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September 2013 | Volume XXXIX, Issue I

The Standard investigates the ASL response to possible United States and global military intervention in Syria MINA OMAR | Lead Features Editor • THOMAS RISINGER | Lead News Editor Graphic by HAMISH STEPHENSON | Creative Director • DANIELA AL-SALEH | Cartoonist The Red Line on pages 4-5

The American School in London | One Waverley Place | London NW8 0NP U.K. |

News •••

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THE STANDARD | September 2013


School year extended News Editor Charlotte Young reports on the upcoming calendar changes


c mpare contrast August 12

Shanghai International School


ACS Cobham


TASIS, Surrey

September 2 Southbank International School


Greenwich Country Day School


Dalton School, New York


Begin 3-5 days earlier in August


Cancel October break

Results from poll of 169 High School students.

Despite the new school year having only just begun, next year’s school start date is already being discussed. This discussion was sparked by the fact that next year, ASL will begin on August 18, causing students and parents’ summer holidays to be cut short as five academic school days (otherwise known as instructional days) have been added to the school curriculum for next year. This change was first discussed last year when a scheduling consultant, Roxanne Higgins of Independent School Management, visited ASL to study the school’s yearly and daily calendars. Her report concluded with a recommendation for the school to add 10 instructional days to the yearly schedule. The Academy of International School Heads, which represents more than 400 schools, recently reported that the average number of international school days is 180. In the United States, it is a legal requirement that public schools have 180 instructional days per year, while in the United Kingdom state schools are required to have 190 instructional days. ASL, which had a total number of 168 instructional days during the 2012-2013 school year, falls short of the mark on both counts. Head of School Coreen Hester feels that this change is a positive one based on the school being responsible educators. “I feel like I’m doing the right thing,” she said. “I do feel that we have very high performing students who are anxious to do extremely well and I think a shortened school year heightens the stress. I hope the winner will be less student stress and less teacher stress.” The decision was based on the results from a poll sent out at the end of last year. The poll gave parents and students five options to choose from: Eliminating October break or Thanksgiving break, shortening February break or spring break, or beginning school 3-5 days earlier in August. Out of 169 polled students, 64.9 percent of them responded citing an early start as their first choice. A 33 percent majority of 480 polled parents also chose school starting earlier as their first choice out of the other five choices. Although starting the school year earlier was the first choice, shortening spring break came in close second with 25 percent of parents polling in favor. However, due to negative feedback received from members of the community, Hester has decided to poll faculty and parents one more time, giving them an option between starting earlier in August or shortening spring break. Hester sent out this poll to parents on September 13 and faculty and staff on September 25.

10% Shorten February break


Shorten spring break


Cancel Thanksgiving break

9/11 not recognized CHARLOTTE YOUNG News Editor

The memory of September 11 is one ingrained in the minds of all who were alive on that day; a day in which America was under attack. Four passenger airliners were hijacked by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists and flown into buildings in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks. The attack resulted in 2,996 deaths. This year, for the second year in a row, the school did not recognize the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Social Studies Teacher Howie Powers had been living in London for 10 days on September 11, 2001. Although thousands of miles removed, Powers was still deeply affected by the attacks in America, having lost one of his best friends that day on the 102nd floor of the twin towers. PrincipalJackPhillipsmadethedecision to not recognize this day for two reasons. The first reason was that the importance of September 11 wasn’t brought to Phillips’ attention until September 10, the day before. Upon being reminded of the upcoming anniversary, Phillips discovered that although the first 10 years after September 11 had been memorialized, the eleventh year had not been memorialized. Phillips’ decision was also based upon past experience commemorating September 11 at his previous school, Phoenix Country Day School. As it turned out, there were students in the audience whom September 11 had deeply affected. “For many of them, they had closed this chapter in their lives and I went on stage and reopened it for them ... I didn’t think through how this day potentially impacts every single member in this community,” Phillips said. Due to this experience, Phillips was reluctant to memorialize September 11 this year. Erik Hess (’14) nearly lost his uncle, a firefighter, during the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers. His uncle was buried under rubble when the building collapsed on him, and he now has permanent lung damage. Hess feels that there should have been some sort of remembrance for September 11 at the school. “Here we might still be a little isolated from it but we’re still Americans and that was the biggest terrorist attack on America; the school should recognize it,” he said. Powers was unsure about the statement that the High School made by not recognizing September 11. “It is always unclear to me when, and I talked to my students about this, memories become history,” he said. “I think 9/11 is going through that. It is a memory becoming history. I don’t think there is an absolute right answer ... When is the right year to let it go into history?”

THE STANDARD | September 2013




Copy Editor Svena Bhasin explores the upcoming independently organized TED talks occurring at ASL on October 12

Technology Coordinator Mariam just a single spark to ignite the fire and get a Mathew routinely utilizes TED talks in her real blaze going,” she said. classes to present interesting ideas, and Speakers at the event include both ASL discuss how to apply those ideas beyond parents such as Elaine Proctor-Bonbright the classroom. and Emmanuel Roman, and speakers from TED, which stands for Technology, outside the school community including Education and Design, is a nonprofit Professor of Globalization at the University organization that hosts conferences which of Oxford Ian Goldin. bring together “ideas worth spreading.” The conference’s beginnings closely The organization prides itself on bringing reflect the overall theme, that it only takes together “free knowledge from the a single powerful idea to begin a journey world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a and create change. When Mathew first community of curious souls to engage with introduced the idea last winter in a meeting ideas and each other.” for the Gender Rights and Equalities Action TEDx talks are conferences that are Trust (GREAT) Initiative with Gabriel, independently organized and occur Alexandre, Ashley and Purits it was met outside of official TED venues. A student- with excitement, but was soon sidelined while the GREAT driven committee of project which involved upperclassmen, Alec selling wristbands to Ashley (’15), Gabriel the ASL community Ruimy (’15), Alexandre to fundraise for Ruimy (’14) and Andre a women’s radio Purits (’15), along with program in Liberia Parent David Alberts took priority. While his will be introducing friends took on greater TEDx talks to the ASL responsibility for the community at the first GREAT project, Ashley ever TEDx conference began to work behind hosted at ASL. the scenes on the TED On October 12, idea. He contacted at TEDxASL, the Alberts, who had committee will attended the original bring together TED conference, and British, American together the team began and international working on completing speakers from the the application process London community. to register TEDxASL “We wanted to do as an official event. something that would Once their application connect ASL to the Mariam Mathew, was approved Ashley, outside community Technology Coordinator Alexandre and Gabriel and get [students] to start thinking about the community began identifying and emailing hundreds as a whole rather than just the American of potential speakers. The creation of a speaker selection committee comprised of perspective,” Ashley said. The theme of the event will be ASL faculty and staff helped narrow down “empowering a community through one,” and finalize the list of speakers. Now, after Ashley said. Speakers will be coming from a months of work, the TEDx conference has a variety of backgrounds including business, total of 13 scheduled live speakers. psychology and literature. Regardless of Mathew hopes that ASL students will their backgrounds, speakers will be tying take advantage of this opportunity, and their presentations to the same thematic aims to see “a mix of our community thread. and people who have nothing to do with Mathew, who has acted as a mentor our [ASL] community.” She believes the for the students involved in the venture, conference is a step in the right direction to explained the theme. “The idea is that aid in breaking through the ASL bubble. sometimes you have just one individual Ashley hopes this year’s event will kick who has an idea and he or she might get off a tradition for years to come “We’re others excited about making a change in hoping to make [TEDxASL] an annual their communities. “We’re looking at it event, and get more students involved in from that perspective: sometimes it takes the process,” he said.


You have just one individual who has an idea and he or she might get others excited about making a change in their communities... it takes just a single spark to ignite the fire and get a real blaze going.

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Ian Goldin

Currently a Professor of Globalization and Development and the Director of the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford. Previously Goldin was the Vice President of the World Bank.

Elaine Proctor-Bonbright

An award- winning writer and director of documentaries, several of which have been selected for the Cannes Film Festival and globally distributed.

Joe Cerrell

The Director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for Europe and Africa, Cerrell works alongside corporations and governments to improve global health and development policies. PhOTOS frOm ALEC AShLEy


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THE STANDARD | September 2013

THE STANDARD | September 2013


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Special Report


RED LINE MINA OMAR | Lead Features Editor • THOMAS RISINGER | Lead News Editor


It was March 2011 when the Syrian people decided that enough was enough. Fifteen school children in Daraa, a city in southwestern Syria, had been arrested and tortured for painting school walls with anti-government graffiti. The country was outraged. Demonstrations began the next day and, for the first time in decades, people broke down the wall of fear that had been built up by 40 years of unyielding authoritarian rule. Daraa, and the brutality demonstrated within its limits, was the spark that ignited the Syrian flame.

wo years later and the uprising has turned into a bloody civil war with no end in sight. More than 100,000 Syrians have lost their lives, many at the hands of their own government, and more than two million have been forced to leave the country. Wary of the debacles of U.S. military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Barack Obama said in a statement during a White House press conference that the United States would not intervene unless the Syrian government broke what the U.S. constituted as international law.

published an official report confirming the use of sarin gas; details in the report pointed the finger at military formations loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, suggesting the Syrian government had used Sarin Gas on its own people. The red line drawn by Obama had been crossed. Since the suspected, and later confirmed, use of sarin gas by the al-Assad regime on its own people, American public opinion has been polarized on the issue of potential military intervention to prevent further use of chemical weapons. Many politicians have argued that in order to preserve the stature and influence of the

by Obama and believes Assad broke international law when he allegedly used chemical weapons against his own people. However, she places the responsibility to act not only on the U.S. but also on the international community as a whole. “The attack on the 21st of August demonstrates that the regime is focused on its own survival,” Dibble said. “It’s incumbent upon the entire international community, not just the United States, not to send a message, but to ensure [Assad] does not use chemical weapons again, and to stop the bloodshed. This is not a United StatesSyrian bilateral issue at all; this is the

have mattered throughout the past 70 years, since the end of War World II, where the United States has been the ultimate guarantor of freedom throughout the world,” he said. However, the question on many American citizens’ minds is broader than whether the United States should intervene in Syria or not. The overarching question remains: Should America take upon itself the responsibility to morally police the world? Social Studies Teacher Michelle Gerken feels that the United States should be hesitant and intervene for moral reasons

It’s incumbent upon the entire international community, not just the United States, not to send a message, but to ensure [Assad] doeS not USe chemIcAl weAponS AgAIn, And to Stop the bloodShed. ElizabEth dibblE, asl parEnt and dEputy chiEf of mission at thE us Embassy Obama’s stance on the usage of chemical weapons in Syria has been unequivocal since August 2012. “We have been very clear to the Assad regime. A red line for us is [if] we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation,” he said in a White House statement. On August 21, footage containing evidence of a possible chemical weapons attack on the Syrian capital of Damascus was released. The footage showed dozens of men, women and children with no visible injuries, convulsing and dying. Chemical weapons inspectors from the United Nations had arrived in Syria three days prior to the attack to investigate smaller, unconfirmed instances of chemical weapons usage. Upon learning of the new attack, the inspectors made it their priority to investigate the site in Damascus. On September 16, the United Nations

U.S. in the realm of foreign affairs, Obama must follow through on his promise of retaliation. Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Embassy to the Court of St. James and ASL Parent Elizabeth Dibble served in Damascus as a Public Affairs Officer from 2001 to 2003. In this role, she was in charge of public, cultural, and press outreach for the embassy. When Dibble arrived in Syria, the Assad family had been in power for four decades. “I arrived there a year after Bashar [Al-Assad] took over, and Syrians were hopeful that things would change because he was of a different generation and Western-educated,” she said. “Syria was a very calm, peaceful and safe place to be in.” Looking back at the time she spent in Damascus, Dibble feels nostalgic. “It sort of breaks my heart to see what’s happening in Syria now, because I have fond memories of being there and, most especially, of the Syrian people,” she said. Dibble supports the line drawn

responsibility of the entire international community.” Social Studies Teacher Howie Powers agrees with Dibble on the importance of the line defined by the president, but believes that the Syrian government did not break international law by employing chemical weapons. “Holding everyone to the letter of the law is tricky because international law is not very clear,” he said. “Should international law be our standard? It’s not a well-developed law.” Powers feels that Obama should not have created a red-line in the first place. “We [the US] have put ourselves in a bad position and now all of a sudden it’s our integrity on the line,” he said. New York Times Columnist and ASL Parent Roger Cohen, who has spent more than 10 years covering the Middle East, also believes in the significance of upholding the red line that was drawn in Obama’s speech. “It is a moment where the administration has proved very irresolute and I think that red lines matter and they

rather than political ones. “[An attack] should be driven by human right concerns before geopolitical ones,” she said. Powers agrees with that sentiment but thinks that American military intervention would be more of a power play than anything else. “I think most Americans aren’t seeing it as a power play, including the President, which is why they are being wishy-washy about it,” he said. “Americans don’t want to be the world’s moral policemen. We have enough problems at home.” Dibble agrees with Powers and believes that what the United States does with Syria will be noticed by other countries who hold chemical weapon arsenals, such as Iran and North Korea. “There isn’t a near parallel between the situations, but yes, certainly, [Iran and North Korea] will be seen and will, I think, factor into the decision-making in those countries as things move forward,” she said. As the war continues, the once unilateral rebel force have been joined by

Members of the Syrian public inspect damaged areas in Deir al-Zor, Syria. PHOTO FROM FLICKR/JORDIBERNABEU, FRONT PAGE PHOTO FROM FLICKR/EwIxx a significant number of Islamic radicals with ties to terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda. The involvement of these organizations has complicated the situation and made the once appealing and popular option of arming the rebel forces more controversial. Surveys conducted by BBC News in May 2013 show that the majority of citizens in countries both in the West and the Middle East are strongly opposed to arming the rebel forces. When polled, more than 50 percent of civilians in Lebanon (80 percent), Turkey (68 percent), Tunisia (60 percent), Egypt (59 percent) and the Palestinian territories (63 percent) said that they were opposed to Americans or Europeans supplying the rebel army. The survey, taken in May 2013, showed that countries in the West, such as France and Germany, were even more opposed, with 69 and 82 percent of civilians polling against supplying arms, respectively. Cohen has written extensively about the conflict in Syria since its beginning in 2012 and thinks that the U.S. should have become involved in Syria months ago by arming the rebel forces. He now believes that arming the rebels is no longer a viable option. “The presence of Al-Qaeda is an argument to not [arm the rebels], but the longer the war festers, the more these groups will come into it,” he said. “There is nothing terrorists and extremists like more than a country such as Syria.”

Now that the red line drawn by Obama has been crossed, many believe that arming the rebel forces has become a solution too tame to actively handle the situation at hand, like Cohen suggests. Since the president had inadvertently, in his 2012 speech, promised military intervention if and when chemical weapons were employed by Assad’s forces, he surprised the international public by seeking Congress’ approval before taking action. Powers did not anticipate Obama going to Congress. “Should the president show leadership and try to drive the country to an answer? I think that’s part of his job. I think the decision to go to Congress hurts the power of the presidency,” he said. Dibble, on the other hand, felt that Obama’s decision to go to Congress was the right one. “I think consulting the Congress, encouraging public debate and sharing the information we know are important,” she said. “The people are weary of foreign engagements due to Iraq and Afghanistan. They are weary and they are also wary of getting involved in a further conflict.” Recently, a new solution has been proposed by Vladimir Putin, President of Russia. In a contribution to the New York Times, Putin endorsed a peaceful resolution and urged the U.S. to avoid military action. “The United States, Russia and all members of the international community must take advantage of the

Syrian government’s willingness to place Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov its chemical arsenal under international show that Obama is not set upon military control for subsequent destruction,” he intervention, but she does not know what wrote. the outcome of the situation will be. “I The five permanent members of the think [the meeting] demonstrates that United Nations Security Council have there is not a knee-jerk move to a military met to draft a resolution that would hold reaction or military action, but that the Syria to its promise of both declaring and president is really committed to searching destroying its chemical all avenues to find a weapons. The agreement solution,” she said. between Russia and the In a White House U.S. is that if the Syrian statement on September regime does not comply 15, Obama reiterated and destroy its chemical his stance on the use weapons, the Security of chemical weapons Council will impose to the public. “The use measures under Chapter of chemical weapons 7 of the United Nations anywhere in the world Charter, which states is an affront to human that coercive steps may dignity and a threat to be taken, including the the security of people use of military force. everywhere,” he said. Syrian national Amin New York Times Columnist “We have a duty to Ojjeh (’16) does not think and ASL Parent Roger Cohen preserve a world free that the U.S. has the right from the fear of chemical to intervene in Syria, and is an advocate for weapons for our children.” the aforementioned solution. “I don’t want Although the president seems to the United States to intervene because, be open to the resolution that is being saying this in the nicest way possible, it’s discussed by the Security Council, he not much of their business,” he said. “The has made it clear to both the Russian and U.S. should warn the Syrian government Syrian governments that this matter is not and so should the U.N., but I don’t think one to be taken lightly. In a statement made they should risk starting a bigger war.” to the press on September 14, Obama made Dibble believes that the meetings it clear that, “If diplomacy fails, the United between Secretary of State John Kerry and States is still prepared to act.”


The United States has been the ultimate guarantor of freedom throughout the world.

Opinions •••

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Egypt crisis

Adult diversity

THE STANDARD | September 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 HAMISH STEPHENSON Creative Director JESSICA HAGHANI Photo Editor ALEX PABARCIUS Design Editor WILLIAM MUOIO Online Editor SVENA BHASIN Copy Editor STAFF WRITERS Lynn Albright, Laura Galligan 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.




Instilling the core values

Courage to act. Integrity. Kindness. Respect Responsibility. These are the five core values that have been plugged into multiple speeches from the administration this year, including Principal Jack Phillips’ first address to the High School student body, Dean of Students Joe Chodl’s message to the senior class during their pizza lunch, and Head of School Coreen Hester’s speech to the entire school in the main gym. The instilling of values within a community does not come from merely creating a list of values and saying them when the time seems opportune. The most effective way that values can be taught and subsequently adopted within a community is through the process of leading by example. We must see the administration practicing kindness, displaying integrity, respect, responsibility and the courage to act – day-in, day-out. There is little doubt that Phillips, Chodl, Hester and the rest of the administration possess the aforementioned values. However, students need to see the administration practicing these values to have the best chance of replicating them. We are by no means complaining that the core values should not have been mentioned in the speeches – on the contrary, we are proponents of the implementation of these values, but only verbally sharing them in a group environment means that further action is required. The issue here lies with the administration’s lack of interaction with students. The sight of an administrator conversing with students at top orange or cheering on ASL

sports teams at Canons Park can be considered nothing but a rarity. We recognize that these absences can be explained by the administrators’ remarkably busy schedules. That said, greater effort on their behalf could still be put in to find the time for students. Phillips has set the tone this year. On more than one occasion, he has comfortably wandered among the black chairs and around top orange. The same cannot be said for all other members of the administration. Additionally, at the Grade 12 parent coffee in early September, Phillips promised to spend more time with the students following the conclusion of his one-on-one meetings with every faculty member. Grade 9 Dean Samrong So is also worthy of praise, as he has lunched with freshmen on numerous occasions. It is time for other members of the administration to follow suit. The fact that Chodl and a group of fellow faculty members frequently lunch together in the Commons indicates a lost opportunity. Would it be so hard for these adults to invite students to their table every now and then? The hope right now is that the members of the administration are able to find a few minutes of their time to discuss academia, athletic events or even the weather with the students outside the confines of their offices. It is only through friendly conversation and purposeful action that the values of integrity, kindness, respect, responsibility and the courage to act can be appropriately recognized and acquired. However, saying the values almost only for the sake of saying them in every speech is simply not enough.

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 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 and story ideas. Contact the appropriate section editor(s) for submissions. ONLINE VIEWING The Standard can be viewed online at The Standard can also be viewed in PDF format on the High School page of the ASL website, Printed by Mortons Print Limited, 01507 523456


THE STANDARD | September 2013

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Calling the school to action ISSy keLLy

I would like to make the point that all Student Council meetings are open to anyone interested in having a say in the decisions made in the ASL community.

With a new council elected, composed of five representatives from each grade level, the Student Council has officially begun its year. Although the council is made up of 20 official members, it is the efforts of many members of the community that allow the council to make a difference at the school. While students on the council work hard year after year to improve student life, many of the initiatives the council accomplishes would not be possible without help from various faculty members, including Information and Facilities Coordinator Rita Bediako, Catering Manager Christine Kent, and Technology Coordinator Mariam Mathew, to name a few. To them, and the many others who are going to make the goals of this year’s council achievable, I thank you in advance. The 2013-2014 Student Council is mostly composed of new members. I was pleased to see that many students who had not been on the council in the past were willing to

Progress Report sunrise

fast food



put themselves forward and go through the daunting task of delivering a speech to their peers. I understand that the public speaking aspect of the election process can be a deterrent for a number of students who are interested in Student Council but don’t want to get behind the microphone. For all students who feel this way, I would like to make the point that all Student Council meetings are open to anyone interested in having a say in the decisions made in the ASL community. Whether a student ran for Student Council and wasn’t elected, didn’t run because they were not willing to make a speech, or only recently realized their zeal for the tasks that the council takes on, I encourage everyone to attend the Friday afternoon meetings, located in R-302. If attendance becomes high enough, I am more than willing to move the meetings to a larger venue. So please, drop by a Student Council meet-

ing this year on a Friday afternoon; we have snacks, we have ideas, and we have influence. Additionally, as a democratic body, the council will always make time for anyone who has a strong opinion and would like to deliver a proposal in a presentation. The council’s mission is to work to represent the desires of the students. Although every member of the council will put great efforts into listening to their fellow classmates throughout the year, it is also helpful to have students come to the council directly with their suggestions so that the council knows exactly how to pursue the proposal. My call to action is this: This year, each High School student should take a proactive role in making their voice heard by communicating with their elected Student Council representatives, attending the Friday afternoon Student Council meetings, and as a result, the student body’s ideas will be transformed into realities.

Photo 1 by tamaRa Rasamny, Photos 2, 3, 4, 5. 6 by Jessica haghani







The Standard staff give the first Progress Report of the 20132014 school year.


Senior Sunrise: (C) Good idea, poor execution. Arriving at school to find 20 bagels for 100 Seniors was the worst part of the morning, closely followed by being in school at 6:45 a.m. with nothing to do. It seems neither Primrose Hill nor the Commons pre-7a.m. were stops on this year’s vibe train. Clayton Marsh


Fast Food Coming to London: (A) The days of looking forward to returning to America for the fast food may be coming to an end. The arrival of Five Guys and Shake Shack in London is a glorious thing. Those burgers are incredible; they taste of America. Hopefully it’s only the beginning of the fast food invasion. Taco Bell, you’re on deck. James Malin


Prejudiced Librarians: (C-) “WHERE ARE THE ARTEMIS FOWL [books]? WHERE ARE THE ARTEMIS FOWL [books]?” “Near that cupboard over there. Please stay in groups of three and ask me if you have any questions!” The pack of wild Lower Schoolers are let loose, so I take a risk: “Pssst… where can I find Paxton Boys in the textbook?” “SHHHHHHH, THIS IS A LIBRARY!!” Talk about prejudice. Gabriel Ruimy


Gym Requirements for Sophomores: (D) This is just painful. PE is 80 minutes of frustration and being sweaty/ looking ugly for the rest of the day. I honestly couldn’t deal with the thought of changing into real clothes. Charlotte Young


Avenue Q: (TBD) Very excited to see this as the musical for this year. I’m a very big fan of the Lucia ProctorBonbright (’14), Maddie Briggs (’14), and Emie Nathan (’15) trio. Also a big role for beatboxing Milo (’15). I hope that it will be similar to the actual production on West End. Stay tuned for a (different) Online Editor review. Will Muoio


Being Ungrateful: (D) “Ugh I hate it here, my old school in Detroit was sooo much better.” If you have ever found yourself saying something similar, please return to your nameless school in suburbia, back to your “sick” parties where alcohol is illegal until you’re 21 and the term “club” refers to a place frequented by old white men. Thomas Risinger Post Scriptum: Vibe Tickets Now Available.

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THE STANDARD | September 2013

The 21 century powder keg


Culture Editor Gabriel Ruimy analyzes the conflict in Syria and its global implications

n 1914, European nations stood patriotically by their flags, ready to engage in a continental conflict they likened more with a working sojourn than a destructive conflict. Today, the world faces a similar crisis; the previously-Balkan powder keg of the early 20th century has now taken up residence in the Middle East, more precisely: Syria. And, like our European counterparts of a hundred years ago, the Western governments have chosen appeasement and diplomacy as a means of defusing what could possibly shape up to be an international war. Tensions have been ingrained into the very soil of the Middle East as of the beginning of the second millenium C.E. with the arrival of the Templars. Today’s red-crossed Cr(U.S.) aders haven’t shown up yet: They have been stalled by fickle United Nations politicking and the Russian-hosted, Russian-impeded G20. The watchdog nations of Western Europe - France, England, Germany - along, with Captain United States of America were called into action when Bashar al-Assad’s government allegedly led a chemical attack on a neighborhood of Damascus on August 21 of this year. A year from today Obama said the use of chemical agents in the Syria conflict would be crossing a “red line”, and that it would change his “calculus” of the situation (TIME Magazine). A year has passed and, as the humanitarian-aid organization Medicins Sans Frontieres will confirm, the red line has been crossed. Or so the rebels claim, says a self-righteous Assad. Where is Obama? Where is Hollande? Where is the promised military intervention? They are all having a chat with mastermind Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has, with Assad, drafted the surrender of all Syrian government-owned (synonymous for Assad-owned) stockpiles to the UN. It’s genius, isn’t it? Surrender the leftovers so that no one suspects you of having eaten the rest in the middle of the night. The currency for war has become time in the Middle East. Ask the rebels in 2011 and a Western-forged democracy would have been the chosen plan of action. Ask the rebels today and they will speak of Western-led international weakness all the while praising their now-radical leaders. In the time it has taken (and is taking) Obama and co. to act, groups such as the Al-Nusra Front and the Syrian Islamic Front have formed and spearheaded the Syrian action. Isolate an unruly bunch with no leader and all you get is chaos: Refer to William Golding’s Lord of the Flies for more in-depth premonitions. To oust Assad and his government - if our governments ever muster the “courage to act” - would be to replace it with an equally bellicose, equally renegade, and equally threatening government - if it deserves such a title. And that - the Western man, the Zionist, and the pacifist would ascertain - is not an element wanted in the Israel controversies. Upon international intervention, Hezbollah and al-Qaeda threatened to “burn”

Israel. Their grounds are that Western military intervention are part of a general conspiracy to take down Islamist nations and groups in a continued terrorist-turned-Muslim war. That’s another set of players in the Middle Eastern no-man’s land. All the while Western nations have been mobilizing warships and jets in the Mediterranean, terrorist organisations and other “rogue” nations have been building up an arsenal of their own. Syria has made acquisitions of its own: In addition to Scud missiles (which are the playground equivalent of waterbombs: Inaccurate yet extremely destructive) the Assad regime has acquired Yakhont antiship missile system, reports the New York Times in May of this year. The Yakhonts missile provide the most direct threat to a Western assault of Syria as they could wreak heavy damage on navies, which would be central to a military intervention. Now, who would ever sell weapons of this calibre to a dictator? The same government headed by the same man who is protecting Syria from international military intervention: Mr. Putin of Russia. The first decade of the 2000s saw an exchange of weaponry worth approximately $1.5 billion from Russia to Syria, says the New York Times. The Russian-Syria partnership does

not just end there: Russia has been pouring investments worth up to $20 billion in Syria’s infrastructure, energy, and tourism. A Russian natural gas processing plant is being built near Homs - the city Assad was just so eager to oust the rebels from. here is China? The answer is reminiscent of a Where’s Waldo? game: Everywhere and yet nowhere. While Western politicians are striking up time-wasting deals with Russia and Syria, China continues to follow the U.S. for distant second in nominal gross domestic products (GDP). But whereas the U.S. is inflicted with the policeman role, China is obscure and restrained. The yellow star nation surfaces in international politics every now and then, and each instance is more foreboding than the last; as Russia makes an accomplice of Syria, China associates with Russia rather than Western nations. Deals such as a $25 billion Russian


oil sale to China have consolidated the two Security Council nations’ relations. Whereas isolated they presented viable threats to the West, together they take the form of Goliath - a nuclear-armed Goliath, that is. The U.S. in the early years of World War I (1914-1918) took a neutral stance, accruing August 21, 2013 unprecedented riches from both sides of the Suburb in Syrian capital conflict. The U.S. had the manufacturing of Damascus suffers gas power to make the venture so profitable as to chemical weapon attack outweigh international relations - though it eventually reached a point where they were called into action. There are not many nations who could uphold that role today, but one of them, certainly, is the People’s Republic of China. f all the determining factors leading August 30, 2013 up to World War I, historians often British Prime Minister ascertain the alliance system to be the David Cameron fails most significant. Today the battle-hardened alliance of the West is doing everything its in launching military diplomatic self can to retard the oncoming attack on Syria, due to war. It is for a simple reason: Coincidences Parliament’s rejection of have conspired in creating the most bellicose the movement geopolitical situation of modern times. To attack Assad’s Syria would be the modern assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand - the Austrian archduke whose death is widely accepted to be straw that broke the camel’s back. Israel, the West’s sole ally in August 31, 2013 the Middle East, would be under U.S. President Barack attack from each and every single Obama announces Islamic group and nation. Europe intention to ask Congress and the U.S. would come to confront Russian-backed Syria. And while nuclear for approval of military and chemical arsenals would be depleted, a intervention in Syria Russian-friendly China would be lurking. Decades from today, a retrospective wisdom will probably hail the solution to defusing the time bomb the Middle East has become. Today, though, the world treads on mine-laden fields. To oust Assad would only punish an authoritative regime under a man who has “committed many crimes against humanity”, as United Nations September 16, 2013 Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon U.N. confirms chemical referred to him. It would not weapons were used in solve the Syrian crisis: It gas attack would only be a prelude to the degeneration of a government. To be patient, as illustrates the brief history of the Syrian conflict, would only aggravate the situation as neutral groups and nations pick sides. The only possible course of action is a premeditated Western castigation of Assad, through naval or aerial means. September 20, 2013 It would be a song of rejoice amongst the Syrian minister acclaims rebels, who would certainly be more open to Western democracy than they are today. The the destruction of lack of presence on the ground wouldn’t call chemical stockpiles as for immediate revenge by terrorist groups “victory” and bellicose nations; though the military presence would nonetheless establish the West’s policies and intents on peacekeeping. Today, indecisive reprimands and strikes TOP righT PhOTO frOM fliCkr/ are the only viable weapons in repelling an jaMeS_gOrDON_lOSaNgeleS, international conflict. It is no mystery that MiDDle PhOTO By MOhaMMaD aBU history repeats it self, just ask Napoleon and ghOSh/XiNhUa, BOTTOM righT PhOTO frOM fliCkr/ThejOiNTSTaff Hitler about their Russian sojourns.



THE STANDARD | September 2013

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Dealing with the problem in Egypt Guest Writer Ahmed AlRamly describes his personal experiences in Egypt and his stance on the current situation


y brother and I were still unaware of the magnitude of the situation that was going on only a few miles away from our apartment in Cairo, Egypt. What lay between our apartment and Zamalek, the neighborhood we were headed for, was Tahrir Square, the symbol of the previous revolution, and the center of the current Tamarod movement. Watching my father attempt to remain calm and hoping that our journey across Cairo would avoid all contact with the protests was worrying. I was cynical of the notion that we would be in danger, but perhaps that was because there were tanks and heavily-armed soldiers stationed on the roads. The army surrounded the camping protesters. It was hard to see the tents, but I was able to catch a glimpse of them when I wasn’t faced with camo outfits and AK47’s. I won’t pretend to be a political analyst. Egypt is in an abstruse situation, and I’m not the one to suggest an idea to fix it. I can, however, criticize the foolish behavior of the Brotherhood for putting Egypt in such a state that there is strong cause for worry at any given time after nightfall. Well, it was nightfall when I was there. Now, however, it’s no longer just after nightfall that people are in danger; it’s at any point of the day. People are dying on the streets. Innocent people are subject to attack at any time. The Brotherhood’s extremist ideas on how to govern the country and who should rule it have wreaked havoc on the streets of Egypt. Retaliation from the military has caused violent Brotherhood reactions in the center of highly populated Cairo, as well as other areas throughout Egypt. Both parties continue to firmly stand their ground, and it seems that the only way to stop the endless combat is to wait for the military to completely illegalize the Brotherhood’s movement. Is that what the innocent should wait for? For a constant clash of gunfire, bombs, kidnappings, rape and torture until one outplays the other? On July 8, 57 supporters of the Brotherhood were killed outside of Republican Guard Headquarters, and 480 were wounded. On August 7, the army had killed 60 supporters of the Brotherhood and 30 soldiers had been killed. On September 6, a six-year-old girl was shot dead in a Brotherhood attack on a police station in Minya, a city 245 kilometers south of Cairo. Unrest continues to spread throughout the country. It’s ridiculous. Egypt is a diverse country, and the Brotherhood’s plans to impose their interpretation of Sharia law would have a negative effect on the majority of the Egyptian people, including Egyptian Christians, who make up 10-20 percent of the population. Egyptians would be forced to succumb under a Brotherhood interpretation of the law. Does the Brotherhood hope that the majority of the Egyptian people will simply accept a law unfair to them? The Brotherhood wishes to implement

a regime that they think will create a fairer society and do so without a fair democratic process. Egyptian people have fought for the equality to vote, and the Brotherhood’s choice to impose their ideas on the people is exemplifying inequality. Islamic values aren’t supportive of inequality, and for them to call themselves so righteously Muslim, and fight to rule the nation based on something that contradicts Islam is a prime example of why the Brotherhood shouldn’t have a place in Egyptian politics. Do people have to continue to die every day to watch the Brotherhood and their supporters fight in a way that contradicts their own beliefs? How will the nation be run if the Brotherhood wwwere to rule, if they can’t abide by the law they fight for? support the military’s cause far more than the Brotherhood’s. The recently deposed President Mohamed Morsi, was forcefully trying to mix politics with religion in a dictatorial manner. The Egyptian people weren’t in favor of his movement, and the military, with the majority of the people, retaliated and removed him from power. Aside from a religious aspect, the Tamarod’s revolution against the Brotherhood is about fighting against a party who wish to bully Egypt into another dictatorship, regardless of the views of the party. I won’t excuse the military for their cruel actions against the Brotherhood protesters, as the Brotherhood have the right to protest for what they believe in, but I’d rather see Egypt as a democracy, as it has been fighting to become one for a long time, rather than a dictatorship. The military’s movement is rooted in fighting to reinstate a democracy, and fighting those who stand in the way of Egypt’s freedom. They fought off Hosni Mubarak, the previous despotic president, and they will fight off the Brotherhood. The military have the political power to hold a firm grip over Egypt until a fair democracy can rise. The results of the actions and the immaturity of the Muslim Brotherhood to hold the country at ransom by their actions include hundreds dead, and thousands wounded. Egypt is undergoing poor reconstruction. I can only hope that the government can find a way to end the relentless battle. Egypt is an astounding country, with


a vibrant culture. A place I call home. It’s devastating to see Egypt like this, to be put in a seemingly irreparable situation. Alongside other countries in the Middle East, I can only pray that the turmoil not only in Egypt, but in Syria, Libya, Bahrain, Tunisia and Lebanon can finally be put to rest.


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THE STANDARD | September 2013

College norms not necessary

Clayton marsh

We do not need concrete rules to tell us that we should always be conscious and sensitive about such a delicate issue.

Charlotte young

The college process is a student’s biggest high school challenge; it is filled with stress, competition, hopes, dreams and, more likely than not, crushed dreams. At a time when having a support system is more crucial than ever, it seems counterintuitive to tell us to not talk about the process. Yes, all students have a right to confidentiality regarding their college applications and decisions, but all students also have an equally important right to be able to turn to friends and peers throughout the process for advice and support. Creating a list of norms also undermines one of ASL’s five core values: Respect. We should not need to be told to be respectful, and there is no need to raise general awareness about respecting people’s privacy; a little discretion here and there and

knowing when and when not to talk about certain things is all it takes to ensure that nobody is made to feel awkward, anxious, or hurt. If, and hopefully when, you do get accepted, be proud, not boastful. Put yourself in your fellow classmate’s shoes. All we need to do is exhibit basic respect for each other throughout the process, rather than set ground rules which would seemingly alienate us from our peers. One of the most fundamental norms instituted two years ago, “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” is far too black and white for any subject, especially college norms; discourse only makes for a healthier process. We are a tight-knit senior class, and I fully expect our class camaraderie to only grow as we go through this process, balancing an effective mix of open dialogue and conscious respect.

With potential global military intervention in Syria and the National Security Agency accused of gathering information from our phones, it is absurd to think that what is being talked about in the hallways or on our social media accounts is Miley Cyrus’ twerk-ridden performance at the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs). Somehow, songs that the music industry is producing seem to be the only thing relevant to us. This year, the famed Electric Zoo Music Festival (E-Zoo) held over Labor Day weekend in New York was shut down early. Why? A woman who attended the festival died after taking six tablets of MDMA, a hallucinogenic drug otherwise known as “Molly.” There is actually much irony in this woman dying at E-Zoo as Molly is so highly referenced in music that it seems that when the word is slipped into a song, it becomes an instant hit. This death left me thinking about what messages the music we are listening to send. References to the drug Molly first reached my ears when I heard the song “All Gold Everything” by Trinidad James. This song was, without a doubt, an ASL anthem for the 2012-2013 school year. In the song, James sings, “Popped a Molly/ I’m sweating.” Somehow, this lyric caught on in the school and students were using it everywhere. However, James is not the only one singing about this drug. Tyga, famed for his hit song “Rack City,” released a song earlier this year appropriately titled “Molly.” In the song, Tyga raps about trying to find Molly. Other famous artists seem to have jumped on the bandwagon with Molly references in their songs. For example, Kanye West in his song “Blood on the Leaves,” Miley Cyrus in “We Can’t Stop” (which was number one on the iTunes top songs chart), and “U.O.E.N.O.” by Rocko. These drugs are not just being pitched as “cool” by high-profile singers; they’re giving off an aura of luxury and partying. Rocko’s song “U.O.E.N.O.” featuring Rick Ross and Future also touches upon another large issue within the music industry: The open degradation of women. Ross raps, “Put Molly all in her champagne / She ain’t even know it / I took her home and I enjoyed that

/ she ain’t even know it.” Ross is joined in referencing rape by Robin Thicke’s Billboard 100 hit “Blurred Lines”. Thicke came under fire when this song was released due to the fact that he touched upon a sensitive issue: The “blurred line” between rape and consensual sex where a man believes that when a woman is saying “no” to sexual intercourse she really means “yes” (Thicke sings, “I know you want it / I hate these blurred lines.”) The worst part about this song is that it is frequently played on radio stations. It is uncomfortable for a young woman like myself to have to keep listening to these lyrics and wonder what must be happening to other females. These women could be struggling with aggressive men due to the fact that these men deemed it to be “okay” to continue to advance on women although they simply said “no.” There is no blurred line when it comes to a woman saying “no,” nor should there be a hint of speculation of the word coming from such a famous musician. Thicke is opening up a dangerous thought for men who listen to the radio or own the song that could cause serious harm to women who aren’t trying to play games with men: They are just simply not

interested. These lyrics could even have an affect on a female student at an ASL party. As Head of School Coreen Hester said last year during a freshmen and sophomore assembly, sexual consent cannot be given by either party while in the presence of alcohol. In this instance, at an ASL party where there is alcohol, a female could be saying no to a male’s sexual advances but he wouldn’t be listening to her because he would be trying to follow the notion that “no means yes” in “girl world” (or at least according to Thicke’s song.) This in turn could lead to a series of events that could end up violating the female after consent was plainly not given. Is anyone else listening to the cross messages that are being sent in any of these lyrics? The biggest problem with these lyrics in songs is that in real life, nobody would ever tolerate slipping drugs into a woman’s drink and raping them, and most people would never question a girl’s refusal to sexual advances. Philosopher Francois Voltaire once said, “Anything that is too stupid to be spoken is sung.” It seems that for this century’s music, all you have to do is reference a drug and degrade females in order to produce a hit.

Music lyrics are damaging our lives


Is anyone else listening to the cross messages that are being sent in any of these lyrics?

College norms discussions, which have taken place the past two years for senior classes, appear to be in limbo for the Class of 2014. These discussions, in which seniors establish a set of norms that dictate what one can and cannot talk or ask about, have received mixed reviews and have been mandatory up to this year. Now, it is up to us, the students, to decide whether or not such a discussion about these norms are necessary. Going through this process and instituting college norms for the Class of 2014 would not only be wasteful, but also harmful to the college applications process as a whole. As seniors, we do not need concrete rules to tell us that we should always be conscious and sensitive about such a delicate issue.

THE STANDARD | September 2013


Page 11


Challenging our loyalty thOmAS rISINgEr

Cheating isn’t always cheating, and it is not every individual’s obligation to blindly report all infractions, regardless of their significance.


Over-assessment, whether it’s grading every assignment, or every Harkness discussion takes the joy and experience out of learning.

“Cheating is cheating,” was the message that every High School student received at the Code of Conduct meetings held during the first two days of school, where each student read and was required to sign the 2013-2014 Code of Conduct. But there is one critical problem with that message: The issue of academic integrity is not one that can be dramatically simplified as the school has done. Cheating is not always cheating, and it’s not every individual’s obligation to blindly report all infractions, regardless of their significance. For a school that prides itself on being at the cutting edge of young-adult education and believes in the intelligence of its students, I am frankly shocked that the school has decided to paint such a contentious issue in black and white. When it comes to deciding whether or not to turn a friend in for cheating, there is no black and white; there is only grey. It is imperative that the administration, as well as the SFDB, show an appreciation for the subtleties that come with these complex issues. Let’s be honest for a minute: Nobody believes that every minor transgressor should be frog marched to Top Orange to await sentencing. This though, is not far off the mark from the message that has been sent to the student body. Despite the fact that it is not one of our widely advertised “core values”, loyalty is still a fundamental part of one’s character. Instead of promoting a policy of indiscriminate informing, I suggest that these issues of judgement and the application of loyalty be built into the curriculum of the current foundations and health classes, which are mandatory for all freshmen and sophomores. Use role playing and analysis of

whistleblowers such as Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, and Julian Assange to teach students how to properly make judgements and blow the whistle when the time is right. I appreciate that there are no definitive answers that a teacher can provide. A teacher can provide, however, is guidance that takes into account the importance of loyalty and the intricacies and different

degrees of cheating. Simply asserting that cheating is cheating benefits no one. ASL wants students who can make their own decisions and think for themselves. By instituting the study of judgement and loyalty into the health and foundations classes of the underclassmen, the school will take an important step towards achieving this goal.

Maybe it is just my inner-student speaking, but I have a problem with the way we learn at ASL. It is not a problem with the material we’re being taught, the way we are being taught, or who is teaching it to us, but the way in which we are assessed. Unlike what I expect to be a majority of students, I am a fan of grades. I believe they accurately represent the status of a student’s learning in a class and their abilities. But I believe the school is suffering from grade overload. During my high school career, I can count on one hand the times I have done a project, presentation, or other piece of creative work that hasn’t been graded. Formal assessment is an incredibly important part of our educational experience. Without it, it would be near impossible to know whether or not we actually comprehend and can apply information in various situations. But there comes a point where formal assessments become counterproductive. Overassessment, whether it’s grading every assignment, every Harkness discussion, or simply too many grades in general, takes

the joy and experience out of learning. Does that map in your history class really have to be graded? Does every piece of writing in English class have to be graded? Why can’t we just learn for the sake of learning? The administration should introduce a policy recommending an increase in the amount of non-graded assessments; maybe the recommendation of one per unit of study. I (and probably many others) have simply burned out as a result of the large quantity of formal assessments and grades we receive. At a certain point, the work becomes about meeting the requirements on the rubric or speaking enough times to get the “A” rather than producing a piece of work that challenges my thought process and forces me to synthesize the information. Less and less frequently do I do something for the sake of exploring my ideas or creativity, or expanding my knowledge. An opportunity to work every so often without the burden of a grade on my shoulders, and to just be creative with my thinking and take some risks would be a welcome

improvement to the quality of everyone’s education and their work quality. Alfie Kohn, a critic of traditional schooling, writes in a report titled Grading: The Issue is Not How but Why published in 1994, “Studies also show that, contrary to the conventional wisdom in our society, people who have been led to think about what they will receive for engaging in a task (or for doing it well) are apt to do lower quality work than those who are not expecting to get anything at all.” Long story short, if we’re not forced to think about the outcome of a task, whether it be a reward or a grade, we actually perform better on them and, in turn, challenge our knowledge and force ourselves to improve. I am in no way suggesting that ASL should abolish grades: That’s ridiculous. But I do think change is needed in the way we are assessed in our learning. A mindset or policy set out by departments to introduce more regular assignments that are not graded, such as projects, will allow students to use all of their knowledge without the stress of receiving a grade.


Proposing a new form of grading

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THE STANDARD | September 2013

Adult diversity required

Fares chehabi

For a school whose mission statement promises a “global education”, it seems contradictory that its latest opportunity to diversify its administration was not fully taken advantage of.

Consider the members of the School’s administration whose primary responsibilities revolve around the High School: Director of Academic Advising and College Counseling Patty Strohm, Assistant Principal Annie Leonard, Dean of Students Joe Chodl, Director of Athletics Sandy Lloyd, and the most recently appointed, Interim Principal Jack Phillips. What do they all have in common? They are all white Americans. I acknowledge the fact that the term “diversity” is a broad one. It not only encompasses race and nationality but also sexual orientation, gender, age and a whole host of other factors that form one’s identity. But for a school whose mission statement promises a “global education”, it seems contradictory that its latest opportunity to diversify its administration was not fully taken advantage of. It should be known that Phillips possesses Chinese and Native American ancestry, but he and his parents were born and raised in the United States, and he has never lived outside the United States prior to his appointment at ASL. This is simply not enough diversity moving forward. Thus, the High School administration will only continue to look through a single lens when it comes to student affairs, and that is of the white American’s. Considering the variety of nationalities, if not races, among the High School student body, it is difficult to find much solace in this current predicament. The school’s strategic plan, released in 2010, regarded diversity as a “component of excellence.” Moreover, Head of School Coreen Hester said that she views diversity among the administration and faculty to be both a window and a mirror – a window into someone else’s culture and a mirror to better understand one’s own culture. I am completely in agreement with this statement, but I wonder why action has not been taken sooner. The School has agreed to work with two new faculty recruitment agencies that specialize in minority candidates starting next year and a student diversity club was founded last year. But where have these initiatives been in the past? This is not to fault Hester’s recent efforts, as a lack of diversity has long been a problem at ASL prior to her appointment in 2007, and the School has certainly made progress in terms of diversity since then. Simply put, the dearth of driven, purposeful action in the past has put the School in the unfortunate position it is in right now. Moving forward, there is no doubt that the current administrators can offer a great deal of diversity professionally, coming from various backgrounds of work and environments of education, and neither is there any doubt over Phillips’ outstanding qualifications for the job. Indeed, I have great faith that he will put every effort in to make this school a better place, and he has already made a promising start, with his assured speech in the High School’s first assembly of the year and his carrying out of one-on-one meetings with every member of the teaching staff. But for a school seeking to rectify the wrongs of its past and diversify its student body, at least socioeconomically, it seems amiss to appoint another principal who cannot offer enough diversity himself. Let’s not

CARTOON BY DANIELA AL -SALEH forget that the recently departed Principal Paul Richards is a white American too. What type of message does it send to the students that those with the highest positions of power within the school are all white with American backgrounds? The message is not reassuring, that is for sure. When it came down to the final three candidates for the job of interim principal from a pool of around 15 applicants last year, two of them were white American men (one of them being Phillips), and the other was a man whose background is equally South American as it is American. While the latter candidate’s mixed background is certainly encouraging going forward, it cannot cover up the reality: Three final candidates, all white men. Recall that I stated the term “diversity’” encompasses gender, as well, and turn your attention away from this sad state of affairs concerning the administration and toward the teaching staff. Put every teacher from the core class departments of Math, Science, World Languages, English and Social Studies into one room, and you would have better chance of finding God than finding a black teacher. The issue of gender equity is another matter altogether. Following MS Grade 8 Math Teacher Julie Bevad’s move to teach middle school math this year, seven of the eight high school math teachers this year are male. With female students’ performance in math a well-recorded problem (a report published by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in 2009 found that “boys outperform girls by more than 20 score points” in the U.K. and the U.S.), this is another example of the school sending the wrong message. But let us not forget that the issue of gen-

der equity swings both ways: The fact that only one teacher among the nine full-time World Languages teachers is male is alarming as well. Now, I know it may sound strange, but perhaps the solution has been around since 2003 and lies with the National Football League (NFL). I am talking about the Rooney Rule, which states that NFL teams must interview at least one minority candidate for the appointment of a senior coaching position. A similar, if not identical, rule must be applied at ASL when it comes to the appointment of teaching staff and members of the administration. Phillips most likely will apply for the permanent post of principal, but I would imagine that he will still face competition for the job both internally and externally. Seeing as Hester has put in place a commitment to broaden the applicant pool for future job openings, I just hope that when it comes down to the final candidates once again, at least one of them is non-white. That would indicate some much-needed progress, but it would only be one small step along the path to having a healthily diverse school community. If Phillips is the most qualified candidate once again, fair enough, but then I would hope that the lack of diversity among the teaching staff would be addressed with greater zeal following his appointment. As it stands, it is we the students who are suffering due to this lack of diversity – we are by no means ready for the real world when, for at least eight hours every weekday, the adults interacting with us in the hallways and coordinating the curriculum that we are taught are so overwhelmingly, predominantly white.

Features •••

THE STANDARD | September 2013


Rise of Tattoos

Decline of Facebook

The gender divide

Features Editor Zack Longboy and News Editor Charlotte Young examine the relationship between gender and academics At the beginning of last year, the theme of gender equity was stressed to the High School, during an appearance by guest speaker and author Jean Kilbourne who addressed this issue at the first assembly. Gender equity was discussed repeatedly throughout the year in the classrooms, in the hallways and in the offices of administrators. At the center of this debate is the question of gender stereotyping. For Head of College Counselling Patty Strohm, the well- known stereotype is “that girls like the humanities and boys do better in math and science.” English Department Head Meghan Tally dislikes the certain stereotypes that she believes are present. “I think we’re living in a particularly toxic and divisive culture when it comes to gender stereotypes,” she said. “[These

and certainly more girls graduate,” Strohm said. “So does it really matter if boys do better in the SAT?” With regards to the math component, ASL SAT results have a direct correlation with similar data collected in the U.S. A 2012 College Board report shows boys on average scoring 33 points higher than girls on the math component of the SAT. However, for Strohm, standardized tests such as the SAT are merely a snapshot of a student’s high school career. “Standardized testing is only one point in time, one measure,” she said. “Frankly, I’m more concerned about the kind of courses [students] take and the kinds of learning they pursue.” Although SAT data may suggest some truth behind the stereotype, enrollment in AP

Page 13

Furthermore, he explained the reason behind this is due to the emphasis placed on “male characteristics in upper level math and science classes and [teachers] de-emphasizing female characteristics, in a studying sense.” Much speculation has occurred over the role gender plays in extracurricular organizations such as Student Council (StuCo), the Student Faculty Disciplinary Board (SFDB) and the National Honor Society (NHS). For the 2012-2013 school year, StuCo had a majority of female representatives; 60 percent of the 20 members were girls, and this year, every elected officer of the council is female. However, a breakdown of the SFDB over this same time period, showed an imbalance in the gender of its members, with 80 percent male representation out of

I think we’re living in a particularly toxic and divisive culture when it comes to gender stereotypes.


Average SAT score of ASL male


Average SAT score of ASL female

80% male

SFDB in 2012-2013

68% female

NHS in 2012-2013

Meghan Tally, English Department Head stereotypes] are particularly binary which means boys and girls are presented as these two clearcut options as opposed to trying to understand gender on a spectrum.” Data collected by The Standard shows that SAT statistics of ASL students over the past four years support the stereotypes. Over this time frame, on average, male participants have scored higher in two out of the three SAT components, as well as achieving higher average overall exam scores. The average SAT score for girls was 1962 out of 2400, a noticeable 54 points lower than the average boy’s score of 2016. The greatest gender divide on the SAT is shown in the math component. Girls scored an average of 641 out of a possible 800 points while male participants drastically outscored girls by an average of 41 points, making their average score 682 points. “Although boys have been traditionally better at standardized testing, more girls attend college

math courses does not. In these courses, 49 percent are girls and 51 percent are boys. Similar data from the science department shows that AP classes are also not boy-dominated, with 47 percent female and 53 percent male students. “How long is a standardized test? Maybe three, four hours. Now how many hours do you spend in [these classes]? It’s a huge difference,” Strohm said. Math Department Head Neil Basu believes that too much time is spent on gender equality rather than on gender equity. He hopes that ASL can create an environment where different styles of learning are applauded. “[Girls] are very organized. If you ask them to do nine problems they will have done those nine problems,” Basu said, “A boy may have gone off on a tangent on problem number one, not completed five of those problems, but done something really weird on that first problem.” This type of thinking, Basu said, is rewarded in high level math classes.

12 members. StuCo representative Victoria Dreyer (’16) said that she doesn’t believe StuCo is a gender exclusive group. “Yes, Student Council has a majority of girls but I don’t think that is because it’s exclusive,” she said. “A lot of StuCo is planning social events. That’s just something that girls enjoy more.” The NHS is a selective organization based on grade point averages (GPA). For the 2012-2013 school year, just over two-thirds of the group were girls. NHS President Johnathan Cirenza (’14) is one of the 14 boys of the 40 members that make up the NHS. “It’s not particularly noticeable to be honest,” he said. From his point of view the application process is fair. Although statistics suggest that the gender divide in both academics and extracurricular plays a significant role at ASL, Momo Steele (’16) said, “It’s all about the incentive. I think it’s about who you are, not what you are.”

Statistics courtesy of HS office, NHS and SFDB

Page 14


Features Street Style

THE STANDARD | September 2013

Creative Director Hamish Stephenson looks into the varieties of style present in the ASL High School.

Alexandra Dell’Anno (’15)

Ryan Hoeschen (’15)

Describe what you’re wearing in a few words.....

Describe what you’re wearing in a few words.....

Nike shoes, Belstaff jacket, Theyskens Theory shirt, Rag and Bone jeans and Urban Outfitters plaid shirt.

I like casual looks.

A Supreme x Commes des Garçons jacket, a Carhartt baseball shirt, Naked and Famous khakis, and Visvim FBT sneakers. When it comes to clothes, I often mix streetwear with high end fashion which becomes a personal expression of how I’m feeling that particular day.

Do you have a favourite brand?

Where do you get inspiration from when it comes to fashion?

Isabelle Marant Etoile.

Jeff Staple and Pharrell are two creative minds who I am heavily inspired by in terms of fashion. They are both influential in their crafts and their style has made me very passionate about clothing.

Where do you get inspiration from when it comes to fashion?

What is one item you couldn’t live without? My Supreme Native American hockey jersey is one piece that I couldn’t live without in my wardrobe.

Nadia Sawiris (’16) Describe what you’re wearing in a few words..... Timberlands, Lulu Lemon Leggings, a black t-shirt from Vince, and a plaid shirt from Denim + Supply. Where do you get inspiration from when it comes to fashion? It’s not really inspiration, I just hear about cool stores from friends, celebrities, and then go and get whatever catches my eye. What is one item you couldn’t live without? Rag and Bone jeans.


THE STANDARD | September 2013

The decline of


Page 15



Culture Editor Kate Kennedy looks into the use of Facebook in the ASL community


hen Rebecca Jones (’14) first moved to London, going on Facebook was the highlight of her day. Even though she usually felt worse after browsing the site, she still looked forward to it every day. “I didn’t like it, but it was all I could do at the time. It was my way of staying where I used to be,” Jones said. While Facebook can be helpful in a new student’s life, it could also be harmful. Phoebe Merrick (’15) noticed the helpfulness of Facebook as well, but found a difficult side of being keyed into the place that she moved away from. “When I first moved here, I really didn’t like to see all the things that I missed out on, even though it was good to still be in contact with people,” she said. Their situations illustrate the complexity of the relationship that Facebook has with its users, especially at an international school like ASL. “It sucked to see all the pictures of my friends’ [back home] lives online, and that I wasn’t in them,” Merrick said. “At the same time though, it was the only way I could really be in contact with all of them.” Merrick and Jones are not the only ones who feel this way. Since he has moved to London this past year, Sixten Jordan (’14) has noticed that Facebook plays a more important role in his life. “It’s so useful to keep in touch with my friends who still live in the place that I’ve grown up, and helpful for getting to know new friends too,” he said. The relationship that Facebook has with new students at ASL is not stagnant. It evolves with the students as they become more acquainted with living in a new country. “I don’t really care as much [about Facebook] this year since I have my own stuff going on here

ance because it overexposes the user to his or her old home, but because it is boring and annoying. Harley Williamson (’14), has been at ASL all her life and agrees that while Facebook is helpful for keeping in contact with people who have moved away,

and seeing the pictures doesn’t really matter to me,” Merrick said. Students are still dependent on Facebook to some degree because they are unwilling to delete their accounts, as Merrick notes, “I keep my account now so that I can stay accessible to my friends, in case they have a homework question or something.” However, the influence Facebook holds in students’ lives, shifts considerably. While the positive aspects of Facebook, that it allows students to be quickly and easily connected with their peers, both at school and around the world, remains the same, its negative side changes as students become more integrated within the community in London. For many students, Facebook is not a source of annoy-

it isn’t hugely important to her. After she logs on she simply thinks, “well, that was just another album of girls drinking.” Emma Hatheway (’15), while conceding that Facebook can be a source of entertainment at times, thinks that browsing Facebook just isn’t worth the time it consumes. “After I log off Facebook, I’m just like wow, I just wasted two hours,” she said. “I go on way less now that I have a lot of work and things to do, because I can’t waste time like that anymore.” Not only is Facebook failing to interest its users, but according to many ASL students, it’s starting to become actively annoying through

the way that people are using it and things that are posted. Omar Elmasry (’14) is not interested in most of what he sees on Facebook. “I just don’t like being bombarded with other peoples’ social lives,” he said. Hatheway finds that one of the most annoying things about Facebook is people having conversations through commenting on pictures, “Why can’t you just use the messaging system?,” she said. Michael Schmeltzer (’15) takes it a step further, saying that not only that the social side of Facebook is annoying, but the gimmicks of the site itself are also irritating. “It sends me requests and things that I’m not very interested in,” Schmeltzer complained. Facebook’s declining role in ASL students’ lives, although different from student to student, illustrates that Facebook’s popularity is in decline. “I think that the age of Facebook has passed away, and new social media is taking over,” Hatheway said, referring to the rising popularity of Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. Although Facebook is declining, it is not yet obsolete. The decline of Facebook is not just significant because it represents the website’s eminent demise, but because it exemplifies the challenge that ASL students and the world have to deal with: Adjusting to life with Facebook and social, with all its ups and downs. It’s presence is decreasing, but still something to contend with. Although Jones has experienced some of the challenges with Facebook, she still believes, “Just like everything else technology has given us, we have become not only addicted to it, but dependent on it. I know some people are starting to say that people are getting off Facebook, but I can’t see it leaving anytime soon.”

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THE STANDARD | September 2013



THE STANDARD | September 2013

Page 17

Staff Writer Laura Galligan and Online Editor Will Muoio investigate the extent of cyberbullying within the ASL community

*Editor’s note: Names have been changed to protect the identity of students who wished to remain anonymous. Subject in photo is not featured in the article.



sk Ava* (’16) about cyberbullying, and she will say it’s worse than traditioal bullying. When she comes home after school, she talks to older guys who make her feel wellliked. “I talk to them because it makes me feel like they care about me,” she said. Since she has only been in the High School for a little over a year, it’s been difficult for her to become friends with older students, but she says a few older

too severe for anyone to see the post.” Ava believes that and Snapchat, an app where users can send pictures to other users for a maximum of 10 seconds, are platforms for the cyberbullying that occurs within the ASL community. “With, people ask hurtful things. Sometimes they aren’t necessarily from ASL students, but there have been a few [such as the one from the boy] which have affected me,” she said. As with anything online, it is very difficult to determine the tone in which a comment is posted. “It is very hard to determine if a comment is genuine,” she said. “Some comments have been nice regarding my looks or my friends, and those comments make me feel good about

pened to me is that I was bombarded by texts over the course of a couple of weeks that attacked me in every way possible to make me feel awful about myself, and made it seem like it wasn’t just this one person hiding behind their phone thinking these things but the whole world,” she said. Health Teacher Joy Marchese has told her students that in 2007, 43 percent of kids between the ages of 13 and 17 had been cyberbullied, but believes that statistic has risen. “I know kids get sick of talking about it but I think it’s getting worse,” she said. When Marchese hears about a cyberbullying incident, she immediately reports it to Dean of Students Joe Chodl. He said that there has not been a case of cyberbullying reported

set in. I thought, ‘Oh they might actually beat the crap out of me.’ They knocked on my door and pretty much pulled me outside and shoved me down, and left.” Lily bottled up her emotions, and did not tell anyone about it. “I stupidly didn’t tell anyone about it. I just kept it to myself.” she said. “I do wish I told someone because I feel like it would have prevented the problem from happening in the first place. I would have told my counselor at my school and gotten her involved. It was an issue outside of school, but it became an issue in school.” Lily doesn’t believe that seeing a teacher about a cyberbullying issue would necessarily help nullify the problem, although she admits seeing Chodl could

SFDB Co-President Omar Elmasry (’14) believes that whether it’s online or in person, bullying is bullying and it must be addressed. He said that the SFDB would intervene in “a situation where a student posts something about another student on facebook and the repercussions enter school.” His co-president, Elias Vere Nicoll (’14), agreed and said that cyberbullying could become an increasingly prevalent issue because of the newly implemented 1:1 laptop program. “It might be something we want to speak about more in grade meetings,” he said. But because the SFDB has not had a recent case, Chodl said, “I think we are very proactive about informing students about

Most of the actions are sexual. Guys try and take advantage of me and sometimes it works. ASL Sophomore boys have been talking to her. After completing her homework, Ava stays in bed, checking her page, a social network on which users answer questions posted by other users, and texting her friends. Sometimes a mean comment has been posted anonymously on her page. Ava was usually able to brush these things off, but this time was different. A boy who Ava had sent a topless photo to had posted a comment on her page; the same boy had told Ava that he liked her right before the school year begun this year. The comment confronted Ava for sending the topless pictures and threatened to share the photograph with a group of ASL students. It prompted Ava to delete her account and hide away from social media for a few days. “It was essentially blackmail. I couldn’t keep my account because I didn’t want to be reminded of what happened,” she said. “The consequences were

myself...but then again, those comments may not be genuine. I have no idea.” Snapchat, on the other hand, is more crude. “With Snapchat, most of the actions are sexual. Guys try and take advantage of me and sometimes it works.” While Ava is able to see if they’ve been screenshotted, she says that boys have come up with other ways to save the images. It has happened at least once to Ava, as her friends have told her that the aforementioned boy has the topless photos that Ava snapchatted him on his phone. “One common example is that boys will use another device and take a picture of their phone. I will not get a notification that the image has been saved, so I have no idea if they have it or not. I can only assume,” she said. A few years ago, Celia Mitchell (’15) was cyberbullied through constant and cruel text messages. Another girl repeatedly sent her hurtful text messages, videos, and nasty song lyrics. “What hap-

to the SFDB since the 2011-2012 school year, but acknowledged, “there is probably more misconduct than what reaches my desk.” Mitchell agrees with Chodl. She confided in her older sister, but did not talk to a teacher. “I was lucky enough to have that support system,” she said. Lily* (’14) was cyberbullied at a former school as a freshman over both Facebook and Twitter, and also wishes she had told someone about it. “My freshman year I was depressed. Pretty much what happened was I got in a fight with my friend and she decided to post a bunch of my deepest darkest secrets and tag me in them [on Facebook],” she said. Lily’s Facebook incident was hard for her to handle mentally, but things only got worse “The worst time was over Twitter. I had a bunch of people ganging up on me pretty much threatening to beat me up,” she said. “At first I was apathetic about it, but once I started seeing the people at school, that’s when the fear

make a difference. “I don’t think going to a teacher would be helpful but maybe going to Dr. Chodl would be helpful. That should clear up the problem real quick. He is more the figure of authority versus a teacher,” she said. Mitchell thinks that no matter how hard it is for one to try to tell someone, one should always try. “The only positive side of cyber bullying is that, if it is happening to you, you have physical proof of everything said and done to you. That’s why you should always come forward and get help. The bully can hide behind the screen, but you don’t have to,” she said. The Code of Conduct does not offer a concrete definition for cyberbullying, but defines bullying as: “Any type of intentional verbal or physical abuse directed towards another student. Bullying may occur in person, online, or on the phone and may include verbal bullying, threatening behavior, social exclusion, physical bullying, vandalism, extortion or theft.”

the consequences of these things,” he said. “I do not think that it’s a problem.” Ava, unlike Lily, has told a few of her close friends about how boys treat her. “I feel comfortable talking to a few friends about it, or an adult who knows a lot about me. I would never tell my parents. They’re too judgemental,” she said. High School Counselor Stephanie Oliver has talked to cyberbullying victims in the past. She does not believe it is feasible to prevent cyberbullying, but she thinks ASL could work towards creating a culture of nonviolence. “With regular bullying I feel like there has to be a power differential, but with cyberbullying it doesn’t really have to do with power imbalance. It doesn’t have to be a long standing pattern,” she said. “It’s permanent. You can’t necessarily get rid of it and it follows you around.” Oliver believes that anytime

there is an online community, issues of cyberbullying will arise. “Any joking around at someone else’s expense needs to be reflected upon,” Oliver said. “You need to ask yourself, is this something I am doing to make myself feel better or put someone down? It especially needs to be addressed on the Internet because there is no facial expression. There is too much room for interpretation.” Similarly, Marchese said, “I think there is a lot of grey area. The only way to know if you have crossed that line [between joking and cyberbullying] is to ask the person. If you wouldn’t say it to their face, don’t say it online. I think that certainly there are people who are victims of cyberbullying consistently. I don’t think it’s worse here than anywhere else; I think it’s a societal problem.” Mitchell said that it is hard to see someone in person who has said hurtful things to you over the internet or through a phone. “It’s often odd to see the person. You’ve read the mean things that they’ve written but have never actually heard anything like that come out of their mouth. Do they not realize the effect they have, or are they cowardly?” she said. “Cyberbullying doesn’t allow for the bullies to see the impact they make, which means they feel more empowered and able to continue bullying through technology.”

Photo by hAmiSh StePhenSon

Page 18



THE STANDARD | September 2013

THE STANDARD | September 2013


Page 19


The past, present and future in ink Design Editor Alex Pabarcius looks into the rise of tattoos within the High School


Ziyad Mourad (’15)

iyad Mourad (’15) recently got a tattoo of an anchor with a rope forming the shape of a treble clef on the inside of his arm. Mourad, having gotten his tattoo underage, described his anxiety-filled tattoo parlor experience as frightening. “It was intimidating walking in and going through with the process mainly because if something were to go wrong or if I were to end up not liking the end result, there was nothing I could really do considering I was underage and had to give false information,” he said. Mourad’s anchor tattoo represents his love for the ocean and his ardor for

sailing. He has loved going on boats, riding them and drawing them for as long as he can remember. Three summers ago, Mourad earned his sailing license and has been sailing fanatically ever since. “I always make sure I get three to four weeks of sailing in a year,” he said. This anchor represents his past as well as his future. Mourad has started to map out various sailing plans for both his senior year and gap-year, and doesn’t want to lose sight of these ambitions. “It reminds me of my future goals of doing trans-Mediterranean, Atlantic, Pacific and hopefully an around the world sail,” he said.

“It was intimidating walking in and going through with the process mainly because if something were to go wrong or if I were to end up not liking the end result, there was nothing I could really do considering I was underage and had to give false information.”


Nicolo Baravalle (’14)

icolo Baravalle (‘14) has been wanting to get tattooed for nearly a year. Denied service previously due to age, turning 18 was a liberating experience. Baravalle’s birthday celebrations were marked by new tattoos. These included a symbol, which consists of intersecting lines, that is used to brand his music, and his zodiac sign of the cancerian. The symbol he bears on his right forearm has a nuanced personal significance. One facet of its importance, is to help him never lose track of what it is he likes to do: create music. A pursuit he’s been following for almost 6 years. Baravalle creates music with Logic Pro, an application that has a sound library filled with an arpeggiator, drum synthesizers, built in instruments, tone sculptures,

andWhen manymaking more devices. music, Baravalle not only uses When Logicmaking but alsomusic, uses extra Baravalle plug not ins only synthesizers and uses Logic but to manipulate also uses extra recorded plug ins andandsynthesizers sounds achieve a certain to manipulate sound in recorded mind. Typically sounds starting and achieve songsa from certaina sound inormind. melody chordTypically progression starting he develops songs from afrom them melody there or chord and begins progression to both he developsdown narrow themthe from feelthere of the and song begins whilst to bothexpanding also narrow down on the thesounds feel ofwithin the song the whilst also expanding composition. “I really love on music the sounds and I within hope I can thespend composition. the rest of“Imy really life itlove for amusic living.” and I hope I can spend the rest of myThis life itsymbol for a living.” extends outwards not only This to symbol music but extends also tooutwards passion and not onlypursuit the to music of but that,also whether to passion or notand he the pursuit continues to create of that, musicwhether and be involved or not he that in continues world. “It toreminds create me music to doand whatbeI involved love even in if that thatchanges,” world. “ItBaravalle remindssaid. me to do what “Don’t do something I love even ifif you that don’t changes,” like Baravalle doing it.” said. “Don’t do something if you don’t like doing it.”

“Its a reminder for me to keep doing what I love.”

Maalik Mbatch (’14)

I could have covered myself in ink considering what has gone on in my life until now.


aalik Mbatch (’14) got his first tattoo when he was 16. The tattoo, written in cursive, reads “I am my brother’s keeper.” Mbatch got this tattoo in order to symbolize a turning point in his relationship with his younger brother after his father moved out. “Me and my brother had always been close, but at that point I had to take the responsibility of an older brother very seriously,” he said. Mbatch’s first tattoo was inspired by the biblical tale of Cain and Abel. In this tale, Cain, son of Adam and Eve, murdered his brother out of jealousy and declared “I am my brother’s keeper”. Cain’s jealousy was triggered by God’s

choice to accept his brother’s gift instead of his own. This fable has come to symbolize individual’s tendencies to only be concerned with themselves. Mbatch looks at his tattoo, remembers Cain’s sin, and uses it to remind himself to be responsible and conscious of his brother’s well being. He also has his brother’s name engraved in script across his forearm to remind himself that he is his brother’s guardian. “As an older brother I am basically his dad,” he said. “I am the eldest role model he has.” For Mbatch, growing up in Northwest London showed him firsthand the terrors associated with a life of violence and drug usage. So for him, his tattoos are reminders to lead as positive and as

healthy a life as possible while keeping in mind where he came from and what he has experienced. “The London that I know and grew up in is a different planet in comparison to ASL. It’s a place where drugs and gangs are normal on the streets and people are scared to walk out of their front door,” he said. Mbatch’s decision to tattoo the meaning of the three wise monkeys further demonstrates his desire to pursue a life unlike those he was surrounded by as a child. The monkeys, one covering its ears, one covering its mouth, and one covering its eyes, show Mbatch to hear no evil, speak no evil and see no evil. The Roman numeral X on his calf

represents sobriety. Its origins are rooted in early punk culture when teenagers would go to clubs to hear bands play. Upon entering clubs, those underage would have an X marked on each hand to show that they were not to be served alcohol. The X was initially carried a negative stigma but over time it has became the symbol for abstinence from drugs and alcohol. Tattoos, in a lot of communities and circles, carry a certain negative connotation about them. However, according to Mbatch, his family and circle of friends never saw tattoos in this light. Ultimately he believes, “It’s a great way to express yourself through art.”

PHotoS By JeSSica HagHaNi aNd HamiSH StePHeNSoN

Culture •••

Page 20

Shake Shack vs. Five Guys

off the beaten path


THE STANDARD | September 2013


Postman’s Park

Culture Editor Kate Kennedy explores a hidden park built around a memorial dedicated to those who have sacrificed their lives for others

In 1901, 11-year-old Solomon Galaman uttered his last words: “Mommy I saved him but I couldn’t save myself.” Galaman had sacrificed his life for his little brother by throwing himself into the street to save his brother from being trampled after seeing the oncoming traffic. Eleven years earlier, in 1890, eight-year-old Henry James Bristow saw his little sister enveloped in flames and threw himself onto her to rip off her

“Mommy I saved him, but I couldn’t save myself.” Solomon Galaman 1890-1901

burning clothes, saving her life but sacrificing his own, as he died of shock and burns. The names and stories of these people and 50 others are commemorated on plaques displayed on a wall, tucked inside an idyllic little park located in the heart of downtown London, across from St. Paul’s Cathedral and near a Topshop and a Boots. The park’s hidden location in this bustling and busy city is

only betrayed by a small black iron gate, surrounded by trees and jammed in between towering office buildings. Next to the gate, a humble plaque reads “Postman’s Park. For God so loved the world, that He gave his only son, that whoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16.” These religious words are all the more striking because of this park’s location and purpose. The park, dedicated to the sacrifices that common, everyday citizens have made, all but sits in the shadow of St. Paul’s, a gargantuan monument to the greatest sacrifice that Christians believe Jesus made through his crucifixion. The fact that this park is tucked away, easily missed and surely overlooked, is a testament to the vivacity of culture in London, where beautiful things are hidden in the most unsuspecting places. The inside of the park is so much more poignant than the outside conveys. Through the gate there is grass, trees, and a koi pond fountain. Old, faded grave markers, dating back to the early 1800s, periodically dot the

Graves around the perimeter of the park PHOTO BY KATE KENNEDY

perimeter of the park. A few steps into the park there is another sign that reads “Watt’s memorial, built in 1900 as a tribute to heroic men and women.” It is clear that this park is much more than just a beautiful respite from city life. The Watt’s memorial is a wall filled with tiles detailing the deaths of those who sacrificed their lives for others and a wooden sign stating, “In commemoration of heroic self sacrifice, 1899.” The memorial’s poignancy comes not from its quiet, artistic beauty, but the striking content of what it describes: people who gave their lives for brothers, sisters, children, friends, schoolmates, strangers, and on one plaque, a “foreigner.” What makes this place so special isn’t just the ideals that it promotes, such as selflessness, heroism, and generosity, but that it celebrates individual people. The plaques are so specific, relating actual names and stories, but through the specificity comes the universality of the park’s appeal: These people are important, they should be remembered, they should inspire us and remind us what is

so incredible about humanity. Each name represents not only a real person’s life, but also whatever that person’s life might mean to a stranger, strolling through the park. Although this wall commemorates people who died at different ages, all the way from 8-61 old, the overwhelming majority were children, teenagers, and young adults. Ten-year-old Edward Morris sacrificed himself for a sinking companion. Nineteen-year-old Amelia Kennedy saved her sister from a burning building. Twenty-three-year-old John Cramner, drowned, as he saved “a stranger and a foreigner.” Twelve-yearold David Selves jumped into a river to hold his friend as they departed their lives together. Something about youth must breed self-sacrificial heroism. The impulsiveness of youth, which has so often been criticized, seems to translate into, to coin a hailed core value, “the courage to act.” We, the younger generation, have impulses that drive us not only to make regrettable decisions on Saturday nights, procrastinate on our homework and make thoughtless, hurtful comments, but also seem to have, in equal measure, impulses

to preserve the well-being of others at the greatest cost to ourselves. There is something unique about our youth which causes us to act on our innate goodness. So as a high school student who’s never been confronted with a drowning schoolfellow these plaques hold little real-world value. Our days are dominated by our own education and the ASL experience, which although beneficial, can be very insular at times. Postman’s Park represents not only another world and great tragedies past, but also hope and inspiration for us to see the amazing things we are capable of. The memorial puts the little sacrifices we make every day into perspective and forces us to ask that pivotal question: Would we ascend the stair into a burning building to save our mother, like Mrs. George Yarman, or jump into a freezing lake if our companion called for help? But even more than that, it shows us the power that each one of us has, and inspires us to aim for something even greater than just following the rules and achieving good grades and success.


THE STANDARD | September 2013

Page 21

Culture The success of ‘Su ts’ Sports Editor Nikolai Birch examines the success of USA’s hit show

When Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) walks out of his corner office in the USA Network’s hit show, “Suits,” an aura of sophistication and confidence fills the screen. From his perfectly styled hair, classy attire and brandishing swagger, it is made evident from the earliest moments of the show that he is the man. “Suits,” a drama that shows the exploits of the law profession including behind the scenes looks into politics, relationships, and dynamics that go on inside the workplace of one of the top law firms in the city, is made exponentially better by the presence of characters like Specter. The concrete jungle that is New York City provides the perfect environment for the characters of the show, who can flaunt their big apple attitudes while decking it out in skyscrapers that accentuate the skyline. The characters are what separate “Suits” from your average show, because the audience creates special relationships with characters due to their refined attitude and flair. The focus on character development was installed early into the backbone of the show by its creator, Aaron Korsh, who wrote for “Everybody Loves Raymond”, “Just Shoot Me!”, and other sitcoms. Korsh really values witty banter between characters, which is clear when

they are able to show a lighter side of the business aspect through interaction. "The characters and the complexes between the characters are what makes me watch [the show],” Can Ozturk (’14) said. “I really like how they approach different cases and the way they solve them, how they're the best at what they do." Erica Rawald (’14) agrees. “There are a lot of things I love about Suits that keep me watching, but it mostly comes

despite learning about his secret. The two maintain a “Batman and Robin”-esque relationship throughout the series, working on many cases together, and the more that the two work together, the more invaluable Ross becomes to the firm and the more the audience begins to support him on his path to glory. Another component of the show’s dynamics is the impressive wardrobes shown off by all of the characters, but Specter in particular takes his

and safer look due to his position as an associate, which means that he isn’t yet worthy of wearing the “power suit” that Specter so perfectly pulls off, which comes with experience and recognition. It isn’t just the men in the show that show off their style. The female characters, such as Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres), Rachel Zane (Meghan Markle) and Donna Paulsen (Sarah Rafferty), are able to “wow” the viewership with some of their looks as well, sporting powerful dresses, and

relationship with her as a friend sheds light on him as a character as well. The USA Network, not necessarily regarded as a quality television channel, is known primarily for spewing out shows like “White Collar”, “Royal Pains”, and “Psych”, with few actors of household fame. What Suits was able to do, on the other hand, was to bring in two huge additions for the third season, “Game of Thrones” actors Conleth Hill, Edward Darby in Suits, and Michelle Fairley, who plays Ava Hessington in “Suits”. These characters are the protaganists in the focal case of the season. “Often, because of school and other commitments, I'll miss an episode and then catch up on it during the weekend and it's not a big deal. It's just a great show to watch when I have time to follow it,” Rawald said. Her busy schedule keeps her from watching the episodes that air every Tuesday night and release online on Wednesdays. The tension that builds up from the on-scene romances and power plays keep you on edge with your senses alert, as you never know what will come next with this show. The second it becomes just a little predictable, the writers will turn the tables and leave you gasping for air, and then end it all, making you beg for next Wednesday to come around so you can see the outcome.

I think of Harvey Specter... and try to act like him MIcHael fareS (’15)

down to the characters that are on the show,” she said. The two main characters, Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) and Specter “have this 'fun-to-watch' dynamic that keeps viewers hooked. They all work, and I guess to some extent act, perfectly together and the satire and general relationships are very entertaining,” Rawald added. The premise revolves around Ross, an associate lawyer with photographic memory who forged his graduation papers from Harvard Law School, the only law school from which the firm chooses its employees. Since Ross proves to be an asset for the firm, Specter, a partner at the firm, allows him to contribute

Photo from Photo from

fashion extremely seriously. His signature tailored threepiece suits are inspired, and his presence alone tells you that he’s got it all. Michael Fares (’15) tries to emulate Specter when applicable in his life. “Obviously I think about Harvey Specter at times and do try to act like him or be like him,” he said. But due to Specter’s position as a high ranking lawyer, and Fares’ as a highschool student, he added, “He is in a completely different situation than I am at this point in time, so I can't relate to him as much.” Ross, on the other hand, dresses well too, but in a slimmer

giving a whole new meaning to the word “pantsuit.” These characters bring not only aesthetics to the show, however, but also essential content to the story’s plot and character banter. Pearson, Specter’s boss and managing partner, is able to assert her dominance while managing to masterfully play the political game with a law firm full of people trying to plot against her. Rachel Zane is the invaluable paralegal that is constantly saving the day with her intense passion for and knowledge of law. Paulsen is Specter’s secretary, who he couldn’t live or function without. Not only does she allow Specter to do his job, but his close

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n the late 19th century, Ottoman merchants were enticed to the ports of London, where significant trade between the two empires began to burgeon. The merchants took up residence in the southernmost part of Edgware Road. This would become the first of many mass Arabic migrations to London, especially to the Edgware area.

THE STANDARD | September 2013

Over the decades, in consequence to political unrest in African and Middle Eastern nations, more and more immigrants took up residence in London. With them, they brought their language, festivities, and - as has become more prevalent - their shisha. Shisha is flavored tobacco that is smoked through hookahs, or water pipes. Usually nested in a pineapple head (as depicted below), the tobacco is vaporized by

the charcoals on the aluminium lation of London. Bit by bit, this head and the a base liquid that sits “illegal-under-18” hobby has at the bottom of the contraption. trickled into the High School. With it’s abundant flavors and “I was walking down Beaudecorated pipes, “it’s like choos- champ Place when I first actually ing your cocktail of choice,” paid attention to a shisha bar,” Health Teacher Joy Marchese Steven ('14)* said. “I drive by Edgsaid, comparing the alluring, al- ware Road almost every day going most deceiving, appearances of and coming from school, so seeing someone smoking wasn’t a alcohol and shisha. In the last six years, despite re- novelty, I had just never seen cent heavy smoking bans, the shisha smoked elsewhere other number of shisha bars in major than densely-Arabic communiUK cities has increased from 173 ties.” to 556 according to Freedom of In- Steven had always associated shisha bars with “strange looking formation data. Most often associated with Ar- guys” and the smell as “trashy, abic, especially Turkish, culture, like Santa coming out the chimshisha has become a popular pas- ney.” time for the cosmopolitan popu- Today, though, he admits to smoking about once a week despite being 17. The fact that smoking any substance that includes tobacco is illegal does not faze Steven. Rather, he views shisha as, “A nice way to chill. Meet up with some friends, have something to eat or drink, and smoke. There are not many other places to do that.” Shisha, Steven is convinced, has morphed from a cultural anomaly to a respectable hobby. Nearly 40 percent of students

Shisha: London's new habibi

Photo Editor Jessica Haghani and Culture Editor Gabriel Ruimy look into the rising prevalence of shisha, the flavored Middle Eastern tobacco



THE STANDARD | September 2013

polled (out of a total 182) have smoked shisha, with most doing it quite regularly. Marchese believes that the lack of education about shisha is one of the factors of its rise in popularity. Shisha is not taught in health class, nor has it ever been discussed as an issue within the community. “We need to create awareness and we need to educate about it,” Marchese said. “If [smoking shisha] is creeping into ASL then it’s becoming a trendy thing. I think it’s a big problem if it starts to become a trend.” Nearly 75 percent of students polled believe that the rise of shisha is a result of smoking becoming more trendy. They attribute this to a number of factors: “Unique taste” and “identified with the Arabic culture” came up most often. Marchese believes that this mindset has increased shisha smoking among High School students. “When you see people smoking outside a pub, they are kind of like ‘dirty’ people smoking cigarettes. But when you see people smoking shisha, they look very poised and sophisticated. It’s

a different perception that is an issue,” she said. But shisha has no roots in the general Arabic culture, asserts part-time Arabic Teacher Ouma Alemadi. In fact, Alemadi elaborates, “I’m from the Arab world and I doubt it’s a [feature of ] Arabic culture. It comes from Otto-

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Lebanon are most often low-class, and they rarely ever serve it at general restaurants,” Alemadi explains. Pressed with the undeniable Arabic presence of the rise of shisha, Alemadi concedes it is present in some parts of countries like Lebanon, but it is mostly due

of 100 cigarettes. Though the number is quite shocking, it is an overlooked deterrent. “My parents always told me that, but in all honesty, it didn’t change much. Without knowing the numbers, I understand my health is taking a hit for my shisha hobby but - call it ‘teenage immortality’ or plain stupidity, I don’t really care,” Steven said. Most students did not know that smoking shisha introduces burned aluminium into your lungs. This is one of the most virulent aspects of shisha smoking, argues, a website dedicated to educating the general public on hookah smoking, and yet, like a majority of shisha health consequences, is unknown to an unhealthy number of students. So what is it that prods the ASL administration to give more attention to shisha? The fact that it is hurting students at a rate that is easily comparable to the harm inflicted by cigarettes. A few years ago, the ASL High School had a severe problems with smoking, cigarettes that is. Dean of Students Joe Chodl concedes an unfortunate but “necessary” part of his job was to find students during breaks, such as lunch, and to administer necessary consequences. Bit by bit, most probably because of health education, hazards Chodl, student smokers became infrequent - the ‘trend’ died out. But today, as a furtive new smoke claims the scene, it seems ASL needs to return to old habits. Education on the topic is scarce, confess both Marchese and Chodl - opinions backed by a 182 student survey where 50 percent of those polled stated they did not know shisha, or hookah, contained a heavy presence of tobacco and so was illegal for consumption under the age of 18. It seems to be the sheer novelty of flavored smoke centered around open-air lounges (with a lack of general knowledge) that have helped shisha go from an unknown Edgware Road tendency to a popular, sophisticated hobby. But yet, if the Middle Eastern trend repeats itself in Europe shisha smoking will return to its roots and medical consequences will overtake the trend of the tropical-flavored smokes. •

43.6% did not know shisha is illegal under 18 man rule of the Arab states of today.” Today the smoking of shisha has been in part divorced from the general population which is largely a product of increased knowledge of health consequences. Steven believes his love for shisha stemmed from his heritage. “It’s part of the general Arabic culture that dominates [African and Middle Eastern] countries,” he said. “People who smoke shisha in

to the “cosmopolitan” hues of cities like Beirut. While the shisha movement has only recently begun in European cities like London and Paris, the prevalence of hookah smokers in the Middle East rocketed a few years ago. Today, however, only embers are left. “Doctors have been more outspoken about the health effects of shisha; people understand how bad it is and that’s why they rarely smoke it,” Alemadi said. Smoking shisha has taken on an unprecedented social role. A shisha bar is an ideal setting for meeting up with friends, at least so says the majority of students interviewed. Lisa ('14)* was new to London and ASL last year. She had never smoked shisha prior to her arrival in Europe and she only started smoking shisha last year as a junior. She smoked shisha entirely for the sake of being part of a social situation. “I wanted to go out and do something with my friends. It was a very social thing for me,” she said. However, while she was enjoying her evenings out with her friends at shisha cafés, she disregarded the health and behavioral connotations that accompany shisha. Lisa isn’t alone in this, though. It was only when smoking one night that she started feeling“lightheaded and nauseous.” She realized shisha was taking a toll on her health. “My whole body was shaking and I felt numb. I felt like I was going to throw up. It was traumatizing,” she said. Since then, Lisa has sworn to never touch shisha again. An hour-long shisha sitting where the subject is continually smoking throughout this period, is the smoke-inhaling equivalent

(*Editor’s Note: Names have been changed to protect the identity of students who wished to remain anonymous.)

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THE STANDARD | September 2013


THE STANDARD | September 2013

Page 25


Origin The first five guys opened up in Arlington, VA in 1986. It began as a series of burger joints run by five brothers of the Murell family and quickly turned into a nationwide venture. It now has more than 1,000 locations. The phenomenon is named Five Guys for its five creators.

Origin Started out as a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park, Manhattan, NY, customers lined up daily for three summers in order to get their fix. Now available in six states on the East Coast, and in the Middle East, UK, Russia, and Turkey.

Address 1 Long Acre, London, Greater London WC2E 9BD

Address 24 Market Building, The Piazza, Covent Garden, London, Greater London WC2E 8RD

Our Order Bacon Cheeseburgers (double) Small Cajun Fries Drinks Total:

£2.50 £14.00



Our Order SmokeShack Burger (single) Cheese Fries Root beers Concrete Jungle (single) Total:

£3.50 £4.50


Sports Editors Nikolai Birch and James Malin

I Burger (B+) When you’re craving a sloppy, juicy fast-food burger, Five Guys is for you. The free condiments and toppings allow for over 250,000 possible ways to order your beef behemoth. The tender and moist meat stacked on top of each other are extremely inviting. It’s definitely a more visceral indulgence rather than a gustatory one.

II Fries (A-)

Overall Experience

Overall Experience

We arrived right at opening time, and there was already a line of about 10 people waiting outside. Upon arrival, we thought that it would be quite small, as space near the ordering counter consisted of a few tables and a long counter. We then walked into the expanse that is the back room, which has tons and tons of room and plenty of tables for customers and larger parties, not to mention the expansive downstairs addition. The crowd in there know what they’re doing; eye contact is avoided. Just look down and eat and allow the self-hate to creep into your conscience. What happens at Five Guys stays at Five Guys.

Navigating the crowds at Covent Garden market can be a nightmare on weekends, which unfortunately is probably when the Shake Shack experience is available to ASL students, but that shouldn’t be a turn-off. The fresh air that comes from under the plaza’s glass roof is a great touch, as it allows the smells to roam free, but may be of concern once winter hits. The food is incredible, and although it may cost you, it would be well worth the money. Shake Shack has the distribution system down. It is very efficient at taking orders and distributing food without a long wait. We recommend if you do end up making the wise decision to order a Concrete, ask them to put it on hold so that it won’t melt while you consume your warm, toasty burger.

+ B+ B

The fries are extremely fresh, and crisp. A small order will be more than sufficient as the servings are very generous. Cajun fries are a must if you need a little kick, and the seasoning achieves the fine balance of added heat and flavor without one overwhelming the other.

III Extras (B) The complimentary peanuts make for a nice pre-meal snack while you wait, and although there may be no shakes or desserts on the menu, Five Guys makes a good effort with their futuristic soda machine. On first sight, we thought the machine seemed like your standard fountain, with a touchscreen. Oh, how wrong we were. Clicking on one of the many soda brands opens up a new world of options, Coca-Cola for example has six variants! Who knew that Raspberry Coke was thing?! We wanted to sit there and drink soda all day. Two words: free refills.

IV Cost (A-) Thanks to the lack of availability of extras and the addition of complimentary condiments, the total doesn’t put a dent in your wallet, and if you end up drinking a ton of soda like we did, then it seems like you get a lot more for your money.

Photos By JEssiCA hAghAni




I Burger (A)

Great quality and a classy burger. The combination of chopped cherry peppers and natural applewood smoked bacon coalesce into a fantastic myriad of flavors that are only enhanced by the consummate ShakeShack sauce. With that center hunk, sandwiched by a bun that’s suggestive of a sweet, buttery cloud, you will most definitely be sent off into a state of euphoria.

II Fries (B-)

The cheese fries immediately peaked our interest. While the fries did take on a refreshing sui generis form of crinkle cut, they failed to maintain any allure beyond that. After the fries had cooled down to consumption temperatures, the cheese had yet to melt completely. This resulted in a goopy yellow slice of cheese that blanketed the fries; it felt as if the workers threw on the cheese as an afterthought. Once you start, a disturbing thought begins to permeate: “these taste like Sainsbury’s frozen crinkle cut fries.”

III Extras (A+)

Considering shakes are its namesake, Shake Shack either loves irony or has stupefyingly good shakes; fortunately it’s the latter. What sets their dairy products apart from the rest is that they use daily-spun frozen custard for the bases of the various products. The “Concrete” (cousin to the shake) is made by blending the custard with mix-ins at high speeds to result in a thick, creamy, tantalizing taste that always leaves you wanting more. With 11 mix-in options, each one better than the last, there’s no end to the possibilities of amazing dessert experiences.

IV Cost (B)

The burger itself is average price, but with so many distracting extras, the total starts to add up. Nonetheless, the full Shack experience, which is almost £20 per person, is still worth it.

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THE STANDARD | September 2013

Concussion problem continues to grow Online Editor William Muoio investigates the ever-increasing number of student athlete concussions


hen Courtney Welch (’16) was tackled from behind during a soccer match against TASIS in 2011, she got back up and kept playing. Little did she know that this tackle would result in three months away from school as she had suffered a concussion. “I remember thinking, ‘Wow, I really hit my head hard.’ But I kept on playing,” she said. Concussions have become a contentious and hotly-debated issue among all levels of athletics, from professional sports all the way to the school’s very own athletic department. Concussions and their impact on the brain are now being put under the microscope more than ever. Most recently, thousands of former National Football League (NFL) players reached a settlement with the league that calls for the league to pay $765 million to fund medical exams, concussionrelated compensation, medical research to retired NFL players and their families, and litigation expenses, according to a court document filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia. A total of 31 students were diagnosed with concussions during last year’s school year (24 of them from High School students and 7 from Middle School students). As a result of the rise in concussions at ASL, all student-athletes are now required to take a baseline concussion test at the start of the season. The ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) Online test, which was implemented at ASL two years ago, records baseline scores for all athletes. In the case of a student getting a head-related injury, the student will then retake the test and Athletic Trainer Jenny Newell will compare the scores of the most recent test and the student’s baseline test. ImPACT Online is the test that students use to determine if a student athlete has a concussion, because there will be no visual sign. “We use

ImPACT to get a picture of how a person thinks. The test measures verbal memory, visual memory, reaction time and impulse control,” Newell said. The scores of these tests are not only used to evaluate whether a concussion has occurred, but also to measure progression in recovery from the injury. Andrew Noorani (’16) has suffered three concussion-like head injuries since he was in first grade, most recently playing rugby at ASL last year. “For the third concussion, I missed the remainder of the rugby season. His [the other player’s] knee made direct contact with my head,” Noorani said. Martha Collins (’17) has also suffered two concussions within the past year, both of which occurred while playing soccer. They each put Collins out of action for a few weeks. “After the concussions, there was a slow buildup back to athletics which was called the ‘return to play’,” she said.

Studies from a survey conducted by Standard. net, an online news media outlet from Utah, show that girls soccer is the sport where concussions occur the second most, only behind American football. The same study also shows that girls are more prone to sustaining concussions than boys, however there is not enough research to discover why this occurs. While the athletic consequences to a concussion are certainly significant, the academic impact can be equally large. “One difficulty I had was concentrating. I was not up to my academic standards, which was frustrating,” Collins said. Welch, who had to miss around three months of school due to her inability to focus, ended up taking many of her classes as pass or fail because she was unable to make up that amount of work. Noorani recalls that his academics were affected as


well. “My attention span was completely abysmal, especially in math,” he said. The physical impact to the brain varies from incident

My attention span was completely abysmal Andrew Noorani (’16)

to incident, and several concussions have resulted in very severe mental health problems. Former NFL Linebacker Junior Seau, who sustained multiple head injuries, committed suicide four years after retiring

as a result of head injuries. Both Welch and Collins have returned to soccer, playing on the JV team this year. Collins, despite difficulties in returning to the field, was eager to get back to playing. “It was also a relief, however, because I was finally back on the pitch with my team,” Collins said. Noorani, however, is on his last chance and another concussion would sideline him from athletics permanently. “This mindset has not really affected me with soccer. However, with rugby I will have to be extremely careful,” Noorani said. “It is all about playing smart.”


THE STANDARD | September 2013

Page 27


Foot ba ll predict ions Sports Editors Nikolai Birch and James Malin field predictions for the upcoming NFL and Barclays Premier League seasons

Rookie of the Year: Tavon Austin (WR), St. Louis Rams An explosive athlete out of University of West Virginia, Austin will gain tons of yards as a primary receiver for the Rams. Austin is equally dangerous returning kicks on special teams.

Young Player of the year: Oscar (midfielder), Chelsea FC Oscar’s vision, passing and defensive work rate make him a huge asset for Chelsea. After impressing in his debut season for Chelsea last year, he will look to push on and progress further. photo from

Breakout Season: Reggie Bush (RB), Detroit Lions After a lackluster year with the Miami Dolphins, Bush is ready to get back to his old Heisman winning self with a solid Lions Offense led by WR Calvin Johnson.

Breakout Season: Daniel Sturridge (striker), Liverpool FC Sturridge will have plenty of opportunities to score this season. His explosive pace and prolific finishing will lead to goals. The likes of Coutinho in behind will give Sturridge great service. phto from wikimedia commons

MVP: Peyton Manning (QB), Denver Broncos Manning is the best quarterback in the league and will dominate with newly acquired receiver Wes Welker, so long as both remain healthy. Manning has already led the Broncos to a 3-0 start.

Player of the year: Mesut Özil (midfielder), Arsenal FC While I don’t see Arsenal making the top four this season, Mesut Özil will be a key player and will contribute with goals and assists. Players raise their game when playing alongside Özil. photo from flickr/pricey4

AFC Champions: Cincinnati Bengals Bengals will go deep into the playoffs behind a veteran defense, led by Pro-Bowl DT Geno Atkins and newly acquired LB James Harrison, and a promising young offense led by emerging wide reciever AJ Green.

Top scorer: Robin van Persie (striker), Manchester United FC The Manchester United striker will continue to score goals as he did last season with 30 goals and 37 the year before. He takes penalties, too, which is bound to help boost his goal tally. photo from flickr/barclaysfootball

Super Bowl and NFC Champions: San Francisco 49ers Monster offseason acquisitons, including safety Eric Reid and receiver Anquan Boldin, will help them repeat as NFC champions and bring home the Vince Lombardi trophy.

Champions: Chelsea FC Chelsea are incredibly deep in midfield and equally solid in defence, as long as the strikers have a good season, their chances of winning the title are great. The feel-good factor around Stamford Bridge will go a long way.

Sleeper team: Kansas City Chiefs A new coach in Andy Reid and new quarterback in Alex Smith will bring the Chiefs’ record up from an abysmal 2-14. They have begun the season 3-0 with a series of impressive victories.

Sleeper team: Cardiff City New signings in striker Andreas Cornelius, midfielder Peter Odemwingie and defender Steven Caulker will add quality to their squad. They have started well at home, their support will be key.

photo from flickr/lyfifa

photo from

all photos from

Underachieving team: Baltimore Ravens Losing big in the offseason offensively and defensively will force the defending Super Bowl Champion’s back into an above average team.

Underachieving team: Newcastle United If Newcastle’s inept Director of Football, Joe Kinnear, continues to undermind Alan Pardew, Newcastle could see themselves slip into the relegation zone. photo from flickr/luke_nowell

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• •••• •

THE STANDARD | September 2013

THE STANDARD | September 2013


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NickNick Canavan (’14)(’14) hashas continued training withwith great intensity following his decision to quit playing rugby. PHOTOS BY JESSICA HAGHANI Canavan continued training great intensity following his decision to quit playing rugby. PHOTOS BY JESSICA HAGHANI

When conversing with Fitness Room Manager Andy Patros in the gym, you are not allowed to stand. You must be seated on the bench opposite his swivel chair so that he can maintain a watchful eye over his domain. Today, as it has been for a while, the target of Patros’ studious gaze is Nick Canavan (’14). At one point, Patros calls Canavan over. He has a bone to pick with him. Canavan puts down the bar, having completed his latest exercise. Once he has reached Patros’ corner, the inquisition starts. “How many reps did you just do on that?” Patros enquires.

“Six,” Canavan responds. “Six,” Canavan responds. This year, Canavan is training for himself Patros furrows his his brow, exhales in in and himself only, following two years of Patros furrows brow, exhales frustration, shakes his head and and turns to me. frustration, shakes his head turns to me. playing rugby for ASL. “See? [Former Physio] NilsNils [Jackson] and and I I After suffering a concussion during a “See? [Former Physio] [Jackson] would not allow this.this. We had a minimum of of match midway through sophomore year would not allow We had a minimum eighteight reps.” and subsequently being ruled out of action reps.” Canavan’s efforts to defend himself are are for two-and-a-half months, he began Canavan’s efforts to defend himself dismissed by Patros. “You“You don’tdon’t do that training with a greater intensity than before dismissed by Patros. do that We’re a school. You You go to We’re a school. goatobodybuilder’s a bodybuilder’s in a bid to catch up to his teammates. gymgym and and do that. NilsNils and and I went through do that. I went through After breaking his collarbone in another this this loads of times,” Patros retorts matterloads of times,” Patros retorts matter- rugby-related incident in late October last of-factly. year, Canavan returned to the gym with of-factly. Canavan nodsnods silently, indicating thatthat even greater zeal, again out of fear of falling Canavan silently, indicating he has heard the message loudloud and and clear. It It behind his teammates strength-wise. he has heard the message clear. isn’tisn’t the first timetime thatthat Canavan and and Patros’ the first Canavan Patros’ This year, Canavan has decided to abstain training philosophies havehave clashed withwith from playing any sport whatsoever in a bid training philosophies clashed eacheach other. other. to protect himself from further injuries. He Patros explains his reasoning afterward: Patros explains his reasoning afterward: wants to get to college in one piece. “It’s“It’s a bita hard to stop a student whowho has has With no rugby commitments to take up bit hard to stop a student progressed fromfrom those eighteight repsreps and and his time after school, he has had more time progressed those maybe can can do four to six repetitions. maybe do four topower six power repetitions. than ever before to spend in the gym. And But,But, yes, yes, as aasschool, and and definitely fromfrom initially, following his collarbone injury, a school, definitely freshman up until junior year,year, we do freshman up until junior wewant do want Canavan admitted he was spending too you you doing at least eighteight repetitions on aon a much time in the gym. “It has to be below doing at least repetitions weight resistance exercise with, of course, weight resistance exercise with, of course, seven times [per week] now,” he said. His correct form. correct form. initial routine consisted of eight visits to “Senior year,year, if we’ve seenseen thatthat youryour formform the gym each week. “Senior if we’ve is near-perfect withwith correct technique, is near-perfect correct technique, The hours that Canavan has put into his correct form, thenthen we could maybe givegive you you workout have paid off, however. Since the correct form, we could maybe a fewa few sessions of power lifting, but this isn’tisn’t start of his post-concussion training, he sessions of power lifting, but this a bodybuilder’s gym.gym. ThisThis is a is school gym,gym, has gone from 40 kilograms to 95 kilograms a bodybuilder’s a school so we to keep thatthat at a minimum.” sohave we have to keep at a minimum.” on the bench press exercise and from 20 kilograms to 85 kilograms on the clean and ••• jerk exercise.

He aims to reach 100 kilograms on the clean and jerk, which is considered an Olympic standard, and also 100 kilograms on the bench press. This ambition is reflected in Canavan’s diet. He consumes a protein shake following every workout, and he is in the midst of a “creatine cycle”, which involves consuming differing amounts of the supplement over a set period of time to put on mass. When it comes to his regular meals, he aims for as much lean protein and as few carbohydrates as possible. Patros lauded Canavan’s commitment to being fit through his diet. “He has dedication to not only working out… It’s feeding himself the right nutrition and the right foods. You can see the difference in his body shape,” he said. For someone no longer training for a sport, Canavan’s whole regime seems bizarre. He attributed it to his desire to “become stronger and be stronger than others,” which he admitted “sounds really terrible.” This intense desire was reflected in Canavan’s initial approach to exercise, as he concentrated mostly on building his upper body. Patros was quick to put an end to that. “For ages, [Canavan] was just doing upper body. I was like, ‘What are you doing?’ he said. Part of getting stronger up top and overall is obviously by getting your legs

stronger and working out everything with a balance in mind.” Canavan adjusted his workout program accordingly Patros explained further: “Usually I encourage the students to do more of the core, back and stability muscles on a 60 percent to 40 percent mindset. Our back to our front muscles should be slightly stronger.” Bodyweight exercises, meanwhile, have no appeal to Canavan. Instead, his favored methods of increasing strength all revolve around using the bar. “I really like the bar. There’s this indescribable affection that I have for the bar and bar workouts in general. “It’s not only that they’re more entertaining, but there’s this satisfaction when you can clean and jerk a new weight and you just throw the weight over your head. That’s such a sick feeling, whereas it’s like, ‘Oh, I just did 100 push-ups’. It doesn’t feel as nice.” Canavan’s whole fixation with the bar, which began with his days training with the rugby team, does not sit comfortably with Patros. Patros favors building a strong base with primarily one’s body weight before moving on to more advanced exercises, some of which involve the bar. “[Canavan has] come to a stage where he is doing good form on the bar work. I’ll take it because it’s good technique, and he’s doing it in a safe area. “I would like him to do a couple of

weeks where he’s just doing stability and bodyweight [exercises], where he’s really just working on core and balance and hitting the small muscle areas too. For me, he doesn’t do that enough anymore but he’s got a different goal,” he said. Nonetheless, Canavan acknowledged Patros for helping him with this preferred method of training instead of forcing his own method of training upon him. “[Patros] always wants me to do [bodyweight exercises],” he said. “But I remember in freshman and sophomore year, when I was trying to do the things I’m doing now, although he wouldn’t agree with it, as it’s kind of contradictory to his gym philosophy, he would show me how to [perform these exercises],” he said. Patros is similarly praiseful in return. “[Canavan’s] dedication, his effort... you can’t fault that. He always listens,” he said. For now, Canavan will continue training with the same great intensity. And whenever he is not training, he is thinking about training. “During the day, I’ll be sitting around in class thinking, ‘I would much rather be in the gym right now. I would rather be working out. “You get this feeling when you’re in [the gym], when you break a new personal record … I would compare it scoring a try in rugby but it’s more than that because it’s all you. It’s all your hard work. It accumulates and you start seeing bigger and bigger results.”


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Sports Commentary

THE STANDARD | September 2013

Professional athletes should not be role models Sports Editor Nikolai Birch analyzes the questionable decisions professional athletes make

The summer is usually fairly quiet in terms of sporting news, as the Barclays Premier League, the National Football League (NFL), and the National Basketball Association (NBA) are in their offseasons, and Major League Baseball (MLB) is in the middle of its season. Due to the minimal amount of substancial sporting news that came out, this summer made me think about the roles of professional athletes off the court or field, and how ridiculous some of their actions can be. As an avid visitor to the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) website’s front page, I read all kinds of sports news. When the summer came, and the NBA draft and free agency came to pass, all that was

apologies that really mean nothing at all. I asked myself, are these people really valid role models for aspiring athletes to look up to? A slap on the wrist won’t do anything to kids with stacks of money and nothing to do in their free time. They will just end up having a little bit less money to do the same things with. New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez may not be receiving a slap on the wrist, as he will sit out the season (and possibly his life) in a jail cell after being charged with first degree murder. It isn’t his team that is doing the punishing, it is the law, which Hernandez has had trouble with on several accounts. He is linked with an assault charge in 2007 and a double homicide case in 2012 as well as the shooting of a friend in a

sizes. The athletes that are put in the spotlight don’t understand the influence that they have on their fans, especially their younger audiences. The fact that a kid’s favorite player allegedly killed someone does not bode well for how they will be influenced by role models in the future. Another football player in the news is Riley Cooper, wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL. In June at a Kenny Chesney concert, Cooper, a white male, announced, “I will fight any n***** in here,” which was caught on a video that went viral. His team issued this statement afterwards: “We are shocked and appalled by Riley Cooper’s words. This sort of behavior or attitude from anyone has no role in a civil society. He

examiner of moral compasses. If Cooper’s fans see that he is capable of saying something as outrageously offensive as that, and gets the equivalent of a dollar of allowance drop into the swear word jar, what will stop them from doing the same in the future to emulate one of their heroes? I thought that rules in the NBA and NFL that force players to attend a year of college would help limit the unintelligent actions by teaching them responsibility in the classroom, but it really hasn’t. The college process just postponed these actions, and forced a lot of talented athletes out of college and promising futures for misbehaving. I take a look at the offseason overseas program in the NBA, which sends players to different

J.R. Smith NBA

Riley Cooper NFL

Tyler Seguin NHL

Terrence Jones NBA

Photos from: (J. Conrad Williams Jr./ neWsday/mCt) (yong Kim/PhiladelPhia daily neWs/mCt) (ChuCK myers/ mCt) (rose Palmisano/orange County register/mCt)

Players have to step up and not do incredibly ill-advised actions, or teams have to become legitimate enforcers and seriously punish unruly players. left were the terrible off-the-court decisions that bored players ended up making. Within the span of a few weeks at the start of summer, it seemed that news filled up with face-palminducing moments, with athletes tweeting slurs and posting lewd pictures on Instagram, such as J.R. Smith of the New York Knicks, who posted a naked picture of the woman that he was with that night and Tyler Seguin of the Dallas Stars of the National Hockey League (NHL) tweeting that “there are only steers and queers in Texas.” It dawned on me later that the teams do almost nothing to discourage these millionaires from making the same “mistakes” over and over again. The only things that teams that do to stop these blatant violations of league policy and sometimes law, are vague disciplinary press statements, throwing weak fines for amounts of money that players probably spend in a few hours at a nightclub, and forcing these athletes to toss out

The Faces of Sports:

Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has had problems with the law before his arrest earlier this summer for the alleged murder of Odin Lloyd. Photo by Patrick raycraft/hartford courant/Mct car after an argument. He allegedly dumped the friend in an alley to die, which left the friend blind in one eye. Hernandez, a hometown hero on the team, was born in Bristol, CT, just two hours away from where the Patriots’ Gillette Field hosts their home games. Up until his murder charge, Hernandez was an idol to many children, as made evident by the Patriots jersey return program, which exchanged Hernandez jerseys for those of other players. According to owner Robert Kraft, 30-35 percent of the more than 2,500 jerseys were child

has accepted responsibility for his words and his actions. He has been fined for this incident.” Cooper tweeted his apology and accepted his fine, which was a minimal cut from his annual $630,000 salary, and ended up with more a blow to his reputation and name than bank account. And if we’re talking about mishandling public relations, the team had one of the most hated players in NFL history issue a statement accepting Cooper’s apology, the infamous Michael Vick, who was suspended for hosting a dogfighting ring in 2007. As if Vick is a worthy

countries to do community work and set up basketball camps for underprivileged children, and I applaud their efforts. By keeping players busy and responsible over the offseason, they’re keeping them from getting intoxicated and doing unreasonable things, like Houston Rockets forward Terrence Jones, who stomped a sleeping homeless man on his way home from a nightclub in July. Professional athletes are, by profession, entertainers. They perform for the people who watch them, are paid for their

performance, and are idolized by many who watch them play. The fact that these players are in the spotlight for their entire careers, and, in some cases, after, means that either the players have to step up and not do incredibly ill-advised actions, or teams have to become legitimate enforcers and seriously punish unruly players. Since 2012, there have been 24 driving under the influence (DUI) citations for players in the NFL, NBA and MLB. If teenagers didn’t see as many of the athletes they looked up to committing these mistakes, would underage driving and drinking be as much of a problem as it is in the United States? The responsibility level for those in the spotlight is abysmally low, and it has major repercussions on the immediate community as well as the nation. As teams have given players leeway in the past, and there have been plenty of mishaps showing that not all players can be responsible, I’m all for teams legitimately punishing players for ill-advised actions, and challenge these organizations to do so in order to maintain the dignity of the profession. I may love some on-court drama, but keep it classy off the playing field, for all of our sakes, and the sakes of the future athletes.

THE STANDARD | September 2013


Goal line technology a good start, but not enough Sports Editor James Malin discusses the need for further technological advances in soccer

Soccer is fundamentally flawed. Yes, the last minute twists and the drama are incredible, but all of that doesn’t hide the fact that at the end of the day it all comes down to a guy with a whistle. Billions of pounds, jobs, and, above all, pride are at stake in soccer; this is far too much responsibility to be left up to human error. The 2013-2014 Barclays Premier League season is the first season that will include goal line technology. The hawk-eye system, the same computer system used in tennis for decision appeal, chosen by the Football Association (FA), will inform referees within a second whether or not the ball has crossed the goal line. Though somewhat overdue, this is absolutely a step in the right direction for the sport. Goal line technology has been a contentious topic for some time. It took a long time for FIFA’s, the governing body of international soccer, interest to be piqued. The tipping point for FIFA was the infamous Frank Lampard 2010 World Cup incident, where Lampard’s lobbed shot clearly bounced over the goal line, past Germany’s

been, it would have been different match. Dortmund would be playing against 10 men with all of the momentum in their favor. But, because of the referee’s incorrect decision, £46.2 million goes in Bayern Munich’s direction. As some would say, that’s soccer. The old mantra that “it all evens out over the season” is a dated, and, quite frankly, close-minded way of looking at it. There is no karmic force that surges through soccer, giving teams penalties one week when they should have been awarded one the previous week. Instead, there is a referee; a person who is liable to make a mistake. This is something that is important to remember, though easy to forget. I admit

billions of pounds at stake. Whether fans like it or not, soccer is a business, and the money that shifts with every decision is imperative to the progress of the sport. Fans, players and managers alike are guilty of exhibiting inappropriate conduct towards referees. Already this season, Iain Holloway, Crystal Palace manager, has been fined £18,000 and banned from the touchline for two games. Phil Lambert, manager of Aston Villa, has been fined £8,000. The season is only five game weeks old and that’s already two managers that have been fined a combined £26,000. Clearly, something has to change. If there was more clarity, these managers would have no grounds for

Sports Results so far Boys Soccer Varsity

L 2-4. vs. ACS Cobham D 1-1 vs. TASIS D 1-1 vs. BSP


D 0-0 vs. ACS Cobham W 4-0 vs. TASIS


D 1-1 vs. ACS Cobham W 14-0 vs. TASIS

Girls Soccer Varsity

D 1-1 vs. ACS Cobham W 3-2 vs. TASIS W 6-0 vs. BSP


W 3-1 vs. ACS Cobham W 7-2 vs. TASIS

Boys Volleyball

Too many times I have walked away from a game shaking my head because an incorrect refereeing decision completely changed the outcome of the match. goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. It was obvious to all that the ball had crossed the line, all, that is, apart from the referee. Too many times I have walked away from a game shaking my head because an incorrect refereeing decision completely changed the outcome of the match. For example, take the 2013 Champions League final, the most prestigious club soccer match of the year, which featured Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund. Munich are winning 1-0, Dortmund get the ball into the Munich penalty area. Marco Reus, a Dortmund player, is kicked in the chest by a Munich defender, Dante, who had already received a yellow card in the first half. The referee, Nicola Rizzoli, awards a penalty to Dortmund. Midfielder Ilkay Gundogan converts the penalty and the score is 1-1. Dante should have been given a second yellow and, consequently, been sent off. He wasn’t. Bayern Munich went on to win the game 2-1 and were crowned Champions of Europe. After lifting the Champions League trophy, Bayern Munich’s brand value increased 9 percent, worth approximately £46.2 million. If Dante was sent off, as he should have

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W 2-0 vs. ACS Cobham L 0-2 vs. ACS Cobham W 2-0 vs. TASIS L 0-2 vs. ACS Cobham W 2-0 vs. TASIS W 2-0 vs. Epsom College


W 2-1 vs. ACS Cobham

Girls Volleyball With the addition of referee-aiding technology, Dante would have been sent off for this tackle in the 2012-2013 Champions League final. PHOTO FROM FLICKR/TOTaLFOOTbaLL.aM I am at times guilty of blaming a referee for making mistakes. Soccer fans need to recognize this, and simply booing the referee does not accomplish anything. In reality, it’s not the referee’s fault; they need help. I’d love to see soccer implement a similar system to that of tennis. In tennis, using Hawkeye technology, each player is allowed to challenge three decisions per set. If they correctly challenge the call, then they are granted their challenge back. If they are incorrect, however, they lose one of their three appeals. I think a system similar to this would be extremely effective in soccer; each team should be granted one appeal per half. Yes, it would slow the game down, but that should not be a concern at this point. There are

a complaint, which would, in theory, see an end to these fines. Goal line technology has only been implemented in the Premier League, and not yet in lower divisions as well, due to its high cost. Each team has had to pay £250,000 for the system to be installed in their respective stadiums. For lower league sides, it’s an unfeasible amount. Video technology would be cheaper, therefore more available throughout the leagues. While soccer is a wonderful sport, and one that I have poured time, emotion and money into, it is time for a change. Goal line technology is a step in the right direction, but it should not be the end of the sport’s technological progress.


W 2-1 vs. ACS Cobham W 2-0 vs. TASIS L 1-2 vs. Zurich L 0-2 vs. TASIS W 2-0 vs. Hillingdon L 0-2 vs. ACS Cobham


W 2-0 vs. ACS Cobham W 2-0 vs. TASIS

Field Hockey Varsity

L 0-4 vs. Mill Hill W 3-2 vs. BSP W 2-0 vs. BSP

Sports •••

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Football Predictions

PAIN, THEN GAIN A concussion and a broken collarbone have moved Nick Canavan (’14) away from the rugby pitch and into the gym. Now, without a sport to train for, he’s putting in overtime. FARES CHEHABI | Editor-in-Chief See PAgeS 28-29

THE STANDARD | September 2013

September 2013  

Volume XXXIX, Issue I

September 2013  

Volume XXXIX, Issue I