important topic is becoming a political issue because the scientific community is not in disagreement [about climate change]. Even though the evidence is there, people just pick and choose from bits and pieces of information, and try to make their case against that because they have other interests in mind.” But we share the Earth. It is the home of not only humanity, but also many other living species. Environmental issues shouldn’t be transformed into political issues. We all live on Earth, regardless of our political stances and backgrounds. We have to be respectful to our shared home. And it starts with local communities to take action. However many companies do not employ sustainable practices because they are more interested in profit. In an article about environmental issues and capitalism, Forbes contributor Drew Hansen writes: “Corporate capitalism is committed to the relentless pursuit of growth, even if it ravages the planet and threatens human health.” In a capitalistic society, consumer demand is high and the majority of companies 40


Art by Hannah Ellis-Gibbs

do not want to change their practices, even if it is detrimental to the environment and the health of other people. Mr. Warren Tappe explains this phenomenon in further detail: “Companies are not interested in the truth [about environmental issues], they’re interested in the bottom line: the next quarterly meeting where they can present the shareholders’ support. Why would they care about the truth? They don’t have ethics to worry about, but money to worry about.” If a company were to stop manufacturing their goods for environmental concerns, they would lose profit and potential customers to their competitors. Avenues, on the other hand, is very conscious about its environmental impact as a school and organization. Notable efforts from the school include the composting all the food in the cafeteria, as well as providing compostable utensils and napkins. Sodexo, a food management company that has partnered with Avenues, picks up all the compost separately from Avenues’s regular garbage and begins fertilization production. In addition through Flik’s Trim Trax program, Avenues can measure the amount of waste produced daily basis. According to Avenues’s Chief Administrative Officer Lauren Bedell, Avenues uses this data and “follows a total utilization philosophy and uses the production records to plan amounts

"Earth is our shared home and we have to do everything we can to protect it."

needed for each menu. The food left over from daily production is repurposed in the next day’s menus where appropriate.” By composting and reducing food waste and, Avenues is trying to put forth a positive change on the environment by following these sustainable practices. But many people as individuals are often preoccupied with their own lives and may not think about how their habits may influence the environment for better or worse. Senior Stephanie Cobas says, “I don’t think about it [environmental issues] too often, [because I’m] preoccupied with life, but know that I could be doing more. I’ve tried to be personally responsible for my role in it all through saving water, researching, and being somewhat conscientious in general.” This is probably the perspective that the majority of people have. We might be aware of environmental issues and want to help, but sometimes we forget about our harmful habits and are too busy thinking about other matters. Sometimes it is difficult as an individual to feel oneself ’s own impact on the environment. However tiny lifestyle changes, such as recycling more and reducing waste, really do add up over time and will eventually make a larger positive difference. Mr. Tappe agrees with this statement, “You can’t say, ‘Oh, me picking up that trash is not going to make any difference.’ Yes, it will. Because other people see you picking up your trash, and you start thinking, ‘Oh should I be picking up the trash’ and then usually it [awareness] spreads.” In a community, people will notice the commendable tiny things that others may do to preserve the environment and they might change their own habits. Some students in our Avenues community have realized the importance of their actions. Freshman Rachel Hymes explains what she does in order to reduce her negative impact on the environment: “I try to recycle, turn off lights when I’m not using them, and save energy as much as possible.” Freshman Amber Shen also tries to do her best to protect the environment: “I volunteered in various trash pickups on the roads of my town. These were generally just taking litter off the roads, sidewalks, and even nature trails to protect animals from eating them, and just generally because litter is harmful. My family also recycles as much as possible when possible.” We must do our best to educate ourselves on environmental issues and understand the truth about these issues. Doing so will spread awareness to friends and family. In addition, we have to be conscious of our decisions because it does make a difference on the environment. It is not about which political party you might support. Earth is our shared home and we have to do everything we can to protect it. People in different locations around the world are put in danger from climate change and pollution, as well as other living life. We have to do our best to return the favor for using Earth’s once abundant resources. Earth is begging us to stop, and we must answer its call. We must protect the home that we share with all life. And we must do it together, starting with our own community. • FEATURE 41


Photo By Elizabeth Acevedo



THE NATIONAL ACADEMY of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM), an organization which specializes in synthesizing all data available on a particular issues within the scientific community, has released their report on Genetically Modified Organism for human consumption. The conclusion reached is that genetically modified crops are not harmful to human health. The NASEM study committee found “no substantiated evidence of a difference in risks to human health between currently commercialized genetically engineered (GE) crops and conventionally bred crops, nor did it find conclusive cause-and-effect evidence of environmental problems from the GE crops.” The report also cautioned of the “inherent difficulty of detecting subtle or long-term effects in health or the environment.” This difficulty is caused by the majority of data being provided by recent studies that began only a few years ago. In other words, the evidence available today has not taken over half a century or so. Nonetheless, genetically engineered foods should be considered sage for consumption. Studies provided reasonable evidence that animals were not harmed by eating foods derived from GE crops. Data on the nutrient and chemical composition of a GE plant compared to a similar non-GE variety of the crop sometimes show statistically significant differences in nutrient and chemical composition, but the differences have been considered to fall within the range of naturally occurring variation found in currently available non-GE crops. Furthermore, concerns that GE food consumption causes a higher risk for disease should be put to rest as no pattern of differences was found amongst the population of countries who widely ate GE foods and those who didn’t. The Avenues community is receptive to GMO products. A 10th grader commented that given the choice between two produce items, one being genetically modified and the other being wild, she “would choose the more appealing on.” A 9th grader added that he eats GMO products “because GMOs have not shown any side effects.” Over 40% of the Upper School students consumes food products that have been genetically engineered. Furthermore, FOOD “does not have a GMO free program,” according to Julie Clarke, the food service director. While, as seen above, their consumption causes no health concerns, Mrs. Reitz, Upper School biology teacher, advises that “ the real problem isn’t genetically modified food, it’s the food system and how we farm.” Mrs. Reitz stated that she would avoid GM product if possible. She went on to say “Just because we can genetically engineer crops, doesn’t mean we need to do it.” Rather, one should ask if the modification is good for the world, or just driven by bottom line profits. The practices from GMO companies have been driven by profit, and often ignore the interests of in all the stake holders. “‘Good science’ can harm people”: Mrs. Reitz recalls

the wide discrepancy between the ‘good’ science behind the A-bomb and its detrimental uses. The promise of GMOs was grand when first introduced in the 1990s. Seeds would be more nutritious and capable of transmitting antibodies (equivalent to edible vaccination); they would grow faster, yield more, save the environment. Only once in a while, is this promise delivered. Instead, the majority of seeds modified are for commodity crops such as cotton, corn and soy which produce insecticides in the form of proteins, or are herbicide resistant. Another concern of the bioethics of the GMO industry is cross contamination, which is the “process by which bacteria or other microorganisms are unintentionally transferred from one substance or object to another, with harmful effect” (Merriam Webster Online Dictionary). GMO contamination of non-GMO and organic fields is a growing problem in the United States that will only intensify with the approval of more GMO crops. Since their introduction to U.S., these crops have become almost ubiquitous. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that, in 2016, “94% of soybean acres were planted with biotech varieties, and 92% of corn acres.” Cross contamination sourcing from a GMO crop to a wild (or selectively bred) crop affects seed purity, and has serious ramifications for organic and non-GMO farmers that face economic harm due to lost markets or decreased crop values. Today, it is becoming increasingly difficult to justify the high – and rising – modified seed prices given the stagnant nature of the current agricultural industry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that, “Spending on crop seeds has nearly quadrupled since 1996, when Monsanto Co. became the first of the companies to launch biotech varieties. Yet major crop prices have skidded lower for three years, and this year, many farmers stand to lose money.” For example, corn is becoming a growing problem. Each year, it becomes easier to farm corn, which yields high quantities per hectare at low costs. Hence, the U.S. will subsidize more farmers to grow corn in monocultures. In turn, there is a huge surplus of corn which, instead of driving the market price down, is thrown away. The surplus of corn could be used in other ways, as 12th grader Clara Leverenz proposes, “I wonder if there is something they could do with the excess corn - maybe make corn ethanol or something along those lines so that the waste is reduced.” Altogether, seed suppliers are becoming agricultural giants driven largely by economic gain, rather than any ethical concerns, and U.S. farm bills are unbelievably to these companies. As Mrs. Reitz says, “just because the science is there, there is a lot more that should influence the question of whether or not you should eat genetically modified products.” • FEATURE 43

Have A Cold? Here’s A Candle By ELIZABETH ACEVEDO

STUDENTS AT AVENUES are encouraged to question accepted norms, push social boundaries, and think beyond popular conceptions. As freshmen, we looked at civilization through a critical eye, asking each other if modern societies were truly a ‘better way’ of living. As sophomores we furthered the discussion, exploring the pros and cons of the natural and unnatural world, giving us a more multifaceted perspective to our otherwise highly urbanized lives. This constant challenging of what might easily be taken for granted in turn enables us to extract ourselves from ‘the bubble’ that often encircles mostly upper class, city dwelling youth. But discussion is only one element of awareness. It is ultimately in broader outreach and intimate interaction that one can apply and alter their own perspectives. I am a student currently studying Spanish at an intermediate level in eleventh grade, and for the past month, my class and I have been examining Hispanic medical culture. Prior to the unit, many of my fellow classmates and I saw medicine as a highly modernized, lucrative industry invariably interconnected with the realm of science. In picturing pharmacies and hospitals, I quickly saw sleek white shelves lined with pill bottles and prescriptions. I was surprised to discover my own cultural limitations. What my class and I soon came to learn was that medicine today additionally existed with an ineliminable affinity to religion, superstition, and magic amongst many South American cultures. When first presented with the notion that medical healing can be a practice based purely on such abstract forces, we could easily become subjected to dismissiveness or speculation. However, we combated these urges with diligent research and, in that, discovered fascination. To immerse ourselves in this unfamiliar way of life, we proceeded to explore this distant world within our own community. In pairs, we ventured off to the borders of Manhattan, the Lower East Side and Spanish Harlem, eyes wide and ready. Our goal was to find local religious good stores, or Botanicas, and inte rview the owners in order to learn more about the practice of traditional hispanic medicine and to draw parallels or contrasts to our own classroom knowledge. On a mild Saturday afternoon in February, Max Harris and I walked to San Elias Botanica Flowers down by the Hudson River on the Lower East Side. Four o’clock sunlight streamed into the all-glass storefront, illuminating colorful

religious figures and unrecognizable objects. A family of four met us silently upon entering. A young girl in pink played with a dog beside the counter. A little boy peered from behind the cashier shyly. The mother sat idly by a telephone, and the father stood tall before us. “Hola. Que necesites?” Not confidently proficient in engaging with native Spanish tongues, I was at first nervous to interact, but a break of a friendly smile soon aided my nerves. Back and forth we spoke. We discussed various objects commonly sold in botanicas. We learned about the ways in which they are said to work. And we learned about the culture itself behind such stores. Owning a botanica is not a conventional job. It is a way of life. One runs such a shop not because of financial interests, but because their father or mother did and because their father or mother did. Purchasing a product from a botanica is not even minimally like shopping at a pharmacy you might be familiar with. One walks in with an ailment or concern as variable as a persistent headache or dying love. They never need a prescription from a doctor, for the shop owner, or el dueno, will engage in a conversation about the customer’s problems and proceed to diagnose them. If the customer cannot sleep at night, they might be instructed to purchase some herbs of peace, or hierbas de paz, to boil and drink in the evening. If they wish to seduce a man or woman, they might be encouraged to buy an oil of love, or un aceite de amor, to rub on their skin. If they feel an overwhelming sense of sadness, they might be urged to pray to a spiritual candle, or una vela espiritual. Hearing about all the different remedies, the ghosts, the stars, the luck and the saints, I was overwhelmed with a sense of profound enchantment. Never had I before envisioned sickness to be so interlaced with emotion or spirituality. Botanica culture provided medicine not for the body, but for the soul. Now, one can walk away from such an experience with the choice to believe in its practices’ validity or not, but to gain a new level of understanding and awareness was almost unavoidable. My eyes were opened that Sunday afternoon to a world so far away from all that I had previously accepted as universal, as customary. But conventionality is only unique to one’s immediate realm, and expansion is a product first of broader appreciation. • FEATURE 45


IF YOU HAVEN’T seen teachers conspiring with and against one another at school recently, then you have not been looking hard enough. Snoop around the hallways, near the water fountains, and around the teacher offices. If they mention anything regarding competing European countries, it could only mean one thing: Diplomacy. A game of negotiation, the Avenues teachers’ version of Diplomacy involves seven European powers, each represented by two or three teachers. The powers included are England, France, Germany, Russia, Turkey, Italy, and Austria-Hungary. Set before the beginning of World War I, a map of Europe is then divided into land and sea regions to make the game board. Most regions contain supply centers,’ which control how many armies and fleets (called ‘units’) a country can have on the board at any given time. In short, this allows each country to ‘move’ as one would in any other board game; countries can support other units, move to an adjacent region, hold their own region, or convoy (unique to fleets). Of course, it’s much more complicated than that – before any of this can occur, it takes a lot of planning. Teachers negotiate with one another about what their moves are; they ally, they lie, and they betray one another. “It was incredible. There was lot of backstabbing,” beams Mr. Jofre Lora, who represented Turkey with Mr. Jackrel in the last round. One of Mr. Jofre Lora’s secret meeting spots was Mr. Hudson’s office. Once, when trying to negotiate with Mr. Hudson, Mr. Maccarone walked by and happened to see Mr. Jofre 46


Lora there. A sworn enemy of Mr. Hudson, Mr. Mac ended up having a conversation with Mr. Jofre Lora about what had happened in the office. “You have to negotiate with your enemies,” he remarks. While tension arose between Russia (Mr. Mac’s power) and Turkey, “everybody kept their cool.” At one point, Austria-Hungary, Mr. Hoeksema’s team, was in the lead. “They burned bright for a moment, until we knocked them down a peg or two,” boasts Mr. Jofre Lora. Austria-Hungary, with what was the largest army at the time, was surrounded by four other powers, and each conspired to close in on the country. “We spectacularly failed,” replies Mr. Hoeksema. With the recent game of Diplomacy, started in order for there to be a shared activity that wasn’t work-related, teachers were able to talk to people whom they wouldn’t usually be around. For example, Mr. Carpenter was paired with someone from the tech department. “It’s a fascinating game to play at work.” But how does diplomacy--the ‘art’ of being sensitive and effective in your approach to working with others-- come into play in the workplace? In addition to working within their own departments, interdisciplinary projects allow for teachers who may not have the same backgrounds to work together. “You have to negotiate responsibilities and expectations,” explains Mr. Martin. The idea of diplomacy is especially essential in a workplace such as Avenues. “I need other people to do my job well,” mentions one teacher. Outside of school, teachers get together at least once a se-

Photo by Creative Team

mester at departmental outings, often before long breaks. On Friday nights, teachers socialize with one another at happy hour- “it’s a very social environment.” Although teachers try to socialize with others whom they don’t see all the time, they end up sitting with people they work with. “Going to talk about work is kind of the default,” one teacher states, who often travels on weekends in order to “escape the grind.” Even ‘curriculum planning’ is a social event: “we pretend like we’re about to plan but we don’t end up planning,” says another teacher. In an effort to organize an interdisciplinary project, some teachers ended up wandering around Williamsburg, ice cream in hand. The practice of diplomacy in and outside of work, however, wasn’t always simple. “In the past, there was a group that I would not feel as comfortable talking with,” a teacher explains. “I’d sit

with them, but I’d be silent the whole time.” It’s improved since then, with most teachers agreeing that they no longer have this feeling of discomfort this year. “I’m just happy there’s anybody to eat lunch with,” remarks Ms. Garnier. “Diplomacy is a skill that “isn’t exclusive to teaching,” notes Mr. Martin. “Everybody will have to do that.” Even students have to practice diplomacy when negotiating through the perilous stages of group projects. “There are concessions all the time,” observes Mr. Jofre Lora. Negotiating and compromises tend to make group projects run more smoothly. With rumors of student-led games of Diplomacy emerging, perhaps students, like the teachers, will get the chance to practice diplomacy at Avenues not out of necessity, but out of interest. • FEATURE 47


For this issue, I interviewed two extravagant young dancers from the Avenues community: Anya and Cydney. They are both currently in the ninth grade, and have been dancing for several years. We sat together a few weeks ago to discuss their dance lives.

Art by Yvette Lopez



How long have you been dancing? Anya: 2 years or 8 years. I quit, and I restarted. Cydney: 10 years. Why did you start dancing? Anya: I started dancing because I went to see The Nutcracker with my parents two years ago, and I saw them on point, and I just miss dancing I guess, I wanted to see if I can pick it back up. And I love this and I wanted to be, aspired to be like those people dancing. How long do you spend in dance class? Anya: 4 and a half to 5 hours. Cydney: Give me a second…6:45. Anya: Woah I am more like 4:30 to 5. The days like rehearsals are like 6 hours. Cydney: Plus rehearsals, oh like 25! Anya: Rehearsals like 80. Cydney: Rehearsal weeks are like every day from 4~9, even if you watch half of the time. Anya: Rehearsals are ridiculous, everyday’s like 5 hours. Does that take up a lot of your homework time? Anya; Yes. I usually do homework until midnight, 1am. I get home at 9:30. Cydney: If I have breaks during rehearsal, I would do my homework then because my parents would yell at me. Anya: and we both take it as external PE. Cydney: Yeah. Dance is like our PE. Anya: So we don’t go to PE, we go to study hall. When do you get home? Anya: I get home at 9:30 Cydney: Depends on the day. Rehearsals is like 10 or 11. Despite the fact that it takes so long, why do you still keep dancing? Anya: It is like a thing. Rehearsals are fun when you see your friend. Cydney: For nutcrackers we have rehearsals, and it is not just our program, it is kids and teens from other studios, professional companies, all over the world, we get to see people we don’t get to see, and have parties. Anya: Its fun when you see your friends and hang out, friends we don’t get to see them everyday. I don’t see my dance friends everyday so I get to see them on rehearsal days. What’s the most challenging part of dance? Anya: The pain!

Cydney: Oh the pain. Anya: I guess there is always someone better, there is someone more flexible, who are more experienced, who can lift their legs up higher than you can, who can turn faster than you can. Cydney: I feel like at home, I always want to dance. I feel the need to grand Battement? down the stairs. Anya: I dance when I have free time, but its the day in and day out and we have to commit so much to dance. Cydney: Out studio, a lot of dancers ask their teachers, and the teachers tells them to do this and this. The hardest is to perfect it into what you want or what the teachers want. Anya: And also we have to consistently work on certain things and we have to work on that every day, but we don’t have dance everyday. And it is also when we dance and everybody’s watching you. Cydney: Oh the pressure! Especially when you’re in front of the audience, in the hot lights and the make up. It’s like you beat your face and its just like is my face going to melt off ? Am I looking like the wicked witch? Anya: Everybody judges you in dance. Cydney: Especially in dress rehearsals, your other ballet friends are watching you, and ‘She didn’t point her foot on that coupe, or she didn’t land properly on that turn.’ It is hard, we have to be in uniform with everybody else. Are there any stories you want to share? Anya: Well in dance, I know one of my friends and when a teachers turned around to turn on the music or something, they’ll always make silly faces or jump on top of each other. Since she[Cydney] is gymnast, so she does gymnast tricks when the teacher’s not watching. Cydney: When the teachers don’t watch, thats when everything real happens. When my teachers turns around in my one class, this boy feels the need to turn around, drop down and start twerking, until the teachers turn around. It’s always funny because I’m always like when’s the teacher’s going to turn around and one day catch this boy. I’ve been waiting for that day for a month and it really needs to happen sooner. Anya: My friends would make weird faces at each other and we’ll all start burst out laughing. It is very interesting, especially when we get bored and hot, and we don’t know what we’re going to do. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Anya: I think I’ll be dancing for the rest of my life, I am not sure if I’m going to become a professional dancer but it will always be a huge part of my life. Cydney: When I was 10, I used to be attached to dancing, and I wanted to be a professional dancer. My mom was like ‘Are you sure? You have to make money out of it’ and I’m like ok, never mind, so I gave up on that. Anya: Same. Cydney: My dance school has dance classes, and a lot of peoINTERVIEW 49

ple who go there are not professional dancers, and they don’t necessarily want to be professional dancer, but they just go to have fun, and a lot of them dance when they’re little, so I feel like I’ll take normal classes and keep up with my dance. Anya: Also the memories I think too. All the memories of my friends and my dance teachers, they’ll always be part of my life. I hate [my teacher] sometimes, but I also appreciate her a lot. How does dance affect your school life? Anya: For me, I sometimes have problems with time management. I feel like my work suffers because I have dance, and when I have a test after dance, I don’t typically do as well, because I am so invested in dance that I don’t want to let school affect my dance, and the same vice versa. Also it takes a lot of my time so I can’t see friends on certain days and do things on certain days, and it just takes up time with friends, but I don’t let it affect my school work as much. Cydney: On those non-dance days, I am supposed to do my homework, but instead I go on Youtube, and I watch people Photo by Maddalena Rona

dancing, and then I’ll spend one hour and a half trying to jump turn and all these things and I guess it pulls me away from school, but at the same time dance gives me a good break. My mom always said, as much as you love hanging out with friends in school, make sure you have friends out of school, because you’ll have someone else that’s there for you. Anya: If I ever have a problem that I can’t find my school friends about like a friend issue, I could always count on my dance friends, because they’ll always be there for me like 24/7. I could call them or face time and they’ll always be there. They have a different relation than my dance. What suggestion would you give aspiring dancers? Anya: Don’t give up. If you have a issue or in pain, don’t give up, keep trying, you’ll always get better. Even if you knock down, always keep trying. Also express yourself through dance. If you go through pain, show it in dance. If you are happy, express it through dance, because that’s how you become a better dancer. Don’t ever give up. Cydney: Don’t work until you’re done, work until you can’t get it wrong. •



THE SKYPE CALL rang twice before the pixelated faces of Jennifer Lafleur and Ross Partridge appeared on the screen of the thirteen inch Macbook Air. A large painting— which could only truly be described using the tagline, ‘modern art’— was mounted on the white wall behind their almost-as-white sofa. It was in the comfort of such a contemporary living space these actors relaxed; they were free from the contour of bronzer and highlighting powder, but not too far from Hollywood, of course, should they need to rush back to work. The now married couple met on the set of the play, Bash, in 2005, and then went on to work together in a small theater company. Later, they continued to collaborate on independent films with other writers and directors, like the Duplass brothers, before developing their own scripts. Partridge and Lafleur both have had experiences in a wide variety of films, whether they be smaller, independent films or the larger studio film. Partridge has previously directed, written, and starred in the film, Lamb. Recently, he even landed a role as Lonnie Byers, the ex-husband of Joyce Byers (played by Winona Ryder) in Netflix’s critically acclaimed series, Stranger Things. Lafleur has previously starred in The Midnight Swim, and appeared on the popular HBO show, Billions-- in addition to producing and acting in Lamb. Having experience both in independent and major motion pictures, Partridge and Lafleur find pros and cons in each method. “Indie films are made for love of making a movie and telling a story in a unique way,” explained Partridge. Lafleur nodded, her messy bun bouncing in approval. While preferring the “creative freedom” of indie movies, there are still several disadvantages that they both find hard to simply brush off.

“These movies are seen in a few movie theaters, possibly across the country, if that,” he admitted. In addition, these movies have lower budgets, and have trouble advertising. It’s worth it, though, as Lafleur added, “everyone has a lot of say in it.” Indie films can be the starting line of an actor’s career, or could be the beginning of a director’s Wikipedia page. Matthew McConaughey has had his first film role in Dazed and Confused, an independent film about teenagers in Texas on their last day of school. And, before the Hunger Games, Jennifer Lawrence first caught the attention of the audience in the indie movie, Winter’s Bone. There is an economic freedom presented in feature films that isn’t found in independent ones. “You get the opportunity to make more money,” Lafleur explained. And who wouldn’t want that However, both Partridge and Lafleur agree that there is a different limitation in feature films. “There are a lot more hands in the pot. Everybody wants to make sure it’s going to be successful.” With the higher stakes of these larger studio productions, directors tend to find themselves in “directorial handcuffs.” Partridge added, “they’re not letting filmmakers have as much control.” Along with the budget, the studio gives directors what they want to see in the film, with less experimentation allowed. But, unlike independent films, these productions can be seen in theaters all across the globe. So, which is better? Does the freedom of independent films outweigh the incredible budget of larger studio films? It’s tough to say, but I’m sure that we’ll see a little bit of both types of film from Partridge and Lafleur in the future, whether Season 2 of Stranger Things or another independent film. • INTERVIEW 51


Lhightning By AMANDA REDFERN-TAUBE Mommies used to say i was too small for my stomach When the fuel in my belly burned like lhightning As i ran as fast as the cheetah with fish in its mouth. Mommies used to gasp as i climbed my favorite trees Thick low branches naturally crafted for my satiation Moss rained on their worried faces when i slipped. my Mommy always told me i was beautiful No matter how many packages of Top Ramen i ate I haven’t eaten Top Ramen in almost two years. There is lhightning on My thighs. Am I pale and spotted like the young one in the mirror? i used to say “don’t worry, i’ve done this a hundred times, it didn’t hurt” I say it to Myself when I stare at this blotchy face My eyes look rain-streaked and stringy like lightning And it strikes Me to the bone

Photo by Luca Leung



SOPHISTICATED FOOD, minus the arrogance; carefully, but not meticulously, put together; simmering but not sizzling – the Red Cat perfectly balances between modern, almost avant-garde, tastes with cozy comfort foods and a sexy yet laid back ambiance. The restaurant means different things to each of its diners, its ambiguity and atmosphere perfectly embodied in its name. This ‘Red Cat’ alludes to nothing, yet it sets the scene for everything. Not allowing the food or the setting to be labeled as a single adjective, the decor also takes its cues from this ambiguity. One can not be entirely sure whether they have walked into a trendy bar with large edgy photographs and oriental lanterns adorning the ceiling, or a red-and-white paneled country barnhouse. Take your pick: hip farm to table eatery, sleek downtown dining or elegant restaurant. Talented Chef de Cuisine Michael Cooperman worked his way from line cook at the Bernadin to Executive SousChef for The Bar at the iconic institution that is The Modern to his coveted position at The Red Cat. He carefully designs seasonal menus that do not share the same eclectic sensation that the rest of the restaurant does. The menu is definitely an “œuvre,” – a significant piece of work – and an interesting one at that. The restaurant attempts to define fine American cuisine by reconditioning hometown favorites into jazzy dishes. The menu is inhabited by heartier entrees starring richer meats and heavier sauces – such as the chicken terrine encrusted by mustard and skirted by a mediterranean medley of tomatoes, capers and olives–and lighter, seasonally trendy, 54


and very Manhattan, entrees. A favorite is the hot green batter fried asparagus accompanied by a spicy primrose colored cream of mustard. Next, try the Slow Roasted Breast of Duck for the most interesting flavor pairing (think bundled up winter dish topped with summer freshness) or the Local Skate for a bursting with personality white fish which can safely be credited to its deep caramel-colored flowing brown butter vinaigrette and the roasted grapes. Skip the coffee and finish your meal with some of the most decadent desserts in town. Six months ago, the world’s most delicious dessert materialized itself on the table. A perfectly bombéed ivory dome of homemade ice cream presided over the deepest darkest half inch layer of chocolate delight to ever have been witnessed. Unfortunately, five and half months ago the semifreddo vanished from the menu never to be eaten again. But you’re in luck because I’ll let you in on a little secret, the Red Cat has something similar to a secret menu. If you’re a chocolate lover, order the semifreddo when you reserve your table (and yes, you have to reserve a table) and if you’re not a chocolate fan, order it anyways, and just devour the ice cream. Overall, the Red Cat is extremely appealing, the only downside that the menu tends to exude a slightly pompous attitude offering less than mouth-watering “I need to eat this” options. While the Atlantic Hake, Crispy Skin Salmon, even the Housemade Cecamariti, and almost every other option are delicious, they lack exciting, appetizing descriptions on the menu. Despite this perplexing issue, diners are always pleasantly surprised by their delicious decisions. •

Mary Jackson

REVEALING HIDDEN FIGURES By HANNAH ELLIS-GIBBS OVER 50 YEARS and the efforts of a daughter of a previous NASA lifer, Margot Lee Shetterly, is what it took for the stories of three black women to be released from behind barriers of gender and race. A leading actress in Hidden Figures, Octavia Spencer remarked, “I thought it was historical fiction. To find out it was actually true? It was about time to credit them for their contributions.” As I remember hearing someone say, “this film will make you proud to be black and it will tick you off.” The beautifully done film makes me wonder what other parts of my history, as a black woman, have been taken or kept secret. Once Hidden Figures begins, you feel transported to another time and place. It is set in 1961 during the space race, and NASA is trying to launch the first American into space. Many have heard the names Alan Shepard and John Glenn, but what about Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson or Dorothy Vaughn? The film features these three women, respectively played by Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monáe and Octavia Spencer, who were mathematicians at NASA. Working as “computers,” these three women were just a few out of several who were behind the calculations of astronaut John Glenn and his historic launch into orbit and subsequent safe landing. The film focuses on their professional obstacles and the unwavering friendship that pushes them past the sexism and imposed segregation of the time. It is incredibly inspiring to see a film with three strong and intelligent black women as the leads. Taraji P. Henson

takes on the role of the main character. Despite her previous role as Cookie Lyon on FOX’s Empire, a character known for being being headstrong, feisty and a bit crazy, the talented actress was able to switch things up to really become Katherine Johnson. Also featured in the film is Janelle Monáe. I love listening to her music, but she is rather new to the acting scene. However, her bubbly and energetic personality definitely made for a quality performance throughout the movie. I applaud Director Theodore Melfi’s ability to make this incredible story such a beautiful experience to watch. Melfi sat down with Director Anthony Hemingway to discuss ideas for the film and if you enjoyed the visuals in FX’s The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, then you will love the ones in Hidden Figures. Melfi’s cinematographer Mandy Walker captures scenes that feel genuine as they smoothly transition to and from actual video footage from the time period. Even from hair and makeup to clothing, costume designer Renee Ehrlich Kalfus made sure film looks and feels all ’60s. There were wonderfully color coordinated shots and the really strong scenes were tear jerkers for a few in the audience. Most powerful was a scene where Octavia Spencer and all of the “computers” march together in gratification after achieving promotion. Inspiring as well as heartfelt, this is a film you will learn something from. Everyone should see this film to “meet the women you don’t know, behind the mission you do.” • ARTS AND LETTERS 55

The Only Band That Ever Mattered Really By JACKSON EHRENWORTH

IN MARCH 1967, at the peak of the Pop art movement, The Velvet Underground released their first album, The Velvet Underground & Nico. Andy Warhol produced the album, although he mostly said, “that’s great,” and left the band to make their own decisions. Lou Reed was singer, songwriter, guitarist. John Cale played bass and viola, Sterling Morrison played guitar, and Maureen Tucker played drums. Rolling Stone Magazine called it “the most prophetic rock album ever made.” The cover was a Warhol sketch of a banana, which is why the album is often nicknamed “The Banana Album.” On the first release of the album, you could pull back the yellow banana and there was a flesh-colored banana beneath it. Like the songs inside, the cover is layered. You have to peel something back to get at what’s inside – and it takes work to open up this fruit, it doesn’t just happen. The Velvet Underground & Nico paints a landscape of pansexual desires, of drug addiction, of almost-fame. It was the time of the Factory, Andy Warhol’s studio and circle of ultra-cool marginalized personalities. The Velvet Underground practiced there, amidst the art production, super models and groupies. When the group formed, New York City was a major port of entry for heroin. Between 1964-67 there were 65,000 reported heroin users brought to hospitals in New York City. It was a city where you couldn’t park your car in the street without the stereo being stolen. 56


The Velvet Underground & Nico offers a view into this world. In “Heroin,” the first song on the B-side, Lou Reed contemplates his relationship with heroin the way another songwriter might reflect on a relationship with a girl. “I don’t know just where I’m going/ But I’m gonna try for the kingdom, if I can/ ‘Cause it makes me feel like I’m a man/ When I put a spike into my vein/ And I tell you things aren’t quite the same,” rasps Lou Reed. “Heroin” was released the same year as Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles. Where The Beatles suggest a hallucinogenic playground, a kind of drug party festival, though, Lou Reed suggests addiction, isolation, and despair. In “Candy Says” – a devastatingly intimate portrait of a transsexual who was transitioning at the Factory – you get a glimpse of something metaphysical and terribly real, happening in real time. Candy was Candy Darling, a real person at the Factory, whose jagged life as a transgender actress ends up as terrain in The Velvet Underground’s songs: “I’ve come to hate my body/ And all that it desires/ In this world.” There’s a haunting personal realism to the lyrics. The Beatles created fantasies. Dylan took up activism as a banner. Pitchfork editor-in-chief Ryan Schreiber describes Reed’s efforts as something less purposeful, a method through which he would “accidentally dispense life-changing lyrics through a drugged drawl.”

Some of The Velvet Underground songs do feel like a kind of call and response to other overwhelming musical forces, especially The Beatles. Check out The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun,” and Velvet Underground’s “Who Loves the Sun.” The first is a joyful ode to the possibility of love, while the second is about a man who can’t love anything. When The Velvet Underground took a sound or storyline from The Beatles they would rip the heart out of it, leaving behind something decidedly different. It’s the ‘something else’ that separates The Velvet Underground from all the other sixties bands. “Heroin,” captures this edge more than any other song. Reed sounds like he is on a grimy New York corner, trying to score, caught in something he can’t escape and doesn’t necessarily want to. “Heroin, be the death of me/ Heroin, it’s my wife and it’s my life/ Because a mainline into my vein/ Leads to a center in my head/ And then I’m better off than dead,” cries Reed. Behind him, Cale plays viola, at first slowly and then in a rush of fraying strings. It’s an ode, a paean, an elegy, an obituary.

It’s dangerous. It created an avant-garde in music the way Warhol did in art. This progressiveness was present in more than just their musc; when The Velvet Underground played at the Factory in 1966 and 1967, their shows were called ‘Exploding Plastic Inevitable.’ They created a sound and light show with Warhol videos that played behind them. With these shows, The Velvet Underground created the contemporary genre of the live show. It’s ironic that The Velvet Underground generated much of what we now think of as mainstream, such as live ‘productions.’ They were associated heavily with Art Rock – music that was also performance art. That came partially from their shows, with their filmic backgrounds and sound and light displays produced by Warhol. But it also comes from John Cale’s almost philharmonic approach to composition. He creates the kind of visual orchestration you might expect in a classical venue. You hear this most in “Venus In Furs” and “Heroin.” There’s a descent into darkness evoked in the viola. It’s the sound of tenement halls and spiders and needles.

The Velvet Underground and Nico with Andy Warhol, 1966

The Velvet Underground’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable at the Factory, 1966

The band itself claimed that they were moving away from Art Rock after their first album. They wanted to make it, to be a mainstream band. They desperately wanted to be popular. And then they produced songs like, “The Gift,” from their second album. It’s a story Lou Reed wrote for Delmore Schwartz’s creative writing class at Syracuse College. The story tells of a love affair turned into macabre manslaughter event. It was recorded as a spoken word performance with Cale telling the story in the left channel against an assault of musical distortions on the right channel. The song could only marginalize the Velvet Underground. It’s brilliant, but it demands a lot from its listeners. You listen to songs like, “Murder Mystery” or “The Gift” and the band’s profession that they weren’t trying to be alternative seems deluded. These spoken word performances could never be pop rock. They’re hard even as spoken word. “Murder Mystery,” on the third album, again presents two channels and gets even harder. In the left channel you hear Morrison with the spoken word and Tucker, the drummer, intoning a kind of chorus. In the right channel you hear Lou Reed and Yule. Reed performs an alternate spoken word and Yule sings a different chorus. At the end they combine in rhythmic iambic pentameter. It’s super geeky and crazily erudite and pure Art Rock, which the band said they weren’t making anymore. It’s their marginalization that later made Velvet Underground famous, the way only an alternative band can be fa58


mous. But they weren’t trying to be alternative. They wanted to make it. “We were the original alternative band,” Morrison said, “not because we wanted to be, but because we were shunned into it.” In “Sweet Jane,” on their fourth and final album, Reed sings, “and me, I’m in a rock and roll band… huh.” There’s something bitter about that huh. They wanted to make music and money. That “huh” seems to acknowledge that this is a shitty job, and that it may not last. It’s an enigmatic “huh.” You read what the band said about themselves, how they wanted to make it, and you want to ask, “what were you thinking” with these art songs. Then you listen to a song like, “After Hours,” and the sweet female voice of Maureen Tucker sings a plaintive melody that delights and haunts. But even then, the song remains in alternative. There’s nothing smooth about it. She’s off key. She hits the wrong notes. Her nervousness bleeds through the lyrics giving them a kind of emotional purity. “Guileless” is how Lou Reed described Tucker’s loneliness in this song. The song is actually better because it’s so rough and out of tune, but it would never have been played on mainstream radio. The Velvet Underground asked a lot of their listeners. It’s what originally made them so unpopular. The people who did listen to them, and who heard them, though, heard a lot. Brian Eno is reported to have said that, “only 30,000 people ever listened to the Velvet Underground, but every one of them started a band.” •


Lion Lets Out a Mighty Roar

Lion is a captivating film by first time feature director, Garth Davis, starring Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, and Nicole Kidman. By SYDNEY JUDGE

Photo by Sydney Judge

LION IS BASED upon the true story of Saroo Brierly’s life, as he told in his memoir, A Long Way Home. In the first half of the film, a five-year-old Saroo gets lost in the streets of Calcutta, thousands of kilometers from home. He survives many life threatening challenges before being taken into an orphanage, where he is eventually adopted by a couple in Australia. In the second half of the film, Saroo is about twenty years older and played by Dev Patel. He cannot wipe the slate of his early

childhood memories clean and sets out to find his lost family in India, hoping Google Earth will help him remember. The narrative takes the audience to the beginning of the story rather than using flashback techniques. The straight-on effect allows us to get inside the tumultuous and heartbreaking experience of a child left alone in a hectic and at times hostile environment, beautifully photographed by cinematographer Greig Fraser. Later in the movie, the audience is greeted with stunning visuals of landscapes in Australia, where Saroo finds a loving home. Indeed the strongest performance in the film is that of 5 year-old Sunny Pawar as Saroo. His performance in the film is understated, heartfelt, and nothing short of inspired and amazing. His innocence and determination set a tone for the film that carries through to the weaker second half in spite of a somewhat fragmented narrative there. The second half of the film revolves around Saroo when he is in his twenties, played by Dev Patel. It is here in the second half that the film breaks down somewhat as the story widens its scope to include a troubled adopted brother, a melodramatic love story, troubled parents, scenes of fitful starts in college and obscure unregistered events that are slightly out of place, but lead to Saroo’s longing to find his family and his home. There are slight errors in continuity: at times, the film neglects to let the audience know about changes in setting that may be confusing. The weakest performance in the film comes from Rooney Mara. Her lack of character and personality as Saroo’s girlfriend made it difficult to be invested in their relationship. Although I was skeptical about the direction the film was taking during this segment, Pawar’s performance during the first half is a driving factor that keeps the audience motivated and committed. It is certainly a great accomplishment to execute a narrative that is heartfelt and executed poignantly with flaws that seem minor overall. The payoff for the film really rests in the unexpected, very final moments in which Saroo’s efforts to find his family in India come to an end. Even though there are aspects that could have been better executed, I truly believe that Lion was the best film made during this awards season. Lion’s six Oscar nominations are well deserved. Lion will leave audiences in awe as they claw for tissues, without a dry eye in sight. The movie’s first half combined with its final scenes leave a lasting impression of the unconditional love that families of all kinds provide, and finding hope in times of hardship. • ARTS AND LETTERS 59






FOUR MONTHS WAS all it took for me to begin to manifest symptoms common amongst ‘stoked’ – to use the correct vernacular – individuals. How to describe sliding down the face of an unbroken wall of water, harnessing elemental power sent forth from weather disruptions thousands of miles away? Good luck. Equally as challenging to convey the elements – the march of clouds, the thump of raindrops, the hiss of offshore wind, and the rhythm of daily dusks and dawns. As a New Yorker, I acquired a disdain for the remote, for a slower pace. Surfing forced me to part with urban stimulation and reconcile with isolation. Before long, I became reliant on weekly trips to surf beaches outside of the city. I, that creature of habit notorious for remaining within a tenblock radius of my house. Friends and teachers remarked on my behavior, peculiar indeed. The ritual of traveling beyond comfort has been an inseparable facet of surf culture since its inception. The search for the perfect wave is far-reaching, extending into tropical and arctic climates alike, guided by a deep-rooted proprietary instinct to be alone with one of nature’s phenomena. As surfing drifts closer into public view, lineups becoming more crowded, the culture becoming more profit-driven, surfers have ventured further into unknown territory – getting lost, so to speak. Unlikely locations such as Iceland, Ireland, Norway, and Nova Scotia have emerged as surfable, odd for such places of fleeting light and massive sky where solitude chases you down. Thriving in the space between horizon and land, surfing has taken us to the peripheries, to the borders of place. Part of the thrill of bobbing in the lineup is placing myself in vast emptiness where the barriers between human and nature are much thinner. The first time I laid eyes on a "real" wave was a point break protected by imposing cliffs, breaking long and clean without interruption. I stood for a long time in silence trying to make sense of this thing I did not understand: the way the waves travelled across the estuary in endless bands and rolled for what looked like forever, the white crest gathering and fading, sprinting down the sand bar then backing off. There was no one out to grasp a sense of scale. But I knew I wanted to be a part of it, this giant playground of a thing. The connection was made. There is no ego in the water, no kudos to be won by acts of daring, nothing to validate the experience. And, yet, it is not lonely. It unlocks a sense of belonging. Biophilia: empathy with our surroundings, is a dwindling part of the human experience. Too often, we forget we are in a crawling, thriving, teeming ecosystem. We are as much a part of the environment as the rocks, waves, and gulls. Increasingly, I have been looking at what else connects me to the intertidal zone, and the sea itself. My interest has outgrown that one-dimensional swift journey to the best of waves, focusing instead on trying to better understand the environment that gives us surfing. In part, I am certain I will never really know it. Nature is not to be conquered, and surfing has no summit. I used to think that what caught and held me was an addiction to the activity itself. Over time, though, the action of surfing has retreated in focus. Everything else about the experience has grown in magnitude: the fringe landscape where the land meets the sea, the water itself, the light. Gradually what I have realized is that I am not addicted to surfing. Surfing is a convenient vessel that immerses me in nature. That is the goal and the journey now, to learn from our greatest teacher.





4 a.m. on a summer morning, I slowly drag myself out of bed realizing I have to go to work. I get dressed and think to myself “Is this job really worth it?” I get to the boat, and as always, the captain is up and waiting for me. He fires up the engines, and as I sluggishly untie the bowlines and spring lines, I think to myself – we’re off to get The Boss, who is never late, he's just not here yet. I climb up to the top of the tower enjoying the view and my last bit of freedom. Breathing in and out, we get to the extraction point. It’s about 5:30 a.m. and still no Boss. Nap time. An hour and a half pass and look who decides to show up. It's The Boss, his 3 boys and a nanny who definitely won’t last. Time to pretend I like him. I run down the dock and greet them with a “Good morning” and “great to see you again!” While I truly wish I never will. I help them on the boat, get ready to untie, and get the thumbs up from the Captain. Out to the canyons we go. 7:30 I climb up to the bridge hoping to get some shut eye, but “go prep the baits and rods” I'm told. I pull the eight rods out and put them in the rod holders, open the freezer and grab the half-frozen fish. Next the rigs, hook in the mouth out the back. Wrap the wire around. Salt them. Next. 8:30 we arrive. I hook the leaders up to the rods and drop them back in the spread one by one making sure they are all perfect. The crew roles out of the cabin refreshed and full of energy.

I have been up since 4 and all I want is sleep. They hit me with a thousand questions: “Where are we?” “What are we fishing for?” “How is the fishing here?” “Did we catch anything yet?” I respond with smart ass answers, which the Boss is not too pleased with to say the least. At about 9:30 a.m. I start dozing off on the mezzanine which doesn't last long. They decide to start blasting music….. They insist it draws the fish to the boat. Everything inside me wants to say otherwise, but I suck it up and say “If you insist.” Time goes by, music still blasting, no fish… At around 2:00 in the afternoon, they run out of energy to annoy me. The music magically stops and some fall asleep. A fish finally bites. I grab the rod and set the hook. I hand it to one of the boys who's ready in the fighting chair. Reel in the other lines. Everyone is up again. Great. We get the fish close. “What is that?” they say, followed directly by “kill it!” “If you insist,” I say to myself. I gaff him and yank him in the boat. They take their pics and quickly go back inside. The nanny comes out looking like he's about to yak. 3, 2, 1…. That'll be fun to clean off the side. The Boss comes out next and says “I want to go back now!” “Yes sir” 4:00 p.m. I start the clean up. Reel in the rods. Throw the baits. In we go. 5:00 and we drop them off. “Give the fish to the chef at the house,” we are told. They drive off. Thank god. We get back to the docks. I clean the fish. “Good job” I'm told by the Captain “See you again tomorrow.”




Art by Gia Donovan



EL DÍA PARECÍA interminable y Marco sabía que no iba a pasar el día. Dejó el teléfono, apagó su computadora y se levantó de su escritorio. Sus compañeros de trabajo le miraron mientras que se alejaba al baño despacio. Se lavó su cara con agua y se dirigió a la cocina para conseguir un café. A su consternación, no quedaba café, y tuvo que sustituir con agua del refrigerador. Regresó a su escritorio para trabajar. Todavía no tenía energía, pero fue a trabajar porque tenía una familia y necesitaba el dinero. Él no le gustaba su trabajo — quería trabajar en bienes raíces, pero estaba vendiendo un servicio de malware en lugar. Cada día, Marco iba a la oficina para llamar clientes y renovar sus suscripciones del servicio. Llamado por llamado el contemplaba su vida y se preguntaba si pondría ser un agente inmobiliario algún día. Y todos los días, después de su día largo, él iba al bar y después a su casa. Tenía la vida aburrida y normal en su pueblito en Nuevo México. Pero un día, algo cambió. Cuando se fue de la oficina, se deslizó en la acera, y encontró algo irregular. Cuando sus gafas se cayeron de su cara, pudo ver perfectamente. Cogió las gafas y las guardó en su bolsillo. Vio un billete de lotería en el suelo y fue a un mercado cercano. El boleto le dio 10.000 dólares en efectivo. Él fue al bar para celebrar, y había una cerveza esperándolo. En el bar notó un anuncio en la televisión para “Una nueva vida en Belice”. No le prestó atención al anuncio, pero por alguna razón no podía sacarlo de la cabeza. Sin embargo, el día cambió para mejor. Su vida cambia para mejor. Se fue a casa y su bebé estaba profundamente dormido, no llorando. Se sentó en el sofá y se durmió. Cuando despertó, comprobó sus bolsillos y el dinero no estaba. El bebé estaba llorando. Él estaba cansado. Se puso las gafas porque no podía ver. Fue a trabajar y parecia que todo el mundo lo engañó. Por otra vez, el reloj marcó más de 2 pm y no podía mantener los ojos abiertos. Fue a buscar café en la cocina. Sus compañeros de trabajo lo miraron mientras se arrastró a través de la oficina. Infortunadamente, no había más café. Por eso, tomó agua del refrigerador. No lo notó todavía, de hecho, no lo notó durante días después, pero lo que pasó cuando bebió esa agua no tuvo paralelo en el resto de su vida diaria. Se hizo feliz, afortunado y libre. Cuando se dio cuenta de eso, sacó todas las botellas de agua de la nevera y las guardó en su maletín. Él tuvo una decisión difícil de tomar. ¿Debería dejar a su familia y empezar una nueva vida como inmobiliario con el agua mágico, o debería quedarse con su familia y vivir su vida normal? Pensó en esto durante las próximas semanas, recogiendo más y más botellas de agua todos los días después del día. Un día, sin beber el agua, regresó a casa y encontró a los bebés durmiendo. Subió las escaleras y los bebés no estaban allí. Pero lo que encontró fue que su esposa le engañaba con su jefe. Eso fue todo, no más. Agarró su maleta llena de agua y se dirigió a Belice para comenzar su vida nueva. •




with blueberry curd buttercrea







1 cup sugar ¼ cup butter 2 cups frozen blueberries (reduces to approx 3/4 cup blueberry juice) 1 tbsp of water 1 tsp lime zest 2 eggs, beaten

1. In a saucepan (if you read Consider the Fork, you should know what this is) add 2 cups of berries with your water.

1. In a small saucepan combine blueberries and lemon juice.


3. After it has come to a boil (approx 10 min) remove from heat.

1 ½ cups fresh blueberries 2 tbsp lemon juice 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened (like, incredibly softened) ½ tsp salt 3 ½ cups confectioners (powdered) sugar (more if needed based on texture), sifted 1 tbsp heavy cream (more if needed based on texture) Fresh blueberries for decorating (optional)

cake 2 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour ½ tsp baking powder ½ tsp baking soda 1 tsp salt 4 large eggs 2 sticks unsalted butter (softened) 1 ¾ cups sugar 2 tsp vanilla extract (I like my cake more vanilla-ey, so I put an extra ½ tsp) 1 cup milk



2. Cook on medium/low heat until the juice has released from the berries. Stir and mash the berries a bit.

4. Strain berries through a mesh strainer. Reserve juice and discard the pulpy berry leftovers. You should be left with ¾ a cup of blueberry juice. If there is extra, save it! You can use it for when you’re decorating the cake. 5. In a double boiler whisk eggs, sugar, zest, and ¾ cup of blueberry juice together constantly. 6. Add 1 tbs of butter at a time, waiting for each tbs to melt before adding the next. 7. When the curd starts to thicken so it coats the back of a spoon, remove bowl from heat.

2. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly and mash the blueberries, until thickened (approx 10 min). 3. Remove from heat. 4. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a small bowl and push the juice through.



and fresh blueberry m frosting


cake 5. Allow mixture to cool.

1. Let your ingredients come to room temperature.

6. Once cooled, place the softened butter in a large bowl or in the body of a stand mixer. Beat butter on medium-high until completely smooth (approx 2 min).

2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

7. Add in ¼ cup of the blueberry juice and beat until completely combined (approx 1 min). Don’t worry if the mixture looks weird-- and trust me, it will.

4. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix in the salt.

8. Add in the confectioners sugar, one cup at a time, on low speed. 9. Add in the cream and salt, then beat on high-speed for 2 min. 10. Frost your cooled cake -- and you’re ready to serve!

TIP FOR IMPATIENT PEOPLE If you don’t want to wait a whole hour before frosting your cake, just put it in the fridge or freezer and check on it periodically. Make sure you don’t leave it in there too long though, or it’ll get dense.

3. Butter two 9-inch cake pans (it helps to have parchment paper cut to the size of your pan on the bottom for easy removal).

5. Cream the butter in a bowl with a mixer on low speed. 6. Add sugar and vanilla and beat on medium speed until fluffy, approx 10 min. 7. Add the eggs one at a time. Make sure each is fully incorporated before adding the next. Mix for 5 more minutes. 8. Alternate adding ¼ of the dry ingredients with ⅓ of the mild, making sure each is incorporated before adding the next part. 9. Pour the batter into the pans and put them into the oven. Tip: If you don’t want air bubbles, hit the bottom of each pan against your countertop a couple of times. 10. Bake for 30-35 mins. Start checking your cake at around 30 minutes so you don’t overbake it. Another tip: About 15 minutes in, turn your cake so that the portion facing you is rotated 180 degrees. This will help your cake bake evenly. 11. Cool for at least 10 mins in the pans, then cool for another hour on a wire rack before frosting.

Art by Elizabeth Acevedo


Humor / Headliners: The Stories We Couldn’t Publish by Antonio Rivoli

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 After doing God-knows-what since September, homework policy? Deans: There’s an attendance Student Council finally to “begin work.” policy? Parents: It’s a new school of thought! Waffle Truck: Mmmhm. After doing God-knows-what since BON APPÉTIT: “3 new varieties” of September, Student Council finally to “begin work.” brown-mush-in-a-cup dessert coming this spring. BON APPÉTIT: “3 new varieties” of brown-mushin-a-cup dessert coming this spring. Advanced Advanced Chemistry students discover new element cover new element causChemistry students discausing their downfall. Its symbol: C+ ing their downfall. Its symbol: C+ “Concerns with Recommendations” to be renamed “Let me tell you “Concerns with Recommendations” to be renamed my political views.” Waffle truck arrives, students now “Let me tell you my political views.” have way to legally bring waffles to school. Student takes “wrong turn” between buildings, arrives late with sushi platter. Mr. Waffle truck arrives, students now have way to legally Lu: “Triangles are circles, bring waffles to school. and circles are triangles.” Class: (ʘ_ʘ) Volunteers needed to begin planning for next year’s highly anStudent takes “wrong turn” between buildings, ticipated “Minute of Code!” “Avenues Students for arrives late with sushi platter. Trump” Facebook group adds new member, roster now up to 6. Famous musician dies, Mr. Misler cancels Mr. Lu: “Triangles are circles, and circles are class curriculum for the rest of the week. Freshtriangles.” Class: (ʘ_ʘ) men: New summer program announced, called “Learn how to speak at assembly.” Sophomores: Volunteers needed to begin planning for next year’s storm comin'. Juniors: ReHoney, you'ev got a big highly anticipated “Minute of Code!” new gym memberships for EC sheets. Seniors: Finally figure out how to speak at assembly, forget how “Avenues Students for Trump” Facebook group to pass classes. Alumni: Enjoy second “six month adds new member, roster now up to 6. reunion” this June. Teachers: There’s a homework policy? Deans: There’s an attendance policy? Famous musician dies, Mr. Misler cancels class Parents: It’s a new school of thought! Waffle Truck: curriculum for the rest of the week. Mmmhm. After doing God-knows-what since September, Student Council finally to “begin work.” Freshmen: New summer program announced called BON APPÉTIT: “3 new varieties” of brown-mush“Learn how to speak at assembly.” in-a-cup dessert coming this spring. Advanced Chemistry students discover new element causSophomores: Honey, you've got a big storm comin'. ing their downfall. Its symbol: C+ “Concerns with Recommendations” to be renamed “Let me tell you Juniors: Renew gym memberships for EC sheets. my political views.” Waffle truck arrives, students now have way to legally bring waffles to school. Seniors: Finally figure out how to speak at assembly, turn” between buildings, Student takes “wrong forget how to pass classes. arrives late with sushi platter. Mr. Lu: “Triangles are circles, and circles are triangles.” Class: (ʘ_ʘ) Alumni: Enjoy second “six month reunion” this June. begin planning for next Volunteers needed to year’s highly anticipated “Minute of Code!” “AveTeachers: There’s a homework policy? nues Students for Trump” Facebook group adds new member, roster now up to 6. Famous musician dies, Deans: There’s an attendance policy? Mr. Misler cancels class curriculum for the rest of the week. Freshmen: New summer program Parents: It’s a new school of thought! announced, called “Learn how to speak at assembly.” Sophomores: Honey, you'ev got a big storm Waffle Truck: Mmmhm. 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




Student Attends HIP Writing



‘School of New Thought’ Out of New Ideas



ROOM 912 – In a recent turn of events, a student attended HIP writing class today. The student, who wishes to remain anonymous, said “It was on a whim. I mean, I really couldn’t figure out what to do with myself after chemistry, and I just kind of found myself there.” “I never thought this day would come,” said junior Caleb Patterson, shaking his head. “I am astounded, even slightly offended that ____________ skipped his regularly scheduled nap time for HIP.” The student’s presence in class marked an all-time high in attendance for that particular section this year. •

CHELSEA, New York – In a shocking turn of events, the school has announced that there will be no more changes this year or for the foreseeable future. “Avenues has found a formula it actually likes – it just works” said a key investor. At a school-wide APA meeting open to all community members, head of school, Hamilton Clark, announced that not only has he decided to stay on for the 2017-2018 academic year, but the entire team would “stay the same.” He went on to elaborate, “The deans stay, the college office stays, the heads of school stay, even Mrs. McKissick stays!” HR is rolling out two-year contracts for all new hires and is offering similar contracts to the leadership team and faculty. The decision was met with mixed emotion. “We just don’t know what this means for our school,” said an anxious faculty member who has chosen to remain anonymous. “The promise of stability is... well... unsettling.” • HUMOR 73

Humor / Fake News



CHELSEA – A new study has shown that there are more pigeons using crosswalks in Chelsea than many people suspected. The study, conducted around several major streets over a period of one month, found that upward of 100 pigeons cross local-area roads at the crosswalk every day. A survey of 234 pedestrians in Chelsea found that the average respondent assumed that approximately 9 pigeons used the crosswalks in Chelsea each day. The results include the response of a local child, whose mother declined to give his name but who, when surveyed, enthusiastically exclaimed “700 pigeons!” before resuming his chase of three pigeons near 9th Avenue and 23rd Street. Harry Smith, 24, said, “Well, it’s an improvement over being crapped on when you’re trying to cross the road.” A 39-year-old respondent, who only gave his name as John, said, “I hope these disgusting sky mice fly into a turbine... but since they don’t jaywalk, I’ll give them a pass for now.” The majority of respondents supported pigeons’ rights to use the crosswalk, except for a family of six from Florida, who stated that back home in Tampa, “these pigeons would be gobbled up by gators and other critters.” When asked “why do you cross the road?,” a pigeon, who gave its name as Dove Hummingbird, said “It beats flying.” At 21st Street and 10th Avenue, a flock of five female pigeons, all named Tony, responded, “So we can get to the other side.” One elderly pigeon at 24th Street and 11th Avenue, whose name is unprintable because it consists of a series of squawks and trills, replied, “I’m old. My wings are basically useless.” Overall, apathy and laziness seem to be driving factors in pigeon’s use of crosswalks. • 74


Men in hazmat suits arrived outside of school on Wednesday.

Apple Revokes “Distinguished School” Award from Avenues By SYDNEY JUDGE

AVENUES – On Wednesday, several students witnessed a ceremony in which Apple employees dressed in hazmat suits removed the “Apple Distinguished School” banner from the third floor. The ceremony comes after years of unacknowledged concerns about technology. Ido Usma iPad, a junior at Avenues, spoke about the problems she has been experiencing with her technology: “I’ve been here since the first day, since then, there has not been a day in which I have not had to wait 10 minutes for my password to unlock the computer, or to stop everything to connect to Avenues Guest.” Several teachers also expressed their frustrations about the decline of functional technology at the school. Mr. Indiecoffeeshop created a list of reasons why paperback books are essential to use in conjunction with the seamless essay writing capabilities of computers. He wanted to share the list of reasons with his class via AirPlay in room 908, but the document suddenly appeared in room 909, according to freshman Hipsters R. O’Verrated III. When asked why the banner was taken down, Apple CEO Tim Cook responded, “You can’t give your students physical textbooks and novels in every single class and expect things to be okay. You can’t revamp the speakers in every classroom if no one knows how to use them. When life gets challenging, you don’t just quit out of Reflector 3 times and then replace it with some Black Market Airplay app. We can’t accompany you on your downward spiral anymore.” Meep Smith, a sophomore at Avenues, was devastated to see that the banner had been taken down: “It was all I had left of the hopes and dreams I formed way back at Information Night.” •

SPECIAL FEATURE: STUDENTS “THINK” BEFORE SENDING In a recent development, two Avenues students defied the odds when they thought twice before sending an “all school” email.







This month, you might be feeling flustered. Be sure to balance your social life and your work life. Make sure that you do not overload yourself with activities, and focus on the ones that you are passionate about.

This month, you might feel as though you have lost some connections with friends and family. Do not let change affect relationships with your loved ones. This month comes with many important decisions. Trust in yourself, but take time in weighing the options.

This month, change will affect your sense of control. Make sure that you take the time to stabilize yourself, and regain that sense of control. Stay positive, and have an open mind; this will open new doors for you.

Famous Geminis: Tupac, Carmelo Anthony, Naomi Campbell, Johnny Depp, Lucy Hale, MaryKate 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




This month, communication is key. Make sure to keep in touch with old friends, as this will lead to unique opportunities in the future. The work you do is conscientious and meticulous; take credit where credit is due.

This month, stay optimistic and do not lose faith. Remember that anything is possible. Be confident in your decisions and know thyself. You will find clarity in your long term goals.

This month, you will become aware of your failures, and most importantly, learn from them. Take full advantage of new opportunities that come your way, and take the time to pursue your passions.

Famous Virgos: Pippa Middleton, Liam Payne, Cameron Diaz, Keanu Reeves, Adam Sandler, Pink.

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






This month, you will take risks that pay off. Do not dwell on past decisions. You will benefit by taking chances, but make sure that the risks you take are in your best interests. Stay true to your ideals this month.

This month, you will have the desire to explore. Be sure to embrace your passion, while keeping yourself grounded. You may feel as if time slips away very quickly, so be ambitious with your goals and diligent in your work.

This month, take care of yourself. Your highly independent lifestyle can affect your ability to retain important relationships in your life. Acknowledge the role your friends and family have played in your life, and pay it forward.

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, Nina Dobrev

Famous Aquarii: Alicia Keys, Michael Jordan, Chris Rock, Ed Sheeran, Oprah Winfrey, Kelly Rowland




This month will be a time for expansion, both in mind and experience. Do not give up on your dreams. You will put the needs of yourself over the needs of others and will be rewarded for your hard work this month.

This month, keep persevering. Do not let small failures affect your path towards a long term goal. Stay strong in your beliefs and in yourself. Learn from your mistakes and be confident in yourself while you step into new opportunities and pathways. Famous Aries: Seth Rogen, Mandy Moore, Leona Lewis, Quentin Tarantino, Tommy Hilfiger, Celine Dion

This month, be indepedent. Make sure to take care of yourself as well as you take care of others. Get a headstart on your workload, stay focused, and dive deep into a subject that you are passionate about.

Famous Pisces: Jessica Biel, Adam Levine, Daniel Craig, Bruce Willis, Drew Barrymore, Eva Longoria

Famous Tauruses: Robert Pattinson, George Clooney, Bono, Megan Fox, Cate Blanchett, Jessica Alba


Art by Gia Donovan




across 7

Boxing with...




Spanish class pen pals


CSJ Advisor


Investment Club


Mastery Godfather


10/11 Grade meeting topic


WAM Meditation Guru


Popular HBO Show


Standardized testing company


Mathamagician Merriment and Invention The Revolution will not be televised Socioeconomic Equality Event Chemistry students need this... Latin language student Editor in Chief Statistics Queen Chinese New Year of the...

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20 Director of Community

Engagement and Inclusion


The Highliner Issue 8  
The Highliner Issue 8  

Winter 2017