December 2013 | Volume XXXIX, Issue III
The Standard investigates the evolution of the family model KATE KENNEDY | Culture Editor The Evolving Family on pages 22-23
The American School in London | One Waverley Place | London NW8 0NP U.K. | standard.asl.org
News Page 2
THE STANDARD | December 2013
1:1 laptop program
News Editor Charlotte Young reports on the recent passing of former south african President and world leader, nelson Mandela
eartbreak filled the international community when Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president died on December 5. Mandela, leader of the struggle for the abolishment of apartheid in South Africa in the early 1990’s and a Robben Island inmate for 27 years, passed away at the age of 95. His death was announced by current President of South Africa Jacob Zuma. Mandela’s death sparked worldwide mourning, as well as remembrance of his accomplishments. For Lucia Proctor-Bonbright (’14), Mandela’s death hit home. ProctorBonbright, whose mother is a native of Johannesburg, met Mandela when she was younger. His death shook her deeply, although she was expecting for him to pass away due to his poor health in recent years. “We’ve all been preparing for it for a while after seeing how frail he was becoming,” she said. “It is the end to an era and remembering the struggle and the success, you’re crying with happiness.” Social Studies Teacher Todd Pavel sees Mandela’s ascent to presidency in 1994 as a momentous occasion for South Africa. “What was so important with his rise to power was this theme of reconciliation and trying to get the country to come forward with its immediate past,” he said. Audrey Leland (’14) is president of the South Africa Club and has also been on the spring Global Partnerships trip to South Africa twice. Each year on the South Africa trip students visit Mandela’s cell on Robben Island where he was imprisoned for 27 years. For many students, the experience is an important insight into his life. “Everybody knows about him, but nobody really has a direct connection to him. Seeing his impact is really important,” Leland said. For Chloe Gardner (’14), Mandela’s death sparked the possibility of his messages being heard again. “I hope that his death is a resurgence of his morals and the messages that he spread. He singlehandedly changed the world by leading and by having a strong moral compass,” she said. A common trend with the deaths of influential figures in the past is a rejuvenation of their ideas. However, after a certain amount of time, this resurgence ends. Gardner hopes that this won’t be the case with Mandela’s death. “I really hope with social media that there isn’t a peak in attention and that instead his influence is lasting,” she said. Pavel sees Mandela as a voice of change for the South African population during his presidency while trying to abolish apartheid. “It was a huge step in South Africa’s history– from the late 1940s to the 1990s apartheid had been in place. Many international communities tried to get apartheid to end [before Mandela’s rise to presidency],” he said. While Mandela preached peace throughout his presidency, earlier in his life he believed in a different way to end the discrimination against blacks. Mandela helped found Umkhonto we Sizwe, a terrorist group in South Africa that killed many innocent civilians, but sought to fight against the apartheid South African government. However, after dedicating his life to peaceful reconciliation, Mandela’s violent past is not what people usually recognize him for. “He stands for justice, he stands for facing the difficult issue of racial inequality head on. I think he resonates so deeply with so many people because he was so willing to sacrifice so much of his own time for a cause,” Pavel said. “I don’t think everyone completely understands the impact he has had.” While PE teacher Gwendolyn Williams never personally knew Mandela, when he passed away it still upset her deeply. “I was still affected by it because it’s almost like a relative dying, you know it’s going to happen but when it happens it’s a sad thing,” she said. Williams, who is the trip leader for the Global Partnerships trip to South Africa, views Mandela’s death as a celebration rather than a time of mourning. “We shouldn’t be sad, we should celebrate his life because this is a man who when he entered the room he lit it up. He made people stop and think,” she said. Gardner agrees that Mandela was an inspirational person, and is grateful for what Mandela has given to the world. “There’s something comforting knowing that a hero has walked the same earth as you,” she said.
Nelson Mandela campaigned his entire life against apharteid and for human rights. After being imprisoned for 27 years, he became the first black president of South Africa in 1994. He died on December 5, 2013. PHOTOs FROM WWW. FLICKR.COM/PHILLIPe. ROMeO01/MOHaMMadRezaee0 and anaCLeTO RaPPIng
“There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountain top of our desires.” -Nelson Mandela
THE STANDARD | December 2013
Haiyan hits home T
error struck the Philippines when a category five typhoon made landfall for the first time in history on the eastern side of the nation. Culture Editor Gabriel Ruimy and News Editor Charlotte Young examine the impact on the ASL community, the environmental repercussions, and the economic facet of the situation I The ASL Community Responds
The catastrophe was so consequential that news outlets, around the world, had their front pages dedicated to the archipelago nation’s disaster. With winds up to 235 miles per hour and waves as high as 13 feet, Typhoon Haiyan left 1.9 million Filipinos homeless, and around 6,000 dead. The ramifications of the disaster were felt around the world, including within the ASL community. Driven to help the devastated Philippines, students have been involved in relief efforts. Erik Hess (’14) who was inspired to reach out to the Filipino community after his housekeeper’s home in the Philippines lost its roof to Haiyan.,believed that a bake sale would be a successful way to raise funds. In total, Hess along with the help of other students raised over £450. ASL, too, took part in the relief effort. After communicating with the International School of Manila, ASL decided to give all money raised to United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF), as infrastructure already in place facilitated the unobstructed delivery of vaccinations, water, and shelter to the Filipino community. MS Science Teacher Belle Hayward was born in the Philippines, but moved to Canada when she was nearly two. Although having only lived in the Philippines for a short period of time, Hayward still has deep connections to the islands, including family members and close friends living there. When she first heard of the news of the typhoon, she became anxious, scouring news websites and trying to get in touch with family and friends in the Philippines. Information took as long as a week to receive. “The hardest part was that the communication was difficult. There were no phone lines, no internet [in the Philippines] so immediate contact was very difficult,” she said. Looking at the typhoon’s direct damage, Hayward notes a significant problem in the lack of infrastructure and resources the Philippines would need to cope with reconstruction. Because countries like the Philippines experience typhoons five to six times in a year, the materials used for housing are rarely sturdy. “Unfortunately, materials are
the reason why a lot of the destruction happens: The destruction that is seen on TV. A lot of [houses] were built from wood; they were not stable,” she said. K-12 Service Learning Coordinator Tamatha Bibbo helped to educate students of all grades on Haiyan, as well as set up relief efforts around the school. “We always look for ways to aid other than money, but at this point that’s what they need. They need money back into their economy,” Bibbo said. Bibbo thinks students at ASL have the incentive to help the Philippines because of our nature as an international school. “When you’re international, you might not be connected so closely with the local schools, but the international schools all feel a personal connection because this is something that could happen to them and they would like to know that there is going to be a support network and a support group to help them out,” she said.
II Environmental Repercussions A tropical storm, otherwise known as a cyclone, occurs when warm water (around 27 degrees C) goes to a depth of 50 meters or so in a windy environment, Science Teacher and Grade 10 Dean Marisa Wilson explains. Warm, lowpressure air begins to rise from the water, and rapidly cold, high-pressure air fills the void. Then, because of the rotation of the earth, “[the wind] starts spinning. That’s your storm.” The Philippines’ climate provides conditions that make typhoons common. About 30 degrees north of the equator, westward winds are prominent, and the summer season of July to August provides the warm water. As a result, typhoons occur frequently in and around the area, much like how the southeastern section of the United States receives hurricane after hurricane. “What makes the Philippines particularly vulnerable is the fact that you have an island that has tons of people on it,” Wilson said. This means that the storm can strike more densely-populated areas. This increased population makes the situation worse, “The people drain groundwater, water below the surface. What ends up happening is – because people are tapping into the groundwater so much, with wells and what not – the land is actually getting lower,” Wilson said. The more people draining groundwater, the quicker the island’s grand level decreases. Unfortunately for the Philippines, that is not all. Water levels have been rising as a result of aquatic pile-up. Westward winds push the water in the same direction, up until it touches land, where the natural obstruction causes the water level to rise. Discussing why these fluctuations seemed to suspiciously coincide, Wilson said, “[Rise of waters] is the piece people most usually link to climate change, the typhoon was particularly destructive because of the higher water. “Scientists have said that we are having more intense storms, events like [Haiyan], as a result of climate change. The number, though, not necessarily.”
III The Not-So-Devastated Economy
While typhoons wreck communities and nations through loss of life, they also create larger problems for the country affected. The four-figured casualty numbers pressed President Benigno Aquino to declare a state of national calamity on November 1, but other factors have only compounded
News The Figures Date of flooding: November 8 People affected: 11.5 million
the crisis. On DeUN Funds: $25 million cember 1, 23 days after Haiyan Money raised at ASL: £2,260 hit, Bloomberg, a leading finance and STATiSTicS FRoM bbc.co.Uk business market AND ASL.oRg news outlet, stated that the Philippines budget deficit was only two percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) - something that could have dissipated previous fears of economic woe. Unfortunately, the GDP deficit is not a great indicator of damage. “GDP calculations, on a good day, are a close guess,” Social Studies Teacher Howie Powers explained. “So when it’s a situation like the one Philippines finds itself [in] today, it’s very hard to say.” To calculate the actual devastation of the typhoon, the government would have to run a ground report, or look at insurance claims. “I doubt people in a developing nation like the Philippines have comprehensive insurance on property and businesses,” Powers said. Optimism is not lost, though. The Philippines’ economy – like in most disaster-struck nations – initially experienced a slump, which was soon followed by a boom in productivity that eventually balances it out to pre-disaster levels. Just as experienced with Hurricane Sandy (a category 3 storm that began in the Caribbean and went on to scale the U.S. Atlantic coastline), the government and other nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) start investing in the affected area. In the Philippines for example, “[An NGO] will all of sudden need to hire 80 Filipinos, say, to clean up a road, or man a food distribution center,” Powers said. Foreign and governmental investment allows for the economic recovery to move forward at a pace the day-today economy would not. Aid today doesn’t only come through governments. “NGOs are doing a great job and funding is often channeled through them,” Powers said. Is it because of possible government corruption in developing countries? “Corruption is not always present in developing countries, though it can be, and sometimes funds make an impact or sometimes they don’t.” Is that why NGOs are usually used to channel foreign financial aid? “NGOs are great because of two reasons: They have experience at working on situations like this, they bounce from disaster to disaster, and they have less corruption [than governments], but they still have some corruption.” The other major form of aid, Powers explained, is donations from other governments. The Guardian, a U.K. newspaper, reported that the U.S. pledged $20 million and also provided on-ground, military-driven support. China, despite having the world’s second largest economy, has pledged only $2 million to the Philippines, a figure outdone by Swedish furniture store Ikea - who gave $2.7 million to the archipelago nation. Governmental aid, though, is not always completely humanitarian. “Some governmental aid can be altruistic and some egotistic. There can be a genuine desire to help, but it should also be kept in mind that the Philippines is a strategic position in the Pacific [Ocean] for global powers,” Powers said. However, “loss of property is replaceable, loss of life, though, isn’t,” Powers said.
THE STANDARD | December 2013
The next Lead News Editor Thomas Risinger examines the changing identity of the asl admissions strategy
he students of ASL will come of age in a world immersed in globalization. The rise of non-western superpowers and the emergence of colossal and previously untapped markets will demand a degree of comfort in diversity hitherto unrequired; globalization will hurtle us towards a radically different future. Gone are the days of a workplace uncompromising in its uniformity; in its stead, a new environment––one defined by heterogeneity––has arrived. Diversity is no longer a fragile aspiration, but has grown into a concrete, universal, and desired norm. Among the administration of ASL the depth and diversity of its community is a point of pride. “What people love about ASL is that it is not homogenous and it is not all the same. People come from different countries and with different viewpoints,” said Head of School Coreen Hester. Think of the people coming from little towns in Connecticut or New Jersey … the world is bigger here.” With this in mind can not be accused of true homogeneity, however the student body is more diverse on paper than in reality––varying more in statistics than in people. Though accurate, the statistics that Hester unfurls at the annual start of school assembly regarding the 50 countries represented, and 20 odd languages that spoken, are visible in the speech itself but are less prevalent in the hallways and classrooms of ASL themselves.
Identifying the problem
all photos by jessica haghani
The first step in solving any problem is acknowledging there is one. Math Department Head Neil Basu, who is a strong advocate for school diversity, believes that ASL is not currently capitalizing on the already multi-cultural community that exists. “We actually have a tremendously multi cultural student body and faculty but what is amazing to me is the lived experience of being here is so typically American. This school is not so different from the independent
THE STANDARD | December 2013
geschool in America that I taught at, and that a-is striking to me,” he said. er- The second step is to define it. But how os-can one define diversity? Principal Jack Phililllips believes that genuine diversity embractyes all possible facets. “Diversity applies to all ur-aspects of the human experience, and I think re.we need to focus on this bigger picture of dio-versity. It applies to gender, gender identity, ewsexual identity as well as religion or socione-economic level,” he said. a The importance of diversity is not lost n-upon Phillips, who believes that as the world globalizes, it is imperative that schools must hedo so as well. “The more exposure and more avariety in terms of other people’s experiSLences that you can interact with, the better allprepared you are going to be for that kind n-of world when you become adults,” he said. id“The world is so complicated now that we hecan’t assume that any one person has a mon-nopoly on the best ideas, and the more we ercan introduce new ideas and different perspectives the more students will be exposed edto the best ideas the world has to offer.” nt Basu likewise considers a diverse commue-nity to be essential to the learning and acaindemic development of the student body. “I atthink that diversity is about academic excelollence. That when we come into contact with re-people who are not like us we are challenged n,to think differently and to grow in new ways. ssBy having a more diverse student body and ofone that is supported and honoured in its diversity that every student at ASL will have a richer educational experience,” he said. “The most important thing is that it has to come back to the learning.” Phillips’ and Basu’s statements point isto the same idea. That ASL, as a highly rert-garded educational institution and one that o-aspires to continually improve, has an inSLherent responsibility, to both itself and to dyit’s students, to create a school community Wethat encompasses all possible facets of diralversity, and will create an environment that z-is both safe and conducive for the success of ngstudents who do not conform to the tradioltional ASL stereotype of white, wealthy, and ntAmerican.
Creating the change In the spring of 2012, the Board of Trustees chose to act. In accordance with goal three of the then newly published Strategic Plan, which is entitled “An Inclusive and Diverse Community”, as a springboard, the Board issued a mandate to the administration of the school to broaden the applicant pool, to adopt a diversity statement and to rewrite the admissions policy.
“We are looking at diversifying the student body in terms of perhaps, enrollment, perhaps more students from the U.K. who are born and raised here. They will contribute to make this school stronger,” Phillips said. With this new territory, comes new methods. Dean of Admissions Jodi Warren is acting behind the scenes, implementing new and experimental techniques to attract the variety that is being demanded by the Board of Trustees. One method that has been revamped is
This school is not so different from the independent school in America that I taught at, and that is striking to me.” Math Department Head Neil Basu
Hester stated that this has led the admissions department to be more aggressive in their pursuit of students and families. “Instead of just being a school who accepted students who applied, we would act more like an admission office in New York or San Francisco, by being aggressive, by going out and letting people know who we are,” she said. The targets of this assertive new admissions policy are students and families who do not fit the traditional ASL stereotype. “If you take the typical ASL student, they are white, American and full-paying,” Hester said. “What would it be like to make sure we had plenty of applicants who were nonwhite, non-American, and non full-paying?” The administration hopes that these atypical students and families will come from closer to home, specifically London.
the Open House events that have been occurring since Hester’s arrival. Hester described the Open House: “It is where [families] go around in groups and get to see the school in action, and then at the end of the tour I give a talk about our demographics and our financial aid, and then we field questions for a half hour or so,” she said. Warren has adapted the Open Houses by changing their scheduling and how they are advertised. “We are trying to find a different format and timing for the Open House. We had one [for the first time] in the evening which was extremely well-attended,” she said. “We have made the Open House much more prominent on the website. For the first time we advertised in The Ham and High which is a local paper, we advertised in Focus, a magazine for expats, and one called The Voice which bills itself as England’s
black newspaper.” The school has taken other initiatives to share information on ASL with the wider London community. On November 8 and 9 various members of the ASL administration, faculty, and student body manned a booth at the Independent Schools Show in Battersea, which advertises as an exhibition that helps connect parents who are looking for a private school education for their children to local schools. There to help promote ASL was Celia Mitchell (’15), who was selected to go because of her work as a student tour guide Mitchell believed the purpose of attending the fair was to be finding families who would not usually apply to ASL. “The whole point [of being] there was to find an outlet to advertise ASL to a broader community and area of London. Families that may not have heard of ASL got the opportunity to meet with us and learn more about us,” she said “Socioeconomic [diversity] was a big one at the fair, a lot of families were from areas where currently ASL families may not live.” Socioeconomic diversity has been an area in which ASL has struggled. With only slightly more than 7 percent of this year’s budget being reserved for financial aid, ASL is severely lacking when compared to other private schools in the U.S., where financia aid receives up to 15 or 20 percent of the budget. The proportion of money allotted to financial aid is on the rise. “The Board has increased the amount of financial aid and it’s going up gradually and it started at about 6 percent and this year 7.6 and next year 8 percent. That’s something that we can somewhat control,” Warren said. As an institution that acquires the entirety of its funding from tuition and private donations, ASL is not in a position to drastically change the demographics, specifically socioeconomically, that compose the school Hester acknowledged this, saying, “We aren’t going to change the whole school it’s just a matter of degree and making sure we have the kind of multiculturalism in the community that promotes excellence.”
THE STANDARD | December 2013
Opening the lid on the 1:1 program MICHAEL CARPENTER Staff Writer At the end of the 2012-2013 school year the 1:1 Laptop Program was announced. The program requires students that have not recently purchased a PC computer to bring a functioning Apple computer to school each day. Though many teachers have noted the program’s benefits, overall responses have been mixed and questions regarding its merits are valid concerns for teachers. One of the core issues at hand is the program’s inability to benefit all departments at an equal level. World Languages and Culture Department Head Lanting Xu said that the language department is “benefitting considerably” from the program. “In the past, students had to go to the language lab, and there were only limited time slots for the teachers to use the language lab,” she said. However, other departments don’t see nearly as many perks to the program. Head of English Department Meghan Tally noted that though the program hasn’t had a huge impact, English teachers are grateful for the ease with which students can produce a laptop from their bags.
Some feel it is an issue of the subject being taught rather than the department itself. Math Teacher Tony Bracht said that some subjects have more online resources readily available than others. He feels that there is a “saturation of software” that can be used, but it can be difficult to find those that are worthwhile. “As with most things, it’s an issue of time. I like the idea. I just haven’t had time to invest in quality material online,” he said. However, rather than question the benefit to each individual department or subject, Technology Integration Specialist Elizabeth Perry feels the program can only progress as far as each individual teacher allows. Perry works with teachers to make the most of the technology available at ASL. In her experience, she has come across teachers that were hesitant to integrate technology, but she feels this is not the case here. “ASL teachers tend to be a curious, inquiring, and passionate bunch,” she said. Despite the benefits of the program, it creates fears among teachers regarding the proper use of laptops in the classroom. Tally said that when teachers see students doing something they shouldn’t on their
News Briefs Hour of Code success
Applications for PCA grants
During the week of December 9, the gym foyer was filled with the smell of pizza and the sound of typing. Hour of Code, in celebration of Computer Science Education Week, was in full swing. The event coincides with the birthday of Grace Hopper, a computer science pioneer from the 1950s. Hour of Code is geared towards people with all levels of coding experience. The activity consisted of a Google Doc with a list of links that led to various activities, from an Angry Birds themed click-and-drag exercise to learning how to program an iOS game from scratch.
It is now possible for parents, faculty, and students to apply for a PCA community connections grant. A PCA community connections grant allows applicants to receive up to £1,500 for their idea if the proposal is an idea that the PCA feels connects ASL to the outside community. The application deadline will be in January, but the exact date has not yet been set. The exact date will be published on Take Note on the ASL website. Visit www.asl.org/grants for an application for a grant, and for further information contact Liz Forgash lizforgash@ me.com
On January 10, Homecoming will take place in the Farmer Family Gym. Along with boys and girls varsity basketball games against ACS Cobham, a number of ASL alumni will return to take part in a basketball game against current staff. The alumni will also be fielding questions from the seniors during lunch about college life and general life after ASL. Students will be encouraged to wear orange and black, and oranges will be given out at the beginning of the school day.
Inspired by artists Andy Goldsworth and Richard Long, the Foundations class has made stick figures of several types of animals. The stick figures are made out of natural resources, similar to Goldsworth and Long’s art. These stick figures are now outside the SLD pod. The stick figures made by the Foundations class will be taken down during Winter Break. It is planned for next semester’s Foundations class to do the same project and to also have their artwork outside of the SLD pod.
Add/drop system changed The add/drop system has been changed for the second semester this year. Instead of having hard copies of forms in the Academic Advising office and the High School office like in the past, students will be sent an electronic copy of the form to fill out if they wish to add or drop a class. Additionally, students will have a shorter period of time to complete these forms in comparison to previous add/drop periods. The new time period to add and drop classes is yet to be announced.
Artwork outside of SLD pod
2014 Bergeron Fellowship From February 3-7, author Leah Hager Cohen will be visiting ASL as this year’s Bergeron Fellow. Hager Cohen is a fiction and nonfiction novelist based in Boston, but also contributes to the New York Times Book Review. Hager Cohen is also currently teaching in Boston. She will speak to the High School on February 4, and 5 and will also be speaking in various English 10 classrooms. For more information on Cohen, visit her website at www.leahhagercohen.com.
As a school, we probably want to develop some norms regarding the use of technology. Lanting Xu, World Languages and Culture Department Head
laptops, there is the question of whether or not they should intervene. Another concern is whether students or the teachers themselves actually have more responsibility now that the program has been implemented. Though Tally feels students have the responsibility of ensuring their laptop is prepared each day, she also believes there are now higher expectations for teachers, specifically in regards to utilizing Haiku and incorporating the technology. “It’s the fact that laptops are ubiquitous now that encourages teachers to make these changes,” she said. Tally feels that the approach should be
focused on the ethical use of the internet and also feels that certain values should be in place. Elaborating upon this concept, Xu said, “As a school, we probably want to develop some norms regarding the use of technology and publish these norms.” She believes this would serve as a reminder to everyone what expectations are in place regarding technology use. However, Bracht believes that despite the positive direction he feels the program has taken this year, the school needs to take “baby steps” towards a more complete integration of the program for the future.
Sabbaticals announced CHARLOTTE YOUNG News Editor Science Teacher and Grade 10 Dean Marisa Wilson has been awarded a sabbatical leave for the 2014-2015 school year, as announced in an all-school email from Head of School Coreen Hester on December 2. Wilson hopes that during her sabbatical she will be able to look at issues that surround sustainability and food security. She will also be working to develop her skills as a dean on her sabbatical. Additionally, Wilson hopes to learn German during the year. Wilson will be keeping a blog so that others can keep up to date with her during her sabbatical. Math Teacher Doug Poggioli was on the committee to help select the teachers that would be awarded next year’s sabbaticals. The committee consisted of divisional principals, including Hester and teachers who had been granted sabbatical leaves during the previous year. Each sabbatical applicant must present a detailed proposal to the committee laying out what they plan to do on their sabbatical. Poggioli was on a sabbatical last year, and explained what many teachers do on their time off. “Some people are doing things related to getting a degree, some people are going the direction of personal enrichment, something that will emotionally help them grow,” he said. Wilson believes that now is the perfect time for her to take a sabbatical. “I’ve been here for 12 years, and there are some things that I would like to do that I don’t feel like I have the time to do because I am so busy with school,” she said. “It’s been in the back of my mind for a while but I started really seriously thinking about it at the end of the
summer, beginning of this school year.” ASL only permits up to three teachers to be awarded a Sabbatical per year, Poggioli says that teachers who are given Sabbaticals have to include in their application how they have given back to the school. “They also have to put in how much they have contributed to the school, not just what they teach, but other things they may have done,” he said.
“Some people are going the direction of personal enrichment, something that will emotionally help them grow.” Doug Poggioli, Math Teacher Wilson is very excited to go on her sabbatical and to explore the different components of her proposal. “A lot of the stuff that I’m doing that is about sustainability and food security is really interesting to me. I’ll be learning more about global food security which is a really important issue in the world,” she said. Poggioli feels that the time he spent on his sabbatical was successful, especially since he learned what it was like to teach in other departments. “I took language courses and so I saw other teachers and how they teach and approach things. It wasn’t like I was taking a math course where I know exactly what I’m doing.” Wilson is the only teacher in the high school to be given a sabbatical for the 20142015 school year. The other teachers who will be on sabbatical next year are Grade 3 Teacher Amy Walter and MS World Language and Culture Teacher Solange Kidd.
THE STANDARD | December 2013
FARES CHEHABI Editor-in-Chief CLAYTON MARSH Deputy Editor-in-Chief THOMAS RISINGER Lead News Editor CHARLOTTE YOUNG News Editor IAN SCOVILLE Opinions Editor MINA OMAR Lead Features Editor ZACK LONGBOY Features Editor KATE KENNEDY Culture Editor GABRIEL RUIMY Culture Editor NIKOLAI BIRCH Sports Editor JAMES MALIN Sports Editor JESSICA HAGHANI Photo Editor ALEX PABARCIUS Design Editor WILLIAM MUOIO Online Editor SVENA BHASIN Copy Editor HAMISH STEPHENSON
STAFF WRITERS Noah Abrams, Lynn Albright, Leila Ben Halim, William Brummette, Michael Carpenter, Lev Cohen, Dana Daly, Yarra Elmasry, Laura Galligan, Alexandra Harrington, Maya Jotwani, Sebastian Mayr, Ankit Mehra, Juliette Pope, Max Roth, Varun Sarup, Nadia Sawiris, Livy Scott, Tyler Skow, Maria Tavierne STAFF PHOTOGRAPHERS Yarra Elmasry, Maya Jotwani, Alex Liederman, Kiran Rajguru, Trilok Sadarangani, Tania Veltchev
CARTOON BY CAROLINE TISDALE
Enhancing our sense of community
What differentiates a school and a school community is that the latter possesses a prevailing sense of belonging that permeates throughout the administration, faculty and student body. A defined sense of community overlays another dimension to our studies and time at ASL – it creates a base from which to start, to continue, and to end; it creates an interpersonal relationship between every single person who works or studies at ASL. It changes dreary, individual work into invigorating, communal efforts. And yet our sense of community, though sometimes superficially present in pep rallies and other congregational events, such as our Halloween Assembly, is not enforced; it does not applies to everyone. Berating the our current sense of community in no way undermines present and past efforts to create various groups and entities of extracurricular activity. We have dozens of sports teams, dozens of charity clubs, and dozens of everything in between – the effort to continue work beyond 3:05 p.m. is present. But this does create a series of sub-communities, we will call them; subcommunities that command a role and instill within whoever participates in them, all the while ascribing certain notions or values to those same participants. But a community is not formed from series of subcommunities. A community is so much greater – so much more powerful – simply for the reason that it would encompass everyone at ASL, define a role for each person, and ascribe qualities and principles universal to everyone within or without this building that belongs or has belonged to the community. Something that makes ASL, to some extent, perennial. The way forward is not heavily administering communitybuilding from the top down and it is not promoting the occasions in which an ASL core value is demonstrated – it is by opening a dialogue pervasive to the entire school, and letting it flourish from there. In order to create, and not manufacture, a community, we must bring everyone together and let dialogue flourish with no obstruction, with no structure and see where it takes us. A tangible solution is currently under consideration by Principal Jack Phillips: Let us have a “town hall”. On certain days of our busy calendars, members of each, or most, of ASL’s subcom-
munities would be present and we would talk. As simplistic as dialogue might sound, it is the essential foundation of every prestigious democratic government of the past and of the present. Voices of individuals from discernible friend groups, discernible school clubs, and discernible sport teams would be given a more ideal platform to be heard. By moving from lecture to dialogue, we would be changing any regular assembly into an ASL forum. The dynamic of High School-wide events would morph from take-notes-and-pay-attention to what-do-you-thinkneeds-to-be-said? For this reason, Phillips’ Thanksgiving assembly is one that deserves praise. For 15 minutes, students from every grade and teachers from every department stepped in front of the High School to tell the audience what they were thankful for. For 15 minutes, the ASL High School formed a distinct community. Subcommunities are a beautiful feature for our education and our ASL identity. But allowing for them to thrive on a more personal level is what will move us towards being a community. With this notion, we support Phillips’ consideration of establishing High School advisories. In an effort to establish a thorough a sense of shared purpose, Phillips believes that bringing together students and teachers every now and then will help nurture community. Still at a stage of consideration, we recommend the advisories should meet once per eight-day cycle, be made up of students from all four grades, have a teacher for a moderator, and be preserved for the entire year. Many of these guidelines mirror the ideology behind Alternatives, but they remedy two certain flaws: The subcommunity of an advisory would be one that persists for an entire year, if not more, and it would not be limited to any certain topic. It would be a system that fosters camaraderie between teachers and students, athletes and intellectuals, boys and girls, upperclassmen and underclassmen. It would be the basis of a community. Well-established subcommunities complemented by everybody-led discussions: That is how we will find out who we, as the ASL High School, are. That is how we will build our community.
CARTOONISTS Daniela Al-Saleh, Caroline Tisdale SHANNON MILLER Adviser MISSION STATEMENT The Standard staff and adviser are dedicated to creating an open forum that strives to promote productive dialogue within the School community by publishing exemplary student news media according to the strictest standards of journalistic integrity. CONTENT The Standard covers news related, but not limited, to the School community. Issues-driven coverage that aims to explore ideas, themes, concepts, trends and recent developments beyond the campus that are relevant to members of the community are also included. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Send submissions to the journalism lab, room O-329, or to the_standard@ asl.org. These must adhere to the same set of ethical guidelines that all staff content is held to, and will only be published at the discretion of the editorial board and the adviser. The Standard retains the right to edit letters for length and AP/Standard style. All letters must be signed in order to be considered for publication. EDITORIALS Articles published without a byline and presented in the same location issue-to-issue represent the majority opinion of the editorial board. They are unsigned. COLUMNS Articles with a byline and a photo of the author in the Opinions section of the newspaper are opinions articles. They represent the view of the writer only, and not necessarily the staff of the newspaper or any other individual or group in the community. ENGAGEMENT WITH READERSHIP The Standard encourages all readers to submit their thoughts through letters to the editor, guest columns, online comments, and story ideas. Contact the appropriate section editor(s) for submissions. ONLINE VIEWING The Standard can be viewed online at standard.asl.org.The Standard can also be viewed in PDF format on the High School page of the ASL website, www.asl.org. Printed by Mortons Print Limited, 01507 523456 Like us on Facebook: www.facebook. com/TheStandardASL Follow us on Twitter: @TheStandardASL Follow us on Instagram: @TheStandardASL
THE STANDARD | December 2013
Evaluating our extreme norms
Laura gaLLigan firstname.lastname@example.org
Hearing my classmates’ comments on the last two school trips I have been on has disgusted me.
Many ASL students complain about the school trips they are so fortunate to take. This happens so much that it has become the norm. ASL’s definition of normal is set to a different standard than most American high schools. It is more than our academic rigor and where we matriculate; it’s the type of people we’ve grown accustomed to. Because we are fortunate enough to travel so often with school, we often complain about many smaller aspects of the trips. But what many people in the ASL community need to realize is the ability we have to take these trips at all is very rare. Hearing my classmates’ comments on the last two school trips I have been on has disgusted me. Granted, triple session workouts for crew camp in Spain, on top of being a second semester junior, were exhausting, and the fruit served at the hotel in Madeira for my Alternative this year was not the best I had ever had, but many of my peers let small things ruin their whole trip. Exhaustion and bad fruit turned into wanting to go home days before the trip ended. My trip-mates forgot they could have been sitting
Progress Report food
in class staring at the clock. They forgot to step back and be thankful. Imagine yourself at a school other than ASL. Think of where you were born, and picture yourself in a non-international school. Whether or not you would be at a private school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan or a public school in rural Kansas, you would not have many of the opportunities that you do at ASL. First of all, a trip similar to the ones provided by Alternatives would most likely not be a part of your tuition, and, unless you lived near the border of Canada, travelling to another country would not be feasible and would cost a lot more money. I don’t mean to sound like someone who works in the admissions office, but I would bet you would choose traveling to a championship game with ASL – or any other similar school for that matter – in Paris or Amsterdam rather than, like my brother, to Newark, New Jersey where you have to be wary of gang violence if your team won the game. Rather than getting bogged down on the details, remember the big picture. If you have the time, volunteer. The people you meet in
community partnerships will envy the opportunities you take for granted. Many of them will never know what its like to take four days off from school and go hiking in the Alps, for example. Next time you are at ISSTs, don’t let your housing arrangements or the result of your games alter your opinion of having the opportunity to play a sport in another country at the high school level. Don’t choose a London Alternative because your peers have told you that they did not enjoy theirs abroad in years past. Enter your travels with an open mind and stay positive. You can and will enjoy it. I encourage you all to not only take part in, but also enjoy your ASL trips. Perhaps we can change how we view them. If we step back and look at the big picture, we can allow for future ASL high school students to appreciate how fortunate we are, without petty complaints getting in the way. If we don’t take advantage of our good fortunes at ASL, we will regret the lost opportunities in the future. And, if we play our cards right, enjoying a four-day venture to Florence could perhaps become “normal.”
PhoTo 1 by KiRAn RAjguRu, PhoTo 2 by jeSSicA hAghAni, PhoTo 3 by MAyA joTwAni, PhoTo 4 fRoM fLicKR/eLegAnTcuiSine, PhoToS 5 And 6 fRoM TAniA veLTchev
Freshmen Eating Habits: (A) The freshmen are currently 4. 1. the vibe when it comes to food. Not only do they orThe Standard staff give running der pizza, but they also get crates of Starbucks drinks deliv-
Bake Sales: (A) Nothing screams happiness more than a nice glazed doughnut snack as I jog to class. Shout out to all of the wonderful clubs that have found that the key to success is through Krispy Kremes. Charlotte Young
Watching Movies in Class: (A) The teacher asks you to take notes, but you know they don’t really want you to take notes - they probably just feel guilty. The topic is supposed to be related to class, but never really is. Kick back and relax (maybe the teacher will too). Especially when they come back-toback before breaks; honestly, you’re already in the South of France. Gabriel Ruimy
Class Meetings: (C-) Who wants their lunch interrupted by a largely pointless meeting? No one. Rarely is there anything of substance raised at class meetings, and it is even less frequent that something is said that can’t be put in an email. Shout out to tech committee. James Malin
ASL its last Progress Report before the end 2. of the first semester
ered along side numerous buckets of KFC. Need I say more? Hamish Stephenson
Taste: (Unbelievably Bad) This is less of a Progress Report and more of a public service announcement. Please practice taste when advertising where you were accepted to college. Frankly, no one cares. It should be noted that this was written before college decisions were announced. Thomas Risinger
Basketball Games: (A) Having four Friday home 3. Friday basketball games this year is refreshing. After several years
during which opposing teams were not comfortable coming to play ASL on Friday nights, they now seem up for the challenge. I fully expect the High School student section to overpower the cheerleaders, and chants of “Get out of London!” or “She fell over!” to fill the main gym. Get out of your mind. Clayton Marsh
Post Scriptum: Run dis ting.
THE STANDARD | December 2013
The power of humor
A good laugh or two every now and then would only improve the morale of a student body that is generally overstressed and moody more than it is relaxed and content.
Alice Leader, a close family friend and former ASL teacher who currently runs the Master Classes for ASL parents, once told me that “as soon as you learn to laugh about something, then you have conquered it.” Those wise words have come in handy for me time and time again. Life, it is trite to say, is full of ups and downs. I have lost count of the amount of times that laughter in the company of close friends and family has gotten me through the downs. But, to perhaps speak more to what Leader was really trying to tell me, humor can help one conquer their fears. I used to dread public speaking, for example. Last April, I was tasked with delivering a speech at Middle East Night about my final important conversation with my recently deceased grandfather about the ongoing civil war in our homeland of Syria. I was under the immense pressure of getting an incredibly intimate and important message across to an audience that filled up the Commons. My grandfather’s story, moreover, deserved a confident and assured retelling. While waiting anxiously for my turn to speak at the podium, Leader’s wise words returned to me. The moment was almost epiphanic. Now, I did not turn to my friends all of a sudden and start cracking jokes. It was neither the time nor the place for that. But my grandfather’s warm smile etched itself into my conscience amid memories of his retellings of humorous tales, all of which preceded his deep, hearty chuckle. I allowed myself a brief smile before delivering a speech that brought one ASL teacher to tears. Humor effectively let me overcome my fear. ASL is an environment full of, if not dictated by, fear. Day-in and day-out, students are juggling the dread of facing difficult exams and other academic challenges with the relationships they have with their peers. That assessment, I must add, does not even take into account the difficulties that students might be bringing into school from home. A good laugh or two every now and then would only improve the morale of a student body that is generally overstressed and moody more than it is relaxed and content. Imagine if humor was more common-
place in the classroom. There is a reason why I always left World Languages Teacher Victoria Hamadache’s Spanish class last year grinning from ear to ear. Her classroom was a place guided by her jovial demeanor and frequent lighthearted jokes in addition to, of course, her consistently outstanding instruction. This setting allowed me to conquer all my fears and therefore perform to the best of my abilities in my bid to achieve mastery of a language. I am not calling for teachers to start teaching while wearing a clown nose and to demonstrate key concepts using circus props, nor am I asking for the employment of a stand-up comedian to roam the hallways in search of gloomy students to cheer up. But it seems to me that humor has recently fallen out of favor at ASL. Consider the cancellations of The Slanderd last year and the Halloween assembly dating game this year – two annual traditions that consistently brought smiles to the faces of ASL students removed without simi-
lar alternatives taking their places. Humor brings the community together. Just think about all the times you have grown closer to your friends after laughing so hard with them that you barely emitted a noise and your sides began to hurt. I applaud Principal Jack Phillips’ decision to call all willing participants, faculty and students alike, down to the stage at the the High School assembly that took place just before Thanksgiving break. Those who were brave enough to step up to the microphone shared what they were thankful for in an uplifting and heartwarming event that undoubtedly brought the ASL community closer together. And while we should be thankful every day, not just during a particular holiday, we should also find the time every day to simply forget about our stressors and just laugh. Our academic and relationship-related fears do not deserve to down our collective morale so much. Humor is there to rescue us, like it did for me at Middle East Night.
Appreciating opportunities Clayton marsh
Try and learn something new, whether it is about yourself or what you are studying.
The greatest aspect of the educational experience at ASL is the freedom to choose one’s own path. I’m not necessarily talking about the courses one decides or decides not to take, but rather the trail that each student chooses to pursue outside of the classroom. A high school experience based solely on the traditional offerings is not enough; in order to achieve an engaging and impactful four years, an independent interest outside the classroom must be pursued. Whether it be sports, robotics, the arts, community partnerships, or countless other experiences, these opportunities are often taken for granted. It is easy to under appreciate the resources available to you, to succumb to a mindset where these luxuries are merely the norm. It is vital that these essential learning opportunities are taken advantage of and appreciated by each and every student; it is a unique chance to break away from the confines and limits of the
traditional classroom setting and pursue something that you are passionate about. It is obvious that amazing things are happening everyday within these walls; students organized and ran an entire TEDx conference, students convene to discuss disciplinary cases in an extremely professional and serious manner, and students are beginning to blaze their own trails as teachers in the Lower School – to name a few. The resources, the support, and the opportunities are there, and it is time for students to start appreciating ASL and taking some initiative. I have seen first hand the benefits of undertaking a meaningful and engaging extracurricular experience. I enrolled in Journalism as a freshman, and I can honestly say that it was one of the most significant decisions of my high school career. My experience on The Standard has pushed me to think critically, to question authority, and to give people an alternative per-
spective. Furthermore, I’ve forged relationships with people who otherwise would have been strangers to me in the hallway. Four years later, I still get excited when we send to press. If I left school with just a résumé and a list of grades, I probably wouldn’t be satisfied. It’s this experience outside the classroom that has meant the most to me. High school is exactly what you want it to be. You can do as much or as little – to a certain extent – as you want. However, I encourage each and every one of you to blaze your own trail and find something meaningful to you at some point during your High School career; these experiences can act as beautiful times of discovery. Try to learn something new, whether it is about yourself or what you are studying. Take a risk and learn something you can’t be taught in a classroom; these are the lessons you will remember in 20 years.
THE STANDARD | December 2013
‘Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist’ point counterpoint This song allows us to laugh and confront our issues with racism
n April 2013, country star Brad Paisley paired up with rapper LL Cool J to send a message to the world: While racism is bad, sometimes it’s just harmless, unintentional stereotyping. They tried to make a profound point through the fusion of different musical styles around one issue, and released the song “Accidental Racist.” The song was supposed to be about mending the rift that “accidental racism” has caused over the years, but in the words of comedian Stephen Colbert, it brought together the world in another way: This song has united all Americans to declare: “This song sucks.” You might think that by discussing a song about racism that fell flat, I’d be arguing against “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist,” from the recent High School musical Avenue Q. However, the crux of what I was saying laid not in the song, but Colbert’s response to it, and the surprising potency that humor has in the face of controversial issues. What “verybody’s a little bit racist” does so well, unlike “Accidental Racist,” is that it allows its words to be laughed at, and this lightheartedness infuses the song, and its message with more accessibility and by exploring an issue in a way that hasn’t yet been seen – persuasiveness. This song is not about celebrating racism and stratification. Instead, it is about cohesiveness and “living in harmony.” Between all of the flashy dance moves seen in the music video and seemingly-racist accents and comments, the point of the song was that we should all accept everyone as they are, including ourselves, even if we find that we make snap judgements about people. Of course it would be ideal to live in a world where no one makes potentially hurtful comments or judgements against people. The truth of the matter, however, is the only way that would happen would be if we lived in a colorblind world, but do we really want that? Do we want the defining cultural differences that we all identify with to be taken away? We don’t want those differences to be stripped away and we don’t want everyone to meld together. And as long as these differences remain, it is simply human nature to make small judgements and for people to identify with those who are similar to themselves. So “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” simply asks us: What war are we trying to fight? Wouldn’t it be better if we all just lived together happily and accepted that every once and in a while someone will say something that is not politically correct than create even greater divisions by trying to eradicate the small stereotypes that people can’t help but to think, and do very little harm?
The song argues that true friendships and harmony can be attained by honestly accepting people on the deep and important issues and not being so hung up on the little things. Who can disagree?
A musical is the wrong way to discuss racism
atching the song “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” in the High School musical Avenue Q was a cringeworthy experience for me. This wasn’t because the song was poorly performed or bad in any way – far from it, actually – but because of how racism was portrayed and t h e cons e -
quences that come with that portrayal. I have no problem with the topic of racism being discussed. It’s an important issue, even in today’s progressive society, and one that needs to be discussed. But in my mind, the issue of racism is not one that can be joked about. Let me be clear: I’m not trying to be some overly politically correct individual. But I do think that certain issues are reserved solely for more honest and respectable dialogue, especially when in the public eye. I, like everyone else, found the entire musical entertaining. And I understand the way in which racism was trying to be discussed and portrayed. But the reason why I disagree with it so strongly is because of how the song appears to celebrate racism. Even if you take the song in its most light-hearted sense, in which it is intended, there is still the intention to take issue with. I think even sarcastically and casually making racist jokes is wrong, and I think having a song, which in my mind glorifies racism, is wrong as well. Ignoring the lyrics for a second, and just looking at the overall performance, it’s hard to deny that the musical showed racism as acceptable. By acknowledging that “everyone’s a little bit racist,” the utopian idea of complete equality is being thrown away in exchange for a society where it’s acceptable to make stereotypes. When the group laughs about Gary Coleman making a racist joke about Polish people, the whole group laughs and in a sense congratulates the fact that a racist joke was told. Is this really an appropriate manner to present the issue of racism? To congratulate one for being racist? Topics such as these deserve public discourse, but in a more serious manner. Lectures, forums, New York Times articles, honest Harkness discussions and many more places are all appropriate settings to discuss the topic of racism. A serious place, where the issue can garner the right attention and ability to make progress, instead of simply laughing about it, is necessary. A hilarious musical is not that place.
GRaphic By aLEx paBaRcius
THE STANDARD | December 2013
Casual hook-ups are degrading Charlotte young email@example.com
I see this casual type of relationship to be degrading towards both women and men.
The first few months of my sophomore year have been surreal, to say the least. My primary introduction to the social scene of high school came this past November. It seemed as if every weekend, there was at least one party where people from all grades were put into the same room. With this introduction to high school parties, it was also my first time seeing how students interacted with each other sexually. What I found was––to my horror––that students are casually swapping saliva at parties, either with new people each time or the same person. While I do recognize that students also date, based on a recent survey of 138 students, 92 percent believe that casual hook-ups are most prevalent at ASL. While I understand that a casual “hook up” relationship is fine if that is what both parties want or are comfortable with, I see this casual type of relationship to be degrading towards both young women young men. When looking at it from a woman’s point of view, I have seen that the man is usually the first to make the move. Simply put, why is it that often a woman has to wait for a man to decide when it is the right time to take ac-
tion? While this may just be a social norm that has evolved over the years, it has left me wondering that our young community believes women are so weak and submissive that they have to wait for the man to make up his mind. While it is true that in some cases women are the first to initiate, in most cases I find myself hearing- and seeing that young women are told to “wait” until the guy thinks it’s the perfect time, or that if they make the first move they’re “over-eager” or “aggressive”. Has it ever crossed anyone else’s minds that men can be branded by these words also, but yet in most cases they are not? Casually hooking up in party settings yields to a larger problem for many young women: young men think that because it is not a “serious” relationship, they don’t need to speak with the woman. Many young men surveyed said that they did not want the commitment that comes with a relationship. Casual hook ups, whether being a one-time occurrence or happening multiple times, take the pressure off the “leader” of the relationship to communicate with their counterpart.
Lack of conversation, while seemingly insignificant to some people, degrades both parties to being sexual objects for each other’s pleasure, with one young man surveyed saying “people date when they like the person, they hook up when they like the appearance of the person.” This inevitably degrades young, smart women to being objects to service men. Whether women like to admit it or not, the second that they commit to being in a “fling” with a young man, they are being objectified. At our ages, young men are more likely to expect sexual acts compared to women. In turn, this leads women to feel pressured and give into young males’ demands to go farther than they are comfortable with. It is necessary for women to take back some of the power in their relationships. There is no doubt that while these casual relationships are consensual, it is important for women to feel that they are also leaders and important in their relationships. When in a relationship, both young men and women should be participating on a leveled playing field, where both are equal and significant in the eyes of their counterpart.
Sexism is not an issue for us nadia sawiris
As a community we should ... focus more on the women who are truly being oppressed.
The countless assemblies, articles, clubs and meetings suggest that there is a prominent issue of mistreating females in the High School. However, I believe that sexism is not an issue at ASL. We live in a world where women are often degraded or mistreated compared to men. According to the Human Rights Watch, women and young girls, primarily in developing countries around the world are trafficked into forced labor and sex slavery. They are married as children, refused access to education and participation in the government. In some extreme cases, they are involved in conflicts where rape is executed as a weapon of war. It is crucial for students and faculty to be aware of these oppressions. However, they should do so to the extent that they are able to differentiate true sexism and other injustices that they would blame on it. ASL has previously hosted speakers such as feminist author, speaker and filmmaker Jean Kilbourne to speak during High School assemblies about the exploitation of women in advertisements. We have also had individual class meetings to discuss the issue in our society. For many, this was an over dosage of feminism and demoralizing to women. This is because some women felt uncomfortable when hearing Kilbourne argue that provocative clothing in advertising was considered a form of exploitation of women. As a community, we should approach women’s rights in a different way, in which we would focus more on the women who are truly being oppressed. The amount of times I have heard a girl complain about a grade she has received, blaming it on a sexist teacher, is odious. These students have no right to make such accusations. The more people approach sexism as a graver issue than it actually is, the more women will take advantage of it. The more the ASL community talks about sexism or how often it is a problem in the high school, the more people start to address it as a problem – making women feel weaker and inferior to men. People feel as though they need to tread
a representation of the school’s treatment on sexism clashing with the world’s. graphic by jessica haghani lightly around the issue, to the extent that something must be said when there is an unbalanced representation of both sexes in The Standard. I am not implying that it is fair for such a thing to happen, but it made me raise the question as to whether or not such a concern would have been voiced if an issue of the paper was dominated by females as opposed to males. We are fortunate enough to live in a liberal, open-minded community in which both women and men choose the way they are treated. If one has a problem, they should fix it. They should not blame it on discrimination of the sexes and force it on entire communities. This
should at least be applied in the ASL sphere, as it is evident that women need to be protected in developing countries or when illegally exploited. I’m not advocating that the question of the unfair treatment of women compared to men should not be brought up in the High School. I simply believe that the ASL community should shift the focus to oppressed women in developing countries as opposed to the women at ASL. Ultimately, the purpose of these discussions in the High School should be to make our community aware of the injustices occurring to innocent people and to try and aid them in whichever way we can.
THE STANDARD | December 2013
The concept of truly understanding the need to earn money and to look after one’s earning is something that most ASL students may not understand until they are out of college.
Students throughout the High School shouldn’t be sharing their academic grades in the same way they do not share their standardized test scores.
I’ve been a student at ASL for almost 12 years now. I can safely say that I’ve managed to weave my way into the community to a point where, for the most part, I feel at home while in school. However, there has always been a sense that the life I have lived beyond the school walls is completely disparate from the ASL bubble. The way I have been brought up is to appreciate everything I have and to take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way. The environment I have lived in and many of the people I surround myself with have been those who are very careful with money, often low on income but never give up on their objectives and are dedicated to doing what they love. Having a father who has built his art gallery up from the age of 13 and a mother who is fully committed to her love for writing and teaching and has just been granted funding to take a PhD in education at Cambridge has instilled a sense of constant commitment to being productive and achieving my goals. My parents made the decision to prioritize my education over housing, something I hugely appreciate. To put that in context, I still share a room with my younger brother in our 700 square foot flat. One thing that is beautiful about the ASL community is that students are not judged based upon their financial status. The school is very respectful of families’ financial needs and no students are ignorant enough to exclude people based upon their monetary situation. However, inevitable lifestyle differences make it tricky for students like myself. Other than the sporadic £10 I receive from my father when he’s feeling generous, all the money I spend is money that I have earned myself. Since the age of about 15, my parents stopped providing me with a regular allowance. They thankfully still provide me with meals and accommodation, but when out of the house I am forced to spend out of my own pocket. I pay for all of my clothes, food, school supplies, toiletries, and countless other necessities. I must admit it can be hard to sustain the traditional lifestyle that other ASL students lead – the ones who receive £50 a day. For ex-
Photo courtesy of hamish stePhenson
Independence through work ample, I decided I would participate in t h e
ann u a l senior ski trip although I realized I would be responsible for earning 70 percent of the cost. Before I buy anything at all, I have to consider a multitude of concerns: My bank balance, future purchases, and the necessity of the purchase. This process, while customary to me, would seem alien to a vast majority of ASL students. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t change my situation for the world. The concept of truly understanding the need to earn money and to look after one’s earnings is something that most ASL students may not understand until they are out of college. It will come as a reality check
when students realize the need to find a job and spend their earnings attentively and carefully. The feeling of being able to, in part, support oneself also brings a level of utmost pride and confidence in one’s abilities and maturity. Also, being able to relate to most normal working people in London has helped me grow my network and as a result bring more work and money in. The fact that I can understand the daily lives of others I work with on a more real level allows me to maintain longstanding relationships and ultimately fit in. To truly appreciate the hustle, one must live it, and accept that like many people in London with a strong work ethic there are many enjoyable career paths that do not necessarily lead to a huge salary.
Keeping our grades private Most seniors or juniors wouldn’t ask each other in the hallways “What did you get on your SAT?” This would be an unlikely occurrence, especially at ASL, as the senior class traditionally keeps these scores private. Academic grades are just as important and yet they are discussed so much more. Similar to the unofficial senior motto “don’t ask, don’t tell,” in regards to college applications, students throughout the High School shouldn’t be sharing their academic grades in the same way they don’t share their standardized test scores. The sharing of GPAs and grades is consistently in the conversation loop in the High School, but it has come to a point where these grades are frequently being talked about at the wrong times and shared when they should not be. One particular incident frustrated me just
after quarter grades were posted. Several students were frantically calculating their GPAs, and shouting out “3.8.” This is not right, especially doing it in the middle of a class. If you’re a student on academic probation who is trying to improve from one letter grade to another, it’s probably not the best thing to be hearing. If sophomore students are overly concerned and sharing their first quarter grades, things have gone too far. By the time they are seniors things will be out of control. Also, it’s not entirely necessary to keep your straight A+ report card up on your computer for the entire 80 minutes. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t casually chat about your grades with close friends in appropriate situations, but the aggravating “What did you get?” is harmful to the happi-
ness of the entire community. This will slowly cause grades to become an even more competitive issue between students rather than an individual concern. Before tests are being returned teachers repeatedly say, “Your grade is your grade, keep it to yourself.” Of course students entirely disregard this request and immediately start saying things like “I did terrible – I got a 95.” There are no concrete rules or policies about sharing grades because there shouldn’t be. At the same time it’s up to us as individuals to understand that some students don’t appreciate being asked their GPA, no matter if it is a 4.0 or a 2.0. Grades are an important piece of our academic life, we should know them, and to an extent be driven by them, but we need to know the correct time when they should be discussed and shared in and out of a school setting.
THE STANDARD | December 2013
Technology in education
The SLD language conundrum Staff Writer Tyler Skow investigates the delayed start SLD students have in the World Language Department
or students in Specific Learning Differences program, learning a second language is deemed unecessary for several years, and specified language courses are implemented later in the program. However, many of the students involved in this program have noticed a deficiency in their education. SLD students are introduced to a second language in a different way from non-SLD students, as they are not required to take a language in Grades 5, 6, and 7.
a general label,” he said. “I don’t really believe in labels and drawing attention to something they think of as a deficiency.” Rojas believes differentiation of teaching techniques, rather than focusing solely on certain methods such as visual or auditory learning is the most effective way to teach a group of students with diverse learning styles. He said, “when I would assign homework I [would] give two or three possible assignments.” In order to address all of the students learn-
them. “I do think that there are questions that are raised,” Rojas said, concerning SLD students being exposed to a language so late. Furthermore, Rojas thinks that if some sort of a learning difference is identified early on, there are still ways of practicing a foreign language without excluding it all together. Rojas observes that students are often missing important themes that return in future language classes. “Those few years could be valuable with no inter-
knowledge, the only reason SLD students do not take a language is because of scheduling. Aidan Gazidis (’17) took Spanish Foundations last year. Unlike most SLD students, Gazidis had been taking Spanish all through Middle School, only joining the SLD program in Grade 8. However, despite his previous Spanish courses, Gazidis was still required to take this introductory level course. “I felt very advanced for the class,” he said. “I had done Spanish for six years previously,
reflect on the impact that Spanish Foundations had on his current ability. “I was put in Spanish 1A [at the beginning of High School] and this was too difficult, even after Spanish Foundations, because I felt I had forgotten the six years of Spanish I learned before Spanish Foundations,” he said. Xu acknowledged that the way SLD students are taught a second language has evolved over the years, and admits that the process is still open to change. “I want SLD students to know that
Guten Tag مرحبا Often, Grade 8 is an SLD student’s first exposure to a language class. Even then, they take a Foundations course in the language specifically catered to their needs. Students in the Foundations classes often demonstrate a wide variety of skill levels, but the course is treated as a normal academic class. Only in special cases, such as a student who is already proficient in
ing requirements. Rojas emphasized that the course’s textbook and curriculum are chosen to mirror one that students will experience later, despite being more activity-based rather than grammar-based like a normal Language class. Ryan Nealis (’17), who is enrolled in the SLD program, had his first experience of a foreign
ruption,” Rojas said. “[The students] could become much more comfortable.” Additionally, for many it is a difficult transition to go through years of minimal exposure to a language, and then enter a mainstream course. “Students taken out of a language for three years, who are then put back in can find it shocking,” Rojas said.
[ but] by the second semester, I had pretty much forgotten everything and I was back to square one.” For Gazidis, taking this Foundations course was the first time any measures had been taken to accommodate his learning differences in the language department. He firmly believes that more steps need to be taken in
we are there to help, and that we don’t look at these learning differences as some kind of disability but rather something that is different,” she said. “Teachers and students need to work together to develop different learning strategies so this group of students can learn as efficiently and effectively as anyone else. “This year, [administrators]
I don’t really believe in labels and drawing attention to something they think of as a deficiency Mario rojas, World languages and Cultures teaCher another language, is a student not assigned to a Foundations course. Although it is a unique class created for SLD students, World Language and Culture Teacher Mario Rojas, who has taught the Foundations course for the past two years, believes there is little difference between the Spanish courses. “Overall, my teaching philosophy is that every student has learning differences, so SLD is
language in school through a Foundations class in the Grade 8, and found it more beneficial than detrimental. “A language would have made my academic year more difficult in the fifth and sixth grade and SLD gave me the support I needed,” Nealis said. However, some SLD students have found that the lack of a language course before Grade 8 leads to serious repercussions for
World Language and Culture Department Head Lanting Xu is of the opinion that students with or without learning differences should have the ability to take a second language. “I look at language learning as mental discipline and I think lots of SLD students who might be struggling with organization skills might benefit from learning a second language,” she said. To her
High School to help SLD students learn a language. The language department has other means of accommodating SLD students. “The department has emphasized differentiated instruction and the teachers have systematically offered extra help and accommodation to students with learning differences.” Xu said. Now in high school, Gazidis can
are working in the direction of providing more opportunities for SLD students to take world language classes.” Xu said. Teaching methods are also being reviewed, in order to make the classes more accommodating for SLD students. The new mentality about how to approach these issues is that learning ability should not affect when or what students learn, but rather how they learn.
Y T I N U M COM G TOGETHER
N I G N I R B WORTH
re ASLâ€™s lo p x e y im u R l ditor Gabrie E e r u lt u C d n a abi erness h th e e h g C to s f o e r e a s F n f e s Editor-in-Chie ggle to instill an overarching stru
PHOTO COURTESY OF WENDY ROBINSON
rincipal Jack Phillips knew something was amiss in his first few months at ASL. The long gap between the year’s opening assemblies and the assembly held on October 15 made him “curious.” For him, questions began to arise: “It got me wondering: What is the community like here? What do we stand for? What’s our shared purpose?” These questions prompted action. Already one of the busiest individuals of the High School faculty, Phillips has taken on the immense task of addressing ASL’s sense of community; establishing a sense of community is his bare minimum objective. “It would be unrealistic, and I think naïve, to say that we want everyone to be friends with everyone. It’s just not going to happen,” he said. “But everyone should feel like they belong, and that, to me, is sort of a non-negotiable.”
arly in Dean of Students Joe Chodl’s tenure, no prevailing sense of community was present at ASL. Today, on the other hand, he sees progress. High School students, Chodl said, had a mindset of exploration, not belonging: “There was very much ‘we want to experience London, we want to be in London’ – that’s what it was all about. And whenever [students] had the opportunity they would go away from the school.” The interpersonal dynamic has changed, Chodl believes. Today, ASL takes on a role that transcends the duties of a school into those of a community. “I would believe there is a greater ASL community, it being a place for lots of American expatriates where they’re connected,” Chodl said. And furthermore, beyond the American nationality component of ASL’s persona, the school has adopted a stringent sense of activity, ranging from charity clubs to season sports. Chodl justifies the presence of an ASL community: “ASL has [clubs and events] like the Cub Scouts, all these things that are outside what a school normally does; some things that a community normally would do.” Members of ASL’s community today do not have distinct and limited roles. Students organize events, play in sports, lead clubs; faculty parent students, coach sports, and administer clubs. Chodl’s example is one of many: “I’m an administrator, I coach, I’m a parent of the community. Very active. Lot of time on the weekends spent at ASL because of the connection.” World Languages and Cultures Teacher Victoria Hamadache believes that a sense of community is also present beyond the confines of the school campus. Teachers often meet up after school and foster extraprofessional relations that facilitate intradepartment bonding. After 28 years of teaching at ASL, Hamadache notes that she is not sure there is “a strong holistic community spirit now.” But, attending an ASL anniversary event in Las Vegas, Nevada, where former students and teachers were present, she felt the sense of community there: “As a teacher seeing former students from years before that was just utterly amazing.” Having moved away from central London, Hamadache felt separated from the ASL community which is largely based in the St. John’s Wood area. However, events like the aforementioned reunion “truly proved that there is an [ASL] community out there.” to her. Attendance Officer and Assistant to the Dean of Students Akay Mustafa believes
that ASL has a plethora of communitybuilding opportunities at hand. Ranging from drama productions to club fairs, ASL’s extracurricular activities foster a culture of student and faculty involvement. The only problem we have is not harnessing them like we should. “Athletics is an opportunity that we’ve not capitalized upon. As a [soccer] coach, I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve had more than just the parents watching the game. It has to be a special designated day or whatever, but we’ve never really done it properly. I think there’s a great opportunity there to foster a good sense of community,” Mustafa said. Hamadache could only agree. “The rugby match at the Allianz Park was a great effort,” she said. It was well-advertised, it featured the ASL community on the stage and in the audience, so to say. The community cannot berate what it already has, Hamadache said, today it’s only about exploiting the room for improvement we have. Social Studies Teacher Kenneth McKinley, a member of the ASL faculty for 23 years now, appreciates ASL’s liberal approach to education and interpersonal relations within the school. “I’d be rather uncomfortable, I think, in a big monolithic community where everybody is doing the same thing and has the same interests,” he said. “One of the things I always liked about ASL was that people could form their own groups and do their own things and pursue their own interests with their own friends.” Chodl continued this idea by saying that students can be participants in the community without feeling “some part of an ASL community persona.”
he idea of a community being a congregation of sub-communities has come as a daunting prospect to some and a flexible one to others. Yearbook Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth Robertson (’14) reflects on her participation in extracurricular groups like the Student Council (StuCo) and the Yearbook as being beneficial to her overall development as a student and an individual. “Taking part in organized groups helps develop tightlyknit, diverse groups of students. Because of the developed structure of Yearbook or StuCo, there are students from every grade, boys and girls [participating],” Robertson said. Sub-communities, provided they are established in protocol, create a sense of community between smaller groups of students. These groups find membership from every niche of the High School population – eventually constructing a community built of many other communities. “In my freshmen and sophomore year,” Robertson continued, “taking part in StuCo was really significant because it helped me make connections with students outside of my friend group and really be part of the ASL community.” All in all, Robertson noted, “Everyone can be as present as they want, really. It just depends on the person.” StuCo President Issy Kelly (’14) believes that sub-communities are in no way destructive to the more pervasive, holistic ASL community; they don’t obstruct intergroup relations in any way. “I don’t feel like the student body is exclusive. I don’t feel like there’s groups of people I can’t approach.”, she said. The issue is not with sub-communities; those, for the most part, already impact the greater community in significant ways.
What Kelly sees lacking is our complete community time; “I do feel like because we don’t have so much community time, you just don’t see those groups together so often, so it makes sense that you see these separations.” ASL has built our community from base to tip in sub-communities; though these groups form a stable base, ASL has not created an identity that is transcendent to this edifice. Community time is an offered solution, letting everyone do what they want is an other. But whether a cohesive, pervasive community is the end goal or not, it should be present for those who need it.
ue to the sheer variety and number of extracurricular activities provided for students to participate in at ASL, the community as a whole could be viewed as a sum of its parts rather than as a uniform entity. While it is relatively straightforward to determine the number and names of participants within sub-communities such as Model United Nations, Robotics, or Middle East Club, there is currently no database in place to keep track of an individual student’s participation in extracurricular activities overall. Students who do not belong to a subcommunity, if left unaccounted for, are left without a strong sense of overarching community to fall back on. The predicament leaves the administration in a worrisome position, as they cannot locate and subsequently support students who do not belong to a sub-community as easily as they would like without an all-encompassing database in place. The construction of such a database is currently underway. Phillips believes that this closer monitoring of students will aid the development of a greater sense of community. “One of the things that I think is important when I talk about community is not just developing a shared sense of community but it’s also, again, how we are monitoring and supporting students’ induction into this environment as a member of ASL as well as their own growth, and I think that takes some systematic approaches,” he said. “It’s not just about numbers but it is about being really thorough.” McKinley, meanwhile, expressed reservations about the implementation of a database to identify students who are without a sub-community and thus unaccounted for. “I think [students] ought to be left alone to some extent. If you want to come to school from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m., and then go home and do whatever you want to do, that might be more important for you and for your development as an individual,” he said.
lubs tend to be the most studentdriven sub-communities within the High School, with faculty members assuming supervising responsibilities as ‘club moderators’. By the year’s end, the clubs collectively achieve a ranging spectrum of productivity. While some raise upward of £1,000 through a series of wellcoordinated fundraising events, some hold a couple of poorly attended meetings before falling to the wayside. Mustafa is the faculty member charged with dealing with the logistics of the High School clubs program. The gap between certain clubs in terms of activity, he believes, is down to the clubs’ purposes and goals. “We might now need to really separate it because we have academic clubs, we have service clubs and we have
social clubs. Each one has a right to exist. Each one has a right to have as much activity or as little activity as long as they satisfy the purpose for which they were created,” he said Overall, though, Mustafa sees the High School clubs program as “very successful.” “I think Right To Play is a fantastic example of something that came in as a small student club and now is a huge part of our community. I look at the stuff that we’ve done with Whizz Kids. I look at the stuff with Doorstep. Now it’s part of our community partnership scheme,” he said. “There are things that came in through the High School clubs program that we need to really applaud and be proud of.” Moreover, Mustafa highlighted the potential in clubs for individual students to take charge and have an impact. “If an individual wants to really affect things and really have an impact and really create something that they can be proud of, there’s an opportunity to certainly do that,” he said.
oving forward, the idea of implementing advisories – in which small groups of students regularly meet with respective faculty members – throughout the High School has given Phillips plenty to think about. “We can’t just put an advisory in for the sake of an advisory. We can’t have an assembly for the sake of an assembly,” he said. “We need to have a clear idea of what it is we’re trying to accomplish and that’s a combination of being student-driven and adult-driven.” Otherwise, Phillips sees greater student voice at assemblies as “really important” for fostering a greater sense of togetherness. That said, he also called for greater faculty voice at assemblies. “We focus a lot on the students, which is wonderful. But I think, in my sense, in the schools that I have seen that have a really highly developed community, there are also teachers getting up on stage,” he said. Phillips is also considering the implementation of regular open meetings in which members of the administration field questions and converse with members of the student body. Kelly sees these potential meetings as “a good way for [the administration] to talk to the students and lay everything out on the table and give students the chance to ask the questions they want answered.” She believes a more formal setting for such meetings will be beneficial, citing Student Council’s difficulties in conducting similar meetings in the past. “Student Council has tried to do that before, but the problem we’ve run into is sometimes people don’t really attend. In Student Council, there’s people who are in your classes who you can speak to more informally, but with administration it’s not the same thing. It might be better to have a formal setting,” she said. Phillips’ overarching vision remains clear: “I think [a strong community] looks like a combination of rituals and ceremonies throughout the year that really celebrate the things that make ASL really special and the things that separate us and make us a world-class institution. “I think it is making sure there are a variety of options for students to find that personal interest point and I also think it is making sure students have deeper connections with people other than just their friends. Again, it doesn’t mean being friends, but it means [having] a supportive network throughout the school,” he said.
THE STANDARD | December 2013
awake Photo Editor Jessica Haghani explores insomnia within the High School community and the effect it has on students
According to the National Sleep Foundation, just under 30 percent of people globally suffered from insomnia this year.
pHoto by jeSSica HagHani
DISCLAIMER: The subject of this photo has no involvement with the content of the article.
THE STANDARD | December 2013
anyal Mahmood (’15) lay awake for what seemed like hours on end. Unable to fall asleep, he tried counting to 100, turning his pillow to the other side, thinking about a far away place; nothing seemed to be doing the trick. “I know it will be a long night after I try everything I can to fall asleep but I still can’t,” he said. Mahmood suffers from insomnia, the inability to fall asleep or to stay asleep for a desired amount of time. Mahmood’s condition started in the spring of his sophomore year. After procrastinating for several hours, he began staying up late to finish his homework. His procrastination developed into a habit that he hasn’t been able to break. “I used to procrastinate with my work a lot and sleep later and later. Over time, I just wasn’t able to fall asleep before a certain time. If I tried to go to sleep at 1 a.m., I couldn’t sleep
Unlike Mahmood, Baravalle wasn’t procrastinating, as he finished his homework before he started his browsing. However, the Internet was such a distraction that it kept him awake until late at night. Insomnia took a toll on both Mahmood’s and Baravalle’s academics in the beginning. “I used to drift off to sleep in English class a lot. It was really hard at the beginning to stay concentrated,” he said. After adjusting to their sleepless nights, both Baravalle and Mahmood feel normal throughout the day. “In the beginning, it was hard to stay awake during the day. Then it became so normal that I got used to it,” Mahmood said. Likewise, Baravalle has tricked his body into thinking that sleeping for three or four hours is normal. “I’m not tired during the day because I have adapted my body to function without a lot of sleep.
Insomnia can severely affect a person’s attention span. Most people who suffer from insomnia often feel irritable, tired and find it very difficult to function during the day according to the National Health Service. Health Teacher Joy Marchese associates insomnia with a difficulty in making decisions, feeling especially moody or falling asleep in class. “Teenagers need 9.25 hours of sleep per night and I don’t think that many students are getting that required amount,” she said. Marchese finds it very easy to tell when students aren’t getting enough sleep. “They tend to put their head down on the desk, lose focus during discussions, or sometimes zone out completely,” she said. Baravalle recalls an incident when his insomnia caused him to remain awake for 72 hours straight. “I pulled three all-nighters in a row
Features tion but my parents don’t want me to become dependent on it. They think I will become addicted to it,” Mahmood said. Instead, Mahmood is trying to be more time-conscious and productive when he comes home from school. “I’m making my life more organized and finish my work sooner to get to bed earlier,” he said. Once Mahmood is in bed, he makes his room dark and as quiet as possible. “It usually helps me fall asleep if my bedroom is in total darkness and silence,” he said. On the other hand, Roedy uses melatonin – a homeopathic supplement which helps to regulate the body’s w rhythm – every night to help her fall asleep faster. Although Roedy takes melatonin every night, it still takes her a couple hours to fall asleep. melatonin is only available in the U.S. Most people who take it feel the effects after ten minutes.
a lot of anxiety and stress, many have found the positives in their sleepless nights. They all agreed that the most beneficial part for people who have insomnia is being able to stay up late without getting tired. “If you have a long night of work ahead of you, tiredness just won’t be a problem,” Roedy said. Roedy does her homework and studying late at night. “If I have a lot of work one night, then I use my insomnia to my advantage and stay up to finish studying,” she said. Likewise, Mahmood sometimes his insomnia to his benefit by staying up all night to finish work. “I can pull all-nighters with such ease and I know a lot of other students can’t do that,” he said. Baravalle uses his extra hours to do things that he doesn’t have time for in between homework and extracurriculars. He produces music and uses his late nights to work on his
I am most efficient when I should be sleeping; I’m not sure why, it’s just the way my body works. Nicolo Baravalle ('14) for two hours, or sometimes even more,” he said. Eventually, as he stayed up later and later, Mahmood’s body subconsciously trained to function in the early hours of the day. “I was just so used to [going to sleep late] that my brain developed a habit of staying awake at night. I became most functional at 2 or 3 a.m.,” he said. Mahmood isn’t alone. This year, just under 30 percent of people globally suffer from insomnia according to the National Sleep Foundation. Nicolo Baravalle (’14), blames his development of the condition on the Internet. “I would stay awake for so long just looking through songs or videos. During my freshman year, I stayed up really late every night, until 5 or 6 a.m. just browsing the Internet,” he said.
It’s just what I have to do,” he said. However, Baravalle knows he is underachieving in school and is convinced that he would be a stronger student if he was able to have a regular sleeping pattern. “I am under performing but I often tell myself that whatever I’m doing that is keeping me awake so late is good for me. If I slept more I could definitely be more efficient,” he said. While Mahmood’s and Baravalle’s insomnia developed out of habit, Noa Roedy (’14) believes her insomnia is hereditary. “My dad has sleep problems and from an early age it always took me a lot longer to fall asleep than normal,” she said. Roedy’s insomnia has only increased in severity as she has grown older, becoming a more serious problem as she goes through High School.
last year and it just killed me,” he said. Baravalle was working on a school project that was due at the end of the week so he was putting all his energy into finishing it. He rested a few times, taking a couple of naps during the day, but he was awake almost straight through. Baravalle doesn’t remember much that happened in the final hours because he wasn’t able to tell the difference between being awake and being asleep. “I went to the nurse several times on the third day because I thought I was just going to collapse. I couldn’t stay conscious,” he said. Although the most common treatment for diagnosed insomnia is sleeping pills, both Mahmood and Baravalle have refrained from taking medication to cure their sleeping habits. “My insomnia is so severe that I qualify to take medica-
“I have to take it [melatonin] two hours before I want to go to sleep and take double the dosage, which isn’t normal. It makes me lazy and drowsy but it doesn’t knock me out straight away like it should,” she said. Baravalle and Roedy have resorted to altering their sleeping times to rest their bodies. They make up for the hours of sleep they lose at night by coming home after school and napping right away. “Most days, I come home from school and immediately sleep for three hours. Then I wake up, do work, and get more sleep from 4-7 a.m.,” Baravalle said. He believes he is most productive very late at night. “I am most efficient when I should be sleeping. I’m not sure why, it’s just the way my body works,” he said. While having insomnia can cause
projects. “I have so much more time at night to do different things,” he said. “I make a lot of my music at night.” While insomnia can last a lifetime, some people can curb it if they properly address their problem. Mahmood believes that with time, he will outgrow his insomnia. “Over time, I will just develop out of [insomnia]. It isn’t that common for it to last a lifetime. At least I hope so,” he said. “For now though, I just have to deal with it the best I can.” Roedy believes that taking melatonin will help her fall into a more natural sleeping pattern. Until that happens though, she will continue to have restless nights. “I slept at 3 a.m. last night and tonight I’ll go home and probably sleep at 3 a.m. again. That’s just how I operate,” she said.
THE STANDARD | December 2013
Technology power at our fingertips
Lead Features Editor Mina Omar looks into the future of technology in education with members of the ASL community
ost mornings, Director of Curriculum Roberto d’Erizans waits at Waverley Place to greet students as they begin their day only to be acknowledged by a fraction of the students who pass. “Students walk in wearing their headphones,” d’Erizans said. “They don’t say hello back simply because they can’t hear me.” Lack of personal interaction is something that has developed alongside the advances that have taken place technologically over the past few years. D’Erizans, while acknowledging this pitfall, feels that the role of technology within educational institutions is substantial and, at this point, permanent. “I think technology can serve as a powerful tool. One of the most important things to learn today is how to grapple with the access to information,” he said. “How can you
access the right information? How do you search for it correctly? I think technology can serve as a tool to get to those answers.” High School Principal Jack Phillips believes that technology plays multiple roles in classrooms and that it is beneficial because it is familiar to students. “Technology makes certain things more efficient than were otherwise possible. [Technology] provides opportunities for independent learning that you just can’t do in a traditional classroom setting and it offers access to things that were previously unavailable,” he said. The popularity of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) have provided additional opportunities for independent learning amongst students worldwide. These online courses have changed the face of education in a variety of ways. They are free and thereby available to anyone who wishes to
partake in them. This accessibility allows people from all around the world to take part in learning experiences together, something that was previously impossible. The revolutionary nature of MOOCs has brought into question the role a teacher plays in a student’s education. Technology Coordinator Mariam Mathew believes that advances in technology, especially the introduction of online courses, have hugely changed the role of teachers. “Today a teacher is more than just someone who stands and presents an idea,” she said. “A teacher is someone who is a facilitator of ideas. [He or she] helps students frame questions, think more deeply through things they’re being taught, address real life problems and hopefully have a passion for learning on their own.” D’Erizans expressed a similar sentiment, saying that the role of the teacher has
changed from being “the sage on the stage to a guide on the side.” However, he does not think that technology will completely alter the way educational systems are run. “You need the person with the expertise to craft the learning experience. You can learn a lot by looking something up online, but deep learning happens with a teacher,” he said. “The role of the teacher has changed, but we will always need teachers.” Phillips, similarly to d’Erizans, believes that technology cannot completely overhaul the learning experience and replace everything that takes place in the classroom. He hopes that valuable learning will continue to take place face-to-face in the form of discussions. “I think [technology] should only play as big of a role as it needs to play. It all depends on what we’re trying to accomplish,” he said. “I think about a Harkness conversa-
THE STANDARD | December 2013
Cartoons by Daniela al-saleh tion and I’m not convinced of how the use of a laptop can enhance what a Harkness tries to accomplish.” Phillips worries that the use of technology may be detrimental to certain aspects of the traditional educational experience. “I think even the physical form of a laptop, for example that it has a lid up, creates an ob-
Jim Heynderickx agrees that technology is a tool and has similar thoughts on technology to author Jim Collins. In his book Good to Great, Collins argues that in organizations such as schools and companies, technology is simply an accelerator. “If you’ve got an idea, technology can help you achieve that idea, but the use of technology doesn’t magi-
cally lead to greatness or anything amazing,” Heynderickx said. “Technology is something that accelerates learning or innovation, but it doesn’t initiate it.” Heynderickx has been working at ASL for seven years and has witnessed several technological changes take place within the High School community. “When I first came here,
students would line up to use the computers in the pods. Now, the majority of students have smartphones and laptops,” he said. “We’ve moved into a different realm of sophistication and availability, but at the same time I don’t think that people are getting overwhelmed by it.” The increase in the use of technologi-
I think technology can serve as a powerful tool. One of the most important things to learn today is how to grapple with the access to information. roberTo d’erizans, direcTor of curriculum struction between me and another person,” he said. “I also think that immersive experiences of solitude with an idea are a rarity these days. It’s a specific type of learning and it’s really powerful. Technology can get in the way of that.” Similarly, d’Erizans thinks that technology should only be used “authentically” and when necessary. “What is one authentic way of using technology in English class?” he asked. “One example for collaboration could be using Google Docs. I think anything used in the right balance can be useful.” Eventually, Phillips wants technology to “disappear” in the sense that people no longer think that it is a device in front of them. “I want it to become a tool like a pencil. You use a pencil when you need to use a pencil and you should use a laptop when you need to use a laptop. It shouldn’t be used as something special,” he said. Director of Operations and Technology
by the numbers Over six million students using online programs in the U.S.
Only about half of those who registered for a MOOC ever viewed a lecture
Nearly one-third (31%) of all students in higher education taking at least one online course
Data taken from a 2011 survey by Sloan Consortium and the Babson Survey Research Group and a 2013 survey by the New York Times.
cal devices within the school community has sparked discussions as to whether the school should play a larger part in teaching students how to properly use technology. Both Phillips and d’Erizans hope to eventually implement new courses within the technology component of the High School curriculum. “I feel pretty strongly that programming and data analysis are a part of the new literacy no matter what field you go into,” Phillips said. “Students will be better served, regardless of what field they go into, if they can handle data and understand how computers work.” Mathew agrees that the school should become more involved in teaching students how to properly and efficiently use the technology that is available to them. “These are crazy times and I think it’s wonderful,” she said. “As long as students realize they have power at their fingertips, they will be able to do incredible things.”
THE STANDARD | December 2013
2013 in Review
Online Editor Will Muoio reviews and compares the newly-released Xbox One and PS4 Price
Sony’s PS4 is significantly cheaper than Microsoft’s Xbox One, unfortunately both are sold out until the new year. While the Xbox One will be in stock on January 7 before the PS4, the cheaper price of the PS4 trumps the Xbox One’s availability. PS4 Wins.
1. Price: £429 2. Camera: Included 3. Controller: £44.99 4. Dimensions: 333 x 79 x 274mm 5. Blu-ray: Yes 6. Top feature: Voice control 7. Gaming buddies: Up to 1,000 friends 8. Purpose of console: Entertainment
B Starting up the Xbox took a little time. However, once it was running it was visually appealing, quite similar to the start up screen for Xbox 360. There was something different between the Xbox One and Xbox 360 controllers, however, it was an improvement. The visuals were clear, but there were a few feedback delays however. The social features that the console includes are Skype and access to Internet Explorer. The gaming component was not as much of an improvement as I would have liked.
The Xbox One is fitted with a Kinect camera. According to Microsoft’s website, the new Kinect has “real vision, real motion and real voice.” The built in Kinect is definite plus. This is a much better option to Sony’s camera which costs £49, even though it is smaller than the Kinect camera, the purpose of the camera is still unclear. Also, the PlayStation camera does not automatically log you in when you’re present, unlike the Xbox One. Xbox One Wins.
Microsoft’s controllers feature new Impulse Triggers, which create strong and nuanced vibrations alongside the gaming experience. The newly designed D-pad is changed to be more responsive to sweeping and directional movements. This allows for more varied play styles. Batteries fit inside the controller body, so there is not an imposing battery pack. Sony’s new controller comes with a touchpad and a share button, so you can upload game footage to Facebook or UStream directly. Xbox have gone the extra mile to improve their controller in comparison to the minor changes of PlayStation’s controller. Xbox One Wins.
Comparing the size of consoles, the PS4 is 70 percent of the size of Xbox One, making it a lot more mobile. Also, the PS4 can stand vertically and horizontally without any problems, which is not the case for the Xbox One. Finally, the Xbox One is larger than the last model, while the PS4 is significantly smaller than the previous model. PS4 Wins.
When installing Blu-ray on Xbox One, you first have to install the Blu-ray application through the Xbox Store via the console. The PS4 is capable of reading Blu-Ray discs direct without the application. However, once everything is loaded, the quality of the disc is too similar to have a significant difference. Tie
Sony has incorporated something called Remote Play into their new system, which means that you upload your PS4 or PS3 games onto your PlayStation Portable (PSP) and PlayStation Vita. This allows compatible console games to be played remotely. Microsoft have revealed that on the Xbox One you can incorporate voice commands such as “Xbox, on” to turn on the console. While this is an interesting feature, there have been some complaints as the voice control picks up every dialogue, both positive and negative. PS4’s remote play is far superior in function than a the added option of voice control. PS4 Wins.
The big difference in each console’s social network, is that through PlayStation you can incorporate over 2,000 buddies, twice as many as Xbox’s 1,000 buddies. With Xbox, however, you can use social applications such as music, video, Skype and Internet Explorer. Social features on the PS4 are not as prevalent, therefore giving an edge slightly to Xbox, however, as the comparison here is concerned with the gaming aspect, the PS4 offers more. PS4 Wins.
1. Price: £350 2. Camera: £49 3. Controller: £49 4. Dimensions: 275 x 53 x 305mm 5. Blu-ray: Yes 6. Top feature: Remote play 7. Gaming buddies: Up to 2,000 friends 8. Purpose of console: Gaming
AFrom the get go I was immediately impressed by its extremely quick start-up time. Once it was on I put in Fifa 14, selected the team I wanted to use and got the game loaded. The graphics were startling realistic as each stadium had its own unique atmosphere. The controller was smaller than the Xbox’s and their DualShock enhanced my gaming experience. The PS4 is a powerful device ideal for advanced gamers, and its definitely a console I can recommend.
THE STANDARD | December 2013
Book Review: Stoner
Design Editor Alex Pabarcius discusses his experience with John Williams’ Stoner, a modern 20th century novel that busies itself more with the philosophical than the material facet of matters
toner, the novel by John Williams, documents the unfulfilled life of a man called William Stoner. Son of poor farmers, he is sent to the University of Missouri to study agronomy. Gripped by the mysteries and nuances of literature in his required English survey course, Stoner decides to pursue a life of erudition as a literature professor. Stoner tries to tell his parents why he’s making this decision, but his explanation no matter how it is articulated, is bound to fail, much like Stoner’s life from his marriage to his career. “Stoner tried to explain to his father what he intended to do, tried to evoke in him his own sense of significance and purpose. He listened to his words fall as if from the mouth of another, and watched his father’s face, which received those words as a stone receives the repeated blows of a fist,” Williams wrote. Even though Stoner’s parents accept his decision, they do so with defeat, disappointment, and tears. “With wonder Stoner realized that she [his mother] was crying, deeply
and silently, with the shame and awkwardness of one who seldom weeps,” Williams wrote. On the surface the novel traces his unfulfilled life from freshman to tenured professor, but deep down it deals with the gulf between feeling and form, ideal and expression. This rift brings with it immense and apparent failure on the surface of his life; however, Stoner triumph from within as he, in the progressions of plot, uncovers universal, simple human truths. Unfortunately, his discoveries occur at times too late for him to implement in his life. Doomed by fate, cursed by time, he endures the life of a martyr – experiencing such vicarious defeat to teach us about our own lives. One of the truths that particularly resonated with me was his reflection, towards the end of his life, on his choice to become a teacher: A decision he made as a college freshman, something I am soon to be. “And he had wanted to be a teacher, and he had become one; yet he knew, he had always known, that for most of his life he had been an in-
Stoner was published in 1965. Photo from Sidebmagazine.com different one. He had dreamed of a kind of integrity, of a kind of purity that was entire; he had found com-
promise and the assaulting diversion of triviality. He had conceived wisdom, and at the end of the long
years he had found ignorance,” Williams wrote. I found myself wondering how my own path will unfold before me, and whether I might experience the same sense of disillusionment that befalls Stoner. As Stoner suffers and endures in his world within the university, the book in turn creates an emphatic link with the character’s moving humanity. We learn through Stoner that each of us is bound, like him, to discover our own truths in the world. I personally look forward to re-reading it throughout my life, reflecting on how my relationship to it changes, as I, in turn, change. Interestingly, Williams faced a similar story of failure. This book published in 1965, only sold 2,000 copies before going out of print despite a glowing review from the New Yorker which called it the “perfect novel”. Just as Stoner was “held [in] no particular esteem when he was alive,” this novel only experienced real success 19 years after the author’s death, even going on to earn the 2013 Waterstone’s Books Award.
Cultural review of 2013
Culture Editor Gabriel Ruimy reviews some of this year’s albums and movies in nonconformist awards
Most underrated album:
ike the album name infers (I think), James Blunt’s latest installment is poetry. I might be going through an emotional stage, but James Blunt is the perfect complement to lonely nights in, lonely nights out, and anytime you can look out the window and look intellectual. There’s guitar, there’s some electronic, there’s his lyrics (obviously). I wouldn’t say it ramps up to the celestial “You’re Beautiful”, but there’s some good stuff in there – give it a listen.
Most Peculiar album:
Most OVErwhelming Movie:
WoRlD WaR Z
watched the majority of the movie on mute and/or fast-forward: It was that amazing. The suspense is never-ending and Brad Pitt’s bearded, charismatic savior is just on point. Based on the book bearing the same name, the story is advanced and is not just another bashthem-up zombie survival movie; the scientific context makes it so much more tangible – though I’d have to check some zombie saliva facts with the in-house biology expert.
Most Bleh Movie:
Most Underwhelming Movie:
Man of steel
enry Cavill’s superman is a nice guy: He jumps into burning oil rigs to save strangers, he doesn’t pulverize people who throw beer at him, and he repels humanoid alien invasions. Unfortunately, the plot is a random series of melodramatic world-saves and the acting is middle-school-drama-class-appalling; give me a week to get the body, a day to read the script and I’d have beaten Cavill at the auditions.
didn’t know what to name the category for the same reason I don’t know why I like Kanye West’s Yeezus. It’s just a bunch of sounds that sometimes have no place being followed by one another. But, even though I hate saying this about the guy who called himself “the nucleus,” there’s some hints of genius: Who ever thought of introducing with Nina Simone’s version of “Strange Fruit,” or repeatedly saying “I am a God” until the audience starts singing along to this egotistical madness?
From left to right: Man of Steel poster; Kanye West on tour; Catching Fire’s mockingjay pin.
Photo from: abduzeedo.com/fileS/originalS/man-ofSteeWl-theme.JPg; SandiegofreePreSS.org/2013/11/ move-revieW/; flickr/aktivioSlo
he Capitol is at it again, trying to kill the rebellion-inspiring tributes in the 75th annual Hunger Games. You have a bit of romance, you have a bit of action, you even have a bit of drama – but at the end of it, it’s not satisfying. Perhaps because the books were so great, perhaps because Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss needs to chill out, especially with Peeta. I recommend instead you go read the Suzanne Collins book trilogy.
THE STANDARD | December 2013
Culture Editor Kate Kennedy investigates the evolution of the family model
n room 63 in the National Gallery, a glowing baby Jesus is surrounded by his adoring mother, the Virgin Mary, and his father, St. Joseph. This painting is not alone; all in all there are at least 12 nativity scenes in the National Gallery that depict Jesus, lying in a manger and surrounded by his mother and father. Strolling through the rooms, looking at image after image painted throughout history celebrating a certain family model, even anointing it in divine light, a particular message begins to form in the viewer’s mind: A happy, virtuous family consists of a father and his self-sacrificing and maternal wife in their first marriage with their child. It is hard to deny that religion has been a persuasive and moving force throughout history, and this idea of the ideal family has historically been influential in shaping the family unit in much of Western society: A stay-at-home mom, a breadwinning dad, and their children. This model, however, has begun to evolve and is now changing at a rapid rate. This can be seen throughout America, as Professor of Public Policy at Johns Hopkins Andrew J. Cherlin noted in a recent New York Times article: “This churning over, this turnover in our intimate partnerships is creating complex families on a scale we’ve not seen before.” According to The New York
Times, America’s birth rate has halved in the last 50 years and only 80 percent of women are becoming mothers, compared to the 90 percent in the 1970s. This trend is reflected in the percentage of the population that is comprised of children: Only 23.5 percent, a significant drop from the 36 percent during the baby boom. The way parents divide the roles in taking care of their children has changed as well; around three quarters of mothers are employed in part or full-time jobs. Equally striking is the steep rise in children born out of wedlock, which has quadrupled since 1970, hitting an all-time high of 41 percent. This number doesn’t apply to the entire nation uniformly, however, instead it is particularly prevalent among low-income families, rising to 57 percent. The division of changes amongst different communities throughout America brings the discussion back to ASL, a uniquely comprised com-
munity where some of the trends that are being seen throughout America are either magnified or lessened. The prevalence of the nuclear family, for example, is a hugely important factor at ASL because many families are living apart from their extended family in America. Simply put by Courtney Welch, (’14), “The typical family model at ASL is one with a mom and a dad and siblings. Usually the dad works and mom stays home.” For Rebecca Jones (’14), however, the nativity scene represents a family life that is far from her reality. “My parents got divorced when I was six, and my mom died a couple of years later. Afterwards, I went to boarding school for three years, so I didn’t live with my dad,” Jones explained. After attending boarding school, Jones moved to London to live with a family she had only met once before. She met this family through her uncle, her legal guardian, when
he brought her and the family with him on vacation to a plantation he owns in Brazil. Both he and the family live in London, and when Jones complained about her boarding school, they suggested she move to London and attend ASL. Since her uncle travels a lot for work, and she “couldn’t really rely on him,” Jones decided to move in with her uncle’s friends, whom she described as “an Iranian family with a single mom and two kids.” For Jones, ASL’s family landscape is a stark contrast to her old boarding school. “At my previous school, for example, I wasn’t the only kid who had lost a parent,” Jones said, adding, “whereas people here, although they don’t mean anything by it, just say like ‘what does your mom do?’ They just don’t think.” In terms of ASL’s evolving family units, Jones simply hopes “that people won’t assume so much. They shouldn’t assume everyone comes from the same family situation.”
I think that family knows no boundaries. The perfect family is what you make of it. Rebecca Jones (’14)
Jones represents some of the diversity in family units that is present at ASL, although not necessarily in the way students usually think, and she clearly reflects this in the way she thinks, “I have so many people who love me. I have a thousand people who I call auntie who have no blood relation to me. I go home, and I get to hear Farsi and call these people my family. I think that family knows no boundaries. The perfect family is what you make of it.” This family evolution is palpable at ASL beyond Jones’ situation. Sixten Jordan (’14), who lives with only his grandmother in London, has observed that most ASL families are comprised of “solid households with both a mom and dad present, and the students usually have a sibling or two.” Despite this, Jordan feels as if he “fits in perfectly”, that his familial difference “doesn’t matter at all” and that accepting different family types “has never been an issue with this school.” The familial landscape at ASL is filled with the typical family types that are reflected in the nativity pictures and celebrated throughout Western history. At the same time, however, there are outgrowths of family situations that diverge from this model and of which ASL is accepting, although at times unexperienced. These different family types attest to the changes going on at ASL. In the U.S. and at ASL, the tra-
THE STANDARD | December 2013
ditional family model that can be seen on display in room after room in the National Gallery is beginning to meld with different models, not just gay marriages and divorced parents. The atypical family is an umbrella category that can encompass countless different family formats for which Jones’s “thousands of aunties” are just the beginning. Another example of a new offshoot from the typical model is families in which the mother is the primary income earner. Just like the Virgin Mary, the picture of submissiveness and maternal virtue, Western families have characteristically been organized around a dad who earns money for the family and a mom who maintains the household. For Abby Jacoba (’14), this isn’t the case. “My mom brings in most of the income for my family, and my dad’s the one who stays at home and makes sure my sister and I are up in the morning and ready for the bus,” Jacoba said. Jacoba believes that although the majority of families at ASL are governed by the typical model of an income-earning father, this is changing. “Nowadays, it’s clear that women can do a lot. My mom does a lot, and she’s really good at her job, where she works at Western Union,” Jacoba notes. Jacoba sees her family as not necessarily more progressive, but just different, and hopes that in the future “parents will split the role of working and the role of staying at home,” adding, “we have a long way to go, but it’s halfway here – women are out there in the world, they are doing this!”
As Christmas approaches we are compelled to consider whether the world really is “halfway” on the way to diverging into, and accepting, the kinds of families that can’t be represented by the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, and baby Jesus. It’s important not only to reflect upon how this is present at ASL, but how ASL as a community is willing to greet the change and how religion plays into our viewpoints. Elizabeth Robertson (’14), a Christian, and Colin Sears (’14), an atheist, see the greater acceptance of different family models as a positive thing, although their opinions differ slightly on some intricacies. Throughout history, the small details have often become important impetuses for conflict. Robertson and Sears both believe that divorce is undesirable and should be avoided if possible, although Robertson's views on divorce are significantly stronger. “I think divorce is the worst thing that can happen to a family. Death first, then divorce,” Robertson said, and then jokingly quoted what her grandmother said on her 50th anniversary, “Divorce never, murder maybe.” This view is unsurprising given the long Christian tradition of condemning divorce, particularly in the Catholic church. Robertson’s extended family is mostly Catholic and this influences how she and her family view this topic. Sears and Robertson have similar views on gay rights as well. “I support gay marriage,” Sears said. Robertson added, “I think that to discriminate against people based on who they love is just unnatural.” Robertson’s view on marriage is
representative of how it is often not a person’s religion, but their interpretation of religion that matters. Robertson doesn’t believe that her religion should dictate the way she feels about this issue. Indeed, the many tenets of Christianity that stress love, acceptance, and compassion compel many Christians to support gay marriage. At ASL different religious worldviews and specific interpretations of these views are beginning to
“I think divorce is the worst thing that can happen to a family. Death first, then divorce.” Elizabeth Roberston (’14) mix as the family model evolves. Both Sears and Robertson emphatically agree that it is important to accept and be aware of different family models, especially in today’s climate. “I aim to be tolerant of all lifestyles,” Sears said. The very existence of atypical family models and the fact that students at ASL value the acceptance of different types of families in the school attests to this melding. It is clear that in America families are changing. Even though ASL, with its many nuclear families and income-earning dads, may be lagging a little behind, this is still noteworthy change. So, ‘tis the season of diversity and acceptance, no matter what religion you may be. And don’t forget, even the ideal family isn’t ideal: Joseph wasn’t the father.
photos from commons.wikimedia.org
THE STANDARD | December 2013
Sports Editors Nikolai Birch and James Malin look into the effects of alcohol on student athletes, as well as the role of coaches in the personal lives of students
photo by hamish stephenson s the respective varsity boys soccer teams gathered at the beginning of their ISST tournament in the Netherlands, one team was missing. The team from Zurich International School (ZIS) wasn’t able to make the trip. It soon emerged that ZIS had been disciplined for inappropriate behavior involving alcohol. In an attempt to create a bond within their team prior to the tournament, older members of the team encouraged younger players to drink until vomiting. When the school heard of the violation, ZIS did not allow the team to travel to ISSTs; consequently, they were automatically relegated from Division 1 and every team due to face ZIS, ASL included, was rewarded 3-0 wins by forfeit. ZIS is not alone in dealing with the issue of athletes drinking alcohol during season; it is a prevalent issue for all schools, including ASL. There is a common sentiment that alcohol acts as a social lubricant for teams, allowing them to create a strong bond. This sentiment in itself leads to disagreement, however. “I would say that at a party that’s bonding, but not necessarily drinking. I connect with my teammates without getting drunk,” one boys varsity soccer player said. A varsity rugby player disagreed, though. “It’s a definite bonding activity. I would say that the level of bond achieved when alcohol is present is not possible without the alco-
hol,” he said. There is a trend amongst ASL athletes: They will continue to drink during their season but they will be more conscious of their decisions and how they may affect their athletic performance. A two-season girls varsity athlete concurred with that trend, as she continues to drink during season but drinks responsibly. “[Problems only occur when] you do it really irresponsibly and don’t plan around practices or games and show up to a game extremely hung over,” she said. A varsity boys soccer player also agrees
coaches outline the responsibility that players need to have in order to be a successful member of the team. Varsity Boys Soccer Coach Akay Mustafa said, “I do say that as the season goes on that you need to make good choices with your decisions when you’re out on the weekend. No one in this school is naïve enough to imagine that nobody drinks, but at the same time, you have to be responsible and know of the risks involved in what you’re doing. Again, you shouldn’t be involved in that when you’re around the school, so I just re-
to follow. This was a more extreme example of what happens at ASL and other high schools, as coaches try to control their players actions off of the field. As coaches are held somewhat responsible for their players’ actions, and have to deal with the consequences of their actions both in and outside of school, the line between students’ personal lives and the school becomes a gray area. Another gray area involves the act of bonding with alcohol itself, and choices that student athletes make when under the influence. The majority of team members at ASL and other high schools are below the legal age of consumption, and bonding with the use of alcohol results in breaking the law. As it is usually the upperclassmen on the team who bring the younger teammates out or to parties, it may be seen as peer pressure, especially if those who are younger do not feel comfortable drinking or being around other students under the influence. Taking those who do want to go and leaving others is exclusion. Bringing those students against their will and forcing them to do things that they aren’t comfortable with is hazing. As made evident by the ZIS team, hazing is a form of bullying, and is not to be handled lightly, even if the goal is to form a stronger team chemistry. The line between building and breaking team chemistry when alcohol is involved is a thin one.
[Drinking as a team is] a definite bonding activity. I would say that the level of bond achieved when alcohol is present
Is not possIble wIthout the alcohol. a varsity rugby player that it is important to act responsibly in accordance with the season schedule “I felt that drinking could affect your season in a negative way, especially towards the end of the season when you just want to be playing, and it has an effect on your fitness,” he said. While the idea of abstaining from drinking during the season is commonplace, there are some athletes who continue their habits regardless of whether or not they are part of a sports team. One three-season varsity girls athlete’s habits remain the “exact same” during the season as she continues to “drink every weekend, but I don’t get drunk every weekend.” A different sentiment is felt by the coaches of these teams, who are held in part responsible for the actions of their players. At the beginning of the season, some
inforce that. “You have to sit on a plane with someone for a while or on a train or you have to spend a night with the kid you’re housing with that you don’t know very well. Those are the things that help you bond. Those are the things that create the stories. “Like our ISSTs created countless stories, with the Zurich thing, the pitches, and all the kind of stuff that went with it. The whole drinking thing is a misconception, it is something that has developed and people have clung to.” One question that responsibility brings up is the extent that the school and coaches get involved. Last year, on the night before a game and the night of a large party, a coach sent an email to players and parents regarding a suggested curfew for students
Laura Galligan contributed to reporting.
THE STANDARD | December 2013
PIRATES PLAY AT ALLIAnz PARk Staff Writer Sebastian Mayr reports on varsity rugby’s 39-0 victory against acs cobham at allianz park
Nerves and adrenaline were prevalent throughout the 10,000-seat stadium as the ASL rugby teams eagerly awaited the challenge of facing their long-standing rival team, ACS Cobham. On November 23, the varsity and junior varsity (JV) rugby teams played at Allianz Park, home of the Saracens Rugby Club. ASL’s games against ACS Cobham preceded the U.S.A. vs. Russia match, which ended in a 21-point defeat of the Russians. JV rugby player Andrew Noorani (’16) recalled his experience. “What really struck me was the feeling I had before the match,” he said. “Cobham and ASL has always been a fixture that creates butterflies. However, before the match I was bouncing off the walls with excitement.” Noorani, a second-year Pirate, commented on the teams’ abundance of spirit, declaring it as the greatest of all the sports teams at ASL. Despite the JV team suffering a humbling 30-0 defeat, Head Varsity Rugby Coach Mathew Jones reflected on their immense progress so far this season. “The JV team gets better every game, and just needs a few more numbers in case of injuries,” he said. The varsity team, however, overwhelmed ACS Cobham, executing a sublime attacking display that resulted in a 39-0 win over their bitter rivals. “Some of the players played really well and overall it was a really good experience,” Jones said. Scoring an impressive four tries, varsity rugby player and inside center Tristan Burke (’15) said, “We had a lot of support and it was encouraging to see all the fans that came.” In his third year with the Pirates, Burke praised the team’s noteworthy camaraderie and team spirit. Acknowledging the sport’s important physical aspect, Burke emphasized the significance of players trusting one another. “When so much is at stake in the game, you have to trust your teammates Paul Rozenbroek (’14) is lifted for a line-out during ASL’s 39-0 victory against ACS Cobham at the and that trust transfers off the pitch,” he said. Varsity rugby vice-captain and second row Paul Rozenbroek (’14) Saracens’ Allianz Arena. photos by Donna Lancia said, “We had a shaky first couple of minutes because of the nerves, but afterwards I thought we did extremely well. We ran over them. Tristan scored four tries and it was extremely one-sided after that.” Rozenbroek expressed a similar sentiment to Burke, commending the Pirates’ team spirit. “Every day we go to Canons Park and the bus ride takes about an hour. Obviously all the freshmen sit near the ISST Division I JANUARY Paul Rozenbroek front of the bus and the varsity sit nearer to the back of the bus. It’s Coach Mathew Jones (’14) 11 @ ACS Cobham just the general banter,” he said. “We all know and like each other, Fall Season Record 4-2 Second Row 25 TASIS and I think that’s massive.” Rozenbroek, a three-year Returning Starters 7 Satisfied with the team’s tenacious defensive performance, Jones 29 Richard Challoner recalled how the varsity team neutralized ACS Cobham’s attack; the varsity starter and the Cougars did not create a single scoring opportunity. With an almost team’s primary line-out perfect record, the only blemish so far is one hard-fought loss to St. jumper, earned all tournaDunstan’s College. february ment as a junior at Jones’ aspiration for the new season is simple and straightfor1 ACS Cobham Jack Roberts (’15) carries last year’s ISSTs. ward. “The goal is to get as many players playing as possible, so they the ball during the Pirates’ 26 @ TASIS go onto further rugby teams via college, club, and also to push some match at Allianz Park. of the players onto higher level representatives,” he said. PATRICK COLLINS The communication to arrange a game at Allianz Park began in (’14) early November. “U.S.A. was playing Russia and someone at SaraMARCH Number 8 cens got in contact with the school, regarding the U.S.A. vs. Russia 5-8 @ ISSTs (BSP) Collins, standing game. They then forwarded it to myself and then I spoke to the Saraat 6’1’’ and 220 lbs, cens guys, settling upon a date,” Jones said. Jones continues to seek out new opportunities to play at Allianz is a big hitter and Park, “U.S.A. and Russia probably won’t be playing there again. But I am working on another game this strong runner season before a premiership game. So, hopefully, yes.” with the ball. Keen on hosting more games from the rugby program, the Saracens are in the midst of reaching an agreement with the Middle School program to set up games that could potentially be held at Allianz Park Tristan throughout the year. Brushing aside the injuries he sustained during the game, Noorani said, “If I ever got the chance to burke (’15) play at the stadium again I would take it in a heart beat. Although the JV suffered a loss I would do it all Inside Center over again. It was a fantastic day of rugby that my friends and I experienced as a team.” Burke has scored Hopeful about playing another game at the Allianz Park, Rozenbroek said, “It’s always nice to play a try for the in front of a crowd, and the stadium is the home stadium of the Saracens, which is the team I support.” Pirates in each of Pleased overall with the varsity and JV results, Jones said, “The Saracens actually asked about some the team’s past of the players, which could be quite interesting if anything develops. Some of them played really well,” Jones said. six games.
Nelson Boachie-Yiadom (’17), standing at six feet six inches tall, dunked four times in ASL’s season home opener against The North School and won all-tournament at the season-opening tournament hosted by The American School of The Hague. photos by hamish stephenson
THE STANDARD | December 2013
I think, at ASL, the hype our fans bring to the games will allow me to do things I never thought I could do. NELSON BOACHIE-YIADOM (’17)
THE STANDARD | December 2013
Life above Above the rim ZACK LONGBOY • Features Editor
s Nelson Boachie-Yiadom (’17) finished his fifth suicide run, he fell to his knees exhausted and gasped for air. Teammate Anton Foy (’15) grabbed him by the hand and pulled him to his feet, placing an arm around his shoulders for support. Although Boachie-Yiadom has only been a member of ASL varsity basketball for a few weeks, he is certainly making an impression, gaining the trust and respect of his teammates as well as his coaches. “To support each other and feel a team atmosphere has been great,” said Boachie-Yiadom. “I only met [my teammates] a few weeks ago but I know I always have a shoulder to lean on.” Boachie-Yiadom started playing basketball at the age of 7 when his mother decided to take him to a school practice. “For the first few weeks I hated basketball,” he said, laughing. “I absolutely hated it.” However, a few weeks after his introduction to the game, BoachieYiadom made up his mind. “I was sitting in my bedroom thinking. I decided to give basketball another
Sports Boachie-Yiadom is always looking to refine his game and his hardworking attitude, as well as his “coachability,” which helps him become a better player with every practice. “He listens to what the coaches say, he thinks about it, and then he implements it,” Chodl said. “[That to me] is a very coachable player.” Boachie-Yiadom’s teammates have also commended his work ethic. “He’s a hard worker and you can tell his love for the game by how he wants to be the best,” fellow varsity basketball player Nick Muoio (’16) said. “Good isn’t good enough for him.” Over the past few years, BoachieYiadom has looked to the NBA to develop further as a player, modeling his game after Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City Thunder. Boachie-Yiadom studies Durant, a player with a similarly tall and thin physical build, to “try and learn all his moves and understand how he gets his points.” Like Durant, Boachie-Yiadom influences the game with both his offensive and defensive skill sets. Chodl said, “I believe he will be one
we should do well at ISSTs,” he added. One element of ASL basketball that Boachie-Yiadom adamantly believes is important to success is school spirit. “Here at ASL, we have the fans,” he said. This season, Boachie-Yiadom is especially looking forward to playing in front of the ASL crowd. “I’ve never played in front of such a big crowd,” he said. “I’ve seen how passionate they get here, everyone on our side, motivating us to win games.” Usually, Boachie-Yiadom’s pregame ritual is quiet, as he listens to music on his own and thinks about how he will help the team. “I like to stay relaxed, composed and imagine myself making plays, passing, shooting, dribbling, defending,” he said. However, for him it is the fans that boost his energy and give him confidence. “I think at ASL, the hype our fans bring to the games will allow me to do things I never thought I could do.” Dunking the basketball is a skill that requires great athleticism to play above the rim. Among his
He’s a hard worker and you can tell his love for the game by how he wants to be the best. NICK MUOIO (’16), TEAMMATE go, not for my mom, but for myself. Then it really just took off from there,” he said. When he was younger, BoachieYiadom was quiet and kept to himself. Standing at six feet six inches tall, Nelson often felt awkward among his peers. However, as he grew up, it was through basketball that he gained confidence. “Basketball built up my confidence, helping me make new friends. Being tall doesn’t make a difference anymore,” he said. One of two freshmen on the varsity team, Boachie-Yiadom is not intimidated by the age difference between him and his teammates or his opponents. As well as playing for ASL basketball, he has played on U16 and U18 club teams. “Since I’ve played on [club teams], I’m used to playing with people that are older,” he said. As his skills have developed, the word basketball has grown to mean hard work for Boachie-Yiadom. “Basketball is all about giving all your effort. If you work hard then everything else takes care of itself,” he said. “You can have all the talent, but if you don’t work hard it means nothing.” Head varsity basketball Coach Joe Chodl believes that Boachie-Yiadom has brought this mentality with him to ASL. “He has a positive attitude and is a hard worker,” Chodl said.
of the best defenders in the league as a freshman.” Coming to ASL was an enticing prospect for Boachie-Yiadom. With friends already attending, high academic standards and a good basketball program, Boachie-Yiadom did not hesitate to apply to the school. “I wanted to play basketball here as well as get a good education,” he said. For Boachie-Yiadom, there is a big difference between the basketball programs of his former school, Harrow Secondary, and ASL. At Harrow Secondary, talent rather than hard work is rewarded. “If you were talented that [was] great, but here everyone puts in the work and you can feel the chemistry being built,” he said. Boachie-Yiadom singled out communication as the most important factor for building team chemistry. “[In the ASL basketball program] everyone is talking to each other. It’s a smaller world,” he said. With strong team chemistry and hard work, Boachie-Yiadom believes the team can have high hopes for this season. “Right now everything is going very well. Everyone knows their role and place on the team,” he said. In his first four varsity games, at a tournament at the American School of The Hague, Boachie-Yiadom was awarded a spot on the All-Tournament team comprised of six players from the four teams that competed. “I think if we continue to work hard,
physical and mental skills, BoachieYiadom brings this “element above the rim which is certainly fun and certainly makes a statement,” Chodl said. Boachie-Yiadom’s combination of height and athleticism allows him to dunk easily. “Dunking feels good,” he said. “For the team [dunking] brings hype, gets everyone excited [and] gives us something to build around.” Although he’s never dunked on anyone, “that’s something I’ve been looking forward to for a while,” he said with a laugh. “It’s definitely a goal for me this season.” Just as basketball helped Boachie-Yiadom overcome social struggles as a younger child, he believes basketball will help him later in life as well. He hopes to someday play Division I basketball at a university in the U.S., and from there “just work hard and maybe have a chance to play professional basketball.” Boachie-Yiadom’s relationship with basketball is strong. It has helped him on and off the court, given him many opportunities and helped him make many friends. Basketball is his passion. “I’ve had some rough times on the court, I’ve had moments where I thought of moving on, but I would never think of quitting basketball,” he said. “I love the game too much.”
Sports Editors Nikolai Birch and James Malin explore ASL athletes’ views on alcohol Drawing the line on page 24 Photo by hAmiSh StePhenSon
THE STANDARD | December 2013
Rugby at Allianz Freshman athlete spotlight