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Walnut Hills High School

Volume CVIII, Issue 12

March 27, 2014

What’s the parking problem? Austin Douglas, ‘15


When students purchase a parking pass, they must register their vehicle’s model, year and color. In registering their vehicle, the student must agree to park only in student designated parking areas—Sulsar Ave, all of Lot C, in Lot E and the lower portion of Lot D—and acknowledge that failure to do so will result in disciplinary action.

All students who register their vehicles for on-campus parking sign a form stating that they have read the rules to parking on campus. If this is true, how can there be so much confusion with the parking situation? SENIOR Ashlee Larkins disagrees with how teachers get their own lot, the upper portion of Lot D. She said the current parking situation is “ridiculous” because “students deserve closer parking to the school.” The 2013-2014 Student and Parent Handbook says that “students are not permitted to park in faculty, staff and visitor parking areas during the school day.” The handbook also says that students with a parking permit who violate this policy can either receive warnings or get their permits revoked. Students parking on campus without a permit may receive either an in-school suspension or Friday evening school. SENIOR Emma Van Bakel usually parks in Lot D. Her routine has been interrupted, however, by a change in the parking policy. “Apparently now they’ve closed the upper half to students,” she said. “It wouldn’t bother me so much if it was made clear to the students, but saying it once on the announcements, which a lot of us can’t hear, isn’t enough.” Van Bakel said that the situation would have been easier for everyone, if “in addition to an announcement, flyers could be put on windshields around campus, or signs hung up around the halls like the ones reminding us of the flipped schedule.”

However, John Chambers, the 11th and 12th grade administrator, said that “we did make a morning announcement, and we made an announcement in the afternoon, and we also notified the parents via the robo-call.” Even with these efforts by administration, some students continue to park in the upper portion of Lot D. One anonymous junior said that they park there even though they know they aren’t supposed to. This student also went on to talk about people they know who park off campus and said that it is “not safe.” The student explained that when they arrive at school at around 6:55 a.m., “it’s usually pretty barren, but [I] was once late because of Blair traffic at 7:15 and just parked on a street off campus.” Chambers wants students to know that “Lot C, which is off of Gilbert down by the available to students.” It is open to all students “if you have a parking pass.” He claims that “a lot of students don’t take advantage of that lot because some claim it’s too far of a walk.” But this belief has been proven to be false. When measured, Lot C is actually closer to the building than parts of Lot D. Much of this situation has been characterized by miscommunication between the staff and students. With communication and reading documents before signing them, confusion like this may be avoided. Students are allowed to park on all of Sulsar Avenue, all of Lot C and Lot E and in the lower portion of Lot D.

Cutting the costs of college Part two: Post-Secondary Program

Satia Hardy, ‘14 Nisa Muhammad, ‘15 The Post-Secondary Enrollment Options Program (PSEOP) is a program that allows high school students to earn high school and/ or college credit in an actual college setting. Freshmen are able to participate in the program under special requirements. The University of Cincinnati and Miami University are two of the colleges that have PSEOP open for eligible high school students who live in Ohio. According to UC and Miami, during the school year, all expenses are paid for by the program. However, at both colleges, the summer courses are

self-pay. Another advantage of PSEOP is how it gives “a completely different way of how classes could be taught,” alumna Olivia Orso, who took a religion class at Miami, said. “It was three hours long and [had] no regular quizzes. The best part were the field trips to the different religious temples.” Students must take a placement test in both math and English. “You have to take a test before you get into the program, and you have to pass college-level English, and then you have to pass an Algebra test, too,” SENIOR Briana George said. Also, there is no guarantee that the actual classes will be available. Low-enrollment may cause a class

to be cancelled. Students enrolled in the PSEOP program must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA at UC and a 3.0 GPA at Miami. Failure to meet the GPA requirements may result in the student having to pay for the course out-of-pocket. Deadlines and requirements differ from school to school. For more information about PSEOP at the University of Cincinnati, go to <www.admissions.>. For more information about PSEOP at Miami University, go to <>.


SENIOR Briana George, a PSEOP student, studies Stats and Japanese. The Japanese course, along with others, are classes that are not offered at Walnut.

Hannah Shaw, Editor-in-Chief

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How to...

How to change a tire

THe Chatterbox shares three sets of steps that everyone should know

1. Pull onto the side on a straight part of the road, so that passing traffic can see you from a distance.

Garretson Oester, ‘14 and Ashwini Kamath, ‘17

2. Retrieve the lug-wrench, jack and spare tire. 3. Use the lug wrench to loosen the lug nuts holding the wheel to the axle, but do not unthread.

1. Place the bow tie around your neck, under your collar, with one side ‘A’ approximately 1.5 inches longer than the other end ‘B.’

9. Tighten and straighten. 3/25/2014

Bow-tie icons | NounProject

8. Pull ‘A’ Bow through loop sideways with the uncreased side, maintain the bow shape.


How to tie a bow tie

Designed by Chris McDonnell Philadelphia, PA, US 2012

2. Cross end ‘A’ over end ‘B.’ 3. Bring ‘A’ under and tuck in hole between neck and tie to form half of the knot.

5. Raise the car so the tire is approximately two inches off the ground. 6. Finish loosening the lug nuts and remove the lug nuts.


7. Hold the wheel and pull it off the car. 8. Align the holes of the spare tire with the bolts on the car, lift it up and position it on the threaded nuts.

4. Let ‘A’ rest. Hold ‘B’ at the indent and fold it backward on itself while you use your thumbs and forefingers of both hands to hold ‘B’ at the widest part and create a bow shape.

7. Fold ‘A’ backwards upon itself. 6. Loop ‘A’ under bow and out the top between tie and neck.

4. Place the jack on the proper location on the chassis.

9. Push the tire onto the car until it cannot go any further. 10. Replace and tighten the lug nuts on the bolts; tighten just enough to hold it in place.

5. Bring ‘A’ down in indent.

Creative Commons – Attribution (CC BY 3.0) Bow Tie designed by Chris McDonnell from the Noun Project

11. Lower the jack until the car is on all four tires. 12. Tighten the lug nuts, starting with the top one in a star pattern evenly. 13. Ensure the lug nuts are snug and tight but NOT over tightened.

Humans of Walnut


How to turn this paper into a paper hat Place a copy of the Chatterbox horizontally on the table in front of you.

Take one full sheet of the paper and fold it in half, down the paper’s crease so it looks like a page in a book

Fold the upper corners down from the crease end to meet in the middle of the page about two inches above the bottom; this should look like a triangle with an extra rectangular border on the bottom.

Fold one sheet of the border over the triangle on one side, and the other sheet on the other side.

Tuck one sheet’s corner under the triangle and fold the other sheet’s corner on top; do the same for the other side.


“The most important person in my life would either be my mother or my grandmother...they inspire me to be what I grandma always said, ‘Don’t let anyone ever tell you what to do, do yourself.’” -Oriena Sidiqi, ‘15

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Enjoy your paper hat! March 27, 2014

Page Editor: Garretson Oester

Viewpoints First-world problems vs. real-world issues



First-world problems like having a low phone battery may seem detrimental, but there are larger issues occurring elsewhere, like lack of adequate housing. Wally Hill, ‘14 How easy would it be to not care? What if I focused only on myself? What’s stopping me? Guilt. Lately, I just can’t stand it. I can’t focus on the microcosm that is my own life because the macrocosm seems so much more important, more serious, more significant. The lost Malaysian airplane and the 120,000 Nigerian high school students who aren’t in school for

fear of violent Islamic extremists overshadow annoying siblings and snow days. What if all the money spent on cosmetics was put toward ending HIV/AIDS? What about the fact that iPhones and other electronics contribute to conflict in areas where “conflict minerals” are extracted? But the solution isn’t easy. The same iPhones that contribute to conflict in Africa create jobs in China. And what’s more, we first-worlders have our

own jobs and lives to worry about; how can we be expected to do something about problems halfway around the globe? Ever since I read The Hunger Games, I feel guilty for every good meal, every nonessential consumer product I buy, anything that is like the present-day “bread and circuses” that distract me from the ills of the world and lull me into a false sense of satisfaction. Even if my joy does not stem from

something awful (like gladiatorial games), I regret every dollar and minute I spend on something unimportant. When I do, I’m not spending that money or time on something else, like charity. And why am I more willing to spend $100 on a tux for prom, but not on providing a hungry child with food or medicine for someone with HIV/AIDS? Sometimes I just don’t know what to do about it all. Maybe I

Social media: making bullying more prevalent Nisa Muhammad, ‘15 Social media creates a clouded view of who we really are. It has become a contest based on popularity and approval. “It causes people to seek reassurance from other people that they are pretty, smart and important,” an anonymous surveyor said. Likes, reblogs and retweets have managed to equate to selfesteem. “When you don’t get any likes or reblogs, it really shows that people don’t really stand by you, or that they like you or want to be associated with you -- and that’s kind of a hard thing to think about,” Nadia DiMarco, ’15 said. “We abuse social media just to make ourselves feel better,” Mackey Willis, ’16 said. “We look at the amount of likes we get and base our opinions of ourselves and others off that. We use social media

to make people like us more; we want to get a certain ‘image’ across to everyone. We want attention.” For others, social media serves to be a diary, an outlet from the harsh realities of the world for people who seem to value the share button over the idea of putting pen to paper. “Social media has made it really easy for people to sort of ruin their reputations and attempt to ruin other people’s,” Willis said. “We also never think about the fact that the things we post are always going to be there.” Social media has a way of instilling a false sense of pride and courage into people by allowing them to say things they usually wouldn’t say in person. People tend to feel more powerful when they can hide behind a computer screen. “I’ve been bullied so often on Twitter that I’ve deleted six

different accounts because [the bullying pushed me] to cutting and depression from the hate I would get,” an anonymous surveyor said. People choose not to worry about how things they say electronically could harm others. “Cyberbullying and slander pages are childish and can really hurt and embarrass people,” Chanel Saunders, ’15 said. “It’s a waste of time and energy. People do it to make themselves feel better.” “You might get cyber-bullied or less likes than [another] person, and it can just make you [feel] really low,” DiMarco said. However, social media also has the ability to give a voice to the voiceless. When used correctly, it has the power to connect and spread information in positive ways. “I know there are lots of social media campaigns in

Lebanon; they’re not only good for broadcasting news,” SENIOR Elissar El Sabbagh said. “They’re playing an important role in promoting peace and just getting people to come together and stand up against all the terror that’s going on, and I think they’ve definitely been helping!” “Social media is meant to share your life with others and to have fun, not build your self-esteem,” an anonymous surveyor said. It is also important to remember that if a person finds that social media is making them unhappy, distancing themselves from the negativity on social media can be very beneficial. Logging out or deactivating one’s account are two things that people can do to take initiative in their lives and not let the “likes” define them.

need balance. I need to remember all the good that happens in the world. Perhaps part of the problem is that the news seems so bleak, so hopeless. When I listen to stories about the Malaysian airplane, I think of the tragic deaths, the crushed family members, the government inefficacy; but maybe I am missing something: all of the dollars spent, all of the people working to find the plane, the media reporting the news, the millions in the world heartbroken by the catastrophe. Maybe there’s a way to dream, to hope, to learn, to act to make the world a better place. I should try to embrace this guilt as an impetus to stand up, to change. I am just one person, but I need to live my life as if I can—and will— change the world. People used to say that slavery would never be illegal, that recycling would never catch on. I beg to differ.

Letter from the editor

The Chatterbox aims to deliver wellinformed, objective and entertaining news to the entire Walnut Hills community— an audience spanning from the youngest effie to the most seasoned alum. But there is no denying that the majority of our readership lies between the ages of 12 to 18. Yet, even with an audience where the majority of readers are not yet adults, the Chatterbox cannot overlook the unsavory. High school encompasses the good and bad aspects of growing up, and with a commitment to deliver fullyencompassing news, the Chatterbox will bring attention to all aspects. In Issue 10, after conducting a random survey of 492 students from all grade levels, the Chatterbox brought attention to the fact that some students skip class. The Chatterbox was not condoning, encouraging or legitimizing skipping, but attempting to call attention to a problem. It is always said that the first step to fixing a problem is to acknowledge it, and the Chatterbox is here to present issues in our school unclouded by bias. By presenting objective facts and data, our objective is not to persuade readers to side with an opinion, but provide the information necessary to form their own. The content of this issue ranges from piercing to parking to what it means to be popular. As always, the Chatterbox’s purpose is to both deliver news and to serve as a public forum for the Walnut community. If you would like to voice your opinion on anything the Chatterbox covers or fails to cover, letters to the editor are always welcome and may be dropped off to Mrs. Gerwe-Perkins in room 2306. Yours truly, Hannah Shaw Editor-in-Chief

The Chatterbox Policy Statement

The Chatterbox has been guaranteed the right of freedom of the press through the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The administration of Walnut Hills High School is thus bound to support and protect the Chatterbox’s inalienable rights as a free press. As an integral part of the Walnut Hills High School community, the Chatterbox has the responsibility to report in the most comprehensive and objective manner possible. Students,

Page Editor: Sarah Wagner

parents, faculty, and administrators are encouraged to use this publication as a forum to express any ideas or concerns, whether they be personal or of local, national, or international scope. Journalists are required to work under established guidelines. Invasion of privacy as a means of news gathering is prohibited. Articles found to be discriminatory, libelous, or unnecessarily obscene (as determined by the editors or the advisor) will not be published. Finally, journalists are granted the right to keep private the name of a source

from whom they received information with the understanding that the source was to remain anonymous. The role of the newspaper advisor will be to provide counsel and criticism pertaining to the newspaper’s content and production. Although both the advisor and the administration hold certain powers regarding the Chatterbox, both must respect the paper’s autonomy. No student shall be prevented from joining the staff on the basis of sex, race, creed or national origin.

March 27, 2014


The Chatterbox Editorial Staff Hannah Shaw, Editor-in-Chief Zoe Cheng, Managing Editor Celeste Kearney, Managing Editor Joe Schmidlapp, Design Editor Alex Persiani, Photo Editor Neriya Servant, Business Manager

Oliver Olberding, Online Manager; Abrena Rowe, News Editor Samantha Gerwe-Perkins, Adviser Dawn Wolfe, Adviser

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Sports Sophomore boards his way to wakeboarding’s national stage


Guenther Oka, ‘16 carves into the water while cable wakeboarding. His talents have landed him the ranking of second in the nation for juniors men’s cable wakeboarding. Alina Tashjian, ‘14 “Like father, like son,” Guenther Oka, ‘16 said. His father was a professional waterskier and now Oka is well on his way to the professional level as well, but for wakeboarding. “Because my dad was a professional water skier, he got me into wakeboarding as it was getting bigger,” Oka said. Oka has been boarding for about 11 years. “I’m self-taught, but with other friends we try to push each other to try new tricks and progress,” he said. Oka is ranked second in the world for junior men’s boat and second in the nation for junior men’s cable wakeboarding. A local shop that sells wakeboards and ski boats, Cincinnati

Mastercraft, sponsors Oka as well as does Liquid Force, a wakeboard and apparel store. Wakenation, a cable wakeboarding complex in Fairfield, also sponsors Oka and is where he spends a lot of his time practicing cable boarding. Cable boarding is what it sounds like: a boarder is pulled by a series of cables on a track in the water through obstacles. The cables are above the boarder and allow for more than one person to board at a time. Boat boarding is the typical wakeboarding that a person can do in a lake. The individual is pulled by a boat and holds onto a cord that is attached to the back of the boat and allows them to move in and out of the wake of the boat. “I like both cable and boat

Player Profile: Collin Young

SENIOR Collin Young is a first-year player for Walnut’s rugby club team. He decided to play rugby to challenge himself. “I play rugby because there’s no sport like it,” Young said. “It requires strength and aggression as well as speed and agility.” In rugby, the player’s jersey number represents his or her position, and Collin is number seven, which is the open side flanker. As well as from the challenge of playing rugby, Young is also motivated because the team currently has an undefeated record of 3-0, and he hopes to continue this trend. Young lives each day by this famous poem: Competitor’s comment: “I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.” -D.H. Lawrence

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boarding,” Oka said. “For cable boarding, I like being able to hit the obstacles in the water, and I like being more surrounded by my peers who can watch and critique me.” “For boat boarding, everything is a lot more fluid going back and forth; the landings don’t hurt as much and it’s a little more challenging,” Oka said. All of his effort, however, does not come without some play: “What I like most is being with my friends and sharing that similar interest and passion for it, and also having a lot of fun while doing it,” Oka said. With Oka’s level of skill, he has the potential to slide into the number-one ranking in both divisions of boarding. “It’s just so much fun,” Oka said.

New head coach announced for varsity girls soccer Kibret Alem, ‘14 Two weeks ago, Walnut’s Athletic Department announced the new head coach for Walnut’s varsity girls soccer team. Kevin Spraul, director of coaching (DOC) at Cincinnati West Soccer Club, was named head coach following the retirement of long-time girls coach Bob Muro. Also new to the program are junior high coach Carlie Thomes and junior varsity coach Jackie Esterkamp. Spraul, who was impressed by the team’s success, decided to come to Walnut to fill the coaching position. Spraul described his joining of the Walnut community as “a bit overwhelming but it’s been very welcoming.” As the new head coach, Spraul is focusing on getting the team to win the Eastern Cincinnati Conference title. In order to achieve this goal with a team that lost several SENIORS to Division

I colleges, Spraul said the team has to work hard and “continue getting better each day.” He continued to say, “we’re not in a rebuilding year like most people’s more of a reloading year.” Spraul has been following the girls’ program for a while now and knows most of the players from watching them play against his team as well as other teams. This kind of connection and knowledge of players is important for any new coach. In order to make up for the loss of SENIORS and to achieve as much, if not more, success than last year’s team, Spraul has already started training the girls. The team started doing three days a week of strength training in the gym after school. To add to that, Spraul has already scheduled 13 scrimmages for the team, which is more than usual. In doing so, Spraul will have the team “[in] midseason form before the season starts.”

Take $50.00 off your tuxedo with this coupon! Expires 5-31-14

Schwartz prepares for softball World Cup Tony Heim, ‘15 The World Cup is approaching, and a Walnut Hills student will be a part of the American national team. No, she is not on the men’s national soccer team; Krijn Schwartz, ‘16 is a member of the American national softball team. Schwartz began playing softball at age three and joined a team two years later. She realized her special talent at an early age, saying that “I knew I was better than everyone as soon as I joined my first team.” As a freshman, Schwartz batted .471, securing a First-Team All-Conference selection. She was named Eastern Cincinnati Conference Player of the Week and Rookie of the Year. This performance led to her being named one of the Top 100 High School softball players in the United States; a list composed of mostly seniors. However, last year’s success was not enough to satisfy her. “This year will not be a success unless our team goes over .500,” Schwartz said. “Individually, I want to be Conference Player of the Year and an All-State selection.” Miami University, Ohio University and Northwestern University have already been in contact with Schwartz and she has been on official visits to all three schools. These schools scouted her at national tournaments, and her national profile began to rise.

March 27, 2014

However, her dream school is the University of Florida, who she said will “hopefully” offer her. Team USA noticed Schwartz at tournaments across the country and invited her to the Queen of Diamonds tryout, a series of practices that is held once a year for prospective national team players. Schwartz excelled among her colleagues, and Team USA decided to add her to the national team roster. The U21 World Cup will be played in the Netherlands in 2015. Although she is the second-

youngest member on the team, Schwartz is expected to be a key contributor while starting at left field. Through all of her accomplishments, Schwartz has been able to stay humble. “Honestly, I owe everything to my dad,” Schwartz said. “He has pushed me to excel and he introduced me to the game.” Although she said that she wants to “take her talents to South Beach” in the near future, Walnut has her for three more years.


Krijn Schwartz,’16 pitches during a scrimmage against McNicholas. She is ranked in the top 100 high school softball players in the nation.

Page Editors: Alina Tashjian

Fine Arts

Chamber orchestra competes in New York City Lillian Beane, ‘16 Around 60 chamber orchestra members, led by director John Caliguri, gathered on a coach bus on Thursday, March 6 to head to New York City. The group made the trip to enter the National School Orchestra Championships, along with four other groups from around the world. The other performing orchestras came from Vancouver, South Carolina, Texas and New Jersey. In order to prepare for the competition, the orchestra performed a few of their pieces at school concerts. The students traveling to New York focused on their competition pieces. The group had a total of five pieces to perfect, including (in order of performance) “Hoe Down” by Aaron Copland, “Fantasy in E flat Minor” by Weston Gilbert, ‘18, “Somewhere” by Leonard Bernstein, “Meditation from Thais” by Jules Massenet and W.H.


Walnut’s chamber orchestra performed at the National School Orchestra Championships on March 8. The group competed against orchestras from several other states and was awarded for exemplifying a positive attitude. Mozart Sinfonie in G minor. The piece entitled “Fantasy in E flat Minor” was composed by Gilbert, a Walnut student and member of the chamber orchestra. The piece, originally written for

violin and piano, was rearranged to include the other sounds of the orchestra. Gilbert’s first time performing the piece in front of a large audience was at the competition. “I have to be honest,

I was really nervous, but it felt good that people seemed to like it,” Gilbert said. Gilbert’s interest in composing took off when his parents got him a composing software for his 10th

birthday. A little over two years ago, Gilbert began taking composition lessons from his theory teacher at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. “I really enjoy composing,” Gilbert said. “I wish I had more time for it.” Gilbert has composed several other pieces and plans to compose more. “Melodies kind of come to me,” he said. “Different musical ideas are always floating around in my head.” The orchestra performed fourth on Saturday, March 8 at the Lincoln Center. The students then got to listen to other orchestras perform. “It was a great experience being able to interact with other orchestras nationwide and compare and talk about how they performed,” Ada Barach, ‘16 said. The chamber orchestra was “Awarded for Positive Attitude and Best Exemplifying the Spirit of America and Performing Excellence,” and received a participation trophy.

Student artist feature: Maddie Hordinski, ‘16 Isabelle Jenkins, ‘16 “I read something in a book that said in order to be a really good artist, you find all the best qualities of other people, and find a way to make them your own,” Maddie Hordinski, ‘16 said. Since she was very young, Hordinski has drawn inspiration from the artists around her, including her father, a musician, and many family friends. “On weekends when I was in elementary school, I would usually find myself at one of our friend’s art shows,” Hordinski said. She uses many mediums, expressing herself musically as a member of Walnut’s chamber orchestra, as well as visually through photography and drawing. Photography has always been one of Hordinski’s favorite mediums. When she was little, her nanny, who was a photographer, would turn her closet into a dark room. This inspired Hordinski to start taking pictures of her own.

Hordinski began photographing when she was eight years old. “I started taking pictures on a family trip to Mexico with one of those wind-up Kodak cameras from CVS...and haven’t stopped taking pictures since,” she said. Since then, Hordinski has gotten more serious about photography and recently started using film. “I love using film because, unlike digital, each shot is so precious because you only have so many,” Hordinski said. She learned a lot about film photography from a family friend, Michael Wilson, who is also a photographer. “[He] has really inspired me to take pictures,” Hordinski said. There is no one word to describe Hordinski’s style. “I am always changing the way I look at things...most of my pictures are spontaneous,” she said. “ I really like the work of Vivian Maier and Tim Walker, though I am not quite sure what their styles would be classified as.”

Hordinski likes to use Instagram to share her work. “Some people use [Instagram] as Facebook, but it is really up to your own interpretation. I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to…become good friends with people all around the world,” Hordinski said. She has exchanged her work with friends as far away as Paris and Norway. “Instagram is a community of kind people supporting one another’s work, no matter how good or bad it is,” she said. In addition to photography, Hordinski draws and sketches. “I like going to art museums and sketching things there…[and] finding things that inspire me,” she said. Hordinski has used her drawing skills to create several zines. A zine is a short, selfpublished magazine. Hordinki’s most recent zine was a short story accompanied by original sketches in collaboration with her friend Amy Gutmann Fuentes,


Page Editor: Karinne Hill


Maddie Hordinski, ‘16 enjoys using film cameras, as opposed to digital ones. She hopes to continue incorporating visual arts into her life in the future. ‘16, called Lost Things. “We were kind of talking about where lost things go so we made up a story,” Hordinski said. “It ended up being really creepy, but cool, and then we added drawings.” Looking ahead, Hordinski

definitely wants to include visual arts in her career. “I’m still kind of figuring out what I want to be...and trying to be practical about it…but my dream job is to be a photographer for National Geographic.”


March 27, 2014

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Style & Culture

Social pressure lurks behind piercings


SENIOR Keshell Phillips has simple nose stud and earlobe piercings. Nose rings are becoming a popular style of piercing among Walnut’s students. Sophia Minnilo, ‘16 Many people have fond memories of their first visit to Claire’s -- a time when they overcame their fear of the piercing gun or reached the age required by their parents to get a piercing. However,

piercings come with a social taboo, not only set by adults, but also by other students. This taboo causes students to walk the narrow line between self-expression and socially inappropriate behavior. Carly Coleman, ’17 has three ear piercings. She got her first piercing

when she was four months old. Coleman said, “My mom took me to Icing when I was a baby because she thought I looked like a boy.” Coleman got her second, another earlobe piercing, in sixth grade. “I was terrified,” she said. “It hurt a lot more than when I [later] got my cartilage piercing.” Although fear has held Coleman back in the past from getting piercings, she said, “I definitely want more.” Many people do not share the same opinions as Coleman. Rachel Berndsen, ‘16 has multiple earlobe piercings. “I got double piercings on both, but the second closed up over time,” she said. “I don’t want to get another piercing, what I have is enough.” Schools throughout the nation have banned a range of piercings and many employers require employees to conceal piercings during work. These limitations stem from claims of disturbances and disruptions caused by piercings at school and work. Walnut currently has no specific limitation on body piercings as part of the school dress code, although the student handbook generally states that “students should avoid dress that distracts attention from the orderly pursuit of knowledge, disrupts the educational process or

constitutes a threat to individual safety or safety of the group.” Social pressure, however, can be enough to dissuade students from getting piercings. Coleman acknowledges this social pressure, but said that “I don’t understand why people would have a problem with piercings. Piercings are just a form of self-expression and should be respected as that. Most controversies stem from piercings of areas other than the ear. Outside of ear piercings, the most common body piercings are belly button and nose piercings. Even more debated than these are tongue, eyebrow and lip piercings. These piercings have sparked disputes because they are considered by some to be “trashy” and can be used to label people as “goth” or “punk.” “I think that it’s your own body, and you can do what you want with it,” said Natalia Sezer, ‘17 who has multiple piercings. “I just don’t get the rationale behind people who would discriminate based on something like piercings.” Gender stereotypes also play a large role in body piercing choices. Although body piercings are not as common among men as among women, a significant number

of men do get ear piercings or other body piercings during their lifetimes. Men’s ear piercings usually include two simple earlobe piercings. A half-piercing, or a piercing on just one ear, is very popular among men as well. Kian Eghbalnia, ‘17 said, “I really don’t care if [men] have piercings or not, but I don’t particularly want a piercing.” Another issue many students encounter is that many sports prohibit players to wear jewelry during games. Piercings can often require the wearer to keep starter jewelry in for up to six months. This time period conflicts with many students’ sports schedules. If athletes do take starter jewelry out for games, they face the risk of piercings closing up or getting infected. Many athletes cover piercings with Band-aids, though they may face disqualification if referees notice them. This risk can be the final push to dissuade students. The social pressure that accompanies piercings is especially present in the high school environment. However, Walnut’s students seem to prefer selfexpression over social conformity.

Book Review: The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy Zoe Cheng, ‘15 Fresh, witty and quirky, The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Walnut alumna Kate Hattemer, ‘05 is one of those rare young adult novels that has the ability to captivate, and to captivate well. Captivate seems to be an appropriate word; upon the first chapter, the reader is caught up in the novel’s several folds, be that the narrator’s sharp tongue, the merging of poetry and prose or just the ubiquitous relatability of it all. In all honesty, the label “young adult fiction” just doesn’t seem to do justice here. A departure from the common vapid vampire romance and post-apocalyptic despotic showdown, the Vigilante Poets seamlessly contemporizes the jocular and the real, the friendship with the inevitable betrayal. The novel begins with a band of friends: Ethan (the narrator), Jackson, Elizabeth and Luke. All attend Selwyn Academy, one of the nation’s leading high school for the arts, and, incidentally, also the subject of kTV’s new hit reality show For Art’s Sake, which stars Selwyn’s students. All is going well for the friends -- they have an awesome English teacher enamored with the writing of Ezra Pound -- except for the fact that kTV is basically taking over Selwyn and turning this establishment of teaching young artists into a money-crazed, profitmaking machine. In protest, the

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four, led by Luke, begin scheming a daring ploy: they will write a long poem and distribute it around the school. But what happens when their actions have unforeseen consequences? And where do people’s real allegiances lie, anyway? Threaded through The Vigilante Poets’ quirky idiosyncrasies -- one of the characters is a gerbil named Baconnaise! -- is the pulsing thread of real life. The Vigilante Poets transcends the superficiality and affectations of many of today’s young adult novels by assessing friendships: its flops, triumphs and everything in between. “I’ve always been interested in writing,” said Hattemer, who, upon graduation from Walnut, attended Yale University and majored in Classics. After college, she began teaching Latin to high school students, and said that “it was really the teaching that brought me to young adults.” Hattemer said that she decided to write about teenagers because “I’d been spending a lot of time with them...I think it’s easier to write about an age that I’d already gone through.” She said that she was also drawn to young adult fiction because “some adult fiction is so full of characters who are jaded, and blase, and...they’ve already done things already... These [teenage] characters are experiencing some of these things for the first time...being betrayed for the first time, falling in love for the first time.”

Hattemer also acknowledged that her experiences as a Walnut student influenced her writing. “Walnut’s not an art school, technically…[but] it seems like everyone at Walnut has so many broad interests,” she said. “Being around a bunch of students who are really excited about academics but also really excited about the arts…that definitely influenced [The Vigilante Poets].” Hattemer began drafting in January 2012 and the book will be released on April 8, 2014. About the two-year-long process, Hattemer said, “It’s honestly a lot faster than it could’ve been.” Hattemer chose to pursue traditional publishing for her novel. “You really need an agent, unless you have some kind of insight or connection,” she said. “You need to send a lot of blind query letters to agents...I was lucky to find an agent really agent, Uwe Stender, reads really fast, and he called me and wanted to represent me.” Unrelenting in their intensities, the comedy and realism of The Vigilante Poets are the novel’s main strengths. “Humor is a really important part of the teenage experience,” Hattemer said. However, she also said that she “wanted to write a realistic book… [for example,] you’re not just best friends and there’s nothing else to it...I did want to bring together those two strands.” “It’s kind of weird that all of a sudden it’s coming out and

December March 27,4,2014 2012


everyone’s reading it for the first time,” said Hattemer, who worked on the novel for six months before showing it to anyone. “Sometimes I love [writing], sometimes I hate it,” she said. But “it is very satisfying when I read something I have written and I...get [what] I’m going for.” She described her writing process as preliminary writing and then “[revising] tens and twenties of times.”

“It’s painful, the inferior moments,” Hattemer said. But “the daily work, the routine of it, is what I want to do. That’s where my contentment lies. On April 8 at 7 p.m., Hattemer will be at the JosephBeth Booksellers in Rookwood Commons for a book-signing and launch party event for The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy. Students and families are encouraged to attend.

Page Editor: Issue Grace CVII.4 Hill


Popularity: it’s the way you are viewed Riley Taylor, ‘18 Kendall Young, ‘18 You walk down the hallway and see a group of students. The girls are dressed in their black leggings and matching combat boots and the boys are dressed in their khaki pants and Sperrys. You see how everyone is aware of who each other is and what everyone’s names are. This group of students only seems to associate with those whom are talking within the group. Who are they? You may hear them referred to as the “popular kids,” but what exactly does “popular” mean? Throughout the halls of Walnut, popularity is often interpreted as an undefined term classified among specific groups of people in different grade levels. As defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a person is popular when he or she is “liked or enjoyed by many people.” But over generations, the true meaning of popularity has become a term some students would not want to be associated with, while others would dream of the opportunity to be called popular. So what is popularity, and what are the types or groups at Walnut?

What kind of person is popular?

“It’s that group of kids that everyone knows about, and secretly wants to be: the best clothes, iPhones, parties, etc.” Anonymous “Someone who is really social. The popular kids here aren’t super-nice or super-mean.” Camille Williams, ‘18 ASHWINI KAMATH/ CHATTERBOX


Katherine Coleman, ‘18 (left) and Sera Wright, ‘18 are all smiles during lunch. Coleman and Wright enjoy eating at the courtyard for lunch.

Is popularity good or bad? “Good popularity is when someone is liked for being nice. Unfortunately, this seems to happen a lot less than the other kind.” Maren Bickel, ‘18 “Well, it depends on how you label it. When I think about good popularity, I think of someone with a lot of friends, who are genuine friends. But when most— including me— think of popularity, their minds drift to ‘bad’ popularity: the superficial kids surrounded by ‘friends’ who are only there to boost social status.” Lena Alpern, ‘18

“Bad, because most of the time when people are popular, it’s because they make other people look bad in order to make themselves look better.” Luke Miller, ‘19

Duncan Hahn, ‘19 (third from the left) multi-tasks by eating and using technology with his friends at lunch.

How does being in the honors program affect popularity? “[Honors contributes to social cliquing] because people in Honors think they’re better than everyone.” Anonymous

“[Honors does not contribute to the creation of cliques]. [Honors students] just sit together.” Lia Shapiro, ‘18

“Yes, [Honors does contribute to social cliquing,] because it seems like there are a lot of popular kids in Honors.” Anonymous

“I don’t really see any sort of bad popularity going around, but it all depends on how you see things.” Robin Lively, ‘19 “They do bad things because they want to get people’s attention.” Anidya Soni, ‘19 ASHWINI KAMATH/ CHATTERBOX

(Left to right) Anna DelGado, ‘18; Annabell Thomas-Harmon, ‘18; Mira O’Donnell, ‘18 and Sarah Tengen, ‘18 smile for the camera during second lunch in the lunchroom.

What determines popularity? “What kind of money you have and what kind of clothes your parents buy you.” Declan Robison, ‘18 ASHWINI KAMATH/ CHATTERBOX

(Left to right) Elijah Wales, ‘18; Nina Boyd, ‘18; Jade Crocker, ‘18; Brianna Mack, ‘18 and Karrington Butler, ‘18 pose for a picture in the lunchroom during second lunch.

Page Editor: Kandyce Clark

March 27, 2014

“How many friends you have.” Jacob Strom, ‘18. “Being nice to everyone.” Shelly Gilman, ‘18

“You're willing to backstab a good friend. You have to have charisma.” Declan Robison, ‘18

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Arcade CVIII.12 Sudoku

Sean Wood, ‘15 The object of Sudoku is to place the numbers 1 through 9 in each column, row and 3x3 box without repeating any of the numbers. Order is not important as long as the numbers don’t repeat.

Tardies are cute A.J. Newberry, ‘14


CVIII.12 spring crossword Joe Schmidlapp, ‘14

2. A person whose job it is to plant crops 3. A place to plant flowers or plants 5. A yellow flower that faces the sun 7. A colorful arc in the sky after the rain 9. Rain gathers in one spot on the ground and makes a _____ 11. Birds make a _____ to lay eggs 13. April showers bring May _____ 14. Fly a _____ on a windy day 16. Temperature that is not too cold and not too hot 17. Water falling from the sky

Down 1. Hold this to stay dry when it rains 4. A caterpillar turns into a _____ 6. Ice and snow _____ 8. Open the ____ and let fresh air into the house 9. Children go to the _____ and play 10. Grass grows and turns the color _____ 12. Plant a _____ and wait for a flower to grow 15. Spring starts during this month

In character

“If you were the last person left on Earth, what would you do?”

“Go ride the rides at Disney or King’s Island” -Trenton Gorlewski, ‘17

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“Go to Australia and hold a koala bear” -Ms. Ryan, security guard

“Begin my bucket list” -Mozika Maloba, ‘15

March 27, 2014

“Take a Lamborghini and drive “Walk to Florida and enjoy through the Colosseum ” the beach all by myself ” -Lexi Barrett, ‘14 -Mr. Kloth, gym teacher

Page Editor: Sean Wood

2014 03 28 cviii 12