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— April 2013 —

The Walker School

Volume XIV Issue 6

Wolverine

The

Students

Technology

Local

Academics

STUDENTS TRAVEL ABROAD FOR EXCHANGE PROGRAMS ON PAGE 3

WALKER TRANSITIONING TO GOOGLE APPS ON PAGE 4

ATLANTA SPRING SEASON PACKED WITH EVENTS ON PAGE 7

IS WALKER PREPARING STUDENTS FOR THE FUTURE? ON PAGE 11


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The Wolverine The Wolverine, founded in 1999, is the newspaper of The Walker School, 700 Cobb Parkway North, Marietta, Georgia 30062. Telephone: (770) 427 - 2689. E-mail: wolverine@thewalkerschool.org The Wolverine is published seven times during the school year by the members of the student body. Guest articles and letters to the editor may be submitted. Submissions must include the writer’s name and be hand-delivered or emailed. The meaning of any submission will not be altered, but The Wolverine reserves the right to edit for coherence. Rights are also reserved to postpone or withold publication any letter, article, or advertisement submitted. Final decision on publication rests with the Editor-In-Chief in consultation with the entire Editorial Board and the Journalism Adviser. Guest articles and letters to the editor do not necessarily represent the opinions of the Walker School, its administration, or employees. Copyright authority to the material (articles, graphics, etc.) contained in this publication is strictly held under reserve by the Editorial Board. Any reproduction or alteration without written consent is strictly prohibited. The staff of The Wolverine is comprised of members of the Upper School Journalism Class. The Wolverine serves as a voice for the Walker Community. (wolverine@thewalkerschool.org)

Visit us online at TWSWolverine.com Journalism Adviser: Kaitlyn Ranney 2012-2013 Staff Editor-In-Chief: Coleman Hedden. ‘14 Managing Editor: Travis King, ‘14 Assistant Editors: Mary Grace Walsh, ‘14 Meredith Wright, ‘13 Reporters: Alex Brack, ‘15 Victoria Hudson, ‘14 Stephen Oweida, ‘14 Front Page: The Loraine Brooks Memorial Garden shines in the spring sun. Photo courtesy of Chandler Smith

Students Travel Abroad with French and Spanish Exchange Programs BY Meredith Wright The language exchange programs are a important part of Walker’s language department and trips that many students look forward to each year. Not only do Walker French and Spanish students anticipate the experience and the new friends that come with the exchange, but the exchange students who come to visit also experience the same excitement. Argentinian student Sofi Principe has waited anxiously for the chance to travel to America. “We knew that we were going to Atlanta since we started school, and we were really excited about that,” said Principe. “Also, the exchange is one of the main reasons why [our] parents chose La Plaza School for us!” For the Walker students, the process of traveling to another country can be much more elaborate. The students are matched up with their exchange student, but in a more randomized way. “We do not get to choose who stays with us,” said Junior Maddie Pawlenko. Lower School Spanish Teacher and Assistant Director of Admission Katherine Harrison is in charge of the Argentinian exchange and helps match up the host families with their exchange students. Traveling to a different country can be a shock to how structurally

and socially different the two societies are. Junior Kayla Hall got involved in the French language after learning that her mom also took French when she was in high school. Hall traveled to France in the exchange and Walker students meet with their exchange students from the La Plaza School in Argentina. definitely took note of these Photo Courtesy of Mary Grace Walsh differences. “The French take buses everywhere and The dates are approaching, and the the streets are insanely tiny!” Hall excitement is building for everyone said. The two societies can be who is involved. Argentinan student Maria different not only through modes Lara Rossetti can’t wait to really of transportation, but also how their immerse the Americans in their attitudes are much more relaxed. The Argentinians are much culture. “When [they] come, I really more laid back, as they never look forward to showing them our seem to rush. “They hate rushing little city, our costumes and the way like us, so they take their time,” we have fun and socialize,” said Pawlenko said. Upper School Rossetti. Returning from France, students French teacher Jennifer May keeps in correspondence with the same don’t just bring back souvenirs and school, much like in the Spanish subtle French accents, but memories exchange program, and has had a that will stay with them for a long long relationship with the teachers time. For Hall, meeting new people from other schools and countries that travel to America. Students involved in the French was one of her favorite parts of e x c h a n g e the exchange. “A [British] all-boys recently returned school did the exchange too, and from their since we both spoke English, we all adventure to became really close,” said Hall. The feeling was mutual on both France, while the Spanish students exchanges, and saying goodbye to don’t travel the exchange student was tough. until summer; However, everyone came away he Walker with new friends and many new “Everything was e x c h a n g e memories. students will perfect,” said Argentinian student make their trip Euge Bongiovanni. “I wouldn’t to Argentina in change anything, but the kindness Walker students meet with their exchange students from France. the beginning of people and how they treated us of the summer. always made me feel comfortable” Photo Courtesy of Tatyana Louis


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Updated: New & Returning Classes for 2013-2014

Walker Transitioning to Google Apps BY Travis King This July, Walker will begin transitioning from FirstClass (the current email system) to Google Apps. FirstClass, which manages student and faculty email, teacher webpages, conferences, contacts, and calendars, will be retired and all of these functions replaced by Google Apps. Email and contacts will be managed by Gmail, calendars will be handled by Google Calendar, conferences will be replaced by Google Groups and Google Drive, and teacher websites will be hosted through Google Sites. By switching to the Google Apps suite, the school will save both time and money while giving students and staff a familiar, easy-to-use interface that has all necessary functions in one place.

Over the past several months, the school has been looking into alternatives to FirstClass. Director of Information Technology Kerry Bossak said, “FirstClass has significant limitations, especially in the back end. It’s difficult for access from home, it doesn’t sync with mobile devices, and it’s just not very easy to use.” With Google Apps, all of these issues will be solved: it works in perfect harmony with mobile devices and features the same interface no matter where it is accessed. Bossak and the IT team hope to make the transition to the new system by July 15, so students will come back from summer break with new Google accounts. With the new system, students will log into Gmail and other

Google applications with their @thewalkerschool.org email address, granting them access into the school’s Mail, Calendar, Drive, Groups, Sites, and other applications. One issue the team ran into was how to deal with conferences: there are no clear Google alternatives to FirstClass’s conference feature (shareable folders that contain email, file storage, and more). Bossak said, “We plan on using either Google Groups or a secure internal Google Site to replace conferences.” In terms of learning curve, many students will be able to dive right into the new application suite. The school’s Gmail will look almost exactly like the standard Gmail which many students use, and

most of the other applications are straightforward and easy to learn. Bossak does not think that students will find Google Apps difficult to use, saying, “Many students are used to it already – almost all of them have web-based email like Gmail, Yahoo, etc. There might be more of a learning curve for faculty since some have not used Gmail before. The only people it may affect are those who are really used to FirstClass.” Students and faculty will not notice any changes until next school year, and the IT department will inform the community of any required action.


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Walker Community Reacts to Election of New Pope By Alex Brack The February 28, 2013, resignation of Pope Benedict XVI is an event that most of the current generation will never witness again. For nearly 600 years, a pope has not left his position. In fact the last pope to do so was Pope Gregory XII in the year 1415. In response to the leaving of Pope Benedict, the Cardinals entered conclave, which is a gathering where an election for a new peope takes place. The following day, crowds at the Vatican and around the world roared in response to the sight of white smoke, which signals the election of a new pope. Over one billion Catholics worldwide were ecstatic when Pope Francis took the position of the new pope on March 13, 2013. Many of these Catholics have since shown satisfaction as well as pride about the choice to elect Pope Francis. Probably one of the most

prominent traits of Pope Francis is the fact that he is the first nonEuropean Pope to have ever been elected in the modern history of the Papacy. This characteristic of Pope Francis has brought better unity to the Catholic Church as continents like South America are growing eager to become involved with a church that is accepting diversity. Although he has been a Pope for only a few weeks, Pope Francis has demonstrated a will to bring change to the Catholic Church. Above all, the pope has plans to provide for the less fortunate members of the Pope Francis, the first non-European Pope ever elected in the Catholic Church. Furthermore, modern history of the Papacy, is sworn in on March 13, 2013. as many have noticed, the newly elected pope has shown no interest Photo Courtesy of episcopaldigitalnetwork.com is demonstrating his power. So far, Pope Francis has held masses in According to Vatican officials, weakest, the least important.” prisons where he performed acts Throughout the hallways of The it is customary for new popes to such as washing the feet of inmates. His simple stature and humble elect new heads to certain Vatican Walker School, many people are or However, Pope have been discussing the election of attitude has led many to believe this. departments. Francis has yet a new pope. Many of these students to follow this are members of the Catholic Club. process. Because Among these club members is of this, there is a sophomore and devout Catholic significant amount Erik Warner. Warner said, “As of of speculation as to now, I am very pleased with Pope Francis. In the future, I would like to what other changes see Vatican traditions and customs lay ahead. remain in place and practiced.” After his Sophomore Nicolette Paglioni election, Pope agrees with Warner. However, Francis impressed Paglioni continued and said, “So the world when far, Pope Francis’s job as the pope he asked for the has been interesting. Because he has blessing of all the done so many things differently, I members of the am really excited to see what Pope Catholic Church. Francis has planned for the future.” This statement was Many people have also noticed later followed by the fact that Pope Francis has been the declaration of tweeting from the Papal Twitter a long term goal of account, @Pontifex. With over two which Pope Francis million followers and counting, the has. Francis said, Pope has been speaking with the “The role of the world through regular tweets. For pope is to open his those who are interested, follow the arms and protect Pope on Twitter for further updates all of humanity, on the new papacy. but especially the poorest, the


By Stephen Oweida

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Next Generation of Gaming on the Way

Coming off the heels of a Sony press conference, on February 20 of this year, which discussed the details of their new video game console, the PlayStation 4, gamers everywhere are gearing up for the next generation of videogames. In 2005-2006, the Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360, and Nintendo Wii were released in the United States, raising the bar for console gaming. Now these companies are ready to revolutionize the way people play video games yet again with their next generation consoles. Nintendo was the first to release their next generation system, the Wii U, on November 18, 2012. Many people were excited to hear that Nintendo’s new system would be high definition and contain an HDMI port, which would make Nintendo’s artistic, yet less realistic graphics style seem more surreal and breathtaking. People also get excited when Nintendo promised myriad new titles for the system including another sequel to the hit game series Super Smash Bros. and The Legend of Zelda. However, when Nintendo unveiled The Wii U at E3 last year, many were disappointed. It seemed the new system was a carbon copy of the Wii, but with a shiny new controller. The controller is innovative because it contains a built in screen, and is also capable of playing full scale games on the go, but if that’s the only definining quality of the Wii U, it seems rather lacking compared to Nintendo’s previous technological leaps. Due to these facts, the Wii U sold 460,000 units in December, which is a decline compared to the launch sales of its predecessor, the Wii, which sold more than 600,000 units in the month after its launch. In January, the Wii U saw a decrease in sales as the new system sold only 100,000 units. Shockingly enough, a New Product Development representative, who tracks the sales of retail items, notes “a 38 percent decrease on sales for the original Wii at the same point in its life.”

Since Nintendo is struggling to excite gamers the way they used to, it creates opportunities for companies like Sony and Microsoft to innovate new ideas for gaming. In the aforementioned press conference, Sony CEO Andrew House said, “the PS4 houses a highly enhanced PC GPU containing a unified array of 18 compute units, which collectively generate 1.84 Teraflops of processing power that can freely be applied to graphics, simulation tasks, or some mixture of the two.” In layman’s terms, this means that the PS4 is much more powerful than past gaming consoles, which will allow programmers to put more content in their games without sacrificing the loading speed or graphics of the game. Other innovations include a controller with a built-in touchpad, and an updated and more interactive ‘PlayStation eye’ camera, which allows the system to see the where the players are and sense their environment. One downfall of the PS4 is that it will not be backwards compatible, meaning PS3 games cannot be played on it. However, Sony claims they are working on designing software that will hopefully allow players to play their old games on the new system, but for now, it doesn’t look good for those who want to play their old favorites. For those at Walker like junior Jeff Wallace who said, “Nintendo’s Wii U just seems like a disappointment, and I’ve never really liked Sony’s games,” then Microsoft is the place to look for your next generation game system. Microsoft is eager to release a new console, however most of what we know about the supposed “Xbox 720” is based on rumors and company leaks. One of the things we do know is that the developers of the new console have dubbed the project codename Durango. One of the revolutionary ideas that came out of Project Durango is their new “Illumiroom” technology,

which does as the name implies and illuminates the gamer’s room with images from the video game, like sprites and textures from the game. This new technology literally takes gaming beyond the confines of the screen, bringing the virtual world into the real world. Microsoft also plans to keep Xbox Live on the new system, and furthermore, it is rumored that the system may require constant Internet connection. This can be seen has a negative for those who want to play offline, but Xbox is very user-friendly when it comes to online play, so look for them to make great innovations in the field. It is rumored that the new system will house a CPU that is very similar to the PS4’s, but it apparently will only be capable of around 1.70

Teraflops of processing power. This is still very fast and shouldn’t deter gamers from buying Microsoft’s new product, just be wary for any new news about the Xbox 720. At this point, it is hard to say which of these two systems is better, simply because there isn’t enough information about Microsoft’s new console. It is expected they will release new information on the system in response to Sony’s press conference on the PS4. Both the PS4 and the Xbox 720 are expected to be released in time for the holidays next year. So for now gamers must wait, leaving them with time to research these new systems and decide which they like and which they don’t like.


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HUNGRY YET? Familiar Food with Flair

Serving Daily 7 AM - 2 PM

17 AREA ATLANTA LOCATIONS FIND ONE NEAR YOU AT WWW.JCHRISTOPHERS.COM

Man on the Street What are your plans for Spring Break?

“Going to Indiana University with my daughter because she is looking at graduate school there.” - Kate McConnaughey, Faculty

“Traveling to luxurious, temperate downtown Atlanta for two afternoons for a class.”

“Traveling to London to meet up with Paul McCartney and work on his new album. JK!”

- Rob Holman, Faculty

- Chris Golden, Faculty

“Going camping with my new pop-up camper on Hunting Island where there are alligators, beaches, and bike trails..” - Malanda Murchison, Faculty


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Atlanta Spring Season Packed with Events BY Mary Grace Walsh Watch out Atlanta, this spring will be an eventful season packed with concerts, festivals, sports, and so much more! With the NCAA Men’s Final Four and Championship games coming to Atlanta this year, this upcoming weekend is packed with free concerts. Even if you’re staying home for Spring Break,

there are going to be plenty of things to do. The Big Dance Concert Series is in conjunction with the NCAA Final Four Tournament. The basketball games will be held in the Georgia Dome on April 6 and 8. The NCAA announced the artists that would be performing. Muse, Flo Rida,

Dear Daisy...

Dear Daisy, Why do kids think they’re old enough to make their own decisions about drinking or drugs? Most of us aren’t even old enough for cigarettes and none of us are old enough for alcohol. Sincerely, What’s up with that?

Even speaking as a teenager, there really isn’t an explanation as to “why” teenagers choose to make their own decisions about drinking and drugs. Basically, teenagers think they’re old enough for everything. We’re at the awkward stage between being a kid and wanting to be an adult. We often make choices that we think are mature, but the truly mature choice is not participating in drinking and drugs. When you choose to say no under the pressure of your peers, you set a standard that others also don’t have to participate. It only takes one person to stop others from using harmful substances. Unfortunately, you can’t stop everyone from making bad decisions. But you can make good choices for yourself, and that’s what’s important. Take pride in your confidence, and stand up for what you believe.

Dear Daisy, I have this obsession with candy corn that has gotten out of control. Spring break’s coming up and I’ve gained 34 pounds. Things are getting serious and quick. How do I stop consuming out of season Halloween treats? Sincerely, Forever Obsessed Don’t panic. Your sweet tooth can be cured with a simple plan, but you’ll need some motivation to get started. First, throw the candy corn away. You heard me; all of it. Not only is it causing you to gain massive amounts of weight, but it’s out of season. Next, replace the candy with something healthier. Fruits and vegetables are always good snacks. Beware: Easter candy is now on sale; do not succumb to the pressure. Throw out that Halloween candy and indulge in some healthier snacks. Keep your snacks nearby if you ever have a candy corn craving; they may save you from going back down that dark road.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and return to Atlanta on September 28, Ludacris will all be performing 2013. Saturday, April 6 at noon in If you’re more interested in art Centennial Olympic Park as part and festivals, there are plenty of of the three-day free music festival events this spring that cater to produced by Turner Live Events those interests. The Frida & Diego and the NCAA. On Sunday, April 7 “Passion, Politics, and Painting” at 2pm, featured artists will include exhibition will be in the High Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Museum of Art until May 12. Sting, and Dave Matthews Band. The exhibition features over 120 Another upcoming event in paintings and drawings by Frida Atlanta is the Color Run, considered Kahlo and Diego Rivera, along to be the happiest 5k on the planet. with photographs taken by artists On Saturday, April 6, the race will of the couple. The Huffington Post come to Atlanta. This road race is covered the exhibition in February untimed, but by the end, runners 2013. David Brenneman, director find themselves covered head to toe of collections and exhibitions at the High said,” I think one of the things in different colors of paint. Junior Nissa Johnson participated that is most compelling about this last year. “My mom always exhibition is the story of these two signs me up for road races and people, and we really thought this she mentioned the color run. I photograph captures that.” For more watched the YouTube video and information on the exhibition and I actually thought it would be the story behind these two artists, really fun,” Johnson said. The race visit www.high.org/frida-diego. celebrates healthiness, happiness, individuality, and giving back to the community. Johnson said, “Tons of people go. You couldn’t see the end of the crowd at the start of the race.” Participants are encouraged to wear all white, because lots of paint is involved. “There’s a different color every kilometer. At the end there’s a paint fight with music.” If you’re interested, Johnson encourages watching the YouTube video. Signing up can be done at www. thecolorrun.com/atlanta, with prices depending on the size of your group, or Junior Nissa Johnson participates in the whether you choose to Color Run in Atlanta every year run individually or not. Photo Courtesy of Nissa Johnson The Color Run will also


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Athlete of the Month: Austin Newsome BY Meredith Wright Senior Austin Newsome has had his fair share of experience when it comes to different sports. From playing baseball and soccer during his childhood years, to football on Walker’s middle school team, there has always been one sport he could come back to. Newsome began playing tennis when he was eight years old and has stuck with it both in and outside of school. Newsome’s interest began after attending many professional tennis tournaments and watching neighborhood experts. “Seeing the competition and the athleticism made me really start wanting to do it,” said Newsome. Joining the Walker Varsity Tennis Team in 9th grade, Newsome has been coached all four years by Coach Barry Foy. According to Foy, Newsome has always been a strong tennis player. “Austin came to us as a 9th grader and was a very solid tennis player,” said Foy. Since his freshman year season, he has rounded out and become a more complete tennis player. “He was always a very good volleyer but his serve, ground strokes and mental approach have improved over time making him a complete player.” Earlier in the year, Newsome committed to Davidson College.

Even though he is not playing tennis in college, it took a lot of hard work to manage his academics and a year round sport. “A lot of it comes down to time management within the school day,” said Newsome. “Just to be able to get work done before that night, so you can go to practice and not have to worry about it.” Going onto his tenth year playing tennis, it takes a lot of determination to stick with such a big commitment even outside of school. Newsome credits the individual and team aspect that tennis offers as a major factor to help him keep his interest so strong. “…during tournament season it is just you on the court, so if you win it is 100% your fault, but if you lose it is also 100% your fault,” Newsome said. Mixing up the playing atmosphere between a school team and a club

Senior Austin Newsome competes in a Varsity tennis match. Photo Courtesy of thewalkerschool.smugmug.com

team can bring in new teammates, new coaches, and different opponents. Playing through the matches as an individual and as a team has advantages throughout the season. Playing through team can allow every teammate “to play with a bunch of guys that also play tournaments, and fighting as a team but also for yourself,” said Newsome. Throughout his many years of playing tennis, there have been memorable matches but only a few stand out. Winning the state championship on the Walker Tennis team as a freshman is at the top of his list. Along with Senior Will Chocallo, Newsome

played #2 Doubles and ended up winning their match to help the team win. Outside of school and with his club team, he also experienced one of the peaks of his career. In a tournament over the summer, Newsome racked up eight wins in a row against his opponents. “That kind of success I didn’t really have up until that point,” Newsome said. As one of the many seniors on the tennis team this year, Newsome has really stepped up, not only as a player but as a leader on the team. “He has taken the younger players under his wing and works with them to help make them better players,” said Foy. “His leadership, on and off the court, have helped this team stay focused on their goals.” Even though his tennis career will end after his senior year season, many of the underclassman behind will strive to be the tennis player that Newsome was. When asked to describe Newsome in two words: “desire and drive,” Foy said. “He is always working to improve himself as a player and help lead his teammates to their lofty goals.”


April 2013

Walker’s Responsibility to Their Consumers An Editorial

Walker administrators hesitate to make changes in policies despite complaints from students and parents, begging the question: Should private schools accommodate their source of income or should these frustrated families seek alternative places of education? As a private educational institution, The Walker School is fueled by tuition money instead of government funding. Parents make the decision to send their children to Walker, and these parents have expectations about the quality of education and the environment their money is used to create. The administration needs to pay attention to the concerns of the families. Since these families’tuition payments fund teacher salaries, campus advancements, and other school expenses, those who pay tuition should have some form of direct input on Walker’s decisions. The administration seems to hold the belief that if a family is not satisfied with Walker’s decisions or actions, then that family can leave. However, from a consumer’s point of view – the view of the families – that policy is completely one-sided. Hard-working parents invest their money in Walker, and they expect a return on their investment in the form of a nurturing environment, quality teachers and courses, and an outstanding college preparatory education. These expectations are not unreasonable as they are outlined in The Walker School mission statement found in the school’s handbook. If such expectations are not being met, families have a responsibility to the school, other students, as well as themselves to come forward to the administration with their concerns. Claiming to provide a “nurturing environment and an excellent college preparatory education” is an exceptionally subjective statement open to countless interpretations. Walker believes that the only interpretation of their handbook that matters is their own. However, parents paying thousands upon thousands of dollars to send their children to Walker claim – justifiably

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Walker is a Privilege, Not a Right An Editorial

so – that their interpretations matter as well. These parents are paying for an environment that they believe is outlined in this statement, but the administration does not always acknowledge the parents’ different expectations. In light of a recent disciplinary situation, multiple families have raised their brows as to how the school is handling instances of illegal activity on campus. One could quite easily make the argument that such kind of activity is not conducive to a “nurturing environment.” In response, the Walker administration could perhaps say that if families feel uncomfortable with disciplinary or other actions, then they could choose to send their children to other schools. But is it not Walker’s responsibility to uphold its own standards as explained in the Walker handbook? And if Walker is not maintaining these standards, then someone – namely, the parents of students – have a right and a responsibility to step in and bring these indiscretions to the attention of the administration. Just like the United States government is founded on the principle that if the government becomes abusive to The Constitution that the people have the right “to alter or abolish it,” any successful institution must listen to the opinions and concerns of their constituents. Many Walker families have been associated with the school for extremely long periods of time, extending upwards of 25 years. This means that some parents and students have been involved with Walker much longer than some faculty and administrators. These families know the core values of Walker better than anyone since they are the heart of the school. Obviously, these people’s opinions should matter, and administrators should be more diligent in hearing the interests of families which they serve. Walker families’ business is what keeps this school running, and their satisfaction should be a priority.

Students criticize Walker’s policies and claim that some of their teachers “don’t teach,” but there should only be two schools of thought: realize and be appreciative of the opportunity you’ve been given by attending this school...or leave. Now, that seems harsh, but there are many students who need this wake-up call. Little Bobby Murphy can’t talk about how much he loves the school without fear of harassment by the general population. Some students have a negative attitude about the school and they are quick to disparage students with positive outlooks. No, this school is not perfect, but that has never been the goal of the school or its administrators. The Walker School is a successful college preparatory school and parents pay thousands of dollars so their children can experience this amazing opportunity. Attending Walker is a privilege, not a right. Accommodating the differing needs and desires of students and their families is a difficult task. Walker’s mission statement says, “The Walker School is the college-preparatory independent school for families seeking an engaging educational experience within an intimately scaled, caring, and diverse community where opportunities abound and meaningful relationships inspire transformative learning.” This is what parents want for their children when they enroll them at Walker. Attending Walker presents students with tremendous opportunities to succeed due to its above average number of AP courses available and elite staff of faculty members. Walker actually offers more Advanced Placement courses than Mt. Paran, Westminster, and Lovett. On average, a Walker student will take five to six AP exams. In 2012, according to the College Board, 80 percent of students in the United States took only one or two AP exams. Upper School history teacher Cindy Schafer said, “The teachers here really want to be here. The freedom to teach young, very smart, people is amazing.”

The faculty and staff at Walker is are highly-trained and experienced professionals. with backgrounds and connections that most students do not take the time to discover or inquire about. For example, Director of Alumni Relations Kaleb McMichen used to be a speechwriter for the former governor of Georgia Sonny Purdue and Fine Arts Chair Katie Arjona previously taught at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York City. According to the Walker website, advanced degrees are held by 70 percent of lead teachers. Head of School Jack Hall said, “100 percent of the kids in these classrooms are going to college. You go to any public school in Cobb County, even Walton, and not 100 percent of those kids are going to college.” Students at Walker do not have to worry about if they are going to college and the luxury of that is invaluable. Yes, every student stresses for months and months about where they will attend college and if they will attend their top choice. However, thanks to the reputation and excellence of Walker’s education, students do not have to worry about being in the 30 percent of high school graduates who do not attend college. Students should embrace the family that Walker creates and be thankful for the opportunities available to them. Yes, it is easy to find the negatives at the school, but that is the case for any school. This is also not to say that you should not voice your opinion when you have a problem, because you definitely should do that and feel comfortable to do so. If a disciplinary decision is made with which you do not agree, you should feel free to speak with an administrator about your concerns. Yet, keep in mind, that the student body votes on who sits on the Honor Council and Disciplinary Committee. Perhaps students should spend more time considering who they vote for, rather than quickly voting for their friends. Students do have the power to affect change at Walker; the problem is that many choose to fruitlessly complain rather than exercising this power.


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Is Walker Preparing Students for the Future? BY Alex Brack Every year the academic demand of high school students throughout America grows. This increase in demands entitles that high school students take college-level classes in topics that they may not be interested in. This may lead an overload in stress and a substantial amount of frustration. Many of these overwhelmed students want to know – is all of this work really worth it in the long run? According to results from the 2012 ACT, one quarter of all US participants feel short of the college readiness criteria. Throughout the Walker hallways, it is not uncommon to hear about students of which are taking four, five or even six advance placement classes per year. Nearly all of these students strive to maintain

decent grades in these classes. In many instances, taking such a large amount of AP classes and earning good grades will pay off for these students, as they better their chances of getting accepted into college as well as earning college credits. However, is taking AP Calculus BC or AP English Literature, for example, really preparing students for life beyond college? What good is the knowledge of mathematical integration if a high school student does not even have basic common knowledge? Should high school students instead take classes that will only prepare them for what they plan for their future to hold? For obvious reasons, there are many students who would say that they dislike having to take such rigorous classes. Some students

believe that there is no point in taking several math classes if they want to become a lawyer or advance English courses if they want to become an engineer. To some degree, they are correct in believing this. In many other countries, the education system has been changed in order to prepare students for their future occupation only. This entails that they primarily learn curriculum that will be beneficial to them in their field of work. At Walker, there are students that are fine with taking multiple classes in a wide variety of topics as well as those students of which are not happy with it. Sophomore Dalton Rogers, is enrolled in advanced levels of English literature, mathematics and science. He believes having such a wide variety of classes is beneficial.

In fact, Rogers said, “Haven taken such a range of classes, I believe that it is very important for me to have an above-average understanding of all topics of which I may face in life.” Another student who which wished to remain anonymous shared a different view, saying, “It is unfortunate that it is so difficult to get into a decent college these days. Because of this, I feel like I need to push myself by taking more advance classes and therefore sacrifice what little free time I have left.” There is not definitive answer to as to whether high school classes truly prepare students for the future.

Censorship Impacts Walker Community By Stephen Oweida The Walker School has tried to create an environment where students can be themselves and produce work that contains their own views, and not worry what others may think. Ultimately, students shouldn’t have a fear of censorship in any of the facets of their school day. Walker senior and AP Art student Bill Pepper commented on art censorship at our school and said, “At Walker, I don’t feel like the subject matter of art that I produce is in jeopardy, but I do selfcensor certain techniques and art styles that the Walker community is not necessarily interested in.” According to Pepper, some of these techniques that Walker students aren’t receptive to involve abstract brush strokes which are contrary to traditional contemporary art that our community is used to seeing. Self-censorship is not the same as the typical censorship. University of Cambridge online Dictionary defines self-censorship as having control of what you say or do in order to avoid annoying or offending others, but without being told officially that such control is necessary. Traditional censorship

involves a third party stepping between the people producing the work and the people seeing the work, forcing them to alter their material. Self-censorship for artists can even be summed up as finding your own genre of art to work within, where typical censorship is usually detrimental to artists trying to find a genre. Censorship is not only observed in the arts, but it is also seen in every day conversation and teaching. Agreeing that subject matter is not altered at Walker, Upper School History teacher Cindy Schafer said, “I have never felt like I had to censor anything I needed to teach.” When both students and teachers are allowed to express their views without censorship, it leads to teachers showing students what they think, and students forming new opinions and ideas on what they are learning, which is beneficial. Is there a form of censorship that is beneficial to the Walker environment? Schafer believes that some forms of social censorship are not only beneficial, but also necessary. For example, we do not use pejorative terms that would

be hurtful to different groups. According to Schafer, terms like “that’s so gay” shouldn’t be used in conversation because they can be seen as hurtful. Things get complicated when artists want to make commentary about different social groups, depict graphic scenes, or comment on controversial issues. Is it okay for an artist to use words in his or her art that are potentially offensive to different groups of people? Freshman Liam Oweida said,

“as long as artists that include potentially harmful words in their art for the sake of art, and not to put people down, then I think they should be able to put their art out there without fear of censorship.” Most believe that using words for the intent of hurting individuals is wrong, but if the inclusion of these words in art is necessary to convey a certain point, then artists feel they have the right to put them in their art without being morally reprehensible.


April 2013

11

Artist of the Month: Robert Blackwell

t BY Mary Grace Walsh

Junior Robert Blackwell has been tdrawing and making art for as long as he can remember, but he also has another talent: singing. He has been working with the Jazz Band and is currently taking the Advanced tArt Seminar course. Blackwell has done an exemplary job of managing

uses a line-making technique to shade his drawings. Blackwell said, “I just made it up. I have seen it before, and I felt like I didn’t know how to shade, so I thought lines were an easier way to shade. That’s where that came from.” In the future, Blackwell wants to take AP Art as a senior, and then plans to study film animation in college. “I really like the whole conflict idea, so I might focus more on that for AP.” Aside from visual art, Blackwell has been involved in choir and musical theatre since his middle school years. “I’ve always sang, but we had a teacher at my old school who encouraged me to join choir; they needed boys.” Blackwell also performed in musicals at American Heritage, upon the recommendation by that same teacher. “From there, he also directed all the musicals and he wanted me to be in those. That started in middle school, and I was in the high school musicals starting

“Art and singing is just a way for me to express what I enjoy.” both, and continues to excel as an artist. Blackwell has been drawing since his freshman year. He said, “I’ve always made art, but my art teacher at American Heritage really encouraged me to start doing that.” When Blackwell came to Walker his sophomore year, he immersed himself in the art program. He prefers drawing with ink, but he has also tried other mediums. “I’ve tried sculpture, and most of them are sitting around my house. It’s pretty unfortunate.” For anyone who has seen Blackwell’s art, he tends to look at classic scenes from a different perspective. Blackwell said, “I get ideas from day to day life. We were sitting in class and someone said something about the Lorax, and I decided to include that in the piece I’m doing now. My inspiration comes from a lot of classic cartoons.” Blackwell’s concentration for this semester is alternative art in pop culture. He

in seventh grade.” After coming to Walker, Blackwell was more focused on visual art, and didn’t begin working with the Jazz Band until this school year. “I was bored after school and I saw vocalist Liane, and I thought that I might as well just sign up. Things have worked out very well so far,” he said. Although Blackwell hasn’t had any formal music training, he works in collaboration with the Jazz Band, and his peers have seen growth in his ability as a vocalist. Junior Jeff Wallace said, “He’s always been interested in music, but he really got into it a few years ago. He’s grown into a great singer and

surprised everyone with his Jazz Band performance.” , “Art is something that keeps me going and something that I can look forward to everyday.” Blackwell said. “Art and singing is just a way for me to express what I enjoy.” Drawings Courtesy of Robert Blackwell


April 2013

12

Walker Unveils New Branding

BY Travis King

Over the past two years, Walker has been in the process of overhauling its complete graphic identity, including the logo, typeface, letterhead, and all advertising materials. This year, the school has begun using the new logo, and has started the process of updating print and online materials with the new look. Additionally, a new tagline is being featured in coordination with the new branding: “where wonders await.” The Board of Trustees first discussed changing up the school’s logo two years ago, setting the ball rolling on finding a new marketing firm and creating student, faculty, parent, and alumni focus groups, totaling over one hundred members of the Walker community, to provide input. Director of Communications Kristy Helms said, “At one of our Marketing and Enrollment Committee meetings, it was thought that perhaps the school would want to examine the current branding through focus groups and research. Through the focus group process, based on parent, student, faculty, and alumni feedback, we

decided that we indeed needed to move forward with rebranding to project the correct image of Walker to prospects.” After sending out several requests for proposals, a new marketing firm was chosen: Crane MetaMarketing, an experienced firm who has extensive experience working with independent schools. With a firm chosen and focus groups in place, the next step was the most complex: choosing a new graphic identity that showcased the values of the school while incorporating a modern, sophisticated look with a focus on academics and the development of the whole child. Helms said, “The new look is very consistent with what families will find when they look at the school. It’s warm, and inviting, and also very colorful to represent the atmosphere that you find here – it’s a very upbeat atmosphere and the colors represent that. The photos that we’ve gotten through this process better illustrate what goes on here, and the branding is more specific in showing what a student develops over his/her time here.” Communications Associate

Meghan Stauts said, “It’s a nice, School.” clean design – very modern, very In the coming months, the new fresh, and moving towards an print material, including letterhead, innovative look for The Walker envelopes, and business cards will become commonplace in every office throughout the school. The website will also be updated with the new look by the end of the school year. Many members of the community have already noticed the new banners, admission brochures, and intro pieces that have started appearing across campus. Additionally, two billboards have been installed off of South Cobb Drive in Smyrna and Interstate 75 North in Atlanta. (Top): A selection of words Crane chose to describe the typical Walker student. (Bottom Left): New stationery and print materials are an integral part of the new branding. (Bottom Right): Each division receives a specific color to be used in their print materials. Images Courtesy of The Walker School Communications Department


Wolverine Issue 6