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April 2, 2021

An open letter in response to the shootings in Atlanta By JASON ZHOU ’23 STAFF WRITER


The paintings above are a part of the collection of 17 donated by Michael Sweeney in the spring of 1923.

Lunch with a side of American history How century-old paintings have a home at The Hill


The Hill School is home to numerous pieces of history: one of the most notable being the collection of original paintings that hang along the interior perimeter of the Dining Hall. The dark wood paneling, high ceilings, and intimate seating convey an essence reminiscent of Hogwarts, yet amid such splendor, many remain oblivious to the slice of American history that lives upon the wooden walls. These images depict significant Americana events and officials, ranging from Ulysses S. Grant in combat to George Washington at Valley Forge and include scenes from four different wars: the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and World War I. These stately pieces of artwork were presented to Hill as a gift in the spring of 1923 by Michael Sweeney -- the same Sweeney to whom the upstairs gymnasium is dedicated. Sweeney was the head of the Department of Physical Education and played an integral role in creating one of the first Physical Education cur-

ricula ever. Additionally, he was well-respected as an athlete, once holding the World Record for his high jump of six feet and four inches. After retiring at the culmination of the 1922-23 school year, Sweeney presented The Hill School with a collection of 17 oil paintings. “He had purchased the paintings and given them to The Hill School in gratitude for his years of service,” said Head of Archives Louis Jeffries. “The Hill has done great things for me — I should like to do something for The Hill,” stated Sweeney in a March 1947 Hill News article describing his generous gift to the school. Painted by Newell Convers Wyeth, these 17 images are the original illustrations of the book, “The Poems of American Patriotism,” edited by Brander Matthews and published by Charles Scribner’s and Sons on Christmas Day 1922. The paintings include scenes from four wars: the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and World War I. At the time, Wyeth was a well-known painter, who illustrated books such as “Treasure Island,”

“Robin Hood,” and “King Arthur,” as well as commissioning murals for buildings like The New York City Metlife Insurance building and the State Capitol in Missouri. Native to Needham, Massachusetts, N.C. Wyeth was born into a family of soon-to-become renowned artists, being the younger brother to Andrew Wyeth, a well-respected visual artist. In his early adult years, N.C. was selected by distinguished painter Howard Pyle, along with other promising artists, to participate in his art summer school in Wilmington, Del. “With that foundation, he headed out on his own. Howard Pyle had a lot of connections with commercial aspects, so he helped Wyeth begin his career by tapping into his commercial art clients,” said Senior Master of the Arts Ellen Nelson. Although he aspired to be a fine artist, Wyeth pursued commercial art through illustrations of novels and history books, in hopes of monetarily providing for his family. At the end of World War II, when American patriotism was running high, editor Brander Matthews compiled

poems that embraced true Americana nature and pride, creating “The Poems of American Patriotism.” Wyeth had worked with the book’s publisher, Scribner’s and Sons, before, illustrating books like “Black Arrow,” “Scottish Chiefs,” and “Kidnapped.” The images were originally painted on the 30 x 40 inch canvases now located in the Dining Hall and then shrunken to be used for the text. Although there is little about how Sweeney received word of the possibility of purchasing the art, many suspect it was through then Hill headmaster Boyd Edwards. Like Wyeth, Edwards had connections with the University of Delaware in Wilmington, and thus learned that the paintings were able to be purchased. He then, most likely, communicated this with Sweeney. Each painting was bought at about $1,000 -- a much lower price than valued. Before Sweeney’s offer, however, Wyeth refused to sell this patriotic collection, even after being offered considerable amounts of money. Continued on Page D6

Council works towards its twelfth year of community grants By SARAH JIANG ’22 STAFF WRITER

Hill, like many other boarding schools, can be a very sheltered community. Especially with the global pandemic this year, it has become easier to forget the world beyond the campus walls and easier to forget the local community that isn’t protected within the Hill bubble. The Hill School Student Philanthropy Council consists of 12 students across

Students say the current nature of demerits has its drawbacks

the fourth, fifth and sixth forms. The group receives $16,000 from the Frank family each year, and this money is then distributed to local nonprofit organizations across Pottstown. Since its establishment in 2008, the council has received applications from NGOs such as Pottstown Cluster, Salvation Army, Meals on Wheels and more. Amy Lehman, faculty adviser to the Student Philanthropy Council, meets weekly with the council, speaks to Pottstown NGO leaders, and supports the

council through every avenue. Through the grant process, everyone on the council gets a one-of-a-kind opportunity to interact, learn and understand the meaning of philanthropy amongst the Pottstown community. Much like the students, local organizations have had great experiences working with the SPC. Wendy Egolf, from the Salvation Army, has worked with the council members in developing a better environment in their homeless shelters.

“We enjoy the interaction and genuine concern the Hill School students have for the community. The students that visited us and toured our family shelter were asking great questions about what we do and how we assist families to become independent and find permanent housing,” Egolf said.

Residents reflect on states loosening COVID-19 restrictions

Student artists take a stand over H-Term

Hidden places: liminal spaces on Hill’s campus



Continued on Page B3

Despite the nefarious murder of eight Asian Americans in Atlanta on March 16, people simply generalize these types of events into the presence of xenophobic discriminations and attacks. Xenophobia cannot be used to excuse racism. It is important to recognize that this event is more than a xenophobic hate crime or a white supremacist terrorism. On the American racial spectrum, Asian Americans are always in that shallow grey area. American kids are often subjected to stereotypes and asked, “Where are you actually from?”, while being perceived as people from wealthy households with sets of privileges who “don’t understand the struggle of racism.” We were never quiet, but the social norm tends to overlook our voices. When people start to normalize racist remarks, for example, assuming all Asian students are “too test-oriented” or saying that Asians are always the quiet kids and they can’t be athletes, it is hard for us to make a change and be heard. In the Chinese culture, we were taught to keep our heads down when encountering hardship and injustice. We kept humbling ourselves because, in our culture, harmony is the most precious thing. Before I came to the States, my grandparents warned me that “people always shoot the bird leading in the front,” and said that I should stay humble and avoid sharing opinions on sensitive topics. However, I cannot ignore the tears, anger, and scars that Asian Americans of this generation are suffering. We are tired of correcting others who call us by the wrong names. We are tired of hearing false blame for the virus ringing in our ears every day. We are tired of the deliberate sabotage to our businesses when we are trying to make a living. We are tired of the bloodshed and violence and the absurd excuses behind it. We are tired of blatant racism toward us and racist people who type on keyboards claiming their comments are not racist. As Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, an American author and activist said, “One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an antiracist. There is no in-between safe space of ‘not racist.’” This is the time to call out racism when we see it; to educate people on cultural awareness so that they are respectful to different cultures; to become an anti-racist; and to make our world a peaceful place without hatred, as it should be. The ultimate measure of a person is not in the moments of comfort one has had but in the times of challenge and controversy. Whether to overcome adversity in this distorted society and make an impact in the name of our skin and culture, the choice is in our hands.

After months of restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, some states decided to begin reopening in March, including West Virginia, Texas and Alabama. As vaccination accelerates in West Virginia, Alabama and Texas, the states will relinquish the remaining guidelines.




A2 | Campus News


Students say the current nature of demerits has its drawbacks By ALEKSANDR GLAMAZDIN ’22 STAFF WRITER

The Hill School employs a demerit system as its principal disciplinary enforcement mechanism. Demerits are issued when a student fails to meet their prescribed school responsibilities, such as dress code expectations, proper class attendance and general standards of respect. Students who exceed the form-specific demerit limit on numerous occasions can be subject to detention, restriction, suspension or a disciplinary hearing. This is a system that many avoid entirely, with 180 in-person students this school year receiving no demerits. Of those who do interact with the system, both recipients and enforcers have mixed opinions about its effectiveness. The Deans’ Office is quite clear about their view of the system -- it is in place for minor mistakes, and its purpose is not the tyranny of discipline. “The school holds students to a high standard because we aspirationally believe that the society should hold people to high standards,” Dean of Students Ari Baum said. He explained that the school believes in something bigger -- demerits and discipline are not the school’s focus -- and the rules in place are just the minimum expectation, the bar. Baum elaborated, “The same way that ‘thou shall not kill’ is not the highest bar of the society, we want our students to be engaged in

the community beyond not getting demerits.” One 5th former, who asked to remain anonymous, has received dozens of demerits each year, often reaching just below the maximum amount allowed before a detention is given. When asked why he gets so many demerits, the student said, “I get them not because I want them, but because the consequences aren’t too harsh, in my opinion.” The student said that the system helps to a certain extent but is not perfect as students still view demerits as a “currency.” “I also get demerits sometimes because I think it is worth getting the demerit to get a breakfast sandwich from the Dining Hall on important days in which I need to properly function,” he said, explaining why he is willing to incur demerits for being late to class. THN interviewed six boarding prefects, and each noted in one way or another that demerits are used as a “currency.” One of them, JuanBer Hinostroza ’21, shared his unique perspective as a prefect who supervises 5th and 6th form boys: “I don’t give demerits. When kids are doing something dumb, they know that it is wrong. You just have to talk to them to prevent future wrongdoings.” Hinostroza still believes that the demerit has its merit: “It is still useful. It is like shock therapy, and it gets a quick reaction. But the role of a prefect or any



Hill faculty receive vaccinations By JENNIE KI ’23 & DIEMMY DANG ’24 STAFF WRITERS

The past few weeks have been an influx of COVID-19 related news as Pennsylvania moves through Phase One of its vaccine distribution. During this period, Pennsylvania residents who are considered high-risk for contracting the coronavirus, such as healthcare workers and those with underlying medical conditions, are eligible to receive the vaccine. However, with President Joe Biden announcing a goal to have all teachers vaccinated by March 31, Hill has been able to arrange for a large number of its own faculty to get vaccinated. “We have 201 [Hill employees] vaccinated right now,” said Heather Gelting, Hill’s human resources director on March 26. On March 29, Gelting’s Hill Benefits newsletter issued an update reporting that 96% of faculty and 77% of all employees are fully or partially vaccinated and that the school is working with Rite Aid to schedule an on-campus vaccine clinic with Pfizer, which requires two doses separated by 21 days. Faculty members are “strongly encouraged” to get vaccinated, and the newsletter states the school is “hoping we may even be able to extend vaccination to the students in the next couple of weeks.” Gelting organized the faculty vaccinations alongside Dr. Kirsten Spencer, Hill’s medical director. Gelting explained that doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine were given directly to Intermediate Units, which are organizations formed by the Pennsylvania state

legislature to provide support for local schools. County-level agencies were then responsible for working with schools to administer the vaccines to teachers. On March 16, a group of 70 Hill faculty were able to be vaccinated through the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit in Norristown. Gelting added that, since then, many more have been able to receive their vaccinations, saying that the majority of faculty who wanted to get vaccinated were able to. Associate Headmaster Sylvia Rodriguez Vargas was one of the people to participate in Hill’s first round of vaccinations. “The vaccination was under 30 minutes after arriving and included a 15-minute wait in the reception area after the administration of the vaccine to ensure no negative side effects,” Vargas reported. She also said that she felt strong headaches and body aches for about two days after receiving her vaccine. Although Hill anticipates that more faculty members will be vaccinated by early April, it is still unclear when the vaccine will be available to students. With much of the student body still remaining unvaccinated, it is expected that COVID-19 restrictions will remain for the time being. “They are social distancing in the same way we always have — with masks and six feet or more spacing. We are also keeping the same schedule for the spring term, with a four-class rotation,” wrote Academic Dean Katy Hudak. Though change will not be im-

Board unanimously votes in favor of a new five-year contract for Headmaster Zack Lehman By JERRY LI ’22

student leader at the school is not disciplinary proctorship. We are a Family Boarding School, and a prefect is like a big brother or sister, who should lead by example. Of course, this doesn’t mean that sometimes you have to punch the little sibling for better understanding -- and that is where demerits come in handy.” Head Prefect Kiki Lange ‘21 expressed a sentiment similar to Hinostroza, noting, “I think demerits can be necessary for some students, but I believe mutual respect and an open conversation is a better way to get people to try to follow the rules.” Despite the shortcomings of the demerit system, it remains a useful measure to ensure that Hill students uphold the school’s expectations and is “intended for mistakes and should not be used to avoid community commitments,” as the Student Handbook reads.

Hill faculty members pose with their vaccination cards. PHOTO COURTESY OF HEATHER GELTING

mediate, Hill faculty getting vaccinated is a large step in the right direction, one that will hopefully lead to an improvement in campus health and eventual easing of COVID-19-related restrictions. “Vaccinations are vital to ending this pandemic. As more faculty are vaccinated, the risk to our older community members declines. We will continue to study how we might be able to ease some mitigation measures over time as our campus community is protected more widely through vaccination,” Dr. Spencer said. In the meantime, Headmaster Zack Lehman encourages students and the community to continue to adhere to health and safety protocols on campus. “Faculty members are figuring out the best resolution to create a safe environment within the school, and students should acknowledge that safety is their top priority,” Lehman wrote in an email.

APRIL 2, 2021

Zack Lehman, the current headmaster, began his tenure at Hill in 2012 and is set to extend his time after negotiations with the Board of Trustees. The new five-year contract is a notable change from the two-year renewable contracts he had previously been on, signaling a long-term commitment by Lehman and the school. From interviewing Sylvia Rodríguez Vargas, the associate headmaster; Preston Athey, the chairman of the Board of Trustees; and Lehman himself, it is clear that the school has seen tangible progress under Lehman’s leadership and the board and administration expects similar accomplishments through 2026. Although Rodríguez Vargas joined the Hill community less than a year ago, she recognizes that Lehman has gone “above and beyond” to meet the needs of the community this past year under the most “unusual and unprecedented circumstances.” Rodriguez Vargas said she is “pleased to have the opportunity to serve alongside him.” Unlike Rodríguez Vargas, Athey has witnessed the entirety of Lehman’s tenure at Hill, having joined the Board in 2002 and served as its chairman since 2014. Athey described the new contract as a two-way street which assures Lehman that the school is committed to his service and vice versa. “We feel it is really good for both parties,” Athey stated in an email. The idea of a new long-term contract originated in 2019. Following thorough research of other schools’ contracting practices, evaluation of the risks associated with a long-term commitment, and Lehman’s personal expectations from the position, the entire board voted unanimously to implement the new contract last fall. When he first took the job, Lehman told the board he would “love to be here for at least 10 years.” Now entering his ninth, he believes that the contract provides stability for the school, faculty, and students as well as the trajectory of growth and improvement, as there is “still a lot to do.” One of his proudest achievements at the school is in the ongoing struggle of navigating Hill through a pandemic. Lehman noted that the school has done as well -- “if not better” -- than any other school in a circumstance that he feels “demands strong leadership, great collaboration and teamwork.” In terms of his other achievements, Lehman thinks they are assessed better in the long run. He cited the growth of the school’s national and international reputation, which he credits to the “caliber of our program -- both academic and co-curricular” and “the strength of our student body

and our faculty.” Lehman has also led the way for many changes to the school’s campus. In his tenure, such notable projects as the renovation of the Dining Hall and the construction of the Shirley Quadrivium were completed, and the Far Fields, faculty housing and the school’s infrastructure all had improvements.These are of particular priority to Lehman, as he believes it is “important for the school’s long-term health.” When asked about the school’s future, Lehman responded, “We have a lot of work to do to continue to grow and update our curriculum and our academic program.” He noted that the change in academics has been particularly fast due to the pandemic, as the pandemic has led to the exploration of new learning styles and virtual learning. Lehman said he has learned a lot from the pandemic and has identified “several silver linings” that “we would like to continue to implement.” One of them is H-term. He thinks there should be an “opportunity for students to take unique courses or explore their own passions through independent studies or internships.” The school is looking at a way to incorporate such opportunities in future years, and modifications to the calendar and the schedule, as seen in the 2020-21 academic year, are possible. According to Lehman, his role has always meant that he is an “ambassador and a cheerleader of the school,” working to attract the best students and faculty, as well as new resources for the school, and this role has not changed despite the pandemic. Additionally, as schools and organizations throughout the United States strive to embrace social awareness, Lehman has become heavily committed to the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force. He said that the school’s curriculum will continue to evolve to include issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. “We’ve been aggressive in trying to retain and recruit more faculty members from diverse backgrounds,” Lehman said, as the school aims to hire more faculty and have “more diversity than ever before.” For Lehman, this contract extension was a “huge vote of confidence.” As he enters into the next five years of his time at Hill, he wants faculty and students to know that he is “humbled” by the school’s commitment and hopes that each student continues to enjoy their experience at The Hill School. After all, he said, the whole community is “working towards a common goal.” Andres Arevalo ’22 contributed to this report.

Headmaster Zack Lehman recently received a five-year contract extension.



APRIL 2, 2021

The Hill News

B3 | Local News

Residents reflect on states loosening COVID-19 restrictions By MONIYAH PERSON-HENDERSON ’23 STAFF WRITER

After months of restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, some states decided to begin reopening in March, including West Virginia, Texas and Alabama. The decision to reopen sparked some skepticism and President Joseph Biden discouraged states from loosening restrictions, as more residents needed to have safe access to a vaccine. Today, as vaccination is still in progress, early reopenings have produced mixed results. According to gov.texas.gov, on March 2, the Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, lifted the mask mandate, marking the end of COVID restrictions in the state. “With the medical advancements of vaccines and antibody therapeutic drugs, Texas now has the tools to protect Texans from the virus,” Gov. Abbott stated in his announcement. Alex Henderson, the reporter’s uncle from Dallas, gave insight into the state’s loosening restrictions: “Many people are still wearing masks; I am actually at the gym at the moment, and most people have masks. My wife and I went to Walmart, and we had our masks on and will continue to.” A Major League Baseball team, the Tex-

as Rangers, is allowing total capacity at the Globe Life Field. “Baseball teams are sold out, and I am worried people are going to get COVID again. It is just too early to open back up completely, in my opinion,” Henderson said. As of March 29, Texas has recorded a total of 2.78 million cases and 48,290 deaths since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 3,293 newly recorded cases. 37.74% of the state’s population has been vaccinated, according to Our World in Data. Another state that reopened, on March 6, is West Virginia. The state passed its 1,896 peak daily cases in the beginning of January. Gov. Jim Justice signed a multitude of executive orders on March 5 that range from allowing bars and restaurants to operate at maximum capacity to removing all restrictions on social gatherings. Cordelia Davies ‘23, who lives in West Virginia with her mother, gave her input on the situation. “It is amazing for people in the state. Students are going to be able to go hybrid again, which is exciting. It means a great deal to many of them. Believe it or not, people in West Virginia handle COVID

States pictured in red are among those beginning to ease COVID-19 restrictions. ILLUSTRATION BY CLAIRE HARTEMINK ’21

well, and there is no reason to be fearful.” Noah Macielag ‘23, who has relatives in the state, also shared his perspective. “West Virginia has a low population, so they are progressing compared to other states with higher populations. Cases have been decreasing, and vaccines are a significant beginning for them. It is unfortunate how, when my family leaves the state, they have to go back into quarantine. They all have lives and things to do such as working and school, so I am happy they do not have to deal with that any-

COVID-19 strikes during H-Term By AIDAN MA ’23 STAFF WRITER

Over H-Term, students were given the freedom to do what they saw fit with their time away from campus, whether that be pursuing independent projects, participating in H-term exclusive courses, or joining internships to further their experience in the workplace. Along with this freedom, they were also offered the opportunity to go back home. Traveling on planes, buses, and cars, most Hill students went back to their respective states and countries, leaving the safety of the campus behind for three months. With the sheer amount of students going back to a much less regulated environment compared to the Hill campus, some were unsurprisingly diagnosed with COVID-19. For people who haven’t been in close proximity to its effects, it might seem like a distant issue — something similar to the annual flu. However, for those who were infected by the virus, experiences varied. No longer sheltered by the Hill School’s bubble, many members of the community met COVID-19 face-to-face. Protocol for a positive test on campus was relatively straightforward: an immediate quarantine with your flock until a second test comes back negative. But what about when students were off campus? Zaara Sahgal, a fourth former who caught the coronavirus at the beginning of H-Term in New York City, offered some

Council works towards its twelfth year of community grants Continued from Page A1

insight into what her ordeal was like. “With COVID, medication doesn’t work, so it takes so much energy out of you,” Sahgal said. “It was during online school and I was still able to attend classes, so my learning wasn’t affected too much, but it was still difficult.” Kevin Tkachuk, an instructor of History and Social Sciences, contracted COVID-19 near the end of in-person classes in December and had persisting symptoms for almost two months. “I had pretty nasty symptoms, all the things you read about, loss of smell and taste,” Mr. Tkachuk said. “I really struggled to talk, I lost my voice for a while. Just


general lethargy, I didn’t feel great for a long time unfortunately … You only technically have COVID for a short window, like 14 days, if that even, but then for some people, it takes a lot longer to get over the symptoms.” George Burkov, a fourth former who tested positive near the end of spring break while in New York but was asymptomatic, shed light on his experience. “Since I was completely asymptomatic, I wasn’t too worried … I just quarantined myself for about 10 days, and waited until I got my negative test,” he said. “It was annoying, but manageable.”

Sam Beckett ’22 and his family, who live in Harleysville, Pa., experienced a wave of COVID-19 infections in early January.

My mom was the first to contract the virus in my family, and she also had it worse than the rest of us. While this wasn’t necessarily a surprise, it is comforting to state that besides a short fever, mild body aches, and the occasional headache, she experienced a fast recovery and admitted that it was not as bad as she was expecting and has had worse cases of the flu. My younger brothers Ben and Jon were next to contract the vi-

more.” By March 29, the state had administered vaccines to 47% of its residents. West Virginia has seen a 38% increase in its COVID cases and a 22% increase in hospitalizations in the past 14 days. On March 28, 297 new cases were discovered, adding to the total of 140,991 cases recorded since the beginning of the pandemic. On March 4 Alabama Governor Kay Ivey issued a new “Safer at Home” order, loosening some restrictions. The new COVID-19 regime mostly affects visitation guidelines for hospitals, nurs-

rus, and, besides testing positive, had no other symptoms to report and were able to isolate, continue to work out, and live life normally throughout the duration of the disease. Finally, just when it seemed as though my sister Hannah and I were in the clear, we both came down with a mild fever. We both experienced similar symptoms, a short-lived fever and moderate headaches, and we were back in

our home gym completely recovered just four days after coming down with the initial symptoms. Even more peculiar was the fact that my dad never came down with it despite being around us all the time without a mask. Now that it is over we are extremely relieved that we no longer have to worry and can carry out our lives as normal as permitted. —Sam Beckett ’22

ing homes and senior citizen centers. Restaurants, breweries and bars now do not have to limit seating per table but must ensure six feet of distance between the tables and proper sanitation. V. Elsworth from Birmingham, Alabama, a family friend of the reporter, said, “April 9 is when the governor is going to lift the mask mandate. With that being said, some cities still may require residents to wear masks. Hospitalization is going down, so that is a plus! Overall, things are looking much better!” The state has seen a decrease of 24% in new cases this past week, with a weekly average of 419 cases a day. As of March 29, 1.67 million people in Alabama have been vaccinated, which constitutes 34% of the state’s population. As vaccination accelerates in West Virginia, Alabama and Texas, the states will relinquish the remaining guidelines. Alabama’s “Safer at Home” order expires on April 9; West Virginia continues to loosen COVID requirements -- the state just opened high schools and allowed music performances on March 25 -- and Texas continues to substitute more restrictions with recommendations.

Kathryn Maleney, from Good Samaritan Services, was able to provide aid to seniors all around Pottstown with the grant money from the SPC. “In that moment, I felt as though the generations had connected on a meaningful level,” Maleney said. She also recalled one of her favorite moments with the council: “We enjoyed meeting with the SPC representatives and sharing the plight of too many seniors. Our eyes were opened by questions asked and I believe [the council’s] eyes were opened as well by our answers. Truly, every student we met embodied the spirit of the Student Philanthropy Council. Students are learning how philanthropy works.” Maleney continued to explain the big picture of the Student Philanthropy Council’s work in Pottstown. “The relationship between The Hill School and the Pottstown community is impacted in a most positive way,” she said. Student Philanthropy Council President and Hill News Local News Editor Philippe Jin ’21 explained what the council is doing currently. “We’re currently in the part of

the year where we discuss grants and make final decisions about which grants receive the money. We have already followed up and spoken with all the NGO leaders that submitted a grant this year, and that was an amazing experience,” Jin said. As a senior, Jin also talked about his experience on the council. “It’s been an amazing three years on the council. There truly is no other activity at Hill like the Student Philanthropy Council, and it’s been amazing for me to reach out to the local community and connect with Pottstown on a deeper level,” he said. The council will be making final decisions about the grants in the coming weeks. Hill’s student philanthropy council is entering its twelfth consecutive year. Especially in the trying times of the pandemic, the council has been working to continue to give back to the Pottstown district. The SPC has been a bridge into the community beyond Hill and an opportunity to give back, and it is currently working on finalizing another year of positive impact.

Student Philanthropy Council meets via Zoom to discuss community grants. PHOTO COURTESY OF AMY WINTER


C5 | Opinion

The Hill News

APRIL 2, 2021

Sixth formers express mixed feelings about end-of-year send-off I think the kids who live in the area or choose to stay nearby should be able to come to commencement because it’s a favorite tradition to see your friends graduate. —Brendan Grable ’21

I think it’s a really good move to send underformers home so that it’ll make up for some of the things that the seniors have missed. I’m really looking forward to commencement. —Erik Nordquist ’21

I think it was really considerate of the school to figure out plans for us to have the most normal senior experience possible. —Zoya Holin ’21

I think it’s nice to have the sixth form events that we would normally have, but it also sucks that there’s not as much excitement as there was in past years because the rest of the school is not going to be here. Alumni can’t come back, so it’s going to be very watered down … but it’s much better than nothing, and it totally beats being on Zoom.


Despite the challenges and uncertainty presented to the Hill community within the last year, the announcement Headmaster Zack Lehman made about 6th form commencement plans seems to have preserved hope for some, and a well-deserved celebration for the Hill graduating Class of 2021 is on the horizon. The current plan, though it is surely susceptible to change, is for all underformers, both day students and boarders, to depart campus early for summer break on Wednesday, May 26. The 6th form class, however, will remain on campus for the preceding days, leading up to their Baccalaureate and Commencement, which are scheduled to take place in-person. In his written address to the school, Lehman stated “we intend for the sixth form to enjoy many of traditional closing events in a normal fashion such as Karaoke Night, the Sixth Form Retreat, Sixth Form Dance, Legacy Tea, the Alumni Induction Brunch, and Class Day Awards between Wednesday, May 26 and Saturday, May 29.” As the news came out, 6th formers expressed different opinions on the closing plans –– some were grateful for the opportunity to experience these traditions in-person alongside their form, while others were upset about the decision to send the underclassmen home.

I think it’s cool that the whole form is going to be together for three whole days and doing things that we presumed weren’t going to happen like the sixth form dance and the retreat. Personally, I think it will be fun for me because I live in Dutch Village and I haven’t had the chance to live with other people in my form. —Kunal Patel ’21

I feel hopeful about graduation. I know that there’s not a lot that can be done, but I’m happy that at least parents will be able to come and see us graduate, and whatever form of graduation we will have, I’ll take it. —Malika Saluja ’21

—Julia Weiss ’21

In my point of view, graduation is equally as symbolic for the sixth form class as it is for the underformers and for the family of the students as it is a stepping stone, a time to say to goodbye, and a moment to appreciate your time at Hill. I think under the circumstances Hill is doing the best they can, but I’m upset that my final moments have culminated to singularly jumping in the Dell without some of the other rites of passage. —Ellinor Lagor ’21

I am fortunate that we’re all here in the first place, and I’m excited to graduate with the people that I’ve been with for the past four years. —Tanner Eccleston ’21

It sucks having friends who I’ve known for three years not being able to come to my graduation. —Michael Soland ’21

As a new sixth former who hasn’t gotten to spend a lot of time at Hill with the sixth form class, I think it will be a good opportunity to connect with everyone. —Charlie Gardephile ’21

I’m happy that we can spend time together as a form. I think we’ve unfortunately been really distanced as a class due to the circumstances of the past year. It’s unfortunate that underformers can’t be here but I’m grateful that we can to have one last opportunity to bond. —Sean Parker ’21

I feel like as a form we have lost so much of the “Hill” experience due to COVID, and I am glad that Hill has taken the steps to ensure that we get to have the most important traditions. Although it won’t be the same as in years past, it is definitely better than nothing. —Kirsten Lange ’21

The lack of affordable housing Gen-zines seize the market stems from single-family zoning By PORTIA SOCKEL ’22


One of the most significant challenges for today’s youth is sky-high housing prices. According to Realtor.com, by December 2020, the median single-family house price had rocketed to $340,000 a house, representing an incredible year-to-year increase of 13.4%. For those starting families, youth, and others looking to enter the housing market, things have rarely been more difficult. Despite all of this, there seems to be no good way to make housing more affordable. However, what most do not realize is that housing prices are artificially propped up. In some major cities such as San Francisco, around 75% of the city bounds are restricted to single-family homes. When you look at the Bay Area, the numbers are even worse: 82% of all residential zoning is dedicated to single-family homes. By heavily constraining the development of duplexes, apartments, and other more efficient forms of housing, as well as requiring expensive building permits, city councils such as those in the Bay Area prevent the development of cheaper housing, keeping prices up to the benefit of real estate moguls and homeowners while keeping new homebuyers out of the market. Affordable housing has been a problem for decades. Even though most Americans want to purchase a house, the supply of affordable goods cannot rise to meet demand. However, this situation is not a market failure but rather the side effect of (sometimes) well-meaning public policy. Many counties, cities, and states designate regions of land development for specific purposes. For example, a city will designate certain areas for single-family zoning, duplexes, apartment buildings, industry, public parks, etc. This might seem necessary for city planners to design the layout and structure of the city. However, whenever the government gets involved, inefficiencies are created. Although an argument can be made that zoning is necessary, they prevent more efficient market-guided construction and historically has been used to segregate cities by race and income.

However, the problems caused by single-family zoning are far more than just inflated housing prices. To start, single-family zoning actively encourages urban sprawl. This leads to increased vehicle emissions and less efficient public transportation as the distance between city centers and residential areas expand, increasing climate change. Removing such regulations would also lead to an increase in public health and more active citizens. Single-family zoning also leads to an increase in inequality as it allows landowners to reap the economic benefits of increased housing prices at the cost of renters. By pricing out low-income families around good schools, zoning is also responsible for increasing educational inequality and reducing the human capital of less-affluent families. According to Brookings Fellow Jonathan Rothwell, reducing such practices would reduce the “school test-score gap by 4 to 7 percentiles”. All in all, zoning serves to separate and hurt lower-income families and drag down the entire U.S. economy. Some economists estimate that “the U.S. economy is around 14% smaller due to constraints on housing development”. To finish, the housing crisis is manufactured mainly by special interest groups using government regulation to inflate their wealth with the guise of preserving neighborhood character. By reducing policies such as single-family zoning, the crises would all but disappear as the market moves towards equilibrium. The impact of the housing crises does not just stop at housing affordability; they encompass public health, inequality, and the layout of our very cities.



Upon entering your local gas station, coffee shop, or dentist’s office, you’ll almost always find yourself confronted with time to spare as you wait for your receipt or latte. To fill the time, your eyes may wander in search of entertainment or distraction, most likely landing on a display of newspapers or magazines conveniently placed nearby. Another Kendall Jenner issue of Vogue may catch your eye, or even divert your attention away from the stack after you get a glimpse of US Weekly’s iconographic vulgar headlines. Repetitive content engulfs the media selection in America and Gen-Z has found a problem with this iteration: mass media is mechanical and ever-controlled, but their generation isn’t. So, why not create a change? To frame the scope of the battle between Gen-Z “creatives’’ and conglomerate magazine-media, an analysis of popular publishing company, Condé Nast, is necessary. Condé Nast, which you may have heard of from the Bon Appetit YouTube or “The Devil Wears Prada,” dominates magazine diversity. Based in New York City, it draws in pristine publishers and famous editors like Anna Wintour. A list of their popular publications includes: Global Vogue, Teen Vogue, GQ, Bon Appetit, Architectural Digest, The New Yorker, Glamour, Wired, Allure, Vanity Fair, and many, many more. Herein lies Gen-Z’s problem – towering over the industry, Condé Nast and similar publishers own, publish, profit, and facilitate the content pushed into the world under these names. Gen-Z’s teens and young adults have become tired of consuming content facilitated and created by well-known, predominantly white, reputable artists, writers, and contributors – an injustice served across centuries. Out of the desire to reclaim content culture, “Gen-Zines” came center stage, establishing themselves with global editorial teams and contributors from all corners of the world. Featuring bold graphics and potent opinions, these Zines are commanding their readers and contributors to be themselves and explore their passions. Attributed in both online and printed publications, representation and inclusion lies in the heart of these


magazines. Submission opportunities are open to all ages and selected without considering how experienced or well-known a contributor may be. Exploring topics in global politics, the fashion industry, film, music, and so much more, these Zine communities serve as Gen-Z’s unapologetic mouthpiece. Article topics range from current events to spirituality to activism and intimacy. Advice columns and updated playlists accompany the zines’ nostalgic photo essays and boundaryless art spreads. Ever-changing and updating, these Zines are pushing forward a movement to reclaim confidence and comfortability and publicize consumer creativity. In a time full of turbulent change and societal landslides, vocalizing the issues their audience cares about is more than important. While huge companies and public voices, like Condé Nast and other influencing bodies, remain silent on current events and pressing issues, Gen-Zines attack the issues suffocating the social and political relationships that exist in teenage society. Having this network of outspoken support immensely helps spread resources and facilitates a call to action, unlike the companies teen’s typically idolize. Gen-Zines to explore (find on Instagram) and submit to: All My Friends Zine, Unpublished Zine, Rice and Spice Mag, Sunstroke Magazine, First Kiss Zine, Verses Mag


APRIL 2, 2021

The Hill News

D6 | Arts & Leisure

Lunch with a side of American history Student artists take a stand over H-Term Continued from Page A1

According to a March 1982 Hill News article, Wyeth once said, “The set should remain unbroken and given a worthy setting” -- something he had yet to find. “Because Wyeth knew of The Hill School and knew the collection would be kept intact, he sold the paintings for a really good deal,” explained Nelson. She continued, saying, “And when N.C. Wyeth heard that his paintings would eventually be gifted to The Hill School, he wrote in a letter, saying, ‘at present I’m on top of the world.’ He loved the fact that his paintings were going to be cared for.” After moving to Berks County, Pa., Wyeth had become familiar with the neighboring areas, which included Pottstown.

At this time, the Memorial Hall was being erected on Hill’s campus, in honor and memory of Hill students who had fought in World War I. Thus, the artwork gifted by Sweeney was originally placed along this room’s walls, provoking an irrefutable sense of patriotism and honor in the room’s occupants. Regrettably, in the early 1950s, after a deliberate fire burned the Memorial Hall’s stage, “The Picket Guard” was irreparably damaged. The remaining 16, however, now hang in the Dining Hall, including “The Unknown Soldier,” “The Regular Army Man,” and, most notably, “The American Eagle,” which hangs in the Alcove. Every 10 years, expert painting conservators are hired by the school to analyze and inspect each work for light and moisture exposure. Similarly, around the same time, these paintings

are appraised for insurance purposes. The paintings also are loaned to museums and institutions for display, being exhibited in places like The New York Historical Society and The Union League of Philadelphia. “Since about eight years ago the images have fallen into the public domain, we often receive inquiries if different institutions can use the images on television shows and advertisements. History books will also contain the images,” Nelson said. One piece, “Washington Reviewing His Troops” was even shown in a full-length PBS film by Ken Burns. Nelson remarked, “The fact that we have such a treasure, and the fact that it was a gift by one of our beloved faculty members, it is really just a beautiful thing.”

Dining Hall Dessert Tier List By SARAH JIANG ’22


During H-term, I took something of a chance. I signed up for a class called Art Activism. I have rarely forayed into visual art, and, when I have, it has not been successful. Putting pen to paper or brush to canvas is not a strength of mine, and the results of trying have been anywhere from disastrous to mediocre. But I put aside the trepidation created by my previous experiences and signed up for the class, hoping for a better experience, but not anticipating one. My expectation was another art class for me to disappoint myself in. What I got was much more valuable, much more interesting, uplifting, and insightful: what the class turned out to be was a perspective-shifting six weeks, where we explored the relationship between art and social change. Let’s play a clichéd move and begin with a definition. According to the Tate Gallery (a family of four art museums / exhibition spaces in England), protest or activist art is defined as “a term used to describe art that is grounded in the act of ‘doing’ and addresses political or social issues.” That’s a decent definition, but I would broaden it even further. Protest art is all about expressing your feelings and prompting a dialogue. It does not have to achieve something practical because, let’s face it: if your goal is to make something happen through practical means, the art business isn’t where you should be. To me, the act of creating protest art is about the intention behind the art and the feelings and the passion that went into creating it. It can be a call to action, a cry for help, or an impassioned plea for compassion and humanity. Senior Master of the Arts Ellen Nelson stated in an email her thoughts

on the relationship between art and social change: “For centuries, artists have been using art to shed light on injustice, oppression, violence, and social disparities. For a long time, artists have stood up for the voiceless and marginalized. The magical thing about art is it can challenge traditional boundaries, hierarchies and rules imposed by those in power, (maybe end quote here) because art doesn’t have rules or laws. It is the one thing that is perfectly free. As soon as people put boundaries on it, it moves and shifts to avoid those constraints.” Lal Yatagan ‘21, a classmate of mine in Art Activism and a much more accomplished artist than I could ever hope to be, had this to say on the idea of art having strict rules and barriers to credibility: “I make artworks that reflect my memories, imagination, and my past … rules are being challenged, and it doesn’t mean the art work … is not an art work.” In conclusion, both art and activism are personal and unique things for every individual — harsh restrictions or definitions are counterintuitive. So I say that, as long as you carry a spirit and passion for the work you’re creating and the issue it supports, you’re doing protest art right. Art can inspire change in the world and taking part of that in any way, no matter how small, is admirable.

I made artworks that reflect my memories, imagination, and my past...rules are being challenged and it doesn’t mean the art work... is not an art work. —Lal Yatagan’21

Meeting famous rockstar changes life

A young Will Ledyard meets Donovan Phillips Leitch. PHOTO COURTESY OF WILL LEDYARD ’22


Inspiration can be found in some of the most surprising and random places. It’s crazy how one experience from your past can impact the rest of your life without you even realizing it at first. I experienced this phenomenon when I was a little kid, and the impact has stayed with me to this day. About eight or nine years ago, my family (older brother and both parents) had the privilege of going to a resort in Jamaica for about a week or so. During our time there, we met one of my dad’s

childhood idols, 1960s rockstar Donovan Phillips Leitch, or just Donovan (his stage name). We found out that he and his wife, Linda Lawrence, were staying in the cottage next to ours, so they would come and hang out by the pool with our family. Donovan gave us a live performance of his most famous song “Season of the Witch.” As a young, immature boy would do when a man in his mid60s starts singing a song full a capella, I started uncontrollably laughing. As I was 8 or 9 years old at the time, I didn’t fully realize how rude I was being, but I also didn’t realize how rare that experience was. I was too young to fully capture and respect what was actually happening. As I grew older, I started to listen to Donovan’s music a bit more and finally gained the respect for him that he deserves. Because of his many catchy and well-made guitar riffs throughout his songs, I wanted to recreate that ability to produce a sound just as beautiful. Because of this, I picked up the guitar and took lessons for about six months. I have been playing guitar ever

since, and I can only thank the one and only Donovan. Not only guitar, but music in general has been a huge part in my life ever since I got invested in it. Some of my fondest memories are going to see live music, or even just jamming out for hours at a time on the guitar. The biggest thing I take away from meeting this legend, thinking back on it now, is that it is amazing how big of an impact just one experience can make in a person’s life. During my time with Donovan, I had no idea that that experience of just meeting someone would eventually be the root of inspiration for me to pick up a guitar. Inspiration can come in many forms and during unexpected moments throughout the course of your life. Don’t take from granted the experiences you have with others, as they may just impact your life at a future date. The connections I have made with the people that surround me are some of the things I hold closest to my heart, and I can only hope that these connections give me some sort of inspiration in the future.




E6 | Sports

The Hill News

Spring sports preview By ROSE FLAHERTY ’22 STAFF WRITER

Varsity softball coach Rebecca Shipper ’14 is excited to have a true season this year as well as a few additions to the coaching staff. There are many new faces to the program this year, so she is looking forward to seeing these new faces in a Hill uniform as well as what players will step up as leaders this year. Players to watch: Colleen Quinn ’21, Aryanna Bodge ’23, Belle DiCampello ’24

Varsity boys lacrosse coach Michael Murphy is very grateful for the sixth formers and wants them to be able to have a season to wrap up high school. He feels the team practices with purpose and would love to see them rewarded with outside competition. Most of all, he wants the players to be able to play the sport they love. Players to watch: Cory Capri ’21, John Imperato ’21, Brett Reynolds ’21, Will Schaller ’22, Will Lesko ’22, Anthony McMullan ’23, Jesse Corser-James ’23

Girls track and their coach Patrick Lake have a main goal this season, which is to win a MAPL and PAISSA title. Lake is looking forward to competing in-person and graduating perhaps the most talented sixth form class in the history of girls track at Hill. Players to watch: Sydney Floyd ’21, Kiki Lange ’21, Susanna Soderman ’21, Bella Basile ’21, Mofe Akinyanmi ’21, Lauren Yingling ’21, Laura Null ’21

Boys golf coach Joseph Lagor believes his players’ goals are to get better as golfers, and to represent themselves, their team, and their school in the best possible light. He is looking forward to playing some tournaments this spring season, particularly the PAISSA championship and the MAPL championship. Players to watch: Billy Gussler ’21, Thomas Beaudoin ’22, Nick Rafetto ’22, Lucas Steinmetz ’23

Girls crew team member Julia Weiss ’21 strives to get at least one race this year. Her last full crew season happened when she was a fourth former, so she is excited to test her limits this year. She looks forward to helping the new underformers get familiar with the sport and how they do things. Players to watch: Raina Shah ’21, Amber Cao ’21, Audrey Lehneis ’21

Varsity swim coach Jay Spencer is excited for the training and conditioning aspects of swim this spring, considering they missed out on a chance to participate in the low residency program this past winter. He is hoping to see the swimmers compete in at least two virtual meets although many other schools are not having a spring swim season. Players to watch: Michael Wong ’21, Olivia DeVol ’21, Kiersten Dagg ’22, Justin Toomey ’22

The fencing team got their season switched to the spring due to COVID-19, so head coach Philip Yoo’s goal for this spring is to introduce fencing to as many new students as possible while preparing for next year’s season because they won’t have any competition this year. Players to watch: Henry Chen ’21, Johnny Dai ’22, Ruthanne Sandner ’22

Varsity baseball coach Ed Turner is looking forward to watching his team play competitive baseball for The Hill after nearly a year. He wants to emphasize the team’s core values this season, which are commitment, trust, grit, respect, and hustle. Players to watch: Brandon Bastian ’21, Brendan Grable ’21, Gilbert Saunders ’22, Tyler Chenevert ’22, Kenny Palmieri ’22

Varsity girls lacrosse coach Marcela Gaitan says the Hill girls lacrosse team is ready to establish itself as a prominent lacrosse program in the greater Philly region. Every opportunity they have to be on the field to train, practice, and compete is a gift they will not take for granted. Players to watch: Tess Gray ’21, Tanner Eccleston ’21, Emma Lewis ’22, Amelia Nordhoy ’22, Annabella Schafer ’23, Soph Coan ’22, Kimaura Shindler ’23, Mandy McCarrick’22

Varsity boys track and field coach William Yinger ’95 feels the team is geared up enough to get ready for competition. They want to compete, set personal records, and to continue supporting one another. Players to watch: Jamie Olson ’21, Derek Schmaeling ’21, Andrew D’Asaro ’21, Wyatt Steffy ’21, Sean Parker, ’21, Noah Toole ’22, Rocco Bressi ’23, Nick Bressi ’24

Girls golf coach Beth Allain’s goal is to help her players develop a love for the game. She is looking forward to spending time with the coaches from the other schools and watching the players become friends, even though they are competing against each other. Players to watch: Elle Lagor ’21, Gia Seravalli ’21, Ari De Santis ’22, Mackenzie Shultz ’22, Mckay Allain ’23, Lulu Nakagawa ’23, Feir Zhou ’23, Audrey Choi ’24

Boys crew team member Carver Fulmer ’23 is ready to actually get to compete on the water against other schools this spring season. He always looks forward to time on the water to train, practice, and improve in different areas.

APRIL 2, 2021

Student-athletes commit to college without competition By RAINA SHAH ’21 OPINION EDITOR

When I think back to the last time I raced on the Schuylkill, it now seems like it took place on a different planet. October of my 5th form year was the last time I was able to race at a proper regatta. My teammates and I hadn’t been in a boat since the previous May, and it was pouring rain. In my opinion, races like that are what crew is all about, adapting to your situation. No matter how much you train, the wind and current will always give you and your teammates another challenge. I think this transferred over to how I handled the cancelation of the 2020 racing season. For me in particular, that season was very important, and I struggled with the idea that it was no longer. I was making the switch from rowing to coxing in hopes to continue crew at the collegiate level, since my height of 5’1 made being a rower quite challenging. I needed the season to gain experience and results to show colleges. The pandemic made this impossible, and, when it came time to start emailing coaches, I was feeling very nervous and unsure. I had a few seasons of rowing experience, but I was trying to get recruited as a coxswain after only being in the cox seat for a few days. Stephen Ciraolo, head coach of girls crew, gave me the “you never know until you try” pep talk on Zoom in late spring, so I decided that

Raina Shah ‘21 practices on Schuylkill River.

I would. I remember rereading my first email 50 times before hitting send, and that first email eventually became what seemed like hundreds. I definitely had to get creative with sending race recordings because I didn’t have any official ones. I coxed alumna Paige Dendunnen ’19 on the erg in my basement and used that voice recording as my “try out.” As much as this was a stressful time for me, most of the coaches I was in communication with also had no idea of what their team would look like in the next year, let alone in the coming season. With so much cancellation at all levels of rowing, it was very unclear of what rosters would look like. In a way it felt as if coaches and athletes were in the same state of uncertainty and hopefulness. Patience became key when trying to figure out all of my options. As summer came to an end, my list began to narrow, and I ended up verbally committing to Tufts University to cox on the men’s team.

Players to watch: Philippe Jin ’21, Tytus Felbor ’21, Dev Sharma ’22, Will Biggs ’22

Varsity diving coach Jen Kokoska and the team are looking forward to being able to train consistently in the pool throughout the spring. They’re also hoping to set up some virtual meets with other schools, and they plan to post times and dive meet scores to the “Eastern’s Virtual Leaderboard,” which will keep track of best times swum across the east coast. Players to watch: Michael Wong ’21, Olivia DeVol ’21

I was so excited to have found a school that I could see myself at and to be able to continue the sport I love without having to sacrifice my academics. With that being said, I am very nervous for when I arrive at my first practice in the fall of 2021. The Hill School Boat Club rowed in singles this fall due to the need for social distance, so it was yet another season that I was unable to cox. While I was so grateful for the opportunity to be on the water and with my teammates and coaches every day, it makes me anxious to know that I’ll only have this spring, one season, in the cox seat. I am very lucky to have coaches at Tufts who understand my situation, but that still doesn’t necessarily put me at ease. I am trying to do as much coxing as I can here at Hill, but for now I am telling myself that finally making the switch from rowing to coxing in a proper racing season will be yet another nerve-wracking and exciting facet of my life in college.

Club sports create tradeoffs

Players to watch: Eddie Proffitt ’22, Michael Rapp ’24, Jace White ’22

Tennis coach Avinash Vemuri’s goals for the season are to develop a culture of consistent work ethic and toughness. Along with this, hoping to establish the team by their willingness to fight for each point, play high IQ tennis, and out-grit our opponents. We also hope to continue to build team chemistry and come together as a Hill tennis family.


Hill field hockey players compete with their club team over H-Term. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY KENNEDY CLIGGETT ’21


Many student-athletes at The Hill School feel this year’s COVID-19 protocols meant they had to choose to drop their gear or pick up their books. The school requires that students who participate in club sports attend school virtually. In-person students can play their sport at school, but club programs can better their chances of making it to college and keeping them active when they are not in season. Maggie Kondrath ’23, a day student and field hockey athlete at the Hill, explained the struggle of choosing between the two. “It is unfortunate because both are hard choices. Would you rather be learning through a computer or miss opportunities because of

your sport? If I want to make a USA field hockey team, I need to play club.” According to the school website, Hill is a sports-driven school with 32 varsity sports programs and many other recreational physical activities. “Personally, I found it weird that a school with elite athletes made us make such a tough decision. These sports get some of us into great colleges,” Kondrath stated. Many students feel that it was hard to learn virtually. “Sitting at a computer screen all day can actually be tiring. I did not want to be online in the fall, but I knew I had to for club lacrosse,” said Annabella Schaffer ‘23. “Spring did not affect me too much since we don’t

have a spring season for my club. We only had one in the fall.” When talking about club sports, many think of day students, but it is something many boarding students are passionate about as well. Hunter Sloan ‘23, a wrestler from Doylestown, Pa., described his club sports and boarding experiences. “Before Hill, I went to a day school, so I was able to participate in multiple club teams at a time. Although I cannot train outside of Hill at the moment, there are sacrifices you have to make. Some have it easier going to public school, but regardless I am grateful. In May, the national prep tournament is still on, so that is something to look forward to.” During the off-campus H-Term leading up to the spring season, students got to freely interact with things they enjoyed, including club sports. Gavin Mpiana ’23, a boarding student from Cape Town, South Africa, participated in club soccer. “In the fall, once I finally arrived [to campus], we did not have much of a season left. I was upset and disappointed since I enjoy soccer. I’m happy we had H-Term, so I was able to participate in some sort of season. It helped boost my confidence in the sport. I also feel for my older teammates as this is some of their last seasons. I am hoping next year is COVID free!”


APRIL 2, 2021

The Hill News

F7 | Features

Yoseph Kim ’22 receives gold Screen time shifts as Hill metal at 2020 international students return to campus bioengineering competition By ELLA SCOTT ’22 STAFF WRITER


Being remote could not keep Yoseph Kim ’22 from exploring his academic interests. Last winter, he and his team KSA Korea participated in the Internationally Genetically Engineered Machine competition, a worldwide synthetic biology contest, delving into the interdisciplinary terrain of bioengineering, and was awarded a gold medal at the conclusion of the event. “In our project, we worked to eliminate lignin to improve the quality of paper, bettering the process of paper recycling, and we promoted paper recycling by producing videos and filming advertisements,” Kim said. Lignin is an organic polymer abundant in the cell walls of plants and a component of paper. “Besides that, we made a biosensor that detects harmful phenolic compounds, which could damage livers and hormones.” Kim recalled what drove him to this particular research, saying, “We chose to learn about

Yoseph Kim ’22 and his teammates celebrate their gold medal win. PHOTO BY YOSEPH KIM ’22

paper because it’s one of the most important substances we use in life. Paper is the main source of trash. It’s hard to recycle and there are many harmful substances in it. Though a lot of stuff goes online now, there are still many Amazon packages made of paper that contribute to a significant amount of trash every year. We noticed this problem and started to take action.” To Kim, the project was rewarding, and so was working on a team. “Because the competition is online and asynchronous, we have to film all of us presenting. We were all trying to shoot the presentation in one take, which

is difficult to achieve,” Kim said. “Every time anyone screwed up at the beginning, we had to start all over again – that took us almost half a day. But we had so much fun and we grew a lot!” As someone who “was always into biology as a kid,” Kim attended a neuroscience course last summer and is a proactive student in Engineering 3 and AP Biology. Over the H-term, he kept researching bioengineering and enhancing his biosensor. When asked about her AP Biology classmate, Jojo Zhu ‘22 explained: “He is the kind of person who does not speak much in class, but when he does, he says the right thing.”

Editors-in-Chief Elizabeth Hudak ’21 Campus News Nari Tung ’21

Features Olivia Mofus ’22

Tess McArdle ’21 Arts & Leisure Mofe Akinyanmi ’21

Layout Tiffany Wang ’22

Local News Philippe Jin ’21 Photography & Illustration Claire Hartemink ’21

Multimedia Efi Miller ’21

Opinion Raina Shah ’21 Sports Tess Gray ’21

Social Media Portia Sockel ’22

Staff Writers & Staff Contributors Michael Soland ’21 Edward Deng ’21 Izzy Feldman ’21 Nolan Richards ’21 Henry Chen ’21 Andres Arevalo ’22 Jerry Li ’22 Harry Zhu ’22 Wesley Connelly ’22 Will Ledyard ’22

Yoseph Kim ’22 Aleksandr Glamazdin ’22 Sarah Jiang ’22 Tina Wang ’22 Ella Scott ’22 Jason Zhou ’23 Carrie Shang ’23 Anna Carroll ’23 Aidan Ma ’23

MoniYah Pearson-Henderson ’23 Jennie Ki ’23 Jasmine Wang ’23 Diemmy Dang ’24 Erick Sun ’24 *Bolded text denotes staff membership


Content Policy The Hill News is the student-run newspaper of The Hill School. Content is determined by and reflects the views of the student editorial board and staff and not school officials or the School itself. The Hill News acts as an open forum for student expression where they have complete control over the content produced.

/whatsoever thingsarenews

Students feel their screen time has increased since entering into the pandemic. ILLUSTRATION BY ANNA CARROLL ’23

them, who else is there to text?” On the other hand, Tess Gray ’21 explained, “I think my screen time has gone up since I’ve been at Hill. I work a lot when I’m home, but here I weirdly have more free time and fewer activities to fill it with.” While the use of technology comes with numerous benefits, like improved efficiency for businesses and schools, the ability to safely learn, and allows communication, social media has a massive negative impact on teenagers today. According to the National Education Association, research from late 2018 suggests that “social media is increasing student anxiety and depression, eclipsing any positive role it could possibly play.” While online resources for students can have a positive impact on learning, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found that in 2018, “95% of teens that have used social media.” The use of

social media carries so many negative effects that it becomes difficult to strike a balance. Ari Baum, dean of students, argued that “screen time is healthy. Like anything else, it needs to be moderated,” he said, adding that the benefits of technology, especially during a pandemic, can possibly outweigh the negatives. He added, “Especially for fighting against injustices around the world, the ability for people to connect more substantively on shared beliefs that would not be possible without smartphones, screen time, et cetera, is a luxury.” The use of technology varies from teen to teen, from social media to texting to learning virtually. This infrastructure of connectivity has proven to be a massive help during the COVID-19 pandemic, but students and adults alike must learn how to balance screen time with real life.

As a part of the Math Applications course, Hannah Gordon ’21 surveyed 10 students of each gender from each form regarding the number of minutes they spend on their phone every day.

Adviser Ms. Elizabeth DeOrnellas


Coming out of a pandemic, with social contact being obsolete and discouraged for almost a year, it makes sense that people now gravitate toward their devices. As we hopefully approach the tail end of COVID-19, students are beginning to recognize this. Especially as teenagers around the country are returning to fulltime school and life returns to “normal,” it is becoming necessary to curb these behaviors. During the height of the pandemic in March 2020, devices were the only way to communicate. Teenagers and their friends were staying up late, FaceTiming all night, and playing video games. What started as a fun break from school has dragged on to almost a year of social distancing, limited contact, and a dependence on technology in almost all aspects of life. “Children’s Screen Time Has Soared in the Pandemic, Alarming Parents and Researchers,” read the title of a New York Times article published on Jan. 16. Keith Humphreys, a professor of psychology at Stanford University who is an addiction expert and who served as a senior adviser on drug policy for President Barack Obama, noted, “There will be a period of epic withdrawal,” as children pull away from digital immersion. For some students returning to campus, Hill’s schedule has made it easier to stay off of devices. However, others are finding that their screen time is rising. Head Prefect Aidan Dunn ’21 noted, “Being back on campus now, my screen time has gone down for sure. I’m busier now with Hill’s strict schedule.” Because the days are so busy with class, lunch, chapel, advisory, and after-school activities, it becomes easier to stay off of phones and other electronics. Similarly, on campus, there is less of a craving for social media and communication apps like iMessage and FaceTime. As Dunn said, “Now that I’m with


Want to contribute to The Hill News? Come to our weekly meetings TBA or contact a member of our staff. To submit a letter to the editors or an opinion piece, email ehudak21@thehill.org or tmcardle21@thehill.org


F8 | Features


APRIL 2, 2021

Hidden Places: liminal spaces on Hill’s campus By CARRIE SHANG ’23 STAFF WRITER

So, you think you know The Hill School campus. After all, you’ve walked around school for years, explored every nook and cranny, and discovered every secret there is to find. Or, perhaps, you don’t know the campus. You’re new to Hill, still trying to find your way around, and still hearing about places you didn’t know existed. Either way, there are locations on campus that few have ever visited.

The fifth floor of Upper School

There are some places at Hill that are almost hidden in plain sight. Every day, students and faculty alike walk by the Alumni Chapel without batting an eye. Many do not pay attention to the Chapel’s basement. You may have walked by its entrance in the evenings or seen ominous-looking photographs thinking that the basement is an eerie place. However, it is actually a dressing room for the chaplain. During warmer seasons, the Chapel may even host Hill alumni weddings, and the basement would serve as a dressing room for the bride or groom. Who knew the seemingly scary Chapel basement had such a romantic story!


Some of these spaces are decades old. Built in 1910, Hunt Upper School is the oldest dormitory at Hill. “It was the last building that was built by John Meigs, the iconic headmaster, son of the founder, who saved the school,” said Head of Archives Louis Jeffries. Hidden beneath Upper School’s tiled roof lies Upper School 5, the abandoned fifth floor that once housed generations of students. You may have heard stories about it (some plausible, others unbelievable). As a dormitory, US5 is not the best location for anyone who does not want to feel isolated from the world. Cut-off, uninsulated, and almost windowless, it might just be the perfect horror movie attic. A ghost, on the other hand, would love it.

The stairs to the Chapel bell tower


The basement of the Chapel

Looking up to the top of the bell tower


Shelley Baumgarten’s office in the library

The empty steam tunnels


Finally, there are places at Hill that remain a mystery even to those around it every day. Unbeknownst to most people at Hill, the school’s library has an attic accessible through an old trapdoor. It is located in Director of Alumni and Parent Engagement Shelley Baumgarten’s office. “I was really surprised that anyone knew about it,” Baumgarten said. “I was in this office for quite some time before I even realized there was a door up there.” No one knows what is hidden in the library attic. It may be home to a family of raccoons, or it may just house Hill’s main Wi-Fi routers.


Now, if you are a ghost wandering through Hill, you can float down to the steam tunnels underneath the school. These tunnels run all over campus, containing utilities like power lines and water pipes. If you do not possess the ability to walk through walls, you can enter the steam tunnels through Wendell. The entrance is on your right as you walk from west to east on the ground floor. Had this been the 1960s, you might even encounter the legendary Mr. Steam Tunnel, a hero who once saved several Hill students from the Dell Monster. Of course, no one should explore these tunnels on their own, or they might just end up in the Wellness Center.


Do you still think you know Hill’s campus? Don’t worry; you are not the only one who learned something new today. There is so much more to Hill than what you might expect. There are still so many secrets to discover and places to uncover. But, alas, that is a story for another day. The basement of the Chapel


Profile for The Hill News

Issue 6  

Issue 6